Monthly Archives: April 2013

Jason Collins comes out, and another huge barrier falls. A unique baseball squeeze play. And a haunting essay from a gun user

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We overhype everything in sports.
Every year we have the “Game of the Century.” Every touchdown catch, every Super Bowl, every World Series, is hyped and hyped until eventually it loses all meaning, and we can’t really tell just what the big deal is anymore about any individual event or accomplishment.

But Monday, something happened in the world of sports that really IS a big deal. A really, really big deal.

A journeyman NBA center named Jason Collins wrote an essay for Sports Illustrated that was published Monday.

In the article, Collins admits that he is gay. In so doing, he became the first active male professional athlete in a major team sport to come out of the closet.

And a moment that has been decades in the waiting has finally arrived.

One of the last bastions of homophobia has been shattered.
The word “fag” and other homophobic slurs used to be heard in gymnasiums, arenas and locker rooms, spoken and shouted by fans and players, in every sport.

But that is less and less the case now, and as more and more gay athletes have emerged, people like Martina Navratilova and Greg Louganis, it has seemed inevitable that someday soon, a male athlete in a major sport would take the plunge.

And Collins is as good a trailblazer as any: Stanford educated, extremely bright, and a guy who’s established himself as a solid citizen and great teammate in the NBA.

As I and so many others expected, when the first gay pro athlete finally emerged, he was bathed in love and understanding. Collins was feted for his courage and bravery by superstars and scrubs, political royalty and average fans alike (Of course there was still the occasional bigoted comment, but they were so much in the minority)

Why now, Jason Collins?

“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade,” he wrote in SI.”I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

Bravo, Jason Collins. He finally had the bravery and confidence to live his life on his own terms, and not be afraid anymore.

And may his courage today allow the other current MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL players who are still afraid to come out see that it’s really OK out here, and the water is fine.

A truly historic day in sports, and I’m so glad it’s finally here.

(There were a ton of beautiful pieces written about Collins’ decision on Monday; here are two of the best: Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated with an inside account of what it was like watching Collins unburden himself, and Bruce Arthur of the National Post (in Canada) writing eloquently about what this means for sports.)

**OK, on to less-earth shattering events. I’ve seen a lot of runners try to avoid tags on squeeze bunt plays before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen this before. Check out this play pulled off by Ferris High School in Ferris, Texas. Pretty sweet…

**And finally today, check out this remarkable essay in the New York Times by a man named Bruce Holbert, who recounts a childhood gun accident that saw him killed his good friend, and how he feels about gun control legislation today.

The last two paragraphs, especially, are particularly powerful.

Highs and lows of a sports weekend: Rangers up, Nets dow. Jets? Who the hell knows. And Obama kills it at the silly Correspondents Dinner

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This past weekend was one of those rare times of year when my three favorite pro sports teams were all making news and doing big things: The Rangers, the Nets, and the Jets all either delighted me, angered me and left me scratching my head and pulling out my few hairs left.

It was a worlds-colliding kind of sports weekend. Some highlights/lowlights from my point of view as a NY sports fan:

**The Nets: Since I’d like to get the misery out of the way first, that was one of the all-time brutal, gut-punching losses Brooklyn suffered Saturday. Deron Williams and Co. were up 14 points with less than four minutes to play … and lost.
That’s really, really hard to do. But if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Turnovers, missed free throws, and some holy spirit of Magic Johnson got into Nate Robinson of the Bulls (the most obnoxious player in the NBA, am I right?), and all of a sudden the game went to overtime.
Where of course, the agony got drawn out for us Nets fans, as it stretched to three OT’s before the Bulls won.
Just a horrendous performance at the end by the Nets, and P.J. Carlesimo’s coaching job was as bad as the players’ performance. Series is now 3-1 Bulls, but it’s basically over. Damn.
**The Rangers: On a much happier note, my favorite hockey team appears to finally have stopped underachieving the last few weeks, and roll into the playoffs on a high note. Very excited to see Rick Nash and Derek Stepan scoring so much, and I think the Rangers have a very winnable first-round series against the Capitals. (Gotta love the NHL playoffs, the best in any sport).
Not saying the Rangers are winning the Cup or anything; they’re nowhere near as good as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Anaheim or Boston. But at least finally, after 3 months of mediocre hockey, they’re showing what’s possible with all that talent on the team.

