FanDuel - WFBC

December 27, 2010

Obama Praises Eagles Owner for Giving Vick Second Chance: President Obama called Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie recently to praise him for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance, SI writer Peter King reported last night on NBC. Obama "said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance," King wrote on Twitter.

posted by rcade to football at 12:12 PM - 62 comments

President Obama can eat a bowl of shut the hell up.

posted by rcade at 12:16 PM on December 27

President Obama is right. Too many ex cons don't get a fair second chance. And sometimes it doesn't matter what the charges were or the circumstances behind them, the second an employer sees a check mark in the answer box, they automatically dismiss the person as a candidate, previous experience be damned. Unfortunately, I don't think this will change any time soon, if ever.

Vick's circumstance is unique. Pro athletes aren't treated like the rest of society by and large and you are kidding yourself if you think they are. If it wasn't for Vick's God given abilities, say if he was just some special teams player, do you really think any team would have given him the time of day?

posted by crqri at 12:45 PM on December 27

President Obama can eat a bowl of shut the hell up.

You made that FPP just so you could say that, huh?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:35 PM on December 27

There are crazy high figures for percentage incarceration of African American men. Couple that to an unusually severe attitude towards men with criminal records, and you have a recipe for a permanent bottom class.

Which I don't think is entirely a social accident.

So yeah, Vick is an anomaly in many ways but Obama is right and just to use him as an example of the need for second chances in the context of a society which is structurally biased against those. Maybe there will be trickle-down forgiveness, or something.

posted by rumple at 01:46 PM on December 27

So murdering and torturing dogs warrants you getting a "second chance".

Thanks, Obama. Good to know you can get off on animal cruelty with presidential approval.

posted by Drood at 02:29 PM on December 27

So murdering and torturing dogs warrants you getting a "second chance".

No but going to jail for 2 years for 'murdering and torturing dogs', speaking out against dog fighting to kids and piecing his life back together so that he can be a positive influence is a great way to start.

posted by BornIcon at 03:26 PM on December 27

So murdering and torturing dogs warrants you getting a "second chance".

I don't think you know what the word "warrants" means, or the word "murder". Maybe you should look both of them up before you use them in conjunction with a false premise like that one.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:27 PM on December 27

With all due respect, forgiving Vick for his criminal past is none of your business. It's simply not the issue at hand.

This has to do with the NFL and its fans accepting Vick as a reformed player - a "team" player. A black player with tons of natural skill that can be coached, that is willing to learn. This storyline is sanctimonious in the NFL. If Vick was creating the same havoc in Philadelphia as he was in Atlanta, that shit would not stand and he would never see the field. Regardless of second chances; regardless of talent.

This is how a "good black player" is supposed to behave and I am certain there are subconscious racial overtones involved. Look at Randy Moss. Ejected from Minnesota for yelling at the caterer? No, he was just perceived as a diva. Meanwhile, Favre is sending pictures of his penis to the team masseuses and he gets the hall pass. Why? Because he plays well with others on the field. That's the only thing that matters. Everything else in this light is framed as a "challenge" or an "obstacle."

posted by phaedon at 03:37 PM on December 27

There are serious public policy issues in endlessly continuing punishment for people who have been convicted of a crime and punished. As rumple says, it creates a permanent underclass. It also has an impact on recidivism. If you don't want people to return to crime, then they have to be given an opportunity to live their life the right way. But, if you can't get a job (because no one will hire you) or go to school (because many financial aid is not available), what doors are open at that point? Our discussions about Vick are a perfect example of the unwillingness of many people to let Vick pick up the pieces and try to live his life the right way going forward. Obama is right to be concerned about these issues. Maybe instead of giving kudos to Lurie, he should spend time working with Sen. Webb who is trying to reform our ridiculous criminal justice system.

posted by bperk at 03:38 PM on December 27

Seconding lbb's first comment. Was that really necessary?

posted by boredom_08 at 04:21 PM on December 27

I was goofing on the wheels-off McCain discussion.

I wish Obama had picked a different example, but he's right to be concerned that so many prisoners in this country are never given a second chance. We place too much value in the U.S. on punishment and too little on redemption. The notion that someone could pay their debt to society and emerge from prison fully rehabilitated seems to only apply to white collar criminals.

posted by rcade at 05:49 PM on December 27

The other thing with Vick is he doesn't need forgiveness (we don't need to forget what he did) but he took his punishment like a mensch and so should be able to get on with his life at whatever career his skills afford.

