Making Baseball Interesting Again

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Baseball is a most unfortunate waste of a good game.  Nowhere in the world will you find a sport so detailed, with so much potential for action without violence.  Yet the game has become incredibly boring, and that is largely because it is so defensive.  Pitchers usually strike out the batter, or the batter hits a fly ball that is caught, putting him out.  When a good batter comes up, the pitcher just walks him, for fear of a home run.

Major League Baseball is considering some rules changes to make the game more exciting, primarily a pitcher clock.  The pitcher will have a 20 second time limit for each pitch, and be penalized if he lets it run out.  This is a good change that will at least move the game along, but it doesn’t go far enough.  I have a much better suggestion, as follows:

Optional Walking.  The batter, if pitched 4 “balls”, should be able to decline the option to walk.  Strikes still count, but on the 4th ball, the batter may decline to walk and force the pitcher to pitch again.  With each continuing ball, the batter may continue to decline.  However, as the strikes still count, the batter would risk being struck out.

That is my proposal.  That way, when you see batter after batter struck out, and finally that awesome batter steps up to the plate, the pitcher will no longer be able to pitch four way off plate just to get that batter on first base, and go back to striking out.  Remember, it only takes 3 outs to change back to offense.  And with 3 plates, a pitcher can walk 3 good batters in a row, still not allowing a run.  If the next batter isn’t great, he will most likely either be struck out, tagged out, or hit a fly that will be caught, putting him out.  I think this change will allow more runs and make the game somewhat more offensive.  Good batters will no longer be a single base walk, but will actually have their fair chance to hit that home run.

What do you all think?

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Rand Paul’s dangerous flirtation with “Judicial Activism”

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I would write a blogpost refuting a statement by the very man I’m endorsing for President.  Rand Paul hasn’t lost any of my respect due to this, I simply think he is in error.  He’s allowed the left to mislead him with their often flimsy definition of judicial activism, which pretty much amounts to “using the judicial process to overturn bad laws”.  If “bad laws” are unconstitutional, then it is the Supreme Court’s job to overturn them.  Judicial activism is when these judges start abusing that power to push their own agenda, no matter how well intended that agenda may be.  Legislators, that is, Congress is there to pass good policies.  The Judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, is only there to ensure that these laws adhere to the Constitution.  So, I’d like to address each of Paul’s examples of where he thinks he’s supporting judicial activism.  Some of these really do fit the definition of activism, but others are simply proper use of judicial review, that is, to overturn unconstitutional laws or statutes.  (Note that I will quote the parts of the Constitution used in full at the bottom.)

  1. Lochner vs. New York – This ruling in 1905, a 5-4 decision, concluded that the right to enter a contract was implicit in the 14th It specifically overturned some early labor laws in the NY, limiting bakers to 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week.  I’ll agree with Rand Paul to the extent that this was judicial activism.  I’ve read the 14th Amendment thoroughly, and fail to see how it guarantees unlimited, unregulated individual contracts.  With that said, I see nothing wrong with such a law, but I do agree that it is an example of judicial activism and the kind that Rand Paul would support.
  2. “The New Deal” – This is a broad category of many laws passed during the Roosevelt era, and difficult to refute for that reason. Some of them probably were unconstitutional, and others not.  My position is that Congress has the authority to create programs such as Social Security, for it is consistent with the General Welfare clause of Article I, Sec. 8.  If Rand Paul is like his father, and believes Social Security to be unconstitutional, then overturning it would not be judicial activism.  It would simply be the proper use of judicial review.
  3. “State bans on birth control” – This is a tough one. I personally am a strong supporter of birth control rights.  As an advocate of judicial restraint, I’m hesitant to overturn state laws on this (though I’d certainly oppose Federal laws).  I could see how this would be consistent with the rather vague 9th Amendment, however, and would not consider it an abuse of judicial power to overturn state bans on birth control based on the 9th.  Birth control is a very personal decision, and unlike with abortion, the dispute over human life doesn’t enter the equation.  I can see how this would be one of those “others [rights] retained by the people”.
  4. “Obamacare” – here I completely agree with Rand Paul’s policy position, but completely disagree with his assertion that it would be “judicial activism” to overturn it. Obamacare is clearly unconstitutional as it requires people to purchase a product, effectively punishing inaction.  As there is no constitutional justification for this, we default to the 10th amendment, and leave it to “the states, respectively, or the people”.  Rand Paul is right to want to overturn Obamacare, but this would be well within the authority of the Supreme Court, and certainly not any type of judicial activism.
  5. Brown v. Board of Education – this is the ruling that ended segregation of public schools on the basis of the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection” clause. Like Paul, I agree that segregation needed to be overturned, and I’m glad that it was.  Unlike Paul, and unlike many Civil Rights leaders, I do not see this as judicial activism.  This is perfectly consistent with the original intent of the 14th Amendment, ratified after the abolition of slavery to ensure equal protection under the law to all citizens, with the intention aimed at the time towards former slaves.  Surely that includes the right to the same educational opportunities as whites.

