Saturday, July 12, 2008

Despite Passing Mickey Mantle A-Rod Doesn't Compare

Alex Rodriguez has been in the news quite a lot lately. Some of it having to do with his on the field exploits. Now he's passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time homerun list. Does that mean he is better? Definitely not.

Unlike Mantle, Rodriguez has been implicated in the steroid scandals impacting the MLB. In addition, A-Rod has never won a World Series; Mickey won many. I argued when New York acquired the arrogant superstar from Texas that they would never win a title with Mr.Rodriguez. A-Rod has always been a distraction on team he's been on. In fact, both Seattle and Texas improved after he left them.

Like Barry Bonds, Rodriguez is all about himself. Teams that win require a team that sacrifices egos for the greater good. Just look at the Boston Celtics. The Yankees team that won world titles at the end of the last century played with great chemistry. Alex Rodriguez does not know the meaning of teamwork.

I've looked at numbers and have determined that Rodriguez's homerun numbers are the result of steroids. The proof? Many of the great true homerun hitters were consistant. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Mike Schimidt, showed great consistancy throughout their careers. All four had Standard deviations of 11 percent. The 3 most famous homerun hitters suspected of steroid, or using chemical enhancement , like Mark McGwire, all had deviations of 14% or greater.

And one final point. Mickey Mantle is a beloved figure. Alex Rodriguez, like Barry Bond, will be remembered as jerks.

Rangel's Rent Arrogance and Two-Party Rule

Charles Rangel has "represented" one of the poorest districts in America for decades. So you would think that Harlem's Congressperson would be a little embarrassed by living so well through his connections seemingly above the law. The rents of New Yorkers are skyrocketing. So when we learn that Charles Rangel pays rent half of what the rest of us do, it seems unfair. Instead, the Congressman gives his poor constituents the middle finger. Why? Because he knows that he will keep his job in perpetuity. A person elected to Congress has a good chance of keeping that job for life. Is that democracy? This is what the two-party system has bequeathed to us.

Representative Charles B. Rangel on Friday angrily defended the unusual housing bargain he has been granted by a major real estate developer, saying that he did not believe he was being allowed four rent-stabilized apartments because of his status as a congressman.

He is so out of touch that Rangel doesn't realize the obnoxiousness of what he is saying:
Responding to an article in Friday’s New York Times, Mr. Rangel said there was nothing illegal or unethical about his relationship with the Olnick Organization, his landlord at the Lenox Terrace complex in Harlem. He also said that he did not believe it was unfair to avail himself of the multiple rent-stabilized apartments at a time of soaring rents in Manhattan and evictions of many rent-regulated tenants.

“I didn’t see anything unfair about it,” he said at a news conference he convened at the apartment complex, on 135th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. “I didn’t even know it was a deal.”

Corruption by any other name:
A government watchdog group asked the House ethics committee on Friday to look into the arrangement and find out if it violated a ban on members’ accepting gifts of more than $100. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, also filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, seeking a review of whether the Olnick group, by granting Mr. Rangel the use of a below-market apartment for an office, was making an illegal corporate campaign contribution.

Mr. Rangel, a towering figure in New York City politics and chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, paid a total rent of $3,894 a month for his four units in 2007, according to state records obtained by The New York Times. The Olnick Organization’s Web site now advertises similar apartments in Mr. Rangel’s building at a combined market rent of $7,465 to $8,125 a month.

IndyMac Collapse: Only the Tip of the Iceberg

I think at this point we need to worry. We still behave like the economy is running the same it did 4 years ago. Gramm was wrong: we don't whine enough. Not only don't we whine but we are apathetic. We are behaving like we did prior to the 9-11 attacks as it relates to terrorism. Instead of planes hitting skycrapers, this time it's banks collapsing. We are on the verge of economic collapse. Wake up people. The politicians aren't going to help you. They are the problem. We must demand action.

IndyMac Bank's assets were seized by federal regulators on Friday after the mortgage lender succumbed to the pressures of tighter credit, tumbling home prices and rising foreclosures.

The bank is the largest regulated thrift to fail and the second largest financial institution to close in U.S. history, regulators said.

[...]The lender's failure came the same day that financial markets plunged when investors tried to gauge whether the government would have to save mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Shares of Fannie and Freddie dropped to 17-year lows before the stocks recovered somewhat. Wall Street is growing more convinced that the government will have to bail out the country's biggest mortgage financiers, whose failure could deal a tremendous blow to the already staggering economy.

The FDIC estimated that its takeover of IndyMac would cost between $4 billion and $8

Pork Barrel Spending Continues to Increase

And you thought that things would change with the takeover of Congress by the Democrats after the last election. The Congress won't change it's wastefulness as long the two-party system (which is really a one-party system) remains in control. The only thing that changes is the name of the party. Just remember that in November when you predictably vote for a Democrat or Republican. This from The Hill Blog.

The picture doesn’t look very sunny for taxpayers. Where CAGW [Citizens Against Government Waste] was able to make apples to apples comparisons, there are increases in numbers of earmarks and the costs associated with them. In the House Labor/HHS bill, the number of earmarks were in nearly a steady state from FY 2008, but the dollar amount shot up dramatically. In total, there are 1,370 earmarks worth a staggering $618.8 million of taxpayer money. This represents a 5 percent increase in number of projects, but a whopping 122 percent increase in dollar amounts over the FY 2008 version, which had 1,305 earmarks costing $277.9 million. The top three porkers were Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), $168.5 million; Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), $161.3 million; and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), $148.5 million.

The House Financial Services Approps bill went from having 226 earmarks worth $111 million in FY 2008 to having 247 earmarks worth $134.9 million, a 9.3 percent increase in projects and a 21.5 percent increase in dollar amounts.

For the House Commerce, Justice and Science Approps bill, CAGW excavated 1,123 projects at a cost of $409.8 million. The top five porkers are CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) with $9.95 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) with $9.7 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member C.A “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md.); with $8 million; CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) with $7.9 million and House appropriator Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) with $7.7 million.