Last night in Nevada, luck was a lady as Hillary Clinton won the first 2016 Democratic debate with a hand up from Bernie Sanders and three also rans, who are already being primed for the political glue factory. It was Hillary’s night as she rode hard on President Obama’s coattails while retouching her scandal spotted Continue reading
At age 13, Joan of Arc began hearing voices. Only a peasant girl of slight build and known for her piousness and hard work, it is said that saints appeared to Joan and told her to aid the French in the fight against the English. In 2000, Tom Brady, a Michigan quarterback of large build and known for his super model prowess and hard work, was taken as the 199th pick by the New England Patriots. Tom heard desperate voices of the Patriots fan base and as a sixth string quarterback, predicted to owner Bob Kraft that he would be the best move that the Patriots ever made. Joan of Arc saw saints. Tom Brady beat the Saints every time they appeared on the NFL schedule.
Like Brady, Joan predicted to the Dauphin that the French letting her fight for them would be the best move that they ever made. Joan pulled on her armor and led a victorious French rout at Orleans. Tom Brady pulled on his helmet after Drew Bledsoe fell in battle against the Green Army of New Jersey and led his troops to Super Bowl glory in New Orleans in 2002. Joan grew up worshiping God and Brady, Joe Montana. Though God could terrify people, He could not run the West Coast Offense. Montana frightened NFL defenses and always came through in the clutch, unlike some deities.
After still more victories, Joan was captured by the English, sold into captivity by John of Luxembourg, discredited by the Church and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. After three more Super Bowl victories, Tom Brady was sold out by the NFL, had piddling and unprovable charges of under inflating a football lodged against him, was discredited by the Wells Report and is currently being burned at the stake.
The high church that is the NFL only wants to reestablish control. Joan’s church hid crimes for centuries. Roger Goodell’s church goes easy on woman beaters but hangs players for a single football being two pounds PSI under, according to league rules. Joan’s punishment was severe. They burned the babe at age 19. The Patriot’s punishment was almost as bad with a million dollar fine, the loss of two draft picks and a suspension of four games for Tom Brady, another young martyr. Goodell’s suspension of Brady was upheld on July 28, 2015.
Joan of Arc’s fate has been long sealed but she was formally retried posthumously and exonerated in 1456. Brady and the NFL Player’s Union also seek exoneration in the name of setting history right. They had to lie to tackle Joan and they are making it all up to singe Tom Brady. John Oliver briskly comments on Goodell’s level of competence when you scroll down and if this is any indication, Tom Terrific will be cleared.
Way back in February, Ian Rapaport of NFL Media refuted ESPN’s Deflategate report, which claimed that 11 of 12 footballs used in the first half of the AFC title game against the Colts were under inflated. Rapaport wrote that 11 of the 12 were only, “a few ticks” below the minimum with only one ball being 2 PSI under. The very slight under inflation of the 11 could then be explained by the independent scientific testing that has already been done. Those tests concluded that the cold weather probably accounted for the difference, with the exception of that one other ball.
Michael J.Naughton, Chair of the Physics Department at Boston College, has gone on record in saying that cool temperatures made the difference in the ball pressure readings. It has been reported otherwise that exposing balls inflated in a warm room and then introduced to cold temps would have an effect too. I’m hanging my hat on ESPN’s bad reporting and the NFL wanting to run the Patriots off the road after Spygate and let’s face it. A life as idyllic as Tom Brady’s just screams for some rock throwing by fans without an NFL title to brag about.
History will show that Joan of Arc relied on visions, saints, dreams and inspiration, gleaned from her chocolatey, pious center to live out her destiny. The great advantage she had is that there are no tangible records of encounters with saints, unless you see Archie Manning in a bar and buy him a scotch and soda with your Visa card. Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone, purportedly to hide evidence from the NFL. If the league succeeds in lighting Brady up, as the English did to poor Joan, then it may be left to distant generations to retry him, long after his NFL Hall of Fame plaque has grown an even patina of age. Judge Joe Brown’s court has more credibility that the Roger Goodell clown car. Brady had to sit for four games in spite of his successful appeal but such is the nature of conspiracies.
