May 2009

By Wink

Yikes. Is it baseball season already? Wow, time to join in.

Yes, we know the season started many weeks back, but it takes a while for us to get warmed up. We mean ‘warmed up’ quite literally, because it can be stinking cold at those early season games, but all is well now, the weather is kicking into high gear!

We at Winkest Link love baseball. We sort of sucked at it as players, but it MUST be the best sport to watch live.

You have to like a sport where the participants don’t have to be seven-foot six inches tall, or 380 pounds. The steroid problem threw a bit of a damper o the sport, but we believe the new penalties will make that less and less of an issue.

Whiners will say it is too slow, that players spend too much time standing around scratching themselves and adjusting things. Yeah, they do stuff like that. So?

We didn’t say go to the games ALONE. Go with someone you like. You can chat about all kinds of stuff during all the down times (and during the ‘scratching/spitting’ times).

For baseball geeks there are tons of baseball-related topics you can talk about, but there is plenty of reasons for the non-geek. Relax, get some fresh air and sunshine and chat you’re your friends. It is just a picnic with an interesting game thrown in to distract you.

For the geek though….

  • Okay, this guy on first is slow, so he probably won’t be able to score on a double, and there is NO CHANCE of him stealing second.
  • Of course with a full count and two outs you KNOW he will be taking off with the pitch.
  • You know Willie Mays once scored from first on a single. Unbelievable.
  • One guy once threw 12 perfect innings and lost the game.
  • Yogi Berra once said, about a restaurant, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

Baseball used to be all about hot dogs, crackerjacks and beer, but there is WAY more that you can get there now, even at minor league parks. Some places have mixed drinks, sushi, hoagies, pizza and all manor of snackie and/or dessert items…

Kick back. Relax. WATCH BASEBALL LIVE…

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By Wink

So Sonia Sotomayor is the Supreme Court nominee? Are you surprised? Not if your read Winkest Link. We called that more than two weeks ago. (“Supreme Court Pick” May 12, 2009)

Did our moles give us the inside scoop? Are we clairvoyant or did deductive reasoning lead us to that conclusion? What difference does it make? If you want the real deal, the most logical analysis of the goings-on in the good old U.S. of A., then you MUST come to the Winkest Link.

That said…

A difficult background does not automatically qualify you to be a member of the Supreme Court, but the life story of Judge Sotomayor is compelling:

Both of her parents are Puerto Rican. She was born in the Bronx. Her father died when she was nine, and she was raised by her mother in a very difficult environment.

In spite of those obstacles, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton. (“Perry Mason” was her favorite TV show growing up.) She received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was editor at the Yale Law Journal.

She was an Assistant District Attorney in New York before entering private practice in 1984. Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.

Some conservatives are assailing her, and some liberals don’t believe in her either, but they must be on the extremes, because Sotomayor has been considered by both Democratic and Republican presidents as a potential Supreme Court candidate.

Her “Perry Mason” dream has come true and YOU READ IT HERE FIRST.
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By Wink

What did you do over Memorial Day? Have a picnic? Wash your car? Go shopping?

Most people don’t do much of any consequence. It is just a free day.

Some people visit gravesites to remember family members who have passed away. That is nice and we would encourage that.

There are a number of people who honor the fallen, the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have died in service to our country.

You don’t have to go anywhere, or do anything special to honor our war dead. Just be aware. Keep them in your hearts.

And you don’t have to wait til next Memorial Day either. Now is a good time to remember those who have sacrificed for us.

Memorial Day is for those who have passed on, but you might remember too, those who have been wounded physically and emotionally. War is a traumatic event, and even the survivors can suffer horribly.

But if you DO want to do something, visit a nearby VA hospital, or a nursing home. There are many-many-many veterans who could use a little company.

The staff of the Winkest Link would like to pass on this reminder: Every time you hear the national anthem, pause to remember those for whom it is REALLY being played. The national anthem should remind us that every day is Memorial Day.

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By Wink

Do you like specious arguments? If so, just bring up the issue of national healthcare with the average citizen. Be ready for red herrings galore:

  • It will ruin the current system
  • Drug companies will not be motivated to create new drugs
  • It will cost way more than our current system, because government is wasteful
  • We have the best healthcare anywhere

Let’s take these point by point.

