Saturday, December 17, 2005

Impeach Bush....Now.

In the 1950's, far too many Repubicans stood around in silent assent as Joseph McCarthy engaged in planned character assasination. Then, as now, the country feared an outside power, and it took a stong backbone to stand up and say "enough!."

That backbone came in the person of Margaret Chase Smith, (R-Maine), who delivered her now-famous "Declaration of Conscience" Speech on the floor of the U. S. Senate. The McCarthy juggernaut was finally put to rest because of the courage of one woman.

Do we have any statesman ready to stand up today?

Understand that your Blogger voted for Bush - twice. My ancestors arrived in Nieuw Amsterdam in the 1600s and were New York GOP activists for as long as there has been a Republican Party in the Empire State. My break with the party of my heritage has been a long, drawn-out and painful process, but has accelerated as I have watched the Bush administration and its supporters turn the party of 'limited government and liberty' into one that has turned our Federal Government into an all-powerful police state.

My call today for Bush's impeachment is based on three very simple items, which, taken together, form a pretty solid case:

Item #1:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (U. S. Constitution, Amendment IV)

Item #2:

[The President shall] take the following Oath or Affirmation: - “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Item 3:

“President Bush acknowledged on Saturday that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping program in the United States without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists." (New York Times, 17 Dec 2005)

Surely these actions are far more grevious than Clinton's dallying with an intern, and have a far greater significance. It's time the Republicans acknowledge the rot within their own ranks.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pat Robertson is an Embarassment to Christianity

In yet another outburst that leaves sensible people shaking their heads, Televangelist Pat Robertson has ranted against the town of Dover, Pennsylvania, where voters recently ousted all 8 members of a school board that had required "Intelligent Design" instruction.

Robertson stated, “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there.”

Where does one begin?

Well, as a Christian, I feel I must begin by asking people *not* to think that Roberston represents any semblance of theologially sound Christianity when he pulls these political stunts. Please do not associate the majority of us with this lunatic.

Next, I guess I have to ask Pat, "How do you know what was in each voter's heart as he or she cast their vote?"

No doubt some voters rejected this board because their town was plunged into an expensive unresolved lawsuit and they are unwilling to fund it with their rising property taxes. Perhaps some agree with intelligent design but found the board members too acerbic. Perhaps some agree with Creationism, but reject the specific line-by-line precept approach many Intelligent Design advocates have developed to explain the disappearance of dinosaurs, the ice age, tectonic plate movements, rain, etc. Perhaps some are devout Christians who believe in the evolution of species, but the special creation of Man.

Casting a vote is a highly personal and complex decision. I have voted for candidates with whom I have disagreed philsophically because "my" candidate had poor ethics. I have voted "against" candidates rather than "for" candidates. I have weighed differences and voted for the 'lesser of two evils.' It's not as cut and dry as you would have us believe, Pat.

But most outrageous Pat, is your arrogance in proclaiming that you know how God operates, and your telling people not to call upon Him in their times of need. To suggest that God will take His toys and go home because your candidates lost is juvenile. In fact, it reminds me of Eliphaz, Zophar, Bildad, and Elihu sitting around arguing with Job, each insisting that they knew God's ways and explaining just why Job was suffering so.

In the end, even Job attempted to explain God's interaction with man, and, when God answered him out of the whirlwind, Job finally understood when he said:

"...I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but i have no answer - - twice, but I will say no more....Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know" - Job 40:4b-5, 42:3b [NIV]

I think Job has some sound advice for you, Pat....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Economic Illiteracy in the Pulpit

It is now quite fashionable in many Christian circles to be an “Environmentalist Christian.” Terms like “Creation Care,” and “Social Justice,” and “Environmental Justice” seem to roll off tongues like other media clichés. Caring for the grass and the whales is getting more attention in some church circles than clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.

Now, don’t think that I’m one of those callous earth-haters. On my little hilltop farm, I bred Jacob Sheep precisely because they were a rare and endangered species. Our garden is strictly organic, and I can spend hours sitting in a meadow, walking through the woods, or canoeing in a marsh. I have a great deal of respect for the cycles of the seasons and the rhythms of the year…yes, I do have a few drops of mystical Celtic blood in me...

