Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are
wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
- Edward R. Murrow

Monday, May 11, 2015

Deflating punishment

I'm a huge fan of Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King.

I've been reading his stuff for years in the magazine and his Monday Morning Quarterback with Peter King column online.

This week, he writes about the impending punishment that will be meted out by NFL Comish Roger Goodell against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for Brady's role in "Deflategate".

Talking heads and Patriots haters are speculating what Brady will receive (some say he should be suspended for a game and fined, others feel he should be suspended for the entire 2015 - 2016 season).

Others wonder if how much (if at all) Goodell will be influenced by the fact that Brady is one of the best players in the league and that the comish is very good friends with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who has helped build the NFL into the multi-billion dollar juggernaut that it is today.

This is a really complicated and messed up situation.

Goodell can't appear as though he is favoring the NFL's golden boy or his team's owner. But, the comish can't overreach, either, and try to make up for the mistakes he and the NFL made in the very recent past (read: Ray Rice, et. al.).

So what does he do?

Look, I'm not writing here in defense of Brady because I'm a Pats fan. I believe Brady knew what was going on with the footballs but as stated in the report that was released by the NFL's investigators, there's no actual proof that he knew or did anything. There's no "smoking gun" ... just a lot of circumstantial evidence.

Also, as pointed out by King, even if the footballs were deflated to just under the legal limit, Brady's career stats for home games (in which he could use altered balls) vs. road games (in which he can't use altered footballs) don't support the idea that he benefited from the alteration.

And let's not lose sight of the fact that blame for this whole issue even getting to this point lies squarely on Brady's shoulders. As soon as this BS started after the AFC Championship game, Brady should've stood up and said, "Yup, I like the footballs under-inflated but I didn't realize the PSI I like violated the rules. I thought we were operating within the rules by inflating the balls to the lowest allowable PSI. Therefore, going forward, we will make sure all rules are followed. And besides, as you can see from the stats of the game, it didn't matter what the PSI of the footballs was." (Brady had better stats in the second half of the game after he was using balls that were inflated to NFL legal standards.)

If Brady has just said something to that affect in January, this issue wouldn't have blown out of control that way it did.

IMO, the only way Goodell even remotely saves face here is to punish Brady because the QB didn't fully cooperate with investigators (Brady wouldn't turn over his personal cell phone), not because Brady himself doctored footballs, ordered someone to do it, or at least knew it was being done.

You can't punish someone based on circumstantial evidence. Period.

Goodell and the NFL will look even more foolish than they already do if the comish tries to make an example of Brady and overreaches so that he doesn't want to appear to be showing Brady or the Pats any favoritism.

Citing Brady's lack of cooperation is the only way the NFL retains a scintilla of credibility here ... if that's even possible.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Death and taxpayers

Whenever the topic of the death penalty is brought into the public arena, there's always a debate about whether it's effective, moral ... whatever.

Needless to say, it's been a hot topic here in the Boston area the past few months because of the trial of the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

His trial at which he was found guilty was a bit of a formality given that on the first day of the proceedings, his attorneys admitted in their opening statements that he planted one of the bombs and was guilty.

So, this trail was never really about guilt or innocence.

Instead, it was about if Tsarnaev was going to get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in a supermax prison.

Personally, I don't support the death penalty. Not for moral reasons, but because I don't believe it's an effective deterrent. I've never read or heard of a study that proved that the possibility of the death penalty keeps people from committing heinous crimes.

And the issue (as I've learned by watching this case) of whether a state has the death penalty is often moot because Massachusetts does not have the death penalty but Tsarnaev could still receive such a decision because there is such a penalty under Federal law.

If Tsarnaev gets the death penalty and is put to death (a process I understand could take years), people who feel it's an eye for an eye will feel Tsarnaev got what he deserved and he won't be rotting in jail, taking up space.

If he's spared the death penalty, those who want him in jail for the rest of his life with no possibility of parole (he's 19, so he's going to be there a very long time) no doubt will agree with the decision on moral grounds because there will be no more bloodshed.

I don't know what to think here.

On the one hand, killing this idiot I imagine will give victims a sense of closure, and, if I'm being honest, there is something satisfying about this guy dying given what he did and the lives he helped take.

However, it also could make Tsarnaev a martyr to those who believe in and support his cause.

On the other hand, if he spends the rest of his life in jail, it will be a miserable existence. My understanding is that he will be confined to his cell for 23 hours a day in solitary. I can't even begin to imagine that.

But it's one for which taxpayers will pay the tab. I also wonder if the victims and their families won't get the closure they need.

In the end, there's no right or wrong decision here. Just a very difficult one that must be made.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A drop in the bucket

Found this post in the Draft section (written about two and a half years ago) and thought I'd publish it ...

Dunno why, but lately I've been thinking about what my "bucket list" would look like ... to which (in no particular order):

  1. Visit the White House
  2. Go to the United Kingdom (Ireland and England in particular)
  3. See the Grand Canyon in person
  4. Set foot in every state
  5. Drive a supercar (first choice: a Bugatti Veyron)
  6. Buy a near-mint or mint condition 1977 Luke Skywalker action figure in its original backboard packaging (it's a "buying-back-a-piece-of-my-childhood" kinda thing)
  7. Visit the Jack Daniel's distillery UPDATE: DONE!
  8. Play a round on a PGA golf course
  9. Attend a game at every MLB park (I've got Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Anaheim covered)
  10. Go to the ComicCon in San Diego, CA.
  11. Meet Berkeley Breathed
  12. See a playoff game of a professional team (NE Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics) in person
  13. Attend the taping of a live TV show
  14. Take Joey to Disneyworld
  15. Visit the Smithsonian
  16. Read a biography (or autobiography) of every American president
  17. Buy or build a house on Martha's Vineyard

And now for something completely different ... kinda, sorta ... but not really

Holy crap, it's been three and half years since I last posted?!?

What the what?!?

So, what's been going on with me?

Well, finally got divorced and since then married my best friend, Shari.

For our honeymoon, we went to Disneyworld and then to Nashville, TN, from where we went to the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg. An absolutely amazing time!

Joey is now 10 and a half ... just nuts. He's was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's in 2011 and is doing so well in school now. Awesome, awesome kid.

Last time I was on here, I was working at Progress Software as a technical editor. Was laid off in June, 2010, then worked at DRS Technologies, which is a defense contractor. Was laid off from there in March, 2012.

In June, 2012, I landed a job with Apex Systems, Inc., as a contractor, supporting their client IBM as a technical editor. I work from home and you just can't beat that with a stick. Love, love, LOVE working from a home office. Very spoiled but also very cognizant of how fortunate I am to have this job.

Life has been amazing these past few years. Going through a divorce sucked, but I've come out the other side a much better person and Shari is the most amazing person I've ever met. I've never felt so loved or loved someone as much as I love her. Just an amazing feeling.

I'm going to try as much as possible to post here more often. I've come to realize that I've missed the more creative aspect of blogging and I do like to write. So, we'll see.

Still, not sure anyone will read this or even care that I'm here but ... an outlet is an outlet, right?