Be careful when you answer the phone! If you are told that a relative is injured or in some kind of other desperate situation, beware.

It’s commonly known as “The Grandparent Scam”, because elderly people are often the victims, but it could happen to anyone who isn’t sufficiently skeptical and gets caught off guard. Someone tried a variation of this scam on me a few months ago, but I am always suspicious of calls from unknown numbers so it didn’t work, but some rotten crooks almost got my favorite Auntie and my mom just the other day. If you’re not familiar with this particular con, here is how it works:

The target gets a phone call from someone either pretending to be their grandchild (or other relative) or a cop, or a lawyer, or a kidnapper, and says that the intended victim’s loved one has been hurt in an accident (or is in legal trouble, has been kidnapped, or is in some other kind of peril) and the only way to help them is to immediately wire a large sum of money somewhere – and don’t tell anyone or the person you love’s situation will greatly worsen!

If the victim complies, that money is gone forever, and their information may be sold to other scammers as an easy mark to get set up for more schemes. It’s a cruel crime, targeting vulnerable people and using their love for family as a weapon against them. Fraud.org provides some helpful information about this:

Stay safe. Be Informed.

The victim is urged not to tell anyone, such as the parent of the “grandchild” because they do not want them to find out about the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. The grandparent never hears from their fake grandchild again and is tricked out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

To detect and avoid the Grandparent Scam, NCL’s Fraud Center recommends the following tips:

  • Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills
  • Before sending funds, independently contact the relative (or parent of the relative) the scam artist is claiming to be (or represent) at a known phone number to verify the details of the story.
  • Scam artist’s payment method of choice is the wire transfer. Any urgent request to wire money should be treated suspiciously.
  • Be aware that fraudsters attempting the Grandparent Scam may call late at night to confuse potential victims.
  • Consumers who have been victims of this scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement, their state attorney general and NCL’s Fraud Center at Fraud.org.

The FTC has additional advice:

Verify an Emergency

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
  • Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.      MORE

The con artists will even make an effort  to “help” the victim. Via WBNS-10TV – Columbus, OH:

“Often times they’ll hand the phone off to a second party on the phone, alleging that’s the attorney and that serves the purpose of getting a different voice on there so they don’t continue to question whether this is my grandchild’s voice,” explains Sgt. Kline.

He goes on to say that sometimes, the scammers will even go as far as arranging taxi transportation for grandparents to get to the location where they can get the money orders.   Full Story HERE

The call that I received, from a strange cell phone number, said that my “husband, son, or brother” was in a horrible accident in a nearby town and had been taken away by ambulance, and the caller was someone who had been on the scene before emergency services arrived and that my male relative had given them my number to call as his own phone had been damaged in the accident. The guy who called me could not tell me the name of my injured loved one, saying that he was hurt so badly that he could barely talk and that he didn’t have any ID on him, they could not tell me what hospital my “husband, son, or brother” had been taken to, and they could not tell me my own name or how the injured male was connected to me, because my loved one was too messed up to say it before he was carted off  to an undisclosed location. I think the caller was expecting me to go to the location he had given me (the alleged scene of the accident) or meet him elsewhere and I do not know what would have happened then, but it didn’t get to that as I cut the guy off and insisted that he must have gotten the wrong number because I knew full well where all of my people were and I hung up.

The scam that targeted my aunt and almost robbed my mom was more like the ones described when you look up “injured relative phone scam” in a search engine, my mom got dragged into it because her sister is currently housebound recovering from a serious medical issue. Both women are in their eighties and love their families dearly. Here is how I found out about it:

My cousin called me two days ago looking for my mom. My mom lives 100 miles away so I figured she must have assumed she was up visiting or just called my number by mistake. My cousin was very upset. I told her that she’d reached my house, not my mom’s and that my mom was not here. My cousin told me that my aunt had gotten a call saying that another cousin, my aunt’s grandson, was hurt in an accident but that, “It was a trick” and that we needed to get hold of my mom, who was on her way to Western Union on behalf of my aunt. I guess my aunt had gotten the call and was so distressed that she called my mom for help, and my mom was going to withdraw almost two thousand dollars from her own bank account and wire the money on my aunt’s behalf.

