Archive for July 26th, 2006

On Wednesday, Washington’s highest court upheld a ban on gay marriage. This decision follows a couple of other like decisions that one editorial called the “Gettysburg” for the gay-rights movement.

(You know how I feel about this issue already. Whatever two consenting adults want to do with each other is their own business. That includes marriage. Individual rights should be protected under the law, even if those individuals are disliked.)

Before gay-opponents get all riled up over these decisions, perhaps they should read them. The majority opinions supporting the ban are quite…astonishing, really.

Here’s the majority opinion in the Washington case:

“Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples,” Judge Barbara A. Madsen wrote in that opinion, “furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents.”

If you’re scratching your head over the gaps in logic in this opinion, you’re not alone.

In a dissent signed by three other justices, Justice Mary Fairhurst questioned the logic of that assertion. “Would giving same-sex couples the same right that opposite-sex couples enjoy injure the state’s interest in procreation and healthy child rearing?” she asked.

Where does this idea that gay marriage would “destroy” traditional marriage come from? I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Do proponents of this idea think allowing gay marriage would encourage people to burst out of their collective closets and embrace the homosexual lifestyle, thus fewer hetero married couples?

If anything this paranoid view implies our world is teeming with uptight closeted gays just waiting for a chance to burst out. If you’re like me, I’d rather have people out. Closeted gays are probably one of the most annoying subsets of people that exist. Who needs all that anxiety and self-loathing polluting the air?

The majority opinion in the New York case was even weirder. Did anyone read it?

Heterosexual intercourse has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not. Despite the advances of science, it remains true that the vast majority of children are born as a result of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman……[S]uch relationships are all too often casual or temporary…[A]n important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born. [The legislature could] choose to offer an inducement — in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits — to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other.

…[T]his rationale for marriage does not apply with comparable force to same-sex couples. These couples can become parents by adoption, or by artificial insemination or other technological marvels, but they do not become parents as a result of accident or impulse.

…[U]nstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples, and thus that promoting stability in opposite sex relationships will help children more.

Gays just can’t win, can they? For years they’ve been defending themselves against creeps who claim they’re too d*mn frisky for marriage…only to find that the New York court finds the opposite to be true! They’re too d*mn well off! We need to provide the carrot of marriage to those philandering, sex-crazed breeders!

In all the cases decided recently, the judges say that they’d see no problems with the legality of allowing gays to marry — as long as it involves state legislatures approving such a bill. Which is a kind of odd way of approving of gay marriage without actually having to go ahead and declare a ban unconstitutional. Basically it reeks of politics. Judges aren’t supposed to heed the majority in cases like these; they’re supposed to interpret the law.

But reading the decisions for these cases, I’d have to say they’re on pretty shaky ground. Their opinions could be skewered by a third-grader. Ultimately I agree with the New York Times on this one:

New York’s highest court has harmed both the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and its reputation as a guardian of individual liberties by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

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Links…

These are the kind of people who collect signatures for the extremist initiatives.

Shane M meets Tester and likes what he sees.

F-Words on Washington’s recent decision upholding the ban on gay marriage.

It’s not just health care that’s squeezing the middle class, it’s debt, too. Funny that Congress made bankruptcy rules stricter and eased regulations on charging interest.

The Hill notes that the GOP is worried about the ID 01 race. (Kos’ take.)

Matt Stoller on Net Neutrality and the “monolithic” corporate behemoths who are trying to kill innovation and net freedom for an easy buck.

So much for Specter’s signing-statement legislation. Had enough?

A fantastic editorial on Joe Lieberman and the bloggers.

Speaking of which, Lieberman cancels an appearance for fear a blogger might show up and ask him questions.

Lieberman supports the war…just not the troops. No wonder he and Bush make out.

Pentagon officials were busy hatching plans for an invasion of a Middle Eastern country based on faulty intelligence. No, I’m not talkin’ Iraq – this is Iran.

