Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

Today’s athlete more concerned about their brand image rather than the underlying social issues !

In light of Jim Brown’s recent statements about athletes of today, not being socially involved in a number of politically or socially relevant issues. It had me wondering, why any athlete, who more often than not would rather seek the advice of their agent as to how to carry themselves in public, and what to say on camera, would actually be at loggerheads with someone such as Jim Brown , who alongside Arthur Ashe , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell , Billie Jean King and Muhammad Ali , might be the most socially active athletes this country has produced in the past four decades ! Brown was extremely critical of NBA player Kobe Bryant , in saying that the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard is somewhat confused about his culture and background. Personally, I do not believe Brown to be that far off the mark in his presumptions about the NBA star, whose history prior to his legal entanglements in Eagle , Colorado , told us a great deal about Bryant and his disloyalty towards then teammates Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal . The relationship between Bryant would be soured between he, O’Neal and Fox , after the player tried to implicate both , in , and after his own sexual indiscretion , and the alleged sexual assault charged brought against him .

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Granted, Kobe Bryant prior to the incident, was the “face” of the NBA and one the league’s beloved and respected stars. Once those allegations of a sexual assault came to the fore , ” Team Kobe ” were quick to corral the star and sought to protect his image , while seeking to paint his then victim, as a scheming harlot, looking for a large payday. In the end, Bryant would apologize for his actions while embarrassing himself and his immediate family, in the aftermath with his act of contrition . Several years later, Kobe Bryant’s name would become associated with Hollywood actress Sanaa Lathan , whom the player described as a close family friend. The fact that at the time, his wife Vanessa was pregnant with the couple’s second child , the player was being photographed with the starlet at a Prince concert being staged at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California , spoke volumes as to Bryant’s improprieties , his lack of candor and honesty in simply stating that he and his wife were separated at the time. Divorce proceedings were filed, but in the end the couple reconciled and settled their differences.

Courtesy of The LA Times

Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown slight

By Eric Pincus , The LA Times

Former NFL running back Jim Brown gave a controversial opinion on Kobe Bryant while visiting “The Arsenio Hall Show” on Tuesday night.

“He threw [Shaquille O’Neal] under the bus and he is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” said Brown. “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

Bryant spent many years of his youth in Italy, where his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played basketball professionally.

“In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call,” said Brown. “If I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Brown’s comment prompted Bryant to reply via Twitter.

[ Kobe Bryant
@ kobebryant

A “Global” African-American is an inferior shade to “American” African-Americans?
? #hmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir ]

Bryant also addressed the topic after practice Thursday.

“It surprised me in the sense that it just came out of left field. I’ve never even met him,” Bryant said of Brown. “I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations, to have this discussion.”

Why did he choose to respond to Brown publicly?

“If it’s a major issue that involves equality or the perception of racial equality, I feel like that’s something that . . . needs to be addressed,” Bryant said. “Obviously it’s a sensitive topic for everybody but I think the best thing to do is not dance around it.

“Ultimately, the conversation is that it doesn’t matter what color skin you are,” continued the Lakers All-Star. “I think it’s a good place to start, to have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society because of it.”

Would he like the opportunity to sit down and talk with Brown?

“There’s nothing to talk about. We have different perception, different views on it, clearly,” Bryant said. “What I’m trying to do is educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are, African-American, white, whatever the case may be.

“For he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation. We’re completely on the opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog. He’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

Brown’s summit in 1967 with Ali included Bill Russell and future Lakers Hall-of-Famer Lew Alcindor, who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Having amassed an estimated $200 million fortune , Kobe Bryant has been philanthropic , with a number of social causes in the greater Los Angeles area as well in Lower Merion , Pennsylvania, Byant’s place of birth. That being said, like many of his peers , the player has never sought to ingratiate himself with any real deep felt social cause or issue or spoken out on any particular political matter. Needless to say, it is by no means an indicator as to what the player might think about any one particular matter , but if adjudged against the asinine rationale of an idiot such as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive lineman Jared Allen , then it is perhaps best that we do not often hear an athlete address any type of political or social issue.

Allen prior to the 2008 Presidential election, came out with the rather asinine statement that he would not be voting for the Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama on the grounds that the nominee was simply about hiking taxes and living off the rich. Last I looked, even if Allen , were a noted Republican supporter , surely it could not have escaped his notice, that during the reign of then incumbent President George W Bush , taxes may well have declined somewhat , but the value of the US dollar had declined even more so , forcing the consumer to actually spend more of their income than ever before, even on the most basic daily staples . The economy was in a downward spiral and for a player who at the time was earning in excess of $ 8 million a year , I can only surmise that Allen felt uniquely placed to speak for the masses when his own salary was actually two hundred times that of the ordinary average working American worker . Allen’s education at Idaho State albeit, on a scholarship, was greatly wasted on this ass !

While, it would be easy to be critical of today’s athletes and what appears to be their lack of social awareness, far too many of their actions, are too often dictated by agents , sponsors or even their very teams. And while could state that during the era of Jim Brown , Arthur Ashe , Muhammad Ali , Bill Russell , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Billie Jean King chose not only to be socially active, but also politically . The same cannot be said of today’s so-called pantheons of the sports’ world, whose concerns more often than not, appear to their image , amassing wealth and being seen in public at the biggest social events , when away from their chosen endeavors. Also, when an athlete now chooses to place themselves within the midst of an issue , specifically one that is political , their apparent intelligence also comes into question , as was the case with Jared Allen. One could also attest that times have changed since Ali was a vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam , and while his incarceration may well have been more one of political and racial motivation , by the government . I would suggest that even now, the country has not preceded that far forward, in terms of its apparent social progress. The nation still remains, one that is divided, along not only racial lines, but also economically as well as politically. With the latter inference, coming by way of the two political parties seeking division rather than bipartisanship in dealing with what ails the country.

There have been athletes who have gone about quietly seeking change, but much of that goes uncovered , or rarely reported on, in full by the press , who if anything are just as guilty with their ongoing impudence and lack in-depth journalism on a wide variety of issues, be they economic or social issues . The big story always sought, seems to be one of salacious or sexual intrigue , or shall we attest to the fact , there just seems to real disinterest in many of the topics raised, merely because the journalists believe there happens to be no real story of human interest ?

