Link to a post on ChicagoSideSports

charlessmith

This was the greatest moment of the Bulls 1990s championship run. There were many of them, of course, and others will probably have a moment they like better. So be it.

20 years have gone by since this happened back in June of 1993, and the young guy that I was back then is no more. But I remember this moment well, and I felt a responsibility to share those remembrances with those who there, and also with those who were not yet born or were too young to understand.

Here’s the piece, and enjoy the trip down Memory Lane. I know I sure did.

What is “Government help” anyway?

I was recently visiting some family near Melbourne, Florida when I came upon the sign pictured above. It was apparently intended to overlap with the Republican convention in Tampa, and its sentiment seems to be a dig at President Obama and the “You didn’t build that” remark. I addressed the willful and misleading interpretation of Obama’s words here, but the people who put this sign up apparently didn’t read it. So I’ll address their baseless claims here, instead.

The only reason that I was able to access their facility was by driving on Florida State Route 518. That means it’s a public road, and any of their employees who use that road are, in fact, receiving government help. What’s more, the Eau Gallie Causeway is a rather large bridge that crosses over the Indian River in Florida. Without that bridge, which was built and maintained at public expense, this business would be cut off from the Florida mainland and the rest of the outside world. Good luck maintaining a business without regular, dependable access across that river.

The building itself appeared to be shut down for the day, so people who might want to knock on their door to discuss this sign weren’t able to do so. I could have tried to break into the building if I wanted to, since no police officers would come to arrest me. They’re government help, you know, and this business apparently doesn’t accept such help.

Maybe, in the absence of government police protection, they use a private security company. That’s better, after all, since it’s the free market, which of course is more efficient than the government could ever be. Let’s say the private security firm comes out, catches me in the act, and takes me into custody. But even if they could arrest me, this means I’d have to go to jail, which is another government service. Sending me to jail would mean accepting government help, and they quite clearly don’t do that.

But maybe they would change their minds, just to teach me a lesson. If they did send me to jail, the Constitution would then give me the right to a fair and speedy trial. And where would this trial be heard? In a government courthouse, of course. The prosecutor who would bring charges against me, and the judge who would oversee the trial, would both be government employees, too. Even the jury, if it came to that, would be composed of people being summoned, and paid for, by the government. What’s a non-government -help-accepting company to do, if they want to bring me to justice?

All right, all right, let’s imagine that they allow themselves to accept the government’s help in putting me on trial, but only because justice must be done. So then I would be found guilty by this government-supplied jury, and sentenced by the government judge to do time in a correctional center somewhere in Florida. What’s that? More government help? Nooooooo!

Or maybe, just maybe, the threat of being captured, tried, convicted, and detained, all at government expense, is enough to make me realize that whatever I might find on the inside isn’t worth all of that risk. Just the threat of all this government help is a form of help from the government, all by itself.

But let’s take it one step further. This business makes commemorative memorabilia for a variety of sports leagues, including Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, and many major colleges and universities. When the University of Kentucky won the national championship in NCAA men’s basketball last spring, this outfit got to make the kind of “In your face, losers!” materials that a Kentucky alum might want to have. Their list of client schools includes the University of Alabama, the University of Oregon, the University of Michigan, and even the U.S. Military Academy. It’s an impressive list, to be sure.

But here’s the problem, and I hope that you’ve recognized it already. With just a couple of exceptions, the schools on this list are all publicly funded. To put it another way, the University of Kentucky was created, and now sustains itself, with funding from the government of Kentucky. When all of Kentucky’s investments pay off, and the school wins a championship for its fans and alumni to brag about, this company can then come in and sell their products. But this can never happen without the initial outlays made by the governments of Kentucky, Michigan, and even the U.S. government in the case of the Military Academy.

So yes, I’m afraid that this outfit does receive government help, whether they realize it or not. It’s indirect, in the example of the colleges, and it’s direct in other cases, but for this company to assert that they receive no government help at all is absurd on its face, and it deserves to be called out as such.

The Linsanity of it all

It appears that the NBA, Jeremy Lin, and several other parties are trying to claim the word “Linsanity” as their own private trademark.  It’s a question of whether the rights to this term should belong to the Lindividual, or to the Linstitution that employs him. And it would be Lincorrect to assume that this is a Linconsequential issue.

The Linability of a person or corporation to generate Lincome from a play on words would be a grave Linjustice. It would be highly Linappropriate to deny a player the right to profit from such a Lincomparable outpouring of Linterest in one player.

This Linadequacy of the court system to protect this player’s rights is most Linexcusable. Hopefully, all sides can come to an agreement that provides proper financial Lincentives,  and prevents any Lindecent use of the name of such a Linternationally known figure.

More Linformation will be passed along, just as soon as it is received in this Linsignificant corner of the Linternet.

Hats off to the champions

I am not an NBA fan. I remember the Bird and Magic era in the 1980s, and the Jordan era in Chicago is looking better and better as time goes by. But the sport itself doesn’t interest me that much. Certainly not like baseball does, and probably not as much as football, either. And there are no other sports even in this discussion.

With that being said, the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA title tonight. Winning a title is something that, as a Cubs fan, I never have experienced, and by now don’t I know if I ever will. So when a team like the Mavericks–who played in the NBA for 30 years before winning a championship–finally breaks through into the winner’s circle, I’m happy for them, of course. But I’m more than a little bit jealous, too.

Since 1975, when I first started following the Cubs, they have not only failed to win a World Series, but they haven’t even played in a single World Series. Do you want to take a guess at how many of the other teams playing in the majors in 1975 can say the same thing? Zero. Z-E-R-O. Not a single one. (NOTE: The Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals are not being counted in this sense. My blog, my rules. Sorry.) 

I’m not even going to address the issue of teams that did not exist in 1975 but have still played in, and even won, the World Series. That’s entirely too painful. But it sure doesn’t help to know that they are out there.

The Cubs this year–with their sinister union of  bloated payroll and outlandish ticket prices–are just a game or two away from being the worst team in all of major league baseball. And yet, somehow, their manager seems to think that Cubs fans will come to the ballpark and pay their money to support this team. Sorry bub, but it won’t happen. Not for me, anyway.

There are thousands and thousands of happy Dallas Mavericks fans tonight, Mark Cuban being first and foremost among them. But there are also hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Cubs fans who are watching the Mavericks celebrate and asking themselves “Why don’t I get to feel that way?” And until that question gets answered, don’t expect to see me at Wrigley Field.