Thought I’d give a few brief thoughts on some things that have been going on in the news lately….
Even if you don’t follow sports, you have no doubt heard at least a few mutterings about the controversy currently surrounding Barry Bonds. If not, well, it’s time to leave your cave and join the rest of society. In a nutshell, Bonds, who plays baseball for the San Francisco Giants, has long been suspected of using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs due to his immense bulk and Cro-Magnon-like brow. And his 900 foot home runs. No official charges or evidence had ever been brought against him, though it was known that his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, was involved with a nutritional “supplements” company called BALCO, which was under investigation. BALCO’s owner, Victor Conte, did in fact serve time for developing and distributing illegal performance enhancing drugs (PED) to professional and amateur athletes. Bonds, as well as other MLB players, testified before a grand jury during the BALCO case. Apparently, much of Bonds’ grand jury testimony was leaked and two journalists from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mark Fainaru-wada and Lance Williams, used this as well as other documentary evidence, they claim over two hundred sources, to write a book entitled Game of Shadows, detailing Bonds’ extensive use of PED’s starting after the 1998 season.
Ok, those are the hard facts. The interesting thing is that Bonds has yet to deny the contents of the book. When the announcement of the book was released, coupled with an excerpt in Sports Illustrated, Bonds simply said he was going to ignore it. He later released a statement, but it wasn’t a denial. A couple of weeks ago he and his lawyer announced a lawsuit against the authors and publisher of the book, but it was not a libel suit. The suit was to divert proceeds from the book, so the authors and publisher wouldn’t make any money. They lost. (Click here for details) So, up to now, over a month since the book was announced, Bonds has not denied the actual contents of the book, which I find very interesting.
I had always reserved my ultimate judgment on Bonds’ PED use until I saw or heard some reasonable evidence. I am a firm believer in giving the benefit of the doubt, and though I had my suspicions I was reticent to make the out-and-out claim that he was a juicer. Now, my suspicion is over. There’s no doubt in my mind. I haven’t read Game of Shadows yet, it’s on the way from the History Book Club, but I have heard portions of the SI excerpt and listened enough to KNBR to know what the basics are.
Now the question is, “What’s next?” Technically speaking, Bonds hasn’t been convicted of anything except in the court of public opinion. Legally he was given immunity for his testimony and he’s never failed a drug test. So what do you do if you’re Bud Selig? I’ll tell you what you do, you announce an investigation into the allegations of the book. Selig has done exactly this. Time will tell what this will reveal, if anything.
In reality, Selig, the players, the player’s union head Don Fehr, the owners, the media, and even the fans are all somewhat culpable in this whole steroids issue. Selig, Fehr, owners and front offices all knew to some degree what was going on inside their clubhouse stalls as far back as the early 90’s. But after the strike of ’94, baseball needed a boost. When McGwire and Sosa made their runs at Roger Maris in ’98 baseball came back with a vengeance. The media and the fans ate it up. Even after a reporter spotted andro in McGwire’s locker, everyone shrugged it off. Nobody wanted to know. The media let it slide, the fans ignored it, the baseball powers that be covered it up. And now almost 10 years later we know that the problem was out of control.
So is it unfair for Bonds to bear the brunt of public and media outcry for 15 plus years of player abuse, corporate cover-up, and fan and media indifference? Maybe, but not very. He is the games best player and possibly it’s biggest cheater. He apparently made the decision out of jealousy and a lust for greater fame. He is disturbing close to breaking baseballs most hallowed record in a sport that reveres it’s records like no other. Certainly others deserve similar fates, but don’t count me as one who feels too sorry for Barry Bonds.
On to illegal immigration….
This issue has been simmering for a looooong time, and it finally exploded in the last week or two. New immigration bills working their way through Congress, protests to the bills, counter protests to the bills, counter bills to bill, protests to counter the counter bill, and so on and so forth. Last I checked there were two bills working their way through the system proposing varying “solutions” to the problem of illegal immigration. I’m not going to try to explain what they say because, a) I don’t feel qualified to do so and b) this blog is going to be long enough as it is. I’ll just throw in my two cents on the issue.
First off illegal immigration is illegal. That might seem a little obvious, but it seems there are a lot of people that are having a hard time with that. Ok, moving on…
I am not opposed to some sort of amnesty in solving this issue. Before my conservative friends post mean things, let me explain. I don’t believe that illegals have a right to be here. I don’t think they deserve to be here. I don’t think that the economy will suddenly crumble because “they do the jobs Americans won’t do.” The reason that I am not opposed to some sort of amnesty is because I don’t see, practically speaking, how the government has the means to deport somewhere between 10 and 30 million illegal immigrants. I just don’t think it’s possible. What kind and how broad an amnesty am I talking about? Certainly no one in prison or with any criminal history, in this or any other country and only those with steady employment, their illegal status in this country not withstanding. By steady employment I mean someone who works everyday for the same business, or some variation thereof. Standing on the corner waiting for a construction crew to pick you up does not count as steady employment. However, the amnesty MUST be coupled with other simultaneous measures. The borders must be locked down. What good is bailing out the boat if you don’t fix the leak? Sure you may float for a little while longer, but eventually the boat will be full of water again. Also, the businesses, large and small, that employ illegals must be held accountable. Stiff corporate fines. If the well is dry, fewer will make the trip.
Will these or any measures completely stop illegal immigration? No, of course not. Our border is too large and society too open to be able to cut off any and all illegals from getting in, whether nefarious or needy. But for the sake of our national security, economy and future, the issue must be dealt with and soon.
Here’s a solid blog I read the other day that has far more intelligent things to say on this issue than I do.