Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pete Stark - One of Capitol Hill's Worst

When a member of the private citizen organization, the Minutemen, stood to ask California Congressman Pete Stark a question about border security, the radical leftr-wing atheist legislator taunted the citizen with a hate-filled taunt sneering: “Who are you going to kill today?”

Finally, after the citizen asked why more wasn’t being done to secure the border, Stark quipped,

“If you knew anything about our borders, you would know that's not the case. Our borders are quite secure, thank you."

How can our elected leaders expect respect from the population when some like Pete Stark show such open contempt for the country’s citizens? It’s up to the press and the public to hold him responsible for his lies and boorish conduct.

The Next Five: NASCAR Nominee Slate to be Presented

We scratched our head, did a few Google searches, and rifled through Jayski. Here's our BIG list of candidates knowing there are glaring omissions, but not a single candidate who shouldn't be enshrined in the near future.

We recommend:

Major Figures:
Smokey Yunick - crew chief: 57 wins, 2 championships
Humpy Wheeler - promoter extraordinaire
Jake Elder - crew chief: 3 championships
Tim Brewer - crew chief: 53 wins, 2 championships; broadcaster
Ray Evernham -crew chief: 47 wins, 3 championships; broadcaster
Kirk Shelmeridine crew chief 46 wins, 4 championships
Jeff Hammond - crew chief: 43 wins, 2 championships
Dale Inman -crew chief Richard Petty's crew chief, 7 championships
Glen Wood - crew chief, 93 wins
Rick Hendrick - team owner, 9 Sprint Cup championships
Richard Childress - team owner: 6 championships
Ken Squire - broadcaster pioneer in TV broadcasting of NASCAR

David Pearson - 105 wins, 3 championships
Bobby Allison - 85 wins, 1 championship
Darrell Waltrip - 84 wins, 3 championships; broadcaster
Cale Yaborough - 83 wins, 3 championships
Lee Petty - 54 wins, 3 championships
Ned Jarrett - 50 wins, 2 championships; track promoter, broadcaster
Herb Thomas - 48 wins, 2 championships
Buck Baker - 46 wins, 2 championships
Tim Flock - 40 wins, 2 championships
Joe Weatherly - 25 wins, 2 championships
Terry Labonte - 21 wins, 2 championships
Rusty Wallace - 54 wins, 1 championship; broadcaster

We see David Pearson, Bobby Allison, and Cale Yarborough all belonging together in the 2nd induction. Long time historians might argue and many would seek the inclusion of non-driver figures but we're leaning toward Darrell Waltrip and Lee Petty to round out the second year of inductions knowing full well whenever DW gets inducted his speech will be the event for the ceremony.

Radical Idiots in Massachusetts School District

Unpatriotic, Pathetic – Public School District No Pledge, No Flags

What do we universally see present in our classrooms?

An American flag of course; however, as if protests about The Star Spangled Banner were not enough for its being to militant with images like “bombs bursting in air” and sending kids home for wearing American flag decorated shirts on Cisco de Mayo in California while it was perfectly okay for Mexican kids to wear Mexican flags, the Arlington Massachusetts school board not only does not display flags in its classrooms, it prohibits the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance even if voluntary. Officials argue it would be hard to find teachers willing to lead the recital.

A brave student, Sean Harrington protested that matter and got flags installed, but still no pledge.

Public education is service to our country. Regardless of where teachers stand politically and way too many of them have sided with their radical unions which support extreme social engineering and anti-free enterprise policies, they are part of the vital institution which guides students to appreciate their rights and responsibilities as Americans. The flag symbolizes our freedoms.

It’s comforting to note than this school system’s radical stand is even opposed by left-wing Senator, John Kerry.

Those responsible for these ridiculous policies should be subjected to severe public ridicule for their blatant irresponsibility, poor judgment, and subversive values.

For more background please read:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blowhard Umpiring on Sunday Night Baseball

A nationally televised prime time interleague game between the Yankees and the Dodgers in Los Angeles, fans expect to see the historic World Series rivals engage in an all out hard hitting, slick fielding, well pitched professional baseball at its best. Going into the late innings, the Dodgers appeared to have all well in hand, but the Yankees were on the comeback erasing a 6-2 lead tying the game in the top of the 9th. Dodgers manager, former Yank’s skipper, Joe Torre had aligned the team for defense replacing Manny Ramirez with the more mobile and capable, Garrett Anderson in left field. Coming up to bat with the game on the line or facing extra innings, Garrett Anderson was called out on strikes. There was no visible sign of him taunting the umpire, but umpire Chris Guccione ran him out of the game. In the bottom of the 10th down two runs, the tying run at the plate, catcher Russell Martin was called out on strikes, slammed his bat down in frustration, and was ejected from the game by Guccione.

Fans don’t pay good money to see umpires umpire. Umpires do their job by being quiet, showing patience, and being largely invisible. A well umpired game is one where the umpires appear all but unnoticed. While there are definitely limits players should not exceed in their on-the-field behavior toward umpires, running players out of the game in situations such as what existed in this game cannot be justified.

Naturally, cynics and Yankee haters will argue that the Yankees own the umpires. It would be hard to say anything favorable of the umpire’s behavior in this game. Guccione’s behavior probably did not influence the outcome of this game, but surely could have. That would have been most unfortunate.

Take a bow Mr. Guccione. You got your two minutes of fame on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 17 -- Lights Out in Loudon

Jimmie Johnson comes up the big Mack Daddy with more victory row bling for his trophy case as Ford drivers are clearly in a funk with New Hampshire now in the rear view mirror. About the only thing one who is not a #48 fan can find as consolation to Johnson’s victory, Kevin Harvick still has a 105 point advantage in the pre-Chase standings one race shy of the half-way point in the 2010 season; however, with the Chase shakeup rewarding winners, Johnson would stand atop the heap just above Denny Hamlin both of whom have five victories. For those who thought Joe Gibbs Racing figured out how to surpass Hendricks operation, look again. Jimmie Johnson finished first. Tony Stewart, who races with Hendrick gear, ran second. Jeff Gordon – 4th, Ryan Newman racing Hendricks gear – 6th, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 8th all placed ahead of the first Gibbs car, Joey Logano in 9th. Kyle Busch finished 11th, and the fellow who looked so dominant just weeks ago, Denny Hamlin finished in 14th. The only Hendrick car not invited to the party was Mark Martin in 21st but on the lead lap.

No drivers moved in or out of the top 12 Chase positions. The New Hampshire race was cruel to those drivers fighting to move up into the top 12. Kasey Kahne’s blown engine dropped him two positions and put him 174 behind Carl Edwards in 12th. Reed Sorensen taking over the #83 car wrecked poll-sitter Juan Montoya knocking him back two positions in the standings, 183 points back.

The real action in movement toward the Chase exists in positions 13 to 15th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is only three points out, while Ryan Newman sits 15 points out and Clint Bowyer is 16 points out. It would take very little for any of those three drivers to surpass Carl Edwards next week in Daytona. For Joey Logano, in 16th, the task is much greater having to overcome 99 points to equal Edwards.

Ford failure surely has to be another big story for today’s race in Loudon. Kasey Kahne was the one competitive Ford effort but a blown engine threw him back to 36th just ahead of the shameful quitters who pulled off the track early in the race refusing to compete. How bad was Ford futility?

Only A.J. Allmendinger finished in the top 10 in 10th. Four cars finished between 11th and 20th, Greg Biffle (16th), Matt Kenseth (17th), Elliot Sadler (19th), and David Ragan (20th). Carl Edwards finished 25th and Paul Menard finished 28th. The remaining Fords finished 31st, 32nd, and 35th. At least Ford has no start and park embarrassments.

Perhaps the story could just as well be written in terms of Chevrolet dominance taking seven top ten positions. Toyota cannot be pleased with only one top 10, but a thick cluster in the next six positions at least showed them knocking on the door: Kyle Busch (11th), Marcos Ambrose (13th), Denny Hamlin (14th), and David Reutimann (15th).

Toyota must accept some responsibility for supporting failure as five of the start and park rides were Toyota entries.

Next stop, Daytona, Saturday night firecracker racing, much attention will fall on NASCAR’s decision to give drivers a little bigger restrictor plate hole bumping up the horsepower.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 17 -- New Hampshire's "Magic" Mile

The Sprint Cup boys descend upon New England while some side stories deserve attention. First, Danica Patrick, after completing the first leg of the IRL season, returns to race in the Nationwide Series in tomorrow’s race. Her IRL season has had its ups and downs, but she moves from one in the crowd to the center of attention when she enters the NASCAR domain.

