Sunday, May 30, 2010

No Urgency + No Leadership = No Results

I'm in charge here. This is unacceptable. We will not tolerate this any longer.
Whether it's Andy McPhail or Peter Angelos, one of them had better say exactly that, RIGHT NOW.
Here's what happened, Orioles fans have decided not to be passively watching crappy baseball. They've taken charge. They've decided what the Orioles are doing is unacceptable and clearly show they won't tolerate it any longer. They're clicking off their TV's and they're not showing up for games. State the attendance any old way you like, it stinks, but what we don't get is the body count of how many fans are in the seats. MASN is very careful not to let their cameras hit the stands too often.
Reality -- Dave Trembley is a rotten manager. Let's cut out the polite stuff, stop feeling sorry for the guy and if we still hope to see anything worth watching in Orioles baseball, scream for his dismissal. If he truly had something to offer as a manager, he's spent.
NOTHING IN BIRDLAND HAS ANY SENSE OF URGENCY. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Brian Matusz were all young players who were supposed to have tremendous potential. They have great tools. These kids should be advancing their careers. All three are deteriorating before our eyes. Meanwhile, Norm Riemold rots in Norfolk. Maybe he still needs some rehab from his injuries. Maybe lack of supervision and proper attention loused him up.
Remember the hype that a Riemold, Jones, Markakis outfield would be the envy of baseball?
In post game interviews Trembley does not look like a happy fellow, but he looks more like a guy just hating life stuck in a dead end job than a guy with some fire in his gut who hates losing.
Where's the passion for winning? Could the Orioles get Ray Lewis to come to Orioles Park lead a practice and slap a few players around who don't have some fire in their eyes? No doubt Mr. Lewis has better people to consult like the Baltimore City Police. Looking at the Orioles, sure they look like they've been inspired by purple passion -- as in Barnie the Dinosaur.
This is the rebuilt team we've waited so long to see. They could be messing up and losing and we'd not be so upset if we saw some real passion. We're so sick and damned tired of the, "Oh well, it's a long season." atttitude every time they lose.
Who's in charge? Right now, Miss Betty the ticket taker could probably ignite more passion in this team than their manager. That the Orioles clubhouse is so calm and composed is almost equally disgusting. They accept losing. They have grown used to losing. That's what they do around there, put on an Orioles uniform once an outfit of pride, go out on the field and suck.
The biggest question on Baltimore sports fans' minds is already when Ravens Training Camp opens. If folks think things look empty now, just wait. Even the Red Sox and Yankees fans don't pack the joint any longer because there is no joy in watching such an uncompetitive slaughter.
Good bye, Mr. Trembley. Have a nice life, but if you're going to wear black and orange, the San Francisco Giants aren't far enough away. Terry Crowley, we will miss you. One heck of a mess they put you in.
Coming up, Yankees, Red Sox, Yankees -- God help us.

The Orioles: How Bad Is It?

The Orioles just lost a three games series to the Toronto Blue Jays. That's five losses in a row. They've gone 3-12 in their last 15 games. Toss out their horrible 2-16 start, their won/loss percentage is the same as their miserable 98 loss pace for last year.

The great young talent that was paraded as the Orioles bright future looks dazed and confused. Leadership has broken down. This is a team still in a downward spiral on the major league level. How much longer can Dave Trembley's inability to pump up the motivation and accept "come what may" be tolerated?

Check the scores of the last three days, they are getting beaten soundly. Where's the fire? Where's the fight?
By the way, their next nine games, three against the Yankees in New York, then six home games, three against Boston, three against the Yankees. Right now, one out of nine would seem hopeful.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Raising Arizona -- Raising the Truth

"It's no fun being an illegal alien."
-Genesis, 1983
What more can be said of the left’s attempt to stir up chaos over Arizona’s difficult attempt to get a handle on the difficulties caused by a constant stream of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States across the southern Arizona border?

When figures like Attorney General, Eric Holder and Homeland Security Apologist, Janet Napolitano hit the talk show circuit condemning the law as racist subjecting legal residents to unlawful detention without ever having read the law itself, they reveal their true agenda and lack of moral principle. The law obviously doesn’t matter. Cynically attempting to create a racial and cultural divide between mainstream citizens and ones of recent Hispanic heritage has crass political motives attempting to create a true victim class of Hispanics who would hopefully form a steadfast political identity that would vote solidly democrat as they manipulated African Americans through arbitrary and false accusations of racism and demonizing those who have strayed from the orthodoxy of their agenda.

One has to think how would those who have done the right thing, followed the law, and entered the country legally? Who is appealing to them and applauding them for their efforts to follow the law. Sadly, they’re being pumped full of fear that they could be subject to detention making legitimate law enforcement look like some kind of racist goon squad.

How quick folks are being pushed to jump to conclusions regarding Arizona’s plight. To get a good fix on its reality, one should talk to anyone who lives in or spends much time in the state. One Arizona resided confided that the boundary has effectively been pushed 150 miles north because the level of activity of illegal aliens flooding in and overwhelming the resources of that part of the state have gotten so out of control. Many peoples’ private property has been destroyed and vandalized because of the massive incursion across their land.

Seeing the population uniting behind the Arizona people and their law, the Obama administration has reluctantly committed some National Guard troops with very little empowerment to play a major roll in securing the border. Some help is better than nothing, but nothing short of a total commitment to secure the border completely is satisfactory.

Businesses that recruit and employ illegal aliens must be prosecuted severely. A clear procedure on how to enter the United States legally where the terms and conditions are clearly defined and enforced must be enacted and become the law of the land.

An equitable system must be established to deal with the illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. It is impossible and absurd to think about returning all of them to their country of origin. How can they be assimilated without rewarding them for breaking the law? Benchmarks need to be determined where if citizenship were the ultimate goal, specific criteria must be met including fluency in English and a clear record of living crime free. Those who cannot meet these criteria can be issued guest worker permits. Criminals and others who are not contributing to the United States of America who have entered illegally must be returned to their home countries.

All these measures must be done in an honest, open manner. Politics which exploit racial and ethnic division will not be tolerated. Those who cooperate and show their sincere desire to become part of our culture fulfilling their obligations should be treated with tremendous respect and welcomed to the United States as part of the great population of different cultures and influences whose rich blend make us the greatest country on earth.

The only thing difficult about this is getting politicians to function in the professional, non-opportunistic way most of us have elected them to do. The voters must uphold their end of the deal throwing out those politicians who act against the harmonious entry and assimilation of immigrant pollution by rule of law and continue to use this sensitive issue to divide us.

Memorial Day: Orioles 2010, an Unprecedented Failure

Just how bad are the 2010 Orioles?

Apologists will say if you were to drop their 2-16 start, they’re not that bad. Oh really?

Do the math. Since their miserable start, they are 13-19, a .406 record. That’s just a little better than their miserable play last year. .406 would project to a 66-96 finish, two games better than last year. Right now, only the Cleveland Indians (.370), the Seattle Mariners (.404), and Houston Astros (.333) are playing worse. The Pittsburgh Pirates who aren’t even trying to win are 20-29 (.408).

Even ignoring the horrible 2-16 start, the Orioles are still among the bottom feeders. However, the wicked start counts. The official record is 15-35 (.300). The sorry Houston Astros project to finish 54-108. If their current level of play continues, the mighty Orioles are heading for serious misery, 49-113.

Watching this team is not enjoyable baseball. A young team that is still learning the trade can be most entertaining even if they don’t bring home the wins if they play with reckless enthusiasm, kids that go out there and play hard and their screw ups are essentially errors of enthusiasm. There might be some isolated instances of that in the Orioles play, but most of the trouble we’ve seen so far falls into two areas: bored, indifferent play or tentative, overly cautious, scared silly play. That’s hard to watch. When someone like Garrett Atkins makes a right turn to the dugout rather than running out a ground ball out or we see some of the “I give up” base path exploits of Julio Lugo, what are fans left to think?

On offense, most of the starters are batting .250 or better, but only three players have more than 20 RBI: Ty Wigginton, 32; Miguel Tejada, 22; and Luke Scott, 20. For homeruns, Wigginton has 13 homers; Scott has 9. Nobody else has more than 4. Only Nick Markakis is in double digits with doubles, 13. Three players are tied with 8. For stolen bases, two players have five steals but one of them has been caught stealing four times. Beyond that, one player has three steals. Remember Brian Roberts, only played four games? He has two steals. How about this? Five players have hit double digits for extra base hits, only two as high as 17, and one with 21.

