Friday, February 28, 2014

How 'bout them numbers, you Republicans?

It has just been reported that the national deficit is now lower than at any time since 2008. It was also reported that if the GDP and the CGI (Combined Growth Index— something the Federal Reserve uses) continue to grow, even at the paltry rate of sub 3%, America will work itself out of indebtedness in 19 years. That's at sub 3%!  Should those same indices move above 5% the rate of payoff goes to 11-12 years.

What does this mean?

President Obama, while lowering taxes on the middle class and investing in infrastructure has also set the ship right after the debacle called the George W Bush spend and slash years. Obama is actually the most fiscally conservative president we have had since Bill Clinton. By far and away more financially conservative than Ronald Ray Guns, who dubled the US indebtendness in less than four years.

Let's look at some more numbers.  The reduction in armed forces spending will equate to twice that amount needed to pay for the overhaul of the expanded Medicaid program in all 50 states.  (Remember that there are many renegade states including most of the old Confederacy who have opted not to cover their poorest of the poor with this program and most of them have hidden behind the argument that it is too costly.) Well, now it is paid for and a reserve in the bank on top of that. No more argument other than to thwart the President and to hurt poor people.  A very Christian thing to do…

When your local politicians running for Governor and Lt. Governor start spouting about the liberal, one-size fits all socialist programs like Obamacare, remember they are paid for and are based entirtely on private market sector of funding, except for the poorest people, whose coverage is now in the bank. 

If we can stay out of invading countries aboard and the indices we spoke of above continue to grow at a 4-5% rate, and the savings from the sequestering is allowed to take place (something that Democrats railed against, but not this guy) then the 11 years quoted earlier would go to something like 9.5 years.

Think of that.  The good old USA could pay off its bonds in less than a decade.  Countries like China, Russia and Germany would be vindicated in investing in America.  Once again our financial footing is looking solid.

Just thought you would want to know this as we go into a cycle of election rhetoric that is sure to heat of the liars on the rightwing.  I am sure they will be calling Democrats "Tax and Spend Liberals"…they should be calling us tax cutters, budget cutters and nation builders. Liberal is okay to call us.  We believe in open discussion of new and exciting ideas. Like national healthcare and a reduction of the huge wastes in our Pentagon budget. 

If you do not like President Obama that is your free choice.  And I stand by you and your right to a nearsighted view.  You have that right to be wrong. But don’t call the man a communist or a socialist or un-American. He has done more to turn this country around than any president in three decades.

Now if he would only close Guantanamo.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

God bless Jan Brewer. (This time.)

In the 1960’s our country had a major uprising and we decided who could and who could not sit at the lunch counter.  In the end, it was decided that in a land of the free, everyone could sit at the lunch counter or ride anywhere they wished on the bus, or drink from any fountain or stay at any hotel. (Hell Augusta National even has black and female members now.)

Then came the crazies of Arizona. (Not all that dissimilar from Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, as well as Tennessee and Missouri.) They decided that by a vote of the legislature, they could force their Tea Party will on the public and make it okay to discriminate against gay people, based on religion.

Now to be fair, I know some good Christians (a bit of an oxymoron there...)who are just down right incensed at the gay lifestyle.  And that is their business and their right to be turned off by it.  But they would never stoop to exclude these people from the sect of potential shoppers for their commercial establishments. They may be small minded, but they are good bueiness people and they can count the money as well as the next guy.

But here is the bigger problem...if you took this law to its utmost realm of possibility, then one could say that a doctor or a hospital or a pharmacist  could refuse service of anyone it deemed did not fit their religious beliefs. Not Mormon enough for you?  Sorry no pre-school inoculations for your child.  Too off colored in humor for you?  Sorry, no coffee for you at the local caffeine dive.  Haven’t been fully immersed in baptism only sprinkled?  Sorry, we can’t operate on your appendix inn our hospital. That is how ridiculous this law could have made it.

Not just gay people.  But anyone that even remotely rubbed you and your religious views the wrong way could be excluded from services rendered and products sold in Arizona.

Luckily, their bat-shit crazy governor, Jan Brewer, had a moment of clarity, or a frightening dose of reality when she realized the economic impact this stupid right-wing law was going to have on her state, and she vetoed the measure. 

