February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods Speaks: Can We Move On?

I have wanted to write about Tiger Woods since early December 2009. At that time, the world was informed Tiger had violated his marriage vows, and committed adultery on a number of occasions. At the time, I felt so strongly none of this was any of our business; I couldn't bring myself to write about it. Today, I continue to strongly feel none of this is any of our business, and I'm writing about it.

Tiger Woods is a professional golfer. He could be the greatest golfer who ever lived. He is not a spokesperson for fidelity. He is a golfer. He should be judged on whether he wins or loses golf tournaments, not who he sleeps with. Who he sleeps with is an intensely personal matter between Tiger and his wife Elin. It is none of our business.

Bill Clinton, as President of the United States was accused of infidelity. In 1998 Articles of Impeachment were filed against President Clinton. The President was an elected official accused of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was accused of violating his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. One could argue this was our business. We elected him to represent the United States of America. In the end, he was not Impeached and served the remainder of his term as President. No long after his acquittal, President Clinton appeared in the White House Rose Garden and stated: ''Now that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people."

In the last 15 years allegations of infidelity have been brought against Newt Gingrich (while he was trying to Impeach President Clinton), Eliot Spitzer (while Governor of New York), Mark Sanford (while Governor of South Carolina), and John Edwards (Elected official & Candidate for President of the United States). These men were elected officials. They were elected by Americans to represent them before the world. Their actions were a reflection of our collective character. Their infidelities might have been our business. Notice, I am not writing about Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, or David Letterman.

With a a prepared statement Tiger, stood before the cameras and apologized for his behavior, admitted he had let people and sponsors down, and asked us to one day find it within ourselves to forgive him. Personally, I think he went above and beyond what he had to do. Maybe his therapists insisted he do this as a first step. Maybe his handlers insisted he do this to begin his rehabilitation as a spokesperson. Maybe he owed this to Nike and EA Sports. He didn't owe me an apology, and I don't believe he owed you one either. (Photo, The Denver Post)

"Money and fame made access to temptations easy," he said. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled," he said. This is probably what the men I listed above were also thinking. This sense of entitlement seems to be a part of the American culture and the culture of American sports, but I don't recall the last American athlete who stood up before the American people, on national television, and admitted it. Remember, the three major television stations cut into scheduled broadcasting to televise Tiger's apology. As did Fox News and CNN. Did this apology have an effect on your life?

Following the apology, there was hours of analysis. Was he sincere? What did the clothes he was wearing portray? Why did he read from a script? Why didn't he cry? Why didn't his eyebrows move when he spoke? Why did he use a podium instead of a teleprompter? Where was Elin? What did his mother say to him after he spoke?

What I want to know is when is he returning to golf? Will he be at The Masters and continue to pursue the records he is paid to pursue? The PGA and professional golfers around the world are ready for Tiger to return to golf.

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi asserts we will all remember where we were when Tiger made his public confession. Like some people remember where they were when President of the United States John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Are you kidding me? Has the entire world lost its mind? I say, leave Tiger, Elin, and their children alone. Let them work through this on their own. But, most of all, I say, "Tiger, get in shape, get your head in the game, and get back on the course to do what we do have a right to judge you for. Play golf Tiger!"

February 18, 2010

Global Warming: I Can Be Skeptical But Not A Denier

As you might expect, I have been reading, with great interest, everything I can about "Climategate." It is believed a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit ("CRU")and released 160 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet. 160 megabytes translated into about 1000 emails and 3000 other documents by some accounts. Assuming these emails are the real deal, it pretty clear why the CRU wanted to keep these emails confidential. The emails suggest some sort of a conspiracy or collusion amongst scientists who were exaggerating climate warming data and interfering with the peer review process. There is discussion they destroyed information, manipulated data, and disclosed to the public data they knew was incorrect. One of the emails even proclaimed some joy in the death of John L. Daly in 2004. Daly was an early skeptic of the global warming chatter, and the email proclaimed, “In an odd way this is cheering news.”

In this interview I saw on YouTube, Ed Begley Jr., a staunch global warming advocate, gives me permission to be skeptical about global warming, but not a denier. Have a look.

The CRU's Director is Professor Phil Jones. Since I'm allowed to be skeptical, but not a denier, here's an interview with Professor Jones from just a few days ago. Its a fairly long Q&A, but worth reading. Professor Jones comments on warming data taken from 1860-2009. He divided this span of years into four different time periods and says, "the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other." He still maintains there has been warming, and the warming is man made. He also agrees "Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence." As I said, this is a good read, especially toward the end of the Q&A where he explains what he "meant" in the emails he sent asking others to destroy evidence and "hide the decline." This is fascinating stuff. I'm guessing we haven't heard the end of this, and I'll have more to write about in the future.

I'm still a skeptic. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about all this.

The Photo above is from Getty
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TheBAFSignal by Bradley A. Friedman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.bafman.com.