Saturday, March 21, 2009

“America’s Pure Sport”

A rebuttal to Stephen H. Webb's 'Soccer is Ruining America'

By Michael Patrick Rooney


"Soccer is a European sport because it is all about death and despair. Americans would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score."

Oh, cheese and crackers! I do jest: beyond the recognition that many opinions are best left unspoken, certain opinions are best left deliberately unpublished in certain mediums. So here I rebuttal to an article that was sent to me, having been published on the web by the Wall Street Journal, by a man of the name Stephen H. Webb, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wabash College in Indiana (the above quotation is from his opinion piece on March 11, 2009):

The article was titled, "Soccer is Ruining America". Yes, my friends, "soccer" is ruining America… soccer. Not unrealistic state budgets equating to bankruptcy, not exorbitant executive bonuses for bailout recipients, not towering spending packages, not eight-years of regressive scientific innovation stymied by siphoned government funds and religious prudence; not market drops, unprecedented foreclosure rates, soaring unemployment, nor even excessive exploitation of steroid use in our most beloved past time; no… it is soccer that is ruining our nation. Do I jest?

Let's for the sake of argument say any of the points in Mr. Webb's article were legitimate. Let us make-believe that "soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth [speaking on account of stamina] more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent(…)". Or rather, that "feet are in need of redemption [because hands are divine]." Wait, I digress; I cannot even pretend, little lone fathom the validity of these arguments in a case against soccer. They're unintelligent, ignorant and unintelligible and I wonder more as to why the Wall Street Journal published such trite hogwash than why it was written. I know why it was written; everybody has an opinion.

And I'm left here wondering if indeed the author has ever himself played soccer? Moreover, I'm left flustered by the glaringly obvious truth that the author has, in all likelihood, never removed his nose once from those books he reads at his daughter's games (great supportive parenting, by the way) to take a moment to understand the sport, and his lack of research supporting his "opinion" is appalling, unprofessional and a mockery to journalism.

I will not spend this entire article augmenting Mr. Webb's opinion by merely reveling (thru mockery) in his unfounded "four points", nor by focusing on his argument alone; I have my own opinion of soccer that will undoubtedly unfold throughout this frustrated counter-argument, which, despite my having given myself a three day cool-down period, still adamantly persists.

Throughout the article, Mr. Webb refers to soccer as "easy to play", insinuates that it is skill-less, soft and results in "little advantage". Ah yes, a sport that requires the veritable stamina of a gazelle; where a premier player (at any level) will average nearly a marathon's worth of running throughout the course of a 90-minute match, while battling players with limited use of the body, all the while attempting to control a light-weight ball with precision footwork and pinpoint accuracy to find seams in stringent defenses to create an opportunity to score is obviously soft, easy and devoid of skill. I mean, it even sounds easy when you read it, doesn't it?

Mr. Webb, I implore you to keep your nose in the books and your fingers off of the keyboard if this is the type of ignorance you're going to display publicly. I have played soccer; in fact, I had spent nearly my entire youth competing in organized sports, including: football (4 years), basketball (10 years), baseball (10 years), swimming (2 years) and soccer (8 years) and the only sport I ever felt humbled by was, indeed, soccer. Why? Because it requires the most talent. Yes, football requires a physical aptitude that borders barbarian and an ability to execute perfectly each down and see circumnavigably thru a vision-restrictive helmet. Indeed, baseball requires refined vision and attentive and composed focus, as well as uncanny reflexes and a certain bravery to stand before an unpredictable hardball. Swimming is a rigorous exercise that not all people are built for and basketball is potentially the roughest, most-overall demanding sport that I've ever played… with my hands. However, soccer is the most difficult sport I have ever played, period. Beyond the physical stress of running and the mental levelheadedness required to refrain from shoving a smothering opponent's face into the grass; the inability to use the hands (which you tout so spiritually in your article) is the factor which makes soccer the most skillful of all the sports.

Anyone with hands can use them to throw a ball, Mr. Webb. Anyone with enough size and strength can be taught to shuffle sideways and use their hands to block a charging defender. Anyone with the physical aptitude can swing a bat, lay-up a basketball or glide thru the water; but it is the inability to use that which we use precisely each day that makes soccer so demanding. Because feet are slumbering and the majority of people never develop the grace required to dribble a ball and accurately slice defenses thru mental awareness and up-field vision simultaneously. The human body is not innately programmed to repetitively bounce a ball off of the foot, nor foot fake and then explode aggressively around a defender by playing the ball behind his plant foot in a sporting, Houdini-esque display of physical ability and uncanny skill. Oh, all the while keep their eyes up-field for the lay-up to a b-lining striker. It is a skill most people never develop and your article leads me to believe that you are among that majority.

