Chances are you’ve been following the Washington Redskins epic lately. You don’t have to be a football fan to be fascinated by the story of a team owner who has managed, in 10 short years, to squander generations of good will from an area that came together on little besides the adoration of the Redskins. That has been frittered away thanks to one lousy decade of astoundingly inept management under owner Dan Snyder.
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I mean, what was Rush Limbaugh thinking? Did he really believe that his comments about race that many consider outright bigotry would be forgotten, particularly in a league where two-thirds of the rosters are African-American?
Was he really surprised that superstar Donovan McNabb had not forgotten Limbaugh’s assessment just six years ago that he was “overrated … because … what we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well — black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.”
In general, the media spends too much time talking about Rush Limbaugh, but the idea that Limbaugh might buy the St. Louis Rams of the NFL is too tempting to resist commenting on, but only because it combines a couple of my favorite topics: sports, economics and politics.
The essential question is whether Limbaugh’s propensity for racially and politically insensitive remarks make him unfit to be an owner of an NFL team. On one hand, you can argue that the St. Louis Rams are private property and society should not start conditioning ownership of private property on a person’s legal speech habits. Conversely, you can argue that there is a different standard between a person’s opinions expressed as a political talk radio host and the political opinions expressed as an owner of an NFL franchise. An NFL franchise might not be deserving of public money (though many do), but they often capture a community’s trust, dedication and identity. Granted, it’s not as large a standard as there is between what a talk radio host can say on air and what is permissible for an appellate justice to express in public.
It’s a busy news cycle. There’s big news on healthcare, big news on Afghanistan, big news on the economy.
But let’s be honest. You walk into any restaurant or bar today and that’s not what they’re talking about. No, in the real world people are talking about the biggest issue of them all: Rush Limbaugh’s trying to buy the St. Louis Rams.
"And through all of the heartache, and the attention, and the embarrassment, I still feel like I did the right thing, and now also — because what can it hurt? — once again I'd like to apologize to the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. I'm terribly, terribly sorry. So there we go," he added to cheers from the crowd.
— on CNN’s Political Ticker
But there is something missing in the center when the late-night comic, in apologizing again about the insult he hurled at Sarah Plain, uses these two phrases in the same sentence: "I still feel like I did the right thing" and "once again I’d like to apologize to the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.”
Because if he still feels he did the right thing, there is no need to apologize and apologizing would be wrong. Sarah Palin wouldn’t.
The definitive detail might be the scene in "Charade" where Audrey Hepburn snaps the filter off her cigarette in disgust. Only the weak or inauthentic smoked filters. That day has made a comeback with “Mad Men.” Everyone smokes, but real men smoke Luckys. Some have reported that it is the best TV show ever, at a time when TV writing — "The Sopranos," "House," "Lost" — transcends movies in skill and imagination.
I made the point in the first essay I had published, an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer back in 1977, when the anti-smoking crusade had taken on all of the umbrage of a Gandhi hunger strike, that smoking was bad for you but quitting was worse, as it formed self-righteousness and pretension and the sense that you were doing something when you weren’t doing anything. That may be why there is such freshness to a story about the hardworking and hard-playing in the days when drinking started at 4 in the afternoon. Earlier for top executives. Soon after it passed they — Jimmy Carter — would tax the lunchtime martinis.
To honor the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America, Chicago held the Columbian Exposition, better known at the World’s Fair of 1893. It was a blockbuster event, planned by the noted architects Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. Historians widely credit the Columbian Exposition as the first symbol of American exceptionalism, a sign that America was soon to become the dominant force in the world.
Since that time, Chicago has seen its fair share of ups and downs. It is still a remarkable city, filled with great people, wonderful architecture, a beautiful lakefront, great restaurants and great opera, a thriving blues scene and rich cultural tradition that rivals any city in the world.
“USA! USA! USA!” With my family, I remember proudly cheering our American athletes at the Los Angeles Olympics.
It felt great to be an American. And it’s too bad patriotism is dead today — at least among some Republicans.
Let’s get this straight. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael “Foot-in-Mouth” Steele thinks it’s wrong of President Barack Obama to go to Copenhagen, Denmark, to try to win the 2016 Summer Games for the United States? As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs snapped, “Who’s he rooting for?” Would Steele really prefer that the Games go to Tokyo? Rio? Madrid?
A couple of weeks ago was the week of outrageous outbursts, from an unknown South Carolina congressman’s rude interruption of the president’s speech to Congress on healthcare to tennis star Serena Williams’ crude meltdown at the U.S. Open. It also is the week when tennis star Jack Kramer died at 88. There is a connection between these seemingly disparate tennis events, and it makes an interesting story.
There are several unmarked or unnoticed elements of the storied Woodstock festival. First, the music sucked. Most of the performers â€” Country Joe, Sha-Na-Na, Quill, Mountain â€” were never heard from again. But Janis was there, and so was her elegant shadow, Grace Slick with the Jefferson Airplane. Nothing free and awakening like that which they had at Haight-Ashbury in California just a year or so before, but well enough for a bunch of fledgling lawyers on acid. Woodstock would be Haight-Ashbury for lawyers.