Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I apologize for not notifying you, the readers in advance. I am on vacation with limited access to the internet until September 5. As a result, I will not be posting during that time. I assure you that I have not abandoned this blog.

Thank you, and please return next week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cheaters Never Prosper: Why Barry Bonds Does Not Belong in the Hall of Fame

By now we all know about baseball's "easy way out" of the steroid mess - possible perjury charges for Barry Bonds. However, regardless of what becomes of those charges, Barry Bonds simply does not belong in the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bonds is a great player who almost certainly would have made the Hall of Fame without steroids. He was debatably the best player before BALCO and before he met Greg Anderson.

Ironically, while Bonds' steroid use has clearly increased his homerun power, it may have made him a less complete player. Prior to his steroid-induced explosion in size, Bonds was a repeat Gold Glove outfielder. He was both powerful and fast. From 1986-1998, he stole 463 bases (for an average of 38.6 per season) while still averaging 36.4 home runs per year with 8 Gold Glove Awards (for the best fielder in the league at his position) over that time. Inarguably still in his prime until at least the year 2003, Bonds stole only 55 bases from 1999-2003 (for an average of 11 and change per season) with zero Gold Glove Awards.

Bonds has put up Hall of Fame numbers, no doubt. However, his use of the drug and refusal to accept responsibility now overshadow his accomplishments.

Other steroid users in Major League Baseball who were likely to make the HOF (Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa) now will probably not make it. Other proven users (Gary Sheffield, Ken Caminitti, Jose Canseco, Yorvit Torrealba, etc) simply have not posted HOF stats. Only Jason Giambi and Ivan Rodriguez have even a borderline chance.

In Giambi's case, he has continued to post fairly good numbers - though not as good as when he on the juice. Though I concede the argument can be made that due to the muscle he built up while on steroids, it would likely still give him an advantage even after discontinuing the use of steroids. What makes Giambi different from the others is he has admitted his wrongdoing and asked for forgiveness. In the end, it does not appear as though Giambi will have HOF type numbers.

Rodriguez's case is interesting. The only evidence that he's done steroids come from accusations made by Canseco. When Canseco's book first came out, many people dismissed his claims about Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro. That was, until Palmeiro tested positive. Suddenly the claim had credibility. The evidence is circumstantial at best, but I can't help but believe Rodriguez has used steroids. In my view, he too does not belong in the HOF.

The issue of whether or not Barry Bonds used steroids is no longer up for debate. Bonds himself has admitted using them. He simply claims he "did not know they were steroids."

Barry Bonds biggest problem comes from Barry Bonds. To this day, Bonds refuses to admit any wrongdoing. In fact, he prefers to play the victim role.

It's been documented that a major motivation for Bonds' steroid use was jealousy over the attention fellow steroid users, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were getting. According to the book Game of Shadows,
A jealous Bonds decided to use performance-enhancing substances after watching McGwire gain national acclaim for eclipsing Roger Maris' storied single-season record
Cheating to keep pace with other cheaters does not excuse it. If Bonds had played fair, despite the cheating by other premier players, I believe the baseball public would have supported his induction into the Hall of Fame even if his numbers were comparatively mediocre.

What's more, by refusing to accept any responsibility despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, Bonds has compounded his actions. Bonds has not only cheated the game, but he has effectively slapped his teammates, opponents, fans, and even baseball history in the face.

Baseball is not as action-packed as many other sports. The records are a large part of what makes Major League Baseball great.

The beauty of baseball lies in its tradition. There is no place in the Hall of Fame for the player who has had the biggest part in destroying it.

Of course, this opinion piece would not be fit for Moderately Thinking without invoking some discussion around it.

Is it fair to believe Bonds is guilty? What would you have done in his place? What action should Major League Baseball take (or have taken)? Should Bonds be denied a spot in the Hall of Fame?