Beyond the skill-factor of soccer; it remains the "World's Game". How arrogant are you to assume that because it is an imported sport, that it must automatically be inferior to "homegrown" athletics, which are hardly homegrown at all because they're each derivatives of earlier, Eastern sports. Baseball is a revised version of cricket, football is a deliberate form of rugby, and basketball, well… regardless of earlier forms of the sport, basketball remains the most original of American-developed sports. You refer to soccer in your article as a European export, which only exudes your ignorance more; for while current rule associations are European in nature, the sport itself has origins in Asian empires, such as China and Japan as much as it does in ancient Greek and Roman athletics. You say America would never invent a sport where the better you get the less you score? Baseball scores deflate drastically at higher levels of competition and often remain down around a 3 run average, per team, per game in "The Show". Your argument is invalid.

You further perpetuate your argument against soccer by referring to penalty shootouts as "anti-climatic". This doesn't stand to reason, especially with the rest of this point, because you apply an argument by generalization to say that "most games end, in sudden death"; when in association rules football (modern-day soccer), unless the game is a knock-out game for a tournament then it is custom for it to end in a draw. So the truer statement would be: "rarely do games end in sudden death" and those which did would be the exception; merely a fraction of a the small percentage of games which are allowed to enter a sudden death period and if you followed soccer you would know that this is because standings are allotted based on points, not wins. And anti-climatic…? Really? Is football anti-climatic? Because in effect, the NFL utilizes sudden death itself (in way more frequency than soccer) and college football uses a formula not too dissimilar from a penalty shootout. And how is equitable opportunity rife with incredible goal tending talents, matched with the ever-lingering heartbreak of hitting the post or pushing the ball wide either anti-climatic, or incapable of breaking a kid down (as you attest is the point of sports)? Eyes up, Mr. Webb; I'd say you're missing the game entirely.

We are at a crossroads in this nation as far as soccer is concerned. The debilitating blow of losing David Beckham to AC Milan will unduly draw down soccer audiences nationwide, at least for the majority of the Major League Soccer season. The sport, which had been met with some praise and excitement upon inception of the MLS, has begun to fade into the recesses of peoples' minds and is on a collision course with all the former leagues this nation attempted to support. I have been a Chicago Power and a Chicago Fire fan and it would appear that if the MLS continues down its current revenue stream (which more resembles a dry creek bed); then in the future I'll be a fan of the Chicago Who Knows!?. It is truly a tragedy too, as so many kids in this nation play in youth soccer leagues and in the heart of the nation, Chicago and Columbus (not to discount my home, Orange County and San Diego, who also widely support soccer among their populations), soccer is well supported from youth levels, to the MLS and all the way up to the U.S. National Team. And that is the only true catalyst, or albeit nowadays--saving grace, that the American populace has for soccer and its future here—the National Team. We lose all of our best players to the rich, powerful and established European leagues and clubs (not surprising considering we take all their best baseball and basketball players) because the level of competition is higher there and this hurts the MLS and soccer in America as a whole. Saddled with poor World Cup appearances, despite a growing pool of world-class talent; soccer in America now faces bankruptcy and we need the U.S. National Team to perform in South Africa in 2010 more than ever. If only to destabilize ignorant arguments like Mr. Webb's, which only threaten our push toward a greater competitiveness with the world in "the World's Game". How long shall people sit idly by with no stimulation to assist soccer in its potential strength as a popularized American sport? We are a fickle, attention-deficit society and we need a strong 2010, because America loves soccer in their hearts; but with so many other options for sports and so few international accomplishments for soccer, the question remains, 'where is the incentive to follow the sport?'

I comprehend this and I also understand that if Mr. Webb were to make a true argument against soccer in America, this would be the pragmatic starting point; for arguments made on the basis of it being a "girl's sport", "anti-climatic", skill-less, uncompetitive and foreign are just the mentality that delineates America from positive world opinion, because the argument itself is drivel. I move to not debunk America from international competition because of personal beliefs that the sport is a foreign invasion and the counter-intuitive point that it is soft and undemanding. Put down the book and watch your daughter. If not for the sake of understanding what you're talking about; then at least so your daughter actually thinks you're interested in what she's interested in and maybe even along the way, you'll learn to appreciate some of the talent the games requires.

