The hypocrisy of the NBA

Before I start this post, I must confess that I am a huge NBA fan. I attend a few games a year and watch numerous games on television. As a player and fan, it is treat to watch these guys play. The league has been very well run for several years. It has steadily climbed to be the second most popular major league sport in the country besides the NFL. Who would have thought that in the 70’s when the NBA was struggling for popularity? Now the league is very popular not only in this country, but around the world. The sky is the limit for this really well run league. Despite those accolades, I have to call out the league and many of the players and coaches for a recent controversy involving their ties to China. This controversy reeks of hypocrisy and the league deserves to be criticized.

A few years ago, the league cancelled its all-star game in the state of North Carolina over the transgender bathroom controversy. The state committed the very unholy sin of not allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the sex which they identify with. A bill was passed stating that you must use the bathroom of your biological sex. This bill was not right in the eyes of the very just and politically correct National Basketball Association. Many coaches and players spoke out against this very terrible human rights atrocity. You see, the high and mighty NBA does not put up with that kind of discrimination. They stated that they want to send a signal to the rest of the world that discrimination is will not be tolerated.

Now flash forward ahead to the past few weeks. As many of you know, the NBA scheduled a couple of exhibition games to take place in China this month. Also, it has been widely know that there are numerous protests in China over people’s freedoms and rights. China has one of the worst human rights records of any country in the world. I don’t even want to think what happened to those protesters! Funny, but the NBA totally ignored those terrible human right violations in China and went ahead and played the games. Talk about being hypocritical! I guess the high and mighty NBA only cherry picks when they want to uphold their holy standards!

I also wonder why more coaches and players did not call out China for their human rights violations? Where are the likes of Greg Popovich and Steve Kerr who are quick to criticize this country, but not other countries for their sins? Of course the answer is quite simple. China is a huge cash cow for the NBA and anything that will hurt their pockets is deemed to be off-limits for criticism. If you are going to be an advocate for social justice like many in the league are, do not pick and chose what you are going to be critical of. Sadly we have many who are. They NBA and especially the commissioner should be ashamed on how they dealt with this situation. Why are you punishing North Carolina for something that pales in comparison to what is going on in China? It is all about the almighty dollar my friend. The NBA gets a 10 on the phony scale for being so hypocritical.


Something that will really divide Americans

Unless you have been stranded on a desert island for the last several months with no access to any news sources, you might be aware that there is an effort to impeach the President of the United States. It probably began the minute President Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election. Numerous folks were totally outraged that he won. How could some first time outsider come in and win something that many career politicians could only dream about? It did not sit well with the established politicians and they have been trying non-stop to dig up something, just anything, that would finally get rid of this huge nightmare of theirs. It appeared they might get their wish with claims that Russia helped Trump win the election. A long 2 year investigation took place and there was no evidence to suggest that Trump was aided by the Russians.

Now we have yet another investigation into claims that Trump bullied Ukraine into digging up dirt on his political opponent, former VP Joe Biden. According to some of these politicians, there is evidence that Trump did exactly that which would be grounds for impeachment and removal from office. Never mind that the transcript of the phone call made last summer between Trump and the Ukrainian leader showed no signs of any type of threats by Trump to intimidate the leader for political gains. Or words straight from the Ukrainian leader that no threats were made. This is just another golden opportunity for the Trump haters of the world to finally succeed in getting their wish of removing the so-called evil leader.

Yes, there could be more evidence coming forward in the coming days that our President did commit acts that are very impeachable offenses. I fully understand that. But don’t you get get the feeling that this is just another political witch hunt brought about by an opposition party who are still very bitter about being embarrassed in 2016? Already there are many lies made up by certain officials designed to bring Trump down. This promises to be a political fight like no other we have seen in the history of this country.

While politicians in Washington fight over whether the President did commit high crimes and misdemeanors, the real fight will be with normal everyday Americans like you and I. There is no question that people are very split over the Trump presidency. Some really love the guy and support him. Others cannot stand him and want him removed immediately. It would bring a huge smile to their faces to see Trump whisked away from the White House in the same manor that Richard Nixon was.

