Election, 2014: Of sheepdogs, duckwalkers, super-Stentors & puny, pandering politicos

& Well, the Dems have been pounded into pulp, the Republicans will have control of Congress for the next two years and Obama will have the veto pen.

At least the growing dysfunction in Washington will be simpler to understand — it’ll be Obama down at the White House against the Republicans on Capitol Hill. No finalists left standing in this war to define the American soul. Will it be one of enlightened progress or creepy conservatism? Will it once again blaze a fresh trail into the future, or be content to rest, fat as a croaking frog, on its molding lilypad of laurels?

Will Washington witness an exchange of howitzers for the next two years – or will this madness subside into a moderately meaningful dialog? Oh, what am I saying? Moderate? Meaningful? With Mitch McConnell sitting as super-Stentor of the Senate? With Ted Cruz and Rand Paul slinking around in the cloakrooms vying for leadership of the looney factions? With a President, who will lamely duckwalk  through his not-so-grand finale, valiantly but vainly trying to reason with these salivating fools? Moderate? Meaningful? Please!

It will be humorous, to say the least, to watch the continuing internecine warfare among the scrabbling youngsters of the Grand Old Party, which is neither grand in scope nor old in philosophy, and not a party but a concoction of staunchly encamped and differing tribes of savages, conspiring in different languages and whetting their knives for back-stabbing and other non-Sunday sports.  On one thing they will all agree: Whatever is wrong in the world – from Ebola to ISIS to Obamacare to missing Malaysian airplanes — is Hillary’s fault. On another, when they are explaining two years from now why nothing’s better – despite their control of Congress – they also will agree: It’s Hillary’s fault. And when the volcano erupts in Yellowstone, they also will agree: You guessed it. If not Hillary’s fault, then it’s her granddaughter’s.

Not to say the Democrats are any better. From a raucous faction of fist-pounding patriotic firebrands who historically forced their ideas and dreams and visions into the oft-reluctant American spirit, they have been cowed into a puny party pandering to the milquetoast minions of the politically correct. For leaders, they now offer us sheepdogs.

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The summit of sport? Bottom of the ninth, of course

& Ok. The Hot Stove League has its fuel for a winter-long fire. Should Gordon have gone for home?

I really don’t have to tell you about this, do I? In two days, it’s been replayed on tv more times than I Love Lucy.

I’m speaking of that video clip of the last baserunner of the last game of the 2014 World Series. As it so often happens in this granddaddy and still reigning champion of  sports-season finales went to the bottom – the very bottom of the bottom — of the ninth inning of the final game.

Roll the setup:

Kauffman Field, Kansas City. Sweat City. On the field, the players’ attention is more focused than the day they saw their first million-dollar check. In the stands, the popcorn hawkers are wishing they were selling Right Guard. They’d have made a killing.

The K.C. Royals, needing one run to tie and send the fans into delirium and the game into overtime (that’s a reference for football fans. You’re welcome.)

Two outs, K.C. superstar slugger Salvador Perez at the plate, digging in against San Francisco’s as-good-as-they-get new-paradigm pitcher with the smooth-as-silk delivery and the stone-cold stare, Madison Bumgarner.

Man on third. A single ties the game; extra innings. An out ends all reason for living in the Midwest, and sets the west coast on fire.

Wait a minute. Why’s the guy on third? Against Bumgarner? Madbum? He who’s given up only nine hits and one run to the Royals in 22 innings and already beaten them twice, once in a nine-inning complete-game shutout? Wha?

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Frontline nurses and docs: Deserving warriors of the widening battle against Ebola

& To say the least, the stories of the bravery and risks in the midst of this medical fight against Ebola are riveting.

I’m reminded, in a way, of stories about war. Well-trained and briefed, armored and armed to withstand and fight the fiercest of assaults, warriors move forward to confront a determined, sneaky enemy, trusting that their precautions, their protection and their cunning will see them through to victory. But in wars the enemy also is cunning; there is always a risk.

