ESPN no longer does journalism

Just after last week's links post, news broke that Grantland was shutting down. Since it's launch, Grantland had been my favorite site — I checked it daily for my favorite writing on football (Barnwell), basketball (Lowe), and the three best long-form writers on the Internet (Curtis, Morris and Rembert). I read the other writers there too (they've been linked here many, many times), and Rembert has collected some great photos of their time together here.

It also marks the end of ESPN as a journalistic enterprise
With the death of Grantland, I think it's safe to say the days of ESPN in journalism are over. Not that it had been particularly serious the past few years, but the decision to side with the NFL over Simmons, and then dismantle the only operation that dared to be critical of any league partners confirms ESPN sees its future as being in bed with the leagues it broadcasts. On one hand, this honesty is admirable. It's sad, though: as monopolies, the leagues need a spotlight on them at all times. ESPN had the best resources to do so, but has decided to fully become the bro network.

Greg Hardy is a garbage person
On the extreme other end of ESPN's journalistic disinterest is Deadspin, which breaks story after story. Today's post about Greg Hardy's assault case is absolutely horrifying. It's another reminder at how awful the NFL has become — why the commissioner must go, the players need to more accountable, and the whole operation should be examined. This is the kind of story ESPN could, and should, have broken if it was interested in being more than just a broadcast arm. 

Democrats suppress the vote, too
Every election cycle, we get caught in another debate about voter ID laws and Republican efforts to suppress voting. It's a ridiculous argument — you can't get on an airplane, buy alcohol, step foot in a government building, or pick up will-call tickets without a valid photo ID. The assertion that the same standard is unreasonable for exercising the most powerful instrument of democracy is asinine. FiveThirtyEight raises a point I'd never heard before: how Democrats also are guilty of voter suppression. By moving elections for certain offices to cycles without other elections, they can guarantee a more favorable electorate (in exactly the same way they assert the GOP does with voter ID). It's not illegal or direct suppression, but it's certainly no better than anything they accuse the right of related to ID'ing voters.

41 speaks!
HW Bush is the kind of American we just don't make anymore. He dedicated his entire life to the public service of the nation, and (regardless of your political leanings) did so in a way that was honorable and patriotic. I'm looking forward to his upcoming book — not only to see his comments on 43 (which have got the most press), but also to understand the sense of duty from a man who served in all levels of government. Men like 41 and Bob Gates (another role model of mine) don't seem to be on the scene anymore, and the leadership of the country is worse-off for it.

How Obama lost Syria for good
Vox has a long piece on how the Obama administration allowed their decisions in Libya to define their approach to Syria — and the catastrophe that has followed. I suspect that Obama will be remembered as a mixed bag domestically, but his foreign policy record is a disaster. Since he has never had a coherent thesis of what he wants to do in the world (sorry, but no matter how it plays on TV "don't do stupid shit" is not a policy), he suffers from inaction. And in Syria, hundreds of thousands of lives have paid for it.

The ghost of Lincoln
Since it was founded to support him during the rebellion, the specter of Abraham Lincoln looms large each day when I enter the Union League. I've grown somewhat immune to this deification (which seems like something he would have hated). What Would Lincoln Do? is a piece looking at how he has been co-opted for virtually every cause (right and left) since his death, and his words have been twisted for any political player to derive validation. I agree with The American Interest: it's time to leave Lincoln alone.