Wednesday, March 16, 2005


By Jack Random

The grandstand is filling up long before the first pitch. The smell of fresh cut grass and hope springs eternal. The game comes back to Washington and Washington, hungry for a winning ticket in a season of despair, comes back to the game. Leading off is Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, backed up by Henry “Smoke and Mirrors” Waxman (D-CA) with the heavy-hitting Senator from Arizona waiting in the wings.

Baseball starts early this year with a circle of politicians eager to score a little face time at the expense of the grand old game. Some of these grandstanders have ambitions that would make Caesar blush. One in particular seems to have one eye trained to the camera light at all times and rarely misses an opportunity to take center stage.

The biggest hotdogs in baseball are bratwurst and polish sausage. The biggest hotdog in Washington is without peer: Perpetual candidate John McCain.

Here is an issue with the potential to transcend ideology. Left-right, Republican or Democrat, any politician who believes, in a time of war and record deficits, in a time of bizarre climate and runaway energy prices, at a time of neglect for America’s workers, at a time of crumbling economic infrastructures, at a time of crushing trade deficits and a declining dollar, at a time of rapidly changing international alliances, it is in fact a good time to turn our attention to the problem of baseball records and asterisks, they deserve our united scorn and a pledge of eternal opposition.

As Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) said, “Maybe I’ve missed something, but is this the most important issue in the United States today? It doesn’t warrant a committee hearing, no less the issuing of subpoenas.”

Lest anyone take seriously this drivel about protecting our children from the scourge of steroids, the problem of steroid abuse in baseball is solved. With the new testing program and a well-publicized Witch Hunt, there was next to no one on steroids in 2004 and there will be fewer still in 2005. Minor league abuse was eliminated several seasons ago and every high school athlete knows: Steroid usage is the surest way to be banished from the road to professional baseball. Even the hint of steroid use will end a young prospect’s career.

Our children are not at risk. What our elected leaders might concern themselves with is a culture that believes that all our problems (including a sagging slugging percentage) have a pharmaceutical solution. That, however, would require taking on an industry that provides substantial funding to political campaigns on both sides of the aisle.

There are few things worse in the world of sport than pretending to be a champion when you are only a chump. Pretending to be a hero when, in fact, you are nothing but a grandstander reaching for glory where none is to be found and willing to harm those who have done no harm is far worse than any crime of an accused ball player.

Thus far, no one has been able to find a solution to the problem of a politician’s unquenchable thirst for publicity. My recommendation: Give them each a gun and send them down to the border they like to talk so much about. Let them each take a cameraman and an embedded reporter so they feel useful and appreciated. Let there be no bullets in the gun. Let there be no film in the camera and no tape in the recorder. The longer we can keep them there the better off we will all be.

Leave the game alone.



Monday, March 14, 2005


WHEREAS: March 19 is the second anniversary of the beginning of the war against Iraq, and

WHEREAS: Peace loving people in New York City and throughout the region will gather in Central Park, as people in cities across the country and the world will be marking that date with protest;

WHEREAS: President Bush is asking Congress to approve $82 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on top of the $200 billion that has already been taken from the lives of working and poor people to pay for the last two years of war;

WHEREAS: President Bush's 2006 proposed budget constitutes the most violent assault in 25 years on the programs that New York City as well as other cities and communities across the country depend on;

WHEREAS: These proposed cuts in desperately needed aid for education, healthcare, housing, veterans, as well as for the homeless and hungry; and whereas the continuation of the war and occupation in Iraq that these proposed cuts will in part pay for will cause grave harm to the people of New York City;

The New York City Council calls on President George Bush and on Congress to: