POLITICS: While many were excited to comment on inauguration events and were swept up by the exuberance of Joe Biden, the stylish grace of Michelle Obama, and the youthful innocence of the Obama girls snapping phone flicks, the governmental machine still raged on. If there is one lesson I hope people learn from President Obama's first term it is that it takes more than one political outlier who is able to galvanize the nation to redirect the political machine. While an estimated 1 million people gathered in DC for the inauguration ceremonies, Virginia lawmakers were busy trying to put in place policy intended to have a Republican president taking oath in 2016. The GOP in VA proposed a bill to redistribute electoral college votes so that the impact of urban areas densely populated by people of color would have less impact than would more rural areas. This smacks of the same type of race-tinged voter manipulation that lead the PA House Majority Leader, Mark Turzai to utter this memorable line in June.
"Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,”
If this goes through in Virginia, what would stop GOP officials in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, and Illinois from trying to do the same. If voter district gerrymandering could work in swing states, surely GOP honks would have no problem trying to redistrict states like California and New York. Now that we have put our inaugural ball gowns and tuxes away it is time to make sure that we're paying attention. Those who turned out for inauguration better be voters in the mid-term elections. It is clear what the GOP plan is, and if people want to see the President move forward with his agenda in these next four years, then allowing a GOP-dominated House won't work. Unfortunately Nate Silver is already forecasting that I shouldn't get my hopes up for a 17-seat swing in 2014 that would return the Dems to a majority.
SPORTS: It's going to be an eerie feeling in Los Angeles come mid-April when the playoffs start and the Staples Center will have already packed up the hardwood floor that the Lakers play on. As we hit the midpoint of the season, it looks like we are going to see the Clippers, aka the Staples Center stepchildren, make the playoffs while the main Staples Center tenant will be drowning their sorrows at an Hermosa Beach watering hole. Not since the '75-'76 season have we seen the Clippers in the money round without the Lakers. This will be a first in my lifetime, and it will be interesting to see how LA responds. Will Jack, Denzel, and Cube support the Clippers? Will the tall apartment building across from Staples unveil a Clippers mural? All food for thought, but the real nitty gritty is what are the Lakers going to do to turn it around. What will be the move that rights the ship? The only marketable pieces on the team are Kobe and Dwight. Pau Gasol's market value has been destroyed by Coach D'Antoni, and discussing trading Kobe is ludicrous (contract is a monster, 30M @ 35?). Lakers fans will talk all playoffs about the 16 Championship banners that currently hang in Staples, and I'm glad they have that to hold onto. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchack have some work to do here and it might take a while to get it right.