Archive for June, 2008

The Truth About Obama

June 30, 2008

Not sure how much of an effect the false rumors about Barack Obama will have on the outcome of the election, but articles like this make me wonder:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/29/AR2008062901871.html?wpisrc=newsletter

There are certainly stubborn people in this country, and once they hear rumors like this and accept them no amount of actual evidence can get through.  I hope that doesn’t present a tangible problem in November, but it wouldn’t shock me.  I’m sure some of this at least is suppressed racism as well.

On a side note, I would really like to see Obama or his campaign to follow one of those “no, he’s not a Muslim” explanations with “but so what if he was?”  Because, really, so what if he was?  “Muslim” and “terrorist” are not the same thing by any stretch.  But I doubt that happens.

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Doctored Video?

June 30, 2008

Apparently jouneyman NFL place kicker, and Bowling Green alumnus, Shaun Suisham has a stronger leg than previously thought:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Shaun-Suisham-has-the-strongest-leg-in-the-histo?urn=nfl,90475

One suspects that is a faked video.  Otherwise, tend to send the steroid tester out to Redskins camp!

To Trade Or Not To Trade

June 29, 2008

That is the question for the Cleveland Indians wrt ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia.  Most obligatory early summer who could get traded speculation has settled on the Cleveland hurler as any number of teams in contention could use a star pitcher.  Indeed, what team would Sabathia fail to improve?  Personally, though, I find all this talk premature from a Cleveland perspective.

Why trade now, at the end of June?  The season has not gone nearly as well as hoped 3 months ago, but the Indians are not out of it by any stretch.  We are still a full month from the trade deadline.  Any prospects you would get (any theortetical trade would likely be prospects on the Cleveland end) would by definition be of little help in 2008.  GM Mark Shapiro has been quoted in the past about not the value of not making a move before you have to.  They don’t have to yet.  Let the season play out till at least within a couple days of July 31st and see where you stand then.  You of course can send out feelers to see where the market is, but you don’t pull the trigger unless someone completely overwhelms you with a ridiculous offer.  Otherwise, you can make the same trade for prospects on July 31st that you could on June 30th.  Indeed, perhaps even a better trade if someone gets desperate to win the Sabathia sweepstakes.  And, if the Indians get hot and seriously back in the thick of the race, you can hold off on the trade entirely and take another stab at winning.  With health this starting rotation could definitely win in October if the team can just get there.  They will almost certainly lose him in the offseason to the Yankees but you can exchange some prospects for a couple draft picks and one more shot at glory.

As far as that goes, I can actually see the Indians trading Sabathia and contending for the pennant this year for the same reason they are not likely to try real hard to keep him for 2009 on the open market; Carmona, Lee, Laffey, and etc.  Though losing Westbrook for the season hurts those thoughts.  Either way, no reason to trade Sabathia for another month unless you are worried about him getting hurt and losing trade value.

Is Big Brother Trading Info With Other Big Brothers?

June 29, 2008

He is certainly watching.  Now the US government might have access to private information of Europeans.  And vice versa:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/28/washington/28privacy.html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1214782602-5f/TmSJ+l3uX7VLg1tRDIQ

The excuse, as is usually the case post-9/11, is the threat of terrorism.  Personally, I am much more comfortable requiring government agencies to obtain warrants before snooping in the lives of citizens.  Make the standards for getting a warrant relatively flimsy if you insist, but I am much more comfortable knowing there is a legal system in place that is giving consideration to my rights and liberties.  This almost makes me want to put my debit card out on Amazon.com to buy a thousand copies of the Koran just to see what happens.  Almost.

Editor’s note: my apologizes for posting this article a day late; severe weather last night left me offline and unable to read e-mail or blog about things.

Price of Gas Letter from Congressman Wilson

June 27, 2008

I received this e-letter to my inbox today from my Congressman, Charlie Wilson (D-OH-6th District)

Dear Friends,

It seems as if every time we go to fill our gas tanks, the price has gone up again. With gas prices at more than $4 a gallon, the price of energy is testing the limits of family budgets, the bottom lines for businesses, and our economy.

Gas prices are complex, and no one can fully explain why prices have spiked out of control. Gas prices are impacted by a number of factors like the deflation of the dollar, the war in Iraq, increased demand from countries like China and India, unregulated speculators on the dark market – these are all in the mix.

I’ve been criticized for saying that this rise in prices is confusing, but it is the truth. No one person can explain why gas prices are so high. But, I am doing everything I can to make gas more affordable for working families and small businesses.

This past week, Congress worked on a four-part energy package designed to bring down record gas prices and move us toward energy independence. I supported all four bills. Unfortunately, they didn’t all pass.

– The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008: This bill would give grants to mass transit authorities to reduce public transit fares, giving consumers a cost-effective alternative to $4.09 per gallon gasoline. The bill’s $1.7 billion in mass transit grants for the next two years could also be used to expand transit services and for the escalating operating costs of public transportation and would be available to both rural and urban areas. The bill was approved by the House by a vote of 322-98.

– The Energy Markets Emergency Act: This Act would direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use its full authority and most potent emergency tools to curtail excessive speculation and other practices distorting the energy market. Rampant speculation has been cited as one cause of the spike in gas prices. The bill was approved by the House by a vote of 402-19.

– The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act: The bill would have set criminal penalties for price gouging, and permit states to bring lawsuits against wholesalers or retailers who engage in such practices. After House Repbulicans blocked the legislation, Democrats pledged to consider the legislation again. I’m hopeful we’ll take it up as soon as we return from the July 4th District Work Period.

