Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Hot: Margaret Thatcher


Roger L. Simon:

The real reason liberals accuse Tea Partiers of racism is that contemporary American-style liberalism is in rigor mortis. Liberals have nothing else to say or do. Accusations of racism are their last resort.

The European debt crisis — first Greece, then Portugal and now Spain (and Belgium, Ireland and Italy, evidently) — has shown the welfare state to be an unsustainable economic system. The US, UK and Japan, according to the same Financial Times report, are also on similar paths of impoverishment through entitlements.

Many of us have known this for a long time, just from simple math. Entitlements are in essence a Ponzi scheme. Now we have to face that and do something serious about it or our economy (the world economy) will fall apart.

Liberals, leftists or progressives — whatever they choose to call themselves — have a great deal of trouble accepting this. To do so they would have to question a host of positions they have not examined for years, if ever, not to mention have to engage in discussions that could threaten their livelihood and jeopardize their personal and family associations.

Thus the traditional wish to kill the messenger who brings the bad news: the Tea Partiers. And the easiest way to kill them — the most obvious and hoariest of methods – is to accuse them of racism. Never mind that there is no evidence — or what little evidence proffered has been shown to be manufactured prevarication — liberals must continue the racism meme at all costs. There is no other. To engage the Tea Party Movement in a battle of ideas would be suicidal for them, because the basic economic tenet of American liberalism — an increase in government spending and consequent increased national debt is good for society — seems nonsensical to the vast majority of our citizens at this point in history. And for good reason.
In the battle to maintain power — and equally as importantly to maintain self-image — many strains of the left will redouble their efforts to define the Tea Party movement as racist, further splitting our society and racializing it. They will seize on any isolated incident of the slightest prejudice as a pretext. And it is not unlikely that they will find what they need somewhere, because any movement of millions contains someone who exhibits some form of racism some time. Again, it’s simple math.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Epistemic Closure Epidemic? There is Hope

Tom Maguire:
A typical lefty could listen to NPR on the drive to work, pick up the NY Times/LA Times/Washington Post, watch CNN, read Newsweek/TIME, and feel very well informed. Although Ezra might not agree, some of us think such a person is actually well cocooned. To be fair, they often get some "Now they tell us" coverage eventually, as on health care, when the time for cheerleading has passed.

To pick an illustrative but otherwise unimportant example seemingly at random - a regular reader Times reader / NPR listener would have no way of knowing that Obama and his team lied throughout the campaign about his relationship with Bill Ayers, and are almost surely still lying. (David Remnick of the New Yorker preferred the word "disingenuous" in his recent book on Obama.)

Now, if a cocooned lib does not know that Obama has been lying they are more likely to fall in line with the notion that Sarah Palin is a right wing nutjob for even mentioning Ayers.

Obviously, that is not as important as a rational national debate on global warming. That said, I meet many well-informed libs, and few of them take the position that they understand that Obama is lying about Ayers but don't care. The most common response is that Sarah Palin is not fit to be President, which is a bit of a non sequitur, one might think. Bush lied about his military service is another typical but not entirely topical response.

Well. As a broader theme, the notion that Obama is lying about his biography while our watchdog press looks the other way troubles me; I think most libs are not even aware that it is happening.

Video star Andrew Klavan explains NYT's modus operandi.

Janine Turner is making a forthright effort to be an engaged citizen. Her website: Constituting America, and video podcasts as she studies through the Constitution.

Over to You, Bill Clinton, Frank Rich, Joe Klein et al.
[by Mark Steyn]

Actually, there is a lot of incendiary hate out there.... The voiceover is by U.S. citizen (and spiritual mentor, most recently, to Major Hasan) Ayman al-Awlaki. He is explaining the rationale for killing identified individuals, including the creators of South Park.

Mr. al-Awlaki says things like, "Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that."

Maybe he'd get a worse press if he were to stop pussyfooting around and explicitly incite violence by saying something openly hateful like "I'm becoming very concerned about federal spending."

Politico: Pres. Obama is forgoing issue argument in favor of excoriating individual opponents

Mitch McConnell is in bed with Wall Street “movers and shakers” — and is fronting “cynical and deceptive” arguments on their behalf.

John Boehner is a health care Chicken Little to be mocked for predicting Armageddon if the Democrats’ reform bill passed.

Sarah Palin can be ignored on arms control because she’s “not exactly an expert on nuclear issues.”

And Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are just a “troublesome” twosome spreading “vitriol.”

Democratic oppo research? Comments from Daily Kos?

No, this is your president speaking.

Once chastised for not being tough enough, President Barack Obama has lately been getting personal with his political adversaries — singling them out for scorn in speeches, interviews, asides and even in his weekly radio address.

Rather than just going after big groups of bad guys — insurance companies, lobbyists, the media — Obama has adopted a strategy that gives a face to the enemy.

By setting himself up against specific opponents, he provides a point of contrast that’s useful in invigorating a base hungry for bare knuckles and bravado — and forces those in the middle to choose between him and his villain du jour.
“The presidency is the highest office of the land, and when he differs, he should differ on policy [and] on principle,” said Ari Fleischer, who was the White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. “He’s entitled to fight and defend himself, but not in ad hominem personal style. It’s unseemly for a president to do that.”

Republicans also depict Obama’s approach as a sign of weakness born of a loss of traction on the issues.

“Name-calling isn’t typically done from a position of strength,” McConnell spokesman Josh Holmes said.

In future, issues will be explained more clearly. The internet is enabling Repubs to get their message out more effectively; is enabling Repubs to fight the public relations and marketing fights on more even ground. When Repubs could only get their message out via ABC,NBC,CBS,CNN,NYT,WaPo, certain Repub messages were minimized by these media outlets. The internet makes the playing field more level.

Beyond allowing Repubs to better get their message out, the internet allows journalists and commenters from the right to more widely disseminate their understanding of issues; to more widely disseminate information which CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN/NYT/WaPo either would ignore, or would bury deep in a story on page 15A.


It's a new day. As marketing and public relations strategies are more able to be exposed and destroyed by the other side, the importance of marketing and public relations strategies will diminish. What will gain more and more prominence and importance? Win the argument! On the merits! It's a new day, with even better days ahead.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Barack defines free press inquiry as "an old Washington game"

Today, in a statement to media, Barack defined journalism as “an old Washington game”, i.e. as a low down insincere distraction.

I empathize with POTUS’ desire for his VAT commission to complete it’s work before announcing it’s conclusions. However, whether or not the commission does so is under the control of the commission and it’s aides. What do journalistic questions have to do with it? Nothing.

Barack intentionally, extraneously ventured into straw man land in order to define journalism itself as a detestable “old Washington game”. For a President of a free press nation to do this constitutes a scandal which is standing out in the open in the plain sight of everyone. If media are truly becoming wise to Barack, then media will roast Barack over this contrived characterization which impugns the importance of a free press.

If there’s one thing media love, it’s their own image of themselves as virtuous and gallant knights. With media’s cherished narrative about their own virtue and importance now being openly challenged: will media shriek like stuck pigs? We shall see. This is the time to stand up and shriek. Even I will stand behind media in this instance.

The relevant passage from today’s press statement by Barack:
Our friends in the media, will ask me and others once a week or once a day about what we’re willing to rule out or rule in,” he said, “That’s an old Washington game and it’s one that has made it all but impossible in the past for people to sit down and have an honest discussion about putting our country on a more secure fiscal footing. So I want to deliver this message today: We’re not playing that game. I’m not going to say what’s in. I’m not going to say what’s out. I want this commission to be free to do its work.

neo-neocon: Obama, the press' abusive lover
The Anchoress: Obama & WH Press: Love Hurts


Andrew Breitbart accurately labels a civil rights legend a liar

Breitbart collects cell phone video which backs the accusation. Breitbart:
Now this story is much more important than the accusation of fifteen racists among the thousands of protesters that day. This is now about the accusers.

Bob Owens:
Breitbart has exposed real racists on Capitol Hill. Watch the liberals scatter as they try to avoid admitting that the bigots and liars are their own ignorant brethren.


Spurs vs Mavericks

The mentally toughest team will win.

The Mavs could win if they attack relentlessly. The Spurs weakness, as it has been since David Robinson retired - excepting when the Spurs had either Kurt Thomas or Robert Horry in the game and paired with Tim Duncan - is in the dead center of their defense: exactly in the center of the lane and at the lip of the cup. The very heart of the Spurs defense is the weakness of their defense.

