Thursday, April 28, 2005

WFT?: "Mr. Fox, here's your henhouse..."

[via Ezra who saw it at Atrios']

Yesterday the new Iraqi parliament approved a Cabinet of Ministers. Most of the Ministries were filled, but a few key positions will be manned by temporary "acting" Ministers pending a final selection. Ahmed Chalabi is going to be the acting Oil Minister of Iraq. One of the other temporary positions is Minister of Defense. Why not just name Curveball to that post...?

The Oil Ministry was the only building protected by the troops against looting during the invasion, so much for that now...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Politics: The Professor

I always enjoy Paul Krugman, and usually think he's right. This time I can only hope he's right...
The Oblivious Right

...Since November's election, the victors have managed to be on the wrong side of public opinion on one issue after another: the economy, Social Security privatization, Terri Schiavo, Tom DeLay. By large margins, Americans say that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and Mr. Bush is the least popular second-term president on record.

What's going on? Actually, it's quite simple: Mr. Bush and his party talk only to their base - corporate interests and the religious right - and are oblivious to everyone else's concerns.

[...] the great majority of Americans, who live off their wages, not dividends or capital gains, and aren't doing well at all. Over the past three years, wage and salary income grew less than in any other postwar recovery - less than a tenth as fast as profits. But wage-earning Americans aren't part of the base.

[...] It all makes you wonder how these people ever ended up running the country in the first place. But remember that in 2000, Mr. Bush pretended to be a moderate, and that in the next two elections he used the Iraq war as a wedge to divide and perplex the Democrats.

[...] But Americans are feeling a sense of dread: they're worried about a weak job market, soaring health care costs, rising oil prices and a war that seems to have no end. And they're starting to notice that nobody in power is even trying to deal with these problems, because the people in charge are too busy catering to a base that has other priorities.

Let's hope so. But the Democrats cannot sit around hoping this stuff continues to sink in. The media has shown that it will not do it's job, so they have to delier the message and they have to offer a positive agenda as an alternative. I think we are poised to do well in the mid-terms if we take advantage. [Krugman's full column posted in comments]

[FOLLOW-UP]: Now, I'm not happy that regular Americans are suffering or wishing for bad economic news... the fact is, it's true, and Bush doesn't give a shit -- he and his are doing fine, and always will be. What I'm hoping is that Bush and the Republicans in Congress are forced to pay consequences for what they're doing, and that Democrats will benefit as a result.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Politics: No Quarter

There are rumors afoot about a Democratic compromise on the filibuster showdown. I can only hope they are groundless, because the Dems would complete fools to offer anything to the Republicans on this. Ezra says "no way." The Carpetbagger is amenable to the "Drum Compomise," barely. George T in the Carpetbagger comments thread has more:
This is the time to take the stand, and it makes me angry that we, the Dems, are still using the old mind-set that comity and reason stand for something in our political environment. That mind-set is dead until at least the time that the Dems take back the White House and the Congress. Until then, we are morons of the lowest order to turn our backs on these thugs and believe we won’t get fucked. Give in or fight, those are the choices. Just like on the school yard, those who give in to Bully may be pitied but never respected or followed; at least get bloodied in a fight with the Bully, you get respected and, even if you lose today, tomorrow you may have some followers who are tired of being the Bully’s victims, too, and feel encouraged to maybe join with you in the next fight.

I'm with George. No compromise. Not before a vote anyway. The Dem position is looking pretty good right now, and I'd say Frist is reaching the point of an empty bluff pretty soon. If somehow he and Cheney wrangle the numbers, he calls for a vote, gets the rule change, we shut down the Senate. Then with legislation languishing, we offer something like the Drum Compromise. Not before.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Politics: Do Republicans Lose Sleep?

Once again, the brilliant Digby does what he does best. He prefectly crystallizes what I have been unable precisely put a finger on or put into words...
I Know You Are But What Am I

Matt Yglesias [link] wonders why the Republicans have been so blase about nominees lying outright to the Senate during their confirmation hearings when they may very well be at the mercy of Democrats in the future. Yesterday, Bill Frist righteously rebutted the argument set forth by some Republicans that the nuclear option would leave them powerless when Democrats came into power, by saying that if it was wrong for Democrats today it would be wrong for Republicans tomorrow. In truth it doesn't matter.

[...] There is absolutely no reason for the Republicans to fear that they will be held to the same standard as they hold Democrats, ever. These lies by Bush appointees are not going to be investigated and they will always remain in the realm of he said/she said, old news, whyareyoubringingthisupnow. Fuggedaboudit.