A disagreement in compensation for police services has Bruton Smith at odds with the State of New Hampshire leading to threats to abandon next summer’s date which would give Smith the ideal opportunity to add his date for the Kentucky Motor Speedway that hosts a Nationwide race this time of year. How convenient, a little juggle of the Nationwide schedule, and there’s the one-two punch. Aside from Atlanta, it’s difficult to foresee another Sprint Cup track that could be reduced one race. However, until a date is established for Kentucky, Speedway Motorsports can use the threat of Kentucky as a bargaining chip just as NFL and MLB teams have used threats of moving to a city with a hot new stadium unoccupied to extort better deals from their current cities.

Matt Kenseth will have a new crew chief with substantial Roush experience. Jimmy Fennig takes over for Todd Parrott, who despite his championship credentials with Dale Jarrett, has not had an impact for Kenseth’s struggling team. There is no sugarcoating 2010 has been an all out disaster for the Fenway-Roush operation. Their loan bright spot was Carl Edwards’ Nationwide victory at Road America last weekend.

Turning to Sunday’s race, weather should be cloudy with a high temperature around 80 degrees at race time an escape from the brutal heat clobbering the south east for most of the week.

Today’s qualifying results show good results for the Richard Petty Racing teams using the new FR9 Ford engine but Roush continues to struggle.

Bobby Labonte quit TRG racing refusing to surrender to the fate of being a “start and park” driver. One wonders with the right support, how much top quality racing the ex-champ has left in him.

Sunday’s starting lineup shows some interesting surprises and one starter who will further shakeup the controversy about allowing teams that refuse to compete to qualify for starting positions in the field. Here are the top 12 racers.

1- Juan Montoya, #42, Chevy
2- Kasey Kahne, #9, Ford
3- Kurt Busch, #2, Dodge
4- Mark Martin, #5, Chevy
5- Ryan Newman, #39, Chevy
6- David Reutimann, #00, Toyota
7- Joe Nemechek, #87, Toyota
8- Sam Hornish, Jr., #77, Dodge
9- Clint Bowyer, #33, Chevy
10- Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevy
11- Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
12- Marcos Ambrose, #47, Toyota

While it is a triumph for Juan Montoya who has not lived up to his 2009 season, and a good highlight for a number of teams, Kasey Kahne’s, Mark Martin’s, and Sam Hornish Jr’s. most notably, what really demands attention is Joe Nemechek in 7th position. How embarrassing and disgusting is it that the sport allows a team that will not compete and only run a few parade laps up to the first pit stop to qualify among teams that are giving their full effort to winning the race?

Further what a dreadful slap in the face this is to Travis Kvapil’s team that despite limited resources would have competed to finish the race but must load up and go home being bumped by the start and park quitters who have absolutely no business showing up to make a mockery of the sport.

Besides Nemechek, the clutter includes:

31- Max Papis, #13
35- J.J. Yeley, #46
36- Dave Blaney, #66
37- Michael McDowell, #55
40- Andy Lally, #71 (replaces Bobby Labonte)
43- Todd Bodine #64

We’ve heard little more about what efforts if any NASCAR is attempting to address this problem. Earlier in the year, the first car to pull out of the race without being involved in an accident or obvious mechanical problem would be subjected to the teardown procedure. Clearly, that has had no impact on nudging more teams to take their commitment to the sport seriously.

NASCAR must establish minimum entry requirements all teams must meet to be allowed to enter Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck events.

1- The necessary number of spotters to safely guide the driver
2- Enough pit crew members to be able to conduct safe pit stops which do not interfere with other teams on pit road.
3- Enough tires allocated for the expected tire wear as established by Goodyear to complete the race.

Any team that withdraws from the race with no mechanical problems or driver health issues as determined by NASCAR medical staff will receive no points for the race and will forfeit their ability to compete in the next five scheduled races. Violations to any of these requirements will put teams on probation and their cars will be torn down after all future races for the remainder of the season to ensure that they meet competitive standards through out and no short cuts have been taken.

Should these requirements result in races not having the full 43 car field, so be it. Perhaps efforts could be made to assist competitive Nationwide and Camping World Truck teams not involved in Sprint Cup be offered the ability to compete in Sprint Cup. Perhaps the four car limit which reduced Roush-Fenway from five to four teams should be waved.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sir Paul Pops Off On Global Warming

SHUT UP AND SING: When it comes to
politics, figures like Sir Paul McCartney
should just "Let it Be."
While few can write a catchy little ditty like Sir Paul McCartney, I defy anyone to demonstrate what his qualifications as a climatologist or environmental scientist might be. Alas, hot off of entertaining Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House and making unwelcomed insulting comments about former President George W. Bush, Sir Paul opines, “Some people don't believe in climate warning -- like those who don't believe there was a Holocaust."

Well, good day sunshine! It appears the former Beatle has trouble confusing a matter of fact versus a matter of theory, and that theory has been called into question by many who are far better qualified to render judgment than a bass playing singer-songwriter does.

As if that nonsense isn’t bad enough, Macca also weighed in on the Obama administration’s dreadful response to the Gulf oil disaster, stating, “I don’t accept the criticism of Barack over the oil spill.” Well, Sir Paul, how about a little trip down to the Bayou and talk to the people down there and see what they have to say and maybe drop a few quid to help them deal with their hardships.

As if Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Michael Stipe, Sting and Willie Nelson among many others haven’t added enough idiotic blather to the discussion of many important issues, it seems like Paul McCartney seeks his seat at the table of know-nothing entertainment blowhards.

Thankfully, he still has a long way to go to equal the political stupidity of his fellow songwriting partner, John Lennon.

General's Blab to Rolling Stone Causes Leadership Shake Up Revealing Obama Administration Even More Ineffective

OUT - General McChrystal
IN - General Petraeus

The General Stanley McChrystal affair is a real mind-blower. What a bind! There’s no question that what he had to say screamed volumes of truth about the state of affairs with the military and the Obama administration. The problem is a general does not pop off about the commander in chief like that even if it is someone as loathsome and unsuited as Barack Obama. Of course, anyone who has ever held a job knows the fate of one who is openly critical of the Big Cheese.

The ultimate concern is to what extent Obama and his ultra-left wing anti-military stance will drive the best of the best from the military and compromise our national defense as a result. Considering how off guard the United States found itself on September 11, 2001 and the efforts conducted over the next seven years to correct the situation, and now the country is enduring a systematic unraveling of security measures minimizing the war on terror having faced three terrible episodes, the Fort Knox killings, the botched airliner bombing over Detroit at Christmas and the abortive car bombing at Time Square, radical Islam is emboldened and on the attack.

On closer examination, it was not General McChrystal’s words that were as damaging as his aide’s, but one has to wonder what on earth a high powered general would be doing granting in-depth interviews to an entertainment rag like Rolling Stone magazine which consistently presents a leftist anti-military stance? That he would allow himself availability to an organization like that in this writer’s mind is the damnable offense; however, a little practical wisdom would show he shot himself in the foot badmouthing Obama in what is surely the biggest clash between a prominent general since General Douglas McArthur came to blows with Harry Truman over the conduct of the Korean War.

From a public relations standpoint how lucky can Barack Obama be to find David Petraeus to take charge of the Afghanistan operation. Surely, General Petraeus must swallow some pride considering the way Obama as a Senator lambasted and ridiculed the General over his conduct of the war in Iraq.

Every American must realize that our challenge in Afghanistan is an extremely difficult one in a region that is primitive, corrupt, and disoriented. Their government is corrupt and lacks popular support. A large part of their economy rests on the heroin trade growing opium poppies. The infusion of the evil Taliban in Afghani society presents tremendous danger. Winning the population over while conducting a successful military operation to destroy the Taliban and Al Qaeda and attempting to get the entire society to radically change its way of life is a Herculean task requiring great leadership.

General Petraeus is such a man but without the support from the chain of command and a totally incompetent, ideologically driven Commander in Chief makes this one of the greatest military challenges in World History.

Bobby Labonte -- Gone from TRG, Former Champ's Career in Free Fall

Bobby Labonte: A Former Champ’s Long Slide Down

Arriving on the scene for Winston Cup racing in the early 1990’s, Bobby Labonte’s career would be perpetually overshadowed by the sensation of his era, Jeff Gordon, but having moved up the ranks with Bill Davis then to Joe Gibbs racing to start the 1995. Once at Gibbs, he caught fire making the Gibbs operations one of the top rides in NASCAR. He’d win three races for Gibbs including the Coca Cola 600 and both Michigan races in his first year and a championship in 2000. Joe Gibbs Racing became a two car operation and quickly newcomer from IRL, Tony Stewart, became the dominant driver in the operation, and Labonte started to seem like odd man out.

