The Eclectic Quill

June 12, 2009

Stating the Obvious on Obama’s Birth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 8:50 am

There’s been a lot of talk about Obama’s birth certificate and whether it really exists or not. Rush Limbaugh yesterday alluded to the irresponsible allegations, but the allegations ignore basic reason. Allow me to state the obvious here, Obama has a passport and that means he has a birth certificate. Here’s the logical proof he was born in America.

  1. Obama has a US Passport. We know this because his files were hacked and it was big news.
  2. To have a US Passport a person must be a US Citizen.
  3. There are two ways to be an American citizen. To obtain a US Passport evidence must be offered for either of the two.
    1. Natural (birth)
    2. Naturalization (immigrant)
  4. Since Obama has a US Passport he is either a natural or naturalized US citizen.
  5. If he were a naturalized citizen then there would be a swearing in as such, and this would be a matter of public record.
  6. Absent evidence of Obama naturalizing, and in light of the fact that he’s actually produced a birth certificate, one must logically conclude that Obama is a natural US citizen.

Obama has shown the same evidence as any US citizen does in retrieving his passport. In his case this evidence must have consisted of producing a birth certificate since he has no naturalization papers to produce. Suggestions that he hasn’t produced a birth certificate belie the fact that he had to produce one, which was inspected by a person with the same training that would inspect yours or mine if we wanted to obtain a passport. Simply put Obama must have a birth certificate because he has a passport.

His father renounced Obama’s citizenship

Here’s the official US policy on renouncing citizenship for minors: “Parents cannot renounce U.S. citizenship on behalf of their minor children. Before an oath of renunciation will be administered under Section 349(a)(5) of the INA, a person under the age of eighteen must convince a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer that he/she fully understands the nature and consequences of the oath of renunciation, is not subject to duress or undue influence, and is voluntarily seeking to renounce his/her U.S. citizenship.” Ergo, it is impossible for Obama’s father to have legally renounced Obama’s citizenship.

Hawaii wasn’t a state yet:

The state was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. Obama was born on August 4, 1961. You do the math.

He hasn’t produce the original, only copies.

This is patently false. Fact Check has handled it as have others. Their findings are that it is valid

I’d like to point out also, that this allegation doesn’t actually have its genesis with the right, but rather with the left, and a disgruntled Hillary supporter

The bottom line here is that the only reason to believe Obama wasn’t born in the US is you don’t want to. .

 

June 2, 2009

Reversing Racism is not Reverse Racism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 4:59 pm

Whenever a justice is nominated for the Supreme Court there’s the inevitable silly little debate that will go on. Pundits will go back and forth about the qualifications of whoever the nominee is, prattling on as though they’ve known all about the nominee and following their career closely, when in point of fact, probably few, if any of them, really even knew that person’s name just a week prior. Some statement gets blown out of proportion and spun out of context to serve as the totality of that person’s belief. Then, depending on what’s gone on behind the scenes politically, and in front of the scenes politically the person either gets approved or doesn’t. It’s all a kind of political game. What’s unique about the Sotomayor nomination though is what is being brought to the forefront and what isn’t, which is to say the matter of racism and reverse racism in light of her comments. Simply put reversing racism is not the same as reverse racism.

To any thinking person there’s a clear context and tone to her answer that is very different from saying that Latinas are better judges than whites, and if you don’t get that you simply aren’t going to. To put it bluntly though, if you think that the traditional elderly white male judge has done an admirable job over the 233 years of our nation’s existence then you’re either ignorant or stupid. To this point 106/110 Supreme Court justices in our nation’s history have been white males. Does anyone really believe that had there been a couple of blacks on the court Dred Scott wouldn’t have turned out differently? Does anyone believe that had there been a more equal representation, women wouldn’t have received the right to vote earlier? Does anyone suggest that Civil Rights would have been more readily enforced were there a more balanced court? It needs to be understood that Sotomayor’s comments were not just reflecting the present state of the court, but the historic nature of the court, and the Supreme Court has historically failed to have empathy for minorities and women. That’s a demonstrable fact. In the flack surrounding the statement though there’s something getting lost—an opportunity for a real conversation about the present state of racism in this country. In fact, in their criticisms of Sotamayor many of the right wing pundits who are calling her racist are donning their own racist tendencies and not getting called on it.

This is occurring on three levels. First, in their blatant and open attacks on her for her race they are racist. Second, in their mock shock over her statement they are racist. And third, and most subtly in their opposition to affirmative action they are racist. In order to understand the present situation, and why I make this claim, we need to see what racism actually is. From dictionary.com:

1.a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

2.a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3.hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Do Sotomayor’s comments suggest a belief that her race (and gender) are superior and give her the right to rule others? Actually no they don’t. They, at most, suggest that the experiences she has that typically go along with her race and gender might give her the ability to make better judgments, particularly in instances where the factors of race and gender might come into play. Secondly, there’s nothing to suggest from that comment that there’s a whole scale philosophy built around the notion of building a system of government based on fostering that doctrine. There’s also nothing in her legal history which suggests that. And truth be told, any intellectually honest look at her statement shows that things are being blown out of proportion. So why all the hullabaloo? Because beneath all the verbiage in this debate is a coded message about affirmative action. She’s even been called the “affirmative action pick” and the same diatribes usually end up with her being a “reverse racist.” The liberal punditry points to the diatribes as examples of how far right the far right have gone, but even they don’t really offer much up in the way of the discussion which really needs to be had here on the nature and need of affirmative action. You see, while Sotamayor isn’t a racist, racism does still exist in this country.

Here’s a table that shows what the facts are according to the Census Bureau.

Race 

1st Quintile

2nd Quintile

3rd Quintile

4th Quintile

Lower Limit of top 5 Percent

White (Non-Hispanic) 

$23,075 

$43,002 

$68,051 

$106,406 

$189,198 

Hispanic 

$17,500 

$30,288 

$48,000 

$75,000 

$130,600 

Black 

$12,524 

$26,000 

$43,005 

$71,000 

$126,400 

 

Succinctly put, Whites, across the board, make significantly more money than Blacks or Hispanics, and a lot more at that. They make especially more than Blacks and they do so especially at the bottom. The bottom quintile White, non-Hispanics make nearly twice as much as Blacks. There is severe income disparity in this country, and there’s really no argument to be made about it. There being income disparity the next question is why. There can only be two reasons why, it is either inherent, meaning that one race actually is better than the others and that’s the reason they are across the board more successful, or else it is systematic, meaning that there’s no genetic advantage but that there’s something that exists within our present socio-economic system which provides more benefit to one race than the others. There is no third alternative. If one contends that the reason is inherent then they are racist based on the first definition, if they say that is systematic, yet oppose changes to the system, then they are racist based on the second definition.

