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Monday, Monday

Can trust that day. Obama as Cecilia. Moneyball. Keyes to your heart. Plus more.

4.22.08

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CAN TRUST THAT DAY
Re: Andrew Cline's That Gal's All Right:

Mr. Cline's article got my Monday off to a better start than I could have ever hoped for ! Hilarious! Brilliant!
-- Lois Grobb

Very funny, Mr. Cline. I especially liked the part about her health care plan "to provide free beer during every overnight hospital stay." If that doesn't bring 'em out on Tuesday, maybe some music would help, revised for her desperate times.

Obama (Cecilia)
(with thanks to Paul Simon)

Obama, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Obama, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to go home

Obama, you're breaking my heart
You're taking my delegates daily
Oh, Obama, you're out of your league
I'm begging you please to go home
Just go home

Let's be nice in our last debate oh, Obama
But he wouldn't take the bait
Out on stage I am making my case
But whatever I say
I just can't budge his base

Obama, you're breaking my heart
You're taking my delegates daily
Oh, Obama, you're out of your league
Just take your Wright theology
And go home
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

After the reporters left the scene, Mrs. Clinton returned for the deer. As every Pennsylvanian knows, nothing tastes better than a little road-kill -- along with some "fava beans and a nice chianti."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

MONEYBALL
Re: Ryan Young's Against a Salary Cap:

Not a bad article, but certainly not an as in-depth look as it could be. Analyzing teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, White Sox etc., that are consistently in the top 10 in spending but don't consistently make the playoffs would be well suited for evaluation. They abide by the same rules governing the Yankees organization of signing top free agents and tend to compete but it still doesn't translate into playoff runs.

Large market clubs tend to sign free agents based on the player's track record and not based on their projected output. There are cases for both sides of this argument with identified players, but the price paid for the level of production is typically overblown. The player's longevity and abundance (thanks to the minor league system) is what makes baseball competitive. Proven vets do make it over to the big market clubs because those names draw the crowds. In New York they can raise ticket prices if Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi are your new men on the block; people will pay more if they think the organization is in turn using that money to bring in top talent. Of course Randy & Jason struggled mightily in their first few seasons with the Yankees and the production value on the dollar was extremely weak, even in the case of ARod.

After several cases of failed free agent additions the Yankees pushed their scouts on growing top talent in their farm system and filling it with players that can develop as Yankees. In essence, they were adapting to the line of thinking originated in Oakland and had effectively been picked up by the high salaried Boston Red Sox, and to a lesser extent, the Toronto Blue Jays. In the past 2 years this push has resulted in talented young players making the major league club. These were players, in the past, would have been used as trade bait for proven MLB talent. But these new budding stars include: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Chien-Ming Wong, Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano. These home-grown players left the Yankees in only one sweepstakes for free agent: Johan Santana. Despite missing the asking price (paid by cross-town rival Mets) the Yankees were able to temper their payroll and, at the same time, depress the market asking price for top free agents. This left middle-of-the-road clubs the opportunity to add key components that teams like the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees would have swallowed up in the past.

The A's, this year, under Billy Beane's management, have once again engaged in another advance on the marketplace. During advanced winter meetings the team was thought to be lacking enough depth and possessed too many injury ridden players to make a competitive run at the division (this was alluded to in the posted article about making top clubs pay in trades for young talent). With both the Angels and Mariners spending big for top free agents (a hole opened by clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox bringing up players within their farm systems) Beane decided to forgo competing for the next few years by trading away his top talent that was tracking upward and still had several years left on their contacts.

Beane netted several top prospects from those respective organizations: Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. The beauty of his trades was that he not only replenished his farm system (which had been subsequently depleted by several playoff runs) but took players who were on the cusp of big league status. This is only something that could have been pulled off by offering proven talent that was close to peaking in productivity that would in turn be used by a club seeking to a make a playoff run. The top players picked up included pitchers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Gio Gonzalez, and Fautino De Los Santos & position players Ryan Sweeney, Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez. 3 of these players have already made the big league club this season and have contributed to the team's best start since 1992. With several club needs at the major league level, the A's are able to offer these players major league level experience which will only improve their development trajectory, and in turn, be potential trade bait in the future that could render another slew of top prospects.

