Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

News That’s Fit To Punt – 29/Jul/2013

Won’t Take It From You

This business of the asylum seekers that arrive by boat being sent to PNG as a deterrent has quite a few critics. Judging from the Q&A panel that I watched the other night it seems nobody gets the point of the policy which is deter people from handing over their hard earned cash and life savings to people smugglers who will put them on leaky boats to Christmas Island. Now, there are all kinds of critics out to brand this policy xenophobic to not tough enough, but you would be surprised at the people who want to piss into this pot.

A more irritating critique came out of Fiji today.

Mr Kubuabola said Fiji was ”decidedly less-than happy” with the PNG deal, saying Australian politics was affecting Fijian affairs and demanded that Australia consult with the region.

”It is our business. Before this goes any further, we want thorough regional consultation … We demand to have our voices heard.”

Mr Kubuabola said that Australia had used its ”economic muscle” to persuade PNG to accept the deal that would see asylum seekers who arrive by boat sent to the country for processing and successful applicants resettled there. The Rudd government has also flagged that the model could be applied to other countries in the region.

”This was done to solve a domestic political problem and for short-term political gain without proper consideration of the long-term consequences,” Mr Kubuabola said.

”This deal and those mooted with Solomon Islands and Vanuatu clearly threatens our interests by altering the fundamental social fabric of any … country that accepts a deal with Australia.”

Now, this s a bit rich coming from Fiji. Fiji has been having coup d’etats every decade since the 1980s because every time they hold elections, the naturalised Indian population’s vote outnumbers the indigenous Melanesian/Fijian vote. The point being, the Military-led Fijian governments are quite the xenophobic racists themselves because the sole point of these coups has been to oust democratically elected governments.

Let’s also not forget that Fiji, like most nations on this planet is decidedly not a signatory to the UN convention on refugees, meaning they are currently not likely to take anybody seeking asylum.

So now, they’re turning around and saying to Australia, they don’t want Australia to send Asylum seekers to PNG because it is going to disturb a kind pan-Melanesian polity by introducing non-Melanesians. There is no other conclusion to draw but that the Fijian government is xenophobic and not really understanding the issue at all. They’d have a bit more credibility in their complaint if they actually were signatories and took asylum seekers.

I’m okay with just about anybody in the region criticising the ‘PNG solution’, but it’s really hard to take Fiji’s complaints seriously.

Will They Really Ban A-Rod For Life?

I haven’t written much about baseball and the Yankees and what have you for a while, but the ugly business of steroids keeps on coming back to haunt us all. now it is this Biogenesis thing which has squarely framed up A-Rod for a big suspension and possibly even a lifetime ban.

Bud Selig was at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown this week and was said still to be mulling what punishment to deliver Rodriguez. It is conceivable he could ask for permanent banishment, akin to Pete Rose. But the belief is no matter the level of evidence — and it has been portrayed that MLB has substantially more evidence on Rodriguez than it does on Braun — it would be hard to convince an arbitrator, if Rodriguez appeals, that Rodriguez’s first suspension should be for life.

Keep in mind, though, that Selig could ask for life knowing the arbitrator could lower the punishment to a shorter duration — or even find that Rodriguez should not be punished at all.

But as a way to levy a sanction that will not be reduced, there was growing belief around baseball that Selig would request the rest of this season and all of next year.

That could be viewed as just about the death penalty for Rodriguez, at least for his playing career. He turned 38 yesterday. He has yet to play this year. The idea that he would not play this season or next season and come back able to play in 2015 after two hip surgeries seems farfetched.

It’s a messy business. None of this is endearing baseball as a game to the IOC to let it back in, but that is a minor point. This A-Rod and PEDs business just keeps ripping the side out of the reputation of the game itself. All of these kinds of revelations and arguing suspensions in various sports across the last two decades have exhausted my tolerance and patience for the topic itself. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me that anybody was on PEDs. I don’t trust any of it on one side, and I’ve learned not to care that sometimes the champions are chemically enhanced. There’s nothing you can do to unscramble the egg.

