Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Friday, January 31, 2003

A new kind of Democrat. The Republican kind.

Check out this fake Lieberman campaign page. It's quite humorous.

As a note: the GOP Team Leader page has a note on the people compaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination and examples of how each one is liberal (they don't list Al Sharpton by the way) They seemed to have some difficulty coming up with examples for Joe Lieberman. Mostly that he's oppurtunistic and is a senator.

War on Islam

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, which featured Vice President Cheney as its opening luncheon speaker yesterday, one of the various exhibition booths hawking paraphernalia had some virulently anti-Muslim vinyl bumper stickers, for $3.95, including one that said: "No Muslims -- No Terrorism."

Isn't it great how this CPAC meeting seems to be calling for the of about one fifth of the world population. When Osama Bin Laden said after the September 11 attacks that a US invasion would be nothing more than a war on Islam itself, I didn't believe him, but listening to conservative rhetoric has convinced me otherwise.

Article here. Via Cursor.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

News parody . . . or PROPHET OF DOOM!

Read this Onion article from January, 2001, and see if it's not already coming to pass.

Heads up to kos for pointing it out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

It begins

Bush: The best way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place. [standing ovation]

And then I turned it off. I'm sure other bloggers are watching, but my god, I just ate. I don't need this nauseating rhetoric and I do have some work to do and my Creative Writing class starts in 18 minutes.

Slow bloggin' ahead

Classes have begun here at Reed College. And that means assloads of work. It's all worth it though. I'm taking a history class on the Vietnam war, and after two hours of reading last night, I'm already seeing some things relevant to our situation today. Sort of like how the Truman doctrine of 1947 is like a prequel to the War on Terror. (in that case, any problem in Europe and the World suddenly gets labeled Communist as opposed to every militant organization that Bush and the corporations don't like getting labeled terrorist)

The difference is good things did happen as a result of the Truman doctrine. For instance, that was the basis of support for the Marshall Plan. I think because of the Hawks saying how the post-Afghanistan or post-Iraq war rebuilding would parallel the Marshall Plan, it may cause us younger, anti-war, progressive liberal types to sort of underestimate what the Marshall Plan did, which was completely rebuild a European economy that was about ready to fall from internal postwar strife.

My brother and I went to Stuttgart at the end of December, and one of the first things we noticed, after spending a long time in Hungary, was how hospitable and welcoming the Germans were. My brother made mention of this to a German man, and his response surprised me. The Germans were still incredibly grateful to the Americans for the Marshall Plan, he told us, they owed their entire culture to it.

Maybe this one man didn't have his finger well on the pulse of German culture, maybe this was an isolated opinion, but it still took me aback. If we were actually Marshall planning Afghanistan instead of militarily occupying Kabul and letting chaos reign outside the city, we might actually get some Arabs to think we were benevolent and generous instead of imperialistic and evil. Let's face it, the last good thing to happen to Afghanistan was the Communists. Everything in that country that doesn't resemble a nation trapped in the Middle Ages, like paved roads, hospitals, and the like, came from the Soviet Occupation, and we helped bomb quite a share of it to bits last October.

Well, this was quite a stream of conciousness blog, and the whole point is to tell that there won't be quite as much updates in the near future. In the meanwhile, check out Tom Tomorrow, August Pollack, Atrios as well as the invaluable Cursor and Counterpunch. Enjoy

Monday, January 27, 2003

Media Scrutiny

An article from the Buffalo Beast on the recent war protest. A good read to anyone interested.

Is anyone reading this?

Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you have any questions or comments? Do you want to give me lots of money? Are you some sort of typing monkey who stumbled upon this page by chance, since someone gathered a million of you to try to rewrite the works of Shakespeare?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, feel free to e-mail me.

I'm putting a lot of faith in my supposed readership (if it exists) that you won't abuse the fact you now have my e-mail. I recommend just standard ettiquette. And please don't put my name on any spam e-mail lists, or anything like that. If my views offend you that much, it's much simpler to ignore them, it's not like I hold that much sway.

