Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stephen Solarz, 1940-2010. R.I.P.

Stephen Solarz, a Brooklyn Democrat who served nearly two decades in Congress, died yesterday of esophogeal cancer. He was 70.

Solarz was first elected to Congress following the Watergate scandal in 1974. He became something of an anomaly in the Democratic Party - a foreign policy hawk. A Scoop Jackson if you will. In 1991, Solarz was one of the most outspoken Democrats in favor of authorizing Saddam Hussein's removal from Kuwait.

Solarz was also a noted critic of the Ferdinand Marcos regime in the Phillipines. I did not know it was Solarz who revealed Imelda Marcos' extensive shoe collection.

However, Solarz's legislative career came to an abrupt end in 1992 after his congressional district was redrawn and became more predominantly Hispanic. Solarz would lose the Democratic nomination to Nydia Velazquez, who holds this seat to this very day.

I remember Solarz's dismay in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square when he debated Henry Kissinger on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. I wish I had video to link but here's Solarz speaking out on the subject in June 1989.

Gil McDougald, 1928-2010. R.I.P.

Gil McDougald, who played ten seasons with the New York Yankees, died on Sunday due to prostate cancer. He was 82.

Even though 1951 is remembered as Mickey Mantle's rookie season, it was McDougald who was named AL Rookie of the Year hitting .306. McDougald played in the World Series in eight of his ten big league seasons and was on the winning side on five of those occasions. He was also named to five AL All-Star teams. McDougald was a super utility man who excelled at second base, shortstop and third base.

However, McDougald would retire following the 1960 season at the age of 32. His joy for the game diminished when he hit Cleveland Indians pitching sensation Herb Score in the face with a line drive. Had he stayed in the game he might have had a shot at Cooperstown.

McDougald did coach at Fordham University in the Bronx from 1970 to 1976. However, he largely stayed away from the game after that due to long term hearing loss sustained when he was struck in the head by a baseball during batting practice in the 1955 season. But McDougald's hearing would be significantly restored in 1995 due to cochlear implant surgery. McDougald would become a strong advocate of cochlear implants becoming the unlikeliest of activists.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Franco, Hathaway to Co-Host 2010 Oscars

So James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be hosting the Oscars.

Well, I don't know if this will pull in younger viewers but I do know I would rather spend four hours looking at Anne Hathaway than Alec Baldwin.

Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010. R.I.P.

Actor Leslie Nielsen passed away yesterday due to complications of pneumonia. He was 84.

Born in Saskatchewan, Nielsen appeared in hundreds of films and television shows going back to the mid-1950s. Early in his career, he was cast a villain. But that all changed in 1980 when he was cast in Airplane as Dr. Alan Rumack when a comedy legend was born. He subsequently starred as Lieutenant Frank Drebin in the short lived TV series Police Squad. Nielsen would reprise the Drebin character in the three Naked Gun movies.

Nielsen's older brother, Erik, was a Conservative Member of Parliament from the Yukon who served as Canada's Deputy Prime Minister in the administration of Brian Mulroney from 1984 to 1986. The elder Nielsen passed away in 2008.

My favorite line from the Naked Gun? When Nielsen presents an engagement ring to a hypnotized Priscilla Presley and says, "It's a topsy-turvy world, and maybe the problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans. But this is our hill. And these are our beans!"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Portland's Mayor Goes Into Politically Correct Mode

In response to the thwarted terrorist attack in the Pacific Northwest, Portland's Democratic Mayor Sam Adams has gone into politically correct mode concerning Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the man arrested in connection with the attempted bombing. Mohamud was born in Somalia and is a naturalized American citizen. He is also Muslim.

"Bad actions by one member of any group does not and should not be generalized or applied more widely to other members of that same group," said Adams, "Otherwise, as the biggest racial group in Portland, we European-Americans would be in deep trouble."

Mayor Adams misses the point. This isn't about race. For that matter it isn't about nationality either. This is a global problem. As mentioned earlier Mohamud is Somali. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (a.k.a. The Christmas Day Bomber) was born on the other side of the Africa in Nigeria; Faisal Shahzad (a.k.a. The Times Square Bomber) is from Pakistan and Nidal Malik Hasan (a.k.a. the Fort Hood shooter) is an American of Jordanian-Palestinian origin. Let us also not forget John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla were also born in this country.

So what do all of these men have in common? They were willing to kill people (mostly civilians) in the name of advancing Islamic jihad. At what point will our political elite stop pretending that Islam has no connection with terrorism? Mayor Adams (and for that matter President Obama) ignore the cries of "Allahu Akbhar" at our peril. This is a problem that is not going away. It has already claimed too many innocent lives and one of these days it is going to claim a large number of innocent lives again. But how can you solve a problem when our political elite insists it doesn't exist?

President Obama can say to his heart's content that America is not at war with Islam. But that doesn't mean that Islam (or at the very least a critical mass of it) isn't at war with us.

Those Crazy Oregon Teens

Last night, an act of Islamic terrorism was thwarted when the FBI arrested 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud when he attempted to set off a bomb in Portland, Oregon. The young jihadist had planned to detonate a car bomb during the lighting of a Christmas tree in Portland's downtown area. The FBI had been monitoring him for more than six months by convincing Mohamud they were fellow operatives.

Yet somehow The New York Times managed to report this story without mentioning Mohamud is a Muslim. Their headline?

Ah, but you know those crazy Oregon teens.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tom Underwood, 1953-2010. R.I.P.

Former major league pitcher Tom Underwood passed away on November 22 after an eighteen month battle with leukemia. He was 56.

Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972, Underwood pitched in the bigs from 1974 to 1984 with the Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles. The Indiana born southpaw finished his career with an 86-87 record. His younger brother Pat, another lefty, also pitched in the majors for four seasons with the Detroit Tigers.

While Underwood's stats didn't make for a particularly memorable major league career he thoroughly enjoyed experience. Underwoood said, "For 10 years I saw the entire U.S. for free and had five months vacation. I just wish I could have played the game longer."

Tom Underwood lived his American Dream.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CNN's Roland S. Martin Says Palin Should Be Kicked

Syndicated columnist and CNN contributor Roland S. Martin has called for violence against Sarah Palin.

Martin took Palin to task for her criticisms of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative.

Martin writes, "Hmmm. Let's move is Obama's "kick"? Maybe someone should kick Sarah Palin so she can understand how devastating obesity is to the future of the United States."

