Friday, December 31, 2010

Hate Crimes Against Jews in U.S. on the Rise

Please check out this post at the AmSpec Blog.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Rosie the Riveter", 1924-2010 R.I.P.

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, a.k.a. "Rosie the Riveter", passed away on Sunday. She was 86.

The famed image of Doyle's flexed muscle would become a call to arms for women to enter the workforce during the Second World War to help manufacture munitions, aircraft, boats, jeeps and other goods. It would later serve as an inspiration to future generations seeking equality for women.

Ironicially, Doyle herself was unaware of the poster until 1984.

Only a couple of days before her passing, plans were announced to build a visitors center at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park which opened in Richmond, California in 2003. The visitors center could open as early as the fall of 2011.

While there were battles to be won in Europe and in the Pacific these battles could not have been won without help from "Rosie the Riveter" and millions of other women here on the homefront. Their efforts were indispensable to the war effort.

Killebrew Has Cancer

By on 12.30.10 @ 11:22AM
Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew has announced he is battling esophageal cancer and is undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

The 74-year-old Killebrew stated it is "perhaps the most difficult battle of my life" but is optimistic he can make a full recovery.

Killebrew spent nearly his entire twenty-two year big league career in the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins organization. Nicknamed "Killer", he hit 40 or more homeruns in eight different seasons and six times led the American League in homeruns. Killebrew also led the AL in RBIs thrice and in OBP four times. His only World Series appearance came in 1965 when the Twins came up just short against Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Killebrew's best season came in 1969 when he won the AL MVP. That season, Killebrew hit .276 with 49 homeruns, 140 RBI and drew 145 walks (good for a .427 OBP) for the AL West Division champion Twins. He was named to 11 AL All-Star teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Here's hoping Killebrew knocks his cancer out of the park.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Village Voice Includes Me in "Ten Best Rightblogger Rants of 2010"

It seems that The Village Voice has some fellow named Roy Edroso who monitors the conservative blogosphere for impure thoughts.

I know this because I have made his list of "The 10 Best Rightblogger Rants of 2010." Yeah, yeah, I'm only tenth on the list. But hey, I made the team.

So what exactly did I do to make the cut? Was it my defense of Arizona's immigration law? Is it because I believe The Tea Party isn't racist? Or perhaps because I'm not a fan of the Ground Zero Mosque?

But alas none of these things qualified me for a spot on Edroso's list. However, my commentary on the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants did.

"You'd think people who are always bitching about Political Correctness would know enough to leave politics out of sports. Alas, not even the October Classic is safe from their ministrations," harrumphed Edroso. He goes on to write, "You can guess which Goldstein considered a suitable home for America's team."

Apparently, Edroso did not read my article from start to finish. For his edification, here is the concluding paragraph:

I really don't have a dog in this fight. There are no Yankees to root against. So I'm happy if either team wins. The Rangers have never won a World Series and the Giants haven't won since 1954 when they were still playing at the Polo Grounds. Rangers and Giants fans might not agree on much. But I think they can both agree that it is fun to watch their teams play in the World Series.

Not that I mind being Edroso's list (even if I'm at the bottom of it). Where's the fun if I can't annoy liberals, socialists, communists and other assorted left-wing travelers?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Over at The AmSpec Blog, Philip Klein is absolutely right when he says the GOP caved on START.

What is particularly egregious about their capitulation is that it came right after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the treaty "cannot be reopened, becoming the subject of new negotiations."

Both the Obama Administration and Senate Republicans are sending the message that U.S. national security policy is now determined in Moscow.

Knowing there would be a greater GOP presence in the Senate beginning next month why did Senate Republicans let this come to the floor in the first place? But alas, the Senate is due to pass the START Treaty later today.

Let it be said that no treaty is better than a bad treaty.

Stix and Stones

Nicholas Stix, a former regular contributor to IC, has taken me to task for my latest piece on IC in support of the repeal of DADT.

Stix writes, "But don’t expect any honesty from the likes of Aaron Sorkin, er, Goldstein."

