Monday, March 28, 2005
puny penalties? puny drama! florida has better drama going on right now than baseball... far more dramatic stuff indeed
The silly baseball steroid scandal - and all those players being caught taking them - and the meek (and downright laughable) punishment that they will be getting for playing "dirty" in a way - getting that unfair advantage certainly... now THAT is no drama at all. Whoever said baseball is a metaphor for life... hmm? You will never see a metaphor for Terri Schiavo in any "field of dreams" out there, if you live to wait and see the Cubs win a World Series - NEVER! Not even Kirk Gibson limping around the bases after a miracle at-bat for the Dodgers against then-unhittable Dennis Eckersley... not even THAT comes close to Terri Schiavo! Because, unlike the Eck, the judges of Florida will not even PITCH to Terri Schiavo, see...? They want to give her a walk - straight to oblivion.
Well - guess what, your honor (s) of the not-so Supreme Court... you're headed for oblivion too - Dante's style!
And just so you all know, I find completely idiotic the mere idea that the souls of dead ballplayers would be playing ball still, in some corn field... By the same token then, Wyatt Earp and company are still settling their scores at the O.K. Corral...!!! At least THAT would make some sense - because it is at the original locale! Spirits likely wander like crazy now that they are freed of their mortal coil - but if they are to haunt some spot in particular, it has to be their old stomping grounds! Thus, ballplayers' ghosts are likely moping around and wailing even in and around Wrigley Field... partying like crazy in Fenway Park... and I expect lots of revengeful poltergeist activity in Yankee Stadium... *LOL*
And Terri Schiavo? When she passes, her soul will be freed... and she will know the bliss that was denied to her on this Earth... on this cold cruel world.
Those who know me know how much of a film expert I am - Leonard Maltin, Ebert, Siskel's ghost and the new guy there (Roeper?) and most certainly that "Moviehead" dude have nothing on MOI - no no no! *LOL*
As per custom now - articles I did not author but that back-up (factually) what I did pen go here - my luminous use (and, admittedly, abuse) of the comments section... First the fluff... scroll further down for the real substantial stuff - an article on Terri.
And, who knows? Maybe some commentary as well...
McGwire Refuses to Say if He Took Steroids Mar 17, 7:37 PM (ET)
By HOWARD FENDRICH and RONALD BLUM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Lined up shoulder to shoulder, some of baseball's biggest stars told Congress Thursday that steroids are a problem for the sport but denied that use is widespread. Mark McGwire, whose prodigious home runs helped fuel a surge in baseball's popularity, refused to say whether he took the drugs.
On a day of extraordinary drama, the House Government Reform Committee attacked baseball's new steroid policy, then questioned five current and former players, all of them wearing dark suits and ties instead of uniforms and caps.
Under oath, Jose Canseco - whose best-selling book helped prompt the hearing - said anew that he had used steroids as a player. Current stars Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro said they haven't. McGwire repeatedly declined to respond directly, saying his lawyers advised him not to answer certain questions.
"If a player answers, 'No,' he simply will not be believed," said McGwire. "If he answers, 'Yes,' he risks public scorn and endless government investigations."
McGwire, peering at lawmakers over reading glasses, was pressed to say whether he had taken performance-enhancing substances or whether he could provide details about use by other players. He responded repeatedly, "I'm not here to talk about the past."
Asked by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., whether he was asserting his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, McGwire said: "I'm not here to talk about the past. I'm here to be positive about this subject."
Asked whether use of steroids was cheating, McGwire said: "That's not for me to determine."
Still, choking back tears, he said he knew that steroid use could be dangerous and would do whatever he could to discourage young athletes from using them.
Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was his usual outspoken self. Unlike the other players, when asked whether known steroid users in baseball should have their records stripped, Schilling responded: "Absolutely not." He said of Canseco, "He's a liar," as Canseco, his black hair slicked back, sat stone-faced.
Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told Schilling: "You sound like a politician."
Canseco sat at the same table with the other players and told the lawmakers that he could not fully answer their questions because of concerns his testimony could be used against him. His book included claims that he injected McGwire with steroids and that Palmeiro used them.
During a break after the players' opening statements, five of the stars gathered in one nearby room, and Canseco went to another.
Their testimony came after committee members accused baseball of ignoring its steroid problem for years and then, only under pressure, embracing a weak testing program.
Lawmakers were particularly critical of the plan's penalties, including a provision allowing for fines instead of suspensions. A first offense could cost 10 days out of a six-month season, or perhaps a $10,000 fine.
Using most steroids without a doctor's prescription for medical purposes is illegal. Baseball banned steroids in September 2002 and began testing for them with penalties in 2004.
McGwire, who ranks sixth in major league history with 583 homers, broke the one-season record with 70 in 1998, a mark since broken by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants.
Bonds and Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees were not called to the hearing. They testified in 2003 to a San Francisco grand jury investigating a steroid-distribution ring.
"Why should we believe that the baseball commissioner and the baseball union will want to do something when we have a 30-year record of them not responding to this problem?" asked Henry Waxman of California, the committee's ranking Democrat.
"Why should we believe it's all going to be done now the way it should be done?"
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig sat with arms crossed and lips pursed for much of the hearing. He craned his neck to get a better view as the players spoke.
In prepared testimony he planned to give late in the day, Selig defended the steroids policy drawn up in January, saying it was "as good as any in professional sports."
Baseball had fought attempts to compel the players to testify, but Waxman and committee chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., threatened to pursue contempt charges if they did not appear.
More than four hours after the hearing began, the players walked in one by one as spectators, lawmakers and media in the cramped hearing room fell silent.
