Presidential Medals of Freedom, Pitchers’ Duel for the Hall of Fame

12 08 2009

First, today’s Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees are SO interesting and eclectic, not chosen by grades or standards or statistics but for whatever unique power of story the current president sees in each one and what they represent for America.

I may blog more on this but here, see what you see in this group of 16 from Sandra Day O’Connor and Billie Jean King to Sidney Poitier, Stephen Hawking (“a mediocre student”, says the president to laughter) and Desmond Tutu.

Oh, and don’t forget Chita Rivera and Harvey Milk. Ted Kennedy. I am awash in power in story!

From the July/August Atlantic Magazine comes
“Pitchers’ Duel: Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Hall of Fame standards in the steroid era”:

[I’ll explain this part to Nance later! 😀 ]

Clemens won 354 games over his career, racking up a shelf-buckling seven Cy Youngs in the process; by the numbers, he was arguably the best pitcher of all time. Schilling’s 216 wins, like most of his career statistics, are very good; still, by the numerology that has traditionally governed Hall of Fame voting, he is at best a marginal prospect.

But baseball numbers no longer inspire the same faith that they used to.

. . .“As he got older, [Schilling] became more and more a student of the game Read the rest of this entry »

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Return of the Militias: Southern Poverty Law Center

12 08 2009

In Pensacola, Fla., retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson tells a gathering of antigovernment “Patriots” that the federal government has set up 1,000 internment camps across the country and is storing 30,000 guillotines and a half-million caskets in Atlanta.

They’re there for the day the government finally declares martial law and moves in to round up or kill American dissenters, he says. “They’re going to keep track of all of us, folks,” Gunderson warns.

That’s just my state, are you paying attention in yours?

THEY’RE BACK. . .

One law enforcement agency has found 50 new militia training groups — one of them made up of present and former police officers and soldiers. Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda.

“This is the most significant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years,” says one. “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not Read the rest of this entry »