Thursday, October 20, 2016

Goodell to the last drop?

It seems the media has gotten its panties in a twist over the NFL's drop in viewership.  Bokolis doesn't have the numbers to share with you so we can jerk ourselves off to period-over-period comparisons.  Those numbers are probably all bullshit anyway.  As they say in the corporate world, garbage in, garbage out.  Slightly more seriously, it's not like we can definitively assign a portion of any decline to each cause.

With regard to the numbers, the finger pointing is towards Sunday and Monday night, where there is a significant reduction in the numbers, most of all on Monday night, which is generally attributed to cord-cutting (and NOT Gruden).  Allegedly, the traditional time slots are holding steady.  This relative strength may be distracting the NFL from reflecting, isn't Sunday-day supposed to be growing?

The discussion as to why is mainly about Kaepernick and the election.  That's what surveys are yielding, but there may be some bias at work, where people are responding with both what they think the asker wants to hear and what they think the issue is.  They've lost a few people objecting to how much smack my bitch up is going on.  Whatevs, it's never only one reason; at best, these are tipping points, not causes.

Bokolis would add that our Sundays are no longer sacrosanct.  Once upon a time, the typical family structure was such that a man could bunker up on Sunday and his old lady- and everyone else- knew to leave him the fuck alone.  That is no longer the case; there's always shit going on.  If you think I'm bullshitting, think about how many times your friends, in advance of sending an actual invitation, send you a save the date! message...even they know they're competing for your Sunday.

It doesn't help that there is too much of the product.  Even in the intact nuclear family, it's tough to ask for Thursday night, 10-12 hours of Sunday, then Monday night, especially when your budding narcissists are clamoring for attention and for you to take them here and there.

Even for those free of such obligations, by Sunday/Monday night, anyone who isn't invested in the outcome is done with it.  We've seen this in the football where they actually kick the ball; not content with virtually every week having mid-week fixtures, they are now in the process of regularly impinging on our Mondays and Fridays.

The profiles are of the viewers are different- football fans are closer to fanatics; NFL fans have more who watch because they think that's what they're supposed to be doing.  By nightfall, there is other programming that they think they are supposed to be watching.  If they don't believe Bokolis, then they should do some kind of digging to find how many unique viewers come aboard for Sunday night and how many drop off.  While they're at it, they might want to look into how many of its Sunday-day viewers had already been watching the European matches, as this may be contributing to the weariness.

Bokolis is astounded that none of the discussion involves the product.  The root cause is the product.  The NFL would be foolish to think otherwise, and to think that much of this issue isn't its own doing.  So, I'm'a tell you what the fuck is gomes on.  The following is longhand for, Goodell is a cunt.
  • There has been too much change from what we used to know as football...the game is now rugby for fairies.  This is how you lose the older audience, as they lose connection with the game they knew in their youth.  The NFL and NBA might be changing with the times but, while they corrupt their product they are trading demographics.  Contrast it with MLB, whose statistics are sacred and which is essentially the same game it has been since the live-ball era/spitter was outlawed, plus or minus the tightness of the stitching of the balls.  Its fans are aging, and the younger crowd finds the game boring.
  • Proving that it's lose-lose, you can't please everyone, and some other platitudes, people are avoiding the NFL because, even in its pussy-whipped state, they still see the game as barbaric.
  • There is too much shit besides the game being pushed on us by the NFL, like its cause of the week, those god-awful bright jerseys and American flags the size of the field.  I'll bet y'all didn't know that the reason they came up with flag laws in the first place was to prevent the flag from being used for commercial purposes.
  • There is too much talk from the ex-jock- or worse, Gruden- analyst/color commentator.  Leaving aside that what I think about the analytical abilities of a guy who largely had to do exactly as he was told for his whole career, let the game breathe.  If I have to suffer through an analyst, at least get someone on there who was largely thinking for himself on the field, who had a rationale for doing things that wasn't drilled into him by the coach...and don't give me that coach, either.
  • There are too many commercials, the content of which indicates what they think of our intelligence.
  • There are too many rules, with too many nuances, including some that defy logic and one or two that defy sensibility.  It used to be a socialist league, but has devolved into Soviet communism.
  • There is too much replay without suitable resolution.  They've gotten a little better this season, but it's just too much.  There has to be a point where the resolution is, too fucking bad- run the clock.
  • There is far too much involvement by people other than the players.  The coaches talk to the QB and one defensive player via speaker in helmets.  Most plays are called from sideline, or from offensive coordinators who operate from above.  In fact, the offense goes no-huddle to force defense to line up so the offense can call a play accordingly.  The head coach can call timeout himself, and throw the challenge flag, after the geeks have had a look at the replay.
  • Conversely, there are far too many instances of boneheaded plays and acts, as there is ample opportunity for ill-prepared, ill-focused players across all caliber of teams to do whatever the Light shines upon them to do.  These coaches are so involved in the game yet, having all week to teach these guys their jobs, they fail to do so.
  • The thing that insults my intelligence the most is that the structure is such that the last 2-3 minutes matter more than the rest.  57 minutes of superiority can be undone by tactics, strategy and effective use of time outs.  If that's the case, I'll skip the 57 and show up for bonus coverage, or just watch the red zone channel.
Because an immediate effect was not seen, Bokolis didn't even consider the distaste from the last CBA negotiation, where the owners locked out the players and effectively stuck them up in starving them until they accepted a markedly worse deal than the existing, even with projected brisk revenue growth.  That's another story.

