Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 23, 2011



     Talk to Washingtonians about most things--how's the President doing, what do you think of Congress--and you get fairly logical answers--a few kooky ones, but mostly not.  Talk about the city's favorite sports team--the NFL's Washington Redskins--and all that  changes.  Wild optimism erupts.


    I've seen two headlines in local sports pages this week about the "undefeated" 'Skins.  True, sure, but silly.  They've played just two, count 'em, two games.  Fourteen to go.  "Undefeated?"  Give me a break.  The Skins do sometimes win.  The baseball team, the Nationals, doesn't.  Its predecessor, the Senators, had an unofficial slogan: ''Washington, first in war, first in peace, last in the American League."  Most years, they lived up to it.


     The Redskins have won, of course.  The 1988 and 1992 Super Bowls come to mind.  And sports is full of longer losing streaks.  I grew up in Chicago rooting for the Chicago Cubs, who last won the World Series in--are you ready?--1908.


     Ponder that.


Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011


     The United States Postal Service is tip-toeing into the 21st century.  They announced plans to end overnight mail delivery, among other things.  This is wise and simply reflects reality.


      Friends don't write their friends and loved ones first-class letters anymore.  They e-mail them or talk on the telephone.  What I get in the mail, and I'll bet you do too, are bills, notices of medical appointments, a magazine, a catalogue or two.  Delivery, say, three times a week is plenty for stuff like that.  The serious letter to a loved one got there electronically yesterday or the day before.  While they are at it, they can keep all that junk mail - save me the trouble of trashing it and maybe help a tree or two.


    So congratulations, USPS.  I've enjoyed attacking you over the years, but this time you got something right.



Friday, September 16, 2011

September 16, 2011


     There's a new CBS News/New York Times poll out which confirms something many of us have known or suspected for years:  the voters are lot smarter than we think.


     The basic finding is that more Americans than ever are dissatisfied with the way Congress works--just 12% approve.  Actually, that ties a previous low recorded in 2008.


     Why?  That's easy.  It's partisan, impotent, useless.  What has it done?... (long, long pause.)


     I can remember Congresses, when I started covering them years ago, that actually passed laws.  Some were divisive--the 1964 Civil Rights Act, for instance, or the '65 Voting Rights Act.  Some sparked filibusters.  But they passed.  I remember one of of this Congress's Senate leaders--I think it was Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, saying his party's most important goal was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Nothing to do with defense, or education, or any issue.  Just partisan politics.


     That's the difference.