Correcting those Congressional Memes

Look, I’m not defending Congress. There are a bunch of liars and crooks in it that benefit themselves and their cronies more than they do the voting populous that elect them, the taxpayers they are supported by, or the citizens they represent (yes, those are three distinctly different constituents they are answering to). But, there’s a lot of misinformation going around about what Congress, and the President for that matter, do or do not receive for their efforts.

The reasoning, in part, these benefits exist was to help make Congress and the President more liable to the American People for their livelihood and able to focus on their responsibilities to the American People rather than having to support themselves part time where there could arise conflicts of interest.

One meme circulating states that Congress and the President receive their salaries for life. Other’s quote different monetary values Congressional members and the President receive both during and after their times in office. Almost in every case the compensation is incorrect.

Members of congress do not get paid for life. The cease collecting a Congressional paycheck when they leave office.

However, the can receive a pension they pay into, provided they serve for at least five years, which is the minimum eligiblity for their Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) fund. This is the same pension system for which all federal employees are eligible. Congress must pay 4.4% of their salary up to a variable maximum limit into FERS. While it’s mandatory, unlike a 401(k) a private employee might elect to pay into, the process works similarly. To collect their pension annuity, they must be at least 62, or with at least 50 with 20 years of service, or at any age having served more than 25 years. The most a congressperson can earn in their pension is 80% of their final salary, but this requires having served 67 years to earn that top percentage. Taxpayers in general are not directly responsible for Congressional pensions.

Members of congress must pay 6.2% of their salary into Social Security to the maximum taxable earning of 132,900$ the same as every other employee in the United States and have the same constraints in collecting that money upon retirement. Furthermore, they also pay into other payroll engaged taxes the same as every other employee in the United States. So, taxpayers in general are not directly responsible for any other coverage Congressional members receive.

Presidents do not receive the full Presidential salary for life. They do, however, receive a lifelong stipend equal to the current head of an executive department (Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, etc.), which is currently 207,800$. This is done for several reasons including to reduce the possibility former presidents could be influenced by conflicts of interest that might arise from their future employment that could compromise national security. As well as being a thank you for their service to the nation.

There are other “perks” both Congress and the President receive, although many more of them are paid into than normally credited and most are not taken advantage of nearly as often as it is supposed they might be. One of the single largest expenses to the American People that is noted in these memes is that of Secret Service protection for life.

It’s notable that the Secret Service protection isn’t technically perk, per se, as much as it’s treated somewhat as a matter of national security. It does not apply to Congress beyond the normal coverage the Secret Service provides Congress in general.

For the President, my understanding is there’s two primary reasons. First is former Presidents are still a ‘status symbol’ and one being kidnapped or murdered could have a detrimental affect on both how the current Administration does business and the underlying American psyche overall.

Furthermore, by nature of having been President they are in possession of a lot of information one might not otherwise want exposed so protecting them from kidnapping and other extortion threats is considered a matter of national security necessary as well. Once out of office, I believe their spouse retains protection so long as they remain married and the children retain protection until they are 18.

For reference, the Secret Service also protects “major” presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees, as a matter of national security for similar reasons – it would be damaging to the American psyche to have a candidate kidnapped or murdered and candidates become privy to information one otherwise wouldn’t want compromised. The secret service also provides security to others after their time in Government comes to an end via Presidential directives which the Secret Service does not make public for security reasons.
McKinley’s assassination in 1901 was what necessitated Secret Service protection for a sitting President. It was extended to former Presidents, for life, in 1965 as an indirect result of the assassination of JFK. Lifetime coverage temporarily ended in the 90s with an act of Congress limiting it to 10 years post-term but in 2013 it was reverted back to lifetime.

The only President to relinquish their Secret Service coverage was Nixon and it was just over a decade after his resignation. However, he was still kept under watch without the full security detail. He was entitled to the original protection it because he was not removed but rather resigned and was provided the additional surveillance after because of “security reasons” even a decade of being out of office. Thus, there is some debate as to the level of security a removed President might need to receive to since they may still be in possession of information one might not want leaked, demonstrating how the protective function provided might be construed different from other benefits like healthcare and pension which if you’ve been removed from office it makes sense you shouldn’t retain.

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Can you hear me, can you see me?

A few years back, around the point where my elder padawan began to really recognize things around them in terms of connecting sights and sounds I began watching television with closed captions on. I’d read something around then about how closed captioning could assist certain kids with reading and since then I watch as much as I can with captions on.

Why?

Well, the tinnitus that’s plagued me and robbed a significant portion of my hearing. I haven’t heard either my own voice internalized or felt silence itself since at least high school as has been discussed before. As I’ve come to understand over the years my tinnitus an other hearing issues are a function of genetics and life experiences including, for me, the psoriatic immune-mediated diseases that affect both my skin and joints, plus a few other health conditions that may contribute to hearing issues, as well as about 40 years of playing percussion, more than 20 years working in the music and entertainment industry, and about 5 years of working with high decibel machinery. And, I’m sure there’s more.

While there is no one answer to why my hearing loss is what it is or how to fix it at this point, I found it very interesting how effective closed captioning was for coping with the issues it creates.

When I’m paying attention with CC-enabled I can follow along with a lot of programming in ways that I otherwise would struggle to. Whispering, important ambient conversations, softer character voices, and layers of sound would often leave me having to overly rely on context many times of which isn’t enough to get all the subtleties of the dialog. And, when I began to have those little gaps filled in, assuming the CC was done well, it more than enhansed my experience.

I suspect I’m not alone either. Over 5% of the world’s population, or 466 million people, have some form of diagnosed hearing disability according to WHO. According to the National Institute of Deafness one in eight teen and above adults in the United States, 13%, or 30 million aged 12 years or older, has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations when provided through normal healthcare. Over 18% of American adults, or about 37.5 million aged 18 and over, report some trouble hearing according to the US Dept of Health and Human Services. The CDC estimates partial hearing disability in middle aged Americans, those over 35, can be as high as 35% with the acknowledgement that the current health care system is known to already to under-count cases due to coverage issues.

I bring this up because

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Capital Chaos: is Backstrom a Hall of Famer

Question posed on the Japer’s Rink comments this week was in regards to individual hall of fame worthiness. With all the talk about the records Ovi is likely to set over the course of the season it’s easy to forget the records other players are coming up. And, it’s especially noteworthy with the pending UFA status of not only Ovi but also Core contributors Backstrom and Holtby as well as that recently signed Carlson contract. Generally, how much are these guys benefitting from Ovechkin’s greatness versus potentially how much of Ovi’s greatness is from playing with them (and others like Green & Semin in the young guns days, etc).

Specifically, in this particular thread, the symbiotic relationship of Ovechkin and Backstrom arose and how much each impact’s the other’s production and thus influences one another’s Hall of Fame worthiness.

This was my response along with some additional notes

I am with “squidello” (and others), the debate is more often how much does Backy benefit from Ovi moreso than it is how much does Ovi benefit from Backy.

It’s pretty much a given that Ovi is beyond elite and probably at this point beyond generational. I’ve recounted Ovi’s accomplishments on separate posts and they are in rarified air in-and-of themselves, which probably negates any single player’s impact on Ovechkin’s abilities.

To wit, Ovi did it when he first came into the league before Backy joined him on the top line at evens. He did it with Kuzy rotating in as his center over the last few years including the Cup run at evens. He does it on special teams when others have the benefit of feeding him shots as well. His ability to generate points, and more importantly score can be viewed independent of the world around him because of the consistent volumes in which it occurs.

As a matter of note, a few years back the NHL website cited this, “Ovechkin has scored 442 goals and Backstrom has an assist on 201 of them (45.5 percent). Gretzky assisted on 364 of Kurri’s 601 NHL goals (60.6 percent) and Trottier assisted on 310 of Bossy’s 573 goals (54.1 percent), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.” I interpret this to mean Ovi has show he can score in all situations with anyone throughout his career and isn’t dependent on Backstrom to generate goals in the same way that goal scorers like Kurri and Bossy and other’s were tied to skating with specific centerman.

What that stat doesn’t tell us however, is how dependent Backy is on Ovi to generate points and particularly assists. What would be more interesting to see is how many of Backstron’s assists are Ovi goals, which I am sure is available but I don’t know how to find quickly offhand. And, more specifically, how many of his primary assists when the two were skating together were and how that would compare to others.

First, however, let’s just look at the career numbers for Backstrom and understand if, without any other context, if they could be HOF worthy. Here’s how his points, assists and goals currently stand in context:

Points Per Game Regular Season
Currently #68 All Times NHL Regular Seasons Points Per Game with 0.975

Comparatively, in the 0.970-0.980 PPG you find Ray Bourque, Jacques Lemaire, Bill Barber, Anton Stastny, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Mats Näslund and Glenn Anderson

#6 among active players in the Regular Season, behind Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos and ahead of current players with a similar number of games including Jon Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Jamie Benn, and Jonathan Toews.

#3 among Swedes all time in the Regular Season, behind Peter Forsberg and Kent Nilsson and higher than fellow Swedes including Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Zetterberg, Bengt-Åke Gustafsson, Thomas Gradin, Tomas Sandström, Patrik Sundström and Tom Steen.

Points Per Game Post Season
Currently, #77 NHL Post Season All Time Points Per Game with 0.862

Comparatively, in the 0.700-0.600 PS PPG you find Bobby Smith, Yvan Cournoyer, Frank Mahovlich and Alex Delvecchio

#11 among active players in the Post Season behind Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Nikita Kucherov, Phil Kessel, Jason Spezza and Logan Couture and ahead of Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar as the only other players in the top 100

#6 among Swedes all time in the Post Season behind Peter Forsberg, Mats Näslund, Mats Sundin, Kent Nilsson, Henrik Zetterberg

Points Regular Season
Currently #123 All Time NHL Regular Season Points with 873

#11 among active players, behind Anze Kopitar, Jason Spezza, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Kane, Eric Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and ahead of Ilya Kovalchuk and Phil Kessel who are the only other active players ranked in the top 150.

#7 All Time among Swedish players in the Regular Season behind Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg and Peter Forsberg and ahead of Markus Näslund and Tomas Sandström as the only other Swedish players ranked in the top 150.