Unfortunately, my mom had already left her house, she doesn’t answer her cell phone, and I did not know the location of the Western Union nearest to my mom, so I spent a good chunk of time fretting about it before my mom finally got back home and I could speak to her. Luckily, my mom started to get suspicious as to why she couldn’t just write a normal check and why there was no name for who to make the money order or transfer or whatever out to, so instead of completing the task, she went back home and called my aunt, who had by then been advised by my cousins of the con so nobody was hurt this time. Thank God.

Some versions of this nasty trickery also target people through email, text messages, and social media.

Please be careful if someone contacts you with an “emergency”, and tell the people that you care about who may be vulnerable to such tactics as the one described above to be cautious as well.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

While the Harvey Weinstein culture wars play out, I made a quick survey among friends, and asked, “When was the last time you went to see a movie in a theater?”

Out of ten people, only two had been to a movie theater in 2017. Three hadn’t been to a cinema for so long they didn’t even remember whether it was 5 years ago or longer. One replied,  “When Nixon was president.”

When I asked, “When was the last time you watched a movie at home?” nine of the ten had watched at least one film in the past week (the Nixonian had watched three) and the one who hadn’t was away on a business trip with no spare time.

I don’t know if this is because of our demographic (all surveyed are at least 40 years old), but you don’t go out on a limb when you surmise that the film industry will greatly continue to influence popular culture for the foreseeable future, regardless of cinema attendance.

Andrew Klavan believes that the whole Hollywood system is built to keep the silence.

Klavan adds,

“One of my big beefs against feminism is that it tells men that it’s sexist for them to feel protective towards women, so all you’ve left after that, is Harvey Weinstein and all the men that are too weak to stand up against them.”

It’s not just Hollywood.

Years ago I audited a class at Princeton University on the history of the American musical. One day a guest speaker, whose own show had been on Broadway, came for a question-and-answer session. When asked about the casting couch, he replied, “go for it.”

Auditors at PU are like children in Victorian times, “seen but not heard,” so I did not have the opportunity to express my disgust. I wonder what some of the parents dishing out $60,000+/yr for their PU student would think of the speaker encouraging their expensively-educated children to prostitute themselves.

Hollywood may have lost the right to lecture anyone, but Michelle Goldberg wants to get rid of the men, “If there must be bosses, fewer of them should be men.” In case you must put up with men, they should be gay, because,

Obviously, female bosses can be abusive and can create cultures where abusive behavior toward underlings is tolerated. But women may face less harassment at companies with fewer straight men at the top.

What about men being harassed by gay men, men harassed by women, or women harassed by lesbians, then? I guess she’d just stick to “If there must be bosses, fewer of them should be men” as a cure-all.

Goldberg suffers from what I call toxic feminism, which solves nothing.

The answer to evildoing by predators is integrity and respect – and law-abiding good men (and women) who stand against the predators and their enablers.

Now. that would be a long-term win in the culture wars.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Hollywood honors Hollywood while disgracing America

BTW, the ancient Greek word for actor is ὑποκριτής (hypokritēs).

Hogewash

I’ve been thinking of the long terms results of the Harvey Weinstein situation and the more I do so the more I conclude that it demonstrates Andrew Breitbart’s argument that politics is downstream from culture

The culture of Hollywood, actors or as they were once called “players” has historically been a libertine one in contrast to the prevailing judeo Christian culture. It existed in two extremes low brow entertainment for rowdy masses as portrayed in this clip from the hilarious picture the Great Race

or high brow entertainment for the elites as hilariously lampooned by the Marx Brothers.

Actors being a small clique were an insignificant influence on said culture and had little influence to change it. However in the 20th century with the advent of movies and entertainment both cheap enough to be affordable to the masses and a distribution method to reach millions (film and radio) theater in general and Hollywood in particular became not only A giant cash cow for those at the top but A huge source of employment for masses of ordinary and technical people involved in the maintenance, operation distribution of same.

