Wearing Orange And Blue, Walking Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Garnet And Gold Death

These are dark times in Footballtown. The empire is in ruins. Piling insult atop injury, the great enemy in garnet is ascendant. The spread option liar in Ohio is undefeated. The last time the good guys tasted victory, Healthcare.gov was only five days old. Now the second worst season of Florida Football in my lifetime will come to a gruesome end at home at the hands of Florida State University. Death and destruction dominate the landscape. But this is simply a deserved penance. The good times don’t come for free when you accept college football as your personal lord and savior. But I’ve made my peace with this season, and I’m prepared for the savage beating on Saturday.

Historical perspective helps in making peace with the dire emotional pain of Florida Gators football in the year of our Lord 2013. Growing up, the embarrassment of the 1979 0-10-1 team was fresh in my family’s memory. Enduring near death penalty level NCAA sanctions in the mid 1980′s made me understand football humility. That made the years of the Fun And Gun in the 90′s all the more sweet. My first year as a student in Gainesville, Florida won its first national title. I was there in New Orleans when Florida stomped Florida State 52-20, and I was there in The Swamp months later when the top ranked Florida State Seminoles had another national title swatted from their hands by the boys in all blue. Minutes after Sebastian Date-Rape-akowski ran by the UF student section mockingly doing the Gator chomp, Fred Taylor scored the winning touchdown. As Mick Hubert yelled on his call that night, it was an insane asylum in The Swamp. I’ll always carry that with me, all while enduring a dog stomping on Saturday at the hands of this year’s Seminoles. They have one of the best teams in the country this year, but they’ll never have that.

Now of course some of this attitude is defensive. After years in the football wilderness, FSU is actually back to being really good. After a near decade of living in the shadow of Gator greatness, the boys in garnet and gold are chomping at the bit to taste the tears of Gator fans everywhere. If you were looking for my tears to satiate 12 years of failure and resentment, you best plan to stay thirsty my friends. Admitting the sad state of affairs for Florida and acknowledging the coming savage beat-down takes all the wind out of their sails. The unconcerned attitude is immediately disarming. This, and a healthy dose of historical perspective works wonders in this regard.

From the 1992 SEC expansion until this year, every SEC team had suffered a losing record, except for the University Of Florida. As Pat Dooley in the Gainesville Sun said, we were due. That record, playing in the best college football conference on the planet, is astounding. We will always have that. This is the part of being a Gator fan that truly is “all kinds of weather” level. No university ever will enjoy the view from the mountaintop that was the late 2000′s for Florida. Two BCS titles and two NCAA Tournament titles is a level of excellence that will never be experienced in Leon County. So sit back and enjoy this year my Seminole friends. I’m at peace with this abomination of a football season. Enjoy it. You of all people know that you can’t keep a great power down forever. Ron Zook Field forever!

The Political Purity Game And Absurdist Thoughts About The Pope Being Liberal

Purity for purity’s sake seems to be the direction of the Republican Party in today’s modern politics. The conservative movement that holds the reins of power in the Grand Old Party seems to value ideological purity above electoral success. When you start talking about the failures of the purity game with most conservatives, they will rhetorically separate themselves at that point from the Republican Party. But where does the purity game get you in today’s politics?

The purity game has the Republican party throwing people over the side of the boat in the never ending quest for conservative ideological purity. The Democratic Party has zero qualms about taking on disaffected former Republicans for electoral gains. In 2006 Democrats gave a former Reagan administration official a shot in Virginia and started the Old Dominion’s fast track to becoming a blue state. Jim Webb only served one term, but his election was followed by two successive victories for Democrats in Virginia senate races. In Florida Republicans decided to excommunicate Charlie Crist for hugging the black Democrat in the White House, and now as a Democrat Crist has a commanding lead on CGI Alien Rick Scott leading up to 2014.

Even when their candidate wins, the Republicans obsession with the purity game blinds them to basic facts regarding even fellow travelers. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has ever one of the conservative boxes checked on his resume. He’s pro life, anti gay marriage, reduced the size of government, but he committed original sin. That original sin of course was saying that President Obama was doing a good job in getting New Jersey the help it needed after super-storm Sandy. Like Crist before him, being seen touching the president can give you incurable cooties with movement conservatives no matter what your record. Even though he’s a consistent reliable conservative, the purity game has most conservatives calling Christie a RINO. But the absurdist end to this game is the former half-governor of Alaska calling the Pope liberal. Pope Francis is by no means liberal in the political sense. But he’s preferred to focus his efforts on the traditional Catholic efforts in social justice for the poor and sick. He hasn’t changed anything with regard to the Catholic Church’s positions on gay marriage and abortion. But simply saying that maybe the church should focus on other more important issues has him now a liberal. For Democrats’ sake, I hope this Republican fever doesn’t break anytime soon.