Individually, none of these dissatisfiers are going to make anyone altogether drop the game.  They do, however, chip away at commitment, enough to let other things sometimes take precedence and, eventually, hold.

That's all the fuck I got.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Two Clintons, two Bushes, one Obama and the wingbats' Trump all

Like showing up to the fruit stand later in the day, in a short time, it will fall upon the American people the painful duty of selecting a leader from two undesirable options.  Bokolis is not going to get into a full-on tale of the tape- that's not the point of this.  It's not so important to me to determine the better or more preferable choice, or the lesser of two evils- I gather supporting one side always partly been about not liking the other side but, these days, it seems predominately about that, regardless of the merits of your preferred side- so much as it is to reflect on how we've gotten here, including wondering WTF is wrong with the Republican party that they let themselves into a position where the Trump character is the prevailing sentiment of its voter base.  I don't care to get into solutions, as there's little chance this fixes itself nicely.

Once upon of time, we had Bill Clinton as President.  Halfway through his first term, the Republican party gained control of both houses of Congress for the first time since Hoover*.  They ran in there like it was a Black Friday sale and, like regime change from one dictatorship to another, undid 60 years of legislation in a hot minute.

* Bokolis knows that the Republicans snuck in a couple of sessions where they were the majority.  I said control.

In those days, Clinton profiled very much like Obama did in his first days.  Clinton more or less came out of nowhere.  Despite numerous derailments, he managed to gain his party's nomination.  With Ross Perot involved- think Ron Paul with a sprinkle of the pragmatic side of Trump- in the general election, enough votes were pulled away from George Bush (41) that Clinton carried some southern states and rode to victory with only 43% of the vote.

While they both had shallow ascensions, Obama was more obscure than Bill Clinton.  Obama gained the party nomination essentially because Hillary Clinton is unlikeable.  He was able to win because the opponent was carrying a flighty hockey mom, never mind that he fooled all the youngins that change was afoot- Bokolis knew better, of course- but, after the mess the Republicans made during the prior eight years, they deserved to go 20 years without a Republican in the White House.

Similarly, Obama didn't, then couldn't get shit done.  He had carte blanche, even more so than Dubya after 9/11, to rein in and shatter the banks, which managed to scuttle the economy in less than 10 years after given their own carte blanche.   Even with ~59% control of both houses, he tanked, opting for, and, perhaps, being bought off with, Obamacare, which, far from universal health, is a massive giveaway to the HMOs- like when the carting company comes to your business and tells you that you have to use them for garbage disposal...and, if you don't, when they aren't vandalizing your business, they call the health inspector on you.

Then, when he deservedly lost control of the House, its next Speaker spent four years cockblocking any legislation, doubtless at the behest of the political donor class.  Boehner, when no longer beholden to the money, lashed out at his erstwhile puppetmasters when he stepped down from Congress, intimating that these tactics are no good for the long-term well-being of the nation...way to get religion there.

Clinton's shallow victory was just as much a repudiation of Bush for going back on his "read my lips..." election promise and raising taxes, as well as for a recession happening on his watch.  Ironically, his broken promise, ill-timed to boot, was for the good of the nation in the intermediate term.

The country had changed a lot since the last time there was not a Republican in the White House.  Because of the markedly lower tax rates of the highest earners- even after Bush raised them- said highest earners found it expedient to use this money-directly or indirectly- to help influence policy, which is another way of saying tilting the playing field further in their favor.  The outgrowth was a new breed of Republicans, who, either beholden to their backers or married to a perverse ideology, sought to implement the wishes of said backers.  The 104th Congress was the payoff.

Clinton found it impossible to get much done.  Moreover, because the political donor class was still manageable back then, and it had been a good while since we'd poured money into a boondoggle of a war, significant money still found its way into research and development in the '90s.  This led to a rolling economy in the middle of the decade and the tech boom-turned-bubble in the late part.

