Thursday, November 27, 2014

Obama/Holder Play RACE-CARD

Last August before they knew any facts, President Obama and Attorney General Holder decided that white police officer Darren Wilson was guilty of some degree of murder in the killing of Michael Brown, an African American, in Ferguson, Mo. Holder dispatched his operatives to Ferguson immediately, as well as FBI agents, to make sure that Wilson was found culpable in some way for Brown's death. Obama and Holder, again without knowing the facts, did the same thing in February March 2012 regarding the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, making sure that Zimmerman would be proven guilty, even though Martin was banging Zimmerman's head against a sidewalk in that killing.

Zimmerman, who was neither a law enforcement officer nor a beautiful person, was found innocent. He was not white but a Latino of mixed heritage. Race, of course, was the issue for Obama and Holder, anyway, both of whom seem to have trouble tolerating people they consider white. Obama once said of his grandmother who raised him that she was a “typical white person,” i.e., uncomfortable in the presence of people like him—black.

The prosecutor in the Brown affair, Robert McCulloch, could have charged Wilson with a crime if he'd recognized one. Or, the event could have been managed while an internal investigation was held, with charges made if grounds were discovered for same. The outcry was so great that McCulloch couldn't win either way so he turned the entire matter over to the Grand Jury, which as often as not is the way crimes are handled. After all, Obama and Holder had spoken and acted publicly, so the African-American population figured Wilson would go to trial, a satisfactory outcome.

This, however, didn't stop black demonstrators, local and otherwise, from burning and looting Ferguson in August since the issue was race and Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, is overwhelmingly black. A white officer killing any black is fair game for looting and burning in celebration of civil rights/disobedience. Ten days later (consult u-tube), Kajieme Powell, a black man who had just stolen some sodas and pastry from a nearby store, was shot ten times by two apparently white policemen in St. Louis less than four miles from Ferguson in broad daylight in front of witnesses. Neither Obama nor Holder took note of this killing, though Powell had no gun, just a knife.

Brown had committed both assault on a clerk and robbery at a liquor store in Ferguson just moments before he encountered Wilson, who was trying to apprehend him on the basis of the radioed description of the robber, who, indeed, was Brown, as noted irrefutably by in-store surveillance cameras. The Grand Jury failed to indict Wilson on 24 November, with the complete evidence of its proceedings now available to the public. Brown also assaulted Wilson while the policeman was still in his patrol car and tried to wrestle his gun away from him.

Brown then ran and was not shot in the back. It was only after he turned and confronted Wilson, refusing to heed the policeman's instructions and warning, and charged at Wilson that the officer used deadly force. All the credible witness-testimonies were corroborated by the physical evidence, including three autopsies, both official and private.

Using incredibly poor judgment, Obama, who probably thought he was too heavily invested in an indictment to do otherwise, made a speech that evening on national television, rambling for some 20 minutes mostly about how law-enforcement agencies need to get their act together and play nice to communities. He made it plain by word and body language that Brown's unfortunate demise was the result of a racist act. Wilson was white, Brown was black—case closed—racism. Strangely Obama has still never mentioned Powell but his TV act could be construed as telling the rioters and looters to go for it...burn Ferguson, thus creating catastrophic damage to the black community.

Holder's gang is hard at work now to bring a civil suit to claim that Wilson deprived Brown of his civil rights. Obama strangely flew off to his hometown, Chicago, the next day to further speechify and keep the fires fueled. Chicago is the murder capital of this country (408 homicides so far this year), but virtually all the black people killed there are killed by blacks, not whites or policemen. Shortly after his inauguration in 2009, Obama, without knowing any facts, accused a white policeman of acting stupidly because he justifiably arrested a black man...that just about says it all.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pernicious Pension Problems

Pension funds for Kentucky state employees are in serious trouble since they are virtually un-funded because they are consistently under-funded. The day of reckoning will arrive some day, with teachers and others expecting what is actually unavailable, absent corrective measures taken immediately. The largest state pension fund has only 21% of the money needed for future payments and is continuing on a downward trend. The teachers' retirement system has only 51% of what it needs for future payouts.