**The Jets: Finally, the New York Jets, America’s most dysfunctional football team. I don’t know what the hell to think about a team with so few offensive weapons deciding that, instead of drafting some, let’s take a QB in the 2nd round who back in October was considered a Top 5 pick, yet by April wasn’t even worthy of a first-round choice.
Which is to say, the more everyone saw of Geno Smith, the less they liked him. Except for the Jets, who apparently decided five QBs on the roster already weren’t enough.
I spent Saturday trying to talk myself into the Geno Smith era: Hey, at least it means I won’t have to watch Mark Sanchez anymore, and maybe the kid will prove all his critics wrong who say he fumbles too much and can’t read defenses well. And maybe the Jets will be smart with him and let him learn on the bench behind David Garrard for at least half a season…

But who the hell am I kidding? I was rationalizing big-time. Taking Smith was not a good move by my Jets; I can’t see any way he can succeed this year with such little talent around him.
But it’s April; no sense stressing over the Jets’ miseries just yet.  There’ll be plenty of time for that in the fall.

Let’s go Rangers.

**Finally today, I say in this space every year how ridiculous and unprofessional I think the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner is.

Reporters whose job it is to investigate and cover politicians in that town get together and share drinks and back-slaps with the same people they’re supposed to be impartial about.

It reeks of unprofessionalism and “insider-ness”  and everything people suspect about the culture of Washington.

But they’re going to keep having it every year, and with a pretty funny President in office, I usually get some good chuckles out of the POTUS speech.

Some of his best lines from the video above:
— “You know, sometimes I look in the mirror and realize I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist I used to be.”
— “CNN covers ever angle of a story, just in case they stumble onto the right one.”
— “Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million in 2012 to try to get Republicans elected. He would’ve been better off offering me $100 million not to run.”

The Reds make a Down’s Syndrome kid’s dream come true. Joe Poz with a unique Ebert tribute. And pro athletes living in a retirement community? Sure

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And a happy Friday to all of you out Internet-land. I’m extremely happy today because my heart attack-inducing Rangers finally clinched a playoff spot. Onward with today’s good news…

The Cincinnati Reds became acquainted last season with a young man named Teddy Kramer, a huge fan of the team who was born with Down’s Syndrome.

Teddy’s parents won an auction last year for Teddy to be an honorary batboy for a game, and he quickly bonded with the team.
That’s normally where these stories end. But Kramer was back with the Reds this week, and, well, some amazing stuff happened, including him predicting the final score and asking player Todd Frazier to hit him a home run before one at-bat.

And then Frazier went and did it, sending the crowd into delirium and later chanting Teddy’s name.

It’s a beautiful story and one that I promise will put a smile on your face.

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**I thought this story was really cute. The Washington Spirit are a new women’s pro soccer team, as for about the 11th time women’s soccer tries to get a real league going in the U.S.

Looking to save money, the team was trying to find low-cost housing for some of the players.
And it what may be a first in pro sports, they found it in a retirement community.
Yep, in between canasta games and folks bragging about the grandchildren, several Spirit players are loving life at Ingleside of King’s Farm, a D.C. senior citizens complex.

Average age of players: 28. Average age of residents: 82.

It’s a really cute story, with the senior citizens baking cookies and stuff for the players. Check out the really nice story here.

My favorite quote? “I can’t wait to learn how to play bridge,” said Spirit player Diana Matheson, 29, an economics major at Princeton.

