Neurotic Man and the NFL

As everyone who knows anything about Neurotic Man my dislike for the NFL should come as no surprise.  All those bodies smashing against each other.  And not your normal bodies.  But huge, powerful ones.  What I would think of as a big person is a shrimp in that crowd. Don’t forget that sweat, that body odors river of sweat.

That I accidentally am on the same side as the Donald is of great surprise to me.  That it appears that the Donald’s position, hokie to no end, is making progress , is also of great surprise.  So I delved a little deeper and then I realized the NFL was getting it from all sides.  Of course there are those like Trump that give lip service but no great support to the first amendment. Then there are those who are struggling and are hurt by the player’s salaries or especially the bucks the owners rake in. There are those that are strongly against some player’s brains being turned into a runny omelet.  There are those that just have tired of a day devoted to them.  And more and more that have grown tired of the game.

One thing about the Donald – at times he’s able to pick his battles wisely.  Too bad these times are very rare.

“Throughout these last two weeks of the NFL anthem wars, Donald Trump’s gift for telling people who do not answer to him what to do has been on majestic display. Players who kneel during the anthem? Fire or suspend! Football fans? Should boycott games! NFL administrators? Need to tell players to stand! Must change policy! It’s all proof, once again, that there’s no problem this man cannot fix, so long as he has no responsibility for its resolution.

The bad news: it might be working. Look at the data and there’s reason to think the Great Extra-Jurisdictional Delegator’s message is getting through, at least indirectly. Far fewer players kneeled during the national anthem last weekend than was the case the week before – a fact Donald Trump Jr was quick to puff about on Sunday night. Gesturally, among the players themselves, there’s also been a splintering away from Colin Kaepernick’s motion of a dropped knee with head bowed. Protest gestures are now more hedged, more inscrutable. Last weekend we saw players kneeling with hand on heart, kneeling with no hand on heart, kneeling while raising a fist, standing while raising a fist, kneeling before the anthem but standing during it. The simple power of Kaepernick’s original protest is becoming diluted.

The way administrators and team owners handle the messaging around the controversy is also changing. The on-field protests themselves are now so diverse and elaborate in form they come with their own heraldic social media explainers, in which teams advertise love of country and respect for the military as eagerly as they defend the players’ legitimate exercise of their First Amendment right to draw attention to racial injustice. It’s debatable whether these explainers add necessary nuance to the debate – if we can call it that – or represent a capitulation to presidential bullying, but it seems unlikely NFL franchises would have been spooked into such a muddled defense of free speech without Trump’s bullhorn intervention on the issue. What should be a straightforward exercise in constitutional education has turned, bizarrely, into a pageant of military allegiance.”  https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/oct/04/nfl-protests-donald-trump

Neurotic Man

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News

In this column I write about the news five times a week, one other for Neurotic Man and I’m closed on Sunday and have a special column for that.  Today is one of those five news days.  But I’m grief stricken because of Las Vegas and I don’t want to mourn as much as scream.  Unlimited gun rights – such bullshit.

“After the Las Vegas massacre, we’re told we cannot talk about politics. At times of public mourning, we must maintain some dignity that is otherwise entirely absent from our politics: we must pray, reflect on the nature of evil, but never debate what to do next.

Because what we’ll do next is mourn the next mass murder in the United States.

There is a strange exclusion zone around white gun violence by second amendment fanatics. Mass murder by Muslims (or foreigners who may have come from majority Muslim countries) is not subject to the same kind of hushed grieving. Gang warfare in Chicago receives no such respect.

And to be clear, a white liberal gunman – as Stephen Paddock was initially rumored to be, at least by some on the far right – would prompt no outpourings of concern about human nature and the need for national unity.

At this time, we must suspend our sense of moral outrage, our deep concern for public safety, and frankly our incredulity when we hear this White House respond to a gun rampage that left hundreds wounded and at least 59 dead.

“Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence and although we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today and always will forever,” said Donald J Trump in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Monday.”  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/03/mourn-las-vegas-shooting-gun-control

News

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Trump’s Cup of Gold

When one is facing hunger and pestilence and mold and dehydration Trump’s cup of gold is not high on the list of priorities.  And when you can’t sell the cup for very much as it is fake gold the tragedy deepens.  Is it possible to be worse than the level of callousness such an act brings?  And the signal such an act denotes?  When one’s life is brimming with despair and all you do to alleviate the pain reminds you of the desperate situation you are in, symbolism can be good or it can be very dangerous.  When it is presented with love and concern one can see the possibility of good in the midst of such bad.  Or the insensitivity can be a slap across the face while you slowly dog-paddle to shore.