So in conclusion, while I agree with some and not others of Rand’s positions, I completely disagree with his definition of “judicial activism”.  Judicial abuse of power is a very dangerous trend.  If 9 unelected judges who serve for life can overturn laws at their whims, they have become a panel of oligarchs.  And to my libertarian friends, just like I tell liberals, remember…if they can overturn laws you don’t like, they can also overturn laws you do like.  Do you really want 9 unelected judges who serve for life to have that much power?

From the US Constitution, word for word:

14th Amendment (Section 1) – All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

9th Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article I, Section 8 (first clause) – The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

10th Amendment – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Another of my posts on judicial activism:

Christine Sommers is consistently pro-choice – deal with it!

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Christina Sommers has been very consistent in her pro-choice position.  She’s always supported a “woman’s right” to choose abortion*, and has always opposed government funding for abortion.  She sees it as a freedom, not an entitlement.  Despite this, “rationalwiki” claims that her views have modified.  This article is informative, but somewhat slanted, as it follows Sommers unique life as a feminist and seems to describe her as drifting away from feminism.  On abortion, their claim that she has “modified” her stance on abortion is based in part on her position that abortion should not be pushed onto women who oppose it for religious or other reasons.  Yeah, that’s called being pro-choice…as opposed to being pro-abortion.  Many so-called pro-choicers are actually pro-abortion, such as by opposing even so much as a 24 hour waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion, or requiring women receive some basic medical information.  Sommers just wants women to have the choice, she isn’t trying to make it happen.

The “rationalwiki” article’s other justification for saying she’s “modified” her position is the following quote:

“I find it appalling that there is such a disregard for what is in fact a majority of our countrymen [pro-lifers] who view it differently, and some passionately. Rather than attack them as somehow engaged in some kind of dark conspiracy against women’s bodies, we have to understand why they hold these positions… and why it’s not going away as a moral question.”

So, she recognizes that prolifers have other reasons for opposing abortion than being “anti-woman”, or trying to control women.  I’m pro-life, and have no desire to control women.  I want to stop the termination of an innocent life.  If women don’t want a baby, and use birth control, that’s their choice.

What this really boils down to, as you can see from the general tone of the “rationalwiki” article, is that Christine Sommers is an independent feminist, rather than just another vitriolic, rape-fear mongering, male basher spouting talking points about a non-existent patriarchy.  Sommers is a true feminist in that she believes women are equal to men, and will likewise stand up for men by the same standard.  This has caused her to be perceived by others as an “anti-feminist”, which the article admits.  However, the article falls into the same kind of paradigm thinking, assuming that feminism is what we are led to believe it is, rather than what it is actually.

Today’s “feminists”, after a lengthy male bashing tirade, and denouncing fellow women who don’t conform to the current “third wave of feminism”, or pretending to speak on behalf of all woman kind, then quote the dictionary definition of feminism, as follows:

“the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” from Merriam Webster 

Most self-identified feminists have little in common with this definition, but Christine Sommers is the real deal.  Due to Sommers’s courageous stand for gender equality, many in the “feminist movement”, particularly the “third wave”, find it hard to accept that she really does believe in women’s rights, including abortion.*  Her consistency and devotion to gender equality puts the modern “feminist” movement to shame.

*For the record, I do not consider abortion to be a “woman’s right” or anyone’s right.  Nobody has the right to kill an innocent unborn child.  I do believe in a woman’s right to use birth control, and with that right, I fail to see why abortion is necessary.  Don’t want to get pregnant, buy a $1 condom!

Bring back Bossy

#banbossy

Do you remember the whole #banbossy movement?  It was a mostly feminist effort to ban, or socially ostracize the word “bossy” because they decided that it was used to discourage assertive women who sought leadership roles.  They seemed to think that only strong women are called “bossy”, while strong men are respected for their leadership skills.

Some time back, I had a boss, an older lady about 5 feet tall, probably around 60 years old, blonde hair, and a deep raspy voice from years of smoking.  She was a strong woman who anyone with any sense knew not to mess with.  She’s also about the nicest boss I’ve ever worked for!  Anytime she wanted me to do something, she never told me.  She asked.  She’d always call it a “favor”, even though it was really me just doing my job.  She’d always say please and thank you.  Whenever someone did an exceptional job, she always showered them with verbal appreciation.  Result?  Everyone loved her, everyone respected her, and stuff got done.

I also remember a young female supervisor from my UPS days, also blonde, also about 5 feet tall.  I grew to like her later on, but at first, she was bossy.  She shouted orders, repeated them even more angrily if you didn’t hear her (it was a very noisy warehouse environment).  She’d instruct me to do one task, and then catch me in mid task and order me to change.  I’m a completest by nature, and hate leaving something unfinished.  It’s as painful to me as holding my breath, and finishing the task is like suddenly breathing again.  Well, she was actually a smart, and very driven lady, but she really needed to change her attitude.  Over the years, she did!  My last impression of her is of her very effectively running a safe and efficient sort aisle.  She still had a stern nature, but had learned to be more consistent with instructions, and explained to her employees why things were being done a certain way, rather than just ranting orders.

