Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Fingers Critics as Racist

"What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. ... You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Here we go again, Barack the almighty, is going after his opponents by smearing their motives.

Yes, we should be scared of Obama, not because "he doesn't look like all the other presidents." The Presidential race is not a beauty contest. We should be scared because Obama has ZERO experience to qualify him for the Presidency. He is WRONG on the issues. He is the MOST LIBERAL senator. His influences like Reverend Wright and William Ayers are RADICAL ANTI-AMERICANS. Obama is self-infatuated and sanctimonious beyond belief. We don't need an ARROGANT ass for President.

You'd damned well ought to be scared, not for what Obama looks like, not for his race, but for who he is and what he could do if elected.

Obama is the most dangerous candidate since George Wallace and Curtis Lemay ran as a third party in 1968. Obama could be worse.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just How Self-Infatuated Can Obama Be

"This is the moment that the world is waiting for, I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

Barack Obama quoted in The Washington Post, July 30, 2008

After Barack Obama's self-congratulatory vanity express through Europe, little commentary needed, this once again shows the supreme arrogance and the extent of Barrack Obama's narcissisism. A man so obsessed with himself cannot benefit from the views and experiences of others. Given Obama's complete and total lack of any management or leadership experience with little but limited service in the Senate, this attitude is horrifying.

Just what "best traditions" is he talking about? A liar for the Slickmeister, Tricky Dick, or LBJ?

How about an unprepared incompetent boob.... Jimmy Carter, Warren Harding, Millard Fillmore?

What an Obama-Nation!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The X Games and Almost Anything Else ESPN Can Exploit Through Sports Coverage

So the "X" Games are about to begin. Yikes, what's that all about?

Right Minded Fellow just ain't hip. Whether it's the "X" Games, Hot Dog Eating Contests, or World Series of Poker, sports TV has made these all huge specticles often getting ratings as "extreme" as more conventional sports.

The "X" Games are especially strange to your humble comentator. Since their debut on June 24, 1995, the x Games have apparently become a huge sensation, but yours truly has no idea what they are. When I first heard of the concept, "X" games, I thought rated "X" that sexploitation had finally gotten so extreme that some sleaze bag like Larry Flynt or somebody like the Joe DeFrancis of the time would come up with games that combined the two things that appears to most preoccupy the male psyche, sports and sex.

Soon after that, I realized it was something dreamed up by the Disney guys at ESPN. The spots were all over my favorite cable channel. "X" games are actually defined as: an annual event with a focus on extreme action sports. From what I can see most of it was what we would have called "hot dogging" in my day, doing flaunty, on the edge of self-destruction, stunts on skateboards, skis, bikes, motorcycles, or whatever doing the kind of things those who use such things for recreation or competition would find absolutely insane. But leave it to the EPSN promo machine, they've come up with something that is formatted much like Olympics coverage dedicated to pimple faced pukes going nuts showing off to the extreme on a skateboard, as one example, that there is some scoring system, and a bunch of spotty nerds compete to win trophies in these events.

The competitors generally look like kids who'd be just as comfortable sitting on a couch with a game controller or joy stick in hand. Realise we're not that far from competative gaming, who can excel at various video games will be a televised sport too.

I guess to each his own but I can't see me taking any ownership in "X" games. It's probably more a Generation "X" or "Y" thing anyway. I'll pass and hope that maybe the Speed Channel has something on besides "Pinks" another concept I completely don't understand. That skinny bald ego freak who hosts that program looks like a fellow who belongs in maximum security in the slammer.

Is nothing sacred, or better said, is their nothing ESPN won't mind for shameless promotion for some kind of sport and soon it becomes a cultural phenomenon? ESPN has made the Coney Island hot dog eating contest a national event where contestants from around the world compete for who can stuff down the most Nathan's Original hot dogs without puking.

Yes, there is now an official sports category known as "competative eating." There are two sanctioning bodies: The International Federation of Competative Eating (IFOCE) and the Association of Independent Competative Eaters (AICE). That's scary. Well, I once knew a fellow with whom I played cards who boasted he could eat a large slice of pizza in three chomps. He could demolish a Big Mac faster than I could eat a mouth full of french fries with a slug of Coke.

If it's all in the name of good fun, should I mind? Probably not. To each his own, but there is a rising phenomenon that also started with ESPN that I don't embrace, the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Though these events have been on television for decades, in 2003, ESPN decided to hype the hell out of it, add new technologies, and develop full-blown coverage like other major sports. Since that time, poker tournaments have exploded not just on ESPN but on almost all sports channels and also some of the lifestyle channels as well. This is creating a new frenzy around what used to be a friendly game between friends who might blow a jar of change in an evening's competition. Now, every run-of-the-mill loser who has ever been to a "friendly" poker night with some friends or office mates suddenly sees sports stardom in his future often spending lavish sums of money to hit the casinos or engage in amateur competitions where the stakes are high and the odds of winning low.

This is the kind of stuff that ruins lives and destroys families. There's nothing sporting about that. While "X" Games, Competative Eating, and High Stakes Power all enjoy recent massive exposure thanks to ESPN and other cable channels, these nontraditional sports have vastly different consequences. Parents should be forewarned about kids trying to emulate some of the stunts shown in X Game competition. While some of them might result in the typical adolescent scrapes and breaks, some could easily be lethal if poorly executed. Probably the greatest harm of competative eating aside from perhaps an occasional competator needing to get his stomachs pumped would be the ridicule from one's peers if word got out of someone's involvement. Competative poker can draw people with limited self-discipline into the horror world of gambling addiction which destroys families and often leaves a spouse and children in very bad shape.

I'd rather watch the "ball" sports, frankly.

Ted Stevens: Pork Barrel Pig Headed to Slaughter

Ted Stevens Goes Down: The Poster Child for the Culture of Corruption and Greed on Capitol Hill

Ted Stevens, 84 years old, six term Senator from Alaska, got what he had coming, a seven count indictment for perjury about his financial records and receiving substantial gifts totaling $250,000 none reported or shown as reimbursed on his financial records subject to perjury. Substantial favors were provided by VECO, an oil services company under investigation for other corruption charges involving Alaskan politicians. VECO is alleged to have provided renovations and accessories for Stevens’ home in Alaska. Also included in the loot was a Land Rover, luxury SUV. As such, the indictment covers both inappropriate receipt of favors and covering up such receipts. VECO is alleged to have sought influence regarding Alaskan pipeline contracts and help obtaining international contracts in Iraq and Russia.

Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, is far from a sympathetic figure. For most of us, it’s about time someone of his stature gets nailed for acting above the law. Ted Stevens is the infamous sponsor of the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, the bridge would connect the town of Ketchikan (population 8,900) to the Island of Gravina, with its teaming population of fifty residents. The cost to the American taxpayer would be at least $320 million, spread pit across three separate earmarks in Federal highway bills. As outrageous as this expenditure is, the Senate originally passed it with hardly a fuss, business as usual on Capitol Hill. Finally once publicized and becoming the symbol of earmark excesses, it took a full two years and much screeching and finger pointing before the bridge proposal was finally withdrawn.

Ted Stevens has become the poster child of pork barrel politics and the runaway use of earmarks to target funds for superfluous and unwarranted projects benefitting only the self-serving greedy interests of Stevens and his closest cohorts. While still Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Stevens angrily lashed out when first questioned about the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” project threatening killing other measures and delaying appropriation actions on other items if efforts continued to kill the bridge’s funding. Stevens’ arrogance and defiance made him in some circles the personification of out-of-control pork allocations; however, such out of control spending is so wide spread with members of both parties engaged in the spending orgy Ted Stevens has not become a widely reviled figure in the popular news media. That should change rapidly once the public connects this indictment with the nefarious bridge project.

The Ted Stevens scandal is surely the tip-of-the-iceberg of bloated gift receipts and other scandalous behavior in exchange for runaway earmark projects that have been bipartisan antics enriching the fortunes of members from both parties and both houses. Investigations have shown many exploits while vile and deplorable are done legally while not doing anything technically against the law, the legislators’ behavior shows wretched budgetary sense and no regard for their constituents they were elected to serve in the first place. Examples of such include the Prairie Parkway projected spearheaded by former Illinois Representative and House Speaker, Denny Hastert who became known as Hastert the Bastard for seeking to build a federally funded expressway connecting I-80 and I-88 west of the Chicago suburbs which serves no real transportation need for district residents but by virtue of having an interchange located near land from which Hastert has derived tremendous profits calls the whole legitimacy of the project into question.

Democratic Representative, John Murtha, has routinely won lucrative contracts for his district for defense appropriations never requested by the Pentagon. The name Robert Byrd, the Senate’s most senior Senator from West Virginia, has long been the poster child of pork obtaining massive federal funding for exorbitant projects through out his state. A visitor to “The Mountain State” can hardly travel from village to village without seeing some monument constructed in the name of the elderly Senator, bridges, buildings, and real estate bare his name where taxpayer money has been used as a tribute to out of control excess in his name.

