Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playoffs: unfair and unsportsmanlike

We are well into the college football season yet only a week or two into the annual BCS, Bowl Championship Series, rankings of the highest caliber teams in the top division of the sport. Their purpose is to establish a 'true' national champion within the college football world. Sadly it is, like most systems of playoffs for top honors, much ado about nothing.

To begin with, playoffs really don't prove who is the better team. At the highest levels of play anybody can beat anybody else on any given day, particularly in a short series let alone one game at a time. BCS schemes only make matters worse, by factoring in noncompetitive aspects of the game. If games are to mean anything at all then all we should do is see what happens on the field or in the arena. Strength of schedule, and such as that, are ultimately subjective. They are useless in determining who ought to play who when.

But more than that. Playoffs are inherently unfair to any participant. If the better team wins, so what? They should have won. If the worse team wins, again, so what? On one day and one day only they outplayed a superior rival. It happens; yet when it does, the lesser squad is still the lesser squad, and they gain acclaim beyond their actual ability.

The bottom line is, paraphrasing former Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson: the best team isn't necessarily the team which wins the World Series. It's the team with the best record after the regular season. This applies to all sports; it is the long haul rather than one series or one game which really lets us see who's the best in their field. Short series only offer false excitement. They do not truly measure the mettle and grit of a team.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kwame and Barack

Well, it seems that former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick knows nothing about his wife. That's not too surprising, seeing as he apparently was too busy with too many other women in his life to bother about the one he married.

What is truly unintelligible in the whole ordeal is why rich businessmen such as Penske and Karmanos would bother helping an arrogant jerk after he could no longer be a political influence for them or their initiatives. Helping Kwame's family appears the reason, and a noble one it is if that's the case. Yet coddling him seem somehow contrary to how an admitted felon ought to be handled.

Adding insult to injury is Mr. Kilpatrick's insistence that he knows nothing about his wife's finances, whether she has had a job in the last year, and that old claim that he could only afford six bucks a month restitution to the city. This is nothing save continued arrogance, which shows little save more of the disregard for people and institutions which landed him in this mess in the first place. He's in fact won, and he knows it. There is no real penalty; his smirks demonstrate that he knows he is in the driver's seat and doesn't care about how things look. Shame on you, sir.

Shame on our President, too, for his arrogant behavior towards Fox News. When even CNN begins to question your motives, you've done a bad thing, George. It's time for the White House to stop such banal attacks on the free media and concentrate on shoring upo its own image.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smoke Filled Rooms!

We certainly do not lack for democracy in our country these days. In Detroit, for example, we are about to have our fourth mayoral election in the last year. But that itself is a sidebar, an aberration caused by the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal. What is really telling and in fact a weakness in our system is in how political parties selected their candidates. Basically, almost anyone can participate in the way in which Republicans and Democrats select the people who run for office in the name of the party.

The way things are right now, anyone can enter primaries as whatever party they choose. If they wish to seek elective office all they need to do is proclaim themselves a Democrat or Republican and do their level best to entice the public into supporting them rather than appeal to the respective party on the grounds of political philosophy. Further, as is so often the case, almost anyone can vote in the primary or caucus of their choice in order to select candidates for either major party. In short, the parties have increasingly little say in who actually represents them.

What this does more than anything is weaken party identification and, in the end, any real choice we have in who we elect. It leads to what currently are called RINOS: Republicans in name only. One would supposed that DINOS, Democrats in name only, would be rampant in the political world as well. Basically we end up with two parties: Demopublicans and Republicrats, political movements of a hash which leave little save bland taste.

As political parties are essentially private entities, it should follow that they ought to be able to select their own candidates for office. It would create something more akin to what parliamentary systems have, a party discipline wherein you could not run as a Republican or Democrat unless you really stood for what the party did.