The Kentucky Employees Retirement System was 85% funded in 2004. Since then, it has lost 75% of needed income. The legislature is responsible for setting up and reforming the state retirement systems. It has made some strange decisions over the years in comparison with the requirements of retirement systems in the private sector. A non-hazardous duty state employee (clerk) hired before 2008 may retire with a full pension at any age when he/she has worked 27 years. A hazardous-duty worker can retire after 20 years service with a full pension.

If the clerk began work at age 21, he/she can retire with full pension and draw it immediately at age 48, and draw it until death, with the average life-span of someone born in 2012 being 81 for women and 76 for men. A man who is 65 today can expect to live until age 84; for women, it's age 87, according to data compiled by the Social Security Adminstration.

The hazardous-duty worker beginning at age 21 may gain full retirement at age 41 and perhaps be paid a pension for more years than he's lived. By contrast, a railroad brakeman/switchman (a hazardous job) who's worked night or day in all kinds of weather may not retire for full pension until he's 65-67 years old depending on his birth-date, no matter how many years he's worked. The normal railroad retirement age with full pension is 65-67. The Social Security retirement age is 66, no matter the number of years worked.

The Kentucky state-clerk can take three months off, reapply for work in the same system, then draw his full pension plus his newly-earned income but never has to pay into the retirement system again. The hazardous-duty worker only has to take one month off for that deal. By contrast, a railroad retiree may not work again as a railroader without forfeiting his pension.

Kentucky schoolteachers may retire after 27 years of teaching with no reductions in their pensions. A teacher beginning at age 22 can retire at age 49, then work at anything else and earn another pension or Social Security, or move across the state line and teach until earning another pension. The same lawmakers who have voted themselves enormous pensions and perks, much in the news lately because of political shenanigans/appointments leading to huge pensions, have set up all these systems. To the worker in the private sector, this is a huge racket.

The teacher-system (KTRS) is urging lawmakers to issue a 30-year bond of $1.9 billion or $3.3 billion, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, to save its system, i.e., borrow money now and pay huge interest virtually into infinity just so teachers can quit while relatively young and do whatever...or nothing. Is requiring them to teach until age 62, for instance, too much to ask? While teachers may complain of brain-burnout, they certainly work for the most part in ideal conditions that wreak little havoc on the body.

The same might be asked concerning the state-clerk, whose most rigorous physical demand may be walking from car to office and back each day. The argument that state employees work for less and so deserve extra consideration doesn't hold water now, if it ever did. The average annual salary for a schoolteacher in Kentucky (180 days of work) was $49,730 by 2012 and probably is more than that now.

None of this is to say that state workers do not deserve both adequate compensation and reasonable pensions. It is to say that the system needs new retirement guidelines, not more money. Paying people for up to three or four decades for doing nothing is more than the budget should be expected to handle. Until reform is effected—considering “grandfathering,” of course—the pension problem will multiply exponentially. Finding a legislator with enough spine to tackle this job is too much to expect, perhaps, but something sensible must be done.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Governmental Repression Sanctioned/Thwarted?

Predictably, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission voted on 17 November that Hands On Originals discriminated when it refused to print T-shirts for a Lexington, Ky., LGBT outfit planning for its “Lexington Pride Festival” in June 2012. Hands On Originals, a local establishment, claimed that to do the printing would violate its religious beliefs regarding homosexuality or homosexual practices. It took only 2.5 years for the Commission to make this grave decision final and official.

The Commission insisted that the application of the Lexington Fairness Ordinance did not violate Hands On Original's right to free speech and its right to the free exercise of religion. HOO presented the Gay and Lesbians Service Organization with information in 2012 leading to the printing by another establishment at no extra cost and the T-shirts were printed, no harm done. The undamaged GLSO, however, determined that HOO must be punished and brought charges to the Commission.

An editorial of 30 March 2012 in the Lexington Herald-Leader demonized the small business for its refusal to produce T-shirts for the local homosexual group. In its “news” accounts front section, the paper also publicized a protest meeting, entitled “staff report” and shaded for effect, thus affording GLSO free publicity, giving time and place for a “protest” against HOO. A boycott effort was also engendered, largely through Face-book or some such thing, the objective being to bankrupt HOO.

The Herald-Leader advertized a “grand protest” in a downtown park, conveniently located 2.5 miles from the HOO headquarters, which might have been hard for some folks to find in order to “march.” Sixty people showed up out of a population of 297,000 or so, an indication of a gigantic HO-HUM. The local school system shut down its business with the company and the university was not likely to renew a contract with HOO that was expiring ($200,000 in the nine months preceding the dust-up, according to the local newspaper).

