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The Story You Will Never Read: Redskins Owner Steps Down

December 30, 2013 1 comment
Snyder announces he is banishing himself to his $70 million yacht.

Snyder announces he is banishing himself to his $70 million yacht.

In a stunning display of maturity and personal awareness, despicable Washington Redskins owner, Daniel F. Snyder, today fired his head coach then himself.  “You pretty much have to fire a coach who finished with a 3-13 season,” said Snyder.  “But the real problem has been me all along,” he announced to a shocked gaggle of scribbling reporters.

“From day one, I have let my gigantic ego, some would call it Napoleonic in nature, interfere with every aspect of our operations,” admitted Snyder.  “I will confess that a strategy of bringing in tremendously overpriced free agents well past their prime may have backfired.  It is also possible that giving preferential treatment to certain star players may have been, er, misinterpreted and might have been demoralizing to other lesser players in the locker room.”

Snyder, however, refused to apologize for suing Redskins season-ticket holders for failure to make payments after losing their jobs during the recession, saying that the team’s dismal performance had otherwise provided him little joy besides crushing and annihilating the powerless.

Snyder also stood by his decision to have once banned all signs at FedEx field critical of him or the team.  “There’s a cost to free speech,” said Snyder.  “You can think all the bad thoughts you want about me and my horrendous track record as a conniving, profiteering schmuck, but you can do that in the privacy of your hovel and certainly not in my beautiful stadium.”

In his shocking announcement that he would sell the team, Snyder raised eyebrows even further, when he disclosed he was becoming principle owner of City Paper, a publication he once sued for libel.  “City Paper, I assure you, will spend the next ten years correcting the historical record to what it should be in my mind.”

Asked to enumerate the many reasons for his consistent failure as an owner in less than 3 hours or so, Snyder demurred, saying only that his biggest fault was loving the Redskins too, too much.

“My love for this team and for the Native American people of America has possibly blinded me.  The great passion I have felt for the team and all the oppressed Indian tribes they have always represented may have led me to take impetuous actions from time to time.  So blame me for caring too much,” he concluded as he wiped away a single, sad, yet symbolic tear.

Pope Francis as Person of the Year

December 11, 2013 Leave a comment

pope-francis-boy

If ever there was a no-brainer for Time magazine’s selection of Person of the Year, it is this amazing Pope. There’s an interesting new survey that explains how he is resonating with Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll
finds an amazing 92% have a positive view of Francis and 95% of the Catholic Church in general. Pope Benedict was at 73% after the announcement of his retirement last February.

There is a slight political divide. His ratings are highest among Catholics who describe themselves as moderate or liberal. But even “conservative” Catholics give him a 91% approval rating. Non-Catholics give him a 62-18 favorable/unfavorable, compared to 48/31 for Benedict.

The reasons for the amazing appeal of this Pope seem fairly obvious to me. His humility, his call for economic justice and equality, his warnings about the excesses of capitalism all echo the words and philosophies credited to Christ himself. Those who know Francis say his own experiences as a Cardinal in Argentina inform these views, especially on economic issues. Through Argentina’s rough, depression-like economic downswings he saw first-hand the massively wide gulf between the poor and the rich. At a time when this disparity has never been greater in the United States and throughout the world, his message resonates powerfully.

But those on the moderate/liberal side of the equation should not misconstrue the Pope’s populist positions as a change in Church doctrine on a host of controversial issues. What has changed is the emphasis.

Agree or disagree with aspects of these doctrines, for example, there is a basic consistency to them. On abortion, it is completely consistent to be anti-abortion and anti-death penalty. Conversely, in my opinion, there is a dissonance in espousing pro-choice/anti-death penalty views or anti-abortion/pro death penalty positions. I mean sanctity of life is sanctity of life. And while I admit I am still in the “dissonant” camp, I can still step outside my views and see the inconsistencies of my own political beliefs.

The point in regard to the Pope’s emphasis on certain issues is that the Church often lands on both sides of the political ledger, with positions on economic equality and against the death penalty, for example, falling on the liberal side and policies on abortion and homosexuality on the conservative side. The most recent Popes have dwelt exclusively on the conservative side of things and in the process have alienated moderates and progressives. Francis, meanwhile, is emphasizing things like economic equality and brings his great sense of humility to bear on topics like homosexuality in which he states, in his own words- “Who am I to judge?”

Ultimately, I think it is his disarming humility that is the foundation of his appeal. He walks the walk. He lives in a modest apartment. You won’t ever see him wearing Benedict’s famous red Prada slippers. He has literally washed the feet of convicts and beggars. Vatican security confirms he regularly sneaks out at night to mingle with normal people. He classifies himself first and foremost, not as Pope, but as a sinner.

I know there remains a very deep well of anger against the Catholic Church for its past actions; from sexual abuse and attendant cover-ups to economic hypocrisy in building wealth- quite literally through the contributions from the poor and dispossessed.

But in this miracle of a Pope, there is hope. Hope that humility, enlightenment and the philosophies of Christ himself, will lead the Church, and the rest of us, to a much, much better place.