Archives for November 2015

Georgia Fans Who Support Mark Richt

12274678_10203552796579447_8404927061141218755_nDear President Morehead,

I only have one football team I care about — the Georgia Bulldogs. I’ve been a fan for more than forty years, as long as I’ve cared about the game.

I’m a member of a Facebook group called “Georgia Fans Who Support Mark Richt,” which has more than 13,000 members.

I’m going to ask these friends of mine also voice their objections to the ridiculous, ill-conceived decision by Greg McGarity to fire Mark Richt.

I’m fairly certain that Greg McGarity has destroyed the future of our football team by firing Coach Richt at this moment in time and set our program back for years to come.

There just aren’t that many coaches of the caliber and with the character of Coach Richt. When the coach who finishes the season at 9-3 is fired and the coach who finishes 3-9 keeps his job, something is really screwed up. If somebody needed to go, it was Greg McGarity.11960191_1627447094203739_8671574475968344016_n

As long as Mr. McGarity remains as your athletic director, I cannot in good conscience continue to support Georgia football until he’s gone. Neither shall I wear Georgia gear, attend games, wear the UGA apparel that I already own, or donate money to the school.

Mr. McGarity has been the problem, and now he just fired the solution. No Georgia fan is dumb enough to believe the reports claiming this decision was mutual. Greg McGarity fired Mark Richt, and now you need to fire Greg McGarity.

Please. Today. Get rid of him before he can do any more harm.

I am asking my fellow members of the Bulldog Nation and UGA alumni to consider joining my boycott of UGA until Greg McGarity either resigns or has been fired, and to let President Morehead know how you feel. Mr. McGarity hasn’t been willing to spend the money necessary to build the premier football program in the SEC, and punished Coach Richt for his own incompetence. We’re never going to compete for national championships while Mr. McGarity controls the funds for the program.

Our football program has now been destroyed. I am devastated, a very sad Bulldog today.

Sincerely,

John Leonard

 

[My brief message to the Bulldog Nation:]

You may express your displeasure with this boneheaded decision to Greg McGarity’s office by calling  706-542-9037, the direct number into the Athletic Director’s office.

To ask Mr. McGarity to offer his resignation to President Morehead, you may contact him with those requests by emailing him at the following address: gmcgarity@sports.uga.edu.

To encourage President Morehead to accept McGarity’s resignation, you may reach him by calling the president’s office at 706-542-1214, or by email: president@uga.edu.

Please, make your voices heard!

Unsolicited advice for Greg McGarity

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Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity

Dear Mr. McGarity,

I hope you’ll forgive my presumption that you might listen to me — on the other hand, if this message resonates with the Bulldog nation and becomes viral, and you won’t be able to ignore it.

I tried this “unsolicited advice” tactic once before, and things worked out pretty well.

While I can’t claim that my effort led to things working out to UGA’s advantage, what I wrote obviously didn’t hurt the Dawgs. And Roquan Smith sure looks great in red.

Now I know you have a very difficult job, trying to keep the Bulldog fan base happy. Some “fans” have called for you to fire Mark Richt, even though our coach has managed to win nine tough games, including both Auburn and Georgia Tech on the road. This is in spite of the fact Coach Richt currently has the highest rated recruiting class during his entire tenure, with the chance to finish strong and dramatically improve the final ranking.

Georgia could finish with the top ranked recruiting class. If Coach Richt and his staff can persuade blue-chip players like Isaac Nauta, Mecole Hardman, Derrick Brown, E. J. Price, Willie Allen, Demetris Robertson, Shyheim Carter, Tyler Simmons, Brian Burns, or a few similar highly prized recruits to come to Athens to play with Jacob Eason, we could have the necessary talent needed to play for SEC titles and national championships against the likes of Nick Saban, in spite of the advantage in financial support for his program at Alabama.

Most of these kids have expressed strong interest or said they want to come to Georgia, but they want Mark Richt and Jeremy Pruitt to be there to coach them. The uncertainty that has surrounded our program since the Tennessee game may have cost us the commitment of Kyle Davis, once considered a virtual lock to sign with UGA.

