Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday stuff...

BASEBALL DIARY: so the Tigers won a thriller last night, edging Cleveland, 1-0. Key: this was a third straight dominating performance by Justin Verlander; he pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 11. But speed and athletic ability helped, too--speed from rookie Clete Thomas, who beat out an infield hit in the 8th allowing the winning run to score, and incredible athletic ability from center fielder Curtis Granderson, who made an outstanding, leaping catch above the wall in deep center, robbing Grady Sizemore of a game-winning homer. If you haven't seen the highlight of that catch on ESPN yet, see it--it was a tremendous play. The Tigers are playing much better ball this year than last...
Not such a good night, though, for the Cubs--they lost, 3-2, to Milwaukee; Aaron Heilmann gave up what proved to be the game-winning home run in the 8th, right after he walked the first batter he faced on 4 pitches--more bullpen troubles; and Aramis Ramirez hurt himself and will likely be out at least six weeks. Lots of injuries this year for the Cubs; it's been tough for them.
And look at the Texas Rangers--they shut out the Chicago White Sox last night, 6-0, and remain in the first place in the AL West. Not only are they getting adequate pitching--last night young Matt Harrison twirled shutout ball, and the Rangers offense picked and pecked and wound up with 6 runs. Could this team actually be a threat in its division? If they keep getting pitching, they can be.

You may have seen the headline today about Russia parading its military might through Moscow in a "Victory Day" celebration. Why today? Well, today is the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and thus the old Soviet Union's victory over Hitler's Germany. Russia has never forgotten that war--even today, they still call it "The Great Patriotic War" and Russian veterans of the conflict are treated like royalty. Obviously Russian leaders today would still love to have the power and influence wielded by the old USSR at the end of that war. Me, I don't worry too much about it. Remember, the old Soviet Union has been broken up. Russia still has a declining, aging population and a government riddled with corruption. I doubt they'll be dominant world power anytime soon. At the same time, they have nukes--you have to keep an eye on them.

FUTURE OF CONSERVATISM AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DEPT: Mark Steyn makes an excellent point today. He notes yet another of Colin Powell's rapidly-growing number of bashings of conservatism in the Republican Party--did you know Powell recently said “The Republican party is in deep trouble...Americans do want to pay taxes for services. Americans want more government in their lives, not less”?--and replies that moving towards Powell's leftish "center" isn't the answer:
But, when the going gets tough, you don’t, as General Powell advises, “move toward the center.” You move the center toward you, as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did. It’s harder to do it that way, but if it’s a choice between more government and more taxes, or more liberty and more opportunity, I’ll stick with the latter, and so should the Republican party — however difficult it is. Unlike Colin Powell, conservatism does do mountains."
Bingo. There were two things on which Ronald Reagan would not budge, no matter what the polls said--and that was on tax cuts, and the need to spend more on defense. He didn't cave on those issues. Instead, he explained to the American people why he was right. That's what we need to keep doing on our core issues today.