And Vince knew about socialism too!

We learned that Vince Scully passed away. He was 94 and retired from the microphone a few years ago. I remember a college professor who told me that the Dodgers had changed coasts, the letter on their cap from B to LA, and added the names of the players to the uniforms, but Vince Scully was always the voice of the team.

His story is remarkable, as Anthony Castrovince wrote:   

Though born in the Bronx, near Yankee Stadium, in that epochal year of 1927 and eventually associated with the Dodgers, Scully grew up a New York Giants fan. He would emulate the batting stance of his favorite player, Mel Ott. But as early as age 8, Scully knew that he wanted to announce games even more than he wanted to play in them.

Fordham-educated and Navy-trained, Scully got into broadcasting at just 22 years old, and he did so by making an impression on a man who had been a major influence. Scully was a fill-in at WTOP in Washington, D.C., when one day a message was left for him at his parents’ home. His mother relayed it.

“Red Skelton called!”

Actually, it was Red Barber, who was heading CBS network sports and looking for a backup voice for “College Football Roundup.”

And the rest is history, as they say.  He was a natural on the radio and eventually made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  

My memories of Vince Scully are about the post-season. I did not live in the Los Angeles area so  did not hear him call Dodgers’ games.  It was in the post-season when I heard his unique style of calling a baseball game.  Always had the feeling that Vince had scored a 100 on his grammar tests.  

I remember the 1974 World Series when the Dodgers played the Oakland A’s.  He was talking about players’ salaries and spoke about the new reality of the game.  He said something like the losers’ wives wear mink coats these days.  He meant that the losers would get a nice check, too.

Read more

No sugar in Cuba?

Years ago, my mother got a letter from her sister in Cuba complaining about the lack of food and specially seafood.  So my mother said to her Cuban friend:

Can you believe that?  No fish in Cuba.

And her friend said:    

How can that be?  It’s an island.  I remember going fishing and catching everything.

And my mother responded: 

Yes, I remember that, too.  But this is “Cuba comunista” and the fish have all gone to Miami.

I wonder what my late mother would say about the shortage of sugar in Cuba?  Yes, there is not enough sugar in Cuba today.     

This is the report via my friends at Babalu Blog:      

The production of the 2021-2022 sugar harvest was the lowest in the last 150 years: only 480,000 tons of sugar, not even covering the average annual consumption on the island, which is around 600,000 tons. Of the 35 sugar mills that participated in the harvest, which ended on May 20, only three fulfilled their production plan.

“We don’t even have sugar at the bodegas,” says Alexis, the manager of one in El Cerro.

Once upon a time, Cuba had no problems growing sugar cane, turning it into sugar for domestic consumption or exports.  It was a forgone conclusion that every Cuban would sweeten his strong coffee and light up a cigar, something I saw my father do often.  I can still smell my mother’s Cuban coffee and my father’s cigar!

Read more

Who knew we’d be talking about the misery index again?

As I recall, it was then Governor Jimmy Carter who used the misery index against President Gerald Ford in 1976. It was inflation plus unemployment equal the misery index. It was thrown back at President Carter in 1980 and had a lot to do with Ronald Reagan becoming the 40th president and bringing a lot of GOP senators with him.

The misery index is back and it will hurt the Democrats, according to Bloomberg:   

A new study by Bloomberg Economics takes one gauge with a knack of predicting ballot outcomes — the misery index, calculated by adding up the inflation and unemployment rates — and projects it forward through election day.   

The result: Based on past voting patterns, President Joe Biden’s party can expect to lose 30 to 40 seats in the House and a few in the Senate too, easily wiping out razor-thin Democratic majorities.

My sense is that the 2022 results will be driven by two factors: First, the misery index is real and people feel it every time that they fill their tank or buy food. And second, who will show up to vote this time?   

This is always hard to “poll” but my impression is that a lot people angry with President Biden plan to vote.  They are furious about a lot of things, from school curriculums to cabinet members who can’t seem to do anything about any problem. How you ever seen a less qualified group of people than those running the country?  Can you say Pete The Transportation man?

So it will be a good day for the GOP.  It looks that way with 90 days to go.  But don’t forget to vote!

P.S,  Check out  my videos  and posts. (My new American Thinker post)

Remembering my father now that Oliva and Miñoso are in the Hall of Fame

Last Sunday, Tony Oliva and Minnie Minoso finally made it to Cooperstown.  I got to see it on TV.  My late father, and lots of Cubans, probably got to see it up in heaven.