Why would Davis want to leave the state for a program like Auburn? Could the $15 million dollars more per year Auburn spends on their football program have something to do with it?

Fran Tarkenton has said that he thinks Jeremy Pruitt needs to be fired, in spite of the fact Pruitt has our defense playing as well as they did under Erk Russell.  Earlier this season, rumors even circulated that Coach Pruitt was about to be fired which fortunately proved to be untrue.

I hope you’ve heard that after the Georgia Tech game today, Coach Pruitt told reporters that he hopes to stay in Athens. If Coach Richt wants Pruitt to stay — and he certainly should want him to coach our defense next year — then please help make sure that happens.

You’ve got the power, Mr. McGarity. You’ve got the authority. Please open your wallet and pay what it takes to make Georgia the beast of the SEC East and a perennial contender for national championships.

All of our current coaches want to stay, and you should want them to stay. Only three short years ago, Coach Richt had us only five yards and one play away from the national championship game.

AP photo

AP photo of Coaches Pruitt (L) and Richt (R)

Jeremy Pruitt was on  the other sideline that game, working for Nick Saban. If Jeremy Pruitt had been coaching our defense instead of Todd Grantham in that game, the results would almost certainly have been different, because Grantham’s defense could not stop the run.

Over the past two years, Jeremy Pruitt’s defenses have shown us flashes of brilliance reminiscent of the glory days, of legendary defensive coordinator Erk Russell and his Junkyard Dawg defense, which often dominated and sometimes even won football games.

I’ve got a confession to make, Mr. McGarity. There is a petition asking President Morehead to fire you and I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should sign it. Even though I don’t like the idea of speculating whether or not someone who doesn’t work for me should keep their job, you need to step up to the plate, if you know what I mean.

Instead of calling for your head, I prefer to politely ask you to rectify this situation and make amends.

Question: why is it that Alabama will spend $51 million dollars this year on their football program, and you’re only spending $26 million? You can’t say that we don’t have the money.

So why are you pinching pennies on the football program. when it brings in well over $80 million per year in annual revenue? Even South Carolina is currently spending more money, though our football program has been ranked as the third most profitable in America.

Why is this true, Mr. McGarity?

Bulldog fans are clamoring to compete for national championships. Some fans do blame Coach Richt, but I wonder if they realize how stingy you’ve been with the revenue the program earns for the school. Why weren’t adequate resources put at Coach Richt’s disposal a long time ago?

It’s time to loosen up the pursestrings.

As I type this message to you, I am listening to Buck Belue in the background, saying that you “didn’t respond” to questions about Coach Richt’s status after the game.

Is Kevin Sumlin really worth a million dollars a year more than Coach Richt, in your opinion? If so, why, when his record isn’t nearly as impressive? It makes no sense to me.

So here’s what I think you should do, at a minimum: make an immediate announcement saying  that you plan to extend Coach Richt’s contract for another year, and then convince him to sign it. But what I really hope you’ll do is to open up your checkbook again to give all of our coaches a raise. It would demonstrate your commitment to support developing the football program to the point where it competes for championships.

A bold move such as that would show players like Rashan Gary that you are fully support these coaches and the team and believe they will succeed at the highest level, given time and adequate resources. Most reasonable people understand that you can’t drive a Porsche 911 when you only have the budget for a Volkswagen Beetle.

Recruiters from other schools will use the uncertainty to undermine the crucial recruiting efforts of Coach Richt and his staff. Please consider taking decisive action that quells the rumors, Mr. McGarity.

Frankly, Coach Richt and Georgia football deserve your full support.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t expect you will pay much attention if I’m the only person who feels this way. However, I don’t think I am, and hopefully those Bulldogs reading this appeal who agree with me will echo my sentiments by either calling, or dropping a brief note to you in the mail in support of our coach, to the following address:

UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity
P.O. Box 1472
Athens, GA. 30603

For those who prefer to call, the phone number for the athletic department is (706)542-9036.

(Author’s note: the phone number has been corrected. Suffered mild dyslexia last night and transposed two digits in the phone number — mea culpa.)

