Repercussions of the Norway Attacks

Author: ABG  //  Category: Politics

It has been just over a week since the brutal Norway terrorist attacks and it is not at all surprising to see that the news of the attacks have completely disappeared off the western media front. It’s all about debt ceilings, celebrity deaths and anything else that comes to mind ever since it was found out that the terrorist wasn’t Muslim or hadn’t converted to Islam. It is embarrassing and pathetic. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if the terrorist attacks weren’t carried out by a blue-eyed, blond haired, Norwegian? It certainly wouldn’t have dropped off the news this quickly, that’s for sure.

There was a piece titled “Why Norway Could Happen Here” by Peter Beinart a few days after the attack which stated that “the same anti-Muslim bigotry that influenced Anders Breivik in Norway is widespread among right-wing extremists in America, and could trigger a similar attack here” and you saw that in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Sure the attacks can happen any where and it is not necessarily just limited to the United States but the tendency to allow military ideology to prey on mentally vulnerable people fosters a hostile culture towards anything that is different.

There were reports left and right that this had the hallmark signs of Al-Qaeda or Muslim extremists but that just wasn’t the case. In a matter of days, the Crown Prince of Norway did apologize in person to the Muslim community there at the World Islamic Mission Mosque in Oslo that there were some in Norway that immediately thought this was an act of a Muslim. That kind of humanity and sincere gesture is something you would never see here in the immediate aftermath.

In the clip below, Stephen Colbert walks through the American media’s early coverage as the news of the attacks were unfolding.

“These journalists were able to get the story they wanted and scoop reality,” Colbert joked. “Even if there was a rush to judgment, we must not repeat that mistake by rushing to accuracy. Just because the confessed murderer is a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian-born anti-Muslim crusader doesn’t mean he’s not a swarthy, ululating Middle-Eastern madman.”

Even more embarrassing than the media’s rush to judgment, though, were the half-hearted retractions that came after. Colbert played a clip of a CNN guest attempting to explain how a Nordic-looking person could have a committed such an attack. “Maybe it was a good disguise?” the guest theorized.

“Yes,” Colbert said, “which is more plausible? That a non-Muslim did this or that Al-Qaeda has developed Polyjuice Potion?”

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Updates: My Domain and My Book

Author: ABG  //  Category: My Book, Sports

I wrote my CFA Level I exam last weekend which was by far the trickiest exam I have taken but I feel like I was prepared enough to do well on it. Since the results do not come out for approximately another seven weeks, I needed to figure out what I am going to do for the next two months. I decided that over at my new domain http://farazhyder.com I will begin to start posting updates on the current status and progress of the book I thought of publishing a few years back. I think I am going to devote that domain primarily to my book and more specific matters which would require less updates and continue to maintain ABG with the more frequent posts.

It is going to need plenty of revisions but if I can devote a solid chunk of the next four or five weeks to it, I can get back on pace to have something out by the end of the year. I know I have said this before but hopefully this time I will be able to produce something.

I am going to be looking for help from some people who want to read/edit through it. I would prefer that you have some interest in the game of baseball if you want to read it and would be willing to provide some valuable feedback. The following topics are covered in the book: Steroids, Media and the Digital Age, Shortstops, Barry Bonds, and the New York Yankees. If you have a specific interest in one of the topics, let me know and I can send you relevant parts from the book.

Also if you are of the artistic kind, I have a few very specific ideas for the front and back cover so if you want to help me out, that would be awesome.

Diamond Destruction: Offical Kick Off

Author: ABG  //  Category: My Book

This project of writing my own is something that I have kicked around for quite some time but I think this summer and fall will be when I can devote a strong amount of time into completing this.

The book is called “Diamond Destruction: How Greed, Media And Steroids Ruined Our Game” which discusses how I fell in love with the game of baseball that I didn’t know as a younger child and have gradually seen both the fans over sensationalize athletic “heroes” and expect far too much from people who are playing a game for a living while there are athletes who can never really appreciate their fans. I have been writing this with the objective of trying to figure out if high salaries really aren’t the problem, how stories are often sensationalized in a 24-hour news era and what impact did the use of steroids really have on the younger baseball crowd that has grown up in this era. I think it is important to judge the mindset of a growing fan base of our national pastime and something that we should never forget or take for granted.

I pitched my project proposal to KickStarter and after it was accepted, I set up the page with a target goal and rewards for each level of contribution. If you have an interesting idea but are lacking some support, make sure to check out that site and it can certainly be very rewarding.

I didn’t know the game until I was nearly 10 years old when I moved from Pakistan to Canada and now the United States for the past decade. Graduating from College with a degree in Mathematics in about a week, I would love some financial help in publishing a book on baseball that I have been working on in my spare time. All proceeds will be used strictly for book-related purposes including designing a cover. If you can’t give right now, please let me know if you can contribute with some information that you think might be helpful and as always, feel free to spread the word around.