A bullet was dodged.  

But why was this insidious piece of legislation even brought to floor of a lawmaking body, let alone passed?  Aren’t we, as an educated, civilized  people beyond all this hate and bigotry?  Haven’t we learned our lessons well enough to know right from wrong?

Had Governor Brewer signed the law into place, Jim Crow would once again be alive and well OFFICIALLY in America.  To be sure, Jim Crow still exists just under the surface in some areas.  Just visit Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and East Texas. Crow has much support in these dark corners of failed enlightenment.

But Arizona can breathe a bit easier.  Their state will not be humiliated (too much) on late night talk shows, nor made fun of (too much) by comedians and editorial cartoonist. And the real winner, the real winner is not the LGBT community, even though the law was aimed at them: no, the real winner is the U.S. Constitution. We the people are still a collective until not segregated by race, religion, creed or lifestyle.

Thank you Jan Brewer.  You helped make America a better place to live.  For once, you acted like a true leader.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Beleive in Jesus, Ted Nugent, the NRA and my Glock 9mm.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you may have missed the fact that Texas is about to hold election primaries.  And the bigger news is the GOP and its right-wing zinger little brother, the Tea Party, are about to have a family feud that rivals the Hatfields and McCoys. Every commercial you hear some would-be candidate is expounding on how he individually got Ronald Ray Guns elected President (some, even before they were born).

All ads have this in common… “I will work to kill anything that has the slightest stench of Obama on it.”  Even senators and state legislators who cried out for federal funds from the Obama administration during the years for emergencies and for economic recovery, are now staunchly anti Obama. In fact that word has become the “O” word.  Kind of like the “N” word in Texas politics. You would think each of these candidates is running against Obama himself. They are all trying to squeeze into th tightest corner in the right hand side of the box, that I am surprised the damn box has flipped over.  (It may well in the general election.)

The claims and the in- party partisan bickering has leapt to all time highs.  Conservatives like John Cornyn are being called liberal because they voted for a tax increases or for budgets ceilings to be raised or for simply being there when Congress was in session... and those are just the starters.

No one has chronicled this better than Jacqueline Floyd of the Dallas Morning News.  As a public service for those of you not living in the DMN area, here is her column today.  Enjoy:

Floyd: Texas primary election is a wild-eyed race to the far right.

Every time we got comfortable this weekend — for a meal or a nap or a backlogged TV episode — the phone rang.
It was never a person. It was a steady barrage of push polls and robo-calls, all meant to influence us in the state primary election, which is still an interminable week away. I may be influenced to jump off a building before we get there. 

As every Texan is painfully aware, tea party challengers are going after “establishment” Republicans across the state. The result is a frenzied, squealing race to the right as candidates vie frantically to be the most bona-fide rock-solid hard-core conservative in all the land. 

A Houston Chronicle editorial this week called this year’s GOP primary campaign a “googly eyed, wagging-tongue ritual,” one that turns otherwise sensible adults into screeching bug-eyed zealots. 

A colleague over at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last week on a Tarrant County tea party official who warned followers against voting for Methodists, claiming that they’re more likely to be tarred with the taint of liberalism than God-fearing Southern Baptists.

You can’t tune in for a traffic report on the radio without hearing dark accusations that this-or-that Republican is a closet liberal who doesn’t love guns enough, doesn’t loathe the president enough, hasn’t thought of enough ways to punish and humiliate unauthorized immigrants. 

Some candidates have declined to stoop to this absurdity — there are several incumbents I can think of who are grimly enduring hysterical demonization from the way-out-there right. But plenty of them are running scared enough to be suckered into this craziest-candidate-standing competition. 

The proof is in our mailbox, which daily disgorges a plentiful stack of slick campaign mailers. A surprising number of them fall back on a nearly identical formula: The candidate is described as a “proud conservative” beloved by abortion opponents and pro-gun groups; the opponent is excoriated as, if not an outright friend of (title conspicuously omitted) Obama, at least a jelly-kneed moderate; a photograph is shown of the candidate posing at some fundraiser or pancake breakfast or turkey shoot alongside U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Those that can’t produce a photo with Cruz are pictured with the family or a shotgun or a pickup truck, but these are poor substitutes for the genuine me-’n’-Ted money shot. 

