Pro sports now political PACs. Biden's right on broadband, wrong on others. And, a broad brush

By Gary Abernathy

MLB joins NBA as new political action committee

In announcing its decision to relocate this year’s All Star game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s new elections bill, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued this statement: “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Those who thought Major League Baseball was in the baseball business can be forgiven for any confusion. Here’s to Mr. Manfred’s coming communiques offering baseball’s position on state legislation addressing taxes, solar energy, public school curriculums, private school vouchers, opioid abuse, marijuana legalization, gun control, abortion access, business licensing and the minimum wage.

Baseball has a long way to go to catch up to the political action committee known as the NBA, but it’s well on its way. Increasingly, professional basketball, baseball, football and others are political PACS masquerading as sports leagues. This is not to say “shut up and dribble.” Athletes, management, etc. should be as politically involved as they want as individuals on their own time. The leagues themselves should stick to the reason they exist — playing the games.

Biden right on broadband, wrong on other ‘infrastructure’

President Biden is right when he says that the definition of infrastructure should include broadband internet service and components like new cabling necessary to extend the internet’s reach. But he’s wrong to include many of the other items that are lurking in his new $2 trillion “American Jobs Plan.”

It’s shocking how many parts of states like Ohio that are otherwise fully developed don’t have access to broadband internet services. In the 21st century, the ability to access the internet – or the inability to access it – is a dividing line for students, businesses and workers to be able to compete. If we’re going to be investing tax dollars that we can’t afford because they don’t exist – and apparently we are – it’s right to include broadband with things like roads, bridges and airports. It’s infrastructure, because it is literally an information highway.

But billions of dollars in Biden’s proposals stretch the definition of infrastructure beyond reason, as evidenced by a New York Times story today, which reports that Biden’s plan includes “the creation of high-paying union jobs or raising wages for a home health work force that is dominated by women of color.”

The story notes that “even some economists who have carefully studied that shift say the Biden plan stretches the limits of what counts” as infrastructure. One is Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, who said “several provisions in Mr. Biden’s bill might or might not have merit but did not fall into a conventional definition of infrastructure, such as improving the nation’s affordable housing stock and expanding access to care for older and disabled Americans.” Glaeser said that calling those things infrastructure “does a bit of violence to the English language, doesn’t it?”

Just a bit. But as he demonstrated with the recently passed $1.9 trillion “covid relief” bill, Biden is not averse to labeling his proposal one thing while packing it full of progressive wish list items that have nothing to do with the originally stated intent. Here we go again.

Media paints Trump backers with same brush as rioters

The Jan. 6 incursion at the U.S. Capitol was one of the most shameful days in American history. But using it, and those who participated in the violence that happened, to paint all supporters of former President Donald Trump as members of extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers is shameful, too.

Too many media outlets – and there are so many that linking to just one would be unfair -- are working overtime to lump millions of Trump supporters across the nation with extremist militia members who are among those being charged with crimes associated with the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Just do some scrolling and see for yourself.

Trump bears responsibility for failing to tamp down the emotions of thousands who gathered in Washington that day. He egged them on with nonsensical comments about the election being stolen and telling them not to be weak – all while his own vice president was at the Capitol leading a constitutionally mandated count of electoral votes.

But trying to smear all Trump supporters with the same brush is irresponsible. Even those who ended up wandering onto the Capitol grounds or standing peacefully on the steps of the building are not in the same league with those who forced their way into the halls of Congress and caused property or bodily harm. Let’s all try to remember that.

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