 

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News That’s Fit To Punt – 05/Jun/2013

We Hate Them, We Really, Really Do

Peter Hartcher has this article about the state of political leadership in Australia. The gist of it is a list of how many ways the Labor Government has failed us, and also how little Tony Abbott has offered as an alternative. the punchline comes down to this bit:

The key difference is that the voters are more disillusioned with Gillard’s government than they are with Abbott’s opposition.

Both leaders’ approval ratings have gone backwards over three years, but Gillard’s has gone back further.

And Labor has been in a losing position for all 29 of the 29 Nielsen polls in the life of this Parliament.

“That has never happened before” in the 40-year history of the series, Stirton says.

Labor’s remaining hopes, which are vanishingly small, rest almost entirely on a plan for a final, frenzied assault on Abbott as sinister, unhinged and unreliable.

Meanwhile, the Liberals will remind us, at every opportunity, of the depths of Gillard’s deceit.It will be a long 100 days ahead.

Oof. There’s no saving grace there. The electorate isn’t listening to the ALP government because they’ve had enough of the hung parliament, and they’ve certainly had enough of the ALP in NSW to last a generation. For whatever it is worth, I just don’t see NSW going back to the ALP for a decade, if not 15years. The Eddie Obeid business has exposed the ALP and there’s simply no amount of campaigning that’s going to fix what has been uncovered. In NSW, the ALP is the party of excess, sleaze, corruption, and horrible woggy names like Tripodi, Arbib and Obeid. In the current mood of punishing refugees and foreigners, there’s really not much support for the party of the children of immigrants.

On that level, the ALP has really well and truly screwed the pooch. Thus, the ALP has entered the twilight zone of lame duck governments. As such, some members like Joel Fitzgibbon are indulging in a bit of gallows humour. It looks like they’ve given up on shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, they’re going to join the band as the boat goes down. The aftermath of all this is going to be interesting because ALP internal polling shows that in Queensland, Kevin Rudd might be the last man standing. The ALP is facing a landslide the magnitude of losing somewhere around 34 seats from their current 72. That’s a lot of politicians, suddenly able to pull down on their ample superannuation payments. You kind of wish they wouldn’t lose so badly if only to help the budget bottom line of the nation. Maybe after such a monumental defeat, the ALP will be able to do some reform they sorely needed to do after their 1996 defeat.

I can’t begin to tell you of my disgust that Tony Abbott is likely to be our next Prime Minster, but as they say – in a democracy, you get the leaders you deserve. Clearly what e deserve is a gigantic enema.

ASIC’s Tough Day At The Office

You gotta laugh when ASIC are finally called to task on the terrible job they did.

 

Senator Doug Cameron put the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on notice on more than a dozen questions relating to its conduct in the affair during a Senate Estimates hearing last night, including a demand for an estimate of the amount of money clients had lost because the regulator repeatedly ignored warnings from whistleblowers.

The questions were delivered rapid-fire after Senator Cameron accused ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell of failing to adequately respond to questions delivered earlier in the hearing by Nationals Senator John Williams.

“This is a very serious issue for ASIC, it’s a serious issue for the government and all the senators are concerned about it. So just don’t take me on a waltz around the merry-go-round. Take that on notice.”

The hearing follows a Fairfax Media investigation that found the CBA had concealed improprieties by financial planner Don Nguyen who once controlled about $300 million in retirement savings on behalf of at least 1300 clients. Mr Nguyen, who has been banned by ASIC for seven years, allegedly forged client signatures, created unauthorised investment accounts and overcharged on fees. Some clients lost more than half their life savings, forcing them to seek help from Centrelink as they battled with CBA for compensation.

Senator Cameron demanded to know why Mr Nguyen received only a seven year ban after “engaging in illegal activity”, which meant he could once again act as a financial planner in 2018.

“Give us the details and the arguments that you went through to deliver a seven year ban and why you didn’t seek a ban for life on this individual who was destroying the lives of ordinary Australian citizens,” he said.
Mr Kell defended the regulatory and oversight regime that was in place at the time of the alleged abuses from 2006 to 2009, although he acknowledged that standards at CBA’s financial planning arm were “considerably below what was required”.

