ESPN’s Poor Treatment of College Football

Disney, through ABC and ESPN, controlls the broadcast rights to a tremendous portion of the college football games played every week. Most years I did not mind as the games I’ve been interested in have generally been available. This year, however, we are seeing a disappointing change in Disney’s business tactics. ESPNU was formed in March 2005 and carries some of the games ESPN has the broadcast rights to. This year they have been using these right to attempt to force cable companies to carry the channel to the detriment of fans and players.

ESPNU has been carrying a handful of high profile games in major markets as a means of creating pressure on the cable companies. These have included games of the top two teams in the country, Ohio State and Michigan. In the past, when ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 were not carrying a game they would allow local channels to purchase the rights to broadcast the game for the home audiences. Games from other areas would also be available on pay for view. However, games broadcast on ESPNU are not made available to either local channels or pay for view.

Recently ESPNU carried the Ohio State vs. Indiana game preventing most people in Ohio from watching. Today both the Michigan vs. Ball State game and the Michigan State vs. Purdue games were carried by ESPNU. No cable channels in the state of Michigan carry ESPNU but they turned down the requests of local broadcasters to carry these games in state. ESPN also would not include these games in their pay for view package.

While many fans were disappointed by this, the players were also victims. Today was Senior Day at the Big House as the seniors played in their final game at Michigan Stadium. They deserved to have the recognition they were given broadcast to their fans throughout the state. It was also a big day for the Ball State players. While granted Michigan was flat, looking ahead to their match up with Ohio State, Ball State gave Michigan their toughest game of the season. With only a couple of minutes to go, it took a goal line stand by Michigan to keep Ball State from what could have been a tieing touch down with a two point conversion. The Ball State players made a supurb effort and they deserved to have this watched by their fans. ESPN makes a fortune off of college football, and in return they should treat the players and fans better than this.

Polls Show Republicans Received No Bump From Slurring Kerry

Republicans thought they could replay 2004 and win by lying about John Kerry’s positions, this time claiming that a joke about George Bush was a slur against the troops. The polls are showing that it didn’t work. In trying to replay 2004, the White House failed to recognize that in a rematch of the 2004 election John Kerry would beat George Bush in a landslide. If anything, the attack on Kerry made this even more a referendum on Iraq and resulted in a further decline in Republican support, as in Newsweek’s poll:

The new poll finds support for Republicans (and for President Bush) receding. For example, 53 percent of Americans want the Democrats to win enough seats to take control of one or both houses of Congress in the midterm elections on Tuesday. Those results are close to early October levels, while less than a third of Americans (32 percent) want Republicans to retain control. If the elections were held today, 54 percent of likely voters say they would support the Democratic candidate in their district versus 38 percent who would vote for the Republican-a 16-point edge for the Democrats.

Despite round-the-clock coverage of John Kerry’s Iraq gaffe this week and non-stop rallies in which the President paints Democrats as weak-on-terror tax lovers, the political momentum has returned to the Democrats. Maybe that’s because nearly a third of registered voters (32 percent) now say Iraq is the most important issue in deciding their vote. The economy comes in second at 19 percent. And just 12 percent say terrorism, the Republican trump card in the last three elections, is their most important issue. In fact, as millions of Americans fill in their employers’ health-care selection forms for next year, terrorism is statistically tied with health care at 11 percent.

Meanwhile, the President’s approval has fallen back to 35 percent, after a slow but steady rise from 33 percent at the beginning of October to 37 percent in the NEWSWEEK poll last week.

Even Joan Vennoachi, who rarely misses a chance to bash Kerry, had to admit that Kerry’s botched joke did not help the Republicans as they expected:

Yet a Democracy Corps survey of 1,200 likely voters, released Nov. 2 by Washington-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, indicates the fears are groundless. Four-hundred interviews were conducted after two news cycles of Kerry stories and “the story has not helped Republicans,” the pollsters said. Voters are focused on Iraq as a reason to vote for a Democrat. “The trends on Iraq promise disaster for the Republicans,” the pollsters conclude.

Military Writers Agree: Time for Rumsfeld to Go

An editorial scheduled to appear on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times, calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The Premise notes many times in which John Kerry has called for Rumsfeld’s resignation. Following is the text of the editorial:
Time for Rumsfeld to go

“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion … it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success. (more…)

George Bush’s Plans to Harm America

Conservatives are so quick to claim their misinterpretation of Kerry’s statement last week is the correct one, and ignore the fact that Kerry was making a joke about George Bush, not the troops. By this standard we should be able to take comments from George Bush literally and assume they represent exactly what Bush believes. Here’s some examples:

George Bush admits to be working to harm our country and people:

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
—At signing of defense appropriations bill, August 5, 2004

George Bush wanted to disarm America if Saddam didn’t disarm:

“I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will.”—Speaking about Saddam Hussein, Manchester, N.H., Oct. 5, 2002

George Bush’s energy policy:

“We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.”—Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

Under George Bush there will never be peace in the Middle East:

“My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the—in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen.”—Crawford, Texas, Aug, 13, 2001

At least there’s the possibility of peace somewhere:

“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”—Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

There’s no separation of church and state to George Bush:

“I appreciate that question because I, in the state of Texas, had heard a lot of discussion about a faith-based initiative eroding the important bridge between church and state.”—Question and answer session with the press, Jan. 29, 2001

George Bush thinks the executive branch is the judiciary:

“The legislature’s job is to write law. It’s the executive branch’s job to interpret law.”—Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

But who says Bush doesn’t learn new things–such as to execute legislators:

“I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference, and that difference is they pass the laws and I execute them.”—Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000

You thought Social Security was a federal program–George Bush doesn’t:

“They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program.”—St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000

Is Bush replacing the IRS with the Irish Republican Army?

“It’s going to require numerous IRA agents.”—On Gore’s tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

Bush has his own tax plan for the rich:

“The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.”
—Criticizing John Kerry’s plan to eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthy, Aug 8, 2004

At least he can recognize the budget when he sees it:

“It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.”—Reuters, May 5, 2000

Bush has a perverted idea of what Gynecologists do:

“Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”—September 6, 2004

If after this you think Bush is dumb. Think again:

“As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards.”—CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000