Enter the Supreme Court in June of this year ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare. “We doubt that the Congress that enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — or, for that matter, ACA – would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy. This precise wording applies to the Hands On Originals case.

The Court simply vindicated HOO's decision that it had the right to conduct its business as it saw fit, i.e., refusing to participate in an effort it deemed contrary to its religious beliefs, thereby cutting its own profits in favor of not undercutting the tenets of its faith. This is about the same as a restaurant owner refusing to sell whiskey, whether accruing to religious belief or not, even though he catered to public business. Has anyone ever heard of a distillery suing a McDonalds?

HOO exercised its rights under both the religion and free-speech elements of the First Amendment and the RFRA and the GLSO could have done the same, preaching that homosexuality is normal. That’s even-up and fair enough, you say? Well…no. The Commission said that the GLSO could propagate its “gospel” concerning lifestyle but punish those who disagreed with it. Both HOO and the GLSO were public entities, one inviting acceptable business and the other inviting acceptable members as well as business. That is s-o-o-o simple.

The GLSO can approach the ACLU now and get out the big guns for free to go after HOO as a civil matter to be settled by the courts. The objective, of course, would be to force HOO out of business account forestalling bankruptcy brought about by the huge fees the lawyers would demand for representing it. This may not be too easy, though, since in September 2009 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District ruled that a Baptist Children's Home, Sunrise Children's Services, did not violate state or federal laws when it dismissed an employee who was engaged in homosexual conduct.

The court ruled that the home did not violate Title VII, the federal employment discrimination law, or the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Stormy Christmas Cruise

The cruise-ship Crown princess completed a four-week exotic journey across the Pacific on Sunday in Los Angeles with some 170 of its 4,100 passengers or workers having suffered from the highly contagious Norovirus, which celebrates its activities in the human body by driving up the temperature, making the bones feel like they're under an 18-wheeler and causes all gastric-located substances to vacate the body from any orifice available, though perspiration pores seem ineligible, thankfully. The CP is known for this sort of activity, but nevertheless departed Sunday evening with a few thousands more for some exotic spots in Mexico, after being scrubbed with (at least hopefully) stringent Norovirus-killers.

All of which is to stir remembrances going back to Christmas-day 1948 not of Norovirus but of an even worse disruption of the gastrointestinal system—yep—seasickness, that affliction with no more cause than simple motion...okay violent simple motion. I was hardly a month out of boot camp during which I spent some three weeks in Sick Bay (infirmary) in Great Lakes Naval Base's Camp Moffett taking some 64 shots of Penicillin over eight days for pneumonia, a stroke of luck excusing me from a week of KP and maybe two weeks of other torture altogether. My recovery was hurried along when I was given a tray of alcohol filled with alcohol and injection-needles and told to run a thin wire through each one to scrape out human tissue.

On Christmas 1948, I was part of ship's company on the USS Coral Sea spending my work-time in dry-dock each day holding a fire extinguisher next to a welder making repairs, when the call came for volunteers for temporary duty on the USS Saipan, heading out that day from Norfolk to rescue 11 downed Air Force crewmen on ice-covered Greenland. Bored to madness and never having even seen the ocean, I volunteered, crammed all my worldly belongings in my sea-bag and joined the Saipan just in time for Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including a fine cigar to finish in style.

We had hardly cleared Norfolk when we entered what was either a late hurricane or nor-easter or both. I was in the farthest aft compartment staked out on the top rack, with four more below me—perfect for such privacy as existed. Soon, the ship began to roll over-and-back and tremble occasionally from stem to stern with its twin-screws (propellers) actually coming out of the water and its bow awash nearly to the flight deck. This was a 700-foot carrier, not a kayak and I wondered about this, especially when the word was passed that no one—but, NO one—was to go topside (outdoors) for fear of being blown, naturally I headed for the near topside catwalk.

I had ample time, before being caught, to witness what I could never have imagined in reading all the sea-sailing-novels (remember Howard Pease?) in the Danville High School library. On that large ship, I could look UP and see more water than sky and the waves rolling OVER the BOW. The cork-screw motion was too exhilarating for words. BUT, the violent motion brought on sea-sickness, even to the captain and a movie-news crew (probably the old Movie-Tone) aboard to film the rescue. Soon, the GI (trash) cans, decks and heads (bathrooms) were inundated with gastric elements from hundreds of Christmas dinners embellished with cigars.

