Where to start?
A New Member To Kirby Puckett Club
You know, Domebeer-aholics, sometimes you just have to sit back, look at the universe, and tip your hat. In the same week that the news broke that Jason Smith may be wifebeating scum, Rick Bell runs a story that says the province is about to slap electronic bracelets on said scum. Touché, Universe, you are funnier than we are.
Actually, the story darkly reminded us of the old joke, which Oiler Captain Jason Smith must have taken to heart: Domestic Violence: If you don't beat your wife, someone else will.
Anything interesting here Dome Beers?
Lots actually. First, (and this is more pilling on) the lawyer that Jason Smith retained to defend him is actually a defence lawyer, and by that we mean the guy is money. Do ya'll remember that gruesome story about some drug addled 12 year old who made her loser boyfriend help murder her family? Well, Jason Smith got the guy who defended the boyfriend (Steinke) to be his defence lawyer, one Alain Hepner.
Innocent until proven guilty and all that, but we find it interesting Mr. Smith decided to go out and purchase some big guns to have in his corner. We aign't saying, we're just saying.
Secondly, have you noticed all the coverage this story has received? We didn't either...curious.
Listen people, not to go all moral crusader on you, but a professional athlete getting charged with the forcible confinement of his wife and teenage daughter is a story, period point blank. The fact that the athlete charged happened to be the 'Captain of the Edmonton Oilers' makes it an even bigger story, and the fact that the athlete is local...that should have been the trifecta for publishing gold. Something is going on here.
Nik Lewis says he doesn't like a teammate and it becomes 'News' for a day or two in this city. It even made it onto TSN. Jason Smith turns his house into a prison for his wife and child and it gets covered for one morning?
TSN, by the way, did their utmost best to hide and bury the story, reporting it like they had too, but refusing to go back on it, give it commentary, explore the issue, or anything like that. This is a network that will devote whole days of programming to the latest nonsensical gobblygooke that comes out of the mouth of Brian Burke, but won't give more than the obligatory 30 seconds to this story.
Look, we get it. Hockey players are Sacred Cows to the sports media in this country, and few outlets dare risk their access. Fine, operate that way, just don't call yourself journalists, don't pretend you're out playing press, because the job of the journalist is to speak truth to power!
If TSN, Sportsnet, the Score, want to be seen as clearing houses of propaganda for the various leagues they cover, well fine, that's their choice as a business. But be clear about it. They cannot be allowed to take the clown nose off and on, at their convenience. They cannot be allowed to, for instance, run with 'Ben Rothlesberger Is A Rapist' when the facts had yet to make it to light (and in fact, they still run with that meme even though in the light of a police investigation the facts did not bear out that story), and then sit on 'Jason Smith Beat His Wife And Daughter', because it may be offensive to him (read may get them blackballed by the Oilers, their players, and the client list of Smiths agent), they don't have all the facts, or whatever gutless reason they trotted out for why decided to act like bootlickers and bury the story.
Either off-work activities are fair game or they are not. Over the years, media outlets like TSN, Sportsnet, the Score, ESPN Ocho, have all made a conscious decision that off-work activities of the players in the various leagues that they cover are indeed fair game. That was their choice as an industry. All we are asking is that they stick with it. By running stories of a salacious nature when they involve a football player, a basketball player, a baseball player, you are committed to running them when they. God forbid, involve a hockey player. Unless TSN stands for The Selling Network, and not The Sports Network.
We could care less about the personal life of Jason Smith. We hope his wife and daughter can escape the situation if it is indeed a bad one. What we care a lot more about is the dim-sum-esque approach (pick and choose) to journalism that seems to be practiced in this country when it comes to hockey players.
Actually, that first part wasn't true. Wife beaters, people who hit women, are scum, so we could care less. We hope for Jason's reputation as a mans sake that there is indeed more to this story.