Look at some other stats, seven players have grounded into double plays more than five times; two at 6, and two at 7.

Turn this around to the pitching staff, Kevin Millwood has a respectable 3.89 ERA but has a 0-5 record. Jeremy Guthrie has a 3.64 ERA, but only a 3-4 mark to show for it. The other starters have ERA’s approaching six runs a game. How sad it is to have seen Brian Matusz come up to the majors with so much promise, but at the rate things are going now, he’ll be spending July in Norfolk. The starters also have to deal with the bullpen has blown 10 save opportunities. With a 15-35 record, had those saves been converted, that looks like a .500 record, doesn’t it?

So much enthusiasm and high hopes surrounded some of the young talent ready to break through with the Orioles, but it seems like collectively they’ve all become overwhelmed, over matched, or just plain scared of life in the bigs. Norm Reimold is now retooling in Norfolk. Ironically, he had 10 RBI’s better than most of the current regulars. Adam Jones, last year’s all star, has done a little better recently, shows only five homers, 15 RBI’s, and has seldom been a factor in helping toward a win. Matt Wieters looked strong early in the season but only has four homers, 16 RBI’s, and .255 average.

Taking a closer look at Brian Matusz, who was expected to be a top quality starter, what has caused his fall off into horror? Three games he has no decisions because there was no support on offense or the bullpen crashed on him. His May 4th loss to the Yankees, he only gave up one earned run in six innings. Where did the two unearned runs come from? On May 15th, Matusz pitched seven scoreless innings, but did not get a decision for that game. Since then, Brian Matusz looks like a candidate for a little trip down the bay to Norfolk, seven earned runs to Texas and six to Oakland. Is Brian Matusz a casualty to the toxic clubhouse environment on this rudderless ship?

How much hope does the team have invested in Matt Wieters? There’s no question the kid has abundant talent and loads of potential, but he appears to be losing his way. He has only one extra base hit, a double, since May 8th, his last home run, May 1. He’s lost 20 points off of his batting average since May 13th, add to that only 3 RBI’s since May 5th. What will it take to get this talented young man back on the upswing toward the all-star potential he clearly has?

Dave Trembley remains as manager. Fans can say all they want about what a class act he is and how it’s not all his fault. Fine, but the team is not playing for him. Either the team is not responding to him or he’s not “managing” his personnel when some of the same kinds of mistakes and lack of effort continue nightly. While it certainly is difficult to appear before the microphones after another loss, one does not get the impression that Mr. Trembley has any kind of command when attempting to account for yet another loss. During the game, his pitching strategy seems lacking too. Way too often, have starters been left in too long. The general principle is: don’t let the starter remain in after a tying run reaches base. Bullpen choices seem to be mandated far more by textbook and not a sensible head-in-the-game approach. Granted, the bullpen has been plagued by injuries, but a little more thought in how to who needs to go where as if there is no depth chart.

The prognosis for improvement is slight. While it was good to see Chris Tillman pitch well this afternoon, it goes down as a loss to the bullpen. Jake Arrieta will surely see action in Baltimore, but wouldn’t it be a bitter irony if it was to replace a burned out and dispirited Brian Matusz? Arrieta is 5-2 in 10 starts with a brilliant 1.82 ERA.

There could well be a steady stream of pitchers floating up and down the Chesapeake Bay as things develop in Baltimore. Their most recent move was sending Cla Meredith to Norfolk making way for Tillman.

Looking at the medical report, Brian Roberts has resumed baseball activities reporting to Sarasota for rehab. Perhaps he will be back in Baltimore by the end of June and stabilize the top of the lineup and shore up the middle of the infield. Felix Pei is on the 70 day roster, no report on him. The bullpen has Jim Johnson, Alfredo Simon, Koji Uehara on the 15 day disabled list, but how many of them could be ready in about two weeks is hard to say. Michael Gonzalez hired to be the 2010 closer who failed miserably not making it past the team’s first weekend remains on the 60 day list. When and if he returns remains a mystery.

Clearly, the Orioles can draw all the pictures of rainbows and flowers they like, reality is they are well deserving of their current status as the worst team in baseball. Yes, the sad truth is, the Baltimore Orioles are the worst team in baseball. Only three teams have scored fewer than the Orioles at 174. Five teams have given up more runs.

There is no room for optimism given how poorly the Orioles are playing across the board and players expected to show growth have plateaued or fallen off the plateau altogether. They refuse into inject new leadership into the clubhouse perhaps fearful that a frustrated fan base could either resort to rebellion or disappear completely if there would be little improvement with a change at skipper. Young players do have their down spells, but their difficulties are looking less and less like errors of enthusiasm but errors of poor preparation. How much of that lies on the players and how much is it a matter of the coaching staff not preparing them is hard to determine, but given the total lack of motivation shown by many veteran players, that might make the choice more obvious.

It’s beyond talking about who will be the long term options at first and third base while the rest of the starting pitching prospects come of age. The problems with the Baltimore Orioles right now run far deeper. They do not look like a team ready to compete in the foreseeable future. It would not be wise to compare this year’s Orioles to the 2003 Detroit Tigers who lost 119 games in 2003 but turned it around to dominate the playoffs and make it into the 2006 World Series. While Andy McPhail’s master plan of stockpiling pitching makes sense, moves like signing Michael Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins, clear failures, make his long range vision seem less credible with such miserable short term but necessary solutions.

Baseball is becoming increasingly irrelevant in Baltimore where fans anger and frustration after a decade plus of losing has turned to total indifference. There just isn’t anything entertaining to watch when the team looks so lackadaisical and ill-prepared.

At very least, fans need a burnt offering for their tortured support. If we’re still writing about the need to replace Dave Trembley by July 4th, it might mark something good happened in June, because it would show we’re still paying attention which gets harder and harder with each passing series down the drains.

Think About It...

Calling illegal aliens "undocumented workers" makes as much sense as calling drug dealers "unlicensed pharmacists."
(overheard on Sean Hannity's TV program. Thanks Sean!!!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Government Waste in Higher Education: Morgan State Cited

When Pork Is Passed Around, Pigs Will Be Pigs

This is a difficult column to post particularly originating from the upper Chesapeake region. Morgan State University has a long proud history as one of the nation’s top schools serving the African American student, how sad it is that the GAO reports Morgan State along with three other minority-related schools are charged with the misuse of Federal funds allocated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Of $105,000 spent by Morgan State, $80,000 was spent on a leadership program that consisted largely of resort and amusement park visits. $6,000 was spent on office furniture and $4,578 on an aircraft GPS system though the school does not own an aircraft.

These findings are presented by The Chronicle of Higher Education citing a GAO report, “Low-Income and Minority Serving Institutions: Sustained Attention Needed to Improve Education’s Oversight of Grant Programs.”

The report goes on to criticize the Dept. of Education for not following up on several recommendations over the past six years designed to better track federal grants awarded to these special need schools.

Among other findings, Wiley College in Texas was cited for spending $2127 on late feels; Riverside Community College in California spent $4,800 on t-shirts; additionally, the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico spent $27, 530 for contract services and subscriptions that would not be utilized until after the grant expired.

The GAO report indicated Morgan State misused almost one fourth of the $427,180 in Federal Grants received in 2006 during a time the Department did not even have an Assistant Secretary for Post Secondary in charge of that office within the Education Department.

Morgan officials suggest that the leadership expenditures were akin to an “outward bound” type of program including white-water rafting and rock climbing designed to develop leadership and decision-making skills.

We recognize in terms overall wasted money in the Federal government, we’re talking bout chump change here. Most of this points to previous administrations, but huge problems are built one piece at a time. Surely, in an area of need as significant as helping students of limited means get a leg up, we must scream foul when expenditures aren’t reaching the educational purpose for which they were intended. When pigs supply the pork, this is what happens.

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 13 -- The Coca Cola 600, NASCAR's BIG One

Ryan Newman takes the poll and former teammate, Kurt Busch holds the outside pole for the Coca Cola 600, NASCAR’s grueling 600 mile marathon race from daylight to darkness.

The top twenty qualifiers show some interesting results including the Joe Gibbs field taking three consecutive positions. Kasey Kahne’s start in 4th position is an encouraging sign for Ford which has been beset with a miserable qualifying draught this season which perhaps has also contributed into lackluster race results.

1, Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
2. Kurt Busch, Dodge
3. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
4. Kasey Kahne, Ford
5. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
6. David Reutimann, Toyota
7. Denny Hamlin, Toyota
8. Joey Logano, Toyota
9. Kyle Busch, Toyota
10. Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet
11. Mark Martin, Chevrolet
12. Jeff Burton, Chevrolet
13. Casey Mears, Toyota
14. Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge
15. Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
16. Matt Kenseth, Ford
17. Dave Blaney, Toyota
18. A.J. Allmendinger, Ford
19. Joe Nemechek, Toyota
20. Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet

Note the absence of Fords. Four Fords had to make the field based on owner’s points, from 39th to 42nd below the “start and park” drivers who qualified above them: Elliot Sadler, Greg Biffle, Travis Kvapil, and Kevin Conway. Carl Edwards, Paul Menard, and David Ragan all qualified below 30th. Even more ironic, only one potential “start and park” team qualified lower than 30th, J.J. Yeley in the Whitney Motorsports Dodge. Somehow, for the massive long-term effort the Coca-Cola 600 represents, the whole “start and park” concept seems even that much more obscene. This is a fan, not a journalist speaking, there seems to be a certain kind of cruel but necessary justice when these field flockers wreck before they can quietly exit the action. They are truly an embarrassment to NASCAR and the spirit of competition. Why don’t they seek sponsorship from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Lions?

It’s hard to read the qualifying tea leaves to get an indication of who might survive the long race ahead other than it perhaps confirms some of the traditionally strong Charlotte drivers are on their mark and whose hot right now. Surely, there can be no surprise Joe Gibbs racing has all three cars in the top ten. Aside from some “hissy fits” between drivers Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, this team is poised for great things if they maintain their momentum through the summer. Jimmie Johnson surely is starting off in good shape to add some momentum for what has been a rather stagnant drive for his 5th consecutive title given his finishing positions recently. It’s little wonder Kasey Kahne would be the top Ford driver. He has always been a strong Charlotte driver. While not as good of a spot, Matt Kenseth in 16th as the only other Ford effort worth any notice has also been a strong Charlotte driver. David Reutimann in 6th is in a good starting spot to repeat his victory of last season while his teammate, Martin Truex Jr. who had figured out something about Charlotte having finished 2nd in the All Star race and making the cut from the shootout field to get into the race in the first place, starts 3rd.

Weather for Sunday night’s race calls for mostly clear starting in the mid 80’s as the green flag drops with temperatures falling into the upper 60’s as the race progresses into darkness. With the Dover race moved before the Charlotte action this year, The Coca Cola 600 will be the last race of the season on Fox, no more boogity-boogity from ol’ DW until the Daytona 500. Fans can look forward to six races on TNT then ESPN, with only a select few night races on ABC, carrying the schedule down the home stretch. Having seen some classic NASCAR races from ESPN in the 1990’s on cable recently, how much we wish NASCAR coverage would eschew the gimmicks and kick up the substance of their coverage. The technology gimmicks are more distraction than purposeful in today’s coverage. Does it sound corny to say Fox has run Digger into the ground? How we get TNT’s “Racin’ Buddy” speaking of bad stereotypes. ESPN’s coverage is bombastic and overwhelming. Thankfully, Chris Berman doesn’t do NASCAR.

Real Live Sci-Fi: Man's Implant Infects Computers

Here's an article with some rather creepy implications. The source, The Chronicle of Higher Education's, Wired Campus column. YIKES!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Politician -- Another Liar

Richard Blumenthal is a common liar. There is no way in hell a person could accidentally say he served in Vietnam or overseas when he didn’t. There is no spinning this. Blumenthal, the Democratic Candidate to succeed Chris Dodd in the US Senate from Connecticut, has been caught in a bold face lie, not just once but on repeated occasions.

How stupid does this sleazy politician think the public is? Apparently pretty dumb.

Among his excuses: "At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves."

He further had the audacity to say his statement was “unintentional.” How can someone not intend to say: “I served during the Vietnam era. I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.”?

It’s very disturbing to think politicians think the public is gullible enough to think that what he said was simply a slip of the tongue. Slips of the tongue don’t sound like that. We’ve heard the occasional stumble, malapropism, or embarrassing mispronunciation. Mr. Blumenthal’s “misstatement” was none of these.

What it clearly was represented a calculated attempt to curry favor with veterans in his state to get them behind his election bid. Make no mistake about it as he would attempt to convince us his lie was just a mistake. It’s not. He’ll have to deal with it.

The public has the final say on this. If the voters of Connecticut knowingly elect someone who would so obviously lie about a substantial aspect of his personal record, how can they possibly expect any better in how he would conduct himself as a senator?

This kind of dishonesty reflects directly on a person’s character or lack of. Part of the tidal wave on anti-incumbent fervor sweeping the United States is aimed directly against the dishonesty and fraud that has become “situation normal” in Washington, DC. The American people must take the responsibility to send these weasels a clear message. Fundamental honesty is expected as a prerequisite to serve in elected office, period.

NASCAR Hall of Fame: May We Suggest Four of the Next Five?

NASCAR Hall of Fame: The Second Class

In October, the next five inductees for NASCAR’s Hall of Fame will be announced but who should be admitted?

In the early stages of honoring a sport’s finest, the true legends are so obvious, but over time, certain benchmarks seem to evolve but there will always be exceptions. Looking at the honored legends at Cooperstown, New York and Canton, Ohio testify to that.

We feel four of the next five are absolutely clear. These are drivers whose success on the track stood far above all those except the three already admitted. We feel their accomplishments speak for themselves, but we’ll remind our readers of a few details.

David Pearson – Pearson had 105 wins second to Richard Petty. Pearson won three championships during King Richard’s reign, 1966, 1968, and 1969.

Bobby Allison – Allison is tied in victories with 84 wins with Darrell Waltrip. He won one championship in 1982. The end of his career was marked by two horrific accidents. His first accident was a vicious incident at Talladega when his car airlifted off the track during the May, 1987 race traveling over 200 mph injuring several fans. This led to the beginning of restrictor plates as mandatory at Talladega and Daytona. In February, 1988 Allison was involved in one of NASCAR’s most touching personal moments when the senior Allison held off his son, Davey to win the Daytona 500. Later that season, June 19, 1988, Allison was involved in a near fatal accident causing memory loss and other complications at Pocono forcing the end of his brilliant career. He’d later lose two sons, Clifford and Davey, both racers: Clifford 1992 practicing for a Busch series race and Davey was killed in a helicopter accident at Talladega the following summer.

Cale Yarborough – Yarborough is 5th in overall wins just behind Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip tied with 84. Yarborough was the first driver to win three consecutive championships until that feat was equaled by Jimmie Johnson in 2008 with Johnson’s streak still continuing with four championships. Yarborough was a master of the Daytona 500 winning the February classic four times. During his career, he raced for both the legendary Wood Brothers (remember – legendary is mandatory in citing the Wood Brothers) and Junior Johnson. Besides his NASCAR accomplishments, he raced in four Indy 500’s, his best finish 10th in 1972.

Darrell Waltrip – Surely ol’ DW will have enough to say to justify an entire evening for his induction. In many ways, Waltrip was the first true racer of the modern era understanding the wide marketing and promotional possibilities of the sport. Nicknamed among other things, “Jaws,” for always having something to say, Waltrip earned three Winston Cup championships for owner, Junior Johnson and stands tied for third in victories with Bobby Allusion. He contributes much to the sport having served as a color analyst for Fox TV since 2001.

There are many possibilities for the fifth inductee. Surely, Lee Petty, Richard’s father and holder of three championships will be hard to resist if the award goes to another driver. We’ll discuss other significant NASCAR figures who we believe should be enshrined in later seasons.

NASCAR's First Five -- Hall of Fame Induction Celebrated in Charlotte

How wonderful it was to witness the first inauguration for NASCAR’s newly dedicated Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. The original inductees seem to be the true titans worthy of the first class of those enshrined. They are:

Bill France, Sr. – Founder of the sport who propelled NASCAR from a small rural sport into a sports phenomenon ruling the southeastern United States and beyond.

Bill France, Jr. – Continued to family business into the new millennium. Under Bill France Jr.’s tenure, the sport with Winston sponsorship became a national phenomenon with its first nationwide telecast of the Daytona 500 in 1979, regular racing on ESPN and other cable outlets getting more complete to where every race was covered either on cable or a select few on conventional TV by 1990. 2001 saw the beginning of a huge TV contract initiated by NASCAR itself not the tracks broadening NASCAR to a much bigger audience. Through out the 1990’s more new race tracks helped move the sport to new territories bringing in new fans. Under his leadership, NASCAR became a full-scale major league national sport.

