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Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama, Tourney Thoughts, Villanova, and more

It’s been a while since I wasn’t fighting off a cough or the flu, so I thought I’d catch up on a variety of topics I wanted to weigh-in on:

Yes, Barack Obama made a stupid comment about the Special Olympics. And as was pointed out to me, if I didn’t support Obama I’d be much more concerned about it. For now, I’m willing to say it was a poor attempt at self-deprecating humor, and everyone needs to get over it. Reaction has been relatively tame, although if the media is seriously going to run to Sarah Palin for a comment on disability issues for the next four years I may actually yak. It’s so hypocritical for her to paint herself as an advocate it’s not even funny. Her use of her son as a political prop is far more offensive to people with disabilities than a bad joke from a man who has at least shown a willingness to talk about actual issues facing those of us with disabilities in a serious manner. That said, if he hasn’t actually done anything to improve opportunity for people with disabilities midway through his term, it will be time to criticize him. Unlike Republicans eager to blame him for not solving the economic crisis that was created over the course of years in his first two-plus months in office, I prefer a realistic approach to judging such things.

The real problem is that this type of nonsense issue is still the only thing concerning people with disabilities that ever reaches the national media. Oooh, someone said something insensitive, let’s call an advocate and get a comment.

Real advocates should stop commenting on such ridiculous stories until real issues concerning people with disabilities get the same level of attention.

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President Obama filled out a NCAA bracket, but he apparently better not enter it in any pools in Washington state. In what may be the first interesting nugget from the Inquirer’s Talkin’ (sorry John Gonzalez, hate to rip a fellow Penncrest grad), I noticed “Washington state spokeswoman Amy Hunter . . . made national news by appearing on a Seattle radio show and reminding people that participating in a pool that costs more than $1 is a Class C felony in Washington.”

There are so many things wrong with this I’m not sure where to begin. The government really wants to take time right now to tell us how we’re not allowed to squander away a couple bucks? That’s almost as dumb a state spokeswoman (who may want to consider getting a life) unwittingly pointing out the hypocrisy that gambling is illegal unless you happen to be in Las Vegas or parts of New Jersey or other states. Why can’t the government ever just do the common sense thing? Legalize gambling, because after all we’re supposed to be in a free country, the government could tax real gambling (not pools) to fund who knows how many programs, and, oh by the way, the ban isn’t exactly working.

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I’ll admit I’m a tad annoyed that Villanova played their best game of the year to beat UCLA in the second round of the tournament the first time I go against them all year. But how does Jay Wright revert back to becoming a media darling again after the Wildcats almost choked against American? They didn’t win a single big game all year. And if you want to get back to the money you lost on your pool, tell Washington state to stay out of your business and take Duke -2.

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Some more thoughts on the Tournament:

-ESPN 950’s new lineup brings listeners the displeasure of hearing something called The Herd from 10-11 in the morning. At some point last week I didn’t turn it off fast enough and was subjected to fill-in Doug Gottlieb’s ridiculous, tired, boring, recycled rant about the Tournament having lost its soul because it doesn’t include enough small schools. (Ironically, this was just days after regular host Colin Cowherd opened his first hour on Philadelphia radio talking on and on about how perfect the Tournament selections were.)

I’m so sick of this annual “debate.” This is the championship of college basketball. It’s not kindergarten where everybody plays or nobody plays. Let the little schools keep their automatic bids and be done with it. They add some spice to the first round, which is fine, and then they pretty much go away like they should. Hang on to George Mason all you want. All they really did is mess up everybody’s pool. No one ever wants to see George Mason play Davidson in a Final Four.

-Bravo to CBS for dumping Billy Packer. This is likely old news, but most people probably didn’t notice until last week.

-Is Direct TV the only outlet allowed to use split-screens? I honestly don’t know, but if not, why the heck isn’t the network using this wonderful innovation, which I first saw as a kid.

-The number of commercials is absolutely absurd. The network really needs another set of commercials at 3:52 when they just had one from a coach’s timeout at 4:01? I’d rather watch a split-screen with constant commercials. I honestly don’t get how players can get into a rhythm. If I see the guy talking about Carmelo Anthony on his daughter’s birthday again, I may actually stop watching. I don’t even get what half of these commercials are selling. Comcast’s inaudible monotone little diddy that apparently celebrates the notion that TV will eventually turn us all into drones makes the thought of watching grass grow seem like fun.

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I got one of those messages from Comcast through my digital cable box – because clearly we need more ways that we can be reached – notifying subscribers that the NFL Network may no longer be carried by the cable outlet. While watching two corporate giants knock heads over millions of dollars as if they’re protecting consumers is comical, I actually hope the NFL does yank it. I can’t see it anyway because I refuse to pay Comcast even more money to watch stations they put on their “Sports Tier” merely because they can and they want to slam customers more. What’s to stop them from making us pay extra for every station?

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Finally, the Eagles signed a fullback to a one year deal. Wow . . . they do have the pedal to the metal. If Pittsburgh hadn’t just won a Super Bowl, making jumping ship to the Steelers just too much of a front-runner move, I might have done it by now. Their arrogance was only acceptable when this team was ascending. As it descends, it may just be too much too take. Baltimore? Anyone? Anyone?

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