– The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act: This “Use it or Lose it” legislation forces oil companies to produce oil and gas, or diligently develop, the 68 million acres of public land they already have leased, but are not using to produce energy. I was disappointed that this legislation was also blocked by House Republicans and was not approved.  For the last 30 years, our nation’s coal companies have been required by law to diligently develop their leases. I believe it’s time for oil and gas companies to play by the same rules. I’m hopeful we’ll revisit this legislation again soon in the House.

It is clear that we also need a long-term energy solution. It is important for the United States to adopt a diverse energy portfolio that focuses our efforts on alternative energy sources including wind, solar, and coal to liquid fuels. I believe creating a diverse portfolio of alternative fuels combined with traditional energy sources will put us on the right track to becoming less dependent on foreign oil. I’m particularly proud that we’re developing a coal-to-liquid plant right in our district, in Wellesville, Ohio. I’m hopeful we’ll break ground on that plant later this year. When it’s completed it will be generating 50,000 barrels a day of clean transportation fuel, made from our own coal.

I know that out-of-control gasoline prices are a top concern of the residents of Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District. I promise I will continue to support legislation that will ease the burden caused by gas prices.


Charlie Wilson
Member of Congress
Ohio’s Sixth District

I don’t have commentary, but I do have to question the phrase “July 4th District Work Period”; don’t try to make it sound productive.  Its a recess.  Just call it that.

More Friday Evening George Will Blogging

June 27, 2008

Today’s subject would be recent Supeme Court decisions:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/26/AR2008062603651.html

I tend to agree with Mr. Will today.  While I am far less certain than Justice Scalia about the 2nd Amendment absolutely guaranteeing an individual right, rather than a group or “militia” right, the DC ban was draconian and probably best scrubbed from the books (don’t let a conservative read that thought, though, as it sounds like I am suggesting Scalia legislate from the bench).  The key is to find balance in gun ownership regulation.  Personally I am a fan of rigorously pre-screening gun buyers to make sure they are not violent felons, terrorists, or loony tunes and then allowing reasonable people to have weapons in their homes or to hunt with as they see fit.

As for the politics of the ruling, I agree this is good for Obama in that a ruling the other way would’ve inflamed the gun lobby and potentially given fresh passion to people in the “bitter, cling to their guns” crowd.  As it is, I doubt this ruling greatly alters the national political landscape.

As for the McCain-Feingold ruling, this seems fairly straightforward and correct to me.  You can say its an unfair advantage, but I can’t see justifying not letting a wealthy person pour their own money into their own campaign.  That is frankly more pure and clean than the person that has to beg dollars from wherever he can find. 

White House Ignoring EPA Findings

June 25, 2008

It would appear that the Bush Administration has been actively trying to bury information from the Environmental Protection Agency wrt global warming:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/washington/25epa.html?th&emc=th

It is hardly a new concept for a White House to try to hector an agency into holding, withholding, or changing a report to better conform to Administration ideology.  But refusing to open an e-mail?  Isn’t that kinda like the kid on the playground that puts his hands over his ears and does the “na-na-na-na-na I can’t hear you!” routine?

Pirates Best Yankees

June 24, 2008

For the first time since October 13, 1960 the New York Yankees played a game that counts in Pittsburgh.  Certainly not as important as Game 7 of a World Series, but nice to see the Pirates win the game.  12-5 was the final score.  Gorzellany was shaky at times but got the job done and the Pirates were able to feast on mediocre New York pitching, thus demonstrating to Hank Steinbrenner that it is possible to score runs while playing 19th century baseball.  All is not lost for the Yankees though; they apparently got through the game without having any poor defenseless uncoordinated pitchers getting hurt running the bases.  Improves the Pirates to 37-40 with two games remaining in this series.  Passion.  Pride.  Pittsburgh Pirates.

RIP George Carlin

June 23, 2008

Others can better eulogize than I, but suffice it to say the world became noticeably less funny early this morning with the passing of noted comedian George Carlin.  Whether reciting the 7 words you can’t say on television, offering a weather forecast from a hippie perspective (true to his forecast my night appears to be dark so far), expounding on the differences between football and baseball, or any number of other oftentimes irreverant subjects he was a comedic genius.  He often used to joke that he always followed Richard Pryor in having health ailments, until Pryor set himself on fire freebasing cocaine, at which Carlin said, “Whoa!  I’ll just have another heart attack!”  Well, he has followed Pryor again, this time into death.  And he’ll be missed.

Retiring Babe Ruth’s #3

June 23, 2008

I heard on Mike & Mike while driving to work this morning that Babe Ruth’s granddaughter wants MLB to retire the Babe’s #3 across Major League Baseball, like they did for Jackie Robinson’s #42.  Argh.  I was frankly afraid of this when they decided to retire #42.  Its fine, his contribution to baseball was unquestioned.  I guess you could say similar things for The Babe, though not as much contribution and moreso being an iconic figure.  But where does this stop?  The Yankees have retired his number as he was a great Yankee, as they should.  But why all of baseball?  If we retire the Babe’s number, why not Hank Aaron?  Since we retired Jackie’s number, why not Larry Doby?  Or Roberto Clemente?  Curt Flood inalterably changed baseball, so why not retire his number?  If we’re retiring Babe’s number, why not Cy Young?  And etc.  Just leave the #3 the way it is now.