Friday, April 22, 2016

I Went to The Fights and No Hockey Game Broke Out!

Pittsburgh 5, Rangers 0

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.  It's not the lack of points, it's the lack of heart.

Anyway, I date me-self w/ that old ditty "I went to the fights and hockey game broke out."  That was a big joke in the 70's heyday of iron league hockey.  When the Broad Street Bullies of Philly pounded their way to two cups and heaped one of the biggest military defeats on the Soviets in history.  Not just the scoreboard win of those valiant kids in Lake Placid in 1980.  No, I mean the Flyers beat the living shit out of them, made them quit once, then return, beat their asses some more and sent them limping back to the Kremlin in disgrace.  That was the brutal truth of 'Eddie Shore, putting on the foil, old time hockey.'  The fans loved it, the league hated it.

Flash forward to 2016.  The league continues to take fighting out of the game and replace it with euro-styled double latte with skim milk hockey.  Sure, I love and revere the game, the speed, the beautiful puck movement, the mesmerizing goalkeeping.  All great.  When you can hang.  When your team can't, then what?  Roll over? Die?  Pack up and fly back to a life in Siberian exile?

The Rangers played one of the most heartless games I've seen in years last night.  I understand when it's just not going well.  Keanu's "quicksand" speech from The Replacements comes to mind.  One thing going wrong after another until you're stuck, sinking, like quicksand.  The Rangers were balls deep in it.  Mired to the nutsack.  Skating uphill in molasses in the winter.  They have been on the implosion path for a while with glimmers of potential.  When Hank isn't invincible the D is rapidly exposed for weakness.  The team is vastly overrated.  Individual stats are weak and team stats barely playoff worthy.  Haters aside, the Blueshirts sink or swim with Hank stopping 45 shots per game.  When he doesn't they aren't very good.  From the GM down, just not that great but overrated and under tremendous pressure as one of the most prominent but least respected franchise properties of the NHL.

Is fighting a part of the game?  Well when you're getting sticks in the face without penalty, getting out-shot, out-hit, out-drawn, out-played and embarrassed, there is an old school maneuver begging to be undertaken.  FIGHT!  Clear the fucking bench.  Brawl.  Fighting has always been a strategic part of the game.  To shift the momentum, to bait specific players into losing their shit and taking bad penalties, to getting the fans involved, to just shaking things up when necessary.  What lay people don't get is 1.  the Fighting is mostly symbolic.  Fighting on skates takes tons of balance that takes most of the sting off punches.  Basketball players hit each other flatfooted.  Thus always a one punch knockout.  Hockey is more like two rams slamming it out.  They go 'til they're wiped out, then shrug off, leaving it for the herd to decide.  2.  Cheap shots lead to retaliation which leads to fights.  No other sport allows full force contact in an enclosed space with sticks.  If they did, there would be fighting. 3.  The refs notoriously suck and miss dirty plays so players take responsibility of policing themselves, but they aren't very responsible about it.  Each tries to get away with as much as possible and the game gets out of control.  When it does, it's wonderful! 

I could never imagine a team in the 70's (or 80's-90's for that matter) who would play like the Rangers did, take the kind of cheap shit shots they took, go down 3-0, then 4-0 and do NOTHING.

It is a pure embarrassment.

Gloves and pads should have been strewn all over that ice.  Five Rangers should have been in the penalty box.  The house should have been rocking and no one should have cared about the score at that point.  Instead the Rangers limped to the finish...for 40 minutes.  Torture for the fans.  Embarrassing to the franchise.  Empowering to the opponent.

I am not a great soccer coach but I am a pretty good coach in general.  I look to create (ball)players.  They don't have to be great.  I teach and preach heart, passion, pride, team spirit, self-respect, respect for the game and the dynamics of "sport."  You can learn the buzzwords from TV, absorbed by talking heads from post game pressers and old school clich├ęs.  But to truly understand, you need to feel it in the heat of battle, on the field, the ice, the court, the pitch.  They can go on to better, sport specific coaches after me, but they will have reverence for athletics, themselves, the game and know how to present themselves as winners wherever they go and whatever challenges they may face.  I may not make great players, but I use the tenets of team and sport to make solid young men.  That's what I can give.  I was mostly self-raised and self-taught.  I can only go so far teaching fundamentals, but I can raise spirits.  For that I'm proud and grateful.  I also have great mentors in dad coaches I know and see. 