Richard Petty – began racing in 1958 and retired in 1992 during an era of huge change in the sport. The “King” won 200 races and seven championships becoming one of America’s most beloved figures in all of sports.

Dale Earnhardt – rough and genuine, Earnhardt is the only driver besides Petty to achieve seven championships. While as “down home” and folksy as can be, Earnhardt also understood the marketing power of the sport developing merchandising for the #3 “Intimidator” on scale with Michael Jordan. Few athletes in any sport created the intense reaction Earnhardt did. Fans either loved him or hated him but after his death in the 2001 Daytona 500 all appreciate the void his passing created. His death led to substantial efforts to improve driver safety in the sport.

Junior Johnson – is a true living legend dubbed “the Last American Hero” in an article written about his exploits by Tom Wolf. Growing up as a moonshiner from Wilkes County, North Carolina, he’d learn there were greater fortunes outrunning other cars on a race track than running from the law on rural North Carolina and Virginia highways. He was an ingenious driver learning such things as the science of drafting. He also was a pioneer in seeing the sports marketing appeal. His contribution to the sports were two fold, being a highly successful driver with 50 wins and owner with four championships with drivers Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip.

The induction ceremony emceed by long time television race announcer, Mike Joy, brought moments of joy, triumph, tears, and tenderness as various noteworthy figures and family members in each driver’s career highlighted their accomplishments.

Five months from now in October, the next five inductees will be announced and inducted next May. The first five will provide a slate impossible to top.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: All Star Shootout in Charlotte

This is one of two occasions where everyone who signs up gets to fight it out in competition. When it comes to when NASCAR elevates to the highest level of exposure, there’s Daytona’s “Speed Week” where every entry is entitled to race in the Twin 125’s in an attempt to race in the Daytona 500. There’s Charlotte’s “Speed Week,” and here it is. Tonight all contenders get their shot to participate in NASCAR’s All-Star race in a hotly contested race where only two drivers advance to join the field of those who based on the criteria of championships and victories is already in the field. One lucky driver will get in based on fan voting.

While the All-Star event counts nothing toward the championship, a million dollar trophy check and bragging rights makes it red hot for the drivers. The shootout style of racing, a series of heats, leading to the last hurrah intensifies the sense of drama as there are no long stretches to sort things out. It’s all out racing from start to finish and some insane things happen as a result.

Dale Earnhardt blasted around Bill Elliot racing through the infield grass to “git ‘er done.” Darrell Waltrip crossed the finish line as his engine exploded in great Junior Johnson fashion. Rusty Wallace knocked DW out of the way and spun him out for the victory. In the first night race in 1992, Kyle Petty and Davey Allison wrecked as they battled for the win at the finish line spinning and crashing as they took the checkered flag. Davey Allison never made it to victory lane. He was taken to a hospital for injuries sustained in the wreck. Though it is an all-star event, rookies win it. Ask Ryan Newman.

This year, there are some red hot drivers fighting to make the field including Juan Pablo Montoya, fastest in practice so far; Carl Edwards, and how badly does his team need some bragging rights right now? Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton must race to get in even though RCR has been red hot so far, but no win, not in. Bill Elliot, who has such a long history racing in the event, will be in the action too.

With 26 competitors, some who never race in earnest will be present too like Norm Benning. All the start and park teams will be present but there’s no easy exit to the pits as this race is so intense right from the beginning and given qualifying was washed out and drivers are lined up based on the luck of the draw.

The one thing that could dampen the enthusiasm is a high likelihood for thunderstorms in the Charlotte area. Long delays or a postponement would absolutely destroy the wild atmosphere and intensity of one of the most fun events on the entire racing calendar. We’re not even remotely thinking about who is in the best position to win. With the scattered starting order with qualifying washed out, it will be pure madness. Some mighty hot machinery will have to push, bang and bump to move into competition and some will pay the price for doing so. All the more reason, this is one fun race.
We send out our sympathy and best wishes to Brian Vickers who will not return to racing in the 2010 season. His blog clot condition is serious enough it will take the entire season to treat. This is a most unfortunate blow for the driver and team who had just broken through into The Chase in 2009.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arlen Specter: A Weasel's Demise

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. How can we not celebrate the defeat of Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary to Admiral Joe Sestac in Pennsylvania. The 30 year encumbent switched from Republican to Democrat last year because he saw he would lose in a Republican primary and arrogantly stated he was not about to allow a small faction of people in his mind, Republican voters, end his political career. Thus he changed parties giving the Democrats their much needed sixty seat majority.
The Democrats learned what the Republicans knew, Specter is an opportunistic weasel whose only political ambition is self preservation. There's no rhyme or reason to what consitutes his political core if he has one. How could voters not gasp with disgust witnessing his arrogance in town hall meetings when he'd brow beat Pennsylvania citizens seeking clarity on the health care debate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 12 - Baby Busch Tames Monster

Did hell freeze over or did a pit road mistake cost Jimmie Johnson a race? Yes, Jimmie Johnson appeared to be the most dominant driver at Dover this weekend in the Autism Speaks 400, but he was assessed a drive through penalty for exiting the pits too quickly. These things just don’t happen with the great Johnson/Knaus duo, do they?

So what’s the damage?

He dropped two positions in the standings down to 4th but sits -131 from the top, is tied for the lead in victories with three, and is only five points behind Matt Kenseth who picked up two spots to hold down 3rd.

Thus it turned out to be a happy day for the brat, Kyle Busch, whose shrub blossomed in victory lane helping him move into second place in the standings, the only driver with two wins behind teammate, Denny Hamlin, who moved up one position in points, and Jimmie Johnson who have three positions each.

Dale Earnhardt can’t buy a break and could perhaps be described as the afternoon’s big loser having mechanical problems dropping four positions to 16th after flirting with the top 12. While that looks bad, he’s only 13 points behind Ryan Newman in 13th who’s 30 points behind Martin Truex who has now slipped into 12th.

Whatever dreams Brian Vickers had for the season were dashed when he was hospitalized with blood clots. Having missed this race dropped him seven positions, and there is no timetable for his return other than surely the next week’s race, the All-Star event in Charlotte is out of the question.

Two happy fellows must be Tony Stewart and David Reutimann both of whom moved up four places with their performance. With Newman in 13th and Stewart in 14th, it would appear the sophomore jinx is biting Stewart-Haas racing that performed so well in their first year working as a unit.

Surely it was a bright afternoon for Toyota with Kyle Busch winning the race, his teammate Denny Hamlin in 4th, David Reutimann in 5th for Michael Waltrip racing, and third Joe Gibbs entry, Joey Logano, in 10th.

Jeff Burton continues to quietly make an impact having spoken of he was determined for his team to be more aggressive saw his results pay off with a second place finish. That result was his 3rd top five of the year allowing him to move up one position in the standings. Adding to the Richard Childress success found Kevin Harvick in the top 10 with his 7th place finish.

Jack Roush and the Ford effort must feel some comfort in placing three drivers in the top 10 but once again no Ford has looked in serious position of contending for the win. Matt Kenseth finished 3rd, Greg Biffle – 6th, and Carl Edwards – 9th.

It’s sad to note that attendance was reported at 88,000 fans for a track seating 140,000. Given the Dover facility draws from three nearby major markets, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC despite unfortunately being the same weekend as the Preakness in Baltimore, the long expanse of back stretch seats covered over with trampolines was a sad recognition of NASCAR’s recent decline in fortunes. Dover is a great venue to enjoy racing and surely the season is most competitive at this point. Granted, some facilities don’t even seat 88,000 still there’s no happy spin on this issue.

The race was relatively calm for a Monster Mile excursion with five caution flags for 24 laps; however, all these cautions involved accidents and weren’t for minor problems like “debris on the race track.” From a competitive standpoint, eight drivers led the race changing the lead twenty times.

The “Monster” was rather gentle in so far as no real dreams were dashed by a notorious Dover episode. The Sprint Cup teams return home to Charlotte for two weeks of racing, the first All-Star weekend coming next week followed by NASCAR’s grueling marathon, the Coca Cola 600.

At the 1/3 point of the season, there’s still plenty of room for movement in to the top 12. Consider position #19 stands at 1322 points and #12, the first position in the chase has 1434 points, that’s only 122 points separating the field of seven cars competing to make it to 12th. Within the Chase bracket, less than 100 points divide 9th (1531 points) from 12th. The completion of the Coca Cola 600 marks half the distance to the Chase.

Friday, May 14, 2010

BP Boss -- Indefensible!

Quote from BP President regarding gulf oil spill, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.."

So says Tony Heyward, BP CEO in an interview in London's Guardian.

