Sunday, February 3, 2008

Foggy Bottom Is Still Foggy

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Paul McNamara, one of my favorite columnists, hits the nail wonderfully on the head once again with his comments concerning Senator Arlen Spector's (Idiot, PA) intention to waste the Senate Judiciary Committee's time bullying NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about destroying those tapes they confiscated from the New England Patriots.

Those of you who think professional sports are dumb and find other things to do with your lives may not be aware that, earlier this year, the New England Patriots football team was accused of violating NFL rules by videotaping the opposing sidelines, ostensibly to steal signals. As I recounted at the time, what they in fact violated was not a rule of professional football but one of the so-called stadium rules against filming from the sidelines. There is no rule against stealing signals. Anywhere.

After levying what Roger Goodell considered to be appropriate punishments, the NFL ordered the miscreant Patriots to turn over said tapes to the NFL. The NFL, in a rather strange move, then promptly destroyed them. Equally strangely, no one seemed particularly put out by this. Personally, I figured that the reason the tapes were so promptly dispatched is because they showed absolutely nothing of consequence.

The New England Patriots, obviously severely damaged by their inability to engage in clandestine video taping, have struggled into the Super Bowl with a miserable 18-0 record, becoming the first team with a chance to win 19 games in a single season. Lord knows how well they could have done without the distractions.

Apparently, Senator Spector, who isn't running for anything this year so far as I know, has been seriously distracted for some months now. How else to explain that he just now heard of an event that occurred in September? It is only my inherent cynicism that compels me to think that it might be possible that a Senator from from a state containing a team that lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl (Pittsburgh) and contains an NFC team (Philadelphia; New England is in the AFC) might be trying to pick up a little political capital with the home folks, especially by timing his announcement to fall during Super Bowl week.

Conveniently, new allegations against the evil Patriots have surfaced, this time involving taping the Whatever-city-they-were-in Rams walking through their final workout prior to the 2002 Super Bowl, which was won by the Evil Patriots. It seems that this was reported anonymously and, according to Roger Goodell, had been previously investigated, with no wrongdoing have been discovered. Again, only the cynic in me suggests that Congressional Champion of Goodness Arlen Spector or his office could have had anything to do with anonymous release.

This is the same Congress that has wasted taxpayer dollars "investigating" the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. This is the same Congress that now, based on the unsubstantiated evidence of the Mitchell Report, wants to start investigating the same nonsense all over again.

To the members of Congress: Baseball players used steroids, HGH, uppers, downers, and just about anything else they could get hold of. While your collective breast-beating may have had something to do with MLB finally getting around to passing rules as the NFL did years ago, it's likely that it would have happened without your interference.

Further, members of Congress, it's interesting that you rather enjoy public displays of threatening to subpoena people who are being accused in a star-chamber proceeding like the Mitchell Report. It's interesting because, while the Mitchell Report is rather short on corroboration or real evidence, you're willing to investigate specific players while you are NOT willing to investigate the oil cartel, a vice president who indulged in secret meetings with said cartel and other energy concerns without telling us what they did (although based on energy cost increases ever since, I think we know what they talked about), and a president who flat out lied to the nation to get us embroiled in over 6 years of war in Iraq.

Congratulations, Senator Spector, you've managed to trivialize Congress even further than those events did.

Actually, I don't know how the NFL and MLB can keep missing the boat here. All they need to do is use the energy lobbyists to do their talking for them. A few well-place words from the oil cartel (along with a few well-placed campaign contributions) should keep Senator Spector and his colleagues at bay for the foreseeable future.

It's worked for Exxon for years.

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