The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Patriots

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, Widdershins. Being from a family that watches a LOT of sports, and married to a hubby who adores football, I will be going over to Bro’s house to watch the game. This year, though, there are some sour notes in our typically light and frothy event. Our Bud Lights, in other words, are skunked.

First of all, there’s the way the Rams won against the Saints. The pass interference call that wasn’t, which should have ended the game in the Saints’ favor. Whether you are in the camp of “The Saints got robbed!” or “The Saints shouldn’t have let it get that close!”, you won’t find anyone online who now disagrees with how badly the game was officiated. Even Roger Goodell has admitted that the referees made a mistake, and he says he is looking at ways to change the rules so that kind of egregious error doesn’t happen again. It was too little, too late for Drew Brees, the Saints’ veteran QB, who hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since 2010. (The Saints won that one, 31-17.) Said Brees about Goodell’s belated apology:

“Do I really want to be in a position talking about this over and over again? No, but I have to stand up and do it because I have to represent my team, represent the ‘Who Dat nation,’ and that’s my responsibility. It’s the commissioner’s responsibility to do the same thing, and yet we don’t hear a peep for 10 days, and it’s because he has to do it now because he’s at the Super Bowl and he does his annual press conference.”

One take on the SuperBowl is that it’s the game we deserve today, comparing the Patriots’ and Rams’ victories to the corruption of Drumpf’s “win.” Hey now! That’s a bridge too far. Unless Pooty-Poot paid off the refs to throw the game to the Rams, there’s just no comparison. Besides which, the Saints didn’t win by 30 points and STILL not make it to the Super Bowl!

Speaking of Drumpf, as unfortunately we always seem to have to do, Dear Cheater will be blah-blah-ing before the game on CBS. I know I won’t be tuning in, since I know what he’ll say: “Yada yada border emergency national security I am so SMART!” He’ll probably throw in something about the National Anthem protests as well. Colin Kaepernick, the first one to kneel, still doesn’t have a job, and many NFL players and social justice activists are not happy about that either. Says NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith:

“I wonder whom on the NFL side has thought about how history is going to look at them given the near universal belief that Colin Kaepernick should be on a team. I think about those things,” Smith said. “Leagues do a great job of telling the story backwards. Major League Baseball tells a great story backwards about Jackie Robinson. But telling the story from the front forward is, well, there had to be a separate negro league. So, I think it’s an interesting way to pose the question of, of what’s going to be the story forward on Colin Kaepernick is not a great story for the National Football League. … So, what’s history going to say about this, and I think history is going to say that he should have been on a team.”

I don’t know how you’re going to spend your Sunday, Widdershins. Maybe you’ll be going to a Boycott Bowl, like Fredster. Maybe you are barely aware of the Super Bowl and are busy with other things. Or maybe you’re like me, and will try to make the best of it by surrounding yourself with loved ones, hoping no one cheats, and laughing (we hope) at the commercials.

No matter what, I wish you a happy Skunky Sunday.

This is an open thread.

It went down to the wire again.  The Patriot Act, due to expire at midnight on Thursday/Friday, was held up until the last possible minute in the US Senate by  none other than Rand Paul.  Senator Paul suspects that the Patriot Act gives the government waaay too many intrusive powers, so he argued against a number of the provisions along with some rather strange compatriots such as Mark Udall (D-Co) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).  Senator Durbin initially voted for the Act back in 2003, but now feels that it has long since outlived its usefulness.

Senator Paul’s disdain for the Patriot Act, probably his only endearing quality, has been around for some time.  Back in February, Paul congratulated the House for refusing to pass the extension (you remember – that was one of newly minted Speaker Boehner’s first official fiascos):

Senator Rand Paul Statement on PATRIOT Act Renewal:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the House attempted to once again pass a renewal of provisions of the PATRIOT Act, some of whose original provisions have been found unconstitutional. These provisions up for renewal empower the federal government to violate the Fourth Amendment rights of our citizens. In a statement today, Sen. Rand Paul offered his opinion of the PATRIOT Act and how he will address it if it comes to the Senate.

“Last night, there was little debate, no committee hearings held, no amendments allowed, and no examination of whether our government had lived up to its responsibility to protect the liberty of the people. I commend the House for rejecting the renewal of the PATRIOT Act on these grounds,” Sen. Paul said.

“The fight will continue in the House over the next week. It is likely that even with this temporary victory, the House will pass these extensions and send the PATRIOT Act renewal to the Senate. And when they do, I will oppose it,” he continued.

“I do not say that lightly. I firmly believe it is a primary duty of our government to do what it can to protect the lives of its citizens. But I also believe it must in equal measure protect our liberty, and in this our government has failed us. We should remember the words of Ben Franklin, who famously said ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'”

“It is time for Congress to stop quietly extending this law and avoiding a serious discussion about protecting all the rights of all Americans. I will insist the Senate allow debate and amendments as we consider this important legislation,” he concluded.

The ACLU strongly agrees with Rand Paul (the man who would allow businesses to discriminate ad lib), and stated:

The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.

So how did the Patriot Act get extended despite the impressive (though wildly improbable) coalition of Sens. Paul, Durbin and Udall in conjunction with the ACLU?  By the somewhat stranger alliance of Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, both of whom have insisted in their own quaint fashions that we must have the government snooping into all of our affairs or we’re just going to die, or worse.  Also, the recent termination of Osama Bin Laden has lest the impression that perhaps the Patriot Act played a role in this.   The Obama administration is as firmly committed to its extension as the Bush administration ever thought of being – perhaps the former veep will soon “worship the ground they walk on” as well.  At any rate, the extension passed at the last blow of the horn, and was signed in absentia by a robopen, whatever the hell that might be.

Further, each and every federal agency indignantly denies any improper application of the terms of the Patriot Act, but sadly we’ll have to take their word for that.  Check this out:

Two Democratic critics of the Patriot Act, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Udall of Colorado, on Thursday extracted a promise from Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she would hold hearings with intelligence and law enforcement officials on how the law is being carried out.

Wyden says that while there are numerous interpretations of how the Patriot Act works, the official government interpretation of the law remains classified. “A significant gap has developed now between what the public thinks the law says and what the government secretly claims it says,” Wyden said.

All right, let me get this straight:  we, the people, have no actual idea what the terms of the Patriot Act are?   Are you telling me that the government claims rights not specifically granted to them by the US constitution?  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  I honestly have to wonder if either the House or the Senate has any earthly idea of what it voted for.  If not, then why the hell did it vote for them?  As far as the “need to know” crap goes, don’t you think that the people of the US have a right to know what the law might be when the penalty for infracting said law could involve a trip to Gitmo, or worse?  How in the world can someone be charged with an unspecified crime?  Have we become the very thing that we fear?

Dear God.  Here we are, ready to spend Memorial Day (or Decoration Day, depending where you are from), ready to affirm the great sacrifices made by so many actual Patriots ranging from Crispus Attics to the kid down the street, all of whom put it all on the line for this great nation.  Have we now come to this, where we are asking even more to put it all out there for a war without end, a quarrelsome legislative body, a President/robopen, and a cryptic law with ill-defined terms?  Today, as we thank those actual patriots, we should reflect on the current definition of “Patriot”, and what they would have thought of this sad state of affairs.  How did this great nation, filled with good people, come to this?

‘This is an open thread.

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