Thursday, April 22, 2004

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: MOST NOTORIOUS EXECUTION IN HISTORY, ONE CHEER FOR MICKEY D'S, ...

Two weeks ago tommorrow, Christians celebrated Good Friday, which commemorates the most notorious death penalty case in history. On that day, three men were executed. Two of these people were thieves. The other was someone who healed and fed people. The authorities tried to trap Jesus as a radical anti-tax advocate but he didn't take the bait ("Render to Caesar what is Caesar's..."). Two thieves and a healer. Those were the crimes that merited death penalty in those days. Now, you can execute the mentally challenged and kids who've barely hit puberty. In fact, whether or not Jesus was to be executed was put up to a vote by the mobs. I'm not sure if this is more or less fair than some of the procedures allowed in some of today's capital cases. Just a few things that people in "Christian America," where 2/3 of those pollled support the idea of televising executions, would do well to consider.



I see McDonald's is adding new adult happy meals to its menu. The meal will include a salad, water, a pedometer and a brochure on fitness. A kids' version has apple slices, apple juice and 1% milk. My initial reaction to this was to roll my eyes. I mean, who goes to McD's if they want healthy food? But now, I don't think it's such a bad idea. First, many times people stop at fast food restaurants because they're in a hurry and it's convenient. When the club soccer team I coach for travels, we often stop at McD's to get food. It's not the healthiest thing to eat, especially for young athletes, but it's often the only thing on the road. Plus, if you go as a family, even some members of the family get the greasy stuff, at least the slightly healthier option is available to others. Second, rather than having the government mandate anything, especially something idiotic like a "fat tax," I like the idea of giving consumers a choice. This way, McD's can offer something to those who want to eat decently and to those who don't care. It's good for them and good for those who eat there. So one cheer for McDonald's. Now all that's left is higher quality food and decent labor practices.



There's been much debate among baseball fans about Barry Bonds' place in history. He recently passed Willie Mays, his godfather, for third on the all-time home run list. And if he plays two more seasons, he's likely to pass Babe Ruth and possibly Hank Aaron on that list. But Bonds isn't nearly as adulated as many other players. Though a cloud about his alleged, but unproven, steroid use, is in the news today, Bonds have never been adored in the same way as Sammy Sosa or Derek Jeter. Barry Bonds is without a doubt one of the five best baseball players of all time. Not only does he hit a lot of home runs, but he's stolen a lot of bases. He might be the only player in history to hit over 500 home runs and steal over 500 bases. He's a great defensive player too. But he's not media-genic at all. He's tempermental and surly. He just goes out and does his job and wants to be left alone. I find it ironic that different reactions to Barry Bonds and Pete Rose. While Bonds just wants to be left alone, Pete Rose is and always was an arrogant prick who thought he was more important than the game itself. Pete Rose bet on baseball, then lied about it for nearly 15 years while pretending he was a little martyr before finally offering one of the least sincere 'apologies' in history: "Hey I did it, I admit it. Now induct me into the Hall of Fame where I belong." Barry Bonds' violation of baseball rules (using steroids) is merely alleged. Pete Rose's violation of baseball rules (betting on baseball) is proven and, finally, admitted... though not really apologized for. Yet baseball fans' verdict on Bonds is harsh, while fans were willing to canonize Rose years before his admission and 'apology.' Makes you wonder why.



Interesting tidbit from the blog Foreign Dispatches. In 2001, the United States collected more in import duties from Bangladesh than it did from France, despite importing 12 times as much from France. And you wonder why foreign aid to developing countries is doing little good. What the west gives with one hand, it takes away with both. This is why many African leaders are calling not for more foreign aid but for more access to western markets for their products. They don't want handouts; they want free trade that's actually free, that actually goes both ways.



I see the liberal Air America radio network has been launched. I'm no more likely to listen to the rabid rantings of Michael Moore or Al Franken than Ann Coulter or Cal Thomas. It's sad that the left thinks that in order to make political headway, it needs to out-demagogue the Limbaughs and O'Reillys. Just when you thought political discourse in this country couldn't be debased anymore...

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