Thursday, January 31, 2013

JANUARY 31, 2013

     Do you remember Gabrielle Giffords, the former Congresswoman who was shot in Tucson two years ago?  She came back to Capitol Hill yesterday to testify, as you might guess, about gun control.

     Speaking is not easy for her.  She is partially blind and paralyzed in her right arm.  She spoke, the Washington Post reported, just 72 words, but they were good ones.  Here are some:  "You must be bold, be courageous," she told the committee. "Americans are counting on you."  And "Speaking is difficult.  But I need to say something important.  Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children.  We must do something."

     Will they?
  Will we?  I have no idea.  But I have sat here for a long time and watched gun control fail very often.  This time may be different.  We've had Giffords.  We've had the children in Connecticut.  Do we never say--enough dying?

     The optimists this year are predicting little gains--a ban on assault weapons, maybe
, or a limit on the number of rounds a magazine can hold.  Chances?  Who knows?  But doesn't killing each other ever get old?



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

JANUARY 29, 2013

     This elderly non-economist  is always leery of forecasts, but there have been signs lately that good--not splendid--times are on the way.  President Obama had an okay first term--ended one of two foolish wars he'd inherited from George W. Bush, managed an economy which was stable though not surging.  Now, maybe, the eonomy will surge some.

     Timing, as always, will matter.  Mr. Obama has about two years to work his magic, if he has any.  Then we'll start reading about the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, all that good presidential stuff.  The question will behow is candidate X, not the Prez, going to make things better?
     Let's hope the economy booms now.  We could probably all use a lift.        

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

JANUARY 22, 2013

    When I looked at the TV set yesterday, I saw a grownup, a man who knew what he wanted and maybe how to get it.

     "We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect,,,we must act knowing that today's victories will be only partial."  He was brave enough to talk about tough problems--the country's financial problems, climate change.  He didn't mention guns, but had just a few days ago.  And for the first time of any president in an inaugural, he used the word "gay" and talked of three turning points in the struggle to ensure that "all of us are created equal." 

    One was Seneca Falls, New York,  scene of a womans' rights convention in 1848;  the second, Selma, Alabama, center of much civil rights agitation in the 1960s;  and then Stonewall, where the 1969 raids and riots at the New York bar sparked the beginning of the gay rights movement.

     His goal, our president said, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else."

     Me made me proud.




Monday, January 21, 2013

Fwd: JANUARY 20, 2013

Monday is Inauguration Day, but you knew that.  I plan to hide out in my living room and watch from in front of my TV set.  It's far too crowded in the real world for me.

The Washington Post, which remembers inaugurals past, has printed a menu from an inaugural ball in 1865--president named Lincoln, second term.

"Bill of Fare" it reads.  Four kinds of beef--roast, filet de beef, beef a-la-mode, beef a la anglais.  I'm sure you're familiar with all those.  Just three kinds of veal.  More than a dozen cakes and tarts.  Only six kinds of ice cream, though that may have seemed like enough.  The price for all this and more--ten bucks. Yes, ten bucks.

There were huge crowds then as now, of course.  A million?  More?  Nobody knows.

And, hiding in front of his TV set, this nobody won't care.



JANUARY 19, 2013

     Last week The Washington Post quoted a man in Newtown, Connecticut--where all the kids were killed-- saying, "If we can't have an ordinance passed [locally]…what are what are we going to be able to do on a national level…"

     I don
't know, but another Post story notes that things are happening.  The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, unveiled what the Post called a "sweeping set of proposals."  Governors in Maryland, New York and Colorado are pushing reforms.  


     This is America.  Sometimes we mess up;   sometimes not.  Sometimes we just keep on until we get it about right.


     President Obama got health care through and nobody thought that would happen.

     I am old enough to remember a southern America that was racially segregated.
The South bristled with signs--whites only, no colored, and so on.  One famous politician, George Wallace, issued a call:  "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

     Good people died to change that, but it did change.
 I don't know what it will take to change the gun culture, but it's way too early to give up.  Keep on.  Keep on.  