The Dirty Tricks Of The Sneaker Pimps
Yes, we are calling Stephen Harper a sneaker pimp. A sneaker pimp is anyone or company that is selling you sneakers. The term has a load of meaning in it, because it refers to the practice of marketing and selling dreams to the poor inner-city kids of urban North America, instead of the actual shoes. It's Gotta Be The Shoes is a very good example of it.
What has Mr. Harper done to earn him the appellation of Sneaker Pimp? He has recently gotten into the business of selling dreams to Quebec. Mr. Harper is a stadium pimp.
Hmm...We wonder if there may be an election coming soon.
We have conflicting opinions on this whole matter. Dear Reader, you may have picked up along the way of reading this site that we are believers in the free market, the invisible hand, class-less societies, in short, Adam Smith's wonderful Capitalism.
Government expropriating the citizenries’ tax dollars to fund stadiums that benefit a select few members of the citizenry does not smack to us of being in the spirit of Capitalism. It smacks us as Crony Capitalism, Welfare-statism, and in this particular case, Regionalism.
And we say all this as people who don' believe public stadiums are a big waste of money. If the project is done right, they can revitalize downtrodden areas (think PNC Park). We think if the facility is used a lot, say 150-200 nights outta the year, then it will no doubt bring in economic benefit to the areas it is located, to the workers in those areas, ect.
To us, the question isn't 'will building this stadium be a net benefit for the community it is located in?' because we have no doubt that it would bring local economic benefit. The question is should Albertan tax payers be paying for the local economic benefit of Quebec? And vice-versa (that would be the day...).
And we have bad news for you if you are in the camp that is saying no to federal funding of sports stadiums. Here is a quote from the Globe and Mail story: "“In terms of financing these things going forward, we're going to have to respect the precedents we have had in the past and be sure any treatment we're prepared to make to one city we're prepared to make to all,” said Harper."
The precedent in this wonderful country is that yes indeed federal funds are used to build sports stadiums. In fact, it happens quite a bit. Who do you think paid for the Saddledome?
One thing we would like to point out is that Mr. Harper is doing a very subtle and sneaky trick here in regards to Quebec. Some of you more into the war between the two solitudes may have already picked up on it if you read the story. Quebec is the spoiled child of Confederation. Like Pope or Camus say, it isn't a right or wrong situation, it just is. And because 'it just is', there are certain unwritten rules that must be adhered to by any person seeking to govern this country. Again, not right or wrong, just is. Bribing Quebec has become 'just is', and this is because of the way Quebec has played it's hand over the centuries. Power to them, and we don't get upset over the direction the world happens to be turning.
But Mr. Harper is a game player better than most, one who at once holds out his hand to Le Québécois and also maintains that Quebec is as Canadian as Maple Syrup (see what we did there?). Harper maintains that it's special, just like everywhere else. Believe us, if you haven't had opportunity to be in Quebec, this is a tact that allows Harper to disarm the nationalists while at the same time playing on the pride that the people of Quebec have of their history. When Harper rolls out funding, or the perceived chance of funding, to Quebec, and then in the same breath says if he has to give to Quebec, he has to give to the ROC too, he is both 'bribing Quebec', which he can be forgiven for doing, and at the same time implying that Quebec is part of Canada.
Before we finish with this topic, we want to revisit both the economic and political points, and tie them together. People like shiny things, stadiums are shiny things, and if they are being paid for by OPM (other peoples money) then they are no doubt vote getters. Federal funding allows us all to feel like we are playing with OPM. Federal funding of the stadium also allows the federal government to get some prestige, which is why the federal government will not be loaning the Quebec government money to build this stadium. The federal government wants it's fingerprints on the stadium, not the provinces.
