Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Racism, Your Taxes, Some Sports

I've been thinking about this for quite awhile now, and figured I must write something. Had to be honest and direct though, so it took a bit longer to crystallize.

Here goes.

Some people might consider me a racist because I do in fact laugh at stereotypical shortcomings among people of different races, including whichever race(s) I fall into. I have said some racist shit in my life, or at least commentary that would be perceived as racist if you overheard it. I'm not saying I call black people "nigger", Latin people "spics", or Italians "WOPS" or "dagos." That I don't do. If someone called me a "kike" there would be a problem.

BUT...I do laugh sometimes when people make seemingly racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive jokes.

Why do I laugh? Well, first off, that shit is funny. When Chris Rock said, "I don't care where you are in America, if you on Martin Luther King Boulevard, you in a bad neighborhood." That shit's funny...and racist.

Now if I say that at a bar, and a black person overhears me, there will likely be a problem. I get it.

Here's the catch though when it comes to all of it: I may laugh at off-color jokes having to do with race, color and creed, but deep down, within my constitution, I don't inherently believe particular individuals, or groups of people, are any more or less capable than anyone else. As far as I'm concerned, there's no "god given" or scientific advantage bestowed upon any set, and I certainly would never judge anyone as if there was. In other words, I don't feel that me being "white" and/or "Jewish" gives me any more capabilities than someone of another group (although black people seem to be super fucken fast).

What sets people apart is opportunity and access, and unfortunately that's where the divide comes from, at least in this country. Racism actually keeps people subjugated, and I'm not part of the group who finds this treatment acceptable. In fact, it is this wholly American problem which bothers me more than any other: the subjugation and judgement of different persons.

I think it's worth mentioning this because America's racism is truly based on certain peoples' beliefs that one group is in fact less than another. And frankly, it's disgusting.

So even if I would laugh at the same joke as an actual racist, in no way are we remotely the same.

And yes, I think we have countless politicians who do in fact believe one group is lesser than another.


Turning the page a bit, I also want to mention something about the "tax debate" in America, and associated problems. Again, some racism shit here too.

This is a true story.

I have a friend, we'll call him Brian, and he happens to live in a town that's slightly above his pay. We'll call it Whiteville.

Brian probably shouldn't live in Whiteville but his wife is from the area, and there's a status issue associated with not doing so. If you can't afford to live there, you might be judged by your "friends." Some of you may have witnessed this story before.

Brian is pretty much a Democrat, as are his parents, since his dad was a union man. Voting for Democrats is in Brian's blood, to some extent. Except in Whiteville there's a lot of wealthy Republican types, who attended private schools, have Republican parents, and basically think the system is working. In truth, it is...for them.

Brian gets a bit conflicted when he hears people talk about their political leanings, but he's not the type to argue about these types of things (unlike me) since he doesn't care THAT much.

After living there for a bit, Brian loses his job, which was barely helping him survive in Whiteville. He has picked up some odd jobs, etc, and is just getting by. No job is above him.

Brian's not much into politics, but he has a lot of free time lately, so he's been reading a lot on the internet. A race for Governor is coming up, and the issues are various. Yet the one thing which sticks out to Brian is the Republican guy, who happens to be a really fat, obnoxious type, constantly preaching about "personal responsibility", and was guaranteeing to "LOWER YOUR TAXES!"

This appealed to Brian. Taxes in Whiteville are high, and a lot of people in Vineyard Vines pants keep repeating this. Brian's wife Mary tends to agree. "Our taxes are too damn high!"

Brian is swayed. He won't vote for the Republican candidate for President out of respect for his family, and a general sense of knowing what's right, but he figures to himself, "It's just a local thing. I need lower taxes" (What he really needs is to move and get a new job, but he's not prepared for that convo).

Yet the reality is this Governor, nor any other Governor, or President, or Congressman, or Senator, or Comptroller, or any other asshole who runs on the "I'll LOWER YOUR TAXES" platform won't actually lower your taxes in a meaningful way. Ever. This Governor did not lower Brian's taxes when viewed in sum total. Lowered in one area; raised in another. And that's the point.