What we require is a return to the smoke filled rooms of yesteryear. That would stand a better chance of giving us as the electorate a real choice in who becomes our legislators, congressmen, governors, and presidents. Let the parties choose who represents what they believe in. Then we may actually see a difference in the GOP and the donkeys. Until then, we shall get what we deserve: bad philosophy, and worse politics.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Curling

Curling season began last night, and for many of us that is a banner day on our calendar. We manged to win, 7-1, thanks to a few breaks and some good shots by my teammates.

But that isn't the best thing about the start of the season. It's in seeing our friends again after the summer, in hoisting a brew or two and catching up and reminiscing. To be sure, the game itself offers a fair share of high points: gliding down the ice, brooms swishing, chatter and screaming shot calls and catching a few shots on other sheets as well all offer a necessary recreation which soothes the soul.

I wish more sports were like that. Yet so much of it is in the mentality behind the game, and so many games anymore harbor a showy arrogance which in the end must speak ill of them. That's sad, but apparently that's life.

But no use being maudlin. It was a great night with great friends, and many more are to come. See you on the ice!

Monday, October 26, 2009

That Time of Year

Well, baseball fans, it's that time of year. Time to gear up for the most truly important and genuinely American sporting event on the calendar. It's World Series time.

Sure, it's the Yankees and the Phillies rather than most any one of our hometown heroes. Nevertheless, it's our game on its grandest stage. Baseball in October. There isn't anything more reflective of Americana than that. And need you be reminded of an opportunity which this offers any and every red blooded American?

You got it: a chance to root against the New York Yankees. The dreaded Bronx Bombers. It's time for that old ABNY cheer: anybody but New York. Time to sound the clarion call against that symbol of all that it wrong with our beloved land: buying your way to winning rather than earning it through shrewd analysis of talent and building a winner block by block.

So let's make it two straight for the City of Brotherly Love. Doesn't that sound better than win one for corporate greed?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Underground Grammarian

Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian, was a brilliant man. His essay What To Do Till the Undertaker Comes is about the best and most concise vision of why our schools teach so poorly. The only better short writing I can think of is C.S. Lewis' wonderful Screwtape Proposes A Toast, interestingly also aimed at the follies of modern education.

Our best writings and most brilliant minds should be concerned with education. For the teachers, so many of them filled with ideas of facilitation and nonjudgmentalism rather than on actually teaching people, are right about one thing: it is education which molds the man. Which is why it should be propagation: Humanity transmitting humanity to the future, to very roughly paraphrase Mr. Lewis. What we have today is, again to borrow from Lewis, merely propaganda.

Respecting all other cultures and people and histories without judgment of their actions is merely that. I'm not saying we have the right to condemn others, but we can and must judge their actions. It's how we can really get to know them and their ways, which includes of course incorporating their good and positive values into our own. But it must also mean an obligation to charitably instruct them, so far as charity will allow, in where their errors may lie.

So if you want to read Lewis, well, he's all over the place. The Abolition of Man, The Screwtape Letters, and his Chronicles of Narnia are among his great works. We can learn from them. As to Richard Mitchell, go here: http://www.sourcetext.com/grammarian/ . Look for the Undertaker essay, but I also suggest The Teacher of the Year, Sayings Brief and Dark, and whichever essay it is (I think that it's right after Sayings) which lambastes scrambled sentences lesson plans for writing classes. That one's hilarious!

Mitchell wrote: "Seek out the best, wondering minds, and go and sit with them." My advice is to go and sit with him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Update!

As of today, Saturday, October 24th, 2009, Oswald acted alone, there are no Illuminati worth the time of day, there are no Lincoln/Kennedy paralells outside the incidental, the Trilateral Commission is a powerless body of no importance, the Earth still spins on its axis, and Charlie Sheen is still wrong.

All is right with the world. Just so you know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Drill that Oil!

The Detroit Free Press recently editorialized on the bad things about gasoline falling back to around two bucks a gallon. Among other things, the paper lamented that it would make people less inclined to conserve natural resources.

