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The Little Bighorn had to happen precisely as it did, with the ensuing loss of life, for America to grow into the place that it is today. Think of it this way: for Americans in 1876, the massacre at the Little Bighorn was the very visceral twin of the attack on 9/11.

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Can Barack Obama Play HORSE?

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H-O-R-S-E, it tells us in the basketball manuals, is a shooting game. You take a shot. If you make it, your opponent must make the exact same shot that you did. H.O.R.S.E. is the best and oldest game in the playgrounds of basketball anywhere the game is played. H.O.R.S.E. is a contest of skill, creativity and daring. So is being the President of the United States.

In H.O.R.S.E. if your opponent misses making the shot that matches yours, he or she now has H. The goal is to force your opponent to spell H-O-R-S-E before you do.

We all know by now that Barack Obama loves basketball – loves playing it, watching it, talking about it, loves the superstition and the ritual of the game. He played his mandatory basketball game the morning of the election. For him, that’s customary. Voting and basketball. Maybe H.O.R.S.E., or a pick-up game with several other players.

President Elect Obama has never lost an election. The basketball superstition is alive and well and working. This will quickly become the national chic now, just like Obama sneaking the occasional cigarette, or Mrs. Obama putting the media in its place, or his little girls becoming the “it” children. That’s how these things work. Ambitious people who can barely throw a ball will now pretend to be part of the universal basketball culture of the urban streets. Count on it. Ranches in Texas are officially so five minutes ago.

This is something we will all have to get used to. Obama is a basketball guy, not a runner like George Bush, or a golfer like Bush’s father, or a half-hearted jogger like the pre-weight loss Bill Clinton. Obama loves the city game – basketball.

There’s something else we will also have to get used to. Obama comes from the toxic waste of big city ward political machines. There aren’t many of them left – Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, Baltimore a little bit, Trenton, Newark, parts of New York, and of course, Chicago. Stealing from the public in grand and outrageous ways is an art form in those cities. Just check into the corruption trial of State Senator Vince Fumo in Philadelphia, now playing in federal court. It makes the governor of Illinois and the rest of the political thieves in Chicagoland look like petty crooks.

It isn’t even Christmas and already Barack Obama has had an H. hung on him by the fraud who sits in the governor’s mansion in Chicago. This is big time H.O.R.S.E. on a national scale. To the people who make and break politicians out there in Chicago and New York and Philadelphia, everything, even Washington, D.C., is just another neighborhood playground – and someone is always looking to start up a game.

There’s even talk now that Governor Blago’s piggish conduct was so irritating and potentially disastrous that Obama’s closest aides tipped the FBI and told them feed on the governor. The governor’s opinion of the incoming President clearly and profanely reflected Obama’s refusal to play quid pro quo. Still, the foul smell lingers in the air like a hot, humid day in the Chicago stock yards.

The new President walked in, eyes wide open, knowing all about the economy disintegrating and two pointless wars going very, very badly. That established the ground rules in this, his biggest game of H.O.R.S.E., ever. But now, he has to reach out and do something positive, something unmistable to match the H that Blago-the-foul mouthed-greedy pig has already hung on him as a badge of dishonor by Chicago association.

If Barack Obama somehow manages to win this initial game of big city neighborhood H.O.R.S.E. it will tell us all we need to know about his future prospects. And our own.

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