• Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    Palin Comes in Last … Finally

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Because of the Thanksgiving break, many readers might consider last Tuesday’s finale on Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) ancient history.  Nevertheless, my previous commentaries on the Palin effect, which made this show more about politics than dancing, compel me to offer this belated denouement:

    Such was the incomprehensible staying power of Bristol Palin on this season’s DWTS that even TV critics became convinced that a political conspiracy was afoot to crown her the winner.  Here, for example, is how the Associated Press expressed this prevailing consternation:

    Bristol Palin’s success on this season’s Dancing With The Stars defies easy explanation.

    (November 24, 2010)

    With all due respect to the AP, however, here’s the very easy explanation I provided in two commentaries for her success:

    If there were anything fair about the voting on [DWTS], Bristol Palin would have been the first “star” eliminated from the competition.  Yet, despite routinely receiving the lowest scores from the judges, viewers have now voted her into the semi-finals.  Why?

    Well it has finally dawned on TV critics that Tea Party fanatics – who think Bristol’s Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin, is the female reincarnation of George Washington – might have something to do with it.  Duhhh!  For, as my original commentary confirms, I predicted Bristol’s stayin’-alive run from day one.

    (DWTS: Palin stayin’ alive, The iPINIONS Journal, November 12, 2010)

    Sarah Palin has demonstrated during this year’s Republican Primaries that she has even more ditto heads at her beck and call than Rush Limbaugh.  So I have no doubt that their politically motivated voting will keep Bristol going for a very long time.

    (Bristol Palin strutting her stuff…, The iPINIONS Journal, September 21, 2010)

     

    More to the point, here’s what I predicted would be the outcome of this competition despite the open conspiracy among Palinistas to rig a Bristol coronation:

    I am convinced that the producers have a fool-proof way of ensuring that a no-talent teletubby like Bristol does not triumph over truly talented and appealing stars like Brandy and Jennifer Grey. They are sensible enough, after all, to appreciate that a Bristol victory would turn their show into a political joke.

    This is why I’m picking Jennifer to win.  Mind you, I think Brandy is a better dancer.  Unfortunately, her partner, Maksim, is turning off tens of thousands of voters every week with his bitching about, and bickering with, the judges.  Hell, he’s acting like more of a diva than any of the female stars.

    Stay tuned….

    (Bristol Palin strutting her stuff…, The iPINIONS Journal, September 21, 2010)

    Given this, just imagine my guffaws when it was reported that Sarah wrote the following unwittingly autobiographical critique of another talent show, American Idol, in her recently published book America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag:

    Did you ever wonder where the producers of American Idol come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can’t sing but are deluded enough to get in front of a national television audience and screech out a song anyway? [Contestants on reality talent shows like Idol are victims of] the cult of self-esteem. No one they have encountered in their lives-from their parents to their teachers to their president-wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth.

    I could not have written a better endorsement of my assessment of her daughter’s appearance on DWTS myself.  But, like celebrated comedienne Tina Fey says, Sarah Palin is the gift that just keeps on giving….

    In any case, the above should explain why I was not at all surprised when Brandy did not make the final three or, more importantly, when Jennifer was crowned the winner.  By contrast, it must have come as a tremendous shock to virtually everyone else when Bristol was not even crowned the runner up.

    I pity what this will do to her self-esteem; after all, her mother and the ditto heads who kept voting for her clearly had Bristol convinced that she was not only going to, but actually deserved to, win. 

    NOTE: For the record, Kyle Massey, some heretofore unknown “child-star”, was the runner up.  But you know DWTS has jumped the shark when its relying on Palin’s no-talented daughter to make it seem relevant.  Accordingly, this marks the last commentary I shall write on this show. 

    That’s a wrap!

    Related commentaries:
    DWTS: Palin stayin’ alive
    Palin strutting her stuff

  • Monday, November 29, 2010 at 5:48 AM

    WikiLeaks More U.S. Secrets

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    WikiLeaks publishing U.S. government secrets is taking on the oxymoronic spectacle of a 90-pound weakling kicking sand in the face of a muscle-bound bully. Yet it published another cache yesterday despite adamant U.S. protests.

    Instead of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan bemoaning their fecklessness, U.S. diplomats at more than 270 outposts around the world gossiping about local leaders provide the fodder for this media dump.

    Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information.

    (Der Spiegel, November 28, 2010)

    But, despite dire warnings about these disclosures putting lives in danger and destabilizing American foreign relationships, I am convinced that the only consequence will be some red faces and bruised egos.  No doubt this is why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent days in advance of Sunday’s publication phoning up foreign leaders to assure them that the nasty things said about them in dispatches by American diplomats do not reflect the “official” opinion of the U.S. government.

    Moreover, just as it was with other overhyped revelations by WikiLeaks, this tranche contains very little that can be truly classified as secret.  Much is being made, for example, about cables in which the King of Saudi Arabia is reportedly begging the U.S. to bomb Iran.  But it’s been an open secret for years that virtually every Arab leader in the Middle East has been lobbying behind the scenes for such an attack – even as they publicly denounce any talk of this. 

    By the same token, it’s hardly surprising that the leaders of Pakistan and Yemen have been secretly green lighting the CIA’s use of drones to strike terrorists within their respective borders while publicly insisting that such attacks are a violation of their sovereignty.

    Granted, some of these leaders will now have some splainin’ to do. And they will clearly be loath to cooperate with the U.S. if they fear they’ll be exposed in this fashion for doing so.  When all is said and done, however, they will come to appreciate that it’s as much in their interest to continue their two-faced alliance as it is in the interest of the U.S

    Meanwhile, it will come as a surprise only to the most naïve foreign diplomat to learn that the U.S. government has been conducting a vigorous campaign of eavesdropping on officials at the United Nations for years.

