Colin Kaepernick, NFL millionaire, refuses to stand for national anthem because America isn’t perfect

Colin Kaepernick screenshot

Colin Kaepernick is an NFL millionaire who has been rooted on for years by stadiums filled with Americans of all colors. He was adopted by family that obviously instilled in him the kind of work ethic it takes to break into professional sports. Despite living in the freest nation the world has ever produced (while pulling in $19 million per year), he now says he cannot stand for the national anthem because America “oppresses black people and people of color.”

The NFL released his statement on Saturday after news of his decision spread:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Yes, that’s right, because America isn’t perfect Mr. Kaepernick says he cannot show pride in the American flag. Someone should ask the formerly productive quarterback if he can name one country on earth where everyone acts like angels and there are no skeletons in the closet. If he cannot name such a place, then he should be informed that he is an ignorant fool.

Yes, racial issues are “bigger than football,” but the universal principles the nation was founded upon are bigger than random incidents of racism in a nation of 350 million people.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution states:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Can anyone deny that millions of Americans strive every single day to achieve the goal of “a more prefect Union”? Countless men and women have died to secure liberty for future generations, and yet the Colin Kaepernicks of the world think it is all diminished because some individuals fall short of our highest ideals.
Colin Kaepernick sits national anthem

Colin Kaepernick should be ashamed of himself for using the flag to exploit his own political activism — while simultaneously putting the organization he works for and his teammates in a horrible bind. What makes the situation worse is that if the team decides to let him go because of his poor performance on the field, then he will conveniently say it was done for racial reasons.

Look at the picture of the San Francisco 49er’s entire team — white, black, asian, and hispanic men and women from all across the U.S. — and then look at the one goof sitting down by himself — benched — in between two jugs of Gatorade. Their behavior should tell the quarterback that the national anthem transcends the contemporary obstacles we face, but for whatever reason the message does not sink in.

Mr. Kaepernick may be exercising his right to free speech, but he is not a leader. He is a selfish man who took attention away from his team’s primary mission — to win on the football field — and focused it all on his political frustrations. If I were a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, there is no way I would be rooting for the guy.

Chris Evans says ‘no one is taking away guns’ as Steve Kerr claims only ‘muskets’ acceptable

 

Chris Evans Guns

People sometimes ask me why I spend time writing on what comic book writers, actors, or other celebrities think about public policy. I do that because the old saying is true: Politics is downstream from culture. People have a natural tendency towards the “easy wrong” instead of the “hard right,” which is why we must always keep an eye on popular culture.

Take, for instance, actor Chris Evans and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Millions of Americans look up to both men, albeit for different reasons. They have enormous megaphones. They have influence. Given that, let us now examine what both men were saying in the wake of the June 12 terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 and wounded 53 others.

Chris Evans, aka Captain America, said the following to nearly 4 million people:

“We need common sense gun reform. And to be clear, NO ONE IS TAKING AWAY GUNS! Just looking for COMMON SENSE reform.”

How does one define “common sense”? NBA coach Steve Kerr’s definition of “common sense” requires only “muskets” to be available to law-abiding Americans because the Bill of Rights is allegedly “outdated.”

Steve Kerr

Here is what Mr. Kerr said while appearing on the “TK Show” withTim Kawakami on June 24 (Keep in mind that his own father was assassinated by Islamic terrorists in 1984 while working in Beirut):

“As a basketball coach, I’m not really, you know, I don’t often get political. If you don’t mind, I just want to say when 90 percent of our country wants background checks on gun purchases, and we’ve got our Senate and our House not only voting it down, but using the Bill or Rights as a reason for people to have rights to carry these automatic weapons — we’re getting murdered every day at an alarming rate — I just have to get this off my chest. …

Let’s have some checks. It’s easier to get a gun than it is a driver’s license. And it’s insane. And as somebody who has had a family member shot and killed, it just devastates me every time I read about this stuff, like what happened in Orlando, and then it’s even more devastating to see the government just cowing to the NRA and going to this totally outdated Bill of Rights, right to bear arms, you know, if you want to own a musket, fine — but come on.”

On one hand Mr. Evans says “no one is taking away guns” while on the other Mr. Kerr tries to convince millions that the Bill of Rights is “totally outdated.”

