Posts Tagged ‘ronald reagan’

Monday Medley

What we read while the ducks got their revenge…


Monday Medley

What we read while Nelson Mandela lived 2 fast and 2 furious…

The Sports Revolution: And-One Penalties

PI's just like a bench press for Ed.Let me set the scene for you: A quarterback launches a long pass down the sideline toward an emergingly open receiver. The defensive back, sensing what is about to occur, prevents a completion through less than legal means. And yet, even while a flag is being thrown, the receiver makes a tremendous catch anyway. The penalty is declined.

Let me reset the scene for you: After the flag is thrown and the catch is made, our referee announces the penalty while his assistants march off additional yardage. How much exactly? Why, the amount gained on the play, to be precise.

That’s right: Football needs its and-one. A catch made in spite of pass interference shouldn’t render the interference irrelevant. The same penalty should be meted out regardless of the completion of the pass, and thus a 20-yard pass despite PI should become a 40-yard gain.

Pierre has argued this point before, in regards to that officiating shambles of an indoor winter sport. While watching my beloved Ligue canadienne de football this autumn, it has struck me that North American football does an even more piteous job acknowledging degree of difficulty than its indoor companion. Penalties that do not alter the final result of a play are simply declined—overlooked, ignored, erased from the annals of the postgame almanacs.

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The Worst Thing Every President Has Done

Last week, on Election Day, I found myself in a long Facebook comment thread about the virtues of voting. In it, someone said, “We have perhaps never had a president that has not committed…great acts of evil.” Of course, my first thought on reading that was That sounds like a fun game, and I decided to make a list of the worst* thing every president has done.

*The word “evil,” is of course loaded with all sorts of moral and metaphysical implications, so I’ve slightly reframed it into the “worst” acts every president has done. To be sure, many of these are clearly evil, but I wanted to include every president, and it’s hard to find something really “evil” that, say, William Henry Harrison did.

A quick note: First of all, I’m only including things they did as president. So the fact that Thomas Jefferson probably raped his slaves doesn’t count, though obviously that’s pretty bad. Secondly, I’m not a presidential historian, so my knowledge of some presidents is pretty limited. I welcome input on events I may have forgotten or never learned about in the first place. Lastly, this list is obviously subjective, based on my own moral judgment. As such, it’s weighted against things I find truly immoral, which usually involve the government killing or imprisoning people. Again, though, I welcome disagreement.

And now, the list: Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while Reagan’s ghost cleaned up the mess at UC-Davis…

The Top 173 Things in History: #16. The Fall of the Berlin Wall

A lot of the phrases we use to describe the ends of various injustices are metaphorical. We have to break glass ceilings, tear down barriers, and free ourselves from shackles.

While the Berlin Wall was, in some ways, metaphorical, it was also very real. Unlike the abstract glass ceilings, the wall was very much concrete—in fact, a large collection of it running directly through a major European city. The Berlin Wall was about as subtle as giving a literary character the initials J.C., or, in C.S. Lewis’ case, having a character (without those specific initials) forfeit his life to save those of some children, only to rise from the dead to defeat evil.*

*I highly suggest reading Lewis’ interpretation of his own character in that link.

This is all to say: The Berlin Wall was not subtle. It was totalitarianism and oppression reified in mortar for all to see. It was, as Ronald Reagan said in his famous 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate, a “gash” and a “scar” not just on Berlin, but on Germany and the entirety of Europe. Continue reading