Wednesday, September 21, 2011

from NCAA to NFL

For the record, this is pretty much exactly what I want for college ball. No more BCS. No more arbitrary rankings. Wins and losses leading to a playoff.

ND to the B1G would make me very happy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a toast to empathy, and to Pat Robertson

It appears Pat Robertson's gotten himself in quite a bit of hot water with both his ideological enemies and his fellow travelers in the Christian Right.

The question he was asked:
I have a friend whose wife suffers from Alzheimer's. She doesn't even recognize him anymore, and, as you can imagine, the marriage has been rough. My friend has gotten bitter at God for allowing his wife to be in that condition, and now he's started seeing another woman. He says that he should be allowed to see other people because his wife as he knows her is gone … I'm not quite sure what to tell him.

Robertson's response:
"That is a terribly hard thing. I hate Alzheimer's. It is one of the most awful things, because here's the loved one—this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years, and suddenly that person is gone. They're gone. They are gone. So what he says basically is correct, but—I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again. But to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her—"

Meeuwsen interjected: "But isn't that the vow that we take when we marry someone, that it's for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer?" To this, Robertson replied,

"Yeah, I know, if you respect that vow, but you say "till death do us part," this is a kind of death. So that's what he's saying, is that she's like—but this is an ethical question that is beyond my ken to tell you. But I certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship. You're lonely, and you're asking for some companionship, as opposed to—but what a grief. I know one man who went to see his wife every single day, and she didn't recognize him one single day, and she would complain that he never came to see her. And it's really hurtful, because they say crazy things. … It is a terribly difficult thing for somebody, and I can't fault them for wanting some kind of companionship. And if he says in a sense she is gone, he's right. It's like a walking death. But get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer, because I recognize the dilemma and the last thing I'd do is condemn you for taking that kind of action."

I can't believe I'm defending Will Saletan and Pat Robertson, but Robertson has a point.

Alzheimer's is a horror lacking any adjective to sufficiently describe it, a disease that erases the love of your life's personality right in front of you. I watched my grandmother succumb to it, and my grandfather endure it, ever frustrated in his attempts to help her remember their lives together, or even remember herself.

He would have held up better if he had a woman to get him through the night. Grandma was gone years before her body finally died.

Robertson had a moment of humanity and went off script. Everyone else will tee off on him, as is expected, but for a moment Pat Robertson felt someone else's pain and misfortune, and refrained from piling on.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

the boring truth about Social Security

Ezra Klein with the most important thing you should know about Social Security: it will eventually suffer a relatively minor shortfall due to a decrease in population growth, and will at some point be solved with a combination of raising the payroll tax cap and modest lowering of benefits.

another day

Another chance to stick it to poor people.

Got some people applauding this on my bookface. Last time I checked it was banksters and tax cuts for rich people that f**ked the world economy and blew up the federal balance sheet, not uppity poor people.

all just part of the conspiracy


Friday, September 02, 2011

black resentment and Obama

I suspect this is right (in regards to Boehner's unprecedented refusal to let the president schedule his jobs speech when he chooses):
When Boehner does something like this (that no previous Speaker has done to any previous President), when he refuses to return the President's phone call during the debt ceiling crisis, when he skips state dinners, when he refuses to definitely say that he believes the President was born in the US or is a Christian, or when Boehner coddles a member of his caucus who shout "you lie" during a Presidential address, etc one certain thing happens - black Americans notice it.

African-Americans are especially sensitive to the unprecedented disrespect that white Republicans have afforded to the first black President. Every time it happens, it ripples across black radio, black newspapers, black websites, and in conversations in black communities. It helps cement the ties that Obama has with the black community, and helps overcome whatever doubts and disappoints some may have. It reminds people who have experienced overt racism in their own lives that the President is experiencing the same kind of dehumanizing disrespect. It will help drive strong African-American turnout and overwhelming numbers for Obama next year.

Political pundits may gossip about the rift between Boehner and Obama, but millions of black Americans see something much more sinister when this happens.

And frankly, black people would be right to be sensitive about this stuff. There are numerous motivations for these myriad slights -- power politics, hyperpartisanship, Boehner's own relative political weakness and Cantor standing behind him, garrote at the ready -- but racism is definitely part of the mixture as well. The tropes of the black stereotype surface far too often.

On the other hand, it is true that sometimes calculated disrespect isn't race-related. I'd be willing to wager a nontrivial amount of money that at some point in next year's debates, the Republican nominee (especially if it's the dim-witted Perry or tin-eared Romney) will make a too-cute reference to Ronald Reagan by calling President Obama "Senator" to his face. It won't be racially motivated, but the black community will raise hell.*

*As well they should. In a sense, Rick Perry's motivation won't matter; the image of a white southern conservative governor refusing to recognize the legitimacy of a sitting black president, to his face, takes on its own meaning.