As a very little boy in Cuba, my father used to take us to watch baseball games.  It was the four-team Cuban winter league, or the cream of the crop in Caribbean baseball.  My father saw a young Brooks Robinson, Lefty Tommy Lasorda, and aspiring Major-Leaguers who knew that a good Cuban winter league session would get them noticed in spring training.

It was also the league to catch the Cuban stars like Minoso, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Cookie Rojas, etc.  I don’t remember all of the details, but there was a lot of cigar smoke in the air and intensity whenever Orestes “Minnie” Minoso would come to the plate.  Later, my father told me that Minoso was booed if he didn’t slide hard or dive for an outfield fly ball.  Cuban fans heard about his stolen bases up here and wanted the same down there.  My guess is that the White Sox did not really want to see their star player play winter ball in Cuba, but the pressure on Minoso was overwhelming.

Years later, our family took a weekend trip to Minneapolis to watch Oliva and the Twins.  They were a great team and had four Cuban players: A.L. MVP Zoilo Versalles, the great curve ball artist Camilo Pascual, back-up outfielder Sandy Valdespino, and Oliva.  It was such a treat to catch our first Major League game and see Tony Oliva hit a line drive to the wall.

They are now in Cooperstown, and that’s exactly where they need to be.

Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso was born in Perico, Cuba, a sugar plantation.  It was very common for plantations to have baseball teams in pre-Castro Cuba, and the rest is history:

The White Sox quickly put Miñoso in their everyday lineup, where he finished the season with a .326 batting average, 112 runs scored and an American League-best 14 triples and 31 steals. He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote to Gil McDougald of the Yankees, and fourth in the AL Most Valuable Player voting.

Miñoso quickly demonstrated he could play baseball as well or better than almost anyone else around. Between 1951 and 1957, Miñoso led the league in triples three times, stolen bases three times, scored 100 or more runs four times and recorded at least 100 RBI three times. In those seven years, he was named to five All-Star teams, finished in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting four times and won a Gold Glove Award for his play in the outfield in 1957 — the first year Gold Glove Awards were presented.

Pedro Tony Oliva was born in Pinar del Rio and learned to play baseball on his father’s farm.  He was spotted by a Twins scout, and they got him of Castro’s Cuba with his brother’s passport.

Read more

The first report of the week does not go well for President Biden

As we know, this is the week of economic reports.  We will wait for the GDP number on Thursday, but the first one is not good news for the Biden administration. This is the summary:    

US consumer confidence declined in July to the lowest level since February 2021 on dimmer views of the economy amid persistent inflation.    

The Conference Board’s index decreased for a third month to 95.7 from a downwardly revised 98.4 reading in June, data Tuesday showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a decline to 97.    

The steady weakening in sentiment risks causing consumers to cut back on discretionary purchases at a time when the economy is struggling for momentum. Inflation has dented confidence and forced the Federal Reserve to pursue aggressive interest-rate hikes geared at curbing demand.

There you have it.  Honestly, did we need a report to confirm that?  We are all seeing with our own eyes and talking to neighbors and family about it. We can hear about layoffs and a softer job market.  It’s happening all around us and the report just confirms what we know firsthand. And to make matters worse, half of all Americans are falling deeper into debt as inflation continues to boost costs.  I’ve spoken to people who are using their credit cards to buy gasoline or food. It’s a bad idea but they need to eat and drive to work.  

At our church, we have a pantry that feeds many people and many are also calling with requests for money to pay the rent.  Thankfully, the parishioners keep the pantry full of food for the needy but the rent requests are tough to meet.

That’s the way it is in the summer of 2022. They may not call it a recession but these technicalities matter little to people asking for help. And more and more are asking for help.

P.S.  You can listen to my show  (My new American Thinker post)

Uvalde and climate change, courtesy of the one and only Al Gore

At some point, the serious people in the climate change debate need to take time out and regroup. It’s one thing to point out some facts about the climate changing.  I can listen and deal with that. It’s quite another for former VP Gore to bring up Uvalde. This is from Fox News:    

Former Vice President Al Gore made a stunning comparison, saying climate change skeptics are similar to the law enforcement officers who botched the response to the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“Climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who were waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred,” Gore said during a pre-taped “Meet the Press” interview airing Sunday.

