Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Separate Tables Please

("Should Justices Keep Their Opinion to Themselves")

I see them sitting, day after day and year after year, at a separate table in the restaurant, congregating always amongst themselves. If even my local trial court judges must avoid the hint of impropriety, shouldn't this rule have even stronger application for those who each day shape the future of our country?

There is an arrogance in their attitude as they free- wheel past the constraints of precedence in their opinions and the dictates of separation of the powerful from the rest of us in their not so personal life. The justices on the right in this Supreme Court are wrong in so many ways, not the least of which is their failure to refrain from giving not very subtle hints as to their private positions in public, highly charged forums. They seem equally immune from the rule of law and the rules of common sense. Yes, these justices should keep their associations far away from political gatherings, and no, these justices most assuredly won't do that.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am Spam

Not that I'm getting paranoid, but I am convinced that the internet has marked my writing as spam. I mean I can understand if readers might find me annoying, self-absorbed, ill-informed, long-winded, repetitive, uninspired (I've got to stop now as I am pissing myself off). But, really, some people like me, not in the way that Sally Fields thought that people liked her, but a little bit.

So, why am I getting so many notifications from my once and former faithful followers that they are no longer getting notice of my new postings? It can only be the great conspiracy to keep me from my miniscule audience. This was not some random malfunction but a determined act of the giant beast to eradicate my existence (in an "existential" kind of way). I mean there must be almost as many bloggers as there are computers. Could I really be so bad that the god of who is (in a "metaphorical" kind of way)decided that I alone among all the dreck and idiocy was not worthy?

Has it been decided that I am not funny enough? I know that I am not Larry David, or even Larry David's old shoes, but that doesn't mean I can't take a stab at humor, at least once in a while.But, if you have made a fixed determination that my only possible redemption is to quit trying to be clever and cute, well then I will take that as my cue.

Could my political positions be pedantic? I comprehend that there is little but facade in these short but vapid statements in which I criticize and critique. If I have offended a Republican god of internet with my observations, I give my sincerest apologies. If you demand that my ramblings on everything related to a world in which I know nothing but profess to be an expert must disappear, they are gone.

Even I find my attempts at poetry pathetic. And my ridiculous stabs at country music stardom, what is that all about? I mean not only can't I carry a tune, I most assuredly can't write one. What do I know about trucks and bars? If I was intended to write these lyrics I would have been born without a New Jersey accent. I get it, no more corny attempts to be what I am not.

But how about sports? Won't you at least leave me with the one thing that I am truly fit to wax on (and on) about? I mean I am a failed and failing athlete and everyone likes to read about yet another mindless jock contemplating a world he wishes he could inhabit. I still see myself at almost 60 turning a double play for the Yankees. I just have to tell the runner coming into second to be careful because my back is not so good these days. I know I can be more focused and less whiny when I muse about my personal and perpetual shortcomings on my chosen field of play. Yet, if you are telling me that enough is too much, then so be it. Goodbye, true love, I will miss you dearly.

So, what is left for me to compose rhapsodic on? My family, of course and my own personal life skill deficiencies. My mom, and my dad. You can't seriously want to take them away. I mean I just about invented the over-dramatic and I am the quintessential sappy. I write of my folks like a really bad version of Erich Segal's "Love Story". I am the first draft of something that never should have happened, I get it. But can you really be telling me that this is not worthy of at least the light of day? Can my mom and dad not pull at your heartstrings enough to be maintained on your pages? Even them?

And then it all gets down to just me and my poor wife, and children, as it always does. I started out thinking I could do a David Sedaris on myself. I mean I have so many shortcomings that I could overload your system discussing them ad nauseum ( I am aware that the literal translation is "to the point of nausea"). I do understand that there are limits of self-contemplation that can't be crossed and I may well have crossed them. But my tributes to my beleaguered spouse, and my 2 wonderful kids, those also have to stop? I mean you are really cruel, but if I must, well, you are the boss.

