Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Since the Houston Astros will be moving from the National League Central to the American League West, each league will have exactly fifteen teams of three symmetrical five-team divisions.  The desire for more equity makes sense, but one big drawback is Interleague Play will be increased from 15-18 games to 30 games and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

With an odd number of teams in each league, anytime all thirty teams are playing, at least one of the fifteen games will be an Interleague game.  Eighteen games against the four opponents in your own division (72), six against the ten in the other two divisions (60), and thirty Interleague games (30); total 162.

The purpose of the second wild card and the single game showdown prior to the mainstream postseason is to put the emphasis on winning the division by making finishing first a shoe-in for the League Division Championship Series and the two wild cards a lottery ticket where in a one game playoff, favorites and underdogs are de-emphasized and any team can win on any given day and the wild card playoff game is no exception.  I agree with that philosophy, but if you are going to tell a 100-win wild card team (say the division champ wins 106) going up against a team 82-20 with no recourse if they are upset by the epitome of mediocrity, well, then, go out an win your division for crying out loud…the purpose of the two-wild card system is thwarted by virtue of the fact that you are not giving this 100 win team enough games in their own division to do that.  In a 162 game season, at least 82 games (half plus one) should be played in one’s own division.  If the teams played twenty-one contests against the four division opponents, they would be playing 84 in their own division and be over the hump.  But with the necessity to play thirty Interleague games due to each league having fifteen, and odd number of teams, this is not mathematically possible.

Furthermore, almost twenty percent of the schedule is now Interleague.  It doesn’t seem like a lot, but unlike other sports, there is a major rule disparity between the two major leagues—in the National League, pitchers hit for themselves; in the American League, they use the designated hitter.  Many purists fear this means the National League will ultimately get the designated hitter.  Though NL fans like me would rather see pitchers hitting in both leagues, the former scenario is easier to achieve without disrupting the CBA and player-owner relations.  The American League has used the DH since 1973 (going on forty years) and since its inception, many players have been signed as full time DHs by American League teams.  The owners and the Player’s Association would have to figure out what to do with those players—keep in mind, many of them are older players who still have some pop in their bats but just can run or play a position in the field anymore.  This would never be an issue if each league could continue to have an even number of teams and Interleague Play were just a small blip on the radar screen of an MLB schedule.  Purity is going down the tubes.

Advertisements

With tomorrow being Memorial Day, I thought I would take the time to remind us all of the sacrifices of the veterans of our wars, past and present, have made living in a free country possible:

It’s the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom or religion.

It’s the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It’s the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It’s the Veteran, not the [conscientious objector] who has given us freedom to petition and assemble.

It’s the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It’s the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It’s the Veteran, not the schoolteacher, who has given us the right to an education.

It’s the Veteran, not your employer, who has given you the right to earn a living in the career of your choice.

It’s the Veteran, not the financial consultant, who has given us the right to retire comfortably.

 It’s the Veteran, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag.

For those Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, may eternal rest grant them, O’ Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them.

Salute a Veteran, should you encounter one tomorrow, the twenty-eight day of may, two-thousand and twelfth year of Our Lord.

 

After spending an afternoon having brunch at The Red Barn in Westport, Connecticut celebrating my mother’s seventy-fifth birthday, I came home to Oxford, took a dip in the swimming pool just opened for the coming summer, and as twilight kicked in at the seven o’clock hour, I watched the CBS news show, Sixty Minutes.  Veteran anchor Morley Seifer covered a story where a wealth tech entrepreneur named Peter Thiel suggests young people with an idea or invention drop out of college.  Since I cover the resurrection of The American Dream, I thought it may be good to put it into perspective.

Ironically, this Peter Thiel has not one, but two college degrees of his own.  He is concerned about the dwindling job market, which even in a booming economy will unlikely reach the epic proportions of the 1980s for college graduates, and all they will accomplish is accruing debt and will take an entire career cycle to pay it off.  Thiel is not going after the so called party animals of college campuses taking up space, their bodies and minds drenched in beer.  He is taking the best of the best young scholars, with the exception of those planning to attend law or medical school to pursue those respective careers, to pursue their ideas and inventions.  Some have succeeded, some have not, but either way, they do not enter the work force with huge debt.