“They heard the screams, they heard the gunshots, and nobody stepped forward,” he continued. “And God bless those families who suffered so much. Law enforcement officials tell us that’s not typical of what law enforcement usually does.”

God bless America that this man did not carry his home state of Tennessee and win the presidency. The state slogan is “”Tennessee — America at its best.”  Our friends in Tennessee were at their best the first Tuesday of November 2000.

I wonder how the families of these kids feel about an irresponsible comment like this?  Yes, there were serious mistakes that day, from unlocked doors to careless parents to terrible execution by police officers. But why bring climate change into this?  I did not see the Meet the Press interview but did Mr. Todd challenge this outrageous statement.?

Like the abortion crowd, who get more hysterical by the minute, the climate change brigade needs to get away from opportunists like Al Gore and start talking sensibly.

P.S,  Check out  my videos  and posts. (My new American Thinker post)

The ‘kitchen debate’ of 1959

By the summer of 1959, VP Nixon was probably looking ahead to the 1960 presidential election. On the other hand, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was trying to prove to the Kremlin that he could stand up to the US. They both got their chance on this day in 1959, or the famous kitchen debates.

Who won?  They probably both did.  This is a portion of the conversation, because it was not really a debate:

Nixon: “I want to show you this kitchen. It is like those of our houses in California.”

Khrushchev: “We have such things.”

Nixon: “This is our newest model. This is the kind which is built in thousands of units for direct installations in the houses. In America, we like to make life easier for women…”

Khrushchev: “Your capitalistic attitude toward women does not occur under communism.”

Nixon: “I think that this attitude towards women is universal. What we want to do, is make life more easy for our housewives. … This house can be bought for $14,000 and most American [veterans from World War II] can buy a home in the bracket of $10,000 to $15,000. Let me give you an example that you can appreciate. Our steel workers, as you know, are now on strike. But any steelworker could buy this house. They earn $3 an hour. This house costs about $100 a month to buy on a contract running 25 to 30 years.”

Khrushchev: “We have steel workers and peasants who can afford to spend $14,000 for a house. Your American houses are built to last only 20 years so builders could sell new houses at the end. We build firmly. We build for our children and grandchildren.”

Nixon: “American houses last for more than 20 years, but, even so, after 20 years many Americans want a new house or a new kitchen. Their kitchen is obsolete by that time. … The American system is designed to take advantage of new inventions and new techniques.”

Khrushchev: “This theory does not hold water. Some things never get out of date — houses, for instance, and furniture.  Furnishings, perhaps — but not houses. I have read much about America and American houses, and I do not think that this exhibit and what you say is strictly accurate.”

Nixon: “Well, umm…”

Khrushchev: “I hope I have not insulted you.”

Nixon: “I have been insulted by experts. Everything we say [on the other hand] is in good humor. Always speak frankly.”

It went on a bit longer, and on TV, to say the least.  The comments about women are interesting so many years later.  Both men got their shots, but the Soviet leader never got to see Disneyland.  Mr. Khrushchev was barred from pre-woke Disneyland, and he was furious.

What’s amazing is that Cuba and Vietnam were not brought up, or at least I could not find any evidence that they were.  In other words, the issue that almost started a nuclear war and the war that divided the U.S. were not on the agenda.  Maybe neither man thought they were important.

PS: Check out my videos and posts. (My new American Thinker post)

The left destroys everything it touches, and now it’s destroying the US Armed Forces

They destroy everything that they touch, from Disney movies to works of literature to historical statues to Cuba to now the U.S. armed forces.  I’m talking about “the wokies” who are bent on destroying the country and culture that they hate so much.

The latest is the armed forces, as Glenn Reynolds wrote:  

The Army’s No. 2 officer told Congress Tuesday that the service has no choice but to reduce total force strength by 10,000 for the fiscal year starting in September, with the next year looking even bleaker: By the end of fiscal 2023, it could be up to 28,000 soldiers short of its 476,000-troop target. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth’s spokeswoman said it’s met only half of its recruiting goal so far this fiscal year — with just 2½ months left.

Why is this? There are several potential explanations. One is that the new “woke” Army isn’t all that appealing to the kinds of people who traditionally join the military. 

Yes, wokism is bringing down another symbol of U.S. history. After 9/11 and the war on terror that included Iraq, young men ran to sign up. They were inspired to defend the country they love. They wanted to do their part as their fathers and grandfathers and great grandfather had done before. They saw those photos of the last generation wearing the country’s colors and they wanted to be a part of it. So they went to places like Afghanistan and Iraq in much the same that their fathers and grandfathers went to Iwo Jima or the Mekong Delta.   