And as far as soccer ruining America goes? Well, at least the game remains pure… free of the litany of bad press, steroids, astronomical salaries, inflated egos and perfidious city allegiances that have utterly hallowed much of the soul of our 'Big Three' (football, baseball, basketball). More closely related to collegiate sports, where not only are fans true fans, but players are actual players; soccer is, in my opinion, the little-known salvation of the soul of American sports and should we win a World Cup next year or five from now, I believe then the nation will understand just what a beautiful game it is to watch.

It is the World's Game because it requires only a ball to play. A ball and feet (I once played against a kid who was armless and very good). From the dusty fields of Africa, to the alleyways of Paris, to the beautiful, green fields along the Orange County coastline; all you need is a ball, the heart and the skill and even the poorest kid from Togo can ascend to stand arm in arm with the richest kid from London to form a defensive wall. With such an ability to be a diplomat in itself, why would we want to dispel such an amazing sport? For arrogance? For ignorance? Should it fail I attest that it is both… because once you've played the game you appreciate just what skill it takes to excel and you love soccer, because it is a game all its own. "The World's Game", and we are part of this world.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some Music Is Just Soul-Heroin

We are hurdling as it were. Merely microcosms, like atoms freely circulating aimlessly within Great Bastian as he seeks Moonchild in the nothingness that we cannot see. For how could we see the everything beyond when we're lost in our own wandering? And what balances us... but some sense of purpose, or some understanding of the divine; however, for me personally, such an existence of supremacy voids my mental capacities and what grounds me in this global cosmic careen is that music which seems to creep thru my ears, my eyes and seep in thru the pores of my skin and ignite in me some solacing sense of solidarity, peace and place in the world; as though it were the counterbalance to the aimless hurdling, itself.

We seem lost in ourselves, I'd say; our aderall-craved, hormone-crazed, hyper-actively detached, ever-searching, never-slaked, hypochondriacal minds that move from relationship to relationship, city to city, job to job, friend to friend, and song to song; never themselves seeming able to pin-down, as the Buddhists would say, 'nirvana'. We create our own playlists, encompassing what illicits the emotion within us, when I say... what about what stimulates the emotion within the very artists we swear by?

Ahhhh... music, the outer-expression of inner-beauty... poetry... prose... lyric... melody... and in some cases (Tom Waits, as one example) complete and utter chaos. But we are merely the receivers, and we'd do well in our revelry if only we could slow our fractured attention to focus our energies on the one truth behind all music: it is meant to be heard. To hear, not listen (Billy Hoyle) what the artist and the producer intended us to hear; to illicit an emotion swelling sonically within our ears and from there, seeding deep within our minds and further blossoming into every dark recess of our souls, regardless of void or perfection, exploding like an atom bomb of direct sunlight moving thru a cavern of crystal speleothem.

And what of it to me...? Four albums, received as intended and consecrating themselves in my head in a most peculiar way (remember, music is the portrayal of another's emotion; most cherished by those who may harbor the capacity to comprehend the same way):

Alice In Chains, MTV Unplugged

Yes... quite simply, yes. You'll notice a trend that three of these albums have coinciding DVD's and perhaps Layne Staley appearing as death's shadow, as if he were a crow in human form; his heroin-drained face more closely resembling the wilted, withered, withdrawn features that more properly inhabit the sunken features of a 70 year old man, has a play into the invocation of this album particularly. However, hearing it devoid of his sickening decomposition still makes me feel the same way and yes, that may be because his voice sounds just as he appears--long since cured of purpose, laughter and life.

The album plays like a moratorium on life and death, transcending realms by stripping an iron man to bare bones. A skeletal heavy metal, if you will... with all the proper darkness deepened by a raw acoustic melody. That Jerry Cantrell, songwriter, guitarist and the "other" singer... should look like a quintessential hippie (complete with on stage joint smoking in the DVD) is awkwardly fitting. That he should sound as if he were a seraphim himself, shining radiance in vocal harmonizing with the shell of soul-deprivation, the only Layne Staley; is contradiction exhibited in the form of musical genius and to acoustacize such heavy songs as 'Sludge Factory' and 'Down In A Hole' was sheer brilliance once realized. However, for true Seattle music fans, this should come as no surprise as the band had, for years prior, saturated their sound with the deepened disparity between light and dark, good and evil, clean and distorted, and life and death; in a harmony of tone that is a musical yin-yang.