In our society, and by “our” I mean the white society, we’ve come to the conclusion that racism is a thing of the past in this country. We view racism as lynching the black guy for sleeping with the white girl and deem that we are past that now. Racism isn’t just hating a person because of their race, it’s not being against separate but equal, it’s favoring a system which gives an advantage to one race over all others, and clearly our system does that. It needs to be fixed. To deny this problem is to perpetuate this problem. Look at the numbers. Can anyone really deny that there is a problem? There’s another, much subtler form of racism which exists in tacitly agreeing that there is a problem but at the same time being against surrendering advantages we receive based on our race and/or gender.

If we acknowledge there is a problem then we should be for a solution. If we see racism happening and are against reversing racism we are in fact racist. What things like affirmative action try to accomplish is not a kind of system where the minorities are given special advantages but it is a system where they are given an equal opportunity, and that is a very big difference. Again, look at the numbers. In 2007, 29.1 percent of Whites had at least a college education compared to 18.5 percent of Blacks and 12. 7 percent of Hispanics. This doesn’t mean that there’s deliberate discrimination in the acceptance cycle; it means that there’s something inherently flawed in our system. We fundamentally remain a racist country in the sense that we still are a country where there is a race that has an unfair advantage. That, by definition is racism. However, we as individual people are only racist if we willfully perpetuate the existing situation.

But the subtler message, that she can’t be trusted to strike down affirmative action because she is a reverse racist is wrong. In actuality she has shown that 80 percent of the time she doesn’t uphold discrimination. It’s precisely because of her experiences as a Latina woman that she can be trusted. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but actually experiencing discrimination probably qualifies you to know what is and what isn’t discrimination more than if you have never experienced it. All these right wing, talking head dolts assume that when she says “better” judgment that means she is more inclined to uphold discrimination cases. She didn’t say that, she said better. Maybe sometimes the better decision is to say it’s not discrimination. Maybe sometimes it’s not just the verdict itself, but the reasoning behind the verdict. Having the experiences she has had she is more qualified to understand those kinds of experiences.

Now here I want to point out what I mean in saying that there is a difference between reverse discrimination and reversing discrimination. Imagine that there are 25 people in a room. 15 are green, 5 are blue and 5 are red. There are 15 jobs available and there is training required to get those jobs. The “greens” band together and get the training to get the jobs, and then they get the jobs. This goes on for a year and the blues and reds say, hey this isn’t fair. At this point the greens say, what do you mean it’s not fair, we have the training! We are the most qualified to get the jobs. Is it fair to the least qualified green that he has to surrender his job to the most qualified blue? Perhaps not if you look at the snapshot, but it is if you look at the big picture. There’s already a discriminatory system in place at that juncture and the only way to reverse that discrimination is to allow less qualified blues to become qualified is to allow them an opportunity to train. This is the idea of affirmative action, “reverse” discrimination or racism. The right wing punditry wants you to believe that the 5 reds and the 5 blues come in and kick 10 greens out of a job and now the reds and blues have a 100 percent employment rate while the poor greens only have 33 percent and now the minority is benefitting from a racist system. That’s not reverse racism, it’s racism, and it’s so far from being a problem in this country it’s just plain irresponsible or even flat out lying to suggest it is. The reality is they know a racist system exists and they are trying to perpetuate it. That’s being a racist on the second definition.

In all their reaction to the Hispanic nominee the right-wing punditry reveal their true colors, pun intended. First, it’s obvious in their word choice and reaction that they are actually really bothered by her race. They keep asking would she be a nominee if she were a white guy and had the same qualifications. My response is that if she were a white guy with the same qualifications they wouldn’t be asking if she were qualified. She is supremely qualified, and is as or more qualified that virtually anyone on the court. No presently sitting justice had as much as experience as she has had sitting a Federal Court. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton. She went to both Princeton and Yale on full scholarship. Of her 3000+ decisions 99.8 percent were never overturned. If any white man had those qualifications there wouldn’t be questions about being qualified. I know because less qualified white men got nominated and weren’t questioned by these same clowns about whether they were qualified. In fact some of the less qualified present justices were lauded by both parties as being extremely qualified. There question belies their true intent. They just simply can’t accept that no matter how qualified she is that she is qualified enough. That’s being racist based on the third definition.

These self-righteous mealy mouths are nothing more than racists. From David Duke to Bill O’Reilly to Rush Limbaugh they are racist one and all. They might not think they are (or they might) and they might not even know they are, but they are. The problem is that there’s probably a whole lot of White Americans who also are without knowing they are too. It’s time America takes another good hard look at herself and acknowledges her flaws. When we are in a crisis like this our greatest recourse is our people—all of them. If we perpetuate a system where we only utilize 60-70 percent of our greatest recourse, we only become 60-70 percent of what we can. It’s time the media stopped letting “Affirmative Action” sound like a dirty word and started pointing to some hard facts again. Only then will the Duke’s and Limbaugh’s be exposed for what they are.

 

 

June 1, 2009

O'Reilly on Tiller Terrrorist Attack

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 9:01 pm

O’Reilly says that everything he said was true and was fact. That’s not exactly true, unless you don’t account the vast majority of what he said about Tiller. He said that Tiller was murdering babys. Not true, he provided legal abortions. He siad that Tiller would perform illegal abortions. Not true. Every abortion he perfromed was apparenlty legal, which is why it got thrown out of court. He said that Tiller was able to perfrom "On Demand" abortions. He didn’t. All the late term abortions were signed by another Doctor.

Finally I’d like to point out that the guest attorney there is obfuscating the truth. He talks about the legal system and being aquitted not meaning you haven’t done anything wrong. While that’s true generally, it’s not applicable here. (It doesn’t mean you did do something wrong either, a fact which should be pointed out.) The reason it’s not applicable here is that it was a Grand Jury, which means they didn’t find enough evidence that a crime was committed. What happened was he was brought up on trumped up charges and the Grand Jury didn’t feel there was a crime committed, which legally speaking means you didn’t do anything wrong.

Bill O’Reilly is gong to have to meet his maker too. A fact he might want to remember.

