Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Rocky Top Scam Artists

Thank goodness, it's almost football season. Unfortunately, for many of us football fans in Tennessee who are also fantasy football players, football season won't be the same this year, and you know what .... The Sheepdog called it.
Flag-map of Tennessee
Flag-map of Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in the spring, I was all over the Tennessee Legislature for their consideration of and passage of the Tennessee Fantasy Sports Act. If you missed those articles, you can read them here, here, and here in chronological order so that you will be up-to-date before reading the rest of this article.

Despite objections by myself and other fantasy sports players, the legislature ramrodded the legislation through due in part by this seemingly harmless claim hidden in one of the bill's fiscal memorandum's:
Due to a number of unknown factors, the impact to participation cannot be quantified but it is reasonably assumed the net impact will not be significant.
You may also remember that I disputed the above claim in my March 28, 2016 post by predicting:
Because of this and other restrictions, I could see fantasy sports companies saying, "The heck with it", and not offering their products, whether free or fee-based, to Tennesseans anymore. They may not want to fool with the new, asinine, nanny-state guidelines that this bill will put in place. This bill could in essence turn into a fantasy sports ban in Tennessee.
Well, wanna guess who told you the truth? Yes, it was The Sheepdog and not the scam artists in the Tennessee legislature. Just like with the decongestant regulatory bill, which we were told would not cause any undue hardship on Tennessee's allergy sufferers, the GOP-led legislature lied to us ... again and my prediction was right on. I nailed it. Allow me to explain.

In 2014, I played a free fantasy football league on NFL.com. I had a great year going 10-4 in the regular season, earning the #1 overall seed for the playoffs, and winning the championship to finish 12-4. It was my 1st title on that site, but my 3rd overall as I previously won 2 on Yahoo.com. So, in 2015, I decided to play there again, but instead I would compete in one of NFL.com's "Ultimate Experience Leagues" where you can win a prize if you win your league's championship.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.
The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, I joined one of the championship ring leagues. The fee was $10.99 and the prize was, of course, an actual championship ring. I had a good year and once again went 10-4 in the regular season earning the #2 overall seed for the playoffs. Unfortunately, I lost in the championship game due to bad luck. I had ridden Cam Newton's MVP numbers to win after win for 10 weeks, but it just so happened that the league championship was the week his Panthers lost their first game of the year to the Falcons. Cam only scored about half the number of fantasy points he had been getting for me in the previous 10 weeks, and it cost me a win and the championship and ring that went with it. An 11-5 season and a runner-up spot was nice, but it wasn't what I had wanted. It left me hungry - hungry for a championship ring.

In two years on NFL.com, my overall record is 23-9, with 2 championship game visits. I had been pretty successful. So, my plan for 2016 was to give one of the championship ring leagues another try. After waiting all summer for the leagues to become available for entry, in late July, they finally opened. The entry fee had gone up to $19.99, but I didn't care - I wanted a ring. When I dug into the legal restrictions (here), though, I found this:
VOID IN ARIZONA, COLORADO, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, LOUSIANA, MASSACHUSETTS, MISSISSIPPI, MISSOURI, MONTANA, NEW YORK, NORTH DAKOTA, TENNESSEE, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, PUERTO RICO, AND ALL TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
I was pissed, but not surprised. After all, I had predicted this would happen. The legislature had once again stuck their nose into something they knew nothing about, instead of dealing with issues more important to Tennesseans, and it had led to unintended consequences. It's what ALWAYS happens with government overreach. So, no championship ring for me in 2016 or ever.

You see this bill was never about "protecting consumers". It was all about control and more tax revenue, and, as I predicted, the NFL apparently decided not to fool with the additional paperwork, taxes, and fees that accompanied Tennessee's newest regulatory headache. As always, the consumers pay the price, not the ones being "regulated", particularly in Tennessee.

The legislature has screwed us again with unneeded, overreaching, nanny state regulation which has carried collateral damage with it. They've become nothing but scam artists with the Republican supermajority acting like and deceiving us as if they were Democrats. I'll bet Hillary Clinton would be proud of them ..... cough, cough, puke.

Since this is an election year, let me remind my fellow Tennesseans that 88% of the legislature NEVER voiced any opposition to this bill. You can see the list of who makes up that 88% and felt that wasting their time regulating fantasy football was more important than taking care of other, more important state business by clicking here.