As to whether or not it is wise to spend $400 million dollars (or closer to a billion plus if they go ahead and build them all)? Who knows, honestly. Modern governments are comprised of bureaucracies, that like every other institution, seek to expand their power base, influence, budget, ect. Modern government is similarly staffed by unions who do the same. So the cry of 'we need more money for schools, teachers, ect.' isn't well received by us, because of course the bureaucracy thinks it needs more money, of course the unions think they need more money. It is in their interest to do so. To us, wasting 400 million dollars on an inefficient labour force that is only going to be demanding another raise in a years time is worse than 400 million dollars spent on commodities (when they are dirt cheap) and construction workers. We find it odd that in all the stories about this issue, when people are talking about what they could do with the money instead, nobody has suggested returning it the taxpayer. Or a payroll tax holiday, or any number of ways that one could actually get some bang that would be universally felt by the taxpayers of this country for the 400 million bucks.
Ed Stelmach Speaks
We found it hilarious that Ed Stelmach decided to speak on this issue, because, well, Ed Stelmach still has not won an election in this province, mainly because he thinks he will lose. He is a political coward, and his political opinion is shaped by the way the wind is blowing that particular day. Today his opinion is that no provincial funding will be used for stadium construction in Alberta. We will see what gusts tomorrow brings.
Did anybody else notice that he went to a meeting with Speaker Of The House Pelosi, when Speaker Of The House Pelosi is about to become Minority Leader Pelosi, stripped of all political power? Good timing, Ed.
Does Anybody Else Get Annoyed When Andrew Walker Says Reggie Is From Brazil
For reals, does anything say 'tool' more than being employed by the FAN960 and not knowing the Robyn Regehr story? Robyn's from Brazil the same way that Barack Obama is from Kenya and John Mccain is from Guam. What's next, Walker is going to express shock and disbelief that Reggie once had both legs broken in a car accident? We miss Doug Kirkwood.
Anyways, Reggie has been in the news lately because he may or may not have demanded a trade. When asked about it, all he has done is give non-denial denials, so although we think he asked for a trade, he may have simply been asked to waive his NMC (no movement clause). And again, because of the murky nature of these things, we do not know whether he waived his NMC when asked, or whether he treated the messenger of that ill news like Hemsky.
Reggie has a weird relationship with the fanbase and the team, we think. Not Paglia on Lady Ga Ga weird, but still odd. Reggie is one of those rare types of players who won't answer a question thrown to them by the press with a stock cliché answer. He is one of those players who will call out the play of his teammates, or the strategies of the coaches, in the media. Because of this, he has been branded, fairly or unfairly, a locker-room lawyer, and also after his spats with Keenan and Jimmy P, he also been called a coach killer (although, so has Jarome).
We think these factors weigh into the decision to move him less than his price tag does. That is, because he is one of the few players on the team signed to a contract a GM not named Sutter would find palatable, he is in a situation where he may get moved. Value is attractive, and he offers it.
The wisdom to making the move is dubious, as has been pointed out. Also, we can't wait to see the fans reaction when they learn that the local hockey hero was traded for nothing but cap relief because Sutter gave bloated free agent contracts to Corey Sarich and Jay Bouwmeester, and acquired the bloated contracts of Steve Staios and Ales Kotalik.
Of course, if he did indeed demand a trade, we can't exactly blame him. It would take quite the sip of kool-aid to think that the Flames, as presently constructed, represent anything but the finest vapours of hope when it comes to winning a Stanley Cup. If he wants to go to a contender before he has no gas left in the tank, that's his prerogative. The Flames certainly don't owe it to him, but he shouldn't be blamed for asking. Of course, if the team went to him and asked him to waive it because of the cap conundrum, then we are all sorts of shades of pissed the fuck off.
A parting thought about Mikael Backlund. How organizations handle the way they bring up prospects is telling. For years, the Leafs would bring up children to play goal, and the result was predictable: burn outs.
We would like to avoid wrecking the prospect that is Mikael Backlund. We would like to avoid playing someone who has been touted as offensively gifted on the 4th line (cough Boyd cough). And if he can't crack a spot in the top six, we don't think he should be playing. Even if people are more comfortable with him in a 3rd line role, we would still demand that he earn that spot legitimately.
We prefer the Detroit Red Wings model of prospect elevation, please. If he isn't ready, send him back to the farm.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.