Superbowl drug ads

Well, loyal readers (that's right, all three of you, I hope it's that many) I regret to inform you I missed all but the last few minutes of the Superbowl, and the last valiant stand of the Oakland Raiders to try to win being thwarted by two interceptions. That's too bad, I like Oakland, and wanted them to win. But then again, I don't care enough about football to really be that concerned. As opposed to my unending love of the Diamondbacks. I literally bleed purple. Seriously, I had my blood dyed in order to bleed purple. The doctors said it would cut fifty years off my life, but hell it's worth it. I guess, though, this is the downside of loving a baseball franchise whose team color isn't red. At least I'm not a Yankees fan. Bleeding pinstripes can't help in the whole living area.

Anyway, enough of a digression. I should get to the point.

Reading August's blog reminded me that I wanted to say something about the Superbowl anti-drug ads. The thought is disgusting enough, but apparently, as August points out:

The United States government spent two million dollars- keep in mind it spent three million dollars investigating the entire extent of the September 11th attacks- to instill fear into young girls that smoking marijuana will cause them to mistakenly have unwanted children, and not, you know, emotional fear caused by a lack of trust with parents or superiors telling them that they're evil people for doing virtually harmless drugs without supervision of legitimate dialogue about the extent of their dangers in regards to over-moderate use. That's you, and my, but probably not any of George Bush's friends because they don't have to give any more, tax dollars wasted.

You know, I don't care fiscally that my tax dollars go to stupid things. That's what they're there for, and really 2 million dollars comes out to like 2 cents per American. I mean, once the government takes it, it's their money. If you buy a CD from me, and I spend that money on some really bad chocolate, are you going to say, "man, I can't believe that MY CD dollars went to buy crappy chocolate. It's a travesty."

But the problem is, there's a limited amount of money to spend on drug prevention, and the waiting lists for rehab clinics are growing. With Bush's call to war cutting funding everywhere else, there is a limited amount of funding that Drug Agencies can have, and instead of wasting it on ads that don't work.

But why do this? Why spend so much money and man-hours on bullshit ad campaigns that are horribly transparent and are at least as likely to help encourage drug use as they are to disuade it? The answer is simple, the same reason we neglected the Kyoto treaty, threaten war with Iraq, and propose an economic "stimulus" plan where 70% of the benefits effect 5% of the population. Someone is getting rich off of this. Or, at least, slightly richer.

And all this does at the end of the day is widen the gap between rich and poor. For some examples of consequences of this sort of behavior, look at France in 1789, or Russia in 1918.

And people wonder why I think history is cyclic.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Anti War and Vietnam

In one of Alexander Cockburn's (co-editor of the invaluable Counterpunch) recent articles, he gives the account of a veteran of the early Vietnam protests that took place in the early 1960's.

"In the spring of 1962," Reichard says, " when I was three years old, my mother dragged me to a demonstration against the U.S. war in Laos in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There were five people at that demo. My mom, my older brother, me and two others." Then, "In 1969 I rode in a VW bus from Charlotte, N.C. to Washington, D.C. for an anti-war demo that drew 500,000. According to Daniel Ellsberg that demo made Nixon reconsider the madman recommendation of his joints chiefs of staff to nuke Vietnam within a few miles of the Chinese border."

"The anti-war movement has much to be proud of. To the absolute fury of the right wing, the anti-war movement of yesterday and today still, to this day, shackles this country's ability to wage unfettered war. Right off the bat they have to forget about any war that might last more than six months or cost more than a few hundred U.S. lives. For this you can thank the peace movement and the Vietnamese, who, at tremendous cost, beat us militarily. The entire world owes a tremendous debt to the Vietnamese."

The only method of peace is to wage massive amounts of war!

If the OSS had been as bad at gathering intelligence against the Nazis as we are now about Al Qaida and government and military sources in Central Asia and the Arab Penninsula, well, I'd be writing this in German, if my ancestors hadn't fallen under the Final Solution. A not too pleasant thought, but that's not the point.

