Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Actually, lack of identity is the main reason why the Clippers are 5-17. They've been injury-prone since training camp and haven't had much of a chance to develop team cohesion with four new starters and a second-year player in the starting lineup.
There's also a big talent drop-off after the first six guys and the Clips have lost several games after leading at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
But Chris Kaman and Ricky Davis will be back after a couple of weeks and the Clippers have a good shot at moving up to .500 at the end of the year.
Altogether an interesting team.
This above all: to thine ownself be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
But the advice only has the appearance of wisdom. Someone should be true to themselves only if they are unlike Polonius and have a worthy self to be true too.
This is obviously the case with the rejection of the $14 billion automobile bailout where the Republicans are being true to their twisted, bitter little selves.
My grandmother Rheta was the real deal. Being born and initially married into the farm life in Camptown, PA, she raised four kids as a single parent after being abandoned by her husband at the depth of the Depression.
Then, it all turned around.
Marrying a good-guy bricklayer named Wayne West after the war, Grandmother Rheta enjoyed a happy life of cooking, crafts, boating, gardening, and small business enterprises for the next 40 years. And she lived it well, She was great with her neighbors, grandkids, and husband. She was also generous and fair. When she got a big bucks inheritance, Rheta divided it about 18 different ways without even giving herself a share.
I don't know that I had ever dreamed about her before.
But . . . Welcome.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Catastrophe #1. The Election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and the decline of federalism as a dominant political force. The Federalist political project of aligning with the British monarchy, confining power to a narrow elite, and limiting the impact of the majority within Republican institutions failed. Jeffersonian Democracy introduced the specter of popular government to American society.
Catastrophe #2. The Election of Andrew Jackson and advent of Jacksonian Democracy in 1828. By the 1820's, conservatives had successfully fought back against popular government and re-established their ascendancy. But the election of Andrew Jackson introduced popular government and forced conservatives to fight their way back for another 12 years before they decided to adopt a popular politics themselves during the 1840 presidential campaign.
Catastrophe #3. The Defeat of the Confederacy. By 1860, the defense of slavery against abolitionism had become a core theme among conservatives South and North. The vanquishing of the Confederacy raised the specter of equal rights for African-Americans and temporarily overthrew the racial hierarchy in the South. White supremacy would not be fully re-instated until the 1890's.
Catastrophe #4. The New Deal. The Roosevelt administration openly attacked wealth and privilege, made poverty a political issue, and brought labor unions into the highest levels of presidential politics. The New Deal also legitimated an activist and supervisory role for the federal government in the economy with Keynesian economics, regulatory agencies, steep progressive tax rates, socal security, and AFDC. And the New Deal approach didn't stop with the end of the Roosevelt era. The National Defense Highway System, the GI Bill, and increasing levels of federal involvement in education were fundamentally New Deal initiatives. Unlike other catastrophes, American conservatives have never recovered from the New Deal.
Catastrophe #5. The Civil Rights Movement and the 1960's. With the Civil Rights movement, the specter of equal rights for African-Americans became at least a partial reality as the South's system of racial segregation was overthrown. The elimination of segregation as a system of racial hierarchy then inspired women, gay people, and other groups to redouble their efforts to end various kinds of social and political disabilities. The social ferment of the 1960's also gave birth to a counter-culture movement that had a long-term impact on American attitudes toward sex, abortion, marriage, drug use, and other social mores. Conservatives have been working even harder to undo the legacy of the Sixties than they've been working to reverse the New Deal. But they have only had limited success.
Catastrophe #6. The Failure of the George W. Bush administration. The Bush administration was the first authentically conservative administration since the Coolidge years during the 1820's. The Bush administration's reputation for arrogance and incompetence, the bungling of the war in Iraq, and the current economic crisis have confronted conservatives with the possibility that the incoming Obama administration will be a catastrophe for conservatism on the order of the New Deal.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
His career in shreds, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich clung defiantly to power Wednesday, ignoring a call to step down from President-elect Barack Obama and a warning that Senate Democrats will not let him appoint a new senator from the state.I imagine Rod Blagojevich thinks he can leverage his defiant refusal to resign into an easy sentence.
But public outrage doesn't quite work that way.
As several criminal celebrities, wandering CEOs, and corrupt politicians could tell Blagojevich, public outrage can add a lot of years onto a prison sentence. Because of the general disgust, O. J. Simpson will be serving at least 9 years for "potentially" hurting people in his Vegas memorabilia grab. Jeff Skilling of Enron got 24 years for hiding his losses at Enron while Bernie Ebbers got 20 for fudging the books at WorldCom.
Blagojevich probably has a few days--maybe a week--to give up his office before public disgust adds 5-10 more years to his sentence.
Personally, I think Rod will get 15-20 out of his bargaining.
Madonna is causing "crazy enthusiasm" and "impure thoughts" on her first concert visit to Chile, a prominent retired cardinal complained on Wednesday, as he paused in a tribute to a late dictator to denounce the pop star.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Jorge Medina criticized the flamboyant singer during his homily at a Mass in honor of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet, who oversaw the deaths of some 3,200 dissidents during his 1973-1990 rule.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
But that's why the arrest of Blagojevich is such a great thing. Much of what's become "just politics" is a crime. When politicians promote bills with the expectation that the beneficiaries will increase their campaign contributions, that's soliciting a bribe. When they talk with their staffs about how they're going to use legislation to put the squeeze on lobbyists, that's conspiracy. It's extortion when a politician use a threat to withdraw beneficial legislation or promote harmful legislation if someone doesn't make or increase campaign contributions. Likewise, all the discussions of these kinds of threats are conspiracies.
It's time that all of this kind of politics be treated for just what it is--a crime.
And that is just what Patrick Fitzgerald is doing.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Call it Bush Legacy Television--B-L-T for short.
In an interview with The Statesman, Rove puts on his Obama "post-partisan" cap and claims that the Bush people were surprised by the level of partisanship in Washington.
Evidently George Bush hadn't been following the news since the 1960's and hadn't been familiar with all the fights over Watergate, Jimmy Carter, Reaganomics, or Bill Clinton's sex life.
Rove, a hall-of-famer when it comes to partisan politics, says Bush was hampered by partisan politics magnified by the recount. Bush, the self-proclaimed "uniter," came to town after successfully having navigated the decidedly less partisan waters of Austin, where, according to Rove, he "got lulled" by six gubernatorial years of dealing with Texas Democrats who were generally willing to work with him.
"And here (Washington) it's still consumed by the '90s, by what Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich routinely said about each other from the rostrums and the focus that was created in this town in the afternoon headlines and the snappiest comments on the morning cable programs . . . "
And that's where Bush Legacy Television should start--with a show about what George Bush knew about American politics when he was elected president.
Call the show "Palinesque: George Bush's Legacy as the First Totally Clueless President. "