Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Al Davis and Occupy Wall Street

I originally was going to use Mylan Puskar as a perfect foil for the anti-everything Occupy Wall Street Crowd. His story of work ethic, success, and generosity are shining examples of what the free market is all about. Then I figured, that's too easy.

So I picked a villain. Al Davis. Recently deceased owner of the Oakland Raiders.

Davis was a guy that everyone loved to hate, unless they played for him. He believed that he was the smartest man in the room. Every room. The Raiders and the old American Football League were his initial passions and he fought like the devil for both. Most other owners and commissioners thought that he was the devil.

Until his decline in the past decade, Davis bestrode his part of the NFL as a colossus. He dared to innovate and take chances, and Davis' mark remains strong. The vertical passing game evolved from simply a Raiders strategy to a league-wide norm. His habit of picking up odds, ends, and rejects lives on as the modus operandi of the Patriots organization.

Davis was an innovator and a competitor. He earned every accolade and treated almost all of his players (Marcus Allen excluded) like family.

Al Davis worked hard, like Mylan Puskar, in their respective fields. They were both ahead of their time and both showed what our economic system can do for anyone, if they are wiling to work and take some risks.

The difference was that Al Davis was not a personable guy. He was easy to hate to the point that too many overlooked his positive impact and influence over both the business side of football and over the many young men who wore the silver and black over the decades. But he was a gritty all American guy, a streetfighter in the boardroom. Al Davis was the kind of guy that the hippified protesters love to hate, but he helped to build a powerful and profitable business that puts a lot of food on a lot of tables. Davis was an honest capitalist and, regardless of how some feel about his attitude, or his teams, earned our respect.


The F 35 remains a hot topic in Washington. An Air Force official noted that:

Air Force chief: F-35 'must succeed'

Let there be no doubt. The F-35 cannot be replaced. That is why Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin should support funding the project.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley recently called a new long-range bomber "essential" and said there is "no alternative" to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as he pledged to protect some major weapons programs from defense spending cuts.
Pointing to a fighter fleet that is on average 22 years old and a tanker force with an average age of 49 years, Donley used a speech to the Air Force Association to lay down markers on spending needs. "Simply put, there is no alternative to the F-35 program," Donley said of this advanced fighter jet. "It must succeed."
The $382 billion program is designed to replace older fighter jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps over the next 30 years.

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