**Finally, it’s been a few weeks since the greatest film critic of all time, Roger Ebert, died, but the tributes are still rolling in.

I thought this was really creative by the great Joe Posnanski: He took 75 first lines of Ebert’s movie reviews and combined them into one story.

There’s great thoughts about life, movies, and plenty else in this cobbled-together story.
What a fabulous mind we lost in Roger Ebert.

I get to play tennis at the U.S. Open! (sorta). A ridiculous new product for babies. And “The Daily Show” brilliant again

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Had one of the coolest tennis experiences of my life Wednesday night.

After not playing competitively for a couple years after my return to New York, I finally dove back into a USTA league this spring, and have played a few matches. (I used to be good when I left Florida; now, apparently, I stink).

A few days ago my opponent for this week suggested we play at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where of course they play the U.S. Open. Since it’s only a 40-minute subway ride from my Manhattan apartment, I said sure.

What a lot of people don’t know is that anyone can go play on the same grounds that Sampras, Agassi, Federer and Nadal have walked. You just pay $30 for an hour, make a reservation, and you’re ready.

Now of course they don’t let you play at Arthur Ashe Stadium or any of the other major courts with thousands of seats, but still… you’re playing at the U.S. Open.

Have to say, it was a hell of a good time for a tennis die-hard like me. We played on Court 15, a smaller court but one with room for a few hundred spectators (in the above photo I was on the fifth court from the left, bottom row).

It was a playing experience like none other for me; for one thing, one time when I tossed my serve I looked up and noticed a huge TV camera perch above the court.
That doesn’t happen at the local parks court.
For another, every court was private and fenced-in, so nobody else’s errant shots ran into our court. It was delightfully, beautifully quiet.

And for the first 20 minutes of my match, I couldn’t stop thinking, “I’m actually playing on a court they use for the U.S. freaking Open.”
I’d like to tell you that I settled down and, inspired by my setting, played a terrific match.

I’d like to tell you that, but it’d be a lie. I fell behind 4-0 in the first set, clawed my way back to 4-4, and then dropped eight of the last nine games to lose, 6-4, 6-1.

But I didn’t care. I played on the U.S. Open courts, and that enough made me happy.

dailyshowgunSince our Congress seems to think any kind of further gun-control laws are impossible, “The Daily Show” took it upon themselves to show what another country’s politicians did when faced with massive gun deaths.

As always, a hilarious but devastating indictment of our cronies in Washington. Take it away, John Oliver…

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**I can’t believe this is real, but it apparently is. I present a product that literally could not be more ridiculous.

But yes, if you’ve ever wanted to know what your newborn baby looked like with a mustache, now you can! Introducing the Mustachifier, the pacifier that comes with a built-in mustache for your child.

America, we’ve hit a new low with this one. Why would anyone want their kid to look like a cross between Groucho Marx and Hitler?

Teacher fired after being outed in Mom’s obituary. Negligient homicide or religious belief? You decide. And a NYC radio station makes me laugh

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It’s 2013 and so much has changed in this country when it comes to equal rights for gays and lesbians, but we still have so much farther to go in the equality fight.

Take this story as an example of the bigotry still among us.

A woman named Carla Hale is a teacher at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio.  For 19 years she taught physical education, and not once was her conduct or professionalism called into question.

In February, Hale’s mother died, and in the obituary announcing the death, Hale was mentioned along with her female partner as “survivors” of the deceased.

A parent of a student read about the obit and wrote a letter to the school, complaining that Hale’s behavior (basically, being gay) was immoral and a violation of the school’s “morality clause.”

Disgustingly, the school agreed, and Hale was fired.

Read the details here; it’s encouraging that what the school did might not be legal in Ohio, and that 15,000 people have signed a petition urging Hale’s reinstatement.

But schools like Bishop Watterson are still stuck in the dark ages, and it’s not likely they’re going to “come out” of that bigoted stage anytime soon, I fear.

**Speaking of dark ages, another disturbing story out of Pennsylvania, pointed out to me on Facebook by my friend Tom. A couple named Herbert and Catherine Schaible are fundamentalist Christians who believe in faith healing, as opposed to any doctors or medicine whatsoever.

In 2009 their son died from bacterial pneumonia, a fate that certainly could’ve been spared the child if he’d been taken to a hospital. Amazingly, the Schaibles were only put on probation for his death.

Now comes word that their 8-month-old son Brandon died last week after suffering from breathing problems and diarrhea.

How are these people allowed to get away with what is basically murder? Letting your own innocent children die when simple medical intervention could’ve saved them is just … unfathomable to me.

I hope the Schaibles go to prison for a long, long time.

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**Finally, please indulge me here for a minute as I recount something that may only make sense to New Yorkers reading this. This can be filed under “There’s no reason I should be thinking about this for so long.”

So there’s this radio station in New York called WLTW, Lite FM 106.7. I like it a lot, much to the mocking of friends over the years, because it plays ’80s and ’90s music that I like, there are few commercials, and it’s just a nice, easy listen.

Anyway, about a year ago I was listening on a Saturday and they announced it was a “Best of the ’80s” weekend. So that was cool, I thought.
Then the next weekend I was in the car and again it was a “Best of the 80s” weekend.

Hmmm. And pretty much every single time we’ve been in the car since then on a Saturday or Sunday, WLTW has announced that it’s a “Best of the 80s” weekend!

So this leaves me with many questions: How can you advertise this as something special when you do it every weekend? Do they think listeners just won’t notice? Or do they hope to catch new people listening who will think “Hey, this station plays 80s music, I should listen more often!”

Or is that they just are too lazy to change their promos every weekend? Or is it just they are being ironic and funny, poking fun at themselves that every weekend is the exact same on the station, like a Bill Murray “Groundhog Day” thing?

Like I said, I’ve spent WAY too much time thinking about this. Now, hopefully, you can too.

Ryan Lochte’s reality show is gloriously awful. Steubenville shows where its misguided priorities are. And a news anchor’s really bad first day

If you’re looking for a gloriously awful new reality TV show to watch, boy have I got the program for you.

Sometimes you see a reality TV show and you wonder, “Are those people really like that in real life, or are they just acting extreme for the camera?”

Well, I can confidently answer that question when it comes to the new E! reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?,” which debuted Sunday night.

As I’ve written here several times before, I’m sort of a Ryan Lochte savant; I covered his every move for the Daytona Beach News-Journal from 2007-2011; Ryan’s from Daytona and I was the Lochte “beat writer,” which I meant I spent an inordinate amount of time talking to him, his family, his coaches, and studying swimming websites to an unhealthy degree (Hey, I was doing my job.)

So having said all that, I can definitely say that the Ryan Lochte on the show is exactly the same person as he is in real life.
Which is to say, he’s really, really dumb. Historically not smart. He makes Dan Cortese look like a MENSA member, if you get my drift.

And the whole premise of the show seems to be to let Ryan say and do as many stupid things as possible, while the people in his “Lochterage” (his word) laugh and humor him.

The first episode was atrocious. Watch Ryan hang out with his friends at home! Here’s Ryan on his motto: “I always say ‘Go big or stay home,’ he says with all seriousness (He better trademark that before some unscrupulous charlatan says he invented that phrase).

Watch Ryan go out on a date, where he meets his intellectual match: A woman who’s never heard of wontons and responds to Lochte pouring out his soul about commitment by saying “You have pretty eyes.”

The show is 30 minutes of hilarity for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know whose idea it was to put Lochte in a reality show, but they should probably have their head examined. He is so in love with himself, and so cluelessly unaware of how that comes off.

On the plus side, it was kind of cool for me to see his family, most of whom I’ve gotten to know over the years, be on TV and not just “cheering from the stands at a race.”