Though in this election year, much will be made to paint the Ted Stevens affair as a partisan issue. It is not. Members of both parties have bellied up to the table at the Capitol Hill pig picking for decades. It’s more an issue of highly protected and privileged incumbency where senior members enhance their personal wealth and influence by gaining favor and divvying out Federal projects to further enhance their lock on power in both the Senate and House.

The Republican Party looks particularly hypocritical on this issue as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution, under the provisions of the Contract with America pledged to eliminate these wretched practices. How quickly on gaining power and tasting the fruits of their influence did they quickly illustrate Machiavelli’s principle that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

May justice be swift and harsh should Ted Stevens be proven guilty. Voters alarmed at ridiculously high taxes, deficits, and waste should hope that many more figures will be paraded before prosecutors and dealt with severely until these wretched crooks are held accountable for their behavior. Meanwhile, all voters are urged to examine their elected officials’ spending habits in assessing which candidate is worthy of their votes.

Obama's Disturbing Rhetoric Unmasks His Radical Roots

Obama Embarrasses His Homeland by Trashing America in Germany

Style versus Substance

Perception versus Reality

The Future of America versus Obama-Nation

Barack Obama’s speech, which he originally sought to deliver in the shadows of Berlin’s historic Brandenburg gate where John F. Kennedy delivered his “I am a Berliner” message in defiance to East Germany and its puppet masters in Moscow in 1963 and Ronald Reagan gave his powerful, “Tear Down This Wall, Mr. Gorbachev,” speech stirring up the fervor which would see the wall collapse only two years later, turned out to be much more show-biz like something from the Can-Can Club rather than oratory for the ages. The Obama Caberet descended on Berlin and it was "show time." Barrack is no novice when it comes to understanding the power of symbolism. The primary purpose of his trip to Europe was imaging making, attempting to make the miserably unprepared and inexperienced junior Senator from Illinois with only experience as a State Senator from Illinois as his meager credentials look Presidential, a man who stands large on a world stage. From stop to stop, Obama participated in one carefully staged event after another using his Euro-Socialist friends as all-too-willing enablers to give him exactly what he was looking for.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, wisely declined to allow the Obama spectacle the setting Obama requested. Instead Obama found an acceptable venue luring crowds with a pre-speech rock concert. The speech consisted largely of a length socialist manifesto criticizing wealth and promoting one victim group after another around the world implying that the United States of today is the main oppressor whose lifestyles, insensitivity and policies are on the wrong side of the righteous around the world. Beneath the soaring rhetoric of “change” and “hope” with the usual “Yes we can” baloney, the critical listener could see through the peace, love, and flowers and see the same mentality as his wife expressed having never been proud of America. Look closer and Barrack Obama skillfully covered up with smiley faces and daisies the same kind of bile lies that his spiritual mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, hatefully spewed to his congregation, Obama’s former church.

All of Obama’s speech and so much of his America is evil attitude is unmasked by the following remarks in his speech:

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

Just whose torture shall we reject and who needs to stand for the rule of law, and what is he implying about immigration? What does this passage reveal about Obama’s view not only on his country in a general sense but on specific issues? The world media and leftist press in America has created the insane mania that the United States routinely tortures prisoners around the world. That same press has not ever been able to provide any legitimate examples other than one ridiculous scandal that once identified was adjudicated promptly and strictly, the notorious Abu Ghraib scandal where some soldier punks ridiculed and embarrassed their prisoners forcing them to wear insulting costumes and pose in demeaning pictures for the sadistic delight of their captures. Those responsible were promptly charged, convicted, and punished for their abhorrent behavior. It was not a reflection of American policy or their superiors. Sheik Mohammed was splashed with some water to simulate drowning in the water boarding procedure. Mohammed, the master mind and key planner of the 9/11 attacks, started singing like a bird confessing to all kinds of Al Qaeda plans. Surely, water-boarding is harsh treatment, but used very sparingly with the most dangerous of high level war criminals. Our own forces as subjected to water boarding as part of their training. Where has the outrage been that the United States tortures its recruits as part of their indoctrination?

Mr. Obama, you lying phony, the United States does reject torture. We are not like the Islamic world where torture is common place. How little has been publicized about what our troops found upon invading Iraq, thousands of Iraqi citizens with limbs removed or tongues yanked out by the evil regime of Saddam Hussein. What about the practice of “honor killing” where Islamic men murder their sisters and daughters for acting like real women in the western world?

Who is Obama to talk about the “rule of law” when his homeland is the world’s finest example of constitutional Democracy while we see the horrors of Sharia brutally imposed allowing torture and death for perceived disobedience against Islamic law often for citizens living behind the veil of religious Fascism attempting to exercise the very freedoms that are guaranteed as part of our framework for the rule of law in our Bill of Rights.

Barack Obama goes on to present the people of his country as intolerant and bigoted against foreigners in how he frames the immigration issue imploring us to, shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do. The picture of a prejudiced country, xenophobic and hateful is clearly being developed as a stereotype of Americans which again is a false perception, speaking in softer terms, the same kind of hateful lies extolled by Obama’s mentor, the vial racist ravings of Jeremiah Wright.

For the record, the United States is a nation of Immigrants as expressed by the motto inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French honoring our culture, “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.” How unfortunate it is that Obama rejected the very essence of America, a welcoming nation, where Europeans fled poverty, oppression and religious persecution to prosper in the land of free-enterprise capitalism where the children of immigrants have gone on to become brilliant inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, corporate executives, and even idiotic unpatriotic liars who have the most liberal record in the Senate and can pull together a media circus for his run for President.

Mr. Obama, Americans love and welcome immigrants. As part of our respect for the rule of law, we only ask that they come here legally. We want admission to this country to be a just and honest process where people deserving of residence in our wonderful country can come in freely by following the proper procedures while those who would harm us are kept out. America is not a land of religious persecution as Mr. Obama suggests. We do have representatives of one of the world’s largest religions sworn to destroy us in the name of Islam. The war against terrorism is not something our country has sought but rather something we have been subjected to not by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Confuciusists , or Rosicrucian’s but by radical Moslems. The terrorists who killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens on 9/11/01 were martyrs for Allah, followers of Mohammed, practitioners of Islam. There is no getting around that the Moslem religion was the motivating force behind their murderous actions. Surely, only a select few of the millions of people who practice Islam will participate in Islamic terror, but the Islamic cultures have been all too likely to either applaud or ignore the action of their terrorist subculture. If Mr. Obama wants to point out a display of those who show hatred toward people who don’t look like them or worship like them, he should remember the dancing in the streets of Palestine and other Arab cities when the news of the 9/11 attacks hit their streets.

The United States bends over backwards often to the point of extreme promoting equality and opportunity at times even providing special accommodations so Muslims can adhere to the peculiar customs of their religion where our own Christian minority is often forced to withdraw all references to their faith from the public square.

Obama’s goal was to look Presidential in his journey to the Middle East and Europe. If schmoozing with world leaders and giving long-winded self-serving speeches loaded with flowery rhetoric short on concrete specifics is Presidential, with the national television media troika in tow to chronicle every event, Obama succeeded. If Obama were following the example of men who actually have been elected to President and speak to the people of foreign lands, Obama would realize that the American President’s number one job is to promote America, to champion its goodness and show countries around the world our generous resolve helping the citizens of their country enjoy the liberties we take for granted. We do not enhance our country’s standing or the office of its President by implying our country is responsible for the very kinds of oppression and hatred we rally the world to defeat and that has been an integral part of our foreign policy for decades.

One further note on Obama’s cowardly, weak-hearted, spineless behavior, why couldn’t he visit our wounded troupes discreetly and quietly as part of his visit to Germany? Sure the Pentagon did not want him to make it a campaign stop with cameras blazing. The excuses Barrack Obama offered showed what a shallow shell of a man he truly is.

To further the spinelessness possessed by this most pathetic and arrogant of a candidate Obama is, hat’s off to Katy Couric for her insistent questioning refusing to let Obama waffle out of resolving the discrepancy between acknowledging “the surge” has been beneficial in providing positive results on the ground in Iraq while Obama was one of the most outspoken critics of the surge. He could not bring himself to an honest answer on the “if I knew then what I know now” scenario that Ms. Couric confronted him with and sought an answer.

There are far more issues than this one where Barack Obama has a lot of explaining to do. Honesty, integrity and respect for his country that his given him so much eludes him. The citizens of the United States now have less than one hundred days to be sure that our noble country does not descend into the chaotic morass of Obama-Nation.

Yisrayl Hawkins and the Nuclear Baby

Be careful where you drive around Abilene. There’s another one of those wacko (not to be confused with Waco) cults that far exceeds the depraved imagination of David Koresh who might have talked to God, but maybe should have talked to his lawyers before Janet Reno and her crew made Texas barbeque of him and his Branch Davidian followers.

