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Tiger Sulks His Way Through Masters—
April 15, 2010
Even the liberal New York Times has reservations—apparently serious reservations—about the prospects for success of President Obama’s effort to win international agreement to start significantly reducing and ultimately banning nuclear weapons.
The Times gave top play in a recent edition to a story under this headline: “Agenda of Nuclear Talks Leaves Out a New Threat.” There followed this subhead: “Growing Arsenals in Pakistan and India Show Limits of Negotiations.”
The Times story appeared on the day Obama convened a two-day international gathering in Washington with 47 nations called together to discuss the question of how to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists
Short-term goal of the Washington summit meeting was to increase security around global stockpiles of nuclear material—enough, by some estimates, to build more than 100,000 nuclear bombs. Obama cited nuclear terrorism as the most immediate and extreme threat to global security, with the terrorists potentially using nuclear material stockpiles which in some cases are far from securely protected.
With rogue countries like Iran and North Korea building their own nuclear weapon capability and with bomb-potential nuclear material stockpiles available, how realistic is it for an idealistic president with no experience at all in such matters to push for nuclear disarmament? How assure that rogue states and terrorist groups would not only continue to develop nuclear weapon capability and take advantage of the United States and Russia’s striping themselves of the potential peace-keeping power of nuclear weapon retaliation?
In the best of all worlds, of course, there would be no nuclear weaponry, no rogue states, no terrorists committed to killing as many Americans—or Russians—as they can.
But this is not the best of all possible worlds, never has been and never will be, and the young idealistic liberal in the White House had better confront that realty.
Reduce our nuclear weapon capability as far as is sensible and practical, but not at the expense of our national security.
* * *
Not too late, I believe, for some 19th hole commentary on the proceedings in connection with the (“Tiger is back!”) annual Masters golf tournament last week.
I would not offer this as any sort of a scientific poll, but I can report that I discussed Tiger’s participation with 20 or so of my golfing acquaintances, and one—exactly one—said something like he wouldn’t be unhappy if Tiger won but he wasn’t necessarily rooting for him. Others said they hoped he played well enough to make the cut (but didn’t win), because his presence certainly would increase interest in the tournament. A few others said they hoped he missed the cut.
In terms of manners on the course, Tiger utterly failed to prove that he has learned anything about good behavior. Despite cautions to the contrary—one is assuming that Tiger is aware of all the criticism of his course manners—Tiger still, clouded up in anger, tossed his clubs towards his caddie and mouthed obscenities when he hit a shot that displeased him. Some of the obscenities were picked up, incidentally, on national television. A disgraceful performance—there is really no other way to describe it.
As one of my golfer friends put it, in golf the “f… word” should stand for “fun.” I doubt that at the big-money professional level, many players think of playing for fun but they don’t—with a rare notable exception—throw a foul-mouthed temper tantrum when things go wrong.
One of my golfing friends seemed to be suggesting that the life of a professional athlete like Woods can be compartmentalized between performance as an athlete and performance in private life. At the Masters, the argument would go, Tiger’s performance as an athlete should be the only consideration.
But how can you truly separate the two personalities? Wasn’t there some connection between the even-tempered class act performance of the winner, Phil Mickelson, on the course and his performance immediately upon leaving the green and embracing his wife who has been battling the effects of cancer?
It’s quite possible, as people like Phil Mickelson and Ben Crenshaw and Ernie Els demonstrate, to be a nice guy—an admirable guy—both on and off the golf course.
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods may have given up his liaisons with companions of questionable virtue. (I could have used stronger language, of course.) But nothing in his performance during the Masters tournament indicated that he is making progress towards developing golf course behavior remotely approaching the level of his golfing ability.
The surly behavior extended into a post-round TV interview in which he mostly complained about the level of his game. He shot 11 under par, tied for fourth place and won $330,000—this after a layoff of several months—and he was pouting about it.