Clinton got with the program.  His second term was what Bokolis jokingly likes to say is the best Republican president we've ever had.  He signed all sorts of shit the Republicans ran through Congress, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which effectively undid part of the Glass-Stegall Act and paved the way for the finance monoliths of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo...funny how the next bubble was already being inflated before the previous bubble had even burst.

Not content with having a Democrat president who is functioning as a Republican, the Republicans tried to run Clinton out of office under the pretense that he was lying about smashing out one or more broads.  Clintons' levels of impropriety depend on your moral code.  Not everyone's is the same, so Bokolis would back off trying to rub Clinton's nose in it.  This kind of temperance is lost on a bunch of petulant zealots, seemingly having no moral code of their own, yet hell-bent on imposing one on you.  The alarm bells on this new-age McCarthyism couldn't be heard over the closing bell- these days, Wall Street money buys whack jobs all the air they'd like.

When it was time to elect Clinton's successor, well, we didn't quite accomplish that.  We had this WWF (E) dusty finish, where we eventually installed another George Bush (43).  Whereas our first impression of his father was as goofy George because he didn't often come off as a commanding presence, he was downright stately compared to Dubya, who came off as a straight-up fratboy dipshit.

This Bush embraced an economic theory that his father called voodoo economics.  Without getting too technical, the basic tenet of supply-side economics is that, by reducing taxes, the extra money to the taxpayer will be churned at a fast enough rate so that tax revenue will eventually increase.  In theory, there are conditions where this is possible; the most likely would be where the extra money is placed in the hands of those who would spend the money as fast as they get it.

In practice, however, they gave the tax breaks to the highest earners, who have enough money so that they don't spend money as fast as they get it.  Such tax breaks didn't come to the lower half of earners.  When someone called bullshit! on that, we were told to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain; that, similarly, the richest having more money means that the economy will churn so that everybody will have more money.

In reality, this tilts the field so that the factors of production are concentrated in fewer hands, who then control the spigot.  This means that, far from having more money, the best that everybody else gets is a low-paying job working for the guy with all the tax breaks.  Mr Taxbreaks doesn't spend his lighter-taxed profits in any way that benefits his workers...well, he might buy pizza on Fridays or some shit.  More likely, he will spend his money on tax attorneys and legislators' ears to further tilt the playing field.

Quite ironic, isn't it, that, while the theory claims that the resulting increased velocity of money would overcome the decreased rate of taxation, the effect on velocity is to slow it.  Propaganda, obligations and complacency conspire to convince the masses that this is is the best course, that rich guy problems are somehow far worse than their own.

That wasn't true in the days of the robber barons, it wasn't true during Reagan's presidency- Reagan's legacy greatly benefits from the economy having nowhere to go but up; he correctly made obvious moves, but overdid it- and it's not true today.

If following along is too much trouble, simply remember that, if everybody had money, it wouldn't be worth anything.  Nonetheless, Bokolis maintains that, if you have nothing better to do with your money than lobby the government, then you have too much of it and are deserving of a punitive tax rate.

Dubya's history is still reasonably fresh, as it still shapes our present.  So, beyond the two tax cuts and two wars and two market crashes, Bokolis doesn't feel the need to rehash it.  Suffice it to say that he is a lowly-rated president.

However, he didn't ride in that way.  Even though Dubya was installed and not elected, even though the air was coming out of the tech bubble, times were good and there wasn't enough conviction in Al Gore for us to bet bent out of shape.  If that had happened in today's climate or, if we had some hindsight, shit might've just jumped off.

But, Dubya got a relatively wide berth.  In the aftermath of 9/11, despite a recession, after the bread and circuses tax cut, we gave him full support.  It took until about when the markets bottomed out for some real grumblings.  Even after it became apparent that he was a blithering fool- as opposed to the affable idiot we'd already known- we gave him a second term, likely because we were pot-committed.

The war criminal pieces started soon thereafter.  Whether that's the case or not, Dubya surely earned the vitriol.  But, with Obama, the worst president ever nonsense started and his ass hadn't yet warmed the seat.  In fact, the petulance extends to all things liberal. The upshot was that, unlike the Bush bashers there could be no credence given to the Obama bashers, no matter how ineffective Obama turned out to be.

It used to be, about 15-20 years ago, that you'd run into a few of these yahoos, indoctrinated into thinking keep calm and fuck those evil liberals.  These days, the countryside is full of them, lathered up that liberals are plotting to overrun their cow-town with Blacks, Jews and queers...and, oh yes, Arabs now.  Bokolis wondered why that is.  It could be that

  • the internet had become more navigable to all,
  • Facebook had turned to the old folks home it is,
  • back then, we could play online poker and trade music files, leaving not as much time for 9/11 conspiracy theories and porn,
  • the contentious nature of war, and the contentious circumstances of the Iraq war, have triggered a pervasion of a choose sides mentality,
  • after their boy took such abuse and, hopped up on conservative talk radio, the right-wing crazies were loaded for bear,
  • that we're simply bigger jerks than we were

That last point is definitely true.  Bokolis would like to link this to the rise to exalted status currently enjoyed by the corporation, which favors such sociopathic behavior.  But that is PhD-thesis shit, so I don't want to do it here and deny any of those muthafuckas the opportunity.