How relatively tiny is this?

Ask the folks in the seafood business who cannot work because they are put out of work because the fishing and shell fish beds are polluted.

Tell it to the the resort owners forced to close down their beaches.

Tell it to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, for not only are their beaches facing devastation, how much damage will their struggling economies suffer from this.

Tell it to a duck or some other water fowl covered in oil.

This is exactly the kind of arrogant, elitism that gives the population good reason to be contemptuous of corporate big shots. This kind of insensitivity as the images of the gulf disaster continue to stream across our television and computer screens.

Right now, there's only one sound way for Mr. Heyward to react and this is not for the sake of good corporate PR, it's what his company must be committed to else the wrath of customers where ever BP products are sold will be heard. Heyward must accept total responsibility, do everything that his company can possibly do, and acknowledge the human cost of his company's mistake. This is no time for parsing the issue. All responsible parties, the companies involved and the appropriate governmental agencies must be humble with all focus on solving the problem.

This is no time for anyone involved to engage in finger pointing either. What's important now is cleaning up the mess. The courts will be busy for years determining who ultimately gets the blame.

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 12 -- Look Out There's a Monster Coming

Speaking of racing, does anyone think there might be some Sprint Cup drivers sneaking in for a little Preakness action and a nice crab cake platter Saturday afternoon? For those who don't have a roll to play with the Nationwide race, why not?
The monster stands poised to twist up and devour machinery this weekend as the qualifying order is set for Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Having Dover come right after a race at Darlington provides a race fan with an incredible level of excitement with two of the series toughest, most dramatic tracks back-to- back. Remember this when it’s one brand new 1 ½ to 2 mile track after another later on in the season.

The field is set and some teams that needed a boost surely must be breathing a brief sigh of relief knowing full well what lies ahead on Sunday.

Mike Waltrip racing needed a break. Their performance in 2010 has been way below expectations. Martin Truex sits on the pole. Fords have not qualified well and Richard Petty Racing’s top driver, Kasey Kahne, stands from the chase. His Budweiser #9 Ford will start on the outside of the front row. Mark Martin, looking for more of the magic that made last year so special, starts 3rd.

Next in line are two formidable racers who seek to assert themselves in the championship chase. Kyle Busch commands five consecutive top ten finishes after a lackluster start. His intentions became clear with his win at Richmond. His 4th place starting position speaks of some darned rowdy desire. Jimmie Johnson never lets one week’s misfortune bleed over to the next. Those who’ve felt relieved to see Johnson fall out of the top spot in the standings, let us not forget after some terrible races including a DNF last week, he is still in second place, a bad race by the frontrunner away from reclaiming the top spot and tied for the lead in victories with Denny Hamlin, he still would be top dog were the Chaser to begin today. Speculation has been buzzing around media circles that could the #48 team have not been prepared properly for the spoiler. Forget it! Knaus and Johnson have probably analyzed more angles to the new aerodynamics than anyone.

Looking to get their seasons into a good groove, Ryan Newman starts 6th and Clint Bowyer lines up 7th. The final positions in the top ten must be matters of tremendous relief for those involved, all three of whom need a break to get their seasons headed in the right direction. A.J. Allmendinger puts the #43 Ford in 8th. Carl Edwards #99 is feeling ducky in 9th. How important is it to have two more Fords in the top ten given their dreadful qualifying recently. In 10th, the forgotten man in the Penske garage, Sam Hornish Jr. Just outside the top 12, #11 is where Jamie McMurray, one of this year’s brightest surprises stands ready to hit the concrete while Kurt Busch seeks to solidify his spot in the top ten on the outside of the 6th row.

Ford needs a win. It would surely help give the new structure and switch to Ford some credibility in the Richard Petty operation. Roush/Fenway always a factor in the chase might have three of its four cars in the top 12, but they have not gotten there in spectacular fashion. How often have we heard of a Roush driver pushing toward the front of the field in the last ten laps?

A vicious pack of Fords can be found from 19th to 24th with only Brad the Brat in 20thin his Penske Dodge in 20th. The Ford pack has car #19 in 19th, Elliott Sadler, then Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, Paul Menard, and Greg Biffle line up ready to go.

Brian Vickers is out ill. Casey Mears starts his #83 Red Bull car in 39th.

Still looking to silence critics that the problems of last year’s problems are over, Dale Earnhardt Jr. only manages a 27th start. Likewise, Kevin Harvick who’s attempting to prove he belongs atop the standings managed only a 30th slot. Thankfully for the true competitors, there are no drivers below 30th who’d be given any shot of winning. We’ll see which ones peel off the track early. Dover’s the kind of track that can wreck the sissies before they can head to the garage. Don’t mess with the monster if you’re not prepared to fight.

Todd Bodine and Max Papis failed to qualify. Kevin Conway and Robby Gordon report to the 41st and 42nd spots on the basis of owner points. With the start and park slugs already toward the back of the field, their shameful presence on the track barring a Dover style mishap is minimized though the marginal #13 operation is out despite having GEICO sponsorship. We’re through trying to rationalize “start and park.” We don’t like what it means to racing, and we just want them gone. They add nothing to the sport other than a nice picture of 43 cars at the beginning. They suck up some of the race’s purse that could go to a team that is financing itself to honestly compete. Should the Monster gobble them up like a redneck chomping down Slim Jims would hurt few feelings for sure.

The weather should be ideal. The Mid-Atlantic fans are primed for the action. Bring it on!

UNC Case Makes Right Minded Fellow Clarify Stance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- We'll Tell You Why

Nobody asked, but young UNC ROTC student
felt she had to tell as a matter of conscience.
Sara Isaacson is in the hole for $80,000. Why? She received an ROTC scholarship paid by the US Army for her to attend the University of North Carolina with the intent to become an army doctor, a family tradition following in her grandfather’s footsteps. However, Sara had a personal issue to deal with. Sara is a Lesbian. She enrolled with the intent to follow through with the “don’t ask/don’t tell” pledge. However, over time, she felt that position was morally indefensible. Maintaining her silence she felt was being dishonest and in good conscience she had to be truthful.

The head of University of North Carolina’s ROTC program, noted in receipt of her letter declaring her orientation, that the Army would lose “a great young American.” He was able to offer Ms. Isaacson the opportunity to withdraw her letter since she wasn’t technically in the military.

The more we dive into the moral issues dealing with homosexuality, the more the eternal history of prejudice and exclusion of such individuals becomes morally reprehensible. While it is easy to make sweeping moral judgments that with little more than “that’s the way it’s always been” as a defense when we realize when we talk of homosexuals, we are talking about individual people who have their own aspirations and talents.

The fear and loathing of some members of “straight” society is not only indefensible, it is downright sick. What is more laughable and disgusting than a seemingly alpha male trashing a person for being “gay” as if it would somehow be threatening to him? How many of these he-men have ever been propositioned by someone of their own gender? What makes Mr. Macho Stud think he’d be appealing to a homosexual to begin with?

The bottom line is whose business is it what two adults do in private. While there is some logic, not much, to don’t ask don’t tell, openly sexual conduct of any kind is unacceptable in the heat of military engagement. It should be the military’s business to define what kind of behavior is unacceptable when servicemen and women are on duty rather than categorically eliminating people based on some behavioral preference they might have.

The case of Sara Isaacson is perhaps a perfect defining example of just how absurd our archaic thinking has been.

If this should offend some conservative readers, that’s too bad. Being conservative does not mean one must be bigoted against homosexuals. Instead, the libertarian aspect of conservative values should indicate that this is a matter of personal freedom and any kind of legal restriction of such behavior is excessive government intrusion into one’s private lives. The military can deal with setting proper codes of conduct.

There certainly are Biblical implications to this discussion especially focusing on the Third Book of Moses, in which Leviticus not only denounces homosexuality but prescribes death to those who offend the holy command. The New Testament is not as harsh in its rhetoric but clearly Corinthians makes it clear it is one of several no-no’s that keeps one from “inheriting the kingdom of heaven.”

There’s no winning an argument with someone who subscribes to certain literal interpretations of holy scripture no matter what faith one follows; however, for those who seek to use the Bible as authority of civil law, we must realize that the second amendment provides enough legal guidance that any prohibitions against homosexuality simply do not stand constitutional legal requirements. Clearly, engaging in homosexual behavior does not deprive other individuals of their ability to exercise their freedoms. Additionally, if one sought to use the Biblical concept as the basis of law it would have the effect of violating the establishment clause of the constitution by invoking a religious tenet as a legal restraint. Further, by making such a stance a matter of law, it denies the free expression of behavior that were it not for Biblical sanction established as law, would be permissible. We suspect that the fourth amendment would also come into play as it is the closest we have to a guarantee of privacy in stating, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…

While this writer is neither a Constitutional scholar or expert when it comes to scripture, while Mathew 7, is often used as the ultimate cop-out for opting out of acting decisively, when it comes to moralizing over a person’s private behavior, “judge not lest thee be judged” makes a heck of a lot of sense.