Nine Inch Nails, "And All That Could Have Been"

Good. God. Here, my friends, is a symphonic, industrial score of epic collaboration. No complementarity here; this is pure duality. Trent Reznor really hammered the nail hard with this live album(/DVD), which plays more like an operatic score than an industrial-metal effort. It starts with a BANG! And then deepens into a well-developed, highly pensive conglomeration of some of Nine Inch Nails best, little-known songs; which flow, with definitive purpose, from start to "Thank you, Goodnight!"

The real meat of this album is where real meat exists--the middle. Mainly drawing from 'The Fragile' (which, in itself is a great album); Reznor and the Nails string together a collection of highly-harmonic songs that seamlessly and effortlessly flow to create an entire act of brilliant composition. It is this portion of the album (and indeed the entire effort itself) that has led me to surmise that should I ever create my epic, "America will fall" movie; that Trent Reznor will be the composer of my score. Indeed it comes as no surprise to me that NIN's 'Year Zero' album is a veritable re-creation of my own prophecy; because "And All That Could Have Been", as far as I'm concerned, is the album that should've been collaborated with the San Francisco Orchestra, not Metallica's S&M... er go, in my opinion... the best metal album ever. But then that makes me think... would it still be as good? Would it still well-up inside of me the same swelling tide of darkness, despair, destructive-tendency, mayhem and sheer rage that it does when it's just Reznor and his band...? I don't even know that I'd care to risk it. Some times the best things are those on which you stop short.

Gorillaz, Demon Days

We're going in chronological order here, because this is the order in which I'd heard all these albums and this is by no stretch of the imagination number three on my list... in fact, this is most likely number one.

Oh Damon Albarn, and personally I think 'Blur' sucks sooooo much. Perhaps it's because I'm not British that I don't fully appreciate your earlier efforts, but I'm glad you suffered thru those growing pains because you have given this world perhaps the most globally marketable album of all time, while still remaining purely artistic and true to form. You have a stage-show now named 'Monkey', deriving from the stories cast by 'Demon Days' and I've never thought anyone was more deserving of writing a score. Mainly, because you already had.

Demon Days, too... has a live DVD, it's titled, "Demon Days: Live" and it is a must see, why? Oh, I'm about to tell you...

Damon Albarn (lead-singer, pianist) has this uncanny knack for combining genres and then further transcending them all to create his own fusion of rock, classical, funk, hip-hop, dance and electronic into some Heavenly creation that I refer to as 'God, in music form'. Why? Because it's perfect...

From start to finish this album is perfect, showing a heightened social awareness in touching on every political issue from war, to our killing the Earth, to child soldiers; and as each song is different, and encompasses different aspects of each of the aforementioned genres thru an electronic medium, eclectic story telling and his dazzling piano talents... the album literally breathes as one collective breath. And a fresh breath of air it is in an otherwise polluted market of posers, pussies and grillz.

It is truly seamless; relate-able to white suburban teens and innercity youth alike, as well as anyone of any age who has any appreciation for good musical composition. It's like cosmic soul-surfing without the drugs and the videos which play on the live DVD are visually equitable. BUY THIS ALBUM! WATCH THIS DVD! You will not be disappointed, because whether you like dance, hip-hop or rock... this album is all-encompassing and all-bad ass.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones

This album was released on my birthday. I just discovered this. Awesome.

Oh, Karen O. you sassy lil' NYC diva of the gritty, distorted wave of purely re-invented old school rock 'n' roll... hearing you makes me want to know you well, because chick, you can fucking wail! To hell with these posers in the Killers, pussies in the Strokes and that bad ass mother fucker that is Jack White (a beacon of musical brilliance). Kings of Leon are great, the White Stripes are astounding, but you, my girl... you are something special and you hold it down for the Queens of rock 'n' roll. You are my vote for third generation awesomeness... and just as Janis Joplin did in our parents generation and Shirley Manson did in my older brother's generation... you do for ours and I love you for it. I'm sure I will get so much shit from friends for saying this, and surely my girlfriend will attest some disapproval in my being crass, but I don't care... what you do to me when I hear you sing is what I imagine is the male equivalent of someone getting your lil' pussy wet. You rock that much.

