June 06, 2013

Racism in Texas parks at #TPWD

I have blogged in the past about how, no matter how bad the fiscal shortfall, I would NOT "tip jar" beyond standard admissions fees at various Texas state parks. I said that it enabled bad behavior by the wingnuts in the Texas Legislature and that if the state park system was really that bad, it could do some simple fixes, like dedicating 100 percent of the fees from the firearms and ammo tax to the park system, rather than capping that at the tax on the first $100 of sale.

Well, now, there's a helluva lot more reason to not tip jar Texas parks or, right now, even go to them in the first place. Claims of racism within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are drawing yet more scrutiny.
State Rep. Sylvester Turner, chairman of the black caucus in the statehouse, said his office continues to receive allegations of racism or discrimination from game wardens or their families.

"The smoke keeps coming," Turner said. "I've been hearing this since last year and (the agency) keep telling me, 'That's not the case, that's not the case, that's not the case' and they keep trying to excuse it. But at some point in time, something is amiss here."
Only 13 blacks, and only 65 Hispanics, in a 3,000-person department? Sounds like some definite pro-activity is needed.

Pro-activity would include not apparently trying to run off a black cadet like Brukendra Jackson:
"They told me that I had traits inside me that I couldn't overcome, that I just needed to leave and quit," Jackson said. "(An instructor) never explained to me by the 'traits,' but I just assumed he meant me being a black female."

Anyway, why the hell would I tip jar an agency with such alleged problems, even if a number of state parks are good places to visit? (Let's not forget that a number of them, due to years of lean budgets, are becoming more run-down places to visit.)

And, the agency's claim about "ooh, other state agencies are also having trouble recruiting minorities"? First, that's not a valid excuse. Second, maybe their troubles exist for the same reasons yours do.

June 04, 2013

Lyin Braun may finally get nailed, and A-Fraud; who else?

Lyin Braun, aka Juices Maccabee, names I give Ryan Braun because Milwaukee Brewers fans insist on calling him the Hebrew Hammer, may finally, speaking of hammers, get hammered for roiding by Bud Selig. As may A-Fraud, Alex Rodriguez.

Bud Selig is at bat, and now-shuttered Biogenesis "medical" clinic director Tony Bosch is in the on-deck circle:
Tony Bosch, founder of the now-shuttered Biogenesis of America, reached an agreement this week to cooperate with MLB's investigation, two sources told "Outside the Lines," giving MLB the ammunition officials believe they need to suspend the players.

One source familiar with the case said the commissioner's office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is the players' connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another.
Now, given that Biogenesis has been on the back burner for about a month, why did Bosch "roll" now?

Here's why, according to the story:
In a recent interview with ESPN, his only one since the scandal broke, Bosch said he knew nothing about performance-enhancing drugs and that media accounts of his alleged PED distribution amounted to "character assassination."

"I have been accused, tried and convicted in the media. And so I think [I] have been falsely accused throughout the media," he told ESPN's Pedro Gomez. "I've done nothing wrong."

But sources said Bosch has been feeling pressure from both the MLB lawsuit, which claims tortious interference, and a potential criminal investigation, and that he sees full cooperation with MLB as one of his only refuges. Several attorneys have said they don't think the lawsuit could survive a legal challenge, but Bosch likely would have to put up a costly fight in order to have the case dismissed. Several sources have told ESPN that Bosch is nearly broke, living alternately with family members and friends, and has tried unsuccessfully so far to revive his "wellness" business.
That said, I'm assuming the jail time clock for A-Roid doesn't start ticking until he comes off the DL. That means Hank Steinbrenner can officially be disappointed for the rest of this year, and possibly several weeks into 2014.

And, if the Hankster wants to shit more bricks, top player Robinson Cano has some connection, tenuous though it may be, to Biogenesis.

That said No. 2, besides our dynamic duo, at least the 20 or so names originally tied to Biogenesis could get suspended. Word is Bosch might have yet more names in his pocket.

And, is this why Melky Cabrera is now expressing regret for his roiding time with the Giants? Wow, how many more grovelings will we see in days ahead?

And, speaking of Cabrera, now with the Jays, Nelson Cruz is probably the other likely-to-be-suspended player most hurt by this. Like Cabrera a year ago, his presumed big free-agent payday will go down the drain.

That's going to be half the fun: The groveling, lies and mock indignation in days ahead.

Hammer away, Bud.

At the same time, how Bud got to this point, as noted above, is, I agree with this column and many others, pretty skeezy, but not anything new in the skeeziness department. Until baseball goes after the suppliers, not the users, we'll have wash, rinse, repeat.

Tim Brown at Yahoo offers the flip side of skeeziness, though. For the players involved, dealing with a pseudo-doctor running a pseudo-clinic out of a strip mall? What did you expect from such a guy? Unlike Victor Conte at BALCO, you knew he would roll on you once the pressure got tough.

But, there's another "scandal." As Jeff Passan notes, Braun, Rodriguez, Cabrera and Bartolo Colon, among others, are all repeat offenders.
The Biogenesis scandal that has ensnared baseball is more painful and embarrassing and harmful (than BALCO) because it happened in the supposed post-Steroid Era, when Major League Baseball's drug policy was supposed to eradicate PEDs from the game. 
So, is MLB's testing not good enough? Penalties not strong enough?

Probably a bit of all of the above. Passan says that if Bud approaches the issue as a problem to be managed, rather than a war to be won, we'll be better off.

Meanwhile, Jonah Keri's got a good backgrounder, including how this ties in with Bud's "legacy" and how the union could derail that.

And, to me, that's the most skeezy factor of all: Bud worried about his "legacy."

I Am Judas, the Son of God

The general idea of the poem below was inspired by a short story by that master of the genre, Jose Luis Borges, that I read earlier today. A few of the thematic ideas may have been influenced by my long-ago reading of Gore Vidal's snarky "Live from Golgatha."

Anyway, here goes:

I Am Judas, Son of God

I was born, I saw, and I fell;
The last part due to mythmakers
Who rejected my message.
My name is Judas, Son of God.

The lies against my name are many.
Some thought I was demon-seized
And sold the man named Jesus
For 30 pieces of silver.
Others said I was his cosmic twin,
Judas Didymus Thomas,
Later denigrated to move the focus
To the one and only.
While other yet called me Ahriman
To his Ormazd –
The dark side of a dualistic dyad.
And others still called me choiceless,
Fated to act a role,
A necessary pawn in a cosmic play.

All are wrong.

Rather –
I was the One, the Monogenitus.
I was the Son of God, the Word made flesh.

Am I jealous of the Nazarene?
But of course. I am the Word made flesh
With human emotions – emotions no less dark
Than my father Yahweh had against Sodom
And against the Amalekites, and against Edom.
This is what it meant to have been
God Incarnate.

But gods become human
Can lose their moorings.

I did not empty myself
Contra that prince of liars, Saul of Tarsus.
I was god, right to hold on to my equality.
I proclaimed the Kingdom
And had followers
But revolutionaries are often fickle.

And so the emissaries of Caesar’s gods
Seized the One, the Malakh Yahweh.
And put me to death.
And fickle rebels washed their hands
Of my name, my fame, my fate.
They crowned Jesus,
Distorted my message,
And hid him in safety,
Until a doddering old man
Had his life resculpted
By a failed Pharisee.

I was the Son of God.
But now I’m dead.
I would settle for raging in vain
Rather than being dead,
Unable to rage at all.