Street food and soccer, war and Westboro

Of street food, soccer, shad and one fine ale from Westminster

March 23, 2011|By Dan Rodricks

Nobody asked me but . . .

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger means well with his bill to restrict when and where the Westboro Baptist Church can carry out its hateful, homophobic protests at military funerals. But I have a better idea: Get every local and national television news operation to sign a pledge to stop giving the Westboro nutcakes airtime. They don't need news coverage; they need to be ignored.

I think we need to fill the First Mariner Arena for the Baltimore Blast on Friday night. In case you've missed it: The Blast will play in the Major Indoor Soccer League championship for the sixth time in nine years. The opponent is the Milwaukee Wave, game time 7:35 p.m. Tickets are on sale. You can walk over to Hopkins Plaza on Thursday at noon to meet the home team. They're having a party.

Nobody asked me but . . .

The president of the Maryland Senate, Mike Miller, ought to man up and allow death penalty abolition to come to the floor for debate. Mr. Miller supports capital punishment — he's pledged to personally give any killer who deserves it a lethal injection, and he's been bellyaching about delays in executions — but that's no reason to keep the rest of the Senate from voting it up or down.

The governor of Maryland crusaded for repeal of the death penalty two years ago, brandishing the Civiletti Commission report in support, but he's taken a complete walk on the second effort this year. This been-there-done-that style of governing is just so unimpressive.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore looks petty when it refuses to sell its vacant school buildings to city charter schools. Maybe the time has come for the AOB to step aside for the resurgent public schools, sell its properties and put the cash into other causes.

Nobody asked me but . . .

The Saison Darkly, a Belgian-inspired brew from Stillwater Artisanal Ales of Westminster, is outstanding. I had it with St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage at Gertrude's, a perfect match.

Baltimore needs to permit and encourage more street food — and I don't mean hot dogs. I'm talking about a wide array of ethnic dishes — from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America — prepared in small stalls on a single block of downtown that would become known as the place to go to "eat street." I'm talking steamy bowls of noodles and other Asian delicacies, hot crepes, falafel, ethnic breads and pastries. A couple of guys have set up a Middle Eastern wagon near the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse; they're selling spicy chicken and lamb with basmati, and it's an excellent deal. Give us more — a street food row.

Speaking of row … I mean, roe. I spotted the first shad roe of the season in the seafood case at the Giant in Waverly. That signals spring, the annual shad run and my annual treks to local creeks to fish for the hickories and Americans as they migrate from the ocean. There's a particular spot in Baltimore County that attracts shad anglers who drink Budweiser Icehouse and leave dozens of empty bottles, whole and shattered, all over a big rock at a certain turn in the Gunpowder Falls. It's an obscene ritual. I wish there were a way to train the gang of great blue herons that gather nearby to attack the silvery shad to go after the human trash bums instead.

Nobody asked me but . . .

Congress actually likes it when presidents launch wars, big and little, without them. Liberal Democrats might bellyache about President Barack Obama not getting their approval for the Libya attacks, but we've been here before. Presidents and generals do what they want and answer questions later. They won't admit it, but I think most in Congress prefer it that way.

We ought to increase the size of our military and bill other nations, including China, for our services. "The United States spends almost as much on its military as the rest of the world put together," reports Gideon Rachman, foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times and author of "Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety." Maybe we should stop all the pussy-footin' about our role in the world, expand the military, make new treaties and contract to defend any nation willing to hire us. There might be a better plan for U.S. economic expansion and job growth, but I doubt it.

Dan Rodricks' column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. He hosts Midday, Mondays through Fridays, on WYPR. His e-mail is dan.rodricks@baltsun.com.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.