Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just in time for the Apocalypse: Unionized College Football!

          A preliminary ruling yesterday by the National Labor Relations Board threatens to undermine the very fabric of college football.  And it has nothing to do with the idiotic “celebration penalty.”
          An NLRB regional director ruled that Northwestern University football players are considered employees, and as such, can join unions.  I can’t wait for the day when college football players go on strike demanding shorter practices, later kickoffs, less conditioning and more interviews with Erin Andrews.
          Jokes aside, the push behind all this is the (correct) assertion that the athletes are unpaid contractors who enable universities, and their surrounding communities, to reap millions and millions of dollars.  Activists with potentially-lucrative union due dollars signs in their eyes have played the “exploited racial angle” for some time.  But who is the victim here?
          Division-one College Football recruits freely enter into a private agreement with a University.  They agree to perform a task for the university in exchange for free education, room and board, tutoring, medical care, equipment, supplies and God-knows-what-else. 
          Let’s do some math.  Depending on your source, the average out-of-state tuition at most major colleges runs in the neighborhood is $25,000.  Most division-one football players spend five years on campus.  We start off with $125,000 up front.  That includes all of the room and board, books and such.
          In addition, athletes are provided with every piece of equipment they will need to compete.  That includes a seemingly-endless supply of free shoes, which run well over $100 these days.  There are also miscellaneous bits of equipment they get to keep.  We’ll conservatively place this value at $3,000.
          Not covered in a regular student’s room and board is the limitless access to tutors that athletes have---not to mention unfettered access to state-of-the-art training equipment and the like.  Hard to put a dollar value on that.  Lets conservatively guess $10,000.
          Now let’s say Johnny Football blows out his knee.  He gets free arthroscopic surgery and rehab; plus anything else required to recover.  I have no idea how much this would cost.  In addition, if the injury is career-ending, most colleges will keep him on scholarship to allow him to complete his degree.
          Suffice to say there is no way to accurately tally what a college football player gets in return for his services; but it’s not chicken feed.  These benefits are clearly known when each high school football stud signs a letter of intent to play college football.
          More important than the tangible benefits behind this arrangement is this:  The colleges are offering a chance.  A chance at a college degree which will immeasurably improve one’s earning potential.  Whether or not the athletes take advantage of that chance is entirely up to them.
          It is much like life.  We are given various opportunities to reach our goals.  Some are obvious---others are not.  But in each case; our success or failure is almost entirely dependent upon the choices we make.
          The university and the athlete are entering into what could be a mutually-beneficial agreement.  Since both sides now the terms going in, it seems to be that there is no “victim” here…and there sure as hell is no reason to allow independent private contractors, like the football players, to form a union.
          The full NLRB will have to confirm the ruling, which will then undoubtedly be subject to a flurry of appeals and counter-appeals, etc.  I have lost all faith in the government and our justice system to arrive at what I feel is the proper decision.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More equal than others

          Last year at this time, the Obama Administration was using the fresh horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to make Gun Control the dominant issue in Washington political debates.  All signs indicate that this year’s Cause Du Jour will be “inequality.”
          Where do I begin?  I suppose overriding all other arguments is the fact that if I don’t trust the person who defines what’s fair and equitable; I’m probably NOT going to agree with whatever definition they come up with.  Little else needs to be said; but I’ll say it anyway.
          The notion that we can eliminate all kinds of inequality is infantile.  Somewhere, someone is going to have a little more than you---someone is going to have a little less than you.  Deal with it.
          There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case.  The economy, life decisions, and a number of other things over which people have absolutely no control.  To think that we can ameliorate all these factors and produce equitable outcomes for all is dangerous.  It gives birth to terrible ideas.
          But this is precisely how a Statist like the President works.  ALL things are subject to Government manipulation.  Those who subscribe to this theory are married to the myth of the infallibility of The Collective.
          When you add it up, you get a record number of people on Food Stamps, an unemployment “safety net” that is damned close to becoming a permanent entitlement---and you get the subtle reinforcement of the obscene notion that your happiness and well-being are tied inexorably to the whims of Washington.
          When the President bleats about “inequality” in the coming weeks, rest assured he’s not pushing for equality in the classic sense.  He is talking about shifting more and more power to Washington.  Period.  To quote from one of my favorite movies, “That’s what he does!  That’s ALL he does!”

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Are the times a'changin'?

