Thursday, December 31, 2009
Now we look around—or in the mirror—and see men and women who were children not that long ago; remembrances of things that seemingly took place in recent times actually have decades behind them. It is as if we feel time pass, more than in the opposite manner of that original stage, but accelerated, to boot: years feel like weeks and days go by like minutes.
I bring this up because 2008 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of my high school graduation. But for reasons I’m unaware of our reunion was postponed until the following year. This event led to, in order to establish the necessary logistics, a small avalanche of people from that era of my life contacting me for the first time in decades. Many of them, once inseparable, have reminded me with their brief reappearance in my life that time and distance stealthily plot to weaken bonds once thought unbreakable. Or at least more durable.
But perhaps the ties bind us have nothing to do with the timing and/or geography. Except for the occasional e-mail exchanged with Mr. R, who has been living in Venezuela for decades, Mr. B is the only one from my graduating class with whom I have remained in contact. This is, of course, due to our long and close-knit friendship. Yet, Mr. B and I have not lived in the same time zone in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, there are other good friends from those days with whom I had little or no contact within the same period, despite the fact they live here, in NYC.
Obviously, when I hear from those old friends, the first order of business has been to catch up: professions, marriages, children, divorces, who has come out of the closet (there has been that, too) and more. But the sad part is the unexpected mention of deceased schoolmates. It is painful to learn of the passing of people with much life yet to live, but when it hits home, it’s a bit more confusing.
How is it that my boy, Mr. S—with whom I once had a different but perhaps as close a friendship as the one I had and still have with Mr. B—died not too long ago without my even knowing about it? Yes, of course: the result of not having nurtured our friendship over the years. But how did that happen? How does that unnecessary estrangement come to pass without significant cause or reason?
In the end, the purpose of sharing this post is to exhort us all to try and keep meaningful folks close to us while we can. Every day we are surrounded by constant reminders that time passes too quickly. Much too quickly.
Have a very healthy, safe, and prosperous 2010.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one to belittle Pujols’ accomplishments. The man is a fearsome offensive beast, without a doubt. But to compare him to a five-tool, hot corner defender (and let’s not forget his stellar days as SS) as well as an already sure-fire HoFer like Rodriguez—regardless of what a future Cooperstown voting committee may decide—isn’t even fair to the current pride of St. Louis.
Routinely derided for not being a clutch hitter in the post-season—an accusation which conveniently omitted his arrival in pinstripes in ’04, not to mention his career .302 batting average in Autumn—A-Rod decisively silenced critics in October and November of ’09, but what very well might be in his future is truly is something to look forward to.
In the eight seasons left on his Yankee contract, an average of 22 HRs per season would have A-Rod surpassing Barry Bonds for the all-time HR record. Which means he’d obviously pass The Babe as the Yankees’ HR king. If you factor in the opportunities to add a couple more MVP titles to his current three, and the possibility of acquiring another World Series ring or two, that would make him—whether you like him or not—one of the great Yankees. And all this while eventually playing in The Bronx for 14 complete seasons: longer than Munson, Donnie Baseball, or even Joe D, for those keeping score. (Btw, he has more career stolen bases than Jeter, the leader among current Yankees, himself in second place over-all, right behind the great Rickey Henderson’s tenure in pinstripes.)
All Rodriguez has to do is stay healthy. But if his strong work ethic and this year’s speedy recovery from hip surgery—and the dismissal of a planned second surgery—are any indication, A-Rod will be in fine form, with his time in The Bronx cementing his reputation as the greatest player of his generation. And the paycheck that went along with it will have been worth every dime. Not bad for a kid from Washington Heights.
It would be quite awesome to see, wouldn’t it?
(PS: Sad to see Melky go but he'll be better off playing every day in Atlanta and facing weaker NL pitching.)
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Yeah, that's the guy who needs a tongue lashing--not obstructionist, insurance industry shills like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), or a petty, disloyal, revenge-seeking egomaniac like Sen. Joe Liebermann (I-CT). I mean, the latter is a guy who repaid then-senator Barack Obama for being one of the few high profile Democrats who had his back, when most in the party wanted to send his ass packing, by crossing party lines and campaigning against him in the 2008 presidential campaign, and even passive-aggressively fueling the "he's-actually-a-Muslim" meme. What a class act.
That's who is getting a free pass, while Gov. Dean is called irresponsible for daring to take a stand against these clowns who want nothing more than to retain the health insurance status quo.
But, where is President Obama in all of this? I'm not talking about Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' condescending remarks about Gov. Dean's recent pronouncements. I'm wondering where the man who was elected to effect a change in precisely this kind of flawed government policy is hiding. More importantly, where is his leadership? Does he really care about health care reform? From the looks of it, not enough. The president's hands-off approach has been a great miscalculation and a somber disappointment. The veteran of hard-nosed Chicago politics we hoped would show up in these contentious times has not made an appearance. Instead, Obama has looked like the weak, milquetoast president many were afraid he would be.
Which reminds me of...
I'm with Gov. Dean on this one, obviously. Furthermore, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must, as others have suggested, bring back the public option AND the Medicare buy-in and let the chips fall where they may. If you're gonna go down in flames, do it with dignity, not defending some hollow, watered-down bill. Plan for reconciliation and in the meantime, let those who relish being on the wrong side of history have the opportunity to show their disdain for the poor, the uninsured, and those routinely bullied and scammed by the insurance industry.
As for kicking the likes of senators Lieberman Landrieu, Ben Nelson (D-NE), Max Baucus (D-MT) et al to the curb, I submit another appropriate clip from The West Wing routinely favored by fellow blogger Xmastime, which captures the essence of what to do about these profiteers and ass-kissers of the insurance industry:
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you are a rich, handsome athlete who feels like fucking every hot piece of ass that moves, by all means do so. Rinse and repeat. WARNING: Remain single until this urge recedes completely or at least considerably. Otherwise, significant loss of income and reputation may follow.