Tables were not set up on the mess deck. Sailors who could went through the line (pork chops and the works) and sat around the bulkheads on deck but soon everything was sliding the 70 or so feet from one side of the ship to the other—an unholy mess, but it was funny to see guys try to walk across that mess only to go down and join it. I got lucky and listened to an old cook in the galley who set out piles of saltines on a table that night, told us young sailors to stuff our pockets with them and eat only them for a coupla days. I did that and was never sea-sick then or later no matter how rough the seas.

By the time we fought our way through those seas to Cape Farewell on 28 December, the Air Force had already rigged a plane with skids and picked up the plane-crew. For some strange reason, the captain decided to fly a plane off for mail or to deliver something, and I was told to point a fire extinguisher nozzle at its exhaust pipes (I'd never done that) while the motor was started. Fire flew everywhere and I lowered my head as the ship turned into the wind with wind chill at about zero. I felt my 125 pounds being blown down the deck but latched on to a landing wire strip and held on for dear life until I could make it to the catwalk. For an 18-year-old who had never seen the ocean, this was a thrill. The plane did NOT take off. The ship lost one gun on its bow and all of its antennas.

Ironically, a few months later while I was stationed on the USS Palau, a “baby carrier,” I got bereavement leave due to the death of my grandfather and was transferred by helicopter to the Saipan just off Gitmo for the trip home, during which we hit a storm so bad that somewhere off the coast of Florida the ship was turned around and headed back south until things calmed down. The outer hull had ruptured on the starboard side and clanged back and forth 24/7 thundering the noise throughout the ship, sorta like when as a boy I clicked a tin-can top back and forth with my thumbs and fingers. The two smaller destroyers accompanying us were heeling over at least 70 degrees before righting but kept on heading for Norfolk, mostly in the water rather than on it.

When I was a locomotive engineer decades later, a tornado ripped through the center of a freight train I was throttling near Moreland, Ky., and I saw a lot of havoc wreaked but I never saw any act of Nature then or ever again to compare with those two storms at sea.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, November 13, 2014


The “Jonathan Gruber Affair” is a tawdry bit of elitism managed by Gruber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Gruber helped construct the ACA (Obamacare). Some of his remarks made at conferences in October 2013 at Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania had to do with the need to craft ACA with deception so it would pass Congress. Gruber alluded to the ignorance of the voters (entire population) in not discovering the lies in the ACA bill and therefore giving it a thumbs-down, but he was actually referencing the ignorance of Congressional democrats, since no Congressional republicans or (ignorant) citizens voted for ACA.

Gruber cited the need for non-transparency in getting the act passed, even though both the Senate and the House held democrat majorities. The two instances mentioned above were not the first evidences of his scorn for voters' lack of intelligence. The quintessential irony lies in the fact that Gruber is being paid $400,000 by the state of Vermont to explain how to finance that state's single-payer system. His way, of course, would be to simply enact a bill no one understands, especially the state's legislators.

An even worse example of chicanery in high places in 2010 occurred in the Senate and House in that the democrats admitted to never having read the 2,300-page bill before they passed it, not that they would have understood it anyway. House Speaker Pelosi had no idea as to what ACA entailed and even said no one (ignorant voters, including her) would know its substance until it was passed. She was right and thus added her abject incompetence to the chicanery. Senate Majority Leader Reid messed-up Senate rules long in place to get the act approved at midnight on Christmas Eve.

This sordid affair remarks the rancid means-to-ends which proponents of socialism will engage in order to establish the “nanny state.” Gruber knew—from just understanding the White House—that lies and deception are key to overcoming opposition, especially by people who are not ignorant and will prove it by standing in the way, as the Congressional republicans unsuccessfully did in 2010. Now, all taxpayers are aware of just how completely they've been had and Gruber has helped turn Obama's signature legacy upside-down.

A socialist system is run by oligarchs, few in number and enriched by their demeaning manipulation of citizens by any means in order to get a firm grip on their lives. The ultimate goal is the use of everything from wage- and price-controls to how much salt can reside in a hamburger to when, where and how medical procedures can be exercised, no matter the desires of the sick and afflicted. ACA represents that ultimate control, the very life and/or death of a person. This is what makes Obama's plan, calculated by Gruber, so degrading.