+76 to reach the current Regular Season Top 100 All Time and tie with Vincent Lecavalier’s 949, passing Dennis Maruk, Bill Barber, Peter Forsberg, Owen Nolan, Butch Goring, Peter Bondra, Brad Park, Ray Ferraro, Tony Amonte, Scott Stevens, Gary Roberts, Bobby Orr, Pavel Datsyuk, Neal Broten, Brad Richards, Steve Thomas, Jason Arnott, Chris Chelios but is also dependent on the points accumulation of Patrick Kane, Ryan Getzlaf, Jason Spezza and Anze Kopitar who are also vying for a stop in the top 100. This requires a 0.95 pace over 80 games, or just below Backstrom’s career average to date.

+127 to reach the 1,000 points milestone in the Regular Season, which would currently be good enough for 89th all time and also passing Rick Tocchet, Larry Robinson, Kirk Muller, Henrik Zetterberg, Maurice Richard, Shane Doan, Andy Bathgate, Dave Keon, Rick Middleton and Paul Kariya as well as everyone listed above for the climb into the Top 100 and dependent in relation to the pace of all the current players listed above as well as Eric Staal who is the only other current player aiming for the 1,000 point milestone. This is a 0.793 PPG pace over two 80 game seasons which should be achievable at Backstrom’s current career pace.

Points Post Season
Currently, Tied #81 NHL Post Season All Time Points with 106 (Joe Mullen, Kevin Stevens)

#9 among active players all time in the post season behind Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and ahead of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejcí, Logan Couture, Justin Williams and Joe Pavelski as the only other active players to reach the 100 points milestone.

#4 among Swedes all time in the Post Season behind Nicklas Lidström, Peter Forsberg, Henrik Zetterberg

+20 to reach the current Post Season Top 100 All Time and tie with Maurice Richard and teammate Alexander Ovechkin at 126 passing Patrik Eliáš, Brad Park, Jeremy Roenick, Brian Bellows, Chris Pronger, Henrik Zetterberg, Ken Linseman, Bobby Clarke, Dino Ciccarelli, Bernie Geoffrion, Frank Mahovlich, Dale Hunter, Scott Stevens, Sergei Zubov, Joe Nieuwendyk, Daniel Briere, John Tonelli, Bernie Nicholls, Pavel Datsyuk, Rick Tocchet, Rod Brind’Amour, Dickie Moore, Craig Janney, Geoff Courtnall, Bill Barber, Steve Thomas, Rick MacLeish while dependent on the post season points pace of Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Kane above Backstrom and Patrice Bergeron, David Krejcí Logan Couture
Justin Williams and Joe Pavaleski as the only active other players to reach the 100 points milestone in the post season who are also seeking a spot in the top 100 all time. Twenty points would take between 23 and 24 post-season games to achieve at Backstrom’s current PS PPG rate

Assists Per Game Regular Season
Currently, Tied 20th All Times NHL Regular Seasons Assists Per Game with 0.717 (Evgeni Malkin)

Comparatively in the 0.750-0.700 APG you find Dale Hawerchuk, Bobby Clarke, Craig Janney, Joe Sakic, Mike Bossy, Ray Bourque, Denis Savard, Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier, Guy Lafleur, Steve Yzerman, and Denis Potvin

Tied #2 among active players with Malkin, behind only Sidney Crosby for APG rate and above Ryan Getzlaf, Patrick Kane and Erik Karlsson in the top 50 APG of all time with a similar number of games played so far.

#3 All Time among Swedish players, behind Peter Forsberg and Kent Nilsson and better than Erik Karlsson as the only other Swedish player in the Top 50.

Assists Per Game Post Season

Assists Regular Season
Currently, Tied #68 All Times NHL Regular Seasons Assists with 642 (Martin St. Louis)

#4 among active players in the Regular Season behind Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf and ahead of Patrick Marleau, Evgeni Malkin, Jason Spezza and Patrick Kane as the only other active players in the top 100 All time

#6 All Time among Swedish players in the Regular Season behind Nicklas Lidström, Henrik Sedin, Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Daniel Sedin and ahead of Börje Salming, Peter Forsberg and Henrik Zetterberg as the only other Swedes in the Top 100.

+59 to reach the 700 Assists Milestone in the Regular Season, currently good enough for 54th all time passing Dave Andreychuk, Brendan Shanahan, Dale Hunter, Sergei Fedorov, Henri Richard, Brad Park, Ray Whitney, Bobby Smith, Jarome Iginla, Brett Hull, Daniel Sedin, Bobby Orr and Martin St. Louis but is also dependent on the Assists accumulation of Ryan Getzlaf who is the only other current player aiming for the 1,000 point milestone. This is a 0.7375 APG pace over 80 games or slightly better than Backstrom’s career average so it might be a bit of a stretch to reach this season.

+71 to reach the current Regular Season Top 50 all time, tying Daniel Alfredsson with 713 assists, passing Scott Stevens, Jean Beliveau and Jeremy Roenick as well as still being dependent on Getzlaf’s Assists production. This is a 0.44 APG over two 80 game seasons which should be easily achievable at Backstrom’s current career pace.

Assists Post Season
Currently, Tied #53 All Times NHL Regular Seasons Assists with 70 (Geoff Courtnall, Jonathan Toews)

Tied #6 among active players in the post season with Toews and behind Patrick Kane, Joe Thornton, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby

#3 among Swedes all time in the post season behind Nicklas Lidström and Peter Forsberg

+5 to reach the 75 post season assists milestone, tying John Tonelli, Steve Larmer and Mike Bossy
+6 to reach the current Post Season Top 50 all time, tying Dale Hunter, Phil Esposito and Guy Lafleur at #48 with 76 assists
passing Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Scott Gomez, Bernie Nicholls, Peter Stastny, Brian Rafalski, Pavel Datsyuk, Brian Bellows, Geoff Courtnall as well as still being dependent on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as well as possibly David Krejcí in Assists production as the only other active players chasing the 75 assists milestone and Top 50 at the moment.
Six Assists would take between 10 and 11 post-season games to achieve at Backstrom’s current PS APG rate

Goals Per Game Regular Season
Currently, Tied #376 All Times NHL Regular Seasons Goals Per Game with 0.258 (Ryan Kesler, Mel Bridgman, Marco Sturm, Fredrik Modin, Billy Harris)

Comparatively in the 0.260-0240 GPG you also find Alex Tanguay, Bob Pulford, Mike Knuble, Bobby Rousseau, Jean-Pierre Dumont, Bryan Smolinski, Benoit Hogue, Bryan Little, Brad Boyes, Marc Savard, Cliff Koroll, Adam Oates and Ray Bourque. It’s better than Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Alexander Steen who are also in the Top 100 while being just behind Andrew Ladd, Chris Kunitz, David Backes, Joe Thornton, Loui Eriksson and Ryan Getzlaf who fall outside of the Top 350.

Goals Regular Season
Currently, tied #356 All Times NHL Regular Seasons Goals with 231 (Ed Westfall, Billy Harris)

#46 among active players, ahead of James van Riemsdyk, Patric Hörnqvist, Jordan Staal and Evander Kane in the top 50

#18 All Time among Swedish players, behind Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Markus Näslund, Tomas Sandström, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg, Ulf Dahlen, Nicklas Lidström, Tom Steen, Kent Nilsson, Mats Näslund, Peter Forsberg, Loui Eriksson, Tomas Holmström, Alexander Steen, Bobby Nystrom and Fredrik Modin

+19 to reach the 250 Goals Milestone, good enough to tie Eric Nesterenko currently at #301
+20 to reach the current Top 300 All time to Mats Näslund with 251 goals
passing Lucien Deblois, Alexei Zhamnov, Peter Forsberg, Doug Mohns, Tony Granato, Brian Leetch, Yanic Perreault, Craig Simpson, Cy Denneny, Steve Vickers, Bobby Rousseau, Max Bentley, Esa Tikkanen, Jamie Langenbrunner, Mike Ricci, Tomas Holmström, Jere Lehtinen, Marco Sturm, Martin Havlát, Tiger Williams, Martin Rucínský, Mike Krushelnyski, Busher Jackson, Henrik Sedin, Rob Blake, Mike Sillinger, Al MacAdam, Bob Gainey, Eddie Shack, Alexander Semin, Jean-Paul Parise, Mike Murphy, Barry Pederson, Doug Wilson, Nick Libett, Jeff O’Neill, Michael Ryder, Syd Howe, Harry Watson, Paul Henderson, Bobby Nystrom, Sergei Samsonov, Mark Napier, Tom Fergus, Toe Blake, Joe Murphy, Mickey Redmond and Fredrik Modin but is also dependent on the Goals accumulation of Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, Tomáš Plekanec, Claude Giroux, Alexander Steen, Logan Couture, Blake Wheeler, Wayne Simmonds, Jeff Skinner, Loui Eriksson, David Backes, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Ladd and Bobby Ryan who are all targeting the 250 Goals Milestone and a place in the Top 300 All time
0.250 GPG pace over 80 games is generally Backstrom’s career average

Historically, is this enough?

In the context of where Backstrom falls historically and within his contemporaries are these numbers good enough for the HOF in-and-of themselves without considering the symbiotic relationship with Ovechkin for most of Backstrom’s career?

Is 800 points enough? Probably not. Backstrom’s there with just shy of a point-per-game pace and he’s not probably considered HOF material at the moment.
900? He should reach that this coming season, but he would still be outside of the top-100 all time.
1,000? He should reach that next season with the Caps if he’s extended, and maybe with maintaining a near point-per-game rate and his current post-season points production having already reached the 100 point milestone along with winning a Stanely Cup that could be enough.
1,100? It could be reached three seasons, more likely four from now if he remains healthy and maintains something similar to his career pace and strengthens the argument HOF status, however, three years out becomes difficult to project the Caps roster, personal health and more.

Are 600 Assists enough? Probably not. Again, Backstrom is already there with an APG rate of over 0.700. Especially if the perception is that Ovi is driving his assists production.
700? It could be reached this season if he manages to just slightly better his career average but it’s still not top-50 all time and might not be enough to shake the Ovechkin shadow even with probably the 75 assists milestone in the post season for a spot in the Top-50 and having won a Stanely Cup.
800? It could be reached three season and would represent just shy of Top-30 All time production. That’s probably getting into the realm of Backstrom’s playmaking standing on its own.

Is 200 goals enough for a playmaker? No one even cares about goals for Backstrom with where he ranks right now.
250? It could be reached this season if he manages to just slightly better his career average and probably then begins to open up the conversation into his versatility which could begin to de-emphasize the focus on his playmaking to Ovechkin.
300? It could be reached mostly likely four season from now if he remains healthy and maintains something similar to his career pace and would pass a significant number of well known players long the way to nearing a spot in the Top-200 all time and solidify him as an impactful in his own right and not just Ovi’s setup man.