Now Stix is, of course, perfectly entitled to disagree with my position and judging by my exchanges with John Guardiano on the AmSpec Blog he certainly isn't the only one. Stix honestly believes repealing DADT is a bad idea. I honestly think it is a good idea. Thus we have a difference of opinion. Yet I am not questioning Stix's honesty. So why is he questioning mine?

If anything, Stix should appreciate my honesty because I certainly appreciate his honesty in this matter. Stix is honest enough to admit that he has no problem casting aspersions against gay military personnel simply because they are gay. How else does one explain the use of a term like "gay insurgents"? Stix is also honest enough to admit that any positive contribution made by military personnel is negated the moment they admit they are gay. Now I think those opinions are entirely misguided. But I would rather have someone come out and admit he has no problem casting aspersions against gays and lesbians than have someone like Guardiano who in one breath says he likes gays and lesbians and then in the next breath besmirches them.

Aside from disagreeing with the content and substance of Stix's piece the only problem I have is the fact he cannot recognize that someone might honestly hold an opinion that differs from his own. Oh well, c'est la vie. Stix can cast his stones but they will not hurt me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Steve Landesberg, 1936-2010. R.I.P.

Actor/comedian Steve Landesberg died yesterday of cancer. He was 74.

Landesberg is best known for his portrayal of Arthur Dietrich, the Jewish intellectual detective on the ABC comedy series Barney Miller. He joined the cast in the show's second season and remained until the series concluded in 1982.

Younger audiences might remember him from his role in the 2008 romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

For many years, Landesberg had a stand up comedy act. In 1985, this act took him to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium and my parents went to see him perform. One of his first jokes was, "Any Jews from New York in the audience?" My Dad immediately whistled much to the shock of Landesberg. Then for the next ten minutes Dad and Landesberg kibbitzed back and forth much to the audience's delight.

Now I was not there to witness this dialogue between two New York Jews in the middle of Northwestern Ontario. Believe me, I wish I had been there. However, I know it happened because for years after when our family would go out people would approach Dad and ask, "Hey, aren't you the guy who did that act with Steve Landesberg?"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guardiano Misunderstands Goldstein

To read this post please check out the AmSpec Blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Royals Trade Greinke to Milwaukee

The Kansas City Royals have traded 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke along with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and two pitching prospects.

The question here is whether the Brewers are going to get the Greinke of 2009 or the Greinke of 2010. In 2009, Greinke went 16-9 and with league leading 2.16 ERA while striking out 242 batters. However, in 2010, Greinke struggled with a 10-14 record while his ERA jumped two runs to 4.17 and although he nearly pitched the same number of innings he struck out 61 fewer batters. To put it into perspective, Greinke won fewer games for the Royals in 2010 than did journeyman southpaw Bruce Chen who led all Royals pitchers with 12 victories.

Greinke will join a rotation that includes Yovani Gallardo, lefties Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson as well as Shawn Marcum who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the Winter Meetings earlier this month. Wolf will eat innings but Gallardo is an underachiever and the jury is out on both Narveson and Marcum. Even if Greinke does regain his 2009 form I'm not sure the Brewers will improve much in 2011. Who knows? The Royals might get the better of that deal.

Thoughts on DADT Repeal

To read my thoughts please check out the AmSpec Blog.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tonight on our KKNT Alexander & Goldman Show: The omnibus spending bill and tax cut bill

Tonight on our KKNT 960 Alexander and Goldman Show we will be discussing the failed omnibus spending bill and the tax cut bill that was just signed into law. We will tell you all about both bills, including which Congressmen were responsible for loading the spending bill with earmarks - you will be surprised how many were Republicans. Fortunately it did not pass due to a lot of Tea Party opposition, instead a smaller compromise bill to keep the government from shutting down passed.

We will then discuss the tax cut bill that Obama signed, extending the Bush-era tax cuts for two years. It's not as good as it seems - there are tax breaks for ethanol and the clean air industry in there, and for NASCAR!

Joining us to analyze will be Daniel Mitchell from the CATO Institute, an economist with expertise in tax reform and supply-side tax policy.

We will also have a brief update from the Arizona Latino Republican Association, and Robert Karnes with The American Drive. Robert is organizing a drive-in through Washington, D.C. to send Congress a message that we will hold them accountable to repealing Obamacare.