After the NFL ignored a fresh Deflategate controversy involving the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, even the most delusional Pats hater had to conclude that the mania to hurt New England on the part of Goodell and his owner masters was real. With any provable reason to hate the Patriots gone, all that is left is jealousy and resentment because they have been winning for 16 years. That kind of consistency was just not assumed to be possible and for the other owners, it isn’t desirable or profitable for them either. Let them seeth. New England is packing for Houston.
Joan of Arc is a saint and if Tom Brady is merely mortal, he should at least be held to standards that are tied to the Earth and not devised by an all knowing and all powerful NFL Commissioner. Gods are jealous, after all. If you were going to single out any man for ill treatment, wouldn’t it be Tom Brady? His very existence sparks envy. That is the cost of greatness.
Joan of Arc made history. Tom Brady and the Patriots are still writing it and only their critics have been burned at the stake by fueling this team’s competitive fire. They didn’t need the help but on behalf of my fellow Patriots fans, thanks. Sincerely. Thanks.
King vs. Burwell is dead and the Affordable Care Act required no time in the recovery room before springing out of the Supreme Court building and into a permanent place in American life. The Supremes ruled today, 6-3, that the brief words, “an exchange established by the state”, would not rifle a plan that has provided health care coverage for eight million people.
The no votes, were Samuel Alito, the fire spitting Antonin Scalia and his appendix and doorstop, Clarence Thomas. The majority held that the words, “..established by the state”, may refer to both individual state exchanges as well as states which rely on the federal government to administer the Affordable Care Act for them.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote that it was “inconceivable” that the Affordable Care Act would be written to purposely exclude those who lived in states without state exchanges. The Majority also decided that other parts of the ACA as written made it clear enough that the law was intended to apply to all Americans eligible for the federal stipends that make the difference between millions having access to care and going without it. Had the law gone down, insurance companies would have ratcheted up rates to make up for people in 34 states who would have lost their care without those stipends. Like any insurance program, you need to have enough customers paying in to make the rates affordable.
King v. Burwell was cooked up by right wing think tanks and more than one named plaintiff in the suit was not even qualified to be attached to this desperate attempt to destroy the ACA. One named plaintiff was living in a hotel when she signed on and having no legal address, was not eligible. Scalia, never one to miss any opportunity to make an ass of himself, bitterly exclaimed that the ACA should now be called SCOTUSCARE.
The ACA has been declared safe for now, along with President Obama’s legacy. The next GOP President who soils the Oval Office with his presence will set about trying to tear it all down again and the American people deserve to know that they will not have to worry about seeing a doctor anymore, no matter who is accepting checks from insurance company lobbyists. The fulminations of The Heritage Foundation painted the ruling in apocalyptic terms, as zealots always do.
John Beohner began issuing threats only seconds after the 6-3 decision went public. He has vowed to appeal and those same right wing think tanks are already recruiting a passel of fresh dupes to attach their sorry names to another run at the Supreme Court. Lower courts had turned away Burwell and the Supremes took it on anyway. Many feared that they did so to administer the death blow but having ruled against the first challenge to the law, maybe they took on this recent case to affirm the ACA’s fitness to apply to all states and not only the ones with their own exchanges.
The Court could have easily looked to the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. That clause requires all federally passed laws to apply to “the several states”, in the words of the 14th. That means all of them, Justice Scalia. The ACA law gave states the right to turn away the federal money to establish state exchanges and in most red states, the money was rejected for partisan spite and not for the needs of the citizens in those states. Giving states the choice was illegal under the Constitution. There have been 50 votes to repeal the ACA since the law passed in 2010 with Obama’s veto pen at the ready. They were merely temper tantrums, exercises in spite, spleen venting, partisan stubbornness and ritual demonstrations of dirt kissing subservience to their corporate paymasters. Representative Jan Shakowsky points out the importance of the ACA for women in particular.
Today’s ruling is heartening but make no mistake. You are not a real citizen of this country and neither am I, unless we have pockets deep enough to buy who we need to deliver the things we want. The GOP will continue to fight to take away your healthcare because you are not their client. You are in the way of their clients. For now, the Democrats were lucky for today’s decision because the ACA was not written tightly enough to ward off these ridiculous challenges. Most critics will never take it as a good thing that millions now have care where there was none before, that costs are coming down and The United States is no longer the only Western nation to not make health care available to its people.
