NFL Playoff Malaise

It’s about this time of year that my buddy John in Boston sends me a snarky e-mail about the Patriots. This year it was an article by some bozo columnist in Boston about Patriot haters. Each year John’s email has less and less effect on me, as my give-a-fuck for the NFL plummets lower and lower. Indeed, my NFL GAF is now at a level rivaled only by European soccer (well any soccer), women’s pro bowling, and anything to do with Nancy Pelosi. Before I flippantly replied to John’s poke this year, I did some soul searching as to why my GAF is so low on the NFL. Here goes.
1. The Redskins suck. I guess I have to admit that if my once beloved Skins were in the NFC championship game today, my house, nay my life, would be adorned in Burgundy and Gold.
2. Daniel Snyder (see #1)
3. Daniel Snyder’s brand new $100 million yacht (see #1 and #2). No, I’m not kidding. It was in the news this week.
4. Officiating – the game is a fucking joke. Every game is decided by a bunch of octogenarian insurance agents who spend 6 days/week trying to get people to buy an umbrella policy then throw on a striped shirt for 3 hours and attempt to officiate a very complex game with billions of dollars on the line.
5. Too many arcane and ever changing rules. My daughter played HS field hockey and I loved watching her games because she was my kid (and she was really good), but the whistle blew about every 8 seconds for some rules violation that I never understood. When she was a freshman, I’d turn to the parents of the senior players and ask, “Hey, what was that whistle for?” and the senior’s parent would shrug. When my daughter was a senior and I had had 4 years to learn the rules, some freshman parent would turn to me and ask what the whistle was for and I would shrug. NFL football has become HS field hockey with random and unpredictable flags.
6. Violence on the field. Too sad what’s happening to these guys after they retire and the league’s “concussion protocol” is a joke. No high school trainer making $18/hour would allow a kid back on the field after some of these collisions. NFL players stagger into the locker room and are back on the field 10 min later having “passed” the concussion protocol.
7. Crime and violence off the field (probably my #1 reason for losing interest in the NFL). Like all generalizations, this one is too broad, but the NFL is a bunch of wife beaters, thugs, and criminals. I actually did an analysis of the per capita rate of arrests for serious crimes in the NFL (USA Today keeps a database) and determined that if the same rate applied to my firm, we’d have 9 employees arrested every single year for serious crimes. Would anyone do business with my firm if we had 9 people arrested every single year? I seriously doubt it.
8. Sour grapes (see #1, #2, and #3)
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Reuben Foster

My friend Rob recently pointed out to me that the most insidious of all the liberal journalists are the sports writers. Because their subject matter is inherently unimportant (don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge sports fan), they don’t have to even pretend to be thoughtful or cogent in their writing. Never has this been more true than in the analysis this week of the Redskins decision to sign serial domestic abuser, Reuben Foster.

Before I go any farther, let me do some level setting so you don’t blast me. First, I categorically and unconditionally condemn any domestic abuse of any kind. No exceptions. Period. Full stop. Second, as a 50-year Redskins fan, I acknowledge that if there’s a way to fuck something up, the Redskins will figure it out very quickly and do it. The PR around the Foster situation is a case in point.

Back to the Foster situation. In case you missed it, the 49ers cut their star linebacker last weekend after his second arrest on domestic abuse charges and the Redskins signed him. There may be some inconsistencies in his accuser’s story and I’ve read they’re now back together, but none of that excuses his behavior, per my comment above. And, while innocent until proven guilty is a core founding principle of our judicial system (except in the case of liberal members of the US Senate and, well, the entire Democrat Party, but I digress), there’s an awful lot of evidence to suggest Foster did something wrong. Let’s just stipulate that he did for purposes of this blog because I want to make an entirely different point.

The outrage, especially from the left, has been deafening in the wake of the Redskins’ signing of Foster. The most comical screams have been from those who are trying to make the completely spurious point that there’s some huge irony that the Redskins wouldn’t sign Colin Kaepernick when their starting QB went down for the season, but they did sign Foster. All Kaepernick did was kneel, they argue. Foster beat his girlfriend. That argument misses many points, chief among them that Kaepernick sucked as a QB and was already benched when he decided to be a disruptive figure by protesting something that all the data in the world show doesn’t exist. And, therein lies the reason nobody wants to sign him. He’s a shitty QB and a disruptive force. And, by the way, lots of people are seriously offended by what he did and that’s not OK.

