The Procrastinator – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

November 26, 2008


We’ve got another edition of The Procrastinator newsletter available today. We hope you’ll find it interesting and engaging and please feel free to give any comments or ideas. Coming soon we’ll have a major breakdown of the BCS v. playoff scenarios as well as other political, social, travel and satirical articles.

You can find the .pdf here: The Procrastinator Newsletter – 11/26

Have a great Thanksgiving.


The Procrastinator – Special Election Edition

November 8, 2008

Before we get into any sports coverage today, feel free to check out our newsletter, The Procrastinator. This particular edition concerns the election of Barack Obama on Tuesday, but there are some sports points to be made as well.

We hope you’ll enjoy and we welcome any comments or suggestions.

The Procrastinator: Special Election Edition

The Nazi Double-Standard

September 23, 2008

standardsRecently the German insurance giant Allianz held talks with New York Giants and Jets as possibly securing naming rights for the new football stadium the teams will inhabit. Allianz already is the title sponsor for a massive soccer stadium in Munich, home of the famed Bayern Munich club and also one of the major stadia used for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The talks between Allianz and the Giants/Jets broke down when a chorus of Holocaust survivors and New York Jews criticized the talks due to Allianz’s history with the Nazi party in the 1930s and ’40s.

An interest in the company history is a valid critique when searing for a company for which the teams and stadium will be associated. The Houston Astros changed the name of their baseball stadium from Enron Field to Minute Maid Park after the scandals that rocked Enron. But this is different. I cannot claim that a past that includes insuring both personnel and facilities at Auschwitz and Dachau is a clean one or that the company does not deserve to be questioned along those lines. But I do think it’s time for people to move on.

Allianz has had no affiliation with the Nazi party since the end of World War II. As with many German companies that were founded before the Nazi regime, Allianz had few options when it came to their war time activities. This does not excuse what happened but it can at least be understood to a certain degree. It’s not unlike those who helped gather Japanese-Americans and took them to internment camps in this country during the same time period. Should those train companies or private individuals who helped in that process be harassed and denied the rights of others today? Or what about oil companies who helped exterminate or relocate Native Americans in Texas, Oklahoma and other places?

Perhaps a more pertinent example is Mercedes-Benz. Here is a picture of Adolf Hitler. Notice anything familiar about the hood ornament? Or what about this photo? Or this plant that makes the cars? Is it important in our society today that Mercedes-Benz once drove Hitler around? Apparently not.

Even Ford is an example where we look the other way. Here is the Ford Center in Oklahoma City where the Thunder (don’t even get me started) will play this season. Think the people of Oklahoma had any issue with the Ford brand being linked to their arena? Of course not. They don’t even think about the fact that Henry Ford was one of the worst anti-semites of his, or any, day.

All of this is to say that it’s a shame that Allianz can’t even compete in this country because of events that took place seventy years ago or more. I realize the Jewish lobby is quite strong, especially in New York, and I do understand their reservations. But at what point do we allow ourselves to move on in areas that are only tangentially related?

That’s My Boy

September 19, 2008


Everyone — especially Mao — knows how much I love Joe Biden.

But even I have to admit that my boy is, at times, a bit… indelicate.

Check out this article, which references a recent speech that Biden gave to the Delaware Blue Hens football team. (Biden is a Delaware alum.) In said speech, Biden trash-talked the Ohio State Buckeyes, saying something to the effect that he’d been in Ohio, and he believes that even the Blue Hens could “thrash” the Buckeyes.

Now, I’m no rocket scientist… and I even love trash talk… but exactly how smart is it to piss off 40,000 or so students, plus who-knows-how-many fans, in what is perhaps the most hotly contested swing state in the nation?

What if Barack Obama lost the November election over a single football comment? That’d suck… but the irony would be AD-tastic!

Sarah Palin’s Body Man?

September 2, 2008

One of the best suggestions I’ve heard in the non-stop coverage of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin being selected as the running mate for John McCain is that she’ll now need a body man akin to Barack Obama’s Reggie Love.

The leaders in the clubhouse for that role? Carlos Boozer or Trajan Langdon.

Reggie Love – Who Would’ve Known

August 22, 2008

Love / Obama

For anyone who follows ACC basketball closely or lived in the Triangle area of North Carolina in the first few years of this decade, the rise of Reggie Love is completely shocking. This guy was a thoroughly average banger for some pretty great Duke teams, especially his freshman year. Of course he was also a wide receiver for the much-maligned Duke football team during his time in Durham and made one very famous visit to Chapel Hill. He also has the sad distinction of having played beer pong against me over by George’s Garage in 2004, with his teammate both on the court and in this case on the table, Chris Duhon. I wish I had a better story but I got destroyed and was run off the table in very short time. Reggie Love was an expert beirut player.

