Friday, August 15, 2008

Worst Of Times

Boy, you miss a week around here, you miss a lot. The world doesn't wait around for me to catch up like it used to.

We've got a brutal little war going on involving the Russian Bear reasserting itself, rampaging through Georgia like it's Hungary '56 or Prague '68. The Russian Army is conducting itself with a savagery reminiscent of those good old Cold War days, or whenever the last atrocity was committed in Iraq. The fact is that America has no moral high ground to tell other "civilized" nations how to act. We lost that right after the last eight years of misrule by the neoconservative element that has taken power.

That didn't stop Bush from using his pulpit today to call out Russia, accusing it of unduly harsh treatment of its breakaway republic. In a classic case of projection, the architect of two disastrous preemptive wars said that, "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century. Only Russia can decide whether it will now put itself back on the path of responsible nations or continue to pursue a policy that promises only confrontation and isolation." Only a human being as cut off from reality as George W. Bush could fail to see the irony in those statements.

Bush once famously looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and declared he got a sense of the Russian leader's soul. That observation was made before 9/11, and long before Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's more or less hand-picked successor, saw fit to use the might of the Russian Army to keep order in one of its former provinces, creating a huge humanitarian crisis in the process. It's hard to get accurate casualty figures, but it appears to be at least 5,000 dead.

But don't worry. Condi Rice is on the scene, ready to work her diplomatic magic. It's nice to know that winning the Cold War has made us all so much safer. That peace dividend has really made the world a better place. The planet has never been more dangerous, after billions and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent on every weapons system devised. What a mess, what a waste.

Remember all that "one superpower" hegemonic nonsense that the Richard Perles and Doug Feiths of the world were preaching after 9/11: America has never been stronger, and like Rome she should use her might to build an empire rather than react to every dangerous situation in the world. Someone forgot to tell the Russkies that they were finished.

So Bush and Cheney are leaving us in quite a state as they exit the scene. Record energy prices. The housing market in alltime disarray. Thousands of American soldiers dead, tens of thousands gravely wounded thanks to an unnecessary war initiated by a cabal of miscreant sociopaths. Millions of jobs outsourced overseas. The healthcare system a bureaucratic nightmare increasingly out of reach for working class Americans. Millions living paycheck to paycheck. Millions more borrowing or living on credit cards to get by. Millions more out of work or working for poverty wages. And they leave an even more corrupt, treacherous Washington than what they found when they moved in January of 2001, telling everyone how they were looking forward to putting government back on a moral course after the Clinton years.

Around the world, those who loved America couldn't believe the nation they looked up to could elect, twice, a person singularly unqualified to hold any leadership position whatsoever, a man so proudly and smugly ignorant and lacking in compassion that to this day his entire time on office seems like a bad dream to literally hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

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Another very recent development since we last met, what used to be called breaking news, is the sudden breakup of sports radio's version of the Odd Couple. As of last night, the Mike and the Mad Dog Show is no more. Chris Russo is taking his act solo, moving to satellite radio, aka Oblivion, while Mike Francesa continues on WFAN. No last show, no swan song, just an announcement that the Dog wanted to try something new after 19 years as part of a team.

First Imus left, now Russo. There's not much left on the FAN when you come down to it, unless Steve Sommers floats your boat, and if that's the case, I feel sorry for you and your boat. I think they will find a partner for Francesa, because as much as he loves the sound of his own voice, sports radio works best when there's friction of some sort. We already get that Mike Francesa knows everything there is to know about sports, but another personality, maybe a woman, to create some sparks, get the station some buzz.

The morning show on WFAN, with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, or whatever that fool's name is, is literally unlistenable. Like most morning radio, it's a complete waste of time. Then from 10:00 to 1 pm, it's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, with more hideous banter. Only shut-ins, cabbies or the mentally ill would even think of listening in. 1:00 used to bring Mike & the Mad Dog, but as of today those days are over. Nights on WFAN you get Mets game or the aforementioned Steve Sommers. If a host is judged by the types of listeners he attracts, then no host in the history of radio gets more deranged callers than this sorry Sommers. If you're fortunate, you've managed to stay clear of his show, a real insane asylum of the airwaves, with overwrought Mets fans calling in droves to vent their paranoia on a nightly basis. Usually not having a life is a bad thing, but in these callers' cases, apparently it's not even an option.
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On the field, the Mets are fresh off a sweep of the absolutely woeful Washington Nationals, of which the 2008 version is without question one of the worst baseball teams to ever don caps and cleats. If you can name two Nationals, you should either be serenaded or sequestered, I'm not sure which. Now the mighty Mets face the not so powerful Pirates. Talk about your challenges. But the Mets will be there all year, along with the Phils and Marlins, when it comes to the NL East title.

Not so for the other New York Nine, the Yankees, who are coming off an atrocious 3-7 road trip. They face the pesky Royals for 3 games at the Stadium, then head out on the road yet again for a short trip. Just 42 games remain in the season and the Yanks trail the first-place Tampa Rays by 9.5 games. In between is the Red Sox, 5 games ahead of New York in the standings. I don't see the Yankees catching either team, or even overcoming the Twins, which would mean missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993. But as a sports fan, I know a good story when I see it, and if the Yanks don't make it, you know I will be rooting hard for the Rays to fend off the Sox and, if it comes down to it, to beat them in the playoffs. That and rooting against the Mets will have to carry me into the football season, which is mere weeks away, believe it or not. But that's a post for another day. Everything in its place, my mom used to say. Then she would see my room and realize I was a lost cause and a hopeless case. Kind of like the rest of humanity.

2 comments:

jimithegreek said...

You just penned one of my fave lines of all time "a cabal of miscreant sociopaths", dam good!

Wardens World said...

Thanks, bro. Just call 'em as I see 'em.