(If while married you continue to indulge, however, at least make an effort to involve yourself with women hotter than your own. The contrary is pointless and embarassing to all.)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
If congressional reconciliation is not sought or reached--which would only require 51 votes in the Senate, and not the infamous 60 being fought for--a weak, compromised health care reform bill, with both the public option and the Medicare buy-in for those between the ages of 55-64 removed, would be worthless.
Then again, if the legislation could not go through with a majority in both houses now, how much tougher will it be to do so later when the Dems have lost a few seats in the 2010 elections. (Rest assured, they will definitely lose some next year. And yes, I'm repeating myself.)
Meanwhile, that low-life insurance shill known as Joe Lieberman demonstrated once again how much of a petty, bitter old man he actually is.
Regarding the Medicare buy-in proposal Lieberman told the New York Times, "he was particularly troubled by the overly enthusiastic reaction to the proposal by some liberals, including Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York, who champions a fully government-run health care system."
In other words, he didn't judge the proposal on its merits but based on who supported it. Are you motherfucking kidding me?! Is this disloyal, self-serving asshole for real?!! Can you believe this shit?!!!
Fuckin' spineless, cowardly Democrats...STRIP LIEBERMAN OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND WHATEVER ELSE NOW!!! Do you think the Republicans would've permitted this nonsense among their ranks? Never!! Not in a million years!! GET RID OF THIS SCUMBAG NOW!!!
When will Harry Reid grow a pair?!!
(PS: After a heated, contentious emergency meeting between top congressional Dems and Rahm Emmanuel in which the resolve to pass health care reform seemed unwavering, it has been suggested that this Lieberman fiasco is all scripted theatre by the Dems to lull the Republicans into a false sense of security and then pounce when ready. That would be lovely, but frankly, I don't see it.)
- Hideki Matsui is now a Halo
Fuck! Did not want to see him go. Damn it!
- Chien-Ming Wang is officially a free agent
By coincidence he was on the mound for most of the games I went to during his tenure in pinstripes, including the best pitching duel I've ever seen in person. Also sorry to see him go. (He might resurface in Flushing, according to rumors.)
- Curtis Granderson is the new Yankees CF
Melky Cabrera is in LF until further notice. (The Yanks are offering Johnny Damon $9M/yr for 2 seasons; his agent, Scott Boras, is yapping about wanting $13M/yr for 3 seasons. Not gonna happen.)
- Jason Bay has been approached by the Bronx brass
If a deal materializes--much to the chagrin of the Mets, who could REALLY use him--Johnny D would then become the official DH and occasional LF. If he comes back, that is. (But with Matsui gone, that becomes a bigger possibility.)
- A-Rod and Kate Hudson have broken up
There goes our other MVP. Please don't leave, Kate: you were the good luck charm. (So was Eric Hinske, for that matter.)
+ + + + +
- Meanwhile, Roy Halladay is joining the Phillies; Cliff Lee is now a Mariner; and in Boston, the Sux have acquired P John Lackey and OF Mike Cameron.
Oh, and yeah: pitchers and catchers report in 60 days. Can't wait...
Monday, December 14, 2009
On his radio show [Friday], Rush Limbaugh said that none other than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told him that the Republicans are offering amendments to the health care bill, not to improve the bill, but as a parliamentary maneuver to "flush out" Democratic centrists Ben Nelson and Jim Webb, and to try to peel them away and thus stop the bill.
In other words, the Republican call for compromise on the health care reform bill is just a ruse; they actually don't want the bill in any way, shape or form, and have been watering it down so it can be weakened enough to be eventually killed. Of course, that this nagging suspicion of the obstructionist GOP should actually be true is no surprise. But, it is a bit too good to be true. I mean, why would Limbaugh openly announce a strategy of the sort. Unless the Republican congressional leadership is arrogantly drunk with power, knowing, in this case the Democratic wusses will cave, regardless.
But here's a question for you: if a newly-elected president with a solid majority in both houses of Congress can't get major legislation from his agenda passed, than who can or will?
(A Republican president, that's who. Silly me.)
UPDATE: Joe Lieberman got his way
Joe Lieberman has forced his will on the Senate Democratic caucus and the nation as a whole. After the party reached a compromise last week to effectively drop the public option in exchange for allowing 55- to 64-year-olds to buy into Medicare, that compromise is now in doubt.
Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, told Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Sunday that he will block any bill that includes the buy-in. As the 60th vote needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, he can do that.
Following a caucus-wide meeting Monday evening, the measure was all but scuttled.
So, as I understand it, the public option was taken off the table in favor of the Medicare buy-in. Now, Lieberman won't support that either, so it's gone. What the fuck kinda bill will they vote on, then?
Limbaugh was saying the truth, then: McConnell and co. have absolutely NO INTENTION of passing any bill, just the desire to weaken it to a point where it's worthless and dies of neglect. Just like the uninsured.
Cheers, spineless Dems: this one's for you!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
"...[T]his guy...doesn't fully understand or share that view of American exceptionalism that I think most of us believe in."
And regarding the upcoming Al-Qaeda trials in NYC:
"I think it'll give aid and comfort to the enemy."
As has been pointed out, the latter statement quotes the language that defines treason in the US Constitution. Yes Dick, you the seven-time draft-dodging chickenhawk are a true patriot but Barack Obama is treasonous outsider.
