Friday, July 30, 2004

Politics: Kerry Speech

I haven't watched Kerry's speech yet (I'll be sitting in front of the tivo tonite?), but Greg's analysis/breakdown over at the Talent Show is the best I've read today, and has me pretty pumped up for it.

Baseball: Yankee BS...I mean, Bias

I got an email directing me to enter a contest at by voting for the "Greatest Home Run of All Time." This week's round asks you to choose between the dramatic Bobby Thomson "Shot Heard 'Round the World" / "The Giants Win the Pennant!!" home run and Reggie Jackson's 3 HR game in Game 6, 1977.

Before I even loaded the webpage, the Thomson home run, the Fisk Game 6 home run, and Joe Carter's WS-winning home run were the instant highlight reel playing in my head. Thomson's home run was the ultimate walk-off, mob-at-the-plate, carry-off-on-teammate's-shoulders culmination of a great pennant race comeback. Clearly one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history, this choice shouldn't even be a close.

It's not close. Jackson's kicking Thomson's ass 64% to 36%. An absolute travesty. While the game established Jackson's credentials as "Mr October" and was clearly a dominating performance, the statistical anomoly of hitting a third home run (solo) in the eighth inning of a game you already lead 7-3 is a nice insurance run, but not "The Greatest Home Run of All Time."

I'm calling on Yankee-haters and knowledgeble fans everywhere to make this right. Enter the contest and vote.

As Rick Santorum would say, " the future of our country hangs in the balance."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

BS: When is a warning not a warning?

When it's bullshit. This is starting to get ridiculous. Via Yahoo/AP [my emphasis added]:
White House - AP Cabinet & State [note the news category]
FBI Issues Terror Warning for Calif., N.M.
2 hours, 14 minutes ago
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The FBI warned police in California and New Mexico that it received information about possible terrorist activity in their states. However, the warning wasn't specific about particular targets or a method of attack, a federal law enforcement official said Thursday.

The FBI decided to pass along the threat information but warned that it was considered unsubstantiated and uncorroborated, said the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

The vague warning was distributed to authorities in California, New Mexico and some other Western states the official did not identify.

U.S. officials earlier this month warned that a regular stream of intelligence indicates al-Qaida wants to attack the United States to disrupt the upcoming elections.

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said the government does not have specific knowledge about where, when or how an attack might take place.

Security was extremely tight at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this week. No terrorist-related activity has been reported.

So what the hell are you telling us? At what point is it fair to say, "If you don't have anything of substance to tell us, shut the f--k up."? It's getting harder and harder to believe that these warnings are not merely political in motivation and designed to incite fear or distract from larger stories or issues. Gee, anyone giving a major speech tonite? Get something else out there on the news, quick.

Since the President seems to have an affinity for children's books, would someone please give him a copy of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

LINK: Sharks and dogs, oh my

The always hilarious mjxm is no fan of sharks, Shark Week or German Shepards named Happy...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Quote of the Day

Via Eric Alterman:
"I wouldn't urinate down his throat if his heart was on fire."

--Democratic consultant James Carville, referring to independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader during a speech before the Michigan delegation today.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Convention? What Convention?

Kos has a good post quoting Jim Lehrer on the absence of any significant network coverage of the Democratic Convention (I say 'Democratic' Convention, because I won't be surprised if somehow there is a change of heart between now and September and the Republicans garner more coverage).
Lehrer: This is one of the most important presidential elections we've had in a long time. Important issues with long-term implications are on the table to be resolved. The United States of America is the most powerful nation in the world. All Americans should be involved in the debate over how we exercise our enormous power. The vehicle to do that is the presidential election.

Is there anything going on that is more important than that?

No. There isn't. It is an embarrassment that the BBC and Al Jazeera will be giving the Convention greater coverage than our own networks. I won't pretend that everything that goes on at a Convention isn't pretty much scripted, rehearsed and not really "breaking" news, but if the conventional wisdom is that most of the public is unaware of the issues, not sure who one of the two choices for President is, and apathetic about voting in general, I think a week without CSI reruns is the least the network can do to fulfill their public service obligations for the free use of our airwaves...

