Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baseball, the Magna Carta, and the Cuban Missile Crisis

A bunch of Major League Baseball players have been named as steroid users, in today's long-awaited report from former Senator George Mitchell. Baseball has a drug problem, the news anchors report, along with various baseball officials. Very slow, deep voices, very ominous tones. You know — as if it's news. As if it's a shock.

Baseball has had a drug problem for decades, like most professional sports. Jim Bouton (a former Seattle Pilot, by the way) caused a bit of a flap when he wrote “Ball Four” in the '70s because it exposed the seamier side of the game, and that was in the years before the free agent and obscenely large contracts.

Critics said the book sullied the game and tainted “America's favorite pastime.” Fans continued to be fans. They figured the players weren't exactly choirboys, anyway. No biggie. The drug of choice back then was amphetamines.

Today it's anabolic steroids. Tomorrow? Something else. This will likely not change as long as there are enormous quantities of money in the game. It will just go underground. Where it was thirty or more years ago.

Meanwhile, Ross Perot has the Magna Carta up for auction, we're still torturing people in the name of freedom and democracy (but hiding the evidence), and Dana Perino hadn't heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis until somebody brought it up on NPR's “Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me” (a game show) a few days ago and reminded her about it at a press conference.

And there's talk that the staunch, principled stance of congressional Democrats of not giving another cent to the Commander Guy is about to dissolve into acquiescence yet again.

And Scooter Libby has withdrawn his conviction appeal because he knows he won't have a snowball's chance in hell of squeaking out of serving time after a new trial. None of this gets as much attention as Barry Bonds' home run record or Roger Clemens getting steroids injected in his butt repeatedly. Astounding.

At least one British columnist has a grip on the Magna Carta irony. Again, we have to rely on others to see ourselves somewhat objectively as citizens of the world.

The press secretary to the President of the United States didn't know anything about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This was not only an American event, but a pivotal moment in human history that could have resulted, for all practical purposes, in our own extinction.

This (and don't forget Monica Goodling and Bradley Schlozman, the kids of "GonzoGate" fame) screams “incompetence,” which doesn't alarm anyone in particular. And from our traditional media: silence.

At least Reuters picked up a flicker of good news today and actually reported it. Congress voted along party lines to outlaw waterboarding. It's a start. But I'd really like to see a return to journalism in America. It would be refreshing to see at least one public profession that can't be bought.

But take heart. “American Gladiators” is returning.


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