The Airing of Grievances, 2016 election edition

When Thomas Jefferson was noodling around for a device to explain the British colonies’ reasons for declaring independence, he settled on the direct approach: yes, he got all fancy with his language, but that was scattered around a simple recitation of “the causes which impel them to the separation.”  He went with the straightforward airing of grievances, a tactic later employed by the founders of Festivus and now by a prominent Republican political pro in making the case against Donald Trump.

Mark Salter’s essay in Real Clear Politics is the piece I wish I had written: a string of declarative sentences which plainly and damningly gather the indictment against the man who is about to win the Republican Party’s nomination for president.  Read the whole thing, and then try to excuse your way to voting for Trump…especially you, Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders who condemn Trump’s actions but still profess support for the nominee of your party.  What kind of party unites behind this:

He’s an ignoramus whose knowledge of public issues is more superficial than an occasional newspaper reader’s. He casts his intellectual laziness as a choice, a deliberate avoidance of expert views that might contaminate his ill-informed opinions.

(snip)

He’s a charlatan, preposterously posing as a business genius while cheating investors, subcontractors, and his own customers. He’s rich because his father left him a great deal of money. He couldn’t turn a profit with a casino, for crying out loud.

(snip)

He possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old. He can’t let go of any slight, real or imagined, from taunts about the length of his fingers to skepticism about his portfolio.

(snip)

He doesn’t appeal to a single honorable quality or instinct in our society. He exploits fear and incites hatred. They are the emotions that impel him. He wants us to make our way in the world as he does: selfish, insecure, angry, scapegoating, small.

There’s more; please read it.  On issues both foreign and domestic, on the economy and national defense, from personal to professional, Salter reminds us of things we should consider when choosing a candidate to support and to vote for, and notes how Trump fails to meet the standard.

None of this makes it easier to vote for the deeply flawed candidate of the Democrats, but Salter notes of Hillary Clinton “she’s not ignorant or hateful or a nut. She acts like an adult, and understands the responsibilities of an American president.”  Well, it’s a place to start.

The “Weird Al” for lovers of language

There is so much to like here: the lyric, the visual imagination, the beat…the fact that you don’t actually see “Weird Al” Yankovic during the performance (not if you blink).  Make all your illiterate friends watch and wisen up!

Dammit, Biggio is a sweetheart so elect him to the Hall already!

Craig Biggio did not win election to the Hall of Fame today.  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas did, and they deserve it; congratulations to them.  For the second year in a row, his first two years of eligibility, the Houston Astros icon was the biggest vote-getter without getting the 75% of votes required from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Last year, when the writers elected no one, Biggio was the leading candidate but came up 39 votes short; this time, it was two.  TWO VOTES, out of 571 569 (nope, now they say 571 after all)!  Don’t those people understand that Biggio is a great guy?

I mean, Houston’s Leading Information Source switched into full cheerleader mode last week (as it did this time last year), fulfilling its civic responsibility of promoting Biggio’s candidacy by reminding readers that he is…well, that he is a nice man.  Jose de Jesus Ortiz made the point that Biggio’s teammates think he’s a great guy, and that his agreeing to switch positions showed his further greatness; new guy Evan Drellich has found that even people who knew Biggio as a kid say he’s a lovely fellow.  (To a lesser degree the Chronicle tried to shine the same sweet sunlight on Biggio’s teammate and pal Jeff Bagwell, who carries credentials that match up pretty well with Frank Thomas but who also labors under the suspicion of having used performance-enhancing drugs; he was seventh on today’s list of candidates with more than 54% of the vote.)

But I’ve just discovered that even the local daily doesn’t know it all.  A tweet from Lance Zierlein led me to this eye-opening YouTube video that should convince any remaining skeptics who aren’t sold on Craig Biggio being a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame.  Just take a look for yourself.

What else must this man do?  I mean, really…

         

The ACLU explains why even non-terrorists should care about NSA spying on Americans

Since the news broke last month about the domestic spying programs laid out in the secret documents Edward Snowden leaked I’ve tried to make the case why all of us should be angry that our government is spying on us. Some have argued, “but I’ve done nothing wrong so I don’t have anything to worry about.”  Well, you may not have done anything illegal…but do you really want the government knowing and storing information about everything you do?  The folks at Upworthy tweeted a link to this ACLU video that has an answer for those people.

This is a no-brainer…so it’s perfect for this blog

My Houston Astros kicked off their American League existence Sunday night with a big exciting win over the Texas Rangers, and Monday I thought I should write something nice for the blog about the entire event. You see how far I got with that.

Tuesday night my Houston Astros nearly got perfect-gamed for the second time in less than a year, just the kind of thing that the doomsayers who’ve predicted a third 100+ loss season for the Astros needed to be able to say “I told you so.” Yeah, well, you didn’t count on Marwin Gonzalez, did you? (Yes, Marwin Gonzalez. I know.)

This morning I found a post on Awful Announcing that combines the comfort and excitement of Opening Day with the sense of disorientation that we Astros fans are working through as we get acquainted with our new team and league: major league players performing bits of “Who’s on First?

And that made me think, I want to see the original in all it’s glory…and I’m betting, so do you!