They sure get little sympathy from me. ASIC just don’t enough of anything.  At about the same time that went to the wires and interwebs, sharing a headline with it was this article:

BusinessDay has contacted many of the borrowers to confirm this. The borrowers, many who are pensioners and small business people, cannot afford a lawyer. Of these complaints, many had Loan Application Forms (LAFs), which they claimed had been tampered with, attached.

“ASIC has close to 100 LAFs from members (of her action group Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association) who say they wrote letters to ASIC and lodged formal complaints and attached the offending LAFs,” said Ms Brailey.

“Others wrote letters (another 60 people or more) that were formal complaints that contained no LAF.  Every one of my members says they received an identical form letter from ASIC.”

As reported on Monday, the veteran consumer rights campaigner has made public 2500 private emails and bank documents to expose what she describes as ”Australia’s subprime crisis”.

Ms Brailey claims that lenders and mortgage brokers tampered with documents to provide more credit for borrowers with ”low-doc” loans.
She says she is making private documents public after years of trying to get corporate regulators to investigate the banks and other lenders over what she alleges is ”systemic fraud” in the ”low-doc” market.

Low-documentation loans are made to borrowers such as business owners who can’t prove a regular income, but the borrower signs a declaration as to estimated income. The loans usually carry a higher interest rate than other loans, as they are seen as more risky.

Of the borrowers who have asked for help from Ms Brailey’s action group, Banking & Finance Consumers Support Association, 1170 of them claim their loan application forms (LAFs) have been tampered with. In most cases, the income figure has been increased to justify more credit. “There is not one clean ‘LAF’ among them,” said Ms Brailey.

The banks and the corporate regulators reject Ms Brailey’s claims. They say fraud in the low-doc loan market is the fault of ”rogue” mortgage brokers.
In his repudiation this week of the Brailey claims, Mr Kell said ASIC had recently banned seven mortgage brokers for fraud or misconduct relating to loan applications.

Somehow I don’t think that would wash with Doug Cameron, do you?

Sport Nut News Day

Today’s gush of news that’s worth kicking around is dominated by sporting news. First cab off the rank is the news that Energy Australia have pulled out of their sponsorship program, a mere 12months into their contract.

It is another body blow to SA, which is trying to rebuild after Australia’s disappointing London Olympic performance tainted by the Stilnox controversy.

“This is a difficult time for Swimming Australia and we recognise there are no easy solutions,” SA CEO Mark Anderson said in a statement.
“This is obviously disappointing but we respect the decision.”
Before Energy Australia’s bombshell, SA were also coping with the Australian Sports Commission’s decision in April that it would cut swimming funding by $500,000 for 2013.

It marked the first time it had been cut since the 1980s.

“Financial support from sponsors is important to the success of Australian swimming, but ultimate success in the pool is built upon hard work and a strong and stable supporting organisation,” said Anderson, who is a month into his new job.

“During this rebuilding phase, Swimming Australia is committed to ensuring that swimming returns quickly to where it belongs at its rightful place as Australia’s No.1 Olympic sport.”
The SA board gathered in Sydney on Wednesday before confirming the sponsorship deal was dead in the water.

That’s some straight up ugly consequences from last year’s debacle at the London Olympics. The line the press is running with this is that Energy Australia have had enough of the scandals coming out of Swimming Australia. It’s sort of surprising it has taken this long in some ways, but there is certainly a whiff of inevitability about this sponsorship deal breakdown. It’s certainly hard to believe all this talk about changes in governance and culture after the CEO is forced to resign for making inappropriate comments. I sort of let the racism debate coming out of AFL last week slide, and the subsequent brouhaha with Eddie Maguire just slide with it, but it has to be said Australian sports administration is stuck in some kind of time warp.

The other interesting sports news is how the Parramatta Eels have announced mid-season that they’ll be moving 12 of their players out of the club.

After years of underperformance – including “winning” the wooden spoon last year – the club has decided to act. In a letter to Eels fans and members, chief executive Ken Edwards declared it was time for the playing group to be “accountable” for the woeful results.

“In Rugby League, we are judged on the field by our performance and ultimately results,” Edwards wrote.

“In recent times the Parramatta Eels have not fared well in either category. Our Members, Fans and Sponsors deserve and demand more than what we have achieved and today the Eels declare that enough is enough.