Personally I wouldn't buy a piece of Vick merchandise, or any merchandise of any team that signs him, not even if he signs with Liverpool FC and scores 200 goals a season. That's my version of not forgetting.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:18 PM on December 27

What rcade said.

My issue is with the hypocrisy in our criminal justice system here in the USA. In our desire to punish and to make ourselves "safe", we seem to have forgotten some very important legal principles having to do with ex post facto laws, double jeopardy, and the like. Do you really want to live under a system like that? Unfortunately, the answer for too many people is yes...as long as someone else is getting punished.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:35 PM on December 27

As an employer, I have given people in half-way homes jobs on numerous occasions, and while I can't say the action payed off 100% of the time, I did find some very good employees. I wish the parole/discharge system was a more organized affair, too often inmates are basically just put on the street.

That being said, I will agree that Vick might not been the best example for Obama to cite, just too fresh of a case, and it's pretty obvious that Vick is an exception to the rule.

lbb, I'm not sure what you're getting at, but I know many people from a wide range of countries, and they all speak of how wonderful our legal system is. Might not be perfect, but it beats most of what else is out there.

posted by dviking at 09:02 PM on December 27

lbb, I'm not sure what you're getting at,

I expressed what I'm getting at in very simple terms. What part of it aren't you getting?

but I know many people from a wide range of countries, and they all speak of how wonderful our legal system is. Might not be perfect, but it beats most of what else is out there.

As my late lamented grandfather would have said, "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." He never thought that "doesn't suck as bad as some others do" was any occasion for bragging, and I don't either.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:39 PM on December 27

Simple terms? perhaps, but aslo very vague, anybody can throw out claims of ex post facto laws/double jeopardy/etc, but if you're not going into detail it's just wasted words. So, maybe specifics are in order. what the hell are you talking about?

In a country of 300+ million does our justice system have a mistake here and there? Sure, but it's not widespread. Corrupt politicians/officials cause some hiccups sporadically, and yes, not every trial goes the way it should. OJ gets to go free, and it's a travesity, but the system works almost all of the time.

Pray tell me what country you would like the US to model...and please, try to list a country that has even somewhat remotely the size and demographics of the US. Switzerland is a cute little country that may have a better system, but it doesn't have to deal with a 1000th of what we have to.

Doesn't suck as bad as others is not the goal, but the US is far from that situation, and you know that.

posted by dviking at 11:07 PM on December 27

And, what part of we seem to have forgotten some very important legal principles having to do with ex post facto laws, double jeopardy, and the like has anything to do with this case?

Are you saying Vick was set up? Laws were changed? He was tried twice?

Seriously, I really have no idea what you are talking about on this thread, not trying to be cute, your point just escapes me completely.

posted by dviking at 01:02 AM on December 28

Michael Vick is rapidly becoming the abortion debate of SpoFi.

posted by Bonkers at 01:40 AM on December 28

they all speak of how wonderful our legal system is. Might not be perfect, but it beats most of what else is out there

Sure, but what (I think) lbb is saying is the principles that made it great are under fire from a number of sides. For example, there's a large subset of folks who feel like any threat to our precious children is reason enough to suspend habeus corpus and start hanging people from lamp posts.

posted by yerfatma at 08:28 AM on December 28

Our justice system is nothing like what it ought to be. That's what we should be judging ourselves against.

posted by bperk at 09:02 AM on December 28

dviking:

Simple terms? perhaps, but aslo very vague, anybody can throw out claims of ex post facto laws/double jeopardy/etc, but if you're not going into detail it's just wasted words. So, maybe specifics are in order. what the hell are you talking about?

I must have missed the bit where I woke up and pissed in your cheerios this morning, dviking.

I'll keep this brief: in the United States, a convicted felon who has served the entirety of his/her judicially imposed sentence may also (depending on where you reside) lose in perpetuity the right to vote, hold public office, own a gun, or work in any number of licensed professions including everything from physician to electrician. This is done even in cases without any clear and compelling evidence that suspension of these rights will have any effect to improve public safety, and in the face of evidence that the loss of these rights is detrimental often to the point of poverty, making it difficult if not impossible for a convicted felon to live the lawful life we say we want him/her to live. We have legal principles that prohibit punishing people beyond their term of sentence or punishing them further under the terms of laws that were not in effect at the time of their crime, and yet we look the other way when this happens (specifically in the case of sexual offenders, although I wouldn't swear that it doesn't happen in the case of other crimes as well). That's what the hell I'm talking about. If you want to know more, there's a whole internet at your beck and call.

