Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

by The Last Hollywood Star

Memorial Day symbolizes three things: summer’s official beginning, the baseball season’s swing into the heart of its schedule and the long weekend when we honor Americans who sacrificed their lives in our major conflicts.

Those three variable interact meaningfully.

During World War ll baseball, like other professions, lost many of its key personnel to the draft. The Selective Training and Service Act signed by President Roosevelt on September 16, 1940 required that every American male between the ages of 21 and 36 register for 12 months of military service "to ensure the independence and freedom of the United States."

By the end of 1941, the draft had put nearly two million men in uniform.

To research baseball’s relationship with World War II, I relied on two sources that I wholeheartedly recommend to fellow baseball fans and history buffs: Gary Bedingfield’s Baseball in Wartime and Graham Womack’s Baseball Past and Present

I’m moved by the enormous patriotism that inspired so many of the baseball stars who nobly served America. Although only two active major league players were killed during World War II, Elmer Gedeon and Harry O’Neill, many of the best players fought.

According to Bedingfield, more than 500 major league players “swapped flannels for khakis” during World War II, and such well-known stars as Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams served their nation off the diamond.”

Another was Detroit Tiger future Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, drafted on May 7, 1941. "Hammerin' Hank" had played in three World Series and two All-Star games. In 1938, Greenberg hit 58 home runs (just two short of Babe Ruth's 1927 record) and in 1940 was the American League's Most Valuable Player.

Greenberg gave up his $55,000 yearly salary for $21 per month Army pay and reported to Fort Custer, Michigan. He told The Sporting News, "If there's any last message to be given to the public, let it be that I'm going to be a good soldier."

Baseball sacrificed at other levels, too. The military summoned 4,076 from the minor leagues which ranged in classification from “AAA” down to “D” . Players exchanged their uniforms to learn to fly planes, shoot weapons and maneuver tanks. No more than 12 minor leagues survived during the war years compared to 44 circuits that operated in 1940.

Even manufacturers of baseball equipment contributed to the war effort. Hillerich & Bradsby, who produced the famous Louisville Slugger baseball bats, converted their production lines into manufacturing stocks for the M1 carbine rifle.

In one of his blogs, Womack offered this starting line up made up of some of the best World War II veteran players. Included are:

Second Base: New York Yankee Jerry Coleman who saw combat in two wars. Coleman flew 57 missions in World War II and another 63 during the Korean War. In between, he finished third in the 1949 American League Rookie of the Year voting and was an All Star for the Yankees in 1950.

Shortstop: Washington Senator’s Cecil Travis is one of the few players who may have missed the Hall of Fame because of his World War II service. A .314 lifetime hitter, Travis entered the army at 28 following his best season, 1941, when he hit .359 with a league-leading 218 hits. Travis suffered frostbite on his feet during the Battle of the Bulge and played just three more seasons after the war concluded, never again hitting .300.

Outfield: Coleman’s Yankee teammate, Hank Bauer whose war credentials are almost as impressive as his 21-season long big league career. In 32 months of World War II combat, Bauer earned eleven campaign ribbons, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Bauer debuted in the majors in 1948, was a three-time All Star with the Yankees who hit .277 with 164 home runs.

Outfield: Ted Williams, a flight instructor during World War II, who flew 39 combat missions during the Korean War and might have otherwise hit 700 home runs.

Pitcher: Cleveland Indians Bob Feller refused a World War II non-combat playing assignment but insisted on being sent into battle. Feller got his wish, serving 26 months as chief of an anti-aircraft gun crew on the battleship Alabama.

Although many of today’s major league players are of the age where they could have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, the all volunteer military spared them.
If you watch baseball this weekend, don’t forget about our many heros who thrilled you on the diamond but also fought for your freedoms.

Little Miss Atilla has some thoughts on the mess in the Gulf

The Parallels with the RMS Titanic Continue

James O'Keefe

So his arrest in Sen. Landrieu's turned out to be something less than Watergate, Jr.

