A Few Stories You May Have Missed This Week While The Nation Was Consumed By Balls

I apologize if this post comes off as uppity; it is certainly not my intention. Although I guess if I was trying to be uppity, I wouldn’t state it in the first sentence? But I’d bet I score in the 99th percentile (or 1st percentile, whichever it is) of “Time Someone Can Spend Talking About Sports Before Reaching a Breaking Point”, so I’m certainly not trying to bash those who passionately follow and debate all types of ballsports. In fact, this is my FIRST ever non-sports post. But this week has been something else; a soap opera about deflated balls that just keeps on taking center stage, even when it seems it cannot possibly keep up. You know its gone too far when you turn on the NATIONAL nightly news programs and donkeys from WEEI are on yelling about footballs. So below are five stories that you may have missed over the past week, as local and national news have pushed real life to the backburner and narrowed their focus to pigskin PSI.

Another disclaimer: I don’t claim to have all the facts and background about these stories. If I missed a key point and therefore manipulated the meaning of the issue, please let me know and I will make an edit. If only I were paid to do this, I would spend all day fact checking and source vetting. Alas, this is just a little fun on the side, but still wanted to share them with you as I don’t think they got nearly as much play as they would’ve in other weeks.

  • 40,000 Gallon Oil Spill In Montana’s Yellowstone River. The good news: The spill will not affect the national park of the same name, as the more famous Yellowstone is located 400 miles “upstream” from the spill site. The not so good news is that the spill will likely wreak considerably more havoc than a normal spill of its size, as the river is currently frozen over with ice that won’t break up until mid-March. There is only so much that cleanup crews can do before the thaw, so the oil has two months to travel downstream and do its best to cover the local ecosystem in a crude slick.
  • Journalist Given Five Year Prison Sentence for Leaking Hacked Documents, Among Other Charges. I don’t aim to simply quote the linked article, but in case you don’t read it in full, one of the more eyebrow-raising issues in this case is the government’s determination that simply linking a document that has been hacked by someone else makes you party to a crime. For an industry that accomplishes a large chunk of their duties, responsibilities, social change – however you want to call it – by dealing with unnamed or seedy sources, this is a significant, seemingly dangerous, precedent to set. So it may not matter what you, as the writer, know about the origin of the documents, if you publish something that turns out to be illegally obtained, you could do hard time. It’s worth noting how little publicity this case has received from the same media that this ruling could affect down the line. I’m fascinated to read more on this case, and I don’t claim to know many of the nuances of the charges, as it obviously has much more background to sift through than an oil spill.
  • Speaker Boehner Invites Israeli PM Netanyahu to Address Congress. The news that a head of state has been invited to address Congress isn’t really the notable part of the story, as it is common practice. The story’s notable angle is that the invite was offered without running it by President Obama, a circumvention of what seems to be very set protocol. Sticking with the theme of that I don’t know what I’m talking about, can any politics buffs recall a time that a foreign head of state was invited to the US without the President’s approval? Zombek? No matter how you feel about the related issue of Iran sanctions, its tough to deny the power move/statement made by old Boehner Face.
  • Simultaneous Unpredictability in Leadership in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Two of the US’ biggest allies in the most volatile region in the current world are dealing with changes in leadership, with the death of a Saudi king, and the resignation of the president and prime minister in Yemen referenced in the link above. The latter is even more concerning as the resignation comes after the potential rebel takeover of the capital city of Sanaa, creating a very ominous future for a nation that has been considered a success story on the war on terrorism. So if the success stories are being overrun by rebels, how bad are the non-success stories? Eeek.
  • If you must follow a sports story in the next week, the Australian Open is putting out some quality and drama-filled tennis down undah. The tourney is particularly great for night owls, as matches begin around 7 PM EST and go through the early morning. Good times!
  • Finally, a question for legal minds out there – I got pulled over by a police sergeant in his family’s Ford Explorer yesterday – seems somewhat illegal to me – what’s the deal with that?
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