The president knew—as the nation's chief executive—that the basis for ACA was condescending subterfuge based on the supposed collective ignorance of not just the people but the legislators in his own party. His smirking announcements concerning one's keeping his own insurance and doctor accrued to an insensitivity that's hard to comprehend. He knew better, didn't care. As Supreme Oligarch, he, when he discovered that the ACA was not tenable for small businesses and corporations, simply signed executive orders delaying the ACA mandates at least until after the 2016 presidential election. He also violated the act by excusing about a thousand entities from its control.

The will of the people is the last thing the administration and sometimes the courts (also small groups of oligarchs) takes into account. In a recent ruling concerning homosexual-marriage in Kentucky, two non-oligarchic federal judges of the U.S Sixth Circuit overruled a third in insisting that the will of the people, not the courts, is what should be paramount. By both statute and Constitution, homosexuals may not marry each other in Kentucky, and the judges said the matter had already been settled by the citizens. That's called states' rights, anathema to Obama and the federal bureaucracy.

Unless he was lying when he said he lied, Gruber introduced a new term to the lexicon—“grubering!” In this case, grubering put the sad affair on the president's shoulders—complicity accomplished.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, November 07, 2014

Shellacking #2

In his opening press-conference remarks on 05 November, President Obama implied that the blame for the second consecutive midterm shellacking he and his party had just suffered accrued to two-thirds of the citizens not voting. He didn't mention the midterm shellacking of 2010, when 40.9% of the citizens DID vote, giving republicans the House. Now, virtually the entire country is made up of red states on all levels of government including governorships and state legislatures.

Since 1982, the number of voters in midterm elections has hovered just over or below the 40% line, so the 33.9% in 2014 was way off the mark. Two-thirds washed their hands of the entire process this year, accenting the fact that citizens—if not actually losing hope—have decided that the government is so broken that nothing can repair it until a new administration takes over in 2017.

Even the pollsters (or at least most) were completely caught off-guard. For instance, in Kentucky Senator McConnell won by 15 percentage points, a 200% greater margin than prophesied by the Bluegrass Poll, financed by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Louisville Courier-Journal and TV stations WKYT (Lexington) and WHAS (Louisville), which had finally awarded him a face-saving (or so thought) five-point advantage. The Mellman polls hired by Grimes were so screwed-up that they defied consideration, much less belief.

The elections proved the president to be partly right, whether he understood or not, that his base—principally blacks, ethnics and women—took a powder. These folks stayed home. In Obama's keystone electoral states, California and New York, only 21.4% and 26.2%, respectively, of citizens bothered. In D.C., more than 50% black, the response was 25.9%. By contrast, in Kentucky there was a 44% turnout bettering that of 2010 at 42.4%. The poll probably closest to actual facts was the NBCNews/Marist outfit on 02 November that gave McConnell a nine-point edge, off by only 67%.

When asking a question of the president, a journalist invites a five-minute lecture, most of it plowing old ground—the great CHANGE he has wrought. I listened to maybe an hour and gave it up. The man loves to hear himself talk. He made it clear, however, that he intends to govern by fiat, aka executive order, until his term is over, starting with new immigration-rule outrages to be signed before the end of the year. He blamed Speaker Boehner for forcing him to do this...sort of in the vein of blaming George Bush for every allegedly bad thing Obama has misunderstood for six years.

It's this in-your-face-Constitution/Congress attitude Obama constantly advances that has turned off voters, who still hold the Constitution as virtually sacred. It showed up just days after his inauguration when Obama and Senator Durbin decided to deny the lawful replacement appointed by the Illinois governor to take Obama's vacated Senate seat, violating the Illinois Constitution. Majority Leader Reid, perpetual lapdog, even locked Roland Burriss out of the Senate. Burriss took the seat, however, with the courts making the three conspirators eat a ton of crow, but the die was cast.

Obama has publicly announced which laws his Justice Department would and would not enforce. He shredded by executive order the Affordable Care Act, changing such things as the time when specific components would kick in. The employer mandate has not been enforced yet and has even been further delayed by executive order, all of this in direct violation of the law Congress (actually just the Senate) passed.