Trump’s Cup

“Trump attended a golfing event Sunday. And just in case anyone was going to go after him for not paying attention to the disaster, he attempted to pre-empt the criticism: He dedicated the trophy to the victims of the storm.

“On behalf of all the people in Texas and all of the people of ― if you look today and you see what’s happening, how horrible it is, but we have it under really great control ― Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida who have suffered over this last short period of time with the hurricanes. I want to just remember them,” Trump said.

“And we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much that we love, a part of our great state, really a part of our great nation,” he added, before pivoting to talking about golf. “And I’ll tell you what ― I’ve been watching this thing from the beginning. And I have to say, our Team USA, wow, did you play well.”

Trump made his remarks at the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, New Jersey. Trump’s attempt to appear engaged by giving a shout-out to the storm victims made the optics of the whole situation even worse.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-dedicates-golf-trophy-to-hurricane-victims_us_59d16811e4b05f005d3509cc?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

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Pulpdiddys Permutations on Sunday

For quite some time at Pulpdiddys Permutations I have had a Sunday column in which I explain why I no longer write a regular column on Sunday and instead use this explanation column and take the day off.  I’ve tweaked this Pulpdiddys Permutations column that appears on Sunday from time to time but the story remains the same – I take the day off.  I have taken to use this Sunday space so that it is a little bit about me and a lot about what I am trying to do with the blog.  It has become apparent to me that the roots for the blog come from three things.  First of all, I love to write.  I enjoy the process and especially how attempting to communicate with others forces my thought process to focus in a way that not having the writing would not cause.  Secondly, I have been fascinated with how we interact with each other from an early age.  My political and social precociousness led me to turn away from the almost brutal focus on scholasticism and athleticism that dominated my early years.  In my case, this break was a good thing as it expanded my interest in understanding my empathy.  And last of all I realized I had developed a way of looking at the world that focused on want. When I explained this to others I found they often shared my thoughts but that for the most part they did not desire to consciously understand or express the theme of want, or if they did, found they had shuttled it off to the recesses of their mind – a way of living that contained the shuttling as an inconvenient truth*.

The inconvenient truth is that we drown in want.  The want may be the search of fame or sex or health or power or toys but these wants ultimately have the same catalyst and that catalyst is money.  Some theorists and analysts think we only see that want in our dreams and that dreams are healthy.  The problem is that this want invades our day to days and we make decisions based on that want that often has far reaching and sometimes tragic consequences.  The want may be quite basic such as the quest to survive or quite advanced like controlling politicians or having a lobbyist team to market your ideas of law.  The thing about want is we largely are embarrassed about it, especially if the want becomes public and obvious and though at times we may expose our want it is often done in a non serious game show sort of way.  The other thing about want, especially in the most unconscious of us, is that we trample our fellow human beings in an attempt to achieve whatever it is that is our want.

I have found that magazines, blogs, and newspapers don’t understand want but instead focus on an agenda even if that agenda is to work hard in not appearing to have one.  Somehow the media has failed to see that in reality their own agendas are full of fiction and as such, are as much want as that of anyone else.  As for these agendas, most are political in nature.  The problem with an agenda is that it blinds you to certain realities – at least for a while.  So a journalist at the Washington Post 50 years down the road realizes the paper missed the mark by ignoring Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech when it was delivered, instead focusing on crowd control that day.  Or journalists at the New York Times realizing that they were too enthusiastic in support of the Vietnam War.  Or ditto for the enthusiasm of both papers when the misdirected terrorist war known as the Iraq War took place.  Of course this is an over-simplification and I mention it only as an illustration.

As I do my research for what to write at Pulpdiddys Permutations I think about the want that each of us has – the want we may not know exists.  Hopefully I can glean enough of the want to make an intelligent observation.  While personally I remain far more liberal then not regarding economic, political, and social issues I bring up the question of want in my analysis of issues and how the issue will affect all, most, or some of us.  So when President Obama does something that I find wrong I am not loathe to mention that wrongness at this site.  When Senator John McCain takes a position that I found courageous I find no problem in expressing praise for that position.  When Paul Krugman takes on an economic or social position that I find a bit silly I will also comment so.