For instance, Matt brings up the fact that the Bush administration has hired convicted congressional liars from the Iran Contra era. But, one must also remember that those same convicted liars were all pardoned by George Bush Sr at a time when he was personally under investigation by a special prosecutor, thus effectively ending the probe. Immediately after Senior left office, however, there began a relentless series of demands by Republicans for special prosecutors investigating a list of shockingly trivial charges that eventually led to the impeachment of the president. The Republicans didn't worry that someone would make comparisons that would embarrass them. They are unembarrassable because they have found that they can ignore the prinicples of relevant difference, the universality principle, the golden rule or whatever you want to call it, and there will be no repercussions.

[...] In other words, there are no rules --- only actions that will keep them in power or strip them from it. They fight each battle separately and don't worry about the one they are going to fight tomorrow. And when the worm has turned and Democrats gain power again, everything will go back to square one and all of the the crimes that we spent that last five years screaming to get covered and investigated will be turned by the Republicans into indictments of Democrats.

Yesterday, James Dobson, alleged arbiter of moral standards, came to a ringing defense of Tom DeLay. Using the approved right wing talking points, he claimed that DeLay was the subject of a witchhunt financed by liberal millionaires. This is, of course, exactly what they did to Bill Clinton for eight long years. They have no sense of embarrassment at this; no sense of irony; not even a little bit of shame for unoriginality. No, it is as if these arguments have never been uttered before and have the full force of moral righteousness even though it is, to our eyes, infuriatingly absurd.

[...] The Republicans are rejecting reason in science, economics, rhetoric and governance and therefore we cannot expect that rules based upon a rational assumption that they will be applied to both sides equally are even relevant. We fight each battle anew. It's never over. Nothing is settled. This is why they hate the courts. Reason and finality are their enemy. These are the "I Know You Are But What Am I" Republicans and they have taken us into a new world of post enlightenment reality. We'd better get used to it.

Lack of a conscience and blind ideology means no guilt, never having to say your sorry, complete disregard for hypocisy, no worry about future consequences, and an expectation of absolute and total loyalty.

Must be nice to be a Republican in a vacuum. It's up to us to poke enough holes in this that they get sucked out into space and explode...

Politics: More Bolton

Even Tony Blair wants nothing to do with this guy.
[MSNBC] ...On several occasions, America's closest ally in the war on terror, Britain, was irked by what U.S. and British sources say were efforts by Bolton to undermine promising diplomatic openings. Perhaps the most dramatic instance took place early in the U.S.-British talks in 2003 to force Libya to surrender its nuclear program, NEWSWEEK has learned. The Libya deal succeeded only after British officials "at the highest level" persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team. A crucial issue, according to sources involved in the affair, was Muammar Kaddafi's demand that if Libya abandoned its WMD program, the U.S. in turn would drop its goal of regime change. But Bolton was unwilling to support this compromise. The White House agreed to keep Bolton "out of the loop," as one source puts it. A deal was struck only after Kaddafi was reassured that Bush would settle for "policy change"—surrendering his WMD.

So, one of Bolton's alleged "successes" as the guy in charge of anti-proliferation actually occured in spite of his efforts not due to them. And as we all know, he pretty much blew it on all other non-proliferation issues (N. Korea, Iran, Pakistan, loose nukes...) as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Politics: Good Republicans

I've already commended Connecticut's Republican Gov. Jodi Rell for her (seemingly) enthusiastic signing of Civil Unions Legislation yesterday. The other Republican of the Week (and believe me, this is not a weekly award) is Senator George Vionovich of Ohio. Voinovich single-handedly stopped the fast-track nomination approval of maniac John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador. After all the negative testimony on this matter, the other Republicans were ready to rubber-stamp and move Bolton out of Committee and onto an up or down vote, even to the point of adjourning the Senate for the whole day until 4:30 so Democrats couldn't speak out on the floor.

In the face of what was surely blistering pressure from his Party, Voinovich stood up and said "Wait a second! These are some serious allegations, I'm not comfortable voting on this yet. We need to further examine this candidate." [or words to that effect]

Well, of course, he is now subject to smears and campaigns from the wingnut right. All for the crime of taking his job seriously instead of merely serving as rubber-stamp for the President. From's ad [my emphasis added]:
Wife: "Honey, were you watching C-SPAN today?  Did you hear how disloyal Senator Voinovich was to Republicans and President Bush?  Voinovich stood with the Democrats and refused to vote for John Bolton, the man President Bush has chosen to fight for the United States at the UN."