This album is a hardcore, stripped-down pure rock 'n' roll effort that only a girl from New York (or, Jersey) could make. While the album may not be as outstanding a collective effort as the three aforementioned albums, it is nonetheless an extraordinary collaboration of songs that just gets better and better and better as it plays on. Nick Zimmer and Brian Chase are phenomenal musicians who hold the tone of deep, driving rock better than damn near anyone in music and then your voice, from the melodic singing on 'Cheated Hearts' to your punk-fused vocals on 'Phenomena', is very acculturated and diverse, able to soothe and/or disturb at will. You sound like a girl from New York/Jersey should and I thank you for it.

Keep on rockin', sister... do not deprive the world of your talents.

Again, these are the albums that I find myself listening to (or, hearing) quite frequently because these are the counterbalance to my freely careening soul... these are my groundations when I start to float away. I listen to a lot of music and this is not to take away from Dylan, Zeppelin, the Stones or Mad Season's 'Above' (which would be number five, if not only for Mike McCready's guitar work)... but these are the albums I find myself coming back to time-and-time again.

The point is, don't get yourselves bogged down in the superficial trend of cutting, mixing, picking-and-choosing and collaborating playlists for your own personal pleasure... understand that albums are made with purpose, are intentionally arranged and are meant to be heard in their true forms--from front to end. I'm not saying don't hit random on your iPod, variety IS the spice of life and I'd dare not tell you how to listen to your own music (mainly because it'd be hypocritical, because of course I create playlists and hit random, myself); this is merely an imploration, or perhaps, a suggestion that every now and then you lay down on your floor (Weed, or no weed. Friend, or on your own) and take the time to appreciate the world thru the intentions of others, because truly we are never free until we've learned to let others take control.

From time-to-time.

Good listening!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"It's the economy, stupid."

I cannot rightly say that I had not anticipated the reaction I’ve observed from many close confidants, because the marrow of their existence radiates red ideology; whatever the hell that means anymore. While I have not seen much of a shift in individual ideals throughout the course of the past eight years, the radically-altered paradigm of Republicanism has left those who for long were encompassed within its fiscally-responsible core (what I see as the historical core of the party, that is) flittering on their own, accepting the brand on a platform-selective basis and ignoring the monster that has become the GOP. The sad truth of this reality is that due to their selective memories, most of the people who have been a victim of this, don’t much realize that they’ve been abandoned at all and cling to a fleeting memory of a platform-mortius where the emphasis on fiscal conservatism is merely a shadow in the night when compared to the moral-majority that has become synonymous with Conservatism. So again, I say… I had very much anticipated harsh tongues in regards to the Obama Presidency.

What, pray tell, is the end-game for Republicans here? And what is the expectation of those who have so quickly discarded the stimulus package, among the many other Obama policies implemented in what hasn’t even yet been sixty days in office…? What had you expected, may I ask? Instantaneous revelation and economic healing…? I heard someone say the other day, “you know, they keep saying it’s not his fault, it’s not his fault… but when he released news about the stimulus package, the market dropped and has continued to fall ever since. At some point, it’s his fault. And I think he’s had enough time now that you can say any drop in the market is his fault."

WHAT!? Really, guy… really?

People, I understand your bends toward conservatism; Harry Caray, may he rest in peace, could vouch for me that despite all of my disavowing, disenchantments and disgusted feelings of betrayal over the last eight years… I still lean Republican. Despite my general election vote and intensely liberal social politicking… I still lean Republican. My ‘Decline-to-State’ voter status, is as it is for good reason; because despite how much hot-air and bullshit the Republicans have been shoveling the past eight years, so much that I felt it necessary to de-Republicanize myself on my legal registrations… I still can’t, in good sense, subscribe to a party ideology that favors programs which can be closely identified with communism (and for all you Democrats out there, you too are blind if you don’t see the correlation). But, my friends… desperate times call for desperate measures and we’ve been here before.

I will not use the word “depression” to signify our current economic crisis; that would be blatantly false and irrevocably dangerous. According to Labor Bureau statistics, our current unemployment rate is 8.1%. Do not get me wrong, the increase of nearly two-percentage points in the course of five months is rightfully alarming; however, when you’re comparing 8.1% of 300million+ people to 1933’s National High of 24.9% among a population of 125million… the situation today seems far less dire. Accounting for inflation in the 1930’s, today’s current crisis is hardly a blip on the radar of historic economic crises. Regardless, we are at a crossroads and 8.1% is a figure that needs to be checked before it itself inflates and we’re deeper in the muck than we can function with.

