Impressions of the Week

It's the last day of the work week for me, and I haven't posted anything new. Time to gut it out and get to working on this blog. A quick round up of what has caught my attention in the past week.

Starting with what is most important, the rosters of the hockey teams for the Olympics to be played in Sochi have been announced, and the Chicago Blackhawks will have ten players traveling to Russia. Patrick Kane will be playing for the Gold Medal Winning Team USA, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith will bring home the Silver Medal with Team Canada, Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya will play for Sweden, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus will play for Slovakia, and Michal Rozsival will be playing for the Czech Republic.

In other sports news, congratulations to Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox, who has been selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with sometime Chicago Cub Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

Robert Gates memoir of his time as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barrack Obama was released. There is a lot of talk about his impressions of President Obama and, to a lessor extent, Hillary Clinton, but I really don't think any of that is surprising. Nothing President Obama has said or done since being in office has left me with the impression he had any regard for our military efforts. I will point out that, even though the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was quick to take credit for getting our troops out of Iraq, and does deserve a lot of the scorn and derision directed at him for what is now happening, like the loss of Fallujah to al Qaeda forces, I always had the impression that all the agreements and timelines for withdrawal were already in place when he took office, and that he did not do anything substantial to alter them. So, remember, this time at least, George Bush really does share some of the blame.

Not getting as much attention from the press or blogosphere is what Gates wrote about when he first took over as Secretary of Defense. His predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, left after a contentious term of service. What was the culture and moral in the Pentagon like when Gates arrived? Was there relief that there was a changing of the guard? Were the uniformed leaders open and honest about the situation on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the modernization efforts, or were they guarded and careful about what information they shared and with whom?

Also getting the blogosphere and twitterverse into a frenzy this week was the revelation that aides to Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey used their authority to screw with traffic crossing the George Washington Bridge into the city you don't want your salsa to come from. The reason for this was to mess with the commuters of Ft. Lee, N.J. to get a sort of childish revenge on that city's mayor for not endorsing Christie for Governor. Of course, the internet is exploding as a result of this news. The analysis seems to be that this pretty much ends any chance that Christie might have had to become President, and some even calling for his resignation. Others are wondering what the fuss is really all about because it isn't like we had an ambassador killed as a result.

As you can imagine, a lot of the hubbub is a result of partisan politics, though Christie does get flak from both sides because of his hostility toward conservative Republicans. So, while many Democratic Party hacks are calling for Christie's head, most Republicans are calling the liberals saying such things hypocrites because they don't have a problem with corrupt partisanship when it is practiced by President Obama. Generally these Republicans go about listing many examples of that corrupt partisanship just to refresh the liberal memory.

For my money, I do think this is the end of Christie as a national candidate. While a Democrat governor could brush this off in the long run, Republican voters, especially in the mid-West and South, are not going vote for somebody with that baggage, especially when there are other (and in my opinion much better) choices. I can see a few aides being fired for the imbroglio, but I don't see any immediate repercussions for Christie, except maybe in his ability to get Democrats to work with him. In the long term, it will have a much greater affect on his political career.