Friday, August 05, 2005

Texas: The Men are Big, The Frauds are Bigger

Robert A. George, one of my favorite bloggers of the right, responds to a Bob Tyrrell column blaming, in part, Bill Clinton for the steroid scandal in MLB and for the allegedly fraudalent testimony of Rafael Palmiero in front of Congress. George points out that

If we go back to that era, one is forced to note a rather significant figure in Rafael Palmeiro's life.

Who was the principal owner of a Texas Rangers team over a period that when its roster included at one time or another Palmeiro, Jose Canseco AND Sammy Sosa-- all of whom testified before Congress on steroids? (Um, that is, they testified on the SUBJECT of steroids -- though, actually, Palmeiro might have been ON them at that moment. Ironically, the one whom engendered nearly universal contempt at the time -- whistle-blowing author Canseco -- looks to be the one telling the truth.)

Who was the man who still calls Palmeiro a friend and -- despite this week's revelations -- says that he believes him?

Early in Clinton years, the Wall Street Journal once famously deplored the import of "Arkansas morés" to Washington. They were somewhat prescient. Fair or otherwise, the fact is that Texas--most decidedly NOT Bill Clinton country--seems to have been Ground Zero for this sports-substance scandal which is only now exploding. (The late Ken Caminiti -- the pre-Canseco poster boy for steroids--was a member of the Houston Astros in the early '90s.)

Texas morés? Well, when it came to steroids it was obviously "the moré, the merrier!" (Well, they do say that they grow 'em bigger in Texas. )

But of course, President Bush knew NOTHING about the steroids pumping through the veins of his players while he owned the team. Plausible deniability and all that. But George Soros? Now that is someone who does not belong in an ownership group! Who KNOWS what kind of problems he cound bring Major League Baseball!
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

'I do not think that word means what you think it means!

Via Wonkette, we get this lovely little rundown about Bill O'Reilly's...misunderstanding...of the word 'fascism.' How fascist are we? Let me count the ways!
From Wonkette:
Last night on "The O'Reilly Factor," in a debate about the teaching of intelligent design Bill O'Reilly dropped his own personal F-bomb:

O'REILLY: But what the argument is is that nothing about intelligent design should be introduced. And I think that's fascism.
Kind of a low bar, really.
We wondered what else O'Reilly might think is fascism.
Via Nexis, a partial list:
• The tactics of the ACLU
• Not letting city halls have a nativity display
• Prohibiting schools from calling winter break "Christmas holidays"
• Laws that ban discrimination against people with piercings
• The Virginia Military Institute not allowing time for voluntary prayer
• A flat tax on the wealthy
• Really, the tactics of the ACLU
• The Justice Department not answering his questions
• Crowds who shout down Arnold Schwarznegger
• Seriously, the ACLU is bad
• Liberal 527 groups
• Exposing kids to racy images is "libertine fascism," and we're just going to let that lie.

Boy, there sure are alot of fascists running around these days. And here I thought Generalissimo Francisco Franco was still dead!(Hat tip to Jesse Walker at Hit and Run for the link!)(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Courage of His Convictions

Stephen Vincent, a journalist and war hawk, was killed in Iraq. He was abducted by armed insurgents in a police car, along with his interpreter, and was found shot to death in Basra.

While he was a hawk, Vincent was no right-wing toadie or flack for the Bush Administration. His blog, In the Red Zone, documents his experiences living and working in the most dangerous parts of Iraq.

Brad DeLong, no fan of the Bush Administration or the Iraq War, had this to say about the author:
He was another of the mad dreamers of the last few years who confused hopes with plans, but he stood head and shoulders above his fellows, first for his courage, secondly for his absolute refusal to start moving goalposts. He saw the liberation of Iraq as the great cause of his day. So rather than sit home and talk to anonymous bureaucrats or retype governent press releases, he went to Iraq, twice. His great passion was women's rights, in the Arab world generally and Iraq in particular. He is dead because he refused to trim his sense of justice to fit the latest fashions in colonial PR - on the ground in Basra, he reported the facts as he found them, blowing the whistle on Allied accomodation to theocracy and the increasing oppression of Iraq's women.