Bulldog fans — if you support Coach Richt, make your voices heard!  Please share this article with your friends, and ask for their help.

If Mr. McGarity sees that the Bulldog nation overwhelmingly supports Coach Richt, he may actually do what we’d like and stay the course.

Anonymous internet trolls

images-13The worst people on earth right now are surely the radical Islamic terrorists in ISIS. They are evil people who murder children and prefer decapitating their innocent victims or burning them alive over shooting them in the head.

However, in my humble personal opinion, anonymous internet trolls come in a reasonably close second.

In case you don’t already know what an internet troll is, the definition describes a person who viciously attacks another human being with hateful rhetoric solely for the purpose of upsetting the victim and/or starting an argument.

Most of the time, the troll won’t even know the victim personally — he or she will merely dislike the way the victim looks, or disagrees with something the victim said. Simply pick a target, set phasers to incinerate, and start blasting away.

Trolls are so miserable in their own personal life that the only way they can feel better about themselves is by making another person feel bad. They take perverse pleasure from creating misery for another human being while cowardly hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

Sometimes troll attacks targeting a specific person may go on for years, with the victim unable to use the legal system to intervene because the troll has hidden his or her true identity.

Many internet service providers have refused to reveal the real name and address of the troll to his or her victims until forced to do so by court order.

I have had some personal experience with internet trolls.

A few years ago I published articles under the title of the Atlanta Creationism Examiner after my very first book, titled Divine Evolutionwas published. I saw the position as an opportunity as a chance to get paid to write articles that promoted my book. DivineEvolutionCover_eBook_final

I anticipated that writing about creationism and evolution theory would inspire a certain amount of criticism, but I seriously underestimated the vitriolic and often hateful sentiments behind it. Naturally, some of the most vicious personal insults one can imagine were routinely thrown my way by people using colorful pseudonyms such as “Blackout”, or “Karate Monkey.”

I was called a liar, uneducated, idiot, moron, liar, imbecile, ignorant, ignoramus, dolt, liar, and narcissist by my anonymous critics — and those were some of the nicer things that were said about me. Quickly my skin grew thicker than an elephant’s hide, and I soon learned to let the insults roll off me, like water off a duck’s back.

Then interestingly enough, after the Examiner.com changed their policies on comments so that Facebook accounts traceable to real people were required for comments to be posted, the volume of nasty personal attacks decreased dramatically, and the most egregious were no longer posted. Threatened by the light of exposure, most of the vermin crawled back under the rocks from which they came.

Unfortunately, internet trolls learned to create multiple fake profiles so when one account is blocked by a user or banned by Facebook, the attacks may continue under another name.

Here’s a helpful tip — negative comments on any subject posted by people with no history, pictures or friends associated with their Facebook account should not be trusted. They are highly suspect, most probably troll accounts.

Recently I’ve discovered trolls trying to pass themselves off as Georgia Bulldog football fans by using some variation of the school’s logo or mascot as their profile picture.

Interestingly enough, one of these fake Facebook accounts could be traced to a man living in Alabama. While it is certainly possible, even likely that more than one fan of Georgia football lives in Alabama, but just how plausible is it that this person has never made a single post on his own Facebook page? It appears that this dummy account was created for the sole purpose of demanding that Mark Richt be fired in comments left after virtually every article published at Bulldog fan websites speculating about the future of Georgia’s coach.

Isn’t it more likely that those comments might actually be coming from an Auburn or Alabama fan impersonating a Bulldog?

In my opinion, internet trolls are truly evil people — okay, so maybe not “evil incarnate” in the case of the Richt bashers. However, most internet trolls are wicked people no redeeming qualities.

A good friend of mine endured a constant stream of vicious personal attacks from an anonymous internet troll for years — the relentless barrage of personal attacks and accusations created enough stress in my friend’s life to literally cause a heart attack.

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My friend fought back. The primary media outlet the attacker frequented most often refused to reveal the true identity of the troll until forced to cooperate by court order.

It took years of effort and thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the coward has finally been unmasked.