[...] "but then shows up at the last minute and stabs the President and Republicans right in the back."

[...] "how could Voinovich side with the Democrats in smearing John Bolton?

Husband:  It seems like Senator Voinovich has become a traitor to the Republican Party."

Jesus. Can you believe that crap? A traitor? It's not like Voinovich voted Bolton down, he just wants further analysis. Well, the Republicans can have none of that, it gets in the way of running a theocratic dictatorship.

The site then asks for donations to run the ad, and supplies links to contact Voinovich's staff. Fortunately, in their mad dash of slander, the links they put up are bad, so hopefully it will spare the Senator's office some of the vitriol. I went over to Voinovich's site and sent along a little "thank you" for his efforts.
I am not a constituent, not even a Republican, but I owe you my gratitude, Senator. You exhibited great courage in doing the right thing by asking for further debate on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador. Facing great pressure from your Party, you did this country a great service. I wish both Parties had more members of such character.

I hope you decide to oppose Mr. Bolton's nomination after closer examination of his record and reputation. Mr. Bolton is not worthy of this nomination. His record as a bureaucrat is incompatible with the position of U.N. Ambassador, and his reputation as a person is unbecoming of any higher office at all.

Thank you for your courage and consideration.

Bolton will now have to appear before the panel again in mid-May, by which time more and more dirt will surely surface, lessening his chances of confirmation. Bush has gotten greedy and cocky with power, but cracks are beginning to show among his supporters in Congress. Like the Kerik nomination, it's beginning to look like he can't just snap his fingers and get what he wants. At least not every time...

Misc: Life at BJU

This is great. Look over these rules for life on campus at Bob Jones University. Hilarious. Now I obviously expect some strict religious stuff, but they even require you to keep your dorm room clean! Highlights:
• Students are required to be in their own rooms and quiet at 11 pm. All lights must be out by midnight.

• Students are required to keep their rooms clean and neat. Rooms are inspected daily.

• All wireless access to the Internet is forbidden since all Internet use must go through the University's filtered access.

• Music must be compatible with the University's music standards: New Age, jazz, rock, and country music is not permitted. [Even] Contemporary Christian music is not permitted (e.g., Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, WOW Worship, and so forth).

• Residence hall students may not watch videos above a G rating when visiting homes in town and may not attend movie theaters.

Oh, and you can bring your handgun to school, but it needs a trigger lock. But don't bring any video game that contains a gun... I love it. What kid would agree to go here?

[ADDENDUM]: I will give them this... The school has one of the nicest college/academic websites I've seen. Really. It's terrific. Easy to use and gorgeous. Maybe I should convert and go for my Masters in Graphic Design...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Politics: Connecticut Pride

Civil Unions Approved

Connecticut on Wednesday became the second state to recognize same-sex civil unions, and the first to do so without court pressure.

About an hour after the state Senate sent the legislation to her desk, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill that will allow thousands of gay and lesbian couples in Connecticut to be given the same rights and obligations as heterosexual couples, but not an actual marriage license. [...]

"I have said all along that I believe in no discrimination of any kind and I think that this bill accomplishes that, while at the same time preserving the traditional language that a marriage is between a man and a woman," Rell said after signing the bill into law.

Good for Rell. She's a Republican who will have to run for office in a little while and she did what was right for a change. If I still lived in CT, I'd say she's earned my vote with this one act.

It's been thirteen years since I lived in Connecticut, but it's where I grew up, and where I feel like I'm "from." Today I wish I could say I still called it home. Instead I live in Michigan. Home of last November's draconian gay-hating initiative that enshrines descrimination into the state constitution, and a Republican legislature passing a law allowing EMTs to refuse to answer a call from a gay household. Ugh. It sometimes feels like Ann Arbor might as well be in Kansas or Alabama...

Certainly I'd like to see Connecticut go for full-on gay marriage instead of civil unions, but if all things are equal but the name, what's the difference? Howard Dean was right on that one...let states do civil rights (and unions) and churches do marriage.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Politics: Bolton

The Rude Pundit sums up thusly:
John Bolton, Crazy Man:
Has anyone actually come up with a reason to vote for John Bolton for the United States Ambassador to the U.N.? Other than, you know, he was nominated by President Bush, whose popularity is sinking so fast that Hell can't get his shit room built fast enough for his inevitable coke-driven murder/suicide rampage. And Bolton apparently once or twice didn't piss on the heads of foreign leaders. The Rude Pundit is no wise and true Republican Senator, but isn't it kind of an insult to be told to support someone who, at minimum, is mean, aggressive, and egomaniacal, or, to be really honest, is as crazy as a shithouse rat? In fact, a shithouse rat would be a more sensible choice for the U.N.