Yes, this journalist supported the war from the start, but as DeLong says, he was 'head and shoulders above his fellows.' He was no Limbaugh loudmouth or Corner flack. He lived among the danger and exposed the rising theocracy in Iraq, the erosion of women's rights, and the incredible failure of the Administration to plan for a post-war Iraq. He will be missed. More hawks need to have the courage of their convictions, as this man did.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

More Dead Marines

Another brutal day in Iraq. 14 more Marines were killed when a bomb exploded under their vehicle. And these fine Marines were from the same unit that lost six men earlier this week. From the Boston Globe:

The 14 Marines killed in Iraq on Wednesday by a roadside bomb were members of the same Ohio-based battalion that lost six Marines two days earlier, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

The Marines were members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in this Cleveland suburb, according to Gunnery Sgt. Brad R. Lauer, public affairs chief with the unit.


The 14 died when a Marine armored vehicle on patrol during combat operations near the Syrian border hit a roadside bomb. It was one of the deadliest single attacks in Iraq against American forces. A civilian interpreter also was killed.

Personal Note: My former intern, one of the best teachers and best men I have ever had the pleasure to observe and work with, was supposed to have deployed to Iraq recently after OCS. I hope to God that he is okay.
These Marines killed today just add to the anger I feel at the Bush Administration for screwing up this Iraq Adventure. 'Mission Accomplished'? Bullshit.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at Floridablues)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Raging about Raffi and the 'Roids

Gatorchick comments here on Rafael Palmeiro testing positive for a banned substance, despite repeated denials in front of Congress and the public. Some commentators have argued that this could keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Some have accused him of being a liar and something approaching a fraud.
Well, I might be a minority in this view, but so what if he took performance enhancing drugs? It does not really bother me all that much, at least anymore than a player that scuffs or alters a ball or corks a bat (Bucky (*&^*^% Dent aside), or really any player that tries to seek an advantage to help him perform at a high level and help his team win. Nick Gillipsie reflects my own feelings, I think, over at Hit and Run:

Performance-enhancing drugs are simply one tool among many that top-level athletes use to maintain their edge. Yes, yes, if a given organization or sporting authority bans them, players should respect those rules. But I'm convinced that one of the main reasons drugs are banned is simply because they are "drugs" and we have a bizarre, fucked-up relation to drugs: We all practice better living through chemistry but we are quick to cordon off good drugs from bad.

And of course, there are other ways to improve the body beyond so-called 'natural' ability: Lasik surgery, weight training, and the always-popular Tommy John surgery, which somehow seems to make a pitcher better than he was before the procedure. Gillipsie comments:
Much of the anti-drug rhetoric in sports is that certain substances screw up the "natural" essence of the players and that they disrupt "the level playing field." If any of that is true, then why not ban weight training? Or off-season conditioning? Or players who fall outside of certain heights and weights that might give them "advantages"...Why are drugs seen as contaminating sports in a way that other interventions--all of which are precisely designed to give indivduals and teams an advantage in competition--are not? Especially since, in the end, it's far from clear that drugs, any more than hugs, "raw talent," or a winning attitude, make the player?

I would also like to point out that the Palmeiro suspension was for the use of a banned substance, not necessarily steroids. And note, too, that unlike other supected abusers, he does not have the prototypical 'look' or history; unlike Giambi, Bonds, Sosa, Canseco, McGwire (Nomar?), he has avoided the DL and did not suddenly pack on muscle.
Look, if a ballplayer wants to improve his game and help his team by taking something to enhance his performance, he should be able too; don't forget, there is a strong likelihood that pitchers have also juiced. I won't comment on that traitorous bum Roger 'I want to pitch closer to Texas so I'm going to Toronto and New York' Clemens. (Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Fighting for Truth, Justice, and the Conservative Way...One Liberal at a Time

So, this should no doubt be a fair and balanced look at conservative and liberal politics in an easily accessible comic book form. Check out the synopsis of Liberality for All:

America’s future has become an Orwellian nightmare of ultra-liberalism. Beginning with the Gore Presidency, the government has become increasingly dominated by liberal extremists.

