Daily Archives: February 7, 2007

Juan Pierre: prediction for 2007: Dodger fans better like triples

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Juan Pierre was a sought after commodity by the mavens of Big League Baseball last year. The Dodgers finally snapped him up for 44 mill over four years. This isn’t the worst contract in baseball history or even the worst one last year…Alphonso Soriano clearly has that honor. Let’s look at what the Dodgers bought when they invested the money in Pierre instead of, say, a thousand Porsches.

Last year Pierre appeared at the plate 750 times. Those were his chances to score or drive in runs, or at least get on base. Being a leadoff hitter, it isn’t fair to expect him to drive in a lot of runs, but he certainly should have scored a lot, since he is thought of as the prototypical fast, basestealing leadoff man. Okay, he scored a total of 87 runs. 87. That is ridiculous. Tied for 32nd in the league. And that is what they got him for.

And in those 750 appearances, he made 532 outs. 532. Now the Cubs as a team only made about 4200 outs. So basically Juan Pierre made about 1/8 of the total outs of the team. How did he do it? Firstly, he hardly walked…32 times…98th in the league. So his on base percentage was only .330, terrible for a leadoff man. 63rd in the league.

Secondly he got thrown out stealing 20 times (easily led the league) out of 68 tries, about 30% of the time; you’re not helping your team when you get thrown out this often. He’s an average fielder. He is 29 years old.

Prediction for this year, if he stays healthy: batting 289. Runs 82. HR 5 2B 27, 3b 14, RBI 48. OBP 324. For that he will be paid something like 11 million dollars. Love those triples. He was tied for second in the league. yahoo.

My point is this: if the Dodgers just want a guy to tear around the bases and slide into third, a few times a year, to get the fans riled up, fine. But if they want to win a championship, they better figure out what wins games and use this kind of money on good ballplayers, not one-trick ponies.

Clayton Kershaw is not gonna be happy with this guy battin leadoff, I promise you that.

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Guantanamo beatings non-investigation

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What’s wrong with this story?

An Army officer who investigated possible abuse at Guantanamo Bay after some guards purportedly bragged about beating detainees found no evidence they mistreated the prisoners — although he did not interview any of the alleged victims, the U.S. military said Wednesday.Col. Richard Bassett, the chief investigator, recommended no disciplinary action against the Navy guards named by Marine Sgt. Heather Cerveny, who had said that during a conversation in September they described beating detainees as common practice.

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US vs. Iran: UN charter section 7, articles 41 and 42

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Olmert

Please see this and this.

The US campaign to establish a “self-defense” excuse under article 41 for bombing Iraq took some big hits when Sec. of Defense Gates basically called it bullshit, as did the National Intelligence Estimate. Revelations like this can’t help either.

Enter Plan B: the nuclear excuse for bombing Iraq:
On Feb. 20 or shortly thereafter, the UN, having already imposed sanctions under Article 41, will again take up the question of Iran’s nuclear program. And, obviously, Iran did not comply with UN Resolution 1737, in spite of sanctions being imposed. Here is what Article 42 says:

Should the Security Council consider that measures [not involving the use of force] provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

But the Security Council is not going to endorse military force against Iran, nor should they. Iran is MANY years from having a nuclear weapon, even if they wanted one, which they don’t. But Feb. 20 is less than three weeks away, and it is notable that today Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, along with a British official, fired what appears to be the opening salvo for an illegal attack on Iran under fig leaf cover of UN Resolution 1737:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Wednesday on world leaders to impose sanctions on Iran even if they have to do so without the United Nations Security Council. It is still not too late to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear abilities “through effective sanctions, also on a path which bypasses the Security Council,” Olmert told British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett in Jerusalem.
…..
Becket expressed her “full agreement” on the need for sanctions on Iran…

link

The three players in the upcoming attack on Iran are Israel, Britain, and the US. Calling on “world leaders” is pretty much of a joke…I mean, who else is he talking about? like China is waiting for Israel to tell them what to do about Iran…and what “sanctions” is he talking about? bunker buster sanctions?

These people are not kidding around. They intend to bomb Iran in the next couple of months, no matter what flimsy excuse they have to dream up. Most likely they will impose a naval blockade, which is an act of war, and wait for Iran to react, then bombs away.

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Audio book of the week: Homegrown Democrat, by Garrison Keillor

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Keillor obviously writes and reads a lot of stuff, and he’s really good at it; fans of Prairie Home Companion can attest to that. This book is notable as an overt political statement, and Keillor pulls few punches in his observations about the differences in the world (and local) view of Democrats and Republicans. He uses a lot of examples from his hometown of St. Paul, which he obviously loves, and from his days at the University of Minnesota, which he also obviously loved.

What the hell, its a ten. Or I guess eight, cause that my max, 4 for content, 4 for performance. Listen to this book, people !!

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Thomas Friedman: Get out of Iraq, tax gasoline to reduce dependence.