I do not believe the critical mass has been reached where there is no connection whatsoever between education and income.  But America is headed there.  (1) A four year bachelorette education on average now costs nearly a quarter of a million dollars, still an income level if not for the so called one percent, the twenty percent on the old 80-20 scale for distribution of wealth.  (2) We are outsourcing our jobs to foreign lands where taxes and required wages are less.  Ironically, the most contributing factor is the state of our educational system.  And even if we begin fixing it now and successfully making it a world class model, it would take a generation or two before America’s youth will be able to take advantage of it.  And with no projected baby booms to the magnitude of post World War II now through the end of time, it will be a much smaller population to fill those jobs.  Peter Thiel is in many ways this generation’s Timothy Leary without hallucinogenics, but suggesting dropping out of mainstream society in a different way.

One point in the man’s favor, work for a company and discover or invent something, the discovery of invention is property of the company.  You may get the glory, but the company gets the money.  Glory does not pay the bills.  This situation exemplifies the crux of my fix for The American Dream, which for many will require just as much education if not more.  In my youth when I attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs class of 1985, you spent time in senior year in something called a career placement center, interviewing for jobs with prospective companies hiring someone with your newly acquired skills from college major or field of concentration.  Those who worked the hardest, sacrificed the partying, spent late evenings in libraries and computer centers, drank coffee instead of beer, graduated with the higher grade point averages, only to sell themselves into another form of slavery, a boss.  Those at the top of their class in an academic field of concentration should be the business owners; that’s right, I said owners.  Working of a boss (maybe a sub 3.0 GPA pupil working for you) should be the fallback.  Unlike employees, owners have no set limits on their incomes and therefore can pay off loans faster.  After the first generation, student loans may become obsolete as the owners can invest in the colleges for their future employees or network of independent business owners as venture capitalists to our higher education system.

Before the industrial revolution, American was mainly an agrarian society and most farmers owned their own farms.  The industrial revolution saw wealthier people starting their own factories and hiring peoples at poultry wages, creating a large middle class.  In the technology era of the twenty-first century, it is time to create more owners.  To achieve this, we need less regulation and more limited government, we need to reform primary and secondary education in this country so that higher education can focus on molding owners instead of employees in specific academic disciplines, and we need to mold self-governing citizens across the board.  Ultimately the government may be able to lend a hand, in the form of investing in America’s future rather than loans and handouts, but it first must balance the budget.

Perhaps Mr.Thiel is a man of good intention, just too eager to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  With the Lord’s blessing and the creation of opportunities to replace entitlements, for America, the best is yet to come.

There has been a lot of discussion on the topic of gay marriage by both sides this past week.  Let me set the record straight, I do believe a marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman.  I also believe this issue should not decide the outcome of the election—it’s the economy, stupid!  Nonetheless, American Society must make a correction if it going to continue to fulfill the prophesy stated in the Constitution’s Preamble and promote the general welfare of its citizens.

I know what the scripture says about homosexuality and I believe it to be true.  But I think the attacks by radical right groups carrying signs reading GOD HATES YOU and threatening physical harm are wrong and even un-Godly.  Let’s set the record straight, God does NOT hate anyone.  He loves all his children equally and unconditionally and prays for sinners to repent and offers the gift of salvation via forgiveness.  The behavior of the afore mentioned individuals is barbaric and must be stopped at all costs.  Sure I believe scripture is accurate, but neither I nor any mortal man has the right to judge, especially by begetting violence and misrepresenting God’s will.  God gives all sinners of all sins an entire lifetime to repent; the act of repentance is the works associated with keeping the faith alive, and if the individual comes up short in the end despite the effort, salvation can still be achieved by forgiveness, through the blood of Jesus in Christianity and in any other religious discipline as stated in their documents (Bible, Koran, etc.).

Though I prefer to limit the gay union process to civil unions, I do see it important that the civil unions can support the benefits of heterosexual marriage with respect to the legal union and the corresponding financials.  If gay parents are raising a child, the child should not be denied medical insurance benefits nor be penalized at probate when a parental death occurs.  Regardless how I or any of my fellow Republican conservatives stand on the issue, let us not forget the child did not choose his parental arrangement and should not be penalized under law.  Remember the child could overcome the challenge, be heterosexual, and raise a [normal] nuclear family.  He is entitled to medical coverage to the legal age limit and should not be denied a college education and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Gay marriage will always be a conundrum.  The Bible says what it says about homosexual behavior, but there will always be a conflict between two fundamental principles in the Bible—don’t judge and don’t enable.  To oppose gay marriage can be interpreted as judging and supporting it will most-likely be interpreting it as enabling—a complete no win situation.  Our elected officials must operate on the parameter they can control; the codification of the laws of man.  Knowing God loves us all unconditionally and does not want children to suffer regardless of the sins of the adults in his or her life, we must right the wrong as stated in the two above paragraphs; and move on to economic policy and limited government.