The only thing left is to talk about you. The great and wonderful Oz. The master of this universe with the power to give and to take away. You may be almost as critical to this world as Oprah. If I must limit my comments to praise of your all-mighty I will do as commanded. I will do whatever it takes to get my readership back. Please unspam me your holiness. From your humble servant.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Disappearing Act


("On NYTimes.com, Now You See It, Now You Don't")

What if "Dewey Beats Truman" never happened?

We are in an age of the instantaneous news cycle. Competing for readers on the web allows for less review and reflection. I well recall the .com headline of the death of Gabrielle Giffords. It emanated from a story circulated by NPR. A well respected news source was enough for the Times, and many others. Later, that story disappeared into the thin air of an online unnoted correction.

I do think it of import that the Times and others chronicle this turbulent moment in journalistic history. Not only should the mistakes and omissions be part of the public record because they are part of that record, but they should be there to demonstrate the trials and tribulations associated with the learning curve of getting information out to the public in the 21st century.

Treating a Disorder

("Why Is He Bi? (Sigh)")

The actions of President Obama as described by Ms. Dowd often lead to a most troubling "Bi" in his supporters: bipolar. In its grasp, this disorder involves abrupt mood swings in its sufferers between mania and depression.

We wait for the President to "come out of the closet" on issues like gay marriage. We watch his simultaneous comings and goings abroad. We live each day with his struggle to find any footing for the economy at home. We hear his words of great promise but often find results less so. And we are left to wonder when the waiting will end, and the President we envision but rarely see will emerge.

We want to blame everyone but him for these failings; an irrational and obstinate Republican party filled with Tea Party ideas; a weak kneed Democratic party short on message and moxie; a former President who left a mess from which even Houdini couldn't extricate himself.

In the final analysis though, the buck does stop at the White House and the President's unwillingness or inability to be a consistent champion of those ideas and causes he so eloquently professes to support, has left me, and many others, with all too temporary highs followed by periods of distressing lows. Bipolar disorder is a serious problem which if not treated properly can lead to a disastrous end; a Republican Congress and President in 2012.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Descriptive Words


("0bama Will Speed Pullout From War In Afghanistan")

The writers' choice of descriptive words speaks volumes: "fragile" gains, "elusive" transfer of responsibility, "unprepared" Afghanistan troops,"rampant" corruption in Afghan government "sapping" confidence of locals, "disenchanted" in US over "ballooning" national debts, "whopping" price tag of Afghan conflict.

As the President wrestles over the "responsible" way to make an exit, the language of your article only reinforces the obvious: there is no gentle way to articulate the "mess" that remains.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

100 Days

"100 Days" is 100 days off. There is not one moment in time when the political process functions properly to address the ills that have brought this nation to its knees. Those of us who supported Obama in 2008, waited for the policies he envisioned to become reality. But his biggest goal, the overriding reform of health care, took not 100 days but what seemed like a political lifetime to move forward. What was left at its passage, bore little resemblance to what we hoped for.

We have been defined by words like filibuster, which has derailed endless possibilities and by big money which has dictated policy positions benefiting the few at the expense of most of the nation. And yes, it does feel that one campaign begins the moment the last ends. There is no room left in this world to govern.

On so many levels, we are in need of massive reform in our approach. But I don't believe a Third Party candidate is the answer. Yes, it might enliven the debate and bring up ugly truths about the Democrats and the Republicans. But there is a systemic disease on so many levels that words alone will not cure.

What we require are big new ideas, like doing away with the need to obtain a super- majority, so that a party in power really has an opportunity to shape the nation according to its vision. What we require is a massive restructuring of the time and money allotted to campaigning, so that we don't govern exclusively to special interests, and so we actually spend time governing. Until we are a country that focuses on turning 100 days into 4 years, all the bright ideas that Mr. Friedman, or any third party candidate may espouse, are as but a moment in time wasted.

Getting the Dirt on Derek

("After 3000, Even Dirt Will Sell")

It stared at me mockingly. The green that was to have been preserved forever, much like the remains of Ted Williams, was a limp and very dead white. The Steiner people were contacted but the second piece of history proved no more durable than the first. The small clump of dirt and grass that was once part of the former Yankee Stadium seemed to be informing me more about my own mortality than about baseball immortality.