Fuel conservation, outside of genuine need (and I mean need on the scale of World War II nationally, or harsh personal finance individually) is really a rather pessimistic principle. You conserve because you have no option (personally), or because you have no hope in the future or see that great or unusual restraint is necessary (nationally). While we each have to deal with our own situations the best we can based on our personal resources, as a nation we can do more. We can tie into the traditional American belief in herself, that someone or something given the opportunity will find us alternatives when the time comes. We can believe that with the freedom we have come to rely on we will find new fuel sources for our cars, homes, and businesses. We can see that if the government would just get out of our way we will get over any over-reliance on limited means. Something will be developed or found or invented to alleviate the current pressures on our current natural resources.

Or do we think that once the oil is gone, we're toast? That's what the liberal 'government is the answer' thinkers apparently believe.

That is patently absurd, unless we allow it to become the case. So we do need certain pressure to keep it from becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy. And the surest pressure to prevent that is exactly what may seem, at a glance, the lousiest choice.

Drill that oil. Process it. Burn it up in our cars. Because if you want something to take the place of oil, then get rid of the oil. Where there's a buck to be made and a need to be filled, someone will satisfactorily address the situation if given the freedom to do it.

So pump that oil out of the ground and into your tank. As P. J. O'Rourke said in one of his books: "Fat lot of good its done lying in the ground for billions of years."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Liberals are Haters

I can’t remember where I first heard it; it was either Rush Limbaugh or P. J. O’Rourke, I believe. But it is a simple phrase which I’ve never forgotten: liberals hate people, especially the free. It is not an overstatement, and runs from the proverbial, ahem, sublime to the ridiculous.

Liberals want abortion because there are too many of us on the planet, and they want mass transit so that we have to go places on their schedule, not ours.

They’re against urban sprawl because they don’t want people living where they want to by their free will exchanges among themselves.

They use global warming scams to make us stop living how we live because it isn’t how they want us to live.

They champion the environment because inert matter is more important than living, breathing human beings.

It’s all about control, my friends, and we’re well past time to tell them enough is enough: I can control my own life just fine without liberal meddling in things which are none of their business. It’s time to send these busybodies and their trumped up causes packing so that we can conduct the business of our lives unharried by manufactured guilt. It’s time we stand up to the true haters in our land.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Aestehetics

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? That is a stance taken by most people when the subject of beauty comes up. Taken at face value, it is meant to say that we all have our quirks and foibles and as such our own opinions on the beautiful. That's fine, too, so far as it goes. Without a bit of individual interpretation an awful lot of very good things might go unrecognized.

Too often, though, it is not taken at face value. It is often intended as a way of dismissing any claim which propriety or objective analysis of art and objects may have against what makes something beautiful. On that level, it at the least makes art valueless. At the most, it is dangerous to our very psychological well being.

Why should there be no standards for beauty? Why should we not be able to know and employ them? We do and know and apply standards to so much else; why should the beautiful be any different? What can we really know about art and beauty if we have no way of judging them anyway? Indeed it can open us up to certain ironies, areas where what think awful may actually be lovely.

I remember a nun back when I was in Catholic schools who couldn't hold a musical note in a bucket: God love her, her voice was terrible. Yet when I hear it now, I realize that it in fact had a certain beauty in it which made it endearing. She belted out those hymns, by gosh, a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord, and it really was a joyful noise.

Aesthetics, I believe Aristotle called it. A way to judge the beautiful from the horrendous. It is a subject on which I think we need to spend more time and effort.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Following Up

Yesterday, we published a little blurb here about how the world views the United States. It was met with significant reaction, some pro, some con, as was expected. On that front, it deserves something of a public response.

For starters, we are not advocating a go it alone attitude. Unless that is our only option. If the legitimate interests of the USA are at risk, then we should act to protect if absolutely no one else is with us. Period.

