B After The Fact

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin and Congresswoman Giffords

I listened to Sarah Palin’s Facebook video twice. It sounded like a victory tap dance on Congresswoman Giffords’ face. I continue to hold Mrs. Palin morally culpable, and this is why.

Sarah Palin prayed for this. You can call her very public “targeting” of certain Congresspeople in the cross-hairs a lot of things. A political tactic that, according to Governor Palin “both parties” have done. Maybe lobbyists have done it, on single issues in certain races. And maybe a Democrat in the occasional local race, like the one where the opponent puts out posters with a rifle in his lap, and invites constituents to come shoot M-16s with him in order to “kill” his opponent. Oh, that was the Republican in Congresswoman Giffords’ race. And maybe you can find someone on MSNBC who has done it, although not likely.

But not a call for the death of so many people, for such generalized reasons. Although there are some parallels in the call for the deaths of the doctors who exercise their constitutional rights to perform abortions. But these sorts of lists are not put together by someone who just ran for Vice-President, and who may run for President. Think of the potential reaction if Joe Kennedy, who runs a well-financed single-interest group, ran targets on people’s faces. Think of the potential reaction if John Kerry or John Edwards or Al Gore did something like this.

Sarah Palin prayed for this. And maybe she meant it. One of the reasons you’re allowed to think that she meant it is that Congresswomen Giffords publically mentioned several times that she took the matter of being targeted by Governor Palin seriously. Yet Governor Palin took no action to take the offending material down. Or to attempt to explain it. Governor Palin thought the targets spoke for themselves. And they did. Just ask the gunman who murdered the abortion doctor in Kansas, a sober, articulate spokesman for a cause that he believed in enough to kill for.

Man proposes and God disposes. Sarah Palin put up these targets, with the implication that she would support anyone who brought these targets down.

Then, maybe by coincidence, maybe not, someone gunned down Congresswoman Giffords. God answered Sarah Palin’s prayer.

That’s not to say that the gunman ever heard of Sarah Palin. That’s not to say that Sarah Palin is under any legal obligation to stop saying what she is saying or doing what she is doing. That’s not to say she was lying today when she claimed that in the context of what she was saying and doing, the “targets” were simply metaphors for “votes”. I’m only saying -- and I say this as someone on the losing side – that if Sarah Palin didn’t mean that she literally wanted some psychopath to gun down Congresswoman Giffords, then she should have prayed more carefully.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Hall of Fame Ballots Are Due In

I do not have a vote with the Baseball Hall of Fame. In order to have one, you need to have been a baseball writer at a certain level of prominence for at least 10 years. I have none of those credentials.

Still, if I had a ballot I would have voted for 9 players, out of a maximum allowed of 10.

In alphabetical order

Roberto Alomar
Jeff Bagwell
Harold Baines
Bert Blyleven
Barry Larkin
Edgar Martinez
Fred McGriff
Jack Morris
Tim Raines

A few notes:

I've read a lot of "new Age"/ Bill James/ sabermetrical statistical analyses either defending or debunking the Hall of Fame candidacies of Blyleven and Morris. This is the way I've come out. I understand, in any given year, how much luck goes into a win-loss record. Oliver Perez wins 15 games, and he's not really that good. Felix Hernandez wins 13 games, and everyone agrees he's a Cy Young winner. However, over the long term, a starting pitcher's job is to win ballgames. And both Morris and Blyleven won a whole lot of games.

I never thought of Baines or McGriff as Hall of Famers until I looked at their stats on-line. I might feel differently about them next year.

Larry Walker is another player I never thought much about until I looked at his stats on-line. But I left him off because I did not see him play that much.

I have mixed feelings about Mark McGwire and the obvious steroid users. I am not prepared to let any of these guys in yet, but I know that in my heart of hearts, if it was up to me, I would put them in eventually. One reason is that it was obvious that something was happening, even if we weren't 100% exactly sure of what. But I watched the games anyway. And I enjoyed them immensely.