Pray tell me what country you would like the US to model...and please, try to list a country that has even somewhat remotely the size and demographics of the US. Switzerland is a cute little country that may have a better system, but it doesn't have to deal with a 1000th of what we have to.

And pray tell me why you have your sights set to unambitiously low that you believe the US should model its justice system on that of any other country. Just as with the "not as bad as some" claim, this strawman argument fails first because it is a strawman, but just as importantly because it chooses the wrong goal altogether. A worthy goal is neither to be "better than X" or "just like X"; it's to be the best that we can be.

Finally, don't get so stuck on Michael Vick. You can hate him all you want, but as others have pointed out, this isn't about Michael Vick. It's about something much bigger and much more important.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:48 AM on December 28

Michael Vick is rapidly becoming the abortion debate of SpoFi.

WTF? Michael Vick had an abortion? Whoah!

posted by NoMich at 09:56 AM on December 28

I sort of take offense to your from-the-clouds authoritative tone, lil_brown_bat. So I'm gonna call you out.

We have legal principles that prohibit punishing people beyond their term of sentence

I don't think you've fully thought this one out. Felony disenfranchisement is not beyond the term of a felon's sentence, it's... a term of their sentence.

This is done even in cases without any clear and compelling evidence that suspension of these rights will have any effect to improve public safety, and in the face of evidence that the loss of these rights is detrimental often to the point of poverty,

Talk about presuming the conclusion. The need (or desire) for punishment is not always measured by its effect on public safety and/or rehabilitation and/or future success of the criminal. These are some (notably liberal) considerations among many in the political landscape, which I would say happend to be (at the time) dominated by conservatives. Which I guess is what's pissing you off so much.

We have legal principles that prohibit punishing people beyond their term of sentence or punishing them further under the terms of laws that were not in effect at the time of their crime, and yet we look the other way when this happens (specifically in the case of sexual offenders, although I wouldn't swear that it doesn't happen in the case of other crimes as well).

You must be referring to the Adam Walsh Act, which splits sex offenders into three groups in terms of severity, requiring the most severe type of sex offender to register with the state as such for the rest of his/her life. It's true this law applies to sex offenders ex post facto, however this case went to the Supreme Court where it was decided that registration did not constitute punishment. Hence the phrase that you use "punish them further" is null and void in the eyes of the law at least. More importantly, I hate to tell you this, but a lot of people find this law sensible. It does not represent to many people a break in the system - and I'm not just pointing to "the masses" here.

So hopefully we're at least having a regular debate about stuff and you can now step off your soapbox. My family being from an Eastern European country I care not to name, I will also add that "you clearly have no idea how much better the system here is than anywhere else" without trying to suggest that we should settle for anything than the best. Perhaps in the future "criminality" will be treated as a "disability" that we can't discriminate against, much like alcoholism is, and perhaps that will be a good thing. But all said and done, this is a great type of problem to have, that is being debated within the confines of a system that is working.

posted by phaedon at 11:50 AM on December 28

The need (or desire) for punishment is not always measured by its effect on public safety and/or rehabilitation and/or future success of the criminal.

Why not? Do you think it is beneficial or detrimental to society to imprison people, then free them under terms that make them less likely to be reformed?

Perhaps she was referring to the fact that released former sex offenders are so restricted in where they can live that in some places, such as here in Florida, they've been forced to live under highway overpasses.

Do you think you could put your life back together and follow the straight and narrow living outdoors like a troll under a bridge?

So hopefully we're at least having a regular debate about stuff and you can now step off your soapbox.

Arguing about tone is a waste of time.

posted by rcade at 12:01 PM on December 28

In at least some American states, phaedon, some men convicted of certain sexual felonies are not only forced to register for life, they are kept in prison beyond the sentenced term. Sometimes they get housed in a mental facility but the reason is exactly that their ongoing series of crimes is proof of mental illness.

And as for the fact that America's system is better than others, possibly better than all others currently existing, hardly means we should stop striving to improve it. As several previous comments have mentioned but you seemed to have missed them.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:01 PM on December 28

Arguing about tone is a waste of time.