But that doesn’t mean that in the passion of environmental exuberance I should cast all other important aspects of life to the wind. I still have financial and family responsibilities. Political and economic issues surround us all in a hundred ways every day. Issues of the very soul go deeper still…and yet, some of our religious spokespersons, in their genuine excitement for a reawakening of environmental consciousness, have gone so overboard as to overstep their expertise, preach a false and dysfunctional message, and mislead their flocks. I would suggest that the Ship of the Church is currently listing about eight points to starboard due to unevenly distributed ecological ballast….

I was used to this, of course, in some evangelical circles. “Creation Care” magazine and the social justice crowd there and at Eastern University offer a veritable smorgasbord of animal rights, anti-business socialists dressing up their philosophy in theology. As a participant in last years' "Microfinance and Environment Conference" at Eastern, I witnessed the fervency with which some other participants embraced feminist agendas and global warming hysteria. Fortunately, due to the fractious, decentralized nature of Protestantism, they can be ignored. It is more difficult when these views come from hierarchical leaders with Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

On October 1, St Vladimir’s Seminary in Crestwood, NY (the seminary of the Orthodox Church in America) held their annual “Orthodox Education Day.” The Rev. Thomas Hopko, Dean of the Seminary, gave a lecture geared for the clergy that I attended (and no, I am neither clergy nor a candidate for said position…). He declared that the problems of society could be summed up by the values embodied by the god “Nike.” On the whiteboard, he identified those ‘problems’ as being characterized as the “P’s,” writing a long list of words beginning with the letter “P” that were problematic. Among these were “Pornography,” “Power,” and “Prestige.” Then of course, he added the filthiest P-word of them all: “Profit.”

Apparently, it never occurred to him that the reason he was able to put on a pair of eyeglasses that morning was because someone earned a profit examining his eyes and making the frames and cutting the lenses. He didn’t stop to think that the whiteboard on which he wrote was made available for his use because the company that manufactured it made a profit. He didn’t quite explain how the enormous book sale taking place in the tent on the lawn outside the class was kept stocked with hundreds of titles without the mechanism of “profit.” Nor did he quite explain how a seminary could survive in high-priced Westchester County, New York without benefactors who make donations out of the profit made by their personal labor.

I am sorry to sound so sarcastic, but I am just so tired of clergy who insist on pontificating on economic topics, though they may be clueless on the subject. A roomful of young, impressionable black-robed students, clergy and clergy candidates sat nodding their heads in agreement…and I noted that St. Vladimir’s does not even offer any courses in business or economics. What half-baked notions will these men bring with them to their future homilies?

Last weekend I attended a different event, “Wealth and Poverty in Early Christianity," sponsored by the Pappas Institute at Holy Cross College (this being the Greek Orthodox Seminary in the US). A wide range of speakers from both secular and sacred backgrounds presented a truly wonderful program – the best ‘professional development’ opportunity I have ever attended, in fact. Unfortunately, the scholarship was compromised by the presence of the Roman Catholic President (and treasurer) of Boston Catholic Charities, the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir. Riding the “Social Justice” train, Rev. Hehir proceeded to criticize those who oppose taxation and programmatic largesse to help the poor. He stated that the philosophy of the [Roman] Catholic Church is such that one need not rely on the Church for implementing the church’s programs, but that other institutions – including Government – are appropriate and even necessary agents to achieve the Church’s goals. He defended Government taxation and wealth redistribution, because, (and I wrote this quote down)

“otherwise, the poor would be at the mercy of the generosity of individuals.”

Ummmm…..yeah? And? Who would you have them at the mercy of, Rev. Hehir? Of bureaucrats? Of Systems and Instructions (not that you have a vested interest in that, would you?) Of those who make their living by insuring the continuity of the poverty-relief system? Of those who take a cut of every offering made and give what’s left to the poor? How does a ‘man of the cloth’ take such a dim view of voluntary Christian generosity? Are you jaded because the world has not given to your institution as mush as you believe you need?