Well, needless to say, if a conservative writer (like myself) had suggested that President Obama or the First Lady be kicked we would hear a chorus of cackles telling us how violent conservatives are. But I guess it's O.K. for Martin to call for violence against Sarah Palin simply because she expresses an opinion contrary to his own.

Martin should do the right thing and publicly apologize to Palin. But will it happen? Fat chance.

In that case, CNN should fire Martin.

Thoughts on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This morning I struggled to make my way to the steps of the First Church of Christ, Scientist on 68th and Central Park West to meet up with my Dad to watch the 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But I made it.

What a spectacle!!!

Some of the floats are so enormous (i.e. Snoopy, Ronald McDonald, Kung Fu Panda) they must need thirty people to carry them.

Of course, there were marching bands from all over the country. The NYPD was there in full force.

Then there were the celebrities. I saw, amongst others, Arlo Guthrie, Miranda Cosgrove, Kylie Minogue, the cast of Sesame Street, Gladys Knight, Jessica Simpson, Joan Rivers, India Arie, Betty Buckley and Kanye West (ugghhh). No Carly Simon though. Oh well.

Still, I'm glad I got to see it.

I'm not posting any pictures. You'll have to use your imagination. If you don't want to use your imagination then you'll have to come here next year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Thankful for Taking the Bus

If I'm thankful for anything this season is that I didn't have to fly to New York.

Yes, the bus is crowded, uncomfortable, traffic is miserable and you take your life in your hands when you proceed to the loo.

But I'll take all that over being probed and exposed to gamma rays any day of the week.

Of course, if al Qaeda decides to attack buses then I can't even be thankful for the bus.

And in the spirit of the holiday season....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Could Jeter End Up in Boston?

The New York Yankees have declined to offer future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter arbitration. In fact, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has said he told Jeter to "test the market and see if there’s something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine."

The Yankees have offered Jeter a three-year contract worth $45 million. I am sure that Cashman would not have uttered such a statement if he thought any other club was prepared to pony up more money than that. After all, Jeter's batting average and on base percentage fell by more than sixty points during the 2010 season. He's also 36 and has lost a step at short.

On the other hand, Jeter could take Cashman's comments as an affront and sign elsewhere out of pride. There are also clubs that would love to one up the Yankees. I'm sure Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino stills consider the Yankees "the evil empire." Jeter needs only 74 hits to reach the coveted 3,000 mark. Could you imagine if he reached that milestone in a Red Sox uniform instead of wearing pinstripes?

Thoughts on North Korea's Attack

North Korea's attack yesterday which claimed the lives of two South Korean marines and its recent public discussion of its nuclear capabilities is said to be an attempt at re-starting six party talks which China supports.

If that is what results of this belligerence then the Obama Administration will have rewarded North Korea's behavior. Of course, at this point, it is not clear that will be the outcome. But sooner or later, the United States is going to have to deal with North Korea, nuclear weapon or no nuclear weapon.

Hamilton Wins AL MVP

While Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton didn't come away with a World Series ring he has won the 2010 AL MVP.

Hamilton led the AL in batting with a .359 average, hit 32 homeruns and drove in 100 runs.

He has come a very long way. Originally the top draft pick in the country in 1999 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Hamilton's career was sidelined by alcohol and drug abuse. He did not play professional baseball between 2004 and 2006.

Hamilton got his second chance with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 and was then traded to the Rangers prior to the 2008 season for pitcher Edinson Volquez (a deal that has worked out for both clubs.) He set the baseball world afire with his performance during the Home Run Derby at the 2008 All-Star Game at old Yankee Stadium.

Of course, it has not been easy for him. He did have a relapse early in 2009. But Hamilton's Christian faith has for the most part kept him on the straight and narrow.

His teammates certainly have been supportive. When the Rangers clinched the AL West, the ALDS and the AL championship they were there to spray him with ginger ale instead of champagne. Now that he's won his first MVP trophy perhaps there's one more ginger ale celebration is in order.

Victor Martinez Signs with Detroit

Well, the Boston Red Sox will be looking for a new catcher.

Victor Martinez has signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

I wonder if the Sox were disappointed with his offensive production. He certainly didn't put up the numbers in Boston that he did in Cleveland. But at 31 he is in the prime of his career and would have been a long term contributor at Fenway.

So where that leave the Sox? Will they re-sign team captain Jason Varitek for a song? I would love to see a platoon of Varitek and Bengie Molina behind the plate. O.K., they are past their prime but in a platoon situation you could maximize their production. Plus their combined experience behind the plate would be invaluable for the Sox pitching staff.

As always we'll see.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Votto Named NL MVP

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was named the National League Most Valuable Player.

Votto received 31 out of 32 first place votes. The only other first place vote went to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols who had won the last two NL MVP Awards.

Votto led the Reds to their first playoff appearance in 15 years. He hit .324 with 37 homeruns and 113 RBI.

What makes Votto's MVP campaign all the more remarkable was that he missed part of the 2009 season battling depression.

A native of Toronto, Votto becomes only the third Canadian to win an MVP. Larry Walker won the NL MVP for the Colorado Rockies in 1997 and in 2006 Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau won the AL MVP.

At 27, Votto is entering the prime of his career. This MVP might not be his last.

Mets Name Collins as New Manager

The New York Mets have named Terry Collins their new manager.

Collins has previous big league managerial experience with the Houston Astros (1994-1996) and the Anaheim Angels (1997-1999). Although he has not managed in the bigs for more than a decade he did manage in Japan for a couple of seasons and also managed Team China in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Collins spent the 2010 season as the Mets minor league field co-ordinator.

It's a gamble. I don't think it will pay dividends in 2011 but it could yield fruit in 2012.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek, 1958-2010. R.I.P.

Laurie "Bambi" Bembenek, a former Milwaukee police officer convicted of murder, died yesterday of liver and kidney failure. She was 52.

In 1982, Bembenek was convicted of the murder of Christine Schultz, the ex-wife of Milwaukee police detective Fred Schultz to whom Bembenek was married. Her conviction, however, had always been a source of controversy. She was nicknamed "Bambi" because of her brief stint as a Playboy bunny. A song, "Run, Bambi, Run" was written in her honor.

In the summer of 1990, Bembenek escaped from prison with the help of her boyfriend Nick Gugliatto and ended up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. In fact, they lived half a block from my family's house. Of course, I did not know this until they had been arrested.

Before you knew it, there was a van from A Current Affair on our block. In fact, they stopped my brother Micah and his friend Dave Azzolini (they would later play together in the Canadian indie rock band The Golden Dogs) and shot video of them walking down past Bembenek's house.

