Here’s a yin and yang post for your afternoon delectation. I’m still trying to get some time to do a big honker post for y’all, but day job and a true 1st world problem — the start of a massive kitchen remodel on Monday — mean that I haven’t two thoughts to rub together.
So, given that we all need good stuff at which to foam at the mouth, I thought I’d just clip a couple of pieces to give us all a really good look at why its so much better not being a Republican. Just imagine trying to defend this.
In an intensely awkward congressional hearing Thursday, freshman Rep. Curt Clawson misidentified two senior U.S government officials as representatives of the Indian government.
The two officials, Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, are Americans who hold senior positions at the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively. Although both Biswal and Kumar were introduced as U.S. officials by the chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee, Clawson repeatedly asked them questions about “your country” and “your government,” in reference to the state of India.
“I’m familiar with your country; I love your country,” the Florida Republican said. “Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so.”
Apparently confused by their Indian surnames and skin color, Clawson also asked if “their” government could loosen restrictions on U.S. capital investments in India.
Face, meet palm.
Head, meet desk.
America, meet your legislators.
Oh, and Florida? Thanks. Thanks a lot. (Sorry Betty.)
On the other hand, sometimes you just get to kvell* when you read something at once smart and beautifully rich on snark. Here’s Kareem Abdul Jabbar opining at Time.com on unionizing college athletes (an obviously good and just idea, IMHO):
A new survey finds that 60% of incoming college football players support unions for college athletes. The horror! Were such unions allowed, our glorious cities would crumble to nothing more than shoddy tents stitched together from tattered remnants of Old Glory; our government officials would be loin-cloth-clad elders gathered in the rubble of an old McDonald’s passing a Talking Stick; our naked children would roam the urban wilderness like howling wolves, their minds as blank as their lost Internet connection. We would be without hope, dreams, or a future….
…Most Americans agree that the athletes are being short-changed. A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll concluded that 51% of Americans believed that universities should be required to cover medical expenses for former players if those expenses were the result of playing for the school. A whopping 73% believed athletic scholarships should not be withdrawn from students who are injured and are no longer able to play.
But when it comes to these same student-athletes forming a union, an HBO Real Sports and The Marist College Center for Sports Communication poll showed 75% of Americans opposed to the formation of a college athlete union, with only 22% for it.
Why such a difference between wanting equity and supporting the best means to achieve it? Despite 14.5 million Americans belonging to labor unions, we’ve always had a love-hate relationship with them.
The Love: Unions can be like a protective parent arguing with an arrogant teacher over their child’s unfair grade. The Hate: Unions can be like a bossy spouse who complains about all the work they do for you while shoveling corn chips into their maw from the La-Z-Boy.
Our relationship with college athletes is much clearer. We adore and revere them. They represent the fantasy of our children achieving success and being popular. Watching them play with such enthusiasm and energy for nothing more than school pride is the distillation of pure Hope for the Future.
But strip away the rose-colored glasses and we’re left with a subtle but insidious form of child abuse.
Go read the whole thing. It’s righteous, vicious, and above all, smart.
*I’m guessing WordPress doesn’t do the Sabbath on Saturday. It wanted to change “kvell” to “knell” — which is really not the meaning shift you want.
Image: Arthur William Devis, Emily and George Mason, 1794 or 1795.