Love of writing, looking at the world with empathy, and focus on want are the triumvirate that has brought about Pulpdiddys Permutations.  Though I believe I am eventually found out to be correct more often then not and certainly more so than any pundit I know that’s out there, I certainly am not infallible.  But I give you my pledge that I’ll continue to do the research, continue to consider the matter using the frame of reference of want in the material posted by me at this site, and correct myself when my opinion eventually is shown to just be wrong.  And if you’d like some lighter reading there’s always my e-book: http://www.amazon.com/Neurotic-Man-Richard-Georges-ebook/dp/B00A6TOK24

*I apologize to Al Gore, for using your title as a phrase.  It just fits.  And in this context, Mr. Gore, you are also a good example of an inconvenient truth.

Pulpdiddys Permutations

 

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Analytics versus Traditional Science

We are a Nation that bases its decision making on analytics.  The problem with slam bam thank you mam data used to form our analytics is that it is easy to understand percentages without understanding the emotions that leads to the percentages.  Traditional Science on the other hand, requires in-depth questioning and is slow and ponderous to obtain and slow to develop results from.  As all major campaigns the Hillary Clinton for President campaign used both techniques.  And then, three weeks before the election, there was only one.  The Hillary Clinton Campaign eliminated the Traditional Science method explaining its results were too similar to analytics.

And we know what happened.  I’m not saying if she kept both methods she would be President, but three weeks out!  Blame Comey, and Jill Stein, and Bernie – a mirror will suffice.

“Democratic pollster Mark Mellman — who polled for then-Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign — said that while Greenberg’s article focused on Clinton’s 2016 campaign, some of the themes transcend last year’s presidential race.

“It is the typical pointing of fingers on one hand, but there is an underlying issue that lies behind it,” said Mellman. “There has been an ongoing debate. … And that debate has been occasioned by some analytics firms that have advertised them as better than traditional pollsters without empirical evidence.”

While pollsters largely fault Clinton’s campaign for prioritizing analytics over polling for much of the race, most acutely at the end, many campaign staffers largely view the battle between pollsters and analytics as a settled issue.

“This is a generational battle that I thought was over,” said a Clinton campaign official who requested anonymity to discuss the campaign’s data operation. “[Obama’s campaigns] made spending decisions based on analytics surveys, too.”

In the public statements campaign staffers have made — and in Clinton’s own book — most of the blame is placed on exogenous factors, rather than the data or its polling decisions.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/29/hillary-clinton-campaign-2016-stop-polling-243202

Analytics

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Donald on Patrol

I’ve written about Donald more than once.  Perhaps it’s just laziness, perhaps it is a more pure goal, but I’m allowing much of this column’s space to Matt Taibbi, the brilliant writer at Stone who happens to be one of my faves – not just at Rolling Stone but anywhere.  In this dream (nightmare?) we live reporting the news can be too much, except for pole like M. Taibbi who lighten the load.

“He said monstrous things and lied with stunning disinhibition, and when the civilized world recoiled in horror, he seemed to take sadistic pleasure in every minute – win or lose, the run was pure glory for him, a Sherman’s March of taboo politics and testosterone fury that would leave a mark on America forever.

There was one more thing. Candidate Trump may have been crazy, but it was craziness that on some level was working. Even at his lowest and most irrational moments – like his lunatic assault on the family of fallen soldier Humayun Khan, in which he raved to the grieving Gold Star parents about how it was he, Trump, who had “made a lot of sacrifices” – you could argue, if you squinted really hard, that it was strategy, a kick to the base.

Or even if he wasn’t doing these things on purpose, he must have been able to feel their impact, as the revolutionary force of his campaign demolished the 160-year-old Republican Party and barreled toward the gates of Barack Obama’s White House.

Now, it’s different. Now, he just seems crazy. And it’s his own administration that is crumbling, not any system.

After a disastrous and terrifying August, which among other things saw him defend the “very fine people” among neo-Nazi protesters in a Charlottesville, Virginia, march, it’s Trump’s mental state – not his alleged Russia ties, nor his failure to staff the government or pass any major legislation – that has become the central problem of his presidency.

