Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Sweet procrastination

If this (non) act were a pro sport I would have skipped college and gone straight for the pros.

Anywho, there was some interesting reading this morning, notably Bob Herbert's op-ed piece in the Times where he suggests that it wasn't "moral character" that won Bush the election, but instead stupidity. Herbert cites the same University of Maryland report that I had linked last week, and, interestingly, is the first such story using American stupidity to explain Bush's re-election in the mainstream press. Sure, there was that famous headline in the British press, but that doesn't really count.

Perhaps Herbert's piece should have contained this quote that was e-mailed to me by a friend:

The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.

This quote comes from the same friend who sent me this (funny?) story from London's Daily Mirror:

They say that in life you get what you deserve. Well, today America has deservedly got a lawless cowboy to lead them further into carnage and isolation and the unreserved contempt of most of the rest of the world.

This once-great country has pulled up its drawbridge for another four years and stuck a finger up to the billions of us forced to share the same air. And in doing so, it has shown itself to be a fearful, backward-looking and very small nation.

This should have been the day when Americans finally answered their critics by raising their eyes from their own sidewalks and looking outward towards the rest of humanity.

A self-serving, dim-witted, draft-dodging, gung-ho little rich boy, whose idea of courage is to yell: "I feel good," as he unleashes an awesome fury which slaughters 100,000 innocents for no other reason than greed and vanity.

A dangerous chameleon, his charming exterior provides cover for a power-crazed clique of Doctor Strangeloves whose goal is to increase America's grip on the world's economies and natural resources.

And in foolishly backing him, Americans have given the go-ahead for more unilateral pre-emptive strikes, more world instability and most probably another 9/11.

To the overwhelming majority of you who didn't, I simply ask: Have you learnt nothing? Do you despise your own image that much?

Do you care so little about the world beyond your shores? How could you do this to yourselves?

How appalling must one man's record at home and abroad be for you to reject him?

You have to feel sorry for the millions of Yanks in the big cities like New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco who voted to kick him out.

These are the sophisticated side of the electorate who recognise a gibbon when they see one.

As for the ones who put him in, across the Bible Belt and the South, us outsiders can only feel pity.

To the tens of millions who voted for John Kerry, my commiserations.

Perhaps that old sage Jon Stewart said it best when he noted that the results of the election could be revenge for the blue states controlling the TV. "Maybe they aren't that crazy about Will & Grace... "

If that's the case, the blue staters definitely got what they (we) deserved.

Additionally, I concur wholeheartedly with this story on Slate. Not only do I think the 911 Commission Report is fascinating reading, but I also enjoyed the writing. The style of the prose makes the rather somber subject even more riveting.

Hot stove
Finally, I haven't heard much in the way of hot-stove chatter regarding my team. Randy Wolf is going to have a nerve excised from his foot, which will curb his post/pre-season running regimen, but he will be ready for Spring Training when it starts on Feb. 18. Sounds like Wolfie is going to have a long winter on the stationary bike.

Other reports indicate that the Phillies will keep their payroll close to the $93 million they spent in 2004, but despite this, they will be unable to wrangle the big free agents (Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Carl Pavano, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlos Delgado, etc.). For those who follow the Phillies, none of this should be surprising. Landing Jim Thome and trading for Billy Wagner was a fluke. However, it would not be too difficult for the Phillies to sign a veteran free agent like Al Leiter.

Besides Leiter, the Phillies should have the resources to go after (and sign) free-agent pitchers like Kevin Appier, Derek Lowe (although he might cost between $8-10 million), Orlando Hernandez, Russ Ortiz, Paul Wilson, Matt Morris and Woody Williams.

My guess is they will have to make a trade in order to acquire a much-needed center fielder. I don't think there is any way they will allow Jason Michaels and Marlon Byrd duke it out in spring training for the starting job.

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