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Tiger Woods , are perhaps two of the most recognized athletes on the planet, but rarely have you seen either , speak openly on a matter of social or economic importance. Both of these high-profiled athletes apart from being extremely wealthy individuals , as can be seen from their ranking in Forbes’ highest paid athletes , are very much indifferent as to what they believe their legacies are said to be. Mayweather brandishes his opulence, by way of his lavish lifestyle, penchant for fast cars and gambling. Woods for his part, having careers earnings from the PGA Tour exceeding $100 million , with a further $850 million in endorsement earnings , might just be the wealthiest active North American athlete.

The golfer whose off-course issues came cannon fodder for the press, while idiots, such as Christine Brennan sought to ingratiate herself, with her readers by trying to suggest that Woods’ sexual peccadilloes were an outrage. Somehow, it might well have escaped Brennan’s notice, that the player’s actions were not unlawful, just simply repulsive. However, it would appear, that because of Woods’ visibility, the story was worth running with, merely to whet the appetite of the readers of USA Today and provide evidence and further lower what we now know is simply the press at its worst , without ever seeking to be informative or overly judgmental. Brennan , may well be seeking to show that as a woman she can compete in an environment that is uniquely dominated by her male counterparts , but she has yet to show that she can shy away from letting her emotions get the better of her.

Woods and his Tiger Woods Charitable Foundation in conjunction with many of his corporate sponsors have spent countless millions on children’s issues, with the furtherance of their education and well-being . Woods , himself, beyond the creation of foundation , now has several educational facilities in the state of California and nationwide , with monies also being spent abroad to establish similar academic institutions in Thailand , the birthplace of his mother , Kutilda Woods , and on the African continent.

Tiger Woods , like LeBron James , Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, have chosen to remain silent on a wide variety of sociopolitical issues . And while the golfer has let his money and deeds speak volumes as to his actions , by contrast the NBA and its fraternity of players along with their MLB and NFL counterparts have remained mute . Somewhat strange, when you consider that annually the MLB hierarchy annually in remembrance of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the game of baseball and at the insistence of Bud Selig , have sought to exhibit their political activism . Yet today, there has not been one player of note during this era, who has stepped up to the plate to speak openly on any issue of note . The self-absorbed image of the NBA and their egotistical fraternity , as presided over by David Stern , remains one of ridicule narcissism. In the wake of the death of teenager , Trayvon Martin ,whose demise brought a great deal of national outcry, the only action of note from many of the league’s players and specifically those of African-American heritage , was to stand silently before a game adorned in hoodies to express their concern over the teenager’s tragic demise . Even though Martin’s assailant, George Zimmerman was later acquitted of the victim’s death , it has not gone unnoticed, that the former defendant , has subsequently had several more run-ins with the law, with two occasions of Zimmerman having used a weapon to have allegedly threatened his ex-wife and a girlfriend. Speaks volumes, as the justice system within the state of Florida, the lack of intelligence amongst the twelve members of the jury and that of the complete incompetence of the prosecuting attorneys in the presentation of the state’s case.

Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage at being targeted by Jim Brown , but the NBA player’s response if anything showed a great deal of naiveté and a lack of understanding . Bryant’s own response if anything, further emphasizes why today’s athlete , has become way too-image conscious and even less involved and dare I say it, even less informed than many of their peers from years past ?

Loves labors lost, as it would now appear with the Los Angeles Lakers (10-11) , as they strive for some semblance of success this season . The very fact that their joint co-habitants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , the Los Angeles Clippers (15-9) do appear have taken some of the glare off the more renowned of the two LA based NBA franchises , could very much be a part of one of the numerous reasons why prior to the start of the regular season schedule Kobe Bryant was somewhat mystified as to why analysts felt the Lakers would be no better than the twelfth best team in the Western Conference . From my own standpoint, I believe that the analysts were being rather generous with their own analysis of the Los Angeles Lakers as a team and their season’s aspirations in possibly making the NBA Playoffs. A less agile Bryant coming off , off-season surgery , with Pau Gasol’s game now in regression and with point guard Steve Nash not being able to give the Lakers at best no more than twenty minutes per game . I cannot see how anyone could expect to see this Mike DAntoni coached team make a deep run within the postseason , much less make a credible challenge within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

Coming off a recent narrow six-point loss (114-108) to the Phoenix Suns , which saw the return of Kobe Bryant for his second game of the season , has pretty much summed up the Lakers’ season. Without him, Los Angeles are simply a team, treading water whilst in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket . His return, makes Los Angeles a far more potent team offensively, but there remains numerous flaws that clearly need to be addressed by GM Mitch Kupchak . The team’s next game does not get any easier, as they meet a highly rejuvenated Oklahoma City Thunder team buoyed by the return of their All Star point guard Russell Westbrook .

Make no bones about it , with Bryant on the downside of an illustrious career and in spite of his recently signing a two-year $48.5 million contract extension . There is a continued belief that unless Mitch Kupchak is able lure away a highly prized free agent this upcoming off-season, this franchise is likely to languish in the middle order of the conference and at the lower end of the Pacific Division , which at present is a clear reflection of the Lakers’ present situation. There may well be a great deal of optimism amongst their fans, as would be expected , yet, the reality has not begun to set in, as to what the franchise’s real future is likely to be without a Kobe Bryant.

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In light of Jim Brown’s criticism of Kobe Bryant, do you believe that the former NFL player was justified in criticism of the NBA star ? Do you also believe that today’s athletes are too noncommittal concerning matters when it comes to politically or socially sensitive issues? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of the site .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Hall of Fame great Jim Brown is seen here during an appearance on the late night syndicated television talk show of host Arsenio Hall . Brown’s comments concerning NBA star Kobe Bryant seems to have caused a stir with the NBA player , who seems to believe that the statements attributed to the former NFL star were unflattering. Courtesy of UPN/Paramount Studios …..

(2) Bill Russell ,left, joined Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Lew Alcindor (among others) in 1963 at a meeting of top African-American athletes to show support for Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam. The boxer’s refusal on the grounds of being a conscientious objector to the war , also centered around the social injustices also taking place in America and the civil rights’ movement. . Getty Images / Tony Tomsic ……

(3) Lakers of ’04 as things didn’t go as planned as they were summarily dismissed in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons . Seated from left to right Gary Payton , Shaquille O’Neal , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox. That was one of the truly amazing upsets in NBA history as the Lakers were heavily favored in the series which they ended up losing 4-1 to the Eastern Conference based Detroit Pistons. Associated Press / Louis Lattimore

(4) Arthur Ashe, a three-time Grand Slam singles’ tournament winner and a founding member of the ATP , who succumbed to the aids’ virus having received contaminated blood, intravenously . A vocal opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa , the former world number one spoke put passionately against the regime refusing to play in any sanctioned tournament in the country while many of his fellow professional took an opposing view , citing that playing there would actually bring closer harmony between the minority white populace and the majority black population during the seventies . Upon his contracting the HIV virus leading to full-blown aids , Ashe also sought to aid and educate those contracting the disease. A foundation was set up in the player’s name , which has since raised tens of million of dollars for aids’ research and education . AP / REUTERS/ …….

