Monday Musings: January 10, 2011

Everything I had planned this weekend went up in smoke, but I am finding it hard to complain about much this evening. The plans, and lives, of so many others were shattered Saturday morning in Tucson, Arizona. I spent much of the weekend exchanging thoughts, and the occasional angry word, with political friends and associates regarding our nation’s political tone. Is angry rhetoric linked to violence? If so, are the purveyors of such rhetoric directly responsible for the deaths on Saturday? I think the truth of the matter lies somewhere to the calm side of blame and retribution.

My thoughts on the reaction to the tragedy are encoded in an article I wrote on The Rational Middle, as well as a note I placed on Facebook. But the reaction is ongoing, and this morning saw fresh blood drawn in the media frenzy to assign blame, gain political traction, and defend positions. My general feeling is that the people doing the most yelling now are the ones most responsible for our nation’s disturbing tone; many on the political right have made fools of themselves in their haste to defend themselves. But many on the left have made fools of themselves in their haste to attach culpability for the shootings to the obnoxious yellers on the right. This whole episode is confusing, depressing, and embarrassing; the sooner it resolves with a pledge to stand down from violent rhetoric the better.

Politics

The aforementioned tragedy in Arizona, and the media response, dominate politics this evening. The House of Representatives is in recess this week as a response to the assassination attempt on Representative Gabby Giffords. The aggressive tone surrounding the Republican political stunt that is the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has been stood down. Make no mistake, this tone will be back in evidence next week, and the battle to preserve the very real gains of this legislation will be joined anew.

Entertainment

Watching some movies over the weekend led me to question the intelligence of the distributors. Do any of the marketing geniuses over at Warner Brothers or Universal think that any customer enjoys being forced to watch an endless series of previews and commercials before being allowed to watch the movie they rented or purchased? Here is a guarantee; I will never buy any product that I heard about in a commercial I was forced to watch.

On a further note; if the snobs in charge of marketing at the NFL and the Professional College Teams of America Association think that my love for football can be used to sell ESPN or satellite TV, they have another thing coming. As big a football junky as I am, I do not feel any sense of loss over not seeing the pseudo-national championship game of minor league football this evening (aka-the BCS title game). I also did not miss Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football. In this day and age, there is just too much else for me to do. While I would love to call my cable company and get a package that would allow me to see my favorite team, I will not be forced into buying satellite to enjoy the same product.

Sports

I do so enjoy the coaching carousel in the NFL; it is one of my favorite times of the year. There is nothing quite like the naivete and selective memory of beat reporters and TV pundits discussing how the “hot young coordinator” or “veteran head coach” will revive the fortunes of their franchise. There is a fine line between good NFL coaches and poor ones, and 99% of the fans and media have no idea where that line is. We hear a lot this time of year about quick turnarounds and lengthy rebuilding periods, but we rarely see realistic assessments about how many players will be needed to revive a team’s fortunes. We also seldom are exposed to an analysis of the schedule a team will be playing the next season…its as if coaching changes happen in a vacuum.

The Musings return in one week…I hope that week is good for all!

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Animated Balls: Election 2012

Episode 1: It's Hard to Choose Just One

Episode 2: Occupy Wall Street

Episode 3: 999! The Cain Train to Prosperity

Episode 4: Small Government

Episode 5: Newt is Forgiven

Episode 6: A Candidate with Big Balls

Episode 7: Why We Must Elect Rick!

Episode 8: Don't Make Me Use the "S" Word!

Episode 9: Santorum & Obamaville

Episode 10: Settle for Mitt!

Episode 12: Austerity and Obama's Debt!

Episode 13: From My Cold, Dead Hands!

Episode 14: Ryan is a Bold Choice for VP!

Episode 15: Mitt Romney's Taxes

Episode 16: Mitt & Me; 2 Peas in a Pod!

Episode 17: Mitt and the 47%

Episode 18: The PA Voter ID Law

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Episode 20: Benghazi Has Legs

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