I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Friday, April 29, 2005

All the President's Men

Krugman: "The president's economists had only one criticism of the system: insurance is too comprehensive, which encourages people to consume too much health care. As they see it, insurance covers too large a percentage of medical costs. The answer to this problem is the creation of, you guessed it, private accounts, which have now superseded tax cuts as the answer to all problems."

"The point, instead, is that even though all the evidence suggests that we would be much better off under a system of universal coverage, any such move will be fiercely opposed, on principle, by conservatives who want us to move in the opposite direction." [NYT]

Friedman: "India and China know they can't just depend on low wages, so they are racing us to the top, not the bottom. Producing a comprehensive U.S. response - encompassing immigration, intellectual property law and educational policy - to focus on developing our talent in a flat world is a big idea worthy of a presidency. But it would also require Mr. Bush to do something he has never done: ask Americans to do something hard." [NYT]

Herbert: "That's changed. Under Commander in Chief George W. Bush, the notion of command accountability has been discarded. In Mr. Bush's world of war, it's the grunts who take the heat. Punishment is reserved for the people at the bottom. The people who foul up at the top are promoted." NYT]

Dowd: "Who doesn't want to see Old Yeller chasing the Syrian ambassador down the hall, throwing a stapler at his head and biting at his ankles?
Who doesn't want to see him foaming at the mouth - yes, it will be hard to tell - at the Cuban delegate over Castro's imaginary W.M.D.?" [NYT]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Be-LEE-ve It!!!

The Cubs won today, 8-7 on the strength of a Corey Patterson walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th. Derrek Lee had two home runs and six RBIs to boost his April total to 27. The Cubs fell behind early. Ryan Dempster struck out the side in the first, then gave up a run in the 2nd, and then 5 runs in the 3rd on a Felipe Lopez grand slam. Dempster went 5 1/3 IP, 6 ER, 5 BB, and 7 K. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

The Cubs called up reliever Roberto Novoa from AAA-Iowa and sent down reliever Jon Leicester. [Cubs]

Off day on Thursday before travelling to Houston for a weekend series. Friday: 7:05 @ Houston. Maddux vs. Clemens.

Mark Grudzielanek hit for the cycle against the Brew Crew today, and they fell, 3-6. Cards pitcher Chris Carpenter struck out 12 Brewers today to get the win. They also placed closer Jason Isringhausen on the DL. Victor Santos went 4 IP, 5 ER, 3 BB, and 2 K's. St. Louis is now 5-0 against Milwaukee this season. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Lyle Overbay was out of the lineup today after cutting his face open on some plexiglass along the 1st base line last night. He received 17 stitches to his left jaw. [Brewers]

Thursday: 1:10 for the series-finale with St. Louis. Capuano vs. Marquis.

Losing Control

The Cubs lost a slug-fest to the Reds last night, 9-11. Carlos Zambrano only went 4 2/3 IP, gave up 6 ER and had 5 K. He was ejected in the 5th after giving up a HR to Adam Dunn, then hitting the next batter, Austin Kearns. He stated that the blister on his finger affected his control and performance. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Today @ 1:20 for the series-finale vs. Cincy. Harang vs. Dempster.

Milwaukee lost in St. Louis, 3-5. The Cards might have lost their closer Isringhausen for a while with a strained abdominal muscle. Doug Davis went 4 IP and gave up 4 ER and 5 BB. Matt Wise further lowered his ERA to 0.90. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Today @ 12:10. Santos vs. Carpenter.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

North Korea 6, Bush 0

Kristof: "Here's a foreign affairs quiz:
(1) How many nuclear weapons did North Korea produce in Bill Clinton's eight years of office?
(2) How many nuclear weapons has it produced so far in President Bush's four years in office?
The answer to the first question, by all accounts, is zero. The answer to the second is fuzzier, but about six. [NYT]

The Disappearing Wall: "The result of this open espousal of one religious view is a censorious climate in which a growing number of pharmacists feel free to claim moral grounds for refusing to dispense emergency contraception and even birth control pills prescribed by a doctor. Public schools shy away from teaching about evolution, and science museums reject scientifically sound documentaries that may offend Christian fundamentalists. Public television stations were afraid to run a children's program in which a cartoon bunny met a lesbian couple." [NYT]

This is Bush's fault. Instead of keeping Church and State separate, as the Constitution intended, he is tearing it down...quickly. "The centerpiece is President Bush's so-called faith-based initiative, which disregards decades of First Amendment law and civil rights protections. Mr. Bush promised that federal money would not be used to support religious activities directly, but it is. The program has channeled billions of taxpayers' dollars to churches and other religion-based providers of social services under legally questionable rules that allow plenty of room for proselytizing and imposing religious tests on hiring. The initiative even provides taxpayers' money to build and renovate houses of worship that are also used to offer social services."

The Repugnican party has become the political arm of the religious right, pandering to a small, insidious crowd.