But, let’s get back to Foster so I can make my main point (finally, thanks for hanging in this far). The point is this: if you contribute a single penny to the NFL by watching it on TV, attending games, buying jerseys, playing fantasy, or writing about it in the Washington Post, you are a complete hypocrite to be outraged by the Foster signing. Why is that? It’s simple. The NFL is comprised of bad guys. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

The USA Today keeps a database of arrests of NFL players for serious offenses (i.e., it excludes minor traffic violations and the like) that goes back to 2000. In 19 years, there have been 922 arrests of NFL players for serious offenses ranging from DUIs on the low end to domestic assault, manslaughter, and murder on the high end. 922 arrests over 19 years is about 49 per year every year for nearly two decades. There are 32 teams with 53 players on each roster. That’s 1,696 players in the NFL in any given year. So, over 19 years, one in 34 players has been arrested, on average, every single year. 107 of the 922 arrests were for domestic violence. That’s one in every 300 players, though studies have shown that domestic abuse goes unreported as much as 90% of the time so the rate is probably much higher.

Google employs 85,050 people (and that’s according to Google so I assume it’s accurate). If Google employees were arrested for serious crimes at the same rate as NFL players, there would be 2500 Google employees arrested for serious crimes each and every year. There would be 283 Google employees arrested for domestic violence every year. Do you think that would be a good story? You might have to use Bing or Yahoo! to find it, but it’d be a hell of a story. As an aside, a Google search of “Number of Google employees arrested” does not yield anything meaningful while “Number of NFL players arrested” yields page after page of direct hits.

Let me say it again, understanding that, like all generalizations, it doesn’t apply to everyone. The NFL is a bunch of bad guys. Yes, there are some really good guys. There are guys helping inner city youth and raising money for worthy causes. But, in the aggregate, the NFL is filled with bad guys that commit crimes and abuse their domestic partners at a rate that is alarming, to say the least and, more accurately, is terrifying. So, if you’re watching the NFL, supporting the NFL, playing fantasy football and so on, you have already made a decision to support a bunch of bad guys. One of the primary reasons (aside from the fact that the Redskins have sucked for 20+ years) that I lost interest in the NFL is precisely this fact. I got tired of watching and supporting a bunch of bad guys. That’s totally unfair to the good guys in the league, but the proportion of bad guys is so high, as demonstrated by the statistics in the USA Today database, that I really couldn’t do it any longer.

So, unless you’re prepared to completely stop supporting or watching the NFL and drop out of your fantasy league, it’s complete hypocrisy to get all up in arms about the Redskins signing Reuben Foster. When you flip on your favorite team on Sunday or let the Red Zone show you all 16 games at once, you’re watching dozens of Reuben Fosters.

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Thank You, Susan Collins

I usually don’t spend much time trying to come up with titles for my blog entries, but I actually did noodle over this one for a while. In fact, I was quite sure it would be “Liberal Hypocrisy, Part IX,” but I’ll save that title for the next case of egregious liberal hypocrisy worth writing about. Don’t fret, that will come quickly.

A lot bothers me about what happened to Judge Kavanaugh. To anyone even remotely objective (see Collins, Susan and more on that later), it was a political hit job. Despite all recent democrat nominees to the Supreme Court being approved with overwhelming majorities, the democrats still won’t vote for any republican nominee, unless they come from a state that voted for Trump by 30 points. Constitution be damned – we just don’t like your guy. What they did this time, though, is truly reprehensible and unfair to both accuser and accused. Dirty politics in the worst sense of that term.

What I think bothers me the most, though, is the hypocrisy. With nobody in second place, the #1 liberal icon of the last quarter century is Bill Clinton, a serial rapist and sex abuser. Numerous women came forward with stories of sexual abuse by Bill Clinton, some corroborated and some less so. But, they all had one thing in common. Not a single democrat ever took a single such allegation seriously. Indeed, 25 years later their party nominated to run for president the WOMAN who called these allegations nothing more than “bimbo eruptions.” Imagine if Chuck Grassley or Lindsay Graham had dismissed Ms. Ford’s allegations as “bimbo eruptions.” Liberals would have burned down the Capitol. Literally, not figuratively.

