Column: The thoughts of a crotchety columnist on sports and more

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2006

Jon Laging, Sports Talk

Years ago you would run across an article written by some crotchety old guy complaining about &8220;the world going to hell in a handbasket.&8221; That’s a crotchety old phrase that I’ve not heard for decades. This is a crotchety column.

In Iraq it’s going from bad to worse with civil war on the horizon and with some saying it’s there already. Some prisoners are being tortured; we’re spying on our own people and all we’re hearing from the administration is the same old same old.

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I’m worried about our future. Adlai Stevenson once said that fear leads to repression. I came across this following quote while reading the Minneapolis Tribune from George Gerber, head of a think school for 25 years. &8220;Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled, more susceptible to deceptively simple, strong, tough measures and hard line postures ŠThey may accept and even welcome repression if it promises to relieve their insecurities.&8221;

It seems to me that in these dark days the Bush administration is playing the terrorism card

again and again to make us believe that they represent safety and security. It’s not true. Terrorism is more prevalent now than ever before.

I believe that the administration did try to use fear to manipulate us. I know that after the Homeland Security czar was appointed and Iraq was invaded some folks were a little reluctant to criticize Bush, particularly after the neo-cons in his administration gave the impression that criticism against the administration was criticism against our troops. That if you were against the war, you were unpatriotic. Now we didn’t expect a knock on the door in the middle of the night, but it hung over the nation like a dark cloud.

That awful day 9-11, I wrote: &8220;Will some of our freedoms change? What will happen to them? I have a great deal of faith Šand know we will find the right solution.&8221; I was wrong.

I don’t believe Bush and his cohorts are evil men or bad men, they’re just incompetent men. They thought they were right and went to any lengths to justify their decisions and convince the American public of their competence.

Speaking of dumbness;

how about our Minnesota Legislature? They are making noises that they won’t allow a corporate contribution of 35 million to help build the University of Minnesota football stadium. Who is going to make up that money? Us? Why don’t they vote on the Twins stadium? The most it would cost you and me is 3 cents for every $20 we spend on the game, food or hotel in Hennepin County. If you spend 100 dollars that would be 15 cents. Get ready, Legislature!

Dumbness or ego can run out of control. Barry Bonds wasn’t satisfied to be a Hall of Famer, he had to hit home runs. He started taking steroids and buried his reputation. But perhaps the dumbest thing that has happened recently on the Minnesota sports scene was trading all-pro Daunte Culpepper for a second-round draft pick. The Vikings vaunted management triangle of Wilf, Brzezinski and Childress made that move. More like the Bermuda Triangle.

Culpepper’s leaving wasn’t caused by money. The Vikings plan on spending a lot more on an offensive guard. All he wanted was a little respect. To be told he is a stand-up guy no matter the injury, bad season and love boat. If somebody had bothered to go down to Florida to visit Culpepper and pat him on the back, he’d still be here.

All those Bush fans out there, please know I think he would be a great next-door neighbor. I’d even jump out of an airplane with his dad.