Anyway, for a look at the rise of Reggie Love, check out ESPN’s E:60 video featuring Barack Obama‘s personal assistant. It’s pretty well done and he actually does seem to be a good guy.

What is Russia Thinking?

August 11, 2008

PutinAt a time when the world’s focus is on the Olympics in Beijing, the Russians have decided to invade Georgia to their south and at this point have cut the country in half, occupying the north. You couldn’t have any worse timing for this because all commentators of Olympic coverage will mention this invasion every time there is a Russian athlete or team on the screen.

This is not 1979. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, there were a few videos coming back to the west but for the most part, it was unclear about what the extent of that invasion was for some time. Today I have already watched a video of the President of Georgia running for his life, seen a photo montage of burned out buildings and crying mothers in South Ossetia and read a handful of accounts of what is happening. If I’m that apprised of what is going on, I’m sure world leaders (many of whom are gathered together in China) are taking note.

While coverage of such an event would still be high no matter the timing in these days of constant media attention, doesn’t it seem like it would be much less so than now? There is no time when the thoughts of more people are focused internationally than during the Olympics.

2014 Olympics in Danger?

August 8, 2008

Sochi 2014Not that anyone cares about the 2014 Winter Olympics at this point, but take this into consideration. The games will be held in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi, a seaside city on the Black Sea. The country closest to Sochi is Georgia, the small nation from whence Joseph Stalin came, among others. Today Russian tanks began crossing the border into Georgia, attacking villages and according to Georgians, targeting civilians. The Georgian army has shot down two Russian planes as well.

At this point it is difficult to say what will happen in this part of the world. There have been the rumblings of revolution in the South Ossetia region for some time and less than three hundred miles to the east lies the Republic of Chechnya, long the thorn in the side of the Kremlin. There is a history of games taking place in areas that seemed near major conflict with the Sarajevo games of 1984, the Berlin games of 1936 and even these Beijing games this year.

Sochi won the right to host over PyeongChang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria, so conceivably if things go disastrously wrong in Georgia over the next few years, the games could be relocated. Or they could just put them in St. Moritz or Innsbruck, cities that have been back-up hosts in past winter games.

Iraq – In

July 29, 2008

The IOC relented today, allowing Iraq into the Olympics after all. Originally the IOC had banned Iraq because the Iraqi Olympic Committee was more or less dissolved and replaced by people not sanctioned by the IOC. The ensuing disruption kept five Iraqis from qualifying for the games and this last minute save preserves the only two remaining qualifiers.

I don’t know how the Iraqis will do in these games, but I know that the men’s soccer team was a huge rallying point for the devastated people of Iraq in the 2004 games, finishing an amazing fourth. While the Olympics aren’t much, giving these people someone of their own to cheer for is a good move by the IOC. It would’ve been awful to deny those few athletes who qualified a chance and to deny a country under military occupation the ability to support home-grown athletes.

LeBron is Better Than Jordan*

July 28, 2008

Lebron v. Jordan

*Before you send irate comments (you know who you are, Anonymous idiots) allow me to qualify my statement.

LeBron James recently donated $20,000 to a committee to help elect Barack Obama President this fall. Unlike other superstar athletes in the era of commercialization, LeBron has let it be known that he’s making this donation. Others either didn’t do anything or didn’t want anyone to know, which always made me mad.

We’ll take Jordan, for example, the absolute worst bastard of all-time when it came to saying anything worthwhile. He never made any effort (besides I’m sure some charity giving that was rarely made public) to give off the image that he cared about anything other than basketball. While it’s obviously important to care about what you do, shouldn’t there be some indication that you’re not just a robot (are you reading this Tiger?)? Jordan never expressed a political position, he never spoke out about single parents, poverty or affirmative action. He never did a damn thing.

Now, I don’t care that he didn’t want to be a spokesman for some cause. It all just made him seem so distant. Sure he was great, some say the best, but he didn’t seem like a real person to me. Up until now, I’m assumed the same about LeBron. Like MJ his persona, appearance and ideas have been completely crafted by Nike and other corporate sponsors. This is real though. He wants Obama to be President. He would’ve given the money directly to the campaign except that you are only allowed to donate $2300 per person, so this way his money goes further toward the cause. I happen to want Obama to be the President too, but that’s not why I like this gesture. It shows me that LeBron is mature and willing to take the flak that he’ll inevitably get for choosing a side.

When LeBron wore a Yankees cap to an Indians game last year, people went nuts. They said it was disloyal, weak, etc. But putting that into this context, I kind of like the move (even though I love the Tribe and hate the Yanks). He’s willing to put himself out there, to a certain degree at least, and take the heat. He got killed in Cleveland for that but if the Yankees are really his team as he said, then so what? Same here. He’s not preaching on the corner, he’s not even getting involved in the campaign itself, but he’s doing something he is interested in, and damn the consequences.