Monday, October 6, 2014

Redskins vs Seahawks?

First, bring on the Red Squaws
Tonight the 1-3 Washington Redskins take on the Seattle Seahawks (2-1, and last years Superbowl winners) at FedEx Field at 8:30 PM on Monday Night Football. Personally, I'm not expecting all that much out of them until the end of the Dan Snyder era, so while we wait, we can peruse the news in the liberal war on football while comparing the merits of the cheerleaders of the two teams.

And next, the Lady Ospreys

FCC: We’ll look into whether “Redskins” is indecent for broadcast

The team? Well, after watching Kirk Cousins throw three interceptions in a single quarter, I suppose an argument can be made that the level of the Redskins’ play is pretty indecent. Especially if you live in Washington DC, but hey, YMMV, especially in Dallas, Philadelphia, and the part of New York that’s actually in New Jersey.

Oh, wait … we’re talking about the team name that has been used on countless broadcasts for decades? FCC chair Tom Wheeler pledged to address that issue after a petition to the agency demanding action:

The head of the FCC says the agency will consider a petition to ban the Washington Redskins nickname from the public airwaves.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says Tuesday that the commission “will be dealing with that issue on the merits, and we’ll be responding accordingly.”
A law professor has challenged the use of the name on broadcast television, saying it violates FCC rules against indecent content. Native American and other groups have demanded the name be changed, calling it a racial slur.
The Volokh Conspiracy considers the FCCs position: On the chilling effect, from one of the chillers
If the FCC enacts such a rule and I were litigating the challenge to the rule, this quote from the lawyer who filed the petition would play a prominent role in my briefs.
FCC to Ban “Redskins” — By Raised Eyebrow?
Extraordinary Statements By FCC Majority Trigger Predictions
The National Journal said “FCC Mulls Banning Redskins Name,” Reuters reported “FCC Considering Move to Ban NFL Redskins Team Name,” SportingNews asserted “FCC Considers Ban of ‘Redskins’ on TV, Radio,” and Yahoo Sports went even further, saying “FCC Considering Ban on Redskins Nickname, Punishment for Announcers.”
But FCC regulation of “Redskins” may already have begun, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf, whose formal legal petition to deny the renewal of one of team owner Dan Snyder’s radio stations triggered extraordinary statements by a majority of the commissioners at the agency.
Washington insiders know that the FCC often regulates by a “raised eyebrow”; publicly telegraphing its concerns, and counting on broadcasters — fearful of delays or even failure to renew licenses — to take appropriate steps without the need for formal agency action.

This happens because even a temporary delay in the renewal of a broadcast license can harm the station’s credit, limit its ability to be sold or traded, and in general can hang like a Sword of Damocles over it for months or even years. As the FCC has coyly admitted: “Several FCC Chairmen and commissioners have been successful in using the ‘raised eyebrow’ as an informal means of drawing attention to problems in industry practices.”
“It’s unusual for a sitting commissioner to opine on an issue which may come before his agency for a ruling, and rarer still for such an official to even hint how he feels about an issue already before it. So imagine how very rare it is for three commissioners of the FCC (including the Chairman) to publicly express very strong feelings on a legal petition they are going to have to decide,” says Prof. Banzhaf.
And that's just a short excerpt. As they say, read the whole thing.

Sounds pretty much like extortion to me. "Nice team you have there. It would be a shame if something happened to it"