    Even more ho hum are the personal slights these diplomatic cables and memos reveal. They include dispatches ridiculing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev effectively as PM Vladimir Putin’s puppet, mocking the mutual admiration society Putin has formed with fellow “alpha dog”, Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, exposing French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an emperor with no clothes, diagnosing Afghan President Hamid Karzai as a paranoid schizophrenic, and dismissing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as an officious bore: like I said, a few red faces and bruised egos.

    Frankly, a cursory search of this site will reveal commentaries on almost all of these so-called secrets. More significantly, every major power has gathered, and is hoarding, similar secrets. Therefore, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before theirs are revealed as well. 

    Nevertheless, I’m sure historians will have a field day sifting through these leaks for insights on stories from a bygone era when secrets were still secret – since they reportedly date back to 1966….

    Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.

    (The White House, November 28, 2010)

    Of course, the White House said essentially the same thing after WikiLeaks published its first tranche of secrets four months ago. This is why I think the only thing noteworthy about this story is the extent to which it makes a mockery of America’s much vaunted international power and influence. 

    In fact, I find it incomprehensible that WikiLeaks poses this kind of clear and present danger to U.S. national security and foreign interests, and the only thing the U.S. can do is disrupt its servers for a few hours – after the secrets have been disclosed.  

    For if these leaks pose (or have caused) the kind of damage U.S. officials claim, then  Julian Assange, the defiant revealer of all government secrets who heads WikiLeaks, should be either dead or sitting in Guantanamo Bay.

    Instead, the U.S. seems to be relying on lowly Sweden to put an end to these leaks by having Assange arrested on an international warrant for the sexual molestation, rape, and coercion of two women in that country last August. Never mind that the women involved seem more like agents furthering a honey-trap conspiracy than victims of grievous sexual assault.

    It’s no wonder international pariahs (and 90-pound weaklings, relatively speaking) like Kim Jung Il of North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran seem convinced that they can threaten, and even attack, U.S. officials and interests abroad with impunity.

    NOTE: Some of you might find it even more incomprehensible (and troubling) that all of these wikileaks are being attributed to one misguided 23-year-old Army intelligence officer. But you should know that over one million government officials have access to all of these so-called secrets. Therefore, the wonder is not that he did what he did; it’s that more people have not done the same.

    Clearly the U.S. government needs to restrict access to such information much further up the chain of command. And all indications are that it is doing just that….

    Related commentaries:
    WikiLeaks on U.S. wars

  • Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving! But remember to toast to the Indians.

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

  • Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    The Pope on Condoms … again?

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Frankly, Pope Benedict XVI is giving papal infallibility a bad name.  In fact his authoritative pronouncements are beginning to smack of the moral relativism he so often condemns.

    After all, just last year he spoke in such doctrinaire and absolute terms about the abomination of condoms that I felt moved to note that:

    What most distinguishes Catholic teaching in Africa (and throughout the rest of the developing world) from Protestant teaching is the zealousness with which Catholic missionaries are spreading the perverse message that the use of condoms – not only as a contraceptive to prevent unwanted pregnancies but even as a prophylactic to prevent HIV/AIDS – is an abomination against God.

    (Pope’s hypocritical warning about ‘new colonialism’ in Africa, The iPINIONS Journal, October 5, 2009)

    I was reacting to the following instruction the Pope gave to Africans during his first papal visit to their HIV-ravaged continent last year:

    Traditional teaching of the Church on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids….  [Aids] cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.

    (Pope instructs Africans to risk their lives to save their souls, TIJ, March 23, 2009)

    Clearly there is nothing relative in this teaching about the use of condoms.  On the contrary, it states a moral (and, he would have you believe, scientific) absolute!

    What are mere mortals to make then of the Pope now offering absolution in some cases for those who use condoms:

    There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility…

    [The church] of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

    (L’Osservatore Romano, November 20, 2010)

    Of course, by this moral reasoning, one could argue that using a condom to protect a spouse or lover from contracting any STD or, God forbid, HIV, is “a first assumption of responsibility” that should also be morally acceptable. For the intention here would be to prevent the transmission of infection, not the development of life.

    In any case, there’s no gainsaying the fact that this latest pronouncement means that the Pope was wrong (i.e., all too fallible) when he pontificated last year that the use of condoms increases the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    But if this new does not constitute the proverbial slippery slope into the moral relativism the Pope decries, I don’t know what does.  For example, why shouldn’t married couples who are genetically disposed to recurring miscarriages infer now that they have the Pope’s blessing to use condoms to prevent this killing of a fetus every time a pregnancy occurs?

    Indeed, to be morally consistent, the Pope would have to grant absolution for the use of condoms in every case where the intention is not solely to prevent a healthy pregnancy.  Because to draw a red line anywhere else would be to sanction moral relativism ad absurdum….

    Nevertheless, instead of condemning him as a hypocrite again – for retreating from his absolute, inhuman and inhumane pronouncement against the use of condoms, I applaud the Pope condoning their use … “in this or that case.”  For this clearly marks his first step toward a more enlightened view of the complex dynamics, considerations, and motivations involved in human sexuality.

    Related commentaries:
    Pope’s hypocritical warning
    Pope instructs Africans

    * This commentary was written and submitted for syndication on Sunday, November 21.

  • Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:10 AM

    Political Scandal Hits DC Suburb: flushing $100k down the toilet, stuffing $76k in a bra…

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Such is the legacy of racism and white supremacy in America that blacks are seized with fleeting apprehension every time there’s a report of a notorious crime, which usually compels a hopeful prayer that the perpetrator is not one of … us.

    No doubt this racial pathology has caused every black person who voted for Barack Obama to suffer the irrational and self-abnegating thought that, if his presidency fails, no other black would be elected president for another 232 years.

    By the same token, though, his election imbued blacks with such racial pride and triumphalism that some were singing we have, instead of we shall, overcome.  Never mind that this was just as irrational as assuming collective guilt every time a black perpetrates a notorious crime.