Yisrayl Hawkins is a washed up Texas Cowboy singer “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins who has started yet another (polygamous no less) religious cult. Well Yeow-we, oops, The House of Yahweh, a tangled mix of Old and New Testament references preparing for the second coming of Yahshua the Messiah. They are essentially an apocalyptic cult combining some of the most extreme aspects of Judaism with Revelations and some of the more mystic chapters of the New Testament. Much material comes from The Torah. The Cult observes kosher diets.

Here he is. He’s been born and is developing, the “Nuclear Baby.” In the cuteness department, Baby Jesus is the clear winner, no doubt. He’s out to kill all but around 20% of us. According to Hawkins’ prophecy this little fellah is going to kick some serious ass over around Baghdad. Just what the Iraqis need, another warped terrorist who kills them in droves. Maybe he’s a distant cousin of Saddam Hussein or Bin Ladin. So what would be on his birth certificate, part baby, part nuclear bomb?

Nuclear war was supposed to have started on September 12, 2006 that was to destroy the world. Ooops, that didn’t happen, so instead now, that’s the day the clock started ticking, possibly the birthday of little Nukey pictured above. Maybe Nukey was conceived on that date and born May 7, 2007. Somehow the prophecy hasn’t quite all fallen into place because 4/5’s or 80% of humanity should be dead by now. I guess, little Nukey has found some other cool play things in his crib.

This is no right wing cult, no sir, so help me, Al Gore. They believe that we’re really screwing things up with global warming. However the cause of global warming is sexually transmitted diseases. All those nasty little germ agents are not just killing the sinners but they are also corrupting the holy firmament.

When it comes to little Nukey, I sure wouldn’t want to be that little bastard’s baby sitter. He looks like a cross between “Chucky” and some eastern European dictator doesn’t he?

On February 13, 2008, Hawkins was busted for polygamy on four counts of bigamy. In light of the other activity against Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, their polygamy cults and the prosecution of Warren Jeffs, more attention is bearing down on this group. Some fear they might have a suicide pact.

Anyone for Kool Aid?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Orioles Next to Last Trip to Yankee Stadium

RMF Confession: I Like the New York Yankees!
The Orioles begin a three game series against the New York Yankees, their next to last trip to Yankees Stadium. The Yankees, of course, became the most legendary team in sports history with a reign of success that began in 1923 the year, The House that Ruth Built, openned for business. Prior to that, they were the cast-off little team in New York, the former Baltimore Orioles, the short lived Baltimore effort that existed upon the founding of the American league to bolt to New York after only two seasons to become the New York Highlanders.

I like the New York Yankees. Yes, I am a life-long Baltimore Orioles fan and would never root for the Evil Empire against my hometown team. I also cringe every time the Bronx Bombers come to town. Suddenly, Orioles Park at Camden Yards becomes Yankee Stadium, south. I remember walking from Fells Point to the train stop just outside Camden Yards walking the whole length of the Inner Harbor area one July afternoon a few years back. As I walked past the Power Plant entertainment complex, I was struck by a peculiar stench in the air. People were loud, surly, and rude. It was almost like one of those body snatcher or living dead type movies were they look human but are something else. I just didn’t see the kinds of folks who’d call you, “Hon,” in a folksy tone of voice.
It’s not unusual to see folks sporting baseball caps from various different teams, but maybe there were a few more “NY” caps, some were even in different colors than the typical midnight blue Yankees’ cap. Walking past the Harbor Place pavilions, the character of the crowd continued to get more and more out of place. Still, it was Friday afternoon, maybe a couple happy hours were selling skunky beer or something. The foot traffic might have been a little heavier than usual walking west along Pratt Street past the Convention Center, but as Camden Yards came in sight, noting the headlines in a newspaper box told the story, “Yankees Begin Weekend Series at the Yard.” I quickly surveyed the folks around me and realized once again, Baltimore had been invaded by men from Manhattan, Boys from the Bronx and Brooklyn, lots of folks from north “Joisey” and a few other burros from the boroughs.

The Yankees were in town. Thhhhuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh Yankees are in town. I could almost hear John Sterling’s voice echoing in my head. I was catching the Light Rail to return home to Cockeysville, but all around me were teams of New Yorkers. So what’s the deal? How is it that our hometown crowd disappears and the stands are filled with Yankee fans and Red Sox nation when those other eastern rivals come to town? It was the same deal when the Phillies came to Baltimore when they were the designated rival before the Nationals moved to our area. I even remember going to Ravens games, getting on the Light Rail at Hunt Valley fearing the train would somehow pass through the Alleghany Mountains and I’d walk off the train in the land of Three Rivers. More recently, at least Football fans have been able to maintain the local colors!
I've never been to Yankee Stadium, but second only to my home teams, there's probably no sports facillity I've seen on television more. No sports venue comes alive on the tube like the Bronx Ballyard. Almost everything but the aroma comes through. We see the majesty of the monuments in the outfield, the depth of left center field, all capturing a stadium that plays as large as the city it represents. The sounds over the public address system, the incidental music, Bob Sheppard's dignified delivery and consistent phrasing announcing every Yankee since Micky Mantle was a pup, and the crowd that even cheers with a certain arrogant surliness. Sure, Wrigley Field looks beautiful, a throw back to the bygone days, and the bleacher bums are creatures to behold, but Cubs' baseball is a rather laid back affair. The viewer can marvel at the pastoral splendor, the ivy walls, and the neighborhood roof top fans though the houses beyond the outfield wall are now all commercial establishments even with Budweiser emblazened on the roof and facade on one of them. Fenway Park, surely plays differently than any other field in baseball, but the same can be said of the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome or that gray gloomy warehouse hosting the Tampa Bay Rays. Though a tighter facillity, the Red Sox fans don't project the attitude of Yankees fans and though there's a certain drama like a space ship launching seeing a homerun sail over the left field "Green Monster," Fenway Park looks like a tired old dump with all the modern enhancements looking so out of place. Some see the Citgo sign as a Boston landmark. I see it as a pillar of defiance, Hugo Chavez flipping the American public the bird with a huge advertising icon for his state run oil company whose profits are being turned into weapon systems to wreak havoc like no other communist bastards in Latin America, spare Castro's Cuba. Yankee Stadium projects everything that we love and hate about New York. Deal with it!!!

So what’s wrong with me? I’ve set the formula for being a typical Baltimore Yankee hater. I do hate the Red Sox. Oh, I can’t stand those bean breathed boogie men who look like they’ve been prepared for a screen test for the next GEICO caveman commercial. Manny Ramirez’s doo needs to go!!! Hardly anybody on the team looks clean cut and all American, but there was one who did, Jonathan Papelbon. Jonathan Papelbon, yes that Jonathan Papelbon who returned to the field in gym shorts to perform “Riverdance” after the Red Sox clinched the ALCS last year. What a total freakazoid. Somehow nothing Mariano Rivera could ever do could make me barf like that.

I’ve been following a lot more baseball this year because even though the Orioles are likely destined to finish in last place and for the eleventh year in a row end up with a losing record, Andy McPhail made some bold off-season moves making it look like the team is finally in good hands for the first time since Pat Gillick’s departure. I’m a huge Mike Flanagan fan, but I don’t know that he has the right stuff to be GM. Andy does. The end result might be the same this year, but Manager Dave Trembly has these boys hustling.

I’ve gotten used to the Orioles sucking. I can hardly say I still feel a void for the glory days, but this summer, following baseball leaves me with another void, the Yankees, those horrible Yankees, just aren’t that ferocious this year. Watching their performance and not thinking of the multimillionaires donning pinstripes they look like just another run-of-the-mill team with lousy pitching and a weak bench. Sure Hank Steinbrenner has made it interesting popping off about players who aren’t cutting it and other aspects of the game that just don’t seem right to the plump prince son of the Great Satan himself, King George. To further defang the beast, the old man looking so old and feeble during the All-Star pregame activities seemed to further reinforce the Yankees just weren’t that scary anymore.

Sadly, Yankee Stadium is in its season. The fellows, monuments, memories and all will move into a new Yankee Stadium across the Street, but will anyone call that field “The House that A-Rod” built or “Jeter?” Those guys are two fine players the Yankees with their huge fortunes are still lucky to have on their roster. Who else on the Yankees roster really seems that scary anymore? The pitching staff, well, Mariano is still the man. Mike Mussina is showing he still has a little game left in him, but he’s far from one of the league’s elite. He really hasn’t been since he left Baltimore. Joba Chamberlain might have a less than 3.00 ERA, but he’s hardly the dominant fearsome star he was projected to be. His team photo makes him look like a latter day young Yogi Berra.