The point is this. US Military Intelligence dealing with the current Imperial Expansion, er excuse me, "War on Terror", is decidedly, well, bad. To focus on Afghanistan, people celebrating a wedding, or peasants picking up scrap metal, are targeted and killed, because the limit on US Intelligence seems to be "All Towel Heads look the same." We relying heavily on Afghan warlords, who didn't seem to care too much about Al Qaida and were more than happy to use American force to kill off their political adversaries. Kabul is an isolated city-state, and the rest of Afghanistan doesn't seem to different from when the Soviets first left the country in 1989. Even our original stated goal of the conflict was for naught, as Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and others got away and fell into obscurity, and likely most Al Qaida operatives fled to friendly ground in Pakistan, who are still our "allies" in the "War on Terror."

And in the midst of this complete derth of intelligence, the Army expels 7 Arabic translators-in-training while the Pentagon makes pleas for people who understand Arabic to come help them out, since they have no idea if a random guy speaking in Arabic is planning a massive attack on the US or divulging a recipe for a cake.

Why would they do this? The answer is simple, they don't need intelligence. If you need to get somewhere, and there's a thin plaster wall in your way, and by your side you have a huge ass bazooka, you don't need to do any physics equations to figure out what is the weakest point, how can you get the optimum amount of damage to help get you to the other side. You just randomly aim your bazooka, and problem solved. Sure, maybe you'll get hurt by the blowback, or you'll cause irreparable damage to some thing or other, but you don't care. Your problem was the wall, the wall is destroyed, problem solved.

And it's the same thing with this "War on Terror." Bush's purpose is not to stop terrorism, it's to use terrorism as an excuse to expand his empire. And quite frankly, all you need to do in empire building is conquer. And it may be costly, it may be messy, but we're the most advanced military in the World and we're up against countries whose militaries still have a foot in the middle ages. Put enough force there, and they will fall.

The problem is that in the meanwhile, Bush is letting everyone else take the blunt of his actions. We're the ones who have to worry about being killed by terrorists as blowback for these attacks. The Arabs have to worry about getting decimated by US bombs. Bush is only worried about re-election. That is if we even have an election.

But this is America, we're supposed to be better than this. We're not supposed to be the tool of some crazy, power-hungry monarch bent on world domination. But let's face it, we got too powerful. This is why Jefferson said that we should have a revolution every 20 years. Because power corrupts, and good intentions go awry when you no longer need to fight for them.

I really have nothing interesting to say on this, merely observations, I'm sure plenty of people have made them. But dammit, it still should be said.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Finally, a new Transaction Analysis

Chris Kahrl, of Baseball Prospectus has at long last updated his Transaction Analysis on the BP web page. It's an invaluable reference to any baseball fans out there, I recommend reading it.

There's no way the Bushies can turn this into evil . . . ah crap.

Bush has appointed a wanton homophobe onto the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

The Bush administration has chosen Jerry Thacker, a Pennsylvania marketing consultant who has characterized AIDS as the "gay plague," to serve on the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS.

. . .In his speeches and writings on his Web site and elsewhere, Thacker has described homosexuality as a "deathstyle" rather than a lifestyle and asserted that "Christ can rescue the homosexual." After word of his selection spread among gays in recent days, some material disappeared from the Web site. Earlier versions located by The Washington Post that referred to the "gay plague," for instance, were changed as of yesterday to "plague."

To be honest, I didn't read the entire article, seeing as I was seething with rage, but I can bet they'll say that they just want to get all sides on the issue, I mean, after all:

Administration health officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Thacker's appointment. They said he was part of a diverse group that includes a member of the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group; an AIDS adviser to the World Bank; and a state public health officer.

I know anyone reading this will likely agree with me, but allow me to vent anyway. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? If we had a committee on race relations, would you admit Klan members to "get all sides of the issue." Right now, homosexuals are the only group who it's politically expedient to hate unequivocally. The Supreme Court has already voted to allow Boy Scouts to discriminate against gays. And why? Well, hell, we need someone to exploit.

And of course, since our court-appointed administration consists of a bunch of Bible thumpers, they'll point to Christ and say how the Bible says man should not lie with another man, while conveniently forgetting that stuff about giving away possessions, and you know, not killing and shit. Not to mention the whole thing about the Bible condoning slave owning, and all that contradictory stuff that comes about from having multiple writers. And in the meanwhile, poor Jesus. If I were starving myself and standing on mountaintops to try to get people to love each other, son of God or not, if my word is this skewed in less than 2000 years, I'd be mighty pissed.