If you buy the idea, and you believe shit rolls downhill, you can picture it rolling down to the rank and file and carried over to the public sector, as the utter lack of ability to run a tight ship in government opened the way for the pragmatic to step into the void.  Of course, it doesn't happen so that we correct to some happy medium- we get some Newton's laws shit happening, where the opposite undesirable scenario takes hold.  In this case, it's the reign of the hyper-pragmatic asshole.

In that regard, Giuliani was the archetype.  Those who had suffered him since his days as US Attorney- no, he didn't lock up Bokolis or any associates, but we used to call him Giussolini- knew him to be a dickhead bent on taking over the city.  As mayor, he got shit done, being a massive prickbag in the process.  Fewer guns (and panhandlers) on the streets cleaned up the city for the chain stores, but also gave room to the fake thugs and frat boys, who, no longer fearing the reign of the tec, found voice to chirp.  Nonetheless, for his work in the aftermath of 9/11, when a guy like him comes in handy, the cow-towners adopted and christened him America's mayor, just as we were getting rid of him.

While they didn't follow the boilerplate, the Giuliani image spread to the rest of the nation, spitting out all these tough-talking, ass-kickers.  Around these parts, a noteworthy example is Chris Christie- that fake thug all grown up, still believing he's a tough guy, but even money in any conflict to have strips of bacon cut off his back.  In politics, they use the term chickenhawk, which is not an exact depiction, but gets the point across.

Christie was always an asshole- Bridgegate should have eliminated all doubt.  Sometimes, through some anomaly, they have charisma.  Bokolis has been aware of Donald Trump on the TV since I started giving a shit about things other than sports and cartoons.  I've always understood him to be a windbag, and likely a scumbag.

He's been threatening to run for President- always as a Democrat- since the '80s.  But, he's always been the essence of no labor pains, just the baby.  It never stuck, but Bokolis always sensed that, as much as he lacked the necessary diligence, he was throwing things out there to see what stuck.

At some point, Trump went national, with a TV show acting like the sociopath described above, like a Steinbrenner.  It didn't so much reveal Trump to the masses as it revealed the masses to Trump.  As a NYC parochial, he was stuck operating as a Democrat.  He's always said this kind of shit, though to a lesser degree, as he didn't often get his (figurative) hair mussed up like he has in this campaign.  But, nationally, he played better to the peckerwoods as a Republican.  This switch quite likely played no small part in why it stuck this time.

People have romantic notions of themselves.  Many are delusional enough that they see a bunch of themselves in him, or delusional enough to want to be Trump (or at least a contemporary), a guy with fuck you money, a guy who talks a good fuck- or at least a good pussy-grab- a guy who looks like he gets shit done.  Maybe they think they are just a half-step removed from being able to project as such a bad-ass.  This is the new American Dream.

So, irrespective of reality being almost certainly far from it, all you have to tell them that Liberals are conspiring to keep you from this dream.  That's more than enough to turn many men, even thinking men, into wingnuts, or at least a bunch of Barry Goldwaters.  As can be implied, this had been in place well before Trump; he is an effect, not a cause.

He is also a tool, but not so much in the pejorative sense.  Considering Hillary had bought her nomination beforehand, she had the time to engineer her matchup.  If there was one Republican she was certain to defeat, it was Trump, where she wouldn't have to campaign on the issues; just wind him up and wait.  It was a total sucker job, only possible if you have obstinate ideologues at the helm.

Trump winds up being a vehicle to indicate how, you can throw up any dingbat and they will still get the support of 40% of the people- 43% if the opponent is utterly unlikeable.  He could never be a viable candidate- I mean, really, WTF would have to happen so that a wave develops, not to carry Trump to victory, but for a majority to conclude, yeah, we this is the muthafucka need in there.  As the good of the nation would demand an honest-to-goodness Republican, Bokolis laments that the party was snookered into running him up there.

Bokolis supposes that, as they have during the previous two Democratic administrations, the Republicans get what they want just the same, as Hillary fights almost as dirty as Cheney, is as beholden to the political donor class as Boehner was and will do its bidding.  The only thing different is the sign on the bathroom.  It's left for me to rhetorically wonder, as many a shady associate used to say, who's fucking who?