And now we await the marketing of everything Derek. If those in charge could, I am sure they would bottle the air he breathes. "Get your official DJ piece of oxygen". The muscle pull that sidelined the captain, but 6 hits short of the promised land, must have sent this entire cottage industry into massive depression.

But there will be unmistakable magic in the turf beneath his feet when 3000 is reached. You see, Derek and I go back over 15 years. We have a relationship to preserve. Thus, while my head will tell me "no", my heart will reach for my wallet. I know the old adage "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...". Count me as a fool.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Long Live the King

In my lifetime, there has been Arnie, then Jack followed by a host of pretenders to the throne. And then there was Tiger. This one was for real, and he was going to be forever.

It seemed his reign would last as long as there were championships to be won. And then there was that Thanksgiving thing and all the ugliness in its aftermath. And the knee thing. And now we are ready to talk in the past tense. Forever, as it turned out, was not as long as we thought.

And so we place the crown on King Rory. Even as it begins, I can't help but think about where, and when it might end. Will life intercede in ways unknown to hasten the departure of the latest greatest? Will his monarchy last as long as his immediate predecessor? We know he has the skills but does he have the will and the luck?

In the background, and in the back of our minds, is the now deposed leader. Does Tiger contemplate a coup, and is he ready, or will he ever be, to fight to regain control? Long live Rory, the now and until at least the next major, future King.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Non- Rural Life

This non-rural life (a response to the universe inhabited by the Rural Life):

It is the grating sound of the opening of the neighboring building's large metal garage door, badly in need of overhaul, that pierces the quiet of the night. It is 4AM, and my day has begun.

There are no stars in this sky. Not now or ever. I stare at the apartment building to my left. One or two places show signs of life : a light emanates from one room, then another, a television's images flicker and then disappear.

From my vantage point on the Jersey side of the Hudson River, just south of The Bridge, the travelers on the West Side highway speed by. It will be several hours before I can look into the skies to see the air traffic that is headed into LaGuardia. On the day Captain Sullenberger left that airport and headed into trouble and fame, I had just gone out. I wonder if I would have noticed the plane in its descent past my window had my schedule been different. Now, that would have been a story for me to retell until the end of time.

I hear the unmistakable cries of an ambulance. There are several local hospitals nearby. From the direction of the fading echoes of the siren I try to guess its destination.

I stare at NYTimes.com on my computer screen. It is Monday morning and the news has an unsettling sameness. We are still troubled by Afghanistan and Pakistan, divided on our vision of the way out of our economic morass, and problems seem to pile up on the desk of a beleaguered President.

The workday beckons. I will soon drive my car west for 12 minutes, without traffic, and park in the spot closest to the office building. Only then will I hear a sound jarringly out of place. The residence next door is still home to chickens and roosters and other animals, unknown in number and nature. The smells and noises that emanate remind me of nothing else in the universe I inhabit here.

I am startled out of my contemplations by the garage door. It is a constant annoyance and I question why it remains unfixed. I wonder how many others are awake and listening to it's fingernails on chalkboard tune this morning.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reasons to Celebrate

Dear Dad:

I read an op-ed yesterday by Charles Blow for the New York Times. He wrote of how he waited his entire childhood for a sign from his father that he cared for him, or about him. He recounted a tale of one moment, on one day. The sum of a father's affection for a child in a blink of an eye. It was so sad.

On this Father's Day my wish is that no child has to search for a parent's love.

I never had a time in my life with this weight dragging me down.

I never had to question, to wonder, to worry, to wait or to hope.

I just had to see that slightly crooked smile, or look into your eyes.

I feel so badly for the untold millions of Charles Blows who are waking up this morning and do not have any good reason to celebrate Father's Day.

I thank you Dad for giving me so many reasons to celebrate.

