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From Left Field

August 17, 2011

By BOB SHRALUKA
        Did you notice the latest in the anything-goes land of politics, where cheating and lying is a way of life and slime oozes from every orifice?
     During the campaigning prior to this week's recall elections in Wisconsin, fliers were mailed to people. supposedly informing them how to obtain an absentee ballot. But many of the mailers contained false or misleading information, effectively disenfranchising the person casting the absentee ballot.
    In some cases, according to an editorial in the Sheboygan Press, the mailers gave incorrect addresses for where to send the application, or an incorrect date that the ballot must be returned by in order to be counted. Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board, the agency that oversees elections, said it also has received complaints about automated phone calls that have contained incorrect dates and other election information.
    If the voter doesn't catch the mistake, he or she may never get the absentee ballot, or find that their legally cast vote didn't get counted because the ballot arrived too late, the newspaper said.
    Voters already are being disenfranchised by having to provide "proper" identification, a fast-growing trend in many states and one passed several years ago in Indiana. All in the name of voter fraud, which any statistics tell one there is so little of at the polls that it barely registers.
    Why make it difficult to cast a vote? Another case of the powerful limiting the weaker members of society to advance the causes of the powerful.
    And now this, fraudulent mailings to further foul the rights of people to vote.
    In the world of politics, anything goes. Lies and misconceptions and massive amounts of spending are only part of it. Now it's trying to keep people from the polls, or confuse them in order to take away their voting rights. What next? Kidnap voters? Burn down their homes on election day to keep them from the voting places?
    Don't laugh. In this polarized land, anything goes so long as it provides a path to precious victory.

Only entertainers not on gravy train
    While on the soap box, let's revisit the Ohio State football scandal.
     The Big Ten Conference, we read, will pay each of its members a record $22.6 million this year, the increase due in part to a whopping revenue increase from the Big Ten Network.
    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the conference's TV network alone paid its schools $7.9 million each, a reported increase of 21 percent from last year's $6.5 million.
    The Big Ten Network generated $227 million in 2010, up 22 percent from 2009, according to industry analyst Derek Baine of SNL Kagan. Estimates by SNL Kagan suggest the network will continue to be a boon for the Big Ten. By 2015, it is projected to generate $333 million.
    Revenue will be even greater if the Big Ten is successful in its attempt to recruit a school in the eastern U.S., like Rutgers. The sole reason it is doing so is to open up new TV markets.
    And now we read where ousted coach Jim Tressel made $21.7 million in his decade as top dog of the Buckeyes. That's hardly a surprise to anyone paying any attention to what's going on in college football.
    But this longtime Ohio State football fan still cannot see how, in the wake of numbers such as those above, it can be such a dastardly deed for the unpaid players — those who provide the entertainment which generates the income — to sell some of their own trinkets for a few hundred bucks ... or some tattoos.
    Yes, the players knew the rules. And there's no excuse for a coach who doesn't tell the truth. None. But there's something terribly askew when the unpaid players without whom there would be no monster payoffs must live under such tight restrictions while everyone else is riding the gravy train. Riding high on the gravy train ... from coaches to athletic directors, from bowl officials to conference officials, and on and on and on.
    Oh, that's right, the players are getting a free scholarship. Yep, and some of them even graduate.

 

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