Monday, October 21, 2013

"...The Best Home Run Hitters Also Strike Out The Most..."

I don't like labels.

And we're not talking those things badly glued to boxes and jars that require complete destruction of said box or jar to remove.

Although, I'm not all that jiggy with them, either.

I'm talking about political labels.

I have a fluid mind, a reasonable ability to change my way of thinking about some things and I try to listen to all, or most sides, before I make a decision.

So I don't think of myself as a this or a that.

But, for the sake of this piece, if labeled I must be, then labeled I shall be.

I am, by nature and habit, more liberal than conservative.

I am, by nature and habit, more Democrat than Republican.

I am, by birth and nature, more heterosexual than homosexual.

Way more.

All of that said, here's a thing.

Obamacare should be repealed.

And here's the why pertaining to the should.

First, best intentions aside, it has the outward appearance, after three weeks of operation, of a world class fubar.

And, as best as I can determine, not being privy to every little behind the scenes thing involved here, it seems to me that calling it a failure and going back to square one can't possibly be any more "costly" than what carrying on and trying to make a lame horse run is going to cost.

Finally, if the sole reason the Obama administration is sticking to its guns (and deductibles) is a hesitation to step up and own the fubar for what it is, then that's just a bad strategy.

And here's the why pertaining to the that's just a.

History has proven, time and time and time again, that when a President screws the pooch, inadvertently or otherwise, and finds the Oval stones to step up and own it, the result is renewed and/or increased respect for said President.

And when they try to step away from the step up, they inevitably step in it.

John F. Kennedy took the blame for the botched Bay of Pigs invasion and his popularity rating went through the roof.

Jimmy Carter took the blame for the botched Iranian hostage rescue attempt and his popularity went through the roof.

Richard Nixon tried to stonewall his participation in Watergate and it cost him the gig.

Bill Clinton tried to stonewall his preferred method of enjoying cigars and almost got impeached, stepped up and owned his "inappropriate relations" and is, today, ten times more popular than anyone within ten miles of Capitol Hill.

Unasked, this "temporarily allowing labels" American citizen offers the following opinion to the current resident at 1600.

Mr. President....from all appearances, the Affordable Health Care Act is, at best, a shabby and shoddy excuse for the kind of health care program in which most Americans believe.

Allowing the repeal of this act and, essentially, starting over would prove, not only to the political opposition and naysayers, but to the rest of the country, and the world, that when Americans make mistakes, we don't lie, deny, dodge, thrust, parry, obfuscate, parse or perjure, rather, we step up, take our hits and get it right the next time.

It has been widely reported that you believe that the Affordable Health Care Act will be your primary legacy when you leave office.

A lot of us who have no political or personal axe to grind with you believe that you, and we, deserve a much better version of that legacy.

And if it can't be done before you leave office, then let your legacy be that you were the kind of President who had the courage to say, out loud, "we were wrong...and next time, we'll get it right."

In that way, we'll know that we got it right when we twice gave you the keys to the building.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Grammar....It's Not Really The Past Tense of That Music Business Award..."

We'll be right back with more endless, mindless blather about the government shutdown, wild bunch biker gangs and Miley Cyrus but, first, let's talk a little irony.

We are living in the year 2013.

There are, at this writing, accounting for the various technologies, softwares, social media, etc., available to us at this time, approximately seventy gazillion ways for us to communicate with one another on a minute by minute basis.

And yet, ironically, our ability to communicate correctly continues to hover somewhere around the elementary school level.

To wit, and on behalf of those dedicated educators who continue their valiant efforts to hone the grammatical skills of a generation growing up in an LOL OMG WTF culture, we present "the eight most common mistakes made in the modern day use of grammar."

  1. Affect vs. effect. The easiest way to remember the difference between the two is that "affect" means "to influence." So if you're going to influence something, you will affect it. If it's the result of something, it's an effect.
  2. Impact. Impact is a noun, not a verb. A plane can crash on impact. You can have an impact on something. But you cannot impact something. (When you are tempted to use "impact" as a verb, use "affect" instead; see #1.)
  3. Their, they're and there. You'd think everyone would have learned this rule in fourth grade, but it's a very common mistake. Use "there" when referring to a location, "their" to indicate possession, and "they're" when you mean to say "they are."
  4. Care less. The dismissive "I could care less" is incorrect. If you could care less about it, then you're saying you could care less about the topic, and you've lost the impact you meant to have. To use this phrase correctly, insert the word "not" after the word "could," as in, "I could not care less."
  5. Irregardless. This word doesn't exist. The word you should use is "regardless."
  6. Your and you're. Another mistake you'll often see in people's social media profiles or other content they create is the incorrect us of "your" and "you're." If you mean to say "you are," the correct word is "you're." Use "your" when referring to something that belongs to "you," as in "your business."
  7. Fewer vs. less. Another common mistake, "less" refers to quantity and "fewer" to a number. For instance, Facebook has fewer than 5,000 employees, but I got less sleep than you last night.
  8. Quotation marks. Among the great debates, people ask all the time whether or not punctuation belongs inside or outside of quotation marks. Let's set the record straight. The period and the comma always go inside quotation marks. The dash, the semicolon, the exclamation mark and the question mark go inside when they apply to the quoted matter (if it's not the entire sentence) but outside when they apply to the whole sentence.

