Monday Musings: December 13, 2010

With the lame duck Congress in full feather, The Rational Middle has much to muse on this week. We will discuss the most recent judicial ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the notion of compromise, and the ceaseless rantings of the deficit hawks. For me, this is the first Monday of winter, having endured a real storm this weekend and the ice it left behind. I endured a political storm over the weekend as well, finding myself in the kill box with Liberals to my left, Progressives to my right, and conservative friends chuckling all around.

If I am brave, The Rational Middle might revisit the President’s bipartisan agreement with Republicans on taxes and working class benefits, but there is much to cover. Don’t forget that when I run out of space in the RM, or patience with a rational approach, friends can find the results at the Pigeon Post. My article there last week on the President’s latest sin against the liberal faith drew hundreds of readers, but lacks the criticism and conflict that I long for. So please, help a lonely writer feel loved by sharing your opinions in the comment section. Now, on to the Musings!

Politics

Just less than two years ago, my conservative friends screamed bloody murder over a $787 billion package that included the largest working class tax cut in history and billions in grant money to be spent largely on small and regional contractors. Thousands of angry Americans, previously thought numb to big spending packages (W. did spend a boatload after all), woke up to the outrage and demanded salvation from the bill that was going to take too much from the wealthy and bring down our budgetary house.

I have now had the pleasure and privilege of watching the liberals who voted for the stimulus scream bloody murder about a package of similar scale for get this, giving too much to the wealthy and threatening to bring down our nation’s budgetary house. The conservatives who spent the entire mid-term campaign cycle fighting against the stimulus were only too eager to sign off on this legislation; and dizziness ensued. The contradictions, hypocrisy, and economic ignorance that lie at the heart of this issue will require a post (or maybe book) of their own to explain. Suffice it to say that political watchers like myself are dazed and disoriented at the moment.

Television

Skating With The Stars. No, really. I suppose it sounded like a good idea, but I guess we all “had to be there”. The producers couldn’t find any stars (guinea pigs), nor could they find any world class ( in terms of name value) skaters to work with them. I just sat and watched a full segment about a guy (star I have never heard of) who wasn’t skating because of a stomach flu. Riveting television…thank God for books!

NFL commentators. No, really. In a desperate bid to use vocabularies they don’t have (and the Simms, Millens, and Dierdorfs don’t have them), commentators will use almost any word that has more than three syllables. They will also contradict themselves faster than any politician in history. Sunday, Greg Gumbel told the audience that the crowd was “highly anticipatory of something happening”.

Later on that fated day, the duo calling the Patriots beat-down of Da Bears spent close to 3 minutes of game time telling the audience about Jay Cutler’s unconventional mechanics. They spoke of how unusual it was for Cutler to set his feet before his throws, and how strange the ball looked when he did set them. In that very sequence, Cutler did what Cutler does better than most any quarterback not named Favre or Derek Anderson…he threw an interception. The commentator then spoke at length about how Cutler’s inability to set his feet caused the interception.

Sports

We have heard all season the rumors of an impending move in the NFL; the Vikings will go to L.A. if they don’t get “their” new stadium. On Sunday, the roof of the Vikings’ home collapsed under the weight of a snowstorm…feel confident that the event will accelerate calls for the taxpayers of Minnesota to pony up the cash for new digs. I have written on the organized crime of professional sports and publicly financed stadiums in the past, but the subject bears repeating. We are told we live in a “center-right” nation, and we are told that government should stay out of the market. Why is it somehow appropriate that we have money that isn’t spent on police, firefighters, road repairs, mass-transit, or education extorted and used to fund the only capital investments of a multi-billion dollar industry?

The Rational Middle is listening…

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