Mickey Mantle died on August 13, 1995. The baseball icon who may have been the most gifted player of all time started teaching ethics lessons after his career had ended as he began belatedly learning them himself. Believing that he would die young (both his father and an uncle had perished of illness in their 40s), Mantle hurtled through his prime drunk, selfish, often mean, unfaithful to his wife and promiscuous, determined to live fast and leave a good-looking corpse. Then, as he said ruefully later, he found himself entering his 50s an alcoholic, breaking down physically, and ashamed of how he had treated fans, family and friends. Mantle resolved to make amends, but was stalled in his efforts by a failing liver, then embarrassed when his name popped up quickly at the top of the transplant waiting list. Doctors swore no special favors had been granted to the idol of millions, but nobody believed it. Cancer claimed Mickey almost immediately after he had his new liver. He had waited too long to realize the importance of caring about others.
The most touching story about Mantle in his latter years was one he told about meeting a stranger who explained to him passionately and with tears in his eyes how much “Number 7” had meant to him growing up. Mantle said that he teared up too, because for the first time in his life it hit him that he had an obligation to the people who loved and cared about him. He said he had always thought it was crazy that anyone would admire someone like him, and suddenly he understood that trying to live up the idealized image so many held of Mickey Mantle was a crucial part of his legacy, and what sports idols must do to keep ideals alive.
1. He needs to study Mickey Mantle...One of today’s most gifted young baseball stars, San Diego Padres phenom Fernando Tatis Jr., tested positive for Clostebol, a banned performance-enhancing substance. He’s been suspended for 80 games without pay, effective immediately. Tatis had already missed the first part of the season because of injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in the off-season, and this came after an injury-marred 2021 campaign. The Padres General Manager’s comments on the news might have been made about Mantle in his playing days:
“Over the course of the last six or seven months, I think (trust has) been something that we haven’t really been able to have. I think we’re hoping that from the off season to now, that there would be some maturity. And obviously with the news today, it’s more of a pattern and something we’ve got to dig a little bit more into. I’m sure he’s very disappointed, but at the end of the day, it’s one thing to say it. You have to start by showing it with your actions.”
It is not a promising sign that Tatis claims that he took the banned steroid accidentally.
2. This never occurred to me! U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington held this week that it is unconstitutional for police in Saginaw, Michigan to chalk automobile tires in order to enforce parking violations. The judge held that the practice, while “relatively harmless,” is still a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. “No reasonable person would argue that something as trivial and transitory as chalk on a tire offends a reasonable expectation of privacy. But the Fourth Amendment protects more than those expectations that society deems reasonable,” Ludington said. Then he decreed that the city should pay out one dollar in damages to all 4,800 Saginaw drivers who had paid $15-$30 fines after being “chalked.”
3. Back to the cheating theme, we have the Inflation Reduction Act, now headed to the President’s desk. You will recall that President Biden said it was important to pass the Inflation Reduction Act to fight inflation, though literally no economists agreed that the massive bill would do a thing to reduce inflation. Mainstream media pundits accused Republicans of hypocrisy because they were complaining about inflation but weren’t supporting the inflation reduction act, as with this tweet by journalist and political analyst Jack Cocchiarella:
Then as soon as the bill was passed, it wasn’t an inflation bill any more, because it never was an inflation bill. That was just a fake label to fool the public, because inflation is on its mind. Now…
4. “Diversity and Inclusion”= Racial discrimination. (But we knew that…) The University of Utah has a doctoral program, the “African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative,” that is only open to black students. It has been going on for five years, and the Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights has a pending investigation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Well of course it’s a violation of that law! The program “provides a scholarly community and educational services for African American doctoral students,” according to the university. The program also provides scholarships to “full-time African American” students who “demonstrate a commitment to understanding Black life, history, and culture in the United States.”
It sure looks as if the Department’s investigation will try mightily to let the course slip through. An OCR investigator asked the professor who first flagged the discriminatory course if he was “aware of any individuals who attempted to apply to or participate in this initiative and were not permitted to do so on the basis of their race or color.” What an obvious dodge: that’s like arguing that public accommodations with signs saying “Only Whites Served” outside are innocent as long as no blacks who attempt to be served are turned away.
All of the program’s directors, faculty, and students are black. That professor who first filed the complaint, Mark Perry, made the obvious point (which apparently the DOE needed to be reminded of) that “if there were a white-only equivalent program ‘White American Doctoral Scholars Initiative’ (no non-whites need apply) that OCR would correctly consider that to be a facial, per se violation of Title VI.”
The school counters that the program “creates a multidisciplinary, critical mass of African American scholars dedicated to the eradication of institutional and systemic racism and oppression by addressing the inequities endured by African American people”…through the device of creating inequities for white students. [Pointer and Facts: College Fix]
5. And finally, this pronoun note…Ken Burns in forms us that several Western Indian tribes had no singular pronouns for individuals, only plurals. In their case, that practice was a rejection of narcissism, whereas today’s similar practice is the zenith of it.