Our system is rotten to the husk but the Supremes voted 6-3 to keep a health care life line in the water. Maybe Alito, Scalia and Thomas are drowning their sorrows somewhere tonight. If they end the evening unfit to drive, they will wake the next morning in the more embarrassing condition of being unfit to sport unflattering, black robes. They will continue to treat the law like their beverages of choice, a convenience to be used as the mood strikes and with little to no responsibility. When the tab comes for their reckless choices, they will leave that for the public, who must soberly live with their willful incompetence.
As to the GOP, their continued opposition to the Affordable Care Act is only a Band Aid covering their chronic wounds of ego, corruption, hyper partisanship and that jaundiced pallor that comes with sharing its collective sick bed with only the richest. The oligarchs need not worry about contagion though. They catch special treatment like a virus.
In the City of Light, Parisian workmen are taking a load off. Until very recently, the Pont des Arts Bridge was the site of true love and some clearly clunky symbolism. For many years, love drunk couples have inscribed their names on padlocks, locked them to the bridge, pledged their eternal love and then, flung the lock keys into the rolling Seine below. Reno, Nevada, is known as the divorce capital of the world. Reno stayed prosperous during the Great Depression by offering quickee, no fault divorces. The matrimonially shackled, mostly women, would get their walking papers at the Washoe County Courthouse, kiss a courthouse column for luck and then make the short walk to the Virginia Street Bridge. There, they would hurl the offending ovals on their left hands into the Truckee River below. Reno granted over 30,000 divorces in the 1930’s and was known to some as the Great Divide. If divorce can inspire nostalgia, here it is.
Be it Paris or Reno, marital hopes and regrets disappear into the watery depths eventually. It has been reported that the accumulated padlocks on the Pont des Arts Bridge weigh some 4.5 tons and are being removed for the good of the structure and the cooing duos upon it. Plexiglass will be installed on the sides and the only things able to be locked there will be a couple’s good intentions. Perhaps the padlock tradition could have remained if just under half of all of them had been removed each day to reflect the unions that won’t make it. Maybe the crowds could have been kept down by requiring speed marital counseling to get on the bridge and a three day cooling off period before couples are allowed to add their locks to the mass of ardently placed stainless steel, copper and tumblers.
This is mainly a political blog and nothing is more political than a marriage. To take part in that august institution requires making promises that cannot be fulfilled. It takes ceaseless campaigning, great expense and pleasing a distinct constituency by bending the truth as needed. The bride to be will perform field polling on her prospective husband with a hand picked focus group over Manhattans and dirty martinis. The prospective groom will be vetted for solvency and old skeletons will be dredged up, rattled and inspected if there are any bones to be found at all. Otherwise, he will make discreet inquires as to how his potential mother-in-law is holding up as a long term romantic barometer. Opposition research is never pretty. Some traditions must die and others evolve. As such, I declare that the Pont des Arts span will now be known as the Pinky Swear Bridge.
The Pinky Swear is a particularly awkward yet intimate mutual pledge. The sign of the hooked pinkies has formally existed in American culture since 1860 and is known in other contexts as “The Red String of Fate”. The legend says that the gods will tie an invisible, red string between two intended soulmates. With the new Pinky Swear Bridge, couples could have tied red strings to the sides but the Plexiglass won’t allow for that. The idea would have solved the weight problem while eliminating thousands of metal keys in the water below.
Christopher Morley once said, “The trouble with wedlock is that there’s not enough wed and too much lock”. This quote shall be displayed prominently at the rededicated Pont des Arts Bridge. In this oldest and most tempestuous of political unions, the red string will seal the Pinky Swear of devotion and fealty. Pledges will be made, the strings will float dreamily to their watery rest and coach tickets to Reno will be exchanged, along with the rings, at the altar as an open acknowledgement of the impermanence of the best of intentions. Guys, why pay a lawyer to help you divide your assets? Reno, baby! For the women, no fault and no baggage may have advantages over a good settlement. Is it really worth the fight? My solution is romantic, realistic, yet environmentally friendly. Come to think of it, I may be too pragmatic for Paris and padlocks are overpriced anyway.
So is that peculiar institution called, marriage.