Friday, July 23, 2004

RELIGION: Get Your God Off My Body

"You deal with the medical stuff; I'll take care of my own conscience, thank you."

Body and Soul has a story worth reading about Catholic hospitals and how your health care takes a back seat to their agenda.


Carlos Delgado has long been a favorite player of mine. He is an absolute monster in the batter's box, but has always seemed so personable and accessible as a top-tier major-leaguer. This week the New York Times ran two articles about Delgado's personal protest against the War in Iraq. The first, by the often insufferable William C. Rhoden, gave the background on Delgado's refusal to stand for the "God Bless America" played during MLB games:
Last March when the United States invaded Iraq, Delgado, in his own quiet way, said that for him, enough was enough. He had stood for "God Bless America" through the 2003 season but vowed not to do so this season. In an act of a simple, mostly unnoticed, protest against the war, Delgado, a 32-year-old first baseman, has chosen to remain in the dugout while "God Bless America" is played.

I'm curious to see the reaction to Delgado at Yankee Stadium, which George Steinbrenner has turned into a paean to patriotism. Some teams, including Toronto, have stopped playing "God Bless America," which was inserted into games after the attacks of Sept. 11. Most teams now play the song only on weekends or holidays.

The Yankees play it during the seventh-inning stretch at every home game. [My note: they are the only team that still plays it during every game.] That includes tonight, when they begin a two-game series with Toronto. Delgado will probably not be standing on the field...

Good for him. In the world of mainstream professional sports, where cookie-cutter athletes rarely take a stand on any issue, let alone one as highly charged as a war, Delgado is a rarity. He is unafraid to question a ritual that he does not agree with...

"It takes a man to stand up for what he believes," Delgado said Monday. "Especially in a society where everything is supposed to be politically correct."

I couldn't agree more. I admire Delgado for his stance and his conviction. The shoving down the collective throat of "God Bless America" as the new de facto national anthem since 9/11 has long annoyed me. I've got no personal problem with it to a certain point, and I sure enjoy a nice Ronan Tynan rendition, but it reached point of ridiculous overuse. I have long wondered what was wrong with the "Star Spangled Banner" or "America the Beautiful," maybe it's just me...

Anyway, Rhoden's column was written before Delgado appeared at Yankee Stadium, here's Steve Wilstein's post-game the follow-up:
How much of the patriotism and piety in sports is sincere, how much public relations?

It's a question I've often wondered while standing for 5,843 variations of ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' (some Francis Scott Key wouldn't recognize), listening to 967 recitals of ``God Bless America,'' (the late great Kate Smith still belting it out), and seeing 231 military fly-bys (hoping they don't crash into the stadium).

Sometimes I wonder it while I'm humming the anthem or mouthing the words, watching ballplayers scratch and spit and, occasionally, fall asleep on their feet.

There's a phoniness to all the packaged patriotism that sports deploy, like the flags flapping at car dealerships. Buy a ticket, buy a car, be American. Jingoism sells.

A lot of people really love all that rally-round-the-flag stuff and take it very seriously. I've seen fights break out in the bleachers when some fans thought others who didn't doff their hats were being disrespectful.

There was curiosity, then, in seeing how Yankee Stadium fans would react Wednesday night to Toronto Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado, who has been refusing to stand for ``God Bless America'' to protest the war in Iraq.

In this most patriotic of all ballparks, where Yankees boss George Steinbrenner has cranked up the nationalistic displays since the Sept. 11 attacks, Delgado drew only a few boos when he batted and brief chants of ``U-S-A! U-S-A!'' when he lined out in the top of the seventh.

No one went nuts over Delgado. No one threw balls or bottles at him. Civility and polite political discord prevailed. Let's hope it stays that way...

Delgado is that rare ballplayer who exhibits a conscience about social issues and has the conviction to express himself in his own small way...That's more than most athletes are willing to do.