Frankly, I can't get all that worked up about Bolton. I know he's an undeserving loyalist completely unprepared/unqualified for his nominated position, but I'm used to that with Bush... Beating him back will just lead to Bush choosing some other fucker from the bowels of the Reagan or Nixon Administration to take his place. If Bolton goes down in flames, great. But right now, the Democrats have bigger fights on heir hands and/or reasons to keep their powder dry.

UPDATE: Here is the best piece I've read on Bolton. Highlight:
Ambassadors practice diplomacy, and one part of diplomacy is getting people to do what you want them to do. There are, in general, three ways to do this. The first is pure persuasion: convincing the other party that they should do what you want them to do. The second is to offer them inducements for doing what you want. The third is to threaten bad consequences if they don't do what you want.

John Bolton would have a much more difficult time than most people engaging in pure persuasion. He has, after all, said that the UN doesn't really exist, that its actions should be largely dictated by the US, that no other country should have a seat at the Security Council, and that the US should use it when it suits our purposes and otherwise ignore it. [...]

Inducements are out: Bolton has said "I don't do carrots", and his record suggests that we should take him at his word. But that leaves only threats in his diplomatic repertoire; and working with only one of the three available tools of diplomacy is like wrestling with all but one of your limbs tied behind your back. [...] There are times when we should use threats, but the idea of having no other means at our disposal is really not a good one.

Politics: 2008

I'm done with Kerry. Edwards was underwhelming as Veep candidate, Hillary cannot win, Granholm cannot run (and I'm less and less enamored with her anyway), Dean has promised not to run as DNC Chair. I don't see any other player coming up from the ranks of the Senate, House or Governors. Biden? Bayh? I can't see any of these guys breaking free of the same things that undid Kerry. Out of touch Washington liberal elite, who's a Senate Dem and the Dems are weak on Defense.

The answer? Wesley Clark. I guess there was a convention in California this weekend, and Clark spoke. And by all accounts he kicked some ass. And he was on Bill Maher's HBO show, mopping the floor with David Frum. Today everybody's talking about Clark in 2008, and I'm joining right in. I love the guy. He had, to me, only one weakness in '04--inexperience as a campaigner. In many ways that can be a strength, but he was outclassed but some of the other candidates on TV and simply entered the race too late to get acclimated. If he can hold his own on a stage, in a debate and in an interview, there is simply no way to take him down. Where is the Republican line of attacK? I don't see it. He is the total package: Southern, former bad-ass general / Commander of NATO, Rhodes Scholar, first in his calss at West Point, progressive domestic policy, foriegn policy savvy, good looking, charming...and perhaps most importantly, no Washington baggage. No voting record to distort, no flip flops. Oh, and he will take no shit. If they try to Swift Boat Clark, he will level them.

Carpetbagger, Ezra, Armondo at kos, Yglesias, and MyDD have more, or at least a good thread of comments.

A follow-up to something I wrote above...Obviously the Republicans will attack Clark. And I'm sure there are actually weaknesses in his armor. Even Maximus from "Gladiator" would face the "Democrat pussy can't keep you safe" catcalls from the right. My point is that Clark is in a better position (and a better personality) to deflect those criticisms.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Politics: Bankruptcy Abomination Passes

It's official, the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act" (a.k.a. "The Credit Card Industry Corporate Giveaway and Consumer Sodomy Act") passed the house 302-126. Every single Republican voted for it, so it was going to pass anyway, but 73 fucking sell-out Democrats crossed over and joined them, giving the real sponsors and patrons of this Republican-originated and dominated piece-of-shit legislation the cover of "bipartisanship." You can bet your ass that the word "bipartisan" will be in the very first sentence uttered by the Boy King when he signs this thing next week.

There was no good reason for any Democrat to support this. Period. There was nothing "bipartisan" about this Bill. Republicans struck down every single possible amendment offered by the Dems that could have taken some of the edge off this horrendous bill. Often by a party-line vote. As result, the Democrats should have banded together and said, "Fine. We don't want our names on this thing, it's all yours." Why? Because there is not one single Democrat or potential Democrat voter in this country supporting this thing. In fact, I'd bet there aren't too many Republicans either. The only people who wanted this were the lending industries. It is bad for everybody else. Medical disaster? Lost your job? Sent to Iraq? You're fucked. You can never get out from under your debt now.