    This brings me to the political scandal now unfolding in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It is generally regarded as the most affluent black county in America, and is often cited for the proposition blacks no longer have to move into white neighborhoods to feel that they’re living the American dream.

    Well, that dream turned into a living nightmare 11 days ago when FBI agents arrived at the home of Jack B. Johnson, the county’s chief executive, and his wife, who had just been elected to county’s governing council.

    The wife, home alone, panicked and phoned her husband for guidance. Alas, what unfolded only reinforced every racial stereotype that the proud folks of Prince George’s County are always so zealous to debunk. But only a direct quote from a November 12, 2010 report in the Washington Post can do it justice:

    Two FBI agents were at the front door of their two-story brick colonial in Mitchellville.

    “Don’t answer it,” the county executive said, unaware that more agents were listening in.

    Johnson ordered his wife to find and destroy a $100,000 check from a real estate developer that was hidden in a box of liquor.

    “Do you want me to put it down the toilet?” Leslie Johnson asked.

    “Yes, flush that,” the county executive said.

    But what about the cash? she asked – $79,600.

    Put it in your underwear, the county executive told his wife.

    She replied, “I have it in my bra” – which is where agents discovered the money after she answered the door.

    Yes, these nincompoops were too greedy and self-possessed to realize that the FBI were recording their every word as part of:

    …a four-year investigation into developers and their associates “regularly providing things of value to public officials” in exchange for official favors. 

    Many other prominent blacks – to whom Johnson doled out government contracts and from whom he routinely took kickbacks, allegedly – are expected to be ensnared in this dragnet before all is said and done.

    Of course, as a lawyer, I’m acutely mindful of the presumption of innocence that obtains in a courtroom. Yet I suspect that blacks all over the country are already venting dismay over the indelible racial shame Johnson and his wife have already caused.

    Meanwhile, the black Brahmans in this county were known to be so full of themselves that they bristled when people referred to it as PG, instead of Prince George’s, county, fearing that PG conjured up too close an association with their discredited and Constitutionally marginalized fellow blacks in DC

    How ironic, then, that their top-elected county official and his wife have now been caught on tape in a fashion that is far more (racially) embarrassing than the way DC’s infamous mayor, Marion Barry, was caught on tape smoking crack.

    The only time the media shows up in Prince George’s County is for something negative. There was never any balance. We have the lowest crime rate in 35 years right now. Have you seen any banner headlines on that?

    (The Washington Post, November 12, 2010)

    This was the pathetic, self-pitying spin Johnson’s press secretary, Jim Keary, tried to put on this scandal. But I’m sure it did nothing to assuage the sense of betrayal among black folks. More importantly, it will do even less to mitigate the criminal charges his boss is now facing.  

    In any case, that so many blacks continue to not only experience but even buy into this notion of collective guilt indicates that we have a long way to go to overcome the legacy of racism and white supremacy in America.

  • Monday, November 22, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    Now New Zealand: more miners trapped

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    One can be forgiven for wondering why relatively little media attention is being paid to the fate of the 29 miners who are currently trapped in an exploded coal mine in New Zealand.

    But it might be helpful to know that it was weeks before the 33 miners who were trapped in that exploded coal mine in Chile became a cause célèbre.

    Yet I pray this does not mean that these New Zealand miners will have to suffer in death-defying isolation just as long before media attention compels the mobilization of technical expertise from around the world to join local efforts to rescue them. 

    Accordingly, I’m hereby doing my little part to draw attention to their plight.

    More importantly, I pray that these New Zealand miners are as fortunate as the Chilean miners were in surviving the initial blast to make it into their emergency refuge bunker. 

    I am acutely aware, though, that such explosions end more often in tragedy – like that which befell the 29 miners who died in West Virginia in April earlier this year as well as the 38 who died in China just days later – than in the triumph that occasioned the internationally celebrated rescue of the Chilean miners.

    Late reports are that there has been no contact with these miners since the explosion occurred on Friday morning….

    Related commentaries:
    Coal mine tragedies in US and China
    Chilean miners secrecy pact

    * This commentary was published originally yesterday, November 21 at 9:45 am

  • Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 6:23 AM

    TSA to Passenger: You think I want to ogle or grope you?! Don’t flatter yourself…

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Related commentaries:
    Passenger to TSA

  • Friday, November 19, 2010 at 5:12 AM

    Ethics Committee Convicts Rep. Rangel on 11 Counts

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    You’d think Rangel would’ve become a little more discreet and circumspect in his flouting of ethics rules in 2007 after assuming chairmanship of the high-profile House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for writing all tax laws and overseeing all revenue-raising measures.  Instead, he became the poster boy for the presumption that rules do not apply to the powerful men who write them…

    The adage, pride goes before the fall, seems appropriate here…

    And, if convicted on ethics charges, what a spectacular fall from grace that would be for this man who was always so fond of bragging “I haven’t had a bad day since” being elected to Congress 40 years ago. Sorry Charlie…

    (Ethically challenged Rep Charlie Rangel forced to “step aside”, The iPINIONS Journal, March 10, 2010)

    Well, Rangel has fallen ... and he can’t get up.  Unfortunately, he only compounded his political humiliation by standing up at his trial before the House Ethics Committee on Monday, having a fool for a client by representing himself, and making patently specious claims about being denied due process and fair treatment.

    For this was clearly a pathetic and pitiful attempt to play the race card – especially considering that all of the members of the committee are white. And he played it in spades by walking out of his own trial – daring the committee to hold him in contempt for the utter contempt he was showing for it by doing so.

    Meanwhile, this founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus has known about these charges for over two years. Even worse, he wasted over $2 million dollars in legal fees trying to make them go away. After all, Rangel himself stood in the well of the House of Representatives over the summer and admitted that he was guilty as charged. 