That was big but the most significant change was the fact that it suddenly gave “players” exposure, wealth social status and power far beyond their normal utility, not only in terms of performance, but in terms of endorsements from companies wanting to use said celebrity to promote their products and causes.

There were times when this power was put to noble purposes by good people

However said wealth and power didn’t change the nature of players in general, it only empowered them beyond their actual utility to culture, 3rd Rock from the sun Alum Joseph Gordon Levett summed it up perfectly in this quote about Hollywood and actors fame being a bad thing for a culture:

“Actors didn’t use to be celebrities. A hundred years ago, they put the theaters next to the brothels. Actors were poor. Celebrities used to be kings and queens. Then the United States abolished monarchy, and now there’s this coming together of show business and celebrity. I don’t think it’s healthy. I don’t want to sound self-important, but all these celebrity shows and magazines–it comes from us, from Hollywood, from our country. We’re the ones creating it. And I think it works in close step with a lot of other bad things that are happening in the world. It promotes greed, it promotes being selfish and it promotes this ladder, where you’re a better person if you have more money. It’s not at all about the work itself. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies. But this myth of celebrity has nothing to do with movies.”

Thus you have a group of people whose primary ability is make believe and whose moral compass were diametrically opposed to the prevailing judeo christian morality suddenly calling the shots.

Now in the early days the studio system curtailed this power in the sense that it hid the worst of these influences from the public  This allowed the libertine nature and depravities of those who wanted to indulge them to only flourish in private with the occasional scandal (from Fatty Arbuckle to Errol Flynn) leaking out.  But once that system broke down the cat was out of the bag and said folks were free to use their influence to change the culture to openly live and celebrate what they did and to use film to advance the culture that they wished to celebrate and embrace:

Thus Hugh Hefner’s are celebrated and the concepts of marriage, family and morality were torn down and remade in the images of the “players” culture while the film becomes a weapon to be used against those who might push back to wit

Streep has since denounced Weinstein and protested that she was shocked, shocked, to find out that there was gambling going on in Casablanca. Streep’s protest struck me as curious in light of her lead role in the 2008 film Doubt, for which she earned an Oscar nomination. Streep’s character, a Catholic nun, is determined to prove that the priest in her parish is molesting a young boy. She encounters disapproval from the clergy, skepticism from her own fellow sisters, and opposition from the boy’s own mother. But she is indefatigable. It is perhaps the best film treatment of the complexity of sexual abuse. Somehow, after portraying day after day a character with a keen nose for impropriety on the set, Streep, like so many others, apparently could not detect the foul stench around Weinstein.

That’s from Fr. Raymond J De Sousa at the National Post noting the irony of Meryl Streep being one of many in Hollywood to use the Church’s Scandal to pummel it…

…all the while keeping their own mouths shut for the sake of their employment.

And it was not only the hollywood left that kept silence, journalist and media who gained wealth and influence by their association with Hollywood power brokers and shared their political views dived right in:

Addressing a controversy that has been percolating for the past several days in the media ecosystem since The New York Times published its own Weinstein exposé—including questions about whether NBC executives caved to the well-connected Weinstein and his formidable lawyers, Charles Harder, Lisa Bloom, and David Boies—Maddow brought it to a boiling point by telling Farrow: “NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

Farrow fired back: “I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that. And it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”

In fairness to NBC the New Yorker recognized that once the story was already out in the public

Given the confluence of money and celebrity it was natural that Hollywood would become a political influence and boy did it.

The New York Times ran its first exposé on the disgraced Hollywood mogul at the end of a $2.2 million run of personal and bundled political donations, which made Weinstein a very familiar and popular figure among Democrats. Weinstein backed Democrats with significant national profiles, who rushed to embrace his wealth and star power. He put his mark on the DNC with over $300,000 in donations over a quarter-century, hoping to shape the party’s leadership. Weinstein put a special emphasis on the Senate, providing over $193,000 in funds to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) benefited most, with over $36,000 in overall donations, but Weinstein also gave more than $25,000 each to the two current senators from New York: Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Weinstein paid even more special attention to the very top. He donated to both Bill and Hillary Clinton repeatedly during the Clinton presidency, helping to launch the first lady’s political career in her first run for office. 

