Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First and Goal

 Wow, what a lousy call.  I didn't actually see the game, but on replay, it was pretty obvious that the Seattle Seahawks did not win the game on a last second hail-Mary pass.  And if the Green Bay Packers miss the play-offs by one game.  Ouch.

So what's a good fan to do?  Well, I'm a fan, though admittedly not a die hard, every Sunday parked in front of the big screen, come hell or high water kind of fan.  I'm the kind of fan who doesn't support scab labor.  Yes, fellow football followers, it's time you join me in boycotting the National Football League until the referee lockout is over.

I'm not sure when the United States became an anti-union country.  When I was growing up in western Pennsylvania smart people didn't attack the steel workers, the auto workers, the teamsters or the miners.  It wasn't because of any  threat of violence.  Attacking unionism was a good way to become very isolated in the community.   It was understood that as long as union members made a good wage, they'd buy cars, new clothes, they'd go out to eat in restaurants and go to the local movie house.  In short, union wages drove the local economy and the more money  blue collared workers made, the more they spent.  And the more they spent, the more money was made by everyone else, including the much lauded small business man.

So it's baby step time on the long road back to a strong American labor movement.  If the union refs aren't back this weekend, turn off the TV.  Don't go to the games.  Don't make the wealthy plutocrats who own the teams even richer.  Make it clear that the continued success of the National Football League is contingent on union referees calling the shots.  And after we all back a union that we need to preserve the integrity of our much loved football, we can transfer that allegiance to the UMW, or the UAW, or here's a radical notion your local teacher's union.  Union workers and good union wages make us all better off.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fountain Pen

I turned on the noon news hoping for coverage of the violence in Libya but L. A.'s status as the car chase capitol of the world stymied my efforts.  Yes, once again TV coverage was all car chase all the time.  Today's version had a couple of guys who had robbed a Bank of America making a last run through the streets of south central, a  neighborhood south of downtown Los Angeles.

What was different about this one was that the two suspects threw their loot out the car window.  I have no idea whether they thought that crowds would block streets allowing them to escape, or whether they just figured, "What the hell, we're going to jail anyway, so why not spread the wealth".  Of course, the TV commentators did the whole morality thing and condemned those who were scooping up money, but the way I see it....why not?  The American financial industry lobbied congress to legalize behavior that is little more than grand theft on a planetary scale, so why not get a little of our own back.

 During the great depression, there was a wide held belief that bankers had destroyed the American economy and impoverished the majority of ordinary citizens.  Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger were viewed as folk heroes.  I'm actually surprised that bombs haven't gone off on Wall Street and bank presidents haven't been assassinated.

There is a great line form an old Woody Guthrie song, "some will rob you with a six gun, some with a fountain pen."  Jury nullification, anyone?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rubio Vs Castro, More than One Castro

Now that we've seen both conventions, there is one thing we can be certain of: Both parities are trying to present an Hispanic face.

The Republicans are pinning their hopes on Marco Rubio, while Democrats are going with the far more telegenic  Julian Castro.  Castro, despite his last name, is of Mexican descent while Rubio has Cuban roots, and on the surface, with  far greater numbers of Mexican immigrants, that would seem like a bad bet for the Republicans.

I agree with that, but for different reasons.  Rubio isn't just Cuban, he is a throwback to a community that defines itself as anti-communist and distrusting of government, while Mexican-Americans  are far more likely to look to government as a fair arbiter for full integration into the American mainstream.  And let's face it, with its embrace of Jan Brewer and the politics of anti-immigration hatred, the Repugs aren't exactly endearing themselves to the far larger Mexican American demographic.

But it goes beyond that.  Rubio is a really, really,  big throwback.  Today's younger Cuban-Americans may agree with their grandfathers that Fidel Castro is an evil man and that Cuba should be free and democratic,  (I'm a white, liberal Democrat and I think that too.)  but those young Cuban Americans have never know Cuba and communist oppression.  What they know is increasing college tuition, and high youth unemployment.  And those are issues that are far stronger for Democrats than Republicans.

I found it telling that Cuban-American talk show host Cristina Saralegui chose to endorse President Barack Obama for reelection.  In theory, she should be a Republican.  Unlike Marco Rubio, she was born in Cuba, and she does have memories of Fidel and the revolution.  But in her world view, we look forward to the future, not back to the past.  I'm sure she would love to see a fair and free election in Havana, but she'd also like to see social progress, a progress built on economic justice and opportunity for all, in the United States.

One other note.  In 2004 Illinois State Senator Barack Obama gave the key note address at the Democratic National Convention, and after he was done, many people, myself included, said to themselves. "I've just seen the first African-American president."  How many people said that Rubio will be the first Hispanic-American president?  How many thought that of Castro?  .  Pay attention.  I don't often agree with George W. Bush or brother Jeb.  Their contention that pissing off Hispanics is a good way to destroy the Republican Party is dead on.