But Tuesday on Hardball, Chris Matthews had member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY)--a former Republican who left the party over disagreements regarding the Iraq War--speak some common sense and clearly define how I've felt about the current troop surge slated for Afghanistan. Take a look:
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
ALBANY, N.Y. — A federal jury has convicted former New York Senate leader Joseph Bruno on two counts of corruption and acquitted him on five others.
The jurors also tell U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe that they can't come to a decision on an eighth count.
Bruno, once one of the state's most powerful politicians, was accused of denying New Yorkers his honest services while enriching himself in the amount of $3.2 million by using his state influence.
The trial exposed Albany's practice of influence-peddling by lawmakers. Bruno consulted for three businessmen and solicited union pension investments from labor unions on behalf of two companies.
Prosecutors argued that Bruno was required to publicly disclose his business interests and associates.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
"Minarets are the beginning of Islamization. The second step will be the call to prayer. The third step will be Sharia law. Here in Switzerland we don't want that."
To which Stewart retorted:
"Really? From four minarets to Sharia law in 2 moves? Really? Let me take you down the other side of that slippery slope: Banning houses of worship is the first step of ethnic cleansing. Boom! I did it in one move!"
Oh, and for the record, Muslims account for 4% of the Swiss population, with a grand total of four minarets in the entire country. Yup, it's a slippery slope all right.
Btw, I bet the mayor of Arlington, TN agrees with Mr. Wobmann.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
“Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.”
I’d amend Tiger’s statement as follows: Personal sins DON’T require press releases and problems within a family DON’T mean public confessions.
An example: As a ballplayer Alex Rodriguez needed to own up publicly to steroid use. But his marital infidelities? Nope. That’s between him and the Mrs. The press can harp all it wants about it, but he didn’t have to address it. And he didn’t. Plus, we shouldn’t care who he’s fucking but what he does as an athlete in a sport we follow. That’s our relationship with the guy. It’s not like he’s our brother-in-law and making a fool out of our sister. Please.
Same with Tiger: why admit any of this to the public. If he feels he needs/wants to tell his wife, that’s his deal. But why the fuck release a statement and owning up to anything? I’m completely baffled.Btw, his spin/damage control/p.r. people--if he has them--should be fired on the spot for letting him get so deep into a media mess like this one.
Damn, no wonder Keith Olbermann calls him "BillO the Clown".
But they did hit the nail on the head in Murdochland: this surge is a lose-lose situation politically, for the President: his supporters don't like it, and the people who do, will never give him proper credit.
In other words, he has Michael Moore criticizing him and Sarah Palin begrudgingly giving her tenuous support. That can't be good.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Basically, these assholes will do everything but their excellent-health-care-provided jobs and debate the damn thing on the issues. I don't want to become one of those polarized partisans--I really don't--but the current batch of Republican obstructionists, fear-mongers and blatant liars, make it so difficult to avoid.
WASHINGTON – Republicans are using everything short of forklifts to show Americans that Democratic health care legislation is an unwieldy mountain of paper. They pile it high on desks, hoist it on a shoulder trussed in sturdy rope and tell people it's longer than "War and Peace," which it isn't.
Although they complain they don't have time to read all of it, they found the time to tape it together, page by page, so they could roll it up the steps of the Capitol like super-sized toilet paper and show how very long it is.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Overall, nationwide support among this segment of the population is at 61%. Not surprised my brown folks feel that way, but I'm pleased, nonetheless. Let's hope this poll is indicative of a positive outcome for health care reform.
[A] poll...conducted in the middle of the congressional healthcare reform debate, in the days before and after passage of the House version of health care reform (on November 7th) and before the Senate bill was introduced...found that 61% of voting Latinos support the idea that the federal government must insure universal health care, even if it requires a tax increase.
About 28% want to keep the current system and only 6% see other options. High levels of support for universal health care are found in all states, including Florida, where the Latino population has traditionally included more Republicans and conservatives, particularly among Cuban Americans.
Nevertheless, a majority of Latinos in all states support universal health care: these include 63% in California, 59% in Florida, 69% in New York and 51% in Texas.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Today is Mariano Rivera’s big 4-0. As I write this, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of how thankful the Yankees should be of being able to count on him for all these years and how easily they could’ve lost him.
Originally a shortstop, he stepped into his future pitching role in 1989, at an amateur league game in his native Panama, offering to take over on the mound, following a poor performance by one of his teammates. Mo was on his way, but some lucky breaks and the hand of fate would make it interesting.
While a class A player in 1992, elbow surgery sidelined Rivera. His rehabilitation coincided with that year's expansion draft, which was to fill out the rosters for the newly incorporated Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. The Yankees did not protect him from being drafted outright yet no one chose to do so. Then, prior to the 1996 season, there were talks of trading Mariano to the Seattle Mariners for Felix Fermin, due to the Yankees perceived wavering confidence in starting rookie Derek Jeter at shortstop. The trade never came to fruition, of course. And the rest, as you know, is history.
The man who many consider the greatest closer in baseball history has a slew of MLB records under his wing, among them: lowest career ERA in the modern era (2.25), most saves in American League history (526), and most consecutive seasons with at least 25 saves (13). But it is in the postseason that Mo is heads above all: lowest career ERA (0.74), most saves (39), most consecutive scoreless innings pitched (34 1/3), and most appearances (88). And he’s done it all with one pitch. (All hail the "cutter"!)
A five-time World Champion, 10-time All-Star, sure-thing first ballot Hall of Famer—I predict he will be the highest vote getter in MLB history—and one of the greatest Yankees of any era, we will one day be able to tell the kids we saw the other great no. 42 make all that magic. This past season he was his usual spectacular self, but how he showed leadership on a team managed by a former teammate—and former battery mate—and rounded out by a host of talented newcomers that not only wanted to play for the Yankees but in fact be Yankees, says everything about this humble giant and man of deep faith.