The Coleman v. Franken Primer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 6:25 pm

If you start looking at all the mainstream media’s reports of Coleman v. Franken’s appearance before the Minnesota Supreme court today you’d be hard pressed to find evidence of the “liberal media.” It seems the vast majority have two things in common. First they present what Coleman’s complaint is, that there’s inequity in how the votes were counted in Republican counties versus Democratic counties, and second, that the Supreme Court is going to decide in favor of Franken. What you won’t find is much of a discussion about why the consensus is why Coleman has no chance of winning, which is that he has no actual case. As a result of this type of coverage there are a lot of misperceptions about what the case is here and I want to present those, and the answers to them here.

First, let’s consider what Coleman’s case comes down to. There are four legal reasons you not only can, but must refuse a Minnesota absentee ballot. These are an unsigned ballot, the ballot is cast by an unregistered voter, a voter has moved, and the voter has voted more than once. Of these two particularly can be judgment calls, although on its surface it might not seem that way. Number one, a person might not be able to sign their name but sign with an X. They could be blind, they could be in traction, they could have some mitigating factor which didn’t allow them to cast the vote. In such cases does an “X” count as a signature, and what qualifies as an “X”. Or, perhaps the person had an eyewitness sign the ballot. You could have cases where “unsigned” ballots are counted and other cases where they are not. These are questions left to the ballot counter to decide. The second reason would be if someone, for instance, lived on “Main Street” but the ballot was mailed to “Main Avenue” in a town where there is no “Main Avenue.” The poll worker can ascertain that Main Street is Main Avenue and understand that it is the same address. However in a larger city perhaps there is both a Main Street and a Main Avenue that are on in separate precincts. In that case the worker can determine that the voter has moved and therefore, should not be counted. In other words you can have very similar circumstances but where in one case the vote doesn’t count and in the other case it does. Essentially Coleman is saying that the process was unfair because the Democratic precincts counted votes but the Republican precincts didn’t.

When that’s all you know it sounds like a pretty good argument for Coleman. Why should a vote count in one precinct but not another? He has pulled out 4000 ballots form Republican counties to prove his point. He didn’t pull out an even sampling form both Democratic and Republican counties, both counted and then demonstrate that there was an unduly higher percentage of votes disqualified in Republican counties. He pulled out only the rejected ballots in only the Republican counties. Imagine both you and I both have a bag of M&Ms. You pull out all the green ones out of your bag, and then you select all the red ones out of my bag and then you present just those as “proof” that Mars has favored me in giving me more red ones while it has disfavored you in giving you more green ones. It would of course be a ridiculous argument because you would only be presenting certain M&Ms as your case. In a nutshell this is what Coleman is doing. He has selected only the judgment calls which don’t favor him, and only the judgment calls which actually favor Franken. Obviously, there’s a problem here.

Now of course you might ask, why not just go through all the votes and count all of them? Well that’s what the six months put to now was all about. Every single vote was reviewed, standards were applied and both sides had representatives look at every single ballot. There was a big legal proceeding where they determined which votes should and shouldn’t be counted. The review board looked at literally thousands of ballots and heard 145 different witnesses. After all was said and done, out of millions of votes cast, there was a relatively tiny stack of 11,000 votes which were not counted because they were deemed to be not legally cast. Now Coleman has sorted through all of them and pulled out only those which were cast in Republican counties (no one knows who the votes were actually for) and says, “We need to count these.” The 7,000 cast in Democratic counties he leaves in the pile and says that those shouldn’t count. This is Coleman’s version of an even standard, applying a standard to Coleman that is more permissible than the one applied to Franken.

The other part of this is that it’s possible (though not likely) that there was more judgment calls that favored Franken than Coleman or even more likely to favor Franken than Coleman. One poll worker might be a little stricter than the next and so it’s possible, though again, not likely. The Coleman spin that the Republicans followed the rules while the Democrats didn’t is completely unqualified. Even if that’s the case Coleman would have to make the legal case, with corroborating evidence, that it was systematic, meaning that there was an official policy in place that made it inevitable for the Democratic counties to allow for looser standards. This is very difficult, if not impossible to do because every single worker was shown the exact same video prior to the election. In other words, every single worker got the exact same instructions. Secondly, the chief election official is the governor, who happens to be a Republican. In essence we’d have to accept that there was second, secret set of instructions issued in Democratic counties. This would imply some sort of large and complex conspiracy, organized by who—Al Franken?

Essentially the reason that Coleman doesn’t have a chance of winning is that he doesn’t have a case. There’s a reason both the election board and a lower court ruling have gone in Franken’s favor, and without much doubt as to what the outcome would be. Legally speaking, there’s no question. The only question is when will Coleman let it go and let Minnesota have their second Senator? In addition to this blog entry below there are some bullets of some of the various comments I’ve read on conservative blogs and the response to the arguments.

  • If the courts decide that a heavily Democrat election machine can count Republican districts using one criteria, and Democratic districts using a different criteria, then what little hope is left for this country disappears. Well, first, it’s probably news to most of Minnesota that they have a “Democratic Election Machine” especially Republican governor Tim Pawlenty. Second, and more importantly, the ruling would be the exact opposite, that there was no evidence of different standards being applied in different counties.
  • If you can litigate the election for president, what’s the big deal about senator? Al Gore changed the world in 2000, and not in a good way. Ever wonder why it’s called Bush v. Gore and not Gore v. Bush? For the same reason it’s Coleman v. Franken. In both cases the litigator was the Republican.
  • We lost by magical ballots found in back seats of cars, or magical recounts that always went in the democrats favor. There was nothing magical about any of it. Ballots were known to be misplaced. Ballots need to be transferred from the precinct to another place. Should those legally cast ballots not be counted because they were left, for short period of time, not be counted. In other words, should those voters be disenfranchised because of something that occurred after they voted?
  • For this to give the democrats a 60 vote majority and uncontested rule means that 60 minds of one party have to be thinking the same way to be reality. Does this indicate that the political parties put their party ahead of the best interests of our nation? When politicians become this self centered, a democracy cannot exist. While the verbiage makes the argument confusing, it appears that the person is arguing that if these elected officials vote the way they were elected to vote it’s being self-centered and is undemocratic. Anyone else see the problem with this?
  • The Dems have the “All votes must be counted… until we’re ahead” thing down, and the MSM goes right along like the trained lapdogs they are. Actually Franken never changed positions at all, his position has always been count every legal vote. Coleman was saying, don’t count legally cast votes, and now he is literally arguing that illegal votes should be counted. Franken’s position relative to Coleman may have changed, but only because Coleman has changed. If I stand on your right and then walk to your left, our relative positions might change, but you haven’t moved. That’s precisely what has occurred here.
  • I hope Coleman fights all the way to SCOTUS if necessary, and maybe they will admonish the way this election was railroaded. If SCOTUS can make a precedent here, maybe it could actually STOP the Democrats from stealing election like this one. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony? The party that is always prattling on about state’s rights and the 10th amendment appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn a matter of what is without question, a matter for the state court to decide?
  • Coleman had originally won when Franken and Democrats called for a recount and mysteriously Franken now wins!!! People, take your blinders off—no equality here, just politicians making biased decisions. Our country should be ashamed. Actually Coleman never “won.” He was ahead, in a matter of speaking, on election night. However Franken didn’t get any more votes cast for him after that. After the constitutionally required (not requested by the Democrats) hand recount was completed, Franken was the declared the winner by the election board. He is the only person who has actually been declared a winner by the election board, and there’s nothing “mysterious” about it.
  • Hold the election again, Franken would lose in a landslide. There’s been a number of conservatives that have been throwing out this whole “re-vote” idea. First, in order to do such a thing would require the single most significant act of judicial activism in the history of the country. Second, it’s doubtful that Coleman would win a run-off anyway. For starters even half the people who voted for him are fed up with him as shown by the fact that 2/3 of Minnesota voters want him to let it go (meaning half of Coleman voters are telling him to quit). Second, in the initial election there was a third party, the Independence Party, represented by Dean Barkley, who received about 15 percent of the vote. Polling prior to the election showed that he was taking about twice as many votes from Franken as he was from Coleman. In a two party run-off, even if the state wasn’t already pissed off at Coleman it’s not likely he would win.