Sara Isaacson’s case brings forward all the hypocrisy of where our society stands on homosexual issues. Acting from the standpoint of her personal integrity, Ms. Isaacson refused to keep her true nature secret. Her personal integrity cost her $80,000. While in idealistic terms, that’s a small price to pay, but in the real world, this young lady owes a staggering debt, the high cost of higher education, with still much more to accomplish before completing her academic requirements for her career ambitions.

Does not her situation amplify the absurdity of where our culture stands today and show we still have much room to grow?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miss USA: Enough is Enough

Miss Massachusetts decorated as a slut for Miss USA 2010 contest
Beauty contests by their very nature are rather creepy affairs. They market young ladies as some kind of priceless commodity judged in about the same manner as show dogs in the Westminster dog shows. While Miss America maintains a squeaky clean image and the girls get scholarships, Miss USA, owned and operated by Donald Trump was originated by a bathing suit company. Last year, a huge scandal broke loose after Miss California, Carrie Prejean, a staunch traditional fundamentalist Christian answered a loaded question why she opposed homosexual marriage. Her answer created an immediate media firestorm that polarized pro and anti homosexual forces with the media damning Prejean for what they would view as her prejudiced archaic views while conservative talk show hosts made her their darling.

Controversy brings attention. Nobody appreciates that better than "the Donald." However, from a promotion standpoint, it's better to create the controversy than be subjected to it, so to make sure the 2010 pageant could rival the 2009 contest, they've developed a campaign which surely will create notice. In advance of the contest, all the contestants were dressed in trashy lingerie and mutilated with slutty looking makeup posing provocatively in bold black and white photos that look like something out of Penthouse magazine. Perhaps the notion was that would drive out any contestants like Prejean who might be offended to be painted up like a common whore.

This is media exploitation at its finest. Miss America is no longer on network TV. You can bet NBC is applauding their ratings will be higher thanks to the cheesy photo shoot of anxious young girls attempting to make a name for themselves.

While we usually think actions on behalf of many women's advocacy groups are more about advancing idiotic left wing politics than truly looking out for women, we would welcome an outcry on this. Any beautiful woman who would seek to promote herself on the basis of her abilities and intellect could surely see this as a setback to crumbling the glass ceiling.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The NASCAR Hall of Fame: It's Time!

Cooperstown, Canton, Springfield and now Charlotte?

Baseball, the NFL, and basketball have had successful halls of fame for some time but NASCAR proudly opens its hall of fame today. With NASCAR legends Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Junior Johnson and NASCAR despots Bill France Jr. and Bill France Sr. being enshrined as the inaugural inductees, a lovely high tech exhibit center opens its doors with all things NASCAR including a huge display of historic cars from the sport's past and all kinds of exhibits, simulators, and interactive high tech goodies to help fans better understand the sport.

Charlotte already is the hub of NASCAR and the host city of the series annual all-star event. NASCAR teams have their shops in the Charlotte area, so it is most appropriate that the Carolina Queen City should be the choice location though Atlanta, Richmond, and Kansas City sought to be considered. While the other locations might have their travel logistics considerations, when it comes right down to it, there are only two places that really are eternal shrines to NASCAR Charlotte and Daytona. We think NASCAR made the right decision picking North Carolina as its spot.

While the first round of inductees appears so obvious, the next crop will be tougher plus recently retired drivers like Rusty Wallace become eligible. David Pearson and Bobby Allison have to be at the top of the list. Then after them, where do Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip figure in? Surely some historic figures before Richard Petty’s reign deserve enshrinement. We figure eventually, all drivers who have at least two championships and/or 50 wins are shoe-in’s. Lee Petty has three championships. Ned Jarrett has two championships and 50 wins. Rusty Wallace has 54 wins and one championship. The two time champs not covered so far are: Buck Baker, Herb Thomas, Joe Weatherly, Terry Labonte and Tim Flock.

Who’s racing today who will get in without question? Jeff Gordon has four championships and 82 wins. Jimmie Johnson has four consecutive championships and 50 wins – already as many wins as Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett. Tony Stewart has two championships and 37 wins. Should Bill Elliot make it with one championship and 44 wins along with his Winston Million victory? How about Mark Martin? He’s never won a championship, but he’s sure finished in second more times than he probably wants to remember? Martin has 40 wins. All drivers with more wins than Martin are already in the hall-of-fame discussion.

Surely some great owners deserve their place. Petty Enterprises, Hendrick Motor Sports, and Richard Childress are clearly in the picture. How do crew chiefs and engine builders get in the picture? How can we keep calling them, the “legendary” Wood Brothers without their place in the hall? Perhaps a tally of championship crew chiefs deserves scrutiny. When his time comes, how could Chad Knaus not be enshrined? Just of the top, names like Jeff Hammond, Waddell Wilson, Ray Evernham, Larry McReynolds, and Dale Inman come to mind.

Folks who promoted the sport like Humpy Wheeler and Ken Squire – where do they fit in?

How does the Nationwide/Busch/Grand National series figure in? There were notable figures like Jack Ingram, Sam Ard, and Tommy Houston figure in?

Did anyone say something about Red Farmer? He’s been everywhere?

Maybe the Camping World Truck series is too new, but in time, what about their best? Should we consider “modified” champs? Why not?

Should there be a debate about is this truly a Sprint Cup Hall-of-Fame or a NASCAR Hall-of-Fame?

It will take a few years of enshrinements to really make the list of legends feel anywhere near complete. However, there is probably not a single name mentioned in this report that is not deserving. Admittedly, there are more who deserve consideration we’ve not mentioned. Bud Moore, for instance, just came to mind.

For a sport that is 62 years old and going strong, a Hall of Fame is surely due. May it be successful and a wonderful experience for all its visitors.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baltimore Murders - Sixty and Counting

As of May 10, sixty people have been murdered in Baltimore. If this pace were to continue, at the end of the year there would be much celebration as at the current rate there would be 167 homicides, but this is only May, the long hot summer is still approaching.
n April 23, a 49 year old homeless man was found beaten to unconscious at 1000 W. Lexington Street. David Allen Beers was pronounced dead on Wednesday, May 5. Beers had a long record of criminal charges, burglaries and drug charges. What makes his death significant was he was the first white murder victim of 2010. On that same date another blunt force trauma victim, also white, was found in South Baltimore, the address 3733 S. Hanover Street. The victim has yet to be identified.
On May 3rd in the block of 1500 W. Fayette Street, an indentified shooting victim was found. No identity has been released.
On April 17, a two year old African American girl, Melonie Hamber of 2000 E. Hoffman Streete was beaten to death by her father.
The numbers stack up that so far 56 African American males have been murdered in Baltimore. One victim was killed by her African American father. There's one murder that hasn't been identified. All but nine of the murders were shootings. There were six stabbings and three beatings.
In the Baltimore region, if you live in Baltimore City and are a black male, murder is a fact of life. If you're anyone else or live outside of the city, you're probably not going to be killed.
Thousands gathered to mourn the death of Yeardley Love, a beautiful 22 year old Cockeysville resident, graduate from Notre Dame Prep, and soon to graduate senior at the University of Virginia. She was savagely beated by her former boyfriend, likewise a UVA senior, a young man from a family of wealth and privilege. The entire Mid-Atlantic cries for Yeardley's death.
Beautiful white girls don't get murdered. When they do it is BIG news. If we believe every human life is of value, while Ms. Love's death shocks us for its brutality and how unthinkable it is. Sadly, there's one difference besides the obvious for the 56 black males murdered in Baltimore, their deaths have become all too thinkable. However, are their deaths any less horrible and shocking to their families?
What will it take for our community to feel the outrage over the thinkable loss of life we feel for the unthinkable? What's to say these murder victims might have had bright and valuable days ahead of them? Of course, Ms. Love graduated from an esteemed private Catholic school, and where did the murder victims go to school and how successful are those schools. Can anyone say vouchers?
While there are dozens of factors that make Ms. Love's death different than the nameless 56, a duhunizing, totally ineffective, unmotivating school system is one thing we can all contribute to improving through vouchers which seem especially noteworthy when private Catholic schools are closing, supposedly due to lack of enrollment. Charter schools and other solutions outside of the assembly line education factories manned by rank-in-file, senority based educators must be made available to even the most disadvantaged schools. Streets need to be cleaned up with law enforcement present and effective community based organizations, not shams like ACORN, to provide a sense of purpose to commnities written off as slums. The Black church needs its vitality and authority restored.
This is no pipe dream. This is no "progressive" ideological position. It's what every American, especially those who love this country and appreciate its freedom and potential must support.
Meanwhile, the body count continues.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 11 -- Hot Saturday Night -- Cool Cash for Hamlin