It will ruin the current system:
It wouldn’t even change the current healthcare system. The type of coverage being proffered is identical to what government employees already have. Do you know how many government employees there are? Millions. Since the coverage for these millions of people is not currently ‘wrecking’ the system, why would expansion of the same coverage?

Drug companies will not be motivated to create new drugs:
New drugs are always right-protected, and the creator can literally own that category/drug for years. Nobody is suggesting removing this right. Since all companies, including drug companies, are motivated by profit, they will not stop trying to create new, highly-profitable, drugs.

It will cost way more than our current system, because government is wasteful:
Granted, government can be wasteful, but no, the cost won’t be more. You are paying for health insurance now (assuming you have health insurance). You will have the option of keeping that insurance, thus, no ‘government-induced’ rate increase.

But wait, even though you DON’T have government insurance, your private insurance rates have been skyrocketing. And in spite of the higher premiums, your policy regularly requires YOU to pay more and more of your medical bills: higher deductibles, higher coinsurance, higher copays. You think government would screw up THAT system?

Also note, the middle man, insurance companies, have a ‘profit’ motive. They must pay high-powered exec’s and still have a little left to give to stockholders. Even streamlined, well-run companies must profit each year. Profit comes in the form of premiums. Your money. The government doesn’t have the ‘profit’ motive that insurance companies have.

We have the best healthcare anywhere:
(I call this argument “I got mine”) Well, we don’t have the best healthcare, and this is sad. First off, about 50 million people have no healthcare, so it is certainly not the BEST for them. Secondly, if we have the best healthcare, why do we have such a high infant mortality rate (ranked 29th in the world, tied with Poland and Slovakia)?

Why do I call that final point “I got mine?” Because it is really saying “I have great healthcare, and I don’t care who else has bad healthcare or no healthcare. After all, it really is only about ME.”

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By Wink

The May 18 Winkest link article was obviously written several days before it was printed.

In it we wrote that the Defense Department, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, was going to release photos showing alleged abuse of prisoners in detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This did not happen. The Obama Administration has had a change of heart and, for now at least, will not release the photos.

This appears to be an attempt by Obama to maintain goodwill with the political center. He will need them (moderates) later to tackle bigger issues, such as health care. He probably feels he can’t spend the political capital right now.

Winkest Link is against this decision, because we ALWAYS support transparency in our government. We pay for it, we should know what we are getting.

Plus, we want to know if our paid officials are breaking the law.

Opaque government is what we had, for eight years, during the Bush years. Information was only parceled out on a ‘need to know’ basis, and Bush/Cheney thought the public NEVER had a need to know.

The more a government lies, the more they need to hide, thus “opaque government.”

The signs are strong that the current administration will be much more forthcoming than the previous one. They couldn’t possibly be less forthcoming.

By the way, what good is the “Freedom of Information Act” if we can’t ‘free’ the information?

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By Wink

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Defense Department is going to release photos showing alleged abuse of prisoners in detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the web site of the National Review, Andrew McCarthy, apparently a master of hyperbole, wrote “American soldiers, American civilians, and other innocent people are going to die because Pres. Barack Obama wants to release photographs of prisoner abuse.”

According to Mr. McCarthy, “The photos at issue won’t tell us anything significant about prisoner abuse, and they may very well serve to distort reality. What seems certain is that they will get Americans killed.”

Hmmmm. I wonder where Mr. McCarthy stood on the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Did he oppose that? Because that is what led to all of this.

Of course these God-awful abuse and torture pictures would not exist if we didn’t abuse and torture prisoners.

Does Mr. McCarthy oppose prisoner abuse and torture? Because it appears our previous administration approved of both. When the original Abu Ghraib photos surfaced the on-site soldiers were tossed under the bus, while all superior officers scrambled for cover.

What is the difference between prisoner abuse and torture? Any? Cheney/Bush at first denied the U.S. tortured anyone, but now Cheney is currently in the middle of his “We Tortured People and are Proud of It” tour.

And McCarthy wants to blame Obama?

