Quote-a-palooza

“Listening to the messages of al-Qa’ida’s leaders, you understand that they see their old defeats in very personal and contemporary terms. They are in a ‘long war’ against us, even if we don’t know it. And they’re committed to winning it.” – former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson

“Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that these names [given by the ‘DC Madam’] include Karl Rove and Ted Kennedy. Are both names equally likely to be revealed? And, if only one of these names is revealed, do you have any serious doubt which one the liberal media will reveal?” – Thomas Sowell

“Sometimes politicians get things upside down. They ignore problems that are plainly staring them in the face, while they focus on dangers that are at best speculative.” – Michael Barone

“Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts- as opposed to willful criminal acts- is inconsistent with a free society.” – Rep. Ron Paul

“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” – Douglas MacArthur

“An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth, or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue.” – Francis Wright

“The higher type of man clings to virtue, the lower type of man clings to material comfort. The higher type of man cherishes justice, the lower type of man cherishes the hope of favors to be received.” – Confucius

“Queen Elizabeth took a tour of Colonial Williamsburg in a horse-drawn carriage Thursday. The restored town is an exact replica of America 300 years ago. It’s the only place in the United States where you don’t have to press two for English.” – Argus Hamilton

“The Washington Post reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton is trying to win the Democratic nomination by reaching out to women. After hearing this, Bill Clinton said, ‘Oh sure, when she does it, it’s OK’.” – Conan O’Brien

Jay Leno: Hillary Clinton used three private jets in a single day in a campaign swing through South Carolina. Today she was officially named a Hollywood environmentalist. … Did you see the Republican debate? I tried to TiVo it, but my TiVo said, “Not interested.” … The Queen was welcomed with a 21-gun salute. Well, 22 if you count Cheney’s gun, which went off accidentally. … One embarrassing moment when the queen told President Bush she had been on the throne over 55 years and Bush said, “Try Metamucil.”

Quote-a-palooza

“Listening to the messages of al-Qa’ida’s leaders, you understand that they see their old defeats in very personal and contemporary terms. They are in a ‘long war’ against us, even if we don’t know it. And they’re committed to winning it.” – former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson

“Let us suppose, just for the sake of argument, that these names [given by the ‘DC Madam’] include Karl Rove and Ted Kennedy. Are both names equally likely to be revealed? And, if only one of these names is revealed, do you have any serious doubt which one the liberal media will reveal?” – Thomas Sowell

“Sometimes politicians get things upside down. They ignore problems that are plainly staring them in the face, while they focus on dangers that are at best speculative.” – Michael Barone

“Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts- as opposed to willful criminal acts- is inconsistent with a free society.” – Rep. Ron Paul

“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” – Douglas MacArthur

“An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth, or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue.” – Francis Wright

“The higher type of man clings to virtue, the lower type of man clings to material comfort. The higher type of man cherishes justice, the lower type of man cherishes the hope of favors to be received.” – Confucius

“Queen Elizabeth took a tour of Colonial Williamsburg in a horse-drawn carriage Thursday. The restored town is an exact replica of America 300 years ago. It’s the only place in the United States where you don’t have to press two for English.” – Argus Hamilton

“The Washington Post reports that Sen. Hillary Clinton is trying to win the Democratic nomination by reaching out to women. After hearing this, Bill Clinton said, ‘Oh sure, when she does it, it’s OK’.” – Conan O’Brien

Jay Leno: Hillary Clinton used three private jets in a single day in a campaign swing through South Carolina. Today she was officially named a Hollywood environmentalist. … Did you see the Republican debate? I tried to TiVo it, but my TiVo said, “Not interested.” … The Queen was welcomed with a 21-gun salute. Well, 22 if you count Cheney’s gun, which went off accidentally. … One embarrassing moment when the queen told President Bush she had been on the throne over 55 years and Bush said, “Try Metamucil.”

Pope Supports Excommunication for Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians

Read the article

The Pope was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.

“Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ,” he said.

“They (Mexican Church leaders) did nothing new, surprising or arbitrary. They simply announced publicly what is contained in the law of the Church… which expresses our appreciation for life and that human individuality, human personality is present from the first moment (of life)”.

Hat Tip: The Corner

Update: From Catholic World News:

Later the Vatican press director, Father Federico Lombardi, enlarged on the Pope’s remarks during his own conversation with reporters. Father Lombardi pointed out to reporters that the Code of Canon Law provides the penalty of excommunication for anyone directly involved in abortion. That penalty would apply to politicians who support the legalization of abortion, he said.

The Vatican spokesman added that the excommunication in these cases is applied latae sententiae– that is, automatically– and does not require any public announcement. In making the penalty public, then, the Mexican bishops were only underlining the provisions of canon law.

So, in other words, pro-abortion Catholic politicians are already excommunicated by their own actions.

Quote of the Day

“Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t get it that continuing to live in the White House with husband Bill required any more strength of character than leaving him. Equally incomprehensible is [Newsweek’s] discovery of guts in the proposal of ex-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to raise taxes on high-income households to finance a universal health insurance program. How many votes do the writers think he will lose by informing the bulk of Americans that he intends to have a tiny minority finance a major share of the nation’s health care?… What the story most outlandishly refuses to do is accept the right-before-your-eyes parallel between Truman and Bush. Truman was unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Korea. Bush is also unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Iraq… [A]t Bush’s core, just as at Truman’s, there is a virtue that Newsweek correctly recognized in Truman, even if critics including Newsweek are loath to recognize it in Bush. The man has political courage” — Jay Ambrose, columnist for Examiner.com, on Newsweek’s cover story calling for “A New Truman.”