On the other hand, Patterico and Ace of Spades have a couple of posts on the interesting way the prosecutors handled things.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Screenshots of the Government’s Admission That James O’Keefe Did Not Attempt to Tamper With Landrieu’s Phones

Shocker: Court Destroyed Evidence That Landrieu's Phones Were Working Fine, Just As O'Keefe Endeavored to Establish

Ace makes a good point about journalists, leaks, and the narrative:

This is very similar to the basic rules of leaks: If a leak damages a Republican, the leak is considered legitimate and the story is the content of the leak itself.

If, however, a leak damages a Democrat, the leak is considered illegitimate and not fit for public discussion and the story is instead about the lack of ethics and political maneuvering and general skullduggery that resulted in the leak

(See also:On leaks, bias and truth)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation all I ever wanted

Had to get away

Obama to Skip Wreath Laying Ceremony at Arlington on Monday

Obama will alter vacation plans slightly and travel to the Gulf on Friday in a desperate attempt to “plug the damn hole” in his approval ratings.

Obama Blows Off Arlington Visit on Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sad news from the city that doesn't work

Historic warship's future may be sunk

The old warship has been part of Philadelphia’s waterfront for 50 years and left lasting impressions on thousands of visitors who heard gripping stories of its role in the Spanish-American War.

Now the Olympia – the last surviving vessel from that 1898 conflict – could face an ignoble end as an artificial reef off Cape May if a new benefactor cannot be found

HT: Wyatt Earp who rightly call this a national disgrace

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jack Cashill connects some dots

The Senator from Sandy Berger

Should Democrat Joe Sestak be elected the next United States senator from Pennsylvania -- he beat Arlen Specter handily on Tuesday -- he might best be known as the "Senator from Sandy Berger." Sestak owes his political career to Berger.

Bobby Jindal is not Kathleen Blanco

Louisana Gov. Jindal blasts Obama inaction, moves on sand booms

Hysterical Left Flipping Out Over Oil Spill While Obama Talks Hoops With Marv Albert
He's been refusing interviews with the White House press corps lately and won't answer a simple question, but he sure has plenty of time to talk hoops.

If Obama isn’t in Bed with Big Oil then what is his excuse for moving so Slow?

Obama Golfs as Oil Gushes

Who is Joe Sestak?

It seems he is either a preening liar or he is abetting a criminal cover-up.
Joe Sestak: Um, yeah, Obama tried to buy me off by offering me a job

This ain't gonna help at the trial

No bail for men charged in officer's death

His Facebook page — on which he refers to himself as "Payroll McGee" — lists his hobbies as "basketball, dice and robbin." In a box dedicated for a personal description, he wrote: "I hav no promlem wit pullin da trigger!!!!!"

Attention morons who want to be thugs....... social media is not your friend.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When she is good, she is very very good

Ann Coulter on the hapless Republican establishment:

Republicans on Track to Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory

Republican consultants are doing a wonderful job raising expectations sky-high for the November elections, so that now, even if Republicans do smashingly well, it will look like a defeat (and an across-the-board endorsement of Obama's agenda). Thanks, Republicans!

That's what happened in the 1998 congressional elections, nearly foiling Clinton's impeachment. It's what happened to the Conservative Party in Britain a week ago

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ace on fire

A Little History For Rand Paul

But what does the Constitution actually say? It says to me -- in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments -- that slavery, vile from the outset, is finally, after long years and bloody civil war, finally outlawed.

I cannot believe that at this late date we're still having an argument over whether it was legally permissible to back-door it back in through Jim Crow.

Why on earth would we even have this argument? We've got live, critical controversies happening right now, but we have to keep an open mind over the question of whether the federal government has the power to eradicate slavery and its badges and incidents? Really

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An important distinction

From Beldar:

If I'm looking at my son Adam and I call him by his older brother Kevin's name, I've "misspoken." If I say to him, "Adam, I served in Vietnam," then I'm a liar.

Until yesterday, Richard Blumenthal was a well-educated lawyer praised for his ability to make cogent and powerful arguments in court. Now, he wants us to believe that he is a toungue-tied rube when he talks a about his military service.

