Thursday, May 31, 2007

Collage of Criticism

"Exhaustion steals over the country. Confidence and hope are dying. . .The slumber of the army [..]is eating into the vitals of the nation. As day after day has gone, my heart has sunk and I see greater peril to our nationality in the present condition of affairs than I have seen at any time during the struggle."
--Quartermaster General

"Alas my poor country! It has strong limbs to march and meet the foe, stout arms to strike heavy blows, brave hearts to dare. But the brains, the brains -- have we no brains to use the arms and limbs and eager hearts with cunning? [..] I am sick and tired of disaster and the fools that bring disaster upon us."
-- New York Corporal

"Money you have expended without limit, and blood poured out like water. Defeat, debt, taxation, and sepulchers -- these are your only trophies."
-- Ohio Representative

"His soul seems made of leather, and incapable of any grand or noble emotion. Compared with the mass of men, he is a line of flat prose in a beautiful and spirited lyric. He lowers, he never elevates you. You leave his presence with your enthusiasm dampened, your better feelings crushed, and your hopes cast to the winds. You ask not, can this man carry the nation through its terrible struggles? but can the nation carry this man through them, and not perish in the attempt?"

"He is wrong-headed, the attorney not the lawyer, the petty politician not the statesman, and, in my belief, ill-deserving of the sobriquet of Honest. I am out of all patience with him, is there no way of inducing him to resign. . . ?"
--Orestes Brownson, author

"You cannot change the President's character of conduct. . .surrounded by toadies and office-seekers, to persuade himself that he was specially chosen by the Almighty for this crisis, and well chosen. This conceit has never yet been beaten out of him, and until it is, no human wisdom can be of much avail. I see nothing for it but to let the ship of state drift along, hoping that the current of public opinion may bring it safely into port"
-- Senator William Pitt Fessenden, Maine(R)

"Can nothing be done to reach the President's ear and heart? I hear he is susceptible to religious impressions; shall we send our eloquent divines to talk to him, or shall we send on a deputation of mothers and wives, or can we, the conservators of liberty, who have elected him, combine Congress in beseeching him to save the country?"
-- J.M. Forbes

I came across all these and more in reading Shelby Foote's Civil War.

So you see, even today history is repeating itself. All these criticism have been leveled at President Bush is some manner recently.

I'm not here to fight on behalf of the President, but I believe that there is much hysteria on the side of his domestic opponents, many would do well to take a deep breath at times before going off on a vulgar laden tirade. This nation has been through tough times before, and we gotten though alright.

We also should bear in mind that those in power in D.C. and who oppose Bush are also subject to human frailties and as such they too rush to judgements and positions that may not be in our nations best interest.

My opinion is that embracing defeat is so contrary to long term prosperity that I can't accept that position in an elected office holder. It maybe a notion held by a citizen, but I think the congress should have a longer view of history. I expect better than defeat out of leaders.

Conversely, I don't think that our soldiers should be nation building either, which it appears they are doing too much of right now and that's getting them killed.

If only someone would step up with the right message, the message that our military has demonstrated its capabilities superbly and without blemish, that the Iraqi's and Islamic Terrorist have failed to show civility and other modern traits of evolved society.

America may not be able to leave all together though, we would likely need to establish some sort of base there for the foreseeable future, but we ought to be massaging a better message than the one reaching the world now.

We Americans ought to be more upset with the failures of our government to ensure victory than with the failure of our government to assure defeat. . . more on that later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Worse Than Water Torture.

If I had a nickle for every time Joe Torre was going to lose his job . . . .

I dunno what's worse, the dozen of years the Pittsburgh Pirates haven't fielded a winning team, or my routinely crushed spirit that longs for a day when the Yankees get serious and let Joe go. . . .

If Barry Bonds' memorabilia is desired in Cooperstown, then why doesn't Baseball Inc. embrace the race. Or is it all race?

For all the Barry haters I question, how should the breaking of Aaron's record be handled in regards to my children? I never mention steroids allegations to them when updating the count down, why should I?

If we asterisk the HR record, then shouldn't we fairly asterisk all the accomplishments, titles, and records? Barry certainly was not the only juiced player. . . let it go. Go Barry!

I'm thinking of getting a pink Yankee hat and wearing that. Symbolic of Steinbrenner's lost cajoles.

With all the steroid allegations through the years, and even currently, how does a Steeler fan credibly deny Barry's accomplishments while at the same time smug about Pittsburgh's five Lombardi trophies?

I'm hearing now that GM Brian Cashman of the Yankees may get fired first. . . argh. If they hadn't taken 2 out of 3 from Boston last weekend. . . .

Saturday, May 26, 2007

On Compromises and Betrayal

In the wake of the recent cave in, er compromise, between the President and the Congressional Democrats regarding Iraq War funding and the question of a time line for a troop withdrawal I began to wonder about the pressures the peace crowd is putting on the Democrats and I then began to think of how little the shortcomings and or down right betrayals of the Party on the fold has had little affect on voter loyalty made manifest in the ballot box.

I was trying to think of a time in the political world in my lifetime when or where there was a cost to bear on the party for their multitude of unfulfilled promises. I thought of one time when the price was paid, although I can recollect many times when a bill, or lack thereof, was present.

