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The Sad State of American Politics

There is a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon that opens with Elmer Fudd walking with his shotgun. He turns to the camera to inform us that he is hunting rabbits. Soon he finds Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, who get into an argument about whether Elmer should shoot rabbits or ducks because there is some confusion over whether it is Duck Season or Wabbit Season. There is a famous exchange where Daffy and Bugs are yelling at each other – “Duck Season!” “Rabbit Season!” “Duck Season!” “Rabbit Season!”

Sadly, this is the state of our political debate. There is no middle ground. There is only Black and White. There is Night and Day. Either you are a patriot or a commie pinko, terrorist-loving traitor. There is no compromise.

Not in a cartoon, but in real life, we saw everyone take similar positions after 14 Americans were slaughtered in San Bernardino, CA. On one side, we have Americans screaming that Obama and the Democrats have been soft on terrorism, and if Obama were truly serious about keeping American’s safe, he would have prevented this tragedy. On the other side, we have Americans shouting at the top of their lungs that this event was 100% predictable in a country where it is easier to purchase an assault rifle than it is to buy liquor in most counties.

The arguments on both sides are so routine and predictable they should be written down on the American Tombstone. “Here lies a Once-Great Nation, but everyone stopped listening to each other.”

Within the last decade we have hardened our positions. The Speaker of the House recently resigned his post – and his seat, which he’d held for 28 years – because one flank of his own party forced him out. The so-called “Freedom Caucus” took the stance that compromise on anything was wrong. There was no give. There was only “our way or the highway.”

While Boehner was less than ideal as a congressman or as Speaker, he has been replaced by Paul Ryan, who is even more extreme. We are going from worse to worser. (Yep, I said worser. And I hope and pray we don’t get to worstest.)

This whole political thing is un-American. America was built on compromise.

I don’t hate Paul Ryan. I think that his ideas would move America in the wrong direction and make it even harder for middle-class Americans to get ahead. Turning Medicare into a voucher program will leave thousands of elderly Americans out in the cold.

On the other side, I like Hillary Clinton, but I don’t think she is a saint. I recognize that not everything she says is brilliant, nor worthy of writing on stone tablets. But she’s smart, experienced and capable. We have to stop making some politicians into saints and others into devils. We really don’t need to elect a saint (think how many of them were fanatics); we need to elect a smart, decent human being who’s a good leader, a good listener, and a good judge of what’s right and wrong, what’s possible and impossible, and what is the best way “to promote the general welfare” of the United States and all its citizens.

Let me focus on the idea of compromise. This is the foundation of democracy. James Madison didn’t think that we needed a Bill of Rights. George Mason left the Constitutional convention because a Bill of Rights wasn’t included. Madison noted that without a Bill of Rights that the Constitution might not pass the states. So, instead of finger-pointing and calling his political opponents anti-American, King George-loving, mulletheads, he sat down and wrote the Bill of Rights based on what George Mason had laid out. By writing the Bill of Rights, James Madison made what may be the biggest political compromise in the history of our nation.
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NFL – Week 17

 Now, today, we are going to see the good, the bad and the ugly of the NFL. 5 or 6 coaches seem to be on their way out. Chip Kelly is already gone in Philadelphia. I think that Jason Garrett is safe in Dallas. Tom Coughlin is out in New York. (I kind of feel sorry for him. Without JPP and Victor Cruz, whose career I think is over in the NFL, there was no way from him to really put a winning team together this year.) San Fransisco is a disaster. I have no idea what’s going on there. Chuck Pangiano is rumored to be leaving Indianapolis after being unable to get on the same page as the GM.

In order to win in the NFL, you need a quarterback who can throw strikes in the 4th quarter. You need an offensive line that can protect the QB. You need a running back who can get first downs in the 4th quarter and NOT fumble the ball. Finally, you need a group of receivers who know how to get away from press coverage and catch those high velocity strikes in tight windows. Finally, you need a defense that will bend but not break. Although this formula is easy to write down, it is hard to find the right personnel. Look at the Atlanta Falcons. They looked great for about 6 weeks this year. Then they fell apart. On the other hand, the Lions looked awful at the beginning of the year, then fired several coaches and played with fire the last 7 weeks.

I’ll type some more on the NFL this evening. For now, I’m going to sit back and enjoy an afternoon of football!

Da’ Cowboys

  

It is kind of funny. The talk was that the Dallas Cowboys could run the table. Seven wins in a row. Come on. When was the last time that the Cowboys won seven games in a row? A decade ago? Look, today showed us a couple of things. The Dallas Cowboys are not a playoff team. Sure, they could have made the playoffs at 8-8 or 7-9 (because the division is awful) and be booted in the first round. 

Offense – The Cowboys just aren’t that good on offense. We fell behind early. We haven’t scored more than 25 points in a game in weeks. None of the Cowboy receivers can get off of press coverage besides Dez and he isn’t fully healthy yet. Williams was exposed during the Patroit game. He was completely shut down. We really haven’t had a running game. McFadden has been okay. Not great, but okay. Randle was a joke. It was unfortunate that Dunbar got hurt. Our offensive line hasn’t been as good as they were last year. So, when you can’t run the ball and your receivers can’t get open, you can’t score points. 

Defense – Last year’s defense was magical. They were put together with duct tape. Basically, a bunch of nobodies were thrown together and somehow they played very well together. They forced turnovers. They  tackled. They were flying around. This group is different. They aren’t protected by a Dallas ground game which eats the clock. They are average at best. There is no pass rush. Dallas is okay at stopping the run. We really can cover …sort of. That’s the defense in a nutshell. 

So, this is the team that was supposed to make the playoffs? The Super Bowl? Come on. We need some players. We need a running back that can run over a few folks. We need a back-up quarterback who can push the ball down the field. We need a pass rush. We need a cover corner or two. I love Sean Lee, but he gets hurt a lot. We need a healthy Dez Bryant who can dominate. Finally, we need Jerry Jones to make good personnnel decisions (stop laughing)!!!