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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whining in The Gulf

Are you getting tired of the whining by officials and residents of Louisiana and Florida about the disastrous results of their own greed and negligence?

I am. These deep crimson states of the deep south have long supported the oil industry and other business development over traditional concerns about the risks to the environment. Now, they moan about the clean-up defects from one side of their mouths while from the other side they bemoan the loss of oil industry jobs.

Although they consistently opposed meaningful federal regulation of businesses, and favored jobs vs environment, politicians and residents in this region have the gall to blame the federal government for failing to regulate the oil companies and for failing to clean up the mess that non-regulation created.

In fact, we citizens of the rest of the country should be enraged at the behavior and neglect of these states. Every state has a responsibility to preserve its environment resources. This is true of our parks and coastlines. It is in our best interests to do so and it is our duty to do it for the benefit of all and for future generations.

Now, Louisianians and Floridians are reaping the harvest they sowed ... oil on their shores. Shame on them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brooklyn 7, L.A. 1.

This week, the Los Angeles Times commemorated the interleague series between the Dodgers and Yankees by printing the results of a poll of "experts" called the "all-time Dodgers, Yankees rosters."

What I found interesting was that, although the Dodgers have been in L.A. for more than a half century (having played more games in Chavez Ravine than they did in Ebbets Field), the consensus of experts was that 7 of the 8 best Dodgers who were position players were those who played (most of their careers) in Brooklyn rather than in L.A.

[HOF = Hall of Fame]
1b: Gil Hodges (1943-1963); Second on Dodgers' home run and RBI list. [not in HOF enormous injustice].
2b: Jackie Robinson (1947-1956); Averaged 95 runs in 10 seasons (refused trade to Giants, retired). [HOF]
3b: Ron Cey (1971-1987) 20 plus homers 7 times as Dodger. Great nickname: “The Penguin.”
Ss: Harold “Peewee” Reese (1940-58) Team leader in runs, #2 in hits. [HOF]
C: Roy Campanella (1948-57) 3 time NL MVP, 9 time All Star. [HOF]
CF: Duke Snider (1947-64) Team leader in HR’s, RBI’s, extra base hits. [HOF]
LF: Zack Wheat (1909-27) 2,884 hits, 1,289 runs. [HOF]
RF: Carl Furillo (1946-60) Lifetime BA .299 with 1,1910 hits, 1,58 RBI; “The Reading Rifle”.

I admit that the consensus was not unanimous. Some idiots suggested that Steve Garvey replace Hodges[!] What next, Lopes over Jackie? Okay, a fair argument for Maury Wills over Peewee and for Tommy Davis over Furillo. But that's about it. I might counter with Jim Gilliam or Billy Cox over The Penguin, if you want to play that game.

As to pitchers, they chose Koufax, Drysdale, Zach Wheat (who even predates my memory) as well as Don Sutton, Fernando, Orel. But they left out Newk and Oisk. In relief: Gagne [a steroid cheater] and Labine.

All-time owner? I'll take Rickey over O'Malley any day.

And what about Vin Scully? The all time best baseball broadcaster, who spans both eras. Wonder who's on Vin's team? Was Red Barber better than ... who are the other guys out here?

Okay, so I am biased. Sue me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feel No Pain

Bijou would come home from a frustrating day at work
and want to talk about it
... and talk about it.
I would come home from a frustrating day at work
and want to forget it.

So she talked

... and I listened.
Then I made a terrible mistake.
I suggested solutions for her problems.
She became enraged.
"Don't solve my problem.
Just listen to me and empathize."

I protested.

I am a lawyer,
trained to hear my clients' problems
and to solve them.
Imagine if I told my client that I empathized,
and then left the jail.

Eventually I learned to speak the language,

to sense the warning signs
that marked the beginning of the burst of emotion
that demanded attention.

Bill Clinton is credited

with mastering personal politics.
He made everyone,
especially female voters
feel as if he understood
and empathized
with their problems.
In the jargon of the time,
he felt their pain.

Barack Obama has a hard time with Clintonspeak.

His approach is more lawyerly,
less emotive.
In a crisis he will first seek facts,
then seek solutions.

The press and shallow observers slam him

for failing to show emotion
(i.e., anger) at enemies of the state
-- like BP and GM.
The media wants him to be more like an action star
swearing revenge.

Would they prefer the G.W. Bush tactic

of manipulating the overwrought emotions
of the nation following 9/11
to lead us into disastrous wars?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Give me libertarian or give me breath

Chutzpah is blaming the the BP oil spill on the federal government after years of insisting with equal vigor that government should not interfere with business, especially the big ones involving national security - like oil companies.

Both Left, Right and Center share responsibility for this and other crises of our time. De-regulation began in the 1970's with Jimmy Carter, accelerated under Reagan, and was embraced by Clinton, who declared that the era of big government was over.

There is grumbling on the Left because Obama's style doesn't permit him to rant and rave. He has not threatened to nationalize the oil, auto, coal, financial, or insurance industry as much as his supporters would wish him to do it. This is the same Left that called Bush an immature cowboy for his ravings about terrorism and macho threats that alienated our allies and independent nations.

The Right also blames Obama for the recession, for bailing out companies whose failure would have destroyed our economy for fifty years rather than the time it will take to dig out of the mess they left for him.

The Right laid the groundwork for the worst epidemic of corporate incompetence and greed since 1929. From Exxon to Enron to Goldman Sachs, from General Motors to Toyota, from coal mines to oil rigs, big government cannot compete with big business for gross negligence, fraud, or greed.

Bush / Cheney produced an era of incompetent and corrupt government that challenged the Harding administration of the early 1920's - which also permitted big oil interests to buy the government. In Afghanistan and Iraq, in New Orleans, in Texas, on the coastlines, on Wall Street, government policies resulted in disaster.

Every crisis Obama has had to deal with for the past year and a half has had roots deep in the past. The truth is that there was nothing more he could have done in the time he had to forestall or even mitigate the damage.

Calls for kicking ass are like cries to shoot first and ask questions later. It is akin to the traditional witch hunts and scapegoating that accompanies every crisis.