Elizabeth’s Women Followup

I’ve finished “Elizabeth’s Women” by Tracy Borman. Very enjoyable. It’s not a substitute for a solid Elizabeth I biography but it could be considered required supplemental material for anyone wanting to know more about Elizabeth and her times. It delves into an area not often covered in traditional biographies or standard Elizabethan histories.

Just one note, and most Elizabeth books and movies, carry the same feminist whine that Elizabeth was pressured to marry because she was a woman. This is simply untrue. A king would have been under similar pressure to marry as quickly as possible to produce an heir. How many bachelor kings can you name?

The one main suggestion I’d make is to add a genealogical table. Much of the book covers Elizabeth’s prospective rivals or threats to her crown but without being able to track them back, it’s hard to remember (or understand) why the Grey sisters, the Seymours, Stuarts, et al, received so much attention.

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NBA: Do Something With the D-League

I don’t get what the NBA is doing with the D-League.

Putatively, it’s minor league where unpolished talent can go to “develop” (hence the name, ‘D’ League). There’s also veterans looking for a way back to the NBA. The D-League says well over 30% of current NBA players have had a stop in the D-League.

But no matter how you cut it doesn’t remote resemble the premier minor league, Major League Baseball’s (the NHL’s relationship with the various hockey minor leagues is also well-developed). The NFL has preferred not to have a minor league, depending exclusively on college football for talent.

And one can’t argue that it’s a question of money because the NBA spins much more money than the NHL.

One could argue that there is a question of tradition. Minor league baseball is well over a century old and deeply ingrained in parts of America. For instance, the South didn’t have a professional big league baseball team (Washington D.C. wasn’t really a Southern town) until the 1960s, despite the fact that it produced hundreds/thousands of players. It did, however, have a number of long-standing minor league teams and famous leagues — e.g. the Texas League, the Carolina League.

Minor league hockey shares a similar story throughout Canada. For decades many professional hockey players were often more remembered for the minor league careers than their pro careers. Minor league games in less urban areas of Canada can still draw thousands.

Perhaps some explanation can be found in the fact that both college level baseball and hockey has never really taken off. It’s becoming more popular but is nowhere near the establishment of college basketball and football.

The NBA seems to have a schizo relationship with the 19-team league. Many of the NBA teams own D-League teams or have an exclusive relationship with one. One team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, is affiliated with all the other NBA teams. The teams are based in a variety of differently-sized cities.

Some of the teams are run like miniature NBA teams, with professional staff, decent-sized arenas and attempts to bond with their community. Others, notably the Lakers’ D-Fenders and Suns’ Bakersfield Jam play in gyms barely big enough to cover the entourages of the players. Clearly earning a decent gate isn’t on the mind of some teams.

I think the NBA should actually turn the D-League into a real minor league, closer to what Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League do. I’m not expecting multiple levels of teams but a serious effort at one level.

I actually think that with some thought, the NBA could turn the D-League not only into a money maker but it would help both leagues themselves by promoting the brand.

The first thing to note that is many of the teams are in smaller markets. As much as I love my native Texas, the Rockets’ Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Hidalgo, Texas, with an arena holding 5,500 isn’t a serious effort but typical of the D-League efforts. Don’t get me wrong, the franchise is one of the best-run and draws well. It might be a question of getting a better arena in the fairly populous Rio Grande Valley, a popular retirement area. But the McAllen/Harlingen market is just 86 in the U.S.

In fact with the exception of Oklahoma City (44), Los Angeles (2) and some outer suburban locations of big markets (Canton [Cleveland/Akron 19], Frisco/Texas [Dallas 5], Newark, Del. [Philadelphia 4]), the D-League teams are in the lesser markets. The best of the lot is Austin at 40. The rest: Bakersfield (127), Boise (110), Des Moines (72), Erie (149), Ft. Wayne (109), McAllen/Harlingen (86), Portland, Maine (80), Reno (107), Santa Cruz (Monterey/Salinas 125), Sioux Falls, S.D. (111) and Springfield, Mass. (114).

If you are media savvy, looking at possible TV exposure and generating ad revenues, that’s not a prime lot.

Compounding the problem, only three D-League teams play in arenas that hold more than 7,500 fans. Most arenas are in the 4,000-7,000 range with two being nothing more than practice gyms holding 500 or less. These are not serious efforts.

I understand that the gestation of the D-League makes it a little more complicated to simply “create” a bunch of new teams or force current ownership of the non-NBA team-owned franchises to move but the opportunity that is available to upgrade the league should motivate them. NBA ownership would also bring needed ownership/management stability to these teams – many of which have had multiple owners and locations on the last decade.