So it seems unsportsmanlike to preach fighting I suppose.  IF you don't have 45 years of hockey lust.  It's a different animal.  The Rangers OWED it to the fans to put on a show last night.  At some point, giving it your all must include exhibiting some true passion and heart.  Down 4-0, a nifty fleeting pass play doesn't cut it.

"let 'em know you're there.  put a stick in his ribs and let 'em know you're there, bleed all over 'em and let 'em know you're there."

Fans paid upwards of five bills for a ticket and walked out early.  If the Rangers dropped the heartless euro pansy shtick and went to war with those high sticking douchebags and taken matters into their own hands, they might have lost six nothing or more and some would have taken early showers for game misconducts.  But NO ONE would have left and the talk would be much different today.  The Garden would have rocked.  The feeling would be different today. 

Losing in 5 isn't the worst thing.  Being branded "heartless" is.  No white board needed.  Here is the game plan:

I suggest the Rangers put on the foil on Saturday, go in there and win or lose, leave an indelible mark on Pittsburgh's face.  Forget the comeback miracle.  Go win your manhood back and make us proud. 



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Long Island....THINK BIG....or DIE!!

Call this a belligerent rant.  Call is a PSA.  Call it a cry from the suburban wilderness with an hour left to find firewood and shelter from another impending shit storm of economic decline.

"If you ain't first, yer last."   Ricky Bobby 

But to be serious, it's not about being first or last.  It's about being in the race.  It's about survival.  It's about competing in a modern world.  It's about (forgive my silly homily) a better life for our kids and grandkids.  We must grow.  If you're not growing, you're dying.  Economically, competitively, spiritually, physically.  Literally.

Sometimes I can give people and their 'leaders' the benefit of the doubt and assume good but misguided intentions.  Not today.  NOT T.O.D.A.Y.  Shit just got real....again.  As real as Wang threatening to pull the Islanders.  As real as the Nimby coward bitch whiny babies and nepotistic parasitic plebes that are running this place into the potato field dirt.

If you are voting Republican on Long island, you are a fucking moron. Want to discuss it? Call 1-800-URA-DICK. The sooner the rest get indicted, the better. Doesn't mean I like dems. They suck too, but way way way less.

Cuomo lays out a package (bogus as most political packages are in an election year, of course) that is exactly what is needed and the window for all that fed money is NOW NOW NOW!!  Use it or lose it.  Some other forward-thinking metro WILL GET IT instead of us, that's a FACT!!

Governor's Press Release

Repub immediate response: "the ideas are all non-starters, phleeebt, ...nyah nyah [braying like incompetent asses]." In fairness, Sens. Tom Croci (R, Sayville) and Phil Boyle (R, Bay Shore) seem to be honest injuns' and are expressing positive vibes for the anyone with a lick of sense and without a hidden agenda should.

LI Republican response. 
We lost the Islanders and a world class arena, businesses still heading for the exit, foreclosures still highest in the country, taxes highest in the country, job growth anemic and what remains is becoming service industry based w/ wages that don't sustain living here. Youth exodus, total brain drain. Wake up, Nimby assholes. Wake the fuck up!!!! 

Too many law degrees in the legislature(s), not an MBA in the house. Again,  if you're not growing, you're DYING. Sustainable GROWTH is life.  This isn't 1950. Everyone has the internet. Wall St is NOT LI's cash cow (well it still kind of is which tells you how behind the curve we are). I just met recently with some Nassau County mucky mucks (Deputy County Exec, the one NOT under indictment, Exec's lead counsel, big name judge, a few others) regarding their procurement fiasco and crimes.  Sat at the big table and gave suggestions on how to do things right when all they are looking for is ways to maintain the status quot and keep themselves out of the newspaper and jail cells.  For real.  They not only don't get it, they have no desire to get it.  They don't want to know.  They want the status quo...and they want it in the dark of their conference room, not in the light of exposure.
I swear they KNOW they do it wrong.  That does not bother them.  They need a consultant to advise how to continue to do it wrong but not have to hear about it from pesky journalists and prosecutors.

They are the most out of touch, arrogant, delusional fucktards I have ever met and I mean that in a nice way. It's not personal. It's systemic, intentional malfeasance and ineptitude. Greed, power, bullshit. Enjoy Rikers, dummies. I'm sending a gift basket to Preet Barara in thanks for locking up these jerkoffs....but they'll never do a minute in the tank.  They will put in for the phat pensions they protected even upon conviction with laws rubber stamped in wee hour legislative sessions.  That's bi-partisan, make no mistake.  Silver and Skelos can share a cell, no skin off my ass.  Cuomo is no hero.  He's probably the next up for indictment...which is why he's tossing out ambitious election year plans.

but that doesn't make the plans any less important...and NECESSARY.

Dems at least trying...

Nice to see Adam Haber Adam Haber in the mix.  Strange to vote for someone and actually see them doing something we discussed. 

That is all. arrrrgggghhhhhh.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

5/4/13 Sons of Misha: Depression in the Twitter Age.

Haven't blogged in a while.  No time.  Haven't done a lot of important things.  Too busy with other important things.  I see my blessings for the blessings they are these days and focus on them. Unfortunately history has shown I'm not really a very insightful judge of things that affect my own spirit.

Yesterday I found out my cousin Erin took her own life at 35 years old.  Erin and I didn't see each other or talk much but we had a certain connection and fondness for each other.  The primary connection was an affection and reverence for our uncle Misha.  Misha was a great, loving, honest caring guy.  Perfectly an uncle to me in that my father wasn't there and Misha had no kids and genuinely liked my brother and myself.   As a dysfunctionally raised, insecure kid, I wasn't sure anyone except my grandmother and Misha liked me.  Misha was that ONE adult in a position of influence who didn't say "you should do this or that" (actually he did say I should go to business school after helping him sell antique jewelry at flea markets on the weekends, but I didn't take that too seriously since I was like 8 or 9 years old, but I digress) or "don't do this or that."  He asked "what do YOU want to do?"  From a very real conversation I answered "I want to be a drummer, play drums."  He inquired quite matter-of-factly "are you any good?"  I replied "people tell me I'm really good.  I think I am."  He asked "then what do you need."  I said "drums."  He said "how much do they cost."  I said "about $1000 bucks."  He said "how much do you have?"  I said "about $280."  He said "meet me at Manny's at lunch time and we'll see what we can find.  So we did and I got my 1st real  kit, sacrificing decent cymbals to get a $350 maple snare that is pitted and rusty but sounds as good today as the day we got it, about 28 years ago.  I played those drums all over the country in snow and rain and I still have them.  They are a major part of my journey.

Misha was gay and could never ever come out of the closet.  The stigma to him was just too great and yet when I think back, like most families of gay men, most of us knew.  This kept him very lonely and despite his good nature and outward happiness, living a lie caused him great pain.  He died in one of the early years of "the virus" when it was still mostly a "gay men's" disease in NYC.  I say he pulled a "Freddie Mercury" in that he didn't tell almost anyone until just a few weeks before he died.  Not enough time to really say goodbye.

So how does this relate to the Facebooky Tweety culture in my pinball machine of a brain?  I found out about Erin's passing on Facebook.  That medium bothered some but didn't really bother me.  Her folks are isolated in Vegas and likely had no more practical manner to reach out to their own friends far away and particularly to Erin's friends who they likely didn't know.  Besides being in abject pain, they also were worn out from trying for years to love her through her troubles and save her.  Erin suffered from depression.  My family has a history of mental illness on both sides...maybe all three sides when parts of my wife's family are included, but then, I think it's in every family...overlooked, ignored, misdiagnosed, mistreated, over or under medicated.  In my history, it was ignored, squashed, buried, a cancer left to grow in the dark.  "We are as sick as our secrets" is a common 12 step slogan, and "our secrets grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure."

We often see people as we want to see them and I always thought Erin was so together.  Beautiful, smart, sensitive.  A fantasy cousin/sister I was thrilled to have.  From the side of the family most whacked out and yet most influential.  We were the Sons of Misha.  I could include Erin's aunts and my cousins Shari and Marilyn who were cut from similar cloth except possibly still of the previous generation and were the silk that sort of connected us and held us all tenuously together, even at great distances and time apart.

But that's just it.  This FB thing is a ruse.  We connect and reconnect with friends, family and strangers near and far, but it's very superficial.  Communications coming down to 2 lines of congratulations, or "cool picture" or "I love that song."  Lots and lots of "miss yous" and "we need to all get togethers" but it's easier to skip those phone calls when you just sent a 1 line comment.  Easy to never write a letter because...well who the hell writes letters anymore?!

I never knew or dreamed or imagined Erin had a depression/substance abuse problem.  I thought cigarettes were her biggest vice.  Man am I an idiot.  Being the poster boy in my family and my generation's representative of messed up'edness, least likely to succeedism, rock star burnout fantasy cum recovery and ultimately stable family happy ending guy, about 4 years ago I got a call from Shari telling me about Erin being in the hospital or an inpatient rehab (I can't recall but believe it was a near OD or maybe indirect suicide attempt) and asking if I could talk to her.  I was floored.  I had no clue.  I asked Shari for her number and said I will call her or she can reach out to me , knowing the latter would be unlikely due to stigma and shame (been there done that).  12th step calls are like unplanned pregnancy.  They just show up unannounced.  I called her from a Disney pool in Orlando that night.  We talked for 2 hours and I laid it all out for her.  My journey, some stuff (what little I knew) about our history (brilliant musical savant and full blown schizophrenic grandma Eda, Misha stories, my dad the pathological anti-realist, liar and screwup, my Mom and Stepdad the 12 step warriors and recovery professionals, whatever).  I tried to persuade her to go to meetings, stay in rehab, surrender, give herself a break.  All that jazz.  I believe in it.  I do.  I am Mr. Together now, but there were times I crawled with tears in my eyes into meetings in foreign cities because I was mentally and spiritually lost.  Sometimes those foreign cities were my home group, local, comfortable and yet I was still lost.  They propped me up.  Gave me a chance to heal.  To believe this too shall pass.  And everything does.  One way or another.

After that Erin was doing better (I believed).  I know she put some time clean together (over a year).  I didn't have the slightest clue about her level of depression.  And this is where it gets me.  All of our communications over the last 2 years were one line comments on Facebook.  Comments on my son's soccer picture or an old pic of me with one of a thousand punk hairdoos.  She had gotten a new job, I thought she found a guy she liked, stuff like that.  Always every 3rd or 4th message with a "we need to see each other soon."  Always.  This too has passed.

Social media is great.  It is a remarkable tool to connect and reconnect.  It does not and cannot replace a phone call or a visit.  It just can't.  The realization that it sort of prolongs the procrastination and feeds the illusion that we are "in touch" just causes me great pain today.  It's not a call or a letter, it's barely even a post card.  It's a passing wave in the hallway or a hello standing at the next urinal.  It's bullshit.  Great authors and artists have great books of letters to each other.  Historic letters.  The letters, on their own read as literature today.  They are portraits of time and emotion and life and love and pain.  In 100 years will someone reading back over our FB comments and Tweets find us as human?  Will our Tweets reflect any soul or depth?

Sure, I'm just venting because I'm angry that depression took another soul.  One I love and care about and deserved better.  And again, I didn't get to say goodbye.  My selfish self wants a hug.  I want her back.  I can fix this shit.  If only..........



Saturday, February 23, 2013

2/23/13 A Historic Moment in Women's Sports History that Women Don't Know About

2/23/13 A Historic Moment in Women's History that Women Don't Know About Is Tonight:

A watershed moment in feminism was the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.  The idea of a woman beating a man straight up was unheard of and Billie Jean made no bones about her desire to right that wrong and America watched and attitudes changed.  Tennis already had women competitors and it's own stature apart from the men's game.

Tonight women's history will be made in MMA. Yes, Mixed Martial Arts when 2 women, yes 2 women headline a main event in the UFC.  This should on the surface have even greater significance than that famed tennis match for a number of reasons.  First, it is women gaining the spotlight in a TOTALLY male dominated sport.  The women's game exists, but it is really in it's infancy.  Secondly, these two combatants have earned their stripes clawing up through the ranks of a brutal and sacrificial sport.  They are true warriors.  They won't be hitting a ball back and forth, they will be hitting each other.

Third, the back stories are just made for today's media hungry tabloid society.  "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey is a phenomenon, taking the game by storm, impressing everyone from the harshest sexist critic to the most open minded fight aficionado.  She is just that good.  She was an Olympic Judo Champion.  She also looks good.  She is cute and blond, has poise, swagger, has posed (with and without clothes) all over, hit the talk circuit and talked smack as well as humbly about her youth and upbringing as a fighter.  If you see her interviewed on TV you might think she is a surfer or cheerleader.  When you see her in the ring you might think she's Mike Tyson who breaks limbs....or Godzilla.  She is intimidating.  She is 6-0 in her MMA career, destroying every opponent inside 1 round with devastating arm bars...more than one that probably ended in surgical repair to her opponent.

