Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Post The Candidates

The Libertarian National Committee is struggling with an issue right now, and I just don't get it. The issue? Should the LNC list all of the candidates for President on its website or not? Here are reasons the LNC lists for not listing all:

Examples of reasons not to list presidential candidates:

  • To screen out candidates who are not dedicated to advancing our libertarian agenda, or who actually oppose it.
  • To exclude individuals who appear to be disingenuously using the LP.
  • To disqualify candidates who are running for the nomination of more than one party.
  • To avoid publicizing candidates whose presentation is viewed by most Libertarians as embarrassing or inappropriate for a presidential candidate and who could reflect badly on the party.
I was a bit startled by this. The latter point is exactly what some Ds & Rs say about any Libertarian or 3rd party candidates, if substituting 'voters' for 'Libertarians', and 'country' (or 'city', 'state', etc.) for 'party'.

In my opinion, these things are up to the delegates to decide.

Just to see what others do, I looked at the RNC website. (I didn't bother looking at the DNC, because we all know President Obama is running for re-election.) But the Republicans do not list any of the presidential candidates. My guess? It's probably because of Ron Paul, whom they don't want to give equal space to. I'm going to further guess that some LNC members feel the same way about some of its' candidates.

In the online poll, only 8% of members thought that none of the candidates should be listed. The greatest response (23%) said to list them all without qualification.

That was my first reaction. After all, the purpose of a political party is to elect people to office. Why hide the candidates under a bushel basket?

Beyond that, the LNC's website already lists presidential candidates! There's a fat disclaimer there from the LNC, so what's the problem?

Having looked at the websites of the seven candidates posted, I didn't see anything crazy or alarming. So, I'd love some disclosure from the LNC. Just what is it that has generated such worry? And, don't you have bigger things to focus on?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Owen Nolan To Retire

Owen Nolan, my favorite hockey player of any I ever got to see live, is retiring today. From the San Jose Sharks website:
The San Jose Sharks will hold a press conference on Tuesday, February 7, at which point Owen Nolan will make an announcement regarding the future of his hockey career.
That means he's retiring. He doesn't make an announcement with a team he hasn't played for since 2003 unless he's coming back. And, since he hasn't played this season, he's retiring.

Nolan was the first round pick of Quebec in 1990, #1 overall. Ahead of Jaromir Jagr and Martin Bordeur. He never had Jagr's skill, but Jagr never had Nolan's heart or drive. As a 38-year-old, Nolan fought one of the NHL's top heavyweights in Colton Orr. Anything to win.

My favorite Nolan moments were his all-star game 'called shot' over Dominic Hasek. Nolan calls upper right, hits upper right, and gets a hat trick in front of his home fans in San Jose:

His playoff goal from center ice against St. Louis, was the game winner- propelling #8 seed San Jose over the #1 seed Blues.

I remember a discussion I had once with a baseball writer, on the subject of Ted Williams' brag about hitting a baseball being the hardest thing in sports to do. I countered that a great baseball player gets a hit 30% of the time, while a great hockey player scores a goal 20% of the time.

Discussion continued until I pointed out that the baseball player knows when his chances are coming. He steps into the box, he sees the pitcher wind up. Here comes the ball. Swing or don't. The hockey player never knows when his chances are coming. When the chance comes, he's going to have opponents hitting him with their shoulders, gloved hands, and sticks. The baseball player can hit into a huge field. The hockey player hits into net 4' x 6', with a man standing there who's sole job is to make sure he stops you. An average NHL goalie stops 90% of the shots he faces.

And, I would have loved to see Ted Williams do the equivalent of a tip-in goal. Imagine Williams standing in the batter's box with someone blasting his lower back with a stick, while a 90-mph slapshot comes at him, he re-directs the puck behind him into a target he cannot see, past a man whose sole job is to stop the puck. Nolan was good at that.

When I started playing hockey at the young age of 28, I modeled my game after Nolan's. All I lacked was the skill and size. I could give you stoopid toughness. I came to understand in a big hurry why players like him don't usually last too long- and I was just playing recreational hockey. But he made it through 18 NHL seasons, played 1,200 games, and scored 422 goals (71st all-time), 1,793 penalty minutes. You get 5 minutes for a fight.

Total package of skill and toughness, a rare thing in the NHL anymore. I got to see him play in Columbus three times in Sharks games against the Blue Jackets, and it was a singular thrill. I did wear my #11 jersey to those games. Sorry to see his career at an end, but enjoyed the heck out it along the way. Best of luck in the future, Owen Nolan!

Monday, February 06, 2012

What About The Game?

I actually did watch the entire Super Bowl game this time, having been invited to a party where there were kids mine could play with. A very good time.

The game itself was perhaps the most mediocre Super Bowl game I had ever watched. It was just like most NBA games, where you can skip the first 58 minutes of game time, and see everything you really need to see at the end.

I mean, the most interesting play was where Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw had to decide, "Should I score or shouldn't I?"

If you didn't watch the game and just looked at the box score, you would have thought that this might have been a wide open game, with MVP Eli Manning throwing for 296 yards, and Tom Brady for 276. But, according to ESPN's game report, MVP Eli Manning threw 80 percent of his passes fewer than 15 yards downfield. Tom Brady only threw 5 balls deeper than 20 yards, and most of those were on the last drive, including a Hail Mary. I was noting this during the game. It was hard to miss. The game featured plodding, unspectacular runs up the middle, and checkdowns and quick hitters on three yard curl patterns.

Very little happened that showcased the skill and athleticism of the players- with the exception of Giants punter Steve Weatherford, who had three kicks inside the Patriots' 10. I thought he should have been the MVP. I know the NFL would never dream of doing such a thing, so the QB of the winning team wins the award for lack of any better options.

This has been a long developing trend in the NFL, and sadly so. I love wide open, daring football. As a kid in the 70s, I was first a fan of the Oakland Raiders, and then the Seattle Seahawks, who would throw passes from field goal formation. I wore my Steve Largent jersey yesterday, and because I had to explain being a fan of the inventive Seahawks, we were all aware that nothing inventive was happening. The teams of yore took chances, spread the field with long throws, and were very exciting to watch. Football today has focused so squarely on eliminating turnovers that it doesn't allow QBs to stretch the field so much any more. The days of great QBs with 25 or so interceptions (Stabler, Fouts, Hart) is long gone. So is the excitement. Instead, the game calls are safe and predictable, where it's better to get stopped short on 3rd down and punt than to risk an interception 25 yards downfield.

It makes good sense, but it's boring. So, in retrospect, I wish the Saints or Packers got in on the NFC side, and... well, I don't know who plays exciting football in the AFC anymore. I'm at a loss.