Day: January 6, 2017

Electoral college serves a purpose

To the Editor:   Gene McIntyre started his column (An equation for disaster? Dec. 30, 2016) with the wrong premise. Alexander Hamilton and others created the Electoral College so states with low populations wouldn’t be left out of the process. If they hadn’t created the College, a few large states could control all national elections. For that reason alone the Constitution would most likely not have been ratified. As for his totally biased remarks about Trump, who knows? Many of us had serious concerns when an inexperienced neighborhood organizer and party hack was elected. We didn’t disavow our country or the Constitution. The election is over. It was constitutional. Give the president-elect a chance. That is an equation for Democracy. Kent McCurdy...

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Will Trump let Obama go quietly?

By E.J. DIONNE JR.  Will Donald Trump deprive President Obama of what we have come to think of as a normal post-presidency, the relatively serene life of reflection, writing, philanthropy and high-minded speeches to friendly audiences? In recent decades, we have become accustomed to the idea of ex-presidents who leave political combat behind. They might occasionally speak out on behalf of their party: Bill Clinton was an effective “explainer in chief” for Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. But with some exceptions (Jimmy Carter on the Middle East comes to mind), they usually avoided trying to influence policy. In their above-the-fray roles, former commanders in chief sometimes improved their standing in the polls. George W. Bush is a prominent example of the less controversy/more affection dynamic. It is already clear that Obama, leaving office at a young 55, intends to pursue something more than the quiet life. He will lay down some preliminary markers on policy next week in a Farewell Address. He has signaled that he wants to energize a new generation of Democrats and help rebuild a party that he will leave in less than optimal shape. Democrats control neither the House nor the Senate and have seen their share of governorships and state legislative seats decimated. He has already lined up to work with Eric Holder, his former attorney general, to help Democrats in gubernatorial...

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Supporting our local teams is in our DNA

Why do I care about the fate of any sports team?  Why do I consider the teams “my” teams?” I have no impact on or personal reward from the outcome of any game my favorites play.  For the sake of transparency here, my favorites are the University of Oregon Ducks and Seattle Seahawks.  Meanwhile, what’s most silly? I feel temporarily upset when either one loses and get a boost when they win. I have talked to friends about this phenomenon and they’ve not been much help.  Some say they’ve just always been a fan of so and so.  They’ve attended a college or grew up in a certain city, say, for example, with an NFL team.  Their dad liked that team so it’s an emotional inheritance.  Whatever the answer, it is always vague and imprecise; in other words, they do not really know why, but just feel something and carry it like a crucible in team colors. But what is it?  Where does it come from? What purpose does it serve? I soberly recognize the irrationality of identifying with a team I never played on, such as the Ducks, although I did earn graduate degrees at UO but as an older student, and would have viewed myself mad if I’d traveled to Seattle for a try-out, even forty years ago when I was still a young guy with a flat tummy. According to the anthropologists, there’s a connection. As long ago as the Middle Ages, peasants played a version of...

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