On the local level, Obama and Attorney General Holder, without knowing the facts, intervened in both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases, and Holder even filed civil charges in the latter case...without a Grand Jury decision in the matter. The word is that Officer Wilson will not be charged as a result of the facts actually being presented to the panel. This ham-handedness trivializes the office but, worse, is an attempt to usurp the duties of other officials and institutions, such as the DOJ suing Arizona vis-a-vis the state's attempt to enforce immigration laws.

The midterms were an obvious repudiation of Obama, who himself stated that they would form a referendum on his policies. The worn-out cliches like “war on women” and “war on blacks” have also been not just neutralized but buried. Voters don't fall for those inanities anymore. The biggest loser was Hillary Clinton—come 2016—however, since she is even farther out of the mainstream than Obama.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sports Now Defined as GREED

The World Series, like most other professional sports as well as college sports, is now the victim of TV and all the money that drives it. This shows up most graphically in the time now required for a contest to be decided, excluding games with overtime periods. The first game of the current Series required three hours and 32 minutes and the second, three hours and 25 minutes. Another game required four hours.

Granted, there was a lot of scoring in the games but considering the possibilities of home runs and double plays (fast actions) these games were far too long. Each team scored one run in the first inning of game two, which lasted a full 30 minutes, though one of the runs was a home run effected in just seconds. If that factor had prevailed throughout the game, it would have required four hours and 30 minutes to finish, more than a half-day's work. This stuff will kill the sport.

It's unfair to compare this Series with that of 1956, in which Yankee pitcher Don Larson pitched a perfect game on 08 October, the only one in Series history. The Yanks beat Brooklyn (now LA Dodgers) 2-0 in that game, which lasted two hours and six minutes and featured only five hits by the “bums.” But it's worth remembering that there were no conferences by the umpires on-scene conferring electronically with those in New York, who settled all issues, the whole business eating up time.

In the games mentioned above, pitchers and batters strolled, spit, changed their minds or did nothing for periods of differing lengths. Pitchers stared and stared at catchers, shook off sign after sign and finally decided to throw the ball. Batters had to step out of the box and readjust their gloves, many with a stroll around the catcher and umpire, after every pitch. Batters didn't wear gloves in 1956. Fielders wear gloves, then and now. No conferences with New York arbiters took place in 1956 or for all but a few years since. Umpire-mistakes were just part of the game and evened out for the teams.

Ballplayers were adequately paid but not made filthy rich back in the day. Today, long-term mega-million-dollar contracts are handed out routinely and can amount to well over $20 million a year, guaranteed, with enough incentives to sweeten the pot even more. According to the Major League Players Association, the average wage now is $3.39 million per year, or $20,926 per game.

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer helped the Orioles sweep the LA Dodgers in 1966. His player-share of the series proceeds amounted to $11,683.40. His salary for the entire season was $7,500. The winning player-share of the 2013 World Series won by the Red Sox was $307,322.68. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey's salary was $15,950,000 to pitch in about 33 games. The St Louis player's loser-share was a paltry $228,300.17. Highest paid St. Louis player's salary for the year was outfielder Matt Holliday's $16,272,110 for 162 games, $103,000 per game.

The losing players in the league championship series also got well. The Detroit player's share was $129,278.22. The LA Dodger player-share was $108,037,06. The division player-shares averaged about $35,000, so getting into the playoffs means big bucks, win or lose. The fan can be sure of two things: the players are or will be mega-millionaires, depending on longevity, and the national anthem will be tortured unmercifully by the non-singers (celebrity or not) who attempt to sing it. It should be presented by recordings of actual singers.

Besides their salaries, the total amount to the players in the playoffs and World Series came to $62,683,966.80 in 2013. These figures were higher in 2012. For the period 2007-13, the total amounted to $402,940,679.50 or close to half-a-billion. Is it wonder, then, why umpire-conferences were/are held to see if the guy actually was safe at first or home? The thing that saved the umpires on-scene was the fact that the New York-based umps just looking at replays from various angles had the last word, doing away with managers arguing themselves blue in the face and kicking dirt on the umps' shoes before being tossed.

A bad call at third with two out could mean the difference in millions of dollars, so look for more delays. Innumerable replays and extended commercials are killing the NFL, too. But it's all about the is just as defiled as everything else that greed drives (think steroids and HGH, too), but it certainly will least until the public gets fed up.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark