Not even two weeks after a Democratic leader was shot at point-blank range in the head, a video turned up that featured right-wing troglodyte Glenn Beck, exclaiming that "radicals" in the Democratic party need to be shot in the head. This is the same Glenn Beck that was forced to pull this image of him brandishing a handgun at his website that also states "We must stand together against all violence." Beck's level of hypocrisy is astonishing as always. Who he thinks he's trying to fool, other than his listeners, is a mystery. Watch this clip below in which he incites yet more fear and loathing among his braindead fans.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
And you clowns on the right wing cry foul on the left and moderates? How can you sleep at
By the way, Glenn, Hitler wasn't a communist. Socialist perhaps, but not a communist. You would figure that someone with your superior intellect would understand such things instead of relying on the need to lie to your listeners.
In related news, rightwing bloggers are calling for Gabrielle Giffords' resignation just as she leaves the hospital. Great timing, guys! Instead of celebrating the fact that she's already on her feet, you'd rather see her resignation? Let's give her a couple months to further recuperate and let her decide whether or not it's time for her to retire. Besides, how many conservatives were beating down the doors of the White House calling for Reagan's resignation when Hinckley tried to take him out?
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Just when I try again to find a place in my life where I can co-exist with the faithful, I am given a not-so-subtle reminder that there are some people in this world that all of us need to stand up against and fight.
This message is for Fred Phelps and members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
It is not enough for any of you to go far out of your way to protest the funerals of fallen service members and further destroy the hearts of the broken-hearted in mourning.
It is not enough for any of you to enjoy your constitutional rights, then kick those who provide that right to you in the face and insult them as they die.
It is not enough for any of you to brainwash those around you, including your children, to think exactly the way you do.
It is not enough for any of you to inflict injury to those who have a different perspective or sexual orientation, while falling just short of murdering them yourselves.
It is not enough for any of you to abuse your First Amendment rights at the emotional detriment of others.
It is not enough for any of you to distort the Bible in order to justify your own stupidity and evil.
No, none of these acts are despicable and hateful enough for any of you, so you have to take your dog and pony from Topeka to Tuscon in order to display to the world just how deep the roots of your hatred grow. Now that the intoxicating effects of wishing death upon homosexuals, and adding insult to injury to others is are wearing off, you turn your sites to the family of a little girl who has fallen in a nightmare of brutality -- a little girl who never did a damned thing to any of you.
And the only reason any of you showed up to protest her funeral at all is because she was raised Catholic, and didn't believe exactly as you do.
So you offer to refrain from protesting her funeral in exchange for air time in which you can spew more of your hate. How is this a fair exchange? A little girl loses her life, you decide to picket her funeral, while celebrating a mass murderer and wishing he could have killed more. Young or old, black or white, Jew or Muslim, atheist or Christian, it doesn't matter to you because they don't believe exactly as you do.
There's a part of me that even wonders why I'm writing this in the first place because it's a waste of energy. You know no conscience, remorse, pity, sorrow, or even the slightest hint of humanity. There's no hope that it will pique the better of your emotions and cause you to consider the harm you've done, and will do to others. You couldn't care less about your victims as long as you get to score what you perceive as brownie points with God. That part of me also knows that all of the combined skills, intellects, and talents that you have amount to little more than a pimple on the ass of society. It also knows that you deserve nothing more than to be laughed at, scorned and ridiculed.
At the same time, there's a part of me that realizes that all of you have been lied to at the hands of a megalomaniacal sociopath, and there's still hope for you, especially your children.
Perhaps one of the most maddening aspects of your rhetoric is that you love the violence that is visited upon those who disagree, but the moment someone smashes your windshields with a brick you're utterly shocked by it.
What possible good could any of you hope to achieve by even contemplating this? How you can sleep soundly at night, wake in the morning and look your hideous reflection in the mirror and not be horrified is a mystery that no person of sound mind and reason will ever comprehend.
What must it be like to live in a world where all you see is absolute evil? When was the last time you appreciated a soft spring rain? When was the last time you smiled at the first snow fall of winter? When was the last time you truly smiled at the beauty of a child's smile and laughter? When was the last time you absolutely marveled at the site of a hawk in flight, or found even a brief moment of happiness and laughter as two squirrels bicker and chase each other through a forest? When was the last time you smiled an honest, pure smile without even the slightest hint of maniacal insanity?
When I think of you, I think of a group of vampires that drink the blood of the innocent and broken-hearted in order to sustain their own miserable existence, because they have no life of their own. When I think of you, there is no word in any language in the known Universe to accurately describe how evil, putrid and despicable all of you are.
If I ever encounter you, I will stand against you, shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm with Christians, agnostics, atheists and send you back to that toilet of a third-world hell hole you call a church. Long after you're gone, you and your followers will be relegated to the ash heap of history, and your name will only incite righteous anger and contempt.
Meet Cindy Jacobs. Cindy and her husband Mike run Generals International, an organization based in Texas that devotes itself to societal change through prayer. The organization calls Cindy...seriously, get this...God's mouthpiece.
Okay, seriously, what is it with you fundies that have the kahonies to call yourselves God's ambassador, mouthpiece, instrument, lap dog, etc., as if you have God's cell number on speed dial?? See, look what you made me do! I used two question marks in a sentence!
Anyway, Cindy believes that the recent bird and fish die-offs in Beebe, Arkansas are God's wrath because of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. One would think that God would take his anger out on those that repealed DADT instead of 5,000 birds. But what Jacobs isn't telling you is that massive bird die-offs have also recently occurred in Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, and Italy. So, by Jacobs' logic, these nations have repealed DADT as well?
This is a woman who prophesied that God has delivered us Marco Rubio to be the next great leader in American politics. For those of you who may not know, Rubio was a Teabagger favorite and won election to the Senate in November. He is also the target of multiple ethics violation complaints and investigations, including misuse of GOP credit cards for personal goods and services.
Rubio attracted quite a bit of attention to himself when it was learned that one of his biggest financial backers was a Cuban-American tobacco company, Dosal. When he was the Florida Speaker of the House, Rubio made it possible for Dosal to bypass legislation that would have made them pay up big money in recent settlements with the state of Florida. Somehow all of this apparently means that Rubio is God's right-hand man when it comes to the tobacco lobby in American politics.
There's a term for people like Cindy Jacobs -- crazy. Although delusional, thief, liar, charlatan, fraud, and deceptive are just as valid.
Watch Cindy make a complete fool of herself below.
Until yesterday, I had no idea what "blood libel" meant, and apparently neither did Sarah Palin.
Sarah has been all over the news in the past few days, trying to defend herself against her critics while condemning the attacks in Tuscon last Saturday. She should do both of these, but something Sarah doesn't do is check her facts and sources before she sits in front of a camera to deliver yet another failed speech.
When I sit here to make an entry in my blog I try to verify every single thing I say and fact before I post it. If I am unsure of the meaning of a particular phrase, term or word, I look it up. If I am uncertain of a date on which an event occurred, I verify it. If I don't know the aspects of a certain theory, I make sure that I find out the principles of that theory. That's not to say that I don't make mistakes. But at least I care enough about truth and facts to verify them; Sarah Palin, however, couldn't care less because, well...she's Sarah Palin.
For example, at a speech she delivered in October 2008 in Pittsburgh, Sarah blasted French scientists for studying fruit flies instead of doing something productive for the betterment of humanity like autism research. However, what Sarah didn't know was that scientists were studying certain proteins that could be an indicator for autism -- those proteins are found in fruit flies. Of course, this example should stand as yet one more reason among many why most Republicans should never be allowed anywhere near a microphone and talk about science.
Sarah's most recent faux pas, of course, was her use of the term blood libel, although there are probably hundreds that one could choose as an example. But before that, Sarah showed how little regard she has for common sense when she allowed this image at her PAC site. It displays a map of the US, complete with cross-hairs in congressional districts in which their respective congressional representative voted for the passing of universal health care legislation. One of those, of course, was that of Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at point blank range by a complete psychopath.
Needless to say, the image has since been removed from the site. One would think that as a former public servant, she would have had the mental acuity to prevent the image from being posted in the first place.
Earlier this week, Glenn Beck stated on his radio show that he had an e-mail exchange with Palin. In her response to Glenn, she stated "I hate violence. I hate war." Really, Sarah? If that's so, then you might want to tone down the rhetoric and distasteful imagery you choose to display at your site.
You could understand why pictures and videos of you firing an M-16 might cause one to doubt your sincerity, especially when you use say irresponsible trash like "don't retreat -- reload!" The same thing can be said of fellow right-wing nutjob, Michelle Bachman, who reportedly wants and AR-15, and telling her constituents in Minnesota that she wants them "armed and dangerous."
Am I saying that Palin, Bachmann, and Beck are responsible for what happened in Tuscon last week? No. Not at all. But I am saying that they do infuse a certain element of fear and loathing into this discussion, and must tone down the "lock and load" bullshit before somebody else is killed or injured. And I am absolutely saying that neither of these three have the sense of a ball of lint, and even worse judgment.
In related news, a gun manufacturer in South Carolina is now releasing rifle components with the term "YOU LIE" engraved into them, a reference to Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech regarding universal health care in September 2009. I wonder if the company is aware just how much of a hypocrite Joe Wilson really is.
With all this speech about guns, locking and loading, re-loading, being armed and dangerous, and the current talking point about duels coming from the right-wing over the past few years, it's bordering on terrifying to know that these two are actually considering a run for the White House in 2012.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Hello there, and welcome to State College! If you're new here, that means you're probably a student. If you're not a student, then you're most likely a new professor, or just took a job at one of the local businesses. If you are either or these, congratulations on your recent accomplishments.
Now, here is what you need to know about living in Happy Valley in 11 easy-to-understand parts. Pay close attention, especially if you're a student.
1. The borough does not belong to you.
This may come as a shock to many of you, but you don't own State College. In the off-chance that your last name also happens to be found on a street sign, like Atherton or Allen, it does not belong do you. If somebody comes to your hometown and treats it like their personal footstool, chances are it would piss you off. So don't do it here.
2. Nobody wants to listen to your shitty music.
Are you a Rush fan? Maybe you are, maybe you're not. I'm a huge Rush fan, myself. But I realize that not everybody likes Rush. Because of this, I keep my stereo down when I'm driving, especially at intersections, and you should do the same. Besides, Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Mudvayne, or whatever the hell they're passing off as music these days sucks. As a matter of fact, there's not a word in the known Universe to describe how shitty their music is. So do us all a favor and turn your stereo down. Nobody is impressed because you were stupid enough to spend $10,000 on a stereo system in your car. Blasting P. Diddy doesn't make you look cool, it just makes you look like a dick.
3. Put your cell phone away.
If something is so important that you absolutely must talk about it, then one would think that the conversation would take place in any other place than a checkout line or pulling out in front of a moving semi. You have no idea how maddening it is to have to suffer fools who talk on their cell phones at the checkout line at Wegman's, a movie theater, walking through the middle of Allen and College when traffic has a green light, or even on a bicycle. If a conversation is of utmost importance, then take the call outside or at the very least, away from everyone else as they try to get through their busy day with as little interruption as possible.
4. Put your iPod away.
I love music as much as the next guy, but if your iPod begins to distract you from oncoming traffic and places life in jeopardy, it's time to leave it at home. Besides, chances are that sooner or later your iPod will be stolen. So leave your iPod at home.
5. Learn how to drive.
If you take up two lanes...
If you are tailing others for more than a mile and you have the option to pass them...
If you are intoxicated...
If you are drinking an alcoholic beverage...
If you are eating...
If you have a pet in your lap...
If you travel well above or below the posted speed limit...
If you see no difference between a parking lot and Talladega International Speedway...
If you are texting...
If you are applying make-up...
If you are reading...
If you are dancing...
If you change lanes in an intersection...
If you are from Virginia...
If you are from Ohio...
If you are from New York...
If you are from New Jersey (especially, New Jersey)...
...and you're driving, it's time to re-take your learner's permit. If you do/are any of the above, stop driving before you get somebody killed (especially if you're from New Jersey).
And if you take up two spaces in a parking spot, you can expect to find a nasty-gram under your wiper blade. If you do, you have no right or reason to be shocked, outraged, or even slightly surprised. You should be glad that I didn't use a key to scribe into your hood how much of an asshole you really are.
Also, when you come to an intersection in State College, chances are it will have a solid white line just before you enter that intersection. This line means STOP. Do not cross this white line. It is there for your safety and to allow the free flow of opposing traffic while you're waiting for a green light. If a bus or tractor trailer turns and you're in the way because you crossed any of these white lines, I'm going to scoot up so you can't back up, and I'll laugh at your stupid ass as the opposing traffic yells and gives you the finger.
One final word on driving. It is winter, and I see waaaaaaaaaay too many cars, particularly students (especially from New Jersey), that still have snow on them while they're driving. If this sounds like you, then chances are you are probably need to invest in a ice scraper. And if you do have an ice scraper, clearing a small hole in your front and back windshield do not qualify as having a car cleared of snow. In some places driving around with snow and ice on your windshield gets a stiff fine. So, bear the cold, get off your lazy ass, and completely clear your car of snow before somebody dies.
6. When at the local grocery stores, be mindful of others.
Store aisles are only about 6-feet wide. Most grocery carts are around 3-feet wide. Depending on how you stand, you could be taking up to 2 feet of space. So, if you're in a store:
● Walk directly behind your cart. Do not deviate.
● Do not drag your cart. The handle is located at the rear of the cart for a reason.
● Do not walk beside your cart. You're only impeding the free flow of traffic.
● If you have to buy more groceries than one cart can hold, then make two trips instead of dragging one cart in front of you while pushing another.
● Do not park your cart on one side of the aisle while standing in the middle or the other side of the aisle. Again, you're only impeding traffic.
● Do not use your cell phone if you're in the checkout line. It's extremely rude to others around you because it shows how little regard you have for them. However, if you need to call home to ask if there's anything that you may need, this is perfectly acceptable, provided that you are still shopping.
● Do not leave your cart in the middle of an aisle unattended. If you do, I will move your cart to the opposite end of the store, then watch in amusement as you look for your now-lost cart.
● If you see a familiar face and wish to talk to them, move to their side of the aisle to allow the free flow of traffic and keep your conversation brief.
7. Clean up after yourself.
How many times do people have to tell you, clean up after yourself -- your mother doesn't work here?
I'm by no means Mr. Clean, but show some courtesy toward others and pride in yourself and your environment by putting trash in the nearest trash can or dumpster. State College is a pretty town, and it's a shame to see trash all over the place. If you throw your trash on the street or sidewalk and I see it, I might throw it at you. If you throw it out of your car, I'm going to grab it, follow you, then throw it in your car if your window is open. If not, I'll leave it under your wiper.
8. Show a sense of urgency!
When you're crossing an intersection, move your ass! As mentioned above, this town does not belong to you nor does life wait on you. No matter what your parents told you, the sun does not rise and set because of you, nor did you hang the moon. There have been a frightening number of casualties because pedestrians decided to play chicken with oncoming traffic, or just didn't move fast enough, as they carelessly walk through an intersection. These people are now either dead or permanently injured because they decided that they're more important than the inertia and momentum of a moving vehicle.
And if you drag your feet or your flip flops when you walk, now is the perfect time to end this annoying habit.
9. Dress appropriately.
Pajamas do not qualify as socially acceptable clothing to be worn in public. To add to the mystery of wearing pajamas in public, many of the female student body spend at least an hour perfecting their make-up and hair before they leave home. This doesn't make you look cute, it just makes you look like you have no grasp on the priorities of life.
If it's raining or snowing out, don't wear flip-flops. Flip-flops are hard enough to walk on when it's sunny. Wearing them when it's raining are hazardous.
Oh, and stop wearing mukluks. They're not fashionable and never were. However, to the indigenous cultures around the Arctic Circle, they're a necessity. So unless you plan on moving to Siberia, throw your mukluks in the trash.
10. Be mindful of cyclists!
If you're a motorist and you come upon cyclist, chances are they have the right of way. Just because they're on a bike and you're in a car doesn't give you the right to blow them off the road. According to state law, bicycles qualify as a vehicle. Therefore, cyclists are granted all the rights as motorists.
If you're a cyclist, stay off the sidewalk! It is illegal in State College to ride a bike on sidewalks. Only in the designated areas outside of town are you allowed to ride bikes on sidewalks. Even then, stay off the sidewalk!
Oh, and wear a helmet!
11. Skip State Patty's Day.
State Patty's Day was born in March 2007 when a group of alcohol-loving malcontents decided it would be a good idea to create a fake holiday since St. Patrick's Day didn't coincide with spring break that year.
Each year that State Patty's Day is celebrated results in seemingly half of the student body drinking all day long since 6:00 am, hundreds of 911 calls related to injuries, alcohol poisoning, fights, public urination, and destruction of public and private property. It costs the borough hundreds of thousands of dollars in court fees, and emergency response. State Patty's Day has become so widespread and infamous that some of these goons drive the whole way from Philadelphia just to get trashed.
Just like anyone else, I love going out to enjoy a few drinks with friends. But creating a holiday just so you can get drunk is unbelievably inane. To be fair, there are some people who do go out to have enjoy time with their friends and just have a good time and nothing more. But if you're one of the thousands who invade the State College bars on this dreadful holiday just to get drunk and cause mayhem, you deserve what's coming to you.
Borough and university officials simply aren't doing enough to discourage participation in State Patty's Day. It will probably take a serious injury or death to ultimately get rid of it. If you are borough of university official and are truly concerned about the detrimental effects of State Patty's Day, here are some suggestions to end it:
1. Stop screwing around with these kids! Fining them a couple hundred dollars for a minor offense means nothing to them because they rely on the mommies and daddies to pay it for them. Hit them and their parents in the pocket books and hit them hard. If a student is arrested for anything related to State Patty's Day, fine them and/or their parents $5,000 for the first offense, then $2,500 for each additional offense. It'd be a great way to fund upgrades in infrastructure and emergency services. If they're arrested again in subsequent observances of State Patty's Day, then tack on those fines plus a week's stay in jail plus the maximum bail that law will allow for alcohol related offenses.