Incidentally, friends of mine who were at the tournament said—contrary to television reports—that the crowd response to Tiger’s remarkable good shots was not what it has been in the past and was noticeably less than the crowd response when other golfers like Mickelson and Fred Couples made especially good shots.
* * *
“Iowa draws a trickle of same-sex marriages,” the headline read.
When the Iowa Supreme Court a year ago overturned a 1998 law banning same-sex couples from marrying, a flood of applicants was predicted—involving both lesbian and homosexual and lesbian couples from Iowa and from surrounding states, certainly including Nebraska, where such so-called marriages are banned by a state constitutional amendment approved by the voters.
But across Iowa, among the 17,604 marriages recorded in the state’s 99 counties, between April 27 and December 31, 2009, 1,783 same-sex marriages were recorded or slightly more than 10% of the total.
It is important to remember that this was in the first seven months of the new law’s effect and would presumably have included a large backlog of same-sex applicants.
Over time, the number of same-sex marriages can reasonably be expected to level out at a considerably lower percentage.
This blip on the marital radar screen may not be worth continuing to battle over.
But before leaving this subject, it seems appropriate to observe that same-sex couples should be forever grateful that their parents believed in the kind of marriages that produce children.
* * *
As we say goodbye to old Rosenblatt Stadium, the home of the Omaha Royals baseball team and the College World Series for these many years, we are hearing talk, of course, about ways to celebrate the life of this “icon” and mourn its passing, to be replaced by a new downtown ballpark.
I believe that if there is an “icon” involved here (my dictionary defines “icon” as “an object of critical devotion”—it is the College World Series, not Rosenblatt Stadium. I think it is fair to say that the College World Series made the ballpark popular rather than the other way around.
So say goodbye to a stadium which served well for a good many years but has become hopelessly obsolete in its superstructure and concession area and its location so far removed from the impressively revitalized downtown riverfront area. But our thanks to Rosenblatt need not involve an overdose of sentimentality or any continuing criticism of the decision to move downtown.
The opening game of the Omaha Royals 2010 home season got a good deal of advance publicity as an occasion to turn out goodly numbers to show appreciation and respect for what one commentator described as the “icon on the hill in South Omaha.” The game drew attendance of 6,159—in the neighborhood of the attendance which the University of Nebraska at Omaha hockey team routinely draws several times a season.
After the final-opening-night hype, the crowd attracted to Rosenblatt for a Royals game had fallen to 2,032 on Monday of this week. In four days, the story of the Royals final season in “iconic” Rosenblatt had moved from the top of the first sports page to a 9-inch smaller-type story in the last position in the sports section—bottom right-hand corner of the back page.
The College World Series, the real attraction connected with Rosenblatt over the years, will continue to attract crowds of more than 20,000 in Rosenblatt this final year and in the new downtown stadium under a new, 25-year agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
* * *
A continuing news story for a good many months has told of what amounts to escalating warfare between Mexican police and army forces and well-armed paramilitary drug cartel gunmen, particularly in border areas across which drugs flow into the United States.
A recent Associated Press dispatch reported on apparently coordinated assaults on Mexican soldiers, including road blocks near an army barracks and spraying check-points with automatic weapons fire.
Neither this extensive news story or any other that I have seen places the final responsibility for this outrageous violence where it clearly belongs—on the American side of the border.
Without the big-money appeal of a very significant market for illegal drugs in the United States, Mexican drug lords wouldn’t be fighting for control of the areas through which those drugs flow to junkies in this country.
What a sad commentary on American society that we have so many illegal drug users that the profits from feeding their addiction are so great that Mexican soldiers have to die in what amounts to a civil war in which the insurgents—the drug lords—are richly financed by money from American drug abusers.
* * *
To finish today with a lighter touch, one of my all-time favorite cartoons. My executive assistant, Jackie Wrieth, says that we have used this before, but I consider it something like one of those old jokes that you like to repeat from time to time, so here it is again.
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