Highs & Lows

The Cubs won their 10th game last night, 10-6 over Cincinnati. Mark Prior went 6 stong innings, striking out 10, and Neifi Perez hit a 3-run HR (and had 4 RBI's) to lead the Cubs. That was the GOOD news. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs] [Tribune]

The BAD news is that Chad Fox hurt himself badly in the 9th inning, and may be done for quite some time...if not for good. The Cubs placed him on the 15-day DL, and recalled LHP Will Ohman from AAA-Iowa. [Cubs] [Tribune] [Scary]

Kerry Wood seems fine. [Cubs]
Nomar Garciaparra decided to have surgery. [CBS] [Cubs] [Tribune]

Tonight: 7:05. Milton vs. Zambrano.

Milwaukee was rained out in St. Louis. They will make it up on Thursday, which was supposed to be an off-day for the Brew Crew.

Tonight: 7:10 @ St. Louis. Davis vs. Suppan.

Monday, April 25, 2005

"Justice Sunday"

Rich: "The fraudulence of "Justice Sunday" begins but does not end with its sham claims to solidarity with the civil rights movement of that era. "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias," says the flier for tonight's show, "and now it is being used against people of faith." In truth, Bush judicial nominees have been approved in exactly the same numbers as were Clinton second-term nominees. Of the 13 federal appeals courts, 10 already have a majority of Republican appointees. So does the Supreme Court. It's a lie to argue, as Tom DeLay did last week, that such a judiciary is the "left's last legislative body," and that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, is the poster child for "outrageous" judicial overreach. Our courts are as highly populated by Republicans as the other two branches of government." [NYT]

Repugnicans have devolved into a lower form of life. What a joke of a party they have become.

The Oblivious Right

Krugman: "The point is that people sense, correctly, that Mr. Bush doesn't understand their concerns. He was sold on privatization by people who have made their careers in the self-referential, corporate-sponsored world of conservative think tanks. And he himself has no personal experience with the risks that working families face. He's probably never imagined what it would be like to be destitute in his old age, with no guaranteed income.

But Americans are feeling a sense of dread: they're worried about a weak job market, soaring health care costs, rising oil prices and a war that seems to have no end. And they're starting to notice that nobody in power is even trying to deal with these problems, because the people in charge are too busy catering to a base that has other priorities. [NYT]

Herbert: "Ms. Ruzicka, 28, was killed on Saturday in the chaos of Iraq. She and an Iraqi colleague, Faiz Ali Salim, were trapped in their car on the airport road in Baghdad when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy that was passing nearby. Ms. Ruzicka's vehicle was engulfed in flames. She and Mr. Salim burned to death." [NYT 4/21)

Herbert: "As for the press, it has better things to cover than the suffering of civilians in war. The aversion to this topic is at the opposite extreme from the ecstatic journalistic embrace of the death of one pope and the election of another, and the media's manic obsession with the comings and goings of Martha, Jacko, et al." [NYT 4/25)

Weekend Wrapup

I apologize for the tardiness of this post, but here is a weekend wrapup of the goings-on in sports:

NFL Draft baby!!! [Bears] [Packers] [Grades] [Tracker]
Bears take RB Cedric Benson (Texas) with the 4th pick in the draft. Aaron Rodgers of Cal falls to #24, and the Packers stole him.

Cubs rained out on Friday, lose on Saturday 3-4, and win yesterday 5-2. Kerry Wood reports shoulder "tightness". Cause for concern??? He says tightness because of the cold, and I sure hope that's all it is.

Tonight: Cincinnati @ 7:05 PM. Wilson vs. Prior. [Cubs]

Brewers win Friday 6-1, lose on Saturday 2-6, and win on Sunday, 8-5. Sheets out for Monday night's game with inner-ear infection.

Tonight: @ St. Louis @ 7:10. Obermueller (replacing Sheets) vs. Suppan.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Vaunted Trio Departs

"This is hard losing three great young men, who are great players," Roy Williams said. "But this is a happy day, because everybody has dreams, and these three have dreams of playing in the NBA."
"As a coach, you are sad, but only because you're not going to get to coach these men anymore. There is nothing else to be sad about. It's a thrill for me. They're going to be able to do things for their families they can't do as college basketball players. And, they won a national championship."

The vaunted UNC junior class of 2002 is now officially gone. Rashad McCants declared for the NBA draft over a week ago. Today, the remaining two of the stellar trio, Raymond Felton and Sean May, along with super-frosh Marvin Williams, said goodbye to UNC, and announced their intentions to enter the June NBA Draft.
[UNC] [Doyel] [CBS] [IC]

I'm only sad that I won't get to watch these players again in an UNC uniform. I wish them nothing but continued success. This leaves the cupboard pretty bare, with the top seven scorers from the National Championship leaving (3 were seniors). Great class of freshman coming in, with two expected to start, and the the other two to be among the first off the bench.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!!!

Enjoy today for what it's worth...we might not have an Earth in another 10 years if things keep going the way they are. Be kind to Mother Earth...just remember, she's a rape victim.

Congrats to the House of Representatives on passing the idiotic, corporate-written Energy Bill that passed yesterday! Not only will it not reduce the price of gas, but it allows drilling in ANWR in Alaska, destroys the Clean Air Act, will INCREASE our dependence on oil, and adds protections to the manufacturers of a gasoline-additive (MTBE) that poisons everything in it's reach.