That’s old friend Ed Morrissey noting the money that has gone to Democrats from Weinstein alone and more importantly where it has gone”

These facts are inescapable. Weinstein was a very real part of the political life of the two families most identified with Democratic Party leadership. The Clintons held social events and fundraisers with the Hollywood executive for years; one bash in June 2016 raised more than $1.8 million for her presidential run. The Obamas sent their daughter Malia to intern for Weinstein’s company last year.

Weinstein had indisputably ingratiated himself into the highest levels of Democratic power.

Or in other words during the period when the Democrat Party embraced the redefinition of marriage, gay culture, transgenderism, radical feminism and extreme libertine culture while rejecting traditional culture, God, the Church and traditional morality, they were being financed heavily by an industry known for its libertine culture in general and by an individual in particularly who used that political power and wealth to enable him to prey on the same women who they claimed to champion.

And the Journalist who have invested completely in said party are also feeling the heat 

“Journalistic integrity is dead,” he declared. “There is no such thing anymore. So everything is about weaponization of information.” Standing behind a mahogany podium in a baggy dark suit, Boyle preached with the confidence of a true believer. In a stuttering staccato, he condemned the nation’s preeminent news outlets as “corrupted institutions,” “built on a lie,” and a criminal “syndicate that needs to be dismantled.” Boyle and his compatriots were laboring to usher in an imminent—and glorious—journalistic apocalypse. “We envision a day when CNN is no longer in business. We envision a day when The New York Timescloses its doors. I think that day is possible.”

This is a defeat in the culture wars for the left on the scale of a Midway or a Stalingrad and worst of all for the left in general and the Democrat / MSM party in particular the Weinstein revelations are coming at the nadir of Democrat and media power and influence and the rise of a populist Donald Trump who is intimately familiar with how the Hollywood, celebrity culture works which is why at least some in the MSM see the coming apocalypse.

The only question left is this, will conservatives be wise enough to “Keep up the Skeer” and prevent them from recovering

Update: Weinstein isn’t going down without a fight and Allahpundit wins the internet today with a line that is both funny and kinda sad at the same time.

The most darkly funny part of this is Weinstein thinking he still has a career to return to. The idea that Hollywood would welcome back a man who’s been credibly accused of abject degeneracy seems … totally plausible, now that I think of it.

Boy do I miss the days of Jimmy Stewart

Update 2:  Sometimes I swear Donald Trump’s enemies are secretly working for him

Porn King Larry Flynt and Hustler Magazine is offering $10 million for information leading to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump as president.

Because if I was the Democrat/Never Trump team trying to distance myself from Hollywood and guys going after women in the post Weinstein era is a porn king offering millions leading the anti Trump charge is not the image I want out there.

Seriously you can’t make this stuff up.

Update 3:  Fixed some grammar issues.

Once upon a time, I mused on my blog about the quiet force of nature known as The Nice Guy™. You doubtless know one; the guy who’s spoken of highly by all who know him yet remains strangely solo in a duet world. Why is that, one wonders. Could it be that far too many women are addicted to their built-in bastard radar to give The Nice Guy™ a shot? Naah. Couldn’t be that. Thankfully, one Rosemary Ribner from the immortal website Grumpy Sloth (no, I’d never heard of it before either) has come along to clear up all possible misconceptions regarding this puzzlement.

It’s all The Nice Guy™’s fault.

Ms. Ribner starts her philippic with a revelation so overwhelmingly astonishing in its utter obviousness it boggles the mind anyone would bother writing it down: guys who play-act at being The Nice Guy™ in order to try and attract women, then vociferously complain at remaining dateless, aren’t actually A Nice Guy™. What, doing a bottom drawer beta male move isn’t genuine niceness? Gee. Who knew. Maybe next Ms. Ribner will tell us water is quite often wet.