So, when I see women posting on FB or protesting in the streets about how the men on the Senate Judiciary Committee mistreated Ms. Ford or we’ve somehow taken a step backward in women’s rights, I am aghast. Where were these protesters when Hillary made her famous bimbo eruptions comment? Oh, right, they were preparing to make her PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Seriously, just pause and think about that for a moment. Every single republican member of the Senate has acknowledged that Ms. Ford’s trauma is real and that her testimony was both compelling and sad. Nobody once questioned whether she was sexually abused. She was taken seriously and her allegations were investigated by the top law enforcement agency in the country. Unfortunately, there’s simply no proof whatsoever that Judge Kavanaugh was involved in her trauma. The preponderance of evidence makes it clear he was not. Still, the accuser was treated with the utmost respect. The only person in the whole process that mistreated her was Diane Feinstein, who ignored her request to remain private. But, Bill’s accusers are just bimbos. It’s unconscionable, yet it’s how liberals operate.

Of all my screeds on liberal hypocrisy, this one is by far the most troubling. I read a FB comment that queried how republicans can sleep at night. Really? Running a rigorous process that resulted in no corroborating evidence whatsoever is supposed to cause chronic insomnia. But, you can sleep peacefully knowing you came very close to putting in the White House a woman who ardently defends sex offenders by belittling their accusers. Sleep well.

But, despite this glaring liberal hypocrisy (liberal hypocrisy is such a redundancy, I really should just start calling it liberalism), I still opted to title my blog in favor of Susan Collins. If you haven’t listened to her entire speech on the senate floor, I implore you to go back and do so. I promise it will be worth all 44 minutes of your life.

It was very the definition of Statesmanship with a capital “S.” I don’t always agree with Senator Collins as she’s a bit more centrist than I am, but as a part time resident and homeowner in the great state of Maine, I could not be more proud of our senator for her actions yesterday. And, not just because she voted the right way in confirming a brilliant and qualified jurist who survived weeks of personal assaults for which there was no proof whatsoever. No, my gratitude to Senator Collins is for the depth of thought and research that went into her speech. It was a call to action to both sides, but particularly the democrats, to behave like adults and run these confirmation processes, and hopefully other political processes, with more objectivity and honesty, not to speak of respect for the United States Constitution.

Thank you, Susan Collins. Thank you for spending the extra time to make sure we got this decision right. Thank you for requesting and carefully studying the supplemental FBI investigation to ensure there was no corroborating evidence of Ms. Ford’s allegations. Thank you for reminding the country of the Senate’s constitutionally granted role of advice and consent. Thank you for pointing out that liberals now oppose judicial nominees before the nomination has even been made (“I oppose [fill in the blank judge’s name] because…..”). Thank you for reminding liberals that, while the senate is not a courtroom, the basic principles of due process and innocent until proven guilty are foundational in our nation. Most of all, Susan Collins, thank you for restoring reason to the confirmation process that had been hijacked by liberal special interests. I hope this is a lesson to democrats that this kind of baseless behavior will not be tolerated and will not work. I suspect voters will remind them of this again in November.

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Baseball, Beer, and Math

Despite numerous injuries to position players, starting pitchers, and relievers, my Washington Nationals are hanging around the top of a greatly revived National League East. However, that does not mean all is well in the Nation’s Capital, as my letter below to Maurice Ruffin, the Director of Guest Experience for the Nats, will demonstrate. Whether they respond or not any day that I can bring beer, baseball, and math together is a damn good day!

Hi Maurice,

I’m writing to you because you have the enviable title of Director of Guest Experience for the Washington Nationals and this email is all about the experience of this very loyal guest and many others like him. I have been an avid baseball fan for 50 years, an avid beer drinker for 40 years, an avid Nats fan for 14 years, and a full-plan season ticket holder for all of those 14 years. I have had few or no complaints about the Nats other than perhaps Matt Williams’ horrid decision to pull JZimm in game 2 of the division series in 2014 in favor of Drew Storen. However, I am moved to write to you now becuase you have so totally botched the delivery of the second most important item in the ballpark (baseball being the first). Namely: beer. As a Coors Light aficionado, I was devastated when you did the deal with A-B, thus filling the ballpark with that swill known as Bud Light in lieu of the cool mountain water in Coors Light. But, hey, I get it. That’s business. I’ll live.