Candidates for all kinds of office follow variations on this script:

I will stand tall against Washington, “Obama,” liberals and every combination thereof. No matter how much chaos it causes, I will never cooperate or work with them in any capacity. If they get on the same elevator as I’m riding, I will not push their floor button.

My all-time favorite constitutional amendment is the second. I love it more than all the other amendments put together. I support a constitutional amendment that would replace the First Amendment with the Second Amendment so that the Second Amendment would come first.

My opponent says he is a lifelong Republican — if this is true, why did he appear in a 1971 grade-school history pageant as Grover Cleveland? Why has he offered no explanation for this troubling contradiction?

If elected, I will seal off all 1,900 miles of the Texas-Mexico border with a wall made of red-hot cast iron and topped with live flames and protected by a 50,000-member armed security force. This will be funded by my plan to raise new Homeland Security funds by eliminating entitlement benefits to anyone whose cellphone ring tone plays the opening bars of “La Cucaracha” or who owns one of those oversized souvenir sombreros with “Hecho en Mexico” embroidered on the brim.

I will stand very, very tall to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. The only legal exceptions will be the case of a union between one person and one firearm or between me and Ted Cruz — I’m just crazy about that man. 

I believe life begins not just at the nanosecond of conception, but when your great-great-great grandfather was conceived. I would support the concept of all human life beginning at the conception of the first single-celled organism to crawl forth from the primordial ooze — if I believed in evolution, which I don’t.

Well, it can’t be just us here in Texas. I suppose there may be places in this country where frantic left-wing candidates are trying to position themselves as stand-tall anarchists and demonizing their opponents as wavering in their perpetual outrage toward (title conspicuously omitted) George W. Bush. But we don’t live in that neck of the woods. 

What we’re getting is our great democratic process in its gaudiest and most exotic plumage. It can’t end soon enough.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Want a fight? Pick on someone your own size.

For some people, they don't like how the cookie crumbles.  Take the Girl Scouts and their current attack by extreme right wing religious Taliban in the USA.  It is despicable.

And in a rare case I am not going to use my words about it, but rather let you enjoy a wonderful column by Jacqueline Floyd of the Dallas Morning News. She said it better than anyone I've ever run across. And to think it was published in a Pro-Life  daily like the Morning News is all the more powerful.

BTW: this is rerun without permission but i do it as a public service for those of you who do not get this newspaper.

Floyd: Girl Scout cookie boycott is crazy; upsetting kids is cruel

Jacquielynn Floyd
If the witch-hunters and monster-shouters among us want to demonize Girl Scout cookies, there’s probably no point in trying to talk sense to them.

Once that kind of hysteria gets out of the barn, the stampede is on, shaking its horns and rolling its eyeballs and slinging long strings of slobber in its wake.

So if a noisy sect of cranks is truly determined to believe that Thin Mints came straight from Satan’s lunch box, well, that’s just more cookies for the rest of us.

Dark suspicion over the Girl Scouts, fueled by an extremist sliver of Waco-based conservatives, has been simmering for a while now. This time around, the epidemic of paranoia stems from one tweet and a single Facebook post.

Late last year, the national scouts organization’s official Twitter account cited a Huffington Post article about well-known and influential women of the year. The article named several women, including gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who favors abortion rights.

The organization also posted a link on its Facebook page to a Washington Post article about seven “women who made a difference in 2013.” One of the seven was U.S. Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius, who has called for mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives.

Out of the thousands of links-’n’-tweets the scouts organization issued, these two secondhand mentions were meant to reference lists of prominent and influential women.

These were not endorsements. No abortion-rights screeds. The Girl Scouts organization patiently if wearily reiterates that it doesn’t endorse candidates, doesn’t take a stand on abortion or contraception, does not involve itself in political issues.

Girl Scouts USA spokeswoman Kelly Parisi told the Associated Press that the articles were cited to highlight the year’s women newsmakers and “to encourage conversations about what it takes to be a female leader.” That’s it.

