baseball

Better late than never

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Little League's been in full swing for a while now, but I'm just catching up.  A wonderful little book, A Prayer for the Opening of the Little League Season, appears to have gone out of print, but if you can find it used somewhere and it's not too dear, pick it up—it's a treasure and the illustrations are just lovely.  

Dear Almighty God,
 

This is a prayer for all the kids of all races and creeds in the boundless earthly springtime as baseball once more commences, as it has and will eternally in the ordinance and charter of Thy inexorable seasons.

First, bless the youthful catchers—in their awkward knee pads and chest pads and masks, their unwieldy tools of ignorance, which shelter all the boys who possess the valor to be catchers—that they may be safe from injury and neglect, from errant curveballs and stray fast ones and sharp little fouls that nip the mortal flesh.

Protect the little infielders from bad bounces and assuage the pain of wounded lips and cheeks when blood mingles with the infield soil; grant them deft shovel dips and 6-4-3 double plays.

Spare the eager outfielders from misjudging long drives in the lengthening twilight, permit them swift, diving catches in the dry and tranquil grass, and assure them hard, accurate tosses on cutoff throws to the inmost diamonds, straight to second, or at the corners with the runners going.

Save the young pitchers from all erratic affliction as the line drives whip past their heads and torsos and toes, and give them mastery of their fastballs and curves, that they may outwit the fledgling enemy sluggers, especially with men on the bases...

...Above all, grant us boyhood and girlhood, where in time's soft reverie we are forever children, and where baseball shall dwell with us always, and where sharp grounders are eternally fielded in a new leather glove and drives to deep center are ceaselessly ensnared in shoestring catches and the wicked curveballs are met with two-run singles to left-center, to win the game in the bottom half of the ninth.

In Thy infinite wisdom and grace, our Great Umpire in the Heavens, grant all this in perpetuity to all the baseball children of the earth.

Amen

Can't anybody here play this game?

For Republican Party poohbahs, the answer on so many fronts is, "No."

I saw Phyllis a Yogi Berra and raised her a Casey Stengel.

Republicans are getting a lot of unsolicited advice about how to recover from last year's defeat, and most of it is either ignorant or coming from people who don't have Republican party victories in their game plan.
 
One of the worst of these bits of advice is that Republicans should join a bipartisan push for immigration amnesty.
 
Amnesty advocates shrink from using the word amnesty and try hard to shroud their message in deceptive words.
 
So let's understand their vocabulary: reform, comprehensive, earned legal status and path to citizenship are all code words for amnesty...
 
...Promises by the amnesty advocates to secure the border after the illegals are granted residency, or even simultaneously, are unacceptable and unbelievable.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, an oral agreement is not worth the paper it is written on...
Then comes a list of items that need to be implemented regarding illegals.  Since grandparents on both sides of my family came through Ellis Island, I'm particularly fond of #6:
...Sixth, reinstate the rule that was in effect for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came through Ellis Island. If they had a major disease or failed to provide proof that they would NOT become a public charge, they were sent back to their home country....
 
Commenters point out that she doesn't address the issue of anchor babies in her editorial.  That issue needs to get addressed.
 
Amnesty is part and parcel of the assault by leftists, here and around the world, on the people who play by the rules. Snuck into the US or overstayed your legal welcome?  No problem, the US will put you at the front of the line, ahead of the people who patiently applied for legal entry.  Bought more house than you could really afford thanks to Andrew Cuomo & Co. at HUD and now you can't afford it? No problem, we'll just force all the people who would starve before they wouldn't make their monthly mortgage payment pay for your McMansion. Haven't worked hard and saved?  No problem, we'll just reach our sticky little fingers into the pockets of those who have and hand you the proceeds.
 
The people who play by the rules need to push back and push back hard against the folks, elected (you know—the ones who are supposed to work for us) and unelected (like the political consultant class) who continually attack their own base by proposing or at least endorsing rules and regulations that undermine that very base.
 
Don't cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself.
 