Whatever problems you might have Bush, and I do have my share, you have to admit that he has political courage; he is more than willing to take the hit that comes with standing for things he believes in. While other politicians run and hide from a war they fervently supported, he’s stuck by it with great political cost.

Quote of the Day

“Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t get it that continuing to live in the White House with husband Bill required any more strength of character than leaving him. Equally incomprehensible is [Newsweek’s] discovery of guts in the proposal of ex-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to raise taxes on high-income households to finance a universal health insurance program. How many votes do the writers think he will lose by informing the bulk of Americans that he intends to have a tiny minority finance a major share of the nation’s health care?… What the story most outlandishly refuses to do is accept the right-before-your-eyes parallel between Truman and Bush. Truman was unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Korea. Bush is also unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Iraq… [A]t Bush’s core, just as at Truman’s, there is a virtue that Newsweek correctly recognized in Truman, even if critics including Newsweek are loath to recognize it in Bush. The man has political courage” — Jay Ambrose, columnist for Examiner.com, on Newsweek’s cover story calling for “A New Truman.”

Whatever problems you might have Bush, and I do have my share, you have to admit that he has political courage; he is more than willing to take the hit that comes with standing for things he believes in. While other politicians run and hide from a war they fervently supported, he’s stuck by it with great political cost.

Quote of the Day

“Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t get it that continuing to live in the White House with husband Bill required any more strength of character than leaving him. Equally incomprehensible is [Newsweek’s] discovery of guts in the proposal of ex-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to raise taxes on high-income households to finance a universal health insurance program. How many votes do the writers think he will lose by informing the bulk of Americans that he intends to have a tiny minority finance a major share of the nation’s health care?… What the story most outlandishly refuses to do is accept the right-before-your-eyes parallel between Truman and Bush. Truman was unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Korea. Bush is also unpopular for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the war in Iraq… [A]t Bush’s core, just as at Truman’s, there is a virtue that Newsweek correctly recognized in Truman, even if critics including Newsweek are loath to recognize it in Bush. The man has political courage” — Jay Ambrose, columnist for Examiner.com, on Newsweek’s cover story calling for “A New Truman.”

Whatever problems you might have Bush, and I do have my share, you have to admit that he has political courage; he is more than willing to take the hit that comes with standing for things he believes in. While other politicians run and hide from a war they fervently supported, he’s stuck by it with great political cost.

Baseball Payrolls and Wins

Richard over at The Honest Hypocrite wrote an interesting post on baseball team payrolls and their results. There are many charts, so go over and take a look. (Don’t worry, the math’s not too heavy. It’s easy to understand and well laid-out.)

One point Richard misses, though, is that a player’s pay is by no means an indicator of his performance. So, spending money is obviously not the sole determinant of winning percentage. For example, the Oakland A’s have put together a good run of successful seasons, never finishing below second in their division since 1999, while consistently being one of the lower spending teams in the major leagues. So, smart spending is one critical component in winning baseball.

What are some examples of smart spending? Well, to a good deal about it, Moneyball is an indispensable resource. Focusing heavily on the A’s, it details what steps teams are taking to maximize productivity while minimizing costs. The “Moneyball approach” is often mistakenly used to refer to a focus on offensive players with high on-base percentages. While that is an approach that Billy Beane, General Manager of the Athletics, took, it’s was more a result of a grander philosophy than the philosophy itself. Rather, Beane’s approach, in part, used economic analysis to see which player abilities are undervalues in the free agent market place and focus their spending on that to get more bang for their buck. At the beginning of their run, on-base percentage was undervalued in the market place so they were able to lead up on slower, lumbering sluggers with high OBPs for relatively cheap. Many observers derided this approach as building a softball team, until they noticed this softball team kept winning.

As a result, the market shifted towards players with high OBPs. The A’s adjusted to the new market position, but haven’t really spoken about what their new focus is. (Although speculation is that they have focused on defensive abilities for the last few years.) Michael Lewis even suggests their different focus in Moneyball, saying that he was allowed to talk about OBP but not about some of the other metrics the A’s were using to judge players.

An example of a smart general manager being able to find room for good players is once again found in Billy Beane. The Kansas City Royals decided after the 2000 season that they could no longer afford Johnny Damon’s salary and so traded him to the A’s. However, the Royals had a larger payroll than did the A’s, but Beane found payroll room by not overpaying players at other positions. By spending their money wisely, the A’s were able to add an expensive player who a wealthier team could not afford. (The Royals seem to have a fascination for overpaying decent players, which keeps them from affording their good players, which is where their money should be spent.)

Another smart money strategy is to focus on young, cheap players. The contract with the players’ association allows players with little experience to be paid at substantially below market value. So, for example, the Phillies Ryan Howard won the MVP last year while being paid “only” $355,000. Players with less than 3 years of major league experience, with a few limited exceptions (the top one-sixth of players by service time with less than three years of major league service) can have salaries imposed on them by their clubs. After three years, they can enter into arbitration with their teams to get more money, but arbitration is tied to comparing salaries of players with similar experience, which also acts as a break on salary inflation. It isn’t until after a player achieves six years of service time that free agency kicks in and salaries really rise. So, a focus on players with limited experience can be a cost savings. (And this is ignoring that players hitting the free agent market have already hit their peaks and are likely to decline by the end of their contracts, if not immediately.)

So, player salaries will likely never be a straight comp for wins; intelligent management can overcome a smaller payroll and a larger payroll spent by unintelligent management will be wasted.