From your son, who has missed you every day for almost 32 years

With love and gratitude


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Get Smart

A third arm would have proved very useful for me yesterday. It would have permitted me to pat myself on the back, as my other 2 arms were deeply engaged in feats of majesty. I was learning how to use my hand me down Smart phone. Emphasis on the word Smart.

The hours flew by as I used the touch screen to pull up this, or get me that. I began to compile my contact list and responded to the notification that a new G-mail had arrived. I typed, ever so slowly, and with an enormous amount of errors, in furtherance of some assigned task. If you didn't know better, from the outside I could have passed for a person with at least a semblance of comprehension of the complexities of the object I lovingly held.

In my fervor, by the middle of the afternoon, I had drained my battery, or more precisely the battery on my phone. However, before having to revitalize my companion, I performed one last great feat of prestidigitation. I sat in the back seat of the car, as Jo drove to the gas station. Clearly, the task I was performing would not permit me to be the automobile's driver. I needed to reach someone by phone, but could not locate the phone number by reviewing my list of contacts. Joanne then directed me to my emails to see if the name, and some correspondence, appeared there, with a possible footer giving the needed information. As Richie got out of the front seat of the car to perform some chore next door to the gas station, and as Jo trudged out in the pouring rain to pump the gas, I stared at the screen and pushed here and pulled from there until I found the nugget for which I had been searching.

As the rest of the universe disappeared from view, I highlighted the phone number that was imbedded in the email, and soon was speaking with the person for whom this massive search had been undertaken.

Moments later, Jo got back in the car. I asked her where Richie was as I had not heard, or listened, to anything once I had begun my great exploration. I had no idea that it was raining, that Jo, not Richie was pumping the gas, and that we were still awaiting his return. All my brain cells had been utilized for the task at hand, or more precisely, in hand. There was no room left for mundane matters like gasoline, food or weather.

I have spent what seems like a lifetime criticizing those whose most important attachment at dinner is not to others in their company, but to the companion waiting to feed them the most important, or most useless, material. I have felt like a stranger in a strange world, a horse and buggy man watching the universe speed by. Yesterday, I took one small step for man. I await my next assignment with eager anticipation. If it should happen to come at the dinner table, you will have to excuse me, for I now understand that there are much more important issues than listening to or interacting with you. My Smart phone calls and I must answer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sounds of Summer

The loudspeaker crackled before the tune began. For the briefest of moments, before the trumpet played its instructive notes, there was just this static noise. It was the prelude, the overture to another day.

As that initial sound dissipated into the crisp morning air, I reacted. At once, I oriented myself to see the row of beds, each with a figure beginning to stir. On the coldest of nights, the extra blanket ( "the jelly roll") that was neatly laying at the foot of the bed, had been put to good use. On the coolest of mornings, we would dress in our long blue pants, t-shirt with the capital A prominently displayed on the front, and our jackets, all intended to protect us from the elements.

When the rain came, it always seemed to pelt down. At its worse, torrents of water streamed by, and headed down hill. The older I got, the farther up the hill I resided, closer to the common dining area. But each bunk played the same distinct, and very loud rhythms on its roof whenever the summer storms reached full intensity.

I attended camp in the Pocono Mountains from ages 6 to 13. Each morning, reveille played to bring us the news of another day dawning. Each evening, as we lay in our beds, taps could be heard over that loudspeaker.

Almost half a century ago has now passed. The record player, and its crackling, as the needle and the record make first contact, is but a relic of an era long gone. I wonder now if the children at summer camp awaken to the day with the same greeting I received so many years ago. Yet, even if reveille is the first sound they hear, that distinctive opening crackle lives only in the minds and the hearts of people like me. It is a sound of summer that has ceased to be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who's Up First (Also known as "The Tee Party")

("Handicapping the Obama- Boehner "Golf Summit")

Conversation overheard on the first tee:

Mr. Boehner- "Mr. President, what is your handicap?'

President Obama- "The Republican Party"

Mr. Boehner- " No, how many strokes do I have to give you?"

President Obama- "You have already tried, but you will never succeed".

Mr. Boehner- "Who is your partner today?"

