Tag: Tiger Woods

Great Athletes Who Thrilled Us and Enriched Our Lives

Crossposted at Daily Kos

If you’re a sports fan as I am of several sports, have you ever wondered who the greatest athlete ever was.  If so, who among the greatest was your go to site favorite of all time?  

In late 1999, Sports Illustrated magazine held an awards ceremony to honor the ‘Sportsman of the Century.’  Among those honored in their respective sports were Muhammad Ali (Boxing), Jim Brown (Football), Wayne Gretzky (Hockey), Michael Jordan (Basketball), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (Best Female Athlete), Carl Lewis (Olympian), Jack Nicklaus (Golf), and Babe Ruth (Baseball).

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Muhammad Ali aka “The Louisville Lip” knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round in their rematch fight in May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine to retain his World Heavyweight Boxing Crown (Photograph: Neil Leifer)

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Of Human Bondage

Crossposted at Daily Kos

follow link THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

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Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – GOP Exiled to St. Helena

Crossposted at Daily Kos

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=canine-prednisone-20-mg THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

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R.J. Matson, New York Observer, Buy this cartoon

Why Tiger isn’t Muhammad Ali

Original article, by David Zirin and subtitled Comparing Tiger Woods and the scandal he’s embroiled in to the personal and professional savaging that Muhammad Ali suffered is more than insulting, via Socialist Worker (US)

“Boxing is nothing, just satisfying to some bloodthirsty people. I’m no longer a Cassius Clay, a Negro from Kentucky. I belong to the world, the Black world. I’ll always have a home in Pakistan, in Algeria, in Ethiopia. This is more than money.”–Muhammad Ali

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Al Gore vs the Denialists

Crossposted at Daily Kos.  If you choose to recommend it there, the Rec Button may have been pushed to the bottom after the last diary comment made.

miglior sito per comprare viagra generico 200 mg spedizione veloce a Verona THE WEEK IN EDITORIAL CARTOONS

This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

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Chris Britt, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)

Tiger who … ?

This is just… embarrassing.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also briefly addressed the Tiger Woods scandal and the golf star’s public comments Friday about straying from his Buddhist faith. Woods said he was raised Buddhist but needed to focus anew on finding balance between his faith and professional life.

dove comprare Viagra generico 50 mg a Milano The Dalai Lama said he did not know who Woods was, but said self-discipline is among Buddhism’s highest values.

When it comes to adultery, he said, “all religions have the same idea.”

“I think mainly whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline, that’s important,” he said. “Self-discipline with awareness of consequences.”  

AP/yahoo story here

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At the Beginning of a New Decade, Lessons from the Start of Another

On this day where we seek to remember the legacy of the nine years that came before the one very shortly to conclude, I recall the beginning of another decade ninety years in the past.  The Presidential election of 1920 returned Republicans to control of the Executive Branch, and epitomized the weariness the American people had with foreign wars and towering idealism.  When, a year or so before, Woodrow Wilson proposed the League of Nations to a skeptical American public, itself an altruistic enterprise promising world peace, the proposal was transformed by smears and lies to imply that somehow the United States would sacrifice its autonomy and be governed by foreign powers.  By the time a new decade rolled around, isolationism was the word of the hour and with it came a reliance on business and a pursuit of big money.  So it was that the Republican nomination for President of the United States was sold to the highest bidder, and with it came the office itself.

Lanton McCarthy’s fascinating recent book, The Teapot Dome Scandal:  How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country deflates the notion that the past promised some degree of ethical conduct in its elected representatives and stewards of the people’s trust.  It would be difficult to imagine a festering cesspool of corruption, dirty deals, and hushed up scandals in more copious quantity than in the form of the gang of thieves who effectively ran the country for three years.  Those who believe that the past promises some kind of respite from the sordid, the unethical, and the immoral would do well to think again.  One wonders as well if the passage of time will slaughter other sacred cows and lay bear the reality of the situation in question.    