Seriously, if you really want to watch some hilariously bad TV, and watch Ryan Lochte scrape his brother’s car’s rims with a toothbrush, you ought to check it out on E!
I guarantee you’ll feel 10 percent smarter after viewing.

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**Next, a story that disgusts me completely. Remember a few months back the furor over the Steubenville High School rape trial, when two boys were convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl while she was drunk and semi-conscious?

Thankfully, the boys got jail time. However, proving that a small-town football coach is the most powerful man in town (especially when we wins titles), it was announced Monday that Reno Soccocia has been given a two-year contract extension.
Soccocia, oh by the way, knew about the rape shortly after it happened, and violated Ohio law by not reporting it.
And so after all the publicity of the trial, and the embarrassment the school and the town endured, the school board decides to give a leader of teenage boys who raped a girl a contract extension.

Absolutely, totally despicable. But sadly, not all that surprising.

**Finally today, let us all raise a glass in sympathy for poor A.J. Clemente. Clemente was on his first day on air at his new job on Sunday, as a television news anchor for the NBC station in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Clemente is in his 20’s, clearly this was his first big job, and he was a little nervous on his first night on the air.
So a few seconds before his TV debut on the station, without realizing the camera and microphones were live on him, A.J. let loose two profane words in a row, startling everyone watching and his co-anchor.

A.J. was understandably suspended. Then, after the clip went viral, he was fired. I think that was awfully harsh of the station; the kid made a big mistake, but to fire him? Not right. My man Jeff Pearlman is outraged about this; read his excellent post about why A.J. deserved another shot here.

The ecstasy of a wedding food taste-testing. Thoughts on the crazy Boston drama. And a wildly effective gun ad

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Saturday night I had the strangest and most wonderful eating experience of my life.

My almost-bride and I had arranged for a sample tasting of the catered food to be served at our upcoming wedding on Long Island. Ever since the catering company offered this nine months ago when we booked them, I’d been excited for this night.

It helped that practically every single person we’re inviting’s first reaction when they were told where the wedding would be was “Oh my God, the food there is amazing!”

Until Saturday, I just had to take their word for it. But man oh man, were they right.
Here’s how it worked: My bride and I sat in the cocktail hour room while another wedding ceremony was going on next door. Then, over the next 20 minutes, my new best friend Linda brought us over plate after plate of food, two or three servings of each item, one after another. It got to be hilarious that as soon as we took one or two bites of the steak or the three-cheese ravioli, she was piling dumplings or chicken or fish on top of us.

It was the fastest meal I’ve ever eaten, as I took three or four bites of about 20 different things.
I learned quite a lot, including someone in this great world of ours took the time to invent sweet potato fries drizzled with maple syrup, which sent me into orgasmic-level excitement.
Finally, after 20 minutes of rush-eating and savoring and exclaiming “this is awesome!” Linda politely told us we had to leave, as 140 hungry guests were about to come in.

We drank some water, thanked her profusely, and hurried out the door.

I learned one thing above all else: To hell with getting married. I just want to be a  guest at my wedding. I’ll be too damn busy to eat much of this fantastic food.

**So it’s not likely that gun control or stricter background checks would’ve stopped the Boston bombings, of course. But let’s not forget that gun control is basically dead in this country thanks to our weak-kneed Senate and the ever-powerful NRA.

Maybe this advertisement might rattle a few cages; it’s pretty damn powerful to me.

**Finally, some leftover thoughts on the insane Friday night in Boston, and the entire week of horrible news from hell (I’m telling you, this week in April is ALWAYS bad! I covered a bunch of reasons why in this blog post from 2010)

— It’s amazing how the world works sometimes: For 18 hours Friday the FBI, the Massachusetts state police, local police, the whole law enforcement community was looking for Dhokhar Tsarnaev and came up empty.
Then one guy in Watertown decided he’s gotta have a cigarette, and boom, the suspect is found.

