Thursday, December 23, 2010

Patterson's 62K Fine is Bullshit

This week New York governor David Patterson was fined $62,125 by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity--flimsy name, ain't it?--for accepting 5 free tickets to Yankee Stadium during the 2009 World Series. Basically, he shouldn't have accepted the gratuity from the team, since they lobby the city and state and he wasn't at the Stadium in any official capacity. He may have also perjured himself when asked under oath about it.

Meanwhile, former NYC mayor Rudy "9/11" Giuliani has yet to see any fallout from his perennial sniffing of Yankee butt. (Which includes him getting a World Series ring from the team.) This is what has led the Paterson camp and some outside observers to consider the current issue selective enforcement and possibly a political witch hunt.

As for the fine itself, I was initially for it--although the amount seems quite stiff--but, as a commenter on the Yankee blog River Ave Blues, pointed out, if "some bullshit beauty queen hand wave" nonsense buys him a get-out-of-jail-free card, then Patterson is essentially being penalized for being too arrogant and/or stupid to legally break the rules. In other words, if he'd thrown out the ceremonial first pitch or performed some gubernatorial-related photo-op he would've easily dodged the ethics violations charge and the need to perjure himself. Ah, loopholes...

But wait--what good are ethical guidelines/rules if they can be legally circumvented with ease? Until they put some teeth into the penalties for ethical transgressions of this kind I smell bullshit either way.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Health Care Should Never Be About Monetary Cost

Although it only took almost a decade and was, in the end, scaled down, the Sept.11th First Responders finally got Congress to pass the bill which would provide health care for them. Let me briefly put aside the deplorable wait and undue nonsense these folks had to go thru, to salute them on this victory and wish them the best from here on in.

Now, I have to bring up the obvious.

So, if we're to take Republicans at their word the issue here was cost. But this is where I have a fundamental divide with conservative rationale: when it comes to saving and preserving life cost should never be a determining factor. Period. Now, if we're talking about an issue of convenience and not health, that's another matter. Sure, bring up cost if building that bridge or paving that road would be too expensive for what whatever benefits we'd get in return. But with issues regarding health, to bring up cost as a reason to not implement measures is, quite frankly, obscene and even immoral, IMHO.

And don't get me started on the hypocrisy of bringing up cost when you support the proven non-job creating, deficit-enlarging tax cuts for the rich.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Cry Baby Blues

Politico:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas "sacrilegious," and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections.

“We shouldn’t be jamming a major arms control treaty up against Christmas; it’s sacrilegious and disrespectful," he told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until [Christmas Eve] to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this.

You know what Americans are actually tired of, Mr. DeMint? Overpaid clowns like yourself bitching and moaning that they MIGHT have to work leading up to Christmas Eve. Plenty of folks, including police, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, transit workers and many others who are lucky enough to have a job--not to mention thousands of the men and women of the Armed Forces--will be on the clock thru Christmas.

Do we need any more proof--along with their staunch defense of tax cuts for the rich--of how much contempt these people have for the average American? Ugh. At best, they are severely out of touch. But I'm not vouching for the latter. Assholes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Forrest Gump of Baseball


On Monday, 79 year old Tampa Bay Rays coach Don Zimmer had a pacemaker installed. Get well soon, Zim. For those of you who don't know he is, well...


He was Jackie Robinson’s teammate; on the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win a World Series; an original Met; a Red Sox coach during the incredible 1975 World Series; Red Sox manager in 1978 when the Yankees' Bucky Dent hit his legendary HR; managed the Cubs to a division title and named Manager of the Year in 1989; on the staff of the first Colorado Rockies team in 1993; and was the Yankees’ bench coach during the championship run of the late ‘90s…Damn!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cliff Lee signs with Phillies

The most desired free agent of the 2010 off season has signed with the team he went to the World Series in 2009. This development makes the Phillies' trading of Lee to the Seattle Mariners in December of '09 even more of a headscratcher. They decided to trade him because they thought they wouldn't have the money to re-sign him, and then do so the following year. Huh?