2. If a student is arrested on State Patty's Day, then they should be given automatic suspension from school for one year without one red cent's worth of a refund. If they're arrested again in future State Patty's Day observances, then permanently expel the student.
As long as you can observe these guidelines, your stay in State College should be a safe and enjoyable experience. And if you're looking for some fun, for no more than $7.50, you can't beat an Icers' game!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
“You know, too much is made about franchise issues at a particular point in time. Our goal is to keep all our franchises where they are. That’s always been our goal and that’s what we try to do.”
Gary Bettman - December 6, 2010
If only Gary Bettman said these words on February 1, 1993.
Lost revenue. Low ticket sales. Discount tickets and package deals that include hot dogs, nachos, drinks and free parking. These things have become the normal way of doing business in order to lure fans to NHL games in the Southern US. That's how bad things have gotten.
At the helm of the NHL is Gary Bettman, who has proven time and time again that he has nothing but contempt for hockey. He insists that keeping dysfunctional teams in the Bible belt is a great way to build support and make money. But the facts show the exact opposite.
So let's talk about the NHL's appeal to the Southern US.
In 1979, the Winnipeg Jets entered the NHL after the Western Hockey Association was merged into to the NHL. They enjoyed moderate success, but were typically the proverbial punching bag for their rivals, the Calgary Flames, and especially, the Edmonton Oilers. The Flames and the Oilers were two of the most powerful teams throughout the '80s, affording little opportunity for the Jets to excel when the playoffs rolled around.
Adding to the Jet's problems, the Winnipeg Arena could only seat 15,565. Compounding the problem still, was the growing US market. When the Nordiques moved to Colorado in 1995, the Winnipeg Arena became the smallest venue in the NHL. With such a small venue and all the money heading into the US, the Jets followed suit in 1996 and made the trip from the cold plains of Manitoba to the arid deserts of Arizona.
The main reason the club moved was because of financial woes. Ironically, the team moved from one cash-strapped venue to one that's even worse. Since 2001, the Coyotes have lost about $200 million, and this year they're in a $20 million deficit; money that could have been spent moving the Coyotes to a new home where they could prosper. Instead, they filed for bankruptcy in May 2009. Billionaire Jim Balsillie offered to buy the team and move them to Hamilton, Ontario, but that offer fell through when a Phoenix bankruptcy court said that moving the team would violate league rules.
In a desperate and obscenely stupid move, under the direction of Bettman the league bought the Coyotes in 2009 for $140 million to keep it from moving. To make matters worse, the league even loaned the team $35 million after purchasing them. Bettman even joked that he wouldn't let his name appear on the Stanley Cup if they ever won under his watch.
Last month, Matt Hulsizer, a Chicago businessman, took steps to seal the deal on purchasing the team. Even Hulsizer seems to regret his purchase of the club saying "It's not going to look smart for a long time. This has not been a home run investment for us." But don't get your hopes up that they'll move to another city -- the deal is to keep them in Phoenix, because Gary is dedicated to the fans, after all. Which fans, however, remains a mystery.
Ice hockey should never be played where ice doesn't form naturally for more than a day. And since Phoenix rests in the northeast corner of the Sonoran desert, that pretty much seals the deal for me -- the NHL should never have set foot in Phoenix. Here's hoping that the day will come that the team will return to Winnipeg where they belong.
On May 16th, 1995, a rally was held in Winnipeg by 35,000 Jets fans to keep their team. A couple of years ago when Jim Balsillie expressed interest in moving the team to Hamilton, Phoenix fans held a rally of their own. 200 of them. Which city wants hockey more? You do the math.
Few expansion teams from the 90s have enjoyed more success than the Lightning. They won the Stanley Cup in the '03-'04 season, and have made the playoffs five times. They made history in 1992 when they played the first female hockey player in the NHL, Manon Rheaume, who played goal.
But like other teams in the Southern US, Tampa Bay, has some troubling attracting a sell-out crowd. So far in the 2010-11 season the team averages about 85% in attendance. Last season average attendance was about 78% and in the '08-'09 season it was about 86%. In '06-'07 they averaged over 100%. So their attendance, while inconsistent, is not a reason to move. However it was learned in the '08-'09 season that the Bolts were taking money from the league. To add a little salt to the wound, fans in Tampa Bay can catch a game for as low as $15 a pop.