Strangely enough, the attacks were coming from someone who does not even know my friend personally. The troll turned out to be an unpleasant lawyer who happens to live in the same small community. The neighbors all know about this guy, and nobody likes him. Nobody. He has no friends.

That case remains in litigation so I won’t say any more about it, except that no matter what the courts may decide in terms of reparations to compensate for years of unbelievable abuse, no amount of money would be enough to make suffering the sort of abuse my friend endured worthwhile. No amount of money can buy back the lost years during which the enjoyment of life was mitigated and diminished by the unwarranted abuse.

My friend and I are hardly alone with our tales of woe involving anonymous internet trolls, and we are both adults. Our personal tales of woe actually pale in comparison to the worst of the worst examples of abuse by an internet troll.

According to psychologists, internet trolls are psychopaths and sadists.

In one horrible example, trolls terrorized one teenager until she committed suicide and then taunted the child’s grieving family. These are people void of compassion; humans without a soul.

In more than one instance, an adult has been discovered to be impersonating a teenager in order commit a troll attack on another teen or a child. What sort of a human being would do such a thing? Why, psychopaths and sadists, of course.

When Bill Hadley was unjustly accused of being a pedophile by a cowardly troll, he spent $35,000 in legal fees to successfully unmask his accuser, who turned out to be a county attorney that Hadley barely knew.

Internet trolls are extremely unhappy, lonely human beings very likely to die young. But they reap what they sow.

These people are lonely because no one wants to be around such a thoroughly unpleasant excuse for a human being.

Some of my atheist friends get upset when I say that I’m happy to believe that hell exists. They think the idea of eternal punishment is cruel, inhumane, and completely out of character for a loving creator God. Indeed, the problem theodicy (the theological question of why God allows suffering and death; why bad things happen to good people) often leads to atheism.

However, in my opinion, death simply isn’t good enough for some people. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao — those guys deserve to suffer more than the temporary pain of death to atone for the millions of lives they collectively extinguished.

Personally, I take some comfort in the thought that the butchers of ISIS will face judgment from my God one day, but they won’t be rewarded with 72 virgins. I am even thankful that God has plans to punish truly wicked people, and to think their victims rejoice in paradise, ignorant of their persecutor’s suffering.

And as far as I’m concerned, the worst internet trolls can burn in hell right next to Stalin and Mao.

Should Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz be fired?

coach Mark Richt

coach Mark Richt

My father used to say that opinions were like anuses — everybody has one, but they shouldn’t be shown in public.

Of course, he didn’t actually say “anus” but used a very similar word that clearly meant the same thing.

Before I start, I must confess to be perfectly honest, it feels…wrong to speculate about another man’s livelihood.

Nevertheless, I am compelled to ask this question: should the Atlanta Journal-Constitution fire sportswriters Mark Bradley or Jeff Schultz for their failures to perform their job with peak efficiency every day?

Before we make any quick decisions, let’s look at some of the evidence: Mark Bradley has been with the same newspaper for twenty-five years.

But exactly what has he accomplished in all that time?

According to his online biography, Mark Bradley freely admits that he “Has won some awards but lost many more.”

Sorry, but doesn’t that make him a loser?  If he’s truly lost more awards than he’s won, his overall record is below .500.

By comparison, Mark Richt’s winning percentage at Georgia is currently .739. His teams are ninety games above .500. Yet curiously enough, it was Mark Bradley who recently suggested it was time for Mark Richt to be fired.

As if to further confirm my belief that it has become time for the AJC to make a move, Bradley put in his own bio that he “Isn’t as smart as you might believe.”

However, Mr. Bradley might be surprised to learn just how smart I don’t believe he is.

And as for Mr. Bradley’s co-defendant to my charge of journalistic malpractice, what should we say about Jeff Schultz?

Comparing Jeff Schultz to Mark Bradley is sort of like comparing the cast of Dumb and Dumber and asking, which one is which?

Really, does it matter?

Consider this little tidbit of information: Mr. Schultz routinely allows his dog to predict the winners of football games. Lilly “chooses” a winner by eating a treat, the results of which Mr. Schultz has chosen to share with the world, as if we need even more useless nonsense than we already get from a daily dose of reality television.