If i had to guess, Backy’s contributions outside of Ovi goals make up a significant portion of his points production despite the perception that all Backy does is set up Ovi. And, depending on both player’s usage in the coming seasons there might be even more evidence of that if they continue to play on separate lines for any amount of time.

Although I cannot pull up the individual stats for these assumptions, so far in Backy’s career, it seems likely guys like Green and Carlson probably not only racked up goals on their own, but also tallied assists because of Backy’s vision during the powerplay in distributing the puck. And, that the goal scoring of guys like MoJo, TJ, Brower, Vrana and others are impacted by Backy’s vision in being able to feed them the puck in all situations as well.

By looking at how many of Backy’s assists were leading to points generation by players other than Ovi it should be able to provide some separation in order to evaluate Backy’s contributions outside of Ovi’s greatness. Sure, how much of giving those guys all opportunities to gain points is on Backy versus how much space Ovi opens up by being the primary focus of opposing defenses could still be an argument, but in general, if you take Ovi out of the points generation equation there’s probably more of an impact on the team overall that what’s normally credited to Backy. It’s an open question as to if the non-Ovi contribution is enough to equate to HOF numbers by themselves. It’s probably not a fair evaluation to weight Backy’s non Ovi numbers as heavily, but it’s one I’m sure a number of HOF voters ask themselves when considering Backy as a player versus the perceived symbiotic relationship between Backy and Ovi.

Effects of Contemporaries at Center

For Backy the issue of how he fits into the HOF discussion is affected by more than just Ovi’s accomplishments being associated with him as a negative, it’s also that he’s playing at a time when there are other centers that are not only elite, but also considered generational by fans and the media. When you’re in a timeframe that includes Centers the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Getzlaf, Toews, plus Kopitar, Stamkos, Taveres, who also appear on the All-Time lists with you, as well as up-and-comers like Conner McDavid and Auston Matthews who are trending such that they should appear there too, there’s going to be a different level of scrutiny to where you fit into the discussion.

Over time, it also changes the discussion to a career body of work by generating high volumes over a long career, like Joe Thorton or Patrick Marleau, who are also somewhat contemporaries, such that it’s how your accomplishments compare to players putting up similar types of numbers in any given season and with comparable career lengths.

Meaning, is being the forth, fifth, or even sixth best center in any given season during one’s career good enough in any era to make it into the Hall of Fame regardless of how the career numbers shake out? Maybe not, because that’s probably merely good but not elite. But, what if an era’s top-five centers are historically prolific as the center from Backstrom’s era? Does playing at the same time as a generational talent like Crosby change the was good and elite then are perceived. What about comparatively to a Getzlaf who looks like he will end up with similar career numbers, or Malkin and Toews, change how his legacy is perceived if they are considered probably HOF players with similar types of career numbers? That’s definitely the type of thing some HOF voters are likely to try and weigh from both a statistical and emotional standpoint.

Personally, I think where someone like Backy shines here is his ability to mitigate competing elite center’s impact on the game. He’s shut down the best of the best in big games throughout his career. His ability to go power-on-power when paired with Ovi or go pure shutdown when paired away from him is something to behold and a place where the advanced metrics that support his skills haven’t quite caught up to a portion of the HOF voters or the even the general public’s perception on how to evaluate and rank players. If there was some numerical glory in being able to stifle the opposition’s top players in the same way there is in the ability to generate points then the public conversation might be different.

Basically, that’s the long way around saying I think Backy probably is HOF material and there’s plenty of good arguments for why he should be in there that can be both based on emotions and on facts. Unfortunately even if it should be fairly cut and dry that Backy is HOF material he’s likely not a shoe in yet, and might not ever be, because the facts most voters tend to use are limited in what they tell and there’s still a lot of dictated by emotion when it comes to the HOF to begin with.

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Furthering why I don’t support the Skins

Personally, I have so many problems with the National Football League in general, such as how it continues to fumble the issue of domestic violence, how it underthrows its support for player health by downplaying the effects of CTE and other issues, how it tries to do an end-around rather than addressing it’s systemic problems with racism, how poorly it’s rule book is understood even by it’s own officials resulting in unnecessary controversies, how it let itself become a political football for a political party looking for social wedge issues, that my fandom was already on weak footing without the ongoing issues with the franchise I grew up supporting.

And, that franchise has plenty of issues of its own. Each one more inescapable than the next in terms of the absolute asininity underlying the washout that is Washington football.

Case in point?

They added London Fletcher into their Ring of Honor. And, as part of this obvious publicity stunt the franchise managed to misspell his name.

It’s a microcasm of everything that’s been wrong with the Dan Snyder era since it began two decades ago.

And, yet, despite all that’s wrong with the current incarnation of the Washington franchise there are still fans defending both Snyder and this faux pas. Believe it or not.

The Dan Snynder era overall losing record isn’t enough. The losing records for NFL showcase properties like Monday Night Football, Thursday games, Thanksgiving and more aren’t enough. The franchise routinely finds ways to break, or worse, create, records around losing apparently isn’t enough either.

Sure, Washington during the Snyder era has not sunk into winlessness the same as the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns, or even the just slightly less embarrassing 2000 San Diego Chargers, 2001 Carolina Panthers, 2007 Miami Dolphins, 2009 St. Louis Rams, 2016 Cleveland Browns as well as whatever the current incarnation of the Dolphins have to offer for this season and that’s why all the losing in Washington sometimes goes overlooked the way it does.

Which is probably why Snynder’s lastest stink-pot of a team effort on Monday Night being coupled with the farce of a London Fletcher tribute didn’t have as many detractors as you might expect.

Rather surprisingly it had its defenders!

I still pay attention to Washington football because it’s still a part of DC sports culture and, thus, difficult to get away from, but it’s moments like this where one almost doesn’t want to get away as it’s like watching a slow motion train wreck.

Reading about the comments hurt my head. And, it seriously just wasn’t a single site’s treasure trove of trolling either. Everywhere I went following links on the story there were fans defending Dan Snyder. And, not just “oh spelling errors happen” by people who think it’s quaint because even the leader of the free world doesn’t know how to use spell check. Or, even people perpetuating the notation that Fletcher’s time in Washington warrants a place in the Ring despite both not being the best player on the Skins during his tenure and that his best individual seasons had coming with other franchises, specifically St. Louis, who have not honored him yet for those accomplishments.

Nope, these were special kinds of Skins fans who were outright defending Dan Snyder, claiming the problems the team faces aren’t of his own making.

As difficult as it may be to believe there are actually DC fans that legit like Dan.

Dan Synder, the owner who fancies himself to be in the mold of tinkerers like Jerry Jones and George Steinbrenner without having ever won a championship, or even come close, though his efforts like those two have.

Dan Snyder, the owner who desperately wants to be spoken about in the vein of someone like Robert Kraft in terms of influence and ability to wield a team as a brand while he himself is tanking a once fabled brand.

Dan Snyder, the owner who’s interest in profits often comes at the expense of the fan experience. This is same owner who decided to begin charging fans to attend Training Camp, a traditionally free experience throughout the league. The same owner that continually downgrades the Season Ticket experience by removing perks while constantly raising prices to watch a team that isn’t winning. This is the same owner that attempts to nickle and dime every amenity at FedEx field by creating an upcharge for things that would normally be free or nominally priced in other stadiums. This is the same owner that changes a premium over the league average for branded merchandise and stamps the Washington brand on anything and everything in a Gene Simmons from Kiss level of exploitation.

Dan Snyder, the owner who seems to hold massive discontent for the DMV region the fanbase resides in by routinely talking down about it. The same owner who unceremoniously sold the naming rights to Jack Kent Cooke Stadium allowing the memorial naming to be completely abolished and reverting the branded Raljon zip code to revert back to the non-descript Landover naming in what came across as erasing the former owner’s local legacy. The same owner that has tried to hold the State of Maryland hostage over public funds to support the team and during his tenure, and threatened to move the team several times in order to try and extort support from the City of DC, the State of MD and the State of VA to try and pay for a new stadium, make unnecessary renovations to the existing stadium, build new practice facilities, and more.

Dan Synder, who’s franchise is one of the least engaged in philanthropy in the NFL as well as the lone franchise in the DC area not to actively participate in the betterment of the community in which the fanbase resides.

Then again, this is the same Dan Snyder that created that oft-times awful on-field experience by meddling in personnel decisions.

Dan Synder, the owner who insisted the team contract overpriced, underperforming, over-the-hill has-beens like Albert Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb, Deion Sanders, Jeff George, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter, Bruce Smith, Brandon Lloyd, Mark Carrier, Antwaan Randle El, Christian Fauria, Adrian Murrell and Mark Brunell to name a few who did nothing to make the team better and, in some cases, actively made it worse. The same owner that was determined to overpay Kirk Cousins by slapping the franchise tag him multiple times and then letting go of him for nothing. The same owner that insisted letting an injured RGIII, and others, play which basically prematurely ended several careers. The same owner who’s meddling in the draft produced picks like Patrick Ramsey, Taylor Jacobs, Rod Gardner, LaRon Landry, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis over potential stars like Anquan Boldin, Santana Moss, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darrelle Revis, Adrian Peterson, Brandon Flowers, DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice and others who might have helped save some seasons of mediocrity.

Dan Snyder, the owner who’s inability to correctly manage the on field situation himself or hire front office staff with even the remote ability to do it also resulted in the lack of workman like blue collar players in mundane positions that also happen to be linchpins to successful teams. Case in point, the lack of an offensive line that’s been a persistent problem for the team over his entire tenure, particularly at center where several pro-bowl worthy players could have been drafted or picked up in Free Agency instead of some of the busts the franchise continues to produce. But that’s merely an extension of how poorly managed the offense has been in the first place, producing an extravagant nineteen QBs including underwhelming performances by the likes of Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Danny Weurffel, Todd Collins, John Beck and Rex Grossman in addition to the busts previously mentioned. And, it doesn’t stop on offense, as the defensive line has been bereft of consistent talent for two decades now.

Dan Snyder, the same owner whose incessant involvement produced a head coaching carousel so cringeworthy that the act of being involved became known as being Snydered. He was active in the hiring of Steve Spurrier, Mike Shanahan and Jim Zorn who were unable to produce winning records but stuck around longer than necessary while also being quick to fire the only coaches that came close to winning records like Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner as well as as helping run Joe Gibbs out of town after bringing him back in a desperate attempt to trade on the legend’s past successes. And that’s not even touching on the Gregg Williams saga. Or any of the other coaching positions that suffered the same incongruity.