A few years back, during the waning years of George W. Bush’s second term, many made a comparison of the gross incompetence present in that Administration to the Harding years, which though it had some parallels, was not a wholly satisfying one.  For starters, had there been no Woodrow Wilson and World War I, there would have been no established precedent to reverse, and with it no Warren G. Harding.  George W. Bush won in part by tapping into a public desire to return some degree of morality to the Oval Office after the embarrassment of the Clinton Impeachment.  Harding won by promising a return to good times and unregulated business wheeling and dealing.  Indeed, his very election owed itself to a multitude of deep pockets who provided their support with some serious strings attached, namely high ranking cabinet positions and control of then untapped oil reserves in the Southwest and West in return for high dollar contributions and the votes of the very convention delegates by which Harding was chosen as leader of the GOP.  Those who screamed “Drill, Baby, Drill!” in 2008 were merely echoing their predecessors of nearly a century before.    

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was prompted to study the Teapot Dome Scandal and the Harding White House due to the fact that I am related to one of the active participants.  My late Grandmother, as is true with so many, desperately wanted to prove a direct connection to someone either rich or powerful on a grand scale.  This is why she took an active interest in genealogy, and in so doing unearthed the name of a close relative.  The relative in question was named Jess Smith, who took the role of yes man, bribe collector, unofficial attorney general, and kick back accountant for Harding’s Ohio Gang.  The structure of the Harding Administration resembled an organized crime syndicate more than a government entity, and had Grandmother known this, I doubt she would have taken pride at having de facto mob ties.

Nor would she have found much to crow about had she discovered this,


According to some accounts, Smith’s primary role was to quiet women, including Carrie Fulton Phillips, who claimed that Harding had affairs with them.  Smith and Daugherty were members of the Ohio Gang, and they actually were both from Ohio. While Daugherty served as attorney general, Smith held no formal position in the federal government. He simply served as an unofficial assistant to Daugherty. Smith lived with Daugherty at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, and it was rumored, at the time, that the two men were engaged in a homosexual relationship. Smith was single, while Daugherty was married.

As rumors spread about corrupt officials in Harding’s administration, eventually Attorney General Daugherty launched various investigations. Critics, especially in the United States Congress, claimed that Daugherty did not vigorously pursue the investigations. Eventually, it was suggested that Daugherty was also working with bootleggers. Bootlegging was a direct violation of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment established Prohibition in the United States. Smith also was supposedly involved in Daugherty’s illegal activities. Rather than face legal charges and a possible prison sentence, Smith committed suicide.

Smith’s actions, along with those of several other of Harding’s cabinet officials, caused a great deal of distrust of government officials among the American people and also solidified Harding’s reputation as a poor president.    

Source:  Ohio Historical Society, “Jess Smith”.

Harding’s incautious and highly impulsive womanizing make both Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy seem tame by comparison.  What complicated matters further is that Harding was a bit of a bizarre romantic, who was not inclined merely to keep to one night stands.  Instead he heavily courted each of the numerous women with whom he had affairs and in so doing wrote scores of love letters to each of his paramours, providing undeniable documented proof and paper trails a mile long.  The RNC, by way of slight-of-hand and creative accounting managed to find untraceable ways to pay off most of these women in exchange for their silence, though two or three did come forward, sometimes goaded on by jealous husbands or boyfriends, threatening to tell all if they were not handsomely compensated for it.  This proved to be an additional headache for Harding’s handlers, as they had their hands full putting out fires all over the place.  The vast scope of Harding’s adulterous dalliances make Tiger Woods look like a mere novice by comparison and the David Letterman matter a relatively modest affair.