A politician claiming to "lower your taxes" is someone who is merely trying to buy your vote, period. It's someone who is promising you money in exchange for you overlooking their stances on equal rights, the environment, education (Brian was a teacher) and any number of things you can think of. And for what? A promise of giving you more money? Yeah. Except it's a lie, and every politician who targets middle class people knows it.

No politician is ever going to give Brian a better house, a better job, or anything else which will take him out of his current predicament. At least not through "cutting taxes for you!" No politician is ever going to change the tax code in a way that's going to make your life better. Your life is your life. No politicians is going to significantly alter it by giving you "more of your money." It's a complete farce.

The proof is in the last 40+ years, or more.

All told, a vote for "less taxes" is really a vote to disguise something else entirely. Maybe you are racist. Maybe you are sexist. Maybe you're against women having the same pay as men. Maybe you're against the neighboring kids in the crappy high school, and you don't want to pay for them, even though your kids go to private school you can afford. I don't know. But when you're making taxes the centerpiece of any vote you're casting, you're pretty much full of shit. Either that, or you're just an idiot.



Was having a talk last night with a Knicks fan, and we both agreed: Kristaps Porzingis is one of the 10 most coveted players in the NBA right now, and you probably couldn't find more than 7 guys in the NBA you'd trade him for right now.

It was reported today Knicks General Manager Phil Jackson was going to take Jahlil Okafor if available, even over Porzingis. What a mistake that would have been.

Thing is though, Phil isn't in this for the long haul. He wants to win while he's still running the team. Who knows how long he'll do that for? But the point is he figured Okafor was more ready now, so he was willing to sacrifice the team's future. Not the GM you want.

Not surprisingly, I probably have a better eye for talent than Phil. While he believed Porzingis may be the next Shawn Bradley, I'm desperately trying to draft him in my fantasy league :-) See the text below from July.

That's me in blue...

Now the only issue for me is getting over how much I dislike Knicks owner James Dolan.


Stanford should not be in the college football playoffs, whether they win the PAC 12 or not, and regardless of what happens to any other team in the BCS Top 4. They lost to Northwestern on the road, Oregon at home and barely squeezed past Notre Dame.

If you honestly believe Stanford is one of the 4 best teams in the country, then name me the other 3, and bet me they'll beat Ohio State outright in the Rose Bowl.

I'll take all offers.


In a pre-game locker room speech before the Ohio State / Michigan game this weekend, Coach Jim Harbaugh apparently told his players that they are "more talented" and have a "coaching advantage" since they're being coached by "and NFL staff...not a college staff..."

Is this true? Well, I can't say for sure, but if I was going to pick one coach in America to say something like this it would be Harbaugh.

Putting aside his buffoonery and bluster, I have every expectation Michigan will be a force to reckon with for a good 3 years. Then Harbaugh will leave Ann Arbor for something different. A lot of my Michigan fan friends don't want to believe this, but Harbaugh isn't cut out for this gig long-term, and that's the truth.

See there's a difference between being a pro coach and a college coach, especially when it comes to recruiting players. You have to be on your "A Game" ALL. THE. TIME. And if you ever heard the Harbaugh/Cowherd interview, you know that's not always so easy for the guy who still thinks he's the QB.

I get the feeling that Harbaugh has a problem with long-term anything. Be it coaching, relationships, living somewhere, you name it. It's a dream to think he'll remain in Michigan for a 7 to 10 years, especially without a title. If he takes that program to the Final Four within the next 2-3 years he'll be able to look in the mirror and say, "I brought them back." To him, that'll be enough before he has to scratch the NFL itch. And he's only worried about convincing himself.


Following up on Harbaugh, if you've ever read my blog, or heard my radio show, then you know I always believed Colin Kaepernick would end up being the bust that he is today. It was obvious to me the first time I saw him play, and I don't give a shit if he was "one throw away from winning a Superbowl." Hardly a thought for me because that wouldn't make him good today.

Good coaches, of which Harbaugh is one, can coach up unique players in a hurry, and foist them onto the NFL before defensive coordinators know what hit them. Whether it was "The Wildcat", Robert Griffin III, or Kaepernick, defenses are a bit slow to adapt; or change their ways. But once they get some film on a guy they usually figure it out, and that usually leads to a rapid decline in new schemes and the output of average players, of which Kaepernick is one. It's part of the reason the backup QB usually has a good few weeks before they ram head on into a brick wall.

