Seimone Augustus and the same-sex marriage ban (5×8 – 10/16/12)

The conscience of pro athletes, the racists of American politics, on George McGovern, should the Twins trade Joe Mauer, and weed dating.


Yes, I’ll again be live-blogging tonight’s presidential debate, and I’ll continue to do these until someone hollers “stop” or until there’s an election — whichever comes first. Hope you’ll join me here starting around 7:30… or so.

By the way, here’s the 21-page memorandum of understanding about tonight’s debate, just in case you thought candidates were willing to just stand up there and let people just fire off questions.

The 2012 Debates – Memorandum of Understanding Between the Obama and Romney Campaigns

You can be your own fact checker in tonite’s debate. Just read this.

1) THE CONSCIENCE OF PRO ATHLETES

Seimone Augustus, the Minnesota Lynx star, hasn’t hid the fact she’s gay; she’s just never made a point of it. Until today. Augustus tells the Associated Press she thinks she can make a change with her voice, taking a stand against the divisive same sex marriage constitutional ban on November’s ballot.

“I just never understood why someone else’s love life and who they love and who they choose to be with affects so many other people’s lives,” Augustus said. “Is it a scare of, ‘Gay people are going to be running around and everyone’s going to turn gay?’ ”

“I never understood the whole point of opposing or hating someone else’s happiness.”

It’s not entirely clear that Augustus and her fiance fully understand what’s on November’s ballot, however. They want to get married in May and both talked about “if it passes” when referencing the issue. Legalizing same-sex marriage isn’t on November’s ballot.

Augustus joins Vikings punter Chris Kluwe as high-profile athletes in Minnesota who are taking the lead opposing the same-sex marriage amendment.

That’s significant because pro sports, possibly with the exception of the WNBA, treats homosexuality the same way as Iranian president Ahmadinejad did once when he famously declared there are no homosexuals in Iran.

The National Basketball Association is pro sports’ Iran. When will an NBA player come out? It’s a question ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, who is gay, gets a lot.


It’s a broad, tricky question laced with contradictions and tangled variables. Who goes first: athlete or league? Does a player first need to come out as a means of educating the league, or does the league need to undergo education to create the conditions where a guy can come out with confidence?

The truth, as it usually does, lies somewhere in between. The first active NBA player to come out will need some reassurance that he’s not putting his career in jeopardy, that he won’t be blackballed by teams that don’t want to infect their locker room with a gay player or, at the very least, would prefer not to deal with distractions.

He also won’t have any guarantees about how his teammates, opponents, coaches and fans would respond. Will they terrorize him with epithets and worse, ostracize him, exclude him from the camaraderie and informal dinners that teammates share? Will he have to absorb flagrant fouls on the court or have a packed house chant, “Broke-back Moun-tain!” when he steps to the foul line?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports this morning that gay rights and immigration groups have formed an alliance on the issue of same-sex marriage, only to run into opposition from Latinos.

2) CAN WE HAVE AN ELECTION NOW, PLEASE?

But, remember, race is not an issue in American politics.

“The ad fits into the narrative that minorities are moochers and that government programs transfer wealth from white people to black people. If it shows anything in microcosm, it’s the Tea Party’s Southern strategy,” the New York Times says.

And the phones-for-low-income people is a program that was started by President Bush.

More politics: Have you made any sense of polls during this election? Have you cited any of them in support of your candidate? The chances are you cherry picked the polls, and dismissed the ones you didn’t like. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wades through the “poll noise” today…


I think claims about polls “oversampling” Democrats or Republicans are deeply misguided, for the most part. But if you’re going to do it, you ought to do so consistently. If you’re critiquing the partisan split in Monday’s Washington Post poll, for example, you probably ought to have done the same thing for last week’s Pew poll, which also had a partisan split that was different from the consensus.

If this sort of error can be hard to avoid, however, there is a different type that is much less forgivable. That is in making too much of demographic or geographic subsamples within a poll.

3) COME HOME, SENATOR

George McGovern is dying, and in the coming days we’ll get to visit the meaning of an old political axiom: He was too decent a man to be president of the United States. The people who beat him easily in 1972 went to jail… or would have.

Like many of his generation, McGovern was much more than the field of work he’d eventually go into. He was a World War II veteran. He volunteered to be a B-17 combat pilot. He blamed it on his high school gym teacher.

4) SHOULD THE TWINS TRADE JOE MAUER?

Both the Yankees and the Red Sox have some serious problems so the big-media sportswriters are speculating that it’s time to tape the teams’ minor league affiliates for an infusion of talent. And by minor league affiliates, of course, I mean the American League Central Division teams.

The Twins Daily blog considers a Boston Globe’s prescription for fixing the godawful Red Sox: plucking Mauer (or Morneau) from the bondage of flyover country…


But even if Ryan and Cherington could come to some kind of agreement, what about that pesky no-trade clause in Mauer’s contract? Would he even consider giving approval? Let’s just say I no longer believe it’s necessarily a certainty that he’d say “no” to such a deal.

On the one hand, Joe’s a very private person and it would seem that moving to a large-market team that is as dysfunctional as the Red Sox has been would be counter-intuitive. On the other hand, he’s a really big fish in a mid-market fishbowl and you wonder if he might not welcome the opportunity to be just one of many mega-stars in the New England sports scene. As Cafardo points out, Mauer also lives in Fort Myers in the offseason. Guess who, besides the Twins, has their Spring Training facility in Fort Myers? Yep… the Sawx.

Let’s also be honest about something else. Despite the colossal belly flop of a season that the Red Sox had in 2012, if you were Mauer and were weighing the Sox against the Twins as to which organization was more likely to field a Championship level team over the remaining six years of your contract, there’s no doubt who you would see as being more likely. Boston may not always make the right decisions, but their clear goal every year is to win it all. And every year, they make moves they believe will give themselves a better shot at doing so. You simply can not say that about the Twins.

Urp.

(h/t: John Bonnes)

5) WEED DATING

Oh, sure. Now that we’ve had the first frost and there’s no need to weed the gardens, an entire pathway to bliss closes. Figures.

Weed Dating from farmrun on Vimeo.

(h/t: Cheryl Collins)

TODAY’S QUESTION

The moderators of this year’s political debates have shown sharply different styles. And the moderator of tonight’s debate, Candy Crowley of CNN, has indicated that she may stray from her prescribed role as town-hall facilitator and ask follow-up questions of her own. Today’s Question: What should be the role of a presidential debate moderator?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Work and happiness; can the two words be used in the same sentence? And should you follow your passion, or your passion follow you? We’ll talk with two guests about creativity, happiness, passion and motivation at work.

Second hour: In a recent column in The Guardian, conservative commentator Matt K. Lewis says that Romney’s gaffe-prone campaign is not the only problem facing the GOP; he says that the party faces a much deeper crisis of identity and ideas.

Third hour: Blue Cross Blue Shield is raising eyebrows with its new anti-obesity ads. A departure from its well known do.groove ads, these new ads show children modeling the behavior by the parents depicted in the ads and not in a positive way. What do people affected by obesity have to say about these ads? And can ads really have an impact on obesity?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A live broadcast of the 8th District congressional debate in Cambridge. Gary Eichten moderates for Debate Minnesota.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The growing threat of cyber war.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Polio was once one of the most feared diseases in America. But the U.S. recorded its last case in 1979. And now polio is on the verge of being eradicated from the planet. NPR looks at the decades-long fight against polio.