Monday, July 28, 2014

Conservatives and Jews

Generalizations are on the one hand pointless, but on the other hand often pretty accurate. For example I could say, "Jews are Democrats" and that would largely be true since a super majority of Jews vote for Democrats. I also feel comfortable in saying, "Most conservative Southerners don't care about Jews." That's just a gut feeling, but one based on an aspect of America's particular racism.

Of course there are hardcore Conservative Jews in America, but most of the time the issue that binds them to the hardcore Christian Right is economic; not religious. In this scenario both the US Jews and Christians are willing to overlook the other's extreme position in favor of their own, as long as they're helping each other TODAY.

On the one hand you have Christians who want Jews to accept Jesus upon his return, or die, and on the other you have certain Jewish business-types who profit off of cheap labor and general conservative stupidity. Both often voting for the same politician.

It cuts both ways. I can make a similar argument for the Democrats, but the key difference here is the "capitalist" aspect of things.

Since Democrats and liberals don't base EVERYTHING they do on whether it garners a financial return, they're less likely to sell out their core beliefs for a dollar. Yet for many conservatives in America it is the almighty dollar that is their ONLY belief, or at the very least, the most important one. Political issues are merely opportunities to make more money, regardless of the specifics.

And this is what we're seeing now with conservatives getting all loud, and favoring everything Israel does or says, without hesitation. You're hearing on FOX News, on radio, and right-wing websites. When I saw an article from Glenn Beck's "Blaze" website linking people to Howard Stern defending Jews I knew exactly where this is headed.

For years and years Conservatives just figured, like James A. Baker III, "Fuck the Jews...they don't vote for us anyway." But now they see an opportunity to profit from the Jewish vote, and Jewish influence. Believe me, they still think the Jews can go fuck themselves, but note before grinding some shekels from them.

When I read comments on Facebook from soft-Jews like, "I can't believe FOX News is the only one getting this right!" I think of two things: 1) Those people are idiots and 2) By getting it right they mean 'favoring the Israeli perspective only.'

Don't get me wrong for I am 100% in support of what Israel is doing. There will be mistakes. People will die. Children will die. It will be ugly. War isn't pretty, and with it comes collateral damage. Whether I support Israel, or not, it's fucken ugly. But it's not Israel's fault. Aspects might be, like a missile astray, but that missile only flies because it's the fault of militant Muslims.

That said, I'm not a moron who all of a sudden believes in FOX News because they've decided to stake out an angle, like they do on every issue. If FOX sees a chance to make a dime, or have conservatives looking better, they'll take it. Because their news is OPINION news. Even if a particular story itself isn't opinionated, it's about how much you run a story, when, and where. For example, if FOX runs a story of an Israeli being killed 100 times, but only shows a hospital in Gaza being hit once, that's OPINION NEWS. It's meant to sway. And I'm not falling for it.

Just because other news outlets have been at best average, and more likely terrible, doesn't make FOX News good.

But I'll stick to the point.

Conservatives are ceasing this opportunity to profit on Jewish fears. That's all this is. They're hopeful Jewish dollars and media influence will somehow help them win elections. They no more care about Jews today than they did 5, 10, or 20 years ago, or at any other time in history.

From a conservative political perspective they're hopeful this conflict can make them look better among an influential sect of Jewish voters who know full well who's responsible for others wars. Conservatives are using this crisis to help erase the other foreign policy disasters they got us into. But in truth, all the other problems in the Middle East right now, including this one, are exacerbated by their horrific war mongering efforts. I for one don't forget that just because FOX News and douchebags like Michael Savage and Mark Levin sing a different tune. A tune they hope will just earn them more dollars; not because they give a shit about Jews, or anyone else for that matter.

As a religion Judaism borders on Socialism, which is completely at odds with what Conservatives believe. Jews pray as a people, and for people. Again, that's not in line with Conservative orthodoxy. Now of course you have the Jews who claim their support for Conservatives is based on a supposed willingness to back Israel at all costs. But that's a joke argument. Domestic American politics are quite different from Middle Eastern politics. That's just another excuse some people use in the hopes the American government lets them keep more money. Believe me, a lot of Jews favor their money over any other belief, including Israel's survival. There are many shitty Americanized Jews.

Conservatives are screaming about this in a hope to CAPITALIZE on a horrific situation. That's all this is about. They hope to sway an electorate, and the idiots on radio and television are just hoping to profit from it. It's disgusting, but it's par for the course. I would expect nothing less.