We have tried so far as possible to build consensus before taking major actions anyway. It should be noted that in President Bush's brilliant speech to the UN before we invaded Iraq, he put forth the case that the world had in fact already authorized action against that (at the time) rogue nation. It was time to put up or shut up, and he placed the United Nations right where he should have: as a meaningless and benign body if it will not act on what it says. Likewise we looked for consensus in Afghanistan and Kuwait before sending in the troops. We have not been unmindful of world opinion. When the US gets accused of disregarding the rest of the world, we need to remember those things.

A further question is that of whether we look at the rest of the nations as equals. Said bluntly, it is dangerous to look at another nation as our moral equal simply and merely because it is another nation. We are morally superior to the despots of Iran, China, and North Korea. Even many of our brother countries recognize this; it isn't as though Washington has been going it alone against Irani and North Korean nuclear programs. As individuals must judge the actions of other individuals in regards to how they might affect them, so do nations have the obligation to judge the actions and intentions of other nations and act accordingly.

There is no automatic, universal, and inviolate equality among nations. Failure to recognize this is a failure to serve our own people, or the greater good of the world at large.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Rest of the World

I have been asked: What's wrong with Obama winning the Peace Prize? Primarily because this is a sample of, yes, I mean it, the world's jealousy of us. We're the big dog and they can't handle the fact. We had a President willing to take action and they don't like action without their imprimatur.

Well, I, for one, don't like the world's condescending view of us. It is nothing short of an an example of what they accuse us of being: arrogant. We need to call it what it is: sour grapes. We have power the rest of the world doesn't, and that's supposedly not fair.

They can blow out it their nose holes for all I care. The United States must act in the best interests of the United States, just as they must act in theirs. Anything less is to fail to serve our own people.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Set Up Question

A young man in New Orleans asked the President, "Why do people hate you?"

If there ever was a set up, softball, fat pitch question to aim at a public official, this is it. It has all the qualities of that treacly, syrupy, feel good shallowness which so often passes for a valid sound clip these days. And, no, no one is saying that it was a pure set up. It's simply that this reeks so thickly like playing politics, it's bound to appear that way no matter how you frame it.

The President took it well enough, and used it as the appropriate forum to point out all the ills facing the country today while assuring the young man that he could take the pressure. Frank Capra couldn't have done it any better; but do the American people want corniness at this juncture in our history?

One would hope not. One would hope that there might be some serious discussion of the direction we're headed rather than small town hokum attempted at a big league level. Because if this is the best the liberals have in response to the real concerns so many harbor about the looming socialism on our horizon, we are in terrible danger indeed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Rushing Yards

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative commentator who everyone loves to, well, either love or hate, had been part of a group of buyers for the St. Louis Rams football team. He isn't anymore, thanks to liberal censorship.

It seems that certain folks, led by that icon of moral authority, Al Sharpton, don't believe that someone of Limbaugh's ilk should have ownership of a football team. So as not offend civil rights mavens of Sharpton's caliber, the head of the group trying to buy the Rams has excluded Limbaugh from the package.

The NFL itself was very quick to voice their opposition to the radio show host's becoming one of their brethren. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had stated that he would vote against any deal involving Rush, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remarked that Limbaugh's divisive comments would not be tolerated.

This is nothing less than voluntary censorship at work, and an especially sophomoric and childish brand at that. The big bad NFL has been cowed by forces completely unrelated to the sport it oversees, demonstrating a meekness it would not tolerate on the field.

The left doesn't like someone's politics, so it follows of course that they shouldn't be able to enjoy the freedom of movement that anyone else with money and opportunity could. Rush is a bad man, so no sports for him.

It's just another reason not to like football. Or the self appointed, self righteous, and self assured moral guardians of our nation. One would think the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons out there would be more concerned with the moral decay within the culture they pretend to represent than with the moral caliber of a mere football team owner. But apparently they have those issues solved, and have moved on to other pursuits.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rumblings and grumblings

Anybody noticed the DOW lately? Me neither. It isn't a particularly helpful measure of the economy anyway.

