There was a time in basketball when a lesser team could try to even the odds of winning by eating up the clock or stalling. When playing a better team, the lesser team would get the ball and just stand there doing nothing. Dribble for a few minutes, pass the ball and dribble again. Unless the other team stole the ball, or the lesser team finally took a shot, this would decrease the chances that the better team would score. This tactic frustrates the better team and made for terrible basketball.
In order to combat this boring form of "play," basketball introduced a shot clock, a predetermined amount of time that a team can hold onto possession without shooting. The powers that be were smart enough to see the tactic was ruining the game and they changed the rules. In the pros, it's 24 seconds. In college it's 35 seconds. Even in high school, seven states now have rules that force teams to shoot baskets.
What we're seeing in the United States Senate is the stall. Whenever the republicans get the chance, they stand there dribbling or holding the ball, refusing to take a chance and shoot. Be it adding time consuming amendments to the health care bill, putting holds on judges and Presidential appointees or holding up passage of bills with procedural tricks, they've stopped or stalled almost any progress that would benefit the public.
Now comes word that the republicans are going to filibuster President Obama's jobs bill. Hopefully Harry Reid will call their bluff and make the repubs stall in public on the floor of the senate, while the American people can see for themselves who's really not working or their interests.
Basketball has almost rid itself entirely of the stall. It didn't work. It alienated fans and made for poor games. It masked bad teams by bringing the good teams down to their level. Time for Harry Reid and the White House to take a cue from the NBA and change the rules of the filibuster.
Basketball is only a game. Health care, jobs and governing are not.