Listen live from 6-7pm Arizona time (MST currently) tonight on or wait for the upload in a couple of days to

Captain Beefheart,1941-2010. R.I.P.

Don Van Vliet (better known as Captain Beefheart) has died of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69.

Captain Beefheart recorded a series of avant garde albums with The Magical Band from the late 1960s into the early 1980s before he retired from music to concentrate exclusively on painting which proved to be a more lucrative venture.

Beefheart's best known work was the double album Trout Mask Replica which was released in 1969 on Frank Zappa's Straight Records label. It sure isn't easy listening but it's not nearly as weird as Tim Buckley's Starsailor (especially the title track) which was released on Straight Records the following year.

Nevertheless, Beefheart not only marched to his own drummer but conducted his own orchestra as evidenced by these rare interviews he did with David Letterman in the early 1980s.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sterling Lyon, 1927-2010. R.I.P.

Sterling Lyon, who served as the Premier of Manitoba from 1977 to 1981, died yesterday after a brief illness. He was 83.

For those unfamiliar politics north of the border you could think of Lyon as an early version of a Tea Partier, Canadian style. Lyon came to power unexpectedly in 1977 when he defeated two term New Democratic Party (NDP) Premier Ed Schreyer. He was amongst the first conservative politicians in any jurisdiction to address the issue of deficits and debts. Lyon described his method of governing as "acute, protracted restraint."

Unfortunately, the pace of his reforms went too fast, too soon for Manitobans who tossed Lyon's Tories out of office in 1981 and returned the NDP to power, this time under Howard Pawley. However, a subsequent generation of Canadian politicians, conservative and otherwise, would adopt the practice of "acute, protracted restraint." They owe a debt to Sterling Lyon.

For a summary of Lyon's political career, here's a good piece in the Winnipeg Free Press co-written by Jared Wesley, an assistant professor of political studies at the University of Manitoba and David Stewart, the chair of the political science department at the University of Calgary.

What if had he exposed the Chinese?

by Vasko Kohlmayer

Julian Assange is being trashed right and left.

Imagine, however, what would have happened had he disclosed confidential documents of, let's say, the Iranian or Chinese governments.

The same people who are vilifying him now would be lauding him as a hero, a courageous man, and an intrepid champion of free speech and liberty.

If the affected governments threatened Assange, our diplomats would lecture them at length on the Western virtues of openness, transparency and freedom of speech. They would warn them in most stern terms not to lay a hand on the man.

There would also be numerous calls for awarding Assange the Nobel Prize.

Why, then, do so many of us want to see him dead now?

Are openness, transparency and freedom of speech only one way street? Do they only apply when they are convenient or only to those whom we dislike?

Does Krauthammer Have a Man Crush on Obama?

In his latest column, Charles Krauthammer hails President Obama as "the new comeback kid."

Has Krauthammer gone all David Brooks on us?

Has Krauthammer developed a man crush on President Obama? Well, consider this passage:

Now, with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as the orchestrator, dealmaker, and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.

If President Obama is "the orchestrator, dealmaker, and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama" then why did he odiously refer to the Republicans with whom he made this deal as "hostage takers"? Indeed, if one accepts President Obama's characterization of the GOP then one can only conclude that the President agreeing to this tax deal was the equivalent of paying a ransom. And no one pays a ransom on their own terms, not even President Obama.

So why is Krauthammer spinning this as the most lopsided trade since the Cardinals got Lou Brock from the Cubs for Ernie Broglio?

My guess is that it has something to do with Sarah Palin. While Krauthammer has not called Palin "a cancer" or "a joke" as Brooks has done, his distaste for Palin is palatable. This was certainly the case in August 2009 when Krauthammer suggested that we ought to ask "Sarah Palin leave the room" after she coined the term "death panels." Earlier this week, during an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Krauthammer said:

Now I would have hoped she'd spend the next years getting really deep into policy and becoming an expert the way a lot of other candidates have done as they mature and approach the presidency. She hasn't. She has a political star. She's out there, she's very attractive both politically and ideologically to a large segment of Republicans. But I think if you want to expand your base you have to get into policy even though it sounds dull.

