Results tagged ‘ Congress ’

The Hand Skills Game

selig_umps_allstar.jpgFor a blog that purports to cover baseball and politics, we have been sadly remiss in following up on the great health care debate.  Sure, we paid attention as the package finally came to a vote and at least mentioned the outcome.  But what do we really think?

Well, these things take time to ponder.  And considering that this debate has been going on since at least WWII, the couple weeks we took to think it through isn’t so bad.  It’s an interesting bill especially because no one is really happy.  It’s the Congressional equivalent of the 2002 All-Star Game.  There were triumphant moments, there were awful moments and, in the end, everyone left just kind of feeling a little empty.  The left thinks it didn’t go far enough and the right thinks it’s Armageddon.  So what’s the truth?

I could try and explain the positives and negatives of the bill in my own words but Frank Rich already nailed the essence of what I could say in a column from a few weeks ago.  And since there’s not a whole lot I can add to that, let me just say this.  Whether you like the bill or not, this is a huge victory for Obama.  The Republicans can stake the 2010 midterms on their opposition to the bill and their intentions to repeal it but how are you going to explain that you want to reinstate language for pre-existing conditions into health coverage?  Because, let’s be honest, that’s what the debate is going to boil down to. 

Perhaps it would be easier if I could represent Obama’s victory to you in a more visual manner.  So, maybe this will help.  Pretend that the guy making the video is President Obama and Enton Gill is the Congressional Republicans.  Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean:

I imagine the Republicans will have a similar reaction when they finally open their eyes.

-A

You’ll Go Blind; So What

david paterson smiling.jpgFear not, dear readers, for the scare huckin’ shadow casting done by my chiding and oft misleading colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, is nothing more than seductive pomp and circumstance meant to dissuade you from the truth!  Sure, sure… the Republicans are transitioning into the high profile sex game.  So what?  It’s about time they join the proverbial party (DNC approved or not) because to be honest, the political sex scene could use some old spice (pun intended).  But there is no way in Congressional hell (it’s a lot like Ames, IA only less corn) that the Republicans are stealing the show.

And that’s the thing.  Ya see, the Democrats are still gettin’ their sexy on, it’s just that we’ve seen so much of it in recent years that it’s simply boring to us now (think John “You Are the Father” Edwards).  I mean, New York Congressman Eric Massa is doing so many inappropriate things to so many different people that the best thing for him right now would probably be to grab an adult magazine and cool out it in a truck stop restroom for a few days… wait.  No.  That’s a bad idea.  Bad, bad, bad idea.

But, seriously, if all these politicians just learned to take out their “frustrations” on themselves (privately, of course) rather than act out on others, maybe our government would be just a little more productive.  We live in the 21st century, people.  All kinds of new, innovative stuff exists for no other reason than to get us those happy endings!  So what if we all go blind… now the goods come in braille!  What do we need our eyes for!?!? Eh!?!?

Whew.  Okay.  That may have been the longest introduction to a main point ever, but it had to be done.  I have no regrets.

And in case you are wondering what the actual point of this piece is, well, it is simply to inform you that a braille book on the history of the Chicago Cubs franchise is also in the works.  The rumored list price is nowhere near the 150 Pounds Sterling it will cost you to get one of those braille p0rno books, but that is simply because the Cubs history book consists of just… one… letter:

L

Hate me ‘cuz I gitz long-winded, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy!

A Miracle on Capitol Hill

nancy_mrT.jpgWhile the east coast continues to dig out from the 20 inches of snow that fell over the weekend, Congress is doing its part by expelling as much hot air as possible to aid in the recovery. This isn’t exactly something new for our esteemed parliamentarians but debates like this ongoing health care discussion seem to bring out even more bloviation than usual.

The worst part is that we all know it’s just a dog and pony show since the bill is going to pass once Joe Lieberman finishes lobotomizing it. And when it’s all said and done, it will be up to President Obama to gloss over the facts and say that this lump of coal given him by a Congress all dressed up in a Santa suit is exactly what he had on his Christmas list.