Like many Yankee fans I am in denial about the day when Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” will no longer accompany Mo’s familiar trot to the mound and the almost assured outcome. In the meantime, I'd like to wish Mo a very happy fortieth birthday. Y gracias por todo, caballero.
[Cover photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated]
Friday, November 27, 2009
Palin could say that 2+ 2 is 5. And instead of saying "actually, that's wrong," her fans wait for someone in the elitist, left-wing media to point out she's wrong (ie "sending in the attack dogs"), and then go BANANAS about "their Sarah" being shredded by a biased, unfair media that hates working moms, babies being born and not aborted, and freedom...this is her/their rocket fuel.
It's not something to take very seriously, since her supporters will always be counted as no more than people who see in her rugged disinterest in intellectualism the heir abhorrent to Bush (oh, I'd LOVE to have a beer with her! "drink this, baby...aaaaaaaaatagirl...so sleepy...") plus the people that vote purely by who's winning the Victim Olympics.
Yeah, she's the female W. (But at least he liked brown people.)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Kudos to the interviewer for asking pertinent questions and backups to most of these ignorant, brain-washed fools. Some scary shit.
"We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."- Former George W. Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino, on Fox's Hannity show, Nov. 24th, 2009
So, Dana who exactly was president on Sept. 11th, 2001?
Was she referring to Bush 41 or implying Dick Cheney was in charge? Un-fucking-believable.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
For the second time in just over a week, Fox News is coming under fire for misusing old news footage. The latest flap is leading some people to charge that the cable news network is intentionally misleading its audience, while Fox claims a "production error."
Wednesday's incident occurred when Fox News host mentioned that a Sarah Palin appearance and book signing in Grand Rapids, Michigan had a massive turnout. As footage rolled of a smiling and waving Palin amidst a throng of fans, Jarrett noted that the former Republican vice-presidential candidate is "continuing to draw huge crowds while she's promoting her brand-new book,'' adding that the images being shown were "some of the pictures just coming in to us.... The lines earlier had formed this morning."
However, the video used in the segment was from a 2008 McCain/Palin campaign rally. In response to the minor uproar that arose after clips of Jarrett's report hit the Internet, Fox senior vice-president of news Michael Clemente issued an initial statement saying, "This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn't alert the control room to update the video."
On Thursday afternoon, Fox News issued an on-air apology delivered by host :
"Yesterday we told you about Sarah Palin kicking off her book tour and then we spoke to about an interview that he did with former Governor Palin. When introducing the segment we showed you footage of people lining up in Michigan for a book signing that evening. In the tease before the segment, the tease to commercial, we told you how those people were already lining up to meet Palin. The problem is we didn't show you the video we were actually referencing. Instead we mistakenly aired what's called 'file tape' of Sarah Palin. We didn't mean to mislead anybody in that tease. It was a mistake, and for that we apologize."
The current mishap comes on the heels of a controversy sparked last week when footage from a conservative rally held over the summer was played on "Hannity" during a segment on a more recent rally. During the clip, host Sean Hannity marveled over the large turnout for a Washington, DC protest. The Daily Show later pointed out that there seemed to be some inconsistencies with the video shown on Hannity's show, namely that the atmospheric conditions seemed to vary from shot to shot. Hannity later apologized on the air for what he called "an inadvertent mistake."
Barely a week into Palin’s blitz to promote “Going Rogue,” media coverage is becoming its own story. Fox News rival MSNBC caught heat last week for using altered images of Sarah Palin on the air, for which they later apologized. On Wednesday, Yahoo! News reported Newsweek’s defense of their latest controversial cover, which Palin herself blasted as “sexist.”Just another day broadcasting disinformation, misrepresentation, and lies from the people who know how to do it better than anyone else.
And on it continues...
Friday, November 20, 2009
If this really goes ahead in NYC, I hope I never have to hear about another trial moving out of town whenever cops shoot/beat/kill an unarmed black guy.
Makes sense. But don't hold your breath, buddy.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
One day, either in this life or the next, John McCain will have to atone for unleashing Sarah Palin upon the world.
but the other 4 may surprise you. Especially, since 3 of those have to do with the team from San Francisco.
* Honorable Mentions:
- Ken Griffey, Jr. returns to Seattle
Yeah, I’m a sentimental old fart, but it was cool to see Junior go back to where it all began. A sure-fire HoFer, I’ve always admired “The Kid”—who turns 40 this week! Man, we’re getting old—and like everyone else, wonders what he could’ve done had his body held up.
- Dave Trembley channels Earl Weaver
Obviously, Orioles fans know their manager way more than I do, but the hot-tempered Baltimore skipper seems like a nice guy who just has no patience for umpires making crappy calls. And clearly does not hesitate to make his colorful displeasure be known. And with so many blown calls this season I sure enjoyed seeing Trembley letting them have it.
And now, my Top 5 favorites:
5. Randy Johnson wins his 300th game
Never liked this cat. But 300 wins is such a milestone—and arguably, one we won’t see again in our lifetimes—that I just had to watch this game. And give the 46-year old Big Unit his props.
4. Tim Lincecum throws a 15-strikeout, complete game
The Freak! My fave active non-Yankee player is a kid whose non-descript presence off the field once had him stopped by his home park’s security, not knowing who he actually was. But when he’s on the mound…well, you can just ask the NL hitters about his dominance. Especially the 15 Pirates he whiffed on July 27th.
A Cy Young winner (repeat!) and a two-time All-Star in his first 3 seasons in the big tent, the one Giants fans call “The Franchise” was once again, awesome.