Marvel’s “Captain America” knows full well that lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate exist who agree with Mr. Kerr, but yet he still abuses the caps-lock button with “NO ONE IS TAKING AWAY GUNS!”

The Warriors’ Mr. Kerr must know that “automatic” weapons are nearly impossible to own in the U.S. outside of military and law enforcement communities, but yet he uses the term anyway.

When faced with objective facts — a.) people with power and influence do want to take guns away, and b.) more Americans died on U.S. soil by Islamic terrorists using planes as giant missiles (2,996) than by “automatic” weapons (zero) — the response by pop-culture celebrities is to lie.

If you are interested in taking the “easy wrong,” then listen to men like Chris Evans and Steve Kerr on gun control.

If you are interested in taking the “hard right,” then look for people who are not so wedded to an ideology that lying to forward the cause trumps objective reality. You’ll be glad you did.

Editor’s Note: Hat tip to Colossus of Rhodey for the heads up on Chris Evans’ tweet.

Hulk Hogan wins Gawker lawsuit, but $115 million can’t buy lost respect

Hulk Hogan CNN screenshot

Coverage of the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Media lawsuit has tended to focus on the First Amendment debate that began when the website posted his infamous sex tape in October 2012. That is certainly a conversation that needs to happen, but a very important story that should not get lost in the mix is what it means when a man refuses to take personal responsibility for his own actions.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years and know nothing of Hogan’s downfall, here is the abridged version of events:

  • Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) apparently struck some weird sex deal with “Bubba The Love Sponge” Clem and the radio host’s then-wife Heather Cole.
  • Video of the sexual encounters was secretly recorded.
  • Footage was leaked to Gawker and posted online.
  • A jury in Saint Petersburg, Florida, awarded Bollea $115 million last week.
  • An extra $25 million in punitive damages was awarded to Bollea on Monday.

Most people are shedding no tears for Gawker given its reputation as a magnet for smarmy jerks, but I must admit I was saddened when I read Hogan’s text-message exchange with Clem.

The New York Post reported Monday:

“All I asked you for was an answer, why did u do this to me but I got nothing from u. Now I understand you [were] never my friend and there is nothing more you could ever do to hurt me! …  Thanks for never being my friend and destroying my life. … You lie to me and . . . filmed everything that’s the only reason all of this is happening,” — Hulk Hogan, Oct. 12, 2012.

Note to Hulk Hogan: YOU — and only YOU — destroyed your life when you agreed to sleep with a married man’s wife.

For Mr. Bollea to say the “only” reason why his life was turned upside down was because Bubba “the love sponge” or possibly his then-wife sold the tape to Gawker is laughable. The wrester walks around with a gold cross around his neck, breaks one of the Ten Commandments, and then has the gall to blame someone else for his crumbling personal life.

Proverbs 6:32-34 states:

“But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.

I was often teased about my general avoidance of clubs and my unwillingness to sleep around when I lived in Germany years ago. I looked at the soldiers who got 18-year-old girls they hardly knew pregnant and thought, “Is any orgasm worth that?” The answer was clear: No.

Likewise, the same question can be applied to sleeping with another man’s wife. “Is any orgasm worth the potential downfall?” Answer: No.

Hulk Hogan may have won well over a $115 million in a legal settlement with Gawker, but I suspect that deep down he will continue to feel rather miserable. He knows that he has lost the respect of millions of fans, especially those who grew up in the 80s watching him in his prime.

Money can buy a lot of things, but it can not buy back lost respect. I hope that Hogan pieces his life back together, but I predict that will not happen until he learns to accept personal responsibility for his actions.

 

Fans chant ‘Allahu Akbar!’ during terror victim ceremony; Comparison to Green Bay telling

Turkey soccer team

A moment of silence for Paris terror attack victims in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was ruined when a single fan out of 78,000 screamed “Muslims suck!” The outburst was condemned by Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.

Two days later a stadium filled with 17,000 Turkish soccer fans shouted “Allahu Akbar!” during a similar ceremony in Istanbul. One would think the two incidents would be worthy of comparison, but for the most part media would like to just do the, “Move, along. Move along. Nothing to see here” coverage.

Time magazine covered both incidents, but there was zero mention of Lambeau Field’s fans during coverage of the fiasco at Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium.

