Monday, January 11, 2010

Cruising the web

The Boston Globe Magazine has a profile of Mike Eruzione and how, 30 years later, he's still inspiring people giving speeches about The Game.
“Hopefully you enjoyed that video,” he begins as he takes the microphone. They laugh.

“That’s my life story.” More laughs.

“It’s four minutes long.”

When Paul Eruzione was a little boy, he had a difficult time explaining what his father did for a living. “He played in a hockey game,” Paul, who is 21 now, would say. “He scored an important goal during an important tournament. And now he’s a celebrity.”

It was a child’s explanation, bypassing nuance for simple truth. Thirty years ago, Mike Eruzione scored a goal. Today, still, he makes a living being the Mike Eruzione who scored a goal. On today’s celebrity spectrum, he is a micro star. But he is the symbol of a moment larger than himself. He is mindful of this. And so being Mike Eruzione is an important job. Thirty years later, as another Olympics approaches next month, America will not let him quit. And he is happy to oblige.
It's still a stirring story. I watch the HBO documentary each time it's on and I tear up each time. It's nice to hear that he's happy and that his kids have come to understand why people 30 years later still want to meet and hear their dad.

George Will links to William Voegeli's excellent, yet depressing article examining how California is set to become our nation's first failed state. It's an interesting look at how the Progressives a century ago worked to give more power to the people creating a hyperdemocracy. What has really destroyed the state is the ever-increasing power of the public unions leading California to become what Voegeli calls a unionocracy. You can see it in the inflated salaries and impossible-to-pay pension plans. Read the rest of the article. The problem is clear, but solutions seem impossible with the unions controlling so much of the government.

The WSJ argues yet again, that it's the uncertainty, stupid.
The long-term danger is that the U.S. labor market becomes more like Europe's, with workers who have jobs doing fine while millions of others can't get full-time work. Congress hasn't helped this trend by reducing the incentive to job hunt by extending jobless benefits—another example, like the minimum wage, in which Congress does tangible harm in the name of compassion.

We can't blame employers for their caution. With so much policy uncertainty out of Washington and the state capitals, no one can be sure what they will pay for energy (rising oil prices, cap and trade) or new regulation (antitrust), how high their taxes will rise, and how much each new employee will cost (health care). In this kind of world, employers will wait as long as possible to add new workers.
Thirty years ago was an equally demoralizing time for the United States, but I can't see a victory in the Olympics providing the same sort of thrill that Team USA gave us back in Lake Placid.

If you're feeling smug about California, don't get too comfortable. The news is dismal from just about all the state budgets.
Fiscal mismanagement leaders California and New York opened the hunting season on taxpayers.

Forty three other state legislatures convene soon to deal with the fiscal carnage they wrought through political profligacy and false promises to dedicated state workers during recent bubble years.

As of December, the National Conference of State Legislatures fiscal survey found: “Thirty-six states already report another round of gaps since FY 2010 began. The total now hit $28.2 billion, and the fiscal year for most states doesn’t end until June.” They already are in the hole despite raising taxes, cutting spending, squandering “rainy day” funds and using federal debt and accounting tricks to close $146 billion in cumulative budget gaps.

Those shortfalls pale against the lurid reality of unfunded promises to retirees, deferred public works projects and years of accounting tricks hiding true deficits.

Compounding all that is the fact that $248 billion in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds stop Dec. 31, halfway through most states’ fiscal years.
The Obama administration is frustrated that it is taking so long to get the forces that Obama approved for the surge there in place and that it looks that they won't all be over there by the summer as he promised in his speech. The military says that such a deadline was always unrealistic. Moving those troops in by air during the winter was always going to be a tricky task. What they're too polite to say is that they'd be six months ahead of where they are now if Obama hadn't taken so long making up his mind to approve the surge.

Mark Steyn employs his inimitable style to asking when Obama is going to realize that we're in a war against something bigger than Al Qaeda and to understand what it really means when he mouths the words that he knows that we're at war.

Tony Harden asks in The Telegraph if the CIA is capable of launching a long-term plan of deception and infiltration such as Al Qaeda just pulled off in killing those CIA agents through using a double-agent.

For something completely different, enjoy these two young men who launch their Christmas tree. As they say Tannenbaum Goes Tannenboom.

All is right with the world. ABC has gotten George Stephanopolous a booster chair from Staples to help him sit taller with his co-host, Robin Roberts. What will they do when both hosts stand up to talk to a guest?

Jay Nordlinger has a response
for Obama's argument that we should close Gitmo because it became a recruiting tool for terrorists.
Obama said, “That was an explicit rationale for the formation of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” referring to Guantanamo Bay. The president should be awfully careful not to suggest that a terrorist group will call our shots. The American-Israeli alliance is an “explicit rationale” for these groups, too. But we don’t deep-six that alliance because of that, right?
Don't give them any ideas.