Archive for June, 2011

Power Lineup, Swings From Right

June 29, 2011

Hi.  This is an old goodie from September, 2007 about the Supreme Court of the U.S.  It’s actually a review of a book, “The Nine”, by Jeffry Tobin,  a narrative history of the court.

Power Lineup, Swings From Right

By Mickido Kakutani:  Books of the Times

“With President Bush’s addition of John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito to the Supreme Court, the balance of power in the highest court of the land has shifted decisively to the right.”

In the almost four years since this article was written, the above is certainly true.  The Supreme Court is voting conservatively 5 to 4 on many issues that come before it.  The Supreme Court is a power lineup, just as is a baseball lineup on a major team, such as the New York Yankees or the Philadelphia Phillies.  Some baseball players swing right and some left.  Now the Court has more batters swinging from the right.

“Fox Mashes Up Supers in Football and Politics”

June 24, 2011

These are metaphors from a 2008 column I forgot I had.  At the time I was leaving Pennsylvania for California the next day.   I assume this three year old column is or will be appropriate in 2011 and 2012 as we approach a presidential election again.  The sports idioms or metaphors are italized.  The football in this column is American football, not what we would call soccer or most of the world’s football.

Perhaps, I’ll find a sports metaphor or you can find one in the NBA Draft news.

New York Times, Monday, January 28, 2008, by David Carr

Coverage of Super Sunday and Super Tuesday will meld 

Here are some quotes:

“The Super Bowl is one of the last bastions of mass media in a fractured universe, and trust the News Corporation to make the most of it.”   The idea is that the football audience is huge and Fox could leverage cable news with football.

“Of course, Fox is often accused of, well, rooting for the home team.  Its broadcast will include an interview with George W. Bush, a football fan who once accused the Democrats of prematurely, ‘dancing in the end zone‘ and whose vice president described the progress in Afghanistan as ‘three yards and a cloud of dust‘ (although critics might say ‘punted on second down‘ is more apt).”

“How deep does the connection between politics and football go?  Walk into the spin zone after any of the presidential debates–a place of ‘fumbles,’ ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘touchdowns’–and you could not be blamed for thinking you’d entered a locker room instead….”

“Lest football fans feel that their beloved sport is being pulled down by the face mask in the mire of political squabbles, George Carlin pointed out decades ago that they don’t call the quarterback a ‘field general’ for nothing:  ‘With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.”

Another interesting idea and quote:  “throughout his career, David Maraniss of  The Washington Post has alternated between covering the sporting side of politics and the political aspects of sports….He suggests in a book ‘that the nexus between the two can alter world events.”

If the reader is not familiar with the metaphors above, please go to for explanations and sentences.

“Trying to Get Back in the Game”

June 24, 2011

New York Times, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, by Duff Wilson

“Trying to Get Back in the Game”  

A Disbarred Lawyer is Seeking Work As a Mediator

“Mr. Weiss lost his license to practice law when he pleaded guilty in 2008 to making illegal kickback payments to his clients.”  Mr. Weiss would like “to get back in the legal arena“.  He has been mailing letters to former colleagues hoping to “get back in the game” by seeking work he did formerly as a mediator. He is “available to mediate or arbitrate significant disputes.”

Games are played in arenas, whether sports or business.  These sports metaphors are almost interchangeable with business metaphors.

The Japanese ‘K” Computer Laps the Competition

June 21, 2011

The New York Times, Monday, June 20,2011, B6, by Verne G. Kopytoff

San Francisco – “In the rankings of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, a Japanese machine has earned the top spot with a performance that essentially laps the competition.”  …

“The winning computer was able to make 8.2 quadrillion caculations per second, or in more technical terms, 8.2 petaflops per second.” This “is equivalent to linking around one million desktop computers…”

Laps the competetion or lapping the competition is a sports metaphor or idiom used in track and field, swimming, horse and automobile racing, among others.  In swimming, for instance, a lap is usually the length of the pool, whether 50 or 100 meters.  If one laps another swimmer in long distance swimming, one is one lap ahead of that swimmer, and most of the time when it is used the swimmer is one lap ahead of the nearest competitor.

President Obama Should Take Off His Gloves

June 17, 2011

The New York Times, Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Editorials

Nearly a Year After Dodd-Frank

President Obama must nominate–and fight for–top-notch financial regulators

“Without strong leaders at the top of the nation’s financial regulatory agencies, the Dodd-Frand financial reform doesn’t have a chance. Whether it is protecting consumers against abusive lending, reforming the mortgage market or reining in too-big-to-fail banks, all require tough and experienced regulators.”

Apparently, Mr. Obama has been criticized for “not doing battle” for some of the Democratic nominees.  The editorial adds that the Republicans “were more interested in obstruction” of the nominees. “It’s past time for President Obama to take off the gloves.”

Boxers usually fight with gloves on.  If fighters take off their gloves, they want to hit hard.

Hardball: A Way Through the Debt Mess

June 14, 2011

The New York Times OP-ED, Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Way Through the Debt Mess, by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Mr. Califano offers a possible way though the current standstill in the U.S. budget  and debt ceiling process.   He tells the story of President Lyndon Johnson’s response to a similar problems in 1967 and 1968, the years of “The Great Society” and the Vietnam War.  President Johnson “knew a litle hardball, combined with some well-placed promises, could save the (budget and debt ceiling) bill.”  The bill raised the debt limit and taxes, and cut spending after a lot of manuvering.

This is a fascinating, timely article by “Mr. A. Califano Jr., who was a special assistant for domestic affairs to President Lyndon B. Johnson, (and) is the founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia (University).”

Of course, hardball is a sports term derived from American major league baseball where the ball used is hard as compared to the softer ball in the game of softball, the assumption being that hardball is tougher.

Sitting Ducks: Yamamoto’s Fleet of Carriers at Midway, June 1942

June 1, 2011

We just watched the movie, “Midway”, on Sunday evening, May 30, during Memorial Day Weekend.  In May and early June of 1942 Admiral Nimitz of the U.S. Navy won a decisive victory over the Japanese fleet at Midway despite their superior fleet and air power.  In the movie, the U.S. Navy pilots saw the carriers below them in the Pacific Ocean as “sitting ducks.”    In hunting and shooting game such as ducks or geese, it is not sportsmanlike to shoot sitting ducks; they should be shot in flight.  A sitting duck is easier to shoot.

“Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto,  had planned an invasion of Midway Island which would provide a base for attacking Hawaii. Using decrypted Japanese radio intercepts, Admiral Chester Nimitz was able to counter this offensive. On June 4, 1942, US aircraft flying from USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and USS Yorktown attacked and sunk four Japanese carriers, forcing Yamamoto to withdrawal. The Battle of Midway marked the turning point of World War II  in the Pacific.”