Life must be hell for Jeff Gordon, once again, there were times during the Southern 500 in Darlington where the #24 car dominated, but once again stuff happened and Jeff Gordon was denied a trip to victory circle. This time it was a botched pit stop not able to pull in on time having to circle the track at a slower speed and then as he entered the pit, a yellow flag. Bah-bye big pay day. At least he couldn’t be mad at teammate Jimmie Johnson this week. Johnson was in the garage with a scrap heap only completing 279 of the 367 laps a miserable 36th place finish that was perhaps propped up by the usual suspects who never finish a race. Perhaps there was some warped justice because some of the start and park nuisances sustained wreckage before “parkage.” Boo-hoo.

Don’t feel too bad for the Hendricks four time champions. Jimmie Johnson remains in second place but the gap between first and second has grown. Meanwhile, Jeff Gordon was able to sort things out and finish 4th picking up two positions in the standings now in fourth.

Southern 500 Finish, Top 10
1. Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2. Jaime McMurray, Chevy
3. Kurt Busch, Dodge
4. Jeff Gordon, Chevy
5. Juan Montoya, Chevy
6. Kevin Harvick, Chevy
7. Kyle Busch, Toyota
8. Jeff Burton, Chevy
9. Ryan Newman, Chevy
10. Brian Vickers, Toyota

Top 12 Standings (unofficial)
1. Kevin Harvick, Chevy
2. Jimmie Johnson, Chevy 1-110
3. Kyle Busch, Toyota, -113
4. Jeff Gordon, Chevy, -147 (+2)
5. Matt Kenseth, Ford, -150 (-1)
6. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, -164 (+1)
7. Greg Biffle, Ford, -191 (-2)
8. Kurt Busch, Dodge, -202
9. Jeff Burton, Chevy, -228
10. Mark Martin, Chevy, -265
11. Carl Edwards, Ford, -227
12. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., -304 (+1)

Clint Bowyer dropped 3 positions out of the top 12.

Bad qualifying yields bad racing. The results for the Blue Oval Ford boys were a disaster at a track Ford has a good history. The highest finishing Ford was Matt Kenseth in 13th, followed by teammates David Ragan, and Carl Edwards. The next Ford, the first for Richard Petty Racing was Kasey Kahne in 20th followed by teammate Elliot Sadler., then Roush entry, Greg Biffle in 22nd. The ill-fated #26 team that was forced out of the Roush garage by NASCAR rules, had its best finish with David Stremme running in 24th.

2010 continues to be a frustrating season for Tony Stewart who just can’t get on a solid top ten roll finishing 23rd. His challenge to get into the elite circle of 12 continues to get more difficult.

The race had 19 lead changes, 11cautions; another hot night in South Carolina. It’s on to an equally frantic track next week in Dover, Delaware. This year the NASCAR gods moved Dover in front of Charlotte putting “the track too tough to tame” and “the monster mile” back to back. Could that make the 600 miles at Charlotte seem like a leisurely ride in the country?

Probably not, that would not be the style for 2010. Some teams really need to step up the action to be in good standing for the end of the summer and a shot at the chase. This is a very tough stretch in the schedule, the perfect setting for sorting out the field.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

American Flag Dispute in California Middle School: Everything is Upside Down

Five California middle school students were sent home for wearing T-shirts with American Flag artwork on Thursday, May 5th out of fears that wearing such was not appropriate on Cinco de Mayo, the celebration of Mexican independence where students would be wearing Mexican colors much as many wear green on St. Patrick’s Day for its Irish heritage. For grown ups, the Mexican holiday is becoming another excuse to hit the bars and get drunk like its November counterpart, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Since when is ever wearing something that salutes our country wrong? Why should anyone have any concerns about the American flag? Quite honestly, if wearing the flag would make some uncomfortable or incite any problems, the attention should be directed at those who would be aggravated. While it’s fashionable to knock traditional patriotic symbols and the left has a strong anti-American, anti military view point, the rest of us know better.

Fortunately the Santa Cruz school board did not stand behind the idiotic decision of Morgan Hill Middle School’s cowardly and defensive administration, but the damage had been done, the students were sent home, and the battle lines were drawn that polarized the school community causing students considering themselves pro-Latino to walk out the following day.

The bottom line is it seems in today’s world, kids would be totally free to wear clothing depicting Che Guevara or any revolutionary movement but something that’s patently all-American, look out!

Schools are so paranoid and their political correctness and extreme adherence to Nanny State abuse are completely out of control. Such a climate makes spineless administrators do stupid things. It’s happening right now at public school near you. Accommodate the cry babies, attack the longstanding traditional values which have served our civilization so well.

Display the flag proudly. It’s a symbol of freedom around the world, a lesson somehow forgotten by too many close to home.

Left-Wing Hysteria and Arizona's Plight

The following blog was motivated by posts from the two most devote Facebook friends. One is all over The other writes his own naive and ignorant blogs and follows like a moth to a flame any thing Credo cretins post. I wonder if they have any idea what the law really says. One is unemployed. -RMF
The current frenzy sweeping the left concerning Arizona’s effort to control the massive tide of illegal aliens rushing into their state reveals the true character of the liberal mindset and how destructive and defeating it is.

Is there anything that offends them or that they disagree with they’re not armed with some term of demonization ready to fly as a quick knee jerk reaction?

In this case, Arizona is RACIST. There efforts are an attack against, let’s use their favorite phrase that sounds so phony, “people of color,” which an old school English teacher would say should be “colored people” to be grammatically correct, but African-Americans used to be called “colored people” back when segregation was still the norm, so they were renamed something else and something else and something else which is another part of the liberal game, if you don’t like the reality of something, change the name. Arizona is dealing with illegal aliens, but the left would call them undocumented workers, residents, or event citizens. Hmm, interesting.

In typical “Chicken Little” fashion, the messengers for the progressive cause, are dashing about screaming, “The sky is falling!!!” Well, in this case they’re screaming Arizona passed a law so they can round up people of Latino origin and either put them in detention facilities they would compare to or call concentration camps or deport them back to Mexico. The analogies to Nazi Germany are a huge part of their propaganda campaign. Anyone who sympathizes with Arizona’s action is a racist! Like Chicken Little, once another left wing hysteria campaign cuts loose, Chicken Little and the rest of the dumb clucks in their movement getting further support from the main stream media and sobbing celebrities in the entertainment industry repeat the Orwellian “big lies” which the barnyard clucks in the Liberal hen house are supposed to never question. After all, all the dumb clucks want to spread the word and if raises a stink, well consider their edict to be marching orders.

The simple truth is the Arizona law essentially restates the Federal law committing the state to the same positions. Only those already stopped for some other probable cause can be questioned about their residency. Lost in all of this, in exchange for an alien’s presence in the United States, one must carry identification which identifies their presence as legal to begin with. The bottom line is anyone obeying the law cannot be processed by the terms of this law and would have a rock solid defense should a mistake be made. The Arizona legislature knew the kinds of things critics would assail and crafted a bill carefully to address all concerns.

Arizona is in a crisis situation. Phoenix leads the world in the number of kidnappings most part of drug gang activity. Its schools and hospitals have their resources spread thin and tax payers are picking up the tab for the illegal aliens being served by those vital institutions. The land along the southern border can be a chaotic lawless mess where adequate border defenses aren’t effective. It’s hard for folks in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Wisconsin to understand such things and then there’s always the “red herring” that it’s obviously racist what they’re doing because nobody bordering Canada where nice white people live have similar concerns. Well, are there any floods of illegal aliens rushing the border crossing the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls? How are things going along the Washington/British Columbia border?

The motives of the Liberal Brain Trust are obvious. They’re using the race card as part of the game of identity politics attempting to divide the population, create a victim class and lock them in as loyal members of their cause. By attempting to identify those who want to control the borders as racist, they seek to create hysteria among all who they can nudge to thinking themselves as a persecuted minority. By creating a picture of racism directed against Latino, they bridge the lawful Latino population who obeys the law who came here legally with those here illegally. In fact, if all were on the table and the issue discussed honestly, should not those who worked hard to be here legally be offended that others are attempting to gain the same rights and privileges they enjoy without paying the price?