So what if the NBA required every team to outfit a D-League team? That would generate 30 teams. And what if it placed the teams in better markets. (I think it’s important than the NBA teams own the franchises or, at least maintain majority ownership in the teams. In some markets it might be advantageous to have solid local ownership but ultimately the team needs the final vote.)

Thirty pro teams and four are doubled up in two markets, so in reality there are a lot of decent markets that don’t have a professional basketball team. Many of these basketball-missing markets support a professional team in some other sport, a major college team or, at one time, had an NBA or ABA franchise. Some of these towns, and I’m thinking Pittsburgh and St. Louis especially, have reputations as great sports towns.

Imagine putting a D-League team in Pittsburgh or St. Louis, cities that support other pro sports teams to the tune of tens of thousands of fans on game day. You could attract 10,000 fans a night. Since a D-League team is cheap and the players do not travel first class, there could be some solid money made.

Besides the gate money, putting D-League teams in major markets would help the NBA brand by spreading it around. More fans attending, more coverage in secondary markets would drive TV ratings and revenue and merchandise sales.

And don’t forget to put D-League games onto the various teams’ cable TV networks for additional exposure (and they’d be better that reruns of ‘World Series of Poker’) along with filling the daytime and overnight hours of the NBA Network.

One last point, the NBA has taken to heavily promoting and showing the games of its Summer Leagues (Orlando and Las Vegas). It understand that besides the glamour rookies, it is promoting the players of the future, most of who will be in the D-League (or on their way to a foreign league) immediately after the Summer League ends in another week.

So why not the same effort for the D-League?

Looking at my handy-dandy D-League Prospective Market list there are some enticing locations for teams. Who wouldn’t want to have some of the action on teams in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Seattle, Tampa-St. Pete, Baltimore, Buffalo, etc.? And there other up and coming cities that could warrant an experiment with a D-League. A D-League team doesn’t carry the baggage or footprint of an NBA. If the team doesn’t draw it can be moved elsewhere.

You could park almost all 30 D-League teams in the top 50 markets. That adds up to impressive demographics.

Cities that have hosted NBA or ABA franchises in the past (and any current professional sports franchises or major college basketball program) [Nielsen DMA]
Baltimore (NBA, NFL, MLB, ABA) [27]
Buffalo (NBA, NFL, NHL) [52]
Cincinnati (NBA, NFL, MLB, college) [35]
Jacksonville (NFL, ABA) [48]
Kansas City (NBA, NFL, MLB) [31]
Louisville (ABA, college) [49]
Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Hampton Road/Newport News/Portsmouth   (ABA) [45]
Omaha (NBA) [74]
Pittsburgh (NFL, MLB, NHL, ABA, college) [23]
Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville [24], Greensboro [46] (ABA, college)
Rochester (NBA) [78]
St. Louis (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, ABA) [21]
San Diego (NBA, NFL, MLB, ABA, college) [28]
Seattle (NBA, NFL, MLB) [13]
Syracuse (NBA, college) [85]
Tampa/St. Petersburg (NFL, MLB, NHL, ABA) [14]
Vancouver (NBA, NHL, CFL)
West Palm/Ft. Pierce, Fla. (ABA) [38]

Large cities that currently support a professional sports franchise (and any major college basketball program)
Columbus (NHL, college) [32]
Nashville (NFL, NHL) [29]
San Jose (NHL) [San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose 6]

Others – under 100 Nielsen DMA
Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. [58]
Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M. [47]
Baton Rouge, La. [93]
Birmingham, Ala. [44]
Bristol, Va./Kingsport/Johnson City, Tenn. [97]
Burlington, Vt./Plattsburgh, N.Y. [98]
Cedar Rapids/Dubuque/Waterloo/Iowa City, Iowa [90]
Charleston, S.C. [95]
Charleston/Huntington W.V. (college) [65]
Chattanooga, Tenn. [87]
Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. [89]
Columbia, S.C. [77]
Davenport, Iowa/Rock Island /Moline, Ill. [100]
Dayton, Ohio [64]
El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, N.M.  [91]
Flint/Saginaw/Bay City, Mich. [68]
Fort Myers/Naples, Fla. [62]
Fresno/Visalia, Calif. [55]
Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich. [39]
Green Bay/Appleton, Wisc. [70]
Greenville/New Bern/Washington, N.C. [99]
Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, S.C./Asheville, N.C. [37]
Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York, Pa. [43]
Hartford/New Haven, Ct. (college) [30]
Honolulu [69]
Huntsville/Decatur/Florence, Ala. [79]
Jackson, Miss. (college) [94]
Knoxville, Tenn. (college) [61]
Las Vegas (college) [42]
Lexington, Ky. (college) [63]
Little Rock, Ark. [56]
Madison, Wisc. [83]
Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla. [59]
Paducah, Ky./Cape Girardeau Mo. [81]
Providence/New Bedford, R.I. [53]
Richmond, Va. (college) [57]
Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va. (ABA) [66]
Savannah, Ga. [92]
Shreveport, La. [82]
South Bend/Elkhart, Ind. [96]
Spokane, Wash. (college) [73]
Springfield, Mo. [75]
Tacoma, Wash. [Seattle 13]
Toledo, Ohio [76]
Tucson, Ariz. (college) [71]
Tulsa, Okla. [60]
Waco/Temple/Brian, Texas [88]
Wichita/Hutchinson, Kan. [67]
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. [54]