This was, of course, purely the tip of the iceberg.  Harding’s own failings were bad enough.  It would be difficult to imagine a more disturbing group of unapologetic slimeballs setting up shop in Washington, DC.  Their own marital infidelity often rivaled Harding’s, and they quite eagerly engaged in money laundering, bootlegging, obstruction of justice, solicitation of prostitution, covering up the death of at least one accidental homicide, and other crimes.  Smith ran a love nest for Harding and his inner circle on H Street that was mere blocks from the White House and could be accessed by way of an underground tunnel. He made sure it was well-stocked with alcohol recently confiscated from rum runners and bootleggers, scantily clad chorus girls shipped down from New York City, and any number of Harding cronies who were always in the mood to play a few hands of a never-ending poker game.  It was a $50,000 a year enterprise and came complete with a full time cook and full time butler.  Harding’s wife was well-aware of her husband’s behavior, but refused to besmirch the reputation of the office by allowing such conduct in the White House, necessitating the procurement of the secret residence.  This didn’t, however, prevent Harding from sneaking his favorite mistress into the official home of the President and having sex on the floor of the Oval Office, to boot, confirming at two the number of Chief Executives who have engaged in sexual conduct in that room.  I would not be surprised if the exact count was much higher than that.  

Much of this, of course, never became public knowledge until decades after the fact.  Harding died unexpectedly, towards the end of what would be his only term in office, at which point the entire organization began to unravel.  Criminal investigations followed, at which point the rats began to scurry from the ship, and a shocked public recognized just how indebted its federal government had been to the whims of big business, particularly the oil industry.  The American oil powers had recognized just how lucrative exporting crude could be and how it could be profitably marketed and sold to a Europe that was still rebuilding from World War I.  It is for that reason that they wanted complete control over land that was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Government, in particular designated to the Department of the Navy.  Granted, this land had been wrested from Native Americans a few decades before, but these men were not particularly sympathetic to the plight of indigenous peoples or to the conservation movement, which is the immediate precursor to the  environmentalism of today.  That has not changed much in nearly a century.

A wealthy Oklahoma oilman named Jake Hamon contributed over a million dollars to Harding’s campaign immediately prior to the convention, buying off enough delegates in the process to win him the right to name the position he wanted within the presumptive Cabinet.  Hamon coveted the Secretary of the Interior slot, since it promised full control of government-owned oilfields, of which Teapot Dome was one.  Once formerly installed, Hamon reckoned he’d rake in enough revenue to make him the richest man in the country, if not the world, by directing the oil profits into his own pocket, rather than that of the government coffers where it rightly belonged.  He would have been richer than Rockefeller and openly bragged about it to anyone who would listen.

His plans were rather abruptly short-circuited, however, when his much younger and long-term mistress shot him, whereupon he died from his wounds five days later. It seems that Mrs. Harding would not stand for Hamon to bring his mistress to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–only his neglected wife and their children.  Hamon was then forced to inform the other woman, Clara Hamon (no relation, despite the same last name) that she could not come with him.  The mistress, however, had other ideas.  After mortally wounding Jake, she found a letter in his papers addressed to him from Harding, specifically spelling out the precise quid pro quo of the cabinet position.  The letter was signed in the President-Elect’s own hand, and Clara knew that as long as the letter was in her possession, she held a powerful trump card that would prevent her from being convicted for murder and put to death.

This kind of brazen, Wild West kind of attitude is what eventually led to the complete dissolution of the Ohio Gang.  The Bush Administration, by contrast, kept a code of silence and with it a very secretive attitude that deliberately locked out all but those with the President’s primary ear.  It was no less incompetent and no less arrogant, but it was ultimately undone not by a kind of unrestrained permissiveness but rather by its dogged determination to stifle dissent and label those who disagreed with its narrow interpretation of pressing concerns and ideological stances as anti-American and borderline traitorous.  The lessons, then, to be learned from Harding and the beginning of another decade are not so much in our rear-view mirror, but in the future that lies before us.

Another erudite, well-polished, academic Democratic President has promised major reforms based on idealistic notions of unity and cooperation.  This same President won the Nobel Peace Prize based not so much on actual achievement as by the expansive goals he has set forth, goals that may or may not find enactment on a broad scale.  Now, as then, he is far more popular in the rest of the world than he is at home. Now, as then, he was elected on the premise to, if not keep us out of war altogether, certainly minimize our commitment to it.  Later both men reversed course and Obama has since taken full ownership of a foreign entanglement.  Assuming he wins a second full term, the question on the glossy cover of soberly contemplative print magazines (assuming they exist then) will be, “Life after Obama?”

