Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Speaker No Evil

Unsolicited Advice

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced his intention to resign from that post and from the House itself back on September 25. A couple of weeks later, on October 8, House Majority Leader and presumptive new Speaker Kevin McCarthy abruptly withdrew from the race, and a vote by the Republican conference on a candidate for Speaker was postponed.

This led to a fair amount of hyperventilating commentary about how the House was
"in chaos," which was and is ridiculous. We still have a Speaker of the House (Boehner), and he has made it clear he will stay on until the House elects a successor. That's how things are supposed to work. It isn't "chaotic" to have multiple candidates for leadership positions. And, I might add, if there weren't multiple candidates for the spot, the progressive liberal media (but I repeat myself) would no doubt write stories about how the Republican conference is a bunch of sheep marching in lockstep.

The latest news on this front is that Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the party's 2012 Vice-Presidential nominee, has said that he will reluctantly agree to accept the Speaker's gavel, if certain conditions are agreed to by members of the Republican conference.

For the record, I hope the malcontents who are resisting Rep. Ryan get their way, and he decides to step aside and keep his "dream job" at Ways and Means. Nothing against Rep. Ryan, who I think is a fine man and a staunch conservative. In fact, that is exactly why he should decline to become Speaker. Let the "More Conservative Than Thou" brigade find someone else to beat up on. Rep. Ryan doesn't deserve their scorn, and would likely be of more help to the conservative cause at Ways and Means anyway.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

It's a thankless job, sir, and you don't need it in your life. Walk away.

Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas

As for nitwits like Rep. Huelskamp, they should run for the position themselves rather than trying to bully the rest of the caucus with idle threats.

If you've got the votes, sir, step up. If not, sit the fuck down...

And, last time I checked, no one in the House of Representatives was elected to give two shits about what Mark Levin, or Laura Ingraham, or John Nolte, or Erick Erickson, or Sean Hannity, or any other self-important blowhard thinks about this issue. Fuck all of those folks, and the horses they rode in on...

"Being a little harsh on the quadrupeds, aren't we?"

A fair point. The horses get a pass...this time...

Things That Make Me Happy: No Mercy Edition

Bouncing back from a discouraging 11-8 loss in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Monday night, my beloved Kansas City Royals roared back yesterday afternoon to take Game 4, clobbering the 
Blue Jays 14-2. The win gives the Royals a 3-games-to-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Royals jumped on Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey quickly. SS Alcides Escobar led off with a bunt single, and 2B Ben Zobrist hit a home run that made it 2-0. They scratched out two more runs in the 1st for a 4-0 lead, and when RF Alex Rios hit a one-out solo homer in the top of the 2nd, that made it a comfortable 5-0. Dickey was relieved before the 2nd inning was over, the shortest stint by a starting pitcher in Toronto postseason history.

Royals starter Chris Young did his job, yielding just two runs on 3 hits in his four-and-two-thirds innings of work. Manager Ned Yost brought in Luke Hochevar with a runner on and probable AL MVP Josh Donaldson coming to the plate. That meant Chris couldn't be the winning pitcher, but he deserves enormous credit for shutting down the potent Blue Jays offense. That he could turn in such a performance while still in mourning over the death of his father on September 26 speaks volumes about his character.

"Winning the game matters, stats don't."

The Royals removed all doubts about the game's outcome with a 4-run top of the 7th,
3 in the top of the 8th, and 2 in the top of the 9th. The Blue Jays only managed four hits over the final four innings.

With that many runs scored, there were obviously numerous contributors on offense...


SS Alcides Escobar followed up his 4-for-5 performance in Monday's losing effort by going 2-for-3 with a run scored and 4 RBIs.

Escobar's bunt single in the first marked the fourth time in four games that he has led off the game with a hit.

CF Lorenzo Cain extended his franchise-record postseason hitting streak to 12 games, going two for three with a pair of walks, a run scored, and three RBIs.

The Royals will try to close out the Jays this afternoon, in a game that will rematch
Game 1 starters Edinson Volquez for the Royals and Marco Estrada for Toronto. 

"If the Royal win today..."

Shut it! If you jinx this, I'll tie your snout into a bow...

My View of Back to the Future Day

Until Next Time...

Like most teachers, I've seen pretty much every movie about teaching and teachers ever made. Much to the surprise of most of my colleagues, I pretty much hated them all, and still do. For a modest fee, I'm happy to do a 20-minute stand-up comedy routine on the subject that is guaranteed to leave a roomful of teachers doubled-over with laughter (and agreeing with me). If you don't have that kind of time, just name your favorite movie in the genre and I can do a brisk 2-3 minute takedown. Unless you pick  
Mr. Holland's Opus, which requires at least 5 minutes to do justice to its epic awfulness.

James Clavell's 1967 film To Sir, With Love is one of the least-awful movies in the genre. Sidney Poitier lends the clich├ęd material a gravitas it doesn't really deserve, but unlike most movies about teaching it gets a few key elements of the job right. The film's climax features the title song, sung by Lulu. It may be just a pop song, but the wistful lyrics of "To Sir, With Love" actually illuminate an important truth about the relationship between teachers and students. That's no small thing.

The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 21, 1967, and held that position for five weeks. It wound up as the No. 1 single for the year, and was certainly the biggest hit of Lulu's career.

Today's send-off is a music video made for the BBC TV series Three of a Kind after the song became a hit in the United States. There isn't a teacher anywhere that doesn't get a little choked up listening to this, and I'm no exception. Enjoy...

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