Fine, Republicans… the current economic situation is not the fault of George W. Bush: I never said it was. Yes, it is much adieu to President Clinton’s lending acts, especially housing and lending policy imparted in 1996 and I’ll even ignore the fact that they were the acts and ideas of a Republican congress. However, W. only exacerbated the situation by not clamping the predatory lending policies of the Clinton administration and actually increasing the federal deficit by renewing the Clinton-era policies and then further cutting taxes for “the exploration of small business opportunity”, which somehow managed to stifle small business enterprise in this nation and give a larger slice of the pie to the big boys who were already established fat cats and moving jobs overseas. I recant, 2003’s Market-drop was not W’s fault… 2008’s was; because all he did was pick up the stick and keep the wheel rolling and now we’re in this mess. Where China owns more of our money than we do, foreclosures are approaching an all-time high and we are seeing serious swings in unemployment. As catawampus as the market is, not even God-himself could instantaneously balance it with a steady hand. THIS, my friends, this is what we get for abandoning long-term investment strategies in the 1980’s and expanding upon the “Quick-Buck” ideology during the 90’s internet boom. This (faulting Democrats AND Republicans), is the big I told you so that people like Brooskley Born and Paul Krugman had warned you was coming years ago.

And now you mock the stimulus package, well you know what… Fuck You. What the hell do you know? What school of economics did you attend and even if you are a doctor of economics, where the hell were you last summer? Five years ago? Twenty years ago? Your authority has been undercut and for good reason… because your science is flawed and obviously even the best of you (or at least those thought to be the best) didn’t fully understand our economic infrastructure, because look at us now! So what is Obama doing? He’s applying a proven method of recovery that FDR used during the Great Depression to slowly and soundly replace the foundation of our economy, because frankly… it hasn’t been tried since then. So how the hell do you know that it’s not going to work? Please, your crystal ball, if you will. And it makes perfect sense…? Private sector unemployment rising? Raise government employment levels by creating new infrastructure projects. Medical insurance approaching astronomical levels? Implement socialized medicine AND create jobs in the process. Technological stagnation? Open up stem-cell research and emphasize incentives for alternative fuels, hybrid technology and information technology. The data-entry requirement alone to move us paperless employs half of our unemployed (that’s an exaggerated comment). Economy drowning? DO SOMETHING! And that’s what he’s doing… something, anything; just so long as it’s not a continuation of the short-term gain policies that have dug this whole for the past 30 years. Build the goddamn train! I don’t care where the money comes from, the long-term revenue stream is invaluable to America 15 years from now. It’s money in the pocket of our children and isn’t that the point?

So what Republicans…? What now? Tow the opposing line so that if this thing blows up in Obama’s face, two years from now your “I told you so’s” cement your return to congressional power? You’re as transparent as glass over water and I really don’t much appreciate your political play here, because it is not what we need right now. Furthermore, I abhor your attempts to pass yourselves off as the reborn fiscally-responsible party… where the hell have you been for the last eight years? You’re in the doghouse, my red friends, and you’re not going to get off that easily this time. You have some debts to pay in the minority sector and some trust to rebuild with former allies and the people before me, and people like me even give heed to a word you speak. Consider this political prison time. You deserve it.

Two years. I refrain from passing judgment on Barack Obama for two years, because this chaos he’s sworn into is not a quick fix and will take at least that long to prove the validity of his program. If after two years our situation is worse, if we are not even near the halved-budget deficit he’s said is possible… well then, I’ll begin to criticize and my politics will then be reviewed for propriety; but that’s the least I can afford the man, because he deserves two years at least. And I implore all of you to do the same, because this is not his fault and he has been forthcoming in saying that this will take years to alleviate and I appreciate his pragmatism. If after two years his milestones are miserably short… you have your referendum on him in the form of 2010 congressional elections, but until then… you are not an economist and even if you are, that means not a damn thing right now; so please, shut your mouths and let the man work. Should he fail, your pride will be uncontrollably bright; should he succeed, your end-game is the veritable destruction of Republican power for the next decade, if you’re lucky. Shut your mouths and pray. Pray this all gets worse, because secretly, that’s all I see you really wanting right now. Failure for the right to say ‘I told you so’.