Saturday, January 22, 2011

Smorgasbord Saturday

Update 1.26.11: Clearly I got a slow start to the week around here. Oh, and Mike Napoli lasted in Toronto about as long as it would take you to say 'This ain't gonna make Mike Scioscia happy.' As of yesterday, Napoli is a Texas Ranger.

The only place to begin is with last night's abrupt departure of Keith Olbermann from his MSNBC show Countdown. Other than the statement put out by MSNBC and Comcast as well as K.O.'s own words last night, we really know very little about the exit. I hadn't been watching Countdown last night and flipped over to catch the segment with TPM's Josh Marshall. If I'd known something was up I would have stayed, but I, like Josh Marshall himself, had no idea it would be Keith's last night on Countdown. I don't know what happened, none of us do, but the writing was on the wall with this one--MSNBC and Olbermann had been at odds since long before last fall's suspension. He'll probably end up broadcasting somewhere and in the meantime we can always hope he'll have extra time to write about baseball.

Something K.O. said last night resonates with me: "There were many occasions, particularly in the last 2 years, where all that surrounded the show - but never the show itself - was just too much for me." I'm sure he was talking about the powers that be at NBC Universal and particularly the politics of his position. However, anyone who has been devoted to a job or project knows an overwhelming since of having to carry on with something that's both positive and negative. It's how I've felt about this blog, off and on, for the last year or so. It's part of the reason I didn't note the recent milestone of 1,500 posts, didn't want to jinx anything. Not that I'm at all comparing my 6 years & 1,500 posts here with Keith's nearly 8 years on a nightly hour-long program. Every progressive blogger, journalist and broadcaster owes K.O. a debt of gratitude for carving out a place for progressive viewpoints.

In true smorgasbord fashion, I'd like to preview a few things I hope to write about in the week to come. As I noted Thursday, I was lacking the focus to write about all of the topics on my mind. It's time to note the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inauguration, the opening of the first (and largest) presidential library digital archive at the Kennedy Library & Museum, the Idaho state archivist would like to open many records over 75 years old that are currently being redacted for researchers, the retirement announcement of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, and the House Republicans repealing health care reform. That should keep this place hopping all of next week. Hopefully I can get to it all and the topics don't cease to be relevant before I get to them!

In Idaho Legislature news, I believe Senator Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth) is quickly becoming as irritating (though mildly entertaining) as Maxine Bell or Phil Hart. First there was the bizarre reasoning behind not giving high school students laptops as State Superintendent Tom Luna proposed. Pearce said that giving out laptops to students would promote cheating and would be used to "pass around pornography." Seriously. And how did Luna respond? By saying he understands that students need to be protected "from predators and their own curiosity." Oi. And now Pearce is planning to sponsor legislation that will nullify federal health care reform. As Betsy Russell noted at her all-things-legislature blog, the Supreme Court has come down harshly against nullification efforts in the past. I'll be mentioning the absurdity of those supporting Otter's fight against health care reform in my post about the repeal later in the week, but Pearce deserved his own mention for completely irrational thinking. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily support putting a laptop in the hands of every high school student when clearly schools could use the money and don't even have the infrastructure for such technology, I just don't see how you make the jump from laptops for students to porn-passing students. If Idaho legislators are trying to out crazy each other, Pearce might have won this week's prize.

This smorgasbord seems to be a bit heavy on politics so I thought I'd throw in a few baseball related tidbits that have caught my eye this week. The Yankees bought the Rays top closer--Rafael Soriano. This either means the Yankees are finally admitting Mo is getting old or this means Soriano is being demoted to set-up man. Either way, GM Cashman has been quite vocal about not supporting the deal. The Rays sent Garza to the Cubs and parted ways with Crawford and Pena, but the biggest signings this off-season seem to be the pick up of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. In other Yankees news, they picked up Andruw Jones from the White Sox. I'd like to think Andruw still has the ability to make a comeback after the disaster that was the Dodgers and limited playing time in Chicago. However, Jones is getting older and is past his prime. Returning to gold glove status is a long shot. Unfortunately, returning to the Braves was also a long shot. Another former Brave, Blaine Boyer, is headed to the Mets (the Mets also picked up Chris Young and Scott Hairston). Vernon Wells is moving from the cold Toronto winter to sunny Anaheim. In exchange for Wells, the Blue Jays are picking up Napoli and Rivera. After a comeback of epic proportions in Texas, Vlad Guerrero is apparently headed to Baltimore. I think some of the biggest and most interesting trades have come from teams either rebuilding or hoping for a break-out year, teams like the Nationals, A's, Mariners, and Orioles. Maybe it comes as no surprise that the most controversial and bizarre trades have come from the two New York teams. More money, more chances to baffle those watching the hot stove.

In other baseball news, a judge decided this week that retired players with knowledge of Barry Bonds' steroid use will have to testify. One active player, Jason Giambi, who was recently picked up again by the Rockies system will also have to testify.

That's all I've got for now. Baseball and politics on a Saturday morning. Yes, this blog is getting back on track.


N. Speth said...

As a teacher, I'd love for all my students to have laptops. I'd figure out ways to catch them cheating, and I am not so naive to think they don't look at porn.

Tara A. Rowe said...

The problem is that in Idaho (and probably where you are Nick) is that we can't afford this plan of Luna to buy laptops. We can't afford teachers in the classrooms and having laptops is part of his answer to this. Additionally, there are some schools that don't even have wireless or the capability for it. Never mind the fact that none of the schools have the kind of power set-up that would be required for hundreds of kids with laptops to charge. It would be a great idea in a perfect world, but clearly we aren't in a perfect world.