Sports Is Life

Few things in life play on passion like sport. Few things are as polarizing. Few things pull at one’s every emotion as does the ebb and flow of the successes and failures of one’s favorite sports team or player. The sports fanatic lives vicariously through his or her teams and players. It is in fact possessive in nature and scope. It’s my team. We need to … We should … We suck. We kicked their asses. I’ve been an avid sports fan since the early 1970’s. Emotionally I live and die every year with the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Redskins, and Washington  Wizards. For the first time in fifteen years, the Orioles were exciting. Every play of every game was worth watching. That’s what makes being a fan through the rough seasons worth it. The Capitals may or may not play a game this season. I love NHL ice hockey. I’ll miss it if it isn’t a part of the sports calendar. The Washington Redskins have themselves a quarterback for the first time in twenty years. Moreover, they have a franchise quarterback for the first time in forty years. While the team still has much work to do the play of Robert Griffin III alone is enough to give hope to the future. Were I a fan of another team, RGIII would still be exciting to watch at every opportunity. The Washington Wizards have themselves a shooting guard. Bradley Beal has looked solid in his first few games. The jury is still out, of course. Without John Wall and Nene it is virtually impossible to know how the team will play for the balance of the season. Certainly they are a better team than their record indicates. Competing in the NBA is incredibly difficult due to the system itself. There are the haves and the have-nots. The Wizards are not yet amongst the haves.


One might think it would be easy to walk away from sports, given the teams I follow. It is very much like living at the Heartbreak Hotel. Who needs it, right? Well, that is what separates the casual fan from the true fanatic. One can tell a lot from language. Younger fans often tend to use terms such as “x-team-fan-forever” or “die-hard fan.” There is no forever. It’s all about the moment. Die-hard defines itself much as does the Republican Party: “One who stubbornly resists change or tenaciously adheres to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause …” Sports teams change and adapt every play of every game, or at least they try to. If they are liquid, so too should be their fans. These are poor terms for sports fans. Specifically, they are poor terms for this sports fan. I don’t define myself that way.


How do I define myself as a sports fan? Insane. The condition of being insane;  a derangement of the mind. Synonyms: dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, aberration. psychosis. extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness. a foolish or senseless action.


I would suggest that defines sports fanaticism about as well as it can be defined. I’ve literally become sick to my stomach over games. And player performances. And injuries. And poor management and ownership decisions. Sick to to point of violent illness and regurgitation of my last meal. Why? Sports doesn’t pay my bills, put food on my table, feed my children, clothe anyone, feed the pets. In fact it costs money if it does anything. Game tickets and merchandise, parking and concessions. Pay Per View. My life continues on regardless of the outcome of games. So, why am I so affected by sports? Because it is life. Life imitating everything. Art. Science. Life. And because I am insane … 


If you can relate to this brand of insanity, tell me about it at






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Rejecting A Return To Reaganomics

     Americans of a certain age will recall that which was Reaganomics.  The four objectives of Reaganomics were reduction of government spending, reduction of marginal tax rates on labor and capital, reduced regulation, and reduced inflation by controlling the growth of the money supply.  There were no changes made to transfer payment programs such as social security and medicare. Defense spending, however, increased substantially.  The top marginal income tax rate was reduced from 70% to 28% and the corporate income tax rate was reduced from 48% to 34%.  Tax brackets were inflation adjusted. Most of the bottom marginal tax bracket was tax exempt.  Social security and excise taxes were increased and some deductions were eliminated.  Price caps were lifted from oil, natural gas, cable television, long distance telephone service, and shipping.  Banking was deregulated and antitrust laws were changed.  Federal regulation on foreign exchange of currency was lifted.

