Archive for July, 2010

President Barack Obama, Basketball and Immigration Reform

July 23, 2010

The New Yorker, THE TALK OF THE TOWN, July 26, 2010



“During the Presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to pursue comprehensive immigration reform… This spring, Obama, after getting health-care legislation passed, looked to be in a strong position to move forward with immigration reform.  After meeting with Republican senators, he made a characteristic move–suddenly ordering twelve hundred National Guard troops to the southern border.  He was faking right, it seemed, before making his drive on the basket.”

President Obama is a basketball player.  The writer of the July 26th “Talk of the Town” article used a basketball term, faking right, to emphasize that troop placement on borders was a preliminary political move before pursuing (making his drive on) “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Trimming Scientific Sails to the Political Winds

July 23, 2010

REVIEW & OUTLOOK: Wall Street Journal, Monday, July 19, 2010

A Climate Absolution?

“Climategate is media shorthand for the debate over the content of thousands of emails and documents that were released without authorization from the University of East Anglia’s (England)  Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

The Climategate emails also revealed a habit among climate scientists of trimming their scientific sails to the political winds, sometimes by emphasizing temperature and environmental trends at the alarmist end of the spectrum.”

A sailer by trimming his sails, pulls them tight to catch the best winds. Here controversial political winds are blowing about climate change; the scientists want to catch them to emphasize their points.

The writer of this opinion may be a sailor, as people often use idiomatic language of the sport with which they are most familiar.

When Temperance Isn’t in the Cards

July 14, 2010

I found an old recipe for “Whiskey Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake”

References to games, including cards and sports, are used constantly in the idiomatic American English lexicon.  Temperance is defined as “moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.: self-control’ in the American College Dictionary. It is not temperate to eat an extravagant, over-indulgent chocolate cake.  It might not even be temperate to cook one, but it does sound wonderful.  And in this instance the cake is in the “cards” that the cook or reader holds.  I suppose cooking is a game also, one that wins hearts and minds.

“The Constitution Trumps Arizona”

July 14, 2010

New York Times Editorials, Thursday, July 8, 2010

“The Obama admistration has not always been completely clear about its immigration agenda, but it was forthright Tuesday when it challenged the pernicious Arizona law that allows the police to question the immigration status of people they detain for local violations.  Only the federal government can set or enforce immigration policy, the government said in its law suit against the state, and ‘Arizona has crossed this constitutional line.”

The title for this article uses an idiom from a game of bridge,  “to trump”. A trump card used by a player can overtake another card; it is more powerful.  In this case, the constitution supercedes the Arizona law.

A Psychiatrist and Batting Averages

July 14, 2010

National Public Radio, July 13, 2010

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat, was interviewed about his new book, “Unhinged”.

The interviewer asked Dr. Carlat if the drug companies for whom he gave speeches were looking at his batting averages, if they were tracking his effectiveness in promoting the company’s products.  He finally realized that the companies for whom he worked were not nearly as interested in the medical education of his speeches as the marketing of the product.  He became disillusioned and decided to “tell the whole truth.”  The next day the drug company’s District Manager came to Dr. Carlot’s office asking if he was as enthusiastic as before, saying “You used to have home runs.”

Batting averages are calculated as a percentage of hits at bat completed as compared to times (not counting walks) at bat.  A home run is usually a hit into the stands or out of the park so that the batter rounds the bases to home plate.

Sacrifice fly?? Anyone know if that counts as a hit.

Halfway Through a Hail Mary

July 3, 2010

“The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, June 30, 2010: OPINION

Halfway Through a Hail Mary:

This headline leads an article by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. about the debt crisis, primarily in the U.S., but with allusions to Europe.  … “The U.S. committed a pretty good bail-out–but not perfect.”

A hail-mary in a American football game is a desperation pass by a quarterback/captain of the team to score a goal in the last minutes or seconds of a game. The U.S. government took action to stimulate the economy because of the debt crisis.  However, the ball is still in the air.

A bail-out is also a metaphor/idiom either relating to bailing water out of a boat or bailing one out of prison.

Credit Curveballs

July 3, 2010

Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA), Tuesday, June 29, 2010


“…Provisions of the (USA federal) Credit CARD Act of 2009 started in February, (was intended to provide)  relief for millions of consumers from card companies’ predatory practices.”

However: “Card issuers are on the prowl for newer and more innovative ways to land a profit on users’ accounts, experts say…  ‘They’re very good at the letter of the law, just not the spirit of the law,’ said Ken Lin, EEO of, a website that tracks card activity.”

A pitcher throws a curveball to a batter in a baseball game.  It is a difficult/deceptive ball to hit.  The ball veers/strays from the course.