 

 

May 27, 2009

Would Jesus “Do” Waterboarding

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 4:03 pm

Two of the biggest things in the news at the moment offer an intriguing perspective on the Republican Party. First as Obama has nominated for his first Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor the debate heats up over whether she is going to "legislate from the bench" we all know the real debate is whether she is going to be judging based on a particular segments religious beliefs and that it has nothing to do with legislating or the constitution. Second there’ been a great deal of conversation about the subject of waterboarding lately and whether or not that constitutes "torture, a practice advocated by the same folks who oppose, or will oppose the nomination of Sotomayor based on their religious beliefs.." It surprises this blogger that no one points out the inherent conflict in these two positions. On the one hand they trumpet their opposition to things like abortion and gay marriage based on their biblical beliefs; on the other they ignore other biblical charges such as "love your enemies" as the advocate for torturing their enemies instead. One has to wonder, as they put on their WWJD bracelets if they’ve ever asked themselves the fundamental question, "Would Jesus "do" waterboarding? "

Normally on my blog I like to gather the facts and just present an argument, here though the discussion is not so much about facts, as it is an observation. The facts themselves are relatively self evident so I won’t spend a lot of time establishing them, I’ll just state them. The Christian right is set on seeing their values established on the entire nation, and perhaps even the entire world. Have you ever noticed something about the thing the things they are always pushing though tend to have more to do with regulating other people’s conduct more than their own? They want to make sure that other people follow their principles. Whether its abortion, abstinence only education, outlawing gay marriage or civil unions, or what kind of books we’re allowed to have in public libraries, they seem far more concerned with what other people do wrong than what they do or advocate doing that is wrong.

Now I want it to be understood, I agree with them morally on most of these issues, but I disagree that my private beliefs are somehow of enough more importance than anyone else’s that it means that they should be legislated. I am a Christian, and a very sincere one at that. I find it interesting when people have questioned the validity of my faith based on my disagreement with them on the political front, as it demonstrates to me that in doing so how much the conflation damages the perception of what the Christian faith actually is. It’s a faith which is established not on the premise that we need to impose our morals on others, but rather that we, having sin, are in need of salvation. I bring this up because it begs the question, why would people whose entire belief structure is based on the notion that they can’t keep a certain moral code want to legislate it on those who don’t even have the same belief structure. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order!

Then there’s a second hypocrisy, which is the hypocrisy of the non-biblical things they advocate for. First there’s the matter of taxes. Jesus was literally asked the question, "Should we pay our taxes." He wisely replied, "Do you have a coin?" When shown a coin, he asked again, "Whose picture is on the coin?" The answer was, "Caesar’s." Jesus then said, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s." In other words, if you’re going to use the money (and all the other things that the government provides) then pay the taxes that make that happen. The anti-tax position of the Republican Party is anti-biblical. How their tax money is spent is similarly umbilical. The Biblical charge to "remember the poor (Gal. 2:9) is unambiguous yet the Republican Party seems to do a better job of remembering to blame the poor for being poor. There are a host of biblical charges which suggest that at least 1/7 the of a property owner’s income was to go to the poor in fact. There was for instance, a Sabbath year every seven years . During that years the farmer was supposed to let that land and whatever grew from it was to be left for the poor, the stranger and the animals. On top of that when harvesting his crops anything that fell to the ground was to be left for the poor. Putting these two things together God intended that more than 1/7th of our wealth be set aside strictly for the care of the poor. The hypocrisy is seen again.

Their position on gun control and the corresponding argument is also umbilical. Jesus said, "If someone asks for you cloak, give him your tunic also." Then two sentences later he said, "It has been said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you , love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." One has to assume that Jesus’ reaction to having someone rob him would not be to pull out a gun and put a cap in the offender’s head, but rather it would be to ask, "Is there anything else I can get for you." One also has to inquire as to what His position might be on waterboarding with the above passage in mind. Would Jesus hold down a person suspected of terrorism and pour water down his throat making him fear for his life? Again the hypocrisy is evident. .

Nowhere does the New Testament ever advocate a Christian government but it does demonstrate that the life of a Christian is a result of Christ’s inward governing. If one accepts Biblical theology then one has to recognize that without Christ the Christian life is impossible, yet the Republican Party would like to legislate their version of Christian living. It begs the question, why then are the Christian right so set on imposing these laws. Right wing theology is not about being "Christian" it’s about being selfish, even to the point of making it illegal to offend them. One of my personal favorite passages in the Bible is from Philippians where Paul says, "Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ who…humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, and that the death of the cross." The mind of the Christian then is to be selfless, not selfish. It is humility, not pride. That’s not to say that the Christian way is to surrender his own moral character or beliefs; rather it is to say that there are things more important and more relevant to being a Christian than forcing moral beliefs down other people’s throats.

