Archive for July, 2011

Wrestling With the Deficit

July 28, 2011

A crisis for sure.  August 2nd is looming and the U.S. “Markets Swoon on Debt Fear“:  Wall Street Journal, July 28 headline

Meanwhile, former wrestlers in the U.S. House of Representatives are vigorously defending very conservative positions.  Representative Jim Jordan, a college wrestling champion, is “on the mat with Boehner” (p. A5, WSJ, 7/28/11), wrestling with the Speaker of the House over the deficit deal; and Representative Joe Walsh, a former state wrestler, “told The National Review that in politics you pin your opponent whenever possible. ‘We want to get the win now.” ( New York Times, Editorials, July 27, 2011.)

The terms in italics above are idiomatic wrestling terms.

A Gamble Where You Bet Your Country’s Good Name

July 26, 2011

America’s Debt:  Shame on them, the Economist July 9, 2011

“The Republicans are playing a cynical political game with hugely high economic stakes.  In three weeks, if there is no political deal, the American government will go into default.”  (In one week from the writing of this blog, August 2, 2011.)

The House of Representatives, under Republican control as a result of last November’s mid-term elections, has balked at passing the necessary bill.  …Until they (the Republicans) started to play hardball in this way, Mr. Obama had been …repeatedly failing in his budgets to offer any path to a sustainable deficit…(now) has been forced to rethink.”

This is: “A Gamble Where You Bet Your Country’s Good Name”

The Outlook For Game Changing Technologies For Space Ventures Is Bleak

July 25, 2011

After the Space Shuttle, New York Times Editorial, July 22, 2011

“The arguments for bold, and inspiring, missions still hold:  The smooth landing of the shuttle Atlantis on Thursday closed an era in America’s human space flight program that had triumphs and tragedies over the past three decades but was long overdue to end.  The question now is whether the nation can  the will to push hard for a far more ambitious set of manned voyages…

We were pleased when President Obama sought to rejuvenate the space program by calling on NASA to develop ‘game-changing’ technologies to provide cheaper and faster travel deep into space.  But those plans were reined in when Congress virtually dictated that NASA use existing technologies to build a new heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule needed for such voyages.  Many legislators are arguing for returning to the Moon first.”

There are two idioms or metaphors here:  ‘game-changing’  and  reined in.  President Obama was acting as a coach and President who wanted change, but was pulled back by Congress.  His plans (the horse) were reined in, or pulled back, by Congress.

Congress And The NFL Are Still Punting

July 24, 2011

Even though there has been a lockout in the NFL (National Football League), there is a lot of punting going on.  

Fourth down and punt:  Everyone in the government is doing it and it’s not even football season; there is a lot of  bargaining, and perhaps the punts will work.  We certainly hope so.  But who is going to catch the ball?

The newspapers are full of the debt limit crisis, which will either resolve itself with some action or cast the U. S. and its citizens, and perhaps the world,  into a financial crisis without precedence.

From David Brooks of the New York Times, Opinion, July 21, 2011:

“… Doing nothing could lead to default and the end of American economic supremacy. The compromise put together by Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, that’s been floating around is a ploy to evade responsibility. Punting with some small package would spook the markets and reflect dishonor on yourself.”

“The (U.S.) Financial Overhaul Has It’s Defender in Chief”  from DealBook,  by Ben Protess, NY Times Business, July 21, 2011:

” A year ago, Barney Frank notched the biggest win of this three-decade Congressional career, as he ushered the financial regulatory overhaul that bears his name into law (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Cosumer Protection Act).”

According to the article, “lobbyists are trying to undo or significantly weaken the law.”

“Some critics of the law contend hat it skimped on the details, leaving regulatory agencies with too heavy a burden.  Mr. Frank said Congress had no other choice.  ‘We didn’t punt anything,’  he said.  ‘Its precisely because we knew we couldn’t get everything exactly right that we did leave room for the regulators.’