Do the Mavs have the heart to relentlessly, unceasingly attack the heart of the Spurs defense? Probably not. If the Mavs can find the heart: the Spurs are there to be had.

The Mavs weakness is their over-reliance on their 2-3 matchup zone. It's a nice change of pace defense, yet the Mavs have been relying on it for huuuuge chunks of the series. The Mavs can't win that way, imo.

Its a good series, and at this point is unpredictable. Some NBA playoff series are ruined by NBA referees refusing to allow an athletic shooting guard such as Kobe, LeBron, or Dwayne Wade to be defended. This series is not marred by that. Ginobli doesn't have the athleticism which convinces NBA refs that he simply cannot be defended w/o being fouled. Makes for a more interesting series.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Whittle Interviews Whistleblowers Re Government Cover-Up of Nature of Islamic Jihad; Plus Infiltration of Jihad Into U.S. Government

Must see video. Whittle's and PJTV's scoops are superior to anything "60 Minutes" has done in many years.

My transcription of portions of the interviews:

The first whistleblower was tasked with finding Islamic doctrinal arguments which the U.S. Government could market to the Islamic world in such a way as to decrease numbers of Islamic fundamentalists and to increase numbers of moderate Muslims.

Ultimately, First Whistleblower was shocked by his own findings:
Over a long period of time, I ended up collecting a large body of Islamic law - an enormous amount of it available in English - and realized that: if Islamic law is the criteria by which you measure legitimacy or illegitimacy, you can't show that the moderates have a doctrinal basis to the position they hold; and you can't show that, on the statement of the law, the radicals are wrong.

I was expecting to find competing views that had some merit. I was expecting to find that the moderate view would be the dominant view, and that we would have to figure out these and how to make these arguments so that the people in the Middle East would know what it was -- and [I] could not find it. Now, I could find that you're not allowed to fight a jihad you can't win. And thats a limiting factor. But when you get to actually what published Islamic law says: it supports the radicals in what they say. And, you come to find, after you get a sense for the language of jihad, and for a sense of how the language of Islamic law works, that it's [the language of jihad] pervasive, even in the U.S. Muslim community.

Inside the Dept. of Defense ... what were the consequences of you coming back with this information?

First Whistleblower:
Shock, [and then] complete unresponsiveness to facts. If you are professionals, then you have a duty to be competent that includes the duty to know. And if you are National Security Analysts who are professionals: your violation of your oath to be competent is a violation of your oath to protect and defend. It just seems that they completely picked up our whole national security apparatus and moved it from a factual legal basis to one that supports narratives. And it just struck me that, when you hit a certain level - and I don't want to sound too cynical, but, at the same time: it seems that the point at which your future promotion was dependent upon [orienting around] a narrative, as opposed to orienting on facts - well, I witnessed a complete shutdown. A friend of mine called my brief "the red pill brief", or "the guilty knowledge brief".

Second Whistleblower is a former Special Agent for the FBI who spent nearly 15 years working with a primary expertise on the Islamic movement in the United States, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic doctrine.

Second Whistleblower says all information he references is openly available online, and much of it came out in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Just Google "Holy Land Foundation".
The documents [from the trial] show that every major Muslim organization in the United States is a Muslim Brotherhood front, specifically: the most prominent organizations. The two most prominent organizations in the United States - or the three most prominent - are the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Council on American Islamic Relations - "CAIR", and "ISNA" - the Islamic Society of North America.

CAIR is a Hamas entity. It is Hamas. And ISNA is a huge financial entity for Hamas in the United States. And CAIR and ISNA are the two groups that the U.S. Government - including the FBI, DOD, State Dept., and DHS, look to, and utilize, to do their outreach with the Muslim community in America.

At the national level, with the FBI and DHS, they actually are invited in, by General Council's Office of FBI and DHS, to sit in on brainstorming about investigative techniques that are used in the field. So, for instance, the General Council of the FBI, Valerie Caproni, invited these Muslim organizations - as well as the ACLU and other groups - in to make sure that the investigative techniques and the Attorney General guidelines ... was okay and not offensive to these organizations.
When the people advising ... are Muslim Brothers: you're not going to get training that discusses Islamic doctrine, and who the Muslim Brotherhood is: their history and influence, and their penetration operations here in the United States. And, to boot, the people who are training the FBI are people like CAIR.
This has happened b/c the Muslim Brotherhood has a long term strategy. They are well organized, with hundreds of front groups.
Muslim Students Association is on every major campus in the United States, recruiting people into the [Muslim] Brotherhood on our own campuses.
The evidence entered into the Holy Land Foundation trial demonstrated that the Muslim Students Association was the first Muslim Brotherhood entity in the United States - established in 1963 - for the sole purpose being and establishing a Muslim Brotherhood here. And it continues today to be a Muslim Brotherhood entity that is expanded and recruits students on campuses in the United States.

Texas Rangers Justin Smoak is 1 for 11

in a big league career consisting of 4 games. Video: Smoak's first and only major league hit, accomplished after beginning his career 0 for 9.

Smoak also has 5 Bases on Balls, giving him a .375 OBP which is the 4th highest OBP on the team, and which is 30 points higher than Hamilton's OBP, 60 points higher than Young's OBP, is over 100 points higher than the OBPs of: Davis, Borbon, all the second basemen, all the catchers (except Treanor at .294), and Murphy. Smoak had drawn his 4th Base on Balls of the season before Borbon finally drew his 1st Base on Balls of the season. Which is not so much to heap praise on Justin Smoak - though I do love a batting approach which is more like a veteran Yankee and less like a Rangers rookie - but is, rather, to solidly SOLIDLY CONDEMN Texas Rangers hitters who appear to have the IQs of sheep and the stubbornness of mules. At least mules are smart - as opposed to a collection of Rangers hitters who are thus far determined to ruin the franchise's chances of winning a playoff series during their tenure with the team. I'm close to being ready to be rid of all of em (except Elvis, Cruz, and Smoak) - and I'm ready to start by getting rid of Michael Young, as he is the veteran leader of this collection of rock heads. Young sets the tone of stubborn, over-aggressive stupidity. Young goes to the plate "to hit", as if going to the plate "to hit" is a type of proof of his manhood; is a type of proof of his old-time authentic baseball gravitas and legitimacy. It's not. It's proof of his stubbornness and stupidity. He ought be going to the plate to get on base. The distinction is the difference between winning and losing in the MLB Playoffs and - to lesser yet definite extent - during the regular season.

Obama lied, trust in government died

Death Panel!

Peter Orzag explains how Obamacare imposes healthcare rationing. Ed Morrissey comments.

The short, easily understandable explanation: Obamacare creates a death panel of unelected persons who are appointed for life. These persons, representing the Government of the United States, hold the power of life or death over every American who has an illness or infirmity.


It's quiet. Too quiet.

The Obama administration appears to be in a slight—a very slight—resting phase.
But there is no sense of being able to take a breather. Rather, there is the ominous feeling one gets as a storm approaches. The pressure builds and our joints ache. We look at the threatening sky and wonder just how bad it will be, and what form it will take. One huge domestic dark cloud looming at the moment is financial reform, with immigration reform and a climate change/energy bill waiting on the not-at-all-distant horizon, jostling for the privilege of being next on the agenda.

Why do I liken them to clouds and storms? Is it not clear, for example, that financial reform is needed to prevent another meltdown like the one that occurred in fall of 2008? And that illegal immigration is a problem that has gotten out of hand, and has been ignored way too long?

Yes, and yes.

The problem is that most Americans’ trust in the ability of Congress to solve such things, or even to tackle them in a way that will not make them worse, is nonexistent. The idea that our representatives would listen to our concerns, be responsive to our needs, and then have the intelligence to craft solutions based on common sense and/or intelligent thought or even well-meaning effort has been waning over the years but has finally evaporated. If there had been any lingering faith in Congress, HCR erased it.

We have come to expect lies, so that now when we hear “we have the votes” or “we lack the votes,” one means about the same as the other and neither can be trusted. For the most part, our press is no more help to us than Pravda was to the Soviets.

WHY would citizens fail to trust government? Oh, I don't know. How about:

That's right, both Sebelius and White House had the completed HHS report for more than a week before the healthcare vote in the House, and both Sebelius and the White House suppressed the report which said Obamacare costs would explode far beyond the revenue available to pay for Obamacare.

Had GWB done something similar, there would have been calls for impeachment. Obama lied, trust in government died.

