Monday, August 10, 2009

Post-move bits

With just one NFL game in the books -- and an exhibition game at that -- I miss John Madden already.

Madden was the most interesting pro-football commentator of my lifetime. Now he's enjoying his retirement, and good for him, but the airwaves are less colorful for his departure.

The good news is that football season is here at last. The first points of 2009, incidentally, were scored by a former Buckeye -- Tennessee Titans' rookie A.J. Trapasso ran 40 yards with a faked punt -- in last night's Hall of Fame game against the Buffalo Bills.

Here in our village we felt a special sense of pride. Before starring at OSU, Trapasso was a standout at the high school up the street.

* * *
I've been watching the healthcare debate with interest, especially the phenomenon of "town brawl meetings."

Soft-headed conservatives, masquerading as free-speech advocates, are pimples on the ass of honest reform. What they're doing is stifling free speech, not exercising it. It's less grassroots than AstroTurf.

With their disruptive wails of "Socialized medicine!" they represent the result of failing to examine facts and think critically. They're protesting proposals that aren't on the table.

It's embarrassing but not unexpected. We saw the same misinformed ideological rage last year at Palin rallies. The fact that there's considerable overlap between the two crowds is no coincidence.

Thank you, talk radio, for once again dumbing-down the populace.

That said, the other side of the argument is flawed at its foundation. Care and compassion are human longings, not entitlements of citizenship. Pres. Obama is to be commended for seeking to mend a broken system, but I reject the premise that every American should be guaranteed medical coverage.

Equal access to care? Fine by me. Control costs? Absolutely. Just don't presume to tell me that insurance is my birthright.

* * *
"Cash for Clunkers" is a Trojan horse, and yet it's duped so many Americans that the program is running out of money.

On its face, it's an enormous green boondoggle. In the big picture, the environmental advantage of a new vehicle is minuscule compared to the contaminants released and the energy consumed in its production. (Never mind the impact of crushed clunkers, most of which won't be recycled or reclaimed, on landfills.) For the consumer, even with a $4,500 federal subsidy in-hand, trading a clunker on a shiny new ride rarely is anything but a boneheaded financial decision.

What we have here, plain and simple, is an ill-conceived attempt to prop-up the automakers by helping them shed excess inventory. Considering these companies' record of wasting time and money, it won't do them any long-term good. Worst of all, it's encouraging the same kind of mindless overspending that inflamed the consumer-credit crunch in the first place.

When the recession deepens later this year, as inevitably it will, remember those observations.

I don't own a clunker. If I did, I'd be keeping it -- and making it last.

* * *
Finally, this today from Ron Reagan, son of the former president:

"Sarah Palin only needs a red rubber nose and some exploding shoes and she could go back to work for Barnum and Bailey. The fact that we give this clown any time at all is shocking and silly and a little bit stupid."
That easily wins Quote of the Day honors, and it's a strong contender for Quote of the Year.