Re: Supreme Court – Is it Just Me . . . or?

June 28, 2015


My memory can play tricks on me, but I don’t recall hearing carping about unelected elitists on the U.s. Supreme Court when the majority was handing down decisions in Heller (overturning a couple of centuries of precedent), Citizens United (overturning decades of precedent), or even Bush v. Gore.



Americans Have More Confidence in Unions Than Any Branch of Government

June 21, 2015

Or “big business.” Or “banks.” Per Gallup poll.

Unions at 24.

Big bidness at 21.

Congress at 8.


Make Ye Merry, This Summer Solstice!

June 21, 2015


Svmer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu!

Love, Peace, and Dance!


The Common Denominator

June 19, 2015

A crowded theater, a school full of children shortly before Christmas, a church where worshippers came to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The tragic denominator in all three, as in so many others: a screwed-up white kid with a gun.


100 Games to Go

June 15, 2015


Jaime Garcia

As the Cardinals take the field this evening at home against the Twins, they have the best record in major league baseball, 41-21, 20 games over .500 while barely more than a third of the way through the season. This despite losing their ace, Adam Wainwright, nearly two months ago. Lance Lynn, another starting pitcher, is likewise out, although his injury is far less serious. Expect him back in a couple of weeks. Two of the team’s three Matts, Adams and Holliday, who’re supposed to provide the power, are also on the DL. Jason Heyward, who was supposed to add some noise to the lineup, is hitting all of .255, but his fielding has certainly improved the Redbirds’ outfield. So how are they posting this kind of record.

They’re not scoring boatloads of runs; they’re 20th in the majors in runs scored per game. They’re not doing it with speed; in fact, don’t get me started on how they have been running themselves out of innings, this player or that seemingly thinking he’s Lou Brock. The defense has been satisfactory, but not outstanding: Kolten Wong, a pleasant surprise at the plate, has already committed 9 errors. He committed 12 all last season.

They’re largely doing it with pitching. The Cardinals have the major leagues’ lowest overall ERA (2.65), the best rotation ERA (3.00), the second-most quality starts (39), and the second-best bullpen ERA (1.93.) They have limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 36 of their 62 games so far. That’s darned impressive. Can they keep it up? If they want to play in October, they have to.

First, Jaime Garcia, a moody young man coming off major surgery to post a 2.09 ERA and routinely baffle hitters. If he’d gotten better run support so far this year, we’d be talking All-Star team. He’s 2-3, but all three of those losses were shutouts by the opposing pitcher(s), and in only one of them did he give up more than 2 runs.

Michael Wacha is nearly the same young fellow who thrilled us two years ago, seemingly flirting with a no-hitter every time he took the mound. He’s 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 57 Ks.

Carlos Martinez has shaken off getting lit up twice in a row back in May and is now 7-2 with 79 strikeouts and will be looking for his sixth win in a row then next time he takes the mound.

This impressive performance has to be, in part, perhaps large part, credited to the best catcher in the game, Yadier Molina, who, while his offense has dropped off, remains superb at handling his staff and calling a game.

And we should not overlook manager Mike Matheny (a former catcher), who, in three years, has taken this team to one Series appearance and to within one win of the Series the other two years.

I would like to see more offense. I would like to see some semblance of an intelligent running game. I would like to see the defense even more solid. But right now, 41-21? I’m good here.


The Magna Carta Turns 800

June 15, 2015


We learned in school the Magna Carta was an enormously important document, one of the foundations of our Constitution. Okay, so the truth is a bit less dramatic, as Uri Freidman explains in The Atlantic, but there is still a connection. Heck, the Constitution had a few flaws, as well, such not giving women the right to vote, acknowledging slavery, etc.

Law professor Tom Ginsburg writes in the writes in the New York Times that we should “[s]top revering Magna Carta” and that “the myth of Magna Carta seems to matter more than the reality.”

That comment got me thinking. Yeah? So? Is this the first time myth has overcome fact to establish itself in a culture or a government? Consider all the myths surrounding America’s founding and traditions. It wasn’t a ragtag bunch of farmers (okay, some of them were hung over) that surprised the Brits at Lexington and Concord, but a “well-regulated militia,” and it eventually took a real army, with a big helping hand from the French, to bring the Redcoats to heel. The West wasn’t “won;” it was conquered by first wiping out the natives and then becoming layered over with the mechanisms of Western European civilization. And so on and so forth. I remember in college reading “Myth and the American Experience” and pondering the power that so many of those things so many of us were taught to believe had over our lives despite the fact they were bunk.

The point is – and I have to give this further thought sometime – we believe what we want to believe, usually what we’ve been trained to believe. From there, the value or the burden of our myths resides in what we do with those beliefs.


1970 Was a Great Year for the Dead

June 14, 2015

June 14 – the band releases Workingman’s Dead .

With “Workingman’s Dead,” the band changed course from the psychedelia of “Aoxomoxoa” and “Anthem to the Sun,” their two previous studio releases. “Workingman’s Dead” plowed a deep furrow of Americana, including country, folk, Tin Pan Alley, and bluegrass. My favorite track is the opening song, “Uncle John’s Band.” Whenever I hear the opening chords, my heart lifts; the sone makes me feel hope will overcome despair. Remember, this was 1970, a tough year.

Four and a half months later, the band would release what is probably their most-beloved studio work in “American Beauty,” .

“American Beauty” includes “Sugar Magnolia,” “Friend of the Devil,” and the Dead’s all-time crowd-pleaser, “Truckin'” among others. Following “Workingman’s Dead,” it adds additional layers of introspection but is, overall, more upbeat.

Spend time with these two albums, and things will never be the same.