Update: the assertion about the suppressed HHS Report is denied to ABC News by Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who says: "That's not true." Link

Or, from Scott at Powerline, how about:

GM is helping Obama Admin mislead public

Whitacre and GM do not stand alone in peddling the [false] tale of GM's repayment of funds taken from the government.

The Obama administration is invested in the myth of General Motors' financial success. It stands shoulder to shoulder with Whitacre in the support of his highly misleading column. The editorial is suggestive of the fact that Whitacre's column was a piece of political theater in the service of the Obama administration. It is a companion piece to the assertion of the Obama administration that taxpayers stand to recoup all the funds bestowed on GM and Chrysler by the Obama administration.

The Obama administration has no interest in helping the American citizens get a handle on the reality of the government takeover of GM (or Chyrsler). GM has apparently not released its first quarter 2010 operating results. In the six months following its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009, GM posted a net loss of $4.3 billion.


Monday, April 26, 2010

In Support of Boobquake 2010

Update (more Updating below the post):
The Taiwan earthquake hit on Monday morning in Taiwan, which was Sunday night in the U.S.A.: 10:59 PM EDT on Sunday, Apr 25, 2010. Therefore, Boobquake 2010 only caused the Taiwan earthquake if women in Japan and China and Indonesia and Australia, et al, were participating.

It will be quite notable if Boobquake causes a massive breakout of earthquakes: it might be the first time fundamentalist Islam ever gets something right. In the meantime, both suspense and boobs hang heavy in the air.


Jen McCreight ==>

Blogger Jen McCreight accidentally created the noble Boobquake as a protest against an oppressive Islamic cleric:

"To be honest, it started as silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of House."

Sonia Aquino supports Boobquake 2010.

Josane of Casino de Paris supports Boobquake 2010.

Body Art babes support Boobquake 2010.

My beloved "merry dumpling", Nigella Lawson, supports Boobquake 2010.

Lofty London liberals support Boobquake 2010.


Update 2 :
Boobquake was born to be Twitpic'ed. Twitter's marketing people ought be fired for not having created it themselves.

Update 3:

The Bloggess has boobs, and does a post for Boobquake which segues into this vignette which is connected to Boobquake b/c both made me laugh with delight, so there:
A few weeks ago I linked to a post on Alone with Cats and the chick that writes it sent me a very sweet, unexpected thank you card filled with cursing, threats of violence and tips on befriending wealthy, dying relatives and there was a tiny package under the card and inside the package was was the single greatest, random, bizarre gift that I’ve ever received:
Yes, people. It’s a dead, stuffed gambling squirrel holding a tiny pistol and when I pulled it out Victor said “Oh, what the @#$% now?” and I was all “This, Victor, is what happens when you make a difference in people’s lives”....

Cartoon Socialism


by Michael Ramirez at IBD

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Hot: Vogue India at the Beach


"Vogue India celebrates the skin tone the world covets."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Texas Rangers promoting Justin Smoak to Arlington

Update: How great is the ecstasy which the ESPuN highlight guys are now experiencing? "Smoak" is so flexible, can be used in sooo many ways: it has to be in the running for greatest ever ESPuN highlight name. We will see EVERY Smoak highlight chosen for the ESPuN highlight reel, merely b/c the ESPuN guys can use the name in multifarious ways. Where there's Smoak, there is a team ON FIRE! - both in Arlington and in Bristol.

THATS the way to do it! When a player with options remaining, such as Chris Davis, is slumping: send him to AAA and bring up a player who is swinging a good bat. Blogged about it Monday. There's no reason to allow the major league club to suffer.

Love Chris Davis. Love him. But his pitch selection needs to improve. He's always been a free swinger. The way baseball is played today: being a free swinger puts your entire career in jeopardy. Chris Davis, as much as I love him, as much of a monster as his is: his career is in jeopardy. His entire career. He's on the precipice of costing himself $30 Million, or more. AAA is the place to work things out and to save your career. The majors have too much pressure. Especially in Arlington right now: it's a pressurized April for the franchise.

Love Justin Smoak. An unmentioned aspect of the trade: the Rangers First Baseman has to hit in front of either Arias or Treanor or Teagarden. Not a lot of protection there. Zero protection there, actually. Chris Davis needs protection. Justin Smoak: less so. Smoak has always been a selective hitter, and thus is temperamentally better suited to hit in front of Arias or Treanor or Teagarden. Smoak will help the Rangers: will be an injection of adrenaline and of selective batting exactly when and where the franchise could use exactly that. Bravo, Rangers management.

Now it's time to send Borbon and Teagarden down, also. Both are hitting worse than Davis. Teagarden is hitting worse than any professional baseball player anywhere. Teagarden is hitting worse than pitchers. Hello, Max Ramirez. C'mon, Rangers management: make it happen.

Jerry Jones: Bill Clinton brought the wood!

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, defending his drafting of WR Dez Bryant despite Bryant's reputation for always being late to meetings and events:

"We had a President who couldn't get there on time: Bill Clinton. Seriously. But, boy, when he got there, he brought the wood!"

Jones' comment created laughter in the room, whereupon Coach Wade Phillips immediately announced: "That's it. We've got some other things we need to do", and hustled Jerry out of the press conference.

I love the Dez Bryant pick. Love it. Feels like an old time Cowboys pick of an electrifying player.

Beautiful thing about baseball: the fundamentals are the fundamentals

Thus, you can see two major leaguers, who have never before made a play together, suddenly need to make a play together and make if perfectly. No matter who you have played for in the past: the fundamentals are the fundamentals. You can trust the other guy - with whom you have never before played - is thinking exactly as you are thinking.

Sunday's example: Darren Oliver makes a pick off move towards 1B; baserunner Brett Gardner breaks for 2B on Oliver's kick; Rangers First Baseman Ryan Garko moves towards the mound in order to receive a shorter throw and to create a better angle for his throw to 2B; Oliver delivers a perfect chin high throw to Garko; the speedy Gardner is thrown out at 2B. Oliver and Garko have never made that play together; have never spoken about making that play together; yet each knew exactly what the other was thinking. Garko knew the throw would come to him approx. chest high and easily playable; knew the throw would not come low and hard, as on a typical pick off throw.

Before coming to Texas, Darren Oliver had played for these franchises in his career:
Texas, St. Louis, Texas, Boston, Colorado, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Before coming to Texas at the tail end of 2010 Spring Training, Ryan Garko had been with these franchises in his career: Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Draft Tim Tebow

is all I'm sayin.

First, the bad:

1. the concussion worries me
2. the concussion worries me
3. the concussion worries me
4. the concussion worries me
5. the concussion worries me
6. the concussion worries me
7. the Wonderlic score of 22 = meaningless. NFL is not rocket science. The avg. QB score is 24. Donovan McNabb scored 14. Dan Marino scored 16. Brett Favre scored 22, therefore 22 is obviously good enough.
8. needs to learn to read pro defenses = will be brought along slowly.

Here's the thing:

While Tebow is brought along slowly, he runs your team's Wildcat offense in the red zone as a barely stoppable 260 pound bulldozer RB. Your team thus has the finest red zone offense in the NFL. What's not to like?

With your red zone offense on the field, what if you wish to switch out of the Wildcat and put your normal QB under Center? No problem: Tebow lines up at FB as a lead blocker. You want to pass out of that? Tebow is your man: Tebow does pass protection for your regular QB; Tebow envelops and erases any blitzing LBs as if they are children. You want to run a sweep pitch with a 260 pound RB who runs about 4.7ish? Tebow is your man. You want to run HB pass off that sweep pitch? Tebow is your man.

Red Zone offense is very difficult; is critical to winning. While he spends 3 years as a backup QB who is learning the NFL, Tebow oh-by-the-way also provides your franchise the best Red Zone offense in the NFL, just as an incidental bonus to having him.

Use Tebow's gifts.
  • Put him on special teams. Who wants to block or get blocked by Tim Tebow?
  • Make him the up back on the punt team. From the up back position: how much does Tebow's threat as a passer and runner thus mess up a punt return team? I say up back Tebow kills an opponent's punt returns and punt blocks. A punt return team must now play serious defense.
  • Make Tim Tebow your coffin corner punter. Now a punt return team is totally afraid and compromised.
  • Run the Wildcat on every 4th and 2 all over the field. Tebow can punt most of those times and roll the punt 50 yards. On the other snaps: Tebow can run for it, and almost no one can prevent his gaining 2 yards. Tebow is Jerome "The Bus" Bettis.

Draft Tim Tebow. He completely changes the game. He's an "X Factor" like no one has seen since Red Grange and Doak Walker.