I myself, many months ago, was trying to be more leader-like at a job.  I started seeing myself as the glue that held that place together, in part because I was training most new hires.  I came up with some of my own ideas to make things run better, and made the changes without consulting anyone.  My coworkers went along with it, and I’ve seen recently that my changes are still in effect.  When I needed something done, I didn’t ask, I told, especially when things were hectic.  I didn’t mean to be a prick, but I was.  Finally, a much older coworker, a veteran that I respect, pulled me aside and gave me some straight talk.  He told me flat out “You’re not the boss around here”.  It wasn’t pleasant, but I knew he was right.  Did I play victim?  Did I act like he was trying to discourage me?  Did I try to #banbossy?  No.  I apologized to him, because I knew he was right.  It was no fun being told that I was “bossy”, but I’m so glad that he told me (Oh, and I’m a man by the way).  I’ve since learned that no matter how logical my ideas are, you don’t manage people effectively just by being right.  If bossy men or women want to be treated with respect, they need to be respectful.  I’ve now learned that if I ask people nicely, and then say thank you, I get far better results.

Let’s bring “bossy” back.  I don’t mean bossiness, I mean the word “bossy”.  If someone is being bossy, have a talk with them one on one.  Don’t do it in front of coworkers, it’s embarrassing and disrespectful.  Do it in private.  That shows that even though you’re having an unpleasant discussion, you’re doing it not to hurt them, but to improve a situation.  If any women have been manipulated by the #banbossy video or movement, I ask that you instead take “bossy” as constructive criticism.  You’re not being called “bossy” because you’re a woman.  It’s because you need to improve you’re PR.  I know it’s easy to get so focused on the job itself that you just want things to get done, but your coworkers are human beings, not computers, and will go the extra mile for you if your make them feel good about working for you.  The small effort of a few kind words will pay you back tenfold in efforts towards the task at hand.  Just try it!

Interesting link(s):

Ana Kasperian and guests give a solid criticism of the #banbossy campaign

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting is alright by me

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Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting’s recent comments, that she doesn’t consider herself a feminist, are not surprising.  There was a very predictable angry reaction by twitter feminists that I’d like to address.

Feminists of the past made many great achievements for women in America and the world, such as voting rights, rights to education, careers, property rights and the right to pursue leadership positions in government or the private sector.  That Kaley doesn’t embrace the feminist label today, does not betray these feminists of the past.  Today’s “feminists” are far less interested in equality, and far more interested in male bashing, playing victim, crying “RAPE!” anytime a woman regrets having sex (but not men of course), and demanding tax-payer funding for the consequences of their sexual liberty.  I’m not surprised that an intelligent, successful, and happily married Kaley has no interest in THAT feminism.  She actually explained it very well in the interview, that she’s never experienced the kind of discrimination and inequality that feminism stands against.

That she loves “serving her man” is not a statement of subordination.  I love making my wife happy, and she loves making me happy.  Dr. Phil used to say that a successful “marriage isn’t 50/50, but 100/100.”  Sure, you make compromises, but if you love your spouse, there’s no quid pro quo.  You are happy making them happy, and I see no reason why a liberated woman can’t cook for her husband if it makes HER happy.

As always, there’s the “feminist” or two who refers to the “meaning of feminism”, usually the dictionary definition.  Yes, the dictionary defines feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities” because that is the traditional definition, and it is what feminists of the past fought for.  I fail to see how forcing Hobby Lobby to pay for birth control, or crying rape while simultaneously pushing for gun control (making it harder for women to protect themselves) is consistent with that definition.  I think Kaley knows exactly what “feminism” has come to mean, and that’s why she has no interest in it.

Lastly, I’d like to defend her role in The Big Bang Theory, as Penny.

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Maybe based on the pilot, one might get the impression that Penny was the stereotypical “dumb blonde”, but as the show developed, one could see this was not the case.  Penny isn’t ditsy, she isn’t spoiled, and she isn’t shallow.  She does have a far-fetched dream of becoming an actress, which she eventually gives up on by the current Season 8 in favor of a more promising career.  Throughout the series, Penny is often the street smart character who has bailed out her genius male friends more than once.  They’ve bailed her out too.  That’s what friends do.

Besides, the show as a whole is not giving the impression that women are dumb and men are brilliant scientists…if you bother to watch past the pilot episode.  Next came Bernadette, who started off as a Cheesecake Factory waitress, but earned a PhD in Microbiology, and became a successful researcher and developer for a big pharm company.  My personal disdain for that industry aside, Bernadette is not some dumb blonde clearly, though she may appear that way at first glance.  Then came Amy, Sheldon’s “girl slash friend”, later “girlfriend”.  Amy is a socially awkward, brilliant neurosurgeon who, like Sheldon, slowly becomes more sociable and street smart thanks to her friendship with Penny…you know…the “dumb blond waitress”?