Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Athletes and Religion: Seems to be Working for the Broncos

November 30, 2011 1 comment

Retired NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner, an active, devout and prominent Christian, recently advised Bronco quarterback sensation Tim Tebow to cool it with the religious rhetoric he uses quite publicly. I think this is a dangerous piece of advice that threatens Denver’s football season.

Why would you want to anger God when he has clearly climbed aboard your bandwagon and is actively rooting for you to get to the Super Bowl? Oh, there are lots of athletes who, after scoring a touchdown or making an interception, point their fingers toward the sky and thank God. But unless they play for the Denver Broncos, they are all sadly mistaken. Their particular great play was just coincidence.

As everyone knows, God became a fan of the Denver Broncos earlier in the season- in fact, six weeks ago. I have the press release:

PR Newswire
From: Heaven

Dear Media,

Having watched the young man when he played at the University of Florida, God noticed that Tim Tebow wore eye black referencing a passage from the Gospel of John from the New Testament. While God has never been fond of humans wearing religion on their sleeve, he is actually intrigued with the notion of wearing religion as eye black. Heaven is thusly, herewith announcing that the professional football team called the Denver Broncos, which has chosen Mr. Tebow to lead their offense, is God’s favorite football team for the 2011 season.

Kurt Warner argues that religion and faith in God is something you practice in daily life and that public pronouncements about it in connection with success on the football field alienates some fans and is something better kept in private. Please. When God officially endorses your team, I say you flaunt it.

If you were a political candidate and God came out in favor of you, would you not buy full-page ads in even godless publications like the New York Times? Of course you would.

It was Abraham Lincoln who once uttered the famous phrase: “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” A fine piece of electoral humor, but seriously misguided. When you pass only 20 times a game and your completion percentage is less than 50%, clearly, God is all that is necessary to go 5-1 in your first six starts.

And if any further proof was necessary, have you checked out the Indianapolis Colts this year? They are 0-11. On their helmets, a horse shoe. That’s right- an advertisement for hooves. I think we know who’s rooting for those guys.

Wikileaks: Do-Gooder or Scoundrel?

November 29, 2010 1 comment

I have a developing opinion of this Australian guy who runs Wikileaks and who seems to have made it his business to embarrass the United States on a quarterly basis. The journalist part of me is tempted to view him with a certain amount of patience. The American part of me wants to deck the punk.

This last batch of leaks- diplomatic cables that amount to juicy, cocktail-party gossip about half the world’s leaders- are amusing and interesting in a People magazine sort of way, but I see little news there. Julian Assange’s motives behind this latest leak are not clear to me.

But the fellow does seem to have quite the persecution complex. The NY Times, for example, did not get these latest documents directly from Assange. It got them from the British newspaper, The Guardian. Apparently, Assange did not like this article written about him last October in the NY Times, so he decided to leave them out of the document dump.

A friend asked this morning if Assange can be charged with treason. Well, he’s not a U.S. citizen, hasn’t pledged loyalty to this country, and has not openly aided and abetted the “enemy,” though just to be fair, it would be nice if the guy found some embarrassing documents that paint equally unflattering pictures of the bad guys.

Treason is a very carefully worded provision that appears in Article 3, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution- “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” It is also a capital offense that can be punished by death and less than 20 people have ever been convicted of it in the entire history of the United States.

The guy who is in a very deep pool of trouble is Private Bradley Manning, the Army Intelligence analyst who has leaked a lot of this stuff to Assange. Treason is such a big charge, that it doesn’t appear even Manning will be accused of it. But it appears he will be prosecuted for at least two violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and if convicted will be spending many years in a military prison (Fred Kaplan explains all this in Slate).

And here’s a great take on all this from Peter Beinart at the Daily Beast:

For better or worse, this is the world we now live in. But living in it is one thing; celebrating it is another. When journalists gather information that genuinely changes the way we see some aspect of American foreign policy, or exposes government folly or abuse, they should move heaven and earth to make sure it sees the light of day. But that’s a far cry from publishing documents that sabotage American foreign policy without adding much, if anything, to the public debate.

So Beinart argues for restraint on the part of the media. Some outlets, like the NY Times have cooperated with the government and the State Department in particular, and so explains here.

Since this Assange guy leaks absolutely everything he gets his hands on, irrespective of its importance, substance or consequence- it really is up to the media on how to play it and what NOT to reveal, including the names of people whose lives he regularly puts in danger in his haughtily high-minded pursuit of what he sees as “the truth.”

Even “Pentagon Papers” leaker, Dr. Daniel Ellsburg, who generally sides with Assange’s right to leak his little heart out, says there are some things that should be kept secret.

So, I guess my opinion is still forming about Wikileaks. But it’s only the principle of watching over government for things like waste, fraud and abuse that keeps me from wanting to throttle this smug, paranoid, self-important former criminal hacker.

The convictions were from the early 1990’s, but in the interests of the truth, I thought it was fair game to put out there. You can read more about Assange’s hacking into government networks and bank mainframes, here. He got a plea deal from a judge who said Assange didn’t mean to be malicious, just got carried away with his own curiosity. Otherwise he would have spent ten years in federal prison.