The world-wide bull’s-eye was on al Qaeda after the 9-11 attacks. All sympathy was on the side of America. In the Muslim world, that bull’s-eye shifted back to the United States when we attacked and occupied a Muslim country, Iraq.

Eventually it became obvious our government lied about weapons of mass destruction and had created an imaginary link between Iraq and the 9-11 conspirators. Then Bush/Cheney were forced to come up with new lame excuses, like we were ridding the world of a horrible dictator, blah blah blah, but it was too late. We were, and still are, seen as aggressors and occupiers, attacking the Muslim faith.

And McCarthy thinks some new pictures are what will make some terrorist want to kill Americans?

Here is an easy prediction: If we are attacked again by terrorists, Andrew McCarthy will find no obvious link to the Iraq War or the fact that the torture was ordered by Bush/Cheney. He will blame the entire mess on Obama.

I have an idea, Mr. McCarthy. Insist that YOUR government, and that includes the Obama administration, honor international treaties like the Geneva convention. Hold U.S. administrations to a higher standard.

And stop being a sycophant for Bush/Cheney and all things Republican.

Andrew McCarthy: Bonehead du Jour

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By Wink

The NBA has produced many exciting moments this year, but only one situation that can be truly described as a tragedy.

In Orlando, during the playoffs, Magic fan Ernest Provetti had secured two seats right next to the Magic bench, in row one, to watch the game with his 12 year old son, Nicholas. They probably cost him what, for a normal person, would have been a fortune. Or maybe someone gave them to him free. Who knows?

Little did he know the level of danger these prime seats exposed him to…

The tragic events that unfolded forced Ernest to write to the NBA office demanding an apology.

What “tragic event” you ask? Let me describe the sequence…..

The defending champion Boston Celtics were down two games to one in the best of seven series. A Celtic loss in game four would put them behind three to one, virtually assuring the end of their playoff hopes.

The Celtics were down by one point, and the last few seconds of the game were draining off the clock. With their top two options (Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) tightly guarded, the ball ended up in the very unlikely hands of Glen (Big Baby) Davis. The 6 foot 9 inch, 289 pound center had no choice but to try a 21-foot jump shot, that swished through as time expired.

As you might imagine, Davis, and the rest of the Celtics, were beside themselves with joy.

Davis had taken the shot from right in from of the Magic bench and drifted backward, toward the bench, while watching the shot go through. When it went in, he tried to run straight down the sidelines to celebrate at the Celtic bench, but an official was in the way so (still running) he took one step out of bounds…

In the path of this out-of-control behemoth basketball player, this calloused, uncaring freight-train of a man, stood poor innocent little 12-year old Nicholas…. The attached footage is not for the squeamish…

[YouTube Video]

The film doesn’t lie. Glen (Big Baby) Davis put his hand on the back of this child as he was going by, jostling him hard enough TO KNOCK THE HAT RIGHT OFF OF HIS HEAD!!!

Now you know why Ernest Provetti wrote to the NBA office to demand an apology. It is too late for little Nicholas, he had to pick up his own hat. But, with enough awareness, maybe we can prevent the next tragic episode.

It is of note that neither Ernest nor his son were safely in their seats. They were both standing right next to the court because, presumably, they wanted to be as close to the action as possible.

Ernest, if safety is so critical to you, maybe you could sit all the way back in row two or something…
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By Wink

A report shows that people, and especially women, are leaving the Republican Party. Why would they do that? Why would anyone struggle with Republican ideology? We have our own ideas, but today we will just pass along some random quotes from the blog world.

(Note: We have tidied up grammar and spelling where needed, and are not attributing these quotes to anyone in particular.)

– Until the Republican Party dismisses the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and even Gingrich, people will continue to leave. They are very helpful to Democrats.

– They (Rush, etc) should keep talking, don’t shut them up. No way.

– Thanks to G.O.P. policies, every day there are more women unemployed, uninsured, unable to afford college, living in poverty, and wondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into. There are more single mothers unable to feed their children who don’t qualify for assistance. There are more women living in tents after their homes were foreclosed. There are also an increasing number of women of color, many of whom belong to the aforementioned subgroups. I think the only thing the Republicans have to do to appeal to these women is to change everything they do and say.