Especially if you're Mike Singletary: draft Tim Tebow. More than any other coach in the NFL: Mike Singletary ought value the intangibles which Tim Tebow brings - both on the field and off; Mike Singletary ought understand focusing on what a player can do, rather than focusing on what a player cannot do.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lt. Col. Allen West, 2010 Repub Candidate for 22nd U.S. Congressional District, Palm Beach, FL

On Jan 2, 2004, Front Page Magazine, in order (I assume) to make a point, named Lt. Colonel Allen West it's 2003 Man of the Year:

West commanded the 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, near Tikrit. [...] West was responsible for the lives and safety of 700 men and women....

The 42-year-old was no stranger to the battlefield, having received the Bronze Star and having been decorated for valor.
In late August, Colonel West received news that his men had been targeted by a group of thugs associated with an Iraqi policeman named Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi. Allied forces quickly apprehended Hamoodi in Saba al Boor, a tiny town near Tikrit. Four interrogation specialists worked late into the evening of August 20, desperately trying to pry the attack plans out of him. Growing frustrated, the interrogators resorted to physical force, punching Hamoodi – without success. (Hamoodi was not seriously injured at any point during the interrogation.) It was then that Col. Allen West intervened.

Seeing that even physical violence had proven ineffective, Colonel West took the next logical step: He took the intransigent suspect outside, shoved Hamoodi’s head into a sandbox and threatened to kill him. The Colonel then pulled out his sidearm and fired a warning shot into the sky. Then West carefully held Hamoodi’s head aside as he fired a shot over Hamoodi’s shoulder, into the warm Iraqi sand burying his visage.

That near-scrape with death did the trick. Hamoodi began singing, telling West the identities of two men planning the attacks and revealing their attack plans, including the site of the intended ambush. The two men were arrested, and Colonel West ordered his men away from the site as they continued to serve the liberated Iraqi people. Upon turning Hamoodi over, he admitted his unorthodox tactics. For protecting the 700 soldiers in his care and cracking Hamoodi where professional interrogators had failed, Colonel West was immediately stripped of his command and threatened with jail time.

In October, the armed forces offered Colonel West an ultimatum: resign the military and lose his pension and benefits, or face trial for violating standard interrogation procedure. If convicted, West could have received up to eight years in jail – for saving his men’s lives. On the other hand, West, who had just qualified to retire with 20 years service, needed his benefits to care for his wife, Angela, a cancer victim.

West chose to make his case to his military colleagues [via trial]. Publicly choking back tears, West acknowledged his actions in interrogating Hamoodi; he merely denied that what he had done was criminal, knowing his troops had been targeted for extermination in the midst of a war. His great heart showed during his trial, as he said, "If it's about the lives of my men and their safety, I'd go through Hell with a gasoline can . . . There is not a person in this room I would not sacrifice my life for."

On December 11, West escaped court martial. Major General Raymond Odierno ordered West to pay a $5,000 fine and allowed him to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel. The ordeal caused by his desire to save his troops a violent death in a desert land had finally ended. He was free to return to Ft. Hood, Texas, to his wife Angela, with his reputation essentially cleared.

I saw an excerpt of the video below when I was channel surfing through Sean Hannity's show. After the excerpt, Dem Party activist Bob Beckel was dismissive. I quote Beckel's sneer from memory:
Who is THAT guy? 'I'm going to take Pelosi's gavel.' Is he supposed to be some tough guy or something? This is the kind of statement which incites violence.

Which set me to laughing. Why, yes, Mr. Beckel: he is, in fact, a tough guy. An actual tough guy. One of the most manly men, in the truest sense, whom anyone could ever hope to meet. Sometimes I feel alone in the things I think are funny. I thought that Bob Beckel moment was very funny.

The good part of this video begins 55 seconds in:



Dems love to skew meaning any time Repubs use metaphorical language. That's what Beckel does here: Beckel intentionally skews West's clearly metaphorical language; pretends West was speaking literally. Beckel's a pro, and he used a tactic.

Conservatives have to begin fighting back: have to call the left out on this deviousness, on this lack of honorable behavior. I wish Hannity had said something like:
Bob Beckel, is that really what you are going to stand for: that Lt. Col. West was speaking literally, as opposed to metaphorically? Is that really the message you are willing to stand behind and send out to the American people?

Reading Sarah Palin's autobiography, I noticed one of the tactics the left used to slander Sarah Palin: they would not allow her any metaphorical language. They consistently pretended her metaphorical language was literal, they used this pretense to call her a liar, then they disseminated the accusation through the media/blog echo chamber until everyone thought they knew the accusation was true.

Example: Palin said, metaphorically and entertainingly: "Putin flies right over Alaska!" It was exactly the kind of quip which JFK, for instance, used to such entertaining effect. CBS News then "fact checked" a Putin flight plan and announced that Palin was a liar. In a fair world, CBS News would have been excoriated for either sloppiness or dishonesty. In this world, the media/blog echo chamber spread the lie all over.

Lt. Col. West and Gov. Palin are not the only persons who are slandered. This is standard operating procedure for the left. We must call the left out on their blatant dishonesty; on the dishonorability of their standard operating procedure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ode to Matt Treanor

When a young major league player is struggling and has minor league options remaining: send him to AAA! I don't understand any team's reticence or the hesitation to do so. At AAA, the player has a chance to breath, i.e. has a chance to perform in less pressurized circumstances. The player has a chance to refine their game: to work on specific fundamentals which will create them as a finished product who is ready for big league ball. The player has a chance to get their timing down, and thus to get into a confident groove. When the player is in a confident groove: THEN bring the player back to the major leagues.

The way the Rangers are allowing Derek Holland to refine and to gain confidence in OKC is the perfect example. Holland has a .046 ERA and has thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings. Perfect.

When Holland was first in Arlington, he had success merely moving his fastball all around the strike zone. The club, excited by Holland's success, focused on helping him develop his secondary pitches. Amidst this process of developing secondary pitches, an unexpected complication: Holland lost the sharp control of his fastball which defined him as a pitcher, and which was the key to his success. Thus: OKC is perfect. Refine the secondary pitches in a place which will not punish mistakes - be they on breaking pitches or on fastballs - quite so severely.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a mess who ought stay at AAA for months. His career as a major leaguer is threatened in several ways:
  1. by a recurring physical problem with his neck after surgery to remove part of a rib due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
  2. possibly, hopefully related to #1: Saltalamaccia has had trouble consistently throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Once or twice a game, he makes a bad throw which eludes the pitcher. It's only 1 bad throw out of maybe 200 throws per game, yet that one bad throw can ruin a team; can properly end a catcher's career. 5 bad throws a season is okay. 10 bad throws a season raises a single eyebrow. 1 bad throw per game is 120 or so bad throws per season, and that ruins a team. It doesn't merely lose a few games, it also messes with the entire infield's psyche.
  3. Saltalamacchia, at bat, is a lost puppy. This is a shame, b/c Saltalamacchia has some true potential as a hitter.

Therefore, for Saltalamacchia: AAA. Triple A in May. Triple A in June. Triple A in July, August. Triple A until his neck is healthy, until he can throw to the pitcher, until he is no longer a lost puppy at bat. Allow Saltalamacchia to refine his batting in a less pressurized situation. It's the merciful thing. It's the smart thing for the franchise.

If he never regains ability to throw back to the pitcher: he stays in AAA and learns to play a corner OF spot.

Julio Borbon is in a slump. No big deal, really. Except: why should the big league team suffer through a slump by any player who has options remaining? Send him to AAA! Let him regain his groove and his confidence, then bring him back to Arlington. The following line-up is far superior to a line-up with Borbon in it:
  1. Elvis
  2. Young
  3. Hamilton CF
  4. Vlad
  5. Cruz RF
  6. Murphy LF
  7. Davis
  8. Arias
  9. Treanor

Taylor Teagarden has 18 ABs, 13 Ks, and a minor league option remaining. He's completely lost in the batter's box. Why would a major league team suffer through the batting slump of a player who has options remaining? Send Teagarden down, make Treanor the starter, let Max Ramirez sit on the bench until Teagarden regains his stroke and returns to the big leagues. It won't hurt Max Ramirez to sit on the bench and soak up the Major League atmosphere; soak up the way gritty veteran Matt Treanor operates behind the plate.

