Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gregg Easterbrook is a whiny wimp.

Culture: I am calling for an African law where idiots who want to whine about people who have money and don't like what they do with it bring up the poor people of Africa to make their point. You do that, you lose the argument.

A $54,000 Per Night Hotel Room Costs the Same as the U.S. Median Family Income for a Year: Ian O'Connor of USA Today recently praised golfer Phil Mickelson as generous to the poor, writing, "[Mickelson] pulls over to the curb, with no cameras or notebooks in sight, and hands hundred-dollar bills to homeless men." Hmmm -- if no one with a camera or notebook was present, how does USA Today know this happened? For its part the Wall Street Journal recently reported Mickelson paid $3.4 million for a nine-week penthouse timeshare at Saint Andrews Grand in Scotland, an ultra-lux condo overlooking the Old Course at Saint Andrews, frequent site of the British Open. The price works out to $54,000 per night, making this perhaps the most expensive hotel room in human history. Phil Mickelson -- do you really believe that in a world where the impoverished of Africa die for want of a dollar a day, you are justified in spending $54,000 per night to make yourself feel important? "Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation," Jesus taught.
Who the hell is Easterbrook? Patron saint of how to spend money? I am not a Phil guy and don't know about the homeless story, but the second part bugs the hell out of me as pure jealously. Gratuitously bringing up Africa as some sort of hammer of truth is ridiculous. I do like Oprah's approach to the Africa/rich question.
Oprah Winfrey is a rich woman – and she's got no problem with that. Speaking in Baltimore on Monday at a fundraiser for Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Winfrey told the audience, "I have lots of things, like all these Manolo Blahniks. I have all that and I think it's great. I'm not one of those people like, 'Well, we must renounce ourselves.' No, I have a closet full of shoes and it's a good thing." Winfrey, 52, who is reportedly worth more than $1 billion, said she doesn't feel guilty about her wealth. "I was coming back from Africa on one of my trips," she said. "I had taken one of my wealthy friends with me. She said, 'Don't you just feel guilty? Don't you just feel terrible?' I said, 'No, I don't. I do not know how me being destitute is going to help them.' Then I said when we got home, 'I'm going home to sleep on my Pratesi sheets right now and I'll feel good about it.' "
The second part that makes me feel Easterbrook would be happen in some marxist haven is this about running up the score.
Stop Me Before I Score Again! And maybe female officials will throw flags for unsportsmanlike conduct when coaches run up the score. Annually, Tuesday Morning Quarterback rails against running up the score. Recently the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference took action on this problem: Any high-school football coach whose team wins by more than 50 points will be disqualified from coaching the next game. (Coaches can appeal if the score that surpasses the 50-point margin comes on a turnover, not a called play.) "Legislated sportsmanship," protested reader Mike Cornaro of Milford, N.H., in a representative comment from TMQ readers. But a team ahead by 50 points ought to be kneeling on the ball, regardless of the time remaining; anything else is simply bad sportsmanship. Continuing to run up the score, regardless of whether your third string is on the field, shows lack of character on the part of the coach. The Connecticut rule came in response to a coach named Jack Cochran, of New London High School, who relentlessly runs up the score. In 2005, New London High won games by margins of 90-0, 77-6, 60-0 and 69-14; in the 60-0 victory, Cochran called a timeout just before halftime, hoping to add points. New London didn't even finish undefeated -- it distinguished itself mainly by beating up overmatched opponents. Cochran told the Hartford Courant the state's new mercy rule is "protectionism of those that can't compete." So Jack, the strong should beat up the weak? That's some value system you have. At the high-school level, mercy rules are important because school-size and program-quality mismatches can lead to games that are never contested in any meaningful sense. That 90-0 win -- there was nothing glorious about it. The victor, not the vanquished, should have been embarrassed. At the NFL level, opponents are professionals and can look after themselves: If the Seahawks run up the score on the Rams, there's little reason to care. But in all forms of scholastic competition, where learning is the ostensible purpose of the games, coaches should be teaching sportsmanship -- a valuable life lesson. Running up the score, in contrast, is bully behavior, while the desire to destroy lesser opponents is a sign of poor character. Coaches who practice bad sportsmanship and teach bully behavior aren't doing their schools or their athletes any favors. Poor character might be OK at New London High of Connecticut, but it's good to know that it is not OK with the rest of the state's high-school sports advocates.
How embarrassing will it be for the team who is getting beat by 50 points this season? Announcer: "Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the visiting team sucking up the joint, by CT law, the winning team has to hold back and run out the clock by kneeling for the rest of the second half..thank you." The desire is to win the game, very few coaches intentionally run up the score as the one coach above has done. This teaches a horrible life lesson to high school students that in a competition if you are getting beat, someone will be there to make sure its not too bad a beat down. The strong should beat up on the weak **fairly** by its superior talent because they are better than them. That happens in competitive sports.

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