Sunday, June 7, 2015

RANDOM THOUGHTS #7 - STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN/CLIMATE CHANGE, PEE WEE REESE, HILLARY/PROGRESSIVES

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN/CLIMATE CHANGE
Ted Cruz is taking heat for not being willing to answer questions concerning climate change in relation to the flooding in Texas. He's right and he's wrong when he says that such questions are political and this is not the time to be debating the issue.

Cruz is right because there is simply no way to connect climate change to any single weather event. In fact, flooding in Texas is nothing new. Texas Flood, the tune made famous by Stevie Ray Vaughan on his 1983 debut album of the same name, is actually a cover. The tune was first recorded in 1958, performed and co-written by Larry Davis. (Although probably an Arkansan, Davis is considered a Texas blues man.) So Texans have been singing about flooding for more than 50 years.

Cruz is wrong because it's past time that we had serious discussions about climate change and, if the only time that we're paying attention is during these sorts of events, so be it. As is the case with so many topics of importance, the media needs a hook to anchor an in-depth report - a flood or a fire or a similar disaster. So if flooding in Texas or drought in California or streets awash in Miami is what it takes to get the ball rolling, let's get the ball rolling.

It's not political. It's survival. I have friends living in Florida. Even though the majority are SCUBA certified, I'd prefer that my next visit to them take place on dry land.

PEE WEE REESE
A sports blog that I read occasionally just posted a list of the five greatest shortstops of all time. They were, from the best first, Honus Wagner, Derek Jeter, Cal Ripkin Jr., Ozzie Smith, and Ernie Banks. Not a bad list. However, I have an addition. Pee Wee Reese.

Pee Wee's offensive stats were certainly not up there with four of the five. Pee Wee was a middling hitter at best with one .300 season and a career average of .262. Nor was he as slick a fielder as the likes of Ozzie, the defensive leader of the five, although defense was a hallmark of the Dodger teams of the mid-50s glory days. And I don't propose to include Pee Wee simply because he was the captain of my all-time favorite team - Dem Bums.

No, I include Pee Wee because he was the one guy who looked past Jackie Robinson's skin color and welcomed him to The Show in ways that made a difference. His open public acceptance of Jackie shamed many of his teammates and fans around the country. It was as important a friendship between black and white as any in the history of the civil rights movement.

Pee Wee is in the Hall of Fame as he should be. But he deserves credit for displaying skills far beyond those that he displayed between the lines. READ MORE HERE.

HILLARY/PROGRESSIVES
A funny thing happened to Hubert Humphrey on the way to the Presidency.

Humphrey, one of the most traditionally liberal Democrats ever to hold high public office, was sabotaged by the Left. Robert Kennedy hated LBJ's guts (on a visceral level and totally inappropriately, in my view) and tied Humphrey to a war that Johnson didn't start and couldn't win. Ditto Eugene McCarthy who, more than RFK, was the Peace candidate at the time. Humphrey is supposed to have asked LBJ for permission to take a more dovish public stance on Vietnam but was denied the opportunity by Johnson and decided to stay loyal to his President. Once Bobby was assassinated, Humphrey was a lock. Unfortunately, by the time the general election campaign began, Humphrey's battles with those in the Party who had positioned themselves to the Left of him left him too far behind Nixon to catch up.

Perhaps the most telling bit of irony occurred when Humphrey was booed at a Washington civil rights rally in the summer before the election, ironic because in 1948, 20 years earlier, Humphrey had been booed at the Democratic National Convention for being an early advocate of civil rights legislation and a civil rights plank in the Party platform.

And now we have Hillary who, I grant you, is not the most Progressive of Democrats. The attacks from the Left grow. If she is ultimately the candidate, she could end up in the same situation as Humphrey - too wounded to win the general election. If Hillary is not ultimately the candidate of the Democrats, the slash-and-burn that it will take for someone else to win will almost certainly weaken the Party to the point that the Republicans could walk away with the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

My hope is that Progressives will save their ire for Republicans and conduct a civil primary campaign that doesn't leave scars on the eventual winner. I also hope that Amelia Earhart is found alive and that Miley Cyrus will keep her clothes on in public. What are my chances?

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