The book is called “Diamond Destruction: How Greed, Media And Steroids Ruined Our Game” which discusses how I fell in love with the game of baseball that I didn’t know as a younger child and have gradually seen both the fans over sensationalize athletic “heroes” and expect far too much from people who are playing a game for a living while there are athletes who can never really appreciate their fans. I have been writing this with the objective of trying to figure out if high salaries really aren’t the problem, how stories are often sensationalized in a 24-hour news era and what impact did the use of steroids really have on the younger baseball crowd that has grown up in this era. I think it is important to judge the mindset of a growing fan base of our national pastime and something that we should never forget or take for granted.

I didn’t know the game until I was nearly 10 years old when I moved from Pakistan to Canada and now the United States for the past decade. Having just graduated from College with a degree in Mathematics, I would love some financial help in publishing a book on baseball that I have been working on in my spare time. All proceeds will be used strictly for book-related purposes including designing a cover.

NBC’s Soccer Debacle

Author: ABG  //  Category: Sports

If you’re interested in pretty good soccer recap of games as well as opinions regarding moves and upcoming matches, I highly recommend checking out Matchday LIVE! USA (link). Even though the updates at times are few and far between, the posts that are up there are nothing short of quality pieces. Take a look at the latest one from this morning titled “NBC’s “Business Decision” a National Embarrassment

The post is regarding the upcoming USA vs. Mexico match that is slated for 4 PM EST later today. If you’re on a basic cable package or if you happen to be on campus anywhere in the country, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to see this match simply because it’s not being shown my any major network. ESPN can’t show it because NBC has the exclusive rights to that match since the Mexican Federation decides who gets the rights to matches being played at Azteca. NBC, on the other hand, decides to air this “Showdown at the Azteca” on an obscure channel called mun2 (moon-dos – pronunciation courtesy of Matchday LIVE!)

A quick Google search will tell you that the soccer-crazed masses are concerned. ESPN doesn’t show a match listing in their schedule for US-Mexico. Neither does Fox Soccer Channel. Fear not, says NBC, it’s on mun2. That’s “moon-dos.” I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. It’s that hip, trendy Latino network obscure bicultural channel no one has ever heard of that is so far up the digital cable dial your brain will be addled into confusing the two teams’ kits when you finally get to the match. What some are passing off as a business decision, however, is clearly nothing short of one of the biggest jokes in sports media coverage of the decade, right up there with the 8PM World Series start, Roger Goodell wanting to expand the NFL to 18 games, and NBC’s (do you sense a theme here) creating a new network for Olympic coverage just weeks before the event that no one received on time.

Please, NBC, I understand the business decision involved, but this time you’ve overstepped the line. I’m sure the millions of fans watching the match without HD having finally reached channel 8,794,316.2 will really be pleased to be transported back into the mid-90s. At least back then it clear what the networks thought about the game, and it continued to push on and thrive nonetheless. Here’s hoping that NBC’s stupidity only provides a renewed opportunity for football to do the same thing now in 2009.

That’s only an excerpt of the pretty good piece by my friend Mike and be sure to head over to Matchday LIVE! USA to read the rest of the article and his other updates as well.

Is A-Rod Still Hall of Fame Worthy?

Author: ABG  //  Category: Sports

After Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking banned performance enhancing substances for at least three years in his very successful career, the question on everyone’s mind seems to be whether A-Rod should be admitted into baseball’s Hall of Fame?

I think it’s probably safe to assume the decision to induct “tainted” players will be well decided before Alex retires from the game. I don’t think he is going to be the measuring stick for Cooperstown because he still has another 10-15 years left before he would even be eligible if he plays out his current contract. That could probably work out in his favor because if he finishes the rest of his career “clean” it could certainly go a long way to cleaning up the mess he tried to hide for far too long.

I think that’s an advantage that he has on the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa that he still has a significant chunk of his career ahead of him and allow people to forget or possibly move on. I think it’s quite naive to assume people will easily move on but I think they are more likely to forgive if the athlete seems sincere and are willing to change their ways.

Another aspect to the hall of fame inductions is what happens if a player who slips through without ever being suspected of doping is outed afterwards as a steroids user? Surely you can’t revoke his induction but once you allow one player who has supposedly shamed the game, you have to allow them all.

It is a complicated issue that is not going away anytime soon because the scientists will always be several steps ahead of any test that the league and union agrees to but that is no way to go about running a league. Someone needs to come up with a sensible solution and someone needs to do it rather quickly.

With his press conference with the media scheduled for this week, one has to wonder how the greater player to play the game will be perceived? Andy Pettitte got off relatively easy after he came out and “honestly” answered everything the media threw at him. People were a little less but still forgiving nonetheless on Jason Giambi who apologized but wouldn’t say what he was apologizing for.

I think the start of Alex’s apology in an interview with ESPN was a great start but the moment he started to attack the reporter who broke the story is when he started to sound bitter and hurt any chance he had of looking sincere in his apology. He gets one and only one mulligan with this massive press conference the Yankees’ are holding for him at the start of spring training. If he completely tanks this one, the hole he digs will only get deeper from here, while on the other hand if he nails the grilling session he can make himself look a little bit more “respectable”.  

(I guess this wasn’t bad for a full length post that was written through mobile means).