When one considers the Republican perspective on virtually anything a pattern starts to emerge. Whenever it concerns someone else being inconvenienced or imposed upon the Republican view is very pro government. Whenever it comes to themselves being inconvenienced or imposed upon then it suddenly comes anti government. At one point Jesus asked, "Hypocrites! Why do you point to the splinter in your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own?" The Republican platform is full enough of unbiblical and unrighteous views, yet the Christian right is selective in failing to notice those things. They need to start working on their own set of flaws before they start worrying about everyone else’s if they’re really worried about "What Jesus would do."

May 18, 2009

Feel the Earth Move?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 4:34 pm

The morning after the election I watched, dumbfounded, as Joe Scarborough insisted that this election is not a mandate, that America is “still a center-right country.” The rhetoric followed and then for a while that’s all you heard from the right-wing media machine. The insisted, they spun, they spat, they sang, they did whatever they could think of with whatever emotions they had to get across this single message, that ideologically the nation still agreed with them, the “liberals” just won because of the economy, which really, wasn’t their fault after all. Six months later the Republicans may be feeling the earth has moved under their feet as the song goes, but in reality, the earth has stayed right where it was the whole time.

There’s been talk about how the Republican Party is on the edge of extinction. I don’t believe so. There are two things Republicans have in common with cockroaches, they both scurry when you shed light and you can’t get rid of either one of them. So Republicans will survive and, sorry to say, they’ll probably be sharing the earth with the cockroaches some day so no I don’t think they’re extinct. I do however think they are going to get even weaker before they get stronger. The evidence is there. Arlan Specter has already changed parties. There’s talks that the two Senators from Maine may be following suit. Al Franken looks to be seated from Minnesota. The Dems could be holding 62 seats before the next election even rolls around, and unless there’s a huge shock coming from the Minnesota Supreme Court, there will be a minimum of 60. Then, when you start looking at the ’10 elections it’s easy to see things getting worse for the Republicans. Hutchison is going to resign to run for Texas governor. Her vacated seat could be won by Houston mayor, Democrat Bill White. Richard Burr’s seat in North Carolina could be lost; his seat has flipped parties five consecutive elections. Vitter’s seat in Louisiana is not secure by any stretch. Murkowski in Alaska, Bunning in Kentucky and Thune in South Dakota are all in trouble. Finally there’s the open seat in Florida which the Dems have a real chance of picking up. So what are the Republicans doing to protect these seats? They’re digging into their most odious rhetoric and pushing away anyone who might trend closer to the center. In a sense Specter’s move really is indicative of this. The Party moved, not specter, and one day he looked up and found out he was a Democrat again. Consider the facts.

  • The Republicans didn’t cast a single vote for the stimulus bill. It was a pretty bold move by Obama. The Dems had won the house by a large enough majority that he could have stiff armed the Republican Party. Instead he sat down and talked to them about the stimulus bill. He even conceded to them their two biggest concerns. What did he get in return? Not a single vote and a lot of complaining about Pelosi and partisanship. Most Americans looked at that scene and got disgusted. To them it looked like Obama offered a gracious hand and the Republicans bit at it like yakking dogs. Republicans seem to forget that “bi” in “bipartisan” is for two. That means both parties have to give a little. It was clear from that little display that Obama and the Democrats were willing to go that far when they didn’t have to while the Republicans seemed petty and small minded. Even more incredulous was their defense about spending too much money, while most of them had cast votes time and time again for record setting Bush budgets. Once again, Obama looked the moderate and they looked extreme.
  • They’ve been hammering Obama on Guantanamo, torture and the trials. They’ve been suggesting, implying and at times outright stating that Obama’s plan is to set hardened terrorists running about freely in the US, even on the government dime because he’s decided that even accused terrorists have basic human rights, and should have, for instance the right to a trial to determine if they are terrorists before they are treated like one. He’s not closing Gitmo to free terrorists, he’s just determined that it isn’t necessary to have Gitmo in order to try them. They actually have the right to know what they are accused of and who is accusing them, little things like that. Here’s the thing about that though. He’s also annoying a lot of the liberals by not releasing more photos because they could be inflammatory, putting troops in danger. He’s geared things up in Afghanistan, he issued the kill order on the Somali pirates. He’s not backing down, he’s been strong and Presidential, but he hasn’t been extreme, to either one side or the other. What the Republicans aren’t getting here is that Obama is the moderate and when you call a moderate extreme, it makes you look extreme.
  • Literally, not hours after Obama gave a well received speech at Notre Dame calling for Americans to not demonize one another over the abortion/choice debate, Alan Keyes was on national TV (ok Fox News) calling Obama evil. Do you need to say anything else about who looks like the moderate and who looks like the extremist here? Evil? Really?
  • More than two thirds of Minnesotans think it’s time for Coleman to concede. Yet he won’t, and Pawlenty doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to encourage him to do that. He’s playing national politics over state politics, not a popular thing for a governor to do, especially when the national political game he’s playing is to prevent the agenda of the President that his state just overwhelmingly voted for to get through. The fact that two thirds of the voters are saying it’s time for Coleman to step down means that half of Coleman voters think he needs to stop dragging this thing out. Tim Pawlenty should have been a front runner for the ’12 ticket, and that’s probably why he’s playing the national game . Instead he might not even last as governor. The longer he allows this thing to drag out the more furious the Minnesota voters are going to get. For all their high minded rhetoric about bipartisanship the Republicans are a sniveling group of partisan hacks and moves like this show just how much that’s true. They don’t realize how much this is hurting them. Franken has been uncharacteristically silent about a lot of this. He’s shown restraint, and that shows moderation. Again, the Democrats look moderate while the right wing is being exposed as extreme.
  • Even the moderate Republican voices are being muted by the extreme Republican voices. First Michael Steele and now Colin Powell are getting silenced over the likes of Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh might be popular with 10 percent of the nation but the other 90 percent think he’s a right-wing-nut-job-blow-hard. And no, he’s not just an entertainer, you have to be entertaining to be an entertainer. He’s a hate-monger and there’s a willing appetite. The problem is that those who gobble it up are extremists, and deference to extremists makes you look…well, extreme.

The more you look at the post political landscape the more apparent it becomes, the Republican Party isn’t dying it’s moving even further to the right. Specter’s move to the right was necessitated to some degree by the near certain nomination of Patrick Toomey, extremist in the primary. Sarah Palin is being flaunted as the next Presidential candidate in spite of the disaster she presented as a VP candidate. In most of the tough elections they are facing the candidate furthest to the right is probably going to win the primary, and that’s going to make it very hard for them to win in the general election. So why do they keep insisting on pushing this agenda, even though that on virtually every matter—the war, taxes, health care, gun control, marriage or civil unions for gays and choice—Americans don’t agree with them? It’s simple. Because they don’t really get that most Americans don’t agree with them.