3. Jonathan Sanchez pitches his first no-hitter
With Randy Johnson on the DL, Sanchez got a chance to start for the Giants and pitched a no-walk, 11-strikeout beauty, which only missed being a perfect game due to an eighth inning error by 3B Juan Uribe.
But what made it extra special was his dad, Freddy Sanchez, flying out from Puerto Rico to see his son start in the majors for the very first time. To see the old man in the stands visibly emotional and then crying like a baby when his son scored the no-no was a great moment, to say the least.
2. Mark Buehrle’s perfect game
All it took was two hours and three minutes. Oh, and yeah: a masterful performance by the White Sox ace who, aided by some solid defense—including most prominently, the stellar ninth inning, game-saving, home run-stealing catch by CF DeWayne Wise, who had been inserted for defensive purposes just moments earlier—got 27 clean, consecutive outs against the Tampa Bay Rays. That he is not one bit superstitious about these things—deep into the game, he approached 3B Gordon Beckham on the bench, inquiring as to what he thought Buehrle's chances for a no-hitter were, much to the Sox rookie's dismay—makes the whole thing even cooler.
1. Yankees win World Series championship no. 27
Yeah, but you knew that already. The icing on the cake was seeing my fave bunch of Yankees since the days of Reggie, Bucky, Willie, and Guidry—and of course, “Sweet Lou” Piniella—win it all. (Being present at the new House for one of the 15 walk-off wins, A-Rod shutting the pie holes of the naysayers during the post-season, and Johnny Damon's double steal in Game 4 of the World Series, were all pretty sweet.)
* (Technically, the debut of the MLB Network was not part of the baseball season, but it sure was insanely addictive during the months of January-March. And since I’m only a fan of one sport, MLBN drastically reducing my ESPN viewing time—except for the Dominican Winter Baseball League on ESPN Deportes—is a much appreciated service.)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
How long after you make a pronouncement that angers the birther/teabagger/miltia folks you've been pandering to, will they start calling you a money-grubbing Jew, or some other derogatary and incredibly offensive anti-semitic slur?
I bet it can be measured with an egg timer. I mean, after all, these are the same kind of folks that yell out "Heil Hitler!" to an Israeli Jew in favor of healthcare reform, or have brought with them pictures of Dachau concentration camp corpses to a rally in which you were scheduled to speak. So if they can do that while thinking you're on their side, imagine what they would do if they felt betrayed by you.
But rest assured, you're fine. Surely that would never happen to a sell-out who explained away irresponsible and insanely deplorable use of Nazi crimes by blaming it on ire provoked by the President's measures and desire to see healthcare reform enacted. Classic.
You ought to be ashamed, sir.
Some may think that going batshit can significantly hurt the Republican Party's chances at gaining power once again by alienating moderate conservatives and independents. I say, never underestimate the Democrats' unending talent for both wimping out and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. More importantly, Lyons frames the dilemma in a far more accurate manner:
For right-wing Republicans, the presidency of George W. Bush began as a dream come true. People calling themselves "conservatives" ran everything in Washington. Even before the GOP won both houses in 2002, Congress gave Bush everything he asked for. Republican apparatchiks controlled every agency from the Pentagon to the Treasury Department. Fox News savants expressed intermittent outrage that dissent was permitted. Rush Limbaugh's interviews of Dick Cheney sounded like a high-school girl gushing over the Jonas Brothers.
To rational minds, the resultant disaster could hardly have been more comprehensive: a lagging economy (the worst job creation since Hoover), yawning budget deficits (Bush doubled the national debt in eight years); two unfinished wars, costing thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars -- one completely unnecessary, the other so forgetfully prosecuted that Gen. Stanley McChrystal warns the United States and NATO could yet lose it.
Meanwhile, if Pakistani terrorists had done to New Orleans what Bush's hapless FEMA appointees did after Katrina, he'd have invaded Iran. Staffing regulatory agencies with See-No-Evil disciples of Ayn Rand made them feckless spectators of the banking crisis that damn near destroyed the nation's financial system, dragging the economy into the deepest recession since (again) Herbert Hoover.
By the time the make-believe cowboy retired not to Photo-Op Ranch, but to the Dallas suburbs, his approval ratings hovered in the mid-20s. That they were so high testified to GOP team spirit. But what on earth were Republicans smoking?
Courtesy of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Limbaugh and a passel of pusillanimous GOP congressmen, we're definitely finding out. With the alternatives being rethink or go crazy, much of the GOP base has chosen the comforts of delusion.
The big question is whether indulging lunacy will do more damage to the Republican Party or the country. Nobody familiar with 20th-century history can be entirely confident that reason will prevail. In troubled times, even great nations can go stark, raving mad.So true.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Here's X's post:
This is what drives me crazy about the stupidity of Congressmen et al allowing themselves to drown in their own hypocrisy. For instance, Tom Tancredo KNOWS he got a deferment for Vietnam while supporting it, and he KNOWS that in today's internet age someone might find that out in about 3 seconds. So you'd think he's be smart enough to think "maybe I shouldn't be the guy to go on tv and talk about what's good for veterans."
Meanwhile, we can't go a year without some politician getting busted for having a gay lover despite the fact that he's been at the forefront of the "Fags are gonna ruin America and they all will burn in hell!!!!" crowd. It's always the squeakiest wheel that gets the cocoa butter, isn't it? Now, can't two politicians such as these get together and "trade" their causes, therein giving the same quantity of representation to those causes, but not setting themselves up for the inevitable exposure of hypocrisy?
They should have an "Issues Fantasy League Draft" scenario. Or, better, a sort of general manager trades meeting. "Senator A has been cheating on his wife, so he'll trade his FAMILY VALUES platform to Senator B, who is a great family man but got outta Vietnam via a rich uncle, so he's swapping with Senator A, who served brilliantly in Vietnam."