Her foe (or prey if you're a betting person) for the big show,  Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche has her own bona fides in and out of the ring.  While not as model hotty as Rousey, she is openly and proudly the first gay fighter in MMA.  While only touting three years experience, she served 3 tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine.  She has risen through the ranks and after an unsuccessful start has made serious bones in the Invicta league.  She is a heavy underdog.  It may be that only a real Marine was tough and crazy enough to fight Rousey and the UFC knew it.  She has the fight in her.  The difficulty is Rousey has the fight and impeccable technique.  

The fight itself may be short but it will be great and explosive.  Blink and you'll miss it.  Likely Carmouche will just be the next chum in Rousey's shark tank.  Or she may take Rousey into water's she's never swam.  That's to be seen tonight.

It is however, already historic, not just for MMA, but for women.  Having a man vs woman exhibition tennis match is good.  Having two women headline potentially the biggest pay per view of the year in a completely male-centric sport is better.  This is a watershed moment.

Billie Jean King made women feel equal to men.  These two may seal the deal that women can potentially kick the living shit out of men!  How's that for equality?!

Oh yeah, some other guys are fighting, too.  Henderson-Machida should be a great match.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

2/14/13: Nassau Dems Reinventing the Square Wheel

2/14/13: Nassau Dems Reinventing the Square Wheel

Big news in today's paper is that Tom Suozzi has tossed his hatless head (hair too nice for a hat) into the ring for County Executive.  For those outside of Long Island and thus not as clear on hyper-mega layers of hack crony government and patronage, County Executive is sort of the Mayor or Governor of the county, in this case Nassau County, one of the earliest and richest models of suburbia and poster child of the suburban bedroom community lifestyle of a behemoth city like New York and for the rest of developing America.

Suozzi swore he was NOT interested in running, at least until he became interested, which publicly seemed to go from nay to yay in the span of a day and a half.  The problem is Suozzi was the previous Executive and while leading during a time of decent prosperity, he left a mountain of poo to clean up for the next guy, who couldn't clean poo with a haz mat crew and an Army Corps of Engineers escort.  Suozzi lost because the people wanted change.  That hasn't changed.   He ultimately got annihilated by Eliot Spitzer for the Governorship which Spitzer later got booted out of in shame for frequenting a call girl, a really hot and PR savvy call girl.  I won't go into Ed Mangano, current Executive because I am leaning Dem this time around and Mangano, aside from being Republican has run one of the lamest administrations I've ever seen.  Lots of smoke and mirrors, no substance.  Assessments?  Pretend to clean it up and pass it on to the schools.  Schools sue.  Now neighbors must fight to have their homes assessed as low as possible so their neighbor can pick up the difference in the tax "refund."  Sounds complicated.  You bet.  This is what they try to pass as "reform" around these parts.  This might help clarify...Cuomo caps taxes at 2%, we vote to approve school tax of 1.7%, actual tax burden goes up 11%.  Simple, no?  Middle class homeowner tries not to punch a wall.  Then losing the Islanders (with help of course), dragging his heels on Hub development and getting one-upped by Kate Murray's regime (edit: see "layers of hackery" above).

As for the Dems.  There is a new guy, Adam Haber.  Seems nice enough.  True outsider.  Big money made trading commodities, then got out, bought some commercial RE and a few restaurants.  A boy done good story.  The other candidates are extremely usual suspects.  Suozzi, with Nassau Dem czar Jay Jacobs working his corner like Freddie Roach on steroids and Red Bull and Jon Kaiman, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor (edit note: again see "layers of hackery" above to explain why we have a Town of Hempstead, Town of North Hempstead, Village of Hempstead each with their own bureaucracies [and legal teams] all within the limits of Nassau County) who seems to be "tight" with the Governor and may be being groomed for one position or another. 

So effectively, there is the lifer whose family is the Rocafellers/Tammany Hall of Glen Cove and has been there and done that to and for the County and sees the job as a political "comeback," the other a long timer with phat Albany connections..........and the new guy.