Good for Delgado, nice job by Rhoden and Wilstein and kudos to the fans for displaying a rare moment of restraint at Yankee Stadium (I suppose it's mostly due to the fact that any of them able to read waste their time with the Post or Daily News...). I'm sure someone out there has a column on what a traitor Delgado is, but like anyone else with the courage to voice a dissenting opinion he is to me the ultimate patriot.

UPDATE: I get into it with the Baseball Crank here.

BLOGS: Baseball Crank

The Mad Hibernian over at The Baseball Crank links his readers over here with some trepidation due to my "lack of civility" (probably due to my colorful description of Rick Santorum). I make no apologies for my opinions, and don't plan to change the tone around here (after all, I am supposed to be furious, right?), but in the interest of maintaining a wider audience than myself, I'll consider taking the language down a notch.

The Baseball Crank is a great site and I recommend it highly. I was first introduced to The Baseball Crank when he was a contributor back in the glory days of the old Boston Sports Guy website. Sports Guy has gone big-time and the Crank has opened his own shop. These days it's more politics than baseball, and both the Crank and contributor 'The Mad Hibernian' are great writers. Both are conservative and I nearly always disagree with them, but there is a great discourse over there and they are receptive to all comers. The baseball analysis is top-notch and the political commentary is a great window into the "other side." Check it out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Politics: Gay Marraige Amendment Dead

Via the AP. Six Republicans joined the Democrats to defeat the Gay Hating Amendment. Sore loser and complete fucking jackass Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) had this preposterous quote:
"I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance," said Sen. Rick Santorum, a leader in the fight to approve the measure. "Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"

Are you sure Senator? Is it just the future of our country, or will the very universe itself wink out of existence if the gay couple down the street ties the knot?

UPDATE: After further reading, I now understand this was a "cloture" vote, not an actual vote on the Amendment. Which I sort of knew going in, but forgot about in the excitement of the Republican beat-down. What this means is that this was a vote to end debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote on the actual Amendment. This is good, because Kerry and Edwards missed the vote, but it was really, for all intents and purposes, merely a procedural vote.

The Republicans didn't even get a majority (50%), never mind the 60 votes actually needed to even bring the Amendment to a vote. Thankfully it is (deliberately) difficult to change the Constitution. these idiots are long way from having the super-majorities needed in both Houses, plus three-quarters of all states needed to ratify an Amendment. It really just serves to illustrate the motives here are pure politics, pandering and a complete waste of everyone's time.

War: CIA...Ya See I Aint Kiddin'

Kevin Drum keeps his eye on the ball and reminds us that any screw-ups by the CIA aren't what really led us into an unnecessary war: the time we invaded Iraq none of this mattered. Remember, UN inspectors re-entered Iraq three months before the invasion and found nothing there except a handful of missiles that violated UN limits by a few miles. Saddam destroyed them. The United States provided the inspectors with detailed intel on where to find Iraq's WMD stockpiles. No dice: every single followup turned out to be a wild goose chase. Hans Blix's team searched everywhere, including Saddam's palaces. Nothing.

Before the invasion, France and several other countries made proposals for even more intrusive inspections: thousand of inspectors backed up by military units. George Bush turned them all down. The fact is that by March 2003 we didn't have to rely on CIA estimates or on the estimates of any other intelligence agency. We had been on the ground in Iraq for months and there was nothing there. There was nothing there and we knew it.

Did the CIA screw up? Probably. Did it matter? No. George Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003 not because he was convinced Iraq had WMD, but because he was becoming scared that Iraq didn't have WMD and that further inspections would prove it beyond any doubt. Facts on the ground have never been allowed to interfere with George Bush's worldview, and he wasn't about to take the chance that they might interfere with his war.

Whatever faults the CIA has, let's not blame them for the war in Iraq. We all know exactly whose mistake it was.