It is too cold for October. Highs in the forties in the middle of the month? Such would be lovely in December or January but are simply uncomfortable at this time of year. Global warming my antimacassar.

How many folks have I sent scrambling now to find out what an antimacassar is? The raw power I feel now is amazing.

The Tigers were ripped off. Sorry to revisit that, but it's true and will not be forgotten around here for a long time.

And Leyland should have started Porcello against Minnesota the last Saturday of the regular season. Sending an almost complete greenhorn in in a crucial game rather than someone who had proved his mettle.

But Porcello would have pitched on only three days rest! It wouldn't have killed him or his career, but it did drive a nail in the Tigers' coffin for him not to pitch. Leyland overmanages.

That is, until the one game playoff. Then he lets Rodney stay in because 'he wanted to'. The one time that maybe you should have made a move and you don't. Sheesh.

Not that I'm bitter. Me? never!

Well, this kind of strayed from a mix and match entry. I'll try harder next time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time to Fix the Constitution.

Much gets said about what's wrong with our government, but little gets said about concrete ways to fix it. To be sure, everyone seems appropriately concerned with the acts and laws of government being constitutional. Yet rarely does anyone actually address the document itself. There are things within it which could be changed or altered to better direct the workings of Washington.

We could start by getting rid of the Fourteenth Amendment. Say what you will about how it has protected the rights of the citizenry, it has nonetheless been used to allow the Federal Government to dip too far into what originally had been considered the realm of the States, and the citizens as well. We forget that in 'championing' the citizens' rights we have seen great abuses of their rights as well. We might just be better off to leave basic human rights to the several states.

The Sixteenth Amendment ought to be trashed as well. In letting the feds dip directly into the pocketbooks of individuals we have expanded their power far beyond the intention of the framers. It must be remembered, as the great Chief Justice John Marshall said, "The power to tax implies the power to destroy." Let the feds get money from the states and from various fees for only their necessary functions.

Let's trash the Seventeenth Amendment while we're at it. If senators were elected by state legislatures as they once were, then they could get back to their true job: representing the states as states. We are a federal system after all: it isn't as though the state governments should have no direct say in federal antics.

This is only for a start, to perhaps begin discussion. Sure, nothing will come of it as the special interests hold too much sway and federal power has become too entrenched. But you got to have a dream: if you don't have a dream, how you gonna make your dreams come true?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doomsday

Psychology is not something for which I have a particularly high respect. Still, there are often instances where it holds a certain interest. The upcoming 'end' of the Mayan calendar in 2012 is one of them.

It seems that many folks expect the world to end on December 21st of that year. Yet many Mayan scholars say that it is merely the end of a 394 year cycle which they used in their calendars. It is, further, mere coincidence that a few unusual or rare astronomical events take place at or around that time.

Yet people remain fascinated that the end of the world may actually be approaching, based on these 'signs'. Why such a hang up on when the world will end?

Fear, no doubt, plays a huge part, and we're not talking about the simple Christian fear about sins. Few people want to die, because they fear losing their life, or they fear missing out on something if this is the only chance we get at any sort of happiness. Some, perhaps, simply need a disaster on the horizon for whatever odd reason: they get a rush out of it, or can use it to bring attention upon themselves.

Almost everyone likes the spectacular, and that likely hits the nail on the head. For the world to end so soon in front of us is of tremendous, immediate importance to anyone expecting or hoping to lead long and full lives.

Such disappointment. It kind of takes the wind out of saving the whales, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm Becoming a Curmudgeon: Part Seven in an Everlasting Series

I like to complain about the cold; it isn't supposed to be this cold this early in October. Yet that also gives me the chance to complain about something else: turning on the furnace. It costs so much to heat the house that we ought to conserve and just dress warmer instead of ratcheting up the thermostat. It is in those examples why I find curmudgeonly behavior so much fun. You can complain about anything and everything.