(5) PGA Tour player Tiger Woods , long seen as the face of golf worldwide . Woods has seen fit to stay away from being political , choosing instead to simply let his philanthropic deeds speak as to his legacy on a number of social issues . Courtesy of PGA Tour .

(6) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen her with Kobe Bryant , court-side during a game . With the Lakers off to an inauspicious start to this NBA season , it remains to be seen whether or not the team can make it a reality of making the NBA Playoffs . Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez …..

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Have her (Jordan Carver) place your balls in the right place .

Deep pockets , but barely comfortable with their lifestyle

Deep pockets , but barely comfortable with their lifestyle

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Well we’re a little over four months away from Spring Training , but already, the baseball world is a abuzz with the trade moves and talks of other potential moves , and the news that the active home run king , Alex Rodriguez will have to undergo hip surgery and will likely miss the entire Yankees’ Spring Training schedule with the New York Yankees as well as the first two months of the regular season.

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Given the fact that Rodriguez had a horrendous season in 2012 , of which his postseason might amongst the most historically low of his postseason career . As we know the Yankees bowed out of the postseason unceremoniously , without ever really showing any determination on the part of their players. Team owners , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner , have made the predetermination that the team’s salary will have to be pared down by 2014. Furthermore , with the team making the decision also to sell a minority stake (25 %) in their cable broadcast outlet YES Network to Fox Sports for a reputed $175 million . I would hate to think that this famed franchise has suddenly hit upon hard times financially . However, this unlikely to happen , as the ball-club has become one sports most profitable financial concerns . GM Brian Cashman , has seen fit to renegotiate the contracts of Andy Pettite signing the left-hander to a one year deal for $11 million , along with all-time saves’ leader , Mariano Rivera , to bolster an ailing and aging pitching roster that was headed by CC Sabathia.

Rumors are now rife that the New York Yankees are not prepared to stand pat, with regard to their roster lineup , with Brian Cashman still seeking to move a number of players he feels are superfluous to the team’s needs. And amongst the players who are now liable to be on the way out are Nick Swisher . Salary commitments for the team in 2013 will be approximately $168.3 million , with a quite possibly that figure moving lower , as the front office seeks to pare down the payroll , while promoting and bringing up players from within their farm(minor) league system , something I believe, that they will do , but not to the extent expected by a number of analysts and fans alike.

With Alex Rodriguez missing from the lineup , it will be incumbent upon the likes of Mark Teixiera , Curtis Granderson , Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter to be the mainstays of the Yankees’ offense for the upcoming season , as they were for a number of games during 2012. We have always known the New York to be an aggressive and active free agent player in recent years , but it remains to be seen the type of steps that will be taken by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner in conjunction with Brian Cashman. It has been a considerable time since the franchise has chosen to build their roster from within their farm system , as more often than not , in order to solve a problem they often sought to throw money at any issue that seems to have arisen.

Across town , the New York Yankees , have seen the New York Mets’ fall from grace and their season of sheer ineptitude in 2012. Granted , the team has seen the rise in the profile of their knuckle ball pitcher RA Dickey, their 2012 Cy Young award winner within the NL . Dickey’s astonishing season was capped with that win, and being the team’s best pitcher , as well as leading the NL in a number of pitching statistics . That if anything, had to be viewed as one of the few bright spots to the Mets’ 2012 foray.

Sandy Alderson , Paul DiPodesta and J P Ricciardi were brought in , in 2012 , to bring back some semblance of respectability to the New York Mets . And while one, has to accept the difficult predicament the franchise had been placed in , due to the complete mismanagement presided over by COO , Jeff Wilpon , team CEO Fred Wilpon , and SVP Saul Katz, it should be noted that no excuse should be sought as to the willful neglect , and heinous mismanagement that almost brought the baseball club to the brink of insolvency , and almost having to seek bankruptcy reorganization.

Having lost , $41 million last season and with the New York Mets projected to lose a great deal more in 2013 , it would appear that the front office of the organization has not learned from their mistakes of before . Within the past forty-eight hours the team has reached an agreement to offer a eight-year $138 million contract to third baseman , David Wright . Perhaps , I am mistaken , but what does this suggest from a baseball franchise that still has liquidity problems and who in April of 2012 were said to be seeking investors to buy a minority stake in the baseball team ? One such investor was billionaire venture capitalist David Einhorn , who initially wanted to purchase a 25% stake in the ball club for a reputed $250 million , with a view to increasing his stake at a later date , and also with a view , to seeking two seats on the board of directors of the franchise. Both Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon were said to have baulked at the idea, of having Einhorn , as a board member , because in essence all the Mets were said to be seeking at the time was a silent partner to provide the team with a cash-flow and clear their liquidity problems . Needless to say, Einhorn , none too pleased, having been rejected in part , bought a smaller stake in the franchise only to relinquish that stake several months later , when he could make no leeway in , increasing his investment. And I am to now believe that because Sandy Alderson and Paul DiPodesta have been brought in to provide the New York Mets with some stability , things are likely to get better ?

As I alluded to earlier , the team is an utter mess , and from a managerial standpoint , Terry Collins and managerial staff were, and are , still out of their depth . One patron , presumably a Mets’ fan suggested the way to lure fan interest would be to lower ticket , and concession prices for specific games, as well as for the vast majority of the games played at the now cavernous Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York, and the palatial home to the Mets. Built at a cost of $765 million , with the use of public funds , this massive edifice, which was referred to, as one of best baseball’s best venues, by New York City mayor , Michael Bloomberg. Now a year later after the franchise’s inaugural game , the New York Mets remain a hapless organization lacking financial and managerial leadership. Bloomberg, being the bumbling oaf he just happens to be , rarely visits the venue , even in the midst of the still questionable business dealings of Fred , and Jeff Wilpon , and business partner Saul Katz. In the midst of this all , Commissioner , Bud Selig , has remained extremely quiet about the apparent misdeeds of the Mets’ ownership group. Well , what else should we now expect , after Selig’s asinine handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale , and the rumors that suggested that the multi-billion bid lodged by the Magic Johnson syndicate group , was the only one favored , of the seven original offers , said to have been placed with US Federal Bankruptcy Courts, in the state of Delaware ? Connivance on the part of the MLB hierarchy , or simply the commissioner doing what was at the time said to be in the best interests of the game of baseball ? I’ll let you be the judge of that !