Now in order to do this, it would require some Republican support in the Senate which could very well happen. There are Republicans out there who might very well be on the fence with the President. But in all likelihood, it would be a very partisan impeachment. Suppose that impeachment really took place, can you even began to imagine what kind of divide would happen to this country? Very few things would divide the country as much as having President Donald Trump impeached.

The next Democratic president would face the same scrutiny by the Republicans. Every little action would be under a microscope. You better believe that many Republicans would go to great lengths to settle the score and get even if Trump were removed from office by impeachment. Do we really want these type of silly games to be played by our elected officials in Washington? Are there not more important things to focus on like health care, jobs, education, education and foreign affairs. I believe there are.

Why are these politicians not placing their faith in the American people at this time? There is an election coming up in about 13 months from now. President Trump won the election in 2016 fair and square and let us, the people of this country decide if he deserves a second chance. It should not be decided by a bunch of bitter politicians with a score to settle. Maybe they are the ones who should be removed from office. I often wonder if they would show the same type of intensity for impeachment if  Trump were a Democrat. Of course not! If they are not careful, these impeachment proceeding will divide this country forever.

A disturbing thing about dating sites

Anyone who is single has probably joined one of the several online dating sites that are currently available. Several sites even offer a free trial for people before they become full-fledged members. And some dating sites that I have seen are completely free or cost very little to join. There are numerous opportunities to meet your soulmate online and there are also a number of opportunities to meet other people who are not your soulmates and never will be. Who are these people? They are the growing number of online scammers who prey on people joining these sites. As someone who has been a member of a few dating sites, I have had several experiences with them and they are what takes the fun and enjoyment from enjoying these sites. I do think many of these online sites are doing a better job now of stopping these scammers, but the problem still exists and I would warn everyone to be careful and use good judgement when meeting someone.

As I mentioned, I have had more than a few encounters with scammers on these sites. A few years ago, I joined an online dating site with hopes of meeting a few good women for dating and maybe something more. One of my first responses came from a rather attractive younger woman who indicated that she really liked my profile and would like to get to know me much better. Well that is really cool I thought to myself, here I am a new member and I suddenly meet what appears to be my dream woman. How lucky can I be? I noticed on her profile that she lived in a neighboring state so my excitement grew even larger. I finally met the woman of my dreams and would live happily ever after. Well not so fast!

There was a chat feature as part of the membership so I finally got the chance to speak with her (or maybe him!). A few things really stood out in our first conversation. Her grammar was extremely poor and broken, it was almost like talking to a foreign woman. Why would someone who said they grew up and lived here write like that? I brushed it off for the time being, then I noticed other things that were odd. She came across in being very strong in her interest for me. Whoa, I just met you and now you are saying that you love me and want to spend the rest of your life with me? That is not like the typical woman that I meet online and not even close!

She seemed to have a problem with chatting on the dating site’s chat feature and explained to me that chatting on another social media site was much better so I agreed and we continued to chat nearly everyday for about two weeks. Another huge red flag came up shortly after we began chatting on this new site. She revealed that she was living in Africa at the current moment. As for the mention of living in a neighboring state, my friend explained to me that she used to live there and had been living in Africa for the past few months to be with her ailing mother. You can kind of guess were this is going!

One day, she asked me if I could send her some money because her mom was in the hospital and needed the necessary funds to have an operation. I am a very generous person, but sending money to someone who I met just a few weeks prior didn’t seem like such a great idea. I explained to this person that I had my own family members in need of cash as well and I could not send any money.  My friend continued to plead for money and I just stopped chatting with her. It was an obvious scam. I just felt bad for wasting my time with this individual.

So many people have had their hearts broken by these scammers. They scumbags have no moral backbone whatsoever. They prey on lonely people who should know better too. A lack of honesty on someone’s profile should raise a huge red flag. I think there are many good honest people around the country who are not scammers and you can trust. This meeting really made me aware of the dangers that online dating can pose. I am always very careful about who I meet, sometimes too careful now.

