Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Major League Baseball Umps in a Snit Over Background Checks

According to this AP story, the umpires are unhappy about the league conducting background checks.

"Umpires are livid that Major League Baseball has sent investigators to their hometowns, asking neighbors a series of questions that include whether the ump belongs to the Ku Klux Klan. "

"Baseball stepped up background checks last August, after it became public that the FBI was investigating NBA referee Tim Donaghy for betting on games. Donaghy pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce, and he awaits sentencing."

Some of the questions that neighbors are being asked:

Does he live within his means?
Does he beat his wife?
Does he throw wild parties?
Have you seen the police at his house?
Does he belong to groups such as the Ku Klux Klan?
Does he grow marijuana plants?

My take on this tempest in a teapot is that no major league umpire should be upset about these questions as long as the answer to all of them is "no".

If the answer is "yes", well then the umpire and the league might have a problem.

Sports officiating is a vocation where the standards of performance are pretty high. Let's face it, the standard is perfection. Coaches, players, spectators and media all expect umpires and referees to get every call right, and if they don't, they're suspected of incompetence.

Major league baseball has a vested interest in protecting the integrity of their product. Umpires have to be not only competent at a high level, but their personal lives have to be above reproach. I think the leagues have every right to know the answer to all of the above questions and many more. Above reproach doesn't mean that having to answer these questions is beneath their dignity.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Storm Damage, We Got Some

About 8:15 yesterday morning I heard a loud thumping on the side of my house. It sounded like the wind was ripping the siding off. Sure enough, that's exactly what was happening.

Actually, this is the back of the house. We were expecting a storm any minute, but at this time the skies were only partly cloudy, and we had sunshine. However, the wind was pretty boisterous. I wasn't too concerned about the house until I saw this. We've had strong gusts before and nothing like this has ever happened.

About 8:30 I sent in a warranty request to our homebuilder, Fieldstone Homes. I got a call about 10 a.m. and a warranty rep was on our doorstep an hour later to survey the damage. She assured me that they would have a crew on site in the next two days to repair the damage and replace the siding. That was good to hear. Our one year warranty expires in mid-February.

Update: the siding was replaced Wednesday morning before noon, (two days after the damage was done). So everything's back to normal. I'll post pictures later.

Steven Colbert, TV Comic, But Not Exactly A Comedic Genius

I've watched local and national news coverage of President Hinckley's passing with considerable interest. I think it's accurate to say that coverage has been respectful, for the most part, and in some instances, particularly on the local level, even reverent.

I caught the Colbert Report late last night just as he began his "tribute" to the late president of the Mormon Church. He said it was obvious Gordon Hinckley was in perfect health at the time of his passing, so he wondered why no one seemed interested in delving into the mystery of his sudden death, because it seemed apparent to him that Hinckley had been murdered.

And who would benefit from Hinckley's death? Clearly it was Thomas S. Monson, who is likely to be named the new Mormon Church president. Why was that significant? Because Mitt Romney, a Mormon, could possibly be our next U.S. President, and then Romney would take his marching orders from Monson, just as John Kennedy had taken his from the Pope. Clearly Monson was looking forward to the time that Romney would be his personal puppet.

Now, Steven Colbert is a comedian whose schtick is to mock politicians and world leaders and make light of subjects and situations that most people take seriously. I get that. And apparently Colbert's studio audience thought this routine was hilarious. But I found myself squirming uncomfortably. I wasn't laughing. It didn't seem very funny to me.

Undeterred by my discomfort, Colbert plunged ahead. He claimed that if Barack Obama were to win the election and move into the White House, he would be taking orders from his spirtual leader, Oprah. Or more accurately, he said, "the Pope-rah", and here he showed an image of Oprah wearing a papal mitre on her head.

For the first time in this comedic routine, I laughed out loud. Okay, I said, that was funny. But for me, it seemed like it took a long time to get there.

I'm not sure how funny our Catholic friends may have found this part of the routine. I'm a little reluctant to ask anyone. But it seems strange that in these times of sensitivity and political correctness, it's quite okay to mock people of faith such as Catholics and Mormons, while certain other ethnic and religious groups are stictly off limits.

What's up with that?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Banning the Death Penalty

Dennis Prager, in a column at the Jewish World Review today had this to say about New Jersey's recent banishment of the death penalty:

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, in explaining his state's abolition of the death penalty, announced that he knew "from my heart and from my soul" that no murderer should be put to death.

As it happens, I know from my heart and from my soul that not putting any murderer to death is a cosmic injustice; it cheapens the worth of human life and greatly diminishes the revulsion society feels toward murder.