Now that it is a foregone conclusion that Mitt Romney is our nominee, the next question is who will run as #2 on the ticket?  For the most part, direction is the operative word.

The best choice is Marco Rubio because (1) he is a good conservative; (2) he is of an ethnicity that would be a first that can attract swing voters as four years ago, Barrack Obama becoming the first African American president, and (3) he has good repot with the religious right.  The problem is you cannot make him say yes.  Many Republicans want him to get more experience and Rubio himself wants to serve a full six-year term as Florida’s first Hispanic senator.  This makes the decision not so easy and is compounded by the fact that many establishment Republican conservatives may not want to run with him knowing he is not as conservative as they would like.

If not Marco Rubio, then who?  The first direction is to do what John McCain did four years ago and put a woman on the ticket.  Not a bad idea.  In 2008 we elected the first African American President, now perhaps it is time to make history again and with Obama’s failed leadership in several areas, why not conquer another milestone and now elect the first woman vice president?  There are some good Republican women, both tea party and non tea party out there.  The only hang up is the party in executive party (this year, the Democrats) have the last at bat as they hold their convention after the Republicans.  It is the Democrats that can pull off that walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth.  If there is a woman on the Romney G.O.P. ticket, Obama can dump Biden and put Hillary Clinton on the ticket.  Then history would be made either way and there would be no reason for any Democrats to cross party lines and it would not have allure swing voters.  The Democrats do not at this time have a Hispanic anywhere near as charismatic as Marco Rubio.

Another possibility as suggested by a Republican strategist who guest starred on Mike Huckabee’s program on Fox News said he should choose his running-mate based on whether or not he is winning, tied, or behind.  If he is winning, he could go with a Chris Christie or a Tim Pawlenty, neither one really wants it, or our good friend Rick Santorum; the idea being if he is way ahead in the polls, there is no sense of urgency for a VEEP to attract swing voters.  I disagree with this—remember Dewey in 48; you play nine innings or four quarters depending on the game—never sit on a lead.  If tied, go off the board for someone like Nikki Haley who is a tea bagger with India Indian in her ethnicity.  If behind, perhaps a Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann.  If you are going to do this, assume you are behind and go with a real impact person, preferably a woman of a unique ethnicity or someone more conservative than Mitt who can bring the religious right to vote for him and not stay home on Election Day as they disagree with Romney’s stands on abortion and same sex unions.

The third direction, which I discussed when it was still possible for a brokered convention, is for Romney to do what Adlai Stevenson did in 1956 and let the delegation at the convention decide for him.  Estes Kefauver was selected by the Democratic delegation at that convention.  Stevenson ran with John Sparkman in 1952 and with the failure of that ticket to defeat a war hero, Adlai decided to defer to the delegation in 1956 and although Ike won again in 56, it was an interesting concept.  The number one reason a majority of Republican across the nation selected Romney, not because he was their first choice politically, but because the number one thing they wanted out of their candidate was the ability to beat Barrack Obama.  I personally am not sure that makes him the right choice and I believe if Rick Santorum did not have to answer the call to be by his ailing daughter’s side, he would have ultimately been the nominee and he would have defeated Obama.  A Romney-Santorum ticket makes sense politically, but I am not sure he can make a difference playing second fiddle getting any specific swing group to cross the line and vote for Romney.  Under different circumstances, he would be a great choice and I think Rick Santorum will be president someday, just not in 2012.

For now, we will just have to take a wait and see approach.

The Connecticut General Assembly is debating over a bill that would permit voter registration on the day of the election.  Although I am all for ways of making it easier to register to vote so more Americans will exercise their right, this is not the best thing.

The biggest fear is double voting.  Someone can move to Connecticut from another state close to Election Day and have cast an absentee vote in their former state while registering on Election Day and voting a second time.  Polling places will be chaotic trying to sort it out and there would have to be a way to identify the ballots of those voting who just registered so that if determined they voted in another state, these ballots could be voided.  The catch-22 is ballots are not identified by voter name to maintain the secrecy of the ballot.

It is not unreasonable for the wait time to be reduced from the old-school six-month residency requirement since modern computer technology allows data to be transferred much quicker.  But right on Election Day is too soon.  I am ok with seventeen year olds registering if they are going their eighteenth birthday falls on or before Election Day.

Between repealing the death penalty, liquor on Sunday, and now a voter registration plan that just won’t work, I think Dannel Malloy is a one term governor.  Fellow Republicans, let’s get a good candidate in 2014.