Here’s the thing about oil, empire, and Thomas Friedman: Sooner or later he had to tumble to the global economic fact that oil is a commodity that is gonna be bought and sold on the world market, more or less regardless of who happens to be in a position of influence in the Middle East. The only difference would be which big transnational makes the profit. The price to the American consumer will be the same. In other words, WE SHOULDN’T GIVE A SHIT.

Well, finally, Friedman coughs it up. He writes today (Times Select) that we oughta get out of Iraq by December 1 and just plan to tax our gas and pay 3.50 a gallon.
Two columns in a row by Thomas Friedman that I heartily agree with. Golly. Am I dreaming?

….it sounds as if the American people are being offered two routes to a dead end: either follow President Bush and have troops surging into a roiling civil war, or go with one of the Congressional resolutions and denounce the surge, but without any alternative strategy for securing U.S. interests.

I believe there is an alternative strategy, but it will take two concrete numbers to implement: a date — Dec. 1 — and a price — $3.50 cents a gallon. Let me explain.

What is the U.S. interest in Iraq right now? It’s to quell the civil war enough so the parties may eventually reach a negotiated settlement, and if that proves impossible, to get America out of Iraq with the least damage to our interests.

We will not quell this civil war with a surge of troops alone. The only thing that will do that is a power-sharing, oil-revenue-sharing deal between the parties. The only way we will get serious negotiations going is with leverage that America does not now have: leverage on the parties inside and outside Iraq. Negotiating in the Middle East without leverage is futile. …

So how do we get leverage? The first way to do that is by setting a firm date to leave — Dec. 1. All U.S. military forces are either going to be home for Christmas 2007 or redeployed along the borders of Iraq, away from the civil war.

Right now everyone in Iraq is having their cake and eating it — at our expense. …

The Sunnis, who started this whole murderous cycle, participate in the government, negotiate with us and also indulge the suicide bombers and the insurgents. The Shiites collaborate with us, run their own retaliatory death squads and dabble with Iran. The Saudis tell us we can’t leave, but their mosques and charities funnel Sunni suicide bombers to Iraq and dollars to insurgents. Iran pushes its Iraqi Shiite allies to grab more power, while helping others kill U.S. troops. Ditto Syria.

O.K., boys, party’s over: we’re leaving by Dec. 1. … We will no longer play host to a war where we’re everyone’s protector and target. If you Sunnis want to go on resisting, we’ll leave you to the tender mercies of the Shiites, who vastly outnumber you. You Shiites, if you want to run Iraq without compromising with Sunnis, fine, but you’ll have to fight them alone and then risk having to live under the thumb of Iran.

You Saudis and other Arabs, if you don’t use your influence to delegitimize Sunni suicide bombers and press Iraq’s Sunnis to cut a deal, we won’t protect you from the consequences. And Iran, you win — yes, if we leave, you win the right to try to manage Iraq’s Shiites. Have a nice day.

But at the same time, we have to impose a tax that creates a floor price of $3.50 a gallon for gasoline — forever…It says to all the parties: we are going to conserve enough gasoline and spur enough clean alternatives to fossil fuels that no matter what you all do in the Middle East, we will not depend on you for energy.

Today in Iraq, none of the key parties have to make any choices, and we don’t have any choices. …Right now we can win only if all the parties in and around Iraq act in the most farsighted and flexible manner. Otherwise we lose in our attempt to democratize Iraq, and we’re left holding the bag. We need to be in a win-win situation that we control.

“I don’t think at this stage that the promise of 20,000 more troops will change any minds in Iraq,” said Michael Mandelbaum, author of “The Case for Goliath.” “But the threat of a lot fewer U.S. troops might conceivably get everyone focused. Right now, the U.S. is the passenger in a car that other countries are driving — and it’s not going in the right direction. We have to change that dynamic.”

Indeed we do. Once we’ve set a date to leave by and a gas price to live by, we, for the first time, will have choices in Iraq. We can stay to broker a deal if the parties want to be guided by their better angels or, if they want tribal instincts to reign, we can leave by Dec. 1 and insulate ourselves from Islam’s civil war with a new energy policy.

To put it another way, if setting a date to leave miraculously brings them to their senses, our aspirations for the Iraqis will have been achieved, and we’ll be stronger. And if it doesn’t, but we have set an exit date and a gas price, we’ll be out of Iraq and more energy-secure — and we’ll also be stronger.

Of course, Friedman is giving “aid and comfort” with this kind of talk, right Mr. Snow? Gen. Petraeus?

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Burger King’s BK Stacker: not enough bacon, cheese, ground beef, or white bread

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That’s my thinking. I could be wrong.

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Coalition forces find IED source: old mortar shells, not Iran

from Rising Hegemon

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One US officer’s description of 1,129 mortar shells seized in a raid next to “Route Tampa” south of Baghdad. As the accompanying news story notes, these are the primary ingredient of IEDs — their relatively poor condition clearly indicating that they are not something that just rolled off the Syranhamasbollah assembly line, but were simply part of the piles of stuff left lying around after the invasion in 2003. A weapons supermarket with no guards. Thanks Rummy.

That sort of blows out the main Buscheney charge against Iran. But we pretty much knew they were lying, anyway.

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