No matter. Pants-on-fire opportunists are using this nonissue to persuade the credulous that the Girl Scouts are actually a secret indoctrination conspiracy run by godless infidel feminists. They’re demanding a cookie boycott.

Demonizing Girl Scout cookies, I guess, is harmless-enough nonsense. Demonizing Girl Scouts, though, is a different story.

After buying groceries this weekend, I walked out of the supermarket, where a suburban mom was manning a card table while her sweet, eager scout daughter tried to drum up cookie sales.
The girl, who was no older than about 9, hopefully approached a woman shopper, asking if she would like to buy cookies.

The woman answered loudly: “I don’t contribute to groups that support abortion!” She fixed the girl and her mom with an angry, bug-eyed marmoset stare.

The unhappy mom said, stammering, “Really, that’s not true. I’ve researched it myself. It really isn’t true.”

The angry woman talked right over her: “I’ll never give a nickel of my money to a pro-abortion group! Never!”

It was awful. The little girl and a younger sister, who was about 5 or 6, looked stricken.
“Mom?” asked the scout, anxious and worried, as if she had done something wrong. “What’s abortion?”

“I’m not telling you,” the mother said miserably. The woman, clearly anxious to keep broadcasting her views to everybody within a mile, did not budge.

At this point, I jumped in. “I want cookies!” I said with hearty enthusiasm. “Show me what kind you have!”

Back on familiar turf, the sweet Girl Scout went smoothly into her sales spiel: “These are good if you like peanut butter. Or if you like caramel, these are really good, too.”

I emptied my wallet to buy cookies and scraped up change from the bottom of my purse to buy another box for U.S. soldiers fighting overseas. I hovered over the cookie table until the cruel, crazy woman had stalked off to the parking lot.

It should be an elementary point of civilized behavior, but for anybody who needs a refresher, there is a correct answer to someone offering you something that, for whatever reason, you do not want to buy. It’s “No thank you.”

You do not engage in political arguments about contentious, adult topics with unsuspecting children, ever. Even if your poor tortured head is honeycombed with crazy Internet rumors and outright lies, you say, “No thanks” and walk on.

I was so angry that I (girlishly) cried a little bit in the car. I cried because that sweet girl thought she had said or done something wrong and because her mom was in the hopeless position of trying to talk sense to someone determined to believe nonsense and because the younger sister couldn’t understand why everybody was upset when they were supposed to be having fun selling cookies.

I cried because the one person in this awful little drama who ought to have been embarrassed was the one person who wasn’t.

Next time the demon-shouters get good and worked up, remember to ask yourself: Who’s the real demon here?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stand your ground.

Music to loud?  Shoot a carload of teens. If one of them dies, too bad for him.)

Guy in a theater texting?  Shoot him.

You're a rookie cop and you barge into the wrong house without a search warrant and homeowner meets you with a gun in the middle of the night.  Shoot him.  Seven times.

Teenager going home after visiting friends crosses your yard.  Shoot him.  He looks like he’s going to kill you for sure. Oh yes, he was visiting those friends at a church service.

And so it goes.  Stand your ground is not only a joke, it is a deadly idea that needs to be wiped off the books in every state. And I can think of no state it needs to come off the ledger more than in Florida, because the juries there are not smart enough to understand the difference between true self defense and cold-blooded murder.

Stand your ground  is stupid.  It is the very mentality of the NRA's attack on reason.

Repeal it now.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

When is enough enough?

About a year ago I purchased a new camera for myself. It was a birthday present, or so I rationalized.  I didn’t really need it for I had two other good cameras. But there was something about this model that struck my fancy, so I laid down the greenbacks and walked away with what I believe to be the best camera I have ever owned.

Then a few days ago the emails started. “Are you using old technology?”  New advances in photography await you.”  "Your old camera can be replaced for pennies on the dollar. Hurry.”  And so on and so forth.

Promises of even greater photographic reproduction awaited me. All I had to do was trade in my less-than-a-year-old camera and get the company’s newest rendition. They told me I needed it to capture my pictures in the most vivid colors and the most accurate sharpness yet devised by man and God. It made it sound as if my failure to act would make every photograph I took from this moment forward a blurry image with barely discernible features of the subjects I studied.