Here is what Rogers said after last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions:

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers publicly called out the fan who made the remark during his postgame press conference, .

“I think it’s important to do things like [the moment of silence]. We’re a connected world, you know — six degrees of separation,” he said. “I must admit, though, I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was who made a comment that I thought was really inappropriate, during the moment of silence. It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that I think puts us in the position that we’re in today, as a world.”

In a different world, Rogers would be able to acknowledge just how amazing it is that in a stadium filled with 78,000 fans who just tailgated for an hour prior to taking their seats, only a single fan decided to make an outburst like a character straight out of an Adam Sandler movie.

In a different world, reporters would circle back with Rogers and ask him what it means when thousands of fans in Turkey chant “Allahu Akbar!” during a moment of silence for the 129 killed and 350 injured in last Friday’s terror attacks.

Aaron Rogers press conference

Here is what Time reported in response to Nov. 17’s fiasco in Istanbul:

The incident, reported by Reuters and other news outlets and depicted in videos uploaded to Twitter, took place before the Turkey vs. Greece game, as the players from both teams stood silent to honor the 129 people who died during the attacks last week. One well-known commentator on Islamic issues wrote on his Facebook page that “it has become common practice for Turkish fans to chant during moments of silence [to] honor the victims.”

But the Turkish team’s manager condemned the fans’ behavior, saying it damaged the country’s image internationally. “If we don’t act like we did today, we can prevent sports from being sacrificed to terrorism,” he was quoted as saying.

The Green Bay fan who screamed “Muslims suck!” acted very much like a pathetic clown, but it should not be lost on Americans that such individuals are often responding to the very-real culture of intolerance permeating the Middle East and North Africa.

Think about how sick and twisted a culture would have to be in order to get thousands of attendees at national soccer game to chant “Allahu Akbar!” during a ceremony for terror victims.

If Aaron Rogers wants to really experience “prejudicial ideology that … puts us in the position that we’re in today,” then perhaps he should buy a few tickets to sporting events in the Middle East.

Keith Olbermann, aging smear merchant, attacks class act Yankee because he’s the anti-Jeter

Keith Olbermann JeterOn Thursday night future Hall of Fame Yankee Derek Jeter played his last game in Yankee Stadium, and he delivered the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. He went out a hero, and then handled himself with class — something he has always done — which is why aging smear merchant Keith Olbermann recently directed a seven-minute ESPN-flavored version of his “Worst Person in the World” routine at the shortstop.

Here is an excerpt:

“For all we know, Jeter will sprout wings and be taken up to Mount Olympus to play shortstop  in the Big League in the sky. […]  How many times did Derek Jeter lead the American league in any offensive production category? The answer is three. Twice in hits, once in runs scored. No batting championships. No stolen base titles. No leading the league in doubles. Well, how many times did Jeter lead the Yankees in any offensive production categories? We’ll give you the big eight: doubles, homers, RBIs, stolen bases, batting average, on base, slugging, OPS — 17 times.

Over 19 season, 152 guys led the Yankees … it was Jeter only 17 times. […] How many MVP awards did he win? None.

Congratulations to Keith Olbermann — he was able to go through a guy’s 19-year career on one of the most successful franchises in baseball history and find a slew of statistics to slime him with as he exits the league. In telling fashion, Mr. Olbermann went out of his way to ignore Jeter’s character, his leadership on and off the field, and his statistics as seen through the prism of an era forever tarnished with steroid use.

Sports Illustrated clears a few things up for Mr. Olbermann:

From 1996 to 2009, Jeter hit .318 with a .388 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage and averaged 152 games a year at shortstop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the field. Other players could play at that level for a month or two, or even a year or two. Very few could do it for that long.