From this Captain Obvious moment, Ms. Ribner launches into other reasons why, in her estimation, The Nice Guy™ is highly suspect to spending Saturday nights grocery shopping in lieu of leavin’ ‘em stacked like cordwood on the killing floor. They don’t try hard enough, this manifested by their taking “no I don’t want to go out with you” as meaning … brace yourself … no, I don’t want to go out with you. They keep reaching out of their lane and out of their league (more on this in a bit). They’re not sufficiently imbued with masculinity, this flying in the face of how toxic masculinity is the sin above all sins for feminists but whatever. They’re too agreeable. They’re boring; apparently women holding the mindset set forth in this article prefer the thrill of being treated like toilet paper. And, they claim to be feminists, this coming as news to Nice Guys™ who to a one would rather play solitaire for fun with a deck of fifty-one than hassle attempting to date any woman identifying herself with screeching, strident, manbashing feminism. This includes any woman signing off on the points in Ms. Ribner’s article as gospel truth.

Returning to the aforementioned assertion that Nice Guys™ spend too much time trying to date over their head — because, after all, there isn’t a single single woman out there not brushing off great guys because she’s holding out for Justin Timberlake or reasonable celebrity equivalent thereof — it is more than interesting to note women seizing upon this as Holy Writ. Why can’t The Nice Guy™ go ask out that Nice Girl™ over there? She’s much more his type than me. Translation: “I deserve so much better than that boring bozo, what with his manners and consideration and such. Besides, my built-in bastard radar is pinging. Make me cry, big boy!” It could be noted how utterly condescending this is to all women sloughed off as being second tier, but there isn’t a woman alive who’d do that to another woman, now is there …

Behind Ms. Ribner’s thinly veneered manbashing exercise lies the unspoken yet plainly stated belief that women who date assholes have only The Nice Guy™ to blame. Not themselves, oh no never ever ever. If The Nice Guy™ would have just filled in on the checkboxes on my must have list, they would have saved me from myself! Sorry, ladies who think this way. There’s only one Guy capable of saving you from your own shallow, narcissistic mindset. And He’s not available for dating. You date a known bastard, it is entirely on you. Own it.

PS: Laying sarcasm aside, I know several truly wonderful women who wound up dating, and sometimes marrying, bastards not through any fault of their own. In these cases, every single time the bastard managed to keep his true nature — usually mental issues manifested by abuse on one or more levels — sufficiently hidden until it was too late for an easy exit. The woman is not at fault in these scenarios, and often emerges from these living nightmares far more appreciative of what nice guys have to offer. They deserve a nice guy. Prayerfully, they will find one.

PPS: God loves bastards too and offers them the way out from their bastard-ness:

“But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

We now have a Dr. Seuss two-fer here in Massachusetts. A couple of weeks ago, a librarian in Cambridge rudely refused, without the authority to do so, a set of 10 Dr. Seuss books, a gift from the First Lady, because the First Lady is married to President Trump. And just last week, three equally rude authors refused to participate in the inaugural Children’s Literature Festival at, of all places, The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, because – horror of horrors – the museum features a mural depicting a scene from Dr. Seuss’ first book, To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.
As a lifelong Seussophile, allow me to say that these people need to find real issues to worry about. The librarian, seeing an opportunity to lash out at Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos through the First Lady, belittled the gift as unnecessary, because her school has such a wonderful librarian (herself), and proceeded to lecture Mrs. Trump that she should have sent a completely different set of books to a different school. Keep in mind, the reason this school was selected was to recognize its excellence. The letter that accompanied the books encouraged the children that they “can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” and that “the key to achieving your dreams begins with learning to read.” Fortunately, the school district overruled the librarian – who, by the way, once dressed up as the Cat in the Hat to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday – and graciously accepted the books.
Of course, there was more to it. The Big Problem, according to the librarian, is that the books themselves, including Green Eggs and Ham and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, are – wait for it – racist. Even though these books weren’t racist when the Obamas read them to children, apparently, the three festival-boycotting authors agreed with the librarian. They claim that the Mulberry Street mural features a “jarring racial stereotype of a Chinese man, who is depicted with chopsticks, a pointed hat, and slanted slit eyes.” Here’s the image:


I suppose Dr. Seuss could have written “a nondescript Asian-American child who may be a biological male – but we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions – who eats with traditional Chinese eating implements” but that doesn’t really fit the rhyming scheme, does it?
As you might expect, the museum caved and is not only removing the mural – from, again, the first book written by perhaps the most popular and well-known children’s author in the history of the English language – but they cancelled the festival! Apparently, they felt it was more important to cater to the fragile egos of these authors that nobody ever heard of than to hold an event to celebrate Children’s Literature and encourage children to read, like the First Lady was trying to do.
In her ungracious letter to the First Lady, the librarian cited Philip Nel, a Kansas State University professor who wrote “Was the Cat in the Hat Black?” Professor Nel was also quoted in a recent Boston Globe article about the controversy offering parents and children’s librarians a choice to either skip Seuss’ more controversial works or read them to children “and be ready to have uncomfortable conversations about them.”
I don’t know about you, but I read these books to my children when they were probably four or five. Needless to say, I did not have any “uncomfortable conversations” with them about the pictures in any of these books. As Mrs. Trump points out, they are “the future of America” and I know that my children, having been given a foundation of faith, reason, logic and love, will be well ahead of their peers whose parents had “uncomfortable conversations” with them and taught them to see racism everywhere.

The Museum of Seuss, with a mural in back
shows whimsy and fun, not a racist attack.

But snowflakes won’t stop, since all they’ve been taught
Is that everything’s wrong and it’s never their fault.

That’s not true, of course, since all that they do
Is to whine and complain and they blame me and you

For not giving in and just going away
But fighting for good in the U.S. of A.

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Harvey Weinstein image by DAvid Shankbone via Wikipedia
An important point needs to be made concerning the continuing exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual crimes and the finger pointing of leftists over the wall of silence.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected none of this would have come out.

Do you think for one moment that the NYT which had killed the Weinstein story once already would have dared to move forward knowing that a friend an ally of Mr. Weinstein was in the White House, running the justice department etc etc etc. Would they have dared to expose a story that would have crippled a Hillary Presidency?

I think not.

Every single woman who now has the courage to come forward about Weinstein owes Donald Trump the man they hate, the man they demonized, the man they did all they could to defeat, a huge thank you because without his election there is no Times story and they do not have the ability to openly say the truth about Weinstein.

And I submit and suggest that every one of us in the new media on the right should remind them of this fact every single day.

Update:
A question for the Hollywood left and feminists: Even if it meant that Harvey Weinstein was not exposed and would still preying on women do you still wish Hillary Clinton had won in 2016 instead of Trump and why?


As I have no sexual secrets of rich liberals to keep for a price I have to make my buck by going places and doing interviews all the time hoping people like it enough to pay for it.

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By John Ruberry

Last week I wrote this in my own blog about a scandal-plagued state university in Kentucky: “Is Louisville a college with an athletic program? Or is it an athletic program that offers some college classes?”

Late last month the shadowy and corrupt realm of NCAA men’s college basketball, whose players are nominally amateurs, was shattered by the revelation of an FBI investigation of payments to recruits that allegedly comes from Adidas. Ten people have been arrested, including four assistant coaches at Power Five college hoops programs. More arrests are expected.

But most of the media focus on the scandal is on the the University of Louisville, where no one so far faces charges. Allegedly an AAU coach, Jonathan Brad Augustine, whose team is sponsored by Adidas, boasted to an undercover FBI agent about the reach of Cardinals coach Rick Pitino–who is identified as “Coach-2” in court records–and how Pitino could get James “Jim” Gatto, the director of global sports marketing for basketball at Adidas, to send $100,000 to the family of a Louisville recruit. That athlete, Brian Bowen, enrolled at Louisville. But now he’s been suspended from the team.

Oh, the first “A” in AAU stands for “amatuer.”

