May 2015

“A criminal remains a criminal whether he uses a convict’s suit or a monarch’s crown.” ― Victor Hugo

It is said that the only things we can be sure of are death and taxes – let’s add cheating, and take a good look at taxes. Almost every week some business pleads ‘no contest’ to some financial shenanigans – or other black-hearted cynicism inflating profits.

Now for variety, we have the FIFA scandal. It had struck many as odd that FIFA had awarded the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar – and now we know why.

After consideration of potential hosts for the 2018 & 2022 – their infrastructure, their soccer history, their climate, their human rights record – FIFA went with the biggest bribers.

Ironically, as Americans aren’t huge fans of soccer, it was the FBI which developed the case – and dropped the hammer – against fourteen FIFA officials. Arresting seven and indicting the others. Which raises the question: Is soccer uniquely corrupt?

Hardly, bribery brought Salt Lake City the 2002 Winter Olympics. Doubts eddy about the honesty of the bidding for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, and Sydney’s 2000 Summer Olympics.

Cheating wasn’t restricted to the awarding of games. National and individual cheats riddled the games. The 1970s and 80s East German women’s teams were suspiciously masculine. The 1988 men’s 100-meter champion, Ben Johnson, used steroids. American Marion Jones was stripped of her five medals from the 2000 Sydney Games.

Weightlifting was rife with performance enhancing drugs. But cycling was the sport most tied to drug use – both Olympic cycling and, most notoriously, road racing. In particular, the infamous Tour de France.

The Tour has long been known to be awash in an exotic array of PEDs and illegal techniques. In the Tour’s youth, drug use was ignored. By the 1960s it was illegal. That drove doping into the shadows and gave rise to ever more inventive manipulations by ever more bicyclists.

When the Tour de France stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven victories, the winner’s slot was left blank. There was too much suspicion that the other high finishers were equally juiced.

All of this cheating was exposed only as the anti-doping agencies worked harder, with better tools and more sophisticated techniques to catch the cheats. Republicans, on the other hand, think that banks will behave better if financial regulation is dialed back. That bad actors will be punished by the marketplace. Is it naivete. Or is the GOP, by pretending all is well, complicit in a swindle of the American people?

Fifa

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Equal rights. A Survey: The Good, the Bad, and the Merely Puzzling

May 27, 2015

“I believe a Christian muffler shop owner should have the same right to refuse service to a gay couple, as a gay lifeguard has to refuse service to a drowning Christian.” ― Quentin R. Bufogle The Irish overwhelmingly voted to legalize gay marriage in Ireland. God shows his approval for equal rights in the skies […]

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Christianity and Unplanned Pregnancy.

May 25, 2015

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” ― Martin Luther King Jr. You want to raise your kids as good Christians – particularly your daughters. So you demand that your children ‘save it’ for marriage. To promote this, you create such monstrosities as ‘purity balls’ – where daughters pledge […]

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Religious Hypocrisy. Josh Duggar Is Not Alone.

May 23, 2015

“The word ‘religion’ has acquired a very bad name among those who really love truth, justice, charity. It also exhales the musty odor of sanctimony and falsehood” ― Luther Burbank Another pious prig has proved to have feet of clay. Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the “Nineteen and Counting’ Duggars, confessed to child abuse as […]

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Really? – 5.21.15 The Big Guy Tells a Whopper; The Constitution as Required Reading; The GOP’s Vanishing Base.

May 21, 2015

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” ― Anaïs Nin. Politicians make outrageous claims. It’s hard to pick the most absurd. But Chris Christie, New Jersey’s big mouth Governor and increasingly long-shot presidential possible, has an entry that looks promising. When faced with the dismal statistic that 65% of […]

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Really? – A Few Tidbits from the News – Scott Walker vs. Unions; Christian Whiners; Minimum Wage Win; Graham is Crackers

May 20, 2015

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring” ― Carl Sagan. Scott Walker told a Club for Growth gathering in Florida that the most significant foreign policy decision of his lifetime was Reagan’s decision to break a 1981 strike of air […]

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Really? – This and That From the Week That Was. A Train Crash; The Death Penalty; Buying Science; Mrs Betty Bowers; Foresight is Blind.

May 17, 2015

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions” ― Edward R. Murrow The Amtrak crash this week underscored in what disrepair our infrastructure is. Instead of agreeing that we have a problem some politicians accused other politicians of ‘politicizing’ the problem – so that they don’t have to deal with it. America owns […]

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For Bigotry to Flourish, Its Victims Must Be Stripped of their Humanity

May 16, 2015

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee – ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Racism, xenophobia, and other bigotry are easy when you do not see people as individuals – but only as part of a […]

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Really? 5.13.15 – Denominals; Pot, Evolution & the Duggars; Iowa; Books & Bombers.

May 12, 2015

“People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction” ― Umberto Eco. A ‘denominal’ is a verb that has been formed from a noun. This headline has an example: “Idaho teacher wishes someone would ‘Ray Rice’ non-Mormon who wants to be school president.” She has cleverly taken the […]

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