1. Justice, Once Blind, Is Now Also Tone-Deaf and Dumb
Meet Halliburton. Here is a ginormous wing of the Military Industrial Complex, who once had a CEO who later became a United States vice president. Recently Halliburton plead guilty to not only using the incorrect cement to plug the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that released 200 MILLION gallons of petroleum-based effluent into the Gulf of Mexico, but also of destroying tapes of the tests that were conducted with that cement beforehand –showing it was faulty.
Incompetence and destruction of evidence on about as massive a scale as one might imagine.
The sentence: A $200,000 fine, or roughly one-sixth of Peter King’s annual salary. Not that he does not earn it.
To Halliburton’s credit (three words I never expected to type), the corporation subsequently donated $55 million to fish and wildlife conservation. It’s as if even they were embarrassed by that penalty. Two hundred K is probably their monthly dining budget at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Houston, where they are based.
Meet Bradley Manning, who starred in none of the “Hangover” films, by the way. This week Manning, a five-foot-two U.S. Army private, was convicted on 17 of 22 charges concerning his having leaked reams of classified government information concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Colonel’s eleven herbs and spices (turns out it’s 10 herbs and just one spice! Who knew?).
While no one is downplaying the gravity of Manning’s actions, the people who are not downplaying it more than anyone else reside in the Justice Dept., which could send Manning away to prison for 136 years. The good news is, by that time, the effects of the BP oil spill in 2010 may finally be behind us.
Tangentially, here’s a thought –as Edward Snowden reads the Manning verdict and decides to put up curtains in his corner of Terminal D at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Earlier this week the U.S. government also rejected an amendment that would make it mandatory that the NSA only spy on the phone records of people currently under investigation (as one congressman who was in favor of the amendment stated, quoting Benjamin Franklin, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserver neither.” But, I mean, Ben Franklin, what did HE know?)
So, that amendment was rejected. Apparently, proponents of unadulterated domestic surveillance such as President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and pulchritudinous patriot Michele Bachman Turner Overdrive argue that by skirting the Fourth Amendment the government has foiled at least 50 international terror plots.
But here’s my question: In the continued pursuit of security at the expense of the United States Constitution, might our wise leaders in Washington be creating a new generation of domestic terrorists? Or anarchists? Americans who believe that their government has trampled upon their rights to such an extent that they are going to take justice into their own hands? I know, it sounds crazy. What American would ever launch an attack on the United States?
2. The Notre Dame-USC of Major League Baseball
Last night the New York Yankees visited Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2010. Did anyone care? Well, Jack Nicholson, Jay Z, Ice Cube, Mel Brooks and NBA stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul were just some of the celebrities in attendance.
Let’s note that the Dodgers and Yankees have met eleven times in the World Series (New York leads, 9-2), more than any other two franchises. That they inhabit the two largest metropolises in the United States. That the Dodgers and Yankees once shared a city for a longer period of time than the Yankees and Mets (or Dodgers and Angels) have.
All of which is to say that fans would be better-served by seeing these two franchises meet for a series annually, as opposed to being exposed to six games between the Yanks and New York Mets annually.
The Yankees and Red Sox may be baseball’s fiercest rivalry, its Alabama-Auburn or Michigan-Ohio State. But Yankees-Dodgers is its Notre Dame-USC. Two glamour brands with polar opposite fan bases who have more of an infatuation than a genuine hatred for one another. Let’s make it an annual thing.
3. Shea Allen Goes Champ Kind…and Pays For It
Last Friday Shea Allen, a reporter at WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala., had a very bad idea. Allen’s idea was to post an entry on her “personal blog” entitled “No Apologies: Confessions of a Red-Headed Reporter.” Soon after posting such items as “I’m frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside” and “I’ve taken naps in the news car.”
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, Shea, “Maybe you need to sit the next couple of plays out.”
Because television/webcast/web media grows increasingly insipid, some observers are choosing to focus on the fact that Allen was fired for admitting that she often appeared bra-less on TV. I’d like to think that Allen was fired for being absolutely clueless.
Just because something is posted on one’s personal blog does not mean that every earthling with access to the internet –just a few billion souls — is unable to read it. The test for what one should write on social media, be it this blog or Twitter, is, Would you stand up at the 50-yard line of a packed Bryant-Denny Stadium and read those words into a microphone? If not, just don’t write it/post it.
Also, if you want to see how terrible media has gotten, watch this interview with Nancy Redd from “The Huffington Post” in which she is actually sympathetic to Allen’s situation. Also, the reporter uses the phrase “When the door’s knocking, you better answer it.”
Shea Allen is about to learn that a lot fewer people care about what she has to write on her blog now that she’s just another unemployed member of the media. WAAY was her forum, and she failed to respect that privilege. Another one bites the dust…
4. Texas A&M Tragedy
A single-car accident in a remote area of northern New Mexico (one can claim that all of northern New Mexico is a remote area, of course) has claimed the lives of Texas A&M redshirt freshman defensive tackle Polo Manukainiu and two others. The three friends, all from Euless, Texas, died after the vehicle began to drift off the road and then the driver, who survived, over-corrected the steering wheel, according to New Mexico State Police.
Ominously, and reminiscent of Declan Sullivan’s final tweet, Manukainiu’s final tweet read “22-hour drive back to Texas on no sleep –oh my.”
If in fact this is the tale of a driver falling asleep at the wheel, it sadly is a college football tragedy with which I am familiar.
5. The Oliver Twist
Have any staffers at The Daily Show posted a photograph of Wally Pipp on Jon Stewart’s door yet? And have we passed the point at which that would be funny? Stewart’s understudy, John Oliver, has been tearing it up through the first half of his three-month run as replacement host. While we enlisted in Oliver’s Army immediately, it seems other members of the media are finally beginning to notice.
Last night’s opening segment was yet another brilliant spectacle for the goofy, cheeky Brit, whose jubilant tone is a stark departure from Stewart’s. What will Comedy Central do with Oliver when Stewart returns? They’ve unearthed a gem, and you know where unearthed gems do not remain? Underground. Not for long.
As someone on Twitter –either Matt Goldich or Pour Me Coffee, I’m sorry I don’t remember — noted, “Fruitvale Station” stars Michael B. Jordan and Kevin Durand. It’s the NBA legend typo cast.
The NCAA has ruled in favor of incoming UCLA five-star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes in his appeal to be released from his National Letter of Intent obligations in regards to Notre Dame. Translation: Vanderdoes will not have to sacrifice a year of eligibility and may suit up for the Bruins this autumn. There may be more to this than meets the eye, Domers, so as soon as I have more information I will share it. But, in terms of contractual obligations and penalties, the Irish may actually be at fault here. More news to come…
My new favorite ESPN reporter is Chris Hassel, who has gamely made the three-minute drive from headquarters of the Worldwide Leader in Bristol to Pine Lake, also in Bristol, to provide us with live stand-ups as the police search this body of water for one of Aaron Hernandez’s guns. I cannot wait until they dredge the lake and find Brett Haber.