As for me, I had met Bembenek during her stay in Thunder Bay although I obviously did not appreciate the significance of who she was at the time. It was while I was canvassing for the NDP during the 1990 Ontario election. The only reason I remember having spoken to her was that she told me she was American and was thus not eligible to vote.

Like in Milwaukee, Bembenek had developed a sympathetic following in Thunder Bay. She had worked as a waitress in a restaurant near City Hall and I remember the owner publicly coming to her defense. Bembenek later applied for refugee status in Canada. While this did not come to pass, the Canadian government told authorities in Wisconsin they wanted Bembenek's case reviewed before they agreed to extradite her. Bembenek's case was reviewed and she was granted a new trial in 1992. However, instead of going through with the trial, Bembenek pled no contest, sentenced to ten years probation and was released from prison.

In 1993, a made for TV movie about Bembenek was released starring Tatum O'Neal. Let's just say the Thunder Bay depicted in that movie bore no resemblance to the Thunder Bay where I grew up.

Bembenek would live out the remainder of her life in Oregon. She unsuccessfully tried to have her conviction overturned. In recent years, Bembenek had fallen on hard times. In a bizarre incident in 2002, she jumped out of a hotel window after staff on the Dr. Phil show had restricted her movements. She injured her foot so badly it had to be amputated.

Here's Bembenek on Oprah in the early 1990's.

Great profile of Ward Connerly and his work on Arizona's Prop. 107 in City Journal

Some interesting information about Ward Connerly in this revealing profile piece. He's certainly not the typical right-winger the left stereotypes him as.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boxer Likens U.S. to Iran, N. Korea, Pakistan Over DADT

Recently re-elected California Senator Barbara Boxer has compared the United States to Iran, North Korea and Pakistan because of its policy to not allow gays to serve openly in the military.

During a press conference with Senator Joe Lieberman, Boxer said, "We now stand - with this rule - with countries like Iran, North Korea and Pakistan in banning gays and lesbians from military service."

Um, "don't ask, don't tell" was a policy initiated during the Clinton Administration. Is Boxer seriously comparing the Clinton White House to two totalitarian countries and one country where the military is the only thing that works?

But I guess the people of California get the representation they deserve.

Pat Burns, 1952-2010. R.I.P.

Legendary NHL coach Pat Burns has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 58.

Burns served as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils. In his first year as a coach, the Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup Finals. In 14 seasons as a coach, Burns' teams made the playoffs eleven times. Burns reached the pinacle of his success in 2003 when the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Burns finished his career with 501 wins as an NHL coach.

However, Burns would be diagnosed with cancer the following year bringing his coaching career to a premature end. There was an effort to get Burns into the NHL Hall of Fame but this was not successful. This is a shame as Burns ranks 11th on the all-time list of NHL coaches with the most wins. If not for his health, Burns certainly had a shot at being one of the top five winningest coaches in NHL history.

The greatness of Pat Burns is probably one of the few things Canadiens and Maple Leafs fan can agree on.

When My Dad Met Stan the Man

Tomorrow, St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan "The Man" Musial turns 90.

Check out Larry Thornberry's article on Musial at The American Spectator.

When my father was a teenager he had the opportunity to meet Musial at the Polo Grounds. You can check out my account of this meeting at The AmSpec Blog.

King Felix Crowned AL Cy Young Winner

On Thursday, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award despite posting a won loss record of 13-12. Last year, Hernandez posted a 19-5 record and finished runner up in the Cy Young balloting to Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals.

But what earned Hernandez his first Cy Young was leading the AL in innings pitched and ERA and finishing second in strikeouts. It also must be noted that the Mariners offense was pitiful. They scored only 513 runs in 2010. To put that number into perspective the New York Yankees scored nearly 350 more runs than the Mariners. Had the Mariners scored a few more runs he might have been closer to his 19-5 mark of 2009.

Still, twenty years ago it would have been inconceivable that a starting pitcher with only 13 wins over a full season would have a chance at winning the Cy Young. In 1990, Bob Welch of the Oakland Athletics won 27 games en route to his only Cy Young. How pitching has changed.

Thoughts on Bud Black & Ron Gardenhire

A few days ago, Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire were named NL and AL Managers of the Year.

Winning NL Manager of the Year has to be bittersweet for Black. After all, the San Diego Padres led the NL West for nearly the entire season only to collapse in late August and early September. The Padres were overtaken by the San Francisco Giants who got a ticker tape parade. Still, the Padres did much better than anyone could have expected in 2010.

As for Gardenhire, this honor was long overdue. Gardenhire led the Minnesota Twins to their sixth AL Central divisional title in nine years. Well, the day after Gardenhire won the award, the Twins extended Gardenhire's contract through 2013.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Outrageous new TSA regulations requiring invasive private body part patdowns, airport scanners peering through clothing

The TSA is out of control under the Obama administration, and hypocritically, where is the left to protest? The protests against these invasive new searches of airplane travelers are mainly coming from a few Republican Congressman. The TSA is aggressively implementing airport scanners that see your genitals through your clothing at airport after airport. If you refuse them, or set off the metal detector, the TSA requires you to take a more thorough version of the patdown. This photo was taken by the Denver Post, of a man undergoing an invasive patdown of his genitals. This is outrageous, and as strongly as I feel about fighting terrorism, there has to be a better way than this.

The US Travel Association has put up a website to deal with the TSA's aggressive searches after receiving more than 1000 unsolicited complaints about the recent level of increased TSA searches. Facebook - facebook.com/yourtravelvoice and Twitter channel to use is #travelvoice.

The photos below are from TSA scanners:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It Could Get Uggla Out There

The Florida Marlins have traded second baseman Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and left handed reliever Mike Dunn.

In 2010, Uggla hit a career high .287 with 33 homeruns and 105 RBI. Uggla has hit 30 or more homeruns in each of the last four seasons. The Braves need a right-handed power hitter to protect Jason Heyward and Brian McCann in the lineup. So I guess we won't be seeing Martin Prado at second base in 2011. Nor Brooks Conrad.

Last week, Uggla had turned down a four-year contract extension from the Marlins worth $48 million. So the Marlins had little choice but to trade Uggla rather than lose him as a free agent. In return, they get Infante who made the 2010 NL All-Star team as a utility player. Infante's .321 batting average was third best in the NL this season. Meanwhile, Dunn is a hard throwing southpaw who has control problems walking 17 batters in 19 innings. However, he did keep his ERA under 2.00. The Marlins are shoring the left side of their bullpen as they also recently acquired Dustin Richardson from the Boston Red Sox. Overall, I think the trade will help both ballclubs.