He went on to Richard Petty racing in what was supposed to be an effort to revitalize the #43 team to a sense of its former glory, but money problems and lack of resources found Petty’s family business coming on hard times looking for investors to prop up the operation. The results were no joy for Labonte who struggled even to finish respectably while working for Petty. When Richard Petty sold out to the Gillette operation, Labonte was caught in the squeeze and without a ride going into 2009.

Hall-of-Fame racing was looking for a driver. They had signed on to work with Robert Yates racing. What a deal – the Yates garage, champion crew chief, Todd Parrott, sponsorship, perhaps Bobby Labonte was on the comeback.

Hardly, the deal turned into a disaster and late in the season, Labonte was squeezed out by a sponsorship deal preferring to unite behind their Nationwide driver, Erik Darnell, in Cup races so Labonte caught on with the lowly TRG team.

Though having some zip in some races for TRG, its lack of resources and no sponsor after Tax Slayer’s deal ended found Labonte relegated to a pathetic “start and park” driver.

That he would leave TRG hardly has to be a surprise. He will race for Robby Gordon in New Hampshire, but Gordon announced he might be forced to start and park. For Daytona, he will race for Phoenix racing’s 09 car, another start and park operation. Can it be anything more shameful than a past champion’s provisional being used to make the field, possibly bumping a team that intends to complete an entire race, only to start and park?

Since Labonte’s departure, Joe Gibbs racing has become neck and neck with Hendricks Motor Sports for the premier ownership group in NASCAR.

In addition to his Winston Cup championship, Labonte also won the Busch Championship in 1991 and the IROC trophy in 2001. Of the generation who’d push aside the generation of Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton remain top level Chase quality contenders. Ward Burton is out of racing. Joe Nemechek flounders miserably as a single car start and park embarrassment. Bobby Labonte’s career appears to be in free fall.

We wish him the best of luck but hope he knows when it’s time to say when. Hopefully, that day has not come.

Does Anybody Still Like Interleague Play?

Major League Baseball introduced interleague play in 1997. Since the NFL merger and conference formation, the NFL has had a workable system so that teams face teams in the opposite conference at a set interval. The NBA and NHL have similar situations. Baseball sought to do the same. The notion that cross town rivalries could be huge successes such as New York Yankees versus Mets, Chicago Cubs versus White Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Angels. Other matchups were created since as supposed state rivalries for Ohio, Florida, Texas, and Missouri teams, likewise the Orioles and Washington Nationals, a battle of Beltways less than 40 miles apart. Interleague games would give fans the chance to see players they’d never have the opportunity to see play otherwise.

From a workability standpoint and more and more, a fan interest position, Interleague play is becoming a colossal failure. It also could create some competitive imbalances when one considers the impact on the pennant race could be a travesty. Imagine a schedule that would have division contenders playing some of the AL East; one team gets the Red Sox and Yankees while another team gets more of the Orioles.

Looking at this year’s schedule, we’ve covered the AL East versus NL matchups, there is no rhyme or reason or any evidence of a controlling principal to how the schedule is determined. On the surface, it would appear the plan was to face off mainly against the NL West, but with the synthetic rivalries created for New York, Florida, and Baltimore/Washington, that starts to unravel the scheme, but additionally the Blue Jays, Rays and Yankees play one series against an NL Central team. Team by team matchups are given below:

Orioles (NL East: 3 home, 1 away; NL West: 2 away)

New York Mets
@San Francisco
@San Diego
Florida Marlins

Blue Jays (NL East: 1 home; NL Central: 1 home; NL West: 1 home, 3 away)
@San Diego
San Francisco
St. Louis

Rays (NL East: 1 home, 2 away; NL Central: 1 away; NL West: 2 home)
San Diego

Red Sox (NL East: 1 home; 1 away; NL West: 2 home, 2 away)
Los Angeles Dodgers
@San Francisco

Yankees (NL East: 2 home, 1 away; NL Central: 1 home; NL West: 2 away)
@New York Mets
New York Mets
@Los Angeles Dodgers

Can anyone make sense of this? It’s the kind of disaster only major league baseball could dream up. Since the last round of expansion, a totally unnecessary move given how many teams struggle to fill the stands, the powers that be deemed it a good idea, or financially prudent for the Bud Selig family to have sixteen teams in the National League and fourteen teams in the American League; otherwise, there would have to be one interleague game every day spreading it out through the season rather than clumping it all together for a late May weekend series and mid-June as is currently the practice.

To accomplish this, Phoenix and Tampa/St. Petersburg were awarded teams, the National League team, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the American League team, the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. The Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League to the National League creating a clunky six team NL Central but only four teams in the American League West. For Interleague play then, that meant each series would have to include one game against National League teams. Of course, no team would want to be the fifth team in the American League West, be in a further east time zone and have to deal with so many late night games. Of course, there have been whispers of baseball realignment, and God only knows what that would accomplish.

The current state of Interleague play has become such a mess and has lost any compelling reason for its continuation aside from the purely obvious rivalries, it might just as well be scrapped.

Partly related to making room for the Interleague games but more because the scheduling authorities in baseball are simply boobs, the schedule for non-divisional games within the league have become an absolute mess too. Looking the Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees, this situation is also an inexplicable thorny mess.

The Orioles play the AL Central six series on the road, four 4 game series and two 3 game series. They only play the Indians three times on the road but the Tigers seven games. The home schedule is even crazier, five series consisting of four game series against the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers, a two game series for the Royals, and three games for the Indians. The games against the West, breaks down with five series against four teams: One four game series against the A’s, One three game series against the Mariners and Angels, and two series one two game and one three game against the Rangers. The home schedule for the West is six three game series facing the Mariners and A’s twice and Angels and Rangers once.

The Yankees:
AL Central (away): 5 series, 4 games vs. Tigers, Indians, Royals, 3 against the rest.
AL Central (home): 5 series: 4 games vs. three teams, 3 games vs. White Sox, Twins.
AL West (away): 6 series: 4 three game series*, 1 four game series, 1 two game series.
AL West (home): 6 series: 5 three game series,** 1 two game series.**

*Four games vs. Mariners, additional 2 games vs. Rangers
**Mariners – 2 three game series, Angels –additional 2 game series.

The Red Sox:
AL Central (away): 5 series, 3 three game series; 4 games vs. Indians and White Sox
AL Central (home): 2 three game series; 2 four game series; 1 two game series.
AL West (away): 6 series: 5 three game series;* 1 four game series
AL West (home): 5 series: 4 three game series**, 2 four game series.

*Athletics – 2 three game series; Mariners: 1 three, 1 four game series.
**Rangers – two series, one 3 game, one 4 game; Angels – one 4 game series.

Philadelphia versus Boy Scouts: Tough Issues

Philadelphia Court Case on Boy Scouts Anti-Homosexual Stance: Bad Law but…

The City of Philadelphia took legal action against the Boy Scouts who have had a long established sweetheart lease for property in Philadelphia on which they’ve erected a scouting facility for which they pay one dollar a year rent. The city contends that because the scouts excludes homosexuals, they are violating the city’s antidiscrimination laws thus should pay $200,000 a year in rent. The Boy Scouts have enjoyed this special arrangement for over seventy years.

Because the Boy Scouts are a “membership” organization, the Supreme Court ruled that the scouts can exclude homosexual members. The Scouts maintain that their right to due process and free speech would be violated and such a move would make operating within the city of Philadelphia unsustainable.

The jury has yet to rule.

The issue of homosexuality is a difficult one, but clearly, society’s values are changing. Perhaps under membership provisions the Scouts are entitled to exclude homosexuals.

As a private organization, the Scouts are free to pursue what policies they see reasonably fit to maintain their organization and serve their members. However, how would society react if they excluded members by race? That they are enjoying a sweetheart deal on their rent shows them a highly esteemed organization, which they are.

The Scouts benefit boys tremendously teaching them skills, helping them build relationships and positive values. However, their stance on homosexuality is out of step with the times and hurtful.

Surely, there is an unfounded fear that homosexual Scouts or troop leaders might make homosexual advances against susceptible young men, and that they might encourage or influence Scouts to chose a homosexual lifestyle. It almost plays into the mania that homosexuality is contagious.

Today, we know homosexuality is not a choice. It’s simply the way some people are. People don’t chose to homosexual, nor can people be influenced to become gay. The only possibility is if homosexuals are allowed to be honest with their orientation, they might encourage others who are in denial or in the closet to come forward and be honest about their sexuality.

We must consider the age of boys in scouts covers the time in a young man’s life when he first starts developing his adult sexual orientation. Puberty is a difficult time, but as adolescence reaches its conclusion one’s identity is generally quite apparent.