    Frankly, as best as I can tell, his only defense throughout has been to assert some distinction without a difference about being ethically challenged but not a crook

    This is why I was not at all surprised when the committee convicted him on Tuesday, in what amounted to a summary judgment, on 11 of 13 counts of ethical wrongdoing.  These ranged from using his good offices to solicit over $30 million – to fund the “Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service” at The City College of New York – from rich folks who did business before the committee he chaired, to “filing a decade’s worth of misleading annual disclosure forms that failed to list hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets,” including rent-stabilized apartments in New York City and a beach villa in the Dominican Republic.

    More to the point, though, Rangel’s contempt on Monday rendered anticlimactic the punishment the committee reconvened yesterday to consider.

    Yet here’s how he pleaded for “a drop of fairness and mercy” from this jury of his peers in typically ironic, if not contradictory, fashion:

    There can be no excuse for my acts of omission. I’ve failed in carrying out my responsibilities. I made numerous mistakes. But corruption and personal enrichment are certainly not part of my mistakes.

    (Associated Press, November 18, 2010)

    But then, continuing his strategy of playing on white guilt, he brought along a civil rights pioneer from Georgia, Rep. John Lewis, instead of a fellow member from New York, to assure the committee that Rangel is a “good and decent man … my brother.”

    However, given not just the uncontroverted evidence of his corrupt behavior, but the personal enrichment he derived from it, the 80-year-old Rangel might have been better served by pleading diminished capacity due to the premature onset of senility. Not least because committee members might have been persuaded that only a senile mind could have led him to show such contempt for them by walking out on Monday only to come back on Thursday to plead for mercy.

    In any case, after deliberating for only a few hours, the five Democrats and five Republicans on the committee voted 9-1 for censure, the most severe punishment it could recommend short of expulsion.  Now Rangel will be forced to stand in the well and listen silently as the Speaker chastises him for bringing the House into ill repute.  (The last members to have been censured were Daniel Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) in 1983, for engaging in sexual relations with congressional pages.) He will also be required to make restitution by paying all he owes in back taxes.

    But I don’t see how any of this could possible add to the humiliation and pain Rangel has already suffered. Frankly, I suspect the only punishment he really feared was outright expulsion.

    This is why he’ll probably derive some consolation from the fact that, despite (or to spite) everything, Harlem voters seem just as determined to continue electing him as DC voters are to continue electing Marion Barry (whom they duly reelected as mayor after he served time in federal prison on notorious drug charges).

    NOTE: The reason I have so little sympathy for Rangel is that, even though he admitted wrongdoing, this arrogant SOB spurned all overtures from the committee to settle this matter with a simple public apology. He reportedly did so because he felt that such an apology was beneath the dignity of a war hero and legendary black politician like him. 

    How ironic then that the public humiliation he’s suffering now is ten times worse: a humiliation made painfully manifest for all the world to see by the woe-is-me tears that flowed as he pleaded – all too belatedly – for mercy yesterday….

    Related commentaries:
    Ethically challenged Rep Charlie Rangel

  • Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    Manny Pacquiao – the best fighter ever?!

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    With all due respect to Andy Warhol, we live in a world now where anyone can cultivate a lifetime of fame.  This means that, on any given day, Snooki from The Jersey Shore or one of Tiger’s mistresses can seem every bit as worthy of fame as Tina Fey or Kate Middleton.

    This might seem an unfair context in which to assess the success of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, but there’s no gainsaying the whimsy with which we attach greatness to people these days. For only this explains why so many people are buying into this particular bit of hype:

    I will go on record, and I really believe, that Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter that I’ve ever seen. And that includes Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, and Marvin Hagler, the best fighter that I’ve ever seen.  I have never ever seen anything like him…

    Ray Leonard is a great friend of mine and he was a great fighter, but he doesn’t compare to Manny Pacquiao, in my opinion. Ray had great, great skills, great heart, and he was a tremendous fighter, but he didn’t have the same type of extraordinary skills that Pacquiao has.

    (Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum, November 19, 2009)

    Admittedly, Pacquiao (aka Pac-Man) seemed truly invincible on Saturday night as he pummeled former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito to win the junior middleweight title at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.  And when one considers that this marked his unprecedented eighth divisional title – spanning weight classes from 106 to 150 pounds – it’s tempting to concede that he might really be “the greatest of all time.”

    But I’m not prepared to make that concession.  Not least because I too have seen all of the great champions who Arum dismisses as mere contenders. And I have yet to see any fighter display the combination of power, speed, and style (or poetry in motion) that Muhammad Ali did in his prime.

    Of course, it might seem silly on its face to be comparing a heavyweight like Ali at 215 pounds with a junior middleweight like Pacquiao at 150.

    For the sake of argument, however, in a match between both fighters in their prime, I doubt even Arum would deny that Ali would put even more of a beating on Pacquiao than Pacquiao put on Margarito on Saturday night. Actually, pitting Pacquiao against Ali would be like pitting a little barracuda against a great white shark.

    But I would go further, on the record, in declaring that even Sugar Ray Leonard, himself a junior middleweight champion, should rank above Pacquiao in the pantheon of great fighters.

    For no fighter in the lighter weight classes has emulated Ali’s remarkable combination of power, speed, and style than Sugar Ray.

    More to the point, just as Ali proved his mettle against the best fighters of his day, including bull dogs like Smokin’ Joe Frazier and giants like George Forman, Sugar Ray did the same against Tommy “Hitman” Hearns and Marvin Hagler.

    Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s stellar record is distinguished only by beating up former Golden Boy Oscar de la Hoya long after his prime – when he was clearly more interested in parading around in drag (complete with wig, panties, fishnet stockings and pumps) than in suiting up for the gladiatorial sport of boxing:

    [I]t could only have added insult to his injury that the person who finally forced De la Hoya into overdue retirement was not even a marquee fighter like Floyd Mayweather. Instead, it was a little-known Filipino named Manny Pacquiao who ended things for De la Hoya, mercifully, by knocking him out in the eighth round.