Apparently it wasn’t fourth down for Mr. Frank.

(Sports metaphors are in italics in this blog.  To look up this particular metaphor, go to and click on punt.)


July 6, 2011

 TIME, November 23, 2009, pp.44 t0 51

The Big Man on Campus

“Can a 139-year-old schoolchange to meet an economic crisis?  Veteran university president Gordon Gee (Ohio State) says, ‘You’re darn tooting”  (Yes!)

Page 48:  “And change is the whole ball game, Gee insists. Higher education has become too expensive because institutions are frozen in the inefficient past…”


July 6, 2011

Sports Illustrated, July 4-11, 2011, p. 37


Field Leveled

“With offense at historically low levels, 20 teams are still in the playoff hunt as the season hits its midpoint.”, by Tom Verducci.

Usually, this field idiom is used as the following: a level playing field, level the field, etc., not a heading such as field leveled.  But in this case, there are, according to the author, “no dominant teams capable of pulling away from the pack, but an abundance of thoroughly decent, if indistinguishable, teams that can hang around the pennant race with the help of the worst run-scoring environment in two decades.”


July 6, 2011

The New York Times, Obituaries, Monday, July 4, 2011

Eddy Nicolson, 73, Colorful Collector, Dies,

by Paul Vitello

Mr. Nicolson was a business man, a leveraged-buyout pioneer who became an art and furniture collector.  “Mr. Nicolson’s style may have raised eyebrows, Mr. Hays (the deputy chairman of Christie’s America) said, but it also had a ‘democratizing effect on the insular world of art collecting.  He was a real game-changer.”

Mr. Hays changed the world of antique buying just as a great pitcher’s game, or outfielder’s catch, or umpire’s call can change a baseball game.

The Global Game Is Moving Towards America’s Home Court

July 6, 2011

Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, July 2-3, 2011



by Walter Russell Mead

“In a century of accelerating change, the U.S. is better positioned to adapt than China, Europe or the Arab world…

So the geopolitics are favorable and the ideological climate is warming.  But on a still-deeper level this is shaping up to be an even more American century than the last. The global game is moving towards America’s home court.”

A game in one’s own court, a home court, is more advantageous than in the opposition’s court.

Boeing Labor Dipute Makes New Plant a Political Football

July 4, 2011

New York Times, Friday, July 2, 2011, p.1

by Steven Greenhouse, North Charleston, S.C.

Mr. Greenhouse reported on the dispute between Washington State, South Carolina, Boeing, and the National Labor Relations Board. “Boeing’s gigantic new $750 million airplane factory (for 787 Dreamliners) is the pride of South Carolina…That is unless the federal government takes it all away…

…the National Labor Relations Board has accused Boeing of illegally setting up shop in South Carolina because of past strikes by the unionized workers at its main manufacturing base in the Seattle area. The Board is asking a judge to order Boeing to move the production–and the associated jobs–to Washington State.”

This has become a political football “between North and South, Democrats and Republicans, union and nonunion workers, and fans and foes of Big Government.” The case may take years to decide.

Footballs as well as disputes get tossed back and forth;  who will win?

“Wall Street Crime” : Not a Level Playing Field

July 1, 2011

According to an article by George Packer, “A Dirty Business”,  about “Wall Street Crime”, in the New Yorker, June 27, 2011, pp, 42-55, “The market has become more of an exclusive gambling club for the very rich than a level playing field open to the ordinary investor.”  (p,55)

A level playing field is important for fair competition, in sports as well as business.

From the article:  “ As for the larger financial system in Washington, D.C., implementation of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform law has been slowed, if not yet sabotaged, by lobbying on the part of the big banks and a general ebbing of will among politicians.”

From Neil Barofsky, the former inspector general of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program): “It is a remarkable failure of our system that we’ve not addressed the fundamental problems that brought us into the financial crisis.  And it is cynical or naïve to imagine it won’t happen again.”