Please feel free to offer your ideas on those questions or any other thoughts you'd like to share.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Visitor Poll Added To Moderately-Thinking

Moderately Thinking would like to thank all our readers; especially those who have taken the time to give their feedback to the publisher or further the discussion by leaving appropriate comments. So far readership has been far greater than initially expected.

A new poll feature has just been added. Final result and new polls will be posted every couple weeks.

These polls will be non-scientific, but will hope to serve as further point with which stimulate conversation on given topics.

Please cast your vote on the first poll:
The "Liquid Bomb" Plot: Overhyped or Underreported?
Barring any major revelations, this first poll will close sometime around September 1.

Now They're Serious

The following is my completely unobjective opinion:

Apparently Iran has a new message for the West: NOW they're serious!
Iran said Tuesday it was ready for "serious negotiations" on its nuclear program, but a semi-official news agency said the government was unwilling to abandon nuclear enrichment — the key U.S. demand.
Inherently, this means they were not serious before (although, they, of course, would make the accusation that it was the U.N. who was not serious).

Do I mean to tell you they weren't serious before? OF COURSE THEY WEREN'T SERIOUS BEFORE!

Now, I'm no expert on the Iranian enrichment program, but it seems to me, that Iran figures it can just keep stalling our P.R. happy, P.C. nation until it finally has a bomb; and sadly, it appears that they are right. Iran stalls and stalls, and then every time some course of action becomes imminent; they drag us back to the bargaining table. That's not so surprising. What's surprising is that the U.S. (and by default, the U.N.) is stupid enough to do it.

So far Iran has managed to push any action for almost an entire year! That's not bad considering their bomb was said to be within 5 years of completion. Meanwhile, the War in Iraq continues to lose popular support among the media brainwashed masses, thereby making the possibility of military action against Iran less likely (and if you think their leadership doesn't realize that, this blog may be too adult for you).

Indeed, Iran's newest action has probably bought them a few more months as our out-of-touch, corrupt politicians on both (indeed all) sides of the fence pander for re-election, preferring to put off any decision until after the election, rather than alienating potential voters by making a decision either way.

A full-scale ground invasion of Iran is highly unlikely at this point (Heaven forbid the Shiites in Iraq get more bad press from the U.S.).

The U.N. has agreed to place economic sanctions on Iran. Such sanctions could slow their economy by perhaps as much as say 5% after every country gets their slice of the under-the-table pie. That's a full 5% of their people that will have to sustain lack of food, denial of medicine, continued denial of medicine, and social services religious federally funded religious brainwashing (wait, that sounds strangely familiar).

Alas, each day that passes, Iran becomes that much closer to having a working nuclear weapon. This time, however, they are "serious." Rest assured, next time they'll be "really serious," and when Iran finally does get a nuclear weapon due to all this stupid posturing, politicking, and in the end, inaction, the rest of the world, U.S. included, will finally be "really serious."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hey Brother, Lend Me Your Tank

Probably not too much of a surprise here, it seems U.S. arms sales are up in the wake of the War on Terror.

On the other hand, George Will offers this observation,
F-16s are not useful tools against terrorism that issues from places such as Hamburg (where Mohamed Atta lived before dying in the North Tower of the World Trade Center) and High Wycombe, England.

Keeping that in mind, one of the biggest problems in the War on Terror is that conventional methods don't work. What then, is the solution?

To begin, I hope we can all agree to eliminate caving in as an option without lengthy explanation.

Providing education is one option, however, providing education is not such a straight-forward prospect when the people we are trying to educate are resistant to it. And what of women? Do we allow women to be excluded from education until we are able to educate the men to the point that they do not deny education to women? It seems to me that is simply exasperating the problem. Besides, how do we establish the educational facilities in the wake of fanatical resistance in the first place?

Fighting poverty is a thought, but I think of Somalia when I think of this option. How do we know that any help we offer won't just be used by militants to bolster their efforts?

Of course, there's armed conflict, but unless we can tackle the entire problem worldwide in one fell swoop, then this option could potentially just lead to future fanatics.