But, now the big screw up is in the options for the vessel in which that swill is delivered. Currently, the smallest can of beer in the ballpark is 25 ounces. Let’s do some quick math, in which I will refer to “one beer” as a standard 12 oz beer. I would estimate that the average beer drinking fan drinks 4-6 beers per game (you may have actual data on this; feel free to share and perhaps we can refine the math on a conference call). Let’s call it five 12 oz beers per game per beer drinking fan. According to SI, the average length of an MLB game is 3 hrs and 5 min. Let’s call it 3 hours to keep the math simple. That’s 180 min. Thus, 5 beers over 180 min suggests a drinking pace of one beer every 36 min. It turns out that back in the 1980s, I got bachelor and PhD degrees in chemical engineering and my PhD thesis was in heat transfer. Unfortunately, it’s been a very long time since I used that knowledge and I remember none of so I’m unable to actually use it to calculate how long it takes for a beer to get warm, but I thought I might impress you with it anyway. I digress. I think we can all agree, even without fancy engineering degrees that the absolute maximum amount of time a beer can remain cold off ice on a hot summer day is about 30 min.

Wait, hold the phone, that works perfectly for a 12 oz beer, which our calculations show is just about the amount of time the average fan takes to drink the average 12 oz beer. Perhaps the last swig of backwash is a tad warm at minute 29, but for the most part you’ll enjoy a nice cold malted beverage (hopefully while watching Max strike out another 5 hitters). But, if you double the size of the beer, you at least double the time for consumption. I might argue you more than double the consumption time because my average consumption time of 30 min assumes some time in between beers to belch and pee. If you try to cram two beers into one can, as the Nats have so ineloquently done, I think you may push the average consumption time per 12 oz unit even higher. But, giving you the benefit of the doubt, let’s call it 30 min per 12 oz, or 60 minutes to finish a 25 oz beer (rounding off again in your favor). Now, here we really don’t need math or any knowledge whatsoever of the heat capacity of beer (represented by the Greek letter rho, if I remember my engineering formulas). Indeed, all we need is common sense. If I poll a random 10 guys with beer guts whether a beer will remain cold for an hour in 85 degree temps, I will get 10 (beer) belly laughs.

So, as you can see by this very simple mathematical and engineering analysis, the numbers on the beer delivery at Nats park simply don’t add up. You are ensuring that you have a ballpark filled with people drinking warm beer for roughly 50% of the game. And, while I once heard the adage that “warm beer is better than nothing and nothing is better than God, therefore warm beer is better than God,” I’m really not buying it. Rather, I think you have a ballpark filled 50% with people having a bad “guest experience.” Imagine if you invited 20 guests to your house for dinner and handed 10 of them a nice cold beer and 10 of them a warm beer you left sitting out on your deck for an hour. I would submit to you that the latter 10 will not be happy guests. So, why would you, as the Grand Poobah of Nationals Guest Experience inflict that type of inhumane pain on your guests at the ballpark.

I am available to speak by phone any time or, alternatively, I’d be happy to meet in person to discuss. But, if we meet in person, I will expect a cold beer at the meeting.


Bruce Robertson
Nationals Season Ticket Holder

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R.I.P. Aunt Peasy

My beautiful Aunt Peasy at her wedding to my Uncle Andy, with my sister, Amy, and me

Another holiday season, another funeral blog. Ugh. This time last year I wrote about the passing of Andy Fox, brother of my brother-in-law, Tim Fox. I attended Andy’s funeral in Denver almost exactly a year ago and wrote about how much I wished I had gotten to know him better while he was alive. That blog was a reprise of one I had written in 2015 about Dick and Jody Vilardo, with a similar them of “I wish I knew them better while they were alive.”

This weekend, I attended the funeral for my dear Aunt Peasy Love in St. Louis. I almost wrote this blog before I left for St. Louis. For, unlike Andy Fox and the Vilardos, I knew her very well. She was almost like a second mother to me. So, obviously, I wouldn’t learn anything new about her at the funeral, right? I’m glad I waited. I was wrong. So, here I am again, sharing my feelings about losing someone close to me, again wishing I had known these things about her while she was alive. Even though I knew her very well, I wish I had gotten to know my Aunt Peasy even better while she was alive.