From my own standpoint , I certainly do not believe that David Wright is worth anywhere near the $140 million commitment that will be made by the New York Mets ! And while it could be said, that in the first half of 2012 , he was said to having a solid season , during the second half of the year , the player in essence was nowhere to be seen from a productivity standpoint .

To my mind the New York Mets seek to make David Wright, their answer to the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter . But herein lies the real issue as it relates to David Wright , he has never shown himself to be a leader , of the Mets as a vocal leader , much less , actually lead by example , much as in the same way , Jeter , is actually known be. The franchise is simply settling for a rather poor man’s version of the Yankees’ short-stop , in the hope of catching lightning in a bottle. The issues of the Mets also goes way beyond their financial vulnerability , and from what I have read by the patrons within this forum who have tried to parlay their knowledge of the team, in reality , few if any have chosen to look beyond the player personnel issues to really try to succinctly explain the team’s present predicament . At the center of this mess , is the fact that the core of his roster, is aging , and with an ailing and overpaid , Johan Santana, it easy to understand the idiocy of the situation surround this franchise . The left-handed starter, beyond his no-hitter , in 2012 , offered the Mets , little if anything , by way of productivity , and the fact that they are burdened by his exorbitant contract shows that not much thought was placed in terms of financial expediency by then general manager , Omar Minaya. And even in the aftermath of the former executive’s stupidity financial expediency still has not raised its head within the Mets’ organization. Much like the asinine stupidity now being shown by the Obama administration and the US Congress’ handling of the nation’s debt crisis , there is no fucking common sense to be found whatsoever !

I certainly don’t see the New York Mets competing with any real urgency this upcoming season , within the NL East , as I view the franchise not so much in transition , but still, in a state of turmoil. They are e at least two to three years away , from where they need to be , and Terry Collins has yet to show that he has the managerial acumen to lead that team deep into the postseason , much less to a World Series’ title .

As one door closes , another one opens , and therein now lies the opportunity for the Tampa Bay Rays to make good , after the departure of BJ Upton to the Atlanta Braves as a free agent. Once again the merry-go-round begins , concerning the franchise , as they seek to “ penny pinch “ , simply in order to field a competitive team for the 2013 season. At this juncture it is hard to say what the makeup of the Rays’ roster will be for the upcoming season. GM Andrew Friedman , principal managing partner , Stuart Sternberg and the team’s manager , Joe Maddon, will have to make several decisions as it relates to a number of players on the current roster and whether or they are superfluous to the franchise’s needs.

One maneuver that the management of the Rays have sought to do , has been to secure the long-term future of Evan Longoria , by signing the player to a 6 year $ 100 million deal that becomes effective in 2016. If one takes into account the Longoria’s current contract , he will net an astonishing $136 million in salary , which does not include endorsements , of which the player now makes a sizable sum, as negotiated by his agent and legal representative , Paul Cohen . Given this situation, it was easy to understand, why there was very little chance , that B J Upton would have been resigned by the ball club, as there was little room for anymore financial maneuvers ,in allowing the franchise to retain both players .

Now while the Tampa Bay Rays , have made no real major moves , they have been available to avail themselves of one or two players in recent days . James Loney , a cast-off from the Los Angeles Dodgers was signed to a one-year deal by the organization, and he no doubt brings with him , it is hoped , some much-needed offensive fire power , to add the Rays’ somewhat inconsistent arsenal of noteworthy hitters. And though during 2012 , it was said to be the inconsistency of the hitting , that is said to have let the team down , it was the pitching of the Rays was in essence , the ball club’s real strength throughout the vast majority of the season. Leading the way in that endeavor , was the team’s very first Cy Young Award winner , David Price . The gutsy left-hander , along with James Shields , Jeremy Hellickson , Joel Peralta , Alex Cobb , and Matt Moore , who led the way for the team, in terms of its pitching.

In recent weeks there have been rumors suggesting that the Rays would be quite willing to part with their young pitcher Jeremy Hellickson . Having established himself in 2011 , as a middle reliever , it was not until 2012 that Hellickson became a full-time starter , and giving Joe Maddon on of the best starting lineups in all of baseball, and with it the statistics to match. Shields is also said to be a prime target for a number of teams said to be in the market for a bonafide starting pitcher.

Now, while I understand that the Rays would like to see their payroll drop significantly to where it will be an estimated commitment of $54.2 million for 2013. By comparison the payroll for 2012 , was a nominal $64,173,500 for last year . I believe that Andrew Friedman would be willing to listen to several hard offers , if it meant, he would be able to obtain some relatively good prospects for the aforementioned players mentioned ! The likelihood that both Hellickson and Shield could be now prime departures , while creating a great deal of disappointment amongst the fans, it should be noted that given the organization’s limited resources and the lack of a real marketing plan by the front office. This whole scenario for the Tampa Bay Rays while repetitive , it is becoming more acute with each passing season. I have always felt that Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman , simply have not shown enough ingenuity in seeking out an outside partner or rich benefactor, to either become a silent partner or a majority stakeholder of the organization , thereby insuring the Rays’ long-term future . And year in and year out , the same old question is also raised as where will the Rays play? Will it be in the city of St Petersburg , at the somewhat archaic venue of Tropicana Field , or at a new locale across the Gandy Bridge, in the downtown area of Tampa ? The bone of contention between the municipalities of St Petersburg and Tampa , as to who would serve the needs of the Tampa Bay Rays , though the battle has not been drawn out into an open conflict . It is now slowly brewing into something that could prove to be unsavory. Never mind the fact , that the county governments have also been drawn to this debate .

Personally , I am of the opinion that until the governmental agencies in question, have addressed their own fiscal dilemmas. I do not believe that public funds should be used to satisfy the egos of millionaire or billionaire sports’ franchise owners ! There’s this asinine belief that such instances serves the public’s best interest , of which there has yet to be any factual proof that such instances, a community does really profit from such an endeavor. Simply look at the naïveté shown by the city of Miami, after they were cajoled and coerced into building a new stadium to house the Miami Marlins.