    (Golden Boy ends career in ignominy, The iPINIONS Journal, December 8, 2008)

    But nothing demonstrates how unworthy he is of Arum’s praise quite like Pacquiao doing everything possible to avoid getting into the ring with the man generally regarded as “the best pound-for-pound fighter” in the world today, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Frankly, I am mindful that Pacquiao was supposed to be fighting Mayweather, not the journeyman Margarito, on Saturday. But he chickened out when Mayweather insisted that they both submit to Olympic level random drug testing in the weeks and days before the fight. Which makes one wonder whether Pacquiao’s much vaunted power stems more from performance-enhancing drugs than from Rocky-Balboa style training.

    Finally, if none of my arguments convince you that Arum’s contention is bullshit, just bear in mind that he’s Pacquiao’s fight promoter.  And, as any promoter knows, hype – no matter how absurd – sells.

    Related commentaries:
    Pacquiao sends cross-dressing Oscar into retirement

  • Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 6:39 AM

    Prince William to Kate: Enough of the Wait

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    At long last Prince William has decided to make an honest woman of his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton.

    For here’s the long-awaited announcement that came out of Clarence House – the official residence of Charles, The Prince of Wales, and his two sons, William and Harry – today:

    The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.

    The wedding will take place in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

    Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya….

    You’d think, though, that it was the announcement of the second coming of Jesus Christ the way the media are covering the announcement of this royal engagement.  Never mind that William and Kate’s very public eight-year relationship rendered it wholly anticlimactic.

    All the same, the media will no doubt do their best to manufacture as much interest in this royal wedding as was genuinely shown in the wedding of William’s parents in 1981.

    Which is why I am compelled to wonder if he and Kate will fare any better living happily ever after than Charles and Diana (Anne and Mark or Andrew and Fergie for that matter).  After all, given the record of divorces within this royal family, it does not bode well for them….

    Nevertheless, there’s still nothing like a fairytale wedding (aptly named seeing how rarely they last) to stoke public interest in England’s increasingly anachronistic monarchy.  And it must be said that, despite persistent calls for an end to this feudal institution, at least 70% of Britons still support it devotedly.

    In any case, I wish this couple all the best – especially Kate. For, as Lady Di found out in so many tragic ways, marrying a prince and future king does not guarantee living a charmed life.

    Indeed, William proposing to her with his mother’s engagement ring might be another bad omen in this respect. Not to mention that she already seems afflicted with the anorexia nervosa that the anxieties of joining “the firm” caused Diana to develop….

    *This commentary was originally published yesterday, Tuesday, at 2:39 pm

  • Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 5:26 AM

    Passenger to TSA: If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested!

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Advanced imaging technology screening is optional for all passengers. Passengers who opt out of [advanced imaging] screening will receive alternative screening, including a physical pat-down.

    (TSA statement issued November 15, 2010)

    The media are reporting on a passenger who refused on Saturday to consent to a full-image body X-ray and then complained when a TSA official attempted to give him a pat-down as if he were the Rosa Parks of airline passengers.

    Never mind that this passenger just happened to record his airport confrontation and wasted little time publishing it on YouTube. For this suggests that he was more interested in performing a one-man sting operation than in flying the way millions of us do every day.

    Evidently this prima donna is too modest to subject his body to the naked exposure these X-ray machines produce; notwithstanding that in each case the screener is in some private back room and the X-ray blocks out all identifying features of the passenger being screened.

    Yet here’s the specious clarion call this wannabe civil rights pioneer is sounding:

    I don’t think that the government has any business seeing me naked as a condition of traveling about the country.

    (I refuse to contribute to his obvious quest for 15 minutes of fame by publishing his name and picture.)

    Except that nobody has a civil right to travel on commercial airplanes without first going through the airport’s standard, non-discriminatory screening procedures. If he does not want to subject himself to them, then he should take the train or rent a car.

    So here’s the deal: As glib as his “don’t touch my junk” refrain may seem, it amounts to nothing more than narcissistic folly when it comes to airport security.  Because the rest of us should not be put in danger because this jerk thinks TSA officials are lying in wait just to fondle his family jewels.

    Hell, I’m on record complaining about some of the absurd and inconsistent screening requirements that have made traveling these days a farcical pain in the ass.

    Yet I subject myself to them. Because anyone who goes to the airport and thinks that he can get away without going through these screening procedures is either a jackass or just someone looking to make a scene.

    Meanwhile, I have no doubt that if a terrorist were to shoot up a bunch of people on an airplane because some TSA screener was too afraid to touch his junk during a pat-down, this wannabe Rosa Parks would be the first in line to criticize them for their lax security procedures.

    [R]equiring that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes little sense in a post-9/11 world. Such a rule would afford terrorists multiple opportunities to attempt to penetrate airport security by ‘electing not to fly’ on the cusp of detection until a vulnerable portal is found.

    (CNN quoting the recent ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, November 15, 2010)

    Enough said.

    Related commentaries:
    U.S. security measures useless and overly intrusive

  • Monday, November 15, 2010 at 5:40 AM

    Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is Free. Now what? (Or, so what?)

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Her heroic, even if terminally futile, struggle to restore democracy has garnered her remarkable spurts of international attention and acclaim.  Most notable in this respect was when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 – after the National League for Democracy party she founded won a landslide general election (in 1990), which the military refused to recognize…

    And there’s no clearer indication that the military junta intends to keep her out of politics for the rest her life than the fact that it convicted her yesterday – after a show trial – for violating the terms of her house arrest. 

    (Suu Kyi becoming the Nelson Mandela of Myanmar? The iPINIONS Journal, August 12, 2009)

    I am as happy as anyone in the West can be that Mayanmar’s military government released its political nemesis, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Saturday.  But I am less sanguine than most about what this augurs for Suu Kyi’s freedom, much less an end to the military dictatorship that has ruled this country since 1962.