The blessing in this is that it brought me a revelation for a New Year’s resolution. And, unlike prior pledges to eat better, curse less, go to the gym more or other untenable goals, I think I can actually make progress on this year’s resolution. I hereby resolve to learn more about the people I’m close to. In so doing and while hoping I don’t lose anyone close to me in the coming year, I at least hope to avoid the “I wish I had known more about so-and-so while he/she was alive” syndrome. Don’t be surprised if I ask you more invasive questions in 2018. I mean well by it.

There was a lot I heard about Aunt Peasy, known to her family as M’noe, that I did know and was not surprised to hear in the wonderful eulogies provided by her children, my three first cousins, her husband, my uncle, and the pastor who had been dear friends with Peasy for nearly 50 years. I was not surprised to hear about her compassion and open-door policy, for I have stayed at her house dozens of times over the years. I had met many of the stray dogs she took in. On my last visit, just a few years ago, I even met the wild turkey she adopted (it lived outside, but got fed every day, just like the dogs). I had met many of the tenants she had taken in to live on the third floor. And, of course, I had experienced her hospitality as a guest myself on so many occasions.

I was not surprised to hear of her fun-loving spontaneous nature, as best recounted by my cousin Fats, who read from a college essay she wrote about a late night horseback ride through Forest Park in St. Louis.

Finally, and importantly, I was not surprised to hear people talk about her honest and straightforward nature. She never pulled a punch with me. She loved me like I was her son, but she also told me what was what when that’s what I needed to hear. That was as true when I was 10 as it was last summer.

But, while none of that surprised me, I did learn about a side of Aunt Peasy that I did not get a chance to experience and that was her spirituality. Her Pastor, Jerram Barrs, spoke eloquently about her relationship with Christ and how that guided her life. I’m not sure why the topic of spirituality never came up between Aunt Peasy and me. And, given how clearly she lived her life in Christ, I’m embarrassed that I never raised the topic with her. But, most of all, I’m now very sad that I never got the chance to compare notes on our respective spiritual journeys. I think about all the hours I spent on deserted Islands off the coast of Maine with her and I never sat down on a rock and spoke to her about God. What a missed opportunity.

I will miss Aunt Peasy terribly. She was a very special person and the world just went minus one without her. And, while I am sad that I didn’t get the chance to talk to her about her relationship with God and about mine, I am comforted that she was so close to God and the Peace that must have brought to her at the end of her life on earth and beyond. R.I.P. Aunt Peasy. Rest in the Peace of the Lord.

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Shovel This

Today is my firm’s annual golf tournament. While I hate playing scrambles, it’s a fun event, held in Miami, at a great club, and it’s going to be 73 and sunny. At about 7 PM last night, one of my partners e-mailed me and said, “I just cut my hand and I’m heading to the ER for stitches. I’m out for golf tomorrow.” Poor guy. He has to miss the golf and he’s got a big boo boo. This morning, he sent me a pic of his sutured hand. I thought about including it in this blog because it’s super gnarly, but I suspect I have at least a few squeamish readers and I didn’t want them to upchuck their breakfast so the picture is available upon request.

I didn’t want to bother him last night with a lot of questions so I didn’t ask him how he sliced his hand. The explanation came this morning:

“Pretty embarrassing. Carving the end of a replacement handle for a shovel and slipped.”

I replied, “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what it means to carve a replacement handle for a shovel or for that matter what it means to own a shovel. Usually the workmen bring their own shovels, don’t they?”

I really wasn’t kidding. OK, I do own a snow shovel because every third year it snows a foot (or five) in DC and I have to get out there and shovel. But, seriously, who carves a replacement handle? If you really need a functioning shovel at all times and the handle breaks, don’t you run to Home Depot and buy a new shovel? Indeed, if you type “shovel, Home Depot” into the Google Machine, you get an entire page of shovels. Prices seem to range from about $18 for the Ames 47” Fiberglass Handle Transfer Shovel with Comfort Step all the way up to about $82 for the Nupla 48” Fiberglass Handle with 16” Solid Shank Blade Heavy Duty Drain Spade. I have no clue what any of that means, but the point should not be lost. If the handle on your shovel breaks, you go to Home Depot and buy a new one. Period. Full stop. My partner makes good money and slicing half your hand off is not worth even $82 at the high end.