Schilling was the first to enter. He sat at one end of the witness table, with Canseco at the other. Palmeiro, Sosa and McGwire were in between.
Schilling took a shot at Canseco, saying the former slugger's book claims "should be seen for what they are: an attempt to make money at the expense of others."
All of the players offered condolences to the parents of two young baseball players who committed suicide after using steroids. The parents testified, too, along with medical experts who talked about the possible effects of the drugs: heart disease, cancer, sterility, depression.
"Players that are guilty of taking steroids are not only cheaters - you are cowards," said Donald Hooton of Plano, Texas, whose son, Taylor, was 17 when he hanged himself in July 2003.
"You hide behind the skirts of your union, and with the help of management and your lawyers, you've made every effort to resist facing the public today," Hooton said.
The group of players included three of the top 10 home run hitters in major league history - McGwire, Sosa and Palmeiro.
Canseco, the 1988 American League Most Valuable Player who retired in 2001, told the panel that "because of my fear of future prosecution ... I cannot be candid with this committee."
At the hearing's start, most of the lawmakers shared personal baseball anecdotes or professed their love for the game before leveling their harsh critiques.
The panel's first witness was Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., a former pitcher elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He called the sport's steroid penalties "really puny."
Bunning and others said Congress should impose tougher rules if baseball doesn't.
Like hell that will happen...
Congress is just as inept as Supreme Court Judges...
Mar 28, 10:58 AM (ET)
By MARK LONG
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) - Terri Schiavo's parents know their brain-damaged daughter is dying and are "dealing with reality," a family spokesman said Monday, even as their supporters pledged to take their fight to Washington.
On Schiavo's 10th day without food or water, supporters of her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, continued to plead for President Bush and his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, to intervene to have her feeding tube reinserted.
"Everyone is willing to write this woman's obituary except one person. And that's Terri Schiavo herself," said Paul O'Donnell, a Roman Catholic Franciscan monk and a spokesman for her parents. A group of their supporters were heading to protest outside the White House gates Monday.
President Bush's aides have said they ran out of legal options to help the woman. Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday that while it "made sense" to have federal courts review the case, he had to respect their decisions last week not to order the tube reinserted.
"I have not seen any means by which the executive branch can get involved. My legal counsel has talked to the Schindler family and their lawyer over the weekend," Bush said. "My heart is broken about this."
Neither Schiavo's parents nor her husband offered new, specific details on her condition, but one of the two priests who visited her hospital room Easter Sunday said the brain-damaged woman's "death is imminent."
O'Donnell said Schiavo smiled, raised her hands and made guttural sounds late Sunday while being visited by her father and a friend, who was talking about how she liked to go out dancing.
"They are dealing with reality," O'Donnell said of the Schindlers in an interview on NBC's "Today.""They know their daughter is dying. They know what is about to happen."
Schiavo's parents dispute that their daughter is in a persistent vegetative state as court-ordered doctors have determined. Michael Schiavo contends his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
Fewer than 10 protesters stayed overnight in rain and wind. One man was arrested before dawn trying to take a jug of water to Schiavo.
Schiavo's mother did not visit her daughter on Easter, emotions keeping her from the hospice for the first time since Terri's feeding tube was removed 10 days ago, O'Donnell said.
"If she goes in there again, we might have to take her to the hospital," O'Donnell said.
But the woman's parents claimed one Easter victory: Schiavo's husband, Michael, allowed her to receive communion wine.
As her brother, sister and brother-in-law watched, the Rev. Thaddeus Malanowski held Terri's right hand as he and the hospice priest, the Rev. Joseph Braun, placed the droplet on her tongue. Malanowski also anointed her with holy oil, offered a blessing and absolved her of sin.
"She received the blood of Christ," said Malanowski, adding he could not give her a fleck of communion bread because her tongue was too dry.
Tensions were noticeably heightened both among the protesters and, apparently, among the closest confidants to the woman's parents. David Gibbs III, their lead lawyer, told CBS'"Face the Nation" that Schiavo has "passed where physically she would be able to recover."
"In the family's opinion, that is absolutely not true," spokesman Randall Terry said outside the hospice.
The Schindler family, also bothered by repeated arrests and heightened anger outside the hospice, pleaded with supporters to spend Easter with their families. They had little success; five people were arrested and chants of "Give Terri water!" echoed for much of the day.
Extra police officers blocked the road in front of Schiavo's hospice and Pinellas County school officials said an elementary school next to the hospice would be closed Monday.
At least two more state-filed appeals are pending, but those challenges are before the state 2nd District Court of Appeal, which has rebuffed Gov. Jeb Bush's previous efforts in the case. Bush's office and the court clerk said Monday it was unclear when the appeals judges would rule.
Doctors have said Schiavo, 41, would probably die within a week or two once the feeding tube - which kept her alive for 15 years - was disconnected. She relied on the tube since suffering catastrophic brain damage when her heart stopped beating and oxygen was cut off to her brain.
At Michael Schiavo's Clearwater home, protesters dropped roses and Easter lilies on his lawn - a peaceful protest interrupted when sprinklers came on.
His fiancee's brother picked up the flowers and handed them to a bystander to take away. John Centonze declined to answer questions, only saying that Michael Schiavo was "very upset."
During Easter services at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Clearwater, the Rev. Ted Costello avoided mentioning the Schiavo case. Yet at Faith Lutheran Church in Dunedin, the Rev. Peter Kolb thought Schiavo's story was appropriate for his sermon. "One day, we're all going to go through the valley," Kolb told churchgoers.
Associated Press writers Mike Schneider, Vickie Chachere, Fred Goodall and Allen Breed contributed to this report.
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