That’s my pitch for the moment.

Why Does Our President So Openly Lie?

I’ve often wondered on that question. Barack Obama often seems to have the maturity of a nine-year-old. He says things because he wants them to be true or he thinks they should be true or because he thinks they are true simply because he said them.

I’m not counting his famously fallacious history and pronouncements such as Dear Leader claiming he was the first to brew alcohol “in the White House since George Washington,” as lies. On those he doesn’t know any better and they aren’t purposeful. For the record, the White House had not yet been built when Washington was president (and the capital was based in Philadelphia at that time). I’m looking at the purely mendacious.

Early Tuesday morning, when he announced the “Historic” agreement with Iran, he proceeded to list a load of malarkey that would refill the Augean stables.

This agreement, he intoned in his goofy stilted delivery, came from a “position of strength” and if the Iranians did cheat on the agreement, sanctions would immediately “snap back into place;” “the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon;” “Iran will also get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium;” and, the grandest pantload imaginable, “Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.”

Well, maybe this is the bigger howler: “Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

Those aren’t all the details by any means but a full fisking is unwarranted.

The deal that Obama talked about sounded great.

The problem, little of what he said was true. Within an hour, even CBS Radio, no anti-Obama attack dog there, was poking holes in what the president said.

Digging a little deeper we find that inspectors won’t have 24/7 access to facilities nor will they get unimpeded access to the military nuclear facilities.

I’ve scanned the agreement and have yet to find anything about a 98% reduction in enriched uranium. The agreement is very clear on the Iranians getting to keep 300 kg of lower-level enriched uranium along with some stocks of higher-level enriched uranium.

There’s a lot of detail about Iran being able to keep “researching” enrichment and replacing inferior centrifuges with better ones. That seems counterproductive. Why does Iran need to “research” anything? Why does it need centrifuges if it is getting out of the bomb-building business? If it is serious about the “energy” goal of its program it can hire experienced international firms to provide it with energy reactor-level fuel at a decent price (far cheaper than this charade is costing them).

On the inspection front, does Obama really think the Iranians are going to do their serious military bomb-building work out in the open where inspectors can see it? Without full access to all facilities, the agreement is worthless.

But perhaps I worry too much. The One assures us that Iran will be prevented from using the weapon it’s not supposed to develop because of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

I feel so much safer knowing a piece of paper will shield me from the searing heat and radiation of a nuclear weapon.

Seriously, reading Obama’s view of the agreement and what the apparent reality of it is, one begins to wonder if he has a severe comprehension problem. Maybe he’s just reflecting what his negotiators told him and he has no idea what’s in the agreement?

Or is he just bald-faced lying to America; perhaps under some kind of delusion that we won’t ever figure out the actual details of the deal? At least until the first mushroom cloud appears somewhere and O is safely ensconced as president of Harvard or U.N. Secretary General or just a world citizen travelling the globe in the search for problems only he can solve.

O said something that might indicate he doesn’t actually have a grip on reality: “Consider what happens in a world without this deal. Without this deal, there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program.” Is Dear leader referring to the coalition that is currently in place to do just that? A coalition where hawkish French belittle a gullible panty-waist Obama for trusting the Iranians? That coalition? The Coalition of the apparently Nonexisting?

Our Glorious Leader continues: “Nothing we know about the Iranian government suggests that it would simply capitulate under that kind of pressure and the world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission.” Wait, so these tough Iranians won’t capitulate under worldwide pressure, which you insist will fail anyway allowing the Iranians to do whatever they want, but they are eager to sign a document giving you everything you want? Did O even comprehend the sentence he had delivered before that?

People, he is not very smart. He thinks you aren’t smart either.