Dan Snyder, the same owner who’s nepotistic front office hiring procedures produces nothing more than inexperienced yes-men that enable some of Synder’s worst tendencies. It’s rarely about how is qualified or even talented as much as it is about finding a Vinny-me as it were. Vinny Cerrato was merely the highest profile example of Synder’s tendency to insulate himself from internal critics. When Synder did seem to make a good hire, like Scot McCloughan, it didn’t last long and resulted a rare General Manager-less franchise and a team that struggled to produce a “too good to draft high but too shitty to make the playoffs” 7-9 record. Seems about right for a Synder led endeavor.

Nope, none of that seems to matter. These fans love Dan.

They assure me that Dan Snyder will fire whomever spelled Fletcher’s name incorrectly.

They assure me that Synder is not trying to profiteer off of Fletcher’s legacy by adding him into the ring in the first.

They assure me that the blowout loss that accompanied the ceremony was an aberration despite consistently giving up 32-31-31 in the first three weeks while simultaneously consistently reducing their offense’s output 27-21-15.

They assure me that those first three losses are not indicative of how the season will go under Synder’s leadership despite the franchise now being 0-3 as the only NFC team without a win so far this season (to be fair, the AFC has more than its fair share in Miami, the Jets, Bronco, Bangles and Steelers).

They assure me that the Adrian Peterson so-called controversy is behind them; there won’t be a quarterback merry-go-round between Case Keenun, Dwayne Haskins and Colt McCoy; and that Head Coach Jay Gruden isn’t on the hot seat, yet.

They even go so far to assure me that Synder’s latest doubling down on the franchise’s controversial name after the results of polling firm Wolvereye seemed to imply that Native American’s are proud of the use of the Redskins name.

I call bullshit on this.

The people involved in the Fletcher misspelling should be removed from public relations and events marketing for the franchise. Seems like the obvious thing to do.

You know what else would be good to go with that? Maybe not trying to downplay the mistake in the first place and offer a genuine and heartfelt apology. Then again, the ceremony itself was hardly heartfelt and genuine in the first place which is probably how a misspelling slips through.

So, instead of having to put out the PR fire of messing up an honored player’s name maybe not patronize players who spend the waning days of their career performing admirably simply by just fulfilling the basics of their job description on team that otherwise performed pretty poorly by adding them to the Ring of Honor in order to sell some extra merch.

Because, what really happened Monday night was a money-grab, not an honorable ceremony. Merch prices were jacked up not just for Fletcher, but for everything and a shit-tonne of newly branded Fletcher and related Ring of honor player paraphernalia was released.

And, of course the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony was overshadowed by the reality that the team is potentially worse now than it was during Fletcher’s tenure which was one of the only reasons a pre-retirement Fletcher was the centerpiece of the franchise in the first place. If fans are so wrapped up in being blown out in prime time they won’t recognize the fraud that is putting Fletcher’s name on the ring in the first place.

Of course, that kind of loss coupled with Fletcher makes for some good nostalgia, so why not buy some merch. Remember, it’s only available for a limited time before the next special edition stuff comes out over the holidays. Someone will buy it to help them forget about another losing season with Snyder at the helm.

And, I’m pretty sure the suckers buying this crap up are the same ones celebrating Synder on the message boards… and that sentiment is why I’m only a fan insomuch as watching the slow motion train wreck of a franshise.

Posted in Opinion, sports commentary | Leave a comment

Debunking Huckester Huckabee’s hack of skateboarder deaths

It really hurts my brain to listen to conservative pundits like Mike Huckabee attempt to engage in social issue conversations. In the old days, conservatives and liberals generally agreed on the existence of problem but disagreed on the policy tactics to potentially solve it. That’s not where we generally are now. the debate is if problems are even problems in the first place. If you cannot agree something is even a problem than there’s no way to even discuss potential solutions.

That’s because a lot of time in the past there was some general agreement about the research itself. It was generally understood that even though there was some partisan bias that could come from research, the underlying data and scientific methods used to obtain it were mostly treated as neutral. There just wasn’t the kind of debate about the data that you see today with the anti-science movement of post-‘Counter-Enlightenment’ beliefs like anti-evolution, climate change deniers, anti-environmentalists, pro-frackers/drillers/pipeliners, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, chemtrailers, anti-cosmology, anti-abortifact movement (anti-abortion as it pertains to contraception) and related women’s health issues and so on; or that happens when the right refuses to even collect data on firearm related deaths, police violence and systemic bias in law enforcement, social issue impacts such as hate crimes related to racism, gender, sexual identity, or minority religious beliefs, and a willing to yield to corporate interests on issues related to prescription drugs (enabling of the opioid crisis, for example), genetic modification, and plastics in the environment (the hot button new issues is the pro-plastic straw movement on the right).

These days, in the current incarnation of opinion based news shows the tactic is generally more about appealing to truthiness, what in one’s gut “feels” correct, as opposed to what the data suggests which results not in policy debates but a questioning of the validity of the data itself. And, while it’s not unique to the conservative viewpoint, liberals do it to (I’m looking at you anti-nuclear power people), it’s an extremely popular viewpoint among those on the right.

One popular way to undermine the research is to produce strings of false equivalencies and related bad debate tactics based on personal, emotional perceptions that appeal to those skeptical of research and data itself. There’s few places more susceptible to this than among the conservative media and Mike Huckabee is no exception with his contributions on Fox.

And that’s where Huckabee is trying to go with this garbage Tweet he made about taking skateboards away from skaters as a way to avoid the “dozens killed” and “thousands injured” via skateboarding in response to Beto suggesting he would support a buyback and ban of specific lightweight semi-automatic rifles which, on face value, is not that much different from The Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act or Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that was a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which before it was allowed to expire was a very successful piece of legislation in reducing a specific type of firearm fatality.

On face value this is a stupid argument between a tool that’s primary use is transportation that occasionally results in accidental death and a tool that’s sole purpose is to maim or kill. Sure, skateboarding goes beyond transportation to a form of artistic expression which rises to the level of sports competition at times – but that’s an extension of it’s primary use being that of getting from point a to point b. Meanwhile, in the occasion guns are not being used specifically to maim or kill the utility is the practice of using the tool in a manner, or means, to better hone the craft of maiming or killing and/or demonstrate the ability to potentially maim or kill by focusing on a proxy, such as a target, so the practice or sport occurs to demonstrate the end result without the assumed immediate injury or death being left in the aftermath.

There’s a big difference between skateboarding and the use of a fire arm in its intended state or the practicing the use of a firearm in a controlled setting with what the underlying intent of the activity is to be better at using the fire arm in its intended state. More simply, one doesn’t skate with the intent to cause death but one does shoot or practice shooting with the “intent” cause “death.” It’s really tough to argue around that, though, I’m positive someone will tell me that target practice isn’t about killing it’s about aiming — but, why else are you aiming except the original intent of aiming over and over again was to be more accurate in killing when the time came. Full stop.

Returning to skating tough, The Public Skateparks Researchers, an advocacy group for riders, there have been been 40 and 50 skateboarding related deaths each year over the last decade. So, Huckabee is indeed correct in his quote for deaths.

However the number of deaths is out of context.

According to PSR, on average, more than 70% of the deaths over that time frame occur due to incidents involving motor vehicles. This is especially noteworthy because more than half the deaths include long boarders versus motor vehicles and the long board’s primary use is transportation according the PSR as well as surveys conducted among skaters by mags like Thrasher. These are instances where the motor vehicle and the skateboarder are sharing the road for its intended purpose, getting from point a to point b.

Furthermore, an additional 10-15% of the annual deaths were from incidents involving other forms of personal transportation including, but not limited to, bicycles, scooters and pedestrians. Similar to with motor vehicles the incidents generally involved long boarders using roads, sidewalks and other transportation paths to get from point a to point b and intersecting with others using the paths for the same intent.

When looking at injuries there are a number of different data sources, so while the raw numbers are generally all over the place depending on the collection methods the overall trends, or groupings of incident are somewhat similar. For Huckabee on this point his hyperbole of “thousands injured” is actually an understatement. But, that’s not a reason to celebrate. His point, even getting the volume wrong, is as an extension of deaths to demonstrate the inherent danger of skating, is still easily debunked.

As we’re looking at numbers they range from about 98,000 treated in hospital emergency rooms according to PSR research to about 107,000 sustaining injuries requiring insurance outlays by an industry audit estimate and as high as 127,000 a year according to the National Safety Council’s research. The NSC’s number places Skateboard injuries 10th on it’s overall ranking nearly equal to trampoline injuries, almost 25% below bat-and-ball sports, and less than half of trackable injuries due to gridiron Football.

So, skating is about transportation related issues first and foremost and, injuries from collisions with motor vehicles dominate the data, as you would expect, while incidents involving other forms of personal transportation are among the most next most frequent. The same instances that cause death are generally the top reasons for injury as well.

The research doesn’t speak in much detail about “fault” meaning we don’t know if it’s the skater, or the other party involved, or both, or some coincidence that neither had control over, that created the accident situation, just that the incident between the two occurred and the skater was injured or died.

Nor do we know what, if any, protective gear the skater may, or may not, have been wearing. The effects of protective gear, however, are generally understood as it pertains to normal circumstances, such as falling, and relatively speaking very little gear is designed to sustain a user under the blunt force trauma of a 3,000 lb or great vehicle colliding with them even at slow speeds.

And, it’s important to note that much of the research is highly dependent on how local jurisdictions categorize incidents on skateboards. Believe it or not, skateboard related injuries are more likely to be noted by law enforcement and insurance claims as “pedestrian” than HPV (“Human Powered Vehicle”) which can obviously also skew some of the raw numbers.

However, what’s notable is these are all accidental deaths and injury on skateboards that occur in a similar manner to other forms of transportation. There’s actually not much special about skateboarder deaths as compared to normal motor vehicle accidents, or accidents including bicycles, or scooters, or with pedestrians, etc.

To put this into perspective in NYC alone there were 19 cyclist deaths so far in 2019 according to the NYPD. The national numbers are obviously higher though sources differ on citing the exact numbers for both but NHTSB estimates for 2018 were 765, relatively flat to the 777 for the year before and down slightly from a peak of 840 the year before. The last tabulation for injuries readily available was 45,000 reported to NTSB in 2015 while some cyclist advocacy groups using emergency room reporting data have found the numbers to be closer to 200,000 and estimates of serious but not reported injuries in the most broad of definitions pushes a half million.