          Its gotta suck to be a Democrat right now.  Let me be more specific.  Its gotta suck to be one of the suckers who fell for “Hope and Change.”
          Barack H. Obama was presented to us (largely by a fawning press) some six years ago as a Demigod…a man capable of ending racism, cancer, global warming, and canker sores. Many took the bait and have yet to let go, despite an avalanche of evidence to the contrary.
          The news in the past two weeks has been less-than-flattering for our Commander-In-Chief.  Between the Benghazi testimony, the IRS revelations, and new information about the Justice Department seizing phone records from the Associated Press…well, let’s just say Jay Carney has been putting in some overtime studying Advanced Spin Doctoring.
          The Benghazi lies may be the most egregious of these three kerfuffles, but it’ll be hard to gauge the President’s culpability.  Its obvious to anyone paying attention that he knew very quickly that this was a targeted terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous reaction to an unseen video.  That he would trumpet that line of thinking for nine days after the fact tells me all I need to know about where his concerns lie.  Does it amount to an “impeachable offense?”  Probably not.
          The IRS scandal is a different animal, though.  People don’t need to be educated about the IRS.  Their potential for abuse is well-known, and they’re about as popular as rug burn.  Every day we’re finding more and more evidence that this was NOT limited to a couple of low-level operatives in Cincinnati.  The ghost is Richard Nixon is smiling.
          Is this the future of Obamacare?  IRS agents and low level functionaries making decisions of life and death for conservatives?   This is not fear-mongering, folks. 
          This is the typical Obama crisis management tactic: deny it happened, promise to vigorously investigate it, blame it on low level rogue employees, and accuse conservatives of “playing politics.”  This is what happens when you elect a campaigner instead of a leader.
          I've always thought it would take a cataclysmic event to open people’s eyes…to expose the fraud that is the end his Svengali-like effect on his followers. I had feared it would be a tragedy, but perhaps the prospect of his using the IRS as his henchmen will be enough to turn the tide.  One can only "hope."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Online with an unconnected government.

          Nothing stifles growth and innovation like the heavy hand of government.  As if we need another demonstration of that aphorism, I fear we’re about to get one.

          The Senate could vote as early as today on a bill that would give states the power to require online retailers to collect state and local taxes on internet purchases. Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.  Right now, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state.

          The main reason that the United States has taken the lead in the Internet Economy is that the Federal Government has taken (for the most part) a hands-off approach.  In comparison to other parts of the economy, the Internet is relatively unregulated.  This “Wild West” landscape has allowed American researchers and entrepreneurs to make wonderful developments that the rest of the world has yet to catch up to.  US ingenuity has produced operating systems and accessory devices that are being used across the planet.  American companies have pioneered the field of e-commerce.  Domestic software companies have lapped their overseas competitors in almost every sector.

          The Digital Boom is a testament to what can happen when the Federal Government stays the hell out of our business.  It is an object lesson in what can happen when creative people are left to their own devices, allowed to fail, and allowed to keep the fruits of their success.

          I’m surprised the gravy train has lasted this long.  I guess I should be grateful that the Robber Barons in Washington have allowed this largely untapped source of revenue to go on unabated.  It appears the salad days will soon be over.

          What if we could apply the Government’s behavior the past 20 years on the IT economy to other sectors?  Wouldn’t it be great if we could allow businesses a chance to innovate without knowing that any success they achieve will be short-lived?  How cool would it be for creative folks to be unfettered by regulations that exist mostly to justify the existence of regulators?

          To the government, I quote Bruce Willis’ lines from “Die Hard.”  “You’re not part of the solution---you’re part of the problem!  STOP being part of the f*cking problem!!!”

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Useful props

Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler:

You have my deepest sympathies. As a parent, I cannot imagine the hell you have gone through in the past few months...and I pray that I never do.

You may or may not be aware of a key fact. The proposals currently before Congress would have done NOTHING to prevent your child from being murdered. The sponsor of the bill admits it. As a matter of fact (something else you may be unaware of) the sponsor of the bill has stated that her ultimate goal is weapon confiscation. Not sure if you had heard that. Its true.

Given those facts, I hope you understand my (and others') resistance to these proposals. 

In your grief, you may be unaware of another fact. The President and his fellow Liberals are using you like a Shake-and-Bake bag. You will be discarded once you serve your purpose. The President doesn't like you, or anyone else...other than himself. In his eyes, you are useful idiots and nothing more.

I'll put it this way...if a loved one of mine were killed by a madman with a gun, I would get no satisfaction out of stripping human rights from people who had nothing to do with it. Indeed, I would feel pretty shitty if that happened.

I pray you find whatever peace and solace that you can. I hope that peace is not predicated on your ability to negatively impact the millions of law-abiding Americans who simply do not trust a most-untrustworthy Government with a key element of our personal security.

Friday, April 12, 2013

1973: The Washington Post leads the way into the probe of an illegal wire-tapping scandal that brings down a Republican Administration. The Post is (rightfully) lauded by their peers and by the country at large.

2013: The Washington Post lauds the person who illegally wire-tapped a Republican Senator's office. They focus not on the illegal act, but the information that was gleaned from it---calling it, "audio gold."

Just keep telling yourself there is no media bias. The Presidential also has your best interests in mind. The President would NEVER hike taxes on the middle class. The Government would NEVER come after our guns. "That could NEVER happen here."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Translation: Kiss my ass, nannies!

"I have the right to do whatever I wish with my property. 

If I own a pile of wood, I can set fire to it even if it is currently nailed together in the shape of a barn. 

Cigarettes may not be healthy for me in the long run, but I have the freedom to smoke them anyway. Drinking alcohol may or may not have negative side effects, but even if it does, the government has no authority to prohibit you from consuming it, even if it is "in your own best interest." 

Since when do we let the government decide what is or isn't good for us? What the hell does Congress know about nutrition, anyway? (For that matter, what does Congress know about the Constitution?) 

If the government can use force whenever something is "in our best interest" then government should force everyone to wake up at 6am every morning for calisthenics in the front yard. Fast food establishments should be torn down and replaced with bars that serve carrot juice and alfalfa sprouts, since - "it's in your best interest." 

This paternalistic attitude that "the government knows best" and that you are merely a helpless child is insulting and reprehensible."

- Michael Badnarik