In the aftermath of that franchise’s woefully inept 2012 foray , the ball club has begun a “fire sale” , jettisoning themselves some of their high-priced free agents that they had acquired prior to the start of this past season , and during the trade deadline . The city of Miami , is now under federal investigation by the US Justice Department , as to their actions in the vote that took place concerning the financing for the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark . Marlins’ executives have remained mute concerning any questions directed towards them concerning this issue , and Commissioner , Bud Selig , has directed all questions concerning this episode , to be dealt with by the league’s legal counsel (attorneys ). And does anyone believe that either the cities of St Petersburg or Tampa , have learned anything from that episode ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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This off-season, we will see a lot of positive moves being made by a number of teams . Meanwhile, there will be one or two transactions that will have been suborned by team owners and their front office executives alike , that will actually have the fans completely befuddled, as to, what the hell , were they think by way that particular trade ? They sale that baseball’s off-season , just happens to be their “ silly season” , with the teams making rather asinine trades , purely as a way of chasing after success without there ever being truly any thought being put into a great many of these moves . In some cases , large financial commitment might well be made , which could in effect handicap a franchise long-term . Whereas, in other cases , it may well be that “one small deal” that simply opens up an opportunity that presents itself for a player , to truly show his worth , while being able to lead a franchise to tangible success. Over the past five years which particular trades , do you believe has been of true benefit to a team or a number of teams ? Simply chime in with a comment on this or anything other topic you believe pertinent to this article . And as always , thanks for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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Pagan, Napoli , kick off action in Nashville

Mets GM meets with “several” clubs about Dickey

A Rod, needs hip surgery , will be out until June

Angels’ list of targets doesn’t end with Greinke

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Picture and slide show gallery details below .
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(1) FILE – In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez throws out Detroit Tigers’ Andy Dirks in the second inning during Game 1 of the American League championship series in New York. The New York Yankees said Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(2) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman answers questions concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez at the baseball winter meetings on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half, the Yankees said Monday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

(3) FILE – In this April 25, 2012 file photo, New York Mets’ David Wright is greeted by teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in New York. WFAN radio is reporting Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, that Wright and the New York Mets have agreed to a $138 million, eight-year contract that would be the richest in franchise history . AP Photo/Seth Wenig …

(4) National League Cy Young Award winner R. A. Dickey, of the New York Mets, answers questions before speaking at Lipscomb University on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The 38-year-old Dickey is the first pitcher who relies predominantly on a knuckle-ball to win the Cy Young Award. The player, it is being reported , is now being “shopped around” by the Mets’ organization as they seek to lower their present payroll . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) Outfielder, B.J. Upton (L) and infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays watch their team against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Getty Images/ Andrew Marsh …

(6) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Andrew Burton / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

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MLB news & news by teams

MLB schedule important dates

MLB transactions (December 2012) & November transactions

MLB team salaries (2012)

Top paid players in baseball

Top paid third basemen in baseball

Miami Marlins news

New York Mets’ news

Tampa Bay Rays news

This week in baseball history

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MLB standings divisional 2012

MLB standings wildcard

2012 MLB postseason

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Hot chic pic of the day , singer , Rihanna Fenty .

Flattering Or Unflattering I’ll Let You Be The Judge Of That ………

They say that ‘justice is blind’ and meant to be ‘impartial and fair to all’ of the parties involved . From the defendant who seeks his acquittal for a crime. And for the prosecution working on behalf of the state and primarily for the rights of a victim or victims as the case may be.

And as much as we’ll take pride in our judicial system with its scales of justice presided over by a judge and a jury of one’s peers. There are still some flaws to a system where in some cases the rights of a defendant far outweighs those of the victim. And especially those where the victim is one of a violent crime.

New Jersey Nets  ....Jayson Williams ...........

Williams seen here in happier times alongside his then New Jersey Nets’ teammates. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Eric Metcalfe ……………..

You all know doubt remember the circumstances behind the case of former New Jersey Nets’ star Jayson Williams ? Five years ago he was charged aggravated manslaughter wherein he shot and killed his former limo’ driver Costas ‘Gus’ Christofi on the estate of his palatial New Jersey mansion in the Alexandria Township. A rather upscale community of luxury built abodes .

Continue reading “Flattering Or Unflattering I’ll Let You Be The Judge Of That ………”

What’s Meant To Be Politically Correct ? Did Ali Not Have A Right To Free Speech ?

I know that we all don’t share the same ideology or political views. But I’m sure that the majority of us know right from wrong. Well , at least I’d like to think that we do ! I know that the freedom of speech is one of the main freedoms that this country affords its citizens and it is a freedom that we’re all imbued with and value like no other. But at the same time that very same freedom can have its consequences. Unfortunately there those who seem to forget that and also use it as a veil for their own insidious behavior.

Ali  seen   here   being   escorted   away   by  MP's  after  having  been  found   guilty   for  refusing  to  be   inducted   into  the   US  Army.     The   verdict  was   later   overturned   by  the  US  Supreme  Court   in  1971.    As  a   result   he   would   miss   3  1/2  years    from  the  sport  of    boxing.      picture  appears   courtesy  of   si/sports illustrated / id.cnn/turner/archives
Ali seen here being escorted away by MP's after having been found guilty for refusing to be inducted into the US Army. The verdict was later overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1971. As a result he would miss 3 1/2 years from the sport of boxing. picture appears courtesy of si/sports illustrated / id.cnn/turner/archives

Recently on a local sports’ talk radio show here within the Tampa Bay area. The co-hosts of the early to mid-morning show were having a rather innocuous discussion on the state of race relations within this country. I knew from the outset that this wasn’t going to be very good. The calls from many of the listeners that ensued bordered on the absurd. And by no stretch of the imagination , I’m definitely sure that the screener who took the calls for the program had to be screening out many of those incoming calls. Especially the ones that’d doubt want to air their vapid views as to the state of the country and the fact that they no doubt thought that minorities were the cause for many of the ills that the country now faces. True or not , this is more of a collective problem and not one of race at all !

One  of the  seminal   moments   in   race   relations    during  the   sixties   the   race  riots   in   Detroit   in   1967 .    picture  appears  courtesy  of   time magazine.com/archives ....................
One of the seminal moments in race relations during the sixties the race riots in Detroit in 1967 . picture appears courtesy of time magazine.com/archives ....................