However, as you would expect, the majority of the bicycle deaths are motor vehicle related accidents, similar to skateboarding. The percentages vary between 62-75% And, incidents with other forms of personal transportation make up a large percentage of what’s left, again similar to skateboarding in the 10-15% range.

Comparatively, in NYC there were 70 pedestrian deaths so far in 2019 according to the NYPD. Nationally, 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic related accidents in 2018 which was a 30 year NHTSB high. Non-NHTSB qualifying deaths of pedestrians is more difficult to come by but some attempts by pedestrian advocacy groups place the deaths only slightly higher based on local reporting of deaths that fall outside of NHTSB defined criteria.

So, what we’re really talking about is personal transportation related deaths overall since the instances of death are relatively low both in raw numbers and relative percentages.

In that case, why pick out skateboards over, say, scooters, or bikes, or people walking? Or even cars.

Well, we know why it’s not cars. Because motor vehicles are highly regulated. There are registration laws on who can legally own them. There are separate licensing laws on who can legally operate. There are separate insurance laws dictating for both owners and operators what their obligations are. And, there are manufacturing and distribution laws that set minimum. Furthermore, there are laws intersecting all of these that define the correct operation of them to which both operators have to abide by, owers have a fiduciary responsibility to uphold and manufacturers and distributors are also held accountable to.

But in terms of other forms of transportation, there are laws and related regulation that touch on all of them, including skateboarding, although none are nearly as comprehensive as that of motor vehicles.

But more importantly to Huckster’s perception is likely a lot of skateboarding related laws have proven to be controversial. For instance, may anti-skateboarding laws do little to protect boarders themselves but rather protect communities from that of which is perceived as the stereotype of skateboarding as a nuisance. This is, in part, because skater scenes are perceived to be a part of youth counter culture and therefor treated with some of the same mainstream cultural disdain as that of scenes like punk and hip hop which also heavily intersect the skater community. Within skating there was a whole anti-law enforcement movement around the “Skateboarding is not a Crime” banner in order to combat the misconceptions about skaters being destructive, reckless and impolite.

Who knows how the Huckster’s mind works but it’s likely this reason of persecution that made him compare skating to gun ownership. Furthermore, maybe, he perceives skateboarders as being rebellious type to social norms like gun owners. Maybe, he even misconstrues the death and injury numbers in specific instances as being comparable to that of the raw skater numbers and hopes no of the other issues are bought up.

Addressing the last point first, since it is the most obvious, so far in 2019 there have been 19 mass shootings resulting in 51 deaths by the most restrictive definition. Sure looks like mass shootings are no worse than skateboarding.

Except, skaters volunteered to participate in an activity, an accident that is partially beyond their control occurred, and they were injured or died. Meanwhile, in these types of shooting incidents innocent people are being massacred through no choice of their own by someone using a tool designed to kill for its purpose of killing.

And, that narrow definition of mass shootings only works because it creates a similar number of deaths to skateboarding. However, 270 mass shootings resulting in 335 deaths using the more broad definition – on that even Wikipedia references using FBI and related firearm data. The comparison takes on a whole different skew when viewed through this more broad definition.

The significant majority of those who died in the narrow definition were the victims of lightweight semi-automatic rifles while it’s closer to a simple majority in the broader one.

This isn’t just a discussion about firearms in general, but rather, more specifically a specific subset of firearms and how they are being used.

This isn’t including murders in general, just a specific type of murder. Nor does it include accidental death, suicide, murder attempts that result in only injury, or anything else.

Thus these aren’t accidents like a car accidentally hitting a skateboarder resulting in the skater’s death due to personal negligence or other circumstance by either the car or the skater. These are incidents where the sole intent of the gun user was to maim or kill the victim. Neither a car nor a skateboard is technically designed to maim or kill anyhow, they are both modes of transportation where a circumstance other than successful transport occurred, but a gun generally is intended to maim or kill and specifically that’s the sole specific use of lightweight semi-automatic rifles is exactly that.

The reality here is that you wouldn’t be confiscating skateboards to reduce transportation deaths in general as some from of transportation accidents would continue to occur as skaters switched to other replacement forms of transportation, all you would do is limit the already low number of skate related deaths. However, instituting a lightweight semi-automatic rifles buyback and ban would eliminate a very specific type of mass death because there are very few tools available to those who want to commit mass death available to them to replace the lightweight semi-automatic rifles. While those who want to create that type of havoc can find ways to do it, it’s hightly unlikely a knife murder is going to accumulate the same numbers, it’s fairly unlikely a hand gun would do it as well, and so on. This isn’t speculation as there are stats to reference during the last national gun band to reference: mass murders went down compared to the data set preceding it. mass murders went up in the data set following the lapse of the band. full stop.

Posted in business commentary, Opinion, personal musings | Leave a comment

Ovechkin Watch: the 2019-2020 season milestones

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals or not, this season if you are a hockey fan or have any respect for sports achievements you are going to want to watch what happens with the man of many nicknames and Washington Capitals Captain, simply known by all a Ovi, or if you prefer: Ov8chkin, the Great 8, the Russian Machine, 8)))), Alexander the Great, O-V-8…

Why?

Because Ovechkin is poised to leave an indelible mark on some pretty substantial records over the course of this season.

How big of a deal is it for what Ovechkin’s doing?

There’s only really a handful of other active players that appear on multiple all time leader boards in the analysis below and only a handful of retired players overall that appear on nearly all the same ones Ovi does. Ovechkin is not merely elite. It might even be an understatement to call him generational. When he is breaking these records he is helping re-define what All Time means. There really hasn’t been a player since the 2004-lockout, or even the proceeding few draft classes, to come close to the types of milestones Ovi has set so far and his current contract isn’t even up yet.

Remember too, Ovechkin is accomplishing these feats in i) the post “third-expansion era” where the league was at 30+ teams so the talent is more spread out ii) where the league was under a salary cap designed to create parity rather than super-star laden teams iii) during the “dead puck era” where the league scoring was sustained under well 3gpg, in part because of an emphasis on defensive schemes, oversized goalies and pads, smaller nets and both league and individual scoring was generally down in all situations and iv) while in the “lockout era” where he lost all, or part, of a multiple NHL seasons due to work stoppages.

He is in his age-34 season, entering his 15th year in the league in which he’s only missed a handful of games. While it’s not an iron man streak, it is in rarified air overall, and it speaks to his dependability and longevity on the ice…a feat derived from good genes and good training as well as good fortune and good instincts.

Over the course of Ovechkin’s career he’s been a highlight reel of goal scoring from all over the ice with mind-boggling consistency. If the puck reaches his tape he makes sure it finds its way toward the net at a pace few players could hope to every match. But, more than just shooting, the puck goes in at an insane rate of more than a goal every other game. One reason why is because Oveckin has a deceptively deadly shot that flutters and knuckles in the air but stays true to the target and comes in extremely hard and fast. Although he’s probably best knowing for unloading that cannon during the Power Play from the left circle (the Ovi Spot, aka Ovi’s Office, which you know it must be special to get a spot on the ice named after you) he has the ability to truly snipe it from anywhere on the ice with a deftness. He’s not just a distance shooter firing at a gatling gun rate. He still has the ability to blaze down the ice on the rush and rip off shots going under, around and through defenders using his vision, size and shear willpower. And, he’s had plenty of physics defying goals from the mouth of the crease including some lacrosse/baseball bat style in-air tip ins that look just as unreal in slo-mo.

And, although it’s overlooked, Ovi has amazing vision on the ice and is a deft playmaker when given the line mates to work with. For most of Ovechkin’s career he’s had a generational type playmaking talent at Center, in Backstrom, who is more adept at feeding Ovi the puck that trying to score himself otherwise Ovi might have more assists. Moreso, unfortunately, the duo has featured a rotating cast of opposite wingers to work with including Joey Crabb! More seriously, Chris Clark, Mike Knuble, Alex Semin, Marcus Johansson, Joel Ward, TJ Oshie and now Tom Wilson are a few who have seen their personal goal totals blossom by being fed by Ovechkin’s passing or devouring the juicy rebounds from his howitzer shot. His assists per game are impressive in-and-of themselves but it is the fact he’s among the top-three all time among guys who are considered pure goal scorers and collects apples at a rate of one assist every other game where more than a majority of them are primaries.

But, he’s not just a point producing machine. He’s a physical force to be reckoned with and can check with breathtaking ability that rivals his goal generating touch. Part of it is that he’s a tank of a human being to begin with. Part of it is that he’s faster than you’d expect for a man his size so he gets on his target quick. And, the last part is he is he plays with the mentality of a classic power forward despite being a sniper and has no issue with removing guys from the puck, or the play, in order to make more room for his shot.

However, the single most important thing is his love for the game. In sports showing emotion is frowned upon. Having a personality is considered show boating, gluttonous and unsportsmanlike. And, yet, here is Ovechkin celebrating every goal. More than 600 of them. Every win. Also more than 600 of them. Every time a team mate scores even if he didn’t assist. Every milestone. Even the ones someone else reaches. Every opportunity he can he celebrates as if he were a kid at Christmas with his toothless grin and big physical presence. His jubilation in finally helping the Caps achieve a Stanley Cup championship is probably among the top three hand-off ceremony reactions ever. His joyfulness during his many All Star Game appearances routinely stole the show. The way he speaks of the game, the team and himself routinely has a rawness to it that’s inspiring to witness with its mix of humor and introspection that defines who he is both on and off the ice. And, night in and out, he plays with his big, bountiful emotions on his sleeve as a reminder that playing in-and-of itself is supposed to be fun.

All numbers below from Hockey-Reference unless otherwise noted. And, remember, this is only the NHL Regular Season. It doesn’t include the post-season numbers (which are also becoming all-time epic) or his KHL numbers from seasons lost during work stoppages, etc.

GOALS
Currently #13 All Time NHL Regular Season Goals with 658

+33 for sole possession of 10th place with 691 passing Luc Robitaille, Teemu Selanne and Mario Lemieux; a 0.4125 GPG pace over 80 games; 15th 30 goal season ties Jaromir Jagr for 2nd most all time breaking a tie with Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, also ties Mike Gartner’s 15 consecutive season and 15 seasons to begin a career records, but two behind Gartner’s career total achieved.