Thank you Repugnicans!!! I'm glad that you really care about the "average person."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No More Nomar

Nomar Garciaparra will be out for 2-3 months with a torn groin, sustained in last night's game. "The Cubs, who entered Thursday's game against the Cardinals without either of their opening-day middle infielders, recalled Ronny Cedeno from Triple-A Iowa. Cedeno was batting .348 with three home runs and six RBI in 13 games in the minors."
[CBS] [Cubs] [ESPN]

If it seemed the the Cubs and Cardinals switched uniforms in yesterday's 3-1 Cubs win, well, they switched back for today's game. The Cubs lost 0-4. They were only down 0-1 until Baker lifted Michael Wuertz for Remlinger, who gave up a HR to Larry Walker, then Chad Fox gave up a 2-run shot to Scott Rolen. Starter Ryan Dempster went 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 ER, and took the loss. The Cubs fall to 8-8 on the season.
[CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Tomorrow: 2:20 P.M. Redman vs. Maddux.


Zambrano wins, but Nomar hurt. That was the subtext of Wednesday night's game in St. Louis. The Cubs held on to win 3-1. Zambrano pitched 8 2/3 innings, gave up 5 hits and only 1 run, before leaving with a blood blister on his right index finger. The real tragedy however, happened in the top of the 3rd inning. Nomar Garciaparra made contact, took two steps out of the box, and collapsed in a screaming fit of leg-holding. Not good. When asked if Nomar would be on the DL, manager Dusty Baker sighed deeply, and said "most definitely." The MRI is scheduled for today, as Chicago holds its collective breath.
[CBS] [Box] [Cubs] [Bauman] [Nomar]

Today: at St. Louis for the short series finale at 12:10 P.M. Dempster vs. Carpenter.

The Brewers lost again last night, 1-6 in Houston to fall to 5-9. Roy Oswalt pitched a CG, 4-hitter, with 8 K's to dominate the Brewers. Ben Sheets felt ill and struggled from the start, giving up back-to-back HR's to Adam Everett and Craig Biggio in the 1st inning.
[CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Today: 7:05 P.M. in Houston. Davis vs. Pettitte.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Prior + Power = Cubs Romp

Mark Prior got a little help from his friends. Prior went 7 IP, gave up 4 hits, and had 6 K's. But the biggest play(s) came in the bottom of the 1st when Corey Patterson crashed into the wall to save a run...twice. Corey also homered, as did Michael Barrett and Derrek Lee. The Cubs won 7-1. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Tonight: 6:10 at St. Louis. Zambrano vs. Suppan.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sick of Losing

The Brewers have lost five straight, and eight of their last 10. They lost last night to the Dodgers, 3-7, then fell again today in ten innings, 6-8. They had a 6-0 lead after the 4th inning today, but failed to hold it. Just too much Milton Bradley in the short, two game series. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Tomorrow: 7:05 at Houston. Sheets vs. Oswalt.

The Cubs hit four home runs in the 1st inning...and failed to hold the lead. Kerry Wood gave up 5 ER in 6 IP with 6 K's, but could not keep the Cubs in the game. The Reds took a two run lead in the 8th off of Jon Leicester.
[CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Tonight: 6:10 P.M. at Cincinnati for the series wrap-up before heading to St. Louis for Wednesday and Thursday. Prior vs. Claussen.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Krugman: "How do we get out of this bind? As the old joke goes, I wouldn't start from here. We should have spent the years of cheap oil encouraging conservation; we should have spent the years of modest growth in medical costs reforming our health care system. Oh, and we'd have a wider range of policy options if the budget weren't so deeply in deficit." [NYT]

Herbert: "It wouldn't be long before Ronald Reagan was, as the historian Robert Dallek put it, attacking Medicare as "the advance wave of socialism" and Dick Cheney, from a seat in Congress, was giving the thumbs down to Head Start. Mr. Cheney says he has since seen the light on Head Start. But his real idea of a head start is to throw government money at people who already have more cash than they know what to do with. He's one of the leaders of the G.O.P. gang (the members should all wear masks) that has executed a wholesale transfer of wealth via tax cuts from working people to the very rich." [NYT]

Pediatric AIDS: "Perhaps Mr. Clinton's biggest contribution is to focus attention on children and AIDS. Few children in rich countries are born with H.I.V., since their mothers usually take drugs to prevent transmission of the virus. So pediatric AIDS gets little attention. By taking on the issue, even in a limited role, Mr. Clinton is forcing others to confront the fact that we are needlessly leaving children to die." [NYT]

Sunday, April 17, 2005

D Lee-scious!

Derrek Lee had 3 RBI's, and Greg Maddux gave the Cubs a strong start, and they emerged with a win today, 4-2. The Cubs improve to 6-6 on the season. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Tomorrow: 6:10 P.M. at Cincinnati. Wood vs. Belisle.

Despite a very strong start by Victor Santos, the Brewers lost 2-3, and were swept by the Cardinals. The Brewers fell to 5-6. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Tomorrow: 6:35 P.M. vs. the LA Dodgers. Perez vs. Capuano.

