Take me out to the ballgames…

Yes, that’s right. I meant to use the plural form in the headline. Why? Well, keep reading and you’ll probably figure it out.

I’ve just returned from my first ever excursion to MLB Spring Training in Phoenix. I spent 8 days and 7 nights in the goldurned warmest place I’ve ever been in during March. Whew! 94 degrees in the shade on Tuesday was more than enough to nearly melt me. I kept a journal, thanks to my lovely missus (who thinks of things like this so I don’t have to), and some of it’s not too bad, so I’m going to try to post a day’s entry roughly daily until the entire tale has been told. Before I get into that though I really feel like I need to comment on a couple of items in the news today…

Firstly, the deaths of 4 American security guards in Iraq that have, by now, become front page news, complete with really nasty pictures, in every news outlet in the U.S. require some comment.

We all know that the commercial journalism axiom that rules the pages of our papers and the front of our TV news broadcasts is a simple one – if it bleeds, it leads. So, there’s no use in pretending that the major media deserves a pat on the back for being courageous in any way shape or form for showing us these nasty pictures. Nope. They did this to sell cars and newspapers folks. Simple as that. But I do have to say one thing, and you might want to put this in your diary as a momentous day, because I’m not likely to say this very often, but…

For once, hurray for capitalism.

That’s right. Hurray for capitalism. You see, this adventure in Iraq is bullshit. It’s been bullshit from the start. 10 years of sanctions had made Iraq into a poor country barely able to keep the lights on and the water flowing. Saddam was in no position to threaten his nearest neighbors, let alone the U.S. And of course this is at least half the reason that Bush decided to invade. You don’t start a war unless you’re reasonably certain you can win it, and you are downright eager for a war that you can win with minimal effort. That the US would hand Saddam his own ass was never in any doubt. Not by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Pearl or anyone else who lobbied for the Iraq adventure, and it certainly wasn’t of any doubt to Saddam or his supporters. And it also was never in question that there would be a nasty, messy, guerrilla war that was going to run the risk of turning into full-scale civil war once Saddam and his goons weren’t around anymore to keep all the factions from shooting at one another.

The reason I’m huzzah’ing for capitalism today is that the kinds of pictures of American civilians (ok, to be fair, private security contractors working for the Pentagon hardly fall into any tidy definition of “civilian” I’m familiar with – mercenary is more like it – but that’s neither here nor there at the moment) hanging from a bridge or being hacked at with swords after already having been riddled with enough bullets to fill a twenty gallon drum are just the sort of thing that’s going to turn the apathetic middle in middle America against this particular questionable foreign adventure and, hopefully, the current administration. Face it folks, we yanks are about the most squeamish nation on earth. We don’t mind blood being spilt, but we like it to be little foreign brown folks whose blood is doing the spilling. Thousands of Iraqis have been maimed and/or killed since this adventure started and only the folks who are equally comfortable crying when a tree gets chopped down have been very vocal about how much they don’t like it. But just you wait. Four rent-a-cops get hoisted from a bridge and Merle and Dick over at the barber shop on Main St., Anytown, USA are going to start asking some pretty tough questions. I’ve already read ten different articles from ten different sources where someone was already making comparisons to Mogadishu.

The other story today, that probably should get top billing over the four dismembered rent-a-cops in Iraq was Dubya’s signing of this incredibly misguided fetal rights bill into law. This is easily the biggest and most troubling story of the day. Why? Because, as I said, this law is so incredibly misguided and fundamentally flawed that it may go down in history as the single worst act of the Bush administration. For those of you with your heads tucked up your rumps who haven’t heard of this, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version…

It is now a federal crime to harm a fetus in the commission of another crime. Just for perspective, murder is not a federal crime under any other circumstances except (1) murder of a federal government official or employee or (2) murder committed during the commission of a major narcotics offense. See, in the eyes of the federal government I could walk up to you, pull out a lead pipe and beat you to a bloody pulp, but the only governmental party concerned with the commission of this crime is the state in which the crime is committed. Now, however, if I beat you into jello and you happen to be a few weeks pregnant the state wants my ass for your murder and Uncle Sam wants it because I harmed a fetus. If you don’t smell the bullshit here then I suggest you see an ear, nose and throat specialist to check into why your sense of smell is so defective.

A fetus, which is, medically speaking, a collection of cells, has now been granted the same legal protection afforded to FBI agents, Secret Service agents, elected officials serving a federal office and various other federal employees. Harm one and you’re going to serve big time a federal pounding up the ass prison.

Apparently our state laws regarding murder and manslaughter were deemed inadequate when it came to fetuses harmed in the commission of a crime against the women playing host to them. The thought occurs to (and simultaneously outrages) me that it might have been nice for the federal government to acknowledge a need for special protections for women against violence and simply leave it at that. But of course that would be utterly out of character for the loons running the roost in D.C. these days.

The fact is, I’m so outraged by this that I really cannot comment upon it intelligently at all. One can only hope a court challenge is successful in getting this law tossed out quickly.

Next up – the first edition of my spring training journal. Stay tuned.

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