Can Trump Get the Ball in the End Zone on the First Ballot?

April 13, 2016

New York Times April 13, 2016

The Opinion Page:  OP-ED, by Thomas E. Edsal

No Paul Ryan Means Still More Anger

“With Ryan out of the equation, the next president will win not because he or she is the most loved, but because he or she is the least hated…

If Paul Ryan really meant what he said, the Republican Party has lost its best chance to take the White House and maintain control of the Senate…

No one illustrates these internal contradictions more colorfully than Alex Castellanos, a media consultant…  Six weeks ago he said, ‘ Trump earned the nomination. He won it fair and square…’

On April 3, Castellanos thought better of his earlier assessment and produced a sharp critique of all the remaining Republican Candidates:

‘If Mr. Trump is one hundred or more votes away from the nomination it is unlikely he can find the delegates to get the ball in the end zone on the first ballot. He will turn the ball over on downs though nearly at the goal line. On the second ballot, he drops 100 or 200 votes or more and starts bleeding. Ultimately, he bleeds to death on the convention floor—which you think would be good news for the candidate in second place, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) unless of course, you’ve met Senator Ted Cruz.’

Castellanos was particularly dismissive of Cruz:

‘Senator Cruz has no value beyond an alternative to Donald Trump. If Trump collapses, the need for Ted Cruz evaporates, so Cruz is at risk of collapsing, too. Senator Cruz is the unpleasant medicine the Republican Party is willing to swallow when it is sick, but not when it is feeling healthier As Donald Trump backs out of the convention hall, Cruz is likely to get a run but then fall short, which gives John Kasich his moment..”

It’s American football season, as well as the presidential ball season.  Which is more interesting?


How G.O.P. Elites Lost The Party’s Base to Trump

April 13, 2016

New York Times, Monday, March 28, 2016

How G.O.P. Elites Lost The Party’s Base to Trump

Rupture Emerged as Working-Class Voters Felt Ignored by Republican Leaders  

By Nicholas Confiessore

Done Nothing to Move the Ball

“… While jobs in places like Buffalo were vanishing, Washington was coming to resemble a gilded city of lobbyists, contractors and lawmakers. In 2014 , the median wealth of members of Congress reached $1 million, about 18 times that of the typical American household, according to disclosures tabulated by the Center for Responsible politics. During the same year, real hourly wages remained flat or fell for nearly All American workers.

Ed McMullen, a public relations executive who worked for the Conservative American Heritage Foundation in the 1980s, watched the gulf widen between the Washington establishment and the working people in his home state, South Carolina.

‘Thirty years later, the same people are sitting in Washington that I worked with, making a million a year, going to fancy dinner parties, and they’ve done nothing to move the ball,’ said Mr. McMullen, who has joined the Trump campaign. ‘Therein lies the great chasm between the think tanks, the ideologues and the real world.”

A Faceoff: A Clash of Religious and Business Interests in Georgia

March 29, 2016

A  New York Times, Wednesday, March 23, 2016


A Faceoff:  A Clash of Religious and Business Interests in Georgia

Governor Faces Heat on Bill to Aid Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage, by Alan Blinder

Atlanta–“The Georgia General Assembly’s approval of a proposal to strengthen legal protections for opponents of same-sex marriage has set in motion a high-stakes show down that has drawn some of the nation’s most influential companies into a battle between gay rights activists and religious conservatives.

The bill, which approved on Sunday, now faces the scrutiny of Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican.  But it is clear that companies and sports organizations, including Apple, Coda-Cola, Delta Air lines  and the National Football league, will have a significant effect on public debate and the governor’s decision to sign or veto the measure.

The face-off playing out here in the Deep South’s most visible city, where residents are most often at odds with a largely rural state, is posed to emerge as one of the most consequential tests of political power on gay rights issues since the United States supreme court decision last summer that recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

A face-off is basically a confrontation.  In sports, in the games of LaCrosse and ice hockey, the two teams have a face-off at the beginning of a game when an official drops a puck between two opposing players.


Opening Next Frontier in Political Hardball

March 20, 2016

New York Times National, Monday, February 15, 2016

NEWS ANALYSISOpening Next Frontier In Political Hardball, by Emily Bazelon

“It takes no feat of imagination to guess how the debate about replacing (Supreme Court) Justice Scalia, who died unexpectedly on Saturday, will take shape.  Within a couple of hours of his death, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader joined by fellow Republicans like Ted Cruz, said that Justice Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court should remain vacant until after the November presidential election.

It’s called delay, delay, delay,” Donald J. Trump said at the opening of the presidential debate on Saturday night.  Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, countered that it would be “unprecedented in recent history” for the Supreme Court to go a year without a full complement of justices.  Before the evening was over, President Obama promised to nominate a successor, saying he expected a timely Senate vote.”