All across the nation, Left-Wing Chicken Little’s are demanding boycotts of everything Arizona, a state facing economic hardships spread thinner by the damages of the lawlessness flooding in from south of the border. Some measures go as far as orders from the governor, votes by state legislatures and city councils. They have a big target in mind, Major League Baseball’s All Star Game scheduled to play in Phoenix in 2011. Such events bring much money into a region with the media and fans that come into the area for such an event. among others is putting the heat on MLB to play the game somewhere else. Surely, something will be directed at the BCS for the Fiesta Bowl as well. It won’t stop until they see they are being ignored and the events take place successfully anyway.

Insisting on the rule of law is not racist. Demanding action against those who work around immigration law is not racist.

The same old refrains keep being sung. Barack Obama is leading the chorus screaming it’s unfair to target people based on their ethnicity, skin color, style of dress, or how they talk. How convenient. Of course we don’t persecute those who speak French who might cross into America along the Canadian border with upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. We don’t have a problem with Anglican/Canadians entering America. Once again, here’s the Liberal “big lie” at work. The reason we don’t is there is no problem with Canadians. If such an influx were creating problems among the northern border states, the results would be similar. Just like most terrorists who’ve acted against the United States are Islamic most illegal aliens are Latinos mostly from Mexico.

Honesty and reality are a real problem for the left. Because they want something to be a certain way, they think their ideological dreams and schemes are so noble any means to reach their ends will always be justified. Demonizing their opponents and lying about what’s really going on is fair game.

We would hope regardless of where all Americans stand on this issue, they would first at least learn the facts of the situation and then make up their minds. This writer is not convinced Arizona’s approach is the correct way to go, but also accepts the problem is out of control and demands immediate action something that was not forthcoming until they took their action last month.

Take the emotion ginned up by the radical left out of the picture and deal with the real problems that exist in Arizona, then the rational discussion and content of the subject matter aren’t so far fetched.

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 11 -- Old Time NASCAR

Thank God, Darlington is still on the circuit though limited to just one night a year. This race is the real deal, a link to the earliest days of NASCAR as the first super speedway. It’s right in the heart of Dixie, northern South Carolina, NASCAR country. In the new millennium things changed. NASCAR intent on being a national sport fled Rockingham just up the road in North Carolina, and cut Darlington to one date. The Southern 500 was long a Labor Day tradition, but got packed up and shipped to Los Angeles in 2005 where the date failed miserably to return to Dixie in Atlanta for 2009. Thankfully, the name, Southern 500, lives on with the May race at the historic track. For those who love the historic track in rural South Carolina, it remains “the track too tough too tame.”

Few tracks afford better racing than the venerable odd 1.366 egg-shaped oval shaped track. With the new emphasis on competition, the modified car configuration, and much to sort out in the standings, this weekend’s race should be a good old Darlington blast. Jaime McMurray leads the pack from the pole, setting a qualifying record, and also shows the best practice time with a familiar qualifying them for 2010, Fords are qualifying poorly. Only four cars in the top twenty are Fords ranging from Kasey Kahne, 10th; A.J. Allmendinger, 12th; Greg Biffle, 17th, the top Roush/Fenway entry, and Paul Menard, 20th. The balance of the Roush racers qualified with David Regan, 21st; Matt Kenseth, 29th; and Carl Edwards set by owner points in 41st.

Qualifying gave points leader Kevin Harvick no favor starting in 35th position, while Jimmy Johnson starts 22nd.

Top 10 Qualifiers:
1. Jaime McMurray, Chevy
2. Jeff Gordon, Chevy
3. Brian Vickers, Toyota
4. David Reutimann, Toyota
5. Mark Martin, Chevy
6. Ryan Newman, Chevy
7. Marcos Ambrose, Toyota
8. Denny Hamlin, Toyota
9. Brad Keselowski, Dodge
10. Kasey Kahne, Ford

Since the Darlington race became the single May, Mother’s Day weekend, night race, Mark Martin is last year’s winner; Kyle Busch in 2008; Jeff Gordon, 2007, and Greg Biffle, 2006, 2005. Jimmie Johnson won the last two races on the old schedule, spring and Labor Day weekend, 2004. Jeff Burton is the only other active driver with victories at the track.

Though Darlington’s survival looked bleak just a few years ago, with fresh pavement, lights for night racing, and other improvements, the May event is selling out and it looks like the Dixie heritage will live on with only Charlotte as the other track still in operation in the Carolinas.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer: If You Don't Like It...

...just go about your business. Nobody is forcing ANYONE to covert to or profess belief in any relgion. The National Day of Prayer recognizes the roll faith has played in building our strength as a culture.
Let's be clear, those in the Freedom from Religion are free from religion. If they believe their "right" includes being totally insolated from other peoples' expression of belief, they've got another thing coming to them. People of faith, like it or not, have to put up with their constant whining and insults.
While this writer does not share Rev. Franklin Graham's doctine of faith, Graham deserves tremendous respect for putting his faith into action tending to the needy and left behind around the world even attempting to open doors to North Korea. His comments about Islam, though stated from the conviction of his religious beliefs, do resound with strong truths. Just as we just discussed with immigration, people have a sad tendency of talking with passionate conviction without ever bothering to read what's at stake. One cannot read The Koran without realizing that the Muslim religion is founded on some vicious and cruel notions and sanctions bigotry and sexism.
While we're not going to attempt to argue from a Christian pulpit, we will note The Bible talks of false prophets, and surely when one considers that concept vis-a-vis the writings in The Koran, that notion is driven home clearly. Mohammed should be seen as one of the villains of world history not in the light of Jesus, Buddha, or Moses.
Anything that makes today's "me" driven culture pause and help individuals understand there are wonderful powers far greater than the individual is a good thing.

Arizona Immigration Controversy: READ THE LAW

The misconceptions about the Arizona effort to control the tide of illegal aliens entering through the state's south border and taxing the state resources are out of control. The agenda driven left-wing crowd who define the truth as whatever needs to be said to obtain their ideological goal are at it again.


While our sympathies do not reside with the approach many conservatives demand, we must have an orderly process which defines how foreigners may obtain residence in the United States. There must be clear, understandable, enforceable policies for those who violate the law. Most importantly, those who traffic in bringing in illegal aliens or entice aliens to come to America to be employed illegally must be held responsible and face legal action accordingly.


We cannot let the current situation drive our country into a state of xenophobia or anti-immigrant hysteria. We are a welcoming nation. All of us come from somewhere that is not from sea to shining sea.


Here's the law. It clarifies the issue and shoots holes through the outrageous claims of racism and persecution the left is screaming. The problem is, resolving immigration issues is supposed to be a Federal responsibility. What is a state to do when the National Government fails to fulfill its duty?

The media must stop its misrepresentation of the issue and stop fanning the hysteria without reporting the facts first.
The immigration mess is tangled up in a vicious web between government inaction, the extreme and incomprehensible stance of the left and the knee-jerk reactionary stance of some on the right. Meanwhile, the problems persist and lives are in the balance.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More On Ernie Harwell

What an incredible man?
What a moving sight in tribute on TV tonight, a replay of his farewell to his beloved "Tigah" fans last September. Knowing he was dying of cancer he approached the microphone with look of boyish wonder on his face as he took in the thousands of fans in the stands cheering for him -- the sight of a humble man humbled. He never lost his composure. In his last appearance in Tiger Land, he looked healthy, joyful, and so consistent with everything we always remembered him for.

Another Terrorist Episode: Another Radical Islam Mission

With the arrest Faisal Shahzad, a 30 year old American citizen from Pakistan, for being the prime suspect in Saturday’s bombing attempt at Time Square, once again the ugly specter of Islamic terrorism is at hand. Shahzad had returned to America after several months in Pakistan, presumably learning bomb making. Evidence shows a likely Taliban connection. Is it also possible the proximately to Viacom Headquarters after the South Park episode ridiculed Mohammed might come into play?

We know enough to rule out other sources and know that some strain of the extreme violent strain of the Muslim religion is at it again. There is no value to those who believe other than their murderous creed. Human life has no value. All those who stand in their way are to be destroyed.

We are at war with radical Islam, like it or not. The Islamic world must choose sides, and they’d damned well better choose peace. There is no room for the culture of death the Taliban and Al Qaeda represent.