Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Celebration, thanks and war

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 11:24 PM

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Nate Silver, the polling analyst for The New York Times, came up with something interesting the other day: If only women voted this fall, President Barack Obama would win by a landslide bigger than his 2008 margin, possibly even putting some solid red states such as Georgia into play.

If only men voted, Mitt Romney would win almost every state except California, Illinois, Hawaii and a few northeastern states.

Why do women support the president and men do not? Silver attributes it to the Democrats strength on issues important to women: equality in pay, the freedom of reproductive choice and the existence of a strong social safety net. What’s more baffling is Romney’s popularity among men.

Is it the swagger of the CEO that Romney projects? Is it the fact that he likes to casually threaten war against Iran and Syria? Is it the fact that he feels a woman’s place is in a bright red three-ring Avery binder?

Whatever the reasons, here’s a good opportunity for the women of America to take a stand.
They should be threatening a general strike if Romney wins the election. And since women are in charge of most households and many companies, this is no idle threat.

Our economy would quickly grind to a halt. Our families would disintegrate. Our lives would be greatly affected if the women of America suddenly stopped working. And since Romney’s policies would bring about a new recession and the destruction of many families anyway, women have nothing to lose by such a threat.

Republicans have been declaring war on women for more than 40 years now. It’s time that women declare war right back on them.

A meeting with Lugar

I stopped at Starbucks on my way back from lunch the other day and saw a familiar face standing in line: Sen. Richard Lugar. Having been disgracefully abandoned by the Republican Party he had served with distinction for almost 50 years, he apparently had nothing better to do on a Thursday afternoon than to walk around Downtown and grab a cup of coffee.

I saw this as a big opportunity. I walked up to him, shook his hand and thanked him for his years of service to the state and said that he would be missed in Washington.

“You know, Senator,” I said, “I’m more liberal than John Kerry and Ted Kennedy put together. But you and Bill Hudnut are the only Republicans I have ever voted for. You helped make this city great as mayor and you served the nation well as a senator. I’m just sorry I couldn’t have voted for you 100,000 more times in the primary.”

He thanked me and went along with his day. But my words were true. Few senators have

served their state better than Lugar did Indiana. His efforts to secure loose nuclear material in the former Soviet Union made our nation safer. Our farmers are better off for his progressive legislation. Our city thrives due to the efforts he made 40 years ago to plan for its future. He deserved better than to be tossed out of office in favor of a Tea Party hack like Richard Mourdock. It’s like watching Leon Spinks, as unworthy a boxing champion as there ever has been, knock Muhammad Ali on his ass.

I never thought I’d get a chance to thank Lugar personally for all he has done for the state, but now I have. I’m sure he didn’t know quite what to say in response, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to express my gratitude.

Fever title, ABA parallels

Watching the members of the Indiana Fever celebrate their first WNBA championship on Sunday night was a stirring sight. With tears of joy streaming down her face, the great Tamika Catchings thanked her teammates and the people of Indianapolis. They thanked her back.

It was the first professional basketball championship in Indiana since 1973, when the Indiana Pacers won the last of their three American Basketball Association titles. Few who watched the Fever game on Sunday are old enough to remember the Pacers’ last title; but for those who are, there are some eerie similarities.

Like the WNBA, the ABA struggled every year to maintain its existence amid the indifference of the media and the fans in many of the league’s cities. The Pacers usually played in front of large home crowds but, on the road, their opponents struggled to put fans in seats.

The last Pacers’ ABA championship, like the Fever’s title, was in many ways the end of an era.

Within two years, the Pacers had traded away their superstars or lost them to free agency. The Fever, with many veteran players, may not stay intact much longer than the 1970s Pacers did. So it makes it especially sweet that the hard work put in over the past decade or more has finally paid off in a championship.

Catchings, especially, deserved to hoist the trophy. Her name will forever be remembered alongside the other Indiana pro basketball greats — McGinnis, Brown, Daniels and Miller.

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