That was Kaepernick (maybe Chip Kelly, but we'll get to that).

Right now the 49ers are in the midst of a terrible season, obvious to some before it began (eh hem). And it seems all the fans want to blame Owner Jed York and GM Trent Baalke. They certainly bare a major portion of the blame, for sure. BUT...it seems no one ever wants to point to Harbaugh. He's viewed only as the hero, or the victim, in all of this.

Now I was clearly in the camp you don't fire your coach over the GM, especially when said coach has achieved so much success. Clearly York felt differently, and that's probably because Baalke didn't treat York like a child. But it's unfair not to point out that Harbaugh treated York like trash, and had no respect for Baalke either. You can't let that guy stick around. Except Harbaugh didn't realize they would keep him out of the NFL for one year, hence the Michigan job.

The larger point is this though: Kaepernick was Harbaugh's guy. In their last year together Kaepernick was not very good, and the Niners were a team trending in the wrong direction. They were still going to have the attrition they experienced across the roster whether Harbaugh was here or not. As for signings, Baalke made those decisions. Here or not, this was going to to be the team, and a fading Kaepernick was still the QB. He won't be good anywhere.

Harbaugh wanted Kaepernick to be his FIRST ROUND selection. Baalke wanted Aldon Smith. Smith was clearly the better choice, off-field issues aside. Yet after Harbaugh got Kaepernick he did everything possible to prove he was right and Baalke wrong, for not taking Kaepernick earlier. When he saw an opening to get Kaepernick on the field, and Alex Smith off it, he took it. That's how stubborn he is, and because of it, Alex Smith is in Kansas City.

Because Harbaugh wanted to prove a point.

Well guess what...the shittier QB is in San Francisco, and the Chiefs are contending for the playoffs.

Alex Smith may not have been the answer, and maybe you think Kaepernick was a risk worth taking. But at the end of the day Harbaugh ran with an average QB good teams figured out, was trending in the wrong direction, and jumped ship at the right time.

He's no hero in this.


Chip Kelly.

If you go back to his time in Oregon, Kelly never won the really big games. In games against equally talented teams, Kelly's "genius" offenses didn't put up a ton of points. There were times when he would have shootouts with the post-Carroll USC teams and others, but against the Stanfords, Ohio States, Auburns, and even Boises of the world, pretty much unimpressive.

I recently heard Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer reference Kelly on Charlie Rose's show, and you hear medi types say things like, "Belichick called Kelly for advice!"

There's no question some people think he's a good coach, or at the very least, a creative offensive mind. But none of this means he's a great football coach when the chips are down.

The real question is, "Can Chip Kelly adapt?"

It's not looking promising.

As far as anointing him this "genius offensive mind look at it from another perspective. The person who designs your battle plans is not always the person who leads the troops into battle. These days those are often different people. May help explain other coaches getting "advice" from Kelly.

I'm also tired of people saying, "If Kelly had a great quarterback this team would be much better!"

NO SHIT! Doesn't that go for every team? If the Jets had Tom Brady they would probably have a couple of Superbowls! BUT THEY DON'T.

Why is it Chip Kelly has to be the one afforded the great QB, and no other coach? It makes no sense.

All told, he's probably not a bad coach, but he is certainly a victim of his own early success. At the very least, the guy should not be a GM.


Finally, the Warriors.

There are two teams in the recent NBA that have designed themselves through the draft, and have made sure nearly every player on their respective rosters played multiple years in college, or Europe. The Warriors and the Spurs.

There's a reason for their successes.

Furthermore, the other thing these two teams have in common is a selfless leader: Steph Curry and Tim Duncan.

In this modern era of sport, especially the NBA, so rarely do we see superstars who don't need the spotlight. Both these teams have one, and because of it, things run smoothly. All the other players are forced to take their cues from their humble superstars. Not the Carmelo Anthony or the James Harden types. No, not at all. Quiet leaders. Guys who lead with their play only.

Obviously we're all surprised at the Warriors crazy undefeated streak, but I'm not surprised by the overall success. When I saw this team in the works 3-4 years ago, I sensed it. In fact, they should have beaten the Spurs in the 2013 playoffs, but Boris Diaw decided he was Oscar Robertson.

Because of it, nothing will stand in their way, least of all, the Spurs.

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