It seems to me that Krauthammer cannot get past Palin's accent. The prospect of a Palin presidency has Krauthammer so troubled that he is now prepared to cast Obama as another Bill Clinton and have four more years of Obama in the White House. How else does one explain Krauthammer concluding his article by comparing Obama to Ronald Reagan?:

The greatest mistake Ronald Reagan's opponents ever made - and they made it over and over again - was to underestimate him. Same with Obama. The difference is that Reagan was so deeply self-assured that he invited underestimation - low expectations are a priceless political asset - whereas Obama's vanity makes him always need to appear the smartest guy in the room.

Krauthammer's analogy is fatally flawed. Since when has anyone underestimated President Obama much less had low expectations of him? After all, this is a man who has been described a "sort of God" capable of receding oceans and healing the planet? It it any wonder President Obama hasn't lived up to those lofty expectations?

If anyone has been beset with low expectations, it is Sarah Palin. In fact, Krauthammer's expectations of Palin are so low that he cannot acknowledge his soft bigotry. It is the sort of thing one cannot acknowledge when one has developed a man crush on President Obama.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blake Edwards, 1922-2010. R.I.P.

Director Blake Edwards died yesterday of pneumonia. He was 88.

Edwards directed films such as Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 10 and Victor/Victoria.

I suspect however that when most people think of Blake Edwards they think of his collaboration with Peter Sellers in six Pink Panther movies made during the 1960s and 1970s. You can never go wrong with Inspector Clouseau.

Edwards is survived by his wife, actress Julie Andrews (to whom he was married for over 40 years) and their five children.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bob Feller,1918-2010 R.I.P.

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller lost his battle with leukemia today. He was 92.

Feller truly lived a wonderful life which began on a family farm in Van Meter, Iowa.

It was there where his father built him a field of dreams and on that field of dreams he developed that country fastball.

Feller made his big league debut with the Cleveland Indians at the age of 17 without the benefit of minor league experience. At the beginning of his career, Feller walked a lot of batters. But he had a fastball that could travel faster than a police officer on a motorcycle as well as a devastating curveball. In short order he had three consecutive 20 plus win seasons and led the American League in strikeouts for four consecutive seasons.

Then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Although many major league baseball players served with distinction in WWII (Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg and Yogi Berra) immediately come to mind, Feller was the first to sign up.

Feller enlisted in the Navy and served on the U.S.S. Alabama from 1941 to 1945 where he rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

In all, Feller missed nearly four seasons. But his first full season back in 1946 proved to be his finest. Feller won 26 games, pitched more than 375 innings, completed 36 games (big league pitchers don't make 36 starts in a season), threw 10 shutouts and perhaps most impressively of all struck out a major league record 348 batters. That single season record would later be eclipsed by Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

Two years later, Feller earned his only World Series ring. The 1948 triumph would prove to be the Indians last Fall Classic triumph. Although the Indians did win the AL pennant in 1954 with a then AL record 111 regular season wins, the Tribe would be swept in the World Series by Willie Mays and the New York Giants.

Feller finished his career with 266 wins, 2,581 strikeouts and three no-hitters to boot. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1962 and would go around the country barnstorming well into his 70s.

To the very end, Feller was outspoken for his love of this country. In an interview Feller did with Bob Costas for the MLB Network last year, Costas told him that if not for his military service he would have easily won 350 games and struck out more than 3,500 batters. Feller replied that this country had to win the war and that he didn't miss any one of those wins or strikeouts.

Unfortunately, I don't have a link to that interview. But here's an interview Feller did with Mike Wallace in 1957, the year after he retired. At the time, Feller was the President of the Major League Baseball Players Association and Wallace grills Feller hard about his opposition to the reserve clause and support for free agency. Feller was two decades ahead of his time.

Wallace also grilled Feller about sponsorship of baseball games by beer companies. It was an interesting line of questioning when you consider that Wallace's show was sponsored by Phillip Morris.

Bob Feller was an ornament to the game of baseball and his kind will never come along again.

P.S. In 1990, my father visited the Baseball Hall of Fame to present a paper. While in Cooperstown, he had the opportunity to meet Bob Feller and got him to autograph a baseball.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wikipedia, Castro Style

Today, Cuba launched an online encyclopedia called EcuRed.