The US Treasury Department says that Bush’s tax cuts are a “disaster” to the economy.

Air Marshals are pressured to meet monthly quotas for putting passengers on watch lists. And trust me, you don’t want to be on the watch list.

A trio of videos via Crooks and Liars: what if Bush became President of Iraq? McCain appears on the Daily Show and gets some tough questions, as usual. And Chris Matthews rips US foreign policy.

Baseball chatter…

It’s time for another baseball post!

Pronk vs Papi update

You may remember that, waaay back at the beginning of the year, some sports pundit had the audacity to say that Cleveland’s Travis Hafner may be a better hitter than Boston’s David Ortiz. So I compared the two…and well…maybe the dude was right.

How are they doing now?

David Ortiz: .283 BA, 73 runs, 34 HRs, 95 RBIs, .389 OBP, 1.001 OPS

Travis Hafner: .310 BA, 72 runs, 29 HRs, 83 RBIs, .440 OBP, 1.082 OPS

I call it…a tossup! Hafner gets on base more, Ortiz has a little more power.

Is Kansas City the American Siberia?

It’s pretty obvious that the Kansas City Royals have some fundamental problems. They’ve had only one winning season in the past eleven years. You could blame the fact that they play in a small market and can’t afford to keep their talent – only if you look back at the last eleven years, they haven’t developed many quality players.

Since 1995, the Royals have produced Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran, Raul Ibanez, Mike Sweeny, and Joe Randa – that’s it. A couple of fantastic players. But the best pitcher the organization produced during that time was Jeff Suppan, with 94 career wins and a whopping 4.66 ERA.

Compare the Royals to, say, the Minnesota Twins. Check out the lineup you could assemble just from players developed since 1995: C Joe Mauer (with AJ Pierzynski as backup), 1B Justin Morneau, 2B Todd Walker, SS Christian Guzman, 3B Casey Blake/Corey Koskie, LF Matt Lawton, CF Torii Hunter, RF Jaque Jones, DH David Ortiz, SPs Franciso Liriano, Johann Santana, Brad Radke, Mark Redman, and Carlos Silva, RPs Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, JC Romero, Juan Rincon, and Jesse Crain. (And I left out Damian Miller, Doug Mientkiewicz, Mike Cuddyer, and Lew Ford.)

That’s a pretty good team, maybe a little weak up the middle, but you get my point. The Royals don’t know what they’re doing. I suspect if you gave them a cr*pload of money, you’d have the Baltimore Orioles, not the Yankees or Red Sox.

The latest news concerning the Royals is that they basically traded Elmer Dessens for Odalis Perez.

The real story isn’t the trade itself – a middling reliever, prospects, and cash for an erratic, if sometimes brilliant starter – it’s the news behind the trade. You see, Odalis recently caused a ruckus in the Dodger clubhouse, getting bent out of shape for his demotion to the bullpen. (Apparently he doesn’t realize his 6.83 ERA really, really s*cks.) He’s only appeared in games five times since June 28, a very lousy rate for a major-league relief pitcher. Basically he was taking up bullpen space because the Dodgers didn’t want him, but they didn’t want to eat his contract.

Thus, the deal. Let’s face it: the Royals were doing the Dodgers a favor. They take on a chunk of Perez’ salary and get cash and a couple of arms…that’s it. It doesn’t improve their team much, it just gets LA out of a jam. And it tacitly punishes a trouble-maker, by sending him into exile. To Kansas City.

I think the Royals should embrace being the Siberia of MLB. They’re not winning anything any time soon. Why not take on all of MLB’s troublemakers? Just get cash and prospects to sweeten the pot. Kansas City fans might like it, too. Imagine going to see a game with Barry Bonds, Odalis Perez, Shea Hillenbrand, and Carl Everett. You’d never know when a fight will break out in the dugout! You watch guys walk out ground balls, let popups drop, steal third base on their own – it’d be a glorious disaster!

Whither Soriano?