The good news is he’s going to be OK, though he has to see the hand surgeon today to make sure there’s no nerve damage. Nerve damage for $82? Really??? Sorry, I said I’d move on.

This episode got me thinking that there’s a bigger story here so I decided to make a list of ways I will never hurt myself or, worse, die. Here goes:

1. Carving a replacement handle for a shovel (duh)
2. Shoveling stuff
3. Falling off a roof
4. Falling off a ladder
5. Cleaning the gutters
6. Using a chain saw
7. Using any power tool of any kind, including a battery operated screw driver
8. Changing the blade on a lawn mower
9. Mowing the lawn
10. Carving a replacement handle for a rake
11. Raking leaves (sprained ankle potential for sure)
12. Building shelves
13. Dusting shelves (wrist injury potential?)
14. Laying a hardwood floor
15. Laying on a hardwood floor (caveat: after enough bourbon, anything can happen)
16. Hammering a nail
17. Getting hammered (just kidding)
18. Using a nail gun (totally not kidding)
19. Building a deck
20. Writing blogs about how fucking lazy I am when it comes to handy work (hahahahaha)

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A Wake Up Call for Me Too

I am shocked and embarrassed by the number of “Me Too” postings I saw from my female friends and family on FB yesterday. Not because I’ve ever come even close to being a perpetrator of such behavior – I have not, but because I clearly share a gender with many men who have. I suspect it’s even happened around me, without my knowledge. If I knew about it, I assure you, I would do something about it. It’s not OK. Not by a long shot. I’ll be more vigilant in looking out for it now, no question.

But, I also can’t help but write about something else that’s gnawing at my gut in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Why were so many liberals, men and women, complicit enablers of this heinous man’s behavior? It seems that it’s OK to be an abuser as long as you give lots of money to Democrats. When Donald Trump’s egregious p***y grabbing comment came to light, the full weight of the liberal universe came down on him, especially those in the mainstream media. But, basically the entire liberal Hollywood establishment and media turned a blind eye to Weinstein’s behavior for decades until someone finally spoke out and it could no longer be ignored. Jane Fonda said she knew at least a year ago; I’m betting longer. You will not convince me that Jane Fonda needed Weinstein for her next part.  Screenwriter, actor and producer Scott Rosenberg posted to FB that “everybody fucking knew.” Comedian Seth McFarlane knew. Courtney Love knew. Matt Damon knew. I’m sure lots more knew. Fucking everybody knew.

I understand that many of the female victims may have felt powerless to do or say anything publicly. Perhaps the men too. But, are you really going to tell me that no news outlet ever got wind of this until the NYT was finally forced to publish it (and kudos to them for a better late than never story)? Everybody fucking knew, but nobody reported it? Nobody whispered anything to anyone in the press anywhere? That strains credulity to its breaking point. Might it be more than just fear of not getting the next movie part? Might it be liberals in the media protecting their own in a way they would never do for a high-profile, big money, conservative man. Hard to believe. Does anyone have any doubt that if one of the Koch brothers had engaged in such dreadful behavior, it would have been reported many years ago.

Smart people always follow the money and Harvey Weinstein donated at least $2.5 million to democrats and liberal causes just since 2000. It seems highly unlikely that any of the recipients of that money, nor their protectors in the liberal media, were ever going to blow the whistle on Weinstein while that spigot was turned on. Indeed, it took Hillary Clinton 5 days to even denounce Weinstein publicly after the story finally broke. You don’t think those 5 days were spent analyzing the financial impact of speaking out publicly. Barack and Michelle Obama denounced on the same time schedule. What might be the impact on Michelle’s campaign coffers when she runs some day? Donald Trump was lambasted in the media for waiting 24 hours to denounce the events in Charlottesville. Double standard much?

To come full circle, I want to be clear that I am not minimizing the heinous nature of Weinstein’s crimes. He should be punished, as should all men who behave this way, with the full weight of the law. Furthermore, I feel a need to apologize, not for myself, but for my gender, to all the women who posted “Me too” yesterday. I cannot possibly imagine how horrible that must be. But, I hope there’s a lesson here that evil knows no political boundaries and should be called out immediately, no matter the political party or implications for financial contributions.