But the bottom line is, with the addition of Cliff Lee the Phillies now have the best starting rotation in baseball, the likes of which we’ve not seen since the Braves juggernaut of the ‘90s. If it’s any consolation to the teams in the NL East, the Braves only got one championship out of that formidable Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine beast, albeit with plenty of division titles and a few pennants to show for it. But boy, they must be bummed in Flushing...

In missing out on Lee, the silver lining for the Rangers and the Yankees—the other two teams chasing after him—is they won’t have to face him except when it matters, if that happens to be the case.

As for the money thing…

Much has been made about Lee rejecting the $148 million and $138 million contracts offered by the Yankees and Rangers, respectively, and accepting the $120 million offer made by the Phillies. Yes, Lee did leave money on the table in the long run, but he took the contract that pays more per year. So this whole "he turned down the big bucks" thing is disingenuous.

Personally, I see respecting a free agent for taking less money the same as deciding not to respect him for taking more money. In other words, I don’t agree with either stance.

Want to accept less money to play with X? Good for you.
Want to accept more money to play with Y? Good for you.

Respecting players that accept less or criticizing those who go after more money is a romantic notion I do not share. (It’s quite selective, too: we didn’t hear anyone say they respected A-Rod when he was willing accept less money to play in Boston, right?) It’s also perpetuated by folks who would leave their jobs in a heartbeat if they got offered a $100/wk increase in salary elsewhere, so I’m not inclined to take ‘em seriously.

Because a baseball career has quite a finite duration—Bo Jackson, anyone?—players have a limited window of time to make the kind of money no one in their right mind would turn down for doing what they love. I say go for it. If not, that’s cool too. To each to his own. But this vilification/deification nonsense has got to stop.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And While We're On The Topic of Government Spending

In reference to folks in "red states" complaining about government spending, a wise man once said (in admittedly coarse language)...

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Boss Just Might Be Rolling In His Grave (but not for the reason you think)

The Yankees-Derek Jeter soap opera came to an end over the weekend. Congratulations to the Yankee captain for emerging victorious over his team's front office aka "the chumps".

Am I being a bit harsh? Well, I love my team and have no real beef with the Steinbrenner scions--actually, I like the delightful blowhard older brother Hank--but I can't get behind a bunch of guys who decide to fold when their hand is a royal flush. This may be the first time I've ever taken the side of a team over that of a player and boy was I disappointed. It seems as if baseball team owners can never do the right thing even when it all lines up in their favor.

Derek Jeter's contract with the team ended the day after the end of this year's World Series. The Yankees initially offered Jeter the more than fair 3 yr/$15m per. Considering he's not worth more than $8m tops in the current market, the other $7m could be construed as compensation for being a Yankee icon and services rendered. (He was already paid handsomely for the latter but let's move on.)

So, what do the Yankees do? With about 70% of Yankee fans agreeing with their offer (which surprised the hell out of me; I thought the knuckleheads/give-Jeter-a-blank-check crowd would come out in massive numbers and mount a full court defense of the Yankee shortstop), the front office knowing full well there was a very slim Jeter would leave the Bronx, and that NO OTHER TEAMS would meet his financial demands, they played hardball. For a minute.

What they eventually did was bid against themselves and up the offer to $17m per and add a 4th year player option! Ugh. By overpaying Jeter even more and still not appeasing those who worship at his altar, the front office failed. Twice. Good grief!

This past week, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, arguably Derek Jeter's no.1 fan/colleague (he wears no.2 on his uniform in honor of the Yankee icon) got a brand new 6 yr/$20m per contract extension. That the 36 year old Jeter is gonna get paid $3m/yr less than an All-Star SS 10 yrs his junior says everything one needs to know about the Yankees' negotiation skills.

There are those who have said--among them Mets and Yankee great Darryl Strawberry--that The Boss must've been rolling in his grave over the handling of Jeter's contract. (Btw, those folks who feel Jeter was disrespected during the current contract negotiations should give Bernie Williams a call.) How in the world is overpaying someone disrespectful? The Jeter hero worship...sometimes I dunno.

But here's the kicker: The Boss would've never lost a negotiation where he had all the leverage. (Nor would the average person, for that matter.) Now, THAT might be making him spin right about now.