Thursday, October 27, 2005

Recent Observations

Miers Withdraws

Harriet Miers withdrew herself as a nominee for the Supreme Court citing an unwillingness to have sensitive documents from her tour as White House counsel revealed. Thus ends one of the strangest nomination episodes in recent memory, one that had Alexander Hamilton turning in his grave. I have given consideration to this having been planned. One of the prominent debates over judcial nominees is considering idealogy versus judicial scholarship. It is perceived that liberals are concerned with putting judges in place who are educational elites, great thinkers, and in turn tend to be more activist. The conservative base, especially the religious right is more interested in idealogy ruling the judiciary and would rather see laws changed(i.e. overturning Roe v Wade) to fulfill certain moral obligations(ending abortion). If we learned anything from the Miers nomination we understand that this does not seem to be the case. While James Dobson and Pat Roberton were on board because of Miers' apparent anti-abortion stance, conservative stalwarts like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and George Will were put out and asked for the withdrawl almost immediately. It is possible that the Miers nomination was a test case to see how the right would react if pure idealogy was the only consideration. The Democrats seemed ambivalent about Miers and were willing to let the conservative wing of the Republican party kill the nomination. At this point one thing is certain, Bush and his advisers have a decent idea where every faction stands on judicial nominees.

Plamegate

According to the Drudge Report late Thursday night, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is prepared to indict Vice President Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby for lying to the grand jury. Karl Rove, the political mastermind at the White House appears safe for now, but it still under scrutiny. The indictment reveals a major problem in the whole way this investigation has been covered by the media and perceived by the general public. According to one guest on the Imus in the Morning program recently, the investigation would not produce an indictment for the actual leak, but rather for whatever cover-up may have occurred. It is similar case as Watergate where Richard Nixon and his staff were not charged for the break-in at the Watergate Hotel but for attempting to cover it up. So all of the screaming and histironics about the ethics of revealing the identity of a covert agent is a bit unnecessary. It would seem that it is extremely difficult to prove that anyone actually leaked the name and that in doing so they blew Valerie Plame's cover. Any defense attorney worth a grain of salt will tell a jury or judge that Plame was no longer covert at that time and there for the leak was a case of "no harm, no foul" Of course politically speaking , an indictment of any major Administration official places the Bush White House in a position so weak, I am unsure how they will be able to govern effectively for the rest of the Presidency.

Sheryl Swoopes Comes Out

WNBA three time MVP Sheryl Swoopes revealed in a ESPN Magazine interview that she is a lesbian. It would seem that this is no surprise to most people. ESPN once again bent their journalistic integrity by pushing a "tolerance for gays in sports" agenda, which they anxiously hope will soon produce a major male sports figure coming out. In terms of sin, Swoopes being a lesbian is the same as Wilt Chamberlain being a serial adulterer. Sin is sin, and since we are not in the business of applying moral restrictions to pretty much everyone, this does not matter. What is disturbing is that ESPN considers Swoopes to be a major sports star. She's not! The WNBA garners less attention than the Indiana High School Basketball Tournament. Lebron James saw larger crowds in high school than Swoopes has ever seen in the WNBA. ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, who is affectionately know as "The Sports Guy" wrote an interesting treastise(only available with a subscription) on the WNBA. His basic assertion was that the WNBA was not a major sport and its existence is owed almost entirely to NBA Commissioner David Stern's desire to keep the league alive. What's more attendance is on the decline and the basketball is just bad. Simmons maintains this is not a sexist assessment, it is an assessment of quality and the WNBA has very little. The bottom line here that ESPN decided this was newsworthy because (1) ESPN broadcasts the WNBA and (2) ESPN seems to be all about sports figures coming out of the closet. What was really telling was that no one really cared that much.

White Sox Win the World Series

If we learned anything about the Chicago White Sox winning the World Series we learned that there is an extreme Red Sox/Yankee bias in baseball media and the general public. The ratings were the lowest ever and the lack of interest was palatable. Baseball mythology has always placed the Red Sox World Series Futility at the top of the list. The Curse of the Bambino was invented and that, combined with the psychosis of Red Sox nation, created a national sensation every time the Red Sox got close to the World Series and an absolute frenzy when they won it all last season. I was one who found this World Series to be as compelling a matchup as we have seen since the Braves and Twins met in 1991 in a battle of two teams which went "from worst to first" On one side the Chicago White Sox whose futility exceeded Boston's by one year and who actually could lay claim to a kind of legitmate "curse" The Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The story goes that in 1919, 8 White Sox players participated in a plan to throw the Series to Cinncinati and resulted in their lifetime ban from baseball. From that alone, one could construe the White Sox are under some sort of punishment and that the quest for a World Series title is a quest for atonement and the cessation of shame. Also consider that the White Sox are not even the best loved baseball team in their own town and are largely considered a stepchild in the Chicago sports family. The Natonal League champion Hoston Astros had never been to the Series in 44 years of existence and had their heartbreak stoies of futility past(1986). There are guys like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell who had been loyal Astros for 18 years and wanted so badly to bring the title home to Houston. All of this should have been all the ingredients for a sensational sports story which should have capitivated the nation, even in a sweep, but instead it was panned because it was not the Yankees or the Red Sox. I was relieved to see two new teams in the Series, and I can only hope the Yankees continue to spend millions of dollars on past-their-prime players and the Red Sox revert back to being the Red Sox so we can enjoy new Series winners and even richer stories of winning the title for the first time or the first time in a long time.

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