23 July 2007

Why don't we just put up the "for sale" sign on this country and be done with it?

In wake of reports about an NBA referee who is under FBI investigation shroud for gambling and allegations that the ref was making critical calls to purposefully affect the point spread result, the subject of Pete Rose and his gambling excursion came before me. And, recently, somebody vehemently argued to me that it was a crime that Pete Rose was not in the Hall of Fame already.

Now, yes, I am aware that a majority of baseball fans think what Rose did was no big deal, that now he's come clean and time is ripe for reinstatement. Pete Rose remains a hero, despite a double decade of deliberate deceit. He denied the charges, but then signed an agreement that he would not answer the charges and instead accepted permanent banishment.

The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. By choosing not to come to a hearing before me, and by choosing not to proffer any testimony or evidence contrary to the evidence and information contained in the report of the Special Counsel to the Commissioner, Mr. Rose has accepted baseball's ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibility.

Then Rose, in the aftermath, took the case public, writing a book that adamantly defended himself against the charges. A few years ago, he admitted to betting, but only on his own team.

How can anybody trust in anything Rose says, with all the evidence pointing to somebody who has been a slave to addiction, possibly even lying to himself? And consider the company he partnered with and may have enriched by doing managerial favors that didn't involve a deliberate game throwing episode? Rose has contended that he always bet his team, but the gentleman who authored the report that led to Rose's banishment from the game disagrees with assertions made by Rose that he bet on his team EVERY night.

The Dowd Report says Rose bet on the Reds 52 times in 1987. Each Major League Baseball team plays 162 games.

Dowd has said that when Rose didn't bet on the Reds, it was a signal to bookies that it might be a good night to bet on the Reds' opponent. That is why baseball's rules against betting draw no distinction between a principal in a game betting on his team or against it.

At the very least, even if Rose had been true to his present pronouncements, and only gambled on his own club, there still remains grave concerns over the integrity of the game. The absence of conditions that guarantee a "fair game" means every outcome is meaningless. Bottom line, he was in violation of Rule 21(d).

Read the unabridged Dowd Report (it is a lot of reading) or catch a summary evaluation at

19 July 2007

Link Dump IV

15 July 2007

Conservatives assume there is a level playing field, an equality of access, and everyone has the equal right to compete

Conservatives have been spending resources battling back a resurgent drive to restore the Fairness Doctrine, as according to recent studies and just general common sense observation, the medium of radio is dominated by conservatives.
A recent study shows that this is not the case in broadcasting. Among the five largest radio networks, over 90% of the broadcasting is conservative. Conservative talk show hosts continue to dominate the airways across America, attacking progressives and their positions.

There is reason to demand balance be brought back into broadcasting. Is there true freedom (of speech) or fairness when only one side of an argument is consistently allowed to be heard? Why do conservatives and progressives have such different views of freedom and fairness?

While I don't believe it's necessary to restore the Fairness Doctrine edict, there should be more done by the government to ensure that license holders, granted access to limited frequencies by the government, actually serve the public interest. And that means more live and local, less canned tape delay neoconservative blathering. What is needed is more programming dedicated to educating and informing voter with a variety of viewpoints, and less of an effort to turn radio broadcasting into an automaton exercise. The detested practice of leasing air time to infomercial hawkers or running a perpetual commercial loop for other stations owned by same frequency holder should be banished.

Some will argue that such measures are no longer necessary, that there are many viable options available to consumers, from the internet to the satellite radio. While it is true that there is now an abundance of alternative media sources, none can rival the penetration and ubiquity of terrestrial radio. It's still the cheapest and most plentiful medium — most people have at least dozen radios scattered about their living quarters. And it doesn't require subscriptions or even a electricity connection, as all of these other new-fangled marvels of technology require. A simple stock of batteries (or even hand cranked/crystal radio) can keep one plugged in to what is happening in the community, nation and world.

The issue must be on the talking points sent out by Republican strategy operatives, because I'm now hearing radio hosts pound away on the issue now, a surprise since most initiatives related to the FCC, in regards to the "public interest" are generally ignored purposefully and only brought to light by citizen groups working in earnest to maintain democratic checks and balances on oligarchic interests prescribed by our country's founding fathers. Let the market decide, they proclaim, disdainfully casting aside the original FCC charter that the airwaves belong to the public, and in exchange for a broadcast license, a broadcaster must serve the public interest in return. Of larger concern, however, is the educating and informing citizens on civic affairs. Something that many commercial interests would like to dispose of, and focus on the sole concern of increasing profits. Nothing wrong with operating for profits, but representative democracy for all requires the active participation of an informed public.

In this age, the internet is evolving into the best medium for serving both news and knowledge. But many still don't have access or don't have time to sit down at a computer. Instead they get their news from television and radio. And radio can always be on — at the job site (even via headphones), on the drive to/from work, on the porch, etc.…