Hot Tub Tom

Rich: "This time the plot begins with money. Two K Street fixers, a lobbyist named Jack Abramoff and a flack named Michael Scanlon, managed to snooker six American Indian tribes into handing over $82 million in exchange for furthering their casino interests. According to The Washington Post, some of their tribal takings, cycled through a nonprofit center for "public policy research," helped send Mr. DeLay golfing in Scotland. The pious congressman, a gambling foe, says he had no idea of his trip's sinful provenance. Never mind that Mr. DeLay was joined abroad by Mr. Abramoff, whom he has described as one of his "closest and dearest friends," or that Mr. Scanlon had once been his spokesman. Mr. DeLay was as innocent of the goings-on around him as a piano player in a brothel." [NYT]

On DeLay: "Mr. DeLay is not content with having a Republican president and majorities in both houses of Congress. He wants to control every aspect of government fully, and to deny the Democrats any role at all. The method is simple: when the game does not go his way, he changes the rules. If Republicans cannot win huge majorities in House races, he shifts the boundaries of their districts; if ethics rules start to catch up with his reckless behavior, he rewrites them. Most recently, when rulings by judges - the one branch of government still beyond his grasp - did not precisely suit him, Mr. DeLay resolved to impose his ideology on the judiciary." [NYT]

Kristof: "Indeed, MTV is raising the issue more openly and powerfully than our White House. (Its mtvU channel is also covering Darfur more aggressively than most TV networks.) It should be a national embarrassment that MTV is more outspoken about genocide than our president." [NYT]

Dempster Gets 1st Win

The Cubs beat the Pirates last night, 4-3, on the strength of an Aramis Ramirez 3-run HR. Ryan Dempster gave up 3 ER over 6 innings to pick up his first win of the season, and his first as a starter in 1 1/2 years. They improved to 5-6 on the season. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

The rubber-match of the series is today at 12:35 P.M. Maddux vs. Redman.

The Brewers fell to the Cardinals yesterday afternoon, 3-5. They made a hard charge in the 7th inning against Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, loading the bases and then scoring 3 on a double by Brady Clark. The Brewers fell to 5-5 on the season. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

The series finale today at 1:05 P.M. Marquis vs. Santos.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday Baseball

The Cubs lost last night in Pittsburgh, 5-8. Zambrano pitched just ok, and gave up 5 ER's in 6 innings of work. Jason Dubois had a 2-run HR in the 1st inning for his first of the year. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Today at 6:05 P.M.: Dempster vs. Wells.

The Brewers lost to the Cardinals at home last night, 0-3. Coming off of his big deal, Ben Sheets had two errors by himself in the 5th inning. He went 7 1/3 and gave up 3 runs, 2 earned. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Today at 1:05 P.M.: Carpenter vs. Davis.

Health, Religion, and Lobbying

Krugman: "A 2003 study published in Health Affairs (one of whose authors is my Princeton colleague Uwe Reinhardt) tried to resolve that puzzle by comparing a number of measures of health services across the advanced world. What the authors found was that the United States scores high on high-tech services - we have lots of M.R.I.'s - but on more prosaic measures, like the number of doctors' visits and number of days spent in hospitals, America is only average, or even below average. There's also direct evidence that identical procedures cost far more in the U.S. than in other advanced countries." [NYT]

Bill Frist's Religious War: "Senator Frist has an even bigger game in mind than the current nominees: the next appointments to the Supreme Court, which the Republican conservatives view as their best chance to outlaw abortion and impose their moral code on the country. We fully understand that a powerful branch of the Republican Party believes that the last election was won on "moral values." Even if that were true, that's a far cry from voting for one religion to dominate the entire country. President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so." [NYT]

Dowd: "It's a far cry from today's lobbying. Sleazoid lawmakers like Tom DeLay gulp down the graft from sleazoid lobbyists like Jack Abramoff, who took Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, to play golf in Scotland in 2000 as part of a $70,000 trip with Mr. DeLay's wife and staff, and for a six-day "fact finding" trip to Moscow in 1997." [NYT]

Friday, April 15, 2005

Felton to Turn Pro

A new report has North Carolina star junior point guard Raymond Felton entering the NBA Draft in June.

"Felton met with head coach Roy Williams Tuesday morning, in which they came to a decision. But Felton refused to say what that decision was, when asked on Tuesday evening, saying he may or may not announce it officially next week."
“I talked with Coach, but we’re still keeping it confidential,” Felton said. “I made up my mind, but I’m not going to tell now either way.” [IC]

Felton also wins the Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard. [IC]

There isn't a lot for Felton to stay for, although I wish he would. He is the little engine that could. He drives the Carolina offense, and they are going to have a terrible time replacing him.


Ben Sheets tore up his contract today...and this was GOOD news.

"Sheets, 26, had signed a $6 million deal for 2005 in February, but left open the option of tearing it up and negotiating a new four-year deal or merely adding a three-year extension. The two sides agreed to tear up the old deal and sign a new extension through 2008."

Milwaukee announced it late this afternoon at Miller Park, a 4-year, 38.5 million dollar deal. The Brewers now have their 26-year old ace signed through 2008 with easily the largest deal in team history. [JS] [Brewers] [CBS]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Let's Play Two!