And so it is today in this war against a determined, sneaky virus. It’s ravaging West Africa. It has sneaked into America. Despite guarded assurances that it will go no further, we still wonder, and hope it won’t. Everybody knows that in wars, things go wrong. We’ve got ample proof of that.

In this war, the generals are away from the front – back in the Center for Disease Control or research hospitals – seeking to understand the enemy and plotting its defeat. The colonels and majors are those behind the lines – providing new chemistry and hazmat suits and the means to distribute the weapons and sustenance to those on the front lines, the doctors and the nurses.

The captains and lieutenants are the doctors, fulfilling the same role as those who led their companies through German fusillades and up the cliff faces of France, or crept with their platoons — carefully, oh so carefully — into nests of enemies hidden in the jungles of Vietnam. We’ve honored them, over and over. And rightly so, just as we’ve honored the foot soldiers, those GI grunts who really win the wars.

In the war against this pestilence – as with any virulent, dangerous disease – the foot soldiers are the nurses. (more…)

Israeli Exodus Numero II: Fanciful answer?
 Too bad we can’t ask Sammy

& This had to happen. Among the current crop of made-for-Facebook people-for-peace posters circulating these days is this:

move israel Yr’s Truly has been thinking about this idea – something like it, at least —  for about 25 years. The idea wasn’t mine. It came from an adventuresome old Polish Jew who’d lived a life that Hemingway would have envied. His name was Sam Kaplan. I called him Sammy. By the time I’d met him, he’d been embroiled in two or three wars – he was even a partisan in those early-guerilla days of the Spanish Civil War. On other occasions, he spent a few days as a guest of Russian and Swiss jailers — problems at the borders, apparently. If you had to spend time locked up, he would say, do it in Switzerland. The cells are clean and the food is to die for. He’d lived a number of lives on a number of continents in the company of a number of lovely ladies, siring, with the help of a Mexican beauty, a couple of sons. He ended up in the Baja, down south of Tijuana in Rosarito Beach, running a little general store and an ice plant.

His idea was even better than the one in this poster. When he told me his idea, with a fanciful twinkle in his eye, I took it mostly as a joke. Now, I wonder, if it’s about the only good idea left.

“It’s simple,” Sammy would say after a sip of wine. “The United States moves Israel to the Baja.”

Yr’s Truly, also having had a few sips of wine, wasn’t taking notes, of course. And over the quarter-century of mulling Sammy’s idea, it has become infused with my own wanderings through the world of what-ifs. Sammy’s dead now – he faced the world for 89 years – and he’s not here to defend himself. He might not say it quite in the words that follow, but he’d probably sign his name to the thoughts, con mucho gusto.

& Here’s what we’d say: (more…)

An Internet Flash Mob of Peppy’s protectors

& Up in Colorado this week, there’s been a lively discussion having to do with some starving horses. Perhaps you’ve heard about it. I’ve personally started to think of it as the Saga of Dual Peppy. I’d never heard of Dual Peppy until a friend emailed to suggest I take a look at a Facebook page, entitled “Justice for Dual Peppy.”

What’s a Dual Peppy, I wondered, and why does he, she or it need justice?

It didn’t take long to find out. The social media and Twitter and the internet in general, I assume, was electrified – at least among people of the horsey set – when some really grim news came out of a barn not far from Colorado Springs. A lady had followed her dog into the barn last Friday, and wished she hadn’t.

Inside, she came across piles of manure – three feet deep, she said – in which were standing eight emaciated horses, with ruts between their ribs. On the ground, she saw some tarps, with big lumps under them. She peeled one tarp back and found a rotting equine carcass, covered with lye, then more carcasses, and some bones. She called the sheriff. At first, the deputies didn’t seem too interested – they went out to take a look and said there was nothing they could do. The ribby horses that were alive, they decided, were not in “imminent danger.”

As happens these days, the story found its way onto the internet, where there was interest. A lot of it. Pictures were posted and somebody recognized one of the still-standing-but-obviously-starving steeds. It was Dual Peppy, a 22-year-old former champion cutting horse – known to many in the rodeo world as one of the best of all time. It was if Muhammad Ali was found waiting in line in a soup kitchen. But for dual Peppy, there wasn’t even soup.