In 2006 it would have been nice to hang this anvil around the necks of the "Republicans who choose big business over regular Americans", but that can't happen as a nation-wide, Party message thanks to these 73 corporate whores. Thanks a lot for making defining our Party versus the Republicans a near impossibility. Fuck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Lies: The Continuing Demonization of Michael Moore

Normally rational, if not agreeable (lately, at least) rightie John Cole's got his panties in a bunch and his readers all fired up about the latest "lies" from that big, fat, lying anti-American scumbag Michael Moore*. Those on the right are always belowing about how Moore is a certified wacko and "Fahrenheit 9/11" is full of lies. In fact, Moore is such a liar, he couldn't even help lying about the film's success way back when...

Apparently the lies in Fahrenheit 9/11 were not enough, and Michael Moore had to tell lies ABOUT the movie's popularity:

As publicity for Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore himself could not have written better stories. And he did seem to write some of them. “It sold out in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg,” he told the group at the MoveOn town meeting. “It sold out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It got a standing ovation in Greensboro, North Carolina.” In a matter of hours, those quotes found their way into news reports, feeding the impression that Fahrenheit 9/11 was exciting audiences everywhere... that the movie was a phenomenon sweeping the country.

But was that really true? Certainly the picture had a spectacular opening weekend for a documentary. But Moore always claimed a special status for the movie, that it was much more than a documentary. (He withdrew it from Academy Award consideration in the documentary category, opting instead to position it unsuccessfully, as it turned out — for a Best Picture nomination.)
[...York fails to note that this was done so that Moore could release the film on video in time for the election, not for the award...] And as a film phenomenon, Fahrenheit 9/11’s opening was not nearly as spectacular as Moore claimed.

To make a comparison: Which film had a better opening weekend, Fahrenheit 9/11 or Barbershop 2: Back in Business? The correct answer is Barbershop.
[...York gleefully lists several more films...] In the end, Fahrenheit 9/11 had the 32nd-best opening weekend of 2004, taking in $23,920,637 in its first days.

Cole's source is an excerpt from Byron York's The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. York's "evidence" is such crap I cannot believe that an idiot like me can rip it apart and debunk it so easily. First of all, the film had the 32nd best opening weekend out of what (I presume) are 52 weekends, and hundreds of films released on those weekends. Not too shabby. For a fucking documentary that was probably shown on one-tenth the screens of Spider-Man 2. On this alone, York has to be a jackass to advance his argument, but he's got a ace up his sleeve...see, Moore bragged that even red-staters were flocking to the film, and York's got the goods on that angle...
Overall, Fahrenheit 9/11 did extremely well in North America’s top eight markets, according to the numbers compiled by Nielsen EDI. The film actually underperformed slightly in the largest market, Los Angeles...but it overperformed in the next seven largest markets. In New York it overperformed by nearly 43 percent; Fahrenheit 9/11 took in 11.12 percent of its total box office in that city alone...[blah, blah, blah]

That’s the upside of the story. The downside revealed by the Nielsen EDI numbers is that Fahrenheit 9/11, far from being the runaway nationwide hit that Moore claimed, underperformed in dozens of markets throughout red states...Dallas/Fort Worth, the ninth-largest movie market, accounts for 2.07 percent of North American box office but made up just 1.21 percent of Fahrenheit 9/11 box office, for an underperformance of nearly 42 percent... In Houston, ranked twelfth for movies, it underperformed by 38 percent...

That's your evidence of Moore's lies and the vast left-wing conspiracy? It's complete bullshit. Looking after-the-fact at the total recepts for a movie a year later, hyperanalyzing the breakdowns, and then declaring that it "underperformed" in certain areas? And based on this ridiculous extrapolation, that makes Moore a liar?

The film may very well have done all the things Moore claims (sell-out, ovations, etc) and York offers no evidence to the contrary. Even if the film did "underperform" over the long run (according to the averages for normal feature films, BTW), this is not a measure of opening weekend, which is what Moore was talking about. And the dramatic "overperformance" in the top markets would drag the other numbers down over the film's run. In other words, just because people in NYC flocked to the film and boosted the numbers, it doesn't mean less people saw it in Dallas, it just means less of a percentage did.

Oh, speaking of Moore's "lies" and could one of you asshats on the right point me to an accurate list of the film's "lies", I keep hearing about them, but once again, none of you guys (York, Cole and his readers) are giving any examples...

* I'll concede, Moore is fat, could use a shave, and could pick a better tux, but he's no scumbag, liar (until someone proves to me otherwise), nor does he hate America.

