_wtaq-blogs-jerrybader The Bader Blog

  • Do Sports Matter? Dueling Opinions

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    Two very thoughtful opinioins. First, Dr. Keith Ablow argues that an overemphasis on sports leads institutions to ignore behavior like that of former Rutgers coach Mike Rice, which led to his dismissal this week. I found a coupleof Ablow's points interesting.

    First is where he argues that what Rice did in the gym never would be allowed in the classroom. True, but there are practices coaches employ that are perfectly acceptable in sport that never would be allowed in the clasroom. It's apples and oranges. But the point I find fascinating is that spectator sports have left fans underacheiving lumps, who live vicariously through their teams rather than accomplishing anything on their own:

    It’s time the world of sports and sports fans got over themselves.  They are a glaring symbol of how little passion of their own people have now, how much they need to be ceaselessly entertained and how willing they are to settle for being fans, instead of fanning the flames of their own passions.

    I suppose that's true for some fans, but I think it is a patently unfair generalization. I'm passionate about sports because they don't matter. You can become very emotionally invested in a team knowing that whatever happens you're no worse for the wear. For me(and I think most fans) it's a distraction from the things that do matter. Ablow continues:

    Mike Rice is a creation of whatever psychological forces turned him into a bully—probably from boyhood.   But he is also a product of a culture that wrongfully deifies sports figures, including coaches, and is lost in pretending that who wins the Final Four matters to the future of our existence—which it does not, at all.  Not one bit.  Not one iota. 

    Very few people pretend that any sporting event matters to the future of their existence. As I said above, it's being able to be passionate about something that in the end can't really harm you is the real appeal, in my opnion. Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent responded to Ablow in a companion opinion piece called "What Does Matter?"  He makes what I think is a brilliant point:

    To me, the ability to be able to enjoy and appreciate the subtleties of baseball and other sports is to recognize the various ways we can experience pleasure. The issue raised by Dr. Ablow is a red herring in the sense that he asks a legitimate question but addresses a false target. The sensible person does not ask why it matters to take a walk in the woods on a fall morning while the leaves are changing color. We do not live solely -- no pun -- for things that matter in the ultimate sense. Ultimate concerns are for the philosopher. Life is to be lived and not to be restricted by such questions as whether this moment could be better spent learning Greek verbs or how to fix a toilet.  It is the wise person who knows when to ask the proper question. And to ask about the ultimate meaning of time spent lying in the grass staring at the sky is to engage in absurd self-flagellation. 

    Get a life. Relax. Live a bit.

    Before taking laptop in hand this afternoon I re-watched Super Bowl XXXI, where my beloved Packers beat the Patriots 35-21. Why? Because it will always be my favorite Packers game. I started watching them religiously in 1972. I waited 24 years for that moment. A lot of people think that's crazy. But a lot of things are important to me. I was not a fan of live theater until my wife introduced me to it. She knew nothing of pro football into I introduced her to the game. I think we're both lucky. We expanded each others horizons. I can read a book about politics, a mystery thriller or an autobiography. I enjoy ESPN and the History Channel. I enjoy escargot and cavier as much as I do brats and german potato salad. I appreciate cognac and a good craft brew.

    Yes, there are people who are emotionally over invested in sport. But I believe the more passions we have in life, the richer our lives are. I have loyal listeners who believe I should never talk about sports, Or TV shows, or anything other than politics. There is a reason I say mine is a show about everything. Because I think life should be.

  • Benji Backer Coverage; Better Late Than Never

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    Here's a peek behind the media curtain. Last week Appleton North freshman Benji Backer posted on Freedomworks a lengthy essay accusing teachers of bullying him over his overtly conservative political beliefs. That was Thursday, March 28. The following Monday I interviewed Benji on my show. I alerted 3 of the 4 Green Bay TV stations of the story. Nobody covered it immediately. Compare that with the Kaukauna school bullying story. Granted, Benji's story didn't go viral on the social media, which is what got the TV media's attention in that incident.

    But regardless, how is this not a big story? A student is publicly accusing the people entrusted with nurturing his academic growth with harassing him, berating him and humiliating him? On Thursday of this week, Todd Starnes posted a piece on Foxnews.com and the media which, mind you, knew of the story for several days suddenly sprang into action.

    Why did everybody wait for somebody else to stick a toe in the water on this first? One news director suggested to me it was the political nature of the story. Why should that scare them away? Is it perhaps because half of their audience won't see a problem with this outrageous behavior? Just speculating. And how many other "Benji's" are there out there? How many other kids don't have the guts to fight back the way Benji did? And as for the district's "investigation," let's see what becomes of this. By the way, I'm not done digging on this myself.

    Also, one of the Green Bay TV stations I alerted this story to back on Monday was WFRV TV. Benji let me know that as of Friday they were the one Green Bay TV statiion that hadn't contacted him. I can't confirm that they did absolutely nothing on this, but they're the only station without a story on its website. All bullying is not created equal, it would appear.

  • Fox News Covers Benji's Story; What about the Green Bay Media?

