Day: 2014.12.03

Strange, to Say the Least

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons, 3 December 2014, via Cagle Post.For some, editorial cartoons are a great source of entertainment. At their best, they inform us about societal attitudes. At their worst, well, they … inform us … about … societal … attitudes.

Damn.

Then again, that can still be entertaining, whichever way those societal attitudes break. To wit, something about what is going on … um … somewhere … apparently moved David Fitsimmons of the Arizona Star to publish a bizarre cartoon in which dietary conscience and Christmas trees have somehow managed to collide.

And while it would be really easy to snort derisively and wonder what the hell fight Fitzsimmons is trying to pick with such a strange cartoon, does there not also exist a possiblity that he is referring to something real?

And if that is the case, well, seriously, what the hell is going on in Arizona or wherever? This sounds like one of those (ahem!) absolutely precious moments.

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Fitzsimmons, David. “It’s a tree”. Cagle Post. 3 December 2014.

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Your United States of America

Detail of cartoon by Brian McFadden, 3 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.There are days when it absolutely sucks to be an American. Most days you can cheer yourself up by saying, “At least I’m not in Afghanistan!” Or Iraq. Or … well, yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it?

Here’s the thing about that, the unspoken cheer-your-sorry-ass-up reality about life in the United States: Of course it could be worse. I could be black!

That ain’t gonna help our African-American neighbors cheer up, though. And, in truth, it shouldn’t cheer anyone, period.

A friend of mine noted, via Facebook, that now we’re going to see what a real riot looks like in the wake of a grand jury’s decision to not indict the blue-clad beast that killed Eric Garner. In truth, we should probably hope for a different approach; riots don’t seem to make the point. Then again, perhaps that is the point. The Huffington Post ran with the splash headline, “Strangler Cop Walks”, and perhaps there was a time when this would seem outrageous to suit-and-tie, church-going, patriotic Americans. That is to say, how dare anyone speak ill of the police, or something like that.

But the institutions of law have created extraordinary protection for homicidal law enforcement. Killer cops don’t really need an excuse. After all, as we learned in Missouri, being afraid of black people is a reason for a cop to shoot a black person.

Let us be blunt: When it’s two idiots calling themselves “New Black Panthers” plotting to hit the cops, or an ex-con gunning down badges in a coffee shop, it is easy for people to back even the worst of law enforcement officers. But just how much do our police officers think they can get away with before others decide it’s time to take up arms in defense against cops? And just how ugly do you think that will or won’t be?

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One of the Greatest Sports Teams Ever

The nominees for U.S. Soccer 2014 Female Athlete of the Year: Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, and Lauren Holiday.

Let us start the day the fútbol way.

Or, you know, with bad rhymes. Whatever works.

Nominees: U.S. Soccer 2014 Female Athlete of the Year.

• Lauren Holiday, midfield

• Sydney Leroux, forward

• Carli Lloyd, midfield

• Christen Press, forward

• Abby Wambach, forward

In a way, it is almost sad because there is an argument that the answer is clear. Of course, Abby Wambach has also taken the prize six times out of nine nominations. With sixteen caps and a record goal-scoring season highlighted by four goals against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Championship, it seems hard to argue otherwise. Still, though, there is a case to be made for others; Lauren Holiday also earned sixteen caps, amounting to 1,255 minutes, over a third again more than Wambach played. Sydney Leroux managed 1,130 minutes, grabbing eighteen caps with nine goals and five assists. Carli Lloyd logged a staggering 1,683 minutes in earning nineteen caps, scoring ten goals and eight assists. And suddenly the answer isn’t so clear. U.S. Soccer is also accounting for play in other leagues; Wambach only played in ten games for New York Flash, while Lauren Holiday claimed the NWSL championship game MVP after FCKC defeated Seattle Reign FC at the end of August. And Christen Press played 1,115 minutes while being the only player on the USWNT to earn a cap in each of the twenty matches played so far this year; additionally, she played full time in each of twelve games with Chicago Red Stars and notched nine goals with Tyresö in Champions League play.

And suddenly the answer is not at all clear.

The U.S. Women’s National Team is one of the finest assemblies of sporting talent on the planet. And this is a term in which we do not bother parsing out male and female.

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