So to the people reading this, what are your thoughts? What ideas would you offer?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Civil Liberties For All (Employees Excluded)

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
George Orwell

Apparently, that right is waived if you work for the group that claims to champion American Liberties. As it's being reported,
The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization's policies and internal administration.
And of course, here's my take...

While the ACLU is, indeed, a political organization, this effort would certainly seem at odds with the very image they have created.

Now the ACLU's is officially claiming that,
"a director may publicly disagree with an A.C.L.U. policy position, but may not criticize the A.C.L.U. board or staff."
So if I understand the ACLU's version correctly, the ACLU does not support positions which attack individuals, but only policies. Really?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

2996 - Honoring Rhonda Rasmussen

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

Moderately Thinking is honored to pay tribute to Rhonda Rasmussen

At Point Blank Range

One thing I cannot stand is the purely partisan bashing of President Bush. While there are many of President Bush's decisions that I do not support, I believe it is my duty to get and understand the facts before coming to a conclusion.

Naturally, since this story,
U.S. authorities arrested two former top executives of a major body armor supplier to the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies on Thursday and charged them with criminal securities fraud and insider trading.

Federal prosecutors alleged former Chief Financial Officer Dawn Schlegel and former Chief Operating Officer Sandra Hatfield manipulated DHB Industries Inc.'s books "to reap millions of dollars of profits through insider trading."
hit the press, there has been so much outcry about this being a result of percieved corruption by President Bush's administration.

The typical flim-flam has been that Schlegel and Hatfield were propably Bush donors or the conclusion that the flawed body armor is President Bush's fault for ok'ing the contract.


Hatfield or Schlegel: donors to President Bush?

A quick check at Opensecrets shows that niether Hatfield nor Schlegel gave to any federal candidate, Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, during the 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 election cycles.

President Bush's fault for the contract?

Well, it is, indeed true, that the most recent contract was included in part of the overall package being spent on the War in Iraq, though it was labelled for the generic purchase of body armor - not from any specific company.

Upon reading further, I discovered the following at GlobalSecurity.org
The INTERCEPTOR System went into production in 1998 under a five-year contract awarded by US Army Natick Soldier Center contracting. On 27 July 1998 Point Blank Body Armor Inc.*, Oakland Park, Fla., was awarded on July 23, 1998, $5,573,715, as part of an $82,265,250 firm-fixed-price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for 10,475 U.S. Marine Corps Tactical Body Armor (INTERCEPTOR) Outer Tactical Vests (OTV). Work will be performed in Oakland Park, Fla., and is expected to be completed by July 6, 1999. Of the total contract funds, $5,573,715 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was an announcement on the World Wide Web on April 13, 1998, and six bids were received.
It seems the contract was awarded during the previous administration.

That being said...

It's not fair to blame President Clinton either. The naysayers have the benefit of handsight. In reality, niether administration likely could have known of the future wrong doings of other people. In fact, the people who should take the blame are the perpetrators.

My Blog Can Beat-up Your Blog

Why is it that so many of the "big name" blogs now spend more time calling each other names as they do posting worthwhile news, analysis, or even opinions not related to one-another?

This smacks as a "2nd grade" argument to me.

Certainly, we should all realize that many people, perhaps even the majority of people, have pre-concieved opinions. Perhaps this is cynicism on my part, but I believe it goes beyond mere closed-mindedness. It seems to me that the type of person in question has their ideas so engrained, that not only are they unable to accept any opinion contrary to their own, but any view in any way contrary to thier opinion is taken as a personal afront.

An attack on their opinion is an attack on their ego. Therefore, they feel obligated to protect that opinion as they would protect themselves. However, as an open-minded person realizes, sometimes many opinions can be "right"; they can be "wrong"; and realistically, they usually have some right and some wrong.

How does one remedy this without giving way on their viewpoint (and thus their ego)? Attack the person! That, my friends, is exactly what many of the quantifiably certified "Leaders of the Blogging World" are now doing.