Is this man losing his mind? And if so, what can be done about it? We’ve had some real zeros in the White House before, but we’ve never had a chief executive who barked at the moon or saw ghosts – at least, not one who was so public about it.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-madness-of-donald-trump-removal-25th-amendment-w504149

Donald

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Neurotic Man Learns How To Disappear

This Neurotic Man discovered an important lesson.  To tell you the truth, learning a hard lesson isn’t so hard (ha! A pun of sorts), but remembering it is, and this one is how to disappear.  I decided to find Colin Kaepernick who took a knee about a year ago and no one has heard from him since. I couldn’t find him and that’s the lesson.  If you do something that everyone else mimics the act is remembered but you’re soon forgotten.  So, until Colin does something dramatic like standing, it’s bye bye sayonara.

Colin Kaepernick is everywhere. Like an icon, he is freeze-framed stoically kneeling for everyone to see. We see his image on stickers, T-shirts, graffiti and posters. It’s on magazine covers, television shows and social media sites. Oddly, the more we see Kaepernick’s likeness, the less we hear his message.

Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during a pre-game national anthem in 2016. His reasoning was simple: “[I’m] not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

To Kaepernick his protest was: “bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He was referring to the fact that many police officers involved in high-profile killings of black people do so with apparent impunity. The killers of Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Terrence Crutcher, Philando Castile and Freddie Gray (to sadly name a few) have all gone unpunished. They either were acquitted or, even worse, were never charged with a crime at all.

His message is being slowly erased

That is what Kaepernick wants to talk about. Instead, his message is being slowly erased. Some want to make Kaepernick’s protest all about Trump. Others want to ignore what he is saying completely and shift the conversation to patriotism, the military and respect for the flag.

The NFL – the same league that now treats Kaepernick like a castaway – is in on the game, too. After Trump’s admonishment of the sports league, some higher-ups tried to turn the kneel into a symbol of unity among players, coachers and owners. It became a protest against, not the politics of the president, but the fact that he criticized the NFL.”  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/27/colin-kaepernick-protest-nfl-take-a-knee

Neurotic Man

 

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Puerto Rico Blues

The Donald can give the whole island a case of the Puerto Rico Blues.  Though attached to the United States the island has been isolated for some time.  The people on the island have suffered through an ever-increasing debt crisis.  While the people on Puerto Rico try to deal with this debt Maria came to call and much of what has been built on the island has been destroyed.  Meanwhile, there’s a crisis going on – many areas do not have drinking water, food rations have been depleted to nearly nothing, and electricity is a science of the recent past gone from the island.

This human crisis is extremely serious and getting worse every hour.  So, it is so nice that we have a President who understands the priorities – bickering with professional athletes and snarking about debt.  This surely must be a Jungian event that we are all part of yet partially orchestrated by the Donald.

Presidents mostly set a mood for the direction of the country.  Soon after their term they are forgotten.  In rare instances both for good and for bad they do more.  The good, like FDR, can push legislation through that can help people.  Or the good, like JFK, may inspire and create a vision for the country that stays with us for many days.  As for the bad, they try to create gain for themselves and their friends – and not the rest of the country.  And their vision is dark and filled with hate and attempts to diminish.

“It took Donald Trump five full days to respond to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the lives of 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico, and when he finally did so his comments on Twitter were so devoid of empathy it threatened to spark a new controversy.

Hot on the heels of the billowing dispute he single-handedly provoked over African-American sporting figures protesting racial inequality during the national anthem, Trump launched another provocation on Monday night with a belated and lacklustre response to the Puerto Rican disaster. In a series of three tweets he effectively blamed the islanders – all of whom are American citizens – for their own misfortune.

“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble,” he said, without offering any additional federal government assistance for the stricken US territory, which was hit by Hurricane Maria soon after those two states were struck by Harvey and Irma.

Trump acknowledged that “much of the island was destroyed”, but caustically went on to say that its electrical grid was already “in terrible shape” and that Puerto Rico owed billions of dollars to Wall Street and the banks “which, sadly, must be dealt with”.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/26/trump-puerto-rico-crisis-massive-debt

Puerto Rico Blues

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Players Together

One of the grandest things to have happened since the Donald started spewing his Presidential venom is the response of professional players together.  Not all, in most cases not even the majority, bur certainly lots more since that solitary day that Colin Kaepernick first took a knee.  Encouraging people to be individuals instead of being controlled by group think should be the duty of each leader in this country.  To do otherwise is un-American.  The Donald made a miscalculation if he thought by attacking members of the group would splinter that group.  A difficult profession such as sport draws players together and not apart.

“Wembley staged the day’s first game. Around 25 players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens kneeled. The Guardian’s Sean Ingle reported that no white players appeared to kneel but “many players, coaches and even the Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan linked arms instead as they stood, showing unity for their black team-mates against Trump”.