So, are the Lightning a team a candidate for contraction or relocation? Maybe. Although Tampa Bay is currently enjoying a 24-11-5 record for a total of 53 points and are one of the best teams in the league, attendance has dwindled from 100% in '06-'07 to 85% this season. Last season their attendance was 78%. If things don't pick up, they might disappear.
In 1972, the New England Whalers were a fledgling team in the WHA. After having trouble playing in Boston due to the presence of the Bruins, the team moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1979. The team never faired well, typically coming in last place or darn near it in the Norri...errrrr!...Northeast Division, and only enjoyed three winning seasons from '79 - '97.
The team began to experience financial woes in 1994 after they were bought by IT entrepreneur, Peter Karmanos, who promised to keep the team in Hartford for 4 years. But after disappointing ticket sales, he reneged on his promise and moved the team to to North Carolina at the end of the '96-'97 season where they became the Carolina Hurricanes.
The team has faired much better in Raleigh than they ever did in Hartford, but they have only averaged about 88% in attendance over the past 5 years. Even when they won the Cup in '05-'06 they failed to fill seats.
The Hurricanes are one of the teams in the South that parade scantily-clad eye candy in order to attract fans. If this is what they need to do to keep people coming back, then the team might have some serious problems. But despite soft ticket sales and gimmicks, the Canes are doing pretty well in the NHL, and it appears they might stick around for a while.
The Nashville Predators have been a hell of a team as of late. But why the hell Bettman gave an NHL team to a city with the 25th largest population in the US I'll never know.
Although they started out weak in their first six seasons, the team is now a top contender in the Campbe....errrr!...Western Conference. Even though the Predators are doing damage to other teams in the league, their fan attendance has been sub-par since day one.
In order to attract fans, the Predators are doing what a lot of Southern teams are doing -- employing gimmicks like package deals complete with cheap eats and drinks -- even discounts on gas. I went to the Preds ticket site and found this little stunt to try to get fans into the seats:
The Nashville Predators are dedicating Tuesday night games to the fans! Daily's Super Tuesday packages include 2 upper level tickets for $42 or 2 lower level tickets for $92. There will also be special concession stands (one in the upper level and one in the lower level) where all items are just $2, as well as a reduced $2 ticket service fee. In addition, Daily's is offering a $5 coupon good towards gas or merchandise to fans who purchase Super Tuesday tickets. Certain restrictions apply.
Things are going bad for the Predators, and they're only going to get worse. The Predators were bought in 2007 for $174 million, but today the team is valued at $148 million and is likely to continue dropping. There have been talks of moving the team for years now, who, like the rest of the teams in the Southern US, are losing money by the boatload. But will that force Bettman to consider relocating the team to greener pastures? Nope! Gary has a lot of damage to do to the league, and in order to do that, he intends on keeping the Predators in Nashville.
The 1993 expansion introduced to new teams to the NHL -- the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (please) and the Florida Panthers. While the Panthers have had moderate success, just like other teams in the South, they have troubling filling seats. The trouble of getting fans into the seats is becoming quite an issue for the Panthers (whom I affectionately call the Kitties), so they have resorted to covering up 2,000 seats with tarp in an attempt to keep it from looking worse than it really is. Two other teams have also done this in the past -- the Lightning and the Hurricanes (shock!).
Since the '06 - '07 season the average attendance has hovered between 75% and 81%. That's nowhere near enough to keep the Panthers in Florida, and Bettman knows it. Things have gotten so bad for Florida that they've actually reduced themselves to offering refunds if attendees aren't completely satisfied. How this is going to increase revenue escapes me.
But Gary probably do his best to kick the rest of the league in the kahonies by leaving the Panthers in Florida so they can bleed out whatever money they have left.
When the Minnesota North Stars made the move to Dallas in 1993, there were only a handful of ice rinks. Since then, the number of ice rinks has grown to 20. All because of the arrival of the NHL.
Despite this, the club is experiencing money trouble these days. The current owner, Tom Hicks, bought the team in 1995 for $84 million. Today, the team is valued around $227 million, but hicks is having trouble paying off loans, so he might have to break even by selling the team to keep from going in the red.
In spite of the Stars performance, there are talks that they might relocate in the not-too-distant future. Some are suggesting that the next stop should be in Houston. That's a bad idea. You'll find out why below.