Insight like this is why I hold Kevin in pretty high regard. He brings us back to perhaps the most important point that really does trump all the arguments back and forth about who-mislead-who and what intel was wrong. This nitpicking and finger-pointing is based on the Fall of 2002 and the 2003 SOTU address—all of that was water under the bridge by the time we invaded. Inspections were clearly not revealing any violations and Bush was not going to get his war on if we waited for Saddam to get caught by the UN. So he didn't want to wait. I don't think it gets any more clear-cut that Bush started a War of Choice not a War of Necessity. Kerry needs to figure out a way to make that point clear. He hasn't done it yet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Do Your Duty!

Here are links to help battle some of the idiotic crap coming down the pike from the Republican Party. Democracy doesn't get any easier than online petitions, folks. Set-up the auto-fill feature on your browser and it takes mere seconds to fill these things out with your name, etc. If you don't participate and make your views known to your elected officials you don't really have much right to complain. Get to it:

BUSH'S OVERTIME TAKEAWAY SCAM - Send a fax for free to your Representatives to oppose Bush's new rules eliminating overtime pay for millions of working Americans. These rules take effect next month unless we stop them now.

GAY HATRED AMENDMENT - Sign the petition at and tell your Representatives to oppose the upcoming vote (tomorrow?) on Amending the Constitution to discriminate against an entire segment of society. This Amendment doesn't have any chance of actually passing, but we need to lay the smackdown on this big-time. Signing the petition gives your Representative backup (ass-covering) to vote against it. If you live in an area where you have a bigot for a Representative, he deserves to know what you think about it.

STOP DRILLING IN ALASKA - My good friend Robert Redford sent me a personal message about how much he hates President Bush (almost as much as me!). Sign the petition to prevent Bush from using high gas prices as an excuse to drill in another Reserve up in Alaska. This Reserve is next door to the more reknowned ANWAR, and would open the door to further expansion later on.

Don't assume because your Rep or Senator might be a Democrat that they will be on the right side of these issues. Special interests (churchs, and big corporations) are exerting tremendous pressure on everyone in Congress on this stuff. And many Republicans oppose some of the stuff coming down from Bush, DeLay & Co. but are under pressure to toe the Party line. Remind 'em they answer to you, not Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. Make sure your voice is heard.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Politics: KICK-ASS!

Ron Reagan to Address Democrat Delegates
WASHINGTON - Democrats have snagged a high-profile speaker — and a measure of political one-upmanship — for this month's convention: Ron Reagan. The younger son of the late President Reagan will address the Democratic National Convention in Boston about stem cell research.

David Wade, a spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), said Monday that Reagan will have a "prime time" speaking slot during the July 26-29 convention. "Ron Reagan's courageous pleas for stem cell research add a powerful voice to the millions of Americans hoping for cures for their children, for their parents and for their grandparents," Wade said.

Reagan, 46, has been critical of the Bush administration's restriction of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research and the war in Iraq (news - web sites).

But he said his speech will only deal with the subject of stem cell research, something he and Nancy Reagan have argued could lead to cures for a number of diseases like the Alzheimer's that afflicted the late president. Because the extraction of stem cells destroys day-old embryos, the process is opposed by groups who link it to abortion.

"If they had asked me to say a few words about throwing George Bush out of office, I wouldn't do it," Reagan told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "This gives me a platform to educate people about stem cell research."

So he won't actually be slamming bush, it doesn't matter. Him merely walking on the stage in Boston is endorsement enough. This is a tremendous way to counter any "Reagan nostalgia" bump that Bush is counting on. Rove & Co. have clearly been attempting tp portray Bush as the heir apparent to the Reagan mystique, but that will be damaged by Reagan's actual heir being visibly on the other side.

I always liked that Ron. And not just for the Dog Shows. If only Nancy would stand up there with him...

Friday, July 09, 2004

Politics: Oops...

The Pentagon finally admits that the military records that would settle the issue of President Bush's questionable National Guard service (a.k.a. his three-month drug and alcohol AWOL party) have been permantently destroyed and there are no backup copies in existence:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Pentagon says military records related to President Bush's service in the National Guard more than 30 years ago were inadvertently destroyed, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Payroll records of "numerous service members," including Bush, were ruined in 1996 and 1997 during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the newspaper said, citing the Pentagon.

