Last week, despite my failure to post herein, I was working on a piece examining the perceived shift of media attention from the destruction brought about by Katrina and Rita -- which took and/or otherwise affected many, many lives -- with the random miscellany of Brittany Spears giving birth, Kate Moss's contract with H&M being terminated on account of Ms. Moss's admitted cocaine use, and the then-upcoming verdict and, if applicable, sentencing of suspect Abu Ghraib Prison Abuser Army Pfc. Lynndie England.
In other words, I was anywhere from bemused to irritated over the fact that these nearly insignificant smatterings of news were occupying headlines while, all over the Louisiana Coast, people were mourning their lost family members, coming to grips with the destruction of the majority -- if not all -- of their physical property, and accepting the fact that many of same were without homes and insurance.
On the one hand, of course, there is more happening in the world -- if not this nation -- then the fallout from mother nature's ability to dole out destruction with impunity. And while I have nothing but compassion for those who have been affected by these natural disasters, I can also understand agenda setters like Rupert Murdoch and the like moving onto new topics -- people can only absorb so much human tragedy and bad news before they either become numb, lose touch or -- worse yet -- change the channel.
However, what I found mostly depressing -- in stark contrast to the inevitable confirmation to the Supreme Court of Judge John Roberts -- was this morning's article at ESPN.com detailing John McCain's questioning of Major League Baseball Union Head Donald Fehr at the Senate Commerce Committee regarding baseball's in-flux policy on steroids. Mr. McCain, speaking on the Committee's behalf, pressed Mr. Fehr to provide some idea as to when a revised agreement from the players would be reached with Major League Baseball. Mr. Fehr could not give a precise date because he could not say with 100% certainty that his proposed 20-game suspension for first-time abusers would be agreed upon by the Union. In response, Mr. McCain asked Mr. Fehr -- repeatedly -- "don't you get it?" Following up, Mr. McCain said, "We're at the end here, and I don't want to [take action and intervene in Major League Baseball], but we need an agreement soon. It's not complicated. It's not complicated. All sports fans understand it. I suggest you act and you act soon."
What's depressing is that John McCain -- and Congress -- are wielding their power to clean up baseball when remains and garbage lie fallow in what used to be New Orleans. The sanctitude of a game -- albeit the "national pasttime" -- is in Congress's line of sight ahead of the plight of nearly a half-million Americans.
I understand that the country must make progress and move on and not every hand and not every microphone must be a tool to help the people of and around New Orleans; but scolding an individual over a sport's steroid policy, especially given the dire circumstances far from Washington, is callow and appalling. The government is supposed to act to help people in time of need, and this news seems to represent the exact reason why I believe the less government there is, the better off we'll be.
Put another way, I don't understand it. I don't understand it at all.