Obama grew up in and has lived all his adult life in an atmosphere where he was ceaselessly patronized and told how smart he was. He is never questioned and whatever half-assed effort he puts out is praised to the hilt.

He is a spoiled brat. We elected a 13-year-old spoiled brat to the presidency.

Mr. President – negotiating from a “position of strength” is our leader telling their leader, “If you don’t give us what we want, the next sound you’ll hear will be half a dozen MOPs hitting half a dozen Iranian nuclear ‘research’ sites.” It’s not “pretty please… we can’t hold our coalition together forever, Mr. Mullah.”

The Iranian press, the appropriately named Farce News, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ayatollahs, Mullahs & Sons, Inc., seems to think they got everything they wanted without having to give up anything.

I wonder who’s more accurate?

Kathryn Steinle Was Unavailable for Comment

In case you missed it, David Letterman briefly “came out of retirement” and went to San Antonio to join Steve Martin and Martin Short for a few yucks. Letterman’s contribution to the show was to read one of his famous “Top Ten” lists; this one mocking Donald Trump for his unkind words against illegal Mexican immigrants.

Kathryn Steinle was not in the audience, being previously deceased by an illegal Mexican immigrant.

I’ve long grown tired of celebrities using their popularity and goodwill to foist their political opinions upon us.

Amy Poehler recently used her access to mass audiences for an impromptu attack on an Associated Press sportswriter who made the “faux pas” of noting that women’s sports are not very popular and most women athletes aren’t that great. Teaming up with Seth Myers (a dud who’s worn out his welcome) they pretended to do a Weekend Update belittling the writer and declaring the greatness of women athletes because… uh… they’re passionate and history is a vast conspiracy against them.

If it’s all about passion, I can point to hundreds of thousands of men who live little more than sports, yet none of them are close to professional athletes or got scholarships to college based on their limited athletic abilities. Most women athletes have a sweet deal – they aren’t that good but they get paid or get a free college ride.

They cowed the hapless writer into issuing an “apology.” I liked Amy Poehler. She’s very funny but now she seems like nothing more than just another liberal bully. I can’t watch “Parks and Recreation” now without thinking that behind her goofy smile is a thug that won’t accept other people’s opinions. “You will conform!” isn’t a very funny line.

I’ll grant that there are some great women athletes – female gymnasts are amazing, as are some ice skaters and I prefer women’s volleyball (not beach volleyball). Some of those girls on the Asian female teams are incredible in flying around the court.

We need to stop pretending and patronizing. Women’s college athletics are mostly a joke. Title IX has been a horrific, destructive joke.

I have nothing against the WNBA and LPGA and similar efforts per se. If they can survive and serve a market on their own, go for it. That’s what it’s all about – serving a need and a demand. But when you have to pretend and subsidize, you’re living in a fantasy land.  Please stop making the rest of us live in that fantasy land.

Shameless Self-Promotion

One of the problems I have had in writing my political satires is that over the last few years events have often overtaken them. What seemed absurd one year quickly became acceptable a few years later. Now that I’ve published the first of the series – check it out in the upper right corner (and buy it if you haven’t), I am going to take advantage of this phenomenon.

In the book, one of the side episodes concerns proposals of government control of where people live and what housing they can own.

Voila! Just last week the Obama administration announced its first steps in that direction. The administration is insistent that all housing must be parceled out by race and be equally divided by race everywhere. It plans to start pressuring localities to discriminate on the basis of race and prevent free-market sales and housing. Obama soft-sells it here but make no mistake – this is no different than housing control as practiced in totalitarian countries. You have to get approval from the authorities to live somewhere. And sure enough they’ll move you around at their will and reward their supporters and punish their enemies.

Stanley Kurtz has been onto this nefarious plan for awhile. Here’s one of his best pieces.

Joel Kotkin also speaks on it here.

Trump’s Trumpet

As many start a conversation, I’m not the biggest fan of Donald Trump…

… But, as I say, he’s certainly making the right kind of enemies these days.

Just a few thoughts on Trump.

Our wonderfully tolerant left now no longer even wants to debate anything, it simply responds to anything it doesn’t approve of with a hyperaggressive social blitzkrieg designed to loudly, rapidly destroy the target or, at least, banish it from society.

Why didn’t any leftie out there say something along the lines of, “Hey, Donald, not all the Mexicans that have illegally entered the country are the dregs of Mexican society. Some of them are very hard-working and law-abiding, other than that border crossing thing…”

Did any of them even try to meet him sort of halfway? “Yes, Donald, there have been a few that were criminals and they should have been rightly sent back but the majority just want better lives for themselves and their children…”

But, no, it was more important to drop a ton of bricks on The Donald to shut him up, rather than have a civilized discussion on immigration. Make an example out of him so everyone understands what thinking similar thoughts will bring about for them.