Later, at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, several Miami Dolphins wore black T-shirts supporting Kaepernick before facing the New York Jets. During the anthem, the Dolphins locked arms. The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to remain in the tunnel before their game against the Bears at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“We’re not going to play politics,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS. “People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his team-mate who chooses not to.”  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/24/donald-trump-nfl-protests-kneel-anthem

Players Together

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Pulpdiddys Permutations on Sunday

For quite some time at Pulpdiddys Permutations I have had a Sunday column in which I explain why I no longer write a regular column on Sunday and instead use this explanation column and take the day off.  I’ve tweaked this Pulpdiddys Permutations column that appears on Sunday from time to time but the story remains the same – I take the day off.  I have taken to use this Sunday space so that it is a little bit about me and a lot about what I am trying to do with the blog.  It has become apparent to me that the roots for the blog come from three things.  First of all, I love to write.  I enjoy the process and especially how attempting to communicate with others forces my thought process to focus in a way that not having the writing would not cause.  Secondly, I have been fascinated with how we interact with each other from an early age.  My political and social precociousness led me to turn away from the almost brutal focus on scholasticism and athleticism that dominated my early years.  In my case, this break was a good thing as it expanded my interest in understanding my empathy.  And last of all I realized I had developed a way of looking at the world that focused on want. When I explained this to others I found they often shared my thoughts but that for the most part they did not desire to consciously understand or express the theme of want, or if they did, found they had shuttled it off to the recesses of their mind – a way of living that contained the shuttling as an inconvenient truth*.

The inconvenient truth is that we drown in want.  The want may be the search of fame or sex or health or power or toys but these wants ultimately have the same catalyst and that catalyst is money.  Some theorists and analysts think we only see that want in our dreams and that dreams are healthy.  The problem is that this want invades our day to days and we make decisions based on that want that often has far reaching and sometimes tragic consequences.  The want may be quite basic such as the quest to survive or quite advanced like controlling politicians or having a lobbyist team to market your ideas of law.  The thing about want is we largely are embarrassed about it, especially if the want becomes public and obvious and though at times we may expose our want it is often done in a non serious game show sort of way.  The other thing about want, especially in the most unconscious of us, is that we trample our fellow human beings in an attempt to achieve whatever it is that is our want.

I have found that magazines, blogs, and newspapers don’t understand want but instead focus on an agenda even if that agenda is to work hard in not appearing to have one.  Somehow the media has failed to see that in reality their own agendas are full of fiction and as such, are as much want as that of anyone else.  As for these agendas, most are political in nature.  The problem with an agenda is that it blinds you to certain realities – at least for a while.  So a journalist at the Washington Post 50 years down the road realizes the paper missed the mark by ignoring Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech when it was delivered, instead focusing on crowd control that day.  Or journalists at the New York Times realizing that they were too enthusiastic in support of the Vietnam War.  Or ditto for the enthusiasm of both papers when the misdirected terrorist war known as the Iraq War took place.  Of course this is an over-simplification and I mention it only as an illustration.

As I do my research for what to write at Pulpdiddys Permutations I think about the want that each of us has – the want we may not know exists.  Hopefully I can glean enough of the want to make an intelligent observation.  While personally I remain far more liberal then not regarding economic, political, and social issues I bring up the question of want in my analysis of issues and how the issue will affect all, most, or some of us.  So when President Obama does something that I find wrong I am not loathe to mention that wrongness at this site.  When Senator John McCain takes a position that I found courageous I find no problem in expressing praise for that position.  When Paul Krugman takes on an economic or social position that I find a bit silly I will also comment so.

Love of writing, looking at the world with empathy, and focus on want are the triumvirate that has brought about Pulpdiddys Permutations.  Though I believe I am eventually found out to be correct more often then not and certainly more so than any pundit I know that’s out there, I certainly am not infallible.  But I give you my pledge that I’ll continue to do the research, continue to consider the matter using the frame of reference of want in the material posted by me at this site, and correct myself when my opinion eventually is shown to just be wrong.  And if you’d like some lighter reading there’s always my e-book: http://www.amazon.com/Neurotic-Man-Richard-Georges-ebook/dp/B00A6TOK24

*I apologize to Al Gore, for using your title as a phrase.  It just fits.  And in this context, Mr. Gore, you are also a good example of an inconvenient truth.

Pulpdiddys Permutations

 

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