Baseball has two balls, hard and soft.  The Big League Baseball teams play with hard balls.  The implied connotation of “Political Hardball” is that the Republicans and Democrats will play hard to deny a vote or get a justice confirmed.


Should Obama Drive the Ball Up the Middle

March 20, 2016

New York Times, Saturday. March 19, 2016


“This wasn’t the time for compromise. With Trump and Cruz fighting for the nomination, Democrats and Obama should drive the ball hard up the middle and quit trying to be cute and clever. “

Principia in St. Louis reacting to President Obama’a selection of Merrick Garland as a nominee for the Supreme Court.

A drive up the middle is an aggressive move in baseball, and a suggestion for President Obama.  As an idiom, it is similar to “play hard ball.”

Harvard Leveling the Playing Field

January 25, 2016

The New York Times, January 15, 2016

How Some Would Level the Playing Field:  Free Harvard Degrees, by Stephanie Saul

“Should Harvard be free?

That is the provocative question posed by a slate of candidates running for the Board of Overseers at Harvard, which helps set strategy for the university.  They say Harvard makes so much money from its $37.6 billion endowment that it should stop charging tuition to undergraduates…”

Another provocative question: Does Harvard short change Asian-Americans in admissions?

“Their argument is that if Harvard were free, more highly qualified students from all backgrounds would apply, and the university would no longer have trouble balancing its class for racial or ethnic diversity–making sure that Asian-Americans do not lose out.”

A playing field that is tilted, not level, is not fair to the players.  Harvard is trying to balance its classes for racial or ethnic diversity.

U.S. Iran Deals, Higher Hurdle Awaits: Syria

January 22, 2016

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, January 19, 2016

After U.S., Iran Strike Deals, Higher Hurdle Awaits: Syria, by Carol E. Lee

“The prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran, coinciding with the completion of the nuclear deal, marked milestones in President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement, but ones that will be difficult to repeat as he turns to the next challenge: resolving the conflict in Syria.

With the clock winding down on the Obama administration, election-year politics in Washington and Tehran make prospects for additional cooperation deeply uncertain…

But any further advancement in Mr. Obama’s engagement policy, including on Syria, faces significant hurdles.”

At track meets, hurdles for runners and high jumpers are set at heights to test the abilities of the runner.   Higher hurdles are more difficult as implied in the headline above;  a higher hurdle awaits Syria diplomacy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Designated Hitter for the ACLU Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s

December 29, 2015

Sisters In Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, by Linda Hirshman

Ms. Hirshman uses sports metaphors to make a point or to summarize as in the following paragraph on page 57:

“Executive Director (ACLU or American Civil Liberties Union) Aryeh Neier often set up special projects addressing issues of paramount importance to him with employees answerable directly to him.  At an earlier time he believed that the black civil rights struggle was the driving force in other struggles of civil rights.  Now he believed women’s rights had taken the lead and he identified Ginsburg as his designated hitter.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the designated hitter for the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU.  A designated hitter bats for the pitcher.  This is so only in the American League.

Game Changer: Could Beijing Finally Accept Taiwan?

November 15, 2015

Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, November 14-15, 2015



Could Beijing Finally Accept Taiwan?

“After a historic surprise meeting with the leader of Taiwan, Xi Jinping could go down in history for recognizing the island democracy-or choose conflict instead,” by Andrew Browne

The meeting between the presidents of mainland China and Taiwan in Singapore last weekend may signal a change in a relationship that has existed for 65 years, since 1949: a game changer.

Tom Brady Punts on Deflategate

November 13, 2015

The New York Times, Friday, November 6, 2015

Men’s Style

Tom Brandy Punts on Deflategate, but is happy to discuss his new Swiss watch, by Alex Williams

“The New England Patriots quarterback has a rifle of a right arm and now has something to brag about on his left wrist, thanks to TAG Heuer…

Given that Mr. Brady’s image is the cornerstone of the new contract, it seemed obligatory to acknowledge Deflategate (the controversy over deflating Patriot footballs). Even though his suspension was ultimately overturned, his sterling image took a hit.

Asked about his rough year, he cocked his head in a gesture of sincerity, squared his shoulders and, without the tiniest pause, eased into the soothing, patient tone of a father imparting wisdom to a young son.

‘I have a process that works for me,’ he said. ‘I look around admire different athletes because they don’t crack under pressure, those guys you always look to, you go, ‘Man, look at that poise, look at the attitude, look at the confidence.’

TAG Heuer’s marketing slogan, by the way, is ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure.”

Touchdown, Brady.

Brady did not want to discuss his problems with the NFL (National Football League) about allegations about over inflated footballs and so he punted to avoid discussion.  Making a few points in the interview, he scored “a touchdown.”