We need the Yankees to be good. It’s the benchmark of achievement when your home team beats the Yankees. The Yankees need to be there like a dark cloud on the horizon, like that neighbor’s dog that’d rip your throat out if he broke through the fence, or like a bunch of drunken horny pirates who decided to make your little yachting community their landing dock for some overdue shore leave. Even with the rumors of A-Rod messing around and possibly shagging Madonna, he just doesn’t seem to make a very good tabloid villain. Heck, A-Rod with Madonna plays out more like Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate” up against the desires of femme fatale, Mrs. Robinson. Gary Sheffield was no Reggie Jackson, but he was the kind of player who could make opposing fans hiss. He had that swagger. Matsui had that quiet demeanor like if you looked at him the wrong way, you’d get a Kung Fu kick to the head. He’s just not that mean anymore. Johnny Damon who looked like the Tasmanian Devil with the Red Sox had turned into a nice polite lad in New York. Of course older fans like me have found the entire Joe Torre era to be rather mild compared to hot summer nights hearing chants of Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie. Anyone who needed a reason to hiss and boo the Yankees, Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie. Okay, I’ll even admit I enjoyed watching every episode of “The Bronx is Burning” on ESPN last year.

The real Yankees knew how to stir the drink, bust the sink, and push opponents to the brink. Any game in any city at any time seemed to be part of a bigger sport when the Yankees came to town. Visit New York and win, you’d feel your hometown boys should be honored like returning heroes after V-day.

Alas, the Yankees are just another team this year. The Tampa Bay Rays (not even the Devil Rays anymore), yeah, the Ray-Rays, the team that plays in the city the Steinbrenners’ own has been neck and neck with the Bean Town Boogie Men all season long. The Freakin’ Tampa Bay Rays, the team that served as the Orioles’ insurance policy against finishing in last play during the long series of losing seasons that have besieged the Birds. The stinkin’ Rays are more menacing than the Yankees even trying to get a piece of the Yanks a couple times in Spring Training bench clearing brawls.

Sunday, September 21, 8:00 PM on ESPN, the Yankees will take the field on that famous field that once hosted Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Billy Martin, Casey Stengel, Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson Ron Guidry, and Don Mattingly. Ironically, the Baltimore Orioles will be their guest on that night. A week of baseball will remain with the Yanks finishing in Fenway against the Bean Town Boys. The Yankees have monuments to their greatest players. The Red Sox have the CITGO sign, a monument to Hugo Chavez. It seems unlikely the Yankees will be playing for much more than pride when that date of destiny arrives. There will be no October memories to be made this year.

Long live the lore of the Yankees. No team has ever accomplished what they have, but no team has ever had the resources, money, publicity, media reach, and prestige to be the most storied team in sports history. From Los Angeles to Kansas City, and it could only be worse in Cleveland, not far from where Steinbrenner grew up, the cities turn inside out when the brethren of the Babe come to town. Today, the Yankees and the Bean Brats up the road have financial wealth that makes it very difficult for division rivals Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa to respond in kind. Still, the Yankees do get beaten and haven’t won a World Series since defeating the Mets in 2000.

The Chase for the Chase for the Chase

Why Even a Dull Race Still Means Exciting Competition

After the tire-some conclusion of the ill-fated Brickyard 400, a look at the post race driver standings showed more exciting results than what transpired on the racetrack, drivers from #7 in the points standings to #14 are separated by only 154 points. With five races leading to the decisive battle at Richmond that will determine which twelve drivers will compete in the Chase for the Cup for the season’s last ten races, the competition for who will make the chase is intense. Though the competition appears to be set between these drivers, a hot streak and a few quirky developments could keep Brian Vickers (132 points out of 12th place) and Ryan Newman (144 points out of 12th place) in the running. A DNF or two by a contender in this mini-chase could turn the whole picture upside down.

Here’s the chase within the chase for the chase. (You got that?)
#7 Greg Biffle, 2460 points
#8 Denny Hamlin, 2453 points, 7 behind leader
#9 Kasey Kahne, 2442 points, 19 behind leader, 7 behind next driver
#10 Tony Stewart, 2399 points, 61 behind leader, 42 behind next driver
#11 Matt Kenseth, 2366 points, 94 behind leader, 33 behind next driver
#12 Clint Boyer, 2362 points, 98 behind leader, 4 behind next driver
#13 Kevin Harvick, 2362 points, 100 behind leader, 2 behind next driver
2 points out of chase
#14 David Ragan, 2306 points, 154 behind leader, 54 behind next driver
56 points out of chase
#15 Brian Vickers, 2230 points, 230 behind leader, 76 behind next driver
132 points out of chase
#16 Ryan Newman, 2218 points, 242 behind leader, 12 behind next driver
144 points out of chase

This field consists of a largely experienced and proven drivers who are known winners with only David Ragan and Brian Vickers true novices in this most elite level of competition. Ragan is the least experienced but also has Roush/Fenway’s enormous resources to benefit his efforts. Brian Vickers representing the sophomore Red Bull operation is the more experienced driver who has been very competitive in recent races. Ryan Newman is a lame duck at Penske Racing. Team chemistry seems weak and the Penske operation in general looks destined for a post-season shakeup as Ryan Newman’s win in the Daytona 500 and Kurt Busch’s rain-shortened victory New Hampshire victory add color to a totally dismal season for Team Penske in 2008. Kevin Harvick continues to mature as a driver but between being caught up in middle-of-the-field accidents and other poor finishes, he has not been able to show the kind of above the pack consistency needed of a chase contender. Harvick’s Childress team-mate has been riddled with ups and downs, promising one week, down and out the next. Matt Kennseth, generally one of the series most consistent drivers, has run several disastrous races where accidents or equipment failures have punished him despite becoming increasingly more solid a top ten or top five finisher as the season progressed. Tony Stewart has a reputation of being a strong second half driver but time is running out for a powerful season. As tough as the competition is and the slight separation between positions, continued so-so results or a bad race could push Tony out of the chase. Given his lame-duck status with Joe Gibbs Racing and plans to launch Stewart-Haas Racing next year, Tony will continue to draw much media attention which seems to energize his fury and empower him in a race car. Kasey Kahne got off to a poor start but after a stunning victory racing to get into the All-Star Race and then winning the event energized the erstwhile series ladies’ man repeating the Charlotte magic a week later at the Coca-Cola 600 along with a victory at the first Pocono race and a second place at Michigan made Kahne look like a surging winner. Since then, the results have been more inconsistent. From now until Richmond, it will be a matter of which Kasey Kahne will show up at the race track.

Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle have been consistent performers and with Joe Gibbs and Roush/Fenway support, only major catastrophe could throw either driver out of the chase, still though some of the tracks remaining before Richmond reward consistent, conservative racing, the field passes through Bristol under the mountain stars on August 23rd. Short track violence and hot tempers change fortune to failure in a heartbeat where many season’s dreams of triumph transformed into dust with one driver’s false move.

It’s on to Pocono and another round of whining about the track’s awkward configuration, lack of driver perks, and poor sight lines for race fans. Bruton Smith apparently has tendered offers refused by the family run outfit who want to pass on the ma and pa business into the next generation. At very least, it would make sense to shorten the Pocono races to 400 miles or perhaps 500k. Regardless, Pocono races are long and tedious for drivers, their crews, and fans alike. Pocono is a valuable track on the circuit as it does test slightly different driver strategies and tremendous study on proper setup by the pit crews. Michigan and California are virtual clones. California was built by the Penske operation following the Michigan template as the design for the LA-LA track near Hollywood. Watkins Glen provides the second road race where road racing specialists compete with ringers who aren’t in the week-to-week field for dominance where it’s more involved than driving fast and turning left. All this racing concludes at Richmond, one of the circuit’s most exciting tracks with the bumping and banging of short track racing along the front stretch and in the curves with a long, fast rear straightaway. Racing is hotly competitive where almost anything can happen at the only ¾ mile track on the travel itinerary.

Study the list above and make your picks. Gentlemen, start your engines! The chase for the chase for the chase is heating up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008 Brickyard 400: NASCAR's Most Tire-Some Race Ever?

Jimmy Johnson Wins a Historically Controversial Race

Who could ever imagine the prestigious Brickyard 400 reduced to a series of ten lap heats brought on by constant “competition yellows” necessitated by extreme tire wear resulting from Goodyear, NASCAR’s tire supplier, using a tire compound that did not wear predictably given the demanding race surface, the special pavement that had been prepared by “diamond grooving” at the world’s most famous race track? As sole tire supplier for all three top NASCAR series, Goodyear is in a no-win situation. Drivers might pay passing respect in going through their laundry list of sponsors in their post-race comments, but how many races this year have concluded with much whining about crappy tires, even discounting Tony Stewart’s tirades after Atlanta, with harsh criticism of their racing rubber?

NASCAR and Goodyear are in a tough situation. Safety is job one, period. Any compromise that could possibly increase the odds of injury or death to the drivers, crew members and race fans is unacceptable, no excuses. Once there is solid consensus that a virtually fail-safe safety standard has been met, only then can attention be devoted to competition. NASCAR, manufacturers, team owners, and crews spare nothing to provide the best their hardware can provide. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the most unique racetracks in a sport that has recently become dominated by look-alike, race-alike cookie cutter venues where all the variables are duly noted, providing a solid knowledge base for what rubber compounds to use in the tires, how to set up the cars, and how to develop a master strategy for running each race. Races breakdown to being endurance tests, fuel mileage races, pit strategy struggles, or even tire usage competitions. Though completely different kinds of races, Bristol and the Coke 600 are ones that often come down to the last man standing for completely different reasons. In Michigan, drivers are cautioned, "Just don't run out of gas."

