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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Morning News and Views

The Mets beat St Louis after twenty innings last night, or should I say this morning.  The 2 to 1 victory was the longest game in the majors in two years, lasting nearly 7 hours.  The game was scoreless until the top of the 19th inning.

Baseball’s Dominican Republic children’s farm club system is no longer the player factor it once was. It seems that while baseball is the overwhelming favorite passion of the people there, kids in the DR are more likely to seek major league basketball, soccer or football careers because the advance to major league pay is faster and fame more easily, in their young perspective, achievable. Dominican kids no longer want to wait the time it takes to play in American single, double and triple A teams.

The average salary for major league baseball is three million dollars a year. Signing bonus’s range from $10,000 to several million. The reality is that a signing bonus of $100,000 will change the life of a Dominican family, who earn a few hundred dollars a year per family.

In the original “Angeles in the Outfield” the Cleveland Indians are blessed by Angels brought on by a young orphan girl and the nuns she lived with. Today the Sisters of the Holy Spirit are the biggest fans of the Indians, writing books, baking cookies for the team, and attending every game.  The nuns, ranging in age from 27 to 92, would not miss a game!

The Indians were also made fun of in the Broadway Musical “Damn Yankees” and a series of movies starting with the comedy “Major League.”

Unlike another down in the dumps club, my Cubs, the Indians did go into the World Series twice in the early 1990’s.

Nevada colleges to raise tuition
The Board of Regents has voted to raise in-state tuition for Nevada’s colleges and universities by nearly ten percent. The increase includes making permanent the current student surcharges that were schedule to end next year. The rise is 9.5% at community colleges and 9.8% at both universities and Nevada State.

Do not trust authority; let your gut tell you when they are wrong
Despite overwhelming proof acknowledged by the scientific community, 55% of Nevadans feel that Global Warming is unproven and subject to debate. Only 35% acknowledge that it is a scientifically proven reality. The shift in view reflects the economy and an increasing distrust of what voters consider liberal causes, no matter which cause or how well documented it may be. 625 Nevadans were polled, considered to be statistically accurate plus or minus 4%.

Missed state funeral
World leaders, including President Obama, are not attending the funeral today for the president of Poland, who died 8 days ago in a plane crash in Russia. The volcanic cloud covering much of Europe is considered too much of a risk for nations as close as Germany, much less from Canada, the US or Mexico.

Library Fines for a dead president
Two library books are overdue at the New York Library Association. “The Law of Nations” and The Library of Debates of the Chamber of Commons” were due November 2, 1789. The man who never returned the books or paid the fines, President George Washington.

By the time a child reaches their 18th birthday they have seen over 16,000 deaths on TV, fictional and real. Historically death taught us how to live, with cavemen having an average life span of 18. We observed and respected death so that we would not make the same mistake of those who die. Over time death was enshrined and the idea of eternity was born. Today we think of the death when people were alive. We do not have open caskets, fewer people are holding wakes, and more and more we look at a vase filled with ashes instead of a dead human being. CBS Sunday Morning’s looked at the issue if how we live to live and avoid thinking about or confronting death, where our ancestors leaned and respected the end of life.

The death toll for last week’s earthquake in China has now exceeded 1,700.

Catholic Church
In Veletta, Malta, the Pope met with sex abuse victims and promised the church will do all in its power to safeguard children. While not an apology, as modern thinkers who do not understand the theocracy and traditions of the church expect, he has now gone on record on the issue, which is a step forward.

Princeton University professor Alan Binder, former Federal Reserve Vice Chair and white House economic advisor believes that Federal investment and funds have kept the nation from falling into a Depression, and we cannot simply stop the incentive programs. We need to wean business off them gradually, and use them again when and if needed.

Former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune says that Congress should let the free market determine how the industry covers its costs. Checking bags, weight limits and even charging heavyset people for two seats are all legitimate expenses paid in ways that charge those who use them, instead of raising overall ticket prices.

Bethune says nickel and diming customers is needed due to the cost of fuel, the recession and the reality that all airlines are losing money or struggling to make a profit for the first time in decades. On consolidation he told Wall Street Journal Report that consolidation is a good idea. It would be more efficient if we had fewer players and more stability, so employees can get paid well, get their pensions and suppliers know they will be paid.