+42 to reach the 700 goal milestone for 8th all time also passing Steve Yzerman and Mark Messier; a 0.525 GPG pace over 80 games; 11th 40 goal season gains sole possess of second all time breaking a tie with Dionne and Lemieux and only one behind Gretzky with 12

+50 would be just over Ovi’s career 0.6 GPG pace and enough to tie Mike Gartner for 7th all time at 708 goals; 9th 50 goal season would tie Gretzky and Bossy for first all time

Lead the League in Goals — if it happens it would be the 10th time in Ovi time resulting in his 10th Richard Rocket. Ovi has sole possession of first already and would extend his lead over Bobby Hull, with 8, for most times Leading the NHL and extend his lead for most time winning the Rocket over Pavel Bure, Jarome Iginla, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby all with two.

Interesting note: Only two players currently in the Top Ten Goal Scorers All Time did so creating the majority of their point total through goals, Mike Gartner & Brett Hull; in the Top 25 Goal Scorers the only other players in addition to Ovi are Bobby Hull and Dino Ciccarelli who created points as majority goals.

Active Players: Only Patrick Marleau (#28) is in the Top 50 All Time and reached the 500 goal milestone (551); Only four other “active” players are in the Top 100 and reached the 400 goal milestone Sidney Crosby, Ilya Kovalchuk, Eric Staal and Joe Thornton according to Quant Hockey

Goals Per Game
Currently 0.607 regular season career average

1st All Time of players with 1000+ games (ahead of Gretzky’s 0.601 career as the only other player over 0.6 with 1000 games)
4th All time of players with 500+ games behind Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Pavel Bure
6th All Time also behind Babe Dye and Cy Denneny (both born back in the 1800s and both having under 350 games each)

2nd All Time among players with 600 or more goals behind Mario Lemieux

3rd All Time among players with 500 or more goals also behind Mike Bossy

3rd All Time of players with at least 0.5 Assists Per game behind Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux

5th All Time of Players with at least 1.0 Points Per game behind Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Cy Denneny, and Pavel Bure

Lead the League in Goals Per Game — if it happens it would be the 9th time, breaking a tie with Bobby Hull for sole possession of First All Time.

Interesting Note: Most of the Top Ten in GPG All Time did so creating the majority of their point total through goals. Of the 8, Ovi joins Mike Bossy, Cy Denneny, Babe Dye, Pavel Bure, Brett Hull, Bobby Hull and Tim Kerr.

Active Players: Only Steven Stamkos is above 0.5 GPG career rate (0.527) and one of two active players in the top 25 all time along with Ilya Kovalchuk; Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both make the Top 50 and John Tavares and Vladimir Tarasenko are in the Top 100 as the only other active players over 0.4 GPG rates according to Quant Hockey

Even Strength Goals
Currently tied #14 All Time Regular Season with 407 (Jari Kurri)

+31 to reach sole possession of #10 all time with 438 passing Bobby Hull, Teemu Selanne, Luc Robitaille and Jarome Iginla; 0.387 ESGPG pace over 80 games is just slightly more career 0.375 average

Lead the League with Even Strength Goals — if it happens it would be the 5th time, good enough to tie Maurice Richard for 2nd Place All time as the NHL Regular Season Leader and passing Gordie Howe & Wayne Gretzky

Interesting Note: Ovi’s career 0.375 ESGPG rate would tie him with John Tavares’ all-situation’s goal scoring rate at #136 All Time, while is current 407 ESG would tie Marian Gaborik’s career all situations total at #92

Active Players: Only Patrick Marleau is with Ovi in the Top 30 All Time and only those two and Crosby (#58) have reached the 300 ESG milestone. The only other active players in the Top 100 are Ilya Kovalchuk and Eric Staal. For perspective Staal’s career ESG total is only 66.5% of Ovi according to Quant Hockey

Power Play Goals
Currently tied #4 All Time Regular Season with 247 (Luc Robitaille)

+9 to reach sole possession of #3 all time with 256 passing Teemu Selanne; 0.112 PPGPG pace should be fairly easy to achieve
+18 to tie Brett Hull for #2 all time with 265; 0.225 PPGPG pace is in line with his 0.227 PPGPG average

Lead the League for Power Play Goals — if it happens it would be the 7th time, extending his lead for the All Time title over Phil Esposito’s 5 times

Interesting Note: Ovi’s career 0.225 PPGPG rate would tie him with Phil Housley, Doug Weight, Don Marshall and Alexandre Burrows all-situation’s goal scoring rate at #436 All Time while his current 247 PPG would tie Brian Leetch, Yanic Perreault, Craig Simpson and Cy Denneny’s career all situations total at #310 according to Quant Hockey.

Active Players: Only Patrick Marleau (#32) is with Ovi in the Top 50 while Steven Stamkos, Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Joe Thornton, Thomas Vanek, Sidney Crosby and Eric Staal. For perspective, Staal’s PPG career total is only 51.4% of Ovi’s.

Game Winning Goals
Currently #7 with 107 All Time Regular Season (ROW only, no shoot out)

+4 to reach sole possession of #4 all time with 111 passing Brendan Shanahan, Teemu Selanne, Brett Hull; 0.05 GWGPG pace should be achievable considering his 7.6 game winning goals per season or 0.099 GWGPG career average despite how uneven the stat really is

Lead the League for Game Winning Goals — if it happens it would be the 4th time, good enough to tie Babe Dye, Gordie Howe and Guy Lafleur for 2nd Place All time as the NHL Regular Season Leader and passing Phil Esposito, Brett Hull, Cy Denneny, Bernie Geoffrion, and Dickie Moore.

Interesting Note: Ovi goals win more games than a lot of guys score in general — his current 107 GWG would place him just outside of the Top-1000 all situations All Time goal scoring list but not far behind fellow Caps Eric Fehr and John Druce’s career all-situations totals, and only a few goals behind the current all situations totals of Mats Zuccarello, Tomas Hertl, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Artemi Panarin and fellow current Capital Lars Eller according to Quant Hockey.

Active Players: Only Patrick Marleau joins Ovi in the Top Ten and having reached the 100 GWG milestone. Only other active player in the Top 50 is Jeff Carter, however in the Top 100 are Zach Parise, Evgeni Malkin, Joe Thornton, Eric Staal, Phil Kessel, Corey Perry, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Ilya Kovalchuk, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby. For perspective, Crosby’s GWG career total is only 61.6% of Ovi’s.

Shoot out Goals according to the NHL records site
Currently tied #14 All Time Goals with 33 (Corey Perry) and tied #14 All Time in Game Deciding with 13 (Rick Nash, Erik Christensen, Jussi Jokinen)

+7 for a place in the All Time Top Ten Shoot Out Goals reaching the 40 goal milestone while tying Pavel Datsyuk
+2 for sole possession of #10 SOGDG All Time with 15 passing Kris Letang, Brad Richards, Corey Perry, Radim Vrbata

Multi-goal Games
Currently #8 All Time Regular Season with 132

+11 to tie Phil Esposito for #5 All Time with 144 games, passing Mike Gartner and Marcel Dionne; Ovi has 9.4 career Multi-goal games per season or 0.122 MGGPG career average so this would be a little bit of luck as a needed 0.137 per game pace over 80 games

Interesting note: Ovi’s 132 games with multiple goals is equal to the career 132 all situations total goals scored by Bob Murray, Tony Hrkac, Patrick Eaves, Flash Hollett, Ernie Hicke and David Pastrnak which would be good enough for a tie at #840 all time all situations scoring. Knowing these are multi-goal games the minimum number of goals it represents is 264 or the same number that Nicklas Lidström, Ryan Walter, Tom Steen and Kent Nilsson scored in their careers in all situations, good enough for at tie at #263 on the All Time list.

Hat Tricks
Currently tied #10 All Time Regular Season with 23 (Jari Kurri)

+3 to tie Maurice Richard for #8 All Time with 26 passing Cy Denneny; Ovi has a career a career 1.64 Hat Tricks per season or 0.212 HTPG career average so this would be a little bit of luck as a needed 0.0375 per game pace over 80 games

Goals For on Ice
Currently #53 All Time Regular Season with 1726 goals scored while on the ice

+19 to reach the Top 50 with 1745 tying Sergei Gonchar and passing Rod Brind’Amour and Sergei Zubov. A very achievable 0.237 GFOIPG pace over 80 games

+74 to reach the 1800 milestone and sole possession of #44 All Time passing Jarome Iginla, Mathieu Schneider, Dino Ciccarelli, Pierre Turgeon as well as Patrick Marleau and Zdeno Chara who are also challenging for 1800; A likely achievable 0.925 GFOIPG pace over 80 games

+132 to reach sole possession of #40 with 1858 passing Gilbert Perreault, Doug Wilson, Mats Sundin and Rob Blake; A 1.65 GFOIPG pace which is slightly higher than the 1.59 career pace.

Lead the League in Goals For on Ice — if it happens it would be the 4th time, giving him sole possession of Third All Time passing Brian Leetch and Jaromir Jagr

Active Players: Ovi is 4th among active players behind Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Zdeno Chara, all of whom are the only active players along with Ovi to pass the 1700 milestone. The only other player in the Top-100 and reach the 1500 milestone is Sidney Crosby.

SHOTS ON GOAL
Currently #4 All Time Regular Season with 5234

+130 to reach sole possession of #3 All Time passing Marcel Dionne; An achievable 1.625 SOGPG pace over 80 games.

+266 to reach the 5500 shot milestone; Also an achievable 3.315 SOGPG pace over 80 games.

+300 for a 13th 300 shot season breaking a tie with Bobby Hull for sole possession of #1 all time seasons of at least 300 SOG; Also an achievable 2.75 SOGPG pace over 80 games.

+386 to reach 5620 SOG over 80 games is Ovi’s career 4.828 SOGPG, or only 18 shots shy of passing Jagr for sole possession of 2nd place all time

Lead the League for Shots on Goal — if it happens it would be the 12th time, extending his lead for the All Time title over Bobby Hull’s 7 times.

Active Players: Patrick Marleau is the only other active player to reach the 4000 shot milestone and break the Top 20. Eric Staal is the only other active player in the Top 50 and is joined in the Top 100 by Phil Kessel, Jeff Carter, Zdeno Chara, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron as the only active players to reach the 3000 shot milestone.

Shooting Percentage
Currently 12.6% all-situations shooting or good enough for a spot tied in the top 500 all time.

Interesting Note: Of the 21 players that reached the 600 goal milestone, making up the All Time goals scored Top 20, Ovi is ranked 19th ahead of Gordie Howe’s 10.1 but only a tick behind Brendan Shannahan’s 12.8 and Jarome Igilna’s 13.1. Of the 21 players that reached the 4,000 shot milestone, making up the Top 20 All time, Ovi is ranked 16th ahead of Ray Borque and Al McGinnis’ 6.6, Coffey’s 9, Marion Hossa’s 12.4 and again just a tick behind Shannahan, Igilna and Mike Modano.

