My Week That Was

I have a few random thoughts about some things in the news in the past seven days or so.

Presidential candidates must be able to properly speak English, Rick Perry: You might have misappropriated Barack Obama’s words and used them completely out of context when you claimed he called Americans lazy, but that’s plain ole’ dirty politics (really though, Rick, you might want to find a bucket to start bailing out the foundering canoe that is your nomination bid before setting your sights on the Big Fish). But to make matters worse, in the ad that you financed and produced, and at the end of which you proudly exclaim, “I’m Rick Perry, and I endorse this message,” you say, clear as a bell, “That’s what our president thinks wrong with America.” It’s called the word “is,” Rick. Roll it out sometimes and start speaking English like the rest of us. Ever heard of fixing things in post?


Presidential candidates should be able to begin answering a question – or at least get on talking points – before two minutes elapse: Herman Cain, who has a spark of dignity that I respect even as the crazy trundles out of his piehole, can’t seem to stay on message. That message being, “I have a rudimentary understanding of foreign affairs.” Cain’s grasp of the Libya situation, to his credit, rivals that of a middle school student. Oh, and “I would have done a better job” isn’t a legitimate answer.


John Huntsman is the only palatable Republican contender: Sadly, even he knows his candidacy is reaching Quixote-like hopelessness, but his appearance on Saturday Night Live displayed that not only is he a realist, he has a sense of humor. He’s the only dog in this sad fight that would make me think twice about giving our disappointing president a second term.


Tim Tebow is simply the latest American Flavor of the Month: Tebow seems like a nice kid, and I’m willing to forgive his “Go tell it on the mountain” routine, because I think it’s just the way he’s always been – and he practices what he preaches – but America’s fascination is more the product of sideshow gimmickry and convenient marketing than it is about a style of football that has a chance of being consistently successful. I would welcome being wrong, but I think Tim better enjoy it while it lasts. Pro coaches won’t struggle too long trying to decipher the college option offense – unless they’re named Rex Ryan, of course.


On a related note, Rex Ryan is a jovial, irreverent jokester only as long as his shtick gets over: Watching him scowl and bark terse answers after his vaunted Jets got Tebowed on Thursday night was a delight, but it was in stark contrast to his disrespectful, scorched-earth gloating before the season. “Obviously, we had some breakdowns in protections,” Ryan said during a conference call. “We had a turnover for a touchdown, we fumbled another special teams play on a kick return after we had a huge return, and then obviously, the 95-yard drive, which is, it’s still hard to really fathom. I mean, it really is.” What he failed to mention is the coaching staff’s complete inability to prepare what was supposed to be one of the NFL’s best defenses to deal with a QB who was completing about 30% of his passes this season and basically looked to hand off or run himself three out of four plays. Maybe he’ll fathom a defensive game plan before his next game. Sleep well, Rex.


This kind of common sense is unlikely to fly in Congress these days. Watch your back, Bernie.

Super Committee proves less than Super (or even competent):I actually had a faint glimmer of hope when the headline flashed on my smart phone: “GOP Senator Proposes Debt Reduction Plan with Cuts, Tax Increases.” Alas, my hopes were dashed when I read the story. The plan included heavy cuts – not a bad thing, necessarily. It also included the elimination of some itemized deductions, not exactly a tax increase, but better than nothing. And then, the topper – base tax rates will be lowered in all brackets. So, really, it’s just a cloaked attempt to further drive down tax rates. Predictably, the plan was dead on arrival. Not only did the Democrats label it a giveaway to the rich, the GOP hated it, too, because eliminating tax breaks amounts to a tax increase these days. And now we’re lumbering toward yet another debt ceiling deadline empty-handed like a high school senior who smoked pot rather than doing his term paper. Way to go, Congress!



The NBA and the Players Association could probably take some tips from Congress: This pair proved even more incompetent than Congress. David Stern sent out the owners’ “last offer” this week, with the caveat that every day it would get worse. In response, the union, rather than share the offer with players and put it up to a vote, dismissed it out of hand and announced its intent to file a “disclaimer of interest.” If you know what that means, you’re more informed than I. Near as I can tell, it means “we’re putting ourselves in a position to sue.” They’ve been threatening to decertify for months, and they do this now? This is like switching from Marlboros to Pall Malls the day before the doctors remove your cancer-ridden lung. Shrewd tactics all around, fellas.


Families with Nielsen Boxes have no taste: NBC shelved Community, the most creative if not funniest show on television. Meanwhile, middling laugh track-encumbered “comedies” like Two and a Half Men and Last Man Standing thunder along with impunity. At least Parks and Recreation is still on the air, but I’ll miss Troy, Abed, the Dean, Annie’s Boobs and the Room Temperature Room.