College sports and the NCAA

Today the NLRB regional director ruled that college athletes at Northwestern could organize into a union to pursue a cut of the money that is college sports. Understandably, the NCAA is unhappy . . . . because those big paychecks they get are in jeopardy. For far too long college sports have been, in part, a farm club for all but baseball, and a plantation system to gaining riches on the backs of the athletes.

Think about it . . . . a student takes any sort of reward and that student is punished with the loss of position and/or scholarship. But the NCAA and the school reap untold profits in what would be, in the business world, a monopoly. And the students, if they want to play have to go along – they even have no rights to their own image ever again for their college years.

The coach at Northwestern defended the system by pointing out they care about the athlete as a student and want them to graduate. But if a student on scholarship gets cut from the team, they lose that scholarship. If the coach doesn’t deliver a winning team, he loses his job. The program is not about graduating students, it’s about attracting the best players and having a winning program to make as much money as possible.

The NCAA has a basic conflict of interest. It’s suppose to be the regulatory body of sports, but they are making a ton of money by selling the media rights to games. Their interest has become maintain the cash cow, not do what is best for the athletes. The NCAA works hand in glove with schools to maintain this system.

And to put a fine point on it, the prime tool the NCAA has to punish schools is limiting the number of scholarships a school is allowed. Too few scholarships and a school can’t attract good players, the school doesn’t make the money the subsidize the school and the coach and the athletic director will need to fine new jobs. It’s about the money thru and thru.

It’s time this system ended and schools organized their own business functions like pro sports do, the NCAA goes back to being an honest broker and the athletes get a cut of the money that they generate for the school along with having endorsement deals. 

Cancer and Faith

Cancer is merely the aberrant creation of cells in the body that are inimical to a person’s continued existence. Although there are many different typings of cancer, it is this aberrant creation that defines cancer at it’s base. Sources are many and varied with both naturally and artificially sources. Unprocessed fruits, vegetables and other food sources both unprocessed and processed. There is also artificially occurring sources such as man-made toxic elements. Awareness of susceptibility and understanding of causes are key along with moderation where appropriate.

Nothing “gives” you cancer, it happens because we are human and susceptible to dying one way or another

As we all get older, it’s what some face already and others will face soon enough. For some it is their faith in science that will carry them thru. For others it will be their faith in God. Never deprive someone of something they need or make fun of when they are hurting, so share your faith regardless what type it is. All we really have is each other.

Cancer is a fact of life and not something be afraid of – you can’t prevent it but you can deal with it with dignity and courage so those around you are not as scared. I have been living a death sentence since I was 17 and was drenched in pesticide for three days. I face cancer of some kind and a horrible death, but I have quit letting it scare me.

Russian Government say sanctions would boomerang

It is not the Russian government we are in a fight with, it’s Vladimir Putin and he has a power base of oligarchs that keep him in power. So why make the Russian people suffer? Putin has made it clear the Russian citizens have no power and he is trying to reduce what power and ability they have. Make the people that keep Putin in power suffer – freeze their funds, don’t issue those people visas, quit doing business with all but the oil and gas companies.

Will Russia (Putin) retaliate? Oh yeah, you bet. But his choices will be limited because there is not so much traffic going the other way. Anything beyond tit-for-tat will cause Putin trouble with his biggest ally – China – who wants stable markets and calm waters to invest in. If Russia becomes a closed market, the Chinese will go someplace else. The Chinese cannot be too happy and what Putin is doing to their multi-megamillions investments in the Ukraine

“Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned the United States against “hasty and reckless steps” that would damage relations between Russia and the U.S”

I fully agree with Minister Lavrov, make the steps thought out, but don’t take forever. Russia has left itself open not open with this statement, but allowing Multi-national peacekeepers to keep the two sides apart in the WHOLE of the country just like the Balkans in the 90’s. The precedent is there.

In diplomacy the rule is be careful about creating precedents. The US and Western Europe made a mistake by supporting and recognizing Kosovo as an independent nation. They then had Russia throw that in their faces when supporting the breakaway regions of Georgia. So now I warn Russia, be careful, you are creating a new precedent that will come back to haunt you.

So freeze visas and funds of oligarchs, let them stay home. Get peacekeepers in place and pursue diplomacy. 

Russia doesn’t need or want a a bunch of radicalized Ukrainians, that can’t be distinguished from Russians, sitting that close to Russia. Piss those people off enough and they won’t care if they blowup all the pipelines that Russia depends on to get gas and oil to the west. All that Russia is today is the money from those pipelines. The Chinese would suffer, too, being an ally of Russia in terms of lost investment and people trashing that investment.

 

Realistically, Russia has a strong claim to the Crimea as Russian territory, but they don’t to the rest of the Ukraine. So they take the Crimea and offer reparations for Ukrainian government and military facilities and agree not to interfere in the rest of the Ukraine and to work with the international community stabilizing the country. Russia is at the point of radically diminishing returns if they don’t find a way out. It won’t be about face saving, it will be about power saving for Putin.

Russia and the Crimea

There is talk of giving Russia a “face saving” way to get out of the Ukraine crisis. I don’t think Russia cares about saving face so much as maintaining power. For Putin to come away with the Crimea would undercut his prestige and lead to a loss of power for himself and those on his coattail.

The Crimea was part of Russia till Kruschev ceded control to the Ukraine in 1954. Without the ports on the Black Sea, for Russia to have a Mediterranean naval squadron (based at Tartas, Syria) ships would either have to sail from Murmansk on the Arctic Circle, or from Vladiostok on the North Pacific. So the Crimea is both a nationalistic and strategic issue for Russia and maintaining control is what it is all about. The rest of eastern and southern Ukraine could be a bargaining chip to throw away to keep the Crimea.

Russia had probably hoped that pro-Ukrainian people would rise up and start trouble with pro-Russian Ukrainians so Russia could send it “peacekeepers”, but that didn’t happen. The only violence was cause by the pro-Russian population.

Secure the Crimea by the annexation after the Crimean parliament votes to secede and join Russia, then dial down the supplies of gas and oil to Western Europe to get them to sign off. Then toss Western Europe and the pro-western government southern and eastern Ukraine so those two entities SAVE FACE

Russia has never been in any position to lose anything upfront, face, power or territory. In the short-term they hold all the cards. But in the long-run they have re-energized the reason for NATO’s existence and why eastern European countries would want to join. It shows Western Europe they need to back away from cozying up to Russia who just wants to eat their lunch. It re-affirms the bond that was fraying between the US and Western Europe. Russia, in fell swoop, has cured the malaise that has haunted Europe for 20 years. Sometimes you don’t need to create an enemy, sometimes someone will do it for you and create a moral high ground that can’t be overcome by rhetoric and propaganda.

Russia, in it’s totalitarian way, has said, “we’re back”. The Russian people may want to consider what “back” means. Ice Ages come and go and so does it seem that Cold Wars do, too.