And if you view Jeter in the context of his era, you can appreciate that he was a special player. For a long stretch of his career, baseball did not test for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s pretty obvious that some of the players who out-performed Jeter were juicing. We don’t know for sure that Jeter refrained from using steroids, but there has never been a hint that he used them. It’s fair to imagine that, if baseball had tested for PEDs for Jeter’s entire career, his numbers would look even better than they do, relative to his peers. …

Ripken is the best comparison for Jeter — not just because they played the same position (though Ripken moved to third base late in his career), but also because they are admired for reasons that go beyond their stats. Ripken’s numbers (.276/.340/.447) were not the best of his generation. You could reasonably argue they are not as impressive as Jeter’s (.310/.377/.440). But Ripken was a Baltimore icon, had his amazing Iron Man streak and won a championship with the Orioles. If he were asked to throw out a first pitch in Baltimore in the upcoming playoffs, you would expect a thunderous standing ovation. Baltimoreans are willing to overlook his flaws and his down years, because he is theirs.

Jeter was a consistently terrific player, he was extremely durable, he almost always represented his franchise well and he played for five championship teams. He also apparently didn’t use PEDs at a time when so many players did. That helps explain why he is beloved, and why so many people have found ways to make money off his retirement tour. But don’t let the business distract you from the game. Derek Jeter was a great player.

That is what one calls fair journalism — something Mr. Olbermann has never taken much stock in.

The truth of the matter is that once again a man who spent years perfecting the craft of personal destruction is only running from himself. Keith Olbermann attacks Derek Jeter’s sterling professional career with one team by using Photoshopped angel wings and insults for a very specific reason: everywhere he goes there are burned bridges smoldering in the distance years after his departure. There will be no extended celebrations of Keith Olbermann’s career because, quite frankly, so many people do not like him. He is weirdly-obsessed with statistics because his character and integrity are lacking. Derek Jeter’s leadership skills are ignored because Keith Olbermann is not a leader. Only a man with deep-seated psychological issues would allocate that much air time to bashing Derek Jeter as he closes a marvelous chapter of his life.

Keith Olbermann is the anti-Jeter, and deep down he knows it.

When the NFL became a religion, America created sportscaster priests like Cris Carter, Bob Costas

Cris Carter cryingThe National Football league brings in roughly $10 billion in revenue per year. By 2027, it expects to up that to $25 billion. As USA today reported in February, that would put the NFL on track to haul in more money per year than the domestic gross product of “dozens of small countries.” At some point in time professional football became a weird religion for millions of Americans, and now the rest of us are forced to endure lectures by the High Priests of Sportscasting whenever the athlete-gods expose themselves as mere mortals.

If Americans didn’t idolize the men they watch each Sunday, then the world would not be forced to endure former Vikings receiver Cris Carter throwing his own mother under the bus on national television. In response to Adrian Peterson’s indictment on child abuse charges, Mr. Carter melted down on ESPN.

ABC News reported September 14 (while taking out the exclamation marks):

“My mom did the best job she could do raising seven kids by herself, but there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong,” he said. “It’s the 21st century — my mom was wrong. She did the best she could but she was wrong about some of that stuff she taught me and I promised my kids I won’t teach that mess to them.”

A healthy culture enjoys the on-field exploits of their favorite player and gleans important lessons from what they bring to the game. A healthy culture admires the drive and dedication it takes to become one of only a handful of individuals in the world who can perform a particular sport at an elite level. An unhealthy culture creates shrines to its teams, hangs on star players’ every word via countless social media accounts, and dedicates more time to fantasy football each fall than actually playing catch with children.

Having to watch Cris Carter cry on national television while Mike Ditka uncomfortably fidgets in his chair is a sign that American culture has derailed. When Keyshawn Johnson looks like Mike Meyers after Kanye West said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” during a live broadcast, then it is time for football fans to reevaluate the the importance leather balls and the men who carry them hold in their lives.

Hannah Storm emotionalESPN anchor Hannah Storm also gave a Cris Carter-esque sermon to viewers September 14, taking the NFL to task for the way it reacted to Ray Rice cold-cocking his wife in a hotel lobby. It was nice, and perhaps even appropriate, but a society with a working moral compass does not need to witness emotional testimonials from shaken sportscasters.

If things were as they should be, then individuals would realize that the NFL has a lower rate of domestic violence than the general population, silently reaffirm that they will always be their own harshest critic, and then vow not to put up with halftime lectures by guys like Bob Costas on the so-called need for strict gun-control legislation.