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Fire Dusty Baker

In his column in this morning’s Washington Post, Tom Boswell wrote that the fine print on the back of every MLB ticket says, “The bearer of this ticket is permitted to second-guess either or both of the managers. If he or she does not exercise this prerogative, the commissioner reserves the right to refuse permission to attend any future major league games.” OK, it doesn’t say that, but it should. And, I plan to exercise that prerogative raised to the Nth power with respect to Washington Nationals’ Manager, Dusty Baker’s, horrendous decision making against the Cubs in game 4 of the NLDS last night.

Start with the facts. He had one very simple decision to make in the 7th inning. Counting Spring Training, the Nationals were playing their 199th baseball game of 2017. One game shy of 200 baseball games, he was betting the entire season and quite possibly his job. He had two choices. He could push all in on Max Scherzer, the likely Cy Young winner for the second year in a row who, by the way, was throwing a gem of a 1-hitter and was at only 98 pitches. Or, he could bet it on some dude named Sammy Solis, who brought a 5.88 ERA into the post-season. Scherzer or Solis? Hmmmm. Think, Pooh, think. Cy Young or 5.88 ERA. God, this job is so fucking hard. Someone help me here.

Except nobody did. Like Trump’s finger reaching for the send button in Twitter, Dusty reached his left arm in the air in what counts as the worst decision in post-season baseball history. Well, at least since former Nats Manager Matt Williams pulled Jordan Zimmermann from the 2012 NLDS, one out away from the first post-season complete game shutout in DC since 1933. But, I digress. Dusty bet on Solis and we know what happened. Is it possible that Scherzer would have given up a bomb to Kyle Schwarber, atoning for his three-base error that gave the Nats the lead in the first place? Maybe, but so what? You go with your best.

As I turned this dreadful decision over and over in my mind, I tried to think of some analogy in my career. Some point where I had to make a big decision and what it might have looked like if I were as inept as Dusty. My job as a venture capitalist is to invest in companies, sit on their boards to help them grow, and then sell them to a larger company to make a return on my capital (slight oversimplification, but you get the point).

Suppose I was in a situation where one of my portfolio companies was in discussions with a Fortune 100 company to be acquired for $1 billion. The CEO of the Fortune 100 said he wanted to meet with our management to seal the deal. The board met to decide who to send to the meeting and we had two choices, either the 29 year old Director of Business Development, a smart kid and recent Harvard Business School grad, but a guy who had yet to close his first deal. Or, we could send the CEO of the company, an experienced 57 year old executive who had sold 4 companies, one of them to this same buyer. He knew the buyer’s CEO from this prior transaction as well, and the two of them were also social friends. If I had voted to send the young Director of Business Development to negotiate the deal, I would be performing at Dusty Baker’s level. And, I should be fired. He should be too. Like before tonight’s game.

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Liberal Hypocrisy, Part VIII (Redskins vs. the Military)

I thought long and hard about whether this is really Part VIII in my liberal hypocrisy series or just a continuation of Part VII on free speech. I decided to open a new chapter! My buddy Steve made a comment on FB when I posted my second blog on free speech (here) that was perhaps the most salient analysis I’ve read yet on the liberal mindset when it comes to these inane NFL protests. Steve wrote:

I think it is important to point out that the NFL kneelers contend, by and large, that they do not intend to disrespect our servicemen, our country, or our flag. The problem with that position is that a very large cohort of these people are telling them that they are very offended. Most of us who grow up in this country learn not to use certain words or take certain actions because our fellow countrymen find them offensive. So we don’t use the N word, the C word, or draw swastikas. We say Asian instead of Oriental. On the other hand, the kneelers are taking an action that they know offends a great many people in this country. In fact, they seem to revel in it. That they are taking this action in the face of a legion of volunteer servicemen, some of whom will give their lives in service, is simply unforgiveable. I wish they would take the time to read the words of our National Anthem. It is about how a group of brave Americans sacrificed their lives in the face of insurmountable odds to keep our flag standing and our fort secure. I can only surmise that these cowards cannot relate to such bravery. That said, they should have a duty to respect it.

For context, Steve comes from a military family and his youngest son has already committed to attend the Naval Academy. I have also heard the same thing he’s heard from military folks – they are deeply offended by these protests.

