Immovable object vs. irresistable force

First, allow me to state the obvious: Football and baseball are vastly different sports, requiring dramatically different skills from those who participate in them.

Now let me declare one similarity: It is that teams with great offensive weaponry can be defeated by teams with great defensive skill.

One baseball axiom holds true, which is that “Good pitching usually beats good hitting any day.” I’ve seen it over many years watching baseball games. The 1963 World Series is my favorite example, when the powerhouse New York Yankees were shut down by the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Yanks had Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris swinging big bats, while the Dodgers had Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale throwing heat from the mound. LA won in four straight.

Now, about today’s Big Game, the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos possess the NFL’s top offense. The Seattle Seahawks own the league’s best defense. One is irresistible, the other is immovable.

I am now venturing into something about which I know nothing, but the laws of physics seem to suggest — to me at least — that the immovable object is harder to move than it is to shut down the irresistible force.

It pains to me say this, given that I’m a long-time American Football Conference fan — going back to the days of the old American Football League, of which Denver was a founding franchise — but I’m thinking the Seahawks have the edge here.

My friends might say, “Oh, sure, but you’re from the Pacific Northwest. You’re going to root from the team from that part of the country.” Hold on. I grew up in Portland and there existed then — and perhaps it remains — a huge civic rivalry between the cities. Portlanders think little of Seattleites. We see the Queen City as snobby and full of itself. Seattle residents look down their noses at Portland, even though the Rose City has become every bit as cosmopolitan and trendy as Seattle.

But I’m thinking now, just a few hours before kickoff, that the immovable object is going to dig itself in and hold the irresistible force to perhaps just a couple of touchdowns.

Final score? Please, don’t hold me to this. Let’s try 20-17, Seattle.

Church and state do need separation

Occasionally discussions about blog posts do get out of hand, or they twist off into unintended directions.

Such was the case involving a recent item I posted on this blog involving the teaching of creationism in Texas public schools. Here’s the link:

But in the comments responding to the blog as it appeared on Facebook, a couple of the respondents decided to declare that the Constitution doesn’t state categorically that there must be a “separation of church and state.”

I’d like to clear the air a bit on this matter.

I agree that the Constitution doesn’t use the words “church and state separation.” But as with a lot of principles contained in that wonderful document, the interpretations of what it actually says are quite clear.

The First Amendment says, among other things, that Congress shall make no laws that establish a state religion. I’ve read it, oh, about a bazillion times in my life. I know what the Founders meant when they wrote that. They intended to keep church business out of state business. They didn’t want our government to be dictated by religious principles.

They created a secular nation.

There well might have been plenty of debate among the Founders about whether to allow a state religion. It doesn’t matter, in my view, what they debated. What matters now, more than two centuries later, is what they approved when they sent the Constitution out for ratification by the 13 states that comprised the United States of America.

Thus, church and state separation is implied in the Constitution’s First Amendment, just as the “right of privacy” is implied in the Fourth Amendment.

What’s more, Texas happens to be one of 50 states that now comprise the U.S. of A., even though it once seceded with tragic consequences. My point about the candidates for Texas lieutenant governor wanting to teach creationism in our public schools still stands.

Teach science in schools and religion in church — and keep church and state separate.

Christie ‘scandal’ getting pretty darn curious

My friends on the right are outraged at the “mainstream media’s” addiction to the Chris Christie “Bridgegate” scandal.

They’d better get used to it, because it doesn’t appear as though it’s going to wither away any time soon.

A letter has surfaced now that suggests Christie knew at the time that one of his key aides ordered the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, the busiest span in the world — and that it might have been in retaliation for the refusal by Fort Lee, N.J.’s Democratic mayor to endorse the Republican governor’s re-election effort.

The letter’s assertion contradicts Christie’s statement that he didn’t know anything until he read about it in the press.

This is what happens when a high-profile politician who portrays himself in a certain manner is accused of doing things that run counter to that public image. Christie, who many people believe wants to run for president in 2016, has cast himself as a hands-on, no-nonsense chief executive. If that’s the case, then how could he not know that his chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, would order the lanes closed, resulting in a horrendous traffic bottleneck.

Now we learn about alleged misuse of federal relief funds dedicated to help New Jersey residents recover from Superstorm Sandy.

No one has accused Christie of ordering lane shutdown himself. Frankly, I don’t think he would be so stupid.

However, this controversy is beginning to take on a life of its own the way other controversies have grown into full-blown scandals.

Two examples stand out: The Watergate burglary in 1972 turned from a criminal investigation into a constitutional crisis involving presidential abuse of power; Whitewater turned from a probe into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s real estate ventures into a scandal that involved a presidential dalliance with a White House intern and his lying under oath to a federal grand jury about whether he did those nasty things with the young woman.

It’s looking as though, regarding Gov. Christie’s involvement in this bridge lane-closing, that history may be about to repeat itself.

GOP differs on immigration? Imagine that

This is about the least-surprising political news of the week: Congressional Republicans meeting this week at an annual retreat are displaying sharp differences over how, or even whether, to move ahead with immigration reform.

Here’s a word to the wise: Do it for the sake of your party’s survival, if not for the sake of millions of de facto Americans who have been living in the shadows, many of them since they were children brought here illegally by their parents.

House Speaker John Boehner is beginning to make sense these days and is pushing back against the hard-line tea party wing of his GOP House caucus. He wants to reform the nation’s immigration policies, which already have been approved in the Senate, but have been stalled in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Others within his caucus want to move immigration forward as well, but as usual they’re being stymied by the radical right wing that believes giving a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants is tantamount to granting amnesty to lawbreakers.

These clowns ought to listen to the likes of border state governors, such as, say, Republican Rick Perry of Texas. He’s as conservative as most of the tea party wing in the House, but he understands better than they do that those who are brought here as children, have grown as Americans and know the United States as their country deserve a chance to work their way toward citizenship.

I’m hoping the speaker will continue to push back against the wacko wing of his House caucus. Immigration reform is a must for the nation. Whether it helps the Republicans is of little concern to me. I just want to bring 11 million American residents out of the shadows.