Alas, I offer a twist. This post is not about name calling, but rather, it is about partisanship. So it is true, the very opinions that have caused hostilities may not even be a result of closed-mindedness. The factions may very well realize that there is some right and some wrong to each side. Yet, they choose to attack each other not to protect their own opinions, but to protect the opinions of those they follow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Are You Kidding Me!?!?

From a Columbus Dispatch article,

KENTON, Ohio — Two teenagers who pulled a stunt last winter that left a man physically disabled and his friend brain-damaged will each spend 60 days in juvenile detention, but not before they finish the upcoming high-school football season.

Campbell and Howard each pleaded no contest last month to two charges of vehicular vandalism. They both also pleaded to juvenile-delinquency counts of petty theft and possession of criminal tools. Prosecutors say Campbell and Howard and three others who are awaiting trial stole a decoy deer last November, painted it with obscenities and then placed it in the middle of a darkened rural road to see what would happen when drivers approached.

In addition to the 60-day sentence, which will begin at the Logan County Juvenile Detention Center after football season, Campbell and Howard are on house arrest and will be for six months after detention; must pay fines and restitution; must write a 500-word essay on "Why I should think before I act"; and must complete 1,500 and 500 hours of community service, respectively.

McKinley suspended two, one-year terms of commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services for both boys, so if they violate their probation those sentences could be invoked.

My Take
Given the nature of the prank, I realize that these kids probably did not mean to harm anyone. In fact, they probably did not even think that something like this could happen. However, their prank still had consequences. Crimes by negligence are both legally and practically still crimes!

It's bad enough that 30 days at a youth facility, 6 months house arrest, and community service are these kids' punishment. To allow these kids a delayed sentence so they can play football is a slap in the face! Can the crippled man or the brain-damaged kid play football again?

(courtesy of made4theinternet)


Seems Senator George Allen, of Virginia has gotten himself in some trouble.

Sen. George Allen apologized Tuesday for remarks that offended a man of Indian descent who was tracking the Republican's re-election campaign for Democratic challenger Jim Webb.


First off, I don't think the fact that he wore a Confederate flag in his high school yearbook photo is a fair indicator. I did a thousand things in high school that I wouldn't want to haunt me the rest of my life. Even the picture of Confederate soldiers in his office is acceptable, if it is intended in historical relevance. However, Allen himself admits that it was not, and the real problem is, it didn't stop there.

On the facts alone, I believe that Allen is clearly guilty. Now, I've seen the actual video of his remarks, and in my opinion, while his remarks were off-the-cuff, they appeared intentional. Let's also face it; the excuse that "macaca" is a variation of "mohawk" is completely LAME; and if he just made up the word as he now claims, it's just a little too coincidental for me to believe.

Allen claims to have grown, but these remarks show he hasn't.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just To Show My Impartiality

Not supporting Hezbollah's version of events by any means. As usual, I'm for clarity, so I raise this question:

If Israel invaded Lebanon to rescue the two kidnapped soldiers, what happened to them?

Monday, August 14, 2006

US involved in planning Israel's operations in Lebanon?

It seems to me that baseless conspiracy theories are no longer contained to mental hospitals and underground sci-fi newsletters, but that they are increasingly being accepted by mainstream media. Below is a case in point.

According to a the paranoid conspiracy theorist in a recent AP article (see excerpt below), the U.S. and Israeli jointly planned the strike on Lebanon even before the July 12 kidnappings of 2 Israeli soldiers.

NEW YORK (AFP) - The US government was closely involved in planning Israel's military operations against Lebanon's Hezbollah militia even before the July 12 kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, a US magazine reported.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh writes in The New Yorker magazine that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were convinced that a successful Israeli bombing campaign against Hezbollah could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prototype for a potential US preemptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations.

Citing an unnamed Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of the Israeli and US governments, Hersh said Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah -- and shared it with Bush administration officials -- well before the July 12 kidnappings.