Today's music is just noise merely because it isn't the music I like. Country isn't like it was back in the day, neither is rock, and why don't they play the big bands anymore? Today's styles are an affront to the eye: you should dress like in the good old days. Which never existed, of course, and that's all part of what's wrong with the world too.

The bed is too hard or too soft...the sun is to bright or it's too cloudy outside...work is too slow until it's too busy...I could go on and on. And while it irritates folks to listen to me they remember me. You know him; he's the guy that complains about everything.

So you see, there's a reason for this, a method to my madness. It is by becoming a curmudgeon that I become immortal. So don't think I'm just a crank.

Or on second thought, go ahead and do that. Then I shall have your poor and inconsiderate attitude to crab about too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just Sick, that's all. Just Sick

So it seems that President Barack Obama can win a prize simply by being Barack Obama. He is the 2009 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for doing absolutely nothing but having a vision.

Vision? Everybody has one of those. Vision alone merely allows us to see the skyline, not actually affect it. Isn't action what's supposed to count? Even his friends in the media are boggled by the choice. Reuters concedes that he "...has yet to score a major foreign policy success after nearly nine months in office,". Nine months? Seeing as he had to be nominated before February, in all of 11 days in office before then he couldn't possibly have even partially enunciated any policies aimed to create peace let alone actually achieve something. The closest he came was in signing the order to close GITMO, and that is proving to be precisely the debacle his adversaries said at the time that it would be. Signing a paper ordering an impractical event is nothing short of useless pedagogy.

To be fair, he appears to be properly humbled by the awarding of the prize. But the message, even not of his making, is there. The world thinks that all we Yanks need is a bit of seeing things their way, never mind that such an, ahem, worldview is every bit as arrogant and self serving and they accusing us of holding dear.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the President is nothing less than insult to the American character. It is time to tell Oslo where to get off: preaching to us is nothing less than hypocrisy. And such a thin, shallow veil they wear.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And We wuz Robbed!

Plus, Brandon Inge was absolutely, positively hit by that pitch in the top of the 12th that would have brought in the lead run. I had always thought baseball umps the best too...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Big Hits

The Tigers lost last night in about the most frustrating fashion in which they could: in 12 innings, after having opportunities in the 9th and twelfth innings to blow the game part. With runners on third in each frame and only one out, no one could come up with the hit, or even the fly ball, which might have changed the outcome.

Fernando Rodney never should have pitched in the last inning either, but who knows what Manager Jim Leyland thinks? All we really can count on is that this will go down as one of the lousiest seasons in team history. How can you let a seven game lead in early September slip away? The word choke comes quickly to mind, but I doubt that explains it fully. The Minnesota Twins put on one tremendous late season charge, at one point winning 11 out of 12; that's hard to defense.

A lot of questions remain to be addressed: does Leyland overmanage? Do we give up too much offense with Laird, Everett, and Inge at the bottom of the order despite their good to great defense? Where will we find the rest of the starting rotation next year?

Sadly, we have all winter now to contemplate them. Baseball breaks your heart...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cabrera Should Sit Out this One

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera has purchased himself a bit of bad publicity recently. During the wee hours of Saturday morning October 3rd, he sat around sharing a few drinks with members of the Chicago White Sox, whom the Tigers were playing that weekend. Upon arriving home a few hours later there was an altercation with his wife which led to the police being called to their home. The slugger was taken in, team President Dave Dombrowski was called to pick up Cabrera from the police station as he was too inebriated then to drive himself somewhere, and that seems to be that as no charges are being filed against anyone.

In the meantime the Tigers ended their regular season schedule tied with the Minnesota Twins and are forced to play a one game playoff this afternoon in Minneapolis. It is a game which Cabrera ought not play.

Surely, though, that will not happen. After all, this is a big time sports event, which somehow makes it more important than issues of world peace, health care, and social security, to name a few questions one would like to believe more critical to our well being than a simple sporting match. And nothing wrong with hoisting a few with your buddies, after all. Further, Cabrera has not been charged with anything, so there should be no repercussions based on that either.

