CONFESSIONS OF A CONDOR: Love among the ruins

By Judge Mark J.Plawecki

“Who collects what money from whom  in order to spend on what is all there is to politics, and in a serious country should be a preoccupation of the media.”
— Gore Vidal

For this column Condor is joined again by predecessor Spartacus and their errantly erudite pal Boethius. The Place: Bankrupt America’s new epicenter: Grosse Pointe Shores, MI. The Time: Super Bowl XILV (The Year of Rozelle 2010 for non-Romans).
Sparty: Hey, what gives with Grosse Pointe Shores, not long ago the nation’s 7th wealthiest enclave and still third richest city in Michigan?
Bo:    On the watch list for receivership, I’m afraid. Joining the likes of Detroit, Highland Park, Ecorse and, due to the commercial real estate collapse, Troy.
Sparty: But how is it possible that this blissful bastion of busy bees and blessed billionaires is in serious financial trouble?
Condor: According to reports, $16.6 million in unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities. But ask our host, Super CPA/Lawyer and Shores councilman Thaddeus Kedzierski. Political newcomer Ted noticed something was wrong with the city’s financial books, and is making residents aware. Don’t be too concerned about GPS though; such crises are happening in cities across the country. Los Angeles may be bankrupt by summer.
Bo:    Too bad Ted isn’t employed as watchdog for Pentagon spending.
Sparty: Guys, I’m seeing “Obama Socialism” bumper stickers on my drives to the bread lines.
Condor: As our pen pal Tommy K begins every letter now, “Be careful, you might get what you voted for.”
Sparty: We voted for a Bush Third Term?
Bo:    Tommy likes to remind us of our failure to understand that President John McCain was fully prepared to save the nation from the policies Senator John McCain had espoused since Super Bowl XVIII (1984).
Sparty: The Raiders beat Washington that year . . . and Washington’s been raiding us since. Why isn’t Condor watching the game?
Bo:    Boycotting it, for 10th consecutive year. You see, football replaced baseball as America’s most popular sport in 1968, the Year of Super Bowl II. Condor thinks it no coincidence that the country’s serious financial woes began to alarmingly mount that year. Funding two wars (on Poverty and Vietnam) at once is always an expensive enterprise. Not to mention electing Nixon.
Sparty: If Con figures America won’t bounce back ‘til baseball reclaims the top spot in U.S. hearts and minds, we’re in HUGE trouble. He’ll need intervention from the mythological Graces to make that happen. Today’s game may be the most watched event ever (Editor’s note: It was.)
Bo:    “We didn’t get here overnight.” I learned in Lansing last week. That goes for the nation as well. For instance, in 1975. . .
Sparty: You mean the Year of Super Bowl IX, Pittsburgh over Minnesota. . .
Bo:     I mean the year the top 148 U.S. corporations paid $10 billion in U.S. taxes and $20 billion to foreign governments. The top eight “American” banks all showed a profit, yet none paid taxes.
Sparty: Precursor to 2008, huh? We should have Transparency Ted explain that one. But he’s busy hobnobbing with Ralph Wilson and/or Doug Hamel.
Condor: Our corporations now pay 12 percent of all Federal revenues. In the 1950s, they averaged 28 percent.
Bo:    Plus they’ve received an early Valentine’s Day gift from the Supremes’ Fab Five. Citizens United v Federal Election Commission says big corporations can spend unlimited funds to buy, er, I mean support preferred political candidates. Foreign corporations, too.
Sparty: Speaking of Valentine’s Day, wasn’t this Super Bowl the closest in time to February 14?
Condor: Correct, Spartamo. Bo thought it appropo to merge “the celebration of love and affection between intimate companions.” In this case America and the NFL.
Bo:    A look at Friday’s national corporate comic-strip, The USA Today shows…
Sparty: It was super cool! XXXIV of its LIV pages devoted to sports and entertainment, XXVI to sports alone, and XX on The Game. I’d say proper priorities.
Condor: “Bread and circuses,” reminds a wise Federal judge-in-waiting. But it’s going to end in 19 months.
Sparty: Say it ain’t so, Bo!
Bo:    Condor’s right. The NFL owners are going to lock out the players. Their $5 billion guaranteed TV revenues aren’t enough to keep profits at acceptable levels. So the players will have to spend 2011 like their NHL brethren did in 2004 -2005.
Sparty: And you think the Tea Parties are mad now…
Bo:    Actually, the NFL is the most successful form of socialism in world history. Don’t forget, all the TV revenue is divided equally between the teams. So every one (except, by secret charter agreement, the Lions) has a chance at success. As Art Modell once noted, “We NFL owners are 32 republicans who vote socialist.”
Sparty: Well, that pinko-commie lock-out’s not gonna play well in Pete Hoekstra’s Holland, or even the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor.
Condor: (smiling) I know . . . maybe then We the People will put the Summer Game back on top. If only Fox will keep the contests under four hours.
Bo:    With its Steroid Era exposed and hopefully over, Maddux’s amazing achievements acquire an even greater luster. Hey, STOP GLANCING AT THE SAINTS’ TDs, BOYCOTT CHEATER!
Sparty: He can’t help it. Ted has nine TVs.
Condor: Anyway, with his career earnings completely saved, maybe Mad Dog can help bail out LA. After all, he did end his playing days pitching in relief for the Dodgers.
Judge Mark J. Plawecki serves on the bench of the Wayne County 20th District Court. Spartacus offers a perspective on today’s right-wing political legal movement. Plawecki is president of the Polish American Legal Society (PALS), an association of friendly attorneys. It is currently quite solvent, reports its longtime treasurer… Ted Kedzierski.