For a moment, let's ignore the one-sidedness of this article.

We have only to read two paragraphs in to find a logical fallacy.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh writes in The New Yorker magazine...

If you're unfamiliar with the term, take a look at the fallacy known as "Appeal to Authority.

I have met several nutcases in my life, therefore I suppose I am an expert on nutcases. Does that mean my opinion that Hersh is a nutcase must be correct?

The mere fact that Hersh has won a Pulitzer Prize does not make this story any more credible. Nor does it make him an expert on the subject.

The article then reiterates its fallacy

US government officials have denied the charges, but Hersh defended his piece Sunday saying he had strong sources for the article which was thoroughly vetted by New Yorker editors.

Ok. I have strong sources that say Hersh is a paranoid schizophrenic and this blog is thoroughly vetted by my readers. Does that mean my statement trumps Hersh's, because that's the implication being made about Hersh's defense to the government's statement?

The same article also uses testimony by "unnamed sources" to back its claims on several occasions

Citing an unnamed Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of the Israeli and US governments, Hersh said Israel had devised a plan for attacking Hezbollah -- and shared it with Bush administration officials -- well before the July 12 kidnappings.


In the magazine Hersh writes that a former senior intelligence official said some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- a council of the president's top military advisors -- remain concerned that the administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should.

Of course they did. I've never been a fan of "unnamed sources", but I can believe this because a source very close to Hersh tells me that he, "Sees Hersh regularly wearing tinfoil hats to communicate with aliens that he believes are sending him message."

Hersh's version concludes

"There is no way that (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this," Hersh quotes the former official as saying.

"When the smoke clears, they'll say it was a success, and they'll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran."

This is a DOUBLE fallacy. Hersh is poisoning the well by begging the question.

See, that's funny, because my unnamed source says that Hersh or anyone who believes Hersh's story will disagree with my post, and inevitably, they'll draw reinforcement for their desire to accept Hersh's opinion.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Read The Newspaper?

If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The War Tapes

There is certainly no shortage of films about the War on Terror and the War / Peacekeeping in Iraq.

One movie that is gaining a lot of attention is The War Tapes. The movie, which takes the cameras out of the hands of professional cameramen and directors and puts them in the hands of 3 New Hampshire National Guardsmen stationed at Camp Anaconda in the volatile Anbar Province in Iraq, is being widely described as an unabated soldier's direct view of war.

What such descriptions neglect to consider is the importance of editing and how that can effect the story in a movie.

Perhaps it is as one review describes
Nowhere is The War Tapes preachy, nor does it attempt an easy political assessment although it cannot be termed apolitical.
It seems no doubt true that the movie has footage that a civilian would never experience from watching mainstream media. One powerful scene that has gained attention apparently shows a young Iraqi girl carrying cookies inadvertanly struck by the lead vehicle in a convoy. As that vehicle pulls over, proceeding vehicles strike the body and it is strewn about the road. In my opinion, scenes like theseare fair as they portray some of the harsh realities of war.

Certainly a great deal of editing is needed to take a full year's worth of footage from 3 different people and condense it into feature length, and let's face it, movies are made to tell stories.

Now, I've never been accused of being dovish, but this is where my concern about the film comes in.

Is it, indeed, the soldiers' views, or is it the director's view?

Another review tells us

The War Tapes falls just short of greatness, because its scope is too limited. Scranton does spend a fair amount of time documenting the home-front woes of the soldiers' wives, girlfriends, and parents, and the film's last 20 minutes is given over to the struggle of reintegrating into civilian life, alongside people who don't want to hear the details of the war. But while Scranton clearly respects the soldiers' sense of duty and patriotism, she makes it only a slight refrain in a symphony of moaning about Halliburton's $28 paper plates and the annoyance of training Iraqi policemen. [Emphasis added]
I look forward to seeing the movie, but is it a "soldier's view of war"? I'll bring a grain of salt.