Seamless, no?

Check out this re-edit of last year's state of the Union Address.

And prepare, for the State of the Union is this coming Saturday.

Wow, I'm so excited!

I created a fake name, address and e-mail, and good news, I'm now a GOP Team leader. My first e-mail from them reads like this:

Thank you for becoming a Team Leader! As a Team Leader, you will play an
integral role in helping President George W. Bush advance his Republican

Please visit the link below to activate your team leader profile and begin
building your team. You can also earn unlimited GOPoints, which are
redeemable for Team Leader gear, by completing action items that range

- Writing letters to the editor;
- Contacting your Representatives;
- Registering new Republican voters; and
- Going door-to-door distributing literature.

Most importantly, your grassroots leadership will help ensure that our
country continues to prosper.

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for becoming a Team Leader. We will
be in touch with you shortly.

Marc Racicot,
Republican National Committee

Isn't that exciting? I'll keep you posted on what they send me.

Astroturf for all!

Since I do post messages on baseball, I should say that when I mention "astroturf" I refer to a political maneuvering, something that's supposed to appear to be a grassroots following, but is merely artificial and green. Like, say the Republicans getting people to send out identical letters to papers all over the world.

Now, if I actually have a reader who does not know me personally, I may have someone who would say that "Democrats do the same thing." That's bullshit. Sure Democrats use malicious political movement, and the leaders have no spines, and Joe Lieberman is working around the clock to establish himself as the biggest bitch in Washington (no small feat), but Democrats have not taken the subversion of democracy to the same level as the Republicans have.

Don't believe me? Then why don't you become a GOP team leader and see what they're doing first hand? I've been thinking of joining to learn of all the manipulation they're doing, but I'm ambivalent about giving the Republicans my name and e-mail and the like, and besides, Tom's got a handle of it.

Included on his site, is this clever point system Republican strategists have come up with:

The GOP Team Leader site has a number of ways users can earn points. Following is a summary of the points each action is worth:

Contact the Media: 5 points per media outlet you contact (maximum of 20 points per day)

Publish a Letter to the Editor: 2 points per published letter. This is in addition to the 5 points you get for contacting the media outlet

Contact Your Representative: 5 points per representative you contact (maximum of 20 points per day)

Attend a Team Leader Event: 5 points per event

Report on what you hear on Talk Radio Shows: 5 points per report provided

Convert a member of your team to Team Leader: 10 points per conversion

A member of your team logs in for the first time: 1 point per member

Forward An Email Message to Your Team: 5 points per message forwarded

Accumulate enough points and you can get bumper stickers, pda covers, tote bags, even ambassadorships to small countries.

Just kidding, you have to actually give Bush money to receive an ambassadorship.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Oh yeah, the War on Terrorism is in da HEEOUSE!

Check out these propaganda photos. You'll be glad you did.

Bill Maudlin died

Check out Tom's page for info on him, as well as one of his good, yet disturbing cartoons. (Maudlin's not Tom Tomorrow's)

D-backs rank #2!!

As a Diamondbacks fan, I should be proud of this. But instead I'm wondering

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Finally someone's pointing out the obvious

Russell Mokhiber, a White House correspondent, is finally the one to make the important point to Ari Fleischer:

Mokhiber: You and the President have repeatedly said that Saddam Hussein gassed his own people. The biggest such attack was in Halabja in March 1988, where some 6,800 Kurds were killed. Last week, in an article in the International Herald Tribune, Joost Hiltermann writes that while it was Iraq that carried out the attack, the United States at the time, fully aware that it was Iraq, accused Iran. This was apparently part of the U.S. tilt toward Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war. The tilt included billions of dollars in loan guarantees. Sensing he had carte blanche, Saddam escalated his resort to gas warfare -- graduating to ever more lethal agents. So, you and the President have said that Saddam has repeatedly gassed his own people. Why do you leave out the part that the United States in effect gave Saddam the green light?

Ari, unsurprisingly, gave a brilliant non-answer:

Ari Fleischer: Russell, I speak for President George W. Bush in the year 2003. If you have a question about statements that were purportedly made by the administration in 1988, you need to address those somewhere other than this White House. I can't speak for that. I don't know if it is accurate, inaccurate, but you have all the means to ask those questions yourself.


