On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 22

On Take Your Child to Work Day
I wonder how many cases of Take Your Child Work Day is really another reason for a Kid to Miss School Day. So I ask this question – Why isn’t this day held during the summer? Here is the Wikipedia reference about this day.

On President Obama’s First 100 Days
With the first 100 days getting so much press, here are equal number of positive and negatives; plus a link to a collection of opinions at The Daily Beast and the Wall Street Journal, with the latter including this one from former high-ranking White House insiders.

Positives

  • Increased sense of White House leadership
  • Improved international relations
  • High likeability, respect, and integrity
  • Addressed Gitmo and past torture
  • Open to improved Cuban relations
  • Promoting science
  • Questioning the credit card industry
  • Managed situations in Iraq and Afghanistan

Negatives

  • No veto to control Congressional spending
  • Proclaim “no pork” in the pork-laden Stimulus Bill
  • Not governing from the center
  • Partisanship is alive and well (I know, it takes two to tango)
  • Cabinet selection issues
  • Light rules against lobbyists
  • Releasing the torture memos is counter to moving forward
  • Jousting with Rush, the one who isn’t worth it

On a New-Ending Case
I’ve been hearing about John Demjanjuk since the 1970s. Now 89 years old and in poor health, he’s been fighting accusations of being a Nazi war criminal for many years. He’s been deported to Israel for trial, where his conviction was eventually overturned, and now the fight involves sending him to Germany for trial. I can somewhat understand the passions involved in this case, but he has suffered enough. Let him live his last years in whatever peace he can muster within himself.

On Specter
Sure Senator Specter becoming a Democrat has something to do with his 2010 reelection, but this is also sign that the Republican Party no longer welcomes moderates. Seems my November post about the GOP insect is predictably morphing. Also see these from Real Clear Politics and from Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME). Meanwhile, Pennsylvania voters will decide his political fate.

On Yes … I Heard This First Hand
No question – whoever ordered the Air Force One photo-op fly over NYC used very poor judgment; which bought about this paraphrased response by a voter (and I’m not kidding): Our Muslim president ordered the flyover to chart targets for terrorists. Hey Tim, there’s a post topic for you.

On a Recession Positive
Given the gloom of the current job status of many, here’s a Forbes article pointing to a positive aspect of this recessionary period – improved intimacy.

On a Local Continuing to be Local
Kevin Huber went to McNicholas High School on Cincinnati’s east side. He decided to play college football locally at the University of Cincinnati where he became an All-American punter. Then last weekend the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Kevin Huber in the 5th round. Meanwhile, the Reds could sure use a RH bat also named Kevin, plus a local high school and college connection – Kevin Youkilis (Sycamore HS/ UC).

On Something to Ponder
Speaking of sports, why do we call where people sit stands?

On Some Political Humor
Sorry to say this video has disabled embedding, but this made me chuckle; then again, I loved the show. Enjoy!

On Torture

sgtschultzUnfortunately and predictably, the torture/waterboarding news is playing out on party lines. On one side the partisan Democrats are trying to use the law to get-back-at the Bush administration; and then we have the GOP partisans defending their past judgments while labeling the opposition as un-American and terrorist sympathizers. Of course both sides uses rationale equivalent to a cow pie in the pasture.

Unquestionably, waterboarding is against the Geneva Convention; and (to me) breaking this agreement shows a wandering away from the always-important moral compass. It’s obvious that the White House and the Department of Defense knew, but are their decisions and tactics worth pursuing? Is it worth the financial cost? Is it worth continuing to address issues on partisan lines to further divide the country?

I have said it before here and I will say it again – I hope the current administration does not go down the path that some congressional Democrats want to take. It’s done, time to move on. President Obama has been taking the high road, and I hope he continues to do so. Senator McCain, an ardent supporter against torture, acknowledges past indiscretions but also promotes moving forward.

Although I appreciate Kathleen Parker’s approach of finding the answer when posing a question, this recent David Broder Washington Post column is also a good one; however, this Bret Stephens (WSJ) column has stuck with me.

I understand the “no one is above the law” argument Senator Leahy poses, but how much of his zeal is partisan? A recent CBS/NY Times poll finds 62% are against a Congressional investigation. Then again, why would Congress ever want to listen to the public?

Of course part of me also says “Press on” with the investigation so we can see what Speaker Pelosi actually knows. Even after her impression of Sergeant Schultz’s “I know nothing”, I find it hard to believe that a Speaker of the House with experience on the Intelligence Committee didn’t know.

Although I still say “No” to investigating the Bush Administration, it’s a resounding “YES” to nonpartisan investigation of Congress by outsiders to determine which members knew and shamefully remained silent. Identify them and then let’s get the bums out.

Image from Boston Herald Photo on File

On 32

Earlier this month, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. With that thought in mind, here’s to number 32.