There is nothing wrong with maintaining rules of discipline that sexually oriented behavior on the behalf of one Scout toward another is unacceptable. The fears of what homosexual Scouts could bring simply are hysterical notions based on outmoded concepts. For the good of what Scouts have to offer, it’s time for them to step up and join the 21st century. Greater lessons might be taught if Scouts deal with issues like gender preference in an open and constructive manner.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Connecticut School Board Removes "Lord" from Diploma as They Should Have

The school board of New Haven, Connecticut was correct to have the language "in the year of our Lord" removed from high school diplomas. The concept is explicitly Christian and official documents should be religiously neutral. This is not in the same spirit as banning posting the Ten Commandments, for instance, which can be examined in its universal not just spiritual context other other activities that reflect religious aspects to our culture which do not explicitly attempt to impose upon or interfere with the religious practice of others.
Naturally, there's the usual religiosity of some conservatives who attempt to establish that the United States is truly a Christian nation in the assertion that the founding fathers were devote Christians who leaned upon their Christian faith to establish our country's founding principles. That is a false representation of history as there was significant religious diversity from Catholic and Protestant points of view to those of Deists. The assertion that they were not men of faith and representing Deism as almost interchangeable with agnosticism is equally false as asserted by many secular humanists.
The bottom line is that the inclusion of "year of our Lord" serves no purpose other than to explicitly recognize Christianity, and that is not what a country devoted to religious freedom is about.
We will continue to discuss these issues as they come up. Over the long haul, surely we will weigh in more consistently against the forces who seem to think that "freedom from any public religious expression" is what our Constitution's first amendment intends.
Of course, private and religious oriented schools are free to use terms like "in the year of our Lord" as they see fit, and if students who attend those schools don't like the practice, maybe they should question why they enrolled in such a school in the first place. A Muslim student at Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas petitioned for the removal of this phrase. In this situation, one has to wonder what a practitioner of Islam is doing attending a Christian School in the first place.

Monday, June 21, 2010

O'Malley's At It Again: Lies, Deceptions, and More of the Same

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is a world class ass, a lying mean-spirited filthy scumbag who isn’t worth the toilet paper to wipe his slime of the sidewalk.

His latest radio ad, as reported by WBAL radio, attempts to tie Bob Ehrlich in with the BP oil disaster because Ehrlich’s employer provides legal services for some OTHER oil companies not BP. How’s that for slimy dirty contemptible politics?

He also points out that when in Congress, Ehrlich supported drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR). When the truth is told about the exact nature of the land that was proposed to be used and that not only is it barren, essentially uninhabited land but also a very small parcel of land from which oil can be extracted much more safely and effectively than one mile beneath the sea as is the case for the BP disaster, once again O’Malley is creating a huge dishonest distortion.

Of course the ANWAR issue has been distorted for a long time. When one sees REAL photos of the exact area proposed for oil production versus the beautiful wildlife rich land from elsewhere in the huge area of land, one quickly catches on to the ploy.

Like it or not, our society is going to need to drill for oil for the foreseeable future. Nothing O’Malley represents or supports will make our energy future any brighter on any level.

He’s the lowest form of political scum who wouldn’t know how to tell the truth if it bit him on his butt. He is a sleazy opportunist whose narcissism and blind ambition represents the worst in elected officials. Every Marylander who cares about the future of this state should rally behind Bob Ehrlich who was able to balance budgets and reduce taxes while it took only until the following summer in O’Malley’s first term to push through the biggest tax increase in Maryland history. For what???

Ask his cronies who sucked up the money. It wasn’t the working people of Maryland that’s for sure.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 16 -- For Jimmie Johnson, a trophy; For everyone else, it's whine country.

The 2010 Sprint Cup trip to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma California proved to be one of those infamous “rat in the blender” messes for many drivers engaged in batting for top 12 Chase positioning. The race was a total disaster for Joe Gibbs Racing. Joey Logano finished in 33rd but it only gets worse from there with Denny Hamlin right after him in 34th and Kyle Busch after an early race mess and much time in the garage in 39th. Martin Truex finished down in the start and park clutter in 42nd.

The day belonged to Jimmie Johnson. Rejoice #48 haters, the four time champ is in 2nd place in the standings, 140 points behind Kevin Harvick.

With twenty races left in the season and ten to go before the chase, let’s look at home the Chase competition shapes up mindful that the most points a driver can gain on an opponent in a race is 161 points. We’ll use that differential to compute who is in the top 12 and sweating and who is below the top 12 and betting.

Matt Kenseth—160
Jeff Burton—95
Greg Biffle—79
Tony Stewart—51
Mark Martin—15
Carl Edwards—0
Dale Earnhardt Jr.—(-57)
Clint Bowyer—(-74)
Ryan Newman—(-82)
Jamie McMurray—(-142)
Joey Logano—(-149)
Kasey Kahne—(-151)
Martin Truex Jr.—(-157)
Juan Montoya—(-161)
Given Fords have no wins, much faith must be put in better results from deployment of the FR9 engine. Others in the picture have been plagued with dreadful inconsistency making it hard to bet on almost anyone in this field. Tony Stewart and Mark Martin are “money” players who should have the sense of driving controllable races to maintain their chances. Kasey Kahne has generally been on an upward trend in recent weeks. Jeff Burton is likewise a driver who does not take insane risks. The rest of the field will be very hard to assess, but August is a month famous for drivers getting on a roll and Tony Stewart is a superb second half driver.

We’ll be watching these teams in the weeks ahead as the series heads to New Hampshire and then Daytona in the next two weeks before hitting a cookie cutter race at Chicago finishing off the current leg of the season before a week off and then the big glamour race at the Brickyard.

Surely today’s race at Sonoma will do nothing to win over those who don’t like road racing but will also have those who do wanting more. Today’s race demonstrated it takes a different skill set to excel at this kind of racing and a number of drivers were shown quite ineffective in that pursuit.

Threats Against Census Workers and Glenn Beck

The most dangerous figure in the media mainstream?
Violence Against Census Workers

Are you proud of yourself, Glenn Beck? In the two years Glenn Beck has had his 5:00 pm program on Fox News Network, he has been stirring up raw emotions about some kind of apocalyptic judgment day coming when the American people and the ever intrusive government will have a day of reckoning.

While Glenn Beck certainly has identified some of the worst scoundrels in the Obama administration and called them out for what they really are – radical leftists, and he also notes the extent to which the Obama administration and Democratic party dominated congress have taken tremendous strides toward making government more all-powerful and obtrusive, he has done so in such a way that transcends legitimate concerns about real issues and real people into a kind of paranoid manic mindset stoking the worst fears in his fans and viewers always cleverly manipulating a third element, the natural fear of the unknown.

While the census might be a minor, a very minor nuisance, it is important that all citizens complete the form and return it. Not to do so is self-defeating a lesson that is lost on pseudo-know-it-all’s like Glenn Beck. Congressional districts are apportioned based on the census enumeration. If a citizen wants his or her district adequately represented, then it would be incumbent on that person to make sure he or she is counted and that others in the community are as well. The census in nothing arbitrary or some ploy dreamed up by the infamous shadowy progressive conspirators whom Beck constantly stirs up as the boogey men behind all that is wrong today. The census is, in fact a product of those sacred founding fathers – the same guys Beck has reinvented to be like-minded practitioners of his notion of deity, morality, and paranoid politics. Glenn Beck encourages his viewers to study the Constitution. He should do the same and consider Article One, Section Two, paragraph 3.

If Beck is looking for a scapegoat for the inconvenience or intrusion of having to participate in the census, his fall guy should be James Madison not Woodrow Wilson. In light of his hostile ranting and ravings about the Census, his false accusations, and mischaracterizations only serve to stir up a hostile climate his true believers might subject legitimate census workers to have to deal with. Like it or not, they are simply people hired to do a job.

The Washington Post reports the extent to which census workers have been assaulted and mistreated during the 2010 enumeration follow-up:

Surely, anyone who is familiar with the manner by which the Obama administration handles itself, the public should be very suspicious of how it uses census data to further its political aims. Likewise, the extent to which factions like Acorn or what Acorn has morphed into are involved in any aspects of the census particularly if it involves the accumulation and reportage of data should be carefully watched for signs of abuse and manipulation.

The bottom line is the public is well-served by a government having good, objective information about the public at large, and as long as the data is kept confidential and is gathered in a professional, impartial way, the citizens of the United States should participate in good faith as best they can.

Where there might be abuse in the process, if some administrators are not following proper procedures, inflating or deflating numbers, or engaged in anything that creates an inaccurate or misleading census, that is an issue worthy of much exploration.

