Friday musings


  • Back in the middle with you: Proposition 14 is testing the theory that there is a mythical middle out there that is just yearning to be free. California voted for the proposition, which gets rid of partisan primaries, basically allowing anybody to vote for anybody they want on primary day. I have written here before that perhaps the best way to get more centrist political leaders is to end partisan primaries. Many pundits don’t think it will work, but then again many of them have a vested interest in keeping the primary system the way it is.

  • Erin go bragh: A good friend of mine from Ireland was in town this week and we had plenty of time to talk Irish politics over more than a few pints of stout. The ruling Irish government is making some mighty tough decisions to deal with the debt crisis. They have radically cut back on spending, including government pensions, while keeping taxes relatively low. The theory is that this will keep Ireland competitive for foreign investment while keeping the government solvent. It is a huge gamble, because the cuts are painful, and unless the economy recovers, the Fianna Fail government will get killed in the next election. In fact, they are polling at about 17 percent right now, so they are in big trouble. Luckily for them, though, they control the timing of the next election, and it probably won’t be for a couple of years before they face the voters.

  • Hawks win: For the first time in my life, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. When I was growing up, I was a huge Hawks fan. Chico Mackey, Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and, when I was a little older, Denis Savard, were all heroes. But then the Wirtz family basically ran the organization into the ground, I moved away from Chicago, and I lost interest in hockey. When they made it to the Stanley Cup finals, I became a shameless fair weather fan, watching every game, to the complete bewilderment of my wife. Hockey is on the rebound as a sport. D.C. is now a huge hockey town, with Ovechkin and company inspiring fans from the whole region. Looks like I will have to get back on the hockey bandwagon next year.

  • The World Cup begins: I watched some of the opening ceremonies for the World Cup this morning. It will be interesting to see how South Africa handles it all. I am not much of soccer fan, to be quite candid. I usually root for the Irish team and the American team. The Irish didn’t qualify this time around, principally because they got screwed by the handball of a Frenchman. All the Irish I have talked to are now rooting for the Yanks, especially against the English. They all tell me it is a good value bet to take the Americans in the opening round game, and I vaguely remember giving one of my Irish friends some money to bet it for me. It is nice to see America back in the underdog position again. I hope they win.

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