Technically the United States declared its Independence from Great Britain on July 2nd yet we celebrate the declaration on the 4th. It doesn’t really make any sense but I’m all right with it. And maybe that’s why I’m all right with going all patriotic on the 6th instead of the 4th. Patriotism knows no boundaries, right?
Well, even if you don’t agree with me, here’s something I think we can all agree on:
USA! USA! USA!
Not enough for you? Well this should get your man juices flowing which might then kick start the patriotism:[youtube http://youtu.be/2Wir0qJdLYI]
If you haven’t grabbed a Budweiser, jumped up on a table and started singing the Star-Spangled Banner yet, it’s just possible that you are technically dead. Or maybe you were just waiting for…..
That’s right. Ronald Reagan on a velociraptor. Happy 4th of July!!
My friend Mr. Lung, while an excellent writer and a true baseball devotee, has the misfortune of often face-planting when his thoughts turn towards the political arena. Here’s an accurate representation of Jeff’s political discourse:
I say this because although Mr. Lung may have made one or two valid points in his original “coming-out as a Libertarian” post, his argument this past Friday mainly left me feeling embarrassed for him. I don’t have time to go back and correct all of his logical and factual fallacies one by one but there is one point that bears discussion.
Let’s take these two statements:
Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.
They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.
You don’t get it both ways, my friend. Despite what your new friends on the fringe of either party may tell you, avoiding foreign entanglements by drilling at home or investing in alternative fuels is not going to change the price you pay at the pump. Sure, over the course of a generation or two you can make those changes but in the short to medium term, your choice comes down to either securing fuel supplies in whatever clusterf**k part of the world they happen to come from or paying $6-8 a gallon like our friends in Europe.
I’m going to simplify all of this for you. Government is a social contract in which the governed (including you and I) agree to give up a portion of their individual sovereignty for the good of the whole. There are different levels to which this premise can be taken from the socialism of the Nordic states to the relative autonomy of the European Union. Both extremes have their problems and both have their benefits.
In the US, we have eschewed the extremes and held to a longstanding tradition of slowly moving from one side of the equation to the other as necessary but never moving too far from the center. From FDR’s New Deal to Reagan’s supply-side economics, programs come and go as they are needed. It’s often painful, it’s occasionally embarrassing and it doesn’t always work. But you know what? If you don’t like it you can go out and vote for someone who promises change or even run for office yourself.
Many Americans prefer to lament the “broken” system, though, and sign up for whatever -ism fits their current worldview. It’s simple, it’s available and it allows them to refrain from accepting any personal responsibility. So tell me, my friend, how are you any different?
Rivalries make otherwise routine matchups a bit more interesting. They breed adrenaline. They invite ingenuity. They spark passion, no matter how dormant.
But, as we witnessed earlier this year in the case of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, baseball rivalries have also been known to get out of hand.
Admittedly, there was a time when I allowed my flippancy towards Chicago Cubs fans to reach a critical point. In the summer of 2007, fresh off a World Series crowning but at a time when my Cardinals weren’t playing too well, a few too many Old Styles found their way in my system and what started out as simple boasts of pride for my interlocking “STL” and redbirds-on-the-bat garb soon turned into a verbal shouting match with a gang of pinstriped kids from DePaul. Throughout the game, my taunting parried with their rage (they too weren’t quite sober) and it escalated when I found myself surrounded by them in a Wrigley field restroom.
Instead of shutting up, I just got louder.
And before I knew it, I was at the bottom of a pile of angry, angry feet.
I learned my lesson that day: sports aren’t any fun when you’re literally getting your @$$ beat.
So I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. I smile. I nod. I tip my cap to good plays and keep my nose buried in my scorecard (or beer).
And that’s how I’m going to enjoy my Redbirds coming to town on Tuesday.
Also, I’m taking my pal, Johanna Mahmud — Cubs fan extraordinaire. He’s scary looking… good for keeping the riff-raff at bay.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
I often mix up Micky Mantle and Roger Maris. I think it has something to do with the similarities between the names, the fact that they both played for the Yankees and that I wasn’t alive when either one of them was playing. Admittedly, this isn’t much of an excuse and I should probably feel pretty bad even admitting that this is true but if you can’t be honest on the internet, where else can you go?
However, as bad as my mix-up may be, it’s nothing compared to the mistake Republicans have made for the past 30 years. Whoops!
Ok, before you comment, yes, I do realize that the Onion is a satirical newspaper even if this distinction is not always apparent. But the beauty of the Onion is that its articles often contain a particularly trenchant social commentary. For someone who has become the touchstone for the US brand of conservatism, Reagan was not particularly conservative. He wasn’t a religious man, he spent taxpayer money like Plaxico Burress at a strip club and, on top of that, more and more evidence has surfaced to show that the Alzheimer’s which completely debilitated him later in life had already set in during his tenure in the White House. So why has Reagan remained the conservative hero instead of Ike, a true war hero, a brilliant tactician and a well-liked President?