Bob Costas GunsWhen I tune in to watch sports, I do not want to hear wide receivers lump in people who occasionally spank their kids with those who leave children black and blue and bloody with a switch. When I want to see how my local team did over the weekend, I do not want to hear announcers go into extended diatribes — no matter how heartfelt they may be — about domestic violence. When I’m watching Monday Night Football, I do not want to listen to a sports pundit imply that millions of Americans are rotten people because they advocate on behalf of rights codified into law by the U.S. Constitution.

If the American people want to do the NFL a long-term favor, then they should turn off the television more often on a Sunday, buy less merchandise, and take their favorite players off the moral pedestals.

It never ends: Thought police say Apache, Chinook helicopters just as bad as NFL’s Redskins

apache-boeing

You can not be surprised when sharks come after dropping chum in the water and you can not be surprised when the world’s perpetually-offended pundit class screeches louder after each time society acquiesces to its demands. Now that they know the federal government will use its limited time, money, and resources to go after NFL football teams (yes, that’s right, a sports organization), professional whiners see an opportunity to get rid of another great “injustice” — the Apache helicopter and every other military vehicle with a Native American name.

Simon Waxman writes in his Washington Post op-ed:

Even if the NFL and Redskins brass come to their senses and rename the team, a greater symbolic injustice would continue to afflict Indians — an injustice perpetuated not by a football club but by our federal government. …

In the United States today, the names Apache, Comanche, Chinook, Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa apply not only to Indian tribes but also to military helicopters. …

Why do we name our battles and weapons after people we have vanquished? For the same reason the Washington team is the Redskins and my hometown Red Sox go to Cleveland to play the Indians and to Atlanta to play the Braves: because the myth of the worthy native adversary is more palatable than the reality — the conquered tribes of this land were not rivals but victims, cheated and impossibly outgunned. …

If the native tribes did not stand a chance, this does not imply lack of resistance or of courage; regardless, it doesn’t much matter in this context. Whatever courage they had, the U.S. military is not heir to it. If honor matters to the members of our armed forces, they will agree.

It’s hard to know where to begin with such a convoluted mess. Were the Hopi and Pueblo Indians “victims” who were “cheated” and possibly “out-gunned” by the Apache and the Comanche? Were the Sioux the “victims” of the Cheyenne? What about the Indian tribes that fell victim to the Aztecs and the Incas? Say what you want about those European “cheaters,” but they didn’t offer their victims up for human sacrifice and eat them with a chimichurri sauce like the Aztecs. Or was it a molé sauce because they were in Mexico?

Why was it perfectly okay for the Indians to slaughter each other and take away land by force, but when Europeans came along and did the same thing it was somehow deemed “cheating”? Instead of looking at history as it really is — bloody — Mr. Waxman pretends that all Native Americans did was gather nuts and berries and live happily ever after until those evil Europeans came along and wrecked the good thing they had going. That story is so much more comforting than the tale of the temple priest who passes out from exhaustion after stabbing his human victims for hours on end, so Waxman goes with what makes him feel good at night.

What truly makes the piece classic is Mr. Waxman’s emotional appeal — if honor matters to the members of our armed forces they’ll agree with him. Obviously they don’t, so we must conclude that Mr. Waxman does not believe members of our armed forces have any honor. What can be more hilarious than a Noam Chomsky-loving academic telling soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that they don’t have honor? Not much.

TWT Apache
My piece for The Washington Times.

With that said, we must pause to note what he’s doing because it speaks to a telling difference between a conservative and a liberal. A conservative thinks Mr. Waxman is just incredibly naive while the liberal thinks that if you disagree with him you have no honor. You are a bad person. You are History’s giver of great symbolic injustices and must be personally and professionally destroyed.

I covered this in my post “How to deal with liberal trolls who hate our military and use gay slurs as personal attacks,” but I’ll say it again: the far left does not like U.S. military personnel. Whenever I say that critics complain, “You’re generalizing!”, to which I say, “That’s because it’s generally true.”

Whether it’s the liberal troll who calls himself “Doug’s Dick Vacuum” (whatever the heck that means) while sharing articles titled “Thanks, I won’t support the troops,” or guys like Mr. Waxman, the truth is self-evident — generally, leftists do not like our military men and women but they were forced to put on a charade after the whole “let’s spit on veterans” thing blew up in their faces after Vietnam. Mr. Waxman can’t spit on veterans these days without getting his teeth knocked out, but he can write Washington Post op-eds that charge the vast majority of the military with having no honor.