In 2004, Muslim terrorists stopped viewing the weakened American government as a threat; instead they set their sites on their true enemies, vocal American conservatives. On one dark day, in 2006, many conservative voices went forever silent at the hands of terrorist assassins. Those which survived joined forces and formed a powerful covert conservative organization called “The Freedom of Information League”, aka F.O.I.L.

The efforts of F.O.I.L. threaten both the liberal extremist power structure and the U.N.’s grip on America, the U.N. calls F.O.I.L. the most dangerous group in the world. It seems the once theorized Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has now become a reality.

So, who are the heroes of this upcoming comic classic? Why, none other than your favorite radio hosts!

The New York City faction of F.O.I.L. is lead by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North, each uniquely endowed with special abilities devised by a bio mechanical engineer affectionately nicknamed “Oscar”.

And the President in 2021, when the story takes place? Why, it's Chelsea Clinton, with VP Micheal Moore at her side! And the Afghan amabassador? Usama bin Laden!

Geez...this comic is probably going to make The Watchmen seem like a love poem to Richard Nixon and make the fascist Batman of The Dark Knight Returns (graphic novel, not movie) look soft on crime. I look forward to reading it (and if you have never read those two graphic novels, do so. They are classics, like this new Liberality surely will be.) Thanks to Jesse Walker at Hit and run for the link.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still Here

Manny was not traded today; instead, he drives in the winning run. Thanks, Theo, for NOT pulling the trigger!

Lords of the Flies

From CNN, we learn that no matter how much we complain about our cities and our youth, there are far, far worse places and far, far worse youth.
Two boys, both 13, have been arrested in connection with the killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent in an apparent bungled robbery attempt, Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez announced Sunday.
DEA Special Agent Timothy Markey was shot to death on Friday while on vacation visiting a popular Roman Catholic shrine in Tegucigalpa.
The article goes on to describe the two boys as seasoned gang members at 13...and one was the bodyguard of the other. But it gets scarier:
Honduran authorities are struggling to combat high rates of violent crime, much of it involving ruthless youth gangs, known as "maras," concentrated in urban areas.
The Mara Salvatrucha and rival Mara 18 have about 100,000 members and control poor neighborhoods in Honduras' principal cities using violence, threats and extortion.

Imagine...It is like Lord of the Flies on a grand scale. How can a government or a society combat such things without resorting to brutality? How does a society eliminate the devastating poverty that contributes to these conditions?I leave the discussion about whether there is a point to the whole 'War on Drugs' that helped lead to this agent's death to others.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at FloridaBlues)

A Little Delay Goes A Long Way

According to the Associated Press, the new Iraqi Constitution has hit a stumbling block:

"Key members of the committee writing the new Iraqi constitution said Sunday they need another month to finish the draft, threatening U.S. efforts to maintain political momentum to combat the insurgency.

Later, President Jalal Talabani insisted the Aug. 15 deadline for parliamentary approval must be met, and the United States stepped up pressure on the Iraqis to stick by the timetable."
It seems to me that both Iraq and the United States would be better served by creating the best constitution, NOT the quickest. That is just asking for immediate rejection by disgruntled elements.

"The United States had mounted considerable pressure on the Iraqis to meet the Aug. 15 deadline. U.S. officials believe a new Iraqi constitution will help calm the insurgency by encouraging the country's disaffected Sunni Arab community, which forms the core of the militants, to abandon the conflict and join the political process."
Well, you know, I'm not sure just how calm the insurgency will become with a new constitution that could be seen as imposed by Americans. The men and women working on this new document need to take their time and avoid American pressure to wrap it all up in time for the mid-term election. To do otherwise is to encourage failure, and there has been enough of that in Iraq.
(Crossposted by Bostondreamer at Floridablues)
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