Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Party of the Far Right and Very Wrong

Implicit is the suggestion that the Republican party, has been more reasonable then its counterpart.

This from the group whose representative in the 2012 election spoke of making life so miserable for over 11 million in our midst that they would choose to self deport. This from the group who seemed to have a symbolic vote weekly to undo legislation which has now allowed many more millions of Americans the protection of health care. This from the group who continue not only to cling to their guns despite events like Newtown, but to cling to their trickle down theory of economics despite all proof to the contrary. This from the group whose attack on government regulation and oversight led us to the brink of depression while still steadfastly opposing financial relief for those most effected by the downturn in the economy. This from the group who only now moves away from the failed theory of mass incarceration, not because fundamentally they don't want to see communities suffer as the system unfairly arrests and punishes, but who find it an economically unfeasible model.

The Republican party has been successful over the past 8 years not because of its enlightened philosophy but because it has played to our worst instincts and  fears. It  has rallied its constituents based on lies and misrepresentations and formulated an unrelenting central position of bringing down a President rather than elevating a nation.

So yes, maybe the Democratic party of today has moved away from some of the failed policies of the past. But the Republican party, fueled by the Tea Party and by an obsession with destroying everything that Obama touches, has abandoned any pretense of governing from the middle. And for that, there is little that Mr. Wehner or this country should find redeeming in the members of the far right and very wrong.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Primary Concerns

"The Republican Party Primary of 2012- A Musical" was a Broadway hit that never was. But while that opportunity passed, another gift of even larger proportion, like manna from heaven, looms for 2016.

Of the announced candidates, even months before the first shot is fired, there is the neurosurgeon who has determined that being gay is a result of incarceration and that the current state of the country is but an eyelash removed from Nazi Germany. Or the Senator from Texas, the self described smartest man in every room who is a very,very proud wacko bird, loves to shut down the government and read Green Eggs and Ham. Or the female entry who watched over HP's decline and parlayed that into a losing effort against a Boxer. Or Mr. God's, Guns, Grits and Gravy, the huck(abee)ster for the Diabetes Solution. Or the son of another failed nominee who noted that walking, talking normal children can end up with profound mental disorders after taking vaccine shots. Or the Senator who takes his foreign policy position from the movie "Taken".

And that does not even take into consideration the Jeb Bush two step on his brother's Iraq attack, Chris Christie's cone-moving, Rick Perry redux with intellectual looking glasses, and a long list of the other unannounced including the king of interesting hair dos and investigations of foreign born presidential candidates.

It would be a shame not to parade this entire army of hopefuls onto the stage, if not for a debate, at least for what should certainly be an entertaining show (on Broadway).

Monday, May 18, 2015

To Kill or Not to Kill, That is the Question


He was undeniably guilty of one of the most devastating crimes ever committed on our soil and was almost certainly unrepentant, the testimony of one famous nun notwithstanding. He was thus a perfect test case for whether our society has the courage to stop the horrific practice of killing its own with the sanction and approval of our legal system.

It is the jury selection process that is in large part to blame for the perpetuation of this practice. Before the trial begins, those who believe the death sentence to be inherently wrong are excluded from deciding the fate of the accused. What remains is not a representation of community sentiment, for in this instance a vast majority of Bostonians would not deem voting to kill another human an action our society should condone. What all these death penalty cases share in common is that those deciding the fate of the accused believe it is morally sustainable to vote to end another person's life.

It should be the burden of the prosecutor, State or Federal, to convince a jury composed of those both pro and con sanctioned killing that particular circumstances demanded the most brutal of all retorts. I do believe that if this standard were imposed then the barbarism would stop and our country, like virtually the rest of civilized society, would be weaned off its thirst for an eye for an eye justice. And even the Boston Marathon bomber, arguably the worst of the worst, would stand as testament to our commitment not to lower ourselves to his level.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Brady's Deflated Balls

Does this episode warrant comparison with Bonds, A-Rod and McGwire, or is it more akin to the exploits of Perry, Ford and Sutton? Is Brady to be damned or praised? Was this cheating or ingenuity?

Whereas we have consigned our steroid induced heroes of baseball to the role of undeniable villain, unworthy of recognition in the Hall of Fame, no such shame has followed those accused of being masters of "doctoring" their pitches. Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton and our own beloved Whitey Ford were aficionados in applying vaseline, pine tar, sandpaper, spit and even thumbtacks to the surface of a baseball. Perry wrote a memoir entitled "Me and the Spitter." There appears to be honor attached to this tactic, more like an artist at work rather than an act of a master thief.

Bill Belichick, the legendary coach of Mr. Brady, is certainly one who has a flexible interpretation of the rules of the game, being involved in episodes such as "Spygate". Thus, maybe like those minions under Governor Christie, a win at all costs mentality pervaded the Patriot team and lodged firmly in the head of Brady. But, I find it hard to believe that in every locker room in the NFL there are not those who are searching frantically for the football equivalent of the spit ball.

Is Tom Brady's legacy irrevocably tarnished by Deflategate? I would suggest that his ego and  stature may suffer a short term beating but that Canton, Ohio assuredly will one day have a bust with his name on it. Maybe a slightly deflated bust.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What If They Played a Game and Nobody Came?

While the beating heart of America pulsed and hissed, filling the air with havoc and pain, inside Camden Yards there was silence, punctuated only by the solitary pop of the glove or crack of the bat. It was vivid reminder that life is not a game, that sport, filled with its metaphors and hyperbole is nothing more than distraction. The energy we invest in loving and hating, living and dying with those who toil on its stage is but illusion.

These stadiums serve as our cocoon, our harbor,and haven, where we congregate to escape the often harsh realities of the day.  And when there is emptiness here, it is a stark declaration that what is transpiring beyond its borders is too volatile, too  encompassing, too critical to allow us the luxury of sport. It is in the vast expanse of empty seats that the limits of the game is defined.

In the city of Baltimore, in the aftermath of the killing, in the wake of its violence, in the depth of its despair, the game of baseball played out in eerie solitude. We all waited outside its gates, anxious for the moment when the anguish would subside, the hatred recede, the heat dissipate and the doors open once more to provide us shelter, at least for a little while, from the raging storm.,