— Memo to Phillip Morris: Here’s a new slogan for you: “Cigarettes save lives.” Who knows what other damage Tsarnaev would’ve caused if Dave Henneberry hadn’t needed a nicotine fix around 6 p.m. Friday?

— My favorite Twitter line from Friday night’s craziness: “Somewhere in Watertown, a wife is saying to her husband, ‘see, I told you that boat was gonna bring nothing but problems!'”

— Another amazing part of the story: Apparently Dhokhar tried to kill himself when police closed in on the boat, putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. But he didn’t die from that, which is almost impossible, I thought.

–Neil Diamond offered to fly to Boston and sing “Sweet Caroline” live at Fenway Park Saturday. I think that’s pretty cool (above).

— Finally, think about all the awfulness that happened last week: The Boston bombings. The Waco, Texas fertilizer plant explosion. The ricin poisoning of a letter sent to a U.S. Senator and to the President. An avalanche in Colorado Saturday that killed five people.

Has to be just about the worst week of bad news in American history.
Which means that hey, yes, it’s Monday, and a new week begins. No possible way it can be as bad as last week, right?

Here’s hoping.

Good News Friday: Meet the 4-foot-5 basketball wizard. A fantastic ad from Dove soap. And a beautiful national anthem from Boston

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We begin Good News Friday with the story of an amazing small basketball player.

His name is Jahmani Swanson, and he’s only 4-foot-5 inches tall. Swanson is a dwarf, and plays on an all-dwarves basketball team called the New York Towers, who play exhibition games against high school and college teams all over the country.

Despite his size, Swanson is pretty sensational; check out this highlight video of him playing against average-sized players:

He’s pretty impossible to guard, it looks like, since who can really get low enough to steal his dribble?

Would love to see him in action live one day. I’m glad a guy this talented has an outlet to show it to the world.
To read more about Swanson, check out this story.

**Next up, it’s rare that a commercial moves you to near-tears, but this Dove “Real Beauty” ad is pretty fantastic. Several people have sent it to me over the last week, and when I finally watched it, I saw what all the fuss was about.

Good for Dove for continuing to promote a positive self-image in women and young girls, which is so crucially important.

**And finally, a moment from Wednesday night that gave me chills. The entire crowd at the Boston Bruins-Buffalo Sabres game in Boston singing the Star-Spangled Banner, together, in a show of emotion and solidarity after the bombings this week.

Just beautiful. And the complete opposite of what I was feeling Thursday after the gun-control vote. This is still a great country, I have to keep reminding myself sometimes.

The NRA undefeated streak continues, disgustingly. A man flies through mountains. And Anthony Weiner, maybe back again

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There’s an old saying in sports that “Sometimes you’ve just got to tip your cap to the other guy and admit he’s better.”

Well, I’m here today to bow down and say it. The NRA is some kind of freaking powerhouse.

I mean, it’s not easy to keep winning these gun battles in Congress. Do you realize what they were up against in the background check vote that they “won” on Wednesday, when 46 senators stood up in Congress and decided not enough kids have died, not enough adults have died, not enough PEOPLE have died yet to make any kind of change in America’s background check laws on gun purchases?

I mean, 90 percent of Americans were for this bill. You know how hard it is to get 90 percent of Americans to agree on anything? We couldn’t get that many people to agree the sky is blue, grass is green, or that Washington was our first President.

But who needs public opinion when you’ve got Senators in your pocket? Who cares that more people will die this year because of the cowardly actions of some in the Senate (I’m looking at you Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana) who don’t think our gun laws need to be any stronger.

Really, I can’t even muster up any more outrage tonight. I’m just so goddamn discouraged at how broken our Congress has become, and how even tiny steps like this in the fight against guns are doomed to failure.

This was the scene the NRA wrought Wednesday, as reported by Sahil Kapur, a writer for the politics blog TPM: Newtown parents crying over the gun vote as Democratic senators hug and console them.

