Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt pauses on the practice field as he takes part in drills at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Free money

I know we have debated who's to blame for the economic downturn, and there are fingers pointing in all directions. But the story that was in the center of today's TFP by David Floyd is a gross example of the willy-nilly, free-wheeling check-writing incompetence of Joe Biden.

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2021, was used all over Hamilton County on Wednesday, and it was hardly about rescues and nothing close to American.

Sure, it was passed under the good intentions of helping people during the pandemic. But, you know what they say, no good deed goes unpunished, because if the Hamilton County commission did not spend the more than $71 million allowed to our county, that money would have been lost.

Yeah, the spend it or lose it philosophy always leads to frivolous decisions.

And hey, I get the perceived 'need' of the track folks at East Hamilton and East Ridge or the roof and electricity concerns at McDonald Farm, but it's bad planning, bad leadership and bad government to put a policy in place in the name of COVID relief that becomes $750,000 for an on-campus tennis facility so the No. 2 doubles team at Signal Mountain doesn't have to drive 3 miles to the courts behind Town Hall and the rest of these 'wants.'

I understand the supply line issues and the debate of climate concerns vs. gas prices. Heck, the Russia invasion of Ukraine was beyond Biden's control too. But for those of us who vote with our wallets, this is yet another F for Biden and the Democrats in my mind.

Great gesture, bad precedent

I love stories like this, and in truth, JJ Watt seems to be one of the truly great people who also is a truly great player in sports today.

Side question: If we ranked the bona fide first-ballot Hall of Famers in the three major sports right now, who among that group would be first-ballot inductees into the "Good person" Hall of Fame? Taking all nominees, because I think JJ Watt is there. I think Steph Curry is there. Thoughts?

Anywell, so a woman in Arizona offered to sell some JJ Watt memorabilia online to help pay for her grandfather's funeral. Yes, it's a sad tale and it was mostly unsolicited, although she did hashtag Watt's social media account.

So Watt responded and told the lady not to sell her stuff and that he would help with expenses and said "Sorry for your loss."

It was a grand gesture. And one that sadly will come back to bite him at some point. Because once that spigot opens, what happens when someone tags him selling a Watt helmet to pay for a kid's cancer treatment or a game jersey to keep a family of five from being evicted or fill in the blank with whatever hardship comes next.

I hate how cynical that sounds and feels, and kudos to JJ Watt for a grand gesture. I just hope he does not have to regret it down the road.

Makin' a LIVin these days

OK, I know that I have frequently discussed the LIV golf tour, but it intrigues me.

It intrigues me for a slew of reasons.

First, and this is sorely under-discussed, but the PGA Tour was started by some 'rebel' golfers like Jack Nicklaus and others in 1969 as a breakaway tour from the PGA of America and its tyrannical ways. Hmmmmmmmmm. Second, there are so many great dichotomies out there in the discussion of the LIV.

Is it an attempt of 'sports-washing' an evil history of atrocities? I can see that. Is it a place where Donald Trump gets to offer his spiteful and vindictive retorts? You bet. Is it a competitive option in a sports realm that is based on competition among players and teams but is aghast at the thought of competition in its space as an entity in the open market? Absolutely.

Third, is it being fairly reported on? At least not in the eyes of LIV member Lee Westwood, who responded to a Sky reporter's claims that he was verbally assaulted for asking a LIV golfer if The Open was possibly his last major.

Westwood responded on social media to the report from Sky reporter Jamie Weir: "It wasn't me but I did overhear the conversation in question. Jaimie works for Sky. They cover the PGA & DPWT. Where do you think their loyalties lie and what their agenda is?"

I think the whole agenda-media-conspiracy thing is a bit overblown. But how the phrase 'rebel' got associated with the LIV tour is a bit interesting. And to be honest, working reporters know that access to the bigwigs is invaluable to their livelihood. So what do I know? I'm an internet talking head who got 20-plus irate responses from James Harden fans on Twitter last night asking why I have a blue check mark.

Finally, I can't help but wonder what would happen if the LIV went after the NFL?

Think about it.

The Saudi crowned prince has enough money to overpay for every NFL franchise, even though we know Jerry Jones would never sell the Cowboys.

So, what would happen if there was a LIV NFL?


This and that

— Holy (bleep), with Ticketmaster's new 'dynamic' pricing system, which alters the price of tickets in real time according to demand, some of the floor seats for the 2023 Bruce Springsteen tour are as much as $4,000. Buckets, that's a bunch of Benjamins. Is there any musical act ever you would pay $4,000 to see. To be fair, the Mrs. 5-at-10 and I paid a pretty penny to see Bruce at what used to be called Lakewood Amphitheater in the A-T-L several years ago and he puts on a tremendous show. But 4 grand? Yeah, no.

— Holy (bleep) part II. How about this stat: According to CinemaBlend, Tom Cruise has earned $7,091 per word of every character he's ever played in every movie. Yep, that's more than $745 million in salary from his movies, including a nine-figure payday with a percentage of ticket sales for "Top Gun: Maverick." What if the TFP paid me by the word? Thoughts?

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the Smart-ly built Bulldogs and their design for long-haul success. And here's Hargis on Billy Napier, who's kinda a local kid and his goals for Florida.

— So example 12,491 about cancel culture: The theater that was supposed to host Dave Chappelle's sold-out show in Minneapolis on Wednesday canceled because of social media backlash, according to Variety. I know that it is tough to be a free-thinker in this world these days, and it's tougher to be a free-speaking media voice. But is there anything more difficult in the crosshairs of cancel culture than being a stand-up comic?

— Man, the Sesame Place controversy in Philadelphia is surreal. Maybe — just maybe — the person wearing a life-sized muppet costume made a human error, you know? Or of course, it was a racist plot that deserves the family of a 6-year-old to clamor for national attention and lawyer up.

— I believe Elon Musk is a genius. I also believe that when they make the movie about Elon Musk, SNL alum and Austin Powers creator Mike Myers has to play the part. And, I also believe that Elon Musk without a shirt on makes me feel better about my dad-bod.

Today's questions

So much to get to above, I'm not sure I need to ask a question this morning.

But it is a free for all Thursday so fire away.

As for today, July 21, well, let's review.

While most will remember that today is the day Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, it also was 97 years ago today that John Scopes was found guilty in Dayton, Tenn., in the 'Scopes Monkey' trial.

Also of import, "The Daily Show" debuted on this day in 1996. Man, I wish I had seen this earlier, because that show has forever changed TV news and especially cable news as we know it.

Robin Williams would have been 71 today. Man, hard to believe he's been dead eight years. We've done a Robin Williams Rushmore, right?

Also, Cat Stevens is 74 today.

Rushmore of famous folks with a name of an animal. Go, and remember the mailbag.