     The major achievements of Reaganomics were the sharp reductions in marginal tax rates and in inflation.  Moreover, these changes were achieved at a much lower cost than was previously expected.  Despite the large decline in marginal tax rates, for example, the federal revenue share of GDP declined only slightly.  Similarly, the large reduction in the inflation rate was achieved without any long-term effect on the unemployment rate.  One reason for these achievements was the broad bipartisan support for these measures beginning in the later years of the Carter administration.  Reagan‘s first tax proposal, for example, had previously been endorsed by the Democratic Congress beginning in 1978, and the general structure of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was first proposed by two junior Democratic members of Congress in 1982.  Similarly, the “monetarist experiment” to control inflation was initiated in October 1979, following Carter’s appointment of Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.  The bipartisan support of these policies permitted Reagan to implement more radical changes than in other areas of economic policy.

     Reagan left three major adverse legacies at the end of his second term.  First, the privately held federal debt increased from 22.3 percent of GDP to 38.1 percent and, despite the record peacetime expansion, the federal deficit in Reagan’s last budget was still 2.9 percent of GDP.  Second, the failure to address the savings and loan problem early led to an additional debt of about $125 billion.  Third, the administration added more trade barriers than any administration since Hoover.  The share of U.S. imports subject to some form of trade restraint increased from 12 percent in 1980 to 23 percent in 1988.

     Reaganomics led to a severe recession in 1982.  There was more than enough blame to go around for each of these problems.  Reagan resisted tax increases, and Congress resisted cuts in domestic spending.  The administration was slow to acknowledge the savings and loan problem, and Congress urged forbearance on closing the failing banks.  Reagan’s rhetoric strongly supported free trade, but pressure from threatened industries and Congress led to a substantial increase in new trade restraints.  The future of Reaganomics depended largely on how each of the three adverse legacies was resolved.  Restraints on spending and regulation sustained Reaganomics.  Increased taxes and a re-regulation of domestic and foreign trade would have limited Reaganomics to an interesting but temporary experiment in economic policy.

     We now have a Presidential candidate in Willard “Mitt” Romney whose track record shows he wants to return to these same failed economic policies.  History shows there is no “trickle down” effect from the wealthiest individual and corporate tax brackets.  History shows that what brings the nation out of depressive and recessive economic conditions is government spending, more of than not as a result of real or imagined war or conflict.  What will not work is asking for an increase in supply when there is no demand.  That is Mitt Romney‘s proposed solution.  Perhaps the Romney plan is to have the wealthy purchase widgets from one another. Perhaps the plan is to continue the “no-bid” contract policies of the George W. Bush administration.  Whatever the plan, the federal government needs more revenue.  That doesn’t occur by osmosis.  If Mitt Romney is willing to sign the Grover Norquist pledge agreeing not to increase taxes then he must have a viable alternative plan for increasing federal revenue.  He does. It is to cut from social programs.  That is not conservatism.  Conservatism is reducing the size of fiscal government.  It is also not socially libertarian.  True conservatism is fiscal conservatism and social liberty.  Romney is definitely a neocon, in the truest sense of the term.  He is a former liberal who is opposed to the principles of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.”  The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched.

     Regardless of political stance or affiliation, those Americans who lived through Reaganomics and the after effects thereof, including the Wall Street Stock Market crash of 1987, should agree we have no desire or inclination to return to such failed policies.  They are how we got where we are.  We are going to have to pay our way out of debt.  The economists can argue over whether those ends are best served by a flat tax rate or a return to higher marginal tax rates.  Either way, reason says that those with 99% of the wealth should be paying 99% of the taxes.  It’s the American Way.  Patriotism means responsibilities as well as rights.  The right to capitalism and the responsibility to pay taxes for that right are as American as the Constitution itself.  Tax loopholes are an extremely liberal interpretation of the 16th Amendment.  Neither party is served by having a President who stands on both sides of the aisle.  It could not be more clear Mitt Romney does just exactly that.

Posted in Politics

When in the Course of hum…

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Citizens are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Citizens, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security — Such has been the patient sufferance of the People; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. — The history of the present House Of Representatives is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over the People.

The Declaration Of Independence From A Non-Representative And Despotic Government

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