Indeed, it might not be such a bad thing for us to contemplate what the Democratic party, the American people, and the demands facing us will be when this soon-to-arrive decade is well over half-finished.  All we need do is look back ninety years to see what happens when a supposed return to normalcy produces little more than an Restoration of the Good Old Boy network.  One would hope that our role as bloggers and citizen journalist would continue to be that of the gatekeepers, since investigative journalism seems to have been utterly abandoned by the mainstream outlets.  Removing coats of whitewash and pursuing subjects too sensitive to find voice otherwise is how I envision my role.  Though some criticize the blogs for being too reactive, too amateurish, and too beholden to echo chamber, there are many worthy and substantial voices out there and these we must continue to lift up and to dig to discover.  Everyone must take a role if we are to ensure that someone is watching the store, because history provides a multitude of tragic examples which reveal what happens when it is not being closely monitored.  Though my own brush with the past is not an especially inspiring one, I can redeem the sins and the mistakes of prior generations by vowing to never forget and in so doing never neglect a greater purpose beyond myself and my own blood.

Tiger Woods and the Thorny Matter of Racial Identity

I thought I’d never be the next person to write about Tiger Woods.   That is, until today, when the sensationalist aspects of this incredibly bizarre story gave way to more substantive critiques.  In a different time, where concerns about the economy, the passage of health care reform, the uncertainty of a war in Afghanistan, and a variety of matters that collectively form the winter of our discontent, following glorious summer, this would have been endlessly digested and discussed.   Woods is at least fortunate that his great fall happened when the rest of the country and the news media was too distracted with other things.   If only in future we could give soft news its rightful place in a profoundly subordinate role behind serious matters, but this may be asking too much.    

As for Tiger Woods, when a revealing racial dynamic begins to enter the picture after an interested public and tabloid media, desperately churn up wild rumor after wild rumor regarding the scandal, then I have something to work with after all.   The New York Daily News, itself at times a scandal sheet, does at least outline something very interesting.    

When three white women were said to be romantically involved with Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and barbershops started humming, and Woods’ already tenuous standing among many blacks took a beating.

On the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner radio show, Woods was the butt of jokes all week.

“Thankfully, Tiger, you didn’t marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas,” one parody suggests in song, she would have castrated him.

In addition to re-emphasizing a stereotypical portrayal of the sassy, no-nonsense Black woman, offensive in and of itself, the unveiled implication behind it as plain as the eye on one’s face.  Within the Black community, dating or marrying a white woman was seen as a form of social mobility.   Or, if you prefer, moving on up to the East Side.   Indeed, it still is.   Though the comparison may be a bit of a stretch, do also contemplate that both of Michael Jackson’s wives were white, as was the mother of his children.   The early Twentieth Century boxer Jack Johnson, an undisputed heavyweight titan of his time, broached social mores with abandon, and in so doing surrounded himself with white women.  That many of these women were considered of low moral standard, low social class, and often inclined to toil in the service of the world’s oldest profession did nothing to decrease the ire of both Whites and Blacks during his career.

Another figure who was very much front and center in the public eye in his day and also had a particular fondness for white women was Richard Pryor, who addressed the matter in his classic 1974 comedy album, That Ni**er’s Crazy.

Sisters look at you like you killed your mother when they see you with white women.

A sense of sticking to one’s place and staying with one’s own kind,  though it has decreased with the passage of time, still lives within the minds of many.  If it were merely a one-sided assumption, then it could be more easily fixed, but issues this large rarely are.  