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

JANUARY 15, 2013

If you follow the Supreme Court, you'll have seen stories about Justice Clarence Thomas who for almost seven years has been silent during court proceedings--no questions, nothing.  He has, it turns out finally spoken.  Don't worry.  it won't help. No one is sure what he said

t happened so quickly, the Washington Post said, that some thought he never spoke at all.  The paper has Thomas saying, "Wellhe did not…."  Hope that's enough for you.  It's all there is.


JANUARY 12, 2013

Some names are keys.  Read "DiMaggio" on a page and you thought, of course, of baseball.  Read "Rockefeller" and you thought of politics--Republican politics, the clean and honest kind.  The Washington Post reports today that may be ending.

The story is that Jay Rockfeller has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 after almost thirty years in the place.  Wow.

The Rockfellers have been rich, big political guys for years. Vice President Uncle Withrop. Great-grandfather Nelson, a senator.  Another Uncle Nelson, vice president.  All clean.

It's clean that counts.  I grew up in Chicago.  We had families too, but some of them had names like Capone.  Clean was not the first adjective that came to mind.

So, so long Rockies and congratulations. You did it right.


JANUARY 10, 2013

     The Washington Post reports that organized baseball's Hall of Fame has decided to say no to some of the game's most impressive players who were suspected, despite their denials, of using steriods, performance enhancing drugs.

     Barry Bonds hit more home runs in a season and was the league's most valuable player a record seven times. Roger Clemens won 354 games and won the Cy Young award as his league's best pitcher seven times.  Both lost yesterday.

   Sammy Sosa lost too.

   It's not the end of the world, of course. You get to keep whatever money you have left.  But the Baseball Writers of America, which runs the Hall, has put a big, black mark next to your name.

     Do you suppose we need something like that for politics?


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

JANUARY 9, 2013

      We ought to be able to do something about football injuries, but we sure haven't found a way yet.

     The latest scary case is the Washington Redskins' gifted (or perhaps formerly gifted) rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III--RG Three, as the announcers like to say.  Good quarterbacks can throw the ball.  Griffin can do that.  Some are also good runners.  RGIII is one of those too.

     What happened was he got hurt.  He wanted to stay in the games--a rookie star would, of course.  His coaches let him after a short break, a much more questionable decision.  The team lost its final game, a wild card shot at the playoffs. RGIII now faces surgery.  A Washington Post column's headline reads:  Redskins sack their own QB.

     I am no expert here, covered politics, not sports, but the columnist, Sally Jenkins, is an expert.  She covers sports.  She says RGIII should have been pulled from Sunday's game.  I believe her.


Friday, January 4, 2013

DECEMBER 31, 2012

      As in the past, the last column of the year is devoted to some of those who left us during it.  


     We are all still thinking about the children in Connecticut---twenty tender lives forever ended.   I was reminded of a twenty-first--Trayvon Martin, a teenager killed early in 2012 by a Neighbrhood Watch actvist who suspected young Martin of, well, I suppose I'll never know exactly what.

     We lost Warren Rudman, a forthright New England senator;  Arlen Specter, a senator who switched parties--do they have two where you are now, sir?  And George McGovern, the Democrats' presidential candidate in 1972, whose slogan, "Come Home, America," did not bring Americans back from Vietnam nor spark enough votes for him to win.

     We lost Neil Armstrong, whose line when he first walked upon the moon, "a small step for a man," turned out to be sadly true.  The moon race flickered; no one walks there now.  The first American woman in space, Sally Ride, gave girls the dream that they could one day.

     We lost Andy Griffith, an entertainment empire;  Gore Vidal, a fine writer;  Ray Bradbury, one whose talents reached Mars;  Joe Paterno, the winningest football coach ever;  and Mike Wallace and Richard Threlkeld, who greatly raised the standards of my own field, broadcast news.