Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Obama's Short-Sighted Long View

“In the long run, we are all dead” – John Maynard Keynes

Barack Obama, it is said by wise pundits, is remarkable and praiseworthy for always taking the long view. I think his long view, including normalizing the Trump transition, is disastrous and will forever brand his presidency with the word “feckless.” I don’t think he gives a feck about anything except his own legacy.

Yes, there have been achievements, mostly on the economy and human/civil rights. Health care? He blew it by letting Republicans he foolishly believed were human beings strangle Obamacare in the crib and then claim it wasn’t working. In foreign affairs, I believe he made the Middle East a lot worse than it should have been. He watched almost silently as Russia got away with murder. 

He did nothing, zero, to strengthen the Democratic Party, which resulted in congressional, statehouse, and judicial takeovers by the evil empire of Republicans. Despite popular support for himself, for Hillary Clinton, and for most of the progressive agenda, Obama, like so many Democrats before him, tossed away power in the false hope of compromise and national unity with people who didn’t want it and laughed at him while he chased the chimera.

Nothing epitomizes Obama’s political failure as much as his analysis at his last press conference today of why Trump won. “I mean, there are a whole bunch of folks who voted for the president-elect because they feel forgotten and disenfranchised. They feel as if they’re being looked down on. They feel as if their kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities as they did.”

My, my, my! Who forgot and disenfranchised them, Mr. President? Every single damnable Republican since Nixon. 

They seduced the ignorant, impoverished racists of America by taking their votes for granted and stealing their lunch money in exchange for beating down minorities. Obama, like so many Democrats before him, was terrified of standing up for progressive principles, even as a majority the people would have supported them. The “long view” Democrats have been afraid of their own shadow since before Nixon, scared that they might be called names.

Of course, the Trump chumps are looked down upon, but it isn’t Democrats who look down upon them. It is Republicans, and every single economic and political analysis of any value has proven this time and time again. It is the same playbook that Southern Democrats used. So it matters not what the name of the party is. It is the lowbrow, self-hating, uneducated, racist, cousin-marrying underbelly of America themselves who are inaugurating a president who promises to lift them just one small rung above people of color. Their kids will never have opportunity so long as they keep voting for political swindlers.

This optimistic, positive, “long view” of America doesn’t quite work when in the short view democracy and people die. It is truly ironic that had Obama actually been a Democrat, he could have served out his post-presidency on the Supreme Court, where he could have done some good. Now, whatever Obama does as a private citizen will advance no progressive agenda; only his own.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Let's Blame the Victim This Time

I have read both that left-wing scold Thomas Frank’s “Listen, Liberal” screed and J.D. Vance’s autobiographical “Hillbilly Elegy,” both of which excoriate left-wing elites for ignoring the pain of hillbillies, blue collar worker and white working class. Vance, however, despite his redneck upbringing and subsequent Yale law degree (he now works for Trump enabler Peter Thiel) was honest. Much of the problem is that these people (mainly Scots-Irish) are very much responsible for their own circumstances. They have been trouble for several hundred years, and wallow in their checkered ancestry.

They resent “outsiders” -- like Northerners, blacks, Hispanics, educated people etc., but turn to an elitist who double crosses them by pretending to be an outsider. They are strung out on meth, they lie in bed when they don’t feel like showing up for work, disdain school, and get government handouts while blaming minorities for taking “their” livelihoods.

These hillbilly redneck racist dropouts who voted for Trump may not be able to tame the Wall Street or media Jews (and anti-Semitism is what is really behind a lot of this), but they certainly have had plenty of opportunities they bypassed for getting an education and saving money rather than bowling, boozing, and having multiple marriages and affairs. And that, friends, is the only thing that binds them to Trump – cavalier sex and financial irresponsibility.

So, I would ask the liberal and Democratic pundits who blame themselves for ignoring the white working class to shut up and actually, this time, blame the “victim.”

I was strongly opposed to Sanders on grounds of governing competence and temperament. But now, in weighing whether he could have beaten Trump, I realize that he was a terrible campaign strategist, too.  He SHOULD have cared about her “damn emails.” Doing so would either have defeated her or inoculated her.

Hillary won more votes than Trump but in the wrong places,  so “we” ARE in the majority, and maybe we should divide up and move to swing states. In the meantime, the evil that lives after us is named “white working class.”

Sunday, October 04, 2015

I Really Wish He WERE a Carpenter

Now that the Nats season is over, I would like to unload on the most sickening aspect of the team – lead TV announcer Bob Carpenter. There is not a cliché he hasn’t overused, not  a poor play that he hasn’t made an excuse for, and not an unctuous word undelivered. As a game show host he would be mediocre. As a baseball announcer, he makes me glad I am losing my hearing.