The Cubs had a doubleheader today with San Diego, to make up for yesterday's rain out.

In the first game, Kerry Wood got shelled, giving up 4 runs in the first, and 6 ER overall. He threw 6 2/3 innings, gave up 9 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K's.
The Cubs lost game 1, 3-8. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

In the second game, Mark Prior pitched a gem, erasing a lot of doubt surrounding his return. Prior went 6 innings, gave up 4 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 6 K's. Derrek Lee had 5 RBI's, including a 1st inning 3-run HR.
The Cubs won game 2, 8-3. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

Off day on Thursday for the Cubs. Friday: Zambrano vs. Perez in Pittsburgh.

The Brewers regrouped after last night's 2-4 loss, and rallied to win today, 6-2. They broke a two-all tie in the eighth with four runs to break it open. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Off day on Thursday for the Brewers. Friday: Suppan vs. Sheets. The Brewers host the Cardinals in what promises to be a good series. I hope the Brewers can take a few now, early in the season before St. Louis really gets going.

McCants Goes

Rashad McCants is leaving for the NBA. "I just wanted to start out by saying I'm going to give up my college eligibility to enter the NBA draft," McCants said to begin the press conference. "I just want to thank Carolina for giving me the opportunity to play basketball. I have a lot of memories here with my teammates and they will truly be missed."

"Fellow junior Tar Heel Sean May, who is currently considering entering the NBA Draft, said: "I think it's a good decision and I'm happy for him. It's just his tenacity once he gets the ball ... his individual scoring moves are the best in the country. He can do so many things -- post smaller guys and bigger guys. He can take them off the dribble and shoot."
[CBS] [Juniors] [IC] [Audio]

Forever A Team [IC] [The Future]

NFL Schedule

The NFL Regular Season schedule was released today. There are many games of note. [CBS]

The Bears open up with an "easier" schedule. They face only one team in their first 11 games that had a winning record last year. [Bears] [Schedule]
They finish with five games against quality opponents, including at Green Bay on Christmas Day, and at Minnesota on New Year's Day. In those five contests, Chicago will face quarterbacks Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Favre again and Daunte Culpepper.

The Packers open the season where they hope to finish it, Detroit, which is also the site of Super Bowl XL. [Pack] [Schedule]

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Rain, Go Away!

Rain pushed back Mark Prior's season debut today. Prior was called up from AAA Iowa today, and the Cubs optioned reliever Todd Wellemeyer. [Cubs]
The game will be made up as part of a double-header tomorrow. [Cubs]
The first game is scheduled to start at 12:05 P.M. Peavy vs. Wood
The second game matches Lawrence vs. Prior

The Brewers (playing with the benefit of the roof at Miller Park, and lack of rain) are already leading 2-0 in the top of the 2nd. Junior Spivey crushed an RBI triple for the game's first run.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Home Opener

Today was the Brewers home opener at Miller Park. I was not in attendance, but they won anyways, 6-2. Russell Branyan hit 2 HR's, and 4 RBI's. One home run hit the centerfield scoreboard. The Brewers improved to 4-2 on the week-old season. [CBS] [Box] [Brewers]

Next game: Tuesday @ 6:35 P.M. Redman vs. Glover.

The Cubs lost at home today 0-1 against the San Diego Padres. Ryan Dempster went 6 strong innings, striking out 7, and giving up only 1 unearned on Burnitz's error. The Cubs fell to 3-4 overall. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs]

The good news: Prior is starting for the Cubs tomorrow. [Cubs]
The bad news: Todd Walker severely strained his left MCL, and will be out 4-6 weeks. They placed him on the 15-day DL today, and called up Mike Fontenot from AAA Iowa. [Cubs]

Next game: Tuesday @ 1:20 P.M. Peavy vs. Prior.

The Real Crisis

Krugman: "The fact is that in health care, the private sector is often bloated and bureaucratic, while some government agencies - notably the Veterans Administration system - are lean and efficient. In health care, competition and personal choice can and do lead to higher costs and lower quality. The United States has the most privatized, competitive health system in the advanced world; it also has by far the highest costs, and close to the worst results." [NYT]

Herbert: "In a time of war, torture, terror and moral confusion - the present - it can be helpful to look back at an era, not so long ago, that was much worse. With their quiet acts of courage, men like de Souza Dantas and de Sousa Mendes showed us the resistance to evil that humans, often so faint-hearted in their daily lives, are capable of mounting." [NYT]

On Stem Cells: "Proponents warned that if their states did not take action, they would be laughingstock losers in the emerging science and business of biomedicine. These warnings appear to have increasing traction in Congress. But it remains to be seen whether the Republican leadership will opt for honest debate and action or another simplistic circus staged for the religious right." [NYT]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Free Baseball, Free Golf Sunday

The Cubs outlasted the Brewers today, 6-5 in 12 innings. Jeromy Burnitz hit a triple to leadoff the bottom of the 12th, then after an intentional walk to Derrek Lee, Todd Hollandsworth hit a single to score Burnitz. Maddux didn't pitch particularly well, but Glendon Rusch was clutch with three strong innings. Aramis Ramirez had three doubles in the game. The Cubs left 15 men on base, while the Brewers left 24. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs] [Brewers]

The Cubs face San Diego tomorrow at home, in a 1:20 start. Eaton vs. Dempster.
The Brewers have their home opener tomorrow at 1:05 against Pittsburgh. Wells vs. Davis.