As the Redskins name controversy takes twists and turns in the months and years ahead, just remember that it will not end with the Washington Redskins. For the thought police, there is an infinite amount of ideas to control.

Drudge hit for my piece for The Washington Times.
Drudge hits are always nice. Here’s my piece for The Washington Times.

 

 

U.S. sucks up to Russia while its Olympic commentators use gay slurs to bash American athletes

Russia NBC

Americans who watched the Olympics Friday night saw NBC’s opening segment, which was narrated by Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage. What struck me most about the video was the fact that Americans will whitewash (or was that redwash?) Communism’s history for free, in ways the old Soviet Union mandated for its own media.

In a delivery that said, “Don’t you wish you grew up under the Soviet Union?” Dinklage intoned:

Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends. Through every stage of its story, it’s resisted any notion of limitation. Through every re-invention, only redoubling its desire to cast a towering presence. The empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint. The revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, its passion that endures as a more reliable record to their collective heart.”

The last time I heard a delivery like that I was in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, listening to Out of Many One,’ the film that plays before visitors go on a tour of the building. It makes sense to have a feel-good warm-and-fuzzy video about America in the nation’s capital, but it’s quite another thing for American media to romanticize Russia and its Communist past — particularly when Russian commentators describe American athletes using gay slurs.

Russia

CNBC reports:

Dina Gusovsky: I was actually born in Russia when it was still the Soviet Union. I moved here in 1991 and then I was an anchor and reporter for Russia Today, which became RT America. So I know I thing or two about Russia.

Ted Kemp: So, they’re saying some negative things. Give us some examples. What type of things are you hearing a lot of as you’re listening to these broadcasts.

Dina Gusovsky: Well, anytime they talk about the Americans they use their favorite derogatory term, which is ‘bindorse.’  I can’t quite translate into English because we would get in a lot of trouble. The first part of it is a derogatory term about people’s sexuality. The second part of it is a version of “stupid Americans.”  They combined the two. They got creative — they combined the two and came up with ‘bindorse.’

The funny thing about multiculturalism is that its a one-way street. If you’re an American who believes “all cultures are equal” you only need to do a bit of traveling (or speak another language) to understand that the rest of the world does not extend the favor in our direction. While the Russian commentators are referring to American gymnasts as “crooked-legged girls” that walk like bears in their native tongue, American media outlets are creating schmaltzy montages dedicated to portraying an idealized Russia.

If you want to know how dangerous multiculturalism is to the long-term health of a nation, I suggest watching the explanation Mark Steyn gave on the issue to a group at Pepperdine University in 2007. I probably link to the commentary every six months…but that’s because it’s that good. Expect a full transcription sometime soon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to peruse the work of Russian artist Andrew Tarusov. You can read more about him at The People’s Cube.

Russian pinupThe guy has talent.

Russian pinup August

Chicago to cyclists: Your bikes aren’t fast enough escape a cycling tax forever

Cycling AP
Ronald Reagan once said of statists that their philosophy on life is: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Exhibit A: Chicago.

Think of an activity that you as a law-abiding free citizen enjoy. Chances are, Chicago’s bureaucrats have found a way to tax it directly or indirectly — and if they haven’t you can be sure they’re working on it.

Smoker? Chicago definitely wants to tax that behavior. Expect to pay roughly $7.50 a pack. Cyclist? Yes, you’re on the hook, too. You didn’t think that being a card-carrying member of the Green Team would exempt you from the compulsion to tax, tax, tax did you?

The Associated Press reports:

CHICAGO — A city councilwoman’s recent proposal to institute a $25 annual cycling tax set off a lively debate that eventually sputtered out after the city responded with a collective “Say what?” A number of gruff voices spoke in favor, feeding off motorists’ antagonism toward what they deride as stop sign-running freeloaders. Bike-friendly bloggers retorted that maybe pedestrians ought to be charged a shoe tax to use the sidewalks.

“There’d be special bike cops pulling people over? Or cameras? What do you do (to enforce this)?” asked Mike Salvatore, owner of Heritage Bicycles, a new Chicago hangout that neatly blends a lively cafe with a custom bike-building workshop in a 19th-century building.