President Obama- "Israel, today and forever."

Mr. Boehner- "What do you consider the biggest weakness in your game?'

President Obama- "The filibuster."

Mr. Boehner- "Do you play gimmes?"

President Obama- "No, that is a game only you play."

Mr. Boehner- "You're up first, Mr. President."

President Obama- "No, the economy, the Mid East and then Europe."

Mr. Boehner- "How much is at stake today?"

President Obama- "The future not only of our country, but of the entire world."

Mr. Boehner- "Can I ask if you cheat?"

President Obama- "Is this going to be an Anthony Weiner-like inquiry?"

Mr. Boehner- "I can't seem to get you to understand my questions."

President Obama- "And I never agree with your answers."

Mr. Boehner- "Mr. President, you should really be tee'd off by now."

President Obama- "I am."

Mr. Boehner- "Good luck, Mr. President and may the best man win."

President Obama- "Can't you ever get away from politics?"

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"S_ _ _ Happens"

There are a variety of reasons that I enjoy my Saturday golf game with my almost 60 year old's version of a posse: it keeps me in weekly contact with people who might otherwise fade from sight; it gets me out in the fresh air and away from the computer and it allows me the chance to show off whatever remaining skills linger on the fringes of my game.

The one thing that our version of this sport does not do, at least unless we voluntarily subject ourselves to it, is put our aging twitching muscles to ultimate scrutiny. I become distressed and discouraged even contemplating standing over a 2 foot putt. For me, the most important words in my weekend game may well be "that's good".

The "gimme" is our concession that we no longer possess (if we ever did) the control over our reflexes to steady our stroke and our nerve and hit those teeniest of putts into a hole that appears to be moving as we stand over our ball. I hear my friends (and myself) pleadingly ask whether the short journey to hell they are about to embark upon can be "conceded". I well know that if I draw the wrong line in the sand (more precisely, on the green), my next request will likely meet a similar horrible fate.

Golfers of our diminished skill level think of all kinds of clever fictions to avoid the reality of their shortcomings. We decide that anything "inside the leather" is good; that "you already made double bogey" and thus some fictional ceiling on a score has been reached; or, the worst of them all, "that I can't allow you to four putt a green". There are as many rationales for not allowing the indignity of missing an 18 incher, as there are golfers in this modified universe.

Sometimes we even come up with the creative "good,good" which means if you give me that 4 foot, big breaking putt, then you can pick up your similar disaster before it happens. There is never a short putt that didn't stir the creative capacity of the mind to maneuver around.

Yesterday I played well, at least within the confines of my game. Most of the shots were within reasonable distance of the intended target and the ball with which I began the round was never in serious jeopardy of becoming an offering to the golfing gods. There were however a host of 4 to 6 foot putts that came to rest far from their desired resting place. Thus, as always, it was a round that "could have been" instead of that "was".

I recently wrote a piece criticizing the Polara ball for threatening to take away the skill level that separates good from better. I suggested that it is only with the knowledge that one has truly accomplished something on his or her own merit, that the full depth of joy can be attained.Yet, as I think about all the 2 and 3 foot putts I have not taken, and wonder what golf would be like if they made the hole just that little bit larger, I must admit that I am a golfing fraud. I demand excellence in those parts of the sport where I have a chance to excel, but take every opportunity to bend and break the rules when excellence is beyond my reach.

There are well known jokes that all start with the premise that golf is a 4 letter word and that it was not called some other, more descriptive term of the same length only because those other words were already taken. This Saturday I told my friends that what we were playing should merely be called "S--- happens". If we were forced to try to make all those "gimmes" that we gratefully reach down and put in our pockets, the name would be immeasurably worse.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On A. Weiner

The man with the unfortunate name ran out of places to hide. As his private parts were made public knowledge, Anthony Weiner became just the latest on the ever growing list of those whose personal failings diminish, and may ultimately destroy a political career. What, we continue to ask in amazement each time this happens, could he possibly have been thinking?

