Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Internet denizens who are rabidly interested in the issue of possible Big Ten expansion are abuzz about the recent comments of Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick.  Swarbrick made some curious and evocative comments about conference expansion, suggesting that it could effect a “seismic” change that could “force” Notre Dame into a conference even though it dearly hopes to remain independent.  In response, a Chicago TV station has just posted a story quoting an anonymous source who says that Big Ten schools, which have been disappointed by Notre Dame’s flirtation with joining the Big Ten in the past, are like a groom left at the altar.  In effect, Notre Dame will have to commit first, and then convince the Big Ten schools that Notre Dame, the fickle female, will remain faithful and won’t change its mind this time.  

In short, the story of Notre Dame and the Big Ten has taken on the elements of a salacious tabloid tale about Hollywood types, complete with the jilted suitor with bruised feelings and the supposedly contrite former jilter.  Can the jilter convince the jiltee to take him back because he has now seen the light and will be true and committed to a meaningful relationship forever?  What do the ever-present, ever-lurking unnamed sources, who are typically described as a “close friend” of one party or the other, have to say about the circumstances that led to the break-up and then the rapprochement?  And to convince the Big Ten that it really, honest-to-god is serious about joining the conference this time, will Notre Dame have to feign interest in the Big Ten’s boring interests, pretend to listen to the Big Ten’s never-ending stories about some weighty emotional issue, or do penance by spending “quality time” with the Big Ten’s appalling family members?

I don’t care whether Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, and no one else should care, either.  Notre Dame will always have fans, even if it continues to stink in football as has been the case for more than a decade now.  Although Notre Dame would be a logical addition to the Big Ten from a geographic, rivalry, and scheduling standpoint, the Big Ten will do just fine without Notre Dame.  The Big Ten is like the kid who has suddenly grown five inches and put on some muscle and it looking pretty good, whereas Notre Dame is like the former popular kid who has experienced a debilitating acne outbreak and doesn’t quite realize it.  The Big Ten needs to man up and figure out that Notre Dame needs the Big Ten a lot more than vice versa.

What I mostly hope, though, is that we get past this silly season and back to some actual college football.  It cannot come soon enough.

Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Keep The Big Ten As It Is (Cont.)

Keep The Big Ten As It Is

Respect For The Tribunal (Cont.)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has weighed in on President Obama’s State of the Union speech and, specifically, the President’s decision to directly criticize the Supreme Court for its recent campaign finance decision.  In response to a question from a University of Alabama law student, the Chief described the scene as “very troubling.” He noted, correctly, that the President has every right to disagree with and criticize the decisions of a coordinate branch of government, but that President Obama’s remarks ran afoul of considerations of decorum and propriety.  As I’ve posted before, I think the Chief Justice is right on that point.  In effect, President Obama used the Justices, who can only sit and listen, as a prop to score a few political points with his supporters, without showing proper respect for the Court or its role in attending the State of the Union address.  I predict that we’ve seen the last of Chief Justice Roberts — and perhaps any Supreme Court Justice — at a State of the Union speech.

When White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Roberts’ comments, Gibbs’ response was wholly political — and therefore basically confirmed that President Obama’s motivation for making his comments in the first place were political as well.  Gibbs said:  “What is troubling is that this decision opened the floodgates for corporations and special interests to pour money into elections – drowning out the voices of average Americans.”  He added that “the President has long been committed to reducing the undue influence of special interests and their lobbyists over government. That is why he spoke out to condemn the decision and is working with Congress on a legislative response.”  What purpose is served by such comments except to try to advance a political agenda at the expense of the respect accorded to the judicial branch of our government as a neutral arbiter of constitutional disputes?

10 – Year – Anniversary

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It’s hard to believe it has been ten years since the Nasdaq hit it’s all time high of 5048.62 as this article points out. At the time I’m sure most investors were expecting the index to go much higher, but the index closed today at 2358.90 less than half its value ten years ago.

Like most investors I had my share of internet stocks and I was lucky enough to sell most of mine before the bubble burst. My list of technology stocks included America Online, Compaq Computer, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Corel. Currently I still own two, Cisco Systems and Microsoft that are down a couple thousand dollars from when I bought them.

For the most part I was pretty lucky as America Online merged with Time Warner, Compaq was bought out by Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle. Corel had something to do with the Linux operating system that was to challenge Microsoft Windows which most desktop computers use.  In the first few days after I bought the stock it more than doubled and I sold it all.

One has to wonder if the Nasdaq will reach 5000 again in my lifetime.

Putting A New Buckeye In Statuary Hall

When Kish and I lived in Washington, D.C., one of my favorite places to take visitors was Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.  Statuary Hall is the former location of the House of Representatives chamber and is now the home of dozens of statues of American luminaries.  Most of the statues are bronze or marble; the notable exception that I recall was the towering black and gold depiction of Hawaii’s King Kamehameha I, who looked like he could have walked off the pedestal and competed successfully in the Arnold bodybuilding competition.

Many of the individuals depicted in the collected statues have long since faded into obscurity.  Most of them are politicians, and some of them are a bit embarrassing to see displayed so prominently at the seat of our Nation’s government because of their support for slavery.   One such example is William Allen, who served as Governor of Ohio from 1874 to 1876 and was pro-slavery and opposed to the Civil War.  Allen is one of only two Ohioans in Statuary Hall; the other is former President James Garfield.  Allen is an exceptionally bad choice to represent Ohio, which was home to the Underground Railroad, to countless men who fought and died in the Civil War, and to many of the Union’s most successful generals, including Ulysses Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.

Appropriately, the powers that be have decided to remove the statue of Allen and pick from a list of 10 Ohioans who are viewed as better representing the values and heritage of modern Ohioans.  The list of candidates is interesting:  James Ashley, Thomas Edison, Ulysses Grant, William McCulloch, Jesse Owens, Judith Resnick, Albert Sabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Taylor Upton, and Wilbur and Orville Wright.  Some of these names are familiar, others less so.  James Ashley was a prominent 19th century abolitionist and politician, William McCulloch was a civil rights activist who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 25 years, Judith Resnick was an astronaut who was killed in the 1986 Challenger explosion, Albert Sabin was the medical researcher who developed the oral vaccine for polio, and Harriet Taylor Upton was a leading proponent of women’s suffrage.

Ohioans will get to influence the final selection through a popular vote.  I think all 10 are worthy candidates, but my preference would be for Thomas Edison, Jesse Owens, or Albert Sabin.  There already are more than enough politicians in Statuary Hall.  Adding an inventor and businessman who brought electric light to the world, or an athlete whose Olympic triumph electrified the world and exposed the stupidity of the racial superiority rantings of the Nazi regime, or a researcher whose hard work and inspiration freed millions from the debilitating effects of a terrible disease, would be fitting reflection of the many contributions that The Buckeye State has made to America.