Sunday, January 09, 2005

Astros season already swirling the drain?

Well, we lost him.


After calculating the effect of New York's state income tax (and the corresponding increase in federal income tax) I figured that either Empire State team would have to pay an extra $15 million over the 'Stros' offer just for Carlos to break even. This, I speculated, kept us strongly in the running for the services of the talented Mr. Beltran.

Maybe Scott Boras had his bluff called (and his client will wind up with less net jack from the Mets with the hometowners folding and the Yankees already overspent), maybe Tim Purpura messed up (when he blurted that the Astros had made their final offer a couple of days ago), maybe Uncle Drayton blinked at the price tag (though you'd never suspect based on the spin coming from the Chronic today).

Maybe it really was a fumble:

"It slipped through our fingers in the last, last few minutes," McClain said. "It was just some sticking point. It should never, never have gotten to this."

Who's it sound like he's blaming? Maybe it was a no-trade clause. Whatever, if it was just a few million dollars, we could all be really, really upset.

It's too late for the Astros to make smart upgrades with Beltran's former money, as most of the desirable free agents on the market have committed. They don't have lots of good prospects to trade, and the only free agent that should interest them is Magglio Ordonez, who's just beginning to work out after offseason surgery.

Five-to-one Clemens decides he's done now.

The good news is Chris Burke and Jason Lane get onstage. The bad news is Berkman will be a month late (as he rehabs his busted knee until May), Biggio may be reduced to the role of supersub, Bagwell still can't throw the ball from first to home on the fly, the rotation has to replace Wade Miller and the bullpen has to replace, well, everyone except Lidge.

Despite my rather negative header, let's reserve judgment a bit longer and see if they have a free-agent trick or two up their sleeve.

I'll have the rest of the winter, spring, summer, and fall to blast them otherwise.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

This woman simply has one of the best blogs around.

I first started chatting with Bean back in the late Nineties on a discussion forum named Abuzz, which was run by the New York Times. When they pulled the plug on it, most of the membership (that wasn't trolls) migrated over to another site I won't name (since they don't reciprocate linkage).

Bean finally got tired of the moderated thing and started blogging. The rest is history, as they say.

Prairie Weather belongs in your bookmarks.

The Bush Black Market

One of my favorite blogs lately is Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, and he's got a post up about Armstrong "I'm just tryin' to make my way in the world" Williams:

In an attempt to "sell" its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program, the Bush Administration, it was revealed, paid prominent black guy and TV host Armstrong Williams $240,000 to promote the program and urge other prominent black guys to do the same. Armstrong was also hired to conduct and air interview spots with fellow prominent black guy and soon-to-be-ex-Secretary of Education Rod "The NEA is a Terrorist Group" Paige. Williams, 45, host of the syndicated The Right Side, is also a former clerk for prominent black guy and Supreme Court Justice and Number-One-Porn-Fan Clarence Thomas.
Who says a brother can't catch a break under Bush?

Friday, January 07, 2005

No Vo?

A well-connected blogger reports that the Texas House will next week overturn the victory of Hubert Vo, the Vietnamese-American who won the 149th district race in southwest Houston by less than 50 votes, and will instead seat the incumbent Republican Talmadge Heflin he defeated on November 2nd, and in a subsequent recount.

Why, you say? Because they can:

Sound far-fetched? Think for a moment about what the GOP, at both the state and federal level, has had the audacity to do in the last couple of years -- redistricting, ethics changes, now trying to eliminate the filibuster from the U.S. Senate, etc -- and you may reach the same conclusion the state senator has. "These guys just don't give a sh*t." Bad press? Who cares. Public outrage? They'll get over it. Politically dangerous? Not a chance -- all we have to do is win a GOP primary anyway. Democratic retribution? (After several moments of laughter) Who?
If they dare do this, there must be an outrage expressed so loud and so long that the GOP will be forced to relent. There will have to be thousands of Texans on the Capitol steps demanding that the Republicans follow the expressed will of the people and not their greedy lust for ever more power.

We'll have to scare the nasty bastards into changing their mind. It wouldn't hurt if we started letting them know how we feel right now.