It's not an argument about tone, it's a request to turn down the volume.

posted by phaedon at 12:09 PM on December 28

Our justice system works differently for poor people than it does wealthy people. That indicates a broken system.

It's true this law applies to sex offenders ex post facto, however this case went to the Supreme Court where it was decided that registration did not constitute punishment. Hence the phrase that you use "punish them further" is null and void in the eyes of the law at least. More importantly, I hate to tell you this, but a lot of people find this law sensible

This is all wrong. First, just because the Supreme Court has decided something, it doesn't make the decision right or just. They have played a major role in disconnecting our criminal justice system from its founding principles. Second, our criminal justice system shouldn't be sensible in the eyes of the masses. What kind of system do you think the masses would come up with? Definitely not a fair and just one.

posted by bperk at 12:18 PM on December 28

And as for the fact that America's system is better than others, possibly better than all others currently existing, hardly means we should stop striving to improve it. As several previous comments have mentioned but you seemed to have missed them.

And you clearly did not read my post. Look, I get it, maybe when I qualified my statement with the phrase "without trying to suggest that we should settle for anything than the best" that just taps a mental blank spot for you. I accept your apology in advance for missing that.

But here's the problem. I do not unilaterally equate pushing a liberal agenda with improving the system. Which is to say, and I mean this respectfully, just because you say the system is broken doesn't mean its broken the way you say it is.

Habitual felony offenders in the state of Florida serve extended prison sentences if they commit two prior felonies within the previous five years. Drug offenses are exempt. Folks, you can scream and yell about how fucked up this is, how this punishment doesn't solve anything, and then we can start talking about ex post facto and double jeopardy, and "legal principles," and how we're doing better or worse than Switzerland, and oh hey Michael Vick how ya doing, but you're just jumbling a bunch of things in the oven and coming out with a hot turd.

I am totally conceding that this is a complicated issue, one that doesn't start with "oops, I pissed in your cheerios" and end with "check out the internet, it's at your beck and call." Hence the call out.

I have major issues with the penal system and the lack of any sincere attempt to rehabilitate offenders. The state of California where I live is scrambling to release 40,000 inmates due to prison overcrowding and a lot of these people have drug and alcohol problems that were probably untreated during their term and it's an awful mess. I'm not a politician, I don't have answers that extend beyond what I personally am able to do in terms of making a difference in someone's life.

posted by phaedon at 12:29 PM on December 28

It's not an argument about tone, it's a request to turn down the volume.

Your comment began "I sort of take offense to your from-the-clouds authoritative tone ..."

Getting back to the subject, it seems to me that Vick could do a lot of good as an exemplar of rebuilding your life after a prison term. It doesn't make his dog-related offenses less heinous, but he could use his celebrity to help lend a voice to rehabilitation. The U.S. has a ridiculously huge prison population per capita and they're disproportionately young black males. Almost all of them will be back on the street trying to make something of their lives.

posted by rcade at 12:32 PM on December 28

It's not an argument about tone, it's a request to turn down the volume.

"My, how terribly black and sooty is your bottom, Mr. Kettle!" said the pot.

And you clearly did not read my post. Look, I get it, maybe when I qualified my statement with the phrase "without trying to suggest that we should settle for anything than the best" that just taps a mental blank spot for you. I accept your apology in advance for missing that.

What was that about tone again?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:05 PM on December 28

You should've seen the "it goes to 11" edit of that passage before I changed it.

posted by phaedon at 01:10 PM on December 28

But here's the problem. I do not unilaterally equate pushing a liberal agenda with improving the system.

This is sort of the problem. Why is there a liberal or conservative side to this thing? And, where is the line? Making everything a battle between conservative and liberal is a very easy way to make sure problems are never solved.

posted by bperk at 01:23 PM on December 28

I don't get the defence of the system, phaedon. Millions more people in prison than any other Western nation, and a clear tiered access to justice along economic and racial lines. It's not as good as you're seemingly suggesting.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:12 PM on December 28

How this discussion changed from a debate on how Vick has been treated, to one on sex offenders is beyond me.

lbb, to call my last post a straw man is hilarious, as it was you that started that back and forth, with the witty "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." He never thought that "doesn't suck as bad as some others do" Which is clearly not what I had said previously, and it completely ignored the real point, which is "what system is better?" I guess it takes a straw man to know one.