Think of it as Wikipedia, Castro style.

Here's one thing about Cuba's entry on Wikipedia that Cubans are unlikely find on EcuRed:

Cuba had the second-highest number of imprisoned journalists in 2008 (the People's Republic of China was first) according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international NGO. As a result of ownership bans, computer ownership rates are among the world's lowest. The right to use the Internet is granted only to selected people and they are monitored. Connecting to the Internet illegally can lead to a five-year prison sentence.

Think about that the next time you surf the web.

Reuters States The Obvious

I got a kick out of this headline this morning from Reuters:

Hamas leader says group will never recognize Israel

You don't say.

Yet it would not surprise me in the least if Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Paul Volcker still think President Obama should talk to Hamas.

If which case it just goes to show that some people never learn.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cliff Lee Mysteriously Returns to Philly

Cliff Lee will pitch for neither the Texas Rangers nor the New York Yankees.

According to the MLB Network, Lee has agreed to a five-year, $100 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. It is a contract reportedly worth less than what he would have received with either the Rangers or the Yankees and is for a shorter duration. Both the Yankees and Rangers were offering contracts up to seven years worth between $125 and $150 million.

Lee, of course, pitched with the Phillies during the stretch run in 2009 and helped lead the team to a National League pennant and twice beat the Yankees during the World Series. The Phillies then traded Lee in the off season to the Seattle Mariners. The veteran lefty rejoins a rotation that now includes 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Now that's a fearsome foursome. Suffice it to say, methinks the Phillies are nearly a lock to win a fifth straight NL East Division title next year.

I'm glad to see Jon Heyman got the last laugh. The Sports Illustrated baseball writer was mocked by the likes of Peter Gammons and Buster Olney for suggesting a "mystery team" had joined the bidding war for Lee's services. Well, the next time there's a breaking story I'll take Heyman's word over that of Gammons and Olney any day of the week.

Hostile Peace Activists

Tonight, I attended my roommate's poetry feature in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

At the conclusion of the evening, an activist with Veterans for Peace (who had read an anti-Bush poem earlier on) approached me and said, "If you don't believe in peace what do you believe in? You're addicted to war." As he turned his back and walked away from me I said, "Nice talking to you too, pal."

For a peace activist he sure was hostile.

Richard Holbrooke,1941-2010. R.I.P.

Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died today of complications from an aortic dissection he suffered two days ago while meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was 69.

Holbrooke was best known for brokering the Dayton Accords in 1995 to end the conflict between Serbs, Croats and Muslims in Bosnia.

Subsequently, Holbrooke served as a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry and Hillary Clinton for their White House bids in 2004 and 2008, respectively. President Obama appointed Holbrooke as Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan shortly after taking office in 2009.

Trouble in Tehran?

Well, this is interesting. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has just fired his Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki while Mottaki was in the midst of an African tour.

Mottaki, who has served as Ahmadinejad's Foreign Minister since taking office in 2005, has been replaced on an interim basis by Ali Akbar Salehi, who happens to be Iran's chief negotiator for its nuclear program.

One can only hope that this is a sign of a power struggle. Mottaki is considered close to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and Khamenei could take this move as a sign that Ahmadinejad is challenging his authority. Perhaps the only way the Iranian regime will fall is if it crumbles from within.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kate Gosselin Makes Sarah Palin Look Good

To read this post please check out the AmSpec Blog.

Swedish PM "Not Sure" if Islamist Threats Connected to Stockholm Bombing

Please see my post on this at the AmSpec Blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Obama's Nobel Understatement

As Liu Xiaobo was bestowed with the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia, President Obama issued a statement that Liu "is far more deserving of the award than I was."

That is the understatement of the year.

While it may have been an attempt at modesty on the part of the President it is only a further indication of how undeserving he was of the honor in the first place. Granted, the Nobel Committee was guilty of poor judgment and should have exercised greater prudence in its deliberation. But President Obama should have had the good sense to politely decline the award and declare it should go to an individual "far more deserving."