It’s trade deadline time, that means gossip! The biggest rumor circulating is that the White Sox are interested in picking up Alfonso Soriano. They’d have to part with mega-pitching talent Brandon McCarthy.

I smell panic. Adding bats is not the solution.

Last year they won based on a consistent and deep starting rotation. Buehrle, Garcia, Contreras, and Garland each won at least 14 and had ERAs of under 4.00. Not so this year, ERAs are up. Buehrle (4.53), Garland (4.78), and Garcia (4.86) are each up more than a full run. That’s not especially surprising: these marks are closer to each pitcher’s career average. After all, last year we were all waiting for Garland to collapse, but he never did. Apparently he was waiting for this year to revert to his usual numbers.

That’s the long way of saying that pitching is the problem, not hitting. This year, only Jose Contreras (9-3, 3.52 ERA) is having a decent year. But the offense is clicking. Paul Konerko (.298, 25 HRs) and Jermaine Dye (.316, 25 HRs) are en fuego, led by newly acquired Jim Thome who’s second in the AL in HRs (33), third in RBIs (82) and OPS (1.037).

Soriano’s more valuable as a second baseman, and the Sox already have Iguchi there. That means playing left field – which would allow rookie bust, Brian Anderson, to grab some pine. But if pushing Anderson off the field is the goal, there are cheaper alternatives available. Boston’s Trot Nixon, Chicago’s Jaques Jones, Pittsburgh’s Jeromy Burnitz or Craig Wilson, just to name a few. They could probably be had for a couple of borderline prospects and cash.

The point here is that Brandon McCarthy will fix a gaping hole in Chicago’s lineup now. Why trade him away for a player that doesn’t fit?

Say it ain’t so, Barry

Barry Bonds is under investigation by a grand jury for perjury.

Most baseball pundits are saying they’re “bored” of the coverage, or tired of it. Perhaps they’re mistaking the fans’ silence for disinterest and are following suit. I don’t know about you all, but I’m following this thing closely. Barry Bonds, indicted? Are you kidding me? Who says that’s not news?

What’s at stake here isn’t a single player and some lies. If Bonds is indicted and convicted, the whole steroids scandal could bust wide open, and heads could roll, household names, star players. And Bud Selig’s.

If anybody should be held accountable for this steroids mess, it’s Selig. He’s been a zero commissioner since day one. The financial structure of the game is a shambles – thanks in large part to Selig’s overzealous protection of small market teams. And steroids has been an open secret in the game for years. Don’t tell me Selig didn’t know about it, but I imagine he was more interested in salvaging sales after the ’95 strike than in protecting the sport’s integrity.

So, yeah, I’m watching the Bonds’ news closely.

The Glass House Gang update

You may remember from a previous post that my fantasy baseball team carries a number of oft-injured players – Ken Griffey, Austin Kearns, Scott Rolen, and JD Drew – of whom I wrote, “Am I nuts? I’ve got four guys who have next to no chance of getting 400 ABs!”

Oddly enough, none of them have been injured since. (*knocks on wood*)

Last I wrote, my team was in 7th. Since then, things have changed dramatically. For starters, I’m in first place by a 4½ game lead, thanks to awesome pitching performances.

Unlike my hitters, where I prefer older, more predictable veterans, I prefer younger pitchers. Not rookies, but guys in their second or third years. And they have to have high strikeout ratios. My staff? Johann Santana (12-5, 3.04 ERA, 158 Ks), Carlos Zambrano (11-3, 3.27 ERA, 147 Ks), CC Sabathia (7-6, 3.73 ERA, 92 Ks in 101 IP), Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.77 ERA, 80 Ks), and Chris Young (8-4, 3.64 ERA, 111 Ks). Oh, and I drafted Jonathan Papelbon, too, thinking he’d make a nice starter this year, only Boston made him a closer and he’s simply put up eye-popping numbers ever since: 29 saves, 0.53 ERA, and 52 Ks in 51 IP.

Needless to say, I’m first in Ks, ERA, and WHIP.




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