Rumor has it that the Marlins are on the verge of signing free agent catcher John Buck who had a career year with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010. The Marlins have been very aggressive this off-season and are looking to compete with the Phillies and Braves next season. With Uggla now in Atlanta look for fans in South Florida to be motivated to show up to boo Uggla when the Braves visit Miami. It could get Uggla out there.

Tina Fey Still Isn't Funny

When the Kennedy Center announced it was bestowing the Mark Twain Prize to Tina Fey last June, I made the case she wasn't funny.

She was given the award on November 9th and PBS broadcast the ceremony on Sunday night. Needless to say, I didn't watch the proceedings. I was too busy watching Sarah Palin on TLC. Evidently I wasn't the only one.

As it turns out, Ms. Fey had some choice words for the former Alaska Governor, although they weren't included in the broadcast:

And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course - those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape 'kit 'n stuff. But for everybody else, it's a win-win. Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry her partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster.

Well, what do you know? Tina Fey still isn't funny.

Halladay Wins NL Cy Young

To the surprise of no one, Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay won the 2010 NL Cy Young Award.

Halladay won the vote unamiously.

At the All-Star Break, Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies was the odds on favorite. At the All-Star Break, Jimenez was 15-1. However, Jimenez was only 4-7 in the second half.

Halladay led the NL in wins, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts. Not to mention that perfect game.

Of course, the vote took place before he threw a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds.

It is the second time Halladay has been bestowed with a Cy Young. He won the AL Cy Young while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003.

When Halladay participated in the legends parade in New York City before the 2008 All-Star Game my father saw Halladay and told him he was the best pitcher in baseball. Now everyone knows it.

Feliz & Posey Named Rookies of the Year

Yesterday, Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey were named 2010 AL and NL Rookie of the Year.

Of course, Feliz and Posey faced off in the World Series. Yet it is worth noting that the vote was conducted the day after the regular season well before anyone knew the Rangers and Giants would square off.

I am in full agreement with both selections. Early in the season it appeared that Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson and Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward were shoo ins but both Feliz and Posey came on strong.

This marks the second straight year a closer has won AL Rookie honors. In 2009, Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey got the nod.

On the surface, Posey's overall numbers weren't as good as those of Heyward it is worth remembering that Heyward broke with the Braves on opening day while Posey didn't get called up until June. Posey had more than a hundred fewer at bats than Heyward. If Posey had a comparable number of at bats his offensive production would have surely been better than that of Heyward. Besides catching is a far more demanding position especially when you have to handle a pitching staff that is as young as Posey himself.

It will be interesting to see what Posey and Feliz do for an encore.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tonight on our KKNT Alexander & Goldman Show: medical marijuana, Dodd-Frank bill & entrepreneur gender gap

Tonight on our KKNT Alexander and Goldman Show we will be discussing Prop. 203, medical marijuana, which looks like it will get enough votes to pass in Arizona, the Chris Dodd/Barney Frank financial legislation, and the gender gap among entrepreneurs. Mark and I disagree on plenty here! Hopefully we'll get to some other topics as well. Listen live at http://www.kknt960.com/. Call in number is 602.508.0960.

Aung San Suu Kyi is Free - For Now

I am delighted that the Burmese military junta has seen fit to release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

But how long will the junta's benevolence last?

Let us not forget that Suu Kyi was twice previously released from house arrest only to be placed back into detention. After spending nearly six years under house arrest, Suu Kyi was released in July 1995 and remained free for more than five years until she was detained in September 2000. Suu Kyi was released again in May 2002 but was re-arrested a year later and would remain in captivity until this morning.

As of now the conditions of Suu Kyi's release are unknown. If Suu Kyi opts to travel abroad will she be allowed to return to Burma? During her previous stints of "freedom", the military junta has made it clear that she would not be permitted to re-enter the country if she left.

Life in a totalitarian state is arbitrary and capricious. While we should rejoice in Suu Kyi's release we must also recognize that as long as the military junta remains she, as well as the people of Burma, will never truly be free.

Tony Blair's Israel Problem

I have long admired Tony Blair for his courage in standing by the US in the matter of the Iraq War, for his tenacity in not allowing Labor to undue most of the wise economic policies initiated by Margaret Thatcher, and for his grace in not abandoning his religious beliefs at the door of 10 Downing Street. But those stellar qualities were not enough to prevent him from making a morally obtuse comment in his column in November 9's Wall Street Journal ("Making Muslin Integration Work" -- go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303362404575580700415413596.html?KEYWORDS=tony+blair
if you are a WSJ subscriber). He bemoans the tendency of Muslims to conflate unjustifiable sentiments against the West with "justifiable sentiments [such as] anxiety about injustice to Palestinians, dissent over military action in Afghanistan or Iraq, anger about Kashmir or Chechnya,..." Thus, according to Mr. Blair, the prime legitimate beef that Muslims have with the West is the "Palestinian problem." Unspoken, but self-evident, is that Israel -- a Western outpost -- is the main source of Muslim discontent. So, more than the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, more than the fact that in science, the arts, business, and just about any other major human endeavor, the West's accomplishments have dwarfed any Muslim contribution to the world, more than any of those irritants, the fact that a few Jews have set up shop on a tiny portion of "Muslim lands" is the main source of unhappiness of Blair's poor Muslims. I don't know which is worse -- Tony's reflexive anti-Israel position or his obsequious deference to Muslim sensitivities. And he is supposed to be an honest broker between Israel and her Muslim enemies? Fat chance!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dave Niehaus, 1935-2010. R.I.P.

Dave Niehaus, the longtime voice of the Seattle Mariners, died today of a heart attack. He was 75.

Niehaus was the radio and television voice of the Mariners from their inception in 1977. Until today, he was the Mariners' only original employee left on their payroll. In 2008, the Baseball Hall of Fame honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting.

My favorite Niehaus call was when Ichiro Suzuki hit a walk off homerun off Yankee legend Mariano Rivera in September 2009. I saw the Yankee broadcast of that game but nothing beats Niehaus shouting, "fly, fly away" with the infectious enthuasiam of a little boy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Obama Casts Stones at Israel in Indonesia

You can read my new article on the IC main page about President Obama, the meaning and interpretations of jihad and the question of whether he will condemn the stoning law in Indonesia's Aceh province.

