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Thursday, May 13, 2004

NICK BERG'S DEATH BEGS A FEW QUESTIONS 

When the shock of the brutality wears off and emotions subside, there is a need to ask a painful question: what the hell was Nicholas Berg doing in Iraq?

The picture slowly developing about Nick Berg and his time in Iraq is not particularly flattering. The consensus seems to be that he was a good hearted, well meaning soul but apparently an exceptionally foolish one oblivious to the dangers right before his face and armed with no contacts and no business contracts in hand. The idea that he could have entered the country with no discernable purpose other than to look for 'opportunities' seems far fetched. If I wanted to open a Dominos Pizza in Baghdad, do I just show up hoping I can find a backer? Do I hustle around town handing out flyers to my franchise seminar at the DisComfort Inn?

Entreprenurial spirit is commendable, but smart entreprenuers understand risk. To set off for a part of the world where civilians and soldiers die on a daily basis and where terrorist groups with murderous intent toward Americans are wreaking havoc, is a fool's gambit. Unfortunately for Mr. Berg, he paid a much heavier price than just the loss of investment capital and time spent.

The cowards who killed Mr. Berg deserve whatever fate Iraqi justice eventually has in store for them, and certainly Mr. Berg's naivete or disregard for his own safety should not condemn him to a grisly death at the hand of criminals. But by all accounts now appearing in papers and on line, he did little or nothing to protect himself from falling victim to the dangers that have been a staple in US news outlets since the war began.

What could he have been thnking; or was he thinking at all? And what parameters does the State Department and the Pentagon have in place for entry into Iraq?



Sunday, May 09, 2004

THERE'S NO WEB SLINGING IN BASEBALL 

Baseball damn near lost its virginity last week. There were evil plans a foot to introduce crass commercialism into the national pastime and only because the chaste voices of sportswriters and fans cried foul has the game been saved from being exploited for the almighty buck. There will be no ads on the bases.

Can you imagine? Major League Baseball selling advertising space on the very bases our true blue and steroid free heroes tread? And MLB sold off the pitching rubber and the on-deck circle as well. The next thing you know they will be selling television sponsorships for opening line-ups or the 7th inning stretch or game summaries.

Good God, if they had let Spiderman logos adorn the field, they might soon offer opportunities to sponsor the teams official beer, or car, or real estate agent, or airline, or foot powder, or laxative, or lawnmower, or colonoscopy or even sponsors for drugs that cure erectile dysfunction. If they did that , teams would have to paste those things up on every available square inch of real estate inside the park. Wouldn't that be tacky?

Advertisers might end up calling the shots on when games are televised. Before you know it, World Series games could start in prime time and not end until 1:00 AM leaving school kids to wait for the morning papers.

No sir, baseball got lucky this week. The game is pure, wholesome and free of the demonic influences of money for money's sake. We can all get back to the game and wondering how come forty-two year old catchers with a lifetime average of .237 make $3,000,000 a year.

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