History
32nd U.S. president was Franklin D. Roosevelt

32nd VP was John Vance Garner

32 A.D. was a leap year starting on a Tuesday

In 32 BC the Roman Senate declares war upon Mark Antony and Cleopatra

Mathematics
32 is divisible by 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32

2 fourth power + 4 second power = 32, thus 32 is Leyland number

1 to the first power + 2 to the second power + 3 to the third power = 32 (that’s 1 + 4 + 27)

32 is also the sum of the totient function for the first ten integers.

32 is the ninth Happy Number

Science and Technology
The Periodic Table lists atomic number 32: the element germanium with 32 protons

32 (F) is the freezing point of water at sea level in degree (0 C), but 32 C is 90 F

A full set of human adult teeth has 32 … yes, including wisdom

The cat has 32 muscles in each ear (Click to learn more)

32-bit processors for computers

Sports
NFL currently has 32 teams

Only two 32s are retired in the NFL: Jim Brown (Clev) and Al Blozis (NYG)

This backfield of 32s would be pretty good: Jim Brown, Marcus Allen, and Franco Harris

Here’s a Sports Illustrated article about number 32

Since Rick Craven drove NASCAR’s number 32 more years than others, here’s a NASCAR history about 32

An NBA team of 32s would be pretty good: Charles Barkley, Billy Cunningham, Wayne Embry, Julius Irving, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Christian Laettner, Karl Malone, Kevin McHale, Shaquille O’Neal, Cazzie Russell, Bill Walton, Lennie Wilkens: and here are the 184 players who have worn 32 in the NBA.

MLB teams have retired these 32s: Steve Carlton (Phillies), Sandy Koufax (Dodgers), Elston Howard (Yankees), and Jim Umbricht (Astros)

MLB HOF players who wore 32: Steve Carlton, Larry Doby, Rollie Fingers, Bucky Harris, Sandy Koufax, Chuck Klein, Al Simmons, Casey Stengel, Dave Winfield

Miscellaneous
Link to Psalm 32

Here’s a story about 32 komodo dragons hatching

In Regina Spektor’s Oedipus, it’s sung “32 is still a god damn number” several times

32 is the number of pages in the average comic book (not including the cover)

B-32 Dominator was a heavy bomber made for United States Army Air Forces during World War II

32 is also expressed as thirty two, irtythay otway, XXXII, trenta due, tretti to

U.S. Route 32, a former U.S. Highway, goes from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the formation of U.S. 6, the road west of Princeton was U.S. Route 32. US 32 remained for several more years until the part east of Princeton became an extension of U.S. Route 34.

State Route 32 in my state (OH) connects my current home in southwest Ohio to my childhood area in southeast Ohio

Although this is probably more than you ever wanted to know, feel free to add your comment about 32

And for those who still want or need more, here’s a video of a guy singing 32 songs in 8 minutes

Link to a past post about 56

On Bits of Baseball

Stadium Trivia
Baseball has a reach history in these current MLB cities. Match the stadium with the city. Matches occur only once and all are used. Some easy ones, but I believe most something challenging here because not all were MLB teams. By the way, some of these also had other names during their history. Answers are found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago 1, Chicago 2, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas, Toronto, Washington

Babe Ruth Stadium, Baker Bowl, Blues Stadium, Borchert Field, Colt Stadium, Exposition Park, Exposition Stadium, Griffith Stadium, Hilltop Park, Huntington Avenue Grounds, League Park, Navin Field, Nicollet Park, Palace of the Fans, Ponce de Leon Park, Seals Stadium, Sick’s Stadium, Sportsman’s Park, South Side Park, Turnpike Stadium, West Side Grounds, Westgate Park, Wrigley Field,

Baseball Tidbits
Baseball players have a culture full of nicknames. Here’s a link compiling many of nicknames by teams.

Speaking of nicknames, those of us who remember the early days of ESPN appreciated early Chris Berman more than today’s version. Since I loved the nicknames he used on Sports Center, here’s a list.

Scientific American has a Science of Baseball page with great information.

Jim Bowden operated a sham while GM in Cincinnati, and continued to display his ineffectiveness with the Nationals. Hal McCoy, a Hall-of-Fame writer for the Dayton Daily News, wrote this column about Bowden in early March.