That’s a big call. What’s interesting about this is how they’re making the call midway through the season; as well as announcing to the rest of the world they’re giving up on the current club as they blow it all up and attempt a rebuild. Not only are they punting these players, they’re punting the season away. Certainly, if you know you’re not going to be counting on these 12 players, what possible purpose could there be in running them out each week. If this is a rebuild, you would expect they’d be immediately benched and you would start playing the younger, upcoming players. It seems brave to decide the rebuild starts now, but also incredibly foolhardy to announce it to the rest of the world. This is a really weird move.

Meanwhile over in America, there’ s news that twenty players may be suspended for 100games. The headliners on the list of players is of course A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Melky Cabrera. The sound you’re hearing is a million fantasy baseball players clicking their mice, dropping A-Rod from their squads. The timing of the news is interesting because only two days ago, Hal Steinbrenner did a doorstop where he said the Yankees were disappointed at times with A-Rod. Why would he be saying that right now? Was he tipped off that this stuff was going down? If it happens and then A-Rod is suspended for 100games, would this void his contract? As the boys at BTF used to say a long while ago, “Is that even legal?”

 

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World Series Game 3

A Win Is A Win Is A Win

Unlike the previous 2 games, Game 3 turned out to be a slugfest. Naturally, the Yankees tend to win these and so they on this one 8-5. It’s the first game in the post season that the Yankees got their bats talking with A-Rod, Swisher and a pinch-hitting Matsui hit homers. Even Andy Pettitte had a hit and knocked in a run. In response, Jayson Werth had 2 and Carlos Ruiz had one of his own, but it was simply a game where the OPS did the talking and the Yankees’ slight edge in the OPS stakes allowed them to win 8-5.

The Yankees now send CC Sabathia to the mound again on short rest to face Joe Blanton. I’m inclined to think that this matchup also gives a slight edge to the Yankees. Cliff Lee awaits a start for Game 5. Will It be AJ? I don’t quite know. In any case, I like he odds of the Yankees stretching out to a 3-1 series lead.

 

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ALCS Game 4

Totally Missed It

This is the reality of life and work and death and taxes. Some games, you can’t even follow the score on the Yahoo gamecast. I’m more stunned to see the score line of 10-1. I guess Sabathia really is that good and can make the Angels look like the Orioles.

The box score makes for interesting reading, as does the recap:

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Yes, the umpires were terrible again and have positioned themselves as the theme of the playoffs, along with the temperature, the battering by Ryan Howard(notes) and renaissance of Alex Rodriguez(notes), and the fact you can’t trust your closer anymore.

It’s fine for the umps, because it seems they’ve been out of position on everything else. I think we can assume that when the next discussion on instant replay comes around, they’ve probably lost their vote (along with their right to gripe about the result).

It will be written that they cost the Los Angeles Angels some on Tuesday, which of course they did, but if they were unlucky on all the calls they guessed on, they were at least lucky the New York Yankees had CC Sabathia(notes), who took the baseball on three days rest and made sure Game 4 would hardly be a game at all, and A-Rod, who hasn’t missed more than a handful of pitches since the end of August. It’s nice when life sends you cover.

As it is, the Yankees are a win from their first World Series appearance in six years after routing the Angels, 10-1. They have won six of their seven playoff games. Sabathia has won three of them. Rodriguez has five home runs and 11 RBIs. Welcome to the new Yankees.

I’m guessing it was one of those horror games where the road to hell is paved not with good intentions but umpiring decisions. Still, when I think about the 2007 midges game in Cleveland, I take this one. 5 more to go.

A-Rod looks like he is da-bomb, having knocked yet another over the fence. Even Melky had 3 hits in this orgy of offense form the Yankees. The Series averages of the Angels tells a pretty sorry tale.  Or that the Yankees pitching overall has been excellent.

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ALCS Game 2

I Have No Fingernails Left To Gnaw

The Yankees squeezed something magical out of the bottle in extended innings and won 4-3 in the 13th with an error by the Angels. But even before it got to that, A-Rod hit a solo homer in the 11th to keep it alive. It was shaping to be a pitcher’s duel when it gave way a total war of the bullpens. The Yankees had 13 hits the Angels 8, and the score line ended up being 4-3.