If it was me sitting on this pseudo-Santa’s lap, I’d turn and punch him right in the face. This isn’t Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street replacing a drunk Santa Claus and making a little girl believe in Christmas. This is Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa getting drunk, pissing himself and all but sodomizing little children. Come to think of it, that’s not too far off the mark when it comes to describing Congress anyway.

So, how about it ladies and gents of the Congress? This could be our Christmas miracle. America wants it, you can make it happen and more than that, wouldn’t it be nice to give your constituents some sort of assurance that if they get sick, they will be taken care of? Too bad that instead you seem hell-bent on making the same kind of joke out of health care that Nancy Reagan made out of drugs.

-A

A Healthy Solution

As the health care bill moves to debate on the senate floor, partisans on both sides are gearing up for what is expected to be an epic battle. The conservatives, exhorted onward to ever greater paroxysms of religious (and irreligious) indignation by Glenn Beck and his ilk, decry the very thought of doing away with the current system that has failed so miserably. Meanwhile the liberals turn every which way but loose making a perfect hash out of what should have been the easiest sell in the history of sales pitches. And who suffers? Just the millions of Americans without coverage.

However, we here at RSBS may have come up with a perfectly libertarian solution which even our friend Jonestein could be proud of. Take a look at this video and pay special attention to the chorus:

There, did you catch it? “Have a baby by me, baby, be a millionaire.” It’s the answer to everything. What we need right now is for all the wealthy people in our country, be they entertainers, moguls, crime lords or even baseball players, to have babies by other women so they can then pay their doctor bills. It’s foolproof!

I understand that some people will have a problem with this solution, especially the people who have to get the ugly girls pregnant. But the United States was built on sacrifice. Besides, that’s what we have ugly guys like Vincente Padilla and Bud Selig for. And they need to get on it now. Trust me Bud, it’s going to be just as bad for the girl who’s stuck with you as you think it is for yourself.

Now, we could also follow the more difficult but ultimately more sustainable path described by David Goldhill recently in The Atlantic. But, let’s be honest. Americans are incapable of that much patience and this idea would require a rationality that is light years beyond our elected representatives. And that’s why we come back to 50 Cent. He let us know that it was all right to party like it’s our birthday and now he’s solving the health care problem. If only “Candy Shop” offered some sort of solution to global warming.

-A

Licking the Platter Clean

holy_taco_stadium.jpgThere’s an old nursery rhyme that goes:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so between them both, you see
They licked the platter clean!

Well, in a clear cut case of life imitating art, we have seen how this cultural touchstone transfers to our everyday lives. The fat that entranced Jack Sprat’s wife can be found all over the internet and it looks delicious. Meanwhile, the lean that caught Jack’s fancy has hit our bank accounts and 401k’s. From the increase in the unemployment rate to the drop in consumer spending, America hasn’t seen such lean times in decades. But luckily, in this drama the role of Jack Sprat’s wife is played by the Federal Government and she’s never seen a big ol’ plate of fat that she didn’t like. This is why we will soon be the proud owners of a $800 billion dollar stimulus package.

It would be nice if we could just blame this whole thing on one party or the other. It’s the Republicans’ fault for the past eight years of profligate spending and expensive foreign entanglements. Or the Democrats are responsible because they rammed a pork laden bill down the collective American gullet while paying mere lip service to the idea of bipartisanship. But, let’s call it like it is here. Pork, in all its many wonderful forms, is the American way.

That being said, this stimulus package is nothing when compared to the recent automobile and bank bailouts. The overall price tag on this one may be higher but at least there’s a legitimate goal. The bailout? Well, for you baseball fans, here’s an easy way to look at it. Let’s say you have a team, we’ll call them the New Pork Spankees, and they decide that things aren’t looking as rosy as they’d like. So, they tell the city of New Pork, “Look, things are kind of rough and the only thing that will help is if you build us a new stadium. You’re going to be on the hook for most of the costs but really, you owe us because we’ve been so good to you over the years. Here’s the thing, though. If you don’t do it, we’ll close up shop, maybe move someplace else and then where will you be?.” It’s like Congress telling the American people that we have to rescue Detroit but the taxpayers are going to have to pay for it because the automakers have been so good to America in the past. It’s time we payed our dues.