What went wrong? Probably the design of the new car being raced in Indy for the first time has more to do with the problem than just about anything. Typically, a race track builds up rubber as the race progresses providing more “stick” which increases handling and decreases wear as the race goes by. The situation is much more difficult on a “green” race track where the pavement is stripped down to bare pavement. For many Cup races, by Sunday afternoon, the track is nicely rubberized after three days of practice and qualifying plus the benefit of a truck, Nationwide Series, or ARCA race the day before. The Brickyard has not hosted a race since the Indianapolis 500. Car setup for the Brickyard is totally different than any other track. Some drivers argue it has some similarities to Pocono, but what’s required of the driver is so different. Unlike other tracks, Indy’s track is essentially flat with long straight-aways and sharp turns, the configuration puts particular strain on the cars as they explode with a burst of power on among the longest drag strips in the business then having to brake rapidly to accommodate the turns. This stresses brakes, tires, and engineers requiring a unique book on how to prepare for the race. Goodyear is challenged to come up with a rubber compound to work best for these conditions allowing for the unique, generally very smooth racing surface diamond grooved where cars are most likely to loose their grip. The strange combination of rubber and asphalt created tire wear that found the rubber wearing off the tires turning into powder rather than sticking to the track. After just ten laps in practice, tires were worn to the cord, a recipe for disaster. Given this was a test of the "Car of Tomorrow" along with everything else, all kinds of unanticipated horrors emerged. The new car races heavier causing the right rear tires to fade rapidly. Meanwhile, as the race progressed, the track never “cured” with rubber buildup. Instead, tire dust was everywhere potentially creating even more problems. NASCAR and Goodyear technical experts are challenged to find a solution for next season as one of the Sports two most pretigious events cannot afford another horrible specticle like this. Open wheel fans might enjoy a little schadenfreude as their greatest thrill is the gawking and drooling driver/cutie, Danica Patrick enjoys as the one marketing icon and draw IRL can count on. Even so, Danica Patrick was well on her way to becoming racing's version of Anna Kournikova had she not won her first race in Japan earlier this season. Critics should note Patrick does post her share of top five and top ten finishes showing she is a legitimate racer but the press makes more of her cat fight with Hugo Chavez's racing babe, Milka Duno than her success on the track. Still, rumors of a Patrick move to NASCAR seldom fade. Were she to win the Indy 500 or a series championship, the money draw of NASCAR would be hard to turn down. Rumors persist she has had conversations with the Rousch already crowed stable though the image of her learning a Carl Edwards' back flip glows the color of money. Regardless of tradition or today's results, it's hard to imagine NASCAR has not come to Indy to stay.

Before the green flag dropped, NASCAR and the drivers knew they were in for a tough afternoon. Jeff Gordon laid NASCAR out for tire troubles during an interview from a late practice session. When Jeff Gordon complains, the NASCAR world listens. True to form, even with competition yellows mandated generally after just ten laps, the 2008 Brickyard 400 turned into a horrible embarrassment for NASCAR and Goodyear. This was also ESPN’s first race of the season hardly the kind of race that would keep viewers tuned in with one third of the race running under caution. The results were disastrous for Matt Kennseth, Kurt Busch, and Kevin Harvick whose wrecks were attributable to the unacceptable tire situation not any quirk of competition. As such, Kennseth lost three spots in the standings still hanging on to his spot in the top 12 for the chase. Harvick dropped four spots pushing him out of the top 12. If Kurt Busch had any hope of making the chase, those dreams vanished today.

In the chase for the chase, the end results are a solid boost for the #48 Jimmie Johnson ride and #99 Carl Edwards. Finishing in the fifteenth slot, it was a ho-hum afternoon for leader Kurt Busch who still maintains a solid first place standing. Now the drivers face their least favorite race track, also one that is perhaps the least fan-friendly, the second trip to Pocono. Consider this, ninety three points separate the tenth position from the fourteenth spot.

10. Tony Stewart…… 2399 points
11. Matt Kennseth….. 2366
12. Clint Boyer……... 2362
13. Kevin Harvick….. 2360
14. David Regan……. 2306

Check out spots eleven to thirteen, ONLY SIX POINTS!!! If this were Richmond in September, Kennseth and Boyer would be going to the dance with Harvick losing out by only TWO points. For the ho-hum the Brickyard race turned out to be, the field couldn't be much more competative this year in part thanks to the "Chase" format. Without the chase, many fans would be yawning or booing seeing Kyle Busch appearing comfortably atop the poins standings.

The teams load up and head to Pennsylvania for next week’s action at Pocono, usually one of the biggest ho-hum’s of the summer. Given how things played out on the world’s greatest race track, tensions will be high and stakes higher as five races remain before that decisive race in Richmond that determines who will be in the final field to battle for the 2008 Cup to be awarded at Homestead in November.

If all the races were as boring as today’s, none of that would matter. There other cheaper alternatives than going to a NASCAR race – watching grass grow, paint dry….. Get the picture? NASCAR and Goodyear must do everything imaginable to be assured this kind of embarrassment will not be repeated in the future.

The New Biggest Jerk in Baseball

For years, "The Biggest Jerk in Baseball Trophy," was the exclusive property of Barry Bonds. How could any fan feel sympathy for the supposed best player in the game (at least from looking at the stats) who cried and whined about everything? Fans don't feel much pity for someone who cops the attitude, "Awh, boo-f##king-hoo, nobody knows how tough it is raking in these millions of dollars playing baseball...." Add to that, just believe what your eyes tell you, a trim slender body with an angular head as a young player with the Pittsburgh Pirates compared with the chunky, moon-faced slugger with the Giants, this is nothing that came from bellying up to the dinner table. Barry Bonds can throw out all the excuses he wants, the dude took tons of steroids. Regardless of where his legal battles take him, do not insult baseball fans' intelligence and try to argue this fellow is a victim of circumstances. Far too many audit trails point right to Bond's locker. Even if it was just "skin cream" which is doubtful, many substances are absorded through the skin including "Androgel," a form of testosterone absorbed through the skin. While he might have snagged Hank Aaron's home run record, what made him strong in his forties could kill him in his fifties as the long term health prospects of steroid users is not good. Bonds sold his soul to the Devil for baseball immortality when he could have most likely had a very respectable, Hall-of-Fame career without doping up. One of the most accomplished players mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays, is a whining, sarcastic thug who no young athlete in his right mind would dare want to emulate.

The heir-apparent to Barry Bonds for the "biggest jerk award" has to be Manny Ramirez, not since his surly teammate Albert Belle who even chased away trick-or-treaters, has the American League had such an arrogant snot of a player. It may seem like ancient baseball history, but Belle and Ramirez were Cleveland's troublesome teammates. Though Cleveland Indian fans might miss the powerhouse team they enjoyed in the early days of Jacobs Field (or whatever it's been renamed now -- RMF avoids the commercialized name in his writing so as not to provide free advertising for Corporate America), few fans along the shores of Lake Erie miss either one of these fellows. Let another city have the headaches.

While the Boston Red Sox are in an excellent position to compete in post season play if not win the Eastern Division outright, Ramirez is not happy. Instead he pouts and complains perfectly willing to let his dissastisfaction be known far and wide though nobody is really sure just what it is that has him so unhappy -- having some of the most consistent stats of any player while playing for the decade's most successful team? Ramirez says he would welcome a trade. If not, he should hope to receive a thank you note from the Red Sox brass informing him they will not play their options releasing him to the free agent market at the end of the year. For all Manny Ramirez brings to the team, his temper and foul attitude can poison a club house. How many franchises will welcome those headaches for a contract of up to the $100 million over four years Ramirez is seeking?
Surely, Ramirez will be the subject of a lot of hot stove conversation in the off-season as speculation would surely focus on what team might see itself one player short of serious contending where Ramirez's fat bat would look tempting in the heart of the lineup.

For the reasons cited above, Manny Ramirez is the Biggest Jerk in Racing.

Hey Manny, it's not too late, get a haircut and smile. Maybe people might like you then if you keep pounding balls over the "Green Monster." In the meantime, be quiet and do your job. Few people in the world have been given your opportunity and make a fortune doing so.

On this day that Baseball recognizes its legends with the Hall-of-Fame inductions, it's hard not to look at the current players who look like they have achieved the kind of numbers that make a place in Cooperstown almost a certainty in the future. Manny Ramirez will be there for all his batting prowess for the Indians and the Red Sox. If the sports media who votes for Hall-of-Fame members seriously considered "character" as one of the qualification for membership, Manny Ramirez would be the odd man out. Only steroid use appears to have kept players out given Mark McGwire was not on stage with Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn when the first player to break Roger Maris's record became eligible. Today, fans realize that all efforts which have exceeded the 61 homerun mark set by Maris in 1961 could be tarnished as there is little doubt Bonds and McGwire used performance enhancing drugs and hormones with whispers Sammy Sosa did the same. If just being a total jerk were grounds to keep a player out, then perhaps Ty Cobb's membership would have to be revoked. That would not be right. As such, some time within the next decade, we might have to hold our nose and suck it in as Manny Ramirez could very likely take center stage on a late July Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, New York.
In the meantime, RMF will create his "Hall of Shame" in cyberspace. Your nominations please?