A member of the Likud wants to defend his country against imminent danger, just like any Liberal Jew in the United States. And a member of Likud wants all their citizens to have health care, just like a Liberal Jew in the US. A member of Likud believes in public education, just like a liberal Jew in the US.

In other words, a Conservative Israeli is more closely aligned to a liberal US Jew than a Conservative US Jew. In fact, the Conservative US Jew is pretty much to the right of every single person in every single first world country. They just want to trick you into thinking their movement is something other than that.

Nothing in this conflict will stop me from believing America needs public health care, public education, public support for the needy, and countless other things. No matter how much money I make in my life, that will never change. That's the core of who I am, taught to me by Jewish parents, who know right from wrong. Nothing that happens in Israel today, tomorrow, or going forward is going to change my belief in these things. And that's what a real American Jew is supposed to look like.

An Atheist Jew, no less.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Hate United

A couple of months ago I signed up for the United Mileage Plus Explorer credit card from Chase. I did so because I was taking a trip to Italy, and during the booking process they made me an offer to get the card. Figuring it was time for a new card, and that I could get some benefits out of it, I bit.

One of the reasons I bit was because I was told I could get a "free bag" on my flights, which at the time were many. After signing up for the card I then used miles to head from SFO to EWR to see my family. At the counter I showed my new card, figuring I'd get the free bag. Nope. No free bag. I explained the situation to the woman at the desk and she said, "Yeah, they do that to a lot of people. I hear that all the time..."

No free bag. Pay for bag.

Since I'm from Jersey, I used Continental for a lonnnnnng time. Then moving to the Bay Area I stuck it out through the merge. I knew it would be a disastrous situation for regular folks like me, but I didn't realize I would come to hate flying on United.

On the most recent flights to across the country from SFO-EWR, and back, the planes didn't have televisions. They did have a new internet program where you were billed by the hour. Even though I paid for it 2-3 times, it never worked. I filmed the entire process on my phone, in case anyone really wanted to see it, but instead it just sits on my phone. So they bilked me for $4-5. Was I going to really complain about that? I wondered how many other people were taken for a couple of bucks while their internet service didn't work. Worth noting, there were a couple of levels of service you could pay for, and after the first one didn't work, I went up to the second, and paid that. I'd have to check my bill for the exact cost, but bottom line: it didn't work.

Win for United.

No TVs. No internet. Whatever. It's only 2014, on a brand new plane.

Okay, fast forward to last week.

I'm in Las Vegas to see BJ fight. It was his last fight; he asked me to go; was a last second thing, etc. etc. So instead of forking over the high price ticket to fly a short distance, I used miles. Was like 20,000 and $75. I wasn't happy doing it, but what the heck?

I decide on the Monday, the day I was leaving, that I'd catch an earlier flight than my 6:45p. I call the airline and ask about standby, and I'm told there are 3 other flights available, but that I probably won't make the first. The woman on the phone tells me, "I can't guarantee anything, but there are seats on the next flight. You can go online and look to give yourself the best idea." She also tells me, when asked 'what else do I need to know?', "All you have to do is show up at the airport 2 hours in advance and check in with the front desk."

Mind you, my flight is at 6:45. I get there before 1pm so I can get on the 4ish flight. I'm early. I check in, and they say, "Yeah, you can use the kiosk, and they'll ask you for $75, which won't be charged to you unless you make the flight."

"$75? Since when?"

"That's always been our policy."

"No it hasn't...I even spoke to someone. She didn't say a word."

"Sorry, that's our policy. You can still fly on your original flight for no fee."


I thought to myself, 'I could be at my hotel right now, enjoying my day, playing poker, or maybe sitting by the pool. But now I'm stuck here. I just took a $25 cab ride to get here, so to go back is another $25. And then another $25. Which is $50..." Needless to say, I wasn't happy. So I ponied up the $75 to fly standby on a flight that looked to have a lot of open seats when I checked back in the hotel room because what the hell I'm already here.

The good thing is, if I don't get on the standby flight I get the $75 back. Ahhh, but there's a catch to all of this. Anyone know what it is? Anyone? Anyone?

I not only didn't get on the flight, but I ALSO DIDN'T GET MY MONEY BACK! Yep, it's still on my credit card (I just called Chase, and they tell me to call United. I figured I'd just waste my own time first writing this blog post before I dealt with their b.s.)