What is interesting is that Suozzi has $1.2mill in his coffers from his last campaign.  Haber should be a non-entity but has infused his own campaign with $2mill which is driving the Nassau Dem establishment batshit crazy.  They are trying to posit Haber as some Romney-esque character who is out of touch because he has money.  As Jacobs admonished in his limp attempt to justify patronage jobs and Suozzi raises to self and friend's "we can't ALL be millionaires."  The thing is Haber is fairly left center leaning and in his one public stint on the Roslyn school board has proven a penchant for bringing business principles (refinanced debt to save a good chunk 'o change) and an ability to compromise which is key in an area where power is so diluted.  Even having an understanding of the art of compromise is a boon to progress as the extremists dictate the agenda these days.  He appears to be a lot more like Obama than Romney and Jacobs may be shooting himself in the foot by attacking Haber for making a few legitimate sheckles.  His story is very familiar to most middle class Long Islanders (aside from the army of union and civil service employees and their robotic voting blocs) and most would begrudgingly admire that he's using his money to open eateries, hang out with his kids and run for the school board.  It will make these guys mental that they've got a "Romney" on their hands who is actually a liberal, hasn't sent jobs to China, is acting locally with his own dough and for all we know, his dog rides INSIDE the car!  Haber says he's in it to stay and came out swinging (albeit timidly) against the establishment and Suozzi machine but even that gives me pause to reflect.  He seems to 'get' diplomacy.  I hope he can maintain it when they start the personal attacks....and they will.  Hard.

So for now, I feel good about this guy Adam Haber.  I requested/suggested he put more talking points out there as opposed to his "Nassau Suggestion Box" website which is a nice, PC idea but a bit pandering and not likely to do much besides rile up the kooks that were kicked out of other local forums like Patch and City Data.  Still, I like the cut of his jib and feel he is coming from an independent, pragmatic spirit.  He understands the need for business growth but is sensitive to services.  He claims in Roslyn he helped forge win-win-win solutions for the taxpayers, the teachers and the district.  If he can back it up, that appeals to me.  We need ALOT more of that.  I dig pragmatism over platitudes. 

So here we go.  When it comes to local politics, it's not the Nassau Coliseum but the Roman Coliseum, only less cordial.  The attack ads will start soon.  The river of money will flow into the sewers.  The homilies on jobs and taxes and education will be nothing new, but at least there is a new face with some interesting ideas and the cash and smarts to go the distance.  This could be interesting.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

1/31/13: Those In The Middle of the Road Get Run Over

1/31/13: Those In The Middle of the Road Get Run Over

It is hard to be truly independent and a natural socio-moderate in this time of libs vs cons talking head pundit as rock star news media.  To see both or even all three sides of an argument.  To strive to understand both sides, empathize or sympathize or whatever.  Sometimes it's a Gemini thing.  Some have accused me of cognitive dissonance.  I think, like Howard Stern, I'm just born to be a judge, but without the institutional trappings of a courtroom.  Are you on the left?  Are you on the right?  "I'm middle of the road."  People in the middle of the road get run over! 

The latest trend in American socio-politics is the massive division in popular opinions on so many issues. It is doubtful that policy has ever been dictated and led so much by the extremes.  Even when polling reveals a popular majority opinion it is difficult to reflect that in policy.  Or amend it. 

It seems to be much easier to make laws than to change them.  Currently there are intense battles about gun control, drugs, tax policy, defense, climate change and these do not even have religious underpinnings like abortion, the mother of all divisive topics.

Unfortunately, when it's not being made behind closed doors for political gamesmanship, policy is made in knee jerk political responses to catastrophic events.  Probably the worst time to legislate anything.  The 2nd amendment was framed by a war for independence and efforts to remove a tyrannical government.  It has been tempered slightly (you can't blow up trees in your backyard with a cannon) over time, each time based on a Columbine or Newton, CT type atrocity.   

Drug law has changed each time a "new" drug epidemic took hold or worse, exited the ghetto and reached main street.  We know prohibition failed and yet that is the basis for all of our efforts to control drugs.  If there is demand, prohibition will fail.  All of the secondary symptoms are caused by that prohibition.  There will always be a way around it because prohibition creates rivers of money and money is like a liquid that will find the path of least resistance or create it's own.  Who imagined competition between the Cartels and Big Pharma for the veins and brains of America?  Unlikely bedfellows if ever there were.  Then there are the States actively legalizing or decriminalizing.  And yet the "war on drugs" limps along.  It took 30 years of suffering and pain to end the Rocafeller Law in NYS.  Years of failure, suffering and wasted money. 

