Friday, December 26, 2008

Futility for the Holidays: The Detroit Lions

Since I was born in Windsor, Ontario [across the river from Detroit, Michigan] I have been a Detroit sports fan all my life [with the notable exception of hockey, where my loyalty lies with (sigh) the Toronto Maple Leafs].
Since 1966 [when I became an active sports fan] the Lions have veered between a marginal playoff team and contenders for an early pick in the NFL draft. Unfortunately, more often the latter than the former. They have never been thought of as a serious Super Bowl team. This year they are on the brink of seizing the title of "The Worst NFL Team of All Time". They are one loss away from a perfect oh and sixteen record. The last game is in Green Bay against the less than stellar Packers. The Lions have not won in Green Bay in seventeen years.
Thinking about this team and these turbulent times, shows how crucial good management can be for the success of any enterprise or government. The Lions have an owner [William Clay Ford]who is deeply loyal to his managers, but is a terrible judge of people. He is also not very bright or passionate about his teams on field success. The former GM, Matt Millen, seemed to be a younger version of the owner. He was louder and more passionate about what he was doing. He just did not know how to select good football people, either coaches or players. His last coach, Rod Marinelli, is the worst of the worst. He is utterly out of his depth as a head football coach. He is loyal to his assistants and players [that are loyal to him], no matter how poorly they perform, and is utterly inflexible in his approach and planning. If you can, imagine what George W. Bush would be like as a head coach of an NFL team. I happened to listen to a Detroit sports radio show and the discussion was whether Marinelli should be fired. A caller made a great case that he should be kept on until they WON a game. Yes, until he actually won a game. This was about half way through the season and this caller wanted Marinelli to be the coach of record if the 2008 Detroit Lions went 0-16. This view became pretty common in the Detroit area. Now that we are at 0-15 this will most likely be Rod Marinelli's last game as a head coach. Unless, Mr. Ford does the unthinkable [for others] and retains Marinelli. Part of me hopes he does. That will make it possible for me to finally give up on this team and find a franchise that actually cares about winning.
A week or so ago, I became somewhat optimistic that things would change with the Lions in 2009. New GM, new coach, new staff, first pick in the draft, and a good housecleaning might actually point the way to a better future. Now, I'm not so sure. The owner will always be the same and the franchise will never change while he is still the leader.
I will probably watch the last game this Sunday. I hope they win, but a win will be no cause for celebration. The celebration will be in the off season, if changes are made.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Democracy in Action and the Pundits Recoil

So, it takes the biggest political crisis of my lifetime [born 1957] for the corporate media and their mercenary mouthpieces to display their true colours. The last four days or so I have been watching and reading various Canadian media regarding the potential replacement of the Cons with the Coalition. I won't bore you with the reasons for this upheaval, but a few story lines have been actively promoted by our free press:

1. Mr. Harper, with some help from a couple of his sleazier acolytes [Flaherty], is without a doubt the cause of this whole mess.
2. Mr. Harper and the Cons are still the best choice to effectively govern Canada. Nevermind that they refuse to do anything regarding an economic stimulus package until it is too late.
3. Mr. Dion is not fit to be PM. He was 'rejected' by the public at the last election. Nevermind that in our system we don't elect the PM or that the Liberals finished second in number of seats, or that the Cons are not a majority.
4. The NDP are socialists and will turn this country into a socialist country. Nevermind that we are a socialist country already and so is all of Europe and a lot of the rest of the world.
5. The Bloc will be calling the shots and will destroy Canada. Nevermind that they will not take part in the government and have only pledged to vote for it for eighteen months or so. And see below from a Globe and Mail forum with Globe editorial board editor[Dec. 2, 2008];

Richard Stanczak from Corunna, Ontario Canada writes: Mr. Geiger, there has been much bashing of the potential support of the coalition by the Bloc in the media. Some of the imagery used, by the Globe and Mail in particular, is outright fear mongering. The Bloc MPs have been elected by Canadian citizens who felt they were the best representatives to serve their interests. I believe they are required to take an oath of office which [must] require allegiance to the country and its institutions. My question is, why is the media so bent on attacking the Bloc MPs and assigning the worse possible motives for their support of the coalition? Do you not think it is possible that they see their constituents in trouble and are trying to act in their best interests? Would you not expect all MPs, no matter what party, to act that way?
John Geiger: Perhaps. But at the end of the day the Bloc MPs are committed to the destruction of Canada. We cannot escape that fact, nor can we gloss over it. Mr. Duceppe is an effective politician, and he clearly satisfies some constituency within Quebec, but lets not pretend that he has the interests of the country at heart. He is not the man we should turn to as the saviour of Canada. He sincerely believes he has the interests of Quebec at heart. That is where the matter ends.

Indeed. Uhh, first off the Bloc wants to separate Canada through the democratic process. You know, by voting. That hardly merits the term, 'destruction of Canada'. Second, Mr. Geiger displays his uncanny ability to read minds, specifically Mr. Duceppe's. And lastly, he is not the saviour of Canada. He is not even in the government. He is only voting with the coalition. Mr. Geiger and the rest of the media horde seem to think that Mr. Duceppe is the real leader of this coalition. Why do they think that? Don't expect an answer.

The Globe and Mail, CTV, Rex Murphy of CBC, Andrew Coyne of MacLeans, and many others have been in full howl over the unfairness, the stupidity, the illegal, and the undemocratic nature of this coalition. It appears that their option of choice is to allow Mr. Harper to have another go at it. Presumably chastened by his brush with political suicide. Although they refuse to come out and say this. They heap such scorn on the coalition without offerring an alternative, that one can only surmise that they think Mr. Harper, a kinder gentler Harper, will behave and govern Canada responsibly.

Personally, I don't think we can take that chance. Toss Mr. Harper and his fellow trolls into the opposition for a spell. I don't think the coalition can do any worse.

UPDATE: I am starting to hear a lot of talk about Mr. Harper resigning, and maybe taking Flaherty with him, if the coalition will allow the Cons to stay as the government.

Great, just what Canada needs. An Albertan Putin pulling the strings of his appointed puppet.