If you ask me, I think it’s because Ike was bald. People are afraid of the bald. Ok, fine, maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s something even simpler. Maybe it’s the fact that Ike warned against the growing military-industrial complex while Reagan actively supported it.
Or maybe it’s the fact that many of today’s Republican leaders are just plain and simple insane. Seriously, Michele Bachmann isn’t fit to lead a PTA, much less be a spokesperson for the conservative vanguard. I actually like some of Ron Paul’s ideas but ultimately his obsession with killing the Fed and completely disengaging from the world are dangerous at best and probably closer to sociopathic in reality.
Sure, I admit that I get people mixed up. But usually it’s because either their names are similar or they look kind of the same. This attribution of Eisenhower’s ideals to Reagan and their further transformation into the current pseudo-Reagan conservatism is an entirely different ballpark. And unlike my mix up which simply gets me ridiculed by baseball fans, the conservative shell game might just leave the country insolvent. It’s almost enough to drive Mickey Mantle to drink.
I mean, a lot has happened in the last week or so to warrant plenty of no-limit megafortified soused out partying — the kind of partying Mr. Krause and I used to do back in our… well, yesterday.
But not even our dynamic duo could match the celebratory merits of the state of California in recent days. Let’s review the highlights:
All sounds good, right?
Except that Jenny Oropeza is dead.
On election day!
But if California despises anything it’s gotta be the GOP. And who can blame them? Ronald Reagan, what have you done for me lately? Huh?
The Republicans may have hoodwinked the imbecilic US American consensus with their unparalleled fear-based badgering and faux middle class talking points, but the late Jenny Oropeza’s state senate victory is proof that their diabolic plan is far, far, far from being a reality.
Hate me ‘cuz it hasn’t been banned yet, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
George W. Bush may be the president with the most direct link to baseball but Obama appears ready to give W a run for the money, especially through his Supreme Court nominees. We all know about Justice Sotomayor’s role in ending the 1995 MLB strike and we also know that the president stands by his White Sox, even while halfway across the country. But now we find out that new Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, has an appreciation for sport in her past as well. However, it hasn’t come without controversy.
Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal had an old photo of Kagan playing softball on the front page which immediately led to public outcry. Outcry? Why, because that implies that she drinks or something?
Nope. Instead it turns out that all female softball players are gay, a fact I wish I had been made aware of before. Now I’m always going to wonder about that softball player I hooked up with in college. Did she know that she was a lesbian?
Either way, we face an important moment. No, I don’t mean the nomination of the first gay Supreme Court Justice. Clarence Thomas already covered that. What I mean is, what can we tell about Kagan and her policies from this picture?
Well, the first thing we notice is that she’s a righty. I guess she could be a switch-hitter but we don’t even want to open that can of worms. She also has a decent stance and she’s choking up on the bat a little to shorten the swing. All in all, I’d say it looks like she knows what she’s doing.
Which is good news because it means Obama also knows what he’s getting into. If Reagan had known about Robert Bork’s infamous balk that lost his team the circuit court softball league championship in the summer of ’87, he might have thought twice about nominating him to the court so fresh on the heels of such disaster. The bad blood from that alone probably cost him the votes of a couple senators who had money (and more) riding on the game.*
*Although possible, RSBS has no proof of Bork’s softball shenanigans. Or Ted Kennedy losing his man-ginity to Jesse Helms as a result of that balk. However, we can assure you that Bork most certainly was not ratified by the senate and never sat on the Supreme Court. Although who knows what happened in an alternate universe……?
The GOP forged its reputation on many great endeavors. Lincoln freed the slaves and then battled to keep the Union together. Reagan took the policy of containment and extended it to the point that the Soviet Union finally collapsed in on itself.
However, despite victories in these areas, the Republicans need to remember that there are other fields in which their skills just don’t quite pan out. In honor of this fact, and perhaps in memoriam, RSBS presents great moments in Republican hip-hop.
If there is one moment that could be termed “the” defining moment in Republican hip-hop, it would have to be Karl Rove’s performance at the 2007 Correspondent’s Dinner in DC. Between the dance moves and the attempt at ill (but mainly just ill-fated) rhyming, Rove set the standard by which all GOP rappers will be judged:
No Taxation Without Representation
Although the Tea Party movement claims no affiliation with the Republican party, most of its members are disaffected defectors from the GOP. Where the Republicans dislike taxes, though, the TPers downright abhor them. That feeling led to this memorable moment:
How about I just let, uh, Mr. Calibre (?) explain it himself:
So there you have it. The party of Lincoln becomes the party of Linkin Park. What do you expect, though? The Democrats already have dibs on Jay-Z and the Black-Eyed Peas so the Republicans had to make due with what was left. Hey, at least they have Pat Boone!