Tiger Woods has just won his 4th Masters. He made just an unbelievable shot on the 16th, but then bogeyed 17 and 18. Chris DiMarco played like a champ, and forced the sudden death playoff, but Tiger was too much. [CBS]

Culture of Death

Rich: "We don't know the identity of the corpse that will follow the pope in riveting the nation's attention. What we do know is that the reality show we've made of death has jumped the shark, turning from a soporific television diversion into the cultural embodiment of the apocalyptic right's growing theocratic crusade." [NYT]

Patriot Act: "When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who is not exactly a renowned civil libertarian, says the Patriot Act may need some adjustments, it clearly has serious problems. The act, which was rushed through Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, gives government too much power to invade the privacy of ordinary Americans and otherwise trample on their rights." [NYT]

Bush Administration pushes for MORE nuclear weapons, including "low-yield bunker busters." [Tribune]

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Zambrano Too Much

Carlos Zambrano pitched 7 1/3 innings, and only gave up 1 hit, walked 2, and struck out 6, in earning his first win of the season, 4-0 over Milwaukee. Zambrano was also 2-3 with an RBI in outdueling Ben Sheets.

Jeromy Burnitz hit his first HR in a Cubs uniform. The Brewers just couldn't buy a hit today, and only managed a single by Russell Branyan in the 2nd. Zambrano had it working, and Fox and Hawkins shut them down in the 8th and 9th respectively. [CBS] [Box] [Cubs] [Brewers]

Sunday: 1:20 PM for the series finale. Victor Santos vs. Greg Maddux. [Preview]

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bad Nominees

Herbert: "Don't bother cueing the violins. This is an old story. There's no shock value and hardly any news value in yet another black or brown kid going down for the count. Burying the young has long since become routine in poor black and Latino neighborhoods. Nobody gets real excited about it. I find that peculiar, but there's a lot about the world that I find peculiar." [NYT]

No one cares about black or brown/minority kids anymore...just send 'em over to Iraq so they can kill other brown people to steal oil. I wonder if anyone in the NRA is reading this...if so, screw you and your organization for HELPING put these guns on the streets. No, I'm definitely not anti-gun. I believe in the 2nd Amendment, to a limit. Handguns are good for the police, and that's really about it. Rifles and shotguns are for hunting. The military is different, naturally. What's your excuse!?

Opinion: The worst of the BAD nominees: "Mr. Bolton stands out because he is not only bad in a policy sense, but also unqualified for the post to which he's been named. At a minimum, the United States representative to the United Nations should be a person who believes it is a good idea. Mr. Bolton has never made secret his disdain for the United Nations, for multilateralism and for consensus-seeking diplomacy in general." [NYT]

Are the Democrats starting to fight back??? Can't be!!! No, it's mostly playing defense right now; preventing the worst of the worst from gaining positions of power. In effect, all that this does (from a naysayers point of view) is prevent the really bad nominee, but allows a comically bad (and much less qualified) person to be confirmed. But, make no mistake, the Dems are back, thanks to Reid and Dean. [Kos]

No Joy in Wrigleyville

The Brew Crew rallied and beat the Chicago Cubs today, 6-3 in 12 innings. [CBS] [Box]

Leading 3-2 in the top of the ninth, LaTroy Hawkins, the Cubs de-facto closer gave up a two-run single to Junior Spivey to tie the game at three. The Brewers broke through against a tired Jon Leicester to go up 6-3. The Cubs could not answer in the 12th. Kerry Wood started for the Cubs, and went 5 2/3 innings, gave up 2 ER on 4 H, with 5 BB and 7 K. His control was a bit lacking, but overall, not a bad outing...excepting the 5 BB's. [Cubs] [BrewCrew]

Saturday: 1:20 P.M. Ben Sheets vs. Carlos Zambrano. Both making their second starts of the season. Sheets definitely had the better start the first go-round, but we'll see what happens at Wrigley on Saturday.

The Passion of the Tom

Dowd: “But there's some skittishness in the party leadership about the Passion of the Tom, the fiery battle of the born-again Texan to show that he's being persecuted on ethics by a vast left-wing conspiracy. Some Republicans are wondering whether they need to pull a Trent Lott on Tom DeLay before he turns into Newt Gingrich, who led his party to the promised land but then had to be discarded when he became the petulant "definer" and "arouser" of civilization. Do they want Mr. DeLay careering around in Queeg style as they go into 2006?” [NYT]

Friedman: “In the West it was avoided because a toxic political correctness infected the academic field of Middle Eastern studies - to such a degree that anyone focusing on the absence of freedom in the Arab world ran the risk of being labeled an "Orientalist" or an "essentialist." It was also avoided because Western governments basically told Arab leaders that all they needed to do was keep their oil pumps open and their prices low and be nice to Israel. If they did all that, they could deny their own people the freedom America advocated everywhere else.” [NYT]

Shameless Photo-Op: Bush on Social Security. “Fortunately, the governments, institutions and individuals who hold United States debt can tell a publicity stunt from a policy statement. Still, casting aspersions on a basic obligation of the United States government is insulting and irresponsible.” [NYT]

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I Don't Want To Grow Up!!!