[UPDATE] Over in Cole's comment thread, someone directed me to this site for a catalog of the film's "lies." It's pretty tedious reading and in an awkward format. I will have to follow up later after I have some time to check it out.

On a final note, do they have nothing better to rant about after all this time?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bush: Our Beloved President

Recent polls have Bush's numbers are a new low for his presidency, as well as historically for any second term President ever this soon after re-election. Well, it only gets worse for the Boy King when he ventures outside his bubble. At the Pope's funeral in Rome [via The Talent Show]...
He remarked on how affected he was by the services, particularly the music and the sight of the plain casket being carried out with the sun pouring down on it. As he viewed the pope's body, Bush said, he felt "very much at peace" and "much more in touch with his spirit."

[...] When Mr. Bush's face appeared on giant screen TVs showing the ceremony, many in the crowds outside St. Peter's Square booed and whistled.

Booed at the Pope's funeral. Ouch.

Ahh, makes me think of a story that only unforgiving and bitter sports fans will understand...

Back in the early 90s, Boston signed over-the-hill slugger/whiffer Jack Clark. He sucked for two years in a Sox uniform and then retired. His big contract and poor performance made him an unpopular figure with fans.

One day (the year after he retired) I was sitting through a rain delay at Fenway, and the scoreboard screen was showing an episode of "This Week In Baseball." There was a pre-game interview with some random Sox player on the show, and in the background of the shot, Jack Clark walked by to get into the batting cage. The rain-soaked Fenway faithful erupted in boos. That's right, a year after retiring, they booed the guy because he walked by onscreen. That is the toughest sports town...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Politics: Can Spock Solve the SS Crisis?

Jesse at Pandagon deftly dismantles the Bush Social Security rhetoric and their use of "infinity" to calculate the SS shortfalls:
The infinite horizon is a bad number because it tells us absolutely nothing. We do not and cannot have enough information about Social Security, about anything in 2500 to make any projection that has any meaning whatsoever. According to Star Trek, we can buy machines that replicate food for free by the mid-25th century. According to any number of bad Mad Max ripoffs, we'll be lucky if we aren't eating rats stewed in expired chicken broth while lame ass punk-wannabes ride around on motorcycles taunting us.

You can't make a projection without information, and we don't have information.

Then in the comments:
Post-apocalyptic biker-punks need to stop their partisan sniping and present their own plan for Social Security's future.

Somehow I don't think they have this much fun on the other side...

Baseball: It's Opening Day!

It's Opening Day! And I'm going to post about steroids? Well, I wasn't, but two of the things I read today talked about it, and are worth repeating...

From Sports Guy's Sox vs. Yanks season preview:
Speaking of steroids, which team will be more affected by the steroids crackdown? Well, one team features the poster boy for the steroid crisis (Giambi), as well as someone who hung out with Barry Bonds and his trainer and "unknowingly" used a steroid cream (Sheffield). The other team has two goofy sluggers from the Dominican Republic who probably couldn't figure out how to make a cup of Thera-Flu for one another, much less inject each other with hormones.

And Salon's King Kaufman on the unlikely/ironic first player caught under the new testing policy:
It's a home run for baseball that it gets to show off its new testing teeth without causing a fuss among the fans. People aren't going to be complaining because Alex Sanchez isn't in center field for the Rays on Opening Day. And Sanchez's stature, playing style and anemic .364 lifetime slugging percentage also let baseball make an important point about steroids.

The surprise with which so many met the revelation that Sanchez was perp No. 1 shows how uninformed we are about this subject. Alex Sanchez? He's not a hulking slugger. He's not chasing home run records. What's he doing chasing steroids.

Almost all the steroid talk has centered around home-run hitters with comic-book physiques, but steroids can do more than just build huge muscles. All those sprinters and hurdlers don't look like linebackers, after all. Anybody can benefit from steroids, as Jose Canseco tells us. People around the game say there might be more pitchers on the juice than hitters.

It's in baseball's interest to make these points. Look, baseball can say, steroids aren't just about home runs. Now let's stop talking about putting asterisks in the record books

Good point.

Anyway, it's Opening Day, a joyous occasion. Since I never count ESPN's bogus Opening Days anyway, let's just pretend last night's game never happened.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Politics: Vatican Distraction

Since the Pope will probably de by the end of the day, and everybody's still hypnotized by the Schiavo events, the Bush White House has a "perfect storm" scenario to release bad or embarrassing news today while no one is looking -- what will it be?