“No one swings a bigger d–k than [Coach-2],” Augustine reportedly said after learning that Gatto had difficulty in allegedly sending the $100K to Bowen’s family. He added that “all [Coach-2] has to do is pick up the phone and call somebody [and say], ‘These are my guys–they’re taking care of us.'”

Those remarks appear to have been lifted from a Sopranos script.

Pitino, and Louisville’s athletic director, Tom Jurich, were suspended by the university the day after the scandal broke. Both of them are expected to be fired but in the meantime they are the highest paid persons in their positions in college sports.

But despite its success on the field–Louisville has a pretty good football team by the way–the athletic department loses money. Apparently Louisville manages its athletic department as poorly as the state of Kentucky runs its public-worker pension programs.

Pitino is the only NCAA men’s basketball coach to win national championships at two universities, Kentucky and Louisville. But four months ago the Cardinals program landed on NCAA probation because of a prostitution scandal involving recruits, some of whom were underage. Uh, where are the Louisville Police? The NCAA suspended Pitino for five games and Louisville will have to vacate some victories–and possibly its 2013 NCAA title. Pitino claims ignorance of the hiring of these “dancers” by the program. He also claimed to be simply a put-upon victim in a extortion attempt by a woman, Karen Sypher, who alleged that Pitino raped her. The Basketball Hall of Fame coach, who is married, admitted to consensual sex with Sypher–she later went to prison. Pitino also admitted to paying for her abortion.

Because Louisville’s men’s hoops program is already on probation, it’s likely that the Cardinals are eligible for the NCAA “death penalty” if they are found to be a two-time offender. The death penalty allows the NCAA to shut down a program for at least a year.

I say cut down the nets and turn off the lights for Louisville basketball, preferably for several years. The possibility of the death penalty has holders of the junk bonds financing the stadium where the Cardinals play understandably a bit nervous.

At the very least Louisville needs a fresh start, but so far it’s off to a dreadful one. Pitino’s interim replacement is one of his former players, David Padgett, who until two years ago was director of basketball operations at Louisville. Was Padgett a glorified clerk? Or a figurehead?

Louisville has other problems and one of them involves Adidas. Of the money from the current marketing contract the shoe giant has with the basketball team, reportedly 98 percent of it goes to Pitino. Shouldn’t the general revenue fund of this taxpayer-supported college get at least a healthy cut?

Jurich, the money-losing suspended athletic director, likely earned more money annually than the budgets of four Louisville academic departments.

This scandal has legs longer than those of the late Manute Bol–and I’m predicting not only will it spread to other colleges and AAU programs but to high school hoops as well, starting with the Chicago Public League. Lack of payments probably explains why the Chicago recruiting apparatus for years shuts out basketball programs such as DePaul and the one at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both schools are natural fits for Public League talent and both of them used to recruit very successfully in Chicago.

Do you have a better explanation?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Get out of here
You crazy voice
You’re the devil
Not my Father
Or some evil
Flesh desire
Let me be
I am free

Back in the dim and distant past known as last year, upon its rerelease yours truly wrote a review of contemporary Christian music pioneer Oden Fong’s 1979 classic record Come For The Children. Not so much a concept as timeline record, as Fong detailed life on earth spent following Christ as Lord and Savior prior to His return he noted, in the song “Crazy Voices,” how satanic and worldly distractions do their best to lure believers off course, with predictably disastrous consequences.

In a world seemingly gone completely mad, one where instant sports millionaires claim oppression while hellhounds murder innocents for the crime of concert attendance, what is good and acceptable finds itself drowning beneath torrents of vile social media and public discourse rage. The anger over what is happening is understandable by anyone with a heart. The expressions and ideas set forth to prevent future horrors are regrettably often as steeped in lunacy as the acts bringing on these outbursts, for they fail to address the root cause of evil, namely humanity’s inhumanity. Acts of violence are seemingly paradoxically properly addressed solely by an act of violence: a lone figure nailed to a bloody cross so none need descend from this earth into perpetual utter isolation and agony. We do not need more gun control. We need more Spirit-led self-control.