Online dating is extremely fun and I highly recommend it is you are a single person looking to get back into the dating scene. And don’t get me wrong, there may be people across the country and overseas who are really interested in you. But a person who asks for money before first meeting should be treated with extreme caution. And nearly all of the time, it is some scam.

Maybe more cops is the answer

A number of cities in the United States have seen a rather disturbing trend that should alarm everyone. Yes, it is an uptick in crime which has affected many citizens. In the city that I live in, Saint Paul, there has been a number of homicides in recent months and that trend shows no signs of slowing down. As a citizen of the city, I feel less safe than I ever have. There are parts of the city that I refuse to even drive through for fear of being an innocent victim of crime.

This trend has spurned a lot of debate about what to do with this major problem, and of course, you always get the typical responses from people. The natural and probably most common sense solution would be to add more police officers or invest deeper into the department, however, some people do not feel that is answer. Instead, they want more of our taxpayer funds going towards programs designed to help underprivileged young people get off the streets. I cannot disagree that building a new community center in some crime infested neighborhood would help lower crime, but that does not address a problem facing many cities, there is a huge gang problem and nobody on these city councils along with the mayors wants to admit it. Something must be down to combat gang violence and lock up drug dealers and thugs who operate in cities.

Unfortunately, many large cities do not operate in that fashion. They are more concerned with coming up with enough funds to add more bike lanes and combat climate change. Adding more police officers would should be seen as a somewhat racist policy and these people running the cities would rather jump off a huge downtown building than be labeled that. I also find it unbelievably foolish to turn a deaf ear to police officers when they ask for more members and funds. Apparently the council members know more about public safety than police officers.

In the meantime, thugs will continue to roam the streets and harass innocent people, many of whom are just out for a night on the town with friends. You should not have to fear for your own safety when you go to a downtown area to attend an event. Your safety should be the last thing on your mind. As a matter of fact, that should include any part of the city. I should not have to fear driving through a particular part of town especially when my hard earned tax money helps pay for the uptick of these areas. The sad truth is that these wishes seem like a unrealistic demand.

As a resident of a major city in the United States, I demand that my safety and the safety of my fellow residents get top priority. If that means adding more police officers, so be it. I would rather have that done with my money than putting in some new bike paths that nobody uses. Maybe when people start moving in droves out of these areas and cities, the officials will finally wake up and understand that a serious problem is trending and something must be done. And done quickly! And yes, adding more cops might be a start.

A difficult decision for an athlete to make

A few weeks ago, NFL quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the sports world by announcing that he was retiring from the NFL. Here was a player who was still relatively young and seemed to have many good years in front of him. However, Luck battled constant injuries throughout his career and the strain of trying to recover from those injuries finally took its toll on him. Luck walked away and said no more.

Many NFL players probably face the same predicament as Luck. The game is a brutally taxing one on the body. The average NFL career is just over 3 years. The body is just not made to handle the hits that a player has to endure every week. Sure, many of those players get paid very handsomely along with a nice pension, but the impact of playing in the league will have long term effects on their physical health.

Many players reach a point where they have to make a crucial decision. Is it worth it to stay in the sport and make more money or do you consider how your body will end up and lasting ramifications of continually playing.

Unfortunately, many players just cannot say no and it will cost them for the rest of their life. Some believe their injuries will just heal when they retire and all will be good. That is hardly the case. So many players have trouble just walking or getting out of bed when they retire. Those shots to the head and concussions may seem like a small thing but they can lead to serious health issues as the athlete ages.

Personally, I could not stick around a sport that has numerous long term health risks involved. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and say enough. I know how difficult that must be. Many athletes have devoted their whole lives to playing a sport and to just walk away is almost impossible. In many cases, it is not the money. Being an athlete defines who they are and suddenly it is taken away from them.

Athletes in all sports should learn from Luck’s decision. I would rather retire early and guarantee that I can retire and be able to still walk in the future. I would take good health in my retirement years over all the money in the world. Luck understands this and good for him. I join many in wishing him the best of luck with any future endeavors. He made a very wise and smart decision.