They live in a little protected bubble where dissent is not allowed, tolerated or heard. When it is heard you get ousted. Every item of belief is detailed and packaged and sold and if you think, if you don’t agree, you get ousted. Most critically it’s all shrouded in religiosity, and made to be God’s word. To have doubt is to doubt God Himself. To have thought is to rebel against God. It’s even been revealed lately that Rumsfeld was tacking bible verses onto pictures of the war and sending them to Bush! Fanatics prattle at political conventions about the sacredness of life while they also tout how God is behind the war. They quote Bible verses that have nothing to do with their cause and preach and prattle and after a while it all starts to seem, well frankly , cultish. And that brings us where we are now, the Republican Party has become a cult, and the problem with cults is that the people who are in them never it’s what they are in, all the way up to Phenobarbital pudding and cyanide Flavor-Aid. Eventually this brand of Republicans, the “neocons” are going to eat the metaphorical pudding and go the way of the dinosaur, but sadly the Republican elephant will continue to roam the earth and one day share it with cockroaches. The earth isn’t moving, it’s just moving on, and fortunately, not too far into the future, without the neoconservatives. That brand of Republican is a thing of the past.

 

April 28, 2009

“24” Is Fiction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 3:30 pm

Were someone to say to me ten years ago that there would be a time when our nation was debating whether someone should torture I would have chalked them off as a nut job conspiracy theorist. Of course that was two years before the nut job conspirators started running the show. Once again the argument is surfacing over whether or not we should torture, what constitutes torture and whether torture works. Whenever I even hear the question brought up it’s all I can do to calm myself enough to not fly into a cathartic rage and lecture whatever poor soul brought up the subject, be it in my presence, or a numbskull on the TV that is not hearing a thing I yell at him with my DVR paused. So imagine my chagrin one day a few weeks ago while we were watching “24” and my wife asked, “What about “24?” Uncharacteristically, I kept my composure and reminded her, “24” is fiction.

Apparently some other people, namely those in the Republican Party and in the Republican media, also need the reminder. When you’re watching a TV show where the script says that the bad guy is the one getting tortured then it’s easy enough to say, “Yeah, you go get him.” In the scripted world Jack Bauer “knows” when the person is lying and when the person is telling the truth. In the scripted world, when the innocent are tortured it all comes out fine in the end. In the scripted world Jack knows best and we just need to trust Jack. Of course that’s all fiction.

The problem is that we aren’t talking about something scripted here. When the torturer knows the victim “knows” something he might be wrong. This can have a compilation of problems, such as wasting valuable time trying to get information of out someone who has none, getting false confessions pointing to other people who give their own false confessions and so on. Republican spinners will point to the “foiled” terrorist attack on the Library Tower in LA. This has two dubious qualities, 1) there’s a great deal of question as to whether the attack was actually anywhere close to operational, and 2) the attack was foiled without the use of the so called, “enhanced interrogation” techniques, as it was foiled before they were ever authorized. So once again, essentially what is being resorted to is more fiction.

Here are a few facts you should know about torture:

  • Confessions derived under torture are more often untrue than true.
  • False confessions are a much bigger problem than getting confessions.
  • Interrogators are less likely than an average person to be able to discern a lie from truth.
  • People cannot be “trained” to withstand torture.

The inherent problem with all the “24” fiction is that they guy who is getting tortured did it. Apart from the moral problems of torturing anyone, much less someone who didn’t do anything and has no information to give, is the reality that they can eventually “break.” What happens when you “break” someone who doesn’t know anything? You get lies, lies that validate the interrogators preconceptions, and the end result is that nothing is learned and everything is validated. It’s not hard to see how torture can actually encumber investigations.

I was watching an interview with John McCain and he’s talking about how he met this high up terrorist guy who was being held in a prison in Iraq, and the terrorist leader was telling McCain about how Abu Gharib was a big boon to the terrorist recruiting. This prison that he is being held at holds 20,000 Iraqi prisoners, all of whom I presume from the context are suspected terrorists. Now here’s the thing of it, the number was just tossed out lightly, and I had to rewind it to make sure I heard it right, but yep 20,000 Iraqi prisoners. I have serious problems, especially after it came out that as much of 90 percent of the prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib weren’t only not even guilty of anything, but weren’t even accused of anything, that all 20,000 of those prisoners are terrorists.

And herein lies the inherent flaw in all the pro-torture, neocon, logic. There entire case rests on a presumption of guilt. In the script we can know because well, it’s a script. In the real world that’s just not true. How many of those 20,000 prisoners are giving us what we want to hear so they can go home and be with their wives and children? How much bad information are we torturing out of people?

Sure, the neocons will just want to spin things a different way. They’ll say I’m more worried about protecting the terrorists than the innocent people the terrorists want to kill and so on and so forth. The problem is, that’s not the problem. I want

to stop terrorism as much, and dare I say more than they do. I say I want to more, because I, unlike them, am willing to resort to what works. It’s time to stop letting the blowhards railroad the conversation and get to the heart of the matter. It’s not about the morality of torture—that’s just something you either accept or don’t—it’s about the effectiveness of torture. If you want to stop terrorists, don’t torture!!!!

Now having said that I want to point to something else briefly. There’s this whole thing between Keith Olbmeran and Sean Hannity. Hannity said waterboarding isn’t torture. He was asked whether he’d be willing to be waterboarded, and he said, yes he would, for charity. Olbmeran called him on it and said he would give 1,000 for charity for every minute that bonehead was waterboarded, essentially calling his bluff. Whether he would actually allow himself to be waterboarded or not is another story, because it misses the essential point behind waterboarding. It’s about fear. Over 108 prisoners have died in these “camps” due to these kinds of interrogations. Waterboarding isn’t a matter of what happens over a couple of seconds while water gets poured down your throat. That’s awful enough. It’s having people come kicking down your door at 3:00 AM, dragging you by your hair to black sedan, driving you with a hood on your head to some mysterious place, flying you to another country on a cargo plane, and detaining you without even telling you why. Then they barely feed you, strip you naked, keep you from sleeping for days at a time. While you’re there you see perhaps one or two, or maybe three people leave their cell and never come back. You only see the body bag. Then, they take you into a room surrounded by people with guns and they yell at you and scream and try to get you to confess. Then they tell you if you don’t tell them what they want to hear they’re going to kill you. And as they grab you by the scruff of your next and hold your head underwater (or pour water down your throat) as your breath leaks away the image of that body bag is in your head. The image of your terrified wife and children is in your head. And the thought occurs to you, just tell them your neighbor is a terrorist and it’ll all stop. You reject the idea. They pull your head back up and then the moment you have a chance to breathe, the moment you have a chance to hope that you’re not going to die right there that put your head back under water. This goes on for several minutes and each time it’s easier to accept that, while you have nothing against your neighbor, you just don’t want to die, and so you “confess” that you’ve conspired with him. Days later your neighbor is woken up at 3:00 in the morning.