Speaking of Matt Treanor: he's exactly the kind of player a championship team can win with at catcher. Treanor is a gritty, gutsy, smart overachiever who understands how to call a game. Treanor can throw a bit. Treanor can defend himself as a hitter: he's a selective hitter who can control the bat enough to do hit and runs. I fully expect Treanor can bunt. An offense can successfully use a guy like that. He doesn't have to hit .280. He can hit .250 with a .320 OBP + hit and run plays + bunts. That's a workable offensive player, and Treanor's numbers are better than that right now. Treanor is a good guy to have in a clubhouse and in a dugout. He's mature. He's a 34 year old overachieving lifer who has never had anything handed to him. A player like that will be a natural leader in a clubhouse of young players; amongst a pitching staff of young pitchers. The Rangers (especially the pitchers) need Matt Treanor - his maturity, his overachieving history, his persona and his baseball gravitas - more than they need Teagarden or Saltalamacchia.

And yet, in the intense sports media market of DFW: Matt Treanor is portrayed as a cartoon figure who cannot possibly be what the team needs at the position. Ridiculous overreaction. It is written in the dailies and spoken of on numerous sports talk radio programs: the Rangers catching situation is a mess, a crisis. The Rangers must trade prospects to address their catching situation. Except, horrors(!), there is not good catching available on the market! The season is going down the drain! Ridikipoo. Treanor is a valuable role player. Treanor is a grizzled Dennis Thurman, Guy Carbonneau, or Derek Fisher: even when their skills are not supreme, they know how to play.

The Rangers catching position is covered.

First, despite my opinion that Saltalamacchia ought work on his hitting in AAA, it's nevertheless possible that Saltalamacchia will come roaring back, both as catcher and as hitter, in only a few weeks. Saltalamacchia's career, at this exact moment, is in crisis. However, a crisis equates to equal parts danger and opportunity. Saltalamacchia could roar back to life just as easily as he could collapse. We shall see. I don't see how, at this point, Saltalamacchia can be predicted. No one knows. But the picture might be much, much clearer in only a couple of weeks.

Second, Teagarden could make himself into a .250 type of hitter at any moment. This is my preferred scenario. I prefer Teagarden as the Rangers starting catcher.

Third, if both Saltalamacchia and Teagarden crater, the Rangers have options:
  • Max Ramirez (.407/.500/.481 = .981 OPS) - I say he's ready enough to do the job defensively, and will continue improving. I say he's underrated and overlooked by local media and fans, and possibly even by the franchise.
  • Organization soldier Kevin Richardson got major league playing time last season, and is fully capable of functioning as a backup to Treanor.
  • Toby Hall is a major league veteran who is recovering from injury and will be ready to contribute in midsummer.

The Rangers can sit tight. Catcher is one position where you can win without a spectacular guy: you can win with a gritty, gutsy guy who is all heart and who hits .250. The Rangers can take the division lead with a catching duo of Treanor and Kevin Richardson. The Rangers can win down the stretch and into the playoffs with a catching duo of Treanor and Toby Hall.

Now, look: a good trade is always a good trade. Always. My point is: there's no reason to panic and make a bad trade. There is no catching crisis. Local newspaper and radio media are over-dramatic fools. Daniels has actually done a good job of bringing along prospects: Saltalamacchia, Teagarden, Ramirez, while buying insurance via stockpiling major league veterans: Treanor, Hall, while keeping an emergency option around to train minor league pitchers and to emergency sit the major league bench: Richardson. Catching is an example of Jon Daniels keeping a cool head and doing a good job as GM. Daniels will only do a bad job if he now panics and makes a bad trade. Good trade = good. Sit tight = good. Panicky bad trade = I am one hissed off blogger.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nelson Cruz, Rudy Jaramillo

Update: Nelson Cruz hits 3 run homer today in Yankee Stadium. The funniest thing about this video is watching the reaction of Nelson Cruz' family in the stands - especially his sister. She is so enthusiastic that she shames the men around her into celebrating more vociferously. If you listen closely, I swear you can hear her extended screaming on the game broadcast. Her voice carries all the way to the microphones (in the announcers' booth?).


Nice article on Nelson Cruz:

("I don't know if I should be embarrassed of this or proud of this," Daniels said, "but in consecutive spring trainings we passed Marlon Byrd and Nellie Cruz through waivers the first week of April.")

One moment, please...

April 17, 2010

Jon Daniels
General Manager
Texas Rangers Baseball Club

100 Ballpark Way
Arlington, Texas

Dear Mr. Daniels,

I can be of assistance:


Greg Cotharn
The End Zone blog
Fort Worth, Texas

End Moment

Once Cruz got to Triple-A Oklahoma [in 2008], he made an adjustment to his hitting. With input from director of player development Scott Servais, minor-league hitting coordinator Mike Boulanger and Oklahoma manager Bobby Jones, Cruz "opened up" his stance -- moving his left (front) foot toward third base to allow him a more direct look at the pitch.

In 2008: Servais, Boulanger, and Bobby Jones helped Cruz after Rudy Jaramillo failed to help Cruz.

In 2009: Boulanger and Bobby Jones helped Chris Davis after Rudy Jaramillo failed to help Chris Davis.

How good, really, is Rudy Jaramillo? The Rangers offense in 2009 was one of the least disciplined offenses I've ever seen. They were abysmal; abominable; unprofessional; an embarrassment. The pitching and defense made the 2009 season respectable. The offense played like losers.

My impression (from outside the field, dugout, clubhouse, and batting cage) is that Jaramillo, via drills and repetition, helps players gain confidence in their muscle memory, and thus helps players gain confidence in their ability to execute. However, Jaramillo doesn't emphasize the mental aspect with as much effectiveness: doesn't emphasize selectivity as much as is needed; doesn't emphasize going to the opposite field as much as is needed.

Jaramillo, in 2009, was surely hampered by having a young and headstrong team. Many major leaguers learn to be selective year by year: they develop over time; are more selective in mid career and in late career.

Still, even considering the youth of the lineup, 2009 was an offensive disaster. Hamilton mentally melted down, becoming possibly the worst hacker ever. Kinsler regressed. Blalock - finally healthy, and handed a real chance to resuscitate his career - instead hacked his career to pieces. Blalock currently labors in Durham. Andruw Jones was ready to do anything, i.e. to take any steps and to do any off the field work, to revive his career. Didn't happen. Davis slumped and was not helped by Jaramillo. Saltalamacchia - a hitter of some talent and potential - was a horrid hacker who belonged in a slow pitch softball beer league. Teagarden, for whom selectivity represents his only hope of success, hacked like a desperate Dominican. In short auditions: Craig Gentry desperately hacked; Joaquin Arias hacked as he always has, yet as he must not if he is to have a notable major league career. You'd think that Jaramillo - who speaks fluent Spanish, and who has a respected reputation - would have a decent chance to get through to a Joaquin Arias. Yet, no.

Back to 2008 in OKC:

"[Cruz] was hitting home runs every game," Teagarden said.

Except this was in Triple-A.
In 103 games for Oklahoma that year, Cruz hit .342 with 37 homers, 99 RBI, 24 stolen bases and a .695 slugging percentage.

All the while, Teagarden thought to himself, "God, this is crazy this guy is not in the big leagues."

In one 10-game span, Cruz hit 11 homers.

"He was one of the best baseball players I've ever seen, " said Teagarden, a teammate then and now. "I never saw the slumping Nelson Cruz. I always saw the big guy who ran well and had a lot of power and hit home runs and had a lot of energy.


Friday, April 16, 2010

What I saw at the Grand Prairie (Texas) Tea Party last night

Update: my instinct about crusading liberals carrying cameras and targeting the edgiest signs might have been correct. HuffPo has up a post now: "Tea Party Signs: The Most Outrageous Depictions From Tax Day Protests Across The Country". Except, thing is, I looked at their 20 examples of outrageous signs: those signs were not so outrageous. At all. More revealingly, HuffPo's opening paragraph says the signs featured "shocking -- and in some cases hateful -- messages". Blatant mischaracterization. This means whomever composed the HuffPo piece never looked at the signs. Rather, the author was so confident the signs would be shocking and in some cases hateful, the author was so certain, that the author felt no need to take 2 minutes to look through the signs. That HuffPo author perfectly represents much of the American left, and much of American media.

Update 2 at bottom of post.


What I saw at the Tea Party

A bunch of good people; some social misfits looking for attention; a bunch of vendors hawking t-shirts, buttons, flags, et al; a crowd which I wild guess estimate was about 15,000*; maybe 700 500 signs, and a bunch of buttons and flags and stuff.