Essentially with a weak free agent market the A's were able to sell off talent that certainly was going to be helpful to a club looking to make a run this season, but at a price that would benefit the A's far more in the next several years.

This layout is why baseball works: small market clubs can abide by a different set of rules than big spending clubs, yet this does not prevent them from being any less competitive. The market is wide enough that it can buoy the 30 teams across the board. With the evaluation of Latin American countries that are increasingly promoting baseball to their youths increases a widening pool of potential talent that can be scouted and evaluated. There will be some degree of certainty that big spenders will win a higher percentage of games compared to smaller market clubs, but the margin is far less on the dollar than one would expect (an excellent case for free market).

Contradicting this is the case of the NFL. Players, compared to baseball, have a far shorter career and higher injury risk. Thus, the pool of talent is limited because it cannot sustain a large field of professional caliber players. The collegiate level is the best gauge for upcoming talent, but the ever present "busts" make it clear that across the board equal spending does not translate into equally competitive teams. Another factor that contributes to salary cap system is the small number of contests played in comparison to baseball; a player and team have time to excel and decline within the same year due to the large pool of games played.
-- Blake Johnson

There was once a standing joke that if the Yankees hadn't clinched the pennant by Labor Day there should be a Congressional investigation. But if the secret was simply the wealth of the NYC market, then how come Stoneham had to move the Giants to San Francisco, and O'Malley move "dem Bums" to Los Angeles? And how come the Mets, theoretically with the access to the same wealth and broadcast markets for the last 45 years, have a relatively abysmal record?

The first serious attempt to "break up the Yankees" occurred when the player draft was instituted, and it worked. When mortality took away the Mick and all his team mates, the player draft carefully controlled who got whom, but most importantly the Topping family sold out to CBS, Yankee fans of the 1970s were no happier than Mets fans.

But then George Steinbrenner bought the team, and put his big bucks where his big mouth was. And the rest is history.

It's not the market. It's not the "lottery of life." It's the right man with the right vision and the will to make it happen. Nothing new.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

KEYES TO SUCCESS
Re: W. James Antle III's Constitutionally Contentious:

Though he is welcomed to be a member of the CP, I cannot in good conscience support him and reject that his supporters state that our opposition to undeclared, unconstitutional wars are naive. Our name would be worth nothing if we support his neoconservative wars of aggression and his ignoring constitutional stances. If he thinks it is necessary, his attitude is "constitution be damned." As a Catholic, it is sad that Keyes buys it the un-Catholic stances of preemptive war and wars of aggression to further a N.W.O. push into traditional cultures and nations. Also, there is his support of un-Catholic economics. The real reason for war in Iraq and elsewhere is to further push the Bilderberger/N.W.O. agenda and Keyes seems ready to dance with the devil and enable him all at the same time.
-- Chris Campbell
Chairman, CP of North Carolina

Alan Keyes has the grassroots support that no other candidate or possible candidate has. Ron Paul couldn't get the nomination without tearing the Constitution Party apart because of his libertarian views. Chuck Baldwin is a selection made by a deadlocked convention. Roy Moore is taking up too much time to decide whether to run or not. That leaves Alan Keyes as the nominee of the Constitution Party and the reason not to stay at home on Election Day.
-- Michael Skaggs
Murray, Kentucky

THERE WAS NO SARAH THERE
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's Searching for "Sarah":

Mr. McCain forgot the part where the media/Law Enforcement agencies involved put out that they "feared the worse," meaning that they expected a Waco type stand off or that the imaginary Sarah Jessop Barlow was already "dead." The media either by their own accord or in conjunction with LE personnel (aka "leaks") has a long history of trashing the intended victims in advance of what might be called questionable actions. The same MO was used at Ruby Ridge and Waco with tragic results. Fortunately here no one has died and the state is just doing this "for the children" as an afterthought. I would expect state officials to bend what ever way required to justify this after the fact in total disregard of the 4th amendment protections.

LE gets away with this kind of abuse because too many people in this Nation think rights are conditional. "Bad" people don't deserve the same protections the rest of us take for granted until it's our door being kicked in either by mistake or due to a false claim like this one apparently was. I point this out not because I have any beliefs or feel sympathy for those at Ruby Ridge, Waco or now Eldorado, but because the principles upon which all our Constitutional protections are based require a certain restraint or what is called "due process" before a person or persons are judged worthy of forfeiting their rights as was done here (apparently). Some will make light of this because these are "bad" people. Really?