I received an e-mail from my cousin Brian today with a link to this article. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and graduated in 2001. Yes, I actually graduated...unlike this guy who doesn't ever want to. 11 years and counting...[WIStateJournal]

Ok, I admit it...I had a lot of fun in college, and there were times that I would have loved to stay in school, if you got rid of the classes and homework. College was awesome, but there comes a time in every student's life that he/she must move on. Do you know what they call people that have gone to college for 11 years? Doctor.

Best quote of the article: "Some girls say it's weird that he's still here, but the bottom line is they all want him," Zinda said. "Everyone knows him and there's a certain excitability about being friends with and dating Johnny Lechner."

In his own words: "I could have - should have - graduated many years ago, but I keep passing on the real world's invitation," said Lechner, 28, who is in his 11th year as a student in the University of Wisconsin System, the last 10 at UW-Whitewater. He's taken a full course load every semester except the current one, in which he's taking seven credits. Lechner has completed 234 college credits, about 100 more than needed to graduate and so many that he's now paying the so-called "slacker tax."

And yes, I totally knew this guy at school. And no, I'm not impressed or envious! Wow...he can play guitar and sing a little! Swoon

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Baseball is Back!

I will be writing a lot about baseball in the coming months, as I am a HUGE Cubs and Brewers fan. Opening Day was Monday, so I have a few days of catching up to do. Especially after that AWESOME UNC Title game on Monday night!

Won on Monday, 16-6 over Arizona. Lost on Tuesday, 4-5. The rubber-match of the opening series is tonight at 9:10.
-Aramis Ramirez signs a 4-year, $42 million deal to remain with the Cubs.

Won on Monday, 9-2 over Pittsburgh. Off-day Tuesday, then won 10-2 today.

Both teams are off on Thursday before the Cubs home opener on Friday against the Brewers.

It's a Flat World After All

Friedman: "Here I was in Bangalore -- more than 500 years after Columbus sailed over the horizon, looking for a shorter route to India using the rudimentary navigational technologies of his day, and returned safely to prove definitively that the world was round -- and one of India's smartest engineers, trained at his country's top technical institute and backed by the most modern technologies of his day, was telling me that the world was flat, as flat as that screen on which he can host a meeting of his whole global supply chain. Even more interesting, he was citing this development as a new milestone in human progress and a great opportunity for India and the world -- the fact that we had made our world flat!" [NYTMag]

Krugman: "And it wouldn't just be a matter of demanding that historians play down the role of slavery in early America, or that economists give the macroeconomic theories of Friedrich Hayek as much respect as those of John Maynard Keynes. Soon, biology professors who don't give creationism equal time with evolution and geology professors who dismiss the view that the Earth is only 6,000 years old might face lawsuits." [NYT]

Do you want to know why there aren't more conservative college professors? Most positions are in science, math, and languages (including English and communications studies): "One answer is self-selection - the same sort of self-selection that leads Republicans to outnumber Democrats four to one in the military. The sort of person who prefers an academic career to the private sector is likely to be somewhat more liberal than average, even in engineering."

On the Pope:
Kristof: "If there is a lesson from the papacy of John Paul II, it is the power of moral force. The pope didn't command troops, but he deployed principles. And it's hypocritical of us to pretend to honor him by lowering our flags while simultaneously displaying an amoral indifference to genocide." [NYT]
The Price of Infallibility [Cahill]

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Blue Heaven

I will never EVER forget Monday night, April 4, 2005: The night that UNC beat Illinois for the NCAA Title. I will tell my grandchildren about a petulant team that came together, and won it all. This truly was a team; guys sacrificing individual numbers and statistics for the goal of a National Championship. This day, this game, will be permanently fused to my being, to who I am. [Mission Accomplished] [CBS] [Box]

"True, but all those people didn’t rush the court area in the Smith Center or light bonfires on Franklin Street Monday night because of the triumph of an abstract basketball concept. Words cannot do justice to the experience of seeing this group of players and this coaching staff fulfill their dreams and the experience of seeing this program return to the very top so soon after being in tatters -- only hugs, tears, a perhaps a random whoop or two can do that." [Thad]

Lucas: "The Time of Your Life."

Is Roy Williams a better coach today than he was yesterday? NO. But, this helps further cement his status as one of the greatest coaches of all time: "And no sooner had Williams taken his seat in the interview room Monday night, wearing a smile stretched wider than the spread collar on his starched white shirt, than he told reporters gathered in front of him, "I'm no better a coach than I was three hours ago." [Third Time]

Scott May has hard time watching. [Dodd] Jordan didn't have a hard time. [Jordan]
The down years that led to this victory: totally worth it. [Doyel]
Leaving early? [McCants] [IC] Coming back? [May]
Final Bracket [Bracket] Photos [Yahoo] [IC1] [IC2] [IC3] Quality video [TarHeel Blue]

I always wondered what would my ideal sports day be. What would happen? Yesterday was it. UNC wins the National Championship. Opening Day in baseball, where the Cubs won 16-6, (and resigned Aramis Ramirez!) and the Brewers won 9-2. Just a perfect day in Ben's sports world.