POINTS
Currently #45 All Time Regular Season with 1211

+19 for sole possession of current 30th place all time with 1230 passing Jean Beliveau, Larry Murphy and Jeremy Roenick, depending on the pace in which Sidney Crosby gains points as the only active player also seeking the top 40; 0.2375 PPG pace should be fairly easy to achieve

+89 to reach the 1300 points milestone tying Jarome Iginla for #34th all time passing Alex Delvecchio, Al MacInnis, Jean Ratelle, Peter Stastny and Phil Housley: 1.1125 PPG pace over 80 games which is in line with his career 1.117 average.

Lead the League in Points – if it happens it would be the 4th time leading, tying him with Bill Cowley and Stan Mikita for sixth all time, passing Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur

Interesting Note: Ovi is one of only 4 in Top 50 All Time Points Producers creating the majority of their point total through goals, ahead of Dino Ciccarelli, and behind Mike Gartner and Brett Hull in total Points. Ovi one of only 18 Players in the Top 50 to have reached the 600 goal milestone, and one of 32 players in the Top 50 Points reached the 500 goal milestone. Ovi currently has the lowest assists total in the Top 50 but is poised to challenge Dino Ciccarelli this season for 49th and challenge Mike Gartner for 48th next season based on Ovi’s career rate according to Quant Hockey.

Active Players: Only Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton are above Ovi among active players in the Top 50 and having reached the 1200 point milestone while ahead of Patrick Marleau, Evgeni Malkin and Eric Staal in the Top 100. Stall is the only one who has not reached the 1000 Point milestone and for perspective is 79% of Ovi’s Points.

Points Per Game Average
Currently 1.17 Points per game career NHL regular season average, #21 All time

4th All time among players with at least 0.6 Goals Per Game career Average, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy
6th All time among players with at least 0.5 Goals Per Game career Average, also behind Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Pat Lafontaine

11th All time among players with at least 1,000 Games Played behind Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Guy Lafleur, Joe Sakic, Dale Hawerchuk, Steve Yzerman, Bernie Federko, Denis Savard and Jari Kurri

Interesting Note: Ovi is joined by Mike Bossy and Pavel Bure as the only other players in the top 25 to have achieved the majority of their PPG total coming from GPG. Bobby Hull, Brett Hull, Tim Kerr, Steven Stamkos and Rick Martin are the only ones of the 55 career point-per-game players to gain the majority of their PPG total through GPG according to Quant Hockey

Active Players: Only Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are higher active PPG players so far in their careers. Other active players qualifying for 1.000 points per game in Quant hockey are Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos. Fellow Capital Nicklas Backstrom along with Ilya Kovalchuk, Joe Thornton, John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf and Claude Giroux are just off the pace and round out the only other active players in the all time top-100.

Multi-point games
Currently #34 All Time Regular Season with 343 games

+16 to reach the Top 30 All Time with 359 games, passing Mike Modano, Peter Stastny, Gilbert Perreault and Jean Ratelle; 0.2 MPGPG pace

+24 to reach 383 games; Ovi has a career 24.5 Multi-point games per season or a 0.319 MPGPG career average so this is conceivable

Interesting note: Ovi’s 343 games with multiple goals is equal to the career 343 all situations total points produced by Greg Polis, Nick Mickoski, Trent Klatt, Brian Skrudland, Mattias Öhlund, Doug Lidster and Sean Couturier which would be good enough for a tie at #834 all time all situations points. Knowing these are multi-point games the minimum number of points it represents is 686 or the same number that Kent Nilsson produced in his career and good enough for at tie at #251 on the All Time list.

ASSISTS
Currently tied 116th Al Time Regular Season Assists with 553 (Mike Bossy, Thomas Steen)

+26 to reach the current Top 100, tying Brian Propp at 579 while passing Saku Koivu, Scott Gomez, Steve Lamar, Frank Mahovlich, Shane Doan, Scott Niedermayer, Mike Ribeiro, Cliff Ronning, Craig Janney, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Mullen, Bobby Hull and Alexander Mogilny, along with Anze Kopitar and Eric Staal; 0.325 APG pace over 80 games.

+40 would be Ovi’s career 0.5 APG pace, enough to reach 593 at the current 91st all time spot also passing Alex Tanguay, Paul Kariya, Dave Keon, Doug Wilson, Sergei Gonchar, Dino Ciccarelli, along with Jason Spezza and Patrick Kane.

Interesting Notes: Of players 145 players with at least 500 Assists, as you’d expect, all 20 600 goal scorers are covered, including Ovi. Only 22 other players were at least 500-500 guys, including Ron Francis, Mark Recchi, Stan Mikita, Bryan Trottier, Dale Hawerchuk, Gilbert Perreault, Johnny Bucyk, Mike Modano, Pierre Turgeon, Guy Lafleur, Mats Sundin, Jean Beliveau, Jeremy Roenick, Marian Hossa, Michel Goulet, Frank Mahovlich, Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Mullen, Mike Bossy, Pat Verbeek, Keith Tkachuk, Lanny McDonald and Patrick Marleau who is the only other active player besides Ovi to pass that milestone.

Assists Per Game Average
Currently 0.510 regular season career average, 150th All Time

4th all time among players with at least 0.6 Goals Per Game career average behind Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy
9th all time among players with at least 0.5 Goals Per Game career average also behind Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Pat Lafontaine, Bobby Hull

50th all time among players with at least a 1.00 Points Per Game average

80th all time among players with at least 1,000 Games Played

Multi-assist Games
Currently tied #116 All Time Regular Season with 104 games (Frank Mahovlich, Wayne Cashman, Paul Reinhart)

+8 to tie Scott Gomez for #100 All Time with 112 games, passing Marc Savard, Henrik Zetterberg, Ken Linseman, Rick Middleton, Joe Mullen, Paul Kariya, Steve Larmer, Dave Babych, Scott Niedermayer, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Ribeiro, Daniel Sedin, John Tonelli, Cliff Ronning, and depending on the pace of Patrick Kane as the only other active players challenging for the Top 100; Ovi has a career 7.4 multi-assist games per season or 0.096 MAGPG career average so this seems doable as a needed 0.1 per game pace over 80 games

HITS according to the NHL records site
Currently #4 All Time Regular Season for years credited with 2846

+101 to reach sole possession of #3 passing Brooks Orpik

GAMES PLAYED
Currently tied #209 All Time Regular Season with 1084 (Theoren Fleury, Dave Lowry)

+8 to reach the top 200 All Time with 1092 tying Chris Gratton and passing Daymond Langkow, Michel Goulet, Robyn Regehr, Alex Tanguay, Carol Vadnais, Brad Marsh, Alexei Zhitnik and depending on what Dan Hamhuis plays as the only active player pushing for the top 200 early in the season.

+16 to reach the 1100 game milestone for 191st all time passing Mike Ricci, Neal Broten, Jay Wells, Gordie Roberts, Tom Fitzgerald, Darryl Sittler, Ron Sutter, Dan Boyle and Craig MacTavish

+41 (half the season) to tie Jean Beliveau at #165 with 1125 games played passing Saku Koivu, Markus Naslund, Don Sweeney, Steve Duchesne, Doug Harvey, Brad Park, Brent Sutter, Dave Taylor, Lanny McDonald, Andrew Brunette, Calle Johansson, Jamie Langenbrunner, Vinny Prospal, Kimmo Timonen, Hal Gill, Adrian Aucoin, Jason Chimera, Butch Goring, Derek Morris, Garry Unger, Mike Fisher, Geoff Sanderson, Dave Manson and Pit Martin

+59 to reach the top 150 all time with 1143 tying Eric Desjardins and passing Cliff Ronning, David Legwand, Stu Barnes, Bryan McCabe, Martin St. Louis, Dave Ellett, Glenn Anderson, Ed Jovanovski, Jamie Macoun, Bob Nevin, Murray Oliver, Bernie Nicholls, Guy Lafleur and Brad Richards

+80 (an “average” Ovi season) to reach sole possession #134 all time with 1164 games played passing Mike Keane, Bob Gainey, Todd Bertuzzi, Kevin Hatcher, Eric Weinrich, Kris Draper, Shayne Corson, Adam Foote, Rob Niedermayer, Adam Graves, Leo Boivin, Garry Galley, Borje Salming, Gary Suter, Bobby Clarke and Rick Tocchet

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Not as unified as you thought

Today is September 12.

It’ll be another 360-or-so days till everyone will remember to tell everyone else not to forget. Some of us are still remembering today. We’ll remember tomorrow. And, the next. And, the next. And, won’t need the reminder never to forget when the calendar flips to September of 2020.

At which point, when another year has worn on, you’ll hear about how how America, in the wake of the terror attacks, put all of its differences aside and unified. And, how it needs to do it once again.

I call bullshit on this sentiment. it wasn’t talked bout then and pisses me off that it continues to be treated with kid gloves and rose colored glasses now … my incomplete thoughts are here

First, the call for “unity” lasts all of one day. It’s a social media meme. A hollow inspirational message that no one saying or posting it actually intends on keeping.

Today, the masses returned back to their routine that call for unity is already forgotten. I’m not even sure it lasted through the entirety of the day yesterday, to be honest.

At this point, New York, Washington DC, and to a lesser degree Pennsylvania, went from being a centerpiece of the “American Identity” as the country pays tribute to the fallen from the September 11th attacks back to being “east coast elites.”

This is not an occurrence unique to this year. Or last. Or even the year before that. It is not unique to how the current Trumpublican Administration has sought to position it’s fans to that of the rest of the electorate.

It’s an old trope rooted in regional perceptions that date back to the Colonial era. The concept relies on an us-versus-them dichotomy that divides people who should otherwise believe they have a commonality. Back then it was the the urbanized industry of the north versus the rural farming of the south. A version of it was used as a rallying cry during the division of the Civil War. An adaption of it became a centerpiece of the “Southern Strategy” conservatives employed during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement that helped establish Nixon’s Republican Presidency. It was employed in multiple refinements during the Reagan Republican Presidency, as part of Gingrich’s Congressional Republican leadership era, by the Tea Party during it’s Republican insurgency and, it continues to be leveraged today by in a Trumpian manner.

