Archive for April, 2011

Surfing the RisingTide of Public Service Unions

April 14, 2011

New York Times, Wednesday, April 13, 2011: Business Day

Countering the Siege, by Steven Greenhouse

Washington–“Perhaps more than any other American, Gerald W. McEntee has surfed the rising tide of public sector unions to success and power.  As leader of the largest union of state and local government workers for three decades, he has amassed enormous political influence and a huge campaign war chest that he has not hesitated to use to advance his union’s interests.

But now, with public sector unions under attack in deficit-plagued states and cities nation wide (particularly in Wisconsin and Ohio), Mr. McEntee faces the biggest challenge of his career–avoiding a wipeout.”

Interesting surfing metaphors: “surfed the rising tide” and “avoiding a wipeout” in “the battle”  between governors and unions.  Usually, in surfing, one waits for the big or rising waves and surfs them just before the wave peaks, perhaps pushing to catch the crest on a rising wave rather than on the tide.  Perhaps the tide is a factor, I don’t know, but it is a good metaphor.  One doesn’t want a wipeout in politics, especially in politics, or when riding a surfboard as the board can fly into the air and hit the surfer.

There are war metaphors in this article: the headline, “Countering the Siege”; then one in the first paragraph: campaign war chest that he has not hesitated to use to advance his union’s interests. This could be Ulysses S. Grant advancing, but using General McClellan’s war chest.

Here’s another in a subsequent passage, not quoted above:  “Still combative at Age 76, Mr. McEntee has pushed away talk of retirement and plunged into battle to defend his union…”

And another: “In what is largely a decentralized union, Mr. McEntee is doing his utmost to serve as national field marshal, stategist and megaphone for the counterattack.”

I usually only talk about sports metaphors, but this article is so interesting with its battle metaphors, published on the day after the 150th anniversary of the beginning of “The Civil War”, as the war is now called, and probably written on the 12th of May, the day of the siege of Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

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The House Speaker Moves To the End Zone

April 9, 2011

New York Times Editorials, Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Republicans Maneuver Toward a Shutdown

“Speaker John Boehner (U.S. House Republicans) and his negotiating team have continually moved the end zone.”

“The House Republicans on Tuesday made it clear to anyone who had missed it that they are not inteesed in a deal on the current federal budget.  In a meeting at the White House, they rejected a deal to get thruough the next six months.”

The metaphor, the end zone, from American football refers here to a fiscal “shutdown” in many areas of the federal budget.  In football, it refers to the end of the field where a score may be made by either opposition, but normally by the offensive team.  The Republicans here are on the offensive.

There seems to be a plethora of football terms now as it is football season.  Look for them!  If you see any of interest, let me know.  Thanks.  Jean Henry

Punting Justice Offshore

April 8, 2011

The New York Times, Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Editorials

Cowardice Blocks the 9/11 Trial

“The administration gives in to Congress’s baseless arguments, punting justice offshore.”

“Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. described a federal court trial for the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as ‘the defining event of my time as attorney general.’  On Monday, Mr. Holder’s dream for demonstrating the power of the American court system crumbled when he announced that the trial would take place not in New York City or anywhere in the United States but before a military commision at the Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, prison camp.”

The administration is on the offensive here, punting justice offshore to Cuba after some senators and Mayor Michael Bloomburg objected about the trial being held in the U.S.  “Congress  then made the (federal) trial impossible last year with a measure prohibiting any spending to move prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States.”

Punting is primarily a football term, but, also, one used in soccer and rugby:

It’s fourth down and let’s punt by kicking the ball to the opposing team, in football usually on the fourth down, when the ball needs to be turned over to the opposing team. It was fourth down for the administration and they punted.