The ultimate hinge holding all our enumerated protections together is trust in government officials to do the right thing and the means to prevent tyranny such as this via the Second Amendment. Nothing will invoke more anger and bring on violence faster than the "state" getting between parents and their children. Nothing. If all the State of Texas had was an unconfirmed and what appears to be a completely false charge that was designed to do harm to these people in effect the "state" has a relatively short period of time to right his wrong before this becomes yet another black mark on that trust we give government. Put in modern terms, someone's arse needs to be in a sling for this and time is short because some of us don't accept the premise that you can trash the 4th amendment without "due process" and then go on a fishing expedition to justify it after the fact. That's precisely what is happening here and none of us are immune from this kind of abuse. It just takes an anonymous call and a government bureaucrat waving a "for the children" court order to turn your life completely upside down for years or worse. Good people make terrible mistakes sometimes but unfortunately really terrible people with authority like we've seen around Duke, North Carolina exist too. Look how many people bought into the "big lie" in that case and added their own spin to it. There are ways to handle such matters without the heavy hand of government destroying people's lives and leaking out cover or false information in case things go south. No more or less.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Rusty Shackleford is an alias for a blogger. This alias is drawn from the television show "King of the Hill." In that show, one of the characters, Dale, uses the name Rusty Shackleford as his alias whenever he is exploring various conspiracy theories. I am afraid Mr. McCain has been snookered. Thanks.
-- Christopher Scott

"Nothing catches an editor's eye..." makes me wonder. Does anyone know or care what happens to the little girls who are brought up by The Travelers? That group of scam artists who, in addition to marrying girls of 12 and 13 to older men, travel the Midwest and South who defraud the elderly on a regular basis?
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

SEED MONEY
Re: Neal McCluskey's Inventing a Student Loan Crisis:

Student loans have been over emphasized by politicians trying to prove they really care about people. Too many students are going to college simply because the loans are available rather than because they think it is their best life choice.

The answer to this dilemma is to offer seed loans to young people. Seed loans could be used to get a start in school, start a new business, or buy a first home. If the use to which the loan is put shows promise of success, like decent grades or business success, a line of credit could follow in an attempt to complete the chosen life plan. Potentially good students also have the opportunity of receiving scholarships many of which go unused because of the easy availability of loans.

Seed loans should also be made available to older folk whom want to pursue a different life plan. And prizes should be awarded to those whom achieve outstanding success. It's time to stop herding young people into colleges and let them have a choice as to what career path they want to follow.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook,Texas

LIMITS TO LIMITS TO GROWTH THEORY
Re: Steven Carr's letter (under "The Unmoved Hitler") in Reader Mail's Eagle Eyes:

Steven Carr, in his letter on Darwin and Nazis, throws in a dismissive sentence: "Hitler was influenced by...the Reverend Thomas Malthus, as was...everybody in the 20th Century."

Malthus's observation was that human population, unchecked, increases faster than the supply of food needed to sustain it, and therefore population is naturally checked, directly by war, pestilence, and famine, and indirectly by reductions in heterosexual activity during war, pestilence and famine. An explosion in production of food after the 1939 discovery of the insecticidal uses of DDT (arguably the greatest invention of all time, if sustenance of human life is the definition of greatness) made it seem for a time that Malthus was irrelevant. Today, however, with ever more food headed into tanks for the fueling of motors (something Malthus could not have foreseen) it is easy to imagine that the Malthusian formulas, if anything, were not nearly dire enough.
-- Ty Knoy
Ann Arbor, Michigan

MOVEABLE MASTERS
Re: Lawrence Henry's The Dullest Masters:

The only thing duller than watching the Masters is reading about how great it is and what a "shrine" and "monument to the game" Augusta National is!

Grow some real rough for Pete's sake and grow it out far enough to substantially narrow the fairways! Then you wouldn't need fairways as long as an airport runaway and there wouldn't be any need for those artificial "roller coaster" greens with the pin hidden somewhere near the edges.

The best remedy of all, however, would be to play it on a different Golf Course every year. They we wouldn't have to bored stiff every year by all that silly adulation written about what is no more than a glorified, well trimmed lawn.
-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

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