I saw no blatantly objectionable signs. I saw a huge array of often funny signs which supported the main themes of the Tea Party: reduced spending, small government, reduced taxes, repeal of Obamacare. There were signs held by vehement supporters of fringe ancillary issues such as: stop illegal immigration, stop abortion, et al. The signs supporting the main themes strongly outnumbered the signs supporting fringe ancillary issues.

A wide demographic spectrum was well represented at many levels, from social misfits who were looking for attention through upper middle class management types. I saw "Med Students Against Obamacare". Now THERE is a motivated group. Can you imagine being a med student right now?

One thing bothered me: liberals focusing their cameras on social misfits holding signs supporting fringe ancillary issues. Just as gay people claim to have gaydar, I claim to have radar for liberals. If you just pay attention to people, you will see little give-aways that they are likely liberal crusaders: lack of make-up, hair (often straight and longish), the way they wrap their purse straps around their bodies, clothing choices, shoes, carriage, angry expression, palpable air of superiority surrounding them like dirt surrounding Pig-Pen.

I identified 5 people whom I suspected were liberals documenting the event. 3 of these people had their cameras trained on social misfits supporting fringe ancillary issues.

Here's how that looks. First, you have a solo woman with a camera. How often does that happen? Women arrive with their husband or their girlfriends: they do not arrive solo. Second, the solo woman with the camera is ignoring numerous happy and attractive people with flags, cute kids, funny signs, and the solo woman with the camera is standing 20 feet from a social misfit who is carrying a sign which vehemently advocates ... something ... deporting illegal aliens or something. And it's not just the sign which she wants in her shot: she wants the social misfit who came to the Tea Party so he could trap some people into listening to his diatribe about deporting illegal aliens, and so he could GET SOME ATTENTION from somebody, b/c his personality is slightly unusual and maybe maladjusted, and he is starved for attention from human beings. Further, his clothes are not so clean and not so stylish, and his shoes are beat up, and his hair has never seen a $20 haircut. And the solo woman with the camera and the purse strap wrapped around her just so is ignoring a bunch of nearby attractive people and adorable kids and truly clever and funny signs, and she is focusing on this social misfit who maybe hasn't showered since Saturday, and she'll be uploading her photos to some accumulator at Daily Kos or HuffPo or MediaMatters. I pretty much expect to see this social misfit and his peers showing up in those media venues this weekend. I expect to see them being represented as the types of persons who made up the majority of the Tea Party crowd in Grand Prairie, TX. Such will be outrageous misrepresentation.

*I've now seen crowd estimates of 7,000 (police), "well over 10,000" (Free Republic poster), and 18,000 (event organizers). I argue for a crowd size of well beyond 10,000.

I stood on the walkway atop the outfield wall and studied the crowd. The stadium has 5400 seats and wide concourses. 4000 seats were filled, the wide concourses were filled, the large restaurant and restaurant patio in LF was filled, and thousands milled in the outfield grass.** In my estimation, the crowd would have easily filled all stadium seats twice over, and then some.

**The podium was against the CF wall. The crowd was amassed from dead LF to dead RF. The outfield corners were empty, including areas near the foul lines.

Update 2
I saw no saboteurs. Michelle Malkin has experience with saboteurs:
I speak from direct experience about the underhandedness of Tea Party smear merchants. On Feb. 17, 2009, at one of the country’s first tax revolt rallies in Denver, a man approached me amid a throng of bona fide anti-stimulus protesters and thrust a camera in my face. I obliged cheerfully, as I usually do after such speaking events. I later learned from the character assassins at Progress Now, a left-wing outfit that just happened to be there and just happened to snap a close-up photo of the interaction, that the man pulled out a sign at the last minute (which I didn’t see until later) sporting Obama’s name with a swastika on it. He held the sign away from me, but in direct view of the Progress Now cameraperson.

That cameraperson just happened to be a former CNN producer, whose blog post on the photo just happened to be immediately disseminated by the local press and to the hit men at the radical-left Media Matters website. The narrative was set: A conservative supporter of the nascent Tea Party movement posed for a photo with a man holding up a swastika at a protest against out-of-control spending! Ergo, the anti-stimulus protesters and the entire Tea Party membership are all racist, fascist menaces to society!

Update 3: NYT's Charles Blow was in Grand Prairie. His take: how dare people of color take the podium and speak at this strongly white gathering? Minstrel show! Minstrel show! PJTV's Alphonso Rachel is a fool!

My note: could the Grand Prairie Tea Party have put so many persons of color onto the stage in an effort to get the word out that persons of color are welcome, and even desired, at Tea Parties in this area?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hangin out at the Buffalo Chip: a liberal looks at a slice of conservative America

A fun blogpost. A fun picture of Miss Rodeo Arizona! Love her. Love her flowery saddle decoration. Extra love her chaps.

A truism of life:
Every woman who is healthy enough to get on a horse looks good on a horse.


Aaaaaand: sometimes I get all feisty and righteously indignant, and head into a comment section with guns blazing. Aaaaaaand then, once I'm in there, if I get my dander up, I sort of refuse to walk away if walking away means letting slander and foolishness stand unrebutted.

So, I got nuthin today. But I sort of went all righteously indignant inside the comment section of the Miss Rodeo Arizona blogpost; and, so, here's the most recent comment I made there. It's kinda ... not edited for spelling, grammar, and tightness ... b/c it's a comment, not a blogpost. But, anyway, it's insight into my sometimes scattered thoughts. When you write fast, as you do in a comment, you sort of open yourself more, b/c you are writing fast and w/o much self-censorship or editing. My comment is in response to a number of assertions made by this commenter.

My comment:

Incidental notes re the polls:

1. Upon encountering such polls for the first time, only a couple weeks ago, I was surprised at the numbers of moderates and liberals attending Tea Parties. I'm guessing this is due to the Tea Parties' major message: reduce spending.

2. The polls you link: Gallup and CNN, display evidence that Tea Partiers are at least as educated as the U.S. population. Gallup shows almost exact educational parity; CNN's 124 person sample of shows definitively more education amongst Tea Party activists than amongst the U.S. population. Therefore, separate from your point about the conservative/moderate/liberal make-up of Tea Party activists: the polls you link do not help anyone make a case that Tea Partiers are particularly ignorant.

My pet peeve has to do with forsaking reasoned argument about issues in favor of anecdotal observation + speculation + assertion/accusation. For instance: what good does it do for you and I to schoolyard argue back and forth about whether Tea Partiers in general cross an unacceptable threshold of ignorance? They do! They don't! They do! They don't! This accomplishes nothing.

I've formed my impression. I've been to a Tea Party, I know people who have been to Tea Parties, I've watched videos of Tea Parties. If my impression changes, it will begin changing based on what I see when I attend a Tea Party tomorrow in Grand Prairie (anticipated crowd = 25,000). My first hand impression, based on attending one Tea Party of 6,000 persons, tracks perfectly with
Jazz Shaw's impression in his TMV post on March 11:
I’ve now met with more than a dozen [Tea Party] groups in both Upstate New York and Pennsylvania, and my suspicions have been almost unanimously confounded rather than confirmed. We’ve been greeted by surprisingly large groups of citizens who were polite and obviously very well informed on the issues of the day which concern them. The tone has been far more energized and excited than hysterical. [...] They asked questions – very tough questions in many cases – and listened patiently to the answers.

The topics of interest came as a bit of a shock also. [...] Imagine my dismay when these tried and true stump winners [“respect for life” and “keep and bear arms”] were met with either silent nods of approval or polite smatterings of applause. It’s not that the audience didn’t agree… it’s just not what they came to hear.

Another part of the speech caught the crowd’s interest instead. [...] [Jazz Shaw's congressional candidate] talked about stressing to his students the importance of Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution and the 10th amendment. That is what brought the crowd to their feet. We had to pause and wait for the ovation to die down. They knew their history and were focused on what they saw as the proper function and authority of the federal government. (And let’s have a moment of brutal honesty here… how many of you had to flip open another tab on your browser to be reminded of what Article 1 Section 8 says?)
The point is, meeting with tea party supporters has been a surprising experience. It’s not politics as usual and the old rules about Red vs. Blue and D vs. R don’t apply. Like any large gathering, you’ll find a couple of people with some more fringe outlooks, and that seems to be who the television cameras focus on. (We had one couple at a recent meeting who were obviously birthers and wanted to ask about Obama’s birth certificate, but they were quickly shushed by the rest of the crowd.) But for the most part, each group seems to carry its own distinct flavor and topics of interest. The one thing they seem to have in common is that they are unhappy with the current leadership in D.C. and they have come to play a serious game.