Regardless, the Constitution has empowered Congress to make law to determine how the Census is conducted.

Absolutely nothing involved with the 2010 Census justifies that any citizen behave in a confrontational or uncivil manner toward anyone employed to assist with the census count. Should a census agent not act professionally or seem incapable of rendering the responsibilities demanded of the job, then such conduct should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

There are two big takeaways from today’s discussion. First, the Census is a necessary tool to the functioning of our free society. Second, here is yet another issue that demonstrates why Glenn Beck is a dangerous and seditious voice whose view of the issues and his attempts to influence public opinion are horribly misguided and potentially dangerous. His employer, Fox News must accept some responsibility for having some of its program content create a hostile environment harmful to census workers.

If Fox News seeks to be the nation’s preeminent news source, they cannot afford to have failed entertainers posing as knowledgeable pundits stirring up rancor over false issues for the sake of cheap ratings success. As long as figures like Glenn Beck and Geraldo Rivera are presented as veritable members of the Fox News cast, they are cheapening their product and integrity in the news business.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 16 -- Sonoma, Winning in Wine Country

For those who ridicule NASCAR as being nothing more than driving fast and turning left, this weekend’s race at Infineon Raceway will surely have them confused as the competition negotiates having to turn the steering wheel to the right several times in completing the tricky multilevel speedway in California’s wine country. Meanwhile, the Nationwide series debuts at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin replacing the one mile oval, the Milwaukee Mile which could not meet its financial obligations to remain on the circuit.

With only two dates on the Sprint Cup schedule, Infineon and Watkins Glen, and three dates on the Nationwide schedule, Road America, Montreal, and Watkins Glen, road racing is something of a novelty for fans of NASCAR’s top two series. While some fans don’t like the format for being more difficult to follow, others feel it’s a form of racing that is under represented in the sport especially considering the proliferation of the cookie cutter 1 ½ mile tracks that have become the norm since NASCAR’s continental expansion starting in the mid 90’s. Clearly, road racing is a format that has a tremendous effect on the drivers. Some drivers are just darned good regardless of format. No one has dominated the road courses, particularly Infineon like Jeff Gordon. Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, and Kyle Busch all have road course victories. Others such as Marcos Ambrose have rich backgrounds in road racing style events in other series. On lesser teams, some owners employ road racing ringers such Boris Said who might not stand a chance to win the race but are effective enough to give them a boost in owner standings where their regular driver could be destined for failure. In NASCAR history, through the 1980’s, the road course at Riverside, California outside Los Angeles was one of NASCAR’s most historic events. For front runner fans, four time champ, Jimmie Johnson and current hotshot, Denny Hamlin have not had much to brag about on road tracks.

Here’s the top 10 lineup for this weekend’s action. Perhaps Jimmie Johnson has a good shot to get the monkey off his back.

1- Kasey Kahne, #9, Ford
2- Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
3- Kurt Busch, #2, Dodge
4- Kevin Harvick, #29, Chevrolet
5- Jeff Gordon, #24, Chevrolet
6- Marcos Ambrose, #47, Toyota
7- Tony Stewart, #14, Chevrolet
8- Bobby Labonte, #71, Chevrolet
9- Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
10- Martin Truex, #56, Toyota

Drivers Brandon Ash (#02, Dodge), Brian Simo (#36, Chevrolet) and Michael Waltrip (#55, Toyota) failed to make the show. While the following drivers made the show based on owner’s points: Travis Kvapil (#37, Ford), Kevin Conway (#34, Ford), and David Ragan (#6, Ford).

Some “road racing ringers” include:

17th—Boris Said (#26 Ford)
33rd—Jan Magnussen (#09, Chevrolet)
35th—P.J. Jones (#07 Toyota)
38th—Mattias Ekstrom (#83 Toyota)

Weather should be favorable for tomorrow’s racing action with nighttime lows in the high 40’s and afternoon high’s in the 80’s under partly cloudy skies.

With the hot competition to finish within the top 12 to compete in the Chase, the intensity builds with each subsequent race. Out of the ordinary venues like road courses, short tracks, and restrictor plate tracks create added pressure as some drivers are masters of such competition while others have not figured out the oddities of special circumstance racing. Considering how much of the final ten races are on “cookie cutter” tracks, the suggestion that perhaps a road course event in “the Chase” would be a good suggestion though weather could be unfavorable at Watkins Glen.

So tomorrow, the commands will be for drivers to start their engines, drive fast, turn left AND RIGHT!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

In Modern Public Education: Best Friends Forever Should Be Best Friends Never

What scares schools most!
Few things in life are a more god-given gift that that of a close friend, a person who has been there for a lifetime starting in schoolyard days or earlier, a person with whom one shares so many common bonds, great experiences, the good times, and the bad. As a child ventures out from the family unit, among a myriad of contacts in school and other activities, what a wonderful blessing it is to find a special friend and if life situations work out will be there for perhaps an entire life time. A best friend is someone with whom one can share his or her most intimate fears and weaknesses, dreams, schemes, and over time lots and lots of laughter.

Leave it to the ideologues who work in child sociology and psychology to want to interfere with one of life’s most precious gifts. What’s next, they’ll make official what the nanny state and Hollywood seem to suggest, marriage, life’s other big bond outside of the family of birth is not such a good thing?

The New York Times, June 17, 2009, “A Best Friend, You Must Be Kidding,”,%20teachers,%20friends&st=cse reports on efforts of schools and even camp counselors to start keeping tabs on children’s relationships and to separate kids who they deem as being too close. Before we go into any more details, what the hell makes it think that a child’s friends are their business unless the two kids are engaged in destructive behavior?

Among the assumptions these nanny state fascists articulate is a sense that real tight friendships encourage a kind of exclusivity which is contrary to their desire to create a climate of great inclusion. They weasel around what they are doing by arguing their efforts aren’t designed to discourage tight friendships but rather to encourage students to have respect for the dignity of others. This measure idiotic notion is supported by officials from The National Association of Secondary School Principals but also extends to summer camps where the Times reports that in recent years the Timber Lake Camp in Phoenicia, New York employs friendship “coaches” to help all kids become friends with all other campers.

The real essence of the matter is expressed in the following paragraph from the article:

Most children naturally seek close friends. In a survey of nearly 3,000 Americans ages 8 to 24 conducted last year by Harris Interactive, 94 percent said they had at least one close friend. But the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying.

Anyone who does not live in an ivory tower vacuum knows these concerns are absurd! Tight friendships do not lead to cliques and bullying. They promote loyalty and mutual respect. Cliques are more a result of kids not having positive relationships and developing a followers or a herd mentality exactly what the schools efforts would produce interfering in a child’s relationship.

What’s also implicit in the schools’ intrusive nanny nose poking into manipulating friendships is their continued pursuit to micromanage all aspects of a child’s life. For years, schools have been ostracizing parents and rejecting their input and interest into the affairs of schools with the attitude, “We’re the ones with degrees in education. What do these meddlesome parents know?” How often are schools fighting the exact values often concerning morality and religion that parents attempt to provide at home?

Tight friendships also create another problem for the nanny state fascists. While most kids tend to have at least one really close friend, what about the kids who don’t? In the brave new world of promoted by the intellectual elites, the notion that there could be “have’s” and “have not’s” is unacceptable so just like the same mindset that seems to increasingly hate and tax the rich, it is consistent with that kind of thinking to go after the “have’s.”

Close friends tend to reinforce each other’s values and outlooks thus this is yet another area where schools feel compelled to extend further their control so all kids who complete their public education will be a bunch of compliant politically correct left-wing leaning zombies.

One has to wonder if there’s still some paranoia how school officials missed what the infamous Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were up to leading up to the Columbine mass murder/suicide spree. Punish the healthy friendships for the sake of the possibility of a dangerous duo. If schools pursue such nonsense, they should be careful of possible unintended consequences.

While taken in isolation, many issues of what goes on in public schools today can be minimized and dismissed, taken in their totality and looking at the extent to which curriculum decisions have become grossly politicized as shown recently by the Texas statewide social studies text book madness where the battle focused on the desires of the extreme right versus the extreme left engaged in a death match for which side would prevail while true traditional academics and normal families’ concerns were ignored.

Student achievement continues to deteriorate where proficiency in reading, math and science fails to measure up. Test scores only tell part of the story since it has been common practice that when tests don’t tell the happy story state boards of education desire, they change the tests to something that temporarily boosts up the scores. The history of testing in Maryland shows the issue well. For decades, the Iowa test of basic schools was the statewide standard, in the late 70’s, test results plummeted, thus the California test was adopted. When the California test results wouldn’t work, Maryland attempted to adopt its own tests which have been subject to ridicule and scandal ever since.