Allow me to backup for a second. I ALMOST got on the flight though. According to the monitor overhead at Gate 52, I was second to board if there was an empty seat. I was right behind a person named V. SAH, or some shit like that.

I see another guy speaking to a woman at the desk, and he looks determined to board, so I hop to. I tell her, "the board says I'm second if there are seats."

"Yes, sir."

So, there are seats, and a person who's last name is something like "Sahvri" is standing by the doorway, as the flight has boarded. And another person says, "Ms. Sahvri, here's your ticket." So then I step up and say, "I guess I'm next?"

"No. This gentleman is actually before you." His name isn't "Sah" anything. It's like "Park." I thought to stare at his bag tag because that's who I am.

And I said, "But I'm second over Ms. Sahvahahahahahaha...whatever..."

"No, you're after this gentleman. He was before you."

"But he's not. Look up at the board!" They hand him a ticket.

I don't get on the plane. I wait more hours. Meal 2 at the inexpensive airport cafes. Riiiiight.

I check credit card statement today. I am still billed.

I used to not mind flying. I used to fly a lot. I now fly United. I now have their credit card. I could not dislike a business that I've used more than I do United Airlines.

Every. Trip. Worse. Than. The. Next.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sirius Firing 'Antony'

If you're at all concerned with talk radio, and specifically the "Opie and Anthony Show", you are fully aware of the decision by Sirius to part ways with "Ant", aka, Anthony Cumia.

A summary as to why goes like this:

Anthony was taking a photo of something in NYC, and a black woman was caught in the picture. She objected to this, and supposedly, according to Ant, attacked him for doing so. Apparently, he had a gun on him, and claims she's an idiot because he could have shot her. He didn't. But he did say many awful things about this woman, and to most regular people who are not apologists of 'Ant', it all seemed pretty racist.

The word nigger was never used, but he alluded to many things which seem even worse than that, if it's possible. Instead of just saying the-enn-word, he beat around the bush, and called her many other things via his Twitter account, which I'm told may have been deleted.

Sirius XM fired him over this. Greg Hughes, aka, Opie, remains.

Diehard fans are unhappy.

In no way do I think Sirius is wrong for firing him. He crossed the line, again, between what is decent and acceptable for a public company. They've allowed him, as have others, to toe that line his entire career. Some are arguing this has nothing to do with his "career" since it was not on the air; and that he was outside of the job.


He wrote these things on Twitter. I imagine he uses the show to promote his Twitter account, as well as other social media outlets. So in essence, the Twitter is part of the show. Without the show, no one follows him; no one cares. It's the new world we live in, and every public figure knows this. I consider everything I write on Twitter, and now this blog, since it is part of my show.

I am surprised Sirius XM had the guts to do it because the O & A show is a major part of why people use the service. Very gutsy, to say the least. They would have taken a bigger backlash than Rush Limbaugh did from Sandra Fluke, I can guarantee it. And Limbaugh, worst cases, loses some listeners. Free listeners. Sirius? They lose paying customers, and they know this. Yet I'm still surprised they had the guts. Kudos to them for taking the risk of firing one of their only stars. I'm sure someone from Harvard Business School did the math...

But make no mistake. I absolutely think this guy should be fired. If people want to follow him to his own internet show, good for him; good for them. If they want to support a person who makes racists comments and denigrates all types of people, so be it. It's their right. He just shouldn't be representing any corporation or business he does not own.

I'll admit I used to love the show when I worked at WNEW years ago. The guy is an incredible talent. I appreciate the line between what is right and what is wrong. What is in jest. What is merely entertainment, and what is not. It's not always easy to carve that out in a perfect way. But Antony has been living on a thin line for years and years. Crossing it a number of times, and losing jobs because of it. Now he seems over the cliff. Is there water or rocks below? Who knows.

He went too far. And if you're really upset because you like the man, and it somehow hurts your life, maybe consider for a moment how racist comments like his hurt the lives of so many others even more than it helps your own. Sorry, but your entertainment needs to take a back seat to society's concerns.

Here's a link to his Twitter Comments

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Questions NOT Being Asked About BJ Penn

I have read a few articles about BJ Penn's recent loss to Frankie Edgar this past Sunday, and every one of them is seemingly focused on his approach to the fight. Most people are suggesting the reason he lost was his unorthodox fighting style, which looked to be a cross between a Muay Thai stance and a guy with a stick up his ass. Needless to say, it did not work out very well. This we can all agree.