BTW, did either Bushes, widely mocked for their tortured speaking style, ever make a similar mistake about their military service?

Maybe the best quote of the day from a commenter at Hot Air:

What’s the difference between Blumenthal and Jane Fonda? —- Fonda has actually been to Vietnam.

UPDATE: More at In from the Cold. Poor Blumenthal can't get out of his own way. At the press conference he brought along "Elliot Storm, a.k.a. William Joseph Trumpower, a veterans organizer for the Blumenthal campaign." Unfortunately, as noted at IftC, Mr. Storm has his own stolen valor issues.

Funny stuff

A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

1957 - John Backus and IBM create FORTRAN. There's nothing funny about IBM or FORTRAN. It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie.

HT: Michael Williams

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good take on the birth certificate mystery

Kenya Believe it? NY Times Toddling Towards Truth On Obama's Birth Certificate

So why won't Obama just release the file? My guess is that there is nothing of interest or consequence in the file, but that Obama is concealing it simply because he conceals everything. His political success is centered on his biography and he controls the presentation of that biography the way the Walt Disney people control Mickey Mouse. As a matter of brand management Obama won't release his birth files, his college transcripts, his law firm billing records, or anything else - go buy a copy of "Dreams From My Father" and he will tell you his story, and thanks for asking.


Soothing the MSM's fears about the birthers

"JaMarcus Russell reminded Mel Kiper Jr. of John Elway"

Worth remembering when ESPN's pompous draft "expert" holds forth on the WWL:

Three years from now you could certainly be looking at a guy who is certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league . . . Nobody has an arm like JaMarcus Russell. . .
Obviously, he'll need a little time. But you're talking about a 2-3-year period. Once he's under center, look out, because the skill level he has is certainly John Elway-like

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A forgotten classic and the future of journalism

The Reporter Who Time Forgot
How Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day changed journalism

Meanwhile, The Longest Day was reissued in 1994 for the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day. It still sells—a fact that belies the glaring omission of Ryan’s work from so many anthologies of literary journalism, and also offers a powerful lesson for a trade trying to figure out what people will pay to read. There is nothing, it turns out, like a densely reported story propelled by the palpable sense of a reporter chasing his story

It makes for interesting reading in light of print's economic woes.

For one thing, i wonder if a big part of Newsweek's problems stem from a "cool kids" syndrome. Back in 1989, Newsweek tried to reinvent itself by emulating Spy magazine (which itself went under in 1998) Last year, its preferred role model was The Economist. Were these the best models for Newsweek given its current and potential readership? Or did they reflect a desire by the staff to improve their street cred within the guild?

A comment at the CJR suggests the latter.

Some very astute points. Narcissism, to some degree . . . NEWSWEEK was not alone in wanting to tell us what its writers were interested in, but the tone belied the title of the publication. After the 1960s a lot of magazines went after a demographic that didn't get much of its news from, you know, 'reading', while stiffing the demographic that did. So you had younger, pop-culture drenched writers trying to tell older, more conservative news consumers a lot of stuff that the latter knew to be rubbish, and calling it 'news'. I still don't think the inbred NY/DC media-political echo chamber gets itself .

As the article on The Longest Day notes, Ryan got his backing from "the least hip of all magazines, Reader’s Digest."

So the unhip magazine helps create "new journalism" and produces a work that sold at tens of millions of copies (and still sells to this day.) Yet that model of journalism languishes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Aki Iwarmura!

by The Last Hollywood Star

Last year, the Pirates dumped off one of the teams most popular players and all around good guy, Freddie Sanchez, to San Francisco for a questionable prospect, Tim Alderson (6.00 ERA at Altoona) and replaced him at second base with a fat, non-English speaking Japanese who can neither hit (.175) nor field. To rub salt in our wounds, Aki Iwamura is the highest paid player on the team.


These are the things that when repeated season after season drain faithful fans of all their interest. Given his salary, the Pirates are committed to playing him. But, if he continues significantly below the Mendoza line, Iwamura could become Neil Huntington's Matt Morris.