Hot Air: Words & Actions

Washington Bound?

Bloomington native and Washington veteran Liz Watson kicks off her campaign for US Congress from Indiana’s 9th District Sunday with a meet-and-greet at the Fountain Square ballroom. She was with me, live, yesterday afternoon for this week’s Big Talk.

Frankly, I like her. She’s got the goods for a first-time candidate. I also like Dan Canon, another virginal Dem angling for the primary victory in May, 2018. Both call for more jobs, better health care, and support for working families, and both position themselves as champions of the little guy. (BTW, guy in this instance is unisexual.)

For his part, Canon’s throwing himself a house party in Johnson County this eve. He’s been on the stump since early July when he announced his candidacy.

I Like ‘Em Both

I’ve yet to get to know the other three declared candidate for the Democratic nomination: Jason Leineweber, Tod Curtis, and Tom Pappas. I’ll be contacting them within the next few weeks to corral them for the show. I’ll wait until next year to bring Trey Hollingsworth on, as he’s the incumbent and, so far, remains unchallenged for the Republican nom.

Watson’s coming-out party will begin at 2:00pm and will feature the likes of former United Steel Workers local prez Chuck Jones and my pal Charlotte Zietlow as speakers. I like the fact that Liz is bringing a union guy on board. I’m sick to death of the Democratic Party running and hiding from its labor roots ever since the word union was declared obscene by Saint Ronald and his acolytes back in the ’80’s.

Anyway, catch my interview with Liz here or here.

Next week, IU astronomer Caty Pilachowski fills us in on the upcoming Great American Eclipse.

Football’s Unforgivable Sin

The institution of professional football in this holy land turns my stomach no matter what has happened the last few days in the sport. It’s sadistic and misogynistic. Its rulers know the sport is turning players’ brains into mush — and, yes, those players know the risk they’re taking — but the owners and administrators of the NFL deny former players just compensation for their Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy conditions. This while those owners make billions — billions, I tell you — of dollars putting humans on the field of play where that malady is a near inevitability.

For years, the owners and operators of the sport conspired among themselves to quash any studies or reports on the severity of the CTE problem, much as the tobacco companies of yore sat on smoking/cancer link data or Ford motor company continued to put death traps on the road while ignoring studies that showed its Pintos might easily explode.

The NFL has a bizarre morality. It forgives players who’ve brandished guns in public gathering spots, operated dog fighting rings, or even become involved in murder. But it will not forgive a fellow named Colin Kaepernick for protesting the treatment of dark skinned people in America.

Kaepernick has been a mediocre quarterback in the NFL, meaning there’s a place for him somewhere, on some team. NFL teams fall all over themselves seeking out and signing veteran mediocrities to lead their teams — or at least keep the bench warm while their starters flirt with the perils inherent in the sport. Top quarterbacks are hard to find, so teams content themselves with guys like Kaepernick until the next superstar comes along. Many NFL quarterbacks, whose talents and accomplishments are pedestrian at best, have put in long careers, up to and into their 40s because there’s such a dearth of transcendent talent at the position. But Kaepernick has been out of a job since the end of last season for the sole reason that, for a while, he refused to stand during the national anthem before games. That was his sin, a transgression so vile that he can’t even be paid to ply his yeoman trade at the age of 29. Football general managers usually salivate for veteran quarterbacks not yet 30 to fill some — any – kind of role on their teams.

But not Colin Kaepernick.

Oh, and he wears a big bushy Afro. That’s another thing NFL honchos disdain. They don’t want the paying customer to think its players are getting too black.

Now comes word that NFL legends Ray Lewis and Michael Vick are disappointed in Kaepernick. Both have come out with statements the last few days criticizing him and advising him to get his act together.

One Of These Men Is Not A Convicted Criminal

Odd, this. Vick, you may recall, served 21 months in prison for his part in the operation of a vicious dog fighting ring in Virginia. He was 29 years old when he was released, and several teams jockeyed into position to sign him up to quarterback. Lewis, for his part, was involved in a fatal street brawl between him and his friends and another group outside a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in 2000. The fight resulted in the stabbing deaths of two men. Lewis was found to have lied to the police about his whereabouts at the time of the fight. Evidence also showed that he disposed of a blood-stained suit he was wearing and that the blood of one of the murdered men was found in his limousine. He agreed to a plea deal, admitting obstruction of justice, and served a 12-month probation.

Both Vick and Lewis are disgusted with the actions of Colin Kaepernick.

The bosses of the NFL are disgusted with him, too. They weren’t disgusted enough with the actions of Lewis and Vick to deny them employment. Kaepernick, though, sits by the telephone, waiting for it to ring.

So, if I read the NFL ethos correctly, murder is a venial sin. So is the raising of dogs to tear each other limb from limb for your viewing pleasure. Failure to demonstrate “respect” for the flag is a cardinal sin. Kaepernick, therefore, has been banished to football’s hell, otherwise known as the unemployment line.

Football sucks.

Word Peeve Of The Day

Whenever I hear the word they I tune the speaker out.

That is, they when used to signify some nameless, faceless cabal of evil overlords who are poisoning our drinking water or foisting arch-villain presidential candidates upon us. (And, in the latter case, the they actually is we, the body politic who elected the arch-villain who currently occupies the White House. The man who is now our president was roundly eschewed by those who’d normally constitute the cabal-ish they, namely the Koch boys and other billionaire puppet masters. That they couldn’t distance themselves fast enough from the then-candidate Li’l Duce because they sensed he was such a loose cannon, such an uncontrollable loon, that they couldn’t depend on him to carry out their nefarious schemes.)

It only demonstrates how scattershot the usage of the term they can be.

They could also mean authoritative, benign gangs of scientists or taste-makers. They say you ought to eat oatmeal everyday so you won’t catch cancer. They tell us our toenails should be painted with sliver moons or we should not wear ponytails if we are male.

Who Are They?

They is such a broad term as to be meaningless. If you can’t be specific, you ought to think twice about speaking at all.

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