Saturday, April 16, 2016

When Minoso lost '51 rookie award to one shade of black

When 28 year old rookie White Sox outfielder Minnie Minoso stepped to the plate in old Comisky Park for his first at bat on May 1, 1951, fans were seeing more than the man breaking the color bar on the formerly all white White Sox. Minnie smacked a Vic Raschi fastball into the center field bullpen, ushering in the Go Go era on the South Side after 32 years in the American League wilderness, following ironically, the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Watching Minoso's debut ball disappear in the bullpen was 22 year old rookie Gil McDougal, playing second for the still all white Yanks. 
Six months later McDougald edged out the Cuban Comet as AL Rookie of the Year with 13 first place votes to Minnie's 11. McDougald had a pretty good year, batting .306 with 41 extra base hits, 63 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .396 on base percentage. And Minoso? He had a monster rookie year with a .326 average, 58 extra base hits, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .422 on base percentage. There's more: Minnie combined those power numbers with 16 more walks and 12 fewer strike outs. More again: McDougald was just a cog on a Yankee team with more stars than MGM, while Minnie was the catalyst for the Sox improbable revival.
There's no do-over for sports awards and if Minnie were still alive today he'd demur if questioned on one of the great thefts in all of sports. And McDougald? If alive today, and you asked him about the current debate over white privilege, he'd likely point to that 65 year old Rookie of the Year Award gathering dust on his mantle and simply reply, "That's white privilege".

Friday, April 15, 2016

Rauner congratulates Snyder, McCrory for keeping Rauner from winning 'Worst' award

Can't prove it but I understand Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has sent congratulatory messages to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his gubernatorial counterpart Pat McCrory in North Carolina. Rauner's compliments to both were for their valiant efforts to keep Rauner from copping the Worst Governor in America Award, given annually to the governor who does the most to damage his state's economy and degrade the life of folks most in need of responsible governance.
Rauner's year long refusal to work with the Illinois legislature to pass a budget, resulting in layoffs, students leaving college and state vendors going broke waiting for long delayed payment, got Rauner nominated for the ignominious 'Worst Governor' award. Then Michigan Governor Snyder vaulted ahead of Rauner with his ingenious tactic of pumping poor, mostly minority Flint residents full of lead tainted water to save a few bucks and show his wealthy sponsors that 'smash capitalism' business tactics can increase the power and wealth of the Michigan ruling class.
Not to be outdone, North Carolina Governor McCrory used the route of culture wars to contend for Worst Governor. Furious that gay marriage became legal in North Carolina via federal court rulings, McCrory had his compliant legislature slam dunk a law in just 12 hours that overturned a Charlotte ordinance outlawing discrimination against the LGBT community, including restrictions on transgenders using the toilets of their gender identity. His law that solved no problem created a Tsunami of economic problems for the Tar Heel state as businesses and travelers from around the land now chant "Anything's finer than to be in North Carolina."
But in the Land of Lincoln all is not well with Governor No Budget. Rauner still wakes up every day knowing his senseless political brinkmanship will cause someone to get a pink slip, some student to crack open a video game instead of a book, and some small business to become even smaller that day. When your 48th worst governor of 50, having a couple of even worse state leaders standing between you and the Worst Governor in America Award is meager consolation.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Obama's Top 10 To Do List for last 9 months

Nine months and change is still much time for the most highly accomplished president in my lifetime to add to his glowing presidential resume. He's actually second to FDR, but I was just 32 days old when FDR left office. Here are ten I'd like to see him complete, which would vault him to top of any historian's Best Prez List.

Dear President Obama:

Apologize for the unnecessary A Bombing of Japan in 1945 on your upcoming trip to Japan.

Close the Gulag at Guantanamo. Those places should only be associated with Nazis and Stalinists.

Cancel the Tuesday 'Kill List'. 'Tuesdays with Morrie' is fine; 'Tuesdays with Who To Kill Next' not so good.

End all new fossil fuel exploration permits. Earth may not succumb in your lifetime, but no guarantee for our kids and future grandchildren. 

Find a way to place Merrick Garland on Supreme Court without Senate approval. They've abrogated their responsibility to confirm. Don't abrogate yours to install. 

Stop enabling the slow Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people, including holding them under inhumane conditions in Gaza, stealing their homes, land, water and dignity in the West Bank, and systematically marginalizing them them as a people deserving a homeland.  

End criminal military ops in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and other places we don't know about. We've killed enough. 

Request a congressional investigation of the war crimes of the Bush administration. There is no Statute of Limitation for war crimes.  Call it reconciliation and offer immunity if needed. Just get the process started. History will judge you harshly for looking forward rather than back. If it was good enough for Germany and Japan; it's good enough for America. Beware the Ghost of Nuremberg. 