Then President Biden unleashed the wokies and now no one wants to sign up. They hear of “toxic masculinity” and “white rage” and every terrible thing that their country has done. Why sign up and risk your life?  They’re uninspired, and who can blame them?  This is not their dad’s military anymore, to recall the popular Olds commercial of years ago.   

The good news is that it will change. New leadership will return the armed forces to their place of honor. The bad news is that President Biden, or Harris, may have to bring back the draft to fight an unexpected war in one of those many places where our interests may be threatened.    

PS: Check out my videos and posts. (My new American Thinker post)

July and some of our favorite Cuban baseball players

We remember today a few Cubans who excelled in the major leagues in the month of July.

Before Luis Tiant became the darling of Boston fans, he was a pretty good pitcher with the Cleveland Indians.  As you may remember, Tiant pitched some rather good post-season baseball in 1975. He beat the A’s in game 1 of the ALCS and then won 2 games against the Reds in the World Series. His complete Game 4 performance is still talked about in Boston. 

Back in July 1968, Luis Tiant was just awesome19 Ks in 10 innings as Cleveland beat Minnesota 1-0!  A couple of weeks later, Tiant was the AL starter in the 1968 All Star game. He pitched 2 innings and gave up the game’s only run.  The NL beat the AL, 1-0

Tiant finished the 1968 season: 21-9, a 1.60 ERA, 264 strikeouts and 19 complete games.    Unfortunately for Tiant, Denny McLain won 31 games that year and ran away with the AL Cy Young award.  Tiant’s excellent pitching put the Indians in 3rd place behind Detroit in the last season before divisions.  Overall, Luis Tiant won 229 games, with a 3.30 ERA and 187 complete games

On July 23, 1960, 3 Cubans playing for the Washington Senators made baseball history.   They were involved in the only Cuban to Cuban to Cuban triple play.   I’m sure that it is the only “all latino” triple play too.   I couldn’t find any other example of 3 latinos turning a triple play. This is the story:

Kansas City OF Whitey Herzog hits into the only all-Cuban triple play in major league history. Herzog hits into a triple play when his line drive is snagged on the mound by Pedro Ramos, who tosses it to first baseman Julio Becquer to double up the runner, and the third out of the play is made by relaying the ball to shortstop Jose Valdivielso getting the runner returning to second base. The win, however, goes to reliever Chuck Stobbs as the Nats take an 8 – 3 decision. Harmon Killebrew has a two-run homer.

Read more

Never fear, Mayorkas is here

As someone who came here with my parents years ago, I’ve always been sympathetic to people who want to live here.  But it had better be orderly and legally, otherwise it’s chaos. We learned this week that the mayors of D.C. and New York City are not thrilled with illegal immigrants.  You say, aren’t these sanctuary cities run by woke Democrats?  Yes they are, but they are now claiming a lack of resources.  Gosh, I remember when saying that got you called a racist!

Of course, the problem is that the border is wide open.  It’s chaos down there — Border Patrol staff is overburdened and exhausted.  The men and women who work on the border were not hired to manage an open border but that’s what it is. Nevertheless, we hear from Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that everything is cool, calm, and collected.  This is from Fox:   

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday claimed that the southern border “is secure” — even as Border Patrol agents are facing historic migrant numbers.

Mayorkas spoke at the Aspen Security Forum, where he was asked about the situation at the southern border — which has seen more than 200,000 migrant encounters a month in the last four months.

But, even though he acknowledged the situation is a “historic challenge,” the secretary claimed the border is “secure.”     

“Look, the border is secure,” he said. “We are working to make the border more secure. That has been a historic challenge.”

Secure?  Wonder how many Democrats believe that?  We  know that Democrats like Representative Henry Cuellar on the border don’t believe it at all. Not long ago I thought that Secretary Mayorkas was in over his head, another victim of Trump Derangement Syndrome bent on automatically reversing all the Trump policies that were actually working.   

Today, I raise my concern to level “dishonest.” Mayorkas cannot really believe what he is saying unless he is the secretary of another country without a border problem. Maybe there is another planet out there in the Milky Way where borders are open and everyone sings “Kumbaya.”

P.S.  Check out my videos and posts.

(My new American Thinker post)