The destroyed files cover three months of a period in 1972 and 1973 when Bush's claims of service in Alabama are in question, the newspaper said. No back-up paper copies of the records could be found, the Pentagon said in notices dated June 25, according to the Times.

But I thought the White House released all of the President's records? Oh, that's right, they were lying. It's a surprise that the "salvage technique" of taking microfilm out to the parking lot and throwing it in the dumpster didn't have better results.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Baseball: Duquette Still Hurts

Mark Teixeira - 1B - Rangers
Mark Teixeira homered and doubled tonight. He's 14-for-32 with six homers, 14 RBI and seven walks over the last nine games.
Teixeira might be transitioning into a superstar right before our eyes. He should stay in the cleanup spot following Brad Fullmer's return tomorrow. Jul. 6 - 10:22 pm et

If Dan Duquette hadn't been such a prick after drafting Teixeira (forcing him to return to Georgia Tech for another year of college), this burgeoning superstar would be manning the hot corner for the Red Sox right now. Sigh.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Life: Jeopardy

My mother-in-law had a long-standing dream to be on Jeopardy. Well, that might be a little much, it wasn't her life's goal or anything, lets say she really wanted to be on the show (like the rest of us imagine doing), but she actually did something about it. She tried out and she qualified. The first time ten or so years ago, but she never got the call. She re-qualified last year and early this year she got a call and was invited to L.A. to be on the show. Tonight was the big night. Her Jeopardy appearance aired nationwide. Unfortunately for her, she ran into a buzzsaw named Ken Jennings...

It must be nerve-racking enough to finally make it onto the show, be on television and everything else, but to have to face the Randy Johnson of Trivia in your first at-bat? Yikes.

They taped these shows in March, and all Lucinda would reveal was that she didn't win, but she came in second to a guy who at the time of her taping had won 23 games in a row. She kept it close for a while, actually reaching a respectable total in the $4000 range before Ken started running away with it. Lucinda and the third contestant were forced to guess wildly at times to try and catch up and paid a heavy price. Ken got both Daily Doubles, the other guy guessed himself into a $3800 hole, and Lucinda matched up one on one with Ken for Final Jeopardy down about $19,000. Amazingly Ken did not know the answer, but neither did Lucinda and it was too late anyhow. Ken advanced, adding another twenty grand to his ridiculous $750,000 in winnings to this point.

The National Review Online of all places has an over-the-top story on Jennings (link via Baseball Crank) saying he's better than Jordan, Gretzky and Bobby Fischer. That is absolutely ridiculous. He's merely the first dominant guy to show up after they abolished the 5-game limit. I doubt he'll end up being the greatest guy ever to play a trivia game, but for my mother-in-law, I suppose, there is pride in coming in second to the guy the NRO says put on the most dominant performance since Secretariat.

Congratulations, Lucinda!

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Anyone else have the misfortune of being on one of the Viagra / Xanax / Nexium spam lists? You're always greeted with a phony "personal" subject line, from a person you obviously don't know. You open it up and there's the pitch for whatever crap they're selling a link to unsubscribe (or "say adios" as so many like to offer), then at the end there's something like this:
deconvolve spectral capricorn antiquity courtier ski rooftree grow mildred bach arid jimmie plop dayton american brotherhood sweater swath another complementary deface mephistopheles penumbra salty certain claus boldface gratitude occult minuscule laurie roomy ironside licorice bassi elsie activism reclamation inherit universe carbonate substitute need am manna lukewarm telephotography rob captious drudge conferrable tootle detain camera campbell crosby hump einstein bushnell centric brace asiatic becky wayne spark carburetor bijouterie caste corpuscular doctorate codeposit emissary dunedin freed obsolescent word pamper crap case ohmmeter lag woods chairwomen affricate anharmonic hijack

What the hell is all that crap about? Are they keywords that are supposed to latch onto searches or something? I don't get it. I mean, Mephistopheles?

Baseball: "They're all greedy..."