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Saving horses: It’s no longer ‘in lieu,’ it’s ‘in lunacy’

& You’ve got to hand it to the New Mexico Livestock Board.

They can take a big pile of road apples and turn it into an even bigger pile of horse poop.

Loyal readers of this here Gazette will recall that Yr’s Truly has written before of the massive problem of unwanted horses in New Mexico, and the never-getting-anywhere debate over what to do with them. Keep ‘em and feed ‘em, says one faction. Slaughter ‘em and sell ‘em, says another.

In the midst of the circle-jerk debate-that-goes-nowhere, however, unwanted horses keep turning up. The inspectors of the NMLB are kept busy carrying out their state-mandated duties of picking up horses that are loose, or mistreated, or starving, or surrendered by down-and-out owners who can’t afford to buy milk for the kids, let alone hay for the horse.

And what do the inspectors of the NMLB do with the horses? Well, that’s where we start slogging into the mounting mountain of bureaucratic manure.

Let’s start with a law in New Mexico that says the government can’t donate property it owns. Sounds reasonable – that stops people from giving away county-owned Caterpillar bulldozers and things like that. You just walk into the guv’s mansion and start asking for the bathtub. See how far that gets you.

If you live by the letter of that law [in New Mexico, I know that’s a very strange concept], you can come to the conclusion that the horses seized by or signed over to the NMLB inspectors are the property of the state, especially if no one has claimed the horses within a five-day waiting period. Not many people come a-claiming.  So, the inspector has picked up the poor thing, he’s advertised it on the NMLB’s website for the required five days, and there have been no claims. Now, the state is the proud owner of yet another starving-unwanted-mistreated equine bag of bones which, to the anally-inclined-narrow-minded among us, is no different than a bulldozer or a bathtub, and cannot be given away.

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Ebola worries big news back East. In New Mexico? …ehh, not so much

8/19, 8/20, 8/21 New Mexico ebola-testing updates: See below

& I try not to watch too much cable news these days. The only hope for optimism about the future of this country – the planet for that matter – is in not knowing what the hell is happening. I have a friend, an intelligent, well-versed-on-the-stuff-Back-East-think-tank-people-are-well-versed-on person, whose bottom line these days, is: “In the short term I’m pessimistic, but in the long-term, I’m optimistic.” I take him at his word, not knowing why. Avoiding tv news helps.

But: The tube in my kitchen occasionally is on, and I pass within earshot while moving between one chore and other, and something catches my attention. It was on early this morning (8/18) as I sat nursing coffee and perusing my online version of the Santa Fe New Mexican to learn if there was anything new on last weekend’s FBI arrest of our county’s sheriff on civil rights violation charges  (that’s another story. Tune in later, please), and read that a young woman is in the hospital in Albuquerque, being tested for the ebola virus. (more…)

New Mexico Chili: Aphrodesiac for adults only?

& This just arrived from the webby internets. Yr’s Truly can make no claim to its authenticity — its reputedly an “an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off” down in south Santa Fe…

A word of warning to loyal readers: If chili doesn’t make you cry, this will:

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‘Doc, I got a tick.’

& My college roomie Jerry Davies, rest his soul, was a worse hypochondriac than I. One Sunday evening he returned from a woodsy in the hills above Boulder and settled in to study, which he did often. I did what I often did, which was go to bed.

Late in the evening Davies discovered, just above his navel, a tick. Oh. My. God!

I was rudely shaken awake.

“Cox! Wake up! I gotta tick!”

I rose on one elbow, blinking into the fuzzy room (my glasses — which I wore only because they were cheaper than a guide dog — were somewhere out of reach). Davies stood there beside my bed, holding his shirt out away from his hairy stomach, which indeed displayed what appeared to be an industrious tick. (more…)

How Cronkite learned about the death in Dallas

& For journalism junkies only: 

F L A S H !

 

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That’s just the beginning. For a ride into broadcast history, take a look at a reproduction of the UPI Broadcast Wire from 11/22/1963. 

& With memories, I’m outta here.