    After all, I’m mindful that her release has far more to do with the junta’s own PR offensive – to add a patina of political freedom to rigged elections on November 7, 2010 that just reinforced its power – than with any exogenous pressure.   

    This is why it’s misguided, if not ignorant, to herald Suu Kyi’s release with analogies to the release of Nelson Mandela by South Africa’s apartheid government.  Not least because China, Mayanmar’s enabling patron, is in an even stronger position today to help this military government weather sanctions than the U.S. was when it led the sanctions that blew away that apartheid government.

    All the same, I commend her for keeping hope alive. For yesterday – during her first public address since being released – here’s how she not only inspired her followers but also appealed to the generals who have kept her under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years:

    I believe in human rights and I believe in the rule of law. I will always fight for these things. I want to work with all democratic forces and I need the support of the people…

    Let’s speak to each other directly. I am for national reconciliation. I am for dialogue. Whatever authority I have, I will use it to that end… I hope they won’t feel threatened by me. Popularity is something that comes and goes. I don’t think that anyone should feel threatened by it.

    (Associated Press, November 14, 2010)

    It behooves Suu Kyi to appreciate, however, that the military is probably inclined now to let her say whatever she wants, whenever she wants – so long as she does not incite mass anti-government protests. Because this will surely lead to another extended term under house arrest for her, and the military has already set a foreboding precedent by going after Buddhist monks calling for democracy the way the U.S. is going after al-Qaeda terrorists calling for Jihad.

    Alas, this means that, despite the giddy euphoria that has occasioned her release – complete with President Obama hailing her as “a hero of mine” – I doubt Myanmar’s leaders will give Suu Kyi the time of day when it comes to her complaints about the lack of democratic freedoms and human rights.  And, frankly, I don’t blame them.  Especially given the way world leaders, including Obama, are falling all over themselves to curry favor with China’s leaders who have demonstrated even less regard for democratic freedoms and human rights. 

    Indeed, it’s instructive that this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, is currently serving eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights because the Chinese government charged him in 2008 with “inciting subversion of state power”.  Meanwhile, these same world leaders have been conspicuous, if not pusillanimous, in giving lip service to human rights in China without calling on its leaders to release Xiaobo the way they were calling on Mayanmar’s to release Suu Kyi.

    Nevertheless, in keeping with their new PR offensive, the military junta would do well to make quite a public show of inviting her in for talks every blue moon to plead her lost cause over tea and crumpets.

    So here’s to her freedom. But I pray she does nothing to jeopardize it – not just for her sake but for that of her followers who are bound to feel the deadly brunt of any military crackdown she provokes.

    Related commentaries:
    Suu Kyi the Mandela of Myanmar

  • Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    U.S. vs China at the G20

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    China has become a Goliath in world trade by manipulating its currency.

    Therefore, the main event at this week’s G20 economic summit in South Korea featured the U.S. challenging China to stop this unfair trade practice. 

    Well, suffice it to know that the U.S. failed to emulate David….

  • Friday, November 12, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    ‘Dancing With The Stars’: Palin Stayin’ Alive?!

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    If there were anything fair about the voting on Dancing With The Stars (DWTS), Bristol Palin would have been the first “star” eliminated from the competition.  Yet, despite routinely receiving the lowest scores from the judges, viewers have now voted her into the semi-finals.

    Why?

    Well it has finally dawned on TV critics that Tea Party nutjobs – who think Bristol’s Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin, is the female reincarnation of George Washington – might have something to do with it.  Duhhh!

    In fact, here’s how I predicted Britol’s stayin’-alive run from day one:

    Sarah Palin has demonstrated during this year’s Republican Primaries that she has even more ditto heads at her beck and call than Rush Limbaugh.  So I have no doubt that their politically motivated voting will keep Bristol going for a very long time.

    (Bristol Palin strutting her stuff…, The iPINIONS Journal, September 21, 2010)

    So here we are – with the same people who made her mother a political sensation now turning Bristol into a dancing sensation.  Never mind that Bristol is even more of a laughingstock on the dance floor than her mother is in the political arena.

    But just as Sarah will not be able to ride this tidal wave of mediocrity (or temporary insanity) in America into the White House, Bristol will not be able to ride it to victory on DWTS. 

    More to the point, I am convinced that the producers have a fool-proof way of ensuring that a no-talent teletubby like Bristol does not triumph over truly talented and appealing stars like Brandy and Jennifer Grey. They are sensible enough, after all, to appreciate that a Bristol victory would turn their show into a political joke.

    This is why I’m picking Jennifer to win.  Mind you, I think Brandy is a better dancer.  Unfortunately, her partner, Maksim, is turning off tens of thousands of voters every week with his bitching about, and bickering with, the judges.  Hell, he’s acting like more of a diva than any of the female stars.

    Stay tuned….

    Related commentaries:
    Bristol Palin strutting her stuff

  • Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 5:41 AM

    Prosecuting CIA Agents…?

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Based on the very popular James Bond films, one could be forgiven for thinking that practitioners of the dark art of espionage are licensed to kill. But this is just an enduring (and endearing) myth – at least insofar as those who work for Western governments are concerned.

    Indeed, nothing exposed how truly circumscribed spies are in what they can do quite like the legal jeopardy CIA agents found themselves in a few years ago for assuming that they were licensed to waterboard terror suspects. 

    Mind you, waterboarding is an interrogation technique that only simulates drowning. It is non-lethal and inflicts no permanent harm. It just scares people shitless. 

    This is why I was so indignant at the political and legal furor revelations about waterboarding caused. For, given the fanatical nature of Islamic terrorists, spy agencies in the West would do well to license their agents not just to waterboard, but to kill; i.e., we need more James Bonds in this war on terror, not more Eliot Nesses.