The crazy voices surround us all, sometimes screaming and sometimes whispering their lies. They proclaim they have the answers, the solutions to prevent future evil played out by bullets sprayed about, or bombs or transportation vessels or whatever weapons are available used with murderous intent. They have neither. The only answer is holding on to Christ’s nail-scarred Hand, emulating as best we can in our stubborn state of rumbling fumbling tumbling stumbling bumbling imperfect humanity Jesus’ love. Nothing else works.

Nothing.

The grind-it-out side of public policy occupied me this morning, as I went to the State House to listen to a subcommittee patiently work out the language of a bill. That done, I walked outside to see what was up on the State House plaza.

And my day was made.

A collection was underway for the Red Cross, with an eye to the disaster in Puerto Rico. Pallet upon pallet of water awaited loading onto trucks. Other types of donations were being sorted, labeled, and packaged. One large “check” was on display, indicating a substantial cash donation by one of the state’s larger utilities. Kids coming off school buses for their State House tour carried armloads of things to donate to the effort.

State employees, elected officials, just plain folks, those wonderful fourth-graders: everyone on the plaza was on the same page. This was a relief effort in every sense.

The Governor was on the scene, delighting the schoolkids with a photo op, and someone said to him, “Will any of this actually get where it’s supposed to go?” He said reassuring things. I hope he’s right. Distribution: that’s the sticking point. How will this get to Puerto Rico? How will the Red Cross allocate things among the multiple disasters it’s addressing these days? I wish I knew the answers.

The people on the plaza weren’t being paralyzed by discouragement or uncertainty over what comes next. They were doing their best with what they had. They left me inspired, refreshed, challenged. That was a fine midday course correction.

Ellen is a New Hampshire pro-life activist and writer who blogs at ellenkolb.com

The small vine with Vinnie’s Grapes

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked ‘Oh, you aren’t even ripe yet! I don’t need any sour grapes.’

The Fox and the Grapes Via Wikipedia

John Nolte, one of the treasure of Breitbart tells us that there is a sudden shift in the land of socially conscious sportscaster Stephen A Smith:

Friday, ESPN “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith said he was “tired” of the national anthem protests and linking of arms in unity, adding he is ready to “get back to football.”

What? This can’t be, we’ve been told right along by guys like Smith that the Kaepernick protests not only were important but that it was disgraceful that fewer people in the NFL were taking part. What could possibly be his explanation for this sudden transformation?

Smith reasoned that Colin Kaepernick’s initial protest has been “hijacked” and the message has been “lost” because the protests are now anti-President Donald Trump, which he said just causes more “division.”

Chad Ochocinco is saying the same

Former Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson said in an interview with TMZ Sports that he believes the national anthem protests in the NFL are now “politically whitewashed” and have lost their initial meaning,

Vice sports is saying the same:

It’s heartbreaking to say, but this past Sunday shows that brain-dead argument perpetrated by brain-dead hucksters and embraced by brain-dead people is serving its purpose, by deflecting attention away from the protest’s original meaning.

Oddly this is a sentiment that I’ve heard a lot of WEEI from people who were all pro Kaepernick lately on my evening drive. The protests have jumped the shark, they’ve been hijacked etc etc etc.

So the question on the floor is this: why are we suddenly seeing this change in the narrative from the sporting left?

The answer is simple, despite what you might hear from Esquire Trump has won this cultural battle big time.

The NFL is battling to repair its tarnished image and to win back a chunk of the fan base that they’ve forfeited, and the NBA, terrified of mimicking the NFL’s dropping popularity has made it clear that there will be no kneeling allowed.

And thanks to the left turning this into a racial issue we are going to have the pleasure of seeing the 2018 Democrats defending disrespecting the flag to avoid a primary challenge in red states.

Trump has won but our friends on the left can’t admit that, so instead we have the face-saving message, oh the protests have been hijacked message.

If they want to play this game, that’s fine, the political result will be exactly the same and both the NFL and the NBA have learned a valuable lesson about their customer bases that they won’t soon forget.


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