Now, since we’re talking about football, let’s turn our attention to my home team, the Washington Redskins or, as liberals call them, the Washington Football Team. Yes, that’s right, liberals can’t even bring themselves to say “Redskins” because it is so offensive to Native Americans. Well, except that it isn’t. Even the radical left wing Washington Post found that 90% of Native Americans are NOT offended by the Redskins’ name (here). Holy shit, there’s nothing that 90% of any group of people ever agree on. And, shockingly, if there’s any publication in the world that was motivated to find that 100% of Native Americans were offended, it is the Washington Post. Their editors must have been apoplectic when these results came in. And, yet, many of the sports writers at the Post still won’t print the name “Redskins.”

When I point out to my liberal non-Redskin-saying friends that 90% of actual real live Native Americans don’t give a shit about our team name, they’ll often reply with something like, “Well, that means 10% are offended and if any of them are offended, it’s not OK.” Interesting position. It’s not one I agree with as it’s likely that someone will be offended by pretty much anything, but let’s just suppose that liberals were allowed to set the bar on what’s OK and what’s not OK when it comes to offensive speech and they seem to have opted for the 10% rule when it comes to the Redskins. Shouldn’t we then apply the 10% rule to our military veterans and active duty service men and women when it comes to being offended by the NFL protests? Apparently not.

In the eyes of the hypocritical left, the Redskins must be forced to change their team name because a tiny minority of Native Americans are offended. That kind of free speech/expression is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately, if not sooner. However, the NFL kneeling protests, which offend (I’m guessing) about 90% of military folks, are just totally acceptable free speech and should be respected if not lauded.

Seriously, people, I know I sound like a broken record, but the hypocrisy from the left just can’t get any worse, except I know it will. And, when it does, I promise to write about it in my future blog, “Liberal Hypocrisy, Part IX.”

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Free Speech, Part Deux

Earlier this week I posted a blog (here) on the hypocrisy of the left as they scream for the rights of free speech and expression of irreverent NFL players, as those players offend the sensibilities of our military and everyone else who has fought for the rights they take for granted, while simultaneously stifling all other speech that they don’t like.

I got some feedback, which I’ve gotten before, that I paint liberals too broadly and individual liberals will say things like, “Hey, wait, I believe in free speech and so do all my liberal friends.” But, I think there’s some lack of self-awareness among many liberals when they say that.

The liberal assault on free speech has been very broad and taken many forms and the feedback I get suggests they are not even aware they’re doing it. The crap going on at colleges and universities to stop free speech is overt and egregious. But, that’s the easy stuff to both point out and for liberals to say, “Yeah, I think that’s really egregious too.”

It’s the more subtle squelching of free speech by coercion, intimidation, name calling, and social ostracizing that scares me more. For example, about 10 or 15 years ago it was accepted by nearly everyone in this country that marriage was between a man and a woman. Both of the last two democratic presidential candidates (Obama and H. Clinton) held that view and it was one that had been held for the entirety of our nation’s existence. Now, just 10-15 short years later, if I were to make that statement, I would be immediately labeled a hater and homophobe by liberals. Nobody likes to be name called or labeled so one tends to not talk. Free speech is stifled.

If I were to point out that African Americans commit violent crimes at 6x the rate of whites in America and maybe that’s why they encounter police more often as opposed to racist white cops, I will be labeled a hater and a racist. I’m neither and thus I’m likely to keep my mouth shut (indeed, publishing that on my blog is even risky).

Those are just two examples that pop to mind quickly. There are hundreds more that fall under rubrics like “political correctness,” “hate speech,” “offensive speech,” etc. where all those definitions have been created on the left. And, to avoid doubt, I’m not talking about waving a swastika or using the N-word. I think we can all agree those and acts like them are highly offensive and, while protected under the constitution, have no place in a polite and caring society. I’m simply talking about very valid, commonly held beliefs, often by half or more than half the US population, that have been driven underground or into oblivion by liberal scare tactics and intimidation.

Since I don’t get invited to the liberal sewing circles, I’m not sure how this is discussed there, but I strongly suspect they think it comes from the faux moral high ground that they believe they live on. They’re not suppressing my free speech; they’re just making the world a better place. Except they aren’t. I don’t know, but I find it disturbing in a free society.

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