I mean for chrissake guys, meet in the backroom of a Rob's Big Boy, sort this shit out and try to fool us.
It's not that they think people won't find out the truth—as in Tancredo's case—it's that GOP politicians believe they can get away it. And they do. All the time!
Look at Dick Cheney's 7 Vietnam deferments—because he had "better things to do"—and tell me if he caught shit for it. No, of course not.
Everyone and their pet caterpillar knows Oliver North should be making license plates at Leavenworth, yet this asshole gets to make judgments on either people's patriotism and respect for the laws of this country.
And what about the Republican governors that railed against the stimulus and vowed not to take a penny? They took the money, anyway, and now the scumbags have the balls to tout their accomplishments with that cash and frame it as "see how good things happen when we let the states do their thing and keep the federal govt out of it" and STILL decry the stimulus aid!
Or how about, Joe—“You Lie!”—Wilson who blames the president for the availability of swine flu vaccine that Wilson himself VOTED AGAINST SPENDING MONEY ON. (Oh, wait—now he cares because his wife is sick. Before he could give 2 shits. Another example of a Classic Republican: I don’t give fuck about [fill in the blank] until it’s one of my own that’s afflicted.)
So many of these assholes get away with shit, that the likes of Tancredo figure they'll succeed at it, too. And they will, because the press is afraid of asking those questions, otherwise they'll get tagged as part of "the liberal media". And the ones that do, get smeared by hypocritical clowns like Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg, who never waste an opportunity to feed more red meat to their base.
But let's not leave out the wilful ignorance of the Republican voters in all of this. For instance, how an honorable, decorated soldier could respect someone who belittles his work—what else does "having better things to do" imply?—baffles the mind. Or how a bunch of hard-hit, working and middle class folks can support a party that, above all, is neglecting them, while constantly looking to give breaks to the rich? That's what fuels these politicians' impetus to do stupid shit like what Tancredo tried to pull off—the base will eat it up, regardless.
In the end—and pardon the hyperbole—I'm more afraid of these nutty Sarah Palin-lovin' folks than I am of Al-Qaeda. Why? Both are trying to fuck this country up but at least somebody's trying to stop the latter. There's always been scores of birther/teabagger/lunatic-types. But now, they feel more emboldened than ever before. Scary.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
My favorite Yankees since the ‘77-‘78 lineups have made it to the promised land. And I couldn’t be any happier. Congratulations, guys. And thanks.
Much respect to the Philadelphia Phillies, National League champs,
a monster team, and a more than worthy adversary that made the Bombers sweat throughout the Series.
Oh, and happy birthday Johnny Damon! What a present you got this year, huh? Hope to see you and number 55--arigato, Matsui-san--in pinstripes in 2010.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
After internal GOP squabbles--and endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin and Dick Armey--pushed third-party favorite Doug Hoffman to the forefront and ousted the allegedly too liberal Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava from the race for New York's 23rd congressional district, Democrat Bill Owens--a lawyer and retired Air Force captain--ended up winning Tuesday's special election by a 49 percent to 45 percent margin. The significance?
The New York 23 has had a GOP representative in Congress for about, oh, 125 years, more or less. D'oh! Great work, guys! Genius move!
(Then again, the seat became vacant after President Obama named the district's congressman, John McHugh, to a Pentagon post. So did Obama shrewdly play out this move in advance? Hmm...)
As for the present day meaning of the election, Salon's Alex Koppelman:
The thing to watch for now is the reaction of the GOP and its base. A Hoffman victory might have given the most conservative wing of the party even more clout, if not a virtual veto over 2010 candidates deemed too liberal. This result--the right winning the intra-party battle, but not the war--might give the Republican establishment more room to push back.
Oh, and yeah: Mike Bloomberg won a third term as NYC mayor. Fuck.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
With the Yankees up 3-1 in the Series, I was hoping no.4 pitcher Chad Gaudin would get the start and then have the bullpen get some work when he ran out of gas. No! Can’t count on Gaudin! He’ll get lit up! Well, that’s what happened anyway, except it was AJ who couldn’t get out of the third inning, and consequently now they have Andy Pettite—who is due to pitch Game 6—on 3 days rest instead of a rested Burnett for Game 6. (And let's not forget: the Yankees' ace, CC Sabathia, if needed for Game 7, will also pitch on 3 days rest.)
Since the decision to pitch AJ Monday night was dumbfounding—especially vs Phillies ace Cliff Lee and with the Yankees' Monday night lineup resembling the Tigers more than the Bombers due to the practically non-existent hitting of the bottom 5 hitters, AJ had to be lights-out dominant—I was hoping Joe G had something up his sleeve. I mean, not one analyst, announcer, former player, sports talk show host or fan I came across agreed w/Joe’s decision—they all predicted tonight’s sorry outcome and the subsequent 3 day-rest situation—so maybe Joe knew something no one else did.
So, what was it, then? A complete and utter lack of faith in Gaudin, even in a game you could afford to lose in order to give your no.2 pitcher an extra day, so he could get full rest? Blind faith in Burnett? Whatever it was, it backfired. Big time.
It’s plain to see Gaudin was never in Joe G's plans. But aside from his inconsistency, AJ is not great on the road. Pettite, meanwhile has not gone on 3 days rest in years. And was, supposedly, lit up when he did. (This was w/the Astros.) He's also, as we know, 37 years old. Is Joe G counting on Pettite's experience and tough competitive spirit to get him thru Game 6? Probably. Let's hope he's right.