Yet the reality of it all is Penn didn't lose the fight boxing Edgar. Rather, he was beaten with elbows while lying on his back. Now I'll admit he was not highly effective standing, in addition to being poor on the ground. I do not think this style was ever going to work because while it was meant to keep him out of Edgar's range it also made him more susceptible to being taken down. Coupled with the fact that Edgar has a longer reach, and is the quicker puncher, it was a recipe for disaster...on the feet.

I have not had a chance to speak to Penn. I'm guessing he's not in a mental space where he wants to discuss the nuances of this fight with someone who writes and talks for a living. However, I did hear from Jason Parillo after the fight, and he too was confused by the style. Parillo was not part of this game plan, and was only involved the final week in Las Vegas; merely in a supportive, cage-side role. Again, not a good situation.

All of this is certainly worth questioning, there is no doubt.

Yet we need to elsewhere, and discuss an even bigger aspect to this fight worth addressing.

Penn was EXHAUSTED after the first round of this fight. Why? For the first time since he fought Georges St-Pierre he sat down on the stool after round 1 (I may be wrong about this, but I think I'm right). He spent nearly half the first round on his back, and wasn't trying to get off the mat. Why is that? Anyone asking that question?

Before the fight began I had the pleasure of being seated next to Edgar's Father-in-Law. Inside the arena they were broadcasting footage of Penn backstage, warming up. Looking at his face he almost looked sick, as if he was STILL cutting weight. Edgar's Father-in-Law said, "He looks exhausted!" My friend seated next to me said, "He does." I could not deny it, but I did not want to believe that was the case. But it was.

When Penn finally emerged from the locker room his energy level seemed lower than it had ever been before a fight. Another employee of the UFC said to me post-fight, "When BJ used to emerge from the locker room he had an uncontrollable energy that couldn't be harnessed! Tonight he looked dead!"

Again, I agreed.

While backstage I overheard someone say, "Frankie outweighed BJ...BJ only weighs like 150 pounds."

I wondered to myself, 'How in the world is that possible? How did he not balloon up to 162?" Which was about his walk around weight leading up to the fight? How come EVERY FIGHTER I'VE EVER MET balloons up at least 12lbs after weigh-in, but Penn only gained 4-5 pounds? I mean, I once watched Jamie Varner weight in at 155 against Marcus Hicks and fight at 182. I saw Anthony Johnson fight Josh Koscheck at 215 after weighing 170 the day before! Edgar comes into the cage at least 155. But Penn weighs 150? Why?

MMA writer Josh Gross replied to a tweet of mine when I asked this very question. He suggested "because he cut to 145?"

That's the simplistic response; the one people might assume is the case. Throughout the training there was no question he would make weight. It was not even a problem. He fought Rory MacDonald at 166. Presumably he left the cage that night at 158. Penn is not a large person, so making the weight would never be the issue even if people think he was "out of shape" (he never was, but that's a story for a different day).

So yes, I agree his stance wasn't great. But that's not where he lost. He lost on the ground. He couldn't control the smaller man. In other words, he had no strength. He had no stamina. No power. Physically, he had nothing. It was the weakest he has ever been for a fight.

And he trained hard, and MADE WEIGHT.

So why isn't anyone asking about WHO TRAINED HIM? And whether or not Dolce's supposed mastery strength program is really all it's cracked up to be? It may be good for SOME fighters, but how is it that Penn looked dead to the world, couldn't add on any weight, and lost the fight before even leaving the locker room?

Know this: I'm no expert, but I've been around. Every single person who knows me within the realm of MMA would not deny I know my shit. Be it Parillo, Dellagrotte, Ed Soares, countless referees, countless fighters, and Penn included. I know sports. I know athletes. I was an athlete. I've covered many. I know what a trained athlete looks like. That was not an athlete ready to compete. Just because a guy looks thin and has muscles means nothing. Heck, I've seen heroin addicts with those traits.

Just because BJ made weight doesn't mean he had strength, power, or endurance.

These are the questions I want answered. Forget the stance. It was terrible. But why couldn't the most decorated U.S. BJJ fighter control a smaller man on his back after 1 round?


I've never been a Penn apologist, but focusing on the "stance" is the wrong debate. I am focused on why he looked like a walking corpse.