It’s long past time that schools butt out of social engineering, from banning kids eating cookies at lunch, to destroying all reference to anything with religious connotations, to now messing around with how kids form friendships. Message to school boards, mind your own business and worry about TEACHING!

Of course the way schools have a long history of caving into the demands of teachers’ unions which have developed a union shop mentality in the school house where teachers are no longer allowed to be thinking professionals but rather job description droids, the structure which facilitates true learning is impossible.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ESPN Zone -- Outta Here!!!

Tonight the ESPN Zone at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor “Power Plant” entertainment complex closes its doors as will all the rest of the other “Zones” not located on Disney property. With much hoopla, ESPN opened its first Zone in Baltimore in 1988. While Baltimore might not have been the ultimate ESPN kind of place, in 1988 the Inner Harbor was rapidly becoming a hip place to be and with the success of Camden Yards and the Ravens’ new stadium just opening, Crab Town provided a fine location for ESPN to introduce its new concept in dining and entertainment.

The basic formula is to make the ESPN experience come alive in a restaurant setting. The food was never anything spectacular nor that bad but surely overpriced compared to similar quality servings like the typical mall restaurants like TGIFridays, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday’s, and Chili’s. The menu had lots of items but for most, it was beer, wings, and beer while having all kinds of ESPN artifacts all over the place. The venue also provided all kinds of televisions displaying nonstop sports and a place to broadcast events from in a live studio environment. The real novelty was a games arcade with all kinds of fancy participatory and video games similar to but maybe a little more extravagant than what might be found in some suburban sports bars.

The concept seemed to work reasonably well. Surely, it would command more repeat business than a similar venue like the ill-fated Planet Hollywood. After establishing the concept, soon ESPN Zones were popping up everywhere, New York on Times Square, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. Wow, the world should know and Baltimore should be duly proud that in 2009, the Guinness Book record for couch potatoes was set in Baltimore. Well, the Chicago Zone took that record the following year.

The falling economy and perhaps changing sensibilities for the sports fan and entertainment consumer saw the ESPN Zone concept falling off and not remaining financially successful though Disney is pretty quiet in discussing any numbers. The effort also requires tremendous constant promotion to remain viable and surely ESPN will never be at a loss for other promotions possibilities.

While the departure will create a void in the Inner Harbor entertainment zone, surely even in today’s economy, some enterprise will consider the value of location, location, location. For the rest of us, most of us can at least say, “been there, done that.”

In the big scheme of things, the departure of the ESPN Zone is no big loss though if ESPN were to rid themselves of something unnecessary, we would have jettisoned Chris Berman who broadcast the halftime show for Monday Night Football at the Baltimore Zone in 1999.

MLB: Should Fans Vote for the Home Team for the All Star Ballot?

June is the month baseball fans vote for their favorite players to participate in the annual All-Star game this year hosted by the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. Clearly, the All-Star game has as much to do with picking the best and most deserving ballplayers as American Idol actually picks true musical talent. The debate will always be there that a true All-Star team would be better chosen by experts who know the game who could truly assess players’ worthiness. Far enough, but perhaps that misses the point. If the game is for the fans and a television network is paying the big bucks to broadcast it, why not give the people what they want?

The results generally keep well-known players on the team past their prime but neglects up-and-coming players who might be the true all-stars from a talent standpoint, but so what?

There’s another part of the All-Star selection process that perhaps is more meaningless. Consider this, for Baltimore Orioles’ fans, however few might be left, who on the 2010 team deserves a trip to Anaheim?

At every position, there are plenty of players more worthy than any of the Orioles. Even Nick Markakis who is having a decent year is playing well below what should be expected of him perhaps because he’s being pitched around, but his homeruns and RBI’s are way down.

Regardless, once voting is concluded and the starting team is announced, the American League manager will have to be sure there is at least one player from each team even a Baltimore Oriole. Can even the most devote Orioles fan be able to argue a member from the team deserves to be an All-Star? If one player per team were not a requirement could anyone feel slighted if an Oriole were not included?

Aside from whatever ceremonial value displaying all thirty uniforms upon player introductions serves, does it make sense to have one representative per team?

Clearly in 2010, the answer is, “NO!”

South Carolina Democrats' Senatorial Primary -- If You Don't Like the Results, CHANGE THEM!!!

Alvin Greene -- S.C. Democrat Candidate for Senate

In last week’s primary, South Carolina Democrats elected Alvin Greene as their Senatorial nominee to run against Republican Senator Jim DeMint. Greene has no political experience, is jobless, and has pornography charges standing against him. He lives in his father’s basement. The porn charges stand from showing dirty pictures to a girl in a college library.

Vic Rawl lost the election having campaigned lightly for the office. Rawl is a prominent member of the South Carolina legislature.

Now Senator James Clyburn is suggesting the election results should be tossed because he accuses that the computer voting system must have been hacked though offers no evidence whatsoever to support his contention.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina election committee found no grounds for any difficulties either with how the election was conducted or the soundness of the equipment used.

The Democrats seem to be advancing the proposition once again that if they don’t like their available candidate or election results, change the rules. How can America forget the prolonged agony our country went through because Al Gore would not accept the obvious electoral results in Florida in the 2000 Presidential election? Because they thought one locality’s ballot was not designed to their liking they were entitled to some special considerations that would have nullified the will of the voters. George W. Bush won plain and simple.

In New Jersey 2002, the incumbent Senator, Bob Torricelli won the June primary election to run for a second term as Senator. Torricelli was indicted on Federal corruption charges. Fearing this would cost the Democrats the election facing such charges all but assuring a Republican victory for Doug Forrester, the Democrats under the corrupt Corzine administration, changed the law allowing them to cite special circumstances allowing Frank Lautenberg to run for the seat. Given that the original election law provided for no method for handling such a situation, the law was upheld. Yes, New Jersey is famous for its corruption as their crony appointments to their court system clearly show.

We’ll now follow the South Carolina saga and see what kind of bizarre efforts and ridiculous attempts to reassign the blame for what was their voters (although almost certainly ignorant of the candidates) intent.

Democracy works fine for the Democrats as long as it provides the results they need. Rational minds must clearly see that any attempt to toss out the results of an election because one party or candidate does not like the results a dangerous threat to the democratic process.

In all three of these cases, the sympathetic news media did not report the entire scope of what was at stake in these elections instead making those on the losing end who were compatible with their political biases look deserving of special attention. When we see that Major League Baseball would not overturn a blown umpire call costing a pitcher a perfect game, baseball, fun and games compared to politics, understands messing around with established rules and results is risky business. The slimy opportunism, dishonestly, and total lack of guiding ethical principles demonstrated by the Democratic party reveals what their true character is all about. Once again they reveal that accomplishing their desired end, extending their grasp on power, justifies the means no matter how unsavory, corrupt, unethical, and possibly illegal their means could be.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gulf Oil Catastrophe: More Evidence Disaster was Preventable

Even the staunchest defenders of corporate might and critics of Federal oversight must be coming to terms that BP’s irresponsibility far exceeds any level of tolerance. Here’s a report based on an email sent by BP engineer, Brian Morel, addressed to two Democratic members of congress and Tony Heyward, the disgraced CEO of BP sent on April 14th six days before the Gulf oil catastrophe.

This engineer’s findings show a terrible disregard for best safety practices in setting up the Horizon drill platform and also show that Haliburton, a petroleum technology company that is a favorite whipping post of the radical left, did not endorse the shortcuts BP used in their installation urging far greater though more time consuming methods.

While keeping priorities straight is important, once BP has addressed the immediate needs in capping the undersea oil gusher, all responsible officials must be held accountable for the worst environmental disaster the United States has even known.

See the following article for the details of this disturbing “nightmare” revelation.

Orioles Manager Search -- Reality Check

“Cal Ripken oughta manage the Orioles. They can make Jim Palmer his pitching coach.”

“Hey, how ‘bout Brady Anderson. He played hard. He should be manager.”

Listen to Baltimore sports talk radio and fans who still follow the Orioles are quick with ideas who should manage the Orioles. Invariably, it’s almost always a former Oriole from their winning days. The fan sentiment is understandable. In uncertain times, it’s nice to have someone familiar to cling to; however, the truth is such speculation is absolutely ridiculous.

If the Orioles return to the playoffs in the not too distant future, the team that takes the field will have about as much to do with the Orioles of yesteryear as the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl had anything to do with the Colts who won Super Bowl III with Johnny Unitas.