If the Tennessee legislature had a fantasy football team, it's name would be The Rocky Top Scam Artists. They're great at running scams on us, regulating us, and generally screwing stuff up in the process.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Unleashed Adrenaline

Skillet is set to release it's 9th album, Unleashed, in August. The band has already produced and released the music video for the album's first single, "Feel Invincible", and The Sheepdog likes it ..... a whole freakin' lot.

Skillet in Concert
Skillet in Concert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Skillet's last record Rise just didn't do it for me. It seemed that the band got away from the lyrics and sound that made Skillet, ... well Skillet. Some of the lyrics dove into the political realm, which I didn't like, because I'd rather a band stay out of politics and stick to doing what they do best - music. In Skillet's case that means hard-driving, adrenaline fueled Christian rock and metal.

If what I see and hear in the video for "Feel Invincible" is a sample of what Unleashed has in store for the band's fans, then, Skillet is back, and they're back with plenty of volume and adrenaline. You know, the way The Sheepdog likes it.

So, check it out for yourself. The video is embedded below or you can watch it on Skillet's Youtube channel by clicking here. The only other thing I have to say is, when does the tour start??

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SUMMARY : One More Kick Of A Dead Horse

During the month of March, I first introduced (click here) and then updated (click here) my readers about the fantasy sports regulatory bill the Tennessee Legislature was working on. I was, and still am, adamantly opposed to the legislation, because there are much more important things than fantasy sports that the legislature needs to be working on. Unfortunately, today I must report that the bill overwhelmingly passed both the Tennessee State House, hereafter known simply as "House", and State Senate, hereafter known simply as "Senate", and was signed into law by Governor Haslam.

State Seal of Tennessee.
State Seal of Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, there is more to be told. The Sheepdog has now reviewed the floor votes of both chambers of the Tennessee Legislature as well as the votes taken in the committees and subcommittees during HB 2105 / SB 2109's journey to becoming law (see votes here). Today, I'm revealing who did what with their vote. Before I do, I want to encourage any Tennessean reading this who may not know who their state representative and / or state senator is to click here, and then enter your address and click search to find out who represents you. Then, as you read through the rest of this article, look for your legislators to see how they voted.

I'll start with the House Committees and Subcommittees. Let me say first, though, that the way the House records votes in the committees is .... "interesting". It's not transparent. Only the "NO" or "Present Not Voting" (PNV) votes are listed on the legislature's website for each bill. It appears that the committee member must request to be recorded as voting "NO" or PNV to actually get it on the record. The appearance is that the House is hiding something. Whatever is going on, the following members of the House who voted against HB 2105 in committee or subcommittee are :
  • David Alexander (R) - voted "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means Committee and "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means SubCommittee. He also voted "NO" on House Floor.
  • Mike Carter (R) - voted "NO" in House Finance Ways and Means Committee
  • David Hawk (R) - voted "NO" in House Fiance Ways and Means Committee. He also voted "NO" on House floor.
  • Bill Dunn (R) - "Present Not Voting" ** in House Finance Ways and Means Committee. He voted "NO" on House floor.
  • John Ragan (R) - Voted "NO" in Government Operations Committee, but then voted "Yes" on House floor. Why did he change his vote?
  • Kevin Dunlap (D) - voted "NO" in Business and Utilities Committee. He also voted "NO" on House floor.
These 6 gentlemen were the only 6 members of the house bold enough to attempt to stop the bill in a committee or subcommittee before it made it to the house floor to waste the house's time. Sad isn't it?

When we look at the committee and subcommittee votes in the senate, it gets worse - NOT ONE MEMBER of the state senate voted "NO" in committee. Not one. The bill passed unanimously in every committee hearing. Every. Single. One. Pathetic. Every member of every Tennessee Senate Committee was basically derelict in their duty on this bill.

** - "Present Not Voting" votes are essentially "No" votes, because each bill must receive a majority of "yes" votes to advance to the next committee in line, or to the floor of the House or Senate. So, if there's 8 members on a committee, and the bill gets 4 yes, 3 no's, and 1 present not voting, then it fails. It would've needed at least 5 yes votes to advance.

Let's move on to the House and Senate Floor votes. Here, I will list ONLY the "yes" votes. These are the ones who supported this legislation. I will list the Senate floor votes first and beside them I will list any recorded "yes" votes in Committee or Subcommittee.