Chicago is by no means the only place across the U.S. tempted to see bicyclists as a possible new source of revenue, only to run into questions of fairness and enforceability. That is testing the vision of city leaders who are transforming urban expanses with bike lanes and other amenities in a quest for relevance, vitality and livability — with never enough funds.

Two or three states consider legislation each year for some type of cycling registration and tax — complete with decals or mini-license plates, National Conference of State Legislatures policy specialist Douglas Shinkle said. This year, it was Georgia, Oregon, Washington and Vermont. The Oregon legislation, which failed, would even have applied to children.

“I really think that legislators are just trying to be as creative as possible and as open to any sort of possibilities to fill in any funding gaps. Everything is on the table,” he said.

Give yourself bonus points if the main takeaway you got from the AP story was that there is “never enough revenue.” No matter how much you are taxed, it will never satisfy the pathological do-gooder.

Growing up, did you ever think you would see the day when bureaucrats would devise mandatory mini-license plates for people who use bike trails? Shop owners like Mike Salvatore of Heritage Bicycles in Chicago is only partially joking when he asks about enforcement mechanisms like “special bike cops” and cameras that would be on the lookout for the guy who didn’t pay his “fair” share to the city’s power-brokers — but the people who come up with ridiculous rules and regulations are very serious.

Bike lanes? Get ready for bike tollways with little manned booths at random stops along your path around the city. Think of a crazy way for a city to raise revenue and then wait — in due time the tax or regulation that you deemed fit for admission into a psyche ward will be seriously debated among the masterminds in your neck of the woods.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to ponder how Chicago might tax runners. I’m thinking that the the environmental impact of ethylene-vinyl acetate or EVA alternatives used in running shoes might be a good angle. An no, you don’t get a tax reprieve if your name is Lenn Rockford Hann, the engineer from Chicago who made lighter faster running shoes.

Marcus Allen’s Super Bowl XVIII run: Hall of Famer’s touchdown a metaphor for life

Marcus Allen Super Bowl

As a kid there were two things that I would watch endlessly if my parents plopped me down in front of the television: Julia Child and football. While I still don’t quite understand my fascination with the famous French cook, my love of football can in many ways be traced to Marcus Allen — including his Super Bowl XVIII touchdown run for 74 yards. I was only two when the run actually happened, but as I aged it seemed that every year the Super Bowl came around that clip would find its way into the network’s promotional footage. To this day I shake my head in awe when I see it. In many respects it was the “perfect” run and a metaphor for life.

Marcus Allen was given the ball on the biggest stage and told to run with it to the end zone. He met a wall, so he reversed course. As he did so, he found himself in the middle of a mess of moving obstacles all honed in on stopping him from achieving his goal. Instead of falling down he accelerated forward, gracefully weaving through his adversaries into the open. As daylight approached, he knew he that he still had far to go and that his pursuers would be hot on his heels. It was off to the races, and with steely determination he sprinted to his final destination without anyone else laying a finger on him.

Perhaps Allen says it best:

“That was a beautiful run and it turned out to be a beautiful career. And yes, I did reverse field sometimes. […] but in the end I ended up where I wanted to end up.” —Marcus Allen

As a kid, every time I touched the football I believed I could score, and on some level that confidence was cultivated by watching men like Marcus Allen exhibit greatness on the most elite level. When sports stars try and say they’re not role models, they’re lying to themselves. Whether they like it or not — they are. Kids will mimic the adults in their life; I just happened to have a lot of good ones around, whether it was my own parents or Hall of Fame running backs on television like Marcus Allen. Oddly enough, I even ended up going to his alma mater, USC, as an adult…

If you’re a football fan, look into Marcus Allen. His career is fascinating, especially when one considers that Al Davis did everything within his power to sabotage it while Marcus was in his prime. That, too Mr. Allen handled with grace.

I missed Marcus Allen’s induction into the Hall of Fame, but one day I’ll get to Canton, Ohio. When I do, Marcus’ section will be the first I visit.

Coach Tom Flores, I have already had a call from Moscow. They think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle it.
“Coach Tom Flores, I have already had a call from Moscow. They think that Marcus Allen is a new secret weapon and they insist we dismantle it.” — President Ronald Reagan