The perception this creates is that there are “Real Americans” and then everyone else. The characature of “Rea Americans” is they wear the flag, cary guns, smoke tobacco, drink watered down beer and brown liquor, eat like gluttonous carnivores and live in small towns. Under the surface of that though is a homogenous patriarchal society of white protestants that distrust anyone not like them. No one event is going to change the perception. Especially not an event that happens TO people who are predominantly the anthesis of them.

Don’t believe me?

There was never really a unity with the people of the “Metropolitan Tri-State” (an interesting misnomer that includes New York City Metro area as it abuts New Jersey as well as Connecticut and Pennsylvania) and the “DMV (the District of Columbia’s metro area that include Maryland and Virginia) but rather on the Twin Towers / World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was the buildings and what those structures represented that was important.

Want proof?

Take, for example, the perceived urgency of clearing the Pit, fashioning the many Memorials out of the wreckage, constructing the Freedom Tower and repairing the Pentagon. Bi-partisan support was often made available for funding the projects and clearing out regulatory hurdles at every level of government. Donations of all types poured in. And, the competitions were heralded.

Meanwhile, the rest of the rest of the projects pertaining to bringing Lower Manhattan and DC languished. Improvements to infrastructure and security that should have been priorities had their funds raided by politicians from state’s that weren’t affected in order to “protect” small town’s assets that no international terrorist or foreign adversary would ever find on a map anyhow. Projects that were designed to help people who’s homes and businesses were displaced languished without funding and support and many are still unfinished. And, what’s worse, the medical and psychological support for those who lived and worked in the affected areas has been a political football where it’s taken shaming politicians to even get incremental coverage to help these people.

But, to the rest of America, we got our Freedom Tower. We got our Memorial Reflecting Pools. We got a new wall for the Pentagon. And, thus, we were unified, had strength, showed resilience … despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people who were directly affected by the attacks are still suffering today and their physical, emotional and financial pain continues to go unnoticed through most of the rest of the US even on September 11th itself.

Secondly, the unity there was between people’s was mostly reserved for those who fit the above described “American” mold.

Balbir Singh Sodhi from Mesa, Arizona was murdered in a hate crime only days after the September 11th attack. He was a Sikh-American citizen and killed because an ignorant bigot decided because he wore a headdress he was a terrorist.

It didn’t stop there either. Here’s a short list of others who didn’t feel the unity post-September 11th. Rather they were assaulted, their homes and places of worship vandalized, and in some cases killed because they were Sikh: Nov. 18, 2001 — Palermo, Gurdwara Gobind Sadan; Dec. 12, 2001 Los Angeles, Surinder Singh Sidhi; Aug. 6, 2002, Daly City, Sukhpal Singh; May 20, 2003, Phoenix; Aug. 5, 2003, Queens; Sept. 25, 2003, Tempe, Sukhvir Singh; March 13, 2004, Fresno, Gurdwara Sahib; July 11, 2004 New York, Rajinder Singh Khalsa and Gurcharan Singh; May 24, 2007 Queens; May 30, 2007, Joliet, Kuldip Singh Nag; Jan. 14, 2008, New Hyde Park, NY Baljeet Singh; Feb. 28, 2008 Bryan; June 5, 2008 Queens; June 5, 2008 Albuquerque; Aug. 4, 2008 Phoenix, Inderjit Singh Jassal; Oct. 29, 2008 Carteret, NJ, Ajit Singh Chima; Jan. 30, 2009, Queens, Jasmir Singh; Nov. 29, 2010, Sacramento, Harbhajan Singh; March 6, 2011, Elk Grove; May 30, 2011, New York, Jiwan Singh; Feb. 6, 2012, Sterling Heights; Aug. 5, 2012, Oak Creek; May 5, 2013 — Fresno, Piara Singh; July 29, 2013, Riverside; Sept. 22, 2013, New York, Prabhot Singh; July 30, 2014 Queens, Sandeep Singh; Sept. 8, 2015, Darien, Inderjit Singh Mukker; Dec. 5, 2015 Buena Park; Dec. 9, 2015, New York, NY Darshan Singh; Dec. 26, 2015, Fresno, Amrik Singh Bal; Jan. 1, 2016, Fresno, Singh Gill; Aug. 21, 2016, Washington D.C., Mehtab Singh Bakhshi; Sept. 25, 2016, Richmond, CA Maan Singh Khalsa; March. 3, 2017, Kent, WA, Deep Rai; March 26, 2017; April 16, 2017 York, NY, Harkirat Singh; Sept. 4, 2017, Los Angeles; Jan. 28, 2018, Moline, Gurjeet Singh; July 31, 2018, Keyes, CA Surjit Malhi; Aug. 6, 2018, Manteca, Sahib Singh Natt; Aug. 16, 2018, East Orange, NJ Terlock Singh; July 25, 2019, Modesto, Amarjit Singh; Aug. 25, 2019 Tracy, CA Parmjit Singh.

It took until 2015 for the FBI to begin specifically tracking Sikh related hate crimes despite calls by local law enforcement, from within the community, and by advocacy groups who’s research demonstrating the uptick in media coverage, law enforcement reporting, etc. Even now, it’s not as well documented as it should be and American citizens continue to be attacked and killed by their fellow Americans defying what it means to be unified in Citizenship, solely because some Americans are Sikhs and their attackers are completely dumbfuck stupid and don’t understand Sikhs are not Muslims.

Arab-American is a catch-all term that covers a wide range of peoples who self-identify as being of Arab descent. And, likely most of them do not feel the so-called unity being touted either. Simply because they identify as Arab, or worse, some bigot assumed because they have a particular look they might be Arab, they were targeted for harassment and assault.

What does being Arab mean exactly? It’s a group of people who’s linguistic and ethnic heritage is generally represented by the region spanning from North Africa on the Atlantic Ocean through the Red Sea and Persian Gulf region and into West Asia along the Indian Ocean. The modern “Arab League” represents 22 nations that cover most of the ‘classical’ Arab World. While much of the Arab League is associated with Muslim, it also includes a substancial Christian Arab population representing several denominations. The region also include ethno-religious groups including Yezidis, Yarsan, Shabaks, the Druzes, and Mandaeans as well as a secular Arabs. American citizens who’s heritage descends from one of these groups continue to be profiled and targeted for hate by their fellow Americans.

There’s almost no formal tracking on hate crimes against the sub-groups within the Arab Culture. In many cases it is likely because these sub-groups represent such small minority populations of American Citizens and most in law enforcement don’t have the training or experience in documenting it correctly. However, crimes against Arab Americans as a group that includes all the denominations of Islam too are tracked and by every measure those spiked significantly. Mostly, because anyone that appears even remotely Arab was treated as if they were Muslim by dumbfuck bigots.

Not that it should matter because Muslim-Americans are still Americans and they never had the opportunity to feel Unity either. Instead, because Al Queda is a radicalized militant sect of Sunni Islam a some uneducated Americans assume all Muslims must be radicalized militant Sunnis and thus terrorists.

Attacks on Muslim-Americans of all Muslim sects and beliefs increased substantially post-911. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks in just the forth quarter of 2001 there were more than 1,000 reported incidents of potential hate crimes against Muslim-Americans according to a study put together documenting incidents by the Journal of Applied Psychology.

As you can imagine, trying to list all the victims would take pages at this point, as you can see by lists on Wikipedia or searching the FBI database.

It was suggested at the time by politicians, sometimes influenced by prominent talking heads, that for the sake of national security Muslims should be rounded up and placed in internment camps. That sentiment has lead to other, sometimes more “subtle” versions of civil rights violations by the government against American Citizens simply because they happen to be Muslim.

Lawsuits against religious profiling of Muslims continue to work their way through the courts. The TSA and other parts of Homeland Security, police departments like the NYPD, and even some corporate organizations that provide list building have been sued by groups like the ACLU, CAIR and the Muslim Advocates. Combinations of investigative reporting, document leaking, advocacy research work and more have provided evidence that Muslims Americans are heavy targeted by law enforcement.

Pretty much anyone of a certain darker complexion could be targeted as being a terrorist and thus is stripped of their American identity despite their citizenship and excluded from this so-called feeling of unity. There was an example of a Greek diner employee in New Jersey who’s olive complexion and heavy accent was mistaken by a dumbfuck bigot as being a terrorist and beaten up. In another example in New York a woman of southern-Italian descent was assaulted and slandered as being a terrorist because of what one might assume was her darker, olivish skin. There are a few examples from out west where Iberian-Americans and Hispanics were accosted because they looked “foreign” and accused of being “terrorists.” As if the normal bigotry and hatred they normally face for their ethnicities wasn’t enough. And, so on. Pretty much if you’re brown, or at least not the whitest of white, your Americaness could be questioned.

However, it doesn’t just stop there.

Remember when several US allies refused to back some of the proposed military actions by the Bust Administration? The French specifically were vocal opponents of participating in the fraudulent search for the so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction and far reaching attempt at a War on Terror. For this transgression all things French were chastised. Some of it was infantile, such as renaming French Fries (of which the American version didn’t even really originate from France in the first place) to Freedom Fries and vandalizing roadsigns along the US-Canadian boarder to remove references to Kilometers or black out French works including city names. Some of it was more drastic, such as people, like myself with French names being harassed by being told to go back to France and called a frog and a chatte (Anglicized, of course, why even get the slur right). I was constantly reminded how the US “bailed the French out of WWII.” And, despite being multigenerational US Citizen on my French-Canadian side and having a number of my family members participating in wars from the Second World War to Vietnam as American citizens I was told I didn’t support the troops because a country I have no political affiliation to decided to interpret the Intelligence Community’s information differently than the Bush Administration did. Yeah, I can tell you I personally didn’t feel the unity with my fellow “Americans” during those moments. And, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Third, even if you weren’t being actively excluded from the perception of a Unified America because of where you lived, or what you looked like, etc, there’s a chance you still felt left out or were left out intentionally. That’s because there are still a lot of people who were treated as second-class citizens before the terror attack and that treatment didn’t end simply because some other people felt a temporary bond of American Identity.

It’s not like all of a sudden the LGBQ community no longer were confronted by homophobia and treated as equal citizen. No, rather in the years following a number of enacted legislation, created regulations and otherwise tried to restrict the civil liberties of LGBQ Americans, while of the Trans community couldn’t even come out of the closet still due to even more extreme repression.

It’s not like all of a sudden African-Americans were no longer facing institutional racism, being illegally profiled by law enforcement and facing ongoing discrimination in housing, employment and more. Rather, there were a number of lawsuits in the ensuing years specifically demonstrating that in some cases the siutat

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