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The Non-Existent Blizzard

January 27th, 2015

snowy leaves

 

It always happens this way. Elected officials start to warn us about an imminent snowstorm; precautions are taken; and, in the end, nothing major happens. So was the Blizzard of 2015.

With dire warnings from Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio, the media bought into the hype and provided blanket coverage of the storm that wasn’t.

With dire warnings from Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio, the media bought into the hype and provided blanket coverage of the storm that wasn’t. I’m not sure about the city, but Westchester County got 6-10 inches. A relatively heavy snow, but not a close down the subway and ban all driving snow.

So what can we learn from this denouement?

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Republican Party Chaos

January 26th, 2015

election

 

Democracy is a messy process. Much as the Republicans would like to clean it up and follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment (thou shall not criticize a fellow Republican), there are a whole bunch of Republicans who want to be President, and they will be forced to draw lines of distinction among them.

It only takes one sentence for a candidate, or a nominee, to do irreparable damage to himself.

Meanwhile, the Republican debate audiences will want they share of “red meat,” and just as Donald Trump lashed into Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney at Steve King’s get-together in Iowa last week, other candidates will start to attack each other, too. We have only seen the initial skirmishes, and it will get much worse.

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Pivot to 2016

January 24th, 2015

basketball game

 

President Obama’s State of the Union Address, panned as being unrealistic and without a chance of passing any of its proposals, was cleverly designed as a pivot to 2016 and a transferal of the Democratic baton to Hillary Clinton.

President Obama has given Hillary a nudge forward by talking about “middle class economics” and issues such as day care, free community college, family leave and other domestic issues.

Nothing would burnish President Obama’s legacy more than the election to the Presidency of Hillary Clinton. Just as George H.W. Bush’s election has been widely referred to as President Reagan’s third term, so too would Hillary Clinton’s be the third term of Barack Obama.

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Back to Baseball

January 23rd, 2015

baseball

 

With all the furor about the New England Patriots cheating to get into the Super Bowl, and the apparent foot-dragging investigation, obviously designed to conclude after the big game is over, perhaps it’s time to go back to a simpler pastime.

What would baseball have done if faced with the equivalent of the New England Patriots cheating? It would have them forfeit the league championship and installed the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl instead.

Baseball, the American pastime, has a no-tolerance policy about cheating, and its unfolding rhythms include a grace and finesse football will never be able to match. Because the game is not founded on violence like football is, playing the sport is a more profitable pursuit on a number of levels.

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Patriots Should Forfeit

January 22nd, 2015

football

 

The New England Patriots should forfeit their place in the Super Bowl for cheating, and the Indianapolis Colts should take their place. There is no other just recompense for their deliberate breaking of the rules by deflating footballs.

The NFL has been under heavy condemnation for its reactions to concussions and domestic violence; only a clear and harsh punishment for cheating — forfeiture of the game and banishment from the Super Bowl — would bring them back into right standing with the general public.

Deflated footballs helped the Pats to beat the Colts because they rely more heavily on the air game, and even though many of the players were unaware of the cheating, their management and coach surely were.

To tack on a heavy fine or penalize the Pats by denying them a draft pick pales behind the opportunity to win the Super Bowl. If any team was given that choice: deflate the footballs and get to the Super Bowl, they would surely prefer it and be more than willing to pay the fine and forfeit the draft pick to do so.

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Our Idealistic President

January 21st, 2015

flag

 

God bless President Obama. His idealistic State of the Union address last night gave us hope of a better future. Even if the current Congress will not enact his proposals, one day, after the Republican’s hypocrisy is exposed, the American people will want to move forward to achieve his vision of a better tomorrow.

Obama’s promotion of “middle class economics” provided an overarching structure to the oration and represented an encapsulation of his vision in a clear and poignant way.

State of the Union addresses are typically a “laundry list” interrupted by applause, but President Obama’s promotion of “middle class economics” provided an overarching structure to the oration and represented an encapsulation of his vision in a clear and poignant way. He was able to speak directly to the American people, and with 300 million viewers, most of the country tuned in to listen to him.

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Vagaries of Cable TV

January 17th, 2015

globe

 

Cable TV is rapidly becoming a wasteland for objective journalism, and that’s a shame. 24-hour news channels abound on cable, but they have devolved over the past couple of years to become less and less objective. Shows that blend a narrative of the days events with faux journalism abound, and it’s not just Fox News, though they’re the worst offender.

CNN, whom you would expect to tread lightly between the two political networks, instead becomes easily obsessed by a single story which they will beat to death with exhaustive (and exhausting) coverage until the next big event comes along.

I am particularly incensed by shows like The Five on Fox News where, no matter what happens, you will never hear a good word about President Obama. The show is even stacked in its basic format where four conservatives gang up on the sole liberal on the show, who appears to be there only to provide token opposition.

And the one Democrat seems to have been selected because he is not well informed about events, is stubborn and definitely not quick witted like the conservatives who make mincemeat out of him on a regular basis.

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The War on Terror

January 16th, 2015

skulls

 

Moreover, “terror” is a tactic, not a group of people. You cannot be at war with a tactic.

Many conservative pundits are making a big deal about the President’s refusal to call our response to the attacks on Paris a continuation of the “war on terror.” In their minds, refusing to do so represents a denial of reality and a dangerous parsing of words.

Of course, we all know what the “war on terror” resulted in during the Bush years: an endless conflict, draining away American treasure and lives in far off lands. Yet, there is absolutely no evidence that fighting the war “over there” keeps us safe “over here.” Instead, Americans’ heavy-handed approach is resulting in an entirely new generation of radicalized Islams for us to deal with, that is, it is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Compromise, Republican Style

January 15th, 2015

handshake

 

With the new Republican House and Senate, we are being bombarded by their talking points about all the ways they are looking to compromise with President Obama, and how they want to prove their “ability to govern.”

I can’t think of one policy concession the Republicans have made in order to hew to their new ethic of compromise.

There’s only one problem with this approach. To Republicans, governing means passing the policies they already agree upon and pressuring the President not to veto them. I can’t think of one policy concession the Republicans have made in order to hew to their new ethic of compromise.

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Romney Redux

January 14th, 2015

White House

 

The talk of Mitt Romney again running for President has been fueled by the way he was treated during the previous campaign. Despite his awkwardness and some major gaffes during the election, Mr. Romney was a decent man who was not prepared for the blitzkrieg of a national campaign.

One hopes Hillary will cruise to an easy victory, but politics seldom works that way. The people don’t always make the decision most in their interest, and it will be a tough struggle to put her over the top.

The Obama campaign successfully defined him early in the contest as someone who does not care about “people like me.” And that millstone was hung around his neck wherever he went.

Romney’s continuing high ranking in the polls is indeed based on his image as a decent man — his decency was most pronounced during his concession speech — and the feeling that he did not totally get a fair shake the last time around.

Now Romney’s policies are anathema to me, and he would definitely take the country backwards. But when you look at some of the others in the Republican field, he stands heads and shoulders above them.

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