– Women are NOT buying the GOP gimmicks. They are smarter than that. The GOP is against women’s rights, healthcare reform, education, green technology, etc. These are CRITICAL to women.

– There is NO “inclusivity” in the GOP Party. They do not welcome minorities and the younger generation’s broad sense of ideologies.

– If they really want to attract women voters, start focusing on bread-and-butter issues again. Talk about empowerment of women, rather than adopting a tone that treats women as afterthoughts. Show compassion and highlight successes on market-based solutions in areas like healthcare, education and child care, rather than sticking to the same mantra and attitudes that have gotten them into trouble. In other words, look for solutions that stress humanity and compassion, rather than preaching and punishing people. And for God’s sake, ignore Palin, Coulter and the other mega-rich conservative fools that don’t live in the real world.

– Republicans already have the best of the best in Ann Coulter, Michele Bachmann, & Michelle Malkin.
What more do they need? What woman wouldn’t want to be on that team?

– The GOP needs to realize that they didn’t lose because they didn’t communicate their message very well. They lost because the American people rejected them AND their message.

– If they are only seen as caring about guns, God, and gays, they will not be consistently viable.

– One way is for these right-wing commentators to stop running Meghan McCain into the ground. She is part of the answer, but the “GOP extreme” view her as part of the problem. Don’t shoot the messenger.

– Clearly the Republicans need to adopt a more moderate platform to attract women voters, but I don’t see that happening in time to save the party. The far right wing is going to maintain control until it is too late.

– The GOP re-branding group might as well replace the elephant in their logo with a woolly mammoth. Their motto could be “We don’t worry about global warming – we’re still back in the Ice Age”.

– Having the government get involved with my decisions on choice and who to marry does not comport with ‘less government interference in private lives’.

– The only Republicans I would consider voting for are Gates, Petraeus, and Powell. What do they have in common? They’re all military. They don’t seem to be religious fanatics. They don’t yap on and on about how lowering taxes on the super rich is going to benefit the rest of us. They understand the value of diplomacy. They don’t apologize to that ditto-idiot that rants on the radio. In other words, they’re Republicans that didn’t get elected by Republicans so they still have their sanity.

– Republicans believe you should regulate the individual and leave business alone while Democrats believe in regulation of business and leave the individual alone. Republicans really need to take a long look at the world as it is, NOT as they wish it was…women make up their own minds about their lives and they expect government to keep a close eye on businesses getting fat off of their sacrifices.

And our two favorite comments:

1) I agree with Rush. The Republican Party should be reduced to only those people who agree with him, Rush Limbaugh. A party of one. A very big tent, though.
2) To borrow a line from Zuzu Bailey: “Every time Rush speaks, a Republican becomes a Democrat.”

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By Wink

If you read the October 6, 2008 Winkest Link* (titled, appropriately enough “Electoral College”) you will see that the editors of Winkest Link hate the Electoral College.

Hate it.

In the races for the Senate, for Congress, for governors and mayors, for city council, we just count up the votes. The person with the highest vote total wins!

This is true, too, for senior class president. Nobody says “Miss Anthrope’s Latin class is under-represented, so lets do a winner-take-all, class by class.” Nope, they just COUNT THE VOTES.

So why a different system for the office of President of the United States? We suspect this was actually a practical joke pulled by the founding fathers after another evening of sniffing horse glue.

Franklin: … I’ve got a better idea. Lets do away with one-man-one-vote.

Terwilliger: Yeah, how about each state being ‘winner-take-all’?

Franklin: That way presidential candidates could save money by only campaigning in the big states!

Terwilliger: Ha ha ha! Pass the horse glue.

(Please tell me there was a founding father named ‘Terwilliger’)

Well, somehow this loopy idea stuck.
Sometimes ‘creative’ and ‘stupid’ are the same thing.

But don’t give up hope, W-L readers! There may be a way to outflank the Electoral College.

Let’s get more states, big and small, to support it!

* By the way, if you have NOT read the October 6, 2008 Winkest Link, go back and do so. It includes several attempts at humor, which can only make your life a little better.

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