- Those who have covered the sport for any great length of time, or even a short span of time when Larry Nassar was still around, all know the raging leadership cesspool that was USA Gymnastics. Those at the top have been turning a blind eye to the treatment of their athletes for decades, all in the name of keeping that cash machine in motion. That’s why jaws dropped when Mary Bono was named CEO of US Gymnastics recently. Her personal protest against Colin Kaepernick and Nike aside, Bono worked for the law firm that helped cover up Nassar’s criminal behavior against female gymnasts for which he is now spending the next 8 lifetimes in prison for. Wolf. Hen house. You do the math. Bad choice by those in charge, but this time, gymnast Simone Biles knew she wielded an immense amount of power. So she used it, and Bono was summarily bounced. Every time this subject comes up for discussion, I’m reminded of the book written by Joan Ryan, “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes”, which was, for it’s time in 1995, a brilliant expose on the mistreatment of young amateur athletes. 23 years later, our national teams and their leadership hasn’t learned a damn thing. Like the NCAA, USAG is all about the cash flow, all about protecting their gasbag gigs, and using the athletes, especially the young girls, as cannon fodder for competition and sponsorships. If anyone were to do a top to bottom housecleaning of this organization, you’d be lucky to have a janitor left holding the door.
- A warning here for viewers of “This Is Us” on NBC, as there are spoilers galore. Last night’s episode was out of the ordinary for this program, focusing solely on Jack and his time in Vietnam. There’s more to come, but what we saw was indeed a perfectly scripted treatise on the war we are still to this day coming to grips with. America, as a nation, has never recovered from Vietnam. It was a war and time that changed us in ways we are still discovering, as we did in this episode. One scene that the young adults of today would find hard to believe was the gathering around tiny television screens on certain nights for a live broadcast from Washington DC, where old men who would never think of going to war were casting the fates of young men they were sending to die. The National Lottery was a random selection of birthdates, and those on birthdates called high enough in the order were destined and doomed for Vietnam. The scenes depicting actual combat in Vietnam, while in several instances definitely being a lot more Hollywood than what actually transpired, revealed how unprepared we were to fight that kind of war. At the beginning of WW2, Americans were getting their asses kicked because we were unprepared and still going into battle using weaponry, tactics and thinking processes from WW1. In Korea, we were unprepared and again, more than a little arrogant as our leaders rushed us into a confrontation we knew little about and pushed forward only for political reasons. In Vietnam, we were completely unprepared for a guerilla war, and the discourse back home made for ragged combat where we didn’t know the enemy, nor why we were actually there. The last 10 minutes of the show could make one understand how fates were set in motion years earlier, and why we never should have been there in the first place.
- They’re legally lighting up recreational marijuana joints, (now THAT shows my age if nothing else), all over Canada this morning. Of course, there are plenty of huffers and puffers of the windbag type who are just lying in wait for the entire country to become a reality show sequel to the Cheech and Chong classic film, “Up in Smoke”, if for no other reason than to prove the evils of marijuana and the culture destruction that comes with it. These the same sacks who will then retreat to their studies or the nearest bar, slam down a few double scotches while nailing down a few more cigarettes filled to the tobacco brim with addictive additives. In Canada, here in the United States, and around the world, we have jails and prisons overflowing with people who had an ounce or less in their possession and have seen their lives ruined for it. As the legal recreational purchase in Canada is now an ounce, they will also pardon those who were arrested for a similar amount. I’m not one that imbibes in the weed, but I have always seen the rampaging hypocrisy over legal alcohol and illegal marijuana. Medicinal marijuana, the kind without THC, should be made available to everyone immediately and be covered by insurance. The only reason it hasn’t happened yet is because the pharmaceutical companies need to keep people as hooked as possible on every other kind of pain killer that only they can provide at skyrocketing costs. It will be interesting to see how the Canadian experiment works, but if it makes for a more mellow population, so be it. Personally, I think everyone should smoke a joint before getting on Facebook or Twitter. More talk about Ding Dongs and late night burger runs, less talk about political pissing matches. What a concept.
Rock On, True Believers.
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