Camden Yards: Sunday, Sunday

Never On A Sunday???

Congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles winning their first game on a Sunday since April 6th. A fifteen game streak of futility has come to an end against the California Angels, the team sporting the current best record in baseball. With a starting rotation of castoffs and unprovens while the pennant races intensify among the real competitors, the balance of the season will be difficult for the Orioles who will get less and less attention as the Ravens begin training camp and get their season underway in September. By then, it’s hard to imagine the Orioles won’t be locked into last place without having the familiar cushion of Tampa Bay at the bottom. In case fans haven’t noticed, the once pitiful bottom feeders now stand atop of the American League East.

Is there any significance to the Orioles Sunday losing streak? Probably not. Still, most serious fans acknowledge that the Orioles were overachievers for the first half of the season. The team is inexperienced, still growing, with vital spots, such as shortstop needing to be filled with major league talent. Being a young team, perhaps routine is important. The Orioles have played well at home, poorly on the road. Sunday afternoon games are a disruption in the routine requiring different focus and preparation compared to the normal home night game. Still, let’s not read too much into this. The Orioles are a team on the mends and just to be able to say that is progress over the past several years. Rebuilding is underway and Baltimore baseball fans, there’s some of us left, can be pleased.

Here’s hoping fans get to enjoy the spectacle of Dave Trembly trying to master a celebratory cigar on the home Sundays that remain. In the meantime, he might want to visit the Havana Club for a quick primer on his cigar smoking technique.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Strategic Oil Reserve: A Matter of National Security

Don’t Mess With the Strategic Oil Reserve

Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats on Capitol Hill are demanding that President Bush should release petroleum from the Federal Strategic Oil reserve so that in theory the extra supply could serve to help drive down prices. The reserve was created in 1975 by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) to create an emergency inventory of oil to provide a continuous fuel source with a current capacity of around 700 million barrels of oil in the event of a national emergency, a serious interruption in supply, so the nation’s economy could still function for an extended period of time while hopefully the potential issues causing the shortage are resolved.

One application of releasing fuel from the reserve came in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina shut down oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and caused damage to oil processing infrastructure in the region. By law, the President can only draw from the reserve supplies for true supply emergencies. There is no authority in the law to release oil to influence rising oil prices. In essence, the Speaker of the House is imploring the President to break the law. The only way the use of the Strategic Oil reserve could be changed would be through legislation passing both houses of Congress and the President signing it into law. Has Ms. Pelosi or her colleagues in the Senate introduced such legislation? Of course not.

The real essence is political. In her pleadings to utilize the Oil Reserve, Speaker Pelosi creates an unrealistic (and illegal) expectation. We have oil and we’re not using it creating the impression that the evil Bush administration who she has held responsible for everything that’s wrong with the world as recent remarks to the media would suggest.

If the President had the ability to put oil from the reserve into the domestic oil market, that would be an unwise decision. So many potential disruptions in supply are only one episode away from becoming a reality. Given the behavior of Iran leader, Ahmadinejad, the prospect of the closure of the Straight of Hormuz, a 21 mile wide sea passage dividing Iran from the Oman is a real and ominous fear. Forty percent of the world’s oil supply transports through the Straits. Any disruption could have a catastrophic effect on the world’s economy sending the major economies into a mad scurry to resolve the problem.
Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, the unstable crazed dictator, of Venezuela has threatened using his oil as a weapon, our supply from those oil reserves could be one provocation away from being shut down. Additionally, numerous oil exporting countries either have unstable governments or are high-risk terrorist targets. Al Qaeda would not miss an opportunity to wreak havoc in the Saudi oil fields if given the opportunity. Additionally, with August and September approaching, that’s prime hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico.

The situations cited above reveal the wisdom of our government creating huge oil reserves as not simply an economic necessity but also a matter of absolute national security. Tapping those reserves could be foolish leaving our country empty handed for options if any of the problems above were to materialize with a diminished oil reserve. the oil shortages in the 1970’s gave America a hint of some of the difficulties supply disruptions could hurl upon us. However, the percentage of imported fuel was much lower then. Now it far exceeds 60%.

The reasoning for maintaining the Strategic Oil Reserve is sound and obvious. Messing with this all important national resource would be at best a ill-advised quick fix with the possibility of catastrophic unintended consequences. Creating false hopes exploiting this valuable resource distracts from the hard realities and tough choices our elected leaders are failing miserably to face. Maximum effort must be devoted at once to produce the maximum amount of domestic oil possible to reduce our dependence on foreign oil often provided by nations that are no friends of the United States. Realizing that regardless, oil is a finite resource that is not good for the environment, massive efforts must be dedicated to developing new fuel sources and technologies and utilizing ones that are not currently being used advantageously such as nuclear power for electricity generation. Every day that goes by without addressing this problem makes the solution that much more difficult, demanding, and expensive.

Sadly, both Democrats and Republicans would rather play politics with the Democrats living in a fantasy world that massive efforts to harvest more oil isn’t absolutely necessary NOW. The goals and policies that guided energy production when gas was $1.50 a gallon addressed a very different reality than we face now. Every thing we do whether it’s the use of oil products in manufacturing or anything that needs to be transported is at stake. The public should take note of which elected officials are the obstructionists and deal with them accordingly in the upcoming election.

The Worst Person in the World Is....

Hey, Keith, it's no secret, at least in the world of television programming YOU ARE!!! How are your ratings doing chump?

Well, wait a minute, when it comes to nitwits who are totally clueless on politics and journalism, David Letterman might not be far behind.

Obama and the Color Green Again

I couldn't help but notice for the umpteenth time, why does Barack Obama wear so much green eye makeup?

Is it makeup or his real color shining through?

With apologies to Fox News: RMF reports. YOU decide.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baseball Memory: 25 Years Ago Today, July 24, 1983

Dateline: Yankee Stadium, New York

Game: Kansas City Royals verus the New York Yankees

Top of the 9th, the Kansas City Royals down one run with two out and runner, U.L. Washington on first, Royals' all-star third baseman stepped to the plate, and CRUNCH, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT...HOMERUN DEEP TO RIGHT FIELD giving the Royals a one run lead. Score 5-4 Royals' advantage.

Well, not so fast, quickly Yankees Manager, Billy Martin, rushed on the field, demanded the umpires inspect Brett's bat. What were they looking for? Pine tar, sticky, gooey, yucky pine tar, which apparently cannot go any further up the length of the bat than the width of home plate. Martin kept yapping. The umpires huddled. Next, the home plate umpire, Tim McClelland bent over meticulously measuring the bat against the width of home plate. Home plate measures 17" wide. The pine tar clearly went beyond the 18" limit. The umpires continued their discussion walking toward the Royals' dugout while George Brett was getting quite antsy pacing the visitors' dugout. McClelland then motioned toward the dugout, motioned 'you're out!"

Game over, Yankees win. Thuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh Yankees win. Brett lept from the dugout rushed the umpires and to say he went ballistic would be the understatement of the decade having to be restrained and all but carried off the field by his teammates. Meanwhile, Royals pitcher, illegal substance specialist, Gaylord Perry rushed on the field, grabbed the offending bat and rushed off the field.

Game over? Yankees won? Not quite. The Royals protested to league president, Lee McPhail, who over-ruled the umpires, declared the homerun valid, and ordered that the game be resumed from the subsequent at bat, two out, Royals ahead, 5-4.

August 18th to an almost empty Yankee Stadium, only 1,700 die hard fans to watch the specticle, the game resumed. Not giving in easily, Billy Martin was up to every trick he could pull to twart the Royals effort including protesting Brett had not touched all the bases before the next batter, Hal McRae could step to the plate. The umpires declined the protest. Martin went nuts. Martin got the heave-ho from the game. To further make a mockery of the game, Martin had stationed left handed ace, Ron Guidry in center field and Don Mattingly at second base. McRae struck out. KC closer, Dan Quisenberry hurled a perfect bottom of the ninth. The Royals won....Thhhuuuuuuuuhhhhh ROYALS WON!!!