Why Should The People Telling You Never To Trust Charlie Crist Be Trusted?

During his previous stint as governor of Florida, my chief political adviser had an opportunity to meet Charlie Crist. After the meeting I called him and asked what his opinion of the tan man was. His reply was simple, “empty suit.” Now that Charlie is a Democrat the Republican Party of Florida is in full assault mode against the tan man. Progressive Democrats don’t trust him, but their preferred candidate seems to be the darling of the entire RPOF establishment. The RPOF seems to talk more about how Nan Rich is being wronged by Florida Democrats than they do about Rick Scott’s record as governor. Yet they also spend a notable amount of time telling anyone they can about how horrible Charlie Crist was as governor. They discuss Crist as if he, and not Lawton Chiles, was Florida’s last Democratic governor. The trouble is he was nominated, backed, funded, and voted for by the Republican Party Of Florida. At the core it seems the RPOF is telling you that they’ve had seriously questionable judgement in the past, but trust them completely now.

Republicans are painting Crist as a man of now solid values. A man willing to blow with the wind purely to get votes and political power. But the Republican party has never had an issue electing anyone like that before if it keeps them holding on to the levers of power. Also it’s 2013, so I’m pretty sure power no longer involves levers. But Republicans all knew Charlie Crist was an empty suit. You either knew he was an empty suit, or you’re pretty damn ignorant or naive. Many Republicans in Florida openly proclaim that they’ve always been against Crist, but they were all super silent while the party was busy electing him Attorney General and Governor. One prominent Republican wrote that he “secretly” voted against Crist in 2006, then later he joined the vocal opposition. But this supposed rebel alliance in the Republican party was no where to be found when the state needed the facts regarding its next leader. Other Republicans point to the massive job losses that occurred towards the end of Crist’s term. But again bringing that up just opens the discussion of how disastrous the national economy was under the administration of George W. Bush.

The conventional wisdom coming out of the 2012 election is that Barack Obama won not on his own record, but by destroying the record of Mitt Romney. The RPOF’s only discussion of the actual record of Rick Scott is to point to the job numbers that they call sluggish and ineffectual nationally. The same politician that Republicans call a backstabber now would have been vigorously backed by the GOP had he decided to run for reelection in 2010 under the elephant standard. There are plenty of reasons for Democrats not to trust Charlie Crist 2.0. But the Republican Party Of Florida playing the victim of trickery while not discussing their own deeply unpopular candidate’s record is telling in and of itself.