Reality check, there is no way in hell Cal Ripken will ever manage a major league baseball team. He’s done his time in the trenches, the same goes for Jim Palmer.

The Orioles need a proven, experienced major league manager who knows how to work with today’s players. Finding such a person will be a daunting task for Andy McPhail and Peter Angelos given the Orioles thirteen years of futility, but if they are serious about being able to contend with the filthy rich Yankees and Red Sox, nothing less than the best field general available will do.

The one name that comes up frequently from the Orioles’ past who might be intriguing is that of Rick Dempsey. Dempsey managed AAA baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a strong organization, taking them to a Pacific League Championship. Dempsey, however, has been interviewed for the position in the past going back to the 1995 vacancy that resulted in the ill-fated hiring of Phil Regan. Rick Dempsey has the perfect personality to win over Baltimore fans – what they would like to call a genuine “blue collar” type of guy. Naturally, the expectations would be sky high with Dempsey. Could he provide the leadership and assemble a coaching staff that could take the current team from their retched state to being a winning franchise?

Perhaps the stakes are too high to offer up someone with Dempsey’s place in Orioles’ history as a sacrificial lamb.

Bobby Valentine and Eric Wedge have been interviewed. There might be some logic to staying put until the end of the season when more talent is available and make a clean start with the beginning of Spring Training in February, 2011.

The argument for an immediate change is the fate of the young players who have deteriorated noticeably this year. If they are to be the future of the franchise, they must led and developed properly or it will be much, much longer before any hopes of winning will return to Baltimore baseball.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mets Sweep Orioles - How Bad Is Bad?

We'll give you some numbers. Can anyone draw better conclusions?

The 2010 Orioles are heading for a historic season, one of the worst in baseball history. At their current pace, they will finish 44-118. That’s only one game better than the 2003 Detroit Tigers who went 43-119 or two games better than the infamous 1962 expansion Mets who finished 40-120. There are no other comparisons since baseball went to a 162 game schedule in 1961. With a .271 winning percentage, only eight teams in the history of baseball have done worse. Rest assured, the Orioles will not come close to the futility of the old National League Cleveland Spiders who finished 20-134 in 1899, a .130 percentage. Put in another context, the Orioles would join the 1962 Mets and the 2003 Tigers as the only teams since the 162 game schedule to finish below .300. Considering the 1988 Orioles opened the season with a 21 game losing streak, that team finished with 107 losses. This year’s team is on pace to finish 11 games worse than 1988!

Having just faced the Red Sox and Yankees then enduring a three game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets could surely represent the Orioles facing the toughest competition which would perhaps slightly accentuate the negative. However, they have only played above .300 from May 13th to May 29th (excluding the third day of the season).

The prospects for a turnaround aren’t too promising. Heading out west to face two California National League teams, both the Giants and the Padres have winning records. The Padres are in first place in the National League West. They come home to face the Marlins and the Nationals both teams flirting with the .500 mark. The Marlins have generally had their way with the Orioles and the Orioles lost two of three against the Nationals in Washington before Strasburg hit town. They move on to entertain the Oakland Athletics who own the Orioles, then entering July, they travel to Boston, Detroit, and Texas. Boston and Texas murder them. Of all the teams they face between now and the All Star break, the Tigers are their best hope. The Tigers have a winning record and are in second place in the American League Central.

If we turn the corner after the All-Star hiatus, the Blue Jays, Rays, and Twins come to town. While August might be a little bit easier, the one thing the Orioles have wanted so badly to show for several seasons is some sign of hope in September, a month that has been a total wasteland in Orioles history in the new millennium. Considering they will be playing mostly the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox, all three of whom will almost certainly be in the thick of the pennant race, color September GONE. Not that the other ten games against the Blue Jays and Tigers would be any pushover, the Tigers could be in a pennant fight of their own.

The unthinkable is thinkable. The Orioles could be the worst team in modern baseball history. Surely, they could surely exceed the team’s worst season by a wide margin.

Clearly, Brian Roberts’ contributions are hurting the team severely. His leadoff skills, ability to hit doubles, and expert fielding at second base being absent set in motion a trickle down effect that influences the whole line up. He is also a valuable presence in the clubhouse as an ever positive outgoing personality. His return is uncertain and there is no sense rushing him along for this abortive season.

Certainly, several players are playing worse than their career averages would indicate, but what would be the catalyst to get them back on track?

The ugly factor is how players who are only getting started have fallen flat on their face this year. Brian Matusz, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Nolan Riemold, and Brad Bergesen are all examples. Riemold is failing miserably in Norfolk while Bergesen is headed back down the bay. Here’s the future of the Orioles, Baltimore.

Dave Trembley is gone sure to be forgotten as an abysmal footnote, a minor player in the worst stretch of Baltimore Orioles’ history. Juan Samuel has exerted no influence yet, but starting off against the Red Sox and Yankees gave him quite a difficult challenge for starters. It is good to see him go right to players after miscues to help demonstrate they are accountable. Whether Samuel has any true major league management credentials is hard to say. If the Orioles are approaching turning the corner, they truly need a proven major league manager with winning credentials. The clubhouse culture is so toxic, it will take both new management and some from the players themselves to create a single-minded focus on winning. Everything short of winning is secondary and of little value at this point.

With Strasburg-Mania taking off a short drive to the south in Washington, DC, the Baltimore Orioles are now the secondary major league team in the Mid-Atlantic region. Given it’s been thirteen years since their last winning and post-season season, history and tradition are losing their intrinsic value. The Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks did not exist in 1997, but both teams have made it to the World Series in that span – the D’backs capturing the 2001 World Championship. The Tigers had fallen on a dry spell resembling the Orioles culminating with their horrendous 2003 season. The Tigers made it to the 2006 World Series and are now yearly contenders.

Many observers point to the Rays going from worst to first in 2008 and the Tigers’ reversal from 2003 to 2006 as what could lie in store for the Orioles. We also realize 2010 was supposed to be the year the Orioles would show moving in the right direction after just avoiding a 100 loss season by sweeping their last series last October. Since Andy McPhail became the team’s president, they have gotten worse each year.

While it would be easy to condemn Andy McPhail and it’s not hard to put moves like putting the signing of Garrett Atkins and Mike Gonzalez in his face, the strategy of stockpiling pitching prospects then adding hitters is a good one. The 2009-2010 winter season was devoid of much talent that could help the Orioles. It’s hard to believe hired gun, Kevin Millwood, is winless. His performance stood in stoic defiance to the team’s misery until recently falling into the abyss himself.

The clubhouse chemistry is toxic at 333 West Camden Street. Sadly, the only proven formula for better chemistry is winning. The current team and coaching staff is unlikely to raise the team by its own bootstraps. The Orioles have almost nothing to offer in trade to other teams short of giving up prospects who having had proven little offer little value in return. One would have to ask, why would a first class free agent want to sign with Baltimore unless he was the absolute mercenary? Mercenaries generally aren’t the loyal, team-oriented fellows who help turn teams around, but right now, a couple good stat machines would be a huge benefit particularly in the fat of the lineup and perhaps at the top of the rotation. The bullpen is a disaster once again. Injuries are a part of the story. Dave Trembley’s management accentuated the worst of their problems.

The prospects for 2010 are not good and things could get worse. While the winning or losing percentage could move to something less threatening, If somehow the Orioles could play .500 for the rest of the year, they’d lose 95 games, a three game improvement over last year. If they play 45-54 for the rest of the season, they lose 100 games. If they play 38-61 ball, they’ll equal 1988. A pace of losing one out of three games, a .333 pace, they’ll finish 50 and 112.

Pick your poison, read it and weep. The other numbers slipping away are butts in seats. How pathetic it was seeing the Orioles play the Red Sox and Yankees, usually the ticket to a packed stadium and see so many empty seats – something the MASN cameras carefully try their best not to accentuate. The Ravens open camp on July 29th. The lead sports story on Channel 11’s evening news was the Washington Nationals playing their second game behind Stephen Strasburg.

The task of winning fans back will be as difficult as winning games. How tragic it is considering the Orioles great history from 1960-1997 (forgiving and forgetting 1986-1991 aside from 1989’s “Why Not?” season) and what is still the standard for a fan friendly beautiful ballpark with all the best downtown Baltimore has to offer a short walk away?

Look around sports, in baseball only the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that beat the Orioles in the World Series in 1971 and 1979 who have not won since 1992, have a longer record of futility. The lowly Kansas City Royals had their lone winning season since 1993 in 2003 perhaps partly feeding off the futility of their divisional rivals the Detroit Tigers in their season of misery. And what of the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos? They were winners in Montreal in 2002 and 2003 under Frank Robinson.