Well, maybe. Still, hanging out with the opposition during the course of a late season critical series can be argued as detrimental to your team. Friendship might ease any sense of having to perform your best against the visitors. Then, too, there's still the instance of a domestic altercation of some sort. While it may not lead to legal troubles it nevertheless happened, and some kind of message ought to be sent that such behavior reflects on the team whether you care to admit it or not.

Ryan Raburn should play first today and Cabrera should sit it out. It would signal that certain behaviors are at least frowned upon by the Tigers while rewarding a bench player like Raburn for his good production this past season. It may even teach Cabrera something about his duty to his family and, to an admittedly lesser extent, his teammates.

But, again, that won't happen. Sports are judged in a separate court from the rest of the world. We see that kangaroo in action every day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Living to Fight Another Day

Our hometown Detroit Tigers did what they had to do yesterday, beating the Chicago White Sox 5-3. Along with Minnesota's win over Kansas City, it forces a one game playoff for the American League Central Division title.

This year year has been a year of the Tigers doing only what they had to do and nothing more. Can they manage it for one more game?

I'm simply thankful that I have to teach during the match, as I will surely need the diversion. In too many ways it has been too much of a roller coaster ride for me, but it beats 119 loss seasons.

I think it does, anyway.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Our Planet!

Are conservatives against responsible stewardship of our environment? Of course not. Without clean air and water we cannot survive. But we are not guests on this planet either; it is our planet. We have rights where it does not. If it is not here for us, then who? Itself? I’ve never heard a rock tell me how much his family means to him, or about how much satisfaction it gets out of its job or free time labors. Human needs come before the presumed needs of the natural world. I can see no other reasonable approach to good stewardship.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Game Day?

Today is the day where the fierce Michigan/Michigan State rivalry flares up anew. Yet one could hardly tell it from the attention which it's getting.

Or not getting. When what was once a major clash of titans has become relegated to the Big Ten network. This game used to be one of the premier games on ABC College Football yet can only be found today on a lesser known and lower watched cable service.

The reason is simple: neither team looks that good at this point. Even Michigan's 4-0 record is at the hands of schools not exactly known for their football histories. Victories over Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan and lowly Big Ten rival Indiana hardly seem to count as wins. MSU meanwhile has looked like the Same Old Spartans. Start well, have great expectations, and flounder.

Even I'm not watching the game, and after Tigers baseball U of M football has been my next great sports passion. It's time for a heavy sigh.



I'll guess I'll go watch the second half now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Myth of Public Money

Many people speak as though whatever money the government takes in is the government’s, or public, money. That is, they argue that government funds can be spent however the government chooses, and that my own or your say in how it is spent is a decision beyond us. The money, once taxed out of our pockets or taken as fees, isn’t ours, but theirs.

This is not true. Public money is my money and your money pooled together so that we can afford to pay for necessary services more readily. The government didn’t earn it; we did. It is ours; therefore we have a say in how it is spent. We can say, through our elected representatives, what we do and do not want funded. Our hand is not taken from it through confiscation however legitimate that may be at the time; our will stays attached to it wherever it flows.

The concept of public ownership of money is like public ownership of land, airwaves, or most anything else: vague, amorphous, and an open door to abuses. "Public money" is too great a temptation for politicians who want to fulfill the wish lists of those who funded their ascent to power. Here's a handy rule of thumb: the less money (or anything else) that is publicly owned, the more freedom for everyone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rain Check Review

Well, the Detroit Tigers are allowing what amounts to limited rain checks after all. If you mail your tickets to them from last Monday's postponement they will do all they can to replace them with comparable tickets for an April 2009 game, subject to availability. I think that's a good gesture on their part, but it would have been nice to have announced that at the stadium Monday. Still, it's something. It shows that at least they were listening when folks like me grumbled.