In 1983, Donald Rumsfeld was a special envoy to Saddam in order to normalize trade relations. Cheney, if he does in fact exist, was Secretary of Defense for Bush the Elder before it stopped being politically expedient to cuddle up with Saddam, The list likely goes on, but I don't quite have the info right now.

Besides, the question isn't, "why did we give Saddam the green light to gas his own people?" It's, "Why are we leaving that fact out?" Frankly, the cry for war has been based on historical inaccuracies and taking advantage of the ignorance of American citizens, and bery little else. Why else call Iran, a relatively progressive Arab nation with a blossoming democracy movement, part of the Axis of Evil? Simple, Americans think Iran, and they think hostages and towel heads.

Ted Rall has a very good column related to this, and I recommend you read it, but in part he says:

[O]nly seven percent of Americans own a passport--fewer than 20 million people--and only a fraction of those ever use one. Citizens of the United States, whose military and culture exert more international influence than those of every other nation combined, are among the planet's least-traveled homebodies. We're love to tell other folks what to do, but we never see where or how they live, much less get to know who they are.

So here's the problem, Americans are ignorant, the news media is helping to perpetuate that ignorance, and very few are getting a new perspective on things. I don't blame Americans for never leaving the country, America is huge. I was in Budapest for 4 and a half months, and it's a 6 hour train ride to get to a country where they speak Czech and a 2 hour train ride to a country where they speak German. In contrast, from anywhere in Continental US, you could drive in a straight line for days and never leave the country (depending on where you are, you'd have to apply some cleverness in choosing a direction). There are slight cultural changes between, say, Arizona and New Jersey, but nothing as compared to say, Hungary and Germany.

But that doesn't mean it's not a problem. America is the most global nation on earth, and ignorance on international perspectives makes it pretty damn hard to understand American policy. But America is still a democracy, and in a democracy it is the duty of its citizenry to do their damnedest to understand, criticize, and recommend government policy.

I don't want to say that we should blame people for ignorance. That gets us nowhere. But dammit, we need to find a way to eliminate the ignorance. Because until we do that, Bush will keep on doing whatever he wants.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

New Get Your War On!!

Read it NOW!

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

If Bush really wants this war . . .

He's going to have to contend against some pretty damn defiant garage doors.

Link via Cursor.

When did this happen?

Dear sweet merciful Lord, France is now showing courage!!!!!


The anti-war ralley
Polyglot gives a good account of this past weekend's antiwar ralley in Washington.

some of my favorite signs:
make SENSE, not war
49 small-town wisconsin teachers against war
i asked for universal health care and all i got was this lousy stealth bomber
my bush ain't gonna declare war on iraq
bush: are you sending the twins to war?
dick + bush: make love not war
axis of weasels: bush, cheney, rumsfeld
SUVs: axles of evil
america's problems can't be solved in iraq

signs that almost made me cry:
i have family in iraq
i love my country too much to let this happen

I advise anyone reading this to go there and read this blog immediately. Dammit.

Will the real Kenny Williams please stand up?

As a lover of the White Sox, the actions of General Manager Kenny Williams have long disturbed me. In his two years or so on the job, he had firmly established himself as the worst GM of any team at any level in any sport ever! He took a great, young White Sox team that had led the American League in wins in 2000 and transformed them into an old, bad team packed with overpriced undertalented veterans, capping off his tour de crappe with a trade that sent Kip Wells and Josh Fogg to the Pirates for Todd Ritchie. Ritchie did nothing spectatular, meanwhile Wells and Fogg performed extremely well in their rookie seasons in Pittsburgh. Then his trade that sent Keith Foulke, the best relief pitcher in the majors for the past 3 seasons, to Oakland for Billy Koch, a good, overrated closer whose value exists solely in the save column, I thought, damn, here we go again.

Then everything changed.

First Williams orchestrated the trade that sent Bartolo Colon to Chicago and now he's strengthened the White Sox bullpen with the acquisition of Tom Gordon. My God, Williams is building a possible powerhouse!