Like Liu Xiaobo.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Russia Suggests Assange be Nominated for Nobel

A source from inside Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's office has suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be nominated for a Nobel Prize.

Somehow I don't think the Russians would be so eager to lavish such praise upon Assange if he was leaking their secrets.

If Assange did leak their classified information the Russians would serve him a cold dish of revenge.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dave Van Horne Wins Ford C. Frick Award

Dave Van Horne, one of my favorite baseball broadcasters, is being recognized for his work as he was named the 2011 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.

The award will be bestowed upon Van Horne at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July 2011.

Van Horne has been the voice of the Florida Marlins for the past decade but I remember him best during his days with the Montreal Expos. Van Horne broadcast Expos game from their inception in 1969 and remained with the organization for over three decades. Over those years, Van Horne was paired in the broadcast booth with the like of Duke Snider, Ken Singleton and Gary Carter.

It will give Expos fans another reason to make a pilgrimage to Cooperstown next summer as they did this past July when Andre Dawson was inducted. Expos fans will stand up and send Van Horne "up, up and away" into baseball's most hallowed halls.

Carl Crawford Comes to Boston

Outfielder Carl Crawford has signed a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.

I must say this does come as a surprise. I knew Boston was interested in him. But I figured the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had the inside track but lo and behold this could prove to be a steal.

Crawford has spent his entire nine year big league career with Tampa Bay. He has led the AL in stolen bases and triples four times apiece. Crawford enters the 2011 season with a .296 lifetime batting average, nearly 1,500 hits and more than 400 career stolen bases. To top it all off Crawford is only 28.

So what I am saying is that Crawford could get 3,000 career hits and close to a 1,000 stolen bases. He will be patroling left field where Ted Williams, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez stood before him.

I remember a game in 2009 in which Crawford stole six bases against the Sox tying an AL record. Let's just say I'm glad he's on our side now.

This is bigger than acquiring Adrian Gonzalez. Much bigger.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards,1949-2010. R.I.P.

Elizabeth Edwards lost her battle with cancer today. She was 61.

Her passing comes a day after it was announced she would be discontinuing treatments.

Living with cancer is a struggle unto its own. I cannot begin to imagine how one can live under those circumstances when one's spouse tends to his own needs without care or consequence.

I can only hope she finds the kind of peace which alluded her in the final years of her life.

Gillick Elected to Hall of Fame

Yesterday, the Veterans Committee elected executive Pat Gillick to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Gillick had success as a general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies. Gillick put together the Blue Jay teams that won back to back World Series in 1992 and 1993, the Oriole teams that went to the post-season in 1997 and 1998, the Mariners team that won 116 games in 2001 and the Phillies team that went all the way in 2008.

I believe the greatest of those achievements was with the Blue Jays. Gillick was there from the beginning when they were named an expansion team in 1976 and remained with them for nearly two decades through thick and thin. Gillick was a pioneer in scouting talent in Latin America. The only other organization that was that extensively involved in player development in Latin America was the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Jays would not have achieved their run of success from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s without Gillick.

Gillick will be formally inducted in July 2011.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Iran Sentences Web Developer to Death

Today, the Obama Administration as well as Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have resumed seven party talks with Iran in Geneva which are scheduled to last until tomorrow.

Iran's chief negotiator, Saeid Jalili, spent a portion of the meeting denouncing a November 29th bombing which resulted in the death of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriri. Iran has formally accused American, British and Israeli intelligence of responsibility for Shahiri's death. The U.S. and the five other nations assembled condemned the attack on Shahiri.

Yet I wonder if anyone at this meeting raised Iran's decision on Saturday to sentence website developer Saleed Malekpour (who resided in Canada prior to his 2008 arrest) to death for "internet offences", "agitation against the regime" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam"?

I doubt it. That would be meddling.

Don Meredith, 1938-2010. R.I.P.

Former NFL quarterback turned broadcaster Don Meredith died yesterday of a brain hemorrage. He was 72.

Nicknamed "Dandy Don", Meredith was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys during most of the 1960s. However, Meredith is probably best known for his stints on the Monday Night Football broadcast crew with Howard Cossell and Frank Gifford from 1970-1973 and again from 1977-1984. In between those stints, Meredith also broadcast NFL games on NBC with Curt Gowdy.