 

Hey, Abbott!...

...'splain to us how unemployment figures "work."

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. 
You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. 
It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To who?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work.
Those who are out of work stopped looking.
They gave up.  And, if you give up, you are no longer 
in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as 
less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%.  Otherwise it would be 16%. 
You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you.  
That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, 
and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!
h/t Ralph
 

If you don't laugh, you'll cry:

The economy, the budget...and the Cubbies

Commentary by Tom Reynolds:

Let’s add some perspective to recent statements in the Ithaca Journal.

Some believe that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal ended the Great Depression, which started in 1929 and ended sometime between 1941 and 1946.  At best, that’s 12 years!  Is that an example to follow?  If we imitate Roosevelt’s policies, should we expect the current recession to end in 2020?  

Roosevelt’s policies were as effective as the Chicago Cubs’ management strategies.  It took a World War to overcome Roosevelt’s policies and the same World War to get the Cubs into a World Series.

In 1920, the US economy took the biggest, single-year drop in history; worse than any single year in the Great Depression.  In July 1921, (just 1 ½ years after that depression started), the recovery began.  What did the US Government do?  Nothing!  How come that Depression doesn’t get mentioned?  

Actually, the Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, was planning a massive intervention but the 1921 Depression ended before he could intervene.  Unfortunately, he had more time in 1929.  

Hoover was probably a Chicago Cubs fan.

Some people justify taxing the rich as if higher taxes have no effect on the decisions of the wealthy.  If so, why hire tax accountants and tax lawyers?  Have you ever heard of a tax preparation service advertising for business on the basis of calculating your “fair share” of taxes?

Some deny that union donations control the government.  In political donations since 1989, twelve of the top twenty donors are unions.  They are #s 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19.  Who is #1?  ActBlue, a Democratic Political Action Committee, made the highest total donations since 1989 even though it only came into being in 2004 (www.opensecrets.org).  In the 2010 races, ActBlue was also #1, giving more than twice as much as the # 2 donor, SEIU.

Now it’s the Tea Party that’s controlling the government!  Could SEIU be an acronym for the Tea Party?

“Greedy bankers” are blamed as the cause of the 2008 financial crises that started the recession.  Certainly, bankers found creative ways to unload the bad debt that they had accumulated.  But the root cause was the bad debt, not the bankers.  Where did the bad debt come from?  The primary answer lies in the federal government using the “Community Reinvestment Act” to force bankers to make loans they did not want to make to people that could not repay the loans.  No “Community Reinvestment Act” and, probably, no financial meltdown and no recession. Reagan was right; government is the problem!  

Reagan began his career as the radio voice of the Chicago Cubs, so he learned to recognize bad ideas very early in his career.

NY politicians decry how hard it is to cut the proposed budget by $10 billion to balance it.  The official state budget is about $130 billion, but there is another $50 billion in Public Authorities that should be—but don’t—get counted in the budget.  Add them together and the proposed budget was $180 billion and needed to be cut by 5.6%. In my 36 years of preparing budgets at for-profits and not-for-profits, the original “proposed” budget was ALWAYS more than 5.6% out of balance.  My experience is the norm, not the exception.  Balancing a proposed budget by less than 6% would have been considered a walk-in-the-park. 

Wait!  Last year, NY State tried to close state parks; maybe that’s why balancing the budget wasn’t a walk-in-the-park.  Again, Reagan was right; government is the problem!  

From 2001 through 2011, the NY State budget increased by $50 billion.  Had it increased by the rate of inflation, it would only have risen by $20 billion.  So the increase was 2 ½ times the rate of inflation!   And remember, the $10 billion they now had to “cut” was over-and-above the $30 Billion that was over-and-above the rate of inflation. 

Perhaps the solution to our economic problems—the national ones anyway—is to stop finding our political leaders in the same city that brought us the Chicago Cubs.

***

tvm—with my apologies to the original artist (although, really, the same graphic could be used every year):

A version of Tom's op-ed appears in today's Ithaca Journal.

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