The Democrat majority paid a price in 1994 when they lost their hold on power in D.C., but that was also after more than 40 years of running roughshod over the minority, and it seems that since then loyalty has only gotten stronger.

Naturally, the minority party gets not only its core voters but also an underdog minded segment of voters who will vote against whomever is in power, but in my lifetime it appears that there is seemingly no sin that would shake a large majority of Democrats from voting for the party. These are a group that has earned the name "Blue Dog Democrat" because they would certainly vote for a blue dog in an election if the bitch(couldn't resist) ran as a Democrat.

But that is old news, most people know this, and it does cut both ways, to a certain degree. However I could list many Republicans and conservatives who have ran afoul of their base, and subsequently I witnessed that base turn from the party. Bush the elder, and the GOP last year immediately come to mind, and its no stretch to name two handfuls more.

This is in reality a strength of the GOP that trims the party of dead wood, so that despite efforts to embellish the smears, no one in the GOP measures down to Ted Kennedy(man-slaughter) or Robert Byrd(long time KKK member).

The news yet to be written is that like a VA hospital threaten with closure, coincidentally in the same year a powerful congress person is up for re-election, a save will be made. Before the next national campaign I wouldn't doubt nor be surprised if Pelosi, Bush, and Reid all made nice again only with the legislature claiming an accomplishment to rally the base in an election year.

But it would be surprising if those who claim the label of liberal and who want to end the war today would actually demonstrate a little resolve themselves and abandon the party that had abandon them years ago.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Go Mets!

What would life be like without sports?

Sports is that one place where Pittsburgh Steeler fans can rail against Barry Bonds for alleged steroid use, where the hypocrisy is as thick as the book of allegations covering their beloved football team.

Sport is a place where, although "we" couldn't do "it" ourselves, we expect "them" to do "it" every time, perfectly.

Sports is also that one place where I can root for someones demise and not feel too bad about it all.

And so we have the Mets vs. Yankees.

Muck the fets, but sweep the Yankees! You see, I'm no Joe Torre fan, and the sooner he is discarded, the sooner the Yanks can potentially return to greatness, and the sooner I can root for them, again.

Joe Torre is probably a nice guy, every writer says so. He's probably a great manager to play under, every player says so. But Joe Torre is not a great manager if you want victories.

It's true, it's very true.

He had one winning season as manager before he was hired by the Yankees, and had never won 90 games in a season. That's not great, and that covers about a decade of work, give or take a season. You know how these guys are hired and fired.

He took a St. Louis Cardinal team in the late 80's, a team that had much post season success and expectations, and created a cellar dweller.

As to his World Series victories, as if $100++ million payrolls aren't sufficient in themselves to provide a victory, local writers and insiders have lauded the "character" element of those teams. Joe Torre was given platitudes for keeping out of the way and 'knowing what to say to a player' in treating him like a professional.

Great. What has the problem been lately then? This team no longer has the "character" players? You'd think payrolls the size of theirs could overcome such shortcomings.

A-Rod, Jeter, Posada, Williams, Abrieu, Johnson, Giami, Rivera.

What's wrong is that Joe Torre's only accredited skill at managing isn't working, if it ever had.

I wouldn't entertain thoughts of encouraging the firing of anyone outside of sports. The reality is that coaching for Joe Torre is not a necessary vocation for him anymore, he's got his million. So I have no fear of bad karma coming back to bite me, I want Joe to go.

One of the ironies of my life is that the man who could not steer the ship to success for my NL team went on to skipper 3 title runs for my AL team. The only hitch had been I swore off the Yankees the day they hired him, and even if I'm the only man in America who wants to see Joe go, I still contend I could of won more titles than he did with that obnoxious payroll.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

I just got Lee Iacocca's new book,Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Its a half sized book, sarcastically speaking its just the right size for its intended audience.

I just started reading it and so far its chalk full of the usual anti-Bush bashing, it has really good fodder to get you angry all over again. There is more to it than that, but if you hate Bush and are adroit at blocking out all reasonable thought and historical norms, then this is the book for you.

But seriously, I'm expecting a little more, but so far the best regurgitated idea I read in this book is that congress ought to take a year off and evaluate what is actually working in government.

And thus far the biggest agitator Iacocca presents regarding Bush and this fiasco in Iraq is the better uses of our money that he lists, like potentially 25 million college scholarships. . . see page 79-80.

Oh well, if we all knew this was how it was going to go down in Iraq, I don't think that Bush would have had that overwhelming support that he had five years ago.

Naturally we'd all be harping about Saddam Hussein today if Bush had done nothing.

That was what was going on for the ten years between the wars, and that is what everyone conveniently forgets -- we all bemoaned he was still around in the 1990's, we all thought it would be best if he was gone. Now we all wish we never got rid of him in the first place.

The real travesty is the poor planning of the Bush administration(not to discount the loss of life), not the aim of removing a grave enemy of our state. We and the Iraqi's should be better off 5 years out, not worse. . . .

I still can't accept the Liberals who are willing to lose though, we ought to proclaim victory and lay it on the Iraqis to act civilized. To accept failure is un-American, at least that is how I was raised.

Unfortunately, as Iacocca writes, where have all the leaders gone? We have one side that screwed this up and another side that is doing all it can to ensure defeat.

What a sad state, and I can't decide who is worse.