Sunday, June 29, 2008

Revenge Sweep!

The White Sox defended their home turf on the Southside with a 5-1 win tonight at US Cellular and a sweep of the weekend series against the cross town rivals Cubs. Good hitting and excellent pitching were the key for Ozzie Guillen's White Sox. After a grueling week Cubs manager Lou Piniella finally lost his cool tonight and got booted in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes.

No question, the Cubbies are a good team with the best record in baseball despite temporarily losing their ace starter Carlos Zambrano. His rehab seems almost complete and Zambrano is slated to be back in the line up later this week.

This weekend, however, belonged to the Southsiders, with big hits tonight by Carlos Quentin, Brian Anderson and Jim Thome who all homered in the effort. Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle scattered four hits for the win while Scott Linebrink and closer Bobby Jenks mopped up.

Cub fans seem hopeful as always that this is (finally) their year. The season is young, and we all know how badly this will end for the Northside fans. I know the White Sox are in a tough division and the Tigers are firing up their artillery after a sluggish start, so a successful outcome is hardly wrapped up for the Sox. But I have no illusion as to the Cubs' fate and have no doubt about their eventual fold. It's downright criminal what the management of the Cubs does to their fans. Get their hopes up, then dash them into the rocks.

So, Cub fans take this sweep for what it is: The preview to your choke that is all but assured to happen come September at the latest.

Wait til next year!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Ironic Justice Scalia

By a slim margin, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus, to the dismay of the authoritarian wings of all three branches of government.

But no comment was more dissonant than that of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who, in the dissenting opinion, commented on national security:

Scalia called the judiciary "the branch that knows least about . . . national security concerns" and penned the darkest line of the court's 126 pages of back-and-forth: "It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." [emphasis mine]

So a member of the governmental branch that knows the least about national security has based his dissenting opinion on… wait for it… yes: National Security.

How ‘bout this, Mr. Scalia, you keep to the Constitution and don’t busy your tired little brain with things you admittedly know nothing about. But then again, if you do not even understand irony, then how can you comprehend the intricacies of that "goddamned piece of paper", the Constitution?

Almost certainly, indeed!

Bobby Jindal and the Devil

Touted as the next Ronald Reagan and possible McCain running mate, the Republican governor of Louisiana apparently has had some interactions with Lucifer… yes, that one, Scratch, Satan, Incubus. That guy.

I’m all for freedom of religion and all, but the larger question is who should be running our federal government. There may be no public test for office provided by the Constitution, but there certainly is a private test, and frankly, Gov. Jindal has failed mine.

On a recent interview, he also affirmed his belief that the universe was designed by a higher power and, although he majored in biology, stated that he recognized that science could not answer all questions; therefore, faith in Intelligent Design may be warranted.

The thing I do not understand, and I mean this sincerely, is how someone educated in science or philosophy, someone who can see the advances that have been made, the experiential advances that are well-known over the ages, can be so quick to abandon scientific method when the least amount of uncertainty arises. Where is the confidence that a rational explanation is simply unknown or unknowable to us at this time?

Sure, there is plenty we do not know about phenomena in our experience, but we also have a long history of finding rational scientific explanations for previously considered supernatural phenomena. So why the rush to put faith in sky wizards, magic and demons? I just don’t get it.

What other weird ideas does Jindal have? I’m confident that Mr. McCain will pass on Bobby Jindal as Vice-Presidential candidate, but my questions are still unanswered as to where these guys come from and why are they running our government.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Conservative tax policy

From Steven Landsburg at the WSJ:

Like philanthropy, saving is an act of self-denial that enriches your neighbors (by leaving more goods available for them to consume). But unlike philanthropy, saving is punished by the tax system (via the taxes on interest, dividends, capital gains and inheritance). That's nuts. When you tax saving, you encourage people – wealthy people in particular – to spend more and grab a larger share of the consumption pie. "More consumption by the rich" should not be among the primary objectives of the tax code.

The alternative is to tax can easily implement a consumption tax with a Form 1040 that says: "How much did you earn this year? How much did you save? Now pay tax on the difference." And you can make that tax as progressive as you like.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Einstein, by Walter Isaacson

I've read several different accounts of Albert Einstein's life, but none is more comprehensive and understandable than the current one by Walter Isaacson. Superbly written and inclusive of recently discovered correspondence from Europe, Einstein recounts the many facets of the life of the redoubtable scientist, profound thinker, passionate activist and singular personality.

Many of the anecdotes about Einstein's alleged learning disabilities are addressed as well as the itinerant status of stateless vagabond that he assumed in his early adult life. The most enjoyable surprise, however, is Isaacson's ability to explain theoretical physics which is accessible to the non-scientist.

Isaacson spends whole chapters discussing the photoelectric effect, bending light rays, gravitation and molecular physics which allows one to come away with a solid understanding of the language and concepts of some of the greatest thinking of humankind.

In addition to the heralded scientific discoveries, the biography takes us through the cultural and social events of the twentieth century, the ravages of Nazism, the breathtaking consequences of the atomic age and the political upheaval of the cold war. Unlike other celebrities of the age, Professor Einstein was not afraid to express his opinions on such incandescent topics as human rights, nationalism and religious faith, and to use his celebrity to promote beneficence when possible.

The paradoxes and twists of fate in Einstein's life add layers to the interest generated by this most interesting individual. While abandoning his own sons, he became the loving and devoted father to his two step-daughters. After a lifetime espousing pacifism, he became one of the creators of the most destructive weapons known to man. After decrying nationalism as the "measles of mankind", he later became an outspoken proponent of the creation of the nation of Israel.

To understand the life and times of Albert Einstein is no less than than to understand the history of the twentieth century .

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Your tax dollars hard at work

... bashing Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Doesn't the Army have better things to do with its funding than to run a blog with flagrantly partisan postings? If not, then please send my portion of the few trillion dollars spent the last several years back.

McCain: "I don't use a computer..."

Didn't we just have 8 years of a chief executive who was purposely out of touch with reality? Can we survive another four?

Watch the video

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paul Newman...

is rumored to be sick, so it's time for a little Plastic Jesus (scene from Cool Hand Luke.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wizard of Oz gets his offense, one way or another

June 1: Ozzie has tirade blasting lack of offensive production by his first place White Sox

June 2: Jay Mariotti calls (yet again) for Ozzie's firing

June 3: White Sox win 9-5

June 4: White Sox win 6-4

June 5: White Sox win 6-2

June 6: White Sox win 10-6

June 7: White Sox win 11-2

June 8: White Sox win 12-2

I guess that's why managers manage and sportswriters, well... I don't really know what sportswriters do.