Saturday, December 27, 2008

Caroline Kennedy won't run
You could argue this is a practical decision on her part. She knows the Democrat who gets the job will run as an incumbent in 2010, so what's the point of running when she knows she'll lose.

But in making this declaration, Caroline Kennedy is also making it clear her ambitions. If she really believed she was the best person to help the people of New York, why not at least consider running?

She knows she's not the most qualified. Everyone knows that. She just wants to coast in and reap the rewards that come with the appointment.

It's logical, but it's not right.

But it comes down to the people of New York. For all the talk about Illinois' machine politics, it doesn't get more machine than appointing an inexperienced person to one of the state's most important positions simply because she has a name.

The people of New York ought to know they deserve better.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nicole Fawcett and Penn State
Congratulations to Nicole Fawcett and Penn State's volleyball team for winning the Division I College Volleyball title.

I'll admit to doing a bit of name dropping here. Nicole played her high school ball at Ben Logan, which is on the border of Logan and Hardin County. When I was a rookie sports writer in Kenton, I covered Ben Logan's trip to the state's regional tournament. Her father, Bob, was the coach. He was just a great guy and he was very helpful to me, especially considering I didn't completely get volleyball at the time.

But his daughter had one of the strongest hits I have ever seen. I've covered volleyball a lot in recent years and seen a number of strong players. But until you've heard the "SMACK" of a Nicole Fawcett kill, you can never understand how strong the 6-foot-2 player was.

I found this out first-hand when I was doing a feature on the Raiders and asked if I could pose Nicole hitting the ball for a photo. In order to do this, I asked Bob if he could get Nicole to hit the ball softer.

He said he'd try.

Up went the ball ... SMACK. I snapped the photo ... blurry shot.

Up went the ball ... SMACK. I had another blurry picture.

This went on for several minutes, until Bob said he just didn't think Nicole could do it any other way.

Fawcett was the Player of the Year in Division I. I always knew she was great. I didn't know she'd be this great.

Congratulations to her, her teammates and her family. I'll be sure to drop her name for years.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The rarest of political posts
Admitting at the start of this post that I have an anti-Kennedy bias might help.

But this isn't even about that. It's like I went to bed eight months ago comfortable that if nothing else, the Clinton machine would not be in charge of my country and John Kerry would be forced to watch policy rather than be in charge of it.

Now, I snap out of my slumber. Barack Obama is to be President. I predicted as much a month before the election, though it hardly required a genius to assume as much. I am comfortable with much of what Obama has done to this point (keeping Robert Gates in the fold was a wonderful decision). What I'm not comfortable with is Hillary Clinton returning to substantial national power and Caroline Kennedy getting her first taste of legeslative strength simply on the basis of her name.

Now, by writing the following line, I no doubt open myself to ridicule for being sexist. Of course, I voted for Sarah Palin's ticket, even though I thought she was something of a thin choice. I liked her though, mainly because she drove my liberal friends crazy.

But I am not threatened by powerful women. I have a deep admiration for Margaret Thatcher, Condi Rice and Geraldine Ferraro. The first two ought to come as no surprise to those who know my politics. I like Ferraro because of her honesty, even when it makes her unpopular.

No, it's not powerful women I fear -- it's powerful names. A senate seat is not an honorary ambassadorship. It should be awarded on merit, not celebrity. Caroline Kennedy would not even be on the radar for the seat in New York if not for her last name. Period.

The Devil's Advocate: Uhh, Zach, you LOVE the Bushes, remember?

Some more than others. But it cuts both ways. If Jeb Bush was named Jeb Thomas (or better, Jeb Goldwater) he'd have been his party's nomination for President. But I think you are implying that George W. Bush wouldn't have so much as bought the Rangers without his name.

DA: That's right.

But he was elected to his positions. Hillary Clinton, for all my distrust of her and her husband, was elected to her position. Hell, Jesse Ventura was elected, and Al Franken might be. That means two things:

1. A lot of people in Minnesota are idiots.
2. Elections solidify the candidate.

Kennedy wants to be appointed. She and her supporters want Gov. David Paterson to make the case that she's the best qualified.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of her or her politics, that's an almost-impossible case to make. If Kennedy wants to seek election when the seat is up for election, that's one thing.

Which brings us back to why I don't like the Kennedys in general: Because so many of them seem to feel they are owed power.

When this country works the way it's supposed to, no one is owed anything.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here's a short piece about him I can appreciate.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 sentences
I'm wondering why anyone would want the Browns coaching job. Romeo Crennel has not been a great coach this year, but he deserves better than to have to be asked about his team's pursuit of Marty Schottenheimer because the higher-ups in the organization can't keep their mouths shut.

The Cavaliers will win the NBA title this season. Just a hunch.

The Indians improved their chances of winning a title this year by not matching the Dodgers offer of three years and $17.5 million to Casey Blake. OK, that's not true. They improved their chances next year and the year after.

Kerry Wood is a risk worth taking for the Indians.

Next up: The Indians need to decide if Jhonny Peralta is next year's third baseman, and if Josh Barfield is the second baseman. If Barfield is, he needs to be treated as such, and not played two days a week with the rest of the starts going to Jamey Carroll.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Blake's contract aspirations
Three years, $20 million. While I'm certain Indians manager Eric Wedge would agree to it in a heartbeat, I'd like to think GM Mark Shapiro is smarter than that (and, honestly, Wedge is, too).

This isn't even about the money (though I don't think Casey Blake is worth that). The real hangup is the years. I can't imagine Blake being a $7 million player in two seasons. He's entering his late 30s, and with the drug era supposedly behind us, you probably won't get the strong production you did from guys that age, say, six years ago.

(For the record, I am not making any suggestion of Blake and steroids. He's a guy I believe is clean, and probably has always has been. I remember a few years ago he said he imagined the Indians hoped he'd test positive for steroids so they could get him out of the lineup. That's not the joke a user would make.)

Blake does have some value, but his days of 150 starts a year may be ending after this upcoming year, simply based on age.