18 February 2009

What Do Bristol Palin and Alex Fraudriguez Have In Common?

It's no secret that A-Fraud is number one on my list of phony athletes. He occupied that position long before the steroids scandal came down. But, his press conference held at the Yankees spring training yesterday took it to a new level of ridiculousness. Many things that he said made me want to puke, but his sudden desire to be an "advocate" was particularly puke worthy in my opinion.

Yesterday on foxnews.com (you know, the fair and biased channel :-), I saw pieces of an interview with Bristol Palin. Bristol, the 18 year old daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, recently had a baby out of wedlock. There's nothing unusual about that, and, to be honest, the interview was filled with softball question after softball question, but something Bristol said did catch my attention. That is, two months after having the baby, she has declared that she now wants to be an "advocate" for teaching kids it's not wise to have children so early. I found it puke worthy. 

Alex Rodriguez was outed last week, and even though he didn't answer the question when asked, he never would have come out and admitted to steroid usage otherwise. In other words, it wasn't that big of an issue to him just two weeks ago. Two weeks ago he didn't care that teenagers were using steroids. Two weeks ago he didn't care about the long-term health effects of steroids. Two weeks ago he didn't care about being a role model. Two weeks ago he was "stupid" and "naive" (his words). But today, since he was outed, we are to believe he passionately feels that teenagers shouldn't use steroids, that information is disseminated regarding steroid related health issues, that he becomes a great role model, and that overnight he now is filled with wisdom and is knowledgeable about the ways of the world? I don't think so A-Fraud. Let's see you stay clean (as evidenced by a self-imposed, regular blood testing scheme administered by a third party outside of baseball) for the next 10 years, renounce your MVP awards, suggest an asterisk be put beside all future records, and then I'm willing to listen to you as an "advocate." And, by the way A-Fraud, regardless of what you said in your presser, I'm relatively certain God didn't allow this happen to put you in a position of advocacy...I'm pretty certain you did this to yourself.

Bristol Palin, in her interview, was asked and talked ad nauseum about the level of family support she is receiving in raising her child. Her mother, father, sister, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, and aunts are all participating in caring for her child. This allows her to continue her schooling (she graduates high school in May). Her future plans still include attending college, a career, marrying her boyfriend and father of her child, and ten years down the road having another child. Now, I really do like Bristol Palin (as I tend to have a soft spot in my heart for teen mothers that realize their mistakes) and I am very happy for her and her child that she has such a great support group. But, Bristol does not in any way resemble the poster child for teen pregnancy as she will face virtually none of the issues the average teen mother faces. Like Alex, ten years from now, when you've accomplished some of your plans, and overcome a few obstacles that you might face, I'm willing to listen to you as an "advocate." But right now, the only thing most teens are going to see you advocating is having a child  (because mommy and daddy will obviously help support it), going on tv and becoming a celebrity, and how your life has had no real negative effects from your mistake. Not buying it.

Can we please lay off the advocacy for a bit? We're seeing right through this whole PR bit (especially you A-Fraud!). 

One last thing...I may have one last A-Fraud blog in me before I'm through. There's another aspect of his ESPN confessional interview that I'd like to cover. :-)

10 February 2009

Thoughts on A-Fraud Rodriguez

He's finally been caught. Raise your hands if you are surprised! Didn't think so.

There's no question Alex Rodriguez is one of, if not the most, talented people in all baseball. Why he felt he needed (or needs) steroids is beyond me. I know he said he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders when he signed his record deal with the Texas Rangers, but I'm not buying it. If we are to believe A-Fraud, and we shouldn't based on his past denials of using steroids, he would have us believe that it is all explained by being "young, stupid, and naive." I think the real answer is embedded in other statements he has made in his admission of guilt...he is extremely image conscience and wants to be viewed as the best in the world. Well, Alex, did you ever stop and think as you were signing your 10 year $250 million contract..."hey, I must already be viewed as the best in the world if I was offered this contract?" Or, did the Baseball Antichrist (agent, Scott Boras) have you believing he was the only reason you got that contract?

Regardless, my major problems lie in other statements made in his confessional. He stated, "So I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas. And there's absolutely no excuse, and I really feel bad about it." Listen, dude, the Texas fans are sorry for the Texas years too. We accept your apology for using steroids, but I would like to throw out a few more things we would like apologies for:
* No community involvement while here. OUR PURCHASING OF TICKETS AND MERCHANDISE PAID YOUR SALARY, DUDE! Could you have at least kissed a few local babies and done something for the community? Apparently not, all your charity work went back to your beloved Miami. Fine...but, you made ZERO effort in our community.
* Losing. This one isn't all your fault, but a lot of it is. By all accounts you were elitist and stand-offish in the clubhouse. No amount of testosterone injections can solve that problem.
* Your arrogant attitude.
* Your deragotory comments about the players left behind after your fortuitous trade to the Yankees.
* Using the Baseball Antichrist as your agent
* BREAKING THE LAW. Steroids are illegal.

So, A-Fraud joins the long line of baseball superstars busted for illegal steroid usage. In an era where everyone and every record must be scrutinized, A-Fraud really shouldn't stick out. But, for my money, I'll make him the posterboy for everything that is wrong with baseball today.

For accuracy of my quoting A-Fraud, here is the reference: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3895281

04 February 2009

Thoughts on Military Usage of Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, etc.) tend to have one thing in common: networking. From that aspect, it seems a perfect fit for the military intelligence community to utilize these tools as well. After all, the intelligence community is spread out across the world, large in numbers, may cover various military branches, and in need of methods of rapid information dissemination. This makes them perfect candidates for utilization of Web 2.0 tools save for one major issue: security.

There is an element of danger that accompanies the usage of these tools and it is magnified in the intelligence community. For instance, wikis are notoriously bad for providing misinformation because of the nature of how they are editable (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/26/wiki). While it may have little impact that an 8th grader utilizes mininformation about Nolan Ryan gathered from Wikipedia.org in a report, mininformation in the intelligence community could have fatal ramifications. Information without verification is always dangerous and Web 2.0 tools only serve to speed the dissemination of mis-information (when present).

In addition, security concerns must abound over the usage of such tools in the intelligence community. For instance, it could be difficult to control who does/does not have write access to a military wiki, who has security clearance to see informaiton, and how much verification is required before others can act on information. Keeping others from hacking the information is also of great importance and cannot be overlooked.

Regardless of the detractors, the benefits of rapid information sharing and dissemination likely override the concerns and these tools play an important role in keeping the American populace somewhat safe.