Historical irony, this coming weekend, "Goose" Gossage will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown joining George Brett and Lee McPhail in baseball's most unique fraternity.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Orioles Magic: The Summer of 1983 Remembered

Thanks for the memories! What a feeling it was tonight to see members of the 1983 Baltimore Orioles march on the field to be recognized for the 25th anniversary of their last championship. It was a joyful time for baseball fans through out the Chesapeake region. The Birds won their third World Championship since 1966 marking their sixth appearance in the World Series in seventeen years. During that time, the Baltimore Orioles were the dominant team in baseball as crusty old Memorial Stadium hosted Orioles Magic, the roar from 34, and the kind of hard fought, fundamentally sound baseball fans long for today. Three future Hall-of-Famers played for that team, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken. Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, and Ken Singleton were among the game’s elite, but much of the Orioles success consisted of the bare-knuckles, hard-nosed play of gamers and roll players like Rick Dempsey, Rich Dauer, Gary Roenicke, and John Lowenstein. The depth of the Orioles organization was also apparent as Mike Boddicker was called up to fill-in the starting rotation playing a key roll with Mike Flanagan missing the entire mid-season with a knee injury. Boddicker would go on to lead the league with five shutouts heading to a sixteen win season.

Somehow the cliché, team of destiny, seemed to apply to the ’83 Birds. After battling to being tied for first place in the East with one day to go in 1982 losing what amounted to a sudden death playoff against the Milwaukee Brewers, Don Sutton beating Jim Palmer, in Earl Weaver’s last game before what turned out to be a temporary retirement, the memory of the Brewers celebrating victory on Orioles’ home turf was a painful motivator for the season to come. The team also had something to prove after fourteen and a half years of iron-fisted rule by the feisty little man wearing the #4 jersey.

What could be a more outrageous demonstration of a team flaunting some inexplicable mojo than an August 23 extra inning game against the Toronto Blue Jays? Entering the top of the tenth inning, Manager Joe Altobelli had burned out his bench. Gary Roenicke was playing third base and John Lowenstein was fielding second base. If that wasn’t enough to make Toronto hitters’ eyes bulge wide open, utility infielder, Lenn Sakata, was called upon to go behind the plate. Only a miracle would save this game for the Baltimore Orioles. Imagine the pure sense of doom reliever Tippy Martinez must have felt horrified to release a pitch to an inexperience catcher and having two left fielders forming half his infield. Regardless, Tippy was up to the challenge picking three runners off first base to record all three outs!!! True to form, the fearful designated catcher would come up to bat in the bottom of the tenth, fearful of having to take the field to begin another inning, Lenn Sakata hit a walk-off homerun to win the game!!!

Could there ever be a more bizarre and delightful moment in Orioles lore than that unlikely victory? The Orioles would go on to win 98 ball games and finish ahead of the Detroit Tigers by six games. They’d dominate the post season beating the Chicago White Sox, winning three straight after losing the opener. In similar fashion, they dropped the first game against the elderly Philadelphia Phillies with players like Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Mike Schmidt approaching the twilight of their careers. The Orioles then cruised to victory not so much on the backs of their proven stars but more on the efforts of the roll players including Todd Cruz, Rich Dauer, and Rick Dempsey who the media dubbed as the “Three Stooges.” Dempsey would win the World Series MVP award.

As Cal Ripken caught the ball for the last out securing the champion’s trophy for his hometown team, fans never could have anticipated the dark days that would lie ahead for Baltimore sports fans. While the Orioles celebrated, the faceless remains of the Baltimore Colts struggled through a tough season as the town watched in horror and disgust as drunken team owner Bob Irsay was openly shopping the team in pursuit of greener pastures. Still, it was unthinkable when the Colts lost the final game of the season to the Houston Oilers, that would be the last game for the Baltimore Colts. On a snowy night the following March, in the dark of night, the Mayflower vans lined up at the Colts complex in Owings Mills to move the Colts and their history west on I-70 to Indianapolis. The golden age of the Baltimore Orioles ended with that victory in Philadelphia. The Detroit Tigers, “roar of ’84,” began winning 35 of their first forty games beating out the second place, Toronto Blue Jays, by 15 games. The Orioles with an 88 and 77 finish were buried in fifth place nineteen games back. Since 1983, the Orioles have had winning records in only eight seasons seldom in the playoff chase only reaching post-season play in 1996 and 1997 where they’d advance through the first round of the playoffs only to suffer painful losses in the league championship round. The Orioles would not have a winning record since. NFL Football returned to Baltimore in 1996 resurrecting Memorial Stadium for two final years as another Camden Yards wonder would be erected just south of Orioles Park. The Ravens played hard fought championship football with a dominating defense in the 2000 season bringing Baltimore its last major sports championship.

Football training camp opens this week with a new coach and many questions as the Ravens begin the 2008 campaign. Meanwhile, the Orioles have fought hard as a rebuilding team guided by manager Dave Trembly and President of Baseball Operations, Andy McPhail. Rebuilding the Orioles is well underway, but the team’s ability to hover around the .500 mark will be hard to sustain for the rest of the season with a gutted starting rotation weak and inexperienced to begin with but losing two key starters from the opening day roster. Two years ago, the Ravens would embark on a dazzling season favored by many to dominate the playoffs. Last year, the team looked old and fragile limping to 5-11 last place finish riddled with many key injuries and a total breakdown in team discipline. With a new coaching staff and many of the same starters from the 2006 team, could the Ravens surprise? The season that awaits will tell the story. A serious reality check would tell the Baltimore sports fans that both birds’ nests are in rebuilding mode.

Let’s celebrate the glorious memories of the 1983 Orioles’ championship. From Alan Ameche scoring the winning touchdown to win the 1958 NFL Championship in Yankee Stadium to defeat the New York Giants in a stunning overtime win to Cal Ripken’s hauling in the last out of the 1983 World Series, Memorial Stadium was the home field to Baltimore’s golden era of championship sports including the 1970 season where both the Orioles and the Colts were champions. Baltimore is poised with two of the finest playing fields in both sports to blast off again. Hard work remains and many questions need to be answered, but Ozzie Newsome and Andy McPhail are brilliant architects in building winning teams. For now, it’s for the love of the game and a game-by-game love affair as championship dreams await another day, another season. Baltimore still has the makings of a great title town!

Michael Savage: Autism and the Big Lie

Michael Savage, Autism and the Big Lie: “There is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism. None.”

Right Minded Fellow has no use for Michael Savage. Savage is unquestionably one of the most controversial and dangerous figures blabbing over the airwaves today. Conservative talk show hosts, including Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, with no expertise in child psychology have frequently made assertions about the extent to which children are being medicated for various different behavioral issues suggesting that drugs have become a substitute for proper discipline in schools and the home making sweeping claims about the nature of adolescent behavioral and learning difficulties offering nothing more than anecdotes and opinion to establish their platform.

Are schools quick to recommend parents go to pill doctors simply because the modern secular politically-correct school with inconsistent and ridiculous behavior policies cannot tolerate behavior that is little more than boys guilty of nothing more than being boys? ABSOLUTELY.

The failure of public education to effectively guide student behavior is a topic for another day.

To frame this conversation let’s first establish something in clear black and white, though Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have used their status inappropriately spreading false assumptions on the appropriate use of psychotropic drugs for specific medical conditions that affect behavior, the extent to which they use their pulpit inappropriately is mild compared to Michael Savage’s extremism. Limbaugh and Hannity are quite articulate spokesmen on numerous conservative issues generally supporting their contentions with demonstrable fact. They are completely out of their element discussing child and adolescent psychology. Michael Savage on the other hand, is a dangerous demagogue who lives on exploiting the fears, prejudice, and ignorance of his audience. Though his starting point might often be mainstream conservative issues, where he takes his rhetoric is a hateful place.

Let’s let Savage’s own words show how extreme and his malicious outlook on autism, a severe affliction affecting thousands of children creating tremendous hardship and heartbreaking difficulties for their families, truly are. Sadly, the public is horribly uneducated on this unfortunate misery which affects perhaps more than one child out of 150. Even allowing for degrees of severity, this is a somber reality requiring thoughtful, clear-headed thinking not vile bigoted assertions.

Here are some of the outrageous comments from Michael Savage’s radio broadcast from Wednesday, July 16.

“Now the illness du jour is autism,”…. “You know what autism is? I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is.”

“What do you mean they scream and they’re silent?” … “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ ”

As if being totally off-base on autism, Savage further shows his mean-spirited bigotry trying to associate autistic behavior with problems from single parent fatherless homes. Stereotyping family situations further confuses the issue. How would Mr. Savage account for the thousands of cases from two parent houses? What about autistic kids whose parents are the people of faith who live inspired and motivated by their faith and conviction? There are plenty of strict loving fathers who struggle to provide for families ravaged with the day-to-day misery of finding appropriate treatment for their autistic children.

How many parents of autistic children has Mr. Savage interviewed to develop his conclusions? Raising an autistic child can be pure frustration and hell. Parents of such children have had to put all pretenses of a normal life on hold to work with their children and fighting the system which is often ill-prepared to help them deal with their children’s difficulties.

"It is the falsely diagnosed, the misdiagnosed and the outright fakers who want the benefits, who must be found out and must be turned out, so that the money can go to the truly needy in this particular field…"

In this quote, Savage resorts to his typical bully technique of unfounded accusations with no specifics to back his ridiculous claim. For an issue as widely studied causing tremendous disruption and misery in many American families exactly who are the “outright fakers?” Oh they must be “found out?” Where’s the evidentiary trail? This smacks of the kind of sensationalist garbage that is routine fare for the so-called “Savage Nation.”