Okay, that maybe overstating the claim, but here's the thing. Colon isn't as good a pitcher as everyone thinks, the odds that he'll repeat his 2002 season are slim at best. But he's still good. And while Gordon had only 42.2 innings last season with the Cubs, he had an excellent 48 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio, which gives him 10.1 k/9 innings while giving up only 3 homeruns. Those are good numbers, and seem to indicate that Gordon will be effective for the White Sox in 2003.

Plus, now is the time to try to take the division. Cleveland doesn't seem poised to contend until 2004 at the earliest, whereas Detroit and Kansas City don't seem to be ready to compete this decade. The Twins are a good team, but they're young, and they got extremely lucky last season, going 29-16 in one-run games. They're vulnerable. If Chicago can compete right now, they could win the division next season, and then come postseason, who knows?

If Kenny Williams can continue to show the ability to make good moves as he has done recently, the Sox could emerge as the powerhouse of the AL Central for the next two seasons. Anyone in Chicago should be glad for that.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Martin Luther King

I have nothing very interesting to add to the whole MLK day thing, besides my respects. I suggest you check out Tom Tomorrow, August Pollak and Body and Soul for their quotes and info on the great civil rights leader.

Good thing we have an opposition party

Joeseph Lieberman, the very same Joeseph Lieberman who announced his plan to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, had this to say on Governor George Ryan's actions:

"Governor Ryan's action was shockingly wrong," Mr. Lieberman said in an interview on Friday. "It did terrible damage to the credibility of our system of justice, and particularly for the victims. It was obviously not a case-by-case review, and that's what our system is all about."

I don't even want to comment, especially since Tom already does a good job of it. But I will say that Lieberman is not the man to run for the '04 elections. If it's Bush vs Lieberman, I'm moving to Canada.

Ted Rall already wrote a great column on the subject, in which he says this:

Ryan is no bleeding-heart liberal. As a state representative in 1977, Ryan voted to bring back capital punishment. But when he became the state's chief executive, this conservative Republican decided to devote serious attention to the question of government-dealt death. (In contrast to George W. Bush. As governor of Texas, Bush allocated a mere 15 minutes to consider the fate of each inmate, on a work schedule which allotted up to two hours to playing video games. During his tenure Bush issued zero commutations.)

Ryan read studies that found that if you killed someone in rural southern Illinois rather than Chicago, you were five times more likely to fry in Old Sparky. Black murderers got sent to death row more frequently than white murderers.

And those were only the guilty ones.

And for my own part, all I can think to add to the subject is a Gandalf quote, for you all to think on.

"Many who live deserve death, but there are some that die who deserve life. Can you give it to them . . .? Do not be so quick to deal out death in judgment, for not even the very wise can see all ends."

Ah, my nerdiness shines on through.

Who needs Affirmative Action when we have legacies?

As much as I hate just cutting and pasting as soon as I start this blog (as if I have any audience yet) this comes from Body And Soul.

Yesterday I had the TV on CNN while I was making dinner, and heard a little bit of Crossfire. I wasn't paying much attention, but I heard something I thought I must have misunderstood. It was so strange, I checked the transcript this morning to find out if I heard what I thought I heard.

I would have sworn someone tried to make the argument that legacy admissions were no problem because they also benefit minority students whose parents have "special relationships" with universities. Nobody would try to argue something that silly, right?

PAUL BEGALA: Why is it OK for Yale to let George W. Bush in because his daddy went there, but it's not OK for Michigan to help poor kids who are black or Hispanic?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There are a lot of factors that universities consider. And if someone has a special relationship and heritage and the university means something to him, a lot of universities use that for black and white students.

I think I now understand Bush's plan to increase diversity while killing affirmative action. He's counting on legacy admissions to help the massive numbers of poor black and Hispanic kids whose parents went to Ivy League colleges.


"Joe Sheehan puts it best . . ." "Matthew Engle puts it best . . ."

The first thing I'm going to have to learn to do is find a better way to introduce a quotation.

Why do I do this?