A Democrat whose bombast and fight was a refreshing departure from all those liberals who seem forever on the defensive, Mr. Weiner's mea culpa was painful. This was someone who at a very young age, had become a local political force, and whose vision for himself must have included a future as a national figure. And now, he is just trying to hang on, and weather the unending storm of criticism that will become his life for the foreseeable future.

To make matters even a little worse, it was the boy who cried wolf who took him down. Andrew Breitbart, for all his willingness to cast slings and arrows in every direction, hoping one would hit its intended target, was right in his accusations of wrong by the congressman. And thus we were all subjected to Mr. Breitbart's chest thumping "I told you so" moment of glory. Meanwhile, a very reduced Mr. Weiner watched and must have died a thousand deaths.

In the hierarchy of sexual misdeeds, the failings of Mr. Weiner does not rank near the top. At least for the moment, it appears, as Mr. Weiner suggests, that no laws were broken and his constitutional obligation to preserve and protect was not compromised. But, as he only too well knows, he has broken the most fundamental law of politics. The public's trust in Mr. Weiner has been severed. No matter the level of his oratory, or the depth of his plea, at least in the political world, forgive and forget has little application.

Monday, June 6, 2011

On the Value of a Life

In "Dr. Kevorkian's Victims", Ross Douthat initially makes cogent arguments why some see assisted suicide as a way of deciding that dignity in death is just as fundamental a need as dignity in life. Ultimately, however he finds that a society that condones this practice is flawed and for Ludwig Minelli, who performs a function similar to Dr. Kevorikian, in Switzerland, "it should make us proud of our country that he would likely find himself in prison where murderers belong".

It is an uncertain course that Mr. Douthat embarks upon when he talks about life and death determinations. Don't we send our young men and women out into the world each day for the express purpose of finding and killing those who we deem to be our enemies? Haven't we, unlike Switzerland spent most of the 20th century, and almost all of this young 21st century, engaged in one battle after another in which we have decided that some lives are worth saving, while others are disposable commodities? Have we always drawn the right line in making that decision? When we look to Vietnam and Iraq, as but 2 examples, can we as a country be proud of the determinations we made as we brought thousands of our own back in body bags and caused so many lives to be ended prematurely?

The answers are not always clear, nor comfortable. Dr. Kevorkian's intent was not to permit irresponsible and indiscriminate death but to end the pain for those whose most fervent wish was not to suffer further. I would ask Mr. Douthat if our military interventions and the consequences of the same which he has witnessed in his lifetime makes him proud of our country. If we are going to have a discussion about the right to accelerate death, let's go beyond the world of "Dr. Death' to the larger universe where intentionally causing the death of another is but an accepted fact of existence.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Slice of Reality

As I flailed away, disgusted, disheartened and fearing the worst was still to come, I wondered where it had all gone so terribly wrong. It had been merely a few weeks ago that my success had been publicized throughout the world. Well, sort of.

Golf was definitely a 4 letter word for me yesterday. My almost flawless opening round of the year, which I discussed in a letter that the New York Times published, seemed mockingly remote. I was being punished for my arrogance in even suggesting, for the briefest of moments, that this was but a simple task.

Even the Polara ball, the one that represents itself as magically curing all that ails the golf swing, would have recoiled in horror at some of the feeble attempts I made. Places that had never even been peripherally of note, now were spots where the golf ball landed. With the first effort of the day, I turned to my playing partner and was forced to ask if he ever saw the flight of the ball, as it had disappeared from my view instantaneously. It did not get better throughout the succeeding hours.

It does seem to me that this is an annual rite of passage. I know that past writings chronicle similar tales of woe. And thus I found myself in familiar territory yesterday, applauding the weather, and the pace of the round, unable to find anything else remotely redeeming about the circumstances.

As I wandered helplessly from woods to water, my math skills deserted me. Whereas I am renowned, or more correctly reviled, for counting not only my strokes each hole, but those of all the rest in my group, I suddenly was unable to put down on paper what had just happened to me. My mind refused to allow my hand to testify to the level I had fallen. At the end of the day 89 was not my score but merely the approximation of what my golfing dignity would permit.