    Here, for instance, is how I lambasted the political moralizing of this issue:

    Most politicians who profess opposition to waterboarding are hypocrites (or hopelessly naïve – although you’d never know it based on the ferocity of their moral outrage). They are hypocrites because, among other things, they know full well that successive American governments have sanctioned far more egregious abuses of human rights by the CIA, including the assassination of foreign leaders.

    (What’s wrong with waterboarding if it saves lives, The iPINIONS Journal, December 17, 2007)

    This is why I was so dismayed when President Obama announced last year that his Justice Department would be investigating CIA agents who were accused of waterboarding two al-Qaeda terrorists:

    Frankly, no matter what moral or legal justification Obama proffers for ordering this investigation, it reeks of political pandering to the left-wing nuts in his party. After all, no less a person than Obama himself insisted just months ago (after being fully briefed as president) that such an investigation would serve no purpose, but would have a chilling effect on CIA operatives.

    (Obama to investigate the CIA, The iPINIONS Journal, August 26, 2009)

    Therefore, I was somewhat heartened when the Justice Department announced yesterday that it would not be prosecuting the agents who destroyed the interrogation tapes that would have been the key evidence in any waterboarding trial.  Especially since it follows, legally, that without those tapes there can be no prosecution of the other agents who waterboarded the suspects.

    Clearly, this was a clumsy, disingenuous and roundabout way of adhering to my stated principle on waterboarding.  And that the Justice Department offered no explanation for suddenly dropping these high-profile cases is testament to this fact.  Nevertheless, I commend it for finally doing the right and sensible thing.

    Related commentaries:
    What’s wrong with waterboarding
    Obama to investigate the CIA

  • Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:11 AM

    U.S. Embraces India’s Emergence as World Power

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    The media are focusing a considerable amount of attention on the atmospherics of President Obama’s state visit to India.

    They are making much ado, for example, of the fact that the shellacking he took at home in midterm elections last Tuesday meant that Obama arrived in India a few days ago with his tail between his leg instead of exuding the aura that normally accompanies the leader of the free world.  And they are practically ridiculing his ad hoc efforts to rebrand his visit as a garden-variety trade mission – in a politically expedient attempt to show disaffected voters back home that his presidency is now all about creating jobs.

    Nevertheless, Obama demonstrated the unparalleled power and influence he still wields on the world stage when he declared the following yesterday during an address before a joint session of the Indian Parliament:

    The United States not only welcomes India as a rising global power, we fervently support it, and we have worked to help make it a reality.  India is not simply emerging; India has already emerged. And it is my firm belief that the relationship between the United States and India – bound by our shared interests and values – will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

    In the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.

    (The Washington Post, November 8, 2010)

    For this declaration was greeted with such celebration, if not vindication, by this nation of over one billion that you’d think the almighty God had proclaimed that the Indians, not the Jews, are His chosen people. Never mind that this was intended as much to help secure a strategic ally for the U.S. in its increasingly bipolar conflicts with China as to recognize India’s emergence as a bona fide world power in its own right.

    It’s worth noting, however, that Obama’s endorsement is fraught with many political minefields. Most notable, of course, is China’s longstanding opposition to India becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council. And this is compounded by the fact that the U.S. has also endorsed China’s perennial nemesis in the region, Japan, to become a permanent member as well.

    Then there’s the fact that India’s perennial nemesis, Pakistan, is now pouting with ally envy. Which means that Pakistan is bound to give the U.S. even more cause to complain about it being an ambivalent partner in the war on terror….

    All the same, Obama is navigating these political minefields with the skill of a team leader of Bravo Company in The Hurt Locker.

    More to the point, though, notwithstanding China’s opposition or Pakistan’s envy, there’s no gainsaying the geopolitical wisdom of his solidifying ties in this fashion between the U.S., the world’s oldest democracy, and India, the world’s biggest.

    NOTE:  The mission of the UN Security Council is to maintain international peace and security.  It is currently comprised of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) and 10 non-permanent members elected to two-year terms.  

    But there have been serious discussions and a lot of lobbying since 1992 to reform the Council by increasing the number of permanent as well as non-permanent members. Unfortunately, given that the UN is the most dysfunctional and feckless body in the world, only God knows when this reform will be enacted.

    Not to mention that, as indicated above, there is no consensus among the veto-holding permanent five on how many and, more importantly, which countries should win a coveted seat as a permanent member. For what it’s worth, though,  I think India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and South Africa should all be added as permanent members.

  • Monday, November 8, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    George W. Bush’s Memoir, ‘Decision Points’

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    In this age of Twitter and Facebook, no detail about the life of any celebrity, let alone the president of the United States, is too small or irrelevant to publish. Hell, even the Queen of England has become a twittering narcissist who launched her own Facebook page just today – presumably to compete with the likes of Lady Gaga in either flaunting or trading on their celebrity.

    This is why presidential memoirs can be little more these days than a regurgitation of what has already been churned through the 24/7 news and gossip mill.  For example, famed reporter Bob Woodward of the Washington Post has already written such detailed articles (and even a book) on Obama’s presidency that one could be forgiven the impression that he has been sitting on the president’s left shoulder since day one.

    More to the point, Woodward wrote similar articles (and no less than four books) on Bush’s presidency before George W. left the White House. Which is why we hardly needed this memoir to learn that former VP Dick Cheney served as an Iago who goaded Bush into taking out Saddam Hussein as a means to avenge his father and prove his manhood. (For your edification, Bush writes that Cheney inquired indignantly during lunch one day, “Are you going to take care of this guy, or not?”)

    Yet somehow this former president has managed to publish a memoir that is generating a lot of buzz for what appears to be a refreshing take on his presidency.  And nothing demonstrates this quite like the (initial) impression it made on his most celebrated critic, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times:

    In his deftly crafted and utterly selective new memoir, W. is the president we all wished him to be: compassionate, bipartisan, funny, charming, instinctive, independent, able to admit and learn from mistakes – and a good dad, who sang his twin girls the Yale fight song as a lullaby.

