Commentary: 'Jersey Shore,' Super committees and other conundrums

The (Tacoma) News TribuneAugust 23, 2011 

In the American spirit of problem-dodging and finger-pointing, today I offer 21 questions (but absolutely no answers).

1. If Franklin Roosevelt were still alive and still president, would he have to change his famous Depression-era rallying cry to “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself … and Standard & Poor’s … and European banks … and that tsunami … oh, and those who think defaulting on the nation’s bonds might be a cool idea. But that’s all we have to fear”?

2. When are we going to admit that the most significant and worrisome leading economic indicator is how many photos appear of stock brokers and traders with their hands over their faces?

3. How much sympathy will there be for any teacher strikes this year when people have just watched the value of their retirement accounts fall again?

4. When did we shift from a jobless recovery to a recoveryless recovery?

5. If Starbucks boss Howard Schultz is really concerned about the way the economy is hurting regular people, how about he charges them less than four bucks for a cuppa joe?

6. Do other CEOs feel hurt and betrayed when fellow club members like Howard Schultz and Warren Buffett say the rich have a responsibility to invest in jobs and pay higher taxes?

7. Come on, Howard and Warren, isn’t it enough that our corporate giants put the nation into this recession? Can you really expect them to help us out of it, too?

8. Does Congress realize it created unattainable expectations when it dubbed the 12-member debt-reduction group the “Super Committee?”

9. If the members of the committee are so super, why don’t they have sidekicks?

10. If U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is truly a Super Committee member, shouldn’t she designate U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks her Lois Lane and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell her Jimmy Olsen?

11. Are the Mariners really so bad that we can’t wait for a Husky football team that went 7-6 last year and a Seahawks team that went 7-9?

12. Is there a better way for CenturyLink to put its own stamp on the renamed stadium than to ask Paul Allen to replace that ratty looking FieldTurf with real grass?

13. Couldn’t Safeco Field groundskeeper Bob Christofferson coach his neighbors on how to keep grass green and growing when it’s used for a few dozen soccer games in the spring, summer and fall and only 10 football games in the fall and winter?

14. Given their standing as the region’s winningest franchise, don’t the Sounders deserve what most other Major League Soccer teams have, a playing field that meets international standards?

15. Are Cougars the only ones who think it’s OK to spend tax dollars on expensive stadiums for professional athletes playing for private companies but not OK to do the same for college students playing for public universities?

16. After the Huskies were pushed to come up with 100 percent non-tax financing for new Husky Stadium, will some future NBA owner have the guts to propose public financing for some future basketball arena?

17. Whose brilliant PR idea was it for Abercrombie & Fitch to offer to pay “Jersey Shore” cast members to NOT wear their clothes on the reality TV show?

18. Whatever they are offering, would they be interested to know that I’ll not wear their clothes for half as much?

19. If having tasteless New Jerseyites wear their clothes damages the brand, can they even calculate how much harm would come from having a middle-aged white guy like me wear them?

20. What would happen to its stock price (and how many pictures would there be of stock brokers with their hands covering their faces) if I started wearing Abercrombie & Fitch?

21. Given the half-dressed models in the company’s ad campaigns and catalogues, hasn’t Abercrombie & Fitch already been paying a lot of people to not wear their clothes … or any clothes?

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