The head of the National Basketball Association is being praised for swiftly acting to ban an NBA team owner for life, after his private conversations were leaked in which he displayed unquestionable racism. That is indeed laudable, but it ignores the institutional racism which is still allowed within the National Football League and Major League Baseball. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just pointed this out (with regards to the NFL), on the floor of the Senate. But even Reid didn't go far enough. Consider the following outlandish scenario, if you will: the Clippers are forced to be sold to another owner. This new owner decides that the team name has been tainted beyond all repair, and decides to rename the team. He chooses the name "Blackskins," and comes up with a logo that closely resembles the Little Black Sambo caricature. What would the public say? Think everyone would agree that this was a good idea?
Archive of Articles for April, 2014
I speak out today in support of a Tea Party candidate.
Over the course of the next two months, the Tea Party movement may become to be seen (to mix a few metaphors) as more of a paper tiger than the tail that wags the Republican dog. To put it a little more concretely, the Tea Party may be losing some of its outsized influence over the Republican Party. It is still too early to state with any degree of certainty (since the Tea Partiers have shown themselves to be impressively resilient on previous occasions), but if Tea Party power is indeed on the wane it could signal a turning point in modern American politics.
There were two political stampedes this week, both towards and then back away from the same man: rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy was a strange hero for conservative Republicans to adopt, since he is essentially fighting for his right to be a "taker" (in "conservativese") from the federal government -- a right that he refuses to pay for, and by doing so has broken the law. So he's a law-breaker and he wants to mooch off the public for free -- two traits which conservatives routinely rail against. I guess conservative Republicans can be forgiven, since there was all the excitement of guns and going toe-to-toe with the dastardly gummint agents -- which always causes conservative hearts to swoon.
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has a new book out. In it, he proposes six new amendments to the United States Constitution. Three of these would change language in either the text of the Constitution or its amendments, and the other three are additions to the Constitution's text.
The people who see everything through the lens of partisan politics are currently playing a rather crass game which might be called "guess the date of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's retirement." We'll get to the reasons for playing this game in a bit, but first the point must be made that Justice Ginsburg can stay right where she is for as long as she damn well feels like it. Which is entirely how it should be. Short of impeachment, the decision is hers and hers alone, as the Constitution demands. It matters not one tiny bit what anyone else thinks about her decision, which includes bored pundits looking to stir the partisan pot a bit in a slow news week.
Today is Earth Day, and I'd like to take the occasion to give some credit to an oft-maligned group of people: hippies. I say this in all seriousness, without a trace of condescension or irony whatsoever, since they regularly get that sort of thing elsewhere (by the truckload). I say it because the radicals known as hippies have actually been amazingly victorious in changing American culture in all sorts of ways -- even though they seldom get any credit for pioneering ideas that were once considered (at best) "far out," but are now so mainstream that they fit comfortably in every suburb across the land. And Earth Day is a perfect time to do so, since it is the "hippiest" (to coin a phrase) of all the modern holidays and celebrations.
NBC's Sunday morning political talk show Meet The Press has one thing going for it that almost no other television show can lay claim to: it will never ever be cancelled. The reason for this fundamental certainty is that NBC, by continuing the show, can continue to claim that they've got "America's longest-running television show." And NBC is never going to give up that bragging right, for any reason. So the show itself isn't in any kind of trouble, because there will be something airing on Sunday mornings called Meet The Press long after all of us are dead. It's about as permanent as you can get in the media business, in other words. It's been around for well over six decades, and it's not going away any time soon.
Three hundred of these columns? To coin a phrase... far out, man.
Over the past five or ten years, Democratic politicians have all but completed a full evolution (to use President Obama's term) on the subject of gay marriage. In 2008, both Hillary Clinton and Obama were against gay marriage. In the 2012 election, Obama came out in support while Hillary did so about a nanosecond after she stepped down as Secretary of State. It is now getting tougher and tougher for any Democratic politician to not support gay marriage. As I said, the evolution is almost complete within the party. The question I now ask is how long that evolution is going to take on a different subject: marijuana reform.