Freedom of Speech
A filmmaker who wrote a letter to the Ayatollah of Iran asking him to apologize for the bloodshed following last June’s election. For writing the letter the Iranian filmmaker has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison. Allegedly he was “spreading propaganda against the clerical establishment and insulting the country’s leaders.”

Is there life in the night sky?
SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, continues and the lady that Jody Foster plaid in “Contact”, astronomer Jill Tarter are still working with an ever-increasing array of radio telescopes, some funded by Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Many changes have occurred since the movie, as reported on CBS Sunday Mornings. We are focusing on only 155,000 stars that may have planets that might be able to support life. The Keplar Space Telescope mission (launch last year) has already found 5 new planets, with three potentially life supporting (not life as we know it, and probably not life as it can exist on earth).

About half of Americans, 47%, believe there is intelligent life in the Universe, 72% believe that life in some form exist outside of earth. (CBS poll).

On this date April 18th, in 1968 London sold the London Bridge for just fewer than two and a half million dollars to an American oilman. The New London Bridge, which replaced a Medieval bridge, was completed in 1831, covering only three lanes of traffic and was sinking at a rate of over an inch a decade. Over the next few years London Bridge was dismantled and rebuilt in Lake Havasou, AZ., where it was rededicated in 1971. The bridge is Arizona’s second largest tourist attraction, after the Grand Canyon.

Sam Waterson has completed 16 years as the district attorney in “Law and Order”. His father considered classical theater an art form, film immoral and television less than anything. He graduated from Yale to act in New York, on stage. In 1972 he played Benedict in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of “Much a do About Nothing.” Katherine Hepburn “discovered” him in that role and helped launch is film and television career. His first television role was in the leading and title role as “Oppenheimer” for a PBS miniseries on the atomic bomb. Since then he has acted full time and says proudly “it isn’t work, it’s just long hours of fun.” Sam Watterson will turn 70 this year.

Face the Nation on CBS
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts did his first Sunday show interview since being seated in the senate this morning on Face the Nation. Also on as syndicated Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Kathleen Parker on the topic of Tea Party politics.

On Republicans’ “just say no” philosophy, Brown says the presidents decions will determine if that perception continues, not his party.  He says the president and his peoples should not continue politizing key issues for the American people.

“Banks should be banks, not gambling casino’s with our money.” Brown opposes Obama’s banking reforms, saying it will cost 25 to 25 thousand jobs. Brown says a “one size fits all political approach” will not work.

“As an elected official I am here to do my job, so being in the senate and not at rallys will be what I do” was Brown’s response to a question about the Tea Party and its rallys. He hedged on whether the president is pushing the country toward socialism, saying that he knows the president is doing his job and he should do so with more of an open mind. “I know from what I have seen we need to focus on jobs.”

On President Obama, “I do not think he is making proper decisions in regard to the free market…the president is a good man, he is an American and I know he cares deeply about our country, but he has differing priorities.”

Kathleen Parker is a conservative columnist, yet she is critical of Sarah Palin and the rhertoric she is encouraging in the Tea Party.

“I think we have to be caucious…I am not saying the Tea Party people are violent or racist, but there are those who attached themselves to the movement…with heated rhetoric…loaded language…reload…targeting…hate…boing…”

“I think there is a lot of anger and it could become something else.”

 On the internet “people will say anything under the cloak of anninimomy”, “attacking, threatening, tearing down others…”

Democratic officeholders are in big trouble come November. The Tea Party are anti more taxes, anti big government.

The core of the opposition for Barack Obama is the Tea Party, and by “being anti-Obama” is hurting the Republican Party,

“I think with Scott Brown what you see is what you get...He is a very independent fellow and he is going to tick off somebody each time…he is a straight shooter and a regular guy..and in doing so will make people mad.’

“We do need to regulate banks, as they are becoming bigger and more powerful.” The Republicans can’t just oppose on it, they have to deal with it or be on the “other side” and live with that.