So here’s the thing Hannity is not getting. It’s not the feeling of drowning that makes it torture, it’s the threat of dying. When you are in control, that’s not a real threat. When you have a safe-word it’s not a real threat. If you don’t have that feeling of pee in your pants, raw, horrible fear that you are going to die NOW, it’s not the same thing. That fear is what makes it torture and that fear is what makes it so ineffective. It’s not the lie of the terrorist that you have to worry about, it’s the lie of the falsely accused. There’s no way that Hannity can experience that, and no way I can suggest that he should. I do find it recklessly irresponsible for him to suggest that it isn’t torture, or to reduce it to merely the violent act of feigning drowning someone, which is in and of itself an awful, evil act. It’s not the physical trauma, but the psychological trauma that makes it torture, and there’s no way Hannity can experience that without actually being tortured.

 

            

April 27, 2009

Great Fantasy Performances and Other Cool Stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 2:50 pm

A couple of times a year I buy a month membership at Baseball-Reference.com. Playing with their Player Index is a great way to pass the time. Essentially this is how it goes. I wonder, “Gee what about this” and I look it up and find out. It’s a great way to pass the time. Today’s entry is a record of my statistical wanderings from today.

First up I asked myself the question, what are the great fantasy performances of all time, which led to, what would be the all time great fantasy team. I managed to put together a team that could compile a total of 2546 SNP in Ultimate Fantasy Baseball.

Pitchers


Hitters


In the course of doing that I came across some intriguing things. For instance two of the greatest pitching performances of all time came in the same game, but neither starter got the win. In fact no one did; the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Chris Short and Rob Gardner dueled through 15 innings of shutout ball. They surrendered a total of 14 hits and 5 walks, while combining for 25 strikeouts. Both the Mets and the Phillies called in relievers to finish the game but it ended after 18 without a winner.

From great pitching performances my mind wandered to worst and Wang’s less than amazing start. I wondered, what’s the longest streak of surrendering 7 or more earned runs in consecutive starts. Here’s the list. Wang’s generosity is equaled 17 times since 1954, but never surpassed. He also has far and away the highest ERA over the stretch at a whopping 34.5! In this light it’s reasonable to argue that Wang’s three game stretch is the worst in the history of the game.

Once I got turned on to the streak finder I thought I’d check and see the most consecutive games a team went without being shutout. That distinction goes to the 1978-79 Milwaukee Brewers who went 212 games without being shutout. However another intriguing detail here is 2000 Cincinnati Reds, who were the only team since at least 1954 to go a natural season without being shut out. Of course from there though the mind turns to who has gone the longest without scoring a run. Since 1954. Probably the worst of the streaks was the bats, or lack thereof, of the Washington Senators whose scoreless streak actually extended to 38 innings. The game prior to their streak they only scored one run to boot. Not surprisingly the team was pretty horrible, losing 100 games. They had a team OPS that year of .645 and only scored 578 runs on the season. Things have changed though, that team is now the Texas Rangers, a team known for its offensive prowess.

But that did lead me down yet another winding road. I wondered who had the most pathetic offense in the history of baseball. This got me thinking down the road of teams and history and the like. There are two teams in the history of baseball who have more than 10,000 wins, the Giants, with 10,264 and the Cubs, with 10,091. However both the Dodgers, who need 27 more wins, and the Cardinals, who need 58 wins, should pass the milestone this year. The World Champion Phillies are the only team to have lost 10,000 games. The Yankees though, are the winningest team, with a .567 franchise winning percentage. The Tampa Bay Rays are the worst at .417. Arizona and Tampa are the only two teams without 1000 wins. There are 8 teams who have never won a World Series, the team with the most games without a World Series win, in fact without even a Pennant is the Texas Rangers, formerly known as the Washington Senators.

And then I decided it was time to wrap it up, but I do have a month still, so if you want me to look something up, ask and you shall receive.

 

 

 

April 26, 2009

I Thought Defense Won Championships

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 11:22 am

For years teams like the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks would put up huge numbers on offense in the regular season, and with it fantastic records and #1 seeds. The talk of course always settled around one thing, defense wins championships, and inevitably all that talk was vindicated as whichever team in question made an early exit from the playoffs.

Enter the 2008-2009 season and the Los Angeles Lakers,who boast the West’s best record and the leagues 3rd highest scoring offense and who are also the prohibitive favorites by 4/5 odds whereas Cleveland, who boasts the NBA’s best record, home court advantage, and more importantly, the leagues best defense, are getting 5/4 odds. More telling is the (and this is admittedly subjective) virtual early coronation of the Lakers as the next NBA champions by the media at large, particularly the folks at ESPN and TNT.

Now some would point to the two games that the Lakers won but there’s a lot of reason for incredulity with allowing that to carry too much weight. For starters, in the first game the Lakers were at full strength while the Cavs were missing West and Ilguaskas. Secondly, and really more importantly, rarely does what happened in two regular season games, spaced a month apart, really give much indication of what is going to happen in a seven game series. In fact, I believe hearing that quite a bit from the same crowd last year.

But more disconcerting to me is the nearly whole scale departure from the conversation of defense. Normally that conversation is the most dominant of all post season conversations, but this year it seems to be a dirty word. It’s almost like you have to go and look it up to find out that Cleveland is the #1 defense in the country.

Now allow me to say, I’m not a Cavaliers fan, I’m a Bulls fan, in spite of what my recent posts on the whole Lebron vs. Kobe debate might lead some to believe. Neither is my contention here with the Lakers, who I think will come out of the West and I’d venture to say it’s going to be a coin toss who wins it all. It won’t come down to Kobe or Lebron though (as the media will make it out to be) rather, it will come down to Odom or Ilgauskas or West or Williams or Gasol, and how they play. Anyway, I digress.