Regarding the offense: despite AJ blowing it, Yankees reliever Phil Coke really put the Bombers in a hole by giving up the 2 solo HRs which were ultimately the proverbial nails in the coffin. The offense made a valiant effort late in the game and got within 2 runs, making it an 8-6 ballgame. But if there was ever an example of 2 hitters in different mindsets it was Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, respectively, in the 9th: Johnny battled, extended his 2 out, 0-2 at bat to get a hit; Tex struggled mightily and swung at repeated bad pitches, ending the game with a win for the Phillies.
Sure, those guys—mainly Tex and Robinson Canó—are pressing.
They know their team has the lead in the Series despite their lack of production. Last night, with the lineup Joe G put out there, only no.s 1, 2, and 4 were of concern to the Phillies. I mean, why would you pitch to the super-clutch Alex Rodriguez knowing full well there was NO PROTECTION whatsoever for him, with the next 5 hitters a non-factor. (Until catcher Jorge Posada was finally brought in to pinch hit and the pitcher's turn came up, as well.)
As a matter of fact, if the Phillies had lost last night, I firmly believe Phillies manager Charlie Manuel would've been the goat for letting Lee pitch to A-Rod in the 8th and giving up a 2-run double.
The Yankees got very far in that game, considering the circumstances. Which is reason for hope Wednesday night. I have a feeling a big, offensive Game 6 is in the cards. Let's hope the Bombers are on the winning side of it.
Oh, and before I forget: taking 2 out of 3 in Philly was awesome.
Wednesday in The Bronx, it is, then...
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Yankees - 67%
Phillies – 22%
neither – 11%
The reasons behind their decisions were varied and interesting, if not surprising: A few mentioned wanting to see Alex Rodriguez redeem himself and come thru in the Series; although one respondent was hoping A-Rod would succeed only because he feels the third baseman is “the player most Yankee fans hate.” (Actually, he’s the player most despised by Yankee haters. He’s not doing too badly in The Bronx these days, in case you haven't heard.)
One young lady bluntly stated, “I hate the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers, more than I could ever hate the Yankees.” For some, the NL East rivalry was not enough to stop them from cheering on the Phillies, or disrupt years of an antagonistic tradition when it comes to the cross-town team. And there were those who chose not to take sides one way or the other.
But the strongest response of all was undoubtedly this one:
“Met fans who are rooting for the Yankees are stupid. Any ‘Met fan’ who isn't rooting for the Phillies is not a Met fan. And if I have to explain that to them or anybody else, then it ain't worth explaining.”
Yikes! I’m not getting in the middle of that one.
Well, except to say…I disagree.
I’m fine with the cross-town rivalry or even indifference. Cool. Fine by me. But, hate? I could never hate the Mets, for instance. I mean, yeah, I’m still pissed at the organization—and a couple of the players—for the handling of the Willie Randolph fiasco, but Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry are some of my fave all-time players; I’m also a HUGE fan of the ‘86 Mets. (And not just because they beat the Red Sox. But it doesn’t hurt. heh heh) As a New Yorker, for me to hate the cross-town team is to loathe a cousin of mine just because. But I digress. (This ain’t about me, after all.)
Anyway, it was fun doing this little survey. Thanks to all who participated.
Friday, October 30, 2009
We are living through the Californiafication of America--a country in which the combination of a determined minority and a procedural supermajority legislative requirement makes it impossible to rationally address public policy challenges. And thus the Democratic president and his allies in Congress are evaluated on the basis of extreme compromise measures--supplicating to dispassionate Wise Men like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman, buying Olympia Snowe a vacation home, working bills through 76 committees and countless "procedural" votes--rather than the substantive, policy achievements of bills that would merely require a simple majority to pass.
It is sheer good fortune that the Democrats had 59/60 Senate seats this cycle and thus were able to pass any stimulus at all, albeit the inadequate one they did. Think about it: With a robust 56 Senate Democratic seats, the stimulus would have failed--and otherwise, Galston/Brooks would be talking not about Obama’s "going too far," but, rather, about a "failed Obama presidency." And they would be wrong. What we would be witnessing--and are still witnessing--is a failed system of democratic governance. It’s something procedural liberals should be deeply concerned about and should remedy as quickly as possible.
- from Richard Yeselson's Op-Ed in The New Republic
But when it comes time to consider those hurting who are outside of their family circle, they vigorously balk at such a thing. For as fellow blogger Xmastime puts it, "extending help to these people would belie their own brave 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps, unless it's ME that needs help, then give me some money' credo. Um, yeah. Exactly.
Xmastime further cites a piece by Salon's Joe Conason, who believes "[e]ven the best of today's Republicans seem to lack [empathy], to say the least. Enjoying the ample blessings of the Federal Employee Health Benefits program and access to the best military hospitals, they're totally insulated from the troubles of those who lack adequate insurance, or any insurance at all.
If the Republican right manages to kill healthcare reform this year, then perhaps some brave Democrat should introduce a new kind of bill -- cutting off every member of Congress from the "public option" that protects them and their families."
It's not a new idea, though:
"To show Congress just how serious I am, on the first day of my administration, I will submit legislation that ends health care coverage for the president, all members of Congress, and all senior political appointees in both branches of government on July 20th, 2009 – unless we have passed universal health care reform."- John Edwards, on the presidential campaign trail, September 2007.
Ah, if only Obama had that kinda fire in his belly...
[courtesy of the NY Daily News]
Thursday night at The Bronx, in Game 2 of the Yankees-Phillies 2009 World Series, AJ Burnett [above] faced 26 batters, threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of them, and allowed only 1 earned run in 7 innings, while striking out 9.
Oh, and yeah, Mo got a 6 out save, for his record 10th in World Series play. (And his 38th overall in the post-season.) Final score: Yankees 3, Phillies 1. (Wasn't Pedro supposed to spank the Yankees?)
