Back from vacation

Just back from some time in South Africa. My daughter and I went for a wedding and to fit in some sightseeing. We only got to see Cape Town, but what a magnificent place.

Just some quick odds and ends as I dive back into blogging.

1) The New York Times reports this morning that ESPN has received hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and other tax breaks from the state of Connecticut over the past decade. ESPN is, of course, a fabulously rich and profitable company. And as Think Progress tells it, there is no discernible public benefit to these sorts of tax breaks:

The Institute for Tax and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that all told, states and localities are handing out some $50 billion in business-incentive tax credits each year, but that “evidence suggests that tax incentives are of little benefit to the states and localities that offer them, and that they are actually a drag on national economic growth.”

That basic fact hasn’t stopped Governor Dan Molloy, a Democrat from proudly trumpeting his intention to make sure that ESPN needs “were not going to be ignored by my administration.”

How heartwarming. Well, this might explain why ESPN devotes so little attention to the larger boondoggle associated with publicly financed stadiums. Those who live in glass houses…

2) Brandon Tierney (I think it was him), became the latest sports commentator to tout Jay Cutler’s tremendous talent, lauding the Bears’ QB on his show this afternoon. His backup, Josh McCown, performed fabulously well for several weeks while Cutler sat out with an injury. On Sunday, Chicago plays their hated foe Green Bay for all the marbles – the winner clinches the NFC North Division title and a postseason berth. The loser is done for the season. There’s been some debate about whether Bears’ coach Marc Trestman might pull Cutler if the veteran signal caller plays poorly at the start of the game. But most media folks consider that foolishness, since Cutler is such a good QB. As far as McCown is concerned, he’s been in the league a long time and is justifiably regarded as a competent second stringer. In all likelihood, the excellent stretch of games he’s had this year was just a fluke. But it’s not as if Cutler’s *so* good that it ought to be unthinkable to pull Cutler if he’s not playing well. Tierney, amazingly, said it made no sense to pull Cutler or Aaron Rodgers from the game, as if the two are comparable players. They aren’t.

As I’ve written previously, the high regard in which the former Vanderbilt star is still held is utterly baffling to me. He’s been the very definition of average over the course of now eight years in the NFL. I don’t know who that guy paid off to have secured the reputation he has.

3) Speaking of reputation, the Cowboys continue to earn the label “under achieving.” I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but as I’ve written before, when commentators keep referring to a team that plays .500 ball year after year as underachieving, I think they don’t know what it means, the word “underachieving.” If the Cowboys lose this week, they’ll have the excuse that Tony Romo was out and they had to insert Kyle Orton into the lineup at the last minute. It will also make them 8-8 for a third straight season. To paraphrase Dennis Green, “they are what their record says they are!”



  1. Your comments regarding Mr. Cutler are quite accurate. His “reputation” and “potential” are gossamer thin at best. Why does Mr. McCown’s resume indicate he will revert to mere journeyman-level performance, while Mr. Cutler’s almost equally long history fails to indicate that Mr. Cutler will remain an inconsistent mediocrity? I believe the “experts'” assessment of Mr. Cutler’s capabilities are analogous to the baseball pitcher that hits the JUGGS gun at 98mph, yet finishes the year 12-11, with a 4.75 ERA, and gets all the attention while no one raves about the 14-7, 3.50 ERA guy who “guns” out at 87mph.

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