My emphasis here is the change in conversation and why. The national sports television media is all about television markets. Today I turn on ESPN and according to them the story of the NFL draft was the Jets trading up to get Sanchez, the one year starter at USC. So why was that the big story of the NFL draft, and not say, Crabtree, arguably the guy who will stand out ten years from now as the top player in that draft falling all the way to number 10? The reason is simple; this story involved the two biggest television markets in the country.

So now lets get back to the NBA and the Lakers and the Cavs and the story of defense. Why isn’t defense winning championships this year? Because people in LA don’t want to hear the folks on TNT or ESPN talk about how their favorite team is going to lose because their defense doesn’t compare with Cleveland’s. The league average this year for PPG surrendered was 100, the Lakers are 13th in the league in scoring defense with 99.3 points while the Cavs are first with 91.4. L.A. is better in opponent field goal percentage, surrendering a 6th best average of .447. However, Cleveland is surrendering a sterling .431. In 3 point percentage the Lakers get even better giving up a 3rd best .345, but again Cleveland is even better with .333. Cleveland’s opponents grabbed 878 offensive rebounds while the Lakers opponents grabbed 959. Cleveland surrendered 2310 defensive rebounds and the Lakers, 2440. The Lakers only advantage is in creating turnovers and getting steals. They have created the leagues 3rd best 1350 turnovers, and 6th best 728 steals, compared to Cleveland’s moderate 16th best as they have stolen the ball 728 times compared to the Cavs 592. This advantage though is offset by Cleveland’s moderate 18th best in opponents’ turnovers with 1137 and 28th best in steals with 519. This is somewhat offset though, but not completely by the fact that Cleveland has committed the fourth fewest turnovers.

Finally, and perhaps most tellingly though, Cleveland’s held their opponents to 1568 assists, good for 4th best in the league, while the Lakers opponents fared much better, collecting 1854 dimes, placing the Lakers at 26th in the league. This bodes well for Cleveland in two ways. First it’s troubling for the Lakers that Cleveland is so prevailing in this regard because it screams a great matchup with the triangle offense, which emphasizes passing to create scoring. Cleveland’s ability to cut passing lanes could mean a series of Kobe shooting and having huge games, in a losing cause. Secondly, the Lakers lack of ability to cut passing lanes could spell well for Lebron having some huge games and collecting nightly triple doubles.

Now there’s a lot of different things that could be broken down here, and some will doubtless favor the Lakers, and my point here isn’t really to conjecture how the series will go but as to how it very well could go and especially, to ponder why the media isn’t doing it. The only conclusion I can come to is that they don’t want to, and they don’t want to because they don’t want to anger the Lakers media market.

As the finals approach and Kobe and Lebron lead their teams down to this inevitable path perhaps there will be a bit more discussion of how the series would break down and maybe even someone will start to talk about the weaknesses of the Lakers defense and the strength of the Cavaliers defense. My guess though is that they’re also going to be stirring up the hype for James to go to New York and out of Cleveland. The NBA has an agenda and its stirring the pot through its spokesmen, and that agenda is to keep the finals in big markets. It’s the most plausible explanation for why we aren’t hearing about how defense wins championships this year.

April 11, 2009

Kevin

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 8:22 am

Kevin Heisinger was a truly nice man; one of the nicest I’ve ever known. He was they type of guy that would take you to lunch with his last ten dollars and go hungry himself if you let him. He was always putting others before himself, and he was actually a happier person that way.

Kevin was one of the kids I used to spend time with in my job as a minister. We used to have lunch together, or occasionally go to a Christian conference together. Kevin exemplified the Christian life, loving the Lord, and living without hypocrisy. He was a happy man, always ready to laugh but never to condemn. I nick-named him “Alto” because he was “high singer” and he loved it. He was so nice he could even enjoy a bad joke!

Kevin wasn’t just kind, he was exceptionally bright as well. He was valedictorian at his St. Louis High School. Being Kevin he didn’t want to use his talents to make a lot of money and have an outstanding career, he wanted to help people, especially the most challenged people, those afflicted with mental conditions. That’s why he majored in Psychological Services at Northwestern University. Wanting to specialize in the homeless with psychological conditions he went up to Ann Arbor one weekend to visit the University of Michigan campus where he was planning to go to graduate school for a Masters in Social Services. He took a Greyhound bus.

On Sep 5, 2006 Kevin was on his way home when the bus stopped at a rest area. Kevin went to use the restroom. There, a man named Brian Williams, a diagnosed schizophrenic who was literally “off his meds” was told by the voices in his head to “stop him.” Williams was a huge man and when he started to beat Kevin those around were paralyzed, failing to do anything. No one even called out for the police. After several minutes a nine year old boy, who came in and saw what was happening ran to get the police. Within 19 seconds of being notified the police were then and Williams fled. He was apprehended two blocks away. It was too late for Kevin though. He died in a pool of his own blood in a rest area in the middle of nowhere Michigan.

Since then they’ve passed a law in Michigan called “Kevin’s Law” which allows the court in certain cases to compel a person to come to court and take there medications in front of a judge. The tragedy and irony of Kevin’s death are heart-wrenching, even as he died at the hands of the kind of person he wanted to help, his death served to help them. The day I received the news though there was no Kevin’s law, there was only grief.

I kept “living” the moment. In my imagination I became Kevin, fighting off my attacker; I became the witnesses, running immediately to get the police, or calling out for them; I became an advocate for Kevin, yelling to the bystanders to do something. Yet no matter how many times I tried to change the history by living it in my head, it never went away. Over time I just grew to accept the tragedy of Kevin’s death.

Adenhart’s similarly tragic death reminded me of Kevin. Forget about the baseball, about his career and all of that. He was a young person, on the threshold of life, about to enjoy its promise, when he was suddenly, tragically and violently taken from his friends and family. My hearts and prayers don’t go out to the “entire Angels Organization” they go out to his friends, his teammates, his companions. Such tragedies remind us that these aren’t “heroes;” that this isn’t just “business.” Our favorite players, our looked to prospects, even our scapegoats are people. Sometimes it takes tragedy to remind us of that. Seeing the mourners on the mound, holding up Adenhart’s jersey yesterday poignantly hit me how young these kids are. And here they are on a national TV stage, trying to make sense of that which makes none, and deal with their most human grief.

Over time the players will get back to the daily grind of baseball, gradually the pain will heal into a scar. Occasionally they will reminisce and ponder what could of been. Adenhart will always be a part of their lives in some small way. I just hope that we, as fans, don’t lose sight of the lesson to be learned here, that these are people, real people, struggling in a world we don’t understand. It just takes something so tragic, so ordinarily tragic as death, for us to be able to identify with them.

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