In regard to your rant about certain criminal not regaining all of their rights after they get out of prison, and/or sex offenders having to register for life even though there's no clear cut proof it has any beneficial outcome to society, let me say this. One, those laws have evolved over time, and will continue to do so. These criminals do have the right to appeal their sentences later on, and many do get those rights back. I have a good friend that committed a felon back in the 80's. Did his ten years, and later petitioned the court to get the right to own a shot gun for hunting. Went duck hunting with him last year. Some of those laws are a bit over-zealous, making a man register for life when his offense was that when he was 21 he had sex with a 16 year old he met in a bar, seems silly as he never was a threat to anyone. However, it's hard to make a law that is specific to each case, and thus they tend to cover the extremes. Judges are supposed to be there to catch those, but as mentioned it doesn't always happen.

That you then added another straw man with And pray tell me why you have your sights set to unambitiously low that you believe the US should model its justice system on that of any other country cracked me up. I never once suggested we do anything of the sort, it was you that seemed to think there was something better out there. The fact is, most of the free world bases their legal system on the framework of ours.

As to pissing in my cheerio's, I had oatmeal, so somewhere out there somebody had a bad bowl of cereal this morning.

posted by dviking at 04:34 PM on December 28

phaedon, I was not referring to three strikes and your out type laws. Those sentences are on the books, better or worse, and the person convicted of two previous felonies generally knows the next one is going to be worse.

I can't speak about Florida but in California--talk about stereotypical liberal states--we somehow get away with keeping (okay, habitual) sex offenders locked up after the full term of their sentence has been served. Given that American Conservatives are generally the ones screaming louder about government abuses of power against the individual I don't see how speaking out against this can be construed as pushing a liberal agenda.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:09 PM on December 28

That being said, I will agree that Vick might not been the best example for Obama to cite, just too fresh of a case, and it's pretty obvious that Vick is an exception to the rule.

This content of this thread, save for a few unnecessary personal attacks, is precisely what I like about SpoFi, and why I think Obama is an absolute genius. A sports blog that spends two days (and counting) debating the merits of the American penal system!

posted by MW12 at 07:05 PM on December 28

MW12, you are damn right. This has undoubtedly been the most fascinating discussion I've seen on here since... well, the last Michael Vick post. Say what you will about the guy, but I appreciate the commentary coming out about it all on this board.

bperk hit it right on the money and I'm glad someone brought up the classism angle. Poor folks have a much larger struggle with the justice system than rich folks, which is inherently unfair and points to a broader fundamental flaw in the system. The best and brightest out of law school ought to be going to the public defenders' offices around the country, where they're needed the most, but instead they flock to corporate law and the public defenders' offices are left with those waiting for a better/easier? opportunity. As far as the public/masses determining punishment, good lord, what a scary concept. All too often the populace prefers the biblical "eye for an eye" approach, which may be momentarily satisfying for the victim and victim's immediate supporters, but ultimately does nothing for society as a whole. Rehabilitation is regarded with derision and scorn when in reality it can be the most effective mechanism for 1) protecting the public by 2) reducing recidivism and 3) encouraging good citizenry. If you want a good analysis of the harshness of our penal system, take a look at this terrific New Yorker piece from a year ago. And to think we're building more and more of these supermax prisons... and tossing maintenance of them to the highest private bidders. A scary world we're creating for ourselves out there, unless we're lucky enough to obey every letter of the law and never find ourselves in compromising situations.

I don't understand where these folks live who think our legal system is wonderful. I agree it has its merits, but I do think there are fundamental problems as well. Now for those living in Iran, yes, definitely, our system is wonderful as hell and should be adopted, but we have to consider how culturally-based our system is as well. I admire the hell out of the fact that British police officers don't carry firearms regularly and still get their jobs done, but I don't see how that could ever work in American police culture. Along those lines, other countries are trying new and different approaches with their penal system that are fascinating to watch from the outside, but knowing how things operate here and who pulls the strings, we know those radical approaches would be shot down (pardon the pun) immediately, both by a confused and scared public and by lawmakers more interested in keeping their public confused and scared and voting them back into office with "I'm tough on crime! Raar!" stances that call for supermax prisons in every state from coast to coast. I don't see that as something to admire in the least.

posted by evixir at 08:21 PM on December 28

I don't understand where these folks live who think our legal system is wonderful. Trick question for you...where in this thread did anyone say our legal system was wonderful?

posted by dviking at 09:06 PM on December 28

lbb, I'm not sure what you're getting at, but I know many people from a wide range of countries, and they all speak of how wonderful our legal system is. posted by dviking at 09:02 PM on December 27

I thought you knew some? Wait, is that why it's a trick question?