And to think, my camera wasn’t even a year old, yet.

This company’s engineers had been working tirelessly through the nights and on weekends, no doubt, to insure the quality of the new camera was even better than the one I currently owned. Their claims were so exaggerated I would have expected they would issue a recall of my current model any day in order to replace it with this life-changing box and its lenses. But alas, no such offer came.  What did come was a coupon: 10% off for trade in before sixty days.

This is called marketing.

It is what drives commerce these days. Make them unsatisfied with what they have and make them want more, more, and still more.  Fast, lighter, thinner and better.  Must have. Gotta Have. Can’t live without it. And so it goes.

It is the very essence that drives the numbers on Wall Street. There is never such a thing as enough. There has to be more, more and more to come.  And it has to be purchased now.

Even my new car, which just turned a year old yesterday is already being sought by dealers in an offer to put me into the very best sedan the company has ever manufactured. Ever!

When will it end?  Where will it end?

I guess in my office.  I like my current camera.  I am keeping it.  And my car?  It isn’t even broken in yet.  May drive it to 300,000 miles. Take that Madison Avenue and Wall Street. I am satisfied.

Suddenly, I feel quite good. In my small way, I have fought back. Screw ‘em.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Evangelicals and the Taliban: cut from the same cloth.

The right wing radical movements of Christianity and Islam are very similar.

Now that lead-in sentence is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable, but it is very true. Both groups denounce those who do not bend to their beliefs as infidels and traitors.  They base all their actions on some order of a “holy scripture” which they are the sole arbitrator of interpretation.

Both the Christian right and the Islamic fundamentalist believe that women are inferior. They believe in a “Bible/Koran” based law. They believe they are persecuted. They believe in some form of paranoid reactionary obligation to strike out at anything that is not like them.

They both try and stir up the “undereducated and uneducated masses with rhetoric that will inflame passions and get them to march for their causes: even riot when necessary.

They both believe in an archaic system of laws and rules that are unbendable in their interpretation. They both want to limit the access to polls to those of their persuasion. I love this one, they both point to President Obama as the cause of the problems.  (He must be doing something right, then.)

Contraception and women’s health are of little to no concern to either side. Education and science are of little use to them either, as are rational thinking and the analytical process. On the other hand, taking their beliefs at face value, following their pack in root formula is considered to be obedience to a higher calling.

Things they cannot answer they shrug off to “God’s will.”  They want to look no further than that. In fact if you do wish to dig past their veneer, it is a sin against their religious beliefs. Faith, after all, doesn’t have to be proved — only practiced.

Both sides are hell bent on making everyone they can find, fall under their regime.  Both sides want power.  Both sides seek ultimate control of society. And both sides peace peace and love, except to those who are different from them. And then their hatred boils over and their venom spews forth.

The Taliban is evil. But so too is the emerging Christian Fundamentalist on the far right. They are no different than the terrorists who would bring us to our knees from without…only their practices will try and do it from within.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Ladies and gentlemen...the Beatles..."

This past weekend we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The Fab Four rocking America for the first time. 

Many of us were there. Sitting in front of our parent's black and white television sets and seeing how wonderful the change in generation was going to be.  We could feel the energy. We could sense the revolution. And it had harmony and melody with it.  And guitars. Glorious guitars.

On the following Monday we raced out to record stores and demanded they hand over 45's of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Yeah Yeah Yeah."

I am sure our parents were wondering just what in the world this craziness was about.  After all they had suffered silently as big band jazz was replaced with atonal, rhythmic  be bob and dry and lifeless crooners were replaced with Elvis.

But these guys, these four kids from Liverpool, were different.  Fresh faces, floppy hair and music that caught us and moved us.  Simple songs, but orchestrated right at our core.  We had to get it up and dance.  We had to twist and shout.  We had to.  The music made us.

And the music made a generation.

To be sure, there were The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Who and many other talented British groups, as well as our own Beach Boys and Byrds…but the lion’s share of the credit for awakening an entire generation belongs to George, Paul, John and Ringo…not to mention George Martin. Yes, The Beatles turned the world on to pop music like never before.