And yet, like any addict, I found myself recalling the fleeting moments where something had somehow gone momentarily right. That second drive on 10, the one that came after the first 50 yarder, was a low hook that traveled further than any I could recall coming off my club in years. The drive on 11 followed a similar path. Then it was gone. But it had happened. And so, in all seriousness, at the end of the round, I tried to make gentle conversation as to whether there was a possibility of taking a lunch break and then doing this all over again. After all, those 2 swings had to come from somewhere, and if they were within my capacity, well then there must be more hidden just below the surface. It is sad but not surprising what crumbs we grab on to for sustenance. For in our golfing minds, tomorrow and all its glory, is but a swing away.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Drip, Drip, Drip, by Paul Krugman

Each Monday and Friday morning since the beginning of the Great Recession without end, I have read Paul Krugman's column. His opinions have been precise, and precisely accurate. And depressing.

It has been a little like water torture, as the drip, drip, drip of a government unable or unwilling to recognize the severity of the crisis, or formulate a reasonable response, is chronicled in Mr. Krugman's words. There is an unrelenting sameness in his lament about the economic misdirection that has stalled the recovery and threatens to double dip us into further crisis.

Today's op-ed, "The Mistake of 2010" is unfortunately but more of the same. It is ludicrous that, in a moment in time when so many are in need of a jump start, the focus of our discussion is on how much less the government should be spending. We are taking jobs away from firemen, from teachers, and swelling the ranks of our unemployed. We are not undertaking new projects on our infrastructure or on alternative energy. Ways in which we can do better, individually and collectively, are lost in the chaos and the demand to cut, cut, cut.

I know that next week, on Monday and Friday, Mr. Krugman will once (actually twice) again try to inform those who are not listening to him, that they are taking us down the wrong path. "The Mistake of 2010" will undoubtedly play itself out through 2011 and beyond. And I am sure that it will be little solace to Mr. Krugman that he can report that he tried to warn us from the beginning.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Practical Guide to Governing

This is turning out to be the year of the symbolic vote. Yesterday's 'all for one' House Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling, and the Democrats damned if I do, and maybe even more damned if I don't dilemma, was but the latest in the series of meaningless declarations. Most recently we were witness to the thumbs up or down vote on the Ryan plan which forced many Senators on the right to voice approval for the Medicare busting vision of Mr. Ryan. Neither of these issues had any hope of passage in both bodies of Congress, These were not attempts to legislate, but only to maneuver. The votes were intended merely for finger-pointing purposes come election time.

The 2 parties are locked into such diametrically opposed visions of how and where we govern, that governing itself becomes an exercise in futility. The freshman class of the Republican party will not be swayed by the rhetoric of the President or of any one who is a non-believer in their relentless pursuit of the destruction of government itself, and of the social and economic platform of the Democratic party. So, how do we move the rock up the hill? Simple, follow the money.

It is best that the Democrats abandon all serious discussion with their adversaries in Congress, and turn their attention to those who really control the minds of the wrong on the right. Convince the money people to advise those that do their bidding of the calamity that awaits if the world ever truly gets a sense that the threat of global chaos, by way of default by the United States on its debt obligations, has the remotest possibility of coming to fruition.

You see the money people are pragmatic. They put these new Senators and Congressmen in their seats. When the money people speak, they listen. So, make the money people do your work. Tell them what they already know. Tell them that financial doomsday is not in their best interest. Tell them to inform those under their dominion that it is their responsibility to protect the investments of the money people, that if they continue to raise the specter of default as a rational option that someone to whom we are indebted might just take them seriously, and if that occurs, then not only will our credit and our credibility be at risk, but so will the jobs of those whom they control. Tell them to inform those most obligated to them that being stupid is not always so smart.

For you see, it is not through lofty speeches and passionate defense of ideals that the Democrats will win the hearts and minds of those who vote in lock-step against them. Rather, this deadlock can only be broken, by creating the fear in their minds that those who made them, and can break them, will be displeased by the missteps they now support. Just follow the money.