Still, you take those wins and savor them as much as you take all the losses that got the team eliminated from the Post-Season in previous years.

That had to be a game for the ages, and all of a sudden the Yankees are 2-0 up. I’m exhausted just following it. I imagine the players must be wasted after a game like that. The teams now head for Anaheim where it’s a little warmer. You hope the Yankees can get those 2 wins while they’re there.

Just, wow.

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ALDS Game 3

And That’s A Sweep, Thanks!

The Yankees won 4-1 on the back of excellent pitching by perennial play off starting warhorse, Andy Pettitte. Surely by now he has to at least rank with Whitey Ford as one of the best pitchers the Yankees developed. And yes, there is karma and Carl Pavano got done over by A-Rod and Posada’s homers. Seriously though, up until then, he managed to strike out 9 (!) Yankees, which is sort of not th Carl Pavano I know.

The Carl Pavano I know is on the 60 day DL rehabbing some other imaginary injury. Fuck, if the guy had pitched like that in the post-season any time between 2005 and 2008, the Yankees might have advanced to the World Series. Heck, they might have won. I don’t know about you, but I just can’t lay enough recriminations and contempt at the way Pavano drifted through the 4 years. It actually makes me angry to see him do *anything*.

Anyway, that aside, the Universe slowly righted itself. The Yankees disposed of the Twins and the Red Sox got swept out of their ALDS. Suck shit, I say. It’s no easier facing the Angels in the ALCS and any day where the Red Sox go home earlier than the Yankees is a good day, but you had to figure the Red Sox were slightly the more likelier opponents in the ALCS by a hair.

A-Rod Delivers

For all the people who claim A-Rod has been ‘un-clutch’ (how can that even be a word?), they really need to go back to the 2004 post-season to see that he totally thrashed the Twins back then as he did this year. Then again, we’re talking the Twins in each instance.

Thinking Back to the intervening years since the last ALCS entry, the Yankees have not had the pitching to go further than the ALDS. It’s been 5 years of saying A-Rod is un-clucth when basically he’s been hitting in games that got taken away from him by terrible, terrible pitching performances by the likes of an old Kevin Brown, a past-his-peak Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright, Old-Clemens, Bad-Moose-2007-model, plus whatever other dreck they had on their payroll. *Ugh*. So all those post-season failures can’t be A-Rod’s fault.

It’s good to see A-Rod get that monkey off his back. The man is a monster hitter. Fans ought to lay off and just let him do his A-Rod thing.

Brian Cashman Was Right

It kind of needs to be said again, even though the regular season record for 2009 more than proved it abundantly, but Brian was so-o-o-o-o right in making that call.

Which call?

Remember Johan Santana and how he was a Twin and then he was offered up for a trade? And the Twins asked for Phil Hughes and Joba and Brian Cashman declined because he was more interested in securing CC Sabathia without giving up Hughes and Joba? Remember that hoopla?

That turned out really well, didn’t it?

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ALDS Game 2

They Don’t Get Easy

The predictions say the Yankees are supposed to win. Well, prediction schmediction, it’s actually really hard playing anybody who makes it to the post-season. Even if it’s the Twins to whom the Yankees have not dropped a game this season. With AJ Burnett on the mound, it was a tense affair, right into the 8th inning. As the Twins failed to take advantage of Burnett’s wildness, the game staggered to a 1-1 scoreline until Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera allowed 2 runs in the 8th.

Of course, this being the come-back Yankees of 2009, A-Rod deposited a 2-run homer to level the score and the game drifted into extended innings. Eventually Mark Teixeira hit the walk off homerun and the Yankees secure their second win. Bloody hell. that was a tough one. Although it has to be said that in previous year between 2002 and 2007, it was exactly the sort of post-season game they would have lost to the Angels or White Sox or Tigers or even the Marlins, but you knew there was a time the Yankees won these tight ones through attrition.

It turns out these Twins are pretty deep and there’s a lot of grinding to get through them. Yet, it’s all good now that the Yankees are up 2-0. A-Rod got to be clutch and Tex had his Yankee stadium moment.

The Yankees and Twins now head to the Metrodome where Carl ‘American Idle’ will take the mound for the Twins and the Yankees will sen Andy Pettitte to the mound.

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