If you read only one thing today, read Gabby Giffords’ passionate appeal in the Times. You know, she has a little credibility on this issue, having been shot in the head by a man who may not have been able to buy the guns he used if his history of mental illness had come up in a (wait for it) background check.

Yep, you’ve gotta admire the NRA. No matter what, they always come out on top.
Unbelievable.

**And now on a lighter note, meet Alexander Polli, the craziest dude I’ve seen. He flies through caves with a “Batsuit” contraption on his back; I’ve seen people do this before (I think HBO Real Sports profiled one of these daredevils) but it still looks incredibly dangerous and nuts.

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**Finally today, there was a fascinating story in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about Anthony Weiner, the disgraced ex-New York congressman who sent dirty pictures of his crotch, and had X-rated online conversations, with a half-dozen women over a few years of his marriage.

I thought the story would be a puff piece or simply Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, spouting political platitudes about a comeback and how they’re sticking together.
But actually, it dug a lot deeper than that. Weiner truly seems like he was a broken man over the scandal, and Abedin certainly didn’t take him back easily.
It’s really an interesting portrait of two people who were living life at warp speed, were laid low, and now are slowly getting on with their life.

I admire the honesty Weiner shows here in recognizing his faults (even his brother said pre-scandal Weiner had a high amount of “douchiness” which is an awesome word), but I think he’s crazy if he thinks he can win the mayor’s race in New York City this year. People aren’t quite ready to forget all the “Weiner” jokes and headlines (this Bill Maher-Jane Lynch sketch cracked me up big-time).

Still, it’s good to see someone who at least gets who big they screwed up, and used the fall from grace to better themselves.

Bush/Cheney lies about torture exposed yet again. Craig Ferguson with a moving monologue on Boston. And a beautiful cartoon from The “New Yorker”

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A picture of a vigil in downtown Boston Tuesday night. There’s been some amazing stuff written in the wake of this tragedy in the last 24 hours; I can’t link to all of it here, but if you’re on Twitter, check out my feed @michaeljlewis75, I’ve been re-tweeting great video, stories and photos all day.

Since the United States Congress, the current Attorney General Eric Holder, and Barack Obama himself refuse to look at the past actions of the previous administration and find any fault whatsoever, it’s left to others to say what everyone in America already knows:

Under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, America tortured people. We were no better than Iran, Syria, or any other of a hundred awful nations that have engaged in this practice for centuries. After 9/11, after a stupidly ill-fated invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government engaged in torture to try to get suspects to tell us things.

The latest condemnation of our own war criminals came this week from a non-partisan group called the Constitution Project; they’ve released a 576 page report declaring that unequivocally, all evidence shows that we were torturers.

From the blog of Andrew Sullivan: “Those findings, to put it bluntly, are that for several years, the United States government systematically committed war crimes against prisoners in its custody, violating the Geneva Conventions, U.S. domestic law, and international law. Many of these war crimes were acts of torture; many more were acts of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. All are federal crimes. None of those who authorized the war crimes has been prosecuted.”

And disgustingly, it doesn’t appear that anyone involved at the highest levels will ever be prosecuted.
Because yeah, the guards at Abu Ghraib were surely the only Americans who ever behaved in a torturous manner during those eight years.

Check out this report that summarizes the findings of the committee, and then try to tell me why George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are currently free.

**Craig Ferguson isn’t someone I pay much attention to normally; I don’t watch his show, and only once in a while do I see a clip of his that’s worth watching.

But I thought he was spot-on with this commentary about the Boston tragedies on his Monday night show. Really genuine, honest emotion from a man who wasn’t born here but has grown to love this country.

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**Finally today, a beautiful image is worth more than a thousand words. Check out this cartoon from The New Yorker; similar to how those around the nation felt about New York after 9/11, Boston is now a symbol of love for so many.