It’s become crystal clear that many of our large corporations are run by liberals and/or spineless weenies. ESPN is now on my boycott list for its stiffing of Trump on a PGA/ESPN co-op event at one of his golf courses. To be honest, ESPN was on my “do not unnecessarily patronize” list before but that’s the last straw.

Even tossing the execrable Keith Olbermann is not a bone I accept. You should not have chosen sides.

NBC-Universal’s quick dumping of the Miss Universe pageant demonstrates that it is more interested in furthering liberalism than being a provider of entertainment. Boycott list – and I was enjoying its sports cable channel, NBCSN (especially the NHL coverage)…

As for Univision, which also dumped the pageant (and several Spanish-speaking countries love beauty contests), it has morphed over the last decade into a highly politicized operation.

Both NBC and Univision own TV stations (and Univision also owns radio stations). Perhaps complaints should be lodged with the FCC concerning license renewals of those properties. They are merely the leasers of “public” airwaves, after all. It’s supposed to be a no-no to use the public airwaves to settle partisan grievances.

Interestingly, I believe Trump is only a part (minority) owner of the pageant. If so, it shows the left’s willingness to do anything to attack those it disapproves of and further its power, even if that means harming innocents. Collateral damage — but all in a good cause, right!

Macy’s decided that it’s high-brow crowd need not deal with Trump, now that he was on the outs. Fickle as ever, Macy’s. Doesn’t matter. I never shop at Macy’s anyway, and now never will.

Just this week we were treated to the usual suspects protesting in downtown Washington, D.C. about one of Trump’s operations redoing the Old Post Office building. They whined about him “acquiring” the old building and how it should now be taken from him. How wonderfully Bill of Attainder of them. I guess that’s merely considered a “gringo” concept.

It’s actually undergoing a renovation with the Trump Organization promising to turn it into a luxury hotel (for a city of its size and importance D.C. is bereft of hotels, crummy or quality) but why let the facts get in the way of a good political campaign? Trump’s group was lauded by city and federal government officials when they signed a juicy contract a couple of years ago, promising to pump in over $200 million to a facility that has had its ups and downs over the last 50 years (being effectively abandoned for many of them).

In the wake of this several “celebrity” chefs cut ties with him. I suspect you’ll find a few of them crawling back when this blows over,. Trump pays well and does drive traffic and “celebrity” cred.

Some (many) people have accused Trump of being a racist to say such things. That response is oh, so typical of our poisoned political discourse and the stupidity that has been bred into our public knowledge (Thanks, NEA and AFT!).

Firstly, Hispanics and Spanish-speaking people aren’t a race.

Oh, sure they can become a “race” when liberals need to make political hay out of something by throwing the accusation “racist” around. They become “white” in cases like Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman but they become “people of color” for academics, politicians, media types and activists needing to gin up some kind of conflict between groups. Can’t have a “racist” without “race,” right?

Secondly, there is no second point other than Trump’s not a racist (on this issue, anyway).

Let’s be frank. This was pretty much a small potatoes thing. Trump’s words would have faded in a couple of weeks as his hopes for the nomination faded in the face of sane reality but the left is no longer what it once was, even remotely tolerant of difference of opinion.

It has moved into a Puritan/Jacobin phase where purity of thought is demanded of all; everyone/everything not aligned is considered dangerous and needs to be destroyed (to pave the way for the beautiful, diverse, dignified, healthy, green, sustainable, carbon-free, discrimination-free, counterrevolutionary-free, free-stuff-for-everyone utopian future!!!).

Trump, as much a goofball as he is, has hit a nerve. He’s not a movement conservative, he’s a selfish businessman. He’s given as much money to Democrats as he has Republicans and has been known to switch positions in a heartbeat but on this issue he’s much closer to the truth. The left knows that. It doesn’t want a “conversation” about illegal immigration and that’s why it is furiously trying to shut Trump down.

I also think that Republicans jumping on the Trump condemnation bandwagon are making a big mistake. This issue resonates and selling Trump out isn’t going to garner you any more votes than you’re going to lose by pandering to people who weren’t going to vote for you in the first place. Get out front and explain why you’re not anti-Latino or anti-Hispanic in expecting laws to be enforced. This issue has to be finessed because a lot of Hispanic/Latino (pick your pigeonhole) voters are strongly for law and order. Don’t let the Democrats and media get away with “War on Latinos” rhetoric.

Because someone had to say it