However. over the course of the aired discussion during the program , one of the hosts who happens to be Hispanic made the comment that former boxer, Muhammad Ali was an outright racist. Now the other host of this show , who also happens to be of ethnic origin , in part agreed with his co-host. But what I found somewhat galling , was that he, as an African American took such a stance to begin with. Bearing in mind , what Ali had to endure and what was taking place at the time during his fight against the US government and his refusal to fight in Vietnam. Less we forget , that during the height of the sixties and the Civil Rights’ era – minorities and in particular African Americans had to endure a great deal of abuse , physical and verbal . All as part of fighting for the right to be free bstut what’s even worse the right to cast a vote . And though it pains me to think that these things had to take place just so that the rights of the few can be recognized. It pains me even more to think that there idiots such as this on the airwaves who are so unintelligent and have sense of history . But who proffer up an opinion without any looking back at the history of this country to begin with.

Ali    stands over the  prostrate   body  of    boxer  Zora  Folley   , whom  he  defeated  in the   defense  of  his  world  heavyweight   titLe   held   at  Madison  Square    Garden  New  York   in  March  of  1967.    Ali   won  the   fight   with  a   7th  round   knockout  of  the   challenger     and  it  would  be   his   last   professional  bout  before  being   stripped  of  the  heavyweight  title    that   same   year.  His  return  to  the  ring   would  be  almost  four  years  later when  he  fought  Jerry   Quarry  in  Atlanta, Georgia , in  October  of   1970.      picture   appears    courtesy   of    corbis   / Bettman    ...............   copyrighted  material  @   all   rights   reserved .........................
Ali stands over the prostrate body of boxer Zora Folley , whom he defeated in the defense of his world heavyweight titLe held at Madison Square Garden New York in March of 1967. Ali won the fight with a 7th round knockout of the challenger and it would be his last professional bout before being stripped of the heavyweight title that same year. His return to the ring would be almost four years later when he fought Jerry Quarry in Atlanta, Georgia , in October of 1970. picture appears courtesy of corbis / Bettman ............... copyrighted material @ all rights reserved .........................

This host’s view that because Ali used the words or shall we say term ? “………… the white man is a devil “ In his eyes it suggests that Ali is a racist and as such he’s no different than a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Perhaps , I mistaken here but I think that in making such a comparison. It either proves the point that ….’ ignorance is bliss’, or that this individual doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about from the get-go. I know that the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) is wavering on the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ as it perceives to the airwaves, the print and television media. And the counter culture war that’s now said to be taking place between the Liberals and Conservatives. But clearly much of this just smacks in the face of all that’s said to be decent and of moral integrity. And if anything in trying to make a case for his argument it just showed how ignorant this individual was being. But then again, I ought to remind myself that this is the state of Florida . It still remains in ‘the dark ages’ in terms of its social and economic progression.

Ali   faces   Jerry   Quarry   in   his  comeback   fight  at  the  City  Auditorium   in  Atlanta,  Ga

Ali seen here facing Jerry Quarry in his comeback fight held at the City Auditorium in Atlanta , Georgia. He would go on to defeat Quarry with a 3rd TKO. picture appears courtesy of moneygallery.com/ Neil Leifer ………………..

The strange thing is , this country decries the fact that some isn’t afforded the right to freedom of expression. But rarely does it do something when a person is actually denied that right. I mean if you’re being denied the right to vote , much less make a choice . What does that tell you about that society to begin with ? Furthermore , I thought it somewhat asinine that a person who’s on the airwaves didn’t put all that much thought before he made his statement to his listeners to begin with. Education obviously has its merits but it’s also predicated upon a student’s willingness to learn. An acute crisis the country now faces and has been facing over the last two decades.

Racist as defined in dictionary reference.com …..

racism …………

–noun
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Most certainly the road traveled …..’ as to the social journey in terms of race relations’. The final destination is not yet in view. And that stems from the mere fact that on both sides of the social divided there’s a great deal of ignorance out there, that’s still being displayed. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the political climate and both parties shares a great deal of blame for that as well. From the very outset they’ve made it a part of a political agenda and doctrine that has done little to eschew the ideals ‘….of all men are created equal’. Instead there are those who are meant to be viewed as the dominant idealists , merely because of the color of their skin. Something that I for one don’t believe was being taught by Jesus Christ at the behest of his ‘Holy Father’. We were supposed to have been created in his own image , were we not ? So I guess the traits that we’re meant to share are essentially the same in some aspects ? Other than that of the color of our skin off-course !

Muhammad Ali’s boxing career stats …………. 61 fights, 56 wins,(37 KO’s), 5 losses .

We’re Still Living In The Dark Ages ……………..

And here am I thinking that the US sees its citizens as being equal under the law ? Perhaps all of the idiocy that it alleges is ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ is nothing more than a fallacy ?

Outside  a  bus stand   in   Durham  ,  North   Carolina   during  the   fifties.    picture  courtesy   wiki/archives/    Race  relations   ................
Outside a bus stand in Durham , North Carolina during the fifties. picture courtesy wiki/archives/ Race relations ................

If you’re in some doubt then read the following story and ask yourself has this country really progressed over the last forty years , since the ‘Civil Rights Era’ highlighted by the events of the fifties and the sixties ?

Courtesy of Associated Press;

Interracial couple denied marriage license

La. justice of the peace cites concerns about any children couple might have

HAMMOND, La. – A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.

“I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house,” Bardwell said. “My main concern is for the children.”

‘I feel the children will later suffer’
Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

“I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

“I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

Thirty-year-old Beth Humphrey and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey told the newspaper she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell’s wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples.

“It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman. “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”

‘He knew he was breaking the law’
The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office, Schwartzman said.

“He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzman said.

Click for related content
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Read more news from across the U.S.

According to the clerk of court’s office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk’s office.

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If this story doesn’t paint a stark contrast of what this country claims it is and how it likes to portray itself to its allies across the globe. Then in reality the actions of but a few alludes one to believe that not much has in effect changed. What I’d like to know is what this official is thinking in denying this couple a marriage license to begin with ? It oughtn’t to be his concern as to what the familial environment will be or the fact that this happens to be an interracial couple to begin with.

Mildred  Loving  and her husband  Richard  Loving     shown  here  in  January  of   1965  in their   home .    The   couple  were   part  of  a  landmark   ruling   by  the  US  Supreme   Court  that  allowed   interracial   marriage .  The  ruling   was   in a case   brought  against the  state   of Virginia    in  1967  . Which  they  ended   up  winning  and  in  essence  it   brought  about  a  social   change  that  had   wide   reaching   ramifications   across  the   country  with  regard  to   race  relations and   that   of    interracial  relationships .       picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Richard  Cutler   .........................
Mildred Loving and her husband, Richard Loving, shown here in January of 1965 in their home . The couple were part of a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court that allowed interracial marriage . The ruling was in a case brought against the state of Virginia in 1967 . Which they ended up winning and in essence it brought about a social change that had wide reaching ramifications across the country with regard to race relations and that of interracial relationships . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Cutler .........................