On tax policy one team believes with all their heart that giving more to the top will create a fountainesque cascade of wealth to all.  The other team believes spreading the wealth amongst everyone creates a better benefit.  Both sides are correct.  Government IS too big and DOES waste too much money without enough oversight.  But government DID bring us out of the depression with work programs, infrastructure projects, mortgage assistance and the GI Bill.  That DID happen and it WORKED.  Our greatest generation actually had a lot of help.  2 sides to every story or just more Magoo cognitive dissonance.  Is "balanced approach" a Gemini thing or is it just a rational idea?   

We create policy and legislature in these knee jerk political cirises and wonder why they don't work and yet even in the face of failure, we cannot change them.  We enter into wars and regime changing on a whim and it takes decades to extract ourselves.

We need to be more tactile as a nation.  We offer billions in aid to other countries but have protracted battles over offering a fraction of that to our own people in times of disaster.  We need to be able to look at laws objectively and practically and audit them against a more current landscape.  We have a judicial branch for this.  They need not be lifetime appointments.  That has created a clear politcal motive by parties to seat the "right" candidate to affect the bench.  The bench should reflect the Nation, not the party in power.  That is why they are a separate branch of government.

Decent businesses have policy documents.  They are sets of laws, rules, processes and procedures for how to manage the business, grow and prosper.  These policies are reviewed EVERY YEAR.   

Our laws and policies should be reviewed and updated with the same consistency and intent of purpose.  To utilize the best STRATEGIC initiative to do what's best for the PEOPLE of the US of A, now and for the future.

To Congress, instead of blowing past each other on the left and right, stop and shake hands in the middle of the road.  Find some common ground and get to work. 

It's as easy as this!    


Monday, January 28, 2013

1/28/13: MMA. Legalize It, Yeah. Don't Criticize It!

1/28/13: Legalize It, Yeah.  Don't Criticize It!


Not that, you friggin burnouts! 

MMA in New York. 

The fastest growing sport in the world, now on network TV and raking in the highest pay per view numbers in sports history is illegal in ONE place.  No, not North Korea.  New York.

There are more blame theories floating around, from old school boxing purism with it's deep rooted corruption, to the "unions vs. UFC" chatter, to Assemblyman Bob Reilly preaching the outdated John McCain mantra of "human cockfighting" and making it his signature issue in the Legislature all these years.

Note the impetus for this was a 1997 law that made "no holds barred fighting" illegal.  MMA wasn't then and certainly isn't now "no holds barred" fighting.  Admittedly there were mismatches, unclear weight classes, multiple sets of rules, no unified governing body and less wide acceptance.  Today things are much different.  It is highly sanctioned, has clear rules that are beginning to become standard, solid safety records,  acceptance from local and State governing authorities and most tellingly, legalization in 49 states and major network TV coverage.

Fortunately the tide is beginning to turn.  Thanks to advocates like the Coalition to Legalize MMA in New York ( and the deep pockets of the UFC, the movement is starting to gain traction in the right direction.  Some bright spots in the recent timeline include:

1.  Assemblyman Reilly retired this year.
2.  UFC and friends filed suit to lift the ban.
3.  NY needs and wants the money and Governor Cuomo is receptive to and even an advocate of casinos and sports based entertainment primarily to keep those revenues in New York as opposed to NJ or Connecticut. 
4.  Massive local growth of the popularity of the sport and training facilities.
5.  Madison Square Garden is seen as the potential crown jewel for the UFC.
6.  No discernable star power in the current heavyweight boxing ranks that can command top box office and pay per view draws. 
7.  Court has ruled that the ban ONLY applies to "professional" MMA and not amateur.

#7 has created a ripple effect as amateur promotions grow in number.  While they have the legal blessing of the court, they are shunned by athletic commissions and most recently in a scathing and landmark letter from the Association of Boxing Commisions (ABC) to the Governor and State Senate blasting them for allowing unsanctioned and unregulated events while outlawing professional promotions.  Their main concern being medically unfit fighters who fail to be cleared to fight in other state's sanctioned events can then fight in unregulated NY events.

Headwinds are staring to form among the legislators that favor lifting the ban and allowing combat sport's natural progression and continued mainstream acceptance. 

Hopefully, the sport can maintain it's integrity, sportsmanship and warrior spirit in the face of continued expansion and growth. 

It is many a New Yok MMA fans dream to see a top headline event at Madison Square Garden, the most legendary fight venue in history.

Note:  Great information for this post was respectfully lifted (looted, stolen) from articles on NYMMA Now's blog.  Go there for more information and special shout out thanks to Stephen Koepfer for all of his efforts to bring legalized MMA to NY.