Release the redacted 28 pages of the 911 Report which show Saudi Arabia's involvement in the 911 attacks carried out by 15 Saudi nationals of 19 attackers. Everybody who cares already knows the truth. Prove it to the dead-end warmongers. 

Instead of expanding NATO up to Russia's borders, re-igniting the Cold War and creating a nuclear tripwire over its volatile neighbors, advise Europe to defend themselves. 

You're famous for exhorting your staff to never let up achieving accomplishments up til the movers come for your stuff next January 20th. That includes with you, Mr. President. 

Walt Zlotow

Monday, April 11, 2016

Chapman should speak only for his extreme right base

The Trib's Steve Chapman sure is spooked by the inspirational, revolutionary and utterly unstoppable campaign of Bernie Sanders to end the rigged game of billionaire bought oligarchy in which he is comfortably ensconced.  His gratuitous hit piece "Left and right should reject Sanders" may be the single most insulting opinion piece directed at millions of progressives brought fully into the process of returning governance to the people from the oligarchs. Every criticism he offered of Sanders comes direct from the extreme right playbook designed to trivialize and demonize Sanders. Two false criticisms jump out that deserve refutation: Sanders failure to accomplish anything in a quarter century in Congress, and his call to abolish fracking as one means of combating climate change.   

The phony accomplishment charge is based solely on establishment icon Barney Franks' claim Sanders accomplished nothing because he's unable to compromise. Rather than using a straw man critic supporting Hillary Clinton, Chapman could have done his homework to reveal Sanders:
  •  Passed a corporate crime accountability amendment to the Victims Justice Act of 1995  requiring white collar criminals to disclose their crimes to all victims 
  •  Passed a competitive grants to colleges and universities amendment in 1998 Higher  Education  legislation increasing grants to schools using cooperative purchasing to save    costs
  •  Passed an amendment to the Treasury Appropriations Act of 2003 stopping the IRS from 
            violating current pension age discrimination laws
  •  Obtained a hundred million dollar increase for community health centers in 2001
  •  Passed an amendment to a 2001 appropriations bill forbidding the importation of goods  made with child labor
  • Obtained a $22 million increase to 2004 legislation providing low income energy assistance and weatherization programs
  • Passed a 2005 amendment to legislation which prohibited the Import Export Bank from 
           providing loans for nuclear projects in China
  • Passed an amendment to 2007 legislation which required a minimum of 30% of hot water needs in federal building come from solar power
  • Passed an amendment to 2007 legislation which provided an additional $10 million to beef up National Guard units depleted by serving in our criminal Iraq war. 
  • Passed an amendment to 2009 bank bailout legislation which prohibited bailout funds from displacing American workers
  • Passed an amendment to 2009 legislation which required reporting on improvements in child care for military parents
  • Passed an amendment to 2012 legislation to promote transparency on defense officials entering the revolving door of defense industry employment
  • Passed an amendment to 2013 legislation to provide assistance to autistic children of military personnel 

That's more accomplishment than the entire 'de-legitimize Obama' do nothing Republicans put together. 

On the subject of climate change Chapman denigrates Sanders for being against fracking which Chapman sees as the panacea to reducing carbon emissions. Alas, carbon emissions aren't the top priority in fracking friendly Oklahoma. They're too busy grappling with the colossal increase in fracking caused earthquakes which have driven quakes there from 2 a year to 2 a day in just 7 years. 

Chapman got it half right in his Sanders piece. The right will love its anti Bernie fantasy. The left? We're too busy Feeling the Bern soon to turn its heat on the billionaire oligarch class where they sit down. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

GOP legislators: "States rights Si! City rights Nada!"‏

The racists, homophobes, xenophobes, misogynists and other core constituencies of GOP legislatures have spent an eternity tuning back the clock on human progress with the cry of "States Rights." Small government is inherently better than big government they cry as they resisted federal attempts to bring their states into the 20th century. But here in the 21st century, with most federal efforts realized, these Neanderthals have suddenly become enlightened about the benefits of big government when confronting the progress implemented at the much smaller city level. To whit:
NC overturned Charlotte's progressive anti LGBT discrimination ordinance
AL voided Birmingham's decision to increase the minimum wage
MO banned all cities and counties from both increasing the minimum wage and requiring retailers to ban those bags that never decay
In TN, the Volunteer State, cities can't volunteer to end discrimination against gays
Arkansas' state motto: 'Regnant Populi' which translates to "The people rule", has an unwritten corollary "People in the legislature only" when it comes to banning discrimination.
Memo to NC, AL, TN, MO and AR: Find yourself another country to be part of
Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn, IL