    Heck, after I finished reading it, I was ready to vote for the guy…

    But when I look at the sad eyes of President Obama, buried alive with his party beneath the heedless decisions and reckless spending and tax cuts of his predecessor, I snap out of it.

    (NY Times, November 11, 2010)

    Notwithstanding Dowd’s patented sarcasm, she affirms my view that for a presidential memoir to be interesting and engaging it would have to be comprised of revisionist history drafted while wearing rose-colored glasses and suffering an acute case of selective amnesia.  In this sense, Bush’s Decision Points, is a literary tour de force.

    To be fair, though, he does reveal a few things about his character that are truly noteworthy.  And, apropos of selective amnesia, Dowd was clearly remiss in ignoring them in her snarky review, choosing instead to regurgitate churned up quips about 9/11, WMDs and Katrina.

    For example, rapper Kanye West came across like a turrets sufferer when he suddenly blurted out the following during a telethon for Katrina relief:

    George Bush doesn’t care about black people.

    (NBC, September 2, 2005)

    Therefore, it speaks volumes about Bush’s racial sensitivity that he dignified Kanye’s outburst by writing the following about it in his memoir:

    Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust. I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low.

    It’s an indication of how rabid and unrelenting his liberal critics are, however, that they are spewing indignation at Bush for making this understandably human admission. Never mind that their mob-like criticisms are premised on the plainly ideological inference that this admission proves Bush cared more about Kanye calling him a racist than he did about the thousands of troops who died in Iraq or the thousands of people who died in New Orleans (in Katrina’s wake).

    Whereas, given the legacy of racism in America, Bush should be commended for feeling so strongly about being unfairly tagged with this epithet that he reiterated last week – during an interview on the TODAY Show with Matt Lauer to promote his memoir – that:

    I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency.

    Then, of course, there’s the inconvenient truth that he has done more for the Dark Continent of Africa than any president in U.S. history, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama … so far.

    ‘Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it’s empirically so.’

    [I used this extraordinary defense by acclaimed humanitarian and rock star Bob Geldof to buttress my assertion that] even though liberals clearly begrudge the fact that Bush is not only Africa’s most generous patron but also its most reliable supporter, it behooves them to put up or shut up and just give the man his due!

    (Bush has done more for Africa than any other president, The iPINIONS Journal, June 20, 2005)

    So the take away from his memoir is that you can call George W. Bush a Daddy’s boy, a dunce, or even a warmonger; although, he might remind you that, if critics are to be believed, he shared the latter two traits with none other than former President Ronald Reagan. Just don’t call him a racist

    Think whatever you will of his policies, but this memoir acquits Bush in many respects as an essentially good and decent man. This Republican even makes a compelling case for why, if asked, he would have endorsed Obama, the Democrat, instead of McCain, his fellow Republican, to succeed him as president in 2008. And, as presidential memoirs go these days, this alone makes reading it worthwhile….

    Related commentaries:
    Bush has done more for Africa

  • Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 6:56 AM

    How ’bout some tea with that humble pie … dude

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    U.S. President Barack Obama has admitted to feeling “humbled” by the results of the country’s mid-term elections held on Tuesday, which saw his Democratic party lose its massive majority in the US House of Representatives and coming close to squandering a massive majority in the Senate.

    (Yahoo News, November 3, 2010)

    Related commentaries:
    Midterm elections: Republicans reclaim House, Democrats retain Senate

  • Friday, November 5, 2010 at 5:19 AM

    Hurricane Tomas: Haiti’s Living Nightmare Continues…

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    As if chronic poverty, corrupt governance, an earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands, and a cholera outbreak that is threatening to kill thousands more were not devastating enough. 

    Now the poor, longsuffering people of Haiti, many of whom are still hovelling in post-quake, makeshift tents, are withering under the onslaught of Hurricane Tomas – with its tent-flooding and cholera-spreading winds and rain.

    I have no doubt that even this will not break their national spirit:

    Haitians are blessed with survival instincts and resiliency that are unparalleled.  Therefore, I fully expect many more of them to pull through than would be the case if this earthquake had struck elsewhere.

    (Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, The iPINIONS Journal, January 14, 2010)

    But I still feel moved to say this prayer on their behalf:

    My God, my God, why have you forsaken the people of Haiti…?

    Related commentaries:
    Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake
    Haiti’s compassionate poseurs

  • Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 5:48 AM

    SF Giants World Series Champs!

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Here’s to the Rangers for spicing up this latest episode of As The Yankees Turn with this ironic twist at A-Rod’s expense. And just for that, and because they are the clear underdogs, I’m pulling for them to defeat the Giants and win their first World Series title.  

    (Yankees return to their losing ways…, The iPINIONS Journal, October 26, 2010)

    Alas, the Rangers played like underdogs, losing to the San Francisco Giants 4-1 in the best of seven series. 

    This marked the first World Series win for the Giants since their infamous relocation from Brooklyn in 1957.

    But the most interesting feature of this series was not on the field. Instead, it was the ghost of former Giants slugger Barry Bond that hovered over each game.   And here’s why:

    There was a time when most sports analysts were betting on whether Barry Bonds, baseball’s reigning home-run king, would lead the Giants to a World Series title before A-rod led the Rangers. Therefore, nothing would be more ironic than the Giants finally winning their first title in over 50 years with Bonds, their erstwhile leader, sitting at home awaiting federal trial for lying under oath about taking steroids….

    (Yankees return to their losing ways…, The iPINIONS Journal, October 26, 2010)

    So, how do you spell seething resentment today?  B-A-R-R-Y B-O-N-D-S

    Anyway, congratulations to the Giants for proving once again that a team will fare far better when it’s comprised of team players instead of one superstar and his supporting cast.

    Related commentaries:
    Yankees return to their losing ways

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