Well, today we got a reminder of where President Obama's thinking is on these matters. Instead of criticizing the application of sharia law in Indonesia he once again chided the construction of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. By making a point of criticizing Israel in a Muslim country, Obama advances the relentless campaign to delegitimize the world's only Jewish state. It is an act beneath the President of the United States.

Conan Returns

I saw the debut of Conan on TBS last night.

Good to see him back on late night television where he belongs.

I then watched a few minutes of Lopez. Not very funny.

The problem with most comedians like George Lopez is that when they make a joke the audience respond applauds in agreement rather than with laughter.

With Conan, I actually felt laughter in my belly.

I hope Conan conquers Jon Stewart.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Olbermann Returns to Air on Tuesday

Well, that was quick.

MSNBC has reconsidered its decision to suspend Keith Olbermann and he will return to Countdown on Tuesday night.

Somehow I don't think Olbermann will thank the conservatives who stuck up for him. I am inclined to think Olbermann will instead bash Fox News as Rachel Maddow did on Friday night in reaction to his suspension.

Nevertheless, I would rather have Olbermann on MSNBC than the MLB Network.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Did Bush Diss Palin?

Did former President George W. Bush state that Sarah Palin was unqualified to be President?

The New York Daily News cites an anonymous GOP source who claims Bush didn't like John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The source said, "Naming Palin makes Bush think less of McCain as a man."

Well, Bush and McCain weren't exactly golf buddies. If those are an accurate reflection of his views then it would seem they are directed more at McCain than at Palin.

Still, I wonder if Bush will publicly deny the claim.

Bush has done an interview with Oprah which will air later this week when his book comes out. Oprah asked Bush about Palin's presidential prospects and he declined to comment.

I'm interested to see if Bill O'Reilly will ask Tonya Reiman will comment on Bush's body language in response to Oprah's Palin question.

Now for all anyone knows the anonymous GOP source has an axe to grind against Palin and using the former President to justify his or her animus.

If on the other hand Bush isn't fond of Palin that actually might help her. There are a lot of Tea Party activists who are less than enamored with Bush's economic and fiscal policies. There are also a lot of people outside the Tea Party movement who don't think much of Bush's presidency. If they perceive that Bush doesn't like Palin then they might be inclined to give Palin a second look.

GOP Gains Amongst Gay Voters

According to a FOX News national exit poll, 31% of gay voters pulled the lever for Republican candidates in Tuesday's mid-term election.

That is up from a total of 19% in the 2008 elections.

When you consider that this election revolved around the economy it should come as no surprise Republicans would improve their performance amongst nearly every constituency in the country.

Gay rights activists have also been disappointed with the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress over the failure to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and DOMA as well as over federal AIDS funding. The fact that there were no major ballot initiatives on gay marriage also probably helped matters.

Over the years, I have come across a number of gay people who sympathize with the GOP on economic and foreign policy matters. But what turned them off was their stance on social issues. It's understandable. Why would anyone for a candidate who tells them that they are immoral or irresponsible? If Carl Palladino had just stuck to talking about the economy the gubernatorial race in New York would have been far more competitive.

It will be interesting to see how Republicans do with gay voters over the next two decades. If you were born after 1980 chances are you are going to be more sympathetic to gay rights than if you were born after 1960 and certainly after 1940. While it might be a stretch to argue that a majority of gay voters will support Republicans in twenty years time I do believe that by 2030 the opposition to gay marriage within the GOP will have been marginalized.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jill Clayburgh, 1944-2010. R.I.P.

Actress Jill Clayburgh died this morning after a long battle with leukemia. She was 66.

Clayburgh's career peak occurred in the late 1970s when appeared in movies like Silver Streak, An Unmarried Woman, Semi-Tough and Starting Over. In the latter two movies she was paired with Burt Reynolds. Clayburgh received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress for An Unmarried Woman and Starting Over.

Although fewer movie roles came her way in recent years she was able to land roles on Broadway and on television in shows such as Ally McBeal and more recently Dirty Sexy Money.

Clayburgh's last onscreen role was in the forthcoming film Love and Other Drugs starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway which is due to be released later this month.

Thoughts on Keith Olbermann

I am struck by the reaction to MSNBC's decision to indefinitely suspend Keith Olbermann for giving three Democratic Party candidates campaign contributions.

Conservatives are defending Olbermann while liberals are saying MSNBC made the right decision. Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard calls Olbermann's suspension "ludicrous." Yet TV critic David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun argues MSNBC had no other alternative but to take disciplinary action against Olbermann.

My take? I am sure MSNBC President Phil Griffin is shocked, shocked to find out that Keith Olbermann has made campaign contributions to Democratic Party candidates.

But in light of the impending merger between Comcast and NBC one must also wonder if Olbermann's suspension is only the beginning of a big shake up to come at MSNBC.

Pelosi Will Run for House Minority Leader

I hope Pelosi wins. If she does she will be an albatross around President Obama's neck.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When Did Obama Say Jobs Weren't Coming Back?

I came across this post-mortem of the mid-term elections by Mary Mitchell of The Chicago Sun-Times.

It's the kind of typical left-wing blather one might expect. Mitchell calls anyone with the temerity to disagree with President Obama "a fear-monger."

But that's not what caught my attention. Take note of this passage:

I suppose that the president should not have revamped the health-care system, propped up the auto and banking industries and reined in Wall Street before coming up with a miracle that would have put the vast majority of those now unemployed back to work.

Apparently, two years ago, many of us were not listening.

During his campaign for the White House, Obama told Americans a cold-hearted truth that went in one ear and out the other:

Many of the jobs that have disappeared are not coming back.

Now as someone who paid close attention to Obama's campaign and attended one of his rallies in New Hampshire I cannot recall him ever telling his audiences that jobs have disappeared and aren't coming back. Frankly, I'm not sure how that would have fit into the whole hope and change narrative.

Obama certainly didn't say jobs weren't coming back when he announced he was running for President. Nor did Obama say jobs weren't coming back when he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination. That, of course, was the speech he made with the Greek columns as a backdrop. Not only did Obama not tell the American electorate jobs weren't coming back he spoke about investing $150 billion in affordable, renewable energy over the following decade. Obama called his plan "an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced."

If none of us were listening to Barack Obama's dire warnings about jobs it is because he never gave them. So I don't know what Mary Mitchell speaks of when she evokes Obama as this cautious, sober figure he's never been.

Bush & Kanye Revisited

Details of former President George W. Bush's memoir have been leaked.