Why Isn’t The Media Outraged About The Kansas City Chiefs?
My own view is that its lack of unpopularity or prioritization among Native Americans is a reason not to change the name.Sally Jewell, the U.S. Interior Secretary, recently noted this:
That was the estimation of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whose department oversees the Indian Affairs federal agency, when she was asked about the controversial brand in an interview with ABC News. “Personally, I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins.’ So, personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different,” Jewell told ABC News’ David Kerley. But Jewell qualified her comments, adding that in her own conversations with tribal leaders, it’s not an issue they bring up with her. “So, my personal views are not necessarily reflected in the tribes that I talk to. It isn’t high on their agenda,” she said.
My own suspicion is that the biggest reason that the activities of the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans don’t merit the media outrage that the Redskins receive is the relative geography and prominence of their franchises. As I wrote at the time of the patent office controversy:
That being said, the trendlines of politics are such that I expect a name change to be inevitable in my lifetime because of where the team is located and the pressure exerted by our ruling elite. One of the big lessons of life in the Obama era is that it’s important to avoid the attention of the ruling class – lest you be audited, harassed, or generally become a hot topic of media conversation as a proxy for some other battle. There’s a reason this is happening to the Washington Redskins and not the Cleveland Indians or the Chicago Blackhawks or the Florida State Seminoles. If you live within the consciousness of a critical mass of people in power for whom all life is politicized, you will be made to bend to their will, by whatever means necessary. The last thing in the world you ought to want is for President Obama to be asked his opinion about your enterprise, and then have those around him work to make that opinion a reality. . .
There's probably more than a grain of truth in that, but my own view is that this is an application of Rule 12 of Alinsky's Rules:
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
This may seem like a misapplication, where you are going after an institution, but the fact is they're going after one team in a league of 32 , where several have the potential to be considered as slurs (and more, if you get sufficiently creative with your outrage), in other words, personalized it to the Redskins. Once, and if they win that battle, you can be sure that they'll be back for Kansas and Minnesota (doesn't it hurt the Scandahoovians feelings to be likened to the Vikings?). Once one team has buckled under the pressure, with no support for the other teams, the precedent is set.
And getting back to the Ray Rice and  Adrain Peterson "scandals": NFL’s Got Problems? 325 Cases Of Sexual Misconduct By Teachers Since Start Of 2014
The NFL is currently mired in controversy surrounding issues of domestic abuse among its players, as well as how Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled the issues. There have been five arrests for domestic violence and one arrest for child abuse since the start of 2014. That doesn’t count multiple arrests for assault, drugs, DUI, and more as USA Today has tracked. Disturbing? Compare that with the 325 school teachers and employees arrested for sexual misconduct with children since the beginning of the year.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and U.S. Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) recently attempted to bring attention to the problem in a press conference and news release announcing a bill to protect students from sexual predators. It was met with a resounding thud, as primarily only local Pennsylvania news outlets covered the announcement, according to a Google search.

“The transferring of teachers known or suspected of sexual misconduct between school districts is known simply as ‘Passing the Trash,'” Fitzpatrick said. “This shameful practice was first brought to my attention in 2006 when I learned of the story of 12-year old Jeremy Bell who was drugged, sexually abused, and then murdered by his elementary school principal who had been passed between schools despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. This could have been stopped. The Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act passed the House unanimously last October, and I am confident that it will be met with strong bipartisan support on the Senate floor.”
And nobody thinks Obama needs to fire the Secretary of Education over that, right?

Anyway, got time for a another one? Do we really need to revoke the NFL’s tax exempt status?
I was reading about this in a piece that Doug Mataconis published, and I think he makes a few good points. For one thing, we’re really not talking about a lot of money in terms of the government’s revenue streams, and the net difference could actually be worse for Uncle Sam than the league.
On principle at least, I am sympathetic to the idea that tax exemptions such as this should be scrutinized and perhaps even eliminated as part of a broader effort at comprehensive tax reform. That sympathy comes not from animus toward the N.F.L., or the N.H.L. or P.G.A. for that matter, but due to general opposition to the use of the tax code for things other than raising revenue. Thanks to that fact, the Congress has used the tax code as an instrument of social engineering, or to promote the interests of specific businesses. Because of that, the tax code itself, and the regulations that accompany it, has become voluminous, nearly impossible even for lawyers and accountants to fully understand, and the source of frustration for everyone impacted by it. ..
That being said, there is a rationale to the 501(c)(6) exemption that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. In essence, it is meant to apply to what essentially amount to the collective voice of a group of business owners who operate their own, separate, taxable businesses. When you look at what the league office actually does — whether its organizing the draft, marketing, negotiating broadcasting and advertising contracts, organizing the Super Bowl and other events that are meant to benefit the league as a whole, or serving as the government and rule enforcement body for the league — that is exactly what is going on.

This has been a bit of a learning experience for me, so it seems worthwhile to bring it up. The first item is that the tax exempt status does not apply to the teams (except the Packers, who are community owned), but only to the league office itself. Even if you taxed the money going through the NFL offices, it would amount at most to about ten million per year. To be clear, that’s not peanuts, so – again – I’m not ruling it out, but it’s different than thinking we’d suddenly be taxing the billions going through the teams. That revenue is already taxed.

Perhaps a better question is whether or not the league should be placed into this tax status to begin with. The NFL falls under the 501(c)(6) tax code for “business leagues and boards of trade… which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings goes to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.” This is different than the more commonly known 501(c)(3) class for charities or the 501(c)(4) classification used by political advocacy groups.
Yeah, I had been willing to give up the NFL tax exemption too, but this puts a whole new light on it. As an organization which serves as a collective voice for a number of private business, it sounds a lot like the various Bar associations, among other things, and I'd bet dollars to donuts they are tax exempt under this or a similar rule.

So what do you think, Redskins or Seahawks?

Wombat-socho's "Rule 5 Sunday: The Cheerleaders Of October" is up at The Other McCain.

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