Once upon a time, the dog gimmick might have been funny. Once.

Now, it’s become the really bad joke a talentless comedian repeats over and over, determined to make the audience laugh — by “audience” meaning those remaining few who didn’t walk out a long time ago. As opposed to Mark Bradley, I’m not exactly sure how long Schultz has been with the AJC; perhaps it only seems like forever.

Clearly, it is no wonder that neither of these geniuses have won the “national championship” in sports journalism — the highly coveted Red Smith award. If they haven’t by now, it becomes less likely that they never will. They’ve both had plenty of chances.

Excuses are completely unacceptable. After all, Furman Bisher won the Red Smith award while working for the Atlanta Journal in 1988, so it isn’t impossible — just very difficult. After all, there is only one winner per year.

In fairness, should Bradley or Schultz complain that I have no business speculating about their future when I don’t pay their salaries, I would have to concede that point. It’s by choice. In all honesty, I haven’t subscribed to the AJC in years, mostly because of two clowns posing as sports journalists.

On the other hand, given the fact that both of these incompetent sportswriters have seen fit to call for UGA Coach Mark Richt to lose his job, it would seem that turnabout is fair play.

Had either of these gentlemen been a hungry young sportswriter instead of a tired old hack, he would have recognized the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the national sportswriters. They could have played off each other, offering both perspectives, and explained why it would be foolish to consider a head coaching change at this point in time, especially considering the tremendous momentum that had been building on the recruiting front.

The reason Alabama has won multiple national championships and Georgia has not isn’t terribly difficult to understand — in recent years, Nick Saban’s staff has been able to lure some of the very most talented players in Georgia out of state, to play for Alabama.

Players like Mecole Hardman, Jr., Isaac Nauta, and Kyle Davis have been thought to be leaning heavily toward committing to the “G”, but with the wild speculation in the news causing recent uncertainty, their status has become more questionable.

If this year’s recruiting class falls apart, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz will have played a significant role in fomenting the turmoil. They could have helped quell the ugly rumors with only one article that was better (all modesty aside) than either of them seem capable of writing.

Instead, both of these guys threw gasoline on the fire and made a situation that was getting bad considerably worse.

The negative sports opinion “reporting” and especially those in the local media have played a large role in creating this confusion. Rather than differentiating their reports by offering a different take on the subject, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz became a mindless echo chamber, offering nothing for an alternate perspective.

The harsh reality is that Georgia would be hard pressed to find a better coach for their football program.

Comparatively speaking, the AJC should have no problem replacing either of their two primary sportswriters with better talent, fresh out of J school. I’d hate for Bradley or Schultz to lose their source of income though…perhaps they could be reassigned.

Perhaps one of them knows something about gardening. Or pet care — basically, they ought to be able to write on any topic about which they might be able to convince the reader they know something.

RIP, Lewis Grizzard. You are sorely missed.

 

 

The odds against atheism

1433504030_a6Imagine that you’re playing a game of poker, five card draw.

The dealer issues each player five cards, one at a time. He deals fairly, taking the top card from the shuffled deck and tossing them face down to each player in a counter-clockwise rotation as he goes around the table in order.

You look at your cards and discover that you’ve been dealt a royal straight flush: the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of hearts.

You don’t even need to discard and draw another card. You struggle to hide your excitement, knowing that the odds of drawing such a lucky hand are roughly 649, 740 to 1. This translates to a probability of success of 0.00000154, a mere fraction of one percent. Naturally, you should expect to win this hand.images-9

Even a royal straight won’t be good enough to beat you. It doesn’t beat the royal straight flush. Nothing does. The best another player could have done would be to draw a second royal straight flush in either diamonds, clubs or spades, splitting the jackpot with you.

But the odds of two events with a probability of 0.00000154 percent occurring in the same hand of cards is considerably worse than the single rare occurrence, because the number of cards and possible winning combinations have been reduced.

Furthermore, if two players in the same game drew a royal straight flush from the same deck of cards in the same hand, somebody somewhere would naturally certainly be accused of cheating. One royal flush is highly improbable; twice in the same hand absurdly so.