You listed some issues. I will make some general comments. Here's what you will notice: for me, as for the majority of self-described conservatives, we are interested in smaller government; free markets; less spending; lower taxes; more effective regulation. We don't get so bogged in minutia. We are driving the small government vs. big government conversation.

I've heard of this, yet I don't know the argument in favor of eliminating the EPA. It's not something I've ever heard or read a discussion of. Do you know the argument in favor of eliminating the EPA?

I take your word for it that this movement exists, yet I've never heard of it. Do you know the argument in favor of eliminating OSHA? Because I don't.

No public education
I've never heard of this. There is a 10th Amendment case for getting the feds out of education and allowing states to oversee it. Do you know the reasoning behind a movement to eliminate public education? Because I don't.

No federal reserve
I've heard of this. Do you know the reasoning behind this argument? Because I don't.

Return to the Gold Standard
I know something about this, but haven't seriously studied the issue b/c the possibility seems so remote.

School prayer
Do you know the argument in favor of allowing prayer in school?

Criminalize homosexual activity
I don't know a single person who has ever indicated they are in favor of this. This is obscure.

Make abortion illegal
Do you know the arguments? I oppose a federal statute or a constitutional amendment which would make abortion illegal. Yet, it's my impression that the majority of attorneys and judges in this nation believe Roe v Wade is bad law; is unconstitutional. Abortion ought be decided by each individual state.

Birth control illegal
I guess I'm too young to remember this. I've never met a person who professed to favor this.

Then come your comments saying many of these positions, to varying extents, have become more mainstream amongst conservatives.

Which, if you're me, how do read that? Here's how: whatever. Here's the thing: I am not swayed by your supreme confidence that all those issues above are stupid issues.

I am open to being swayed re most of the issues above. I'm either somewhat or largely ignorant about several of them. But I am not swayed by your merely mentioning the issues and assuming that arguments in favor of those issues must be idiotic arguments. And here's why I'm not swayed by that: I've heard it all my life. I used to be liberal. I supported Bill Clinton in 1992. I was sucked into liberalism b/c I wanted to be cool and smart, and everyone who seemed cool and smart also seemed cocksure that liberal arguments were superior. And it took until I was in my 30's to realize that most of those cool and smart people who were cocksure actually didn't understand the arguments themselves. They didn't know or understand the conservative arguments and reasoning. They often didn't even understand the liberal arguments. And yet they were soooo pretentious and condescending and scornful of those ignorant conservatives and their principles and beliefs. And I had been cocksure and scornful also. When all this finally and certainly dawned on me, I felt like a needed a shower to get the taint and the stink of it off me. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

However, I might be swayed if you laid out, for instance, the reasoning in favor of eliminating the EPA, and if you then made reasoned argument as to why that reasoning is misguided. I might then occasionally reference your argument and share with other people that the idea to eliminate the EPA is misguided. My point: reasoned argument about issues can be effective. Conversely, cocksure assumption about issues does nothing for me or for most mature persons. Anecdotal based accusations re racist, violent, greedy conservatives does nothing for me or for most mature conservatives - and here's why: we ARE conservatives; we know conservatives; we know why we are conservatives, and we know it has nothing to do with racism, violence, greed. It has to do with free market democracy being the greatest tool for the elimination of human suffering in the history of mankind.

Wrapping up: you assert birthers are "more common" amongst Tea Partiers. Looking at that SacBee poll, it looks to me like birthers are 11% of the population and 20% of Tea Party attendees. I'm fine with that. I can believe that is correct.

The SacBee poll, however, is a little tricky. They throw in a question: are you sure Obama was born in the U.S.? Now, lets think about what is true. The only way to be "sure" Obama was born in the U.S. is to take Obama at his word. I would have answered: I am not sure Obama was born in the U.S. I think there is a strong, strong, strong probability Obama was born in the U.S., and therefore I flee from any discussion of birther issues. Get me outta there. However, am I "sure" he was born in the U.S.? I am not. There's no way I am putting my faith in Barack Obama. I believe he is scam artist. Therefore, I will not be "sure" unless Obama produces his birth certificate. And it looks like he's not going to do that. So, I write this issue off. It's a non-issue. But, were I surveyed in that SacBee poll, then SacBee would count me as a Tea Party activist who is ominously not "sure".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scam, fraud: Alex Haley lied about "Roots"

He lied about all of it. There was no Kunta Kinte. The whole thing was fiction which was designed to make America look as guilty and as horrible as possible - partially, I suspect, because Haley knew that a guilty and horrible America would sell.

After publication, the fraud was proven from three separate directions:

1. The author of "The African" settled a lawsuit with Haley before the verdict was rendered. Court testimony clearly showed that Haley plagiarized and rewrote large sections of "The African" inside the text of "Roots". The judge, who did not want to see such a public icon and hero destroyed, strongly urged Haley to settle the lawsuit before a verdict was rendered.
2. Genealogical researchers discovered Haley's fraud.
3. After Haley's death, a researcher going through Haley's papers discovered the fraud.

The truth of Haley's fraud got out from these persons to a media which uniformly minimized and played down Haley's fraud.

Jack Cashill examines the details. Excerpt:
"There was no Kunta Kinte," says Nobile bluntly.

Nobile and an African-American coauthor put a book proposal together on the subject [of Haley's deception], but as Nobile ruefully admits, "Nobody wanted to touch it." A Lexis search shows shockingly little follow-up by the media, major or minor.

The New York Times buried the issue in a page 18 "Book Notes" column. There, in discussing whether Haley's new book, Alex Haley's Queen, should be shelved under fiction or nonfiction, the Times had exactly this to say about the controversy: "Two weeks ago, the charges about the authenticity of Roots and the integrity of Mr. Haley were raised anew in an investigative article by Philip Nobile in The Village Voice. Members of the Haley family have rebutted the accusations." And that was that.

Not surprisingly, the Pulitzer people did not ask for their award back, and the book and video have remained a staple in history classes across America. Nobile blames Roots's seeming immunity on his progressive colleagues. "They were all too scared, or dishonest," he writes, "to admit to the public that the most famous black writer had lied about his ancestry."

Sometimes, it seems our nation is so insulated from truth, is so inundated with fantasy, that I simply have no idea how our culture coheres and thrives.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Does Vlad Guerrero's presence encourage Nelson Cruz to be a better player?

You might see Nelson Cruz. I see Manny Ramirez without the "being Manny" part.

I suspect the presence of Vlad Guerrero creates additional confidence and focus for Nelson Cruz.

Both Vlad and Nelson are from the Dominican Republic. I suspect Nelson thinks: "Hey, I'm hitting behind Vlad Guerrero! That MUST mean I'm a pretty good player!" Confidence, baby!

I suspect Nelson thinks: "The entire baseball crazy population of my nation is watching Vlad's every move, and therefore they are also seeing me. I've got play good: they are all watching my every at bat." Thus: additional focus, additional edge.

I suspect the Vlad ~ Nelson Cruz effect is analogous to many players who got traded to the Yankees and suddenly began playing the best baseball of their careers. 3B Scott Brosius was a classic example. I suspect Scott Brosius type players thought: Wow, I'm wearing Joe DiMaggio's pinstripes and playing in Babe Ruth's ballpark and looking at Mickey Mantle's monument in the outfield! I MUST be a pretty good player! And the entire baseball world is watching me! I've got to play good!

And then they went out and played their backsides off. Just as Nelson Cruz is doing now. The man has no backside remaining. He has been spectacular.

Related: keep it hushed ... shush ... don't tell anyone ... the Texas Rangers are REALLY good. Rangers starting pitchers have a 1.85 ERA. Neftali Feliz is a shutdown closer. Darren Oliver thinks he is a lefthanded Catfish Hunter. Shush. Let it be our secret.

Also related:

Question: What's been the most surprising thing about Vlad Guerrero?
Answer: He's a really good baserunner - very aggressive.

Question: What's been the second most surprising thing about Vlad?
Answer: His effect on the clubhouse. He just really loves to play baseball. He comes into the clubhouse smiling and happy; he plays hard; and all b/c he really and truly loves to play, really and truly is joyful at the thought of playing the game. This has a very positive effect on the clubhouse. Vlad is also a very confident player. Confidence oozes from him: can easily be read in his body language. Again, positive effect in the clubhouse and in the dugout.