Over the top. Into space and beyond. The Fab Four’s music is still great even to this day. (I wonder if we will be humming any Nirvana tunes in 2052?)

The Beatles had a special quality all their own.  And timing was a major part of it.  They filled a void that was huge and hungry for a new sound, a new spirit and new expression. 

And the Beatles delivered.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.  They delivered.  And still do.  50 years later, they still do.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Money buys justice in Texas

State District judge, Jean Boyd ruled yesterday that a sixteen-year old DUI driver who killed four would get no jail time. Instead, his parent could pay for treatment and he would have a ten-year probation. The Dallas Morning News reports that the treatment may well come in Newport Beach, California at the parents’ expense, reported to be $450,000 a year.

You might remember this case when a psychologist for the defense said that Ethan Couch was suffering from a malady called “affluenza” when his car struck and killed four people on the side of a dark highway. That illness is described as a dysfunctional relationship with family, due to being coddled by wealthy parents to the point of not knowing right from wrong.

The real culprit in this injustice is the judge.  Jean Boyd just a few weeks before sentenced a fourteen-year old black youth to juvenile detention for hitting (one punch according to court records). The punch killed his friend.

The difference in these cases is that Couch had prior DUI run-ins with the law.  He was traveling at 75 MPH in a 40 MPH zone and he took four innocent lives.  And he is from a rich family.  The black youth, on the other hand,  had no priors and his family did not have money.

So it seems, at least on the surface that Judge Boyd was swayed with the glitter of the wealthy.  It is so bad that a recall petition has been started and is winding its way toward Governor Rick Perry.  That would probably do no good, since Boyd represents the very people who placed Perry into power.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as “affulenza” of not.  It sounds specious to me.  But even if there is such, to kill four people and to basically walk away from the crime with little more than a monetary slap on the wrist is a crime in itself. A crime against justice in Texas.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Coke got it right.

My family came from Italy and England.

My wife's ancestors came from England and Germany.

My neighbors came from Peru and Guam.

The people who live behind us came from Finland and Scotland. There is also a Puerto Rican and Colombian couple as well. And we all live in the center of lily-white, conservative, Dallas, Texas. Not one of us is Navajo or Cherokee or Creek or Sioux. Not a Native American among us; yet we are all proud, patriotic Americans who love this country and what it stands for.

And that is what the Coke commercial said so loudly and so eloquently. 

The United States is a melting pot: a country that was founded on diversity. A land that was built by immigrants from all corners of the globe. And to hear the small-minded brains rail about the commercial which ran in the Super Bowl, reminds me of how far we have slid back into the throws of the darkness of evil, mistrust and bigotry. If you listen to them, you would think that America was a white, Christian nation founded on the principles of Fox News. It was not and is not.

America is a land of opportunity for all. Regardless of color, creed, religion and sexual orientation. It is a land that was taken from the Indians by our forefathers. It is a land that we have settled and claimed now as out own.  But we — the people who live here now are not white only. Not Christian only. Not all Republican, right-wing only.  Some of us are even gay and lesbian. We are a nation of a mixed lot.

But we are a nation. And regardless of our differences, we are one people.  We are Americans.

Coke got it right.  Drink up. And shut up.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Heroin wins. Again.

Another celebrity is down.  Drugs.  Out of rehab and down.


Talent wasted.

It must be so very hard to break the cycle.  It must be next to impossible.  And that doesn't take away any of the tragedy in this, but the reality is, Hoffman made a decision and died because of it.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman decided he could handle heroin. He could not. And it killed him. His decision. His actions. His miscalculations killed him and took a wonderful talent away from us.

Regardless of how and where you stand on this matter, this actor died because of a very dangerous drug that is now in epidemic proportions in some areas of our country. It is not something to be played with, tried and toyed with. Heroin is a killer. It grips you and tightens its grip around your life until there is no life.

OD. Too much sauce. Popped a vein. Be as smug as you wish.  Hoffman died because he lost the fight with heroin. And his loss is all of ours, too. And that is what is so damn sad in this. We will never get a chance to see that talent work its magic on the screen again.

All because heroin won.

But never forget...Hoffman decided to play the game. It was his call.  His fault.