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    Benji first blogged on this a week ago today. I had him on the air on Monday. I shared the story with the Green Bay TV stations. To my knowledge, none have run a story. Fox News now has, and it includes the fact that the district is investigating this. Will they run it now?

    UPDATE: I just spoke with Benji. NBC 26 has reached out to him, as has the Appleton Post Crescent. He's also scheduled to be on Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel program tomorrow 12:45 central.

  • Romo Highest Paid NFL Player...After Taxes

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    He's actually the 5th highest NFL player, but his take home is #1, thanks to income tax free Texas.  As the Americans for Tax Reform put it:


    Romo should serve as an example of why businesses and taxpayers are making the move to Texas. Under Gov. Rick Perry, Texas has continued to thrive and experience economic growth throughout the recession because of its low tax rates and economic competitiveness. While a handful of GOP governors are seeking to eliminate or lower their states’ incomes tax rates, such as Gov. Jindal and Gov. Brownback, more players will want to play in states where they will not feel the greatest tax sting. Some teams might even seek to relocate to one of these states.

    Game show host Pat Sajak made this point in an opinion piece several years ago. We tend not to notice how big a bite income taxes take because we never see it. Our after tax income becomes our effective "gross income." The government believes it owns that money because, well, it does. You NEVER touched it. And until a story like Romo's comes along, this all remains abstract. Aaron Rodgers is likely about to become the NFL's highest paid player (before taxes), in the area of $25 million a year. Let's see how his take home compares with Romo's.

    This also puts a lie to the notion that Texas' economy is booming solely due to its "unfair" energy economy.

  • A New Rite of Spring

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    That would be the cowardly boyfriend running to get out of the way of a home run ball that promptly hits his girlfriend in the face. I call this part of the new "if it's not caught on video it didn't happen" paradigm. The Rutgers basketball coach would have survived if video of his behavior hadn't surfaced. And nobody would know about this incident had it not be caught on camera.

    Conversely, things that should be a big deal are often ignored when they aren't caught on camera(see the Rutgers coach above)And it also seems that this phenomenon has led people to be more skeptical of almost any story, allegation, if it's not accompanied by video. And those things caught on video become big deals just because they're caught on video. This guy isn't the first schlup to get out of the way of a ball and let the girl take one on the chin. But he was caught on video doing it.

  • NRA Winning the Gun Debate?

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    This piece makes a compelling case that it is. President Obama is also sounding desperate on this issue, realizing that the moment where they could capitalize politically on the deaths of young children may have passed. And it's been difficult for Democrats to presure Republicans in the Senate while protecting their own Blue Dog members from red states.

    That's not to say Obama is giving up. He's going full court press this week. But those Blue Dogs pose a bigger stumbling block than anything Republicans could put in his way.

  • California Dreamin'

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    It's hard to believe that both Paul Krugman and Al Gore won Nobel Prizes and neither was in a fiction category. Because this piece is a genuine fairy tale. Republicans wrecked California and Democrats are fixing it. It's like Tommy slugging Johnny and then screaming "Johnny hit me!" I didn't think someone even as delusional as Krugman could believe there is a light at the end of the California tunnel.

    You will note one little inconvenient truth Krugman doesn't attempt to rationalize away here; California is bleeding jobs to Texas, where Rick Perry has created the "anti-California." 

  • Here's Something You Don't See Every Day

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    Mahlon Mitchell agreeing with Scott Walker, on anything! Actually, this issue has been a turf war that has blurred the usually left/right lines. Tom Barrett is afraid if local public employees don't have to live in Milwaukee they will flee his city. Barrett argues Walker wanted to lift the residency requirement in Milwaukee to repay police union support in elections.

    So, you have liberal Tom Barrett fighting a proposal public employee unions back. To remove the turf war element(in my opinion) Walker has made this a state wide proposal. Apparently that was a temptation Mitchell couldn't resist.

  • About 50 Babies a Year Born Alive After Abortions Are Left to Die...

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    In Canada. 491 over a decade. This topic came to light again recently in Florida. Okay, 50 a year in Canada. Imagine how many more abortions are performed in the U.S. than Canada, based on the population disparity between the two nations. The U.S. has ten times the population of Canada. Does that mean 500 babies a year are left to die in this country after being born alive? We don't know. And lest you think Canada a one-off, the most recent number I found for England was 66 babies a year left to die in this fashion. England as 55 million people compared with the 310 million in the U.S.

    And yet we are told that requiring medical attention for such babies is a solution in search of a problem. That problem seems to have been found in the U.K. and Canada. Perhaps the only reason it hasn't been found here is someone is working very, very hard to keep it in hiding.

  • President Obama Wants to Teach our Youth to Budget Responsibily

    Posted by Jerry Bader

    This is kind of like Charlie Sheen teaching celibacy, or sobriety or humility for that matter. Of course, the point everybody is mocking here is that President Obama should be the last person on the planet to teach responsible budgeting because he doesn't know how to himself.

    In fact, the real joke here is the notion that he thinks it's important! His entire presidency has been antithetical to self responsibility; why start pretending you think it's important now?