I think Matthew Engle puts it best in his latest column:

To some extent, journalists have felt obliged to tone down criticisms because of the sense of shared national purpose after September 11. Even that cannot explain how the papers cravenly ignored the Trent Lott story. Lott, the veteran senator from Mississippi, made his pro- segregation statement on a Thursday, in full earshot of the Washington press corps. The Times and Post both failed to mention it. Indeed, it was almost totally ignored until the following Tuesday, kept alive until then only by a handful of bloggers. If there is a Watergate scandal lurking in this administration, it is unlikely to be Woodward or his colleagues who will tell us about it. If it emerges, it will probably come out on the web. That is a devastating indictment of the state of American newspapers.

He means this as a strong criticism against American newspapers, but what it says of the power of the blogger is what I like to focus on. I like that. I want that power.

Seriously, though. This is an important point: the internet is the only voice of dissentin American media. The government hasn't figured out how to control it yet. And when they do, technology will give a new place to voice dissent. So long as I have a voice, I might as well offer it, since everybody else on earth is far better off reading my opinions than forming their own.

So, once again, I hope you all enjoy this site in the meantime.

All Star Game

Okay, anyone else who is a major baseball fan knows that Commissioner Bud Selig (as Rob Neyer is prone to call him, Beelzebud) has decided to make home field advantage decided by who wins the Midsummer Classic, hoping to avoid the embarrassing situation from last season (a tie in 11 innings. A FUCKING TIE!) Now, as I said, baseball will be discussed in this blog, therefore I thought I'd pull in my two cents.

Sans interleague, I'd be all for it. But let's face it, interleague is here to stay as long as it provides an attendance boost every June. I have mixed feelings about interleague. As a purist fan, and there's some of that in me, I'm against it. The 2001 World Series was an exciting one, and part of that was that the Diamondbacks and Yankees had NEVER in their histories (all 100 years of it for New York, and all, uh, four years of it for Arizona). Then they face off, and they go seven games, and man it's exciting, and so on. Then the following June, Arizona plays a 3-game series in Yankee stadium. Sure, it's rather exciting to see a rematch of such a heated World Series, but that doesn't change the fact that it's merely 3 games of a 162-game season, and the general meaninglessness of it kind of tainted the memory of the intensely meaningful, and hard-fought World Series the previous October/November. Suddenly the World Series is considerably less cool, because these teams see each other in the regular season.

Still, every summer, I'm sure to go down to Phoenix for at least one interleague game (and you'd better believe I'm going down to see the White Sox this next season). I guess my point here is, I love interleague play in June, I hate it in October.

And July, because the Midsummer Classic has been rendered a meaningless exhibition by the homogeny of the of the leagues. No longer do you have the exciting, down-to-the-wire games of the 60's, now you have AL pitchers giving big fat pitches down the middle to Barry Bonds and 11-inning ties. It's like a little league game where everyone gets to play. I mean, really, do you think Barry Bonds would be taken out after 2 at-bats in a meaningful game?

And, you know what? Making the game determine home team advantage isn't going to change anything, except in October. I think Joe Sheehan puts it best (and you should all e-mail sheehan_newsletter@pacbell.net right now and subscribe to his newsletter, so long as I mention it)

Bud Selig got exactly what he wanted—a complete erasure of the lines between
the two leagues—and now he doesn't like the effects of that and wants to undo
them. The changed nature of the All-Star Game is the natural outcome of an
administration—actually this goes back to the Peter Ueberroth and Fay Vincent
administrations—that has gone out of its way to put everything under an "MLB"
banner, from eliminating league presidents to bringing about interleague play.

It's because of that—because of his own work—that Bud Selig got himself
embarrassed last summer, and rather than look at the real reasons for what
happened, he's going to pretend that making the home-field advantage for the
World Series dependent upon an exhibition game is some kind of genius.

There are lots of reasons to do away with interleague play that I don't want to get into now, this is merely one of them. But it's far more important at this point to just do away with Selig.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha. I have begun Raznor's Rants! This is indeed the greatest of all blogs, and soon you, yes you shall partake in the wisdom of RAZNOR!

Okay, I really don't know what I'm going to do with this blog. I feel like I should have something. I'll try to add my own political commentary. Plus maybe some stuff on baseball, particularly the Diamondbacks (I can't believe they traded Durazo for Dessens, mi a fesz van!?) maybe some shit about mathematics as I and only I see fit! Basically I want a voice. We'll see how well I do.