“What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them don’t act like a moron, you’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up! Act like a man! Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’”

As if the above statements are not enough to turn one’s stomach, eventually most demagogues go for the big lie:

“There is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism. None.”

Michael Savage would have to be living under a rock to make this assertion. World renowned psychiatrist and physician, the late Dr. Leo Kanner began his explorations in to child psychology in the 1930’s at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Known at the father of child psychiatry, Kanner published the primary work, “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact,” (1943), identifying autism which set forth the framework and study of the disease moving forward. Kanner would continue his pioneering work through the 1950’s until his retirement in 1959. Since Dr. Kanner’s authoritative work, much study has been conducted worldwide on all aspects of this troubling disorder.

Sticking to his guns after significant pressure from the outraged public, Savage tries to weasel around his comments by saying:

“My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community's attempt to label too many children or adults as "autistic."

Pitiful, Michael Savage is accountable for his vicious lies for the children and families who deal with the intense challenges of autism every day. Further, Savage has cruelly disparaged the efforts of thousands of professionals, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, and school based personnel who have put tremendous effort and heart in their profession to help children suffering a vexing and terrible disability where compassion and understanding is sadly lacking.

That hate-talker Michael Savage would serve to enhance wretch stereotypes, vicious prejudices, and demonstrably false claims about autism, more than one out of 150 children, is deplorable conduct that has no place on our nation’s airwaves. This is a far more serious issue than the Don Imus "ho" low blow that created a national outrage. Savage proclaims to be knowledgeable about a situation he shows totally ignorance about. Misguided free-speech advocates might see ridding the airwaves of Savage's blather as a matter of censorship. It is not. Radio stations pay entertainers to provide a commercially viable product suitable for the tastes and sensibilities (or lack of) of the radio audience.
Carrying Michael Savage might draw significant ratings in some markets where prejudiced and insecure listeners find justification for their lack of education and sophistication championed by hate-mongers like Savage. To what extreme will radio station programmers go to rack up ratings by appealing to the worst qualities in their listening audiences? Advertisers and responsible members of the broadcasting profession are hereby called upon to withdraw their support of the Savage Nation and provide for more responsible thought provoking talk radio.
The government could have an answer for programs like Michael Savage, the "Fairness Doctrine." What could play into the hands of the radical left in Congress seeking to muzzle traditional conservative expression than holding up hate mongers like Michael Savage as their prime example why government censorship of the airwaves could be justified. Sadly, such action would not pick off just the rogue broadcasters like Savage but quality programming like Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder, Neil Bortz, and many others could be casualties as well.
Radio stations must be responsible for providing honest, thought provoking programs regardless of where their ideas fall on the left-right continuum. Ignorant flame-throwers viciously stereotyping mentally disabled children and their family situations serves no positive purpose at all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Countdown to the Communist Chinese Olympics

The 2008 Summer Olympics: Communist China’s Big Coming Out Party

Right Minded Fellow wants to feel excitement and good will for the beginning of Olympiad XXIX, but at best feels a painful gnawing sensation. The Olympics have certainly been tinged with corruption, excessive commercialism, and cynical manipulation for a long time. From the onset, political exploitation has been a central theme no more apparent than Hitler’s grand performance on the world stage in Berlin during the summer of 1936. How wonderful it was that Hitler’s racist evil was upstaged by a brilliant young African-American, Jesse Owens. His accomplishments single-handedly spit in the face of Nazi ideology and promotion of the “master” race. Few could imagine just how extreme Hitler’s murderous fascism was becoming. Sadly, the problem of racism and religious persecution wasn’t a hot topic in most of the free world at that time. Move forward to the 1972 Olympics held in West Germany. The air was ripe with cold war politics pitting the free democratic remains of the bifurcation of Germany against their former countrymen living under a puppet government tightly controlled by the Soviet Union. East Germans amassed tremendous victories in Olympic competition as whispers grew to roars over the years that their competitors were "medically enhanced" for competative advantage. While all international tension seemed to fall on the Cold War adversaries, world politics would play out in its ugliest, most horrifying extreme in Munich.

Who would have known as the Olympics were underway on September 5, 1972 that on that date, a horrible chapter in world history would begin? Terrorist group, Black September, agents of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, kidnapped and slaughtered eleven Israeli athletes and coaches marking the opening salvo of the war waged by Radical Islam against the Judeo-Christian West, an ever more complex conflict that besieges us today. While the world attempted to put on its best face united in the pursuit of the Olympic creed, “Swifter, higher, stronger,” the hateful, murderous, genocidal specter of Islamic Terrorism began its evil crusade to become the world’s greatest menace as the religion of Islam became warped as the uniting ideology of a host of terrorist movements of both Shia and Sunni Moslem radicals inflicting torture and death on all continents of the world.

The Olympic movement would be changed for ever by those hateful Islamic thugs. Extreme security measures now required helped diminish the free and open atmosphere of the games. Gross politicization would increasingly become a greater part of each subsequent Olympic event.

Corruption and politics are integral parts of how the International Olympic Committee operates where members from ethically challenged nations are more than willing to accept bribes and other reward for favorable attention in granting future Olympic host cities. Crass commercialization and exploitation has become another dominant theme of the Olympics. “All’s far in love and war,” the saying goes, but the same seems applicable to many facets of the Olympics.

Global politics, the Carter administration’s outrage at the Soviet lead invasion of Afghanistan lead to the United States boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. Tit for tat, the Soviet Union, in turn, boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

Unseemly dictators and corrupt nations have used the Olympics in the past for maximum propaganda and self-promotion, but not since Hitler hosted the 1936 Olympics has the role of a corrupt and murderous totalitarian government taken center stage like the Communist Chinese hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing this summer.

The Red Chinese will take full advantage of the Olympics for maximum public relations purposes showing a progressive city with all the modern charms, luxuries, and technologies of any world class city. Already we’ve seen images of the cutesy little Pokémon mascots and “dancing Beijing” comes alive. That there are millions of people world-wide with serious grievances against the Chinese not the least of which is the ongoing oppression and slaughter in Tibet, saber rattling against Taiwan, support of the butchers in Darfur, scores of significant human rights violations, brutal subversion of Folun Gong, arms and technology sales to terrorist states like Iran, and brutal suppression of political dissent among its own people will be glossed over by carefully staged theatrics of singing children dressed in ethic costumes looking as cute and lovable as little darlings can be. Gleaming modern city skyscapes, clean modern city streets, and state-of-the-art sports venues will serve as pictorial backdrops for athletic competition while extreme poverty, polluted rivers teaming with floating garbage, smokestacks of acid and pollution spewing factories and power plants, or any signs of the tools of oppression wielded by the police state government will be totally hidden from the world’s television cameras. Nevertheless, for the commercial spectacle the Olympics represents, NBC and the rest of the world’s media is more than willing to play along for the privilege of showing wall-to-wall coverage of everything from the traditional track and field events, the exploitation driven basketball games, down to the menial sports like badminton.

All is not well for sure as the world recognizes the treachery of the communist dictators in Beijing. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Great Britain’s Prince Charles have all indicated they will not attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing. Perhaps ironically the warrior against the Axis of Evil himself, George W. Bush will attend.

Meanwhile, the systematic and cruel oppression of its citizens and destruction of the environment will continue as the norm for Communist China. Americans will flock to their favorite retailers to buy Chinese finished goods in increasing numbers. American companies continue to dance with the Devil sending manufacturing operations to China avoiding the cost of doing business in the more civilized and freedom loving world for the sake of ever great profit. On the surface, the cites that serve as the economic hubs in China sport a thin, western veneer with all the trappings of progressive capitalist culture. Western entertainment abounds as does American dining from McDonalds to Morton’s Steakhouse both flourishing in Beijing.
Looks are deceiving, look at the dirt swept under the welcome mat as the world descends upon Red China's capital, Beijing in the weeks ahead. For all the hoopla and entertainment, we interact with a nation that has nuclear weapons pointed right at our cities and is working on technologies to blow our satellites. The great Chinese party continues with seldom a whisper of their goon tactics, plundering the planet, and oppressing its citizens. This may not look like the China of Mao Tse Tung's "Little Red Book." Instead of talking about destroying the West by exporting Communist revolution, it is leeching the west by satisfying the materialistic urge of consumer society providing every gadget and goody imaginable cheaper than other industrial countries because its workers have no freedoms with meager compensation for their labors. Safety standards, environmental safeguards, and quality inspection are all far less stringent than what other societies will tolerate. For the sake of saving a couple bucks on a box of widgets and a store full of less expensive whatca-ma-call-its, we've sold out our dignity making filthy rich a government and economic system that has none.

The Butchers of Beijing, the terrorists of Tiananmen are ready to entertain you. Let the games begin.