The leak getting the most attention is that revelation that Bush felt the low point of his Presidency was getting dissed by Kanye West when the hip hop superstar claimed that Bush "doesn't care about black people" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

For his part, West regrets the incident stating "we’re all quick to pull a race card in America." Well, I don't know about all of us. But at least West went on to say he could connect with the 43rd President "on a humanitarian level."

Predictably, the mainstream media are reacting to Bush's revelation with their typical smugness. Ujala Seghal of Business Insider writes, "The "all-time low" of George W. Bush's presidency was not the Iraq War, 9/11, or the economic meltdown of 2008....Actually, it was being called a "racist" by Kanye West. Seriously."

Except that isn't what Bush said. Bush told Matt Lauer on Today "it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency."

I would have to agree with Bush. When Kanye said Bush didn't care about black people I think it was pretty clear he was insinuating that Bush harbored racist sentiments. Outside of being accused of murder or rape, accusing someone of racism is about the worst thing you can say about a person.

With that in mind, here's what I wrote about the whole Bush-Kanye row in September 2005.

Thoughts on David Cassidy

I just read about '70s teen idol David Cassidy being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving this morning.

A few years ago, I saw Cassidy perform at a free concert along The Esplanade here in Boston.

It was the worst concert I've ever attended.

He did more talking than singing and he spent much of the time bragging about how John Lennon thought he was a great musician. The audience wasn't buying it or his music. With each song throngs of people walked out. I heard one woman exclaim, "I can't believe I ever liked him."

Somehow I managed to stay to the end of the concert.

Sparky Anderson, 1934-2010. R.I.P.

Hall of Fame manager George "Sparky" Anderson has died of complications of dementia. Anderson passed away a day after being placed in hospice care. He was 76.

Anderson was a light hitting second baseman who played only season in the big leagues when he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1959.

A little over a decade later, Anderson was named manager of the Cincinnati Reds and in 1970 guided the Reds to the first of four National League pennants. While only 36 when he took over the reins of the Reds his gray hair made him look far older. Anderson led teams with the likes of Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench who became the nucleus of the Big Red Machine. The Reds reached their epoch when they won back to back World Series in 1975 and 1976.

The Reds, however, dismissed Anderson following the 1978 season. But Anderson was not down for long. The Detroit Tigers named Anderson their new manager in June 1979 and he would remain at the helm of the Tigers through the 1995 season. In 1984, Anderson became the first manager in MLB history to lead a team to a World Series title in both leagues (a feat since matched by Tony LaRussa.) With a roster that included Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez the 1984 Tigers began the season 35-5 and never looked back.

In April 1986, Thunder Bay Television switched its American TV signals from Duluth, Minnesota to Detroit. It was then that I started watching Tigers baseball. The year I remember best was 1987 when they won the AL East title despite starting the season 11-19. They were behind the Toronto Blue Jays by 3½ games entering the final week of that season and swept the Jays in the final weekend series highlighted by a complete game six-hit shutout thrown by Frank Tanana on the final day of the season to clinch the AL East pennant. The only run of the game came on a solo homerun by Larry Herndon. However, the Tigers would be upset by the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS.

But the Tigers would soon fall on hard times. They lost 103 games during the 1989. I remember that Anderson was so overcome by stress that he took a month's leave of absence in the middle of the season. I remember when he said that he felt he "had died a thousand deaths." The Tigers would only enjoy two more winning seasons under Anderson over the next six years. Yet every spring training Anderson kept an upbeat attitude and would tell the press corps it was the best team he had since coming to Detroit whether or not it was true.

Anderson made his last public appearance in May when the Tigers visited Dodger Stadium for an interleague series.

Anderson is the fourth legend the Tigers have lost in the past 18 months. Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away last May. In April 2009, Mark "The Bird" Fidrych died suddenly and a month earlier Tigers Hall of Fame third baseman and later broadcaster George Kell passed away.

Here's my favorite Sparky Anderson story. Shortly after he took over in Detroit, the Tigers were playing the Blue Jays at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. While Anderson was making a pitching change some fans were heckling him. As he walked back to the dugout he told them to shut up. And they did. That was Sparky.

Brewers Name Roenicke New Manager

The Milwaukee Brewers have named Ron Roenicke their new manager signing him to a two year contract.

Roenicke, who has spent the past 11 seasons as part of Mike Scioscia's coaching staff with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, replaces Ken Macha who was dismissed at the end of the 2010 season.

Prior to joining the Angels, Roenicke had spent time as a coach and minor league manager in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants systems. Roenicke also played in the majors for parts of eight seasons as an outfielder with the Dodgers and Giants as well as with the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.

Roenicke is the third member of Scioscia's coaching staff to be hired as a big league skipper. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon and San Diego Padres manager Bud Black served under Scioscia as his third base coach and pitching coach, respectively. Maddon, of course, took the Rays to an AL pennant in 2008 and the Padres under Black were playoff bound until their September swoon.

Given that Roenicke is a Scioscia disciple, I think he will place a greater on emphasis base running and stolen bases more than Macha. In 2010, the Brewers were second in the NL in homeruns but only ranked 12th in stolen bases. It will also be interesting to see if Roenicke will be able to garner the respect of the Brewers players in a way that Macha couldn't. But even if the Brew Crew takes to Roenicke they still need pitching.

San Francisco Frowns on Happy Meals

From the Department of Truth is Stranger Than Fiction, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has barred restaurants from including free toys with their meals. So in San Francisco, Ronald McDonald is public enemy number one.

I wonder if the Board of Supervisors would reconsider if McDonalds gave out free marijuana instead of toys.

Back in February I wrote about Cambridge Climate Congress' proposal that restaurants not serve meat on Monday. I asked, "Would they compel McDonalds on Massachusetts Avenue not to serve Big Macs on Mondays?" Well, if they can ban Happy Meals in San Francisco what's to stop the People's Republic of Cambridge from banning Big Macs?

One can only hope San Francisco will have the good sense not to ban the McRib. They would have a counterrevolution on their hands.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Titans Take a Chance on Moss

Forty-eight hours after the Minnesota Vikings waived Randy Moss, the veteran wide receiver has been claimed by the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans are the third stop for Moss this season. Unless the Vikings, the Titans are a contender and Moss could be a difference maker. Imagine if the Titans face the Patriots in the playoffs.

Clyde King, 1924-2010. R.I.P.

Clyde King, best known for his brief stint as manager of the New York Yankees, died yesterday due to heart failure. He was 86.