I didn’t know that retired Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams played the guitar. I appreciate his rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

Stadium Trivia Answers
Atlanta – Ponce de Leon Park
Baltimore – Babe Ruth Stadium
Boston – Huntington Avenue Grounds
Chicago A – South Side Park
Chicago B – West Side Grounds
Cincinnati – Palace of the Fans
Cleveland – League Park
Detroit – Navin Field
Houston – Colt Stadium
Kansas City – Blues Stadium
Los Angeles – Wrigley Field
Milwaukee – Borchert Field
Minneapolis – Nicollet Park
New York – Hilltop Park
Philadelphia – Baker Bowl
Pittsburgh – Exposition Park
St. Louis – Sportsman’s Park
San Diego – Westgate Park
San Francisco – Seals Stadium
Seattle – Sick’s Stadium
Texas – Turnpike Stadium
Toronto – Exposition Stadium
Washington – Griffith Stadium

On a Monday for Saturday (4/25/1976)

April 25, 1976 was not a Monday …. not a Saturday … but coincidentally sandwiched between them …. Sunday …. and a Sunday at a ballpark.

Rick Monday was a bonus baby signed by the Kansas City A’s out of Arizona State. He played 19 seasons on 4 teams with respectable stats over his 1986 games: 241 HR, 775 RBI, .264 BA, .443 SLG. Yet his most proud moment was during the 4th inning on April 25, 1976.

This is a great interview and retrospective of that day 33 years ago today.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 21

On Music
The depth and breath of music continues to amaze me – So many genres with numerous subsets, thus so much to discover, then alone appreciate. On the flip side, I wonder why so many people are stuck in their narrow slice of the music world.

On Reykjavik: 1986
In 1986 two prominent powers meet in Iceland to discuss nuclear weapons. Leading their respective delegations were Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US Secretary of State George Schultz. The two men recently met again in Rome and looked back at the 1988 meeting.

On Israeli Culture
As I’ve said before, there’s so much each of don’t know. I found this recent David Brooks column about Israeli culture intriguing.

On a Stimulating Cost
The Stimulus Bill dispenses dollars to states with restrictions and accountabilities. Here’s an interesting article looking at costs from the state’s perspective.

On Punishing a Good Cause
Elijah Dukes is a young outfielder for the Washington Nationals. Yes, he was late for a team meeting. Yes he was wrong. Yes he was reprimanded – but should he have been threatened for demotion to the minors? If you don’t know why he was late, check this out …. And then this great ending.

On Tornado: 1974
I was in college on April 3, 1974 in northern Ohio. Although I recall the ominous clouds of that day, we experienced nothing like what southwestern Ohio and other states had on the day looked upon as the single worst day for tornadoes in history.

In Ohio Xenia received the worst damage, but many other communities were affected. Several years later I would move to southwestern Ohio, and coincidently, my wife and I would each work with (in separate organizations) people who lost their home that day.

Spring is tornado season, and as an Oklahoma friend of mine says, one never gets used to them. This site focuses on the tornadoes affecting many states on April 3, 1974. Amazingly, look at the Outbreak Statistical Data page to note the magnitude of the day. Keep in mind that most tornadoes typically stay on the ground for a mile or less.

On Procrastinating
That’s P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T – … oh, we’ll finish it later. This CBS report is a great look at the topic … Enjoy.

On the Recent Tea Parties

The recent “tea parties” were an interesting event attended by a conglomeration of people. Whether it was a political-party event or not, I ask this to those who sincerely attended about concerns about government spending: Would you have attended if the rally was held during 2001-2006 span?

  • If so, abandon your party and then join and vote Libertarian.
  • If not, you attended for partisan reasons.

John Avlon’s closing paragraph about the topic is a great point.

In his closing remarks to the New York rally, all-but-announced 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich hopefully pointed out that the tea parties of 1773 were just a beginning. But for these Tax Day protests to have any lasting positive effect, they will need to widen their targets to a repudiation of the Republican Party’s Bush-era contempt for balanced budgets, their pork-barrel spending, and first-round TARP bailouts. They will need to be willing to work with President Obama and centrist Democrats if the promised move toward entitlement reform emerges. Any credible transpartisan movement to restore a sense of generational responsibility to our politics first needs to prove that is not the puppet of partisan ambitions. That’s a modern declaration of independence our Founding Fathers might smile upon.

Economic basics tells us that government monies should stimulate the economy during difficult times, which it’s trying to do. On the other hand, economic basics also says that government needs to get out of the way during growth periods, which is something that it seldom does.

Today’s times are unique because never before have we faced the need for government spending while possessing a large deficit; and it is obvious that the many people would rather blame the current administration than the general practice of the past 40 years. Hence a trivia question, name the presidents (since Nixon) that left office with a smaller deficit than they inherited.

So President Obama is freezing the cabinet budgets. Ho hum because it is a pebble in the Grand Canyon. I appreciate columnist David Brook’s words in a recent column.

Obama imposes hard choices on others, but has postponed his own. He presented an agenda that bleeds red ink a trillion dollars at a time. Now he seems passive as Congress kills his few revenue ideas (cap and trade) and spending cuts (agricultural subsidies). Huge fiscal gaps are opening this decade that can’t be closed by distant entitlement reform. They can’t be closed by cynical Potemkin cuts, a few million at a time.