If this couple has broken no civil or federal laws pertaining to this act. Then they ought not to have been denied a marriage license in the course of making the application. As asinine as this might sound this but indicates how out of touch this individual is , and how he no doubts views the world.

The excuse being used by this city official borders on the absurd to begin with. And these are some of the numerous lessons that we want to teach the next generation ? Excuse me for saying this but this official should be relieved of his position as a city or parish official. The days of this sort of bigotry cannot be tolerated at all. This after-all is the 21st century and not the height of the ‘Jim Crow laws’ or earlier discrimination from a bygone era.

Unfortunately because of the internal strife within the country at present. And the mere fact that issues are being drawn out not only amongst socio-economic lines but also racial lines. It clearly shows that the country is spiraling out of control socially as well as economically. It now sets a bad precedence , wherein, the future generation will see this as just another way of showing that we’ve not generally progressed all that far from the civil rights era where there was a great deal of racial intolerance being shown by the then majority against the ethnic minorities within the United States of America. Somehow the word ‘United’ when used in context to describe this country now becomes something of an oxymoron at this juncture. As nothing could be further from the truth !
I’d preface this by saying when a country is united it tends to work alongside each other in trying to work out its differences. Not using a form racial indifference to justify an act or belief.

Nicole Coco Austin And Her Friends Asks What Are Your Deepest Desires ?

My deepest , darkest fears or desires ? Well to number and name them would take a great deal of time. And as they say …… ” time is always of the essence to begin with”.

Nicole  'Coco'  Austin    wife   and   model.     Austin  is  the  wife   of rapper and  actor    Ice T  .
Nicole 'Coco' Austin wife and model. Austin is the wife of rapper and actor Ice T .

Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin asks what are your deepest desires ? And what are the things that most frighten you ?

Austin  makes   even  this   luxury   vehicle   seem  oblivious   as   she   shows   off   her   wiles.
Austin makes even this luxury vehicle seem oblivious as she shows off her wiles.

Are these the rims that you’re normally use to seeing ? Or would you prefer to see something a little more daring ?

Nicole  'Coco'  Austin  .   Cool   your  jets  boys    as there's  more  of  this  down  the  line.
Nicole 'Coco' Austin . Cool your jets boys as there's more of this down the line.

There was a time when I felt voluptuous women were somewhat over-rated ! But then I saw Coco and hear her speak so succinctly as to what she wants from life. And it’s not at all bad. But it’s all a matter of priorities and how one goes about achieving those goals. She went about achieving those goals without any pretensions whatsoever.

That's   mama   show   off  what  the  Lord   gave   ya'  .....ain't   nobody   scared .  Absolutely   no  one  whatsoever.
That's mama show off what the Lord gave ya' .....ain't nobody scared . Absolutely no one whatsoever.

That’s it mama …..show off what the Lord gave ya’ ! Ain’t nobody gonna be scared .. absolutely no one. Ya feelin’ me ?

A montage of covers featuring Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin.

Coco  is   giving me the  bends and  a   stiffy  and   I  like  it !

Coco is giving me the bends and a stiffy and I like it ! Yes I do , I like it very much !

My deepest and darkest fear is in fact … death and the shape it takes and when it will comes to my own mortality- having been on the field of battle and seeing it up close and personal . It wasn’t something that initially I welcomed , even if it was in the service of my country. Death is something that many of us in the end will have to acquaint ourselves with. But it’s better if we can dictate the circumstances surrounding that very event itself.

Nicole  'Coco'  Austin   all  dressed  in black

Nicole ‘Coco’ Austin all dressed in black .

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Slide show for your perusal.

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My deepest desire would be that were I to die then it’d be in the arms of someone whom I loved. That’s me and just me !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….

Eyes On The Prize …………….

Eyes On The Prize

Did I miss something when President Barack Obama stated that he’d make Afghanistan the …. ‘focus of his attention’ when it came to the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda ? Figuratively and literally the military in Afghanistan has been abandoned by the Obama administration . As he seeks to bolster his political clout with other issues and legislation-though warranted that has achieved very little on the political front.

The President’s assessment of the situation remains non too clear. But in the meantime US lives are still being lost.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff under Admiral Mike Mullen , Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the President have had little , if anything to say on this very acute and worrying issue. It is even more perplexing when there are now statements being made by Secretary Gates now asking that General Stanley McChrystal not make anymore comments regarding the situation with regard to the situation in Afghanistan. Now unless I’m mistaken wouldn’t the top US military commander in the country (Afghanistan) and the head of the UN forces there be of the right frame of mind to be letting the public know of the inherent problems that the US military now faces in Afghanistan ?

The President   (seated   center)  is  seen  here  with  Defense  Secretary  Robert  Gates  (right )  and   Secretary  of  State  Hillary  Rodham-Clinton  (left)   at     a  meeting   to  discuss  nuclear  proliferation.      picture  appears  courtesy  of    getty  images/  Richard  Scholes  ....................
The President (seated center) is seen here with Defense Secretary Robert Gates (right ) and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton (left) at a meeting to discuss nuclear proliferation. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Richard Scholes ....................

Courtesy of US Dept of Defense

Obama , Other Leaders Receive Afghan Resources Request …..

By Gerri J Gilmore , Armed Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2009 – As President Barack Obama and senior defense and national security leaders reconvened meetings today on the way forward in Afghanistan, they did so with the addition of Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s list of requested resources, the Pentagon press secretary said.

Obama received a copy of McChrystal’s request for resources late last week from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Geoff Morrell told reporters here today.

On Monday, Gates also provided copies of the resource request to senior White House officials, to include National Security Council members, he said.

Obama wanted a copy of the report to read last weekend, Morrell said.

The Afghanistan resources request is now formally working its way through the U.S. military and NATO chains of command, he said.

Morrell referred to the copies provided to Obama and other senior White House officials as “informal” documents that didn’t bear official comments of review or vetting from senior civilian and military leaders. Those leaders, he said, include Gates; Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Afghanistan.

However, all of the Pentagon’s top leaders, to include Petraeus and McChrystal, have been closely involved in White House discussions on the way ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Morrell pointed out. The White House hosted the first of a series of strategy meetings on Sept. 30.