What about public education?

In the next several months, numerous candidates will enlighten us on their personal positions regarding the likes of health care, climate change, the economy, immigration and so forth. One issue that I find extremely important yet fails to get mention very often is the issue of education in our country, particularly with our public schools. We like to brag about how we are world leaders in numerous areas, however, education is not one of them and that is very troubling to me.

A few minutes ago, I glanced at a chart rating how our students do in math, reading and science skills compared to other countries and the charts raised some eyebrows with me. Our students were basically stuck in the middle in all three categories. Here we have a nation with plenty of wealth and resources, yet our students are only average in those important areas. How sad is that?!! We should be near the top in all those categories. Reading, math and science proficiencies at numerous inner city schools are disturbingly low. 13 schools in the Baltimore school district recently had zero students proficient in mathematics. These facts should alarm every American. What is really going on with our public school systems and where is the accountability?

I hear people constantly talk about income inequality and how can we make things fair so the system works for all Americans. That is certainly a fair discussion, but very few people tie in education with this discussion. Someone who is poorly educated will struggle all their life trying to find a good paying livable wage job. Many of today’s jobs require a high degree of technical knowledge and if you do not have good math skills, you will struggle to find a job suited to your skills.

Unfortunately, so many of those running for office, especially in the Democratic party would rather discuss climate change or LGBT rights. CNN just recently held a long 7 hour forum on climate change which in my view and millions of others, a very low rated political issue. Discussing how to improve our education system is far more important.

Our education system right now should be given a nice fat C. It needs to improve. So many of our societies ills are a result of a broken education system. We need to start now.


Confession of a stay at home sports fan

For many sports fans, attending a sporting event in person is nothing short of a dream day. There is nothing better than sitting in the seats with your fellow fans, soaking up the atmosphere of the ball park or arena and cheering on your favorite team or watching your favorite players. However, there is a rather huge price to pay for that enjoyment and that is why I consider myself a “stay at home sports fan”.  Sometimes that price to pay for me is just a little bit too much to take.

I live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota. We have several professional sports team to go watch and play. Not only at the professional level but we have several good college sporting events to chose from as well. It is a dream paradise for any sports fan to live in this area. I love it. and quite frankly, I might be a little bit spoiled with so many options to chose from. On any given night, I could easily venture out for a ball game. There is never a shortage of good sporting events in this area. But I prefer not too. Why is that?

There are several reasons for my reluctance to attend a huge number of sporting events. First of all and the most obvious reason is the cost factor. Attending a sporting event is a costly investment of your hard-earned money. Take for instance a typical NBA game. If I want to get a half way decent ticket and a good seat, I must shell out nearly 100 dollars. Now tack on the parking and concessions and you can easily add another 50 dollars. And that is just for myself. If I took a family, it the cost would easily reach 500 dollars.

Another factor is dealing with the traffic in trying to get to the game. Many games start in the early evening and you must deal with rush hour traffic in trying to get to the game. I simply do not enjoy sitting in traffic for any stretch of time.

Once you reach the game, another problem arises with dealing with those hordes of people. And there is always a bunch of obnoxious fans who think attending a ball game is a license to act disrespectfully towards others. You know the drunk people who yell profanities at the top of their lungs.

On the other hand, it is sometimes really nice to come home after a hard days work, turn on the television and watch the game. No hassles of getting to and from the ball park or arena. No unruly fans or people to deal with. My recliner is so much more comfortable than most arena or stadium seats that have sat on. If I have to go to the bathroom, I simply get up and go to the bathroom without fighting any crowd. Oh and the food! No need to pay 8 dollars for a hot dog and 8 dollars for a beer. Yes, life is great when you can sit at home and watch the game.

But having said those things, there is something that a sports fan really misses when you are not at the game. Nothing beats the atmosphere of attending a game in person. Ranging from the sounds of the game, the noise of the crowd and so on. There is just something special about attending a game in person. That is why I make it a point to get out of my bachelor bunker to attend a few games a year. Sometimes you just get the urge to get off the recliner and travel to the ballpark or arena.