Out standing in my field

ImageUnusual times I find myself in of late.  My view on several issues is well-represented in the opinions expressed in Congress and among the public in general, even if it is not necessarily shared by the majority.  As an example, on the Affordable Care Act, while certain provisions are useful and I’m glad they were included, I am overall opposed to it and believe it should be repealed.  On the legality of President Obama’s actions as Commander-in-Chief, I believe that the President has committed impeachable offenses, and would be in favor of articles to that effect being drawn up and debated in the House of Representatives.  Both of these stances should place me squarely within the ideological grounds of Congressional Republicans, and perhaps within their vocal “Tea Party” minority. Continue reading

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Beyond the ledge

ext-objectEvery so often, one catches a glimpse of the distance we’ve fallen…a look up at the cliff edge now far above us which we took for granted that we would never stray over in times past.  Back then, to have done so would have been considered criminal, unconscionable, foolish – and yet here we are, far below, blissfully taking the ride down.  And of course it’s a truism that when one is on a ride, very, very few people actually look backward at where they’ve come from – which is one of the main reasons why the driver for this particular ride sought to take people that way in the first place.  Continue reading

Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’

I’m headed down an alley to get where I’m going, to the thoroughfare at the end, where traffic can move freely.  I turn the corner and I’m struck by an unusual sight: there’s a car stuck in the alley, crossways.  The front of the car is obviously badly damaged, with a crumpled bumper and the headlights bashed in, no doubt from previous collisions with the wall of the alley that is in front of them.  The rear of the car is equally damaged; it rests against the high alley wall behind them, and it’s obvious it’s not the first time it’s met that wall.

The occupants of the car are engaged in a huge row – bickering, yelling, gesticulating wildly about what they must do next.  Finally, the driver of the car, somewhat tentatively, reaches down and shifts the car into its forward gear.  Several of the car’s passengers cheer, slap the driver on the back for choosing that gear, and settle back into their seats, smiling and confident; a few in the back seat cover their eyes with their hands, dejectedly.  The driver, now also bearing a confident grin, stamps on the accelerator. Continue reading

Looking back at looking forward

I was chatting with a friend recently when I recalled a prediction that I’d made many, many years ago.  It’s useful to look back at such things in order to differentiate one’s self from the huge mass of agitprop-spewing talking heads in today’s Mainstream Media.  The current standard for punditry requires no adherence to fact or reality at all, and this in turn makes it pretty entertaining.  (Take John Derbyshire’s recent swan dive into the shallow end – so breathtakingly free of sense that his brothers-in-pomposity at the National Review have been spinning like tops in their efforts to pretend he never actually wrote for them.)  Alas, I like to look at the facts of the situation in as sober a way as possible, and change what I think when it doesn’t conform.  Nowhere near as much fun to read, I’ll grant, but I never claimed to be anything but stodgy. Continue reading

Coming out in the wrong direction

So, President Obama stood up for gay marriage.  Except, of course, he didn’t, and it really didn’t mean that much.

And, of course, to hammer the point in, WaPo breaks a story the next day revealing that Mitt Romney, the Not-Obama designate, harrassed a gay kid while in high schoolGosh, that’s convenient.   Particularly when all this happens after Biden’s trial balloon.

None of this is particularly surprising.  He’s likely always been in favor, until he wasn’t because of what he was running for, and now that he’s seen a seam in the defense’s coverage, so to speak, he’s “evolved” back to it again.  The Right has responded as hoped, and Romney is caught in the middle as planned*. Continue reading

Speaking sports to power

socceranimeIt’s kind of weird.  At a time when you are looking for something, anything, to be optimistic about, and you’re one of the few people who aren’t bigoted or severely lacking in education that still doesn’t automagically believe that Barack Obama is it, end of story, you end up finding political redemption in a sports story.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the usual sort of sports story.  Sports have always been an escape from the here-and-now drudgery of the world; a place where a goal line stand, or two outs and the bases loaded, or the nebulous stoppage time of a drawn match is an episode of high drama in a world that is filled with the real thing, minus the idea that there must be a winner.  It’s why we get so upset about whether Roger Clemens did actually take the steroids, or some other “real” event snuck its way into our fantasy world.

Nor have sports been any kind of escape.  The New York Yankees, as an example, have recently signed C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and now Mark Teixeira to their squad, giving them the highest-paid players in baseball at a majority of the positions on the field.  Sportswriters and other enthusiasts have been tripping over themselves to laud the Yankees and pompously brush aside the idea that the game is “broken” or that rules to level the field, such as a salary cap or meaningful revenue sharing, are needed.  Where these opposing ideas come from, I haven’t a single clue…every story I have seen, from ESPN down to the blogs and boards, is universally approving of the Yankees, in a sort of Gordon Gekko, law-of-the-jungle fashion that reminds us of the conservative and rather thick-headed nature of so many sports buffs – a subject for another sermon, to be sure.

This story is about the business and, in this particular case, politics of sport, and therefore it speaks more directly to the subject at hand.  Dave Zirin covers sports for, of all publications, The Nation, and in a recent article, he spoke to the idea of star athletes speaking out on political matters, and how this is not only an improvement over the more self-absorbed athletes who demonstrate to their fans that consumption and material goods are the pinnacle of all, but is an improvement in society to the general good – and implying, by saying so, that there’s room for improvement in which we can all participate.  Zirin closes the article:

It’s an old expression: It doesn’t matter who’s sitting in the White House, it’s who’s sitting in. When athletes break down the wall and speak, it becomes a living expression that we have entered an age where we will be reclaiming power from those who have abused the collective trust.

Certainly that speaks to what we have endured as a people under George W. Bush, but it doesn’t stop there.  It speaks to failures on both sides of the artificial dichotomy into which our nominal leaders have divided themselves – and what needs to be done in order to reclaim sovereignty, both personally and collectively.  It will not be delivered by Barack Obama and it would not have been by John McCain.  It will be delivered when people are energized to speak out, and proceed to claim the power commensurate with their voice.

Political analysis with a side of salsa

heisenbergSome of you folks may have been waiting for my comments on the recently concluded election.  (Well, let’s be fair – no, you weren’t.  But that’s not going to stop me from saying something.)  Anyway, I’ve given it a great deal of thought, and here’s what I came up with:

Go to 19th and Q, NW, in the District – that’s in the Dupont Circle area – and head into the café in back of Kramerbooks.  Once seated, order one of their better bheers and get the “nachitos”.  Don’t ask me why they call them that – they’re nachos…but boy howdy, those are the best nachos you will have anywhere.  They are insanely good. Continue reading