Got Roy?


Sunday, April 03, 2005

2 Down, 1 To Go

UNC defeated Wisconsin last week to advance to the Final Four. Wisconsin was the third place team in the Big Ten, and put up more than a good fight. This led to a matchup with the Big Ten 2nd place team, Michigan State. Again, the Tar Heels were too much in the 2nd half, and pulled away.
UNC will have to beat the Big Ten champions, Illinois (37-1) to win it all on Monday night. This is the matchup that everyone (mostly) has wanted since November. The two best teams facing off for the title. Illinois is supremely stong, but if the Tar Heels play like they did in the 2nd half last night, NO ONE can beat them. NO ONE. Whomever wins can definitely say they are the best team in the nation.

How UNC got to Monday's title fight: playing as a team. Jawad Williams kept the 'Heels in the game in the 1st half, and then everyone chipped in. Sean May scored all but four of his 22 points in the 2nd half. Raymond Felton settled down, and ended with 16 pts, 8 boards, and 7 dimes. McCants played with the team, scoring 17 and playing outstanding defense.
[Doyel] [Recap] [IC] [Box] [Thad] [UNC Quotes w/ Audio] [TarHeelBlue]
Weber and Williams: two sentimental favorites. [One Winner]

Who will win? [The Edge] I wouldn't miss this.


Dowd on Curveball: "How did the White House and Pentagon spin the information and why has no one gotten in trouble for it? If your kid lied and hid stuff from you to do something he thought would be great, then wouldn't admit it and blamed someone else, he'd be punished - even if his adventure worked out all right for him.
When the "values" president and his aides do it, they're rewarded. Condoleezza Rice was promoted to secretary of state. Stephen Hadley, Condi's old deputy, was promoted to national security adviser. Bob Joseph, a national security aide who helped shovel the uranium hooey into the State of the Union address, is becoming an under secretary of state. Paul Wolfowitz, who painted the takeover of Iraq as such a cakewalk that our troops went in without the proper armor or backup, will run the World Bank. George Tenet, who ran the C.I.A. when Al Qaeda attacked and when Saddam's mushroom cloud gained credibility, got the Medal of Freedom." [NYT]

Moralists at the Pharmacy: "Any pharmacist who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed by a doctor should find another line of work." [NYT]

Illinois is getting it right: "Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed an emergency rule Friday informing all pharmacies in the state that if they sell contraceptives, they must dispense them without delay." [Tribune]

Friday, April 01, 2005

Stem Cells, Sex, & Lies

Both the State Senate and House of Massachusetts approved a stem-cell research measure on Wednesday. It is expected to be vetoed by Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Moron). The State Congress expects to have enough votes to override his veto and pass the measure. [NYT] [Boston] [Boston2]

The Center for American Progress has a great review on the Stem Cell debate in Massachusetts (and in the US). [CAP]

This would be really hilarious if it weren't so scary. A government website is presenting extremely biased information about the benefits of abstinence-only education, stating that "The only sure way to avoid STDs is to wait until marriage to have sex, choose a partner who has also waited or who is uninfected and share a faithful life together."
But then they also post this gem: "A homosexual is a person who prefers sexual contact with people of the same sex... If you believe your adolescent may be gay, or is experiencing difficulties with gender identity or sexual orientation issues, consider seeing a family therapist who shares your values to clarify and work through these issues." [Kos] [CNN] [Site]

I'm down with abstinence. I think it is an important thing that should be taught to everyone. But, you can't teach them abstinence alone! You have to prepare them for what is REALLY out there, and that means teaching them to protect themselves if they are going to engage in sexual activity.
But, I don't want my tax dollars funding this. And: "Never mind the study that showed that teens who pledge abstinence are not only almost as likely to be infected with an STD, but they're also more likely to have anal or oral sex."

Take the Bush test on sex! [Pro-Choice Action] [Test Results] [Take Action]
The results of the Waxman (D-CA) study on abstinence-only programs. [pdf]

More on "Curveball." It's not just a baseball pitch anymore! [Yahoo]


Dowd: "As necessity is the mother of invention, political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence." [NYT]
More on "curveball" [Reuters]

There is no denying that the intelligence agencies really messed up in the days/months before 9/11, but to say that there was NO political pressure from the White House before we illegally invaded Iraq is just plain lunacy. I believe the quote from Bush was: "F**K Saddam, we're taking him out." Nice.

Herbert: "You feel sorrow," he said, "because you know there are so many servicemen and women out there who want to do the right thing, who are doing tough jobs every day. And to see these events blacken their names and call into question their whole mission just makes me sad. Very, very sad." [NYT]
US Soldiers told to beat the F**K out of detainees. [Common Dreams]

What can we learn about ourselves and others from the way we fill out NCAA brackets...[NYT]