Add it all up, YES IT REALLY IS THAT BAD FOR BASEBALL IN BALTIMORE. To say fans are groping for some measure of hope would be putting it mildly.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kentucky Motor Speedway -- For Sprint Cup, Is It Just a Matter of Time??

The Nationwide Series trip to Kentucky Motor Speedway ups speculation what will be NASCAR’s (or Bruton Smith’s) next move for reallocating track dates to different facilities. One thing is certain, there will be a second date at Kansas, but from which International Speedway Corporation facility will that date be plucked. Surely, two dates at Fontana, California has proven a miserable failure. NASCAR would loathe abandoning such a large market, but if it were so good a draw why did it take so long between the closure of Ontario and Riverside before the Fontana track brought So Cal back to big league NASCAR?

Bruton Smith clearly wants a date at Kentucky. The move makes some sense as it opens up the southern Ohio, western Kentucky, and surrounding area a date on the calendar in an area where racing is popular. Their nearest Sprint Cup venues are Indianapolis for the Brickyard in one direction and Bristol, Tennessee in the other direction. Fine, but what Speedway Motor Sports facility gives up a date?

While Kentucky makes sense in many ways, does NASCAR really need another generic 1 ½ mile course? It was one thing when Charlotte and Atlanta were the only two, but then with the opening of Texas Motor Speedway, then Las Vegas, Homestead, Chicagoland, and Kansas (not to mention Fontana is of similar dimension and style to Michigan), NASCAR’s new tracks are quite generic. NASCAR has entered its era similar to when MLB and NFL franchises rushed to “cookie cutter” stadia like Three Rivers, Veterans Stadium, Riverfront, Busch II, Fulton County, and QUALCOMM – well at least a couple of them had real grass. Isn’t it time for a Camden Yards style revolution for new racing venues? Perhaps that’s what Rusty Wallace and his investors accomplished at Iowa. With its less than a mile .875 length and relatively slight banking, this most fan friendly facility creates much more appealing bump and grind racing.

NASCAR wants to spread the sport out to serve as many of the regions of the country as possible though certain factions in the Pacific Northwest clearly signaled NASCAR was not welcome. Surely, with Nationwide racing at St. Louis, Memphis, and Kentucky, that region forms a triangle where surely the top series might find a place to prosper. Kentucky will surely have its date before too long, but do we really need another generic “cookie cutter” track?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 15 -- Motor Industry Homecoming

Much has changed since the NASCAR tour raced in the shadows of the headquarters of the auto industry. A year ago General Motors and Chrysler were in a downfall but are now essentially government owned operations. Pontiac, a brand name securing two NASCAR championships, one for Tony Stewart one for Bobby Labonte for Joe Gibbs racing, is gone. Ford announced the end of the line for Mercury, once a major name in NASCAR including the famous #21 car from the “legendary” Wood Brothers. Toyota has been beset with controversy over the accelerator recall issue. A new leaner GM and Ford soldier on. Chrysler still is looking for its turnaround. Toyota is no longer the darling of the industry albeit a Japanese name.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet (they no longer want employees to call them Chevy), Dodge, and Toyota all have bragging rights for success in the 2010 Sprint Cup season. Ford’s season even with the addition of four cars for Richard Petty Racing has been nothing short of a disaster even with Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle looking like solid chase contenders. The victory drought for blue ovals keeps growing longer.

The roll of family came up in the tantrum young Joey Logano threw for being victimized by some tough racing late in the race at the hands of Kevin Harvick. Clearly, Kevin Harvick is the kind of racer who will give no benefit to a young driver. Logano must learn how to fend for himself. For a fellow who is often so polite and quick to brush off his rough encounters on the track, perhaps it was a sign of growth for Logano to blow his stack. Yes, the kid has passion, so much for the “white bread” reputation.

What was awkward and probably intolerable was the role that Tom Logano, Joey’s dad played stirring up the flames when Joey got out of his car. In Logano’s tirade, he took a swipe at Harvick that will clearly backfire. His comment about how Harvick’s wife DeLana wears the pants for that race team would quickly give the market savvy Harvicks’ something they could exploit including a fresh run of T-shirts for lady fans which say, “I wear the fire suit of the family.”

Nothing bad came from Sunday’s episode. It’s all a part of what passionate racing is all about. Things might be tougher in the Richard Petty garage where the dispute is between Kasey Kahne and A.J. Allmendinger.

Kurt Busch continues to make himself a big part of the 2010 season as the action heats up and sits on the pole for Sunday’s race with Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray, sitting on the outside poll. The second row puts Jimmie Johnson in third and a Ford with the new FR9 engine, Kasey Kahne in 4th.

The FR9 factor shows some influence on the race’s lineup, but clearly qualifying remains a challenge for the Roush/Fenway racers.

Petty/Roush Positions

1- Kasey Kahne (4)
2- Elliott Sadler (11)
3- David Ragan (14)
4- Greg Biffle (16)
5- Carl Edwards (19)
6- Paul Menard (21)
7- A.J. Allmendinger (26)
8- Matt Kenseth (39)

Meanwhile, part-timer, Bill Elliot starts 28th for the “legendary” Wood Brothers.

Three teams did not make the show, all of whom are “start and park” entries, Dave Blaney and Michael Waltrip for Prism Motorsports and Johnny Sauter for Tommy Baldwin.

Sunday’s weather should be hot near 85o in what is often a race largely determined by fuel conservation.

NAACP Forces Hallmark to Withdraw Graduation Cards over "Black Holes"

How stupid and trivial does the NAACP want to make its cause? Hallmark issued a graduation card with audio that has been on the market for three years with no complaints that the Los Angeles NAACP demanded be withdrawn for its racist content that would be offensive and demeaning to black women. The context is clearly within the realm of outer space and the reference is "black holes" the astronomical phenomenon. Nevertheless, intolerance has no limits and the intolerance of identity politics will stop at nothing to stir up a fuss and further extend the insanity of political correctness even further. What next, cleanse the reruns of various Star Trek series that might make mention of "black holes?" Shall we look into the works of Carl Sagan and have his works pulled from libraries?

There is no excuse for this kind of censorship by intimidation. It's time that companies like Hallmark standup to the NAACP and stop falling for their latest intimidation ploy. When the concept of "racism" is so arbitrarily applied, it cheapens the concept and diverts attention from there is real racism such as that shown by our political system which runs public school systems that write off black male students whose achievement continues to lag behind other populations.

Where's the NAACP's outrage about public education? Why don't they take on the teacher's unions?

A little critical thinking just might yield the answer to that. Can we all say, "hidden agenda!" boys and girls. Just as the NAACP doesn't really do much good for real black people neither the NEA nor AFT do much for advancing the credibility of the teaching profession. They are both left-wing advocacy groups whose radical left political agenda and obsession with political correctness reigns supreme.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Baseball's Tale of Two Cities: Washington Nationals Rising

The Washington Nationals are now the premier baseball franchise in the Mid-Atlantic region. On this evening when #1 draft pick, Steven Strasberg debuted for the Nationals pitching a brilliant seven inning outing yielding two runs on a homer and striking out fourteen batters, the upstarts in the nation’s capital are clearly the team on the move and worthy of attention. The Orioles meanwhile were playing the archrival Yankees, giving up the lead in the first inning en route to a 12-7 defeat. While the inevitable happened last week, firing embattled manager, Dave Trembley, they lost their first two against Boston before turning around a win, and then tonight’s fiasco.

Considering the Orioles and Nationals could have been seen in similar circumstances, the Nationals having the worst record in baseball and the Orioles the worst in the American league, the Nationals are moving forward while the Orioles so far are moving backwards.

The big picture dynamics favor the Nationals. The Washington area is a bigger media draw, but given the Orioles close proximity, it’s not that big of a disadvantage. Vector the driving distance from around the Upper Chesapeake region and see how accessible Camden Yards is. Of course, the Nationals have a sophisticated subway system leading to many suburban destinations working for them, while the Orioles have the light rail that lets off right at the Stadium connecting Glen Burnie and Hunt Valley to the ballpark. The Baltimore metro brings in fans from Owings Mills to a couple blocks north of the stadium. However, when it comes to highway access, there is no comparison, Baltimore wins with ease. The two parks, a 38 mile drive apart, are very different access points. Camden Yards is an easy dog leg off of the mighty I-95. Washington exists in perpetual gridlock, with the closest big highway access, the archaic Anacostia Freeway across the river from the ballpark.

Fans will endure the traffic for great baseball, and the Nationals are infinity more appealing as the summer of 2010 heats up. They appear on the move and the players play with lots of free spirited energy. The Orioles look like sheep heading to slaughter.