TSE Chat Room: College Football Condi, Drone Warfare, And Video Game Violence

Senator Sunshine: I’m sure now that Condi Rice is on the College Football Playoff committee, she’s be the perfect point person for arguing regime change in March Madness
Senator Sunshine: Together with the College World Series and the Women’s Final Four, they will be a coalition of the willing
Biggus Rickus: I’m not saying the NCAA has WMD, but have you seen SMU’s football team?
Senator Sunshine: Lucky for her, Alabama’s strength of schedule already comes in the form of a mushroom cloud
Biggus Rickus: EDSBS actually got all serious about her being on the selection committee, what with the torture and all. I still find it weird that killing the very same people they “tortured” with drones would be okay with the people who think water-boarding over some moral line.
Senator Sunshine: you make a good point that I hadn’t thought of
Senator Sunshine: my only caveat is maybe people feel that drones are viewed as on the battlefield
Senator Sunshine: where a prisoner is your captive
Senator Sunshine: That said some of the same people objected to Israel engaging in extra judicial execution years back
Senator Sunshine: I have a problem with drones for that reason
Senator Sunshine: I think many Americans are happier just to have them killed instead of consigned to life in extra judicial limbo
Senator Sunshine: it’s cleaner, in a dark way
Biggus Rickus: Personally, I think there it is possible to legitimately justify all sorts of evil shit. You do have to be prepared for others disagreeing with you and facing consequences though. And you better have very compelling reasons to justify your evil for it to be a legitimate defense.
Biggus Rickus: that it is possible
Senator Sunshine: You don’t have to force feed a bomb crater in Waziristan
Biggus Rickus: I think you’re right about the cleanliness of faceless deaths 5,000 miles away.
Senator Sunshine: I don’t think video games cause violence in kids, but I do think it makes it easier to accept drone warfare on the other side of the planet
Senator Sunshine: I mean, they seriously had this very thing in the Robin Williams movie Toys
Senator Sunshine: where the villian takes over the toy factory and in the end has kids playing video games that were actually toy weapons fighting wars overseas
Biggus Rickus: I think video games contribute to a desensitization to violence, which can work with other factors to lead to a person shooting someone or someones. I don’t think it’s something you can easily quantify though.
Biggus Rickus: The media we consume affects our brains. I mean, people advertise on television for a reason.
Senator Sunshine: I know the EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has actually made me less likely to play actual golf
Biggus Rickus: Yeah, but that fits into your ADD. Why go golfing for three hours when you can get in a round in 20 minutes.
Senator Sunshine: that’s true
Senator Sunshine: and kids
Biggus Rickus: I do think violent games are a release for some people. I also think they are not enough for others. It’s like serials killers who watch nastier and nastier forms of porn until they need to experience the real thing.
Biggus Rickus: The problem with games being a cause is that you can’t really define it. Some people who play violent video games and commit violent acts would have committed violent acts regardless.
Senator Sunshine: Oh I agree
Biggus Rickus: I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’ve never really done any research into it though. I’ve been content to leave it at “obviously there is some loose connection between the media we consume and how we behave”. Because really, I think that’s about as much as any research could say right now.

Predicable Tortured Conservative Logic On Display After President Obama’s Syria Speech

The president last night spoke to the nation from the east room to make the case for limited strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. President Obama seems fond of giving addresses to the nation from the room he announced the death of bin Laden in. Yet it was the tortured reaction of conservatives surrounding the speech that had my amused attention. Conservatives often accuse Obama of feeling that all he needs to do to solve a problem is give a lofty speech. Yet the same crowd that accuses the president of giving too many speeches then began to demand that the president give a speech to make the case for strikes in Syria. Many in congress that were ready to find an angle to bash the president with were perceptive of the position Obama put them in when he sought congressional authorization for said strike. Say what you will about whether the White House’s Syria policy has been three dimensional chess or amateur hour, Obama keenly understands that he’s reversed decades of war power centralization in the executive branch. He specifically noted that in his speech last night. However any eventual vote may be painted as a loss for the president, this act of precedent may be one of his lasting achievements in office. Yet congressional Republicans demanded a speech to put the onus back on Obama. Predictably as the day of the speech arrived, Republicans began to declare the speech a failure before it had left the president’s mouth.

A fantastic form of Bingo last night would have been writing down the predictable statements panning the speech that would come streaming out of the Fox News post game review panel. You could predict the statements of it falling flat, sounding hollow, going horribly wrong. The speech itself by the president was workmanlike. The tone was measured and the president addressed some common themes of dissent to his idea. He didn’t attempt to give it his psuedo-MLK tone, nor did he sound like he was giving a eulogy. He focused heavily on the word “children” to nail his point of morality home. I still remain against the idea of a strike on Syria, but I will say the president made a good case. But the president’s opponents cannot even lower themselves to giving an honest evaluation of the president’s speech.

Blind political bitterness overcomes everything with today’s republicans on Fox News. You may have disagreed with the president’s reasoning or argument, but it’s just flat wrong that is was a bad speech. One consultant on my feed said the White House knew that the speech was awful. Really? The ridiculousness of the reaction is almost childish at this point. Conservatives were positive that this Syria situation would be the defining Katrina of Obama’s second term. They’ve flailed back and forth between accusing him of arming al-Qaeda in the resistance, to empowering a murderous tyrant in doing nothing. The president in his speech noted that history had rarely seen chemical weapons used since the trenches of World War I. One of those times was Hitler gassing the Jews. The Conservative reaction was to say Obama directly compared Assad to Hitler. The group that constantly accuses Obama of being Hitler accused him of directly comparing someone else to Hitler. I guess the twisted logic is that he’s responsible for deaths for not attacking, and supporting a new Hitler.

Regardless, the speech was merely another move in a game with Vladimir Putin. Conservatives nakedly flirting with Putin should speak volumes about the right’s blind Obama hate. But chances are this is avoided completely. Conservatives and Republicans though will still accuse him of failure no matter the outcome.