Interesting discussion, all. I don't have enough opinion ammo to add much to this discussion but thanks for keeping it (mostly) hinged.

posted by tron7 at 10:30 PM on December 28

yes, it was a trick because it was only people that lived under other legal systems that thought the US system was wonderful...we all are taking shots at it.

(I'll have them sign affidavits on their opinions next time I see them)

A few of you have stated that the poor do not get as fair of shake as do the rich in America. Granted, but what country is it where that isn't the case? The rich will always have the best attorneys, the connections with important people, etc.

posted by dviking at 11:05 PM on December 28

dviking:

How this discussion changed from a debate on how Vick has been treated, to one on sex offenders is beyond me.

It never was a debate on how Vick has been treated, that's how. That may have been all that you wanted to discuss, but it wasn't the subject of the article cited by the FPP and it wasn't the subject of this thread.

lbb, to call my last post a straw man is hilarious, as it was you that started that back and forth, with the witty "This is not a competition to see who's the worst."

I didn't call your post a strawman; I called a specific statement ("Pray tell me what country you would like the US to model") a strawman, and it is: an attack on an argument that has not been made. As for my grandfather's saying, it's too bad that you don't appreciate the wit, but clearly I did not "start it", since the comment was made in reference to your statement that our legal system "[m]ight not be perfect, but it beats most of what else is out there." In other words, you started making comparisons; I didn't. Then, when I said that I didn't think comparisons were helpful in creating a better legal system, you came back and asked me what country I thought we should emulate. Huh?

He never thought that "doesn't suck as bad as some others do" Which is clearly not what I had said previously, and it completely ignored the real point, which is "what system is better?" I guess it takes a straw man to know one.

The original article didn't make any comparison between different legal systems. If it's what you want to discuss, fine, but why do you get to say that that's what "real point" is?

That you then added another straw man with And pray tell me why you have your sights set to unambitiously low that you believe the US should model its justice system on that of any other country cracked me up. I never once suggested we do anything of the sort, it was you that seemed to think there was something better out there.

I think I've already done enough quoting to demonstrate that you have things exactly backwards here. I'm done discussing this with you.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:12 PM on December 28

LOL

The post was most certainly about Vick, not sex offenders but whatever. It was about Obama's comments about Vick, not Obama's comments about sex offenders.

Okay, you didn't call my ENTIRE post a straw man (and, i do think it's straw man as opposed to strawman, but my English teachers could have been wrong), but you did start the straw man exchange, as your quote of your Grandfather does not deal with what I said. Thus the straw man. "Beats most out there" is a completely different concept than "seeing who's the worst".

Your comment of The original article didn't make any comparison between different legal systems is yet another straw man as neither of us is debating what was in the article at this point.

Then to end with a passive-agressive style is nice...and, but of course you get to end the discussion at your choosing.

For the record, I think you over use "straw man" in your posts, especially given how often you throw them out yourself.

posted by dviking at 01:23 AM on December 29

Thanks, tron7, for saving me some scrolling and quoting. :)

dviking, I'd wager to say the reason we're all taking shots at it is because most of us have had some sort of experience with it, if not firsthand, then obliquely through friends or family. It touches all of our lives in some way so we're intimately aware of what's screwy with the system. My point was that those who don't live under its auspices nor have any firsthand experience with it will naturally think it wonderful due to ignorance of the reality which is our legal system. Most of us would think it wonderful if we hadn't directly/indirectly experienced otherwise.

posted by evixir at 09:34 AM on December 29

Right-wing pundit Tucker Carlson said on Fox News that Vick "should have been executed."

posted by rcade at 10:16 AM on December 29

Whatever you say, dviking. I'm just repeating myself at this point, so if you want to call it "passive-aggressive" for me to decline to keep doing so, you go right ahead.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:45 AM on December 29

I took the fact that Obama got involved in this discussion as the main point. For the president to be for second chances is great. I believe all men in a situation like Vick deserve an opportunity to make a living. To praise the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick a second chance is a little ridiculous. Had he been hiring ex cons for work in the stadium, team laundry or what ever I think the praise from the president would have been valid. To praise a guy who wants to win football games and hires a phenom talent at a bargain price, as some sort of humanitarian is an example of how Obama seems to be more interested in celebrity, sports and his own PR then looking like he has any judgment as to what warrants his attention.