I naively believed that to be a journalist, as I was, you had to have a pretty good command of spelling and grammar to get a job and then you could improve your writing. I believed that in broadcasting, you had to at least be able to speak correctly to get a job and then add whatever personality flourishes you wished. Local television news and the Internet have disabused me of both myths. And baseball color analysts, like F.P. “he should of went” Santangelo, seem to be hired BECAUSE they do not know grammar.

However, my point here – and I wish to ask any linguists reading this if I am wrong – is that Carpenter deviates so much from normal inflection as to make me even more insane. The articulation crime is the repeated emphasis on the wrong word in a multi-word phrase. For instance:

“The clean-UP hitter”
“A road TRIP”
“A home STAND”
“A home run to start the NIGHT”
“Seven base RUNNERS”
“A good rbi GUY”
“He had elbow PROBLEMS”
“A real crowd PLEASER”
“The on deck CIRCLE”
“The New York Police DEPARTMENT”
“A big power HITTER”
“From the Chicago AREA”
“The one major holdOVER”
“A pitch-OUT”
“The box OFFICE” … ad nauseam. 

This pox on broadcasting also has a peculiar and annoying tic, shared by Barack Obama, of hissing the final “s” on plurals or possessives ending with a “z” sound. As in “boyce and girlce” “runs the basessss,” “Alcatrassss Island.” 

Carpenter is from St. Louis, where I recognize that the “aw” sound is pronounced as “ah” as in the “shartstop” position. But does being from St. Louis mean you must emphasize the wrong word in a pair that everyone else knows how to articulate? It is as grating as in the Washington-Baltimore-redneck use of “ice CREAM,” “CEment” and “DE-troit.”

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Harper: Where's your ring, dude?

OK, I do believe Jonathan Papelbon was in the wrong for continuing to harangue Bryce Harper after making his point about not running out pop ups. But, God, am I enjoying viewing and re-viewing the video of someone  finally choking that little bitch. He obviously said something that provoked a barely sane Papelbon.

I can’t condone choking the franchise’s, if not the league’s, most valuable player, but at the time it was Papelbon’s game to save, win or lose, so he had a stake in the proceedings.  He is a throwback player, the kind I like, and I have no problem with decking a Harper-like punkass – Manny Machado – for admiring a home run.  And although he was not the one on the team to do it, someone should have gotten in Harper’s face for jaking it whenever he feels like it.

Harper’s goldbricking wasn’t because he was tired after a long season or the fact that he would have been safe anyway if the ball were dropped. He loafed because that is his personality. He went 0-4 and had a bad day at the plate the day before (except for his game winning double).  

Every time this prima donna makes an out that he doesn’t think he should make, he sulks on the way to first, sometimes flinging his bat like a chimpanzee flings feces.    

As I have said many times before, he plays the game as if he is the center of it and frequently shows no regard for the team – not by choking someone but by playing for his stats.   

I read a quotation from Joe DiMaggio once that is the basis for how I wanted the be known for my professional work. After a meaningless late September game after announcing his retirement, he laid out to make a spectacular catch. When asked why he risked injury in a game that didn’t have any significance, he replied, “Because someone might be watching me play for the first time.”  

Harper cannot conceive of that notion. He is the best offensive player in the league, but he is also the most offensive. 

 By the way Harp, where the IS that ring? You might ask Papelbon to show you his.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Officially Dead

The most overused phrase on broadcast news and on the Interwebs is “It’s official!” (More so than the single word "just.")

Image result for it's official
Stupid, ignorant, thoughtless, uncreative drones who want to say something cannot say it without first inflating their importance by saying, “It’s official.” Aside from the fact that nothing except a law or judicial order can be said to be official, the phrase just delays a reader from getting to the point and tells dear reader the author fell out of the cliché tree and hit every branch on the way down.   

It is not official when a baseball trade is made, it is not official when  Jonathan Pollard is given parole days after it was leaked that he would. It is not official when Apple releases a new phone. It is not official when some “on-again-off-again” thing is declared by a puerile news writer to be “on again” (of “off again.”) Things just "are" -- officially or not.

There used to be a silly little game teenage boys would play with songs on the “Top 40,” consisting of placing the phrase “between the sheets” after the title of each song. (Try it!)  Now, scroll to the next blog or Facebook post, look at a piece of junk mail, or God forbid pick up a book and randomly  find a sentence and put “it’s official” in front of it.   

It is is even more infantile for an actual writer who actually gets paid to begin a narrative with “It’s official.” No. It. Isn’t.  

And even if it were, the phrase is officially the mark of a tedious dullard.