Is There Anything American About America Anymore?

Sometimes I wonder where they took my country when I wasn’t looking.
It’s been dragged off, sealed in a box and hidden in the basement under
a pile of recyclables.

Sometimes I wonder where they took my country when I wasn’t looking.
It’s been dragged off, sealed in a box and hidden in the basement under
a pile of recyclables.
Strange things have happened and they are not all attributable to
the war in Iraq or a pitiable Congress tied down in the Capitol like

(Associated Press) CHICAGO – Chicago’s
police department is investigating an officer’s use of a Taser last
month on an 82-year-old woman who was swinging a hammer when police

Officials with the city’s Department on Aging went to
Lillian Fletcher’s home Oct. 29 to make a welfare check, and called
police when they saw Fletcher in a window swinging a hammer back and
forth . . . officers arrived and in an attempt to subdue Fletcher one
of them used their Taser. The department is trying to determine if the
officer violated department policy regarding the use of stun guns.

Lillian suffers from dementia and becomes easily confused, according to
her granddaughter. A 20 year-old crack addict might be a threat, but
you’d think Chicago’s finest would be able to handle an 82 year-old
with nothing more in her hand than a hammer.
Elsewhere, Barry Bonds is indicted for using steroids, so his home run
record will be stained, while A-Rod is reported to be negotiating a
contract with the Yankees that would pay him $300 million if he can break Bonds’ record.

TODAY, Bob Nightengale) Bonds’ indictment sparks talk throughout
baseball–Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time leading home run hitter, was
indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of perjury and
obstructing justice for allegedly lying about using steroids.

. . indictment in San Francisco probably ends the 43-year-old slugger’s
career three months after he broke Hank Aaron’s home run record under a
cloud of suspicion about whether Bonds had taken performance-enhancing
drugs. Now Bonds–a hulking symbol of an era in baseball that featured
booming home runs and questions about whether steroids were tainting
the game’s integrity — could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted
on all charges.

Baseball has integrity? Who knew?

Press Report) Warren Buffett advised Alex Rodriguez to approach the New
York Yankees and go around agent Scott Boras, The Wall Street Journal
reported Saturday. . . “A-Rod really loves being a Yankee,” Buffett was
quoted as saying. He wouldn’t comment on the substance of any
discussions with the player.

. . . Rodriguez, on Boras’ advice,
opted out of the final three seasons of his record $252 million,
10-year contract Oct. 28. Upset with developments after he opted out,
Rodriguez contacted Buffett, and the wealthy investor told him to
approach the Yankees without his agent, the Journal said.

the assistance of Goldman Sachs executives John Mallory and Gerald
Cardinale, Rodriguez and the Yankees negotiated a $275 million, 10-year
contract that is in the process of being finalized.

Well, there you have it. If Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffett don’t represent integrity, I don’t know who would.
The selective morality of Major League Baseball when it comes to
guys like Bonds and Pete Rose, allows owners to flim-flam city after
city for new stadiums without so much as a wink or a nod.
Steinbrenner’s a stand-up guy and Pete and Barry are bums.
What a laugh.
My Washington Post cheerleads from its front page that

has bolstered morale inside the West Wing and rallied his Republican
base through a strategy of confrontation with the Democratic Congress,
built on the expansive use of his veto pen, then laments “yet none of
this has particularly impressed the public at large, which remains
skeptical that anything meaningful has changed and still gives Bush
record-low approval ratings.”

There was a day when more was required of a president than bolstering morale among his own staff and confronting
Congress with vetoes. (Clue to WaPo; you cheer the confronting of
Congress when Congress is wrong and the president is right, not the
other way around)
There was also a day (and it was not all that long ago) when
Katherine Graham, owner of the Post, would have remained as skeptical
as the public. But those were the days when it was a leading newspaper.
We are building a wall between ourselves and our Mexican neighbors;

Fence Lab scales new barriers–U.S. seeks blockade that will keep out crossers, but nicely

Marosi, Tribune Newspapers) SAN DIEGO – U.S. Border Patrol agents,
sweating under a hot Texas sun, squared off against an array of fences.
They swung axes at posts, used blowtorches to melt steel, tore through
sheet metal with crowbars and scaled walls with ladders.

engineers rammed remote-control sport-utility vehicles loaded with
10,000 pounds of sand into the barricades at 40 m.p.h. Together, in a
nine-week project called Fence Lab, they were trying to solve one of
the nation’s most vexing problems: how to find fencing strong enough to
protect the U.S. from one of the largest human migrations in history,
but sensitive enough to the fact that Mexico and the U.S. are friendly

It hardly matters. You can’t go into Mexico or Canada anymore and get
back without a passport and the Department of State can’t get you one.
The wave and smile at our borders disappeared courtesy of Herr Chertoff
and the Patriot Act.
But I’ve found that when it comes to vexing problems, particularly the nation’s most vexing problems,
the best place to get advice is in old East German Berlin. Those
commies knew all about how to vex and a few of them are still around,
running consultancies.
Vexing was a sort of specialty behind the Iron Curtain.
Don’t ask the likes of George Bush to pay any attention to an old
has-been, like Ronald Reagan, who stood before that particular iron
curtain shaking a moralistic finger and saying,

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

times. The dollar is worth half of what it was when Bush took over from
that rogue Clinton, Richie Daley in Chicago actually thinks having the
Olympics there would be a good idea, 45 million Americans have no
health insurance and 35 million need a handout just to get food. Nancy
Pelosi and Harry Reid took a Republican Congress no one liked and
chopped its approval rating in half, a restaurant’s pimping a $25,0000
dessert in New York and even the writers have given up on TV.
Mine was a simpler time, when families survived on a single income and one car, if they were lucky. Kids played baseball in the street and stayed out until their moms called them home for dinner—a cooked dinner at an actual table. Hall-of-Fame great Ernie Banks played an entire career with the Chicago Cubs, made ten all-star teams and never topped $65,000 in salary.
Americans believed in their country, believed in each other, carved
pumpkins on Halloween and worried about their sons being drafted. But
they never tortured anyone–it just wouldn’t occur to them— and if the police stopped them or knocked on the door, they’d better have a damned good reason.
Thursday is Thanksgiving and this is still the best country in the
world. As hard as we are on ourselves and as wrongheaded as we seem to
be at times, there are still more people trying to get in than we can
I guess that’s American.
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