Super Bowl Politicking

white house petitionWe really do try to keep politics out of these pages, especially when it comes to such focal sporting events like the Super Bowl. But once in a while, they creep into the picture. It happened last week, when I wrote about Super Bowl halftime performer Beyoncé’s appearance at President Obama’s inauguration, and it’s about to happen again.

No, I’m not announcing my candidacy for president, although with the site’s readership rapidly expanding from its historical base– 13-17 year-old females— to include people of all ages, genders, and nationalities, this would be the ideal time to do that. Still, were I to run, I assure you that my platform has been set for years. Here’s a sneak peek:

  1. Find out about alien stuff and share it with the public.
  2. Make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday.
  3. Forgive student loan debt.

I can’t reveal any more of the platform right now, or somebody else might use it as a free pass to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is what it is.

Fortunately for all of us, one of these planks is within our immediate grasp. Some sensible folks have taken the initiative to draft a petition to the federal government to “declare the Monday following the Super Bowl a national holiday.” They’ve posted some reasons why you should sign their petition, but if you need convincing, you need help. Click here and sign this thing right away.

Finally, for you cynics who say that this will never result in anything meaningful, consider this: 1) the President is widely known as a sports fan with sports opinions, and 2) the President has already issued an executive order creating a federal holiday (of sorts) in response to a petition so requesting. Don’t say it can’t be done. Sign this petition now.


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On baseball and energy policy: A word (and a graph) from the Chicago School

Matt McKenna writes:

What, then, is the primary driver of rising fuel costs? The answer, while difficult to capitalize on politically, is straightforward: since 1998, the major contributor to the price of gas has been an aging Chicago White Sox ball club.

To illustrate the point, the price of gas has increased from $1.44 in 1998 to $3.94 in 2012, adjusted for March 2012 dollars. The consistency of this rise allows us to rule out the political affiliation, environmental consciousness, and personal motives of any particular President as a major factor. Clearly, something bigger is at work here.

Over that same time period, the Chicago White Sox have gone from a roster with an average age of 26.85 years in 1998 to 29.2 years in 2011. Due to the White Sox’ magnificent World Series victory in 2005, concern over rising ages and fuel costs didn’t particularly bother White Sox fans or Americans at large. And nor should they have–Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams built some good teams between 2000 and 2005.

Since 2005, however, White Sox teams have been generally mediocre and, as the chart above indicates, getting older. By 2010, the average age of a White Sox player was up to 29.8 years, the fourth highest in the league. By 2011, the price of gas skyrocketed to $3.58 a gallon, and it is no wonder why.

The baffling twist to the Republican’s faux fusillade on Barack Obama’s energy policy is that they actually do have a legitimate gripe on the subject, even if they fail to recognize it: Barack Obama is the world’s most powerful White Sox fan. Obama was an Illinois State Senator between 1997 and 2004 and a U.S. Senator between 2005 and 2008. It was during these years that, while occasionally punctuated with brilliant baseball, the White Sox slowly aged and created the situation in which we currently find ourselves mired: $3.94 for a gallon of gas. One would think Obama might have held enough sway with Chicago’s sports leadership to successfully warn them of the national impact of signing big contracts for aging, once-great players.

The bottom line is that the President has little influence on gas prices outside of calling up Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams and demanding fresh talent be brought up from the minors to replace the pricey veterans on the current squad. Looking at the 2012 roster, perhaps that’s exactly what has happened–the average age for a White Sox player has dropped to 28.1 years. That may not be a big enough decrease to bring the price of oil down to a reasonable level, but it certainly can’t hurt. And who knows, maybe these young guys can hit.

Read the full piece at McSweeney’s, which also includes this graph:

Keep these trends in mind when the team from Motor City travels to face off against the White Sox in a three-game set this weekend.