A second such meeting was held today, Morrell said, with another slated for Friday.

Gates likely decided to hold onto the resource assessment until directed otherwise by the president, Morrell suggested, to limit the possibility of leaking information, such as occurred earlier with McChrystal’s assessment on the situation in Afghanistan.

Everyone concerned, Morrell emphasized, will have an opportunity to “weigh-in” with their opinions.

“Obviously, this has been a slightly unconventional process and an informal copy as I mentioned bypassed the chain of command at the secretary’s request, so he could own it and could therefore make decisions about where it should go, when it should go,” he said.

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, which removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.

“We have seen our amazing military men and women adapt to and overcome daunting terrain, harsh conditions and an agile and ruthless enemy,” Morrell said of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Nearly 800 Americans have died in military operations in and around Afghanistan since the war began, Morrell said. He cited the deaths of eight U.S. soldiers who died there last weekend during an enemy assault on a remote outpost in Nurestan province.

“Our thoughts are with their families and all families who have sacrificed so much in Operation Enduring Freedom,” he said.

Located near the border with Pakistan, the outpost was slated to be closed, Morrell said, as part of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy to move U.S. troops closer to major Afghan population centers.

An investigation into circumstances surrounding the attack is ongoing, Morrell said. The enemy, he said, paid dearly, losing 100 fighters during the assault and in its aftermath.

Turning to other defense matters, Morrell said the Pentagon is developing a conventional 30,000 pound, massive ordnance penetrator bomb designed to pulverize underground facilities that may store weapons of mass destruction and related systems. The bomb, he said, should be ready for deployment in the coming months.

“This has been a capability that we have long believed was missing from our quiver or our arsenal,” Morrell said, “and we wanted to make sure we filled in that gap.”

There is no specific target list for the new weapon, Morrell emphasized.

The bomb “is just a capability that we think is necessary, given the world we live in these days,” he said.

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In order to read this article in its entirety just click unto the link provided.

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Adm. Mike Mullen Head of The Joint Chiefs of Staff addresses members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Unfortunately it’d appear that the President and his Defense Secretary are either under the impression that the war there can still be won by being haphazard and placing the lives of the US military in harm’s way as some sort of collateral damage if only to amp up the political rhetoric that’s now said to be going on. As to the assertion that the President and Robert Gates will acquiesce to McChrystal’s request for some additional 40,000 troops on the ground there in Afghanistan . Well that remains to be seen at this juncture . But it’d appear that it isn’t the priority that the President and his administration would have us believe it was . Clearly this administration seems to have lost touch with reality on this issue. Have they forgot that the lives of US soldiers are now being needlessly sacrificed for the sake of what ? What tangible evidence is there now that we’ve got both the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the run ?

President  Obama (left)    seen  here   with   Afghan  President ,  Hamid  Karzai.     Karzai   was   recently re-elected  to  the  post  in  an  election   that  was  said  to   be  rife   with   corruption.      The  opposing  candidate    Abdullah  Abdullah    has  stated  that   Karzai   supporters  were   integrally  behind  much  of   the   coruptional   voting   fraud  that  took  place.   Whereas  Karzai,  himself   has  stated  that   his   opponent's  supporters  was  behind   much  of  what  had   taken  place.    Either  way  there's  no   questioning   as to the   graft  that's   now   said  to  be    still   taking   place  inside  Karzai's   administration  .     picture  appears   courtesy  of   guardian.co.uk /  archives/   Tom  Spencer  ...................
President Obama (left) seen here with Afghan President , Hamid Karzai. Karzai was recently re-elected to the post in an election that was said to be rife with corruption. The opposing candidate Abdullah Abdullah has stated that Karzai supporters were integrally behind much of the coruptional voting fraud that took place. Whereas Karzai, himself has stated that his opponent's supporters was behind much of what had taken place. Either way there's no questioning as to the graft that's now said to be still taking place inside Karzai's administration . picture appears courtesy of guardian.co.uk / archives/ Tom Spencer ...................

Of the 650 plus lives now lost on this particular battlefront , it has to be said that though we would expect the loss of life in war. But ought we to expect the administration to act as if these lives are now being sacrificed for a cause when it now appears that they seem to have forgotten the purpose of this effort. In all honesty are the Afghan people now in a better place ? And what tangible evidence is there that this military action has met any of its original goals ? The Taliban may well have been overthrown and there’s now said to be a legitimately elected democratic government elected with Hamid Kharzai as its elected President. But Kharzai’s administration is said to be rife with corruption and many of the elected officials are indeed subordinates of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. And what has become even more apparent is that the country is still controlled in large part by these radicals.

Economically the ‘poppy trade’ (its by product being heroin) still pays large dividends for the Taliban and Al Qaeda as it is their main source of income in financing their continued wagering of the continued war in Afghanistan. That particular trade accounts for in excess of 75% of the country’s GDP. On both fronts this war has been wagered with there being little sign of any tangible improvement as to the country’s infrastructure and its citizens’ way of life.

Gen .  Stanley  McChrystal (foreground of  picture) , top US   military  commander   of    forces  in  Afghanistan.   The general   has   submitted   a  formal   request   for additional   troops  in   Afghanistan  to  the  Defense   Dept . But  still   awaits   word   from  Defense  Secretary   Gates  and   President  Obama , as   to  whether  or   not  his   request  will  be   granted.       picture  appears   courtesy  of  afp/ getty  images/   Manan  Vatsyayana   ........................
Gen . Stanley McChrystal (foreground of picture), top US military commander of forces in Afghanistan. The general has submitted a formal request for additional troops in Afghanistan to the Defense Dept . But still awaits word from Defense Secretary Gates and President Obama , as to whether or not his request will be granted. picture appears courtesy of afp/ getty images/ Manan Vatsyayana ........................

So as it now stands , what’s the present policy now in Afghanistan ? Does anyone within the Obama administration know ? The situation has been made almost untenable because of the present inaction on the part of the President. He’s seemingly at a loss to his express himself with clarity on this specific issue. Something of a comedown from that rousing acceptance speech after he’d won the Presidential election. “Change we can believe in “ . It’s now beginning to ring hollow at present when it comes to this one particular pressing issue. What say you on the matter ?

NB: Eighty five per cent ( 85 %) of the world’s poppy trade and productioin emanates from the country of Afghanistan. And it provides a lucrative source of income for not only the farmers but also for both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Furthermore there’s a growing epidemic of heroin use amongst the Afghani people, in particular amongst the women and children under the age of eighteen.