I, however, remember him best as the spokesman for Lipton Tea. Here he is with Willard Scott in a spot for Lipton Sun Tea.

Well, turn out the lights, the party's over.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Has Washington Made a "Werthwhile" Investment?

Free agent outfielder Jayson Werth has signed a seven-year $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals.

Although Werth was the Baltimore Orioles top draft pick in 1997 he was something of a late bloomer not reaching the majors until 2002 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. After two undistinguished seasons in Toronto, the Jays traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Jason Frasor prior to the 2004 season. Werth didn't perform much better in L.A. and a wrist injury forced him to miss the entire 2006 season. Eventually, the Dodgers gave up on him.

The Philadelphia Phillies took a chance on Werth prior to the 2007 season and he would finally find his place in bigs although it actually wasn't until 2008 when Werth became an everyday player. The Phillies, of course, won the World Series in '08.

Werth was part of Phillie teams that reached the post-season for four consecutive seasons. Things are going to be very different in D.C. Werth was surrounded with an All-Star cast which included the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz. With Adam Dunn now a member of the Chicago White Sox, Werth and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman are the offensive focal points of the Nationals. The supporting cast is mighty thin.

The other obvious concern is the length of Werth's contract. It would be one thing if the Nats signed Werth to a seven year deal if he were 26 (like the Colorado Rockies did when they recently extended Troy Tulowitzki's contract.) But Werth is 31. I can see Werth having two or three productive years with the Nats but do the Nats really expect Werth to be an offensive force much less effectively patrol right field in 2017 when he is 38?

Have the Nationals made a "werthwhile" investment? Or could this be the worst spending to come out of Washington since Obamacare?

A Tale of Two Adrians

So much for Adrian Gonzalez wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform.

The deal fell through today when Gonzalez and the Red Sox could not agree to a contract extension. Gonzalez wanted an eight year extension while the Sox were only willing to offer six years.

So for now Gonzalez remains a member of the San Diego Padres.

The Sox could still try to acquire Gonzalez this off season (perhaps during the Winter Meetings which commence tomorrow in Lake Buena Vista, Florida) and work on a contract extension at a later date. Or they could try to pursue Gonzalez after the 2011 season when he becomes a free agent. If Theo Epstein chooses the latter course of action he will likely renew efforts to re-sign third baseman Adrian Beltre.

The Red Sox off season has become a tale of two Adrians.

UPDATE: Well, now it's down to one Adrian. So Adrian Gonzalez will wear a Red Sox uniform after all. A contract extension beyond 2011 which had held up the trade will be tabled for the time being. So in the space of 36 hours, Kevin Youkilis went from first base to third base back to first and back again to third.

Helen Thomas Does It Again

Helen Thomas is at it again. Last Thursday, Thomas was the keynote speaker at a conference in Dearborn, Michigan on the subject of this conference was bias against Arab-Americans. Organizers billed it as, "Images and Perceptions of Arab-Americans: The New America: Mom, Apple Pie and Arab Bashing."

Apparently, the nonagenerian thought the best way to address bias against Arab-Americans was to engage in some more anti-Semitism. Thomas said, "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion."

Detroit's Wayne State University, Thomas' alma mater, responded the following day by revoking its Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award. I'm not sure why Wayne State officials still thought Helen Thomas embodied the spirit of diversity after she told Jews to get the hell out of Palestine. But I suppose better late than never.

The full video of Thomas' speech can be found here. Towards the end of her remarks, Thomas makes reference to Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. It is ironic Thomas would invoke Dr. King. After all, it was Dr. King who in a letter to an "Anti-Zionist Friend" wrote:

Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews - make no mistake about it.

So when Helen Thomas says Zionists own Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street, she means Jews. Make no mistake about it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jeter Stays in NY; Red Sox Acquire Gonzalez

So much for Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees parting ways. Jeter has reportedly signed a three-year contract worth $51 million with an option for the 2014 season.

While it would have been nice to see Jeter in a Boston Red Sox uniform just to make Yankee fans squirm, the Sox nor any other team outside of the Bronx would have entertained offering Jeter the kind of money he wanted. Alas Jeter will get his 3,000th hit in Yankee pinstripes.