Well, not all of them:
Kevin Appier is temporarily retiring.
Appier was scheduled to pitch today for Tripe-A Omaha as part of his latest rehabilitation assignment, but Appier has decided against it. His plan is to rest up, then try to pitch again next year. "I don't want to make these guys pay me to play in the minor leagues," Appier said. "That's why I would retire — so they wouldn't have to pay me." Appier is 36 years old, and his rehab assignment was not going terribly well, so there is a question as to whether he can be an effective pitcher in the majors again. He will likely seek out a major league minimum salary at the start of next season and hope to catch on with a team willing to give him a shot. We shall see.

Here's hoping Appier gets that shot and is Comeback Player of the Year next season. Just as long as it's not for the Yankees. Unfortunately for the "fantasy" Appier, I had to cut him from my squad a lonnng time ago.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Politics: Does the VP pick matter?

From the Washington Post:
"but can provide an image boost, as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) did for Al Gore four years ago."

Does anyone else here remember the "huge image boost" from Lieberman? Were all your friends and families "abuzz" with excitement over the droll, patrician, holier-than-thou Lieberman? How 'bout that huge swell of support that carried Gore to a landslide victory? Joe-mentum my ass.

Crap like this is what makes all this "analysis" as speculative and worthless as it actually is. The only thing I think we should count on is a fairly negligible effect by the VP choice, with anything more as a nice bonus. The difference between, say, Gephardt and Edwards, is that Gep will have a negligible negative impact, and Edwards stands to (hopefully) make a negligible positive / excitement impact. It would be fun to suppose that Edwards would lead us to victory, and conversely, Gephardt would drag us to defeat, but it probably won't have that big an effect on the average voter.

But, of course, I'm just guessing, like everyone else. At least in this case, I can feel like as big an expert as any columnist, since they don't know what the hell they're talking about either...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Politics: Thugs

(via Atrios, who links to Crooked Timber)
Apparently one of the organizations dedicated to the denunciation (destruction?) of Michael Moore and his film has stooped to the classic far-wingnut technique of releasing Moore's home address in an email to their supporters. Perhaps they could team up with some other wackos and shoot a few abortion providers while they're on the way to Moore's house. Scumbags.

Politics: Republican Civil War (a.k.a. wishful thinking)

Andrew Sullivan (who can, at times, be reasonable and even enjoyable since he lost patience with Bush on few issues) has some interesting thoughts on the future of the Republican Party, win or lose this fall:
"THE LOOMING REPUBLICAN WAR: The current tussle in the Congress over the budget is just a precursor to what I think will be outright Republican civil war after this election. If Bush wins, it will cripple his ability to get anything done. If he loses, the recriminations will get vicious. The fiscal conservatives will be fighting the "deficits-don't-matter" crowd. The realists will be out to topple the neocons. The Santorum-Ashcroft axis will continue to wage war on any Republicans not interested in legislating either the Old Testament or the dictates of the Vatican. (The FMA battle now looks more and more like an attempt by Santorum to identify Republican social moderates so he can use primary hardliners to challenge them in the future.) The battle lines are deep and sharp - and the future of American conservatism is at stake. Bush has proven himself unable to unite a party that includes Tom DeLay as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain and Bill Frist. Whether the coming civil war is about who lost the election, or who will exploit the victory, it's going to be nasty and enduring. No single party can be both for individual liberty and for theologically-based social policy; both for fiscal balance and drunken-sailor spending; both for interventionism abroad and against moralism in foreign policy. The incoherence is just too deep, the tensions too strained. And with the war on terror itself a point of contention among conservatives, geo-politics will not be able to keep the coalition in one piece.

Interesting. I'm happy to see some disarray on the other side for a change, but for some reason, I think, if they win, they will resolve just enough of the differences to really screw everybody on plenty of fronts...

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias agrees with me. Or, rather, since he certainly didn't read my measly post and say "Wow, Mr Furious has it all figured out!", we both reach the same conclusion: Republicans suck, and they will patch things up enough to keep the shitty end of the stick pointed at the rest of us.