I think Vick has made the most of his opportunity and frankly had he not performed so well on the field, that magnanimous owner of the Eagles would have gladly put him on the unemployment line. Second chances or not.

posted by Atheist at 11:27 AM on December 29

To praise a guy who wants to win football games and hires a phenom talent at a bargain price, as some sort of humanitarian is an example of how Obama seems to be more interested in celebrity, sports and his own PR then looking like he has any judgment as to what warrants his attention.

I think that Vick was a side discussion. The main point was to commend Lurie for incorporating alternative energy. The Eagles are putting in wind turbines, solar panels, etc. to generate energy for their stadium. That's one of Obama's pet issues. Of course, there is no fun discussing alternative energy on a sports forum.

posted by bperk at 03:41 PM on December 29

For the record, the passive aggressive style was the "I'm right, you've got it backwards, and I'm done discussing it", even though you weren't.

And, Tucker Carlson is nuts.

posted by dviking at 04:06 PM on December 29

To praise a guy who wants to win football games and hires a phenom talent at a bargain price, as some sort of humanitarian is an example of how Obama seems to be more interested in celebrity, sports and his own PR then looking like he has any judgment as to what warrants his attention.

Besides that not being the substance of the discussion as bperk notes, how much attention and time do you think he took away from his schedule to comment on Vick's success? What ten, maybe twenty seconds? In other words, what the fuck are you getting on about?

That's as ridiculous a criticism of Obama as the many infantile jabs that were lobbed at Bush.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:23 PM on December 29

Well Weedy I see as a pattern of making comments on things as president he should be avoiding and it creates the impression that he has a habit of commenting when he probably should not.

For example: The beer summit / or the Minister in Florida trying to burn Koran's / the mosque at ground zero/ or this. Did Obama really believe Lurie was an fine example of an employer giving ex cons a chance at rehabilitation and inclusion back into law abiding society? Or was he using the political opportunity to praise a financial supporter? Maybe it irks me because he comes across as if he thinks the American public is stupid and that Lurie is good because he is doing the socially compassionate thing of giving a second chance to an ex con. Frankly it is good capitalism to hire Vick but of course in this presidents eyes, capitalism is bad, while giving second chances is good. How about the truth, Lurie is a guy who while making money for himself has also hired an ex con. Just let's realize that the opportunity to make money for his employer is what gave this ex con a chance, not the other way around, and that is sort of at the heart of the political debate regarding a lean toward socialism or capitalism.

I don't think a president should be fighting a war for the principles of freedom like free speech etc, in places were we defend their right and ours to burn the flag of the United States, or build a mosque anywhere then turn around and try to tell some two bit ass hole minister he shouldn't burn a Koran in protest. That is why I feel this president needs to learn when to stay out of an issue. Not because I necessarily disagree with what he says, or believes, but because I don't think he does his causes any favors by commenting. I am only questioning his judgment for commenting in the first place and revealing a clear bias where he should have none, or at least appear not to.

posted by Atheist at 11:56 AM on December 30

If Obama didn't use the presidency as a bully pulpit on issues of importance, he'd be derided as a wimp. Do you disagree that the issue of prisoners not getting a second chance is important?

The reason Obama got involved in the pastor's Koran burning issue was because it was inflaming the entire Arab world and putting our troops in danger. The media coverage had blown up the nobody's threat so big that he had no choice but to get involved.

posted by rcade at 12:06 PM on December 30

And the award for least factually supported rant goes to...

posted by tahoemoj at 12:51 PM on December 30

I don't think a president should be fighting a war for the principles of freedom like free speech etc, in places were we defend their right and ours to burn the flag of the United States, or build a mosque anywhere then turn around and try to tell some two bit ass hole minister he shouldn't burn a Koran in protest.

You do know that the Presidential oath requires the President to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, right?

posted by bperk at 01:16 PM on December 30

Precisely, that is why I cannot understand a president trying to discourage a person from exercising their constitutional right of peaceful protest.