The cards would be checked for signs of marking or tampering, and the dealer would have to answer some very pointed questions from every player in the game who didn’t draw a royal straight flush.

Should we say that is it logically impossible that two players could be dealt an unbeatable hand from the same deck of cards in the same game? No, of course not.

Logical impossibilities are things that cannot exist by their definition — one common example of this is the married bachelor.

An honest politician might also be considered a logical impossibility, at least by some people.

On the other hand, it is not logical to assume any reasonable probability of success based on the fact a potential event is not logically impossible.

Are the odds of two consecutive royal straight flushes or two by different players in the same game so grotesquely improbable that any reasonable person would have to wonder if the game was rigged?

Yes, of course.

bridgeA gambler could play draw poker for his or her entire lifetime and never see a single royal straight flush dealt from a well shuffled fair deck of cards, especially without even a discard and draw.

Only a fool would accept the idea of a royal straight flush being drawn twice in the same game for any combination of players without some deception, or manipulation of the deck suspected in order to create an unfair advantage.

You would surely win that hand. You could not lose under any circumstances. The dealer collects the cards and reshuffles the deck while you collect your winnings, and then he deals another hand.

You look at your cards and see your second consecutive royal straight flush. You might think this really could be your lucky day. On the other hand, if you understand statistics and probability, you understand that it’s likely the luck’s too good to be true.

Nobody is this lucky. The guy across the table from you gets so upset as you’re emptying his wallet that he weeps blood. images-13

Now what would be the odds that you would then be dealt a third consecutive royal straight flush by this same dealer, still using a fair deck of cards?

Slim and none, but Slim left town?

By now you must realize that the card game has been fixed in your favor for some unknown reason, even though you had nothing to do with it.

Remember, we aren’t talking about the equivalent of a coin flip, with fifty/fifty odds.

At best we’re quibbling over how “big” the fraction of one percent that would most accurately depict the probability of success ought to be. At worst we’re arguing about how to express this ridiculously small number as a decimal value.

By now you may be wondering: what does my card game illustration have to do with the odds against atheism? That’s a reasonable question.

This serves as an excellent analogy to illustrate the necessity of a supernatural God in order to satisfactorily address our existential questions.

Evolution theory does not compare to creationism, because life cannot evolve until it exists. Before evolution ever becomes possible, either supernatural creation or stupendous, unbelievable good luck has already occurred.

My existential questions are relatively simple. These include: who am I? How did I get here? Does my life serve some purpose?

The answers to the existential questions are not so simple. It requires both a basic awareness of current scientific evidence as well as well knowledge of the science of statistics and probability.

The problem of creation begins with the Big Bang. It does not start with evolution, meaning the change of things that already exist. Evolution theory may become part of the creation story one day, but it cannot compete with the need for creation.

Remember in our analogy, the odds of drawing a royal straight flush are 649,740 to 1.

According to physicist Martin Rees, the origin of our universe was very ordered and fine-tuned to produce a universe “just right” for life. Other physicists have referred to this phenomenon as the Goldilocks enigma.

Sir Roger Penrose calculated that the odds of a fine-tuned universe occurring by chance are something like 1 in 10^123, which he describes as a number so small it cannot be represented as a decimal. In other words, the odds of “lucky” fine-tuning are terrible, even compared to the odds against our first royal straight flush.

It simply wouldn’t be possible to type all the necessary leading zeroes before I died of old age.

Cosmic inflation is equivalent to drawing our second consecutive royal straight flush.

Inflation was allegedly so precise that Stephen Hawking said even the slightest variation of one in a million-million in the rate or duration of expansion would have caused this universe to collapse.

Then for abiogenesis (our third straight royal straight flush, using this analogy) to become possible, the Big Bang and inflation must first occur so the chemical ingredients necessary for life would subsequently exist.

In other words, the later improbabilities for these anomalies depend upon the success of the previous ones, in the procession from absolutely nothing to simple life forms.

And remember — it is logically impossible to believe in a third consecutive royal straight flush if you failed on either of the first two.