Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lance and the cheating scandal...

Ok, so this post is the first one I've written in a long time. It probably isn't the best one to come back on, but, hey, I think this needs to be spoken of...

It's been a busy few months for me. I got published as a first author on manuscripts two times. My experiments have been up and down. I've brewed two more batches of beer - neither of them turned out well. One was a Scotch Ale, and the other was an Irish Red that I was brewing in honor of some friends, called TSBrew. Unfortunately, the TSBrew is bad. Bad bad. I'm going to have to remake it. To the TSBers out there - I'm really sorry. I'll send you a couple of bottle when the new batch comes in and tastes good. I know it's been a while, so I apologize, but I really don't want you to taste beer that tastes like shit. As far as why the beer is bad, there is a really funky after flavor to the beer, and I believe it to be DMSO, which can build up if the wort isn't chilled quickly enough or if a lid is kept on the wort as it's boiled and chilling. This is my problem. I have had no way of cooling the wort down after it boils because the apartment I was in until now was too small. We had no way of getting ice on the boil kettle. I also don't have a wort chiller, but that's on my list of things I want.

I got married! That was pretty awesome. Best decision of my life so far. Kelsey and I had a great wedding. We're getting wedding pictures in soon so I'll probably post some here eventually. Things have to slow down first, though!

Ok - so, on to the actual post. As a cyclist, I've been following the news surrounding Lance Armstrong and the doping scandal, as the media is calling it. The USADA apparently has him this time. Oh goodie!!! What a crock of shit. Yep, I said it. The whole thing is a load of bullshit. It's not that I think he's innocent. Oh no, the amount of evidence against him is HUGE. The testimonies of his former teammates, I think, is kind of bullshit. They've all either been convicted of doping themselves, admitted to doping themselves, or have reaped the benefits of other team members doping. During that time period, I'd venture to say that doping in the peloton was rampant. That's why the whole thing is bullshit. Did Lance dope? Yep. Did other people? Yep. Did he still beat them? Yep.

Here's the thing. I'm not saying it's ok to cheat. I hate cheating. Everyone does. Even cheaters hate other cheaters. But in reality, Lance Armstrong cheated in a sea of cheaters and he's the one taking the fall. They are going to strip him of his titles, probably, and make him pay back his winnings. People are screaming because "he made all this money outside of the sport off of his winning, blah blah blah" How many of those people are screaming about all the endorsements of the players in the NFL or NBA ? I'd be willing to bet a number of them cheat in some fashion or another. What about politicians who lie about everything? They get all KINDS of money while they do dirty things. They have banned Armstrong from the sport. They can strip him of his titles and make him give back the money - but who are they going to give them to? A number of the second place finishers in those races have been caught doping and banned as well... Third place? In a time when it seems most of the racers were doping, these titles may go to no one...

But, this all makes sense, right? He broke the rules and he should be punished. I'd agree with that. I'm not angry that they caught him. Sure, he's given a lot back to the world with Livestrong, but there are even controversies about where the money is going with that organization, as well. He's sort of this good bad-guy right now. People are unsure where to stand on this issue. We love him and hate him.

My concern is the USADA... They tested him for years a while back and then retested this samples a number of times years ago and his tests were negative. He beat the system. And yet, they "knew" he was doing something wrong. So, even in the case of all the evidence on his side, they decided to spend YEARS and who knows how much of the tax payers' money to prove that this guy cheated in a bicycling race... Am I the only one who sees how stupid that is? They only caught him because new science allows them to more accurately figure out what was going on with his old samples... So. Let me get this straight. We are trillions of dollars in the hole, and yet, we're going to pay some people to try and go back through the years and years of evidence already on his side, to disprove that because some other cheaters say that he cheated? Really? REALLY??? This is a HUGE issue for me. We don't want people to cheat, but my god. He won a bunch of races in France, for shit's sake. If he owes money back, it's tot he sponsors and to the people who paid for the prize money. And yet we spend our own money here in the US to prove he did something wrong in a race so he'll pay back the money and be punished, yet we'll see NONE of that money. None of it. I dont think France or the sponsors or the Tour de France is footing the bill for these last few years of investigation. If he hadn't made a comeback in 09-10 we'd never have been having this issue. So that means it's been at LEAST 3 years of investigation. How much money did it cost us to prove that a cyclist cheated in a number of races?

And here we are. Research grant funding is at 5-8%. Let me restate that. Science research in the US right now has enough money to fund 5-8% of researchers. Five to 8 percent of research is being funded. So all the cancer research, disease research, medical research, vaccine research, etc. is on the line. We don't have the money to fund our own science research programs... Yet there is money to spend who-knows-how-much on a handful of people to prove that some dude who rides a bike really fast cheated in a bunch of bike races... We can't pay for planned parenthood or PBS or education or bolstering our military and helping provide for their families. Oh, but we can pay for a bunch of lawyers and snitches to prove that a lycra-wearing dude on a bike cheated and beat a bunch of other cheating cyclists. Science is not cheap - I should know. These tests are probably not cheap - especially using new technology. The technology had to be developed, and then people needed to be paid to run and analyze the data. Then people had to put reports together. Then it all had to go to court, so lawyers and legal personnel were paid extremely high amounts of money to talk about it. This isn't the olympics where national pride from major competing countries could turn into something bigger and more dangerous. This is a bunch of privately sponsored teams racing bikes in France.

To finish up, do I think Lance cheated? I do. Do I think it's ok? Nope, I don't like that he cheated. I don't like that he got famous because he cheated. But saying he cheated isn't going to change anything, really. So people will see him and say "Oh, he cheated in a bike race. Cheaters never win." Except, why does it matter in this case? Our country, as most countries are, is in the hole monetarily. We are trillions of dollars in debt. We can't fund education, science, defense, health programs, welfare, etc., but we can squeeze enough out of the budget to spends years trying to prove Lance Armstrong cheated. I think it's ridiculous.

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