It should be noted, and this might be, but bet the farm its not, a coincidence, that these all too common grammar glitches tend to show up most often in certain, specific demographics.

1.  Middle aged to senior aged Americans who, for one reason or another, never had, or never took advantage of, educational opportunities beyond, say, sixth or seventh grade.

2.  Young Americans who can name each and every member or the Jenner/Kardashian family, flawlessly recite current sales figures on Grand Theft Auto 5 and who are incensed that the Duck Dynasty folks continue to be overlooked by the Kennedy Center Honors folks but who couldn't correctly conjugate a verb if you put their own legally owned by Constitutional guarantee AR-15 to their heads.

3.  Americans across the complete spectrum of age who cannot use the word Obama in a sentence without including the word, or some variation of the word, "impeach".

4.  Morons.

Which, come to think of it, pretty much functions as an "all of the above" categorization.

Irregardless of the affect that bad grammar has on our overall presentations, one can easily see how poor communication skills can impact our daily lives.

And though most people could care less as long as Khloe and Lamar patch things up, Grand Theft Auto 6 rolls out on schedule and Uncle Si and Jace and company eventually get their duck due, it needs be said and resaid that the less mistakes we make in our day to day interactions with each other, the fewer our frustrations with each other can ideally be.

Their you have it.

Your welcome.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"...Bus Stop, Wet Day, She's There, I Say, Please Share My Umbrella...Because There Will Be No Access To The Rotunda, Today...."

Once again, when it comes to criticizing our system of government and those who inhabit it, we have missed the point by falling victim to our own intellectual dyslexia.

Ready, fire, aim.

The fundamental issue at the heart of all this is not Obamacare.

It is not the debt ceiling.

It is not Ted Cruz, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell or even Barack Obama.

The issue at the heart of all of this is busing.

Clarification coming.

(CNN) -- The Senate for a fourth time rejected a spending plan by House Republicans that included a provision to undermine Obamacare, also spurning a GOP call to set up a conference committee that would seek a compromise in the stalemate that caused the government to shut down Tuesday.
The game of chicken failed. Neither side blinked. Now millions will pay the price.
Americans watched a colossal failure by Congress overnight and the shutdown of their government.
For weeks, the House and the Senate blamed and bickered, each claiming they're standing up for what the public wants.
In the end, it led to the one outcome nobody wanted -- one that will stop 800,000 Americans from getting paid and could cost the economy about $1 billion a week.
"Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations," the Office of Management and Budget said in a note it sent to federal employees.
This is the first time the government has shut down in nearly 18 years. The last time it did, the stalemate lasted 21 days during the Clinton administration.

If memory serves, childhood was a time of not only frolic and fancy, but of learning life lessons.

Included among those lessons were instructions in simple acts of etiquette.

Holding the door for someone.

Opening a door for someone.

Picking up something that someone has dropped.

And in the case of a lady or a child or someone obviously in need of it, giving up one's seat when there are no other seats available.

It's tricky business offering up short punch line type platitudes about the whys and wheres of the pitiful performance of the Executive and Legislative branches of the United States government because pundits and politicians will offer up, before your platitude has finished leaving your lips, that these things are complicated and there are no simple answers.

But just like the vast, intricate complicated system of veins and arteries that make up our circulatory systems, there exists something at the center of it all that either performs properly or does not.

In the case of our blood flow, that would be, of course, the heart.

In the case of what's going on in D.C. this time around (and isn't it sad to say that an event like a shutdown of the Federal Government has become so un-unusual that it can be referenced with a phrase like "this time around"?), the center of it all is, simply, this.

Self interest, once a prominent member of the chorus in the little off Beltway production known as "Washington D.C", has shoved, bullied and intimidated its way to the center of the spotlight, unyielding in its ego, unwilling to even consider sharing the stage with anyone or anything.

And, mixing of the metaphors duly noted, the audience, rather than being transported to new and exciting opportunities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are pretty much being thrown under the bus.

Just as well.

There's no room inside the bus right now anyway.

Nobody in our nation's capital has the slightest intention of giving up their seat.

And while we traditionally bitch and moan and swear and threaten, we never seem to force them out of it.

Because we don't recognize the real issue at the heart of all of this.