If I am ever destitute, I pray that I am held in the mercy of real people, of caring neighbors, of people with eyes to see and arms to hug - and not a waiting room and interminable lines at government institutions.

I should not end this without giving praise and credit where it is due. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in North & South America, also spoke. But the Primate’s talk consisted of a series of stories – vignettes of real people, how he has seen individuals helping individuals, even poor people assisting other poor people during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And the overwhelming sense he conveyed was that of our individual responsibilities to our fellow man and woman.

That is a breath of fresh air. I’ll continue to promote the importance of profit and economic expansion, and the need to voluntarily support the poor around us. And I think I’m in good company, according to the writer of Proverbs 31:10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

As the Free State grapples with gay marriage...

Last night, a committee of New Hampshire legislators held an open hearing in Keene, NH, soliciting testimony as to how the state ought to deal with the issues of ‘civil unions’ or ‘gay marriage.’ An organized effort by both gay-rights groups and evangelical churches insured that the room was packed to overflowing, and that battle lines were drawn. Each speaker was limited to three minutes.

The discussion over the possibility of extending marital rights to other domestic partnerships was defined by positions which were mutually exclusive of each other. In addition, each of those positions also fell short of a solution to the many issue that were raised. No matter which ‘option’ is chosen – the current arrangement, gay marriage, or civil unions (as currently defined), someone loses and the arguments will continue.

On one hand, those who wish to maintain the current definition and rights inherent in heterosexual marriage saw attempts to change that as an attempt to change the social, cultural, political, and religious sensibilities to benefit a small minority. Those who would expand and those who would retain the current definition of marriage are asking the State to interfere in what is primarily an ecclesiastical rite. The fact that New Hampshire has chosen, like most states, to define marriage at all (even heterosexually) means that it has already stuck its toe into ecclesiastical waters.

At the same time, the development of a parallel universe of Vermont-style “civil unions,” as popularly conceived, is wholly inadequate. If it’s the exact same thing as marriage, then it is merely a semantic subterfuge. Regardless, it creates a ‘separate but equal’ status for gay couples, and still fails to address to rights, responsibilities, and needs of other households that are not based on sexual activity at all.

What I proposed last night tonight was a different approach that affords protection to all who seek it. What follows is part of that testimony:

“…I do not think that that State ought to have any role in defining the boundaries, purposes, or roles in marriage. Marriage is an Eccelesiastical sacrament, and should come under the purview of the Church and the Church alone - not the state, and not the Church-as-agent-of-the-State. When left to the Church, the sacrament maintains its integrity as a sacrament - not a tax status or organizational tool. If a Church wants to marry two gay men, so be it. If a Church wants to prohibit gay marriage and condemn homosexuality, so be it. Get the State out of the Churches entirely, and let them operate according to their own doctrine and consciences.

On the other hand, the State and society *does* have a vested interest in maintaining stable households. Throughout history, these households have taken many forms - and many of them have not been actively "sexual" at all. The "Mom-Dad-Kids" household is a recent product of the 1950s. Prior to that, households often included an aunt, a grandma, a neighbor's kid, etc. Colonial and pioneer families were more likely to be extended families - including those of no blood relationship whatsoever - than "nuclear" families. Between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the majority of marriages west of the Appalachians were common-law marriages that existed without formal state approval at all. Certainly, whenever such people make a commitment to each other, the state ought not to interfere. Rather, they ought to recognize and encourage the arrangement as a private contractual agreement to share rights and responsibilities. The application of intestacy statutes, hospital visitation rights and medical decisions, and responsibilities for debts incurred are normal and natural aspects of household life, and the state need not be in the business of deciding that some households should have those rights while others shouldn’t.

So what am I getting at?

1) Take Marriage away from the legislatures and the courts all together. Let the issue of marriage revert to being a sacrament administered by Ecclesiastical bodies alone, under their