As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes, wrote: “If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with black women, the golfing great’s accident would have been barely a blip in the blogosphere.”

levitra is there a generic The darts reflect blacks’ resistance to interracial romance. They also are a reflection of discomfort with a man who has smashed barriers in one of America’s whitest sports and assumed the mantle of the world’s most famous athlete, once worn by Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

Regarding the highlighted sentence above, I take some liberty with the author of this column.  It’s just not that simple, though the AP seems to always wish that it were.   Blacks aren’t so much resistant to interracial romance, but they are frequently disappointed and dismayed when African-Americans who attain some degree of fame make a concerted effort to exclusively date and then marry Caucasian women, particularly those who are the epitome and definition of what this society deems beautiful.   Our culture still pushes the blonde-haired, thin-waisted, Barbie doll look in almost every conceivable fashion, which relegates attractiveness and desirability to a very specific and very discriminatory standard, leaving out a good 90% of the rest of womanhood in the process.   This is particular true for women of color.  For any minority group, assimilation with the majority has been the quickest way to achieve “respectability”, though the resentment it creates in those left behind never subsides.        

Regarding a desire for African-Americans to date and marry other African-Americans, the column deems it “loyalty”, but this is an inexact qualifier at best.   It is a sort of racial pride, but comedian Sheryl Underwood advances the notion a bit farther.

“Would we question when a Jewish person wants to marry other Jewish people?” she said in an interview. “It’s not racist. It’s not bigotry. It’s cultural pride.”

“The issue comes in when you choose something white because you think it’s better,” Underwood said. “And then you never date a black woman or a woman of color or you never sample the greatness of the international buffet of human beings. If you never do that, we got a problem.”

Years after Loving v. Virginia, the shock of interracial relationships has subsided.   The film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, deeply controversial in its time, produces smiles when viewed in our age because of how dated its subject matter appears to today’s audience.  Perceiving matters through a strictly racial prism, particularly one with only two settings can only take us so far towards understanding.   The irony is that while everyone seems to find no fault in interracial relationships, many are still reluctant to push past their own discomfort or date outside of their own racial group.   And I must admit, in all fairness, that I myself am guilty of that as much as anyone else.    

So to conclude, we should not summarily assume that with Tiger Woods being proven to be utterly human and wholly flawed that some part of our trusting innocence needs to perish alongside his indiscretions.   One of the deepest hypocrisies we continue to advance is holding our heroes to a moral and ethical standard that we feel incapable of achieving ourselves.   In a way, it’s a bit of a cop-out when we transpose this crusade for perfection felt deep within ourselves onto those whom we idolize.   They end up having to do the heavy lifting for our sins and when they fail, pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.   Even so, shelving this instinctive impulse that assumes any being will reach some Nirvana-like state before our very eyes based on accomplishment alone might be the best thing we, as a body of people, can do for ourselves.   This doesn’t mean anything goes or that extramarital affairs should be permissible or that mistakes should always be rationalized away, but it does mean that we ought to consider keeping our indignation at a responsible volume and tempered by responsible expectations.    

As it stands, USA Today posits,

So it won’t matter that Woods won’t be getting that Congressional gold medal and we won’t care that the future of his business empire remains steady.

Columnist Christine Brennan writes about it being a long road back but it is a road back.

Still, Woods was an athlete we trusted. We feel a bit foolish with all those claims that he was the one athlete whose only interest was winning. That while others were pursuing outside interests, Woods was beating golf balls and figuring out ways to win.

Former president Ronald Reagan used to say “trust but verify.”

Sometimes we are more angry and the bitterness lingers when we didn’t see it coming.

So, has Woods spoiled it for other guys?

Does the fact that we got fooled by this guy now make us less trusting of all athletes?

Ronald Reagan quote aside, I don’t think trust is the matter at hand here.   Or if it is, trust ought to be applied to ourselves first before we place it in the hands of some arbitrarily appointed industry, entity, or agency who has based its entire focus and revenue around a single person who happens to be notable based on a high degree of achievement.   This is true in sports, it is true in politics, and it is true in life.   Be the change.  Above all, be the change.  Don’t lay the change on someone else’s shoulders, no matter how broad you think them to be.   That road leads to ruin.