King spent seven seasons in the big leagues during the 1940s and 1950s as a relief pitcher mostly with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After stints as a pitching coach with the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, King was hired to manage the San Francisco Giants in 1969. He took them to a 90-72 record finishing only three games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL West. Yet King was dumped by the Giants early the following season and was replaced by Charlie Fox who would guide them to the NL West pennant in 1971. King would later manage the Braves during parts of the 1974 and 1975 seasons.

In 1976, King joined the front office of the New York Yankees and became a trusted confidante of George Steinbrenner. King got one last chance to manage late in the 1982 season. He was the third of three managers that season which started out with Bob Lemon and Gene Michael. King was no more successful than Lemon or Michael. King would return to the front office the following season while Steinbrenner would hire Billy Martin for the third of his five stints as Yankees skipper. King spent 1985 and 1986 as Yankees general manager and would remain in the Yankees organization until 2005.

Here's a photo taken in 1960 of King watching Fidel Castro throw out a ceremonial first pitch when he managed the Rochester Red Wings (when they were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.) The Red Wings must have invited to play some exhibition games in Cuba. King does not look overly impressed with Castro's delivery.

Brown vs. Patrick '12?

Check out what I have to say this possible contest at the AmSpec Blog.

Oberstar Loses Seat

Longtime Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Congressman Jim Oberstar has lost his seat in the 7th Congressional District to GOP upstart Chip Cravaack.

Oberstar has been around for a long, long time. He was first elected to Congress in 1974. Oberstar was part of that wave of post-Watergate Young Turk Democrats who were elected that year.

When I was growing up in Thunder Bay, we received our American TV signals from Duluth, Minnesota. My parents would watch the local news from Duluth and Oberstar was one of those names that was often mentioned during the telecasts.

Over at National Review Online, Veronique de Rugy recounts an exchange she had with Oberstar when she testified before the House Transporation & Infrastructure Committee which Oberstar chaired. Oberstar surprised de Rugy by reciting poetry to her in French. Oo la la.

When de Rugy told Oberstar she had been in this country for ten years, he lamented not being able to spend ten years in Paris. Well, now he has his chance.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fiorina Not Down For The Count?

So Carly Fiorina won't concede?

Maybe Barbara Boxer didn't deliver a knockout punch after all.

While Fiorina gets up off the canvass I am heading for my futon.

Republicans Make Gains in New Hampshire

OK, so Republicans were shut out in Massachusetts. But the GOP did make gains north of the Bay State in New Hampshire.

Charlie Bass returns to Congress after a four year absence defeating Ann McLane Kuster. Bass was originally elected to Congress in 1994 and was re-elected five times until he was defeated by Democrat Paul Hodes in 2006. Hodes lost his bid for the U.S. Senate to Republican Kelly Ayotte.

Now granted Bass is a fairly moderate Republican. The same cannot be said of former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta who defeated two term Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter to win the Granite state's other congressional seat.

So there's a sliver of red in the blue seas of New England.

Tim Scott & Allen West Elected to Congress

Amongst the most noteworthy GOP congressional victories this evening were those of Tim Scott in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District and Allen West in Florida's 22nd Congressional District.

They become the first Republicans who happen to be African-American elected to Congress since J.C. Watts won his final term a decade ago. Scott won an open seat while West, who served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the U.S. Army, defeated two term Democratic Congressman Ron Klein. Both men had the support of the Tea Party as you can see here and here.

Republicans Win the House

The Republicans have won the requisite 218 seats necessary to take control of the House of Representatives.

John Boehner will succeed Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in the new year.

I saw Boehner's acceptance speech. He came across as modest, humble and after being overcome by emotion he was quite verklempt. However, when dealing with President Obama one can ill-afford to be modest, humble and verklempt.

On the other hand, the Republicans have Obama where they want him. The GOP won't gain control of the Senate. If they had, Obama could focus his attention on the legislative branch rather than George W. Bush. The House Republicans have power but their power is limited. If the House Republicans can convince the American electorate in two years time the White House and the Senate have too much power then they will have done their job.

Rory Reid Isn't So Lucky

Harry Reid's good fortune did not extend to his son Rory who lost his bid to be Governor of Nevada to Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval is one of those people of Hispanic heritage who Reid can't fathom being a Republican.

Harry Reid Hangs On in Nevada

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has turned back the challenge of Tea Party darling Sharron Angle.

This certainly makes up for Obama's old Senate seat going Republican.

Somewhere in New York, Charles Schumer is fuming.

Mark Kirk Wins Obama's Old Senate Seat

Perhaps the biggest repudiation of President Obama this evening was the loss of his old Senate seat as Republican Mark Kirk defeated Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.

That is going to leave a mark.

Toomey Defeats Sestak in Pennsylvania

Pat Toomey, the former Congressman who later served as President of The Club for Growth, has been elected Senator defeating Congressman Joe Sestak.

Sestak had lead in the polling for much of the evening but Toomey came back in the strongholds of rural Pennsylvania. You know those bitter people who cling to guns and religion.

Kasich Elected Governor of Ohio

John Kasich, the former Congressman turned Fox News Channel contributor, has been elected Governor of Ohio defeating the incumbent Ted Strickland.

This does not bode well for President Obama. If Obama loses Ohio, he loses the nation.

Susana Martinez Elected Governor of New Mexico

Susana Martinez has been elected Governor of New Mexico.

Her election is a repudiation of Harry Reid's claim that he doesn't "know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican."

As long as liberals like Reid look at Republicans as a monolithic political entity they will never understand their broad appeal. As long as liberals like Reid look at Hispanics as a bloc rather than as individuals they will never learn to talk to people rather than at them.

Governor Moonbeam Returns

What is old is new. Jerry Brown is Governor of California again.

When Brown was first elected in 1974 he was 36 and was the youngest Governor in the country.

Today, he is 72 and will now be the oldest Governor in the country.

Suffice it to say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Boxer Knocks Out Fiorina

Well, we'll have to spend another six years addressing Barbara Boxer as Senator.

Thanks a lot California.

GOP Shutout in Massachusetts

Jeff Perry, the Massachusetts Republican State Representative who stood the best chance of being elected to Congress, has lost to Democrat Bill Keating in the 10th District.

So Massachusetts will not elect a Republican to Congress.

I cannot say I am surprised by this state of affairs.

Everything would have had to break Perry's way and it just didn't. It certainly didn't help that Perry didn't have an effective response to Keating's ads accusing him of looking the other way while a fellow police officer allegedly conducted a strip search of teenaged girls. I am sure it cost him votes.