The Red Sox were nonetheless busy as well acquiring first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres in exchange for three minor leaguers. Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein has long sought Gonzalez who, unlike Jeter, is entering the prime of his career. Gonzalez, who turns 29 next May, has hit 30 or more homeruns for four consecutive seasons and has knocked in 100 runs three of the last four seasons. The acquisition of Gonzalez also means Kevin Youkilis will return to third base while Adrian Beltre, who had a stellar year at third with the Sox in 2010, will play elsewhere in 2011.

It's December and the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is in mid-season form.

Sign the petition to protest the internet censorship bill, COICA

Several prominent conservatives on the web are circulating a petition to stop COICA, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would greatly expand the power of the federal government to shut down websites due to allegedly infringing content, without due process first. We already have laws in place like the Digital Milennium Copyright Act which allows copyright holders to have infringing material removed from the internet without going through the legal system, this additional law is not necessary. It is also vague, and could potentially allow the Attorney General to arbitrarily shut down blogs for just linking to or paraphrasing content from newspapers or other powerful interests who are behind the bill.

Although both the activist left and right oppose the bill, we know many members of Congress have been bought and paid for by lobbyists. Senator Henry Hyde, the bill's co-sponsor, has received $885,216 in contributions from the TV, movie and music industries - the industries behind the bill (source: Center for Responsive Politics). This sounds like a feel-good effort to reward powerful interests one blogger described this way, "Now they want the federal government to act as their private security agents, policing the internet for suspected pirates before making them walk the digital plank."

Fortunately, Senator Ron Wyden has placed a hold on the legislation, so it is probably dead this year. But it may be revived next year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ron Santo, 1940-2010. R.I.P.

Ron Santo, Chicago Cubs third baseman turned broadcaster, died last night of complications of diabetes and bladder cancer. He was 70.

Santo played in the bigs for 15 seasons; all but one with the Cubs. Outside of Brooks Robinson, he was the greatest third baseman of his generation. He was a five time Gold Glove winner and a nine time NL All-Star. On four occasions, he led the NL in walks. He finished his career with a .277 lifetime batting average with 342 homeruns and 1331 RBI.

Yet Santo has been denied his rightful spot in Cooperstown both by the baseball writers and later the Veterans Committee. There are only fourteen third basemen in the Baseball Hall of Fame (including three from the Negro Leagues) and Santo belongs with them. Period.

What makes Santo's career all the more remarkable was that he played most of his career with Type 1 Diabetes. It was a condition that later forced the amputation of both of his legs. Yet Santo made the best of his situation spending the past two decades as a color commentator for the Cubs where he became beloved by a new generation of Cubs fans for his passion for the team through good and bad, mostly bad.

Hall of Fame or not, somewhere in heaven Ron Santo is kicking up his heels.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ed Rollins is Mad at Sarah Palin

Ed Rollins is mad at Sarah Palin.

The former Reagan White House official has penned an article at in which he tells Palin "to quit comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan."

Methinks Rollins doth protest too much.

After all, let's not forget he was Mike Huckabee's national campaign chairman in the former Arkansas Governor turned TV talk show host's 2008 bid for the White House. Back then Rollins had little hesitation in likening Huckabee to the Gipper as was the case when he was quoted in an article which appeared in the Telegraph in December 2007:

Governor Huckabee has probably inspired me as much as Ronald Reagan. He had an ability to connect with people and he was a great communicator. I've looked for a long time for another candidate to do that.

People are always asking: 'Who's the next Ronald Reagan?' Well, I was with the old Reagan. I can promise you that this man comes as close as I've ever seen.

If Huckabee should decide to make a bid for the GOP nomination in 2012 then it would not be unreasonable to assume that Rollins would once again play a large role in Huckabee's campaign. Perhaps Rollins fears that Palin has stolen some of Huckabee's thunder and is thus launching this salvo against the former Alaska Governor.

The fact is that Sarah Palin isn't the first GOP presidential prospect to invoke Reagan and she won't be the last. But the fact that Rollins singles out Palin for doing so is quite telling indeed.