Friday, February 28, 2003

Bush's top intelligence officer at the Pentagon and the No. 3 man at the CIA have met with Michael Drosnin, author of "The Bible Code," to discuss the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, according to today's Wall Street Journal. Drosnin claims that his "Bible code" can reveal Bin Laden's hideout in the Middle East and the Bush officials agreed to meet with him after he "pestered" them with faxes and phone calls.
Is it really that easy for any wingnut to get an audience with the top brass at the Pentagon these days? Was this just another case of the Bush folks pandering to the far-right religious nuts? Or are they really this desperate that they are willing to believe anything? The "Bible Code" is essentially some guy taking the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, running all the letters together like a big jumbo crossword puzzle and then searching for specific word combinations (forward or backward) by skipping every 'nth" letter. For a more thorough explanation and debunking of the Bible Code go here.

It reminds me of when I was a reporter in a small town in Connecticut covering a bunch of local officials struggling with a water shortage. Up until that point, they had relied on well water for the whole town but the wells were starting to run dry and they were desperately looking for anyway to stave off the big water companies from coming in and hooking everyone up to city water. Without the water company they could enforce a minimum one acre per residence rule on all new home building because that is how much room you needed to separate a well and a septic system. That way they kept out the multi-unit housing (apartments and condos) which would lead to (gasp!) poor people moving into town and filling the local schools with kids that would eventually require local property taxes to go up.... and so on.
Anyway, they couldn't find any fresh water sources and they were getting so desperate that they turned to a water diviner for help. You know, the people who walk around with a forked stick and claim that it can point the way to fresh water sources. The person they hired actually used a couple of bent coathangers. I thought that was pretty silly at the time and had a lot of fun writing about it. But now we have something similar going on at the top levels of our government. What's next? Astrologers in the White House!?! Oh, wait. I forgot. Ron and Nancy Reagan already did that.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

I'm still miffed about the Veterans Committee for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Doesn't it seem unfair to have all the living members of the Hall get to decide who else can join their ranks? Wouldn't they have a selfish motive to keep as many people out as possible on the grounds that the higher they can raise the bar and the fewer people who can get in will make those who are already there look that much better?

On another note, there are now 9 announced Democratic presidential candidates. I wonder what the record is? The latest entry is U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida. I predict he will be treated as a Top Tier contender because of his Senator status, at least initially. Here is the complete list to date in the order that I think they shake out:

U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts
U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina
Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont
U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
Rev. Al Sharpton
Former U.S. Sen. Carole Mosely-Braun of Illinois

And they say that U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado are waiting in the wings.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

The Baseball Hall of Fame's newly reformatted Veteran's Committee has failed to elect a single person to the Hall of Fame this year. No one was deemed worthy enough, not Gil Hodges, or Ron Santo, or Joe Torre, or Marvin Miller, or Tony Oliva, or Roger Maris.
That should not be a surprise to anyone except for the morons who run the Hall of Fame. They took what had been a 15-member committee and expanded it to more than 80 people. Then they gave everyone a ballot with 100 names on it and a strict rule that only people receiving 75 percent support can win election to the Hall. Well, Surprise!! No one will meet that standard - ever - (at least not without a lot of hype and a major marketing campaign) and the Veterans Committee is effectively defunct from here on out. Maybe that is what these holy guardians of the baseball temple wanted. They were apparently upset that the old Veterans Committee had been inducting too many people whom they did not deem worthy enough. So they charged the group with "cronyism" and came up with the new format.
Now that we can no longer count on the Veterans Committee to correct the more egregious ommissions of the Baseball Writers Association, is there any hope left? I'm not sure, but as long as they continue this charade along with their refusal to allow the All-Time Hits Leader Pete Rose on the ballot, the Hall of Fame will be plauged with controversy rather than accolades.

Judge Jim Bob Darnell of Lubbock has found a new use for all that duct tape left over from last week's terror alert scare.