I expect the president to defend the right to build a mosque or burn a Koran not try to appease those who threaten violent retaliation against those who exercise their constitutional rights. Showing up with the Marines in Iraq or Afganistan is enough to provoke our enemies, I hardly believe that some goof ball in Florida is making it more dangerous for our troops. It was just another excuse for the President to appease Muslims, when he should be vigorously defending the constitution. Again my problem is this president is trying to appease enemies of our constitution by not vigorously defending the guaranteed rights of citizens regardless if they are offensive or not.

Had the president asked the Islamic community to refrain from upsetting New Yorkers by not building on the ground zero site it would have just as been just as wrong. To me it seems his biases are clear based on who he tries to persuade not to exercise the rights he is sworn to defend and protect.

I don't care who jumps on the "wow Michael Vick has really turned his life around with this second chance" band wagon, but when the President of the United States does it, with his praise of Mr. Lurie, it is inappropriate, reeks of political payback, and really has little to do with the giving someone a second chance right thing to do. A winning athlete gets a lot of special treatment from fans and the sport they are involved with. Maybe I just expect the office of the presidency to be above this. Would the President be praising Lurie if Vick were not getting all this attention for great play on the field? Would anybody be loving this story if Vicks comeback was a flop? If it is high profile you can expect this president to be interjecting himself in some way. He has an MO.

posted by Atheist at 02:18 PM on December 30

While I don't agree with you - I think it's not just a matter of opinion, it is an instance of right and wrong (Like the mosque) - but the good news is I certainly don't think you're crazy.

But I think you're criticizing Obama for doing something every sitting President has done: Provide comment and opinion on the issues of the day.

And in those instances that you mentioned he asked Americans to take the high road. I thought that was honorable and smart. He was absolutely correct in requesting that the Minister not burn the Koran, or that New Yorkers (not that I recall a large number of New Yorkers having a problem with it. Seemed to me it was a whole bunch of non New Yorkers who really took greater issue.) embrace the idea of the Mosque. I don't think he is solely talking to the Muslim world when he says that. He's also addressing his allies and attempting to regain some of the lost international integrity that practically vanished under Bush.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:25 PM on December 30

Weedy your are right. I am criticizing him for something every president has done. FWIW just as I have criticized all those before him during my lifetime. He doesn't get a pass on political grandstanding. Just because I did get a little sidetracked on the Obama part of the story as in truth my main issue is Lurie did nothing charitable or socially responsible by hiring Vick. He made a cold and calculated business decision, took a risk, axed his long time QB ( who by the way was supposedly the one who suggested getting Vick) and by the way on this very sports filter when Vick was first acquired I posted that is was the beginning of the end for McNabb in Philly. Well it was a good business gamble that has paid off making it a great business decision.

I hope when the president praised Lurie it inspired Lurie and others to make a point to give more ex cons a chance at stadium, food service, team laundry, grounds keeper, ticket sales jobs etc... Unfortunately with so many law abiding citizens needing jobs and the upside for an employer to gamble with an ex con (person with a criminal history) is very limited since it can't generally help you win a football games. The reality is Lurie wants to win football games not give second chances to ex cons as he has plenty of chances to do that if he chooses. Vick's case is high profile but not really a good example nor worthy of presidential praise.

posted by Atheist at 11:20 AM on December 31

... my main issue is Lurie did nothing charitable or socially responsible by hiring Vick.

Lurie and the Eagles took a PR hit for signing Vick. You're just assuming it was cynically motivated. You don't know his intentions. This Philadelphia Inquirer story says that his wife Christina had a say in the signing -- the first time she's ever gotten involved in a football decision -- because it had "social ramifications."

Jeffrey Lurie said after the signing, "My own measurement of Michael Vick will be 100 percent, 'is he able to create social change in this horrendous arena of animal cruelty?'"

It's clear that social responsibility was on the Lurie's minds when they made this move.

posted by rcade at 11:48 AM on December 31

Some call that "SPIN"

posted by Atheist at 12:18 PM on December 31

Why am I not surprised that you would reflexively dismiss information that's contrary to your opinion? Discussing this with you is a complete waste of time. Your mind is made up.

posted by rcade at 12:44 PM on December 31

This is sort of the problem. Why is there a liberal or conservative side to this thing? And, where is the line

Following up on the political angle, Tucker Carlson presents the ultimate "people don't change" conservative point of view regarding rehabilitation. I'm surprised the phrase "just lynch him and get it over with" wasn't blurted out:

posted by phaedon at 01:27 PM on December 31

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