Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Alito Hearings - Day Two. Baseball Hall of Fame Voting: Sutter In, Rice Still Out.


Alito Hearings - Day Two (He's Still Lying)

Today was Day Two of the Samuel Alito Supreme Court Senate confirmation hearings. Yahoo News AP Wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito picked his way carefully Tuesday through the issues of abortion and warrantless wiretapping, satisfying Senate Republicans at his confirmation hearings but provoking Democratic expressions of displeasure.

He asserted that the Bill of Rights still applied "in times of war and in times of national crisis," but he declined to say whether President Bush acted properly in ordering wiretaps without warrants as part of the war on terror.

During nearly 10 hours in the Senate Judiciary Committee witness chair, Alito was asked repeatedly about abortion. He assured Democratic senators he would take previous rulings into account if confronted as a justice with cases involving abortion rights.

He stressed that precedent alone does not bind the high court, however. Beyond that, "I would approach the question with an open mind and I would listen to the arguments that were made," said Alito, who wrote two decades ago that he did not believe the Constitution includes the right to an abortion.

Okay, all we've heard from the Preznit Flight Suit Fantasy team is how much Judge Alito worships the idea of legal precedent, but it is obvious that he would throw precedent out the window as long as it is inconvenient with this joke of an administration's hideous ideas of justice.

The 55-year-old appeals court judge distanced himself at times during the day from some of the conservative views he expressed as a younger man, saying he had been a "line attorney" in the Reagan administration at the time.

Right. And Josef Mengele only gave Adolf Hitler aspirin tablets for his migraines...

Under pressure from Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., Alito admitted he did not know whether had ever followed through on a promise he made to the Senate at the time of his confirmation to the appeals court in 1990.

At the time, he said he would avoid cases involving Vanguard, where he had money invested. But he told Feingold he did not know whether he had ever told appeals court officials about his pledge. And discarding an earlier explanation, he said "It was not a computer glitch," that led to his participation in a 2002 case involving Vanguard.

This is ridiculous. Alito "did not know" whether he said he'd recuse himself in a case involving his mutual fund broker, which happens to hold about half of his investment assets? Are you shitting me?!? And people think Democrats are evasive on issues. But wait, that wasn't the only memory lapse the judge experienced...

Democrats peppered him with questions about his rulings in cases involving civil rights, presidential power, criminal cases and more. Republicans often invited him to defend his actions and rulings of the past.
Leahy first mentioned Alito's membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that opposed admission of increased numbers of women and minorities.

"I really have no specific recollection of that organization," Alito said, although he did not dispute that he belonged to it.

Moments later, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, returned to the issue. "Let me just ask you directly, on the record, are you against women and minorities attending colleges?"

"Absolutely not, Senator. No," he replied.


Said Hatch, "You know, I felt that that would be your answer. I really did."

Hatch's affiliation should be changed to R-Fluffer after that sickening display. As Digby pointed out on his terrific blog, Alito damned well joined and was active in this organization. He joined because of his sense that the late 1960s and early 1970s were times of such turmoil that he felt it necessary to try to stem the tide of the potential for women and minorities to excel in life.

Well, I'm sick of typing smart-ass remarks about this asshole. Here's the
full story for those of you who still have the stomach for this topic.


Baseball Hall of Fame Vote

The Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame vote was announced today. The lone inductee was relief ace Bruce Sutter who developed the split-finger pitch into a deadly weapon on the way to racking up 300 career saves while pitching for the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves.


Sutter received 400 votes of a possible 520 for 76.9% of the ballot. 75% is required to be elected.

Red Sox slugger Jim Rice once again came up short gathering 337 votes for 64.8%. Fireballing relief ace Rich "Goose" Gossage got 336.

I can't figure out how the writers elected Sutter, but not Gossage. Both men were dominant relievers in the days before Tony LaRussa re-defined bullpen strategy. These guys would make 70 appearances a year and log 100-130 innings. Today, closers like Mariano Rivera make the same number of appearances, but are rarely asked to go longer than a single inning in any of them.

Just as puzzling is why Jim Rice is still knocking at the door to Cooperstown. He led the American League in home runs three times, runs batted in twice, total bases four times, slugging percentage twice, had 200 or more hits in a season four times including a league-leading 213 in his MVP season of 1978 (when he also led the league in triples with 15). He did fade fast. His last good season, 1986, occurred at age 34. He hung on after an injury riddled 1987 and suffered through a healthy, but ineffective 1988 before calling it quits after only 56 games in 1989. The fact that he missed a .300 career average by two precentage points, and missed 400 homers (382) probably made the milestone minders a bit squeamish about voting for him.

The big negative for Rice was the amazing number of double plays he grounded into, including a single-season record 36 in 1984. He also led the AL in this dubious distinction four years in a row. Still, from 1975-1986 he led the AL in homers and total bases. There is a perception that he was a lousy outfielder, but that is bullshit. After a few years of shuffling between LF and DH (when Yaz was shuffling between LF, 1B and DH) Rice came into his own as a defender thanks to the tireless Johnny Pesky hitting him countless fungoes (And when are the Sox going to retire Johnny's number? Christ, the man did everything for that team except mow the outfield grass!). Rice's range factor and assists were well above the league average, so claiming that he was a defensive liability is simply not true.

Other notables who did not get elected were 1987 NL MVP Andre Dawson, two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy, curveball master Bert Blyleven and ace starter Jack Morris. Next year features first-time eligibles Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken. I think we'll see all three men elected by this time next year.

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