Nevertheless, whatever the ultimate source of opposition among some opponents of capital punishment, in the case of Gov. Corzine and many other abolitionists, their hearts are the ultimate source of their opposition to taking the life of any murderer. And in such cases, it remains fair to say that such hearts are indeed different from the hearts of those of us who feel equally strongly that keeping all murderers alive is a cosmic injustice, an insult to the murdered and an ongoing nightmare to those who loved the murdered.

Amen, and amen.

I'm Done With Google Ads--DONE!

There, now I feel better. Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Help Heal Heather's Heart

Heather and Jestin Dorius is a couple in our neighborhood with four young children. Heather, age 31, has had serious heart problems for 11 years or so. Heather has had two dangerous episodes in a six-month period that were life threatening. If she has another episode she is not likely to survive. There’s a surgical procedure available that has a 90% success rate, but it’s very expensive, and the Dorius family doesn’t have health insurance. We’re trying to raise $40,000 to $60,000 by February so she can have this surgery performed around Valentine’s Day.

Heather and Jestin are not poor or indigent. They don’t need clothing, food, shelter or transportation. They are both gainfully self employed; she’s a realtor, he’s an electrical contractor. They’re simply a good solid middle class family who can’t get health insurance because of her pre-existing medical condition. No insurance company wants to take on a client who’s 100% likely to need expensive medical care.

If you can help, please go to Help Heal Heather's Heart and make a donation. If you’re not comfortable with paypal, email me at and I’ll email you directly with contact information where you can send a check.

For more information and background, please go to the Dorius Family Blog.
If you can spare a donation, God bless you. If you can’t, God bless you, too. Thanks for your time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bradley

Two young pups

"Anything you guys can do, I can do, too!"

Brad took it upon himself to guard the snacks at his older brothers soccer games. Here he is keeping a close watch on a cookie.

Brad's first birthday present.

I came home from work and took my hat off, and Brad grabbed it and put it on and struck this pose. I grabbed my camera and snapped this shot, one of my favorite.

Brad the Crush guzzler
First birthday cake

Brad on the slide at the city park.
Bradley recharging at Lagoon Day.

Pinewood Space Derby winners!

Brad's Birthday Bike

Bulldog 64

Fall 2000

Petersen Family All Grown Up

Brad is married to Jodi and they have two boys of their own, with another baby on the way.

When Bradley was a youngster it was pretty hard to miss him because he was not quiet and shy. He had so much enthusiasm that it seemed like whenever he went somewhere, it was on the dead run, and every time he said anything, it was at the top of his lungs. If Brad was unhappy, he was usually pretty quiet, but if he was happy, you knew it because he was loud.

Since he's grown up, Brad's personality hasn't changed very much. He's enthusiastic, gregarious and loves life. He's a grill chef at Carabba's Restuarant in Orem, and the people there love him because he works hard and loves his job. If you want a good meal, go there some week night and sit at the pasta bar and watch him work. It's a double treat.

Happy Birthday, Brad, and many more.

New Feature: Labels

I've added a new feature to blog648: "labels". Or at least I've activated the function, since the labels feature has been available for quite a while, now. Over on the sidebar is a section titled "My Issues", and there I've listed all the categories that my posts fall into. Most of the categories actually are issues, but others are subjects that I feel are important, but not actually "issues". I've listed them by frequency rather than alphabetically. So if you're interested in posts about my family, click on "Family", and it will bring up all the posts in the blog with that label attached, all on one page. It's a work in progress, and I'm not done with it yet. Bear with me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sean Taylor Died Because He Took A Knife To A Gunfight.

Sean Taylor, the Washington Redskins football player who was gunned down in his home last year, died because he took a knife to a gunfight. The NFL contributed to the circumstances of his death by insisting on a "no guns" policy for NFL players, putting all their people at risk of being unarmed victims.

Sean Taylor, awakened in the middle of the night by the noise of someone breaking into his home, armed himself with a machete to protect himself and his family. His attacker was armed with a firearm, and shot and killed him.

What if Sean Taylor had had a gun? Chances are better than even that he'd still be alive today. But all he had was a large knife, and now he's dead. He never had a chance.

The four young thugs who were bent on robbing Taylor are primarily responsible for his death. But the league is complicit because they foster an attitude of disarmament and submission among their personnel. NFL players have a high profile, are often famous, wealthy, and thanks to the NFL, unarmed and unprotected.

This is only the beginning, folks. There will be much more of this as long as the NFL clings to this insane policy. In an article at Reasononline this league policy and the weak rationale behind it are discussed at length. Read the whole thing.