In 1972, the NHL expanded into American deep south with the birth of the Atlanta Flames. From the time they arrived, they were a team with ups and downs and couldn't keep fans in the seats. Though they had some success during the regular seasons from '72 to '80, their performance in the playoffs were disappointing. Lackluster appearances in the playoffs and poor ticket sales finally forced the Flames move. In 1980, they packed up their things and headed to Calgary.
Nineteen years later, the NHL returned to Atlanta in the form of the Thrashers, named after the brown thrasher, the Georgia state bird. Just like the reception from Atlantans of the NHL the first time around, the second time around has been lukewarm. The Thrashers' performance has improved from their first game in 1999 against the Devils, which they lost 4-1. The Thrashers finished the '99-'00 season 14-61-7. Low ticket sales have ranked the Thashers' attendance record to 29th in the NHL for the 2010-11 season, averaging a little over 10,000 per game. They made the playoffs only once during the '06-'07 season in which they were easily swept by the New York Rangers in the first round.
The Thrashers have been hemorrhaging millions of dollars since they arrived. This year they're operating on an $8 million deficit alone. Hoping to remedy the situation, the league is trying to land a new television contract in the US. Since Atlanta has one of the largest populations in the country, some people naively believe that this will bring the much-needed infusion of money that the team needs, and that the Thrashers are here to stay. But the entire city of Atlanta already knows that the city has an NHL team and games are already televised. They don't need another TV deal to know that. If there really was a healthy fan-base in Atlanta, they should rank at least 15th in attendance, not near dead last. Sooner or later, Atlanta will say good-bye to the NHL again. Hopefully for good this time.
BUT WHAT ABOUT...?
As if pushing the NHL farther south will be anymore successful than Dallas or Atlanta?
The Houston Aeros are the IHL affiliate for the Minnesota Wild and are a pretty successful team at that. But in spite of their performance, the average attendance for the 2010-11 season is just a little over 5,300, while the all time record is a little over 13,000. But the kicker is that the Toyota Center has a 17,800 seat capacity for Aeros games. The record is well under seating capacity by about 4,000 seats. Hockey just isn't popular in Houston.
Fans say that if the league strikes a major television network deal then that will be all the impetus needed to bring the NHL to sixth largest city in the US. But this is a town dominated by the Astros and Texans. Could the NHL find a home in Houston? Maybe. But if you're a hockey fan in Houston, I wouldn't hold my breath.
In 1974, the NHL arrived in Kansas City. It was hoped that the team's name would be the Mohawks, but the Chicago Blackhawks had a tizzy over that because it so closely resembled their name, so the team became the Kansas City Scouts instead.
The first eight games were dismal for the Scouts, dropping seven and tying one. They finished the '74-'75 season with a 15-54-11 record. The next season was even worse at 12-56-12. The very next season they packed their bags and moved to Colorado and later would become the New Jersey Devils.
During their time in Kansas City, the Scouts failed to fill the seats, averaging a little over 8,000 seats out of 17,000 seats at the Kemper Arena. Even after the owners tried to hold a ticket drive, they only sold 2,000 tickets.
My nightmare scenario almost came true a couple years ago when talk of the Pens moving to Kansas City grew. Thankfully, Mario Lemieux made one more save to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh. But if they had gone to KC, there is little doubt that they would have done any better than their predecessors. Like the rest of the relocated/expanded teams under Bettman's watch, they likely would have lost millions.
Kansas City had their shot at the NHL, and their shot only lasted two seasons. Of course, if Gary has his way...
Las Vegas, NV lies about 250 miles northwest of Phoenix, AZ as the crow flies. Sin City has played host to a number of professional sports teams, including a few hockey teams. Currently, the city hosts the Wranglers, the ECHL affiliate of the financially-troubled Coyotes.
The Wranglers are doing well for themselves, but like the Houston Aeros, they just can't get fans into the seats. One would figure with all the money and transient hockey fans going in and out of the city, that the Wranglers could get at least a few of them to catch a game. The Wranglers have only averaged an abysmal 3,704 fans this season, which is about 21% of the capacity of Jobing Arena where the Coyotes play. Attendance has been as low as 3,168. Even Bettman knows that Las Vegas is a terrible location for a hockey team because the city just doesn't care about it.
The Sonoran desert already has an NHL team. It needs another one about as much as a fleet of snow plows. No-go for the NHL in Vegas.
The real losers since Bettman took the helm of the NHL are the fans. This entire debacle of moving teams to the South is the NHL version of a lap dance. Bettman gives these cities a team, gets them excited, and they end up losing their money. In the end, they wonder what the hell just happened.
During Gary's time as commissioner, the league has gone through 2 lockouts, forced relocations, and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. The argument could be made that when he took over the league was starving for cash, but since Bettman arrived money has come flooding in. But a giant chunk of that money comes from agreements with corporate giants like Reebok, not so much ticket sales.
On the flip side, if you took just 3 teams with disappointing attendance records and lost revenue, and moved them to the Northern US or Canada, the league could gain $100 million a year from each team.
They might as well sell tickets in Quebec, Seattle, or Winnipeg, because nobody's buying them in Miami, Nashville, or Phoenix.
My advice? Contract teams that aren't filling seats and increasing revenue.
Either that or move them back to places where hockey belongs like Quebec and Winnipeg.
If teams can't average more than 85% attendance over a 10-year span, then they should go the way of the dodo.
The South has made it crystal clear that overall they couldn't give a rat's rear end about hockey.
The money left over from vanished teams could be distributed across the league, and the best players from each team could be sent to places where they're desperately needed like Long Island and New Jersey. Better yet, take the best players from three teams and just send them to Quebec or Winnipeg.
I'm sure you could make an argument against this, but the expansion teams since 1993 have diluted hockey and made it less competitive, in spite of the recent shake-up by the league to increase scoring. 30 teams are too many for any professional sports league, especially the NHL.
A recent poll among players reveals that the next stop for the league should be Quebec. Personally, I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see the Nordiques come back. As a matter of fact, the next Pens/Whichever-team-is-on-the-chopping-block, I'm going to wear a Nordiques jersey as a sign of solidarity.
Other than Quebec and Winnipeg
he only other logical possibility of another NHL team in Canada may be Hamilton. Copps Arena has a capacity of 17,383.
Personally, I'd like to see Seattle get a team. The city has the Seahawks and Mariners, but they also have the Thunderbirds. The bad news is that they play at the ShoWare Center, which only seats 6,000 -- in order to entice the NHL to come back, the city has to build a new venue with at least 18,000 seats. The good news is that there's seems to be solid support for the an NHL team in Seattle.
With a metropolitan population of 3.3 million, Seattle could be the next stop for the NHL. After all,
Seattle has bragging rights as the first US city to win the Stanley Cup with the Seattle Metropolitans in 1917. And since the Supersonics left town, this could be an ideal time to re-introduce Seattle to the NHL and give the Canucks a rival.
f an executive that you hired to run an entire organization that kept losing tens of millions of dollars per year due to poor planning, would you keep him around? Neither would I.
The NHL is facing a lot of a problems these days, particularly financial problems.
Even teams that have deep hockey traditions like the Islanders are suffering greatly as of late. A
nd leading the NHL on a collision course into these problems is Gary Bettman, a guy who thinks he can make hockey as important to the American South as football is.
Before he joined the NHL he was the senior vice president of the NBA, and he apparently thinks that he can do with our beloved sport what he did with basketball.
Hockey isn't for everyone, and not every major city in the United States is going to be receptive of it, as is painfully obvious in the Southern US (to everyone except Gary, of course).
In the '08-'09 season, network ratings and attendance to games actually did increase, that is, except for places like Atlanta, Nashville, and Phoenix, where ratings and attendance continue to decline. In the '09-'10 season, that trend continued. The same is true for this season; ratings and attendance are up in traditional hockey markets (with a few exceptions), but steadily falling in the South.
The Southern US has NASCAR -- the Northern US has hockey. There's no great mystery to understanding this, Gary. So do the fans a favor -- stop pimping out the NHL to people who just don't want it, and give the keys to someone else. Your turn to drive is over.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
In May 2009, I told you about Kara Neumann, a Wisconsin girl who died from diabetes at the age of 11 because her parents failed to take her to a doctor, rather insisting that Jesus would heal daughter. Even after she collapsed and drawing her last breath, her parents called friends and family asking them to pray for Kara instead of calling 911.
The next month, a 9-year old boy, Aaron Gregory Grady, died as a result of complications from diabetes, much like Kara Neumann. The boy's mother falsely believed that God would save her son, so she resisted taking him to a doctor. On Friday, December 28th, 2010, she finally turned herself in to authorities and was subsequently jailed. Very convenient for her, however, that she was able to post $10,000 bond.
Jesus said "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible for you." It is impossible, however, to have sufficient faith to save a child from diabetes. Which begs the question, if these people had enough faith that God would save their children, and God failed, how much faith is enough?
Saturday, January 1, 2011
While perusing my Google Reader list, I came across a particular video of Richard Dawkins filmed at the Sydney Opera House in March 2010 that summarily destroys Noah's Ark. Dawkins' sentiments closely mirror a post that I wrote on August 3, 2009.