Tanks in Washington and other July 4 links

President Donald Trump has ordered a military parade and flyover in Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day. He’s been wanting to stage this kind of display since his first year in office.

The production will cost millions of additional dollars and shut down air traffic to and from Reagan National Airport for hours. Republican donors and VIPs will get special passes to watch the festivities in a restricted area. Traditionally, all July 4 events in the nation’s capital have been free and open to the public.

The National Park Service is diverting $2.5 million “primarily intended to improve parks across the country” to cover a “fraction of the extra costs,” the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe reported on July 2. The “entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million,” a former Park Service deputy director told the newspaper. Costs could escalate if the heavy military equipment damages streets.

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On fan safety, baseball strikes out

After another foul ball causes a serious injury, Ira Lacher reflects on Major League Baseball’s failure to insist on more protective netting at ballparks. -promoted by Laura Belin

“The holder of this ticket assumes all risks and danger incidental to the game of baseball…”

This disclaimer, or a variation of it, is known as the Baseball Rule. It is printed on every ticket to all major-league and most minor-league baseball contests. It is intended primarily as legal protection for the ballclubs, an agreement that if a fan is injured by a thrown bat or thrown or batted ball, they can’t sue the club for damages. It’s classic buyer beware, and it has governed attendance at baseball games for generations.

But that era may be entering the late innings.

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College admissions bribery case should kill sports betting bill

Two bills on sports betting, House File 648 and Senate File 366, made it through the legislature’s first “funnel.” John Morrissey wonders, “What assurance do any of us have that the colleges and universities can police themselves in light of today’s revelations?” -promoted by Laura Belin

The Associated Press is reporting today that 50 people, including several television celebrities, have been charged in connection with a scheme to get their children accepted to college athletic teams after offering bribes to college coaches and other collegiate insiders.

While not directly on point, this is very concerning in light of the state legislature’s apparent desire to legalize sports betting in Iowa casinos, not to mention the extremely arrogant position taken by Prairie Meadows to construct a facility before the enabling legislation was even introduced.

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"Upon further review . . ."

Former sports editor and referee Ira Lacher‘s take on one of the most talked-about events of the past week. -promoted by Laura Belin

We interrupt this nascent but already red-hot political season for a far more important matter — so important that The New York Times made it a front-page story in its print edition of Tuesday, January 22:

“Fans Can See Every Angle, but N.F.L. Officials Can’t. Why?” (Upon further review, editors changed the headline on the website to: “When the Whole Country Reviews a Play, Referees Can’t Always Join.”)

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Open-mic night

I get sports. I watch sports. I’m a fan. Many of us are. When we see men and women do amazing things while wearing shirts with the names of the communities we belong to, it makes us feel good.

There are all kinds of psychological studies, like this one, that try to explain why we are so invested in contests that in few ways affect how we live our lives. But the bottom line is, when our teams win, we feel better. We win, a little. And when they lose, we don’t feel as good.

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