As a young boy growing up in the middling middle-class of US America, my dreams were aplenty.
In particular, I dreamed of a day when I would succeed as a professional baseball player. Wearing the mask behind the plate, I envisioned catching the called third strike to win the World Series… rushing to the mound, hugging my pitcher, shouting til I lost my voice.
So too did aspiring to be a great leader. Always the smooth talker with a penchant for spontaneous charm, I reckoned I had the skills to become a good politician.
Neither dream became reality; and poor old me had to settle for co-writing a hit baseball blog.
But that’s okay.
I mean, I still wish I could have lived out those Major League aspirations… but when it comes to politics, I couldn’t be happier that I eschewed it all the way. (Yeah, I just said ‘eschewed’. I like that word. Eschew. Say it with me. Eschew.) Because to be honest, politics is boring as hell. Oh sure, the Jack Kennedys and Bill Clintons and Ronald Reagans and Barack Obamas make it look flashy and fun and cool; but most of what goes on behind the political scene is as boring as Tommy Lasorda is fat.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it by watching this clip, which just happens to be the most exciting exchange on the senate floor since Strom Thurmond admitted he still owned slaves. Okay, he didn’t admit that, but he probably should have.
Will the Senator from Connecticut please continue…
Oh, sorry. You’re still reading? Cool.
So, what did we learn? Franken is an ^ss. McCain is old. Lieberman is confused.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
PS, Thanks so much for all the kind well wishes you sent me on my birthday. Much appreciated! Fist bumps all around!
A-Rod finally has his ring and the Yankee faithful are overjoyed.
However, do you think there’s any chance that this will make him less
of a dill-hole? This is a guy who has dumped his wife, dated Madonna,
admitted to being a big fat liar and had somewhat major surgery in the
span of about one year. Does one ring atone for that?
Okay, that’s a lie. My mom doesn’t know what a dill-hole is (perhaps neither do I), but it doesn’t matter because it’s true.
Let us remember that.
But let us also remember that in professional sports, just as in politics, the most important question when evaluating merit will always be the same: What have you done for me, lately?
In Alex Rodriguez’s case, does it really matter that 9 months ago all we were talking about was his wayward romp in the world of performance enhancing drugs? Does anyone remember that he flat-out lied to the press? That he stained the game? That he forced difficult discussions between parents and their children about the dangers of illegal substances and cheating the most sacred of US America‘s games?
No. Of course not. He led them to a World Series crown. If Charles Manson hit .378 with 6 HR and 18 RBI during the playoffs, he too would be lifted up on the city’s shoulders, carted off to the tune of “27th Heaven” just like A-Rod was.
Because that is how the world works.
I don’t think ethnic Albanians in Kosovo really put too much thought into President Bill Clinton’s oval office sexual exploits when they erected their tributary bronze statue of him in Pristina recently. He ended their persecution, man! He knocked Serb forces out of the game by hitting in the clutch, with proverbial runners in scoring position!
Likewise, Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War! Nevermind all the money and resources he threw at guerrilla specialists in Afghanistan (*ahem, Osam bin Laden, et al*) to fight the evil Soviet regime! HE ENDED THE GODDAMN COLD WAR, MAN!
And let’s face it, folks: cold wars suck. I think we can all agree on that. To Yankees fans, an eight year absence from holding the highest position in the baseball cosmos had to feel a lot like a cold war, and like my mama always said: “character doesn’t mean s*** in love and war.”
Okay, that’s a lie. She never said that. But she might. She’s got opinions.
Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
As is customary at RSBS, the Filibuster will be put on hiatus until pitchers and catchers report. Very special thanks to all our dear readers who’ve bombarded us with Filibuster topics this season! We’ll ask for them again in February! Until then, please enjoy RSBS‘ continuing pursuit of the ironically fantastic and creatively eclectic. You’ll be in for some real treats! I’d almost bet my life on it!
The events of the past couple weeks have obviously left me thinking quite a bit about the idea of mortality. Not my own, of course, as I don’t ever plan on dying. But rather the idea of mortality in a philosophical sense. There are so many different ways that one can shuffle off this mortal coil and it’s a topic we’re so obsessed with but, at the same time, we know next to nothing about it.
Some people make a grand exit, whether it be Reagan’s processional farewell, Michael’s tear-strewn send-off or Ted Williams’ bizarre, cryogenically frozen head. And some people just sneak away. Maybe there’s a small obituary, maybe even a large one if they were well-known, but the exit itself is quiet and unassuming.
However, sometimes the end is simultaneously quick and disturbingly bizarre. A case in point is Vincent Smith, Jr. and his recent cocoa related misadventures. I mean, we expect strange things out of New Jersey but dying in a vat of chocolate?
So, as we head into the All-Star break and you start to realize that your team is either on life support or has already been declared DOA (I’m looking at you, Nats’ fans), remember that it could be worse. At least they didn’t die in a huge vat of chocolate.