The bottom line is that Scott Brown is the exception, not the rule.

Nikki Haley Elected Governor of South Carolina

Nikki Haley has been elected Governor of South Carolina.

Along with Marco Rubio, Haley is key Republican under the age of 40 we need to keep an eye on as a possible presidential aspirant.

Ron Johnson Defeats Russ Feingold

But by far the biggest political news to come out of Wisconsin is businessman Ron Johnson's defeat of three term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.

If there was a candidate of the Tea Party then Johnson was surely it. Here's a self-made man who had eschewed politics and wanted to merely be left alone until circumstances left him with no choice but to stand and be counted. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can resist being captured by Washington.

Watch this speech Johnson delivered at the Madison Tea Party this past April 15th and it is easy to see why he resonated with voters in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker Elected Governor of Wisconsin

Republican Scott Walker has been elected Governor of Wisconsin.

Walker should not be confused with Scott Walker, the one time lead singer of The Walker Brothers and interpreter of Jacques Brel songs.

Nor should he be confused with Scott Walker, the veteran NHL enforcer.

However I am sure the Governor-elect is capable of carrying a tune while carrying a big stick.

Deval Patrick Wins Second Term in MA

Despite a lacklustre term, Deval Patrick has been comfortably re-elected as Governor of Massachusetts.

Charlie Baker just didn't resonate with voters and the Republican Governors Association spent too much time concentrating on Independent candidate Tim Cahill rather than Patrick.

Given that Patrick has now been re-elected will he challenge Scott Brown for the Senate in 2012?

Barney Frank Re-Elected

Barney Frank has been re-elected in Massachusetts 4th District.

This is not a surprise. While I'm glad Sean Bielat made Barney spend money in his constituency it still means another two years of Barney Frank.

Fox Projects Republicans Will Win House

A few moments ago, Brett Baier of the Fox News Channel announced the Republicans will win the House and expect them to gain 60 seats. We'll see.

Cuomo Elected Governor of New York

Andrew Cuomo will become the next Governor of New York.

If only Carl Palladino hadn't shot himself in the foot while it was still in his mouth.

Memo to Alan Grayson

Next time don't run an ad likening your opponent to the Taliban.

Congratulations Daniel Webster!!!

Manchin Wins a Shootout in West Virginia

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin has defeated Republican John Raese in a shootout in West Virginia.

If Manchin hadn't taken "dead aim" on cap and trade the GOP would have prevailed.

If Tom Perriello had followed Manchin rather than Obama he would still be in Congress.

Boozman Defeats Lincoln in Arkansas

John Boozman has defeated Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas to gain another Senate seat for the GOP.

I am a teetotaler but I'll drink to that.

Rubio Wins Florida

Marco Rubio has been elected to the Senate. Charlie Crist might become an actor in retirement/tanning booth commercials. Meanwhile, the Meek have inherited the Democratic Party.

But in all seriousness, if Obama is re-elected in 2012 look for Rubio to be a serious presidential contender in 2016.

O'Donnell & McMahon Fall Short in DE & CT

To the surprise of no one, Republicans Christine O'Donnell and Linda McMahon failed in their Senate bids in Delaware and Connecticut.

O'Donnell was treated in an atrociously unfair manner. But she didn't help herself either especially in an interview with what should have been a friendly conservative talk radio host.

But O'Donnell will do okay in the end. I think she'll get a gig on Fox News while McMahon will quietly return to the WWE.

Paul, Portman & Coats Elected in KY, OH & IN

The fun has only begun.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giants Win First World Series Since 1954

The San Francisco Giants clinched their first World Series title since 1954 with a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 5 tonight.

Tim Lincecum pitched eight strong innings giving up only one run on three hits. Lincecum struck out ten batters and for the second time in less than a week he beat Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner pitched shutout ball in Games 2 and 4, respectively.

But it was Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria who won the World Series MVP. Renteria hit .412 (7 for 17) with two homeruns and 6 RBI. Renteria's homerun in the top of the 7th off Lee proved to be the game winner. It was familiar territory for Renteria who hit a walk off single to give the Florida Marlins their first World Series title in 1997.

Renteria also played in the 2004 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. That Fall Classic he would rather forget as he made the final out to give the Boston Red Sox their first World Series title since 1918.

The following year Renteria joined the Red Sox and had a miserable year here. Here's a piece I wrote about Renteria during his travails at Fenway.

Renteria actually did not have a good year for the Giants in 2010. He was on the DL thrice and hit only three homeruns in 243 at bats this season. Renteria is a free agent although the Giants do have an option on him for the 2011 season. I am inclined to think that Renteria will retire. He's had a good career - 2,200 plus hits, a .287 lifetime batting average, five All-Star Game selections, a couple of Gold Gloves. The two World Series titles serve as bookends for his career. Why not go out on top?

As for the Giants they win first World Series in San Francisco. I'm sure even Giants fans would rather have a World Series title than have Nancy Pelosi as Speaker or Barbara Boxer in the Senate.

And to think I picked the Giants to win it all in 2009. One year away.

Vikings Throw Moss Overboard

Less than a month into his second stint as a Minnesota Viking, the team has wavied wide receiver Randy Moss.

The Vikings decision comes less than 24 hours after the Vikings fell to the New England Patriots 28-18 at Gillette Stadium. Moss, of course, began the season as a Patriot but expressed his discontent with the club following their opening week win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Patriots traded Moss to the Vikings on October 6th for a third round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Well, now that Patriots are 6-1 and have the best record in the NFL while the Vikings are 2-5, Moss is singing a very different tune. Moss lavished praise on the Pats while dissing the Vikings including head coach Brad Childress. It's amazing how things can change from Week One to Week Eight.

NFL teams have until 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon to put in a waiver claim for Moss. Otherwise he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The winless Buffalo Bills have first dibs on Moss. Wouldn't it be grand if during one season Moss went from the best team in the NFL to the worst? Randy Moss didn't know what he had until it was gone.

Ahmadinejad Praises Brazil's First Female President

Yesterday, Dilma Rousseff was elected Brazil's first female President. She served as Lula de Silva's chief of staff for five years and was his handpicked successor. In her youth, Rousseff was a Marxist guerrilla.

I don't know if that is what had Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grinning from ear to ear but when he lavishes praise on a newly elected head of state that can't be good. We need to watch her very, very carefully. The last thing we need is another acolyte of the Ahmadinejad-Chavez axis.

One can only hope that Ahmadinejad has badly misread her. Yet I suspect he has not.