Inevitably, these two eerily similar bailouts end up helping certain special people (i.e. the owner of the Spankees or the auto executives) a lot more than they help the people who are footing the bill. It also doesn’t help when the real price of the package skyrockets as time wears on.

But what about all of us, the guys who are footing the bill? What do we get in return? Well, we get higher ticket prices, a sense of disenfranchisement and then we’re forced to watch our teams perform at some unacceptable level of status quo.

The difference between the Spankees and the American taxpayer, though, is that without some sort of package, the taxpayer is soon going to find his or herself standing in line outside the unemployment office. The city of New Pork? Well, they’ll just create their own bailout plan and float the costs on down the line to the taxpayer. Individualized gains, socialized losses but the same old story no matter where you look.

-A

The Filibuster

Michael Phelps and a few other American athletes have voluntarily
submitted to a higher level of drug testing in an attempt to head off
any questions about their impressive victories. If the US Olympic team
can do this, why hasn’t baseball taken similar steps to get rid of the
drug stigma surrounding the game today?

– Allen
                                                                                     

human_growth_hormone.jpgIn a way, Major League Baseball, behind the leadership of Bud Selig and an overwhelmingly grumpy push from the US Government, has taken similar steps to get rid of the drug stigma, Mr. Krause.  I’m not sure if you heard about it this past winter, but the Mitchell Report made quite a stir all over the baseball cosmos, and got a great number of ballplayers thinking “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t put this crap in my body anymore.”

While the drug screening program in baseball is still somewhat lax and random in its procedure, it is still light years better than what it was (non-existent) and does an adequate job by simply scaring people into doing the right thing.  This is progress that at one time seemed improbable.  Why?  Because the don’t-ask-don’t-tell secret of performance enhancing drugs was bringing people to the ballpark.  Whether it was the greenies of the 70s or the HGH of the 90s, fans were coming out to games in droves to witness the high octane occurrence of homeruns and 100 mph fastballs.  You’ve said it here a million times, Mr. Krause, money is what makes the world go round and if shooting up brings it in then so be it.

Unfortunately, we US Americans sometimes have a conscious; and that’s the only reason why this phase has transitioned to a foreseeable end.

Are players still using PEDs?  Probably.  Are they using them as much as they used to?  No.  Not at all.  Need proof?  How about Richie Sexson, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca just for starters.  These guys are mere shadows of what they used to be while on the juice; because of that, I’m convinced that the biggest proverbial battles have already been fought and won.

Could more be done to ensure the sanctity of the game?  Probably.

Will a more stringent array of tests similar to those of Olympians Michael Phelps and Dara Torres (both voluntarily) ever be instituted in Major League Baseball?  I doubt it.

And here’s why: Player’s Union, Agents, Club Owners, the Players themselves.  Try to get anything past these guys that could theoretically threaten profits and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with a much higher power than voluntary amateur athletes who compete for a friggin’ medal that everyone will forget about two months from now.

The difference between asking Michael Phelps to take a rigorous amount of drug tests to prove his purity and asking Manny Ramirez to do the same can be summed up in two words: Scott Boras. 

scott_boras.jpgBoras, evil incarnate, who single-handedly changed sports forever, will hunt down your children, cut off their heads and sell them to Colombian witchdoctors if it means he’ll get 10%.  I guarantee you, if Boras represented Phelps (which would never happen whilst Phelps maintains amateur status), Andrea Kramer would be lucky if Phelps even acknowledged her existence after winning 8 gold medals.

Money.  Money money money money money.  Money.  Money money money money.  Money.  Money money MONEY!

Of course, public relations and digesting the fact that hardworking US Americans actually do want to be assured that their national pastime isn’t being abused both factor into MLB’s stricter regulations; but MLB and its myriad components, from the owners to the players to Joe Blow who spent $48.50 of his paycheck to sit in the upper deck, will continue to do whatever they have to to straddle the precarious line between profit and purity. 

It hasn’t been perfected in politics (see Bill Clinton, the Kennedy’s, John Edwards) yet, so it’s no surprise that baseball hasn’t a clue either. 

I’m just glad that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I am PED free.  A bulging forehead, weak libido and distending testicles wouldn’t be good for my image.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

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