Question: What, so far, has been the weirdest thing about the Rangers?
Answer: 2B Joaquin Arias, who has notable speed and defensive range, keeps getting lifted in late innings in favor of Andres Blanco as a defensive replacement. Feels weird to see that happen.

I never know when Ron Washington is serious and when he is playing head games with young players. I usually suspect head games. Washington screamed at Elvis last season that he was going to be replaced by Omar Vizquel due to bad defense. Washington, even during this offseason, publicly suggested Nelson Cruz cannot make adjustments well enough to succeed as a hitter in the major leagues. Then, Wash basically said that, if he is forced to play Nelson Cruz, he will hit him 7th - after Chris Davis, and in a spot where he will get limited protection from the weak hitting Saltalamacchia or Teagarden. Then there was Washington's slanderous pap all fall and winter about how Julio Borbon cannot play major league CF, and about how the Rangers possibly need to trade for a CF. Now Washington keeps lifting Joaquin Arias in favor of a defensive replacement. Serious? Or head games and hazing of rookies? I say head games. Maybe Wash wants to make sure the rookies pay some dues via undergoing managerial hazing - the rookies thereby earning both respect from veterans and gaining self-respect for coming through the hazing process and emerging as toughened players. We shall see.

There's an interesting decision coming re Arias and Blanco. One of them might be gone in a week and a half. That gone guy was going to be Arias, then Arias started knocking hits all over the place: at one point stroking 7 hits in 9 ABs. I still suspect Arias might be gone. Blanco is a polished defender and a solid competitor and a solid citizen. Blanco will help a manager sleep at night. Arias, not so much - more unpredictable in production and intangibles. We shall see. It's an interesting moment of decision.

Also Related: Unleash Nelson Cruz!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My draft choice for the Dallas Cowboys: DE Jared Odrick

Out of 20 mock drafts by "draft experts", DE Jared Odrick is available at the Cowboys' 27th pick in 10 of those mocks. He's a good citizen. He has a good "motor". He has a bit of speed. He relishes contact. He is 6'5" 305, and he understands leverage. He frequently fought through double teams at Penn State. He's perfect for what the Cowboys need, and likely would be the best player on the board at 27th pick.

The Cowboys have 3 outstanding pass rushers: DE Ware, NT Ratliff, DE Anthony Spencer. If the Cowboys acquired one more outstanding pass rusher for DT, then the Cowboys defense would strongly pressure the QB with a 4 man rush. When you can do that, and when you have 3 solid CBs (as the Cowboys do), you can be a formidable defense.

The argument against Odrick would be that the Cowboys have several adequate DTs. I say the D-Line is a place where you need to be better than adequate at all positions. Further, the other players likely to be available at 27 do not fill Cowboy needs such as WR or Offensive Tackle. The exception would be S Taylor Mays. IMO, however, you can get a decent S in basically any round of a draft, and they can likely succeed as a rookie. Unless we're talking about a future Hall of Fame player, I would take Safeties later in the draft.

Blogging the Boys reports on DT Jared Odrick.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


“It is a damned place,” former president Aleksander Kwasniewski told TVN24. “It sends shivers down my spine. First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport.”



Esteban German is an offensive weapon


Joaquin Arias had 2 hits on Friday and 3 hits today. Go Joaquin.

Francisco blew his 2nd consecutive save, and in both instances did not merely blow it: he was horrible. Panic time? Yes and no. It is time to get rid of Francisco as a closer, yet that doesn't mean it's panic time. IMO, if the Rangers were going to make the playoffs and possibly win a playoff series, Feliz was going to have to supplant Francisco at some point during this season anyway. I had not such great confidence in Francisco.

Though it would be perfect to bring Feliz along slowly, perfect hasn't happened. I would be happy to just run Feliz out there now and see what happens. IMO, Feliz would perform. Or, although the following opinion is a definite outlier, I would be happy to see any of these guys closing games during April, May, June:
Oliver, O'Day, Ray, Nippert, Holland, McCarthy.
All those guys are competitive pitchers. They could do the job until Feliz is fully ready in July.

Nolan Ryan, when he first came into the organization, said a hot relief pitcher ought be left to pitch a second or even a third inning in a game. His reasoning: the next guy who comes in might not be hot on that night. Lifting a hot pitcher from the game is taking an unnecessary risk. This is a perfect opportunity to allow Nolan Ryan's theory to play out: to allow any of the aforementioned relief pitchers to just keep on pitching additional inning(s) and to close games out. They are salty competitors (even McCarthy: he's a head case, but a competitive head case). They can do it.

Ron Washington, however, likely would never do such a thing. Washington is hidebound and traditional in much of his thinking. During Washington's time in baseball, official closers have been popular. Ron Washington is not an innovator. I just hope Washington's hideboundness doesn't result in us overpaying to purchase "closer" Houston Street for the 2 1/2 months before his free agency. Houston Street is not a dominant closer. He's gutsy and smart, but he's not dominant.


At this moment, Esteban German is the best 2B in the Texas Rangers organization, yet he's playing CF in OKC.

Last night, in AAA Oklahoma City, German singled, doubled, tripled, and drew two bases on balls. German played CF in place of the injured Craig Gentry. Meanwhile, in Arlington, the Rangers can barely hit; can barely score.

Esteban German is a ninja throwing star. He doesn't explode and vaporize an enemy. Rather, he inflicts his own peculiar type of localized damage ... which damage, in concert with damage done by other teammates/weapons, turns out to be very damaging indeed. You muse, almost as an afterthought: "Ya know, Esteban German's base on balls was really a key moment in that inning..." And your friend says: "It really was." Yet, somehow, teams never fully value what Esteban German brings to an offense. They keep sending him to AAA. Where he keeps putting up .400 OBP seasons.

Sept 9, 2009: Esteban German goes 5 for 5 in Cleveland. Note that his second hit comes after the Cleveland pitcher has retired 8 consecutive Rangers. This is the kind of thing German does: he hits tough pitching; he provides a shot in the arm to an offense.

In 2009, the Rangers had their finest run of the season - going from nowhere to somewhere late in the season - with German playing 2B and batting second in the order. German is a 5'7" guy who doesn't swing at pitches outside the zone; who can handle pitches in the zone and turn them into line drives. German, in Arlington last season, was a badly needed glue guy; was a badly needed guy who would not swing at any old @#$%^&* which the pitcher tossed up there. The offense was never more effective than during the weeks German spent in the line-up batting second, drawing walks, and lacing singles.

German is a natural 2B who plays mediocre if acceptable defense at that spot, and also in LF. His defense is poor at all other positions - not horrifying, maybe, but he can only make the routine plays, and he sometimes boots those.

Still, with the Rangers offense floundering, German ought be in Arlington and in the line-up beginning today. There's only a small distance between horrible and good. That distance might be the 5'7" of Esteban German. The Rangers are serious about contending this season. Games need to be won, now. Several Rangers are in momentary slumps. Esteban German is not. He is ready, right this moment, to help the team.

Vlad Guerrerro looks as if he might be huge for the Rangers this season. He ought be accompanied in the line-up by a little buddy: German. Even when Kinsler returns, there ought be days when Hamilton plays CF, Guerrerro plays RF, and German is the DH. German is a superior offensive player to Ryan Garko.*

Bringing German to Arlington might be the end of Joaquin Arias in Arlington. That might be best for everyone involved: cut poor Arias loose; end the agonized relationship between Arias and the Rangers franchise. It wasn't good for either party. Some relationships just don't work out.

*Think of this: arbitration awards are based on statistics. Garko earns $560K this season. Had the Rangers gone to arbitration with German, German was going to be awarded approx. $1M in arbitration.

B/c German does not hit home runs, therefore teams do not respect his offensive contribution as they should. B/c of German's stature, major league teams envision German as a utility player. Especially b/c good defense is more highly valued than ever: German fits no one's definition of a utility player. German is stereotyped into a role he cannot play. He's just not a good defender, and never will be.

However, the stereotype unfairly limits German: teams fail to recognize that German can stand alone as a valuable offensive weapon; that German has value which is separate from the utility player role. No team can envision featuring an offensive weapon who is 5'7" and doesn't hit for power and has good speed yet not freakishly great speed. What GM can justify featuring that weapon to his fans and to his owner? Showing confidence in German is the kind of thing which can get a Manager and a GM fired. The Rangers, for instance, will wait around and gamble that a Ryan Garko can resuscitate his offense; can become a player who will explode opponents via 3 run home runs. Yet, when no one is on base, 3 run home runs do not happen. The Rangers will not reach for a ninja throwing star which is ready to be utilized right now.