Btw, the Phillies lost this game on the anniversary of their clinching the World Series last year. Hmm...
Series tied at one game apiece; Game 3 in Philly on Saturday night. Yankees will send Andy Pettite to the mound, while Cole Hamels will start for the Phillies.
(Oh, and about Jimmy Rollins' prediction: yes, it could happen.
But, the last Yankee rival who made a World Series "in 5" boast was Benny Agbayani of the Mets in 2000. And we all know how that turned out.)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Jefferson Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
So, to all of you unemployed out there who are about to lose your benefits--especially the constituents of the above--you now can attach a name to the deed. Good luck.
[h/t Crooks and Liars]
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's clear that if he opposes what an overwhelming number of his constituents want in this case, there must be some big contribution money coming from the insurance folks. Duh.
My question is, WHAT THE FUCK IS THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS SCUMBAG? ENOUGH ALREADY!
We're way past the whole he votes with us on everything but the war nonsense. He backstabbed Obama after the then-senator from Illinois gave him his support against Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Democratic primary, by endorsing John McCain and speaking for him at the GOP convention last year, and now he pulls this shit?!
CNN's prime-time host Campbell Brown...interviewed Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and asked whether the White House considered left-leaning MSNBC biased as well. Jarrett wouldn't speak about the network.I have not seen the interview in question, but if Jarrett failed
She "seems loathe to admit that MSNBC has a bias," Brown said. "And that is where I think the White House loses all credibility on this issue."
If the White House wants to talk about bias in the media, officials "should elevate the conversation and talk about bias on the right and on the left," Brown said. "Because when you just target one side, you reveal your own bias — that you are only critical of those who are critical of you."
to make the distinction between the networks, she was remiss.
Then again, she probably felt it's not her job to defend
any particular network, especially, in this case MSNBC.
However, I feel she should not have left Brown off the hook and explained that a bias is one thing, but for Fox to be passing off as news a political party's talking points and routinely labeling disgraced Republican politicians as Democrats--just to give two examples--is not the work of an entity that purports to be a news organization.
I wonder if Brown's position on the subject after CNN's reported recent drop to third place in the ratings are a coincidence. Hmm...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Yes, I'm disappointed in players that have decided to take the steroids route, including faves of mine. And yes, members of the baseball media make a valid point when stating a lack of clarity and admission on Big Mac's part regarding PED usage.
But, I was so appalled by the petty and hypocritical way the vast majority of the baseball press conducted themselves during the A-Rod PED scandal that I have come to believe that Manny Ramirez's non-chalant, disrespectful brush-off, when openly confronted about his own steroid use—“It's not like I killed or raped anybody”—is every bit the treatment these hacks deserved. (Yes, they'll have their revenge on him when it comes time for Manny to make reservations for Cooperstown. But I would bet top dollar he gives not a fuck.)
In other words, let Big Mac come back and do his thing. If he or the STL organization chooses to address his PED situation, fine. If not, fine with me, as well. Are the writers going to change their minds and grant him their Hall of Fame vote if he gives up the confession and/or apology they are so drooling over? No, right?
Well, it'll be a distraction for the team, some might say. Do ya think that didn't come up when the Cards' brass made the decision? C'mon, they're smart cats over there. I would venture to speculate they are actually daring the press to go all Jim Gray—not that I'm a Pete Rose apologist; far from it—and make this about McGwire's past and not his job performance. So I say, let the self-righteous, irresponsible and trifling scribes harp on that and not Mac's abilities in his new gig. Fuck 'em. Good luck to Big Mac and the Cards in 2010.
It's done, people. Move on.
War in Iraq and Afghanistan; the healthcare debate rocks back and forth; the economy is still in the toilet; the GOP continues its blatantly obstructionist ways; Mike Bloomberg looks to become NYC's mayor for a third term; Fox News spreading disinformation and outright lies; reality TV not disappearing any time soon; etc etc etc. Gloomy.
Maybe we'll get some good news soon. One can only hope.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Hooray for the Evil Empire: The New York Yankees defeated the California Angels 5-2 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday night, thereby winning their 40th pennant and a trip to the World Series to face the reigning champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Veteran starter Andy Pettite did a tremendous job on the mound for 6 1/3 innings and left to a standing ovation, eventually earning his record 16th post-season win. Joba Chamberlain, who'd been rocky of late, got 2 big outs in the seventh and, in a move to be questioned by no one--regardless of the outcome--manager Joe Girardi brought in the great Mariano Rivera to get the final six outs of the game.
Suffice to say, I am so happy...this current Yankee team has been my favorite since the 1978 edition, when the likes of Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Chris Chambliss, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph, et al. were kings of The Bronx. Now, pennant no. 40 and on to face the Phillies...World Series in the Bronx...so sweet...YES!!!
Oh, and props to the Halos for not making it easy, and especially to manager Mike Scioscia and CF Torii Hunter for their classy post-game comments. Hunter: "Some of my favorite players are over there. I promise you I will be rooting for those guys, keep it in the American League. It will be a mountain to climb to try to get past those guys...We got beat by the best team. If they lose, I'll be ticked off."
I've always liked this dude, going back to his days with the Minnesota Twins. Now I have another reason. A class act.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I want to give props to Mark Teixeira for being an awesome first baseman for the Yankees. If you recall, last year the team had to contend with these guys instead:
Wilson Betemit, Johnny Damon, Shelley Duncan, Morgan Ensberg, Juan Miranda, Chad Moeller, Jose Molina, Xavier Nady, Jorge Posada, Cody Ransom, Richie Sexson, and Jason Giambi.
Now go and rock the Halos tonight, Tex. And thanks.