Category Archives: evil greedy bastards

The post in which I implore the major league baseball owners to look Scott Boras in the eye and to channel Nancy Reagan..

Please, please, please,,,just say NO.

This is about the madness surrounding Alex Rodriguez who is now peddling his considerable baseball wares to every major league team (well, every major league team if you count the Dodgers, the Angels, the Cubs, the Red Sox and the Yankees as every major league team*).  He’s a damn talented player and he did have a bang-up fine year last year, but for the love of  Alexander Cartwright, please, please don’t pay this man 30 million bucks a year to play what used to be America’s pastime.   It skews the balance of the team.  It takes the team out of team-work.

Plus, this is really about more than young Alex’s dream..this is mostly about agent Scott Boras’s dream to show the world that ‘his’ is bigger than anyone Else’s.

I love baseball, and it doesn’t bother me one iota that talented people who have a scarce talent make the big bucks.  That’s generally how capitalism works, but isn’t there a line of sanity at which this mostly ego-inflation stops?  What do you do with the 30th million that you couldn’t have done with the first, say, twenty?

*Sadly, most major league teams couldn’t begin to afford the current wage demands of A-Rod.

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Those bastards stole the day

My dad was born on 9/11/1926.   He died in 1986 and although I still miss him and would like to send a hearty ‘up yours’ to the damn cancer that took him out, I am glad he didn’t have to see 9/11/2001.   Until that horrid day, 9/11 had always been a specially wonderful day for my family.  The day commemorated the life of an amazing man – a great teacher, a great person with whom to argue politics across the dinner table (it got pretty heated – he was a William F. Buckley disciple and I really did believe that love is all you needed).

He taught art to thousands of people over the years, and instilled an appreciation in those folks who HAD to take Art Appreciation to graduate college.  Even now, over 20 years after he died, I still have people coming up to me telling me how much that art class enhanced their lives and how going to an art museum was an event to cherish rather than an obligation because of the enthusiasm of a man in front of a classroom.

He taught me a lot more than art.  His actions spoke volumes and his words were well chosen.   He was forever modest and as stalwart and loyal as any man who has walked this earth.  One of my great regrets is that my kids didn’t really get to know him.   He laughed until he cried at the 3 Stooges and told me that if you ask the man at the soda fountain to put a little vanilla in your coke it really makes it a lot better…things to prize when you are six years old.  More importantly he showed me that it’s your duty to get up, suit up, and show up (and often a virtue to ‘shut up’).

9/11/2001 was a gut punch, a toxic shock and so much more.  Of course, I’ll never forget my dad,  and even though I’ll always celebrate his memory, those bastards stole the day.

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Your shock is our awe(some) opportunity!, or, flat taxing clear down to Plaquemines

Naomi Klein writes for the Guardian U.K. and has a blog called ‘Truthout‘. After researching post-disaster recovery effort she discovered that the Milton Freedmans of this world are using disasters to radically and quickly implement free-market doctrine in a place that was previously either not receptive (pre-Pinochet Chile’) or where ‘we’ suddenly had a ‘laboratory’ (i.e. Iraq, after toppling Saddam).

I started researching the free market’s dependence on the power of shock four years ago, during the early days of the occupation of Iraq. I reported from Baghdad on Washington’s failed attempts to follow “shock and awe” with shock therapy – mass privatisation, complete free trade, a 15% flat tax, a dramatically downsized government. Afterwards I travelled to Sri Lanka, several months after the devastating 2004 tsunami, and witnessed another version of the same manoeuvre: foreign investors and international lenders had teamed up to use the atmosphere of panic to hand the entire beautiful coastline over to entrepreneurs who quickly built large resorts, blocking hundreds of thousands of fishing people from rebuilding their villages. By the time Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was clear that this was now the preferred method of advancing corporate goals: using moments of collective trauma to engage in radical social and economic engineering. Most people who survive a disaster want the opposite of a clean slate: they want to salvage whatever they can and begin repairing what was not destroyed. “When I rebuild the city I feel like I’m rebuilding myself,” said Cassandra Andrews, a resident of New Orleans’ heavily damaged Lower Ninth Ward, as she cleared away debris after the storm. But disaster capitalists have no interest in repairing what once was. In Iraq, Sri Lanka and New Orleans, the process deceptively called “reconstruction” began with finishing the job of the original disaster by erasing what was left of the public sphere

If you read about the period immediately after we toppled Saddam and actually had opportunity to bring about a somewhat unified central government that might have been supported by a majority of the people, it becomes clear that Bush handed the keys over to a bunch of eager college grads and children of cronies, along with contractors and let them ‘have at it’. The actual needs of the people at the time didn’t seem to have any relevance for these Dr. Frankenstein’s hoping to emerge from the rubble with a flat tax. In fairness to those who would agree with Friedman, the people put in charge were not competent to handle a government or probably even a three-car funeral.

But, allowing a flood, literal or symbolic, to totally sweep away the public will and common good, sacrificing the small businessman for the corporate sway, may be comservative, but is certainly not compassionate.

I don’t agree with all of Klein’s tenets (especially the part about torture), but I think she has a point. The themepark formerly known as the ‘Big Easy’ certainly bears witness to her theories.

hat tip: Kimble Forrister

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This story makes my blood boil

Iraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties
Cases show fraud exposers have been vilified, fired, or detained for weeks
If the Bush administration wants to claim at least one inch of moral highground or ethical leadership, the President and all his men (and women) should condemn the treatment of those folks who were brave enough to speak out about the corruption, graft and outright sleazy behavior of some of OUR companies in Iraq.

Congress gave more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.

I can’t comprehend an American citizen being imprisoned for speaking out on this issue, but at least one was jailed. These people should be given the same glory as any championship winning team who visits the White House, yet they are shunned, vilified and ignored.

The conservative pundits who decry the decay of our moral fiber, who believe that God should be on the mantle-piece and not in the attic, should be at the forefront on this issue, screaming in condemnation.. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Please read this story. If you want to get back to the moral high-road, and this story doesn’t make you sick to your stomach in indignation, you have zero credibility with me.

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Bud Selig is a dipwad

For those of you who don’t know (and maybe don’t care), Selig is the commissioner of baseball. He’s been presiding over my favorite sport for many years, including the grand steroid era, when Barry Bonds hat-size grew and Mark McGwire’s arms took on the appearance of Popeye post-spinach. Home run records were obliterated. The fact that the players and NOT the ball that was juiced was the worst-kept secret in baseball. What did Bud do? Nothing. He proffered a tepid drug policy which captured the cannabis intake, but did little to curb the appetite for bigger and longer and deeper home runs.

Of course attendance grew, and the summer of 98′ when both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire hit prodigious home runs at an unheard of rate, Bud was front and center, shining like the gleaming used-car saleman that he was in his former life.

But a few years ago when newspapers and baseball beat writers began to air their suspicion, and even the President mentioned the problem in his State of the Union address, old Bud began to sing a different tune: ‘We have a problem’ and then proceeded to nothing about it until congress held hearings and then bygoshgollygumgee, we suddenly had a steroid policy. So far the policy has netted about a dozen major leaguers, mostly Hispanic.
So, here we are in 2007. Barry Bonds is about to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. By my estimation, about 200 of those home runs are a result of the juice. Based on his normal pre-steriod years, he was averaging about 40 home runs a year. Barry is the first player in major league history to actually IMPROVE in his late 30s, early 40s. Pretty much everybody outside of Barry’s immediate family believes he was juiced round the turn of the century.

Normally when a milestone as big as the all-time home run record is broken, the commissioner makes an attempt to be in attendance. But, milquetoast Bud is still wavering. If he doesn’t attend because he thinks Barry is guilty, then he needs to do something about Barry. If he doesn’t believe Barry is guilty, then he needs to attend. But, Bud wants it both ways…he lavished in the luxury years of the steroids and then acted serious when the heat was on.

Take a stand Bud, and let’s get this right.

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Dick of the Decade Part II

Read the following paragraph carefully. It’s really not subtle, but one might forget we live in a nation of laws and that no one person is above the law. The paragraph concerns torture and what should or should not be allowed by representatives of this country:

The vice president’s lawyer advocated what was considered the memo’s most radical claim: that the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it crosses the line of torture. U.S. and treaty laws forbidding any person to “commit torture,” that passage stated, “do not apply” to the commander in chief, because Congress “may no more regulate the President’s ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield.”*

This is coming from the office of a man who has declared that he is unaccountable to oversight because his office is technically not part of the executive branch. What is that office then, and under what branch does it fall?

A president with any kind of conscience, a secretary of state with any kind of balls or an attorney general that understands what country we live in should have thrown Cheney’s lawyer and Cheney’s doctrine out of the building.

I’m not comparing this to Al queda or suicide bombers or other fascist institutions.  I’m comparing this policy to the stated constitution of the United States and the principles on which we stand.  I’m sorry, but this doctrine falls short.

This, my friends, is the true Cheney legacy.  The big swinging Dick, a man who has obviously amassed way too much power and a President who apparently doesn’t care.    How can this be defended?

*Source: MSNBC.COM

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Filed under evil greedy bastards, politics, sanctity of life

Dick of the Decade

They say that by middle age a man’s face is a reflection of his character.

dick.jpg

I give you Dick Cheney. His arrogance seeps through. The perpetual sneer is testimony to the respect this man has for the American public and for democratic transparency. I never hated Bush. I don’t much care for him. He has his own arrogance and stubbornness, but I like to think he was over-matched and really does have a heart.

Cheney on the other hand….Cheney’s ongoing battle to keep the sunshine out of visitor logs and who he meets with and what he met about is understandable in some rare cases. But, every scandal that has rocked the capital where so-called secrecy was tantamount to save the republic pretty much turned out to be tantamount only to save the reputation of the person or persons who were perpetuating a hose-job on we the people. Witness the Pentagon Papers..deception after deception uncovered. Witness Nixon’s tapes. The only horror show there was the baring of an ugly twisted soul.

There is a reason that Dick’s favorability polling is somewhere down below paper cuts and telemarketing. His statement that conservation should remain only a ‘private virtue’ speaks volumes. His heart is still skulking in Halliburton mode.

His latest attempt to abolish the office that oversees how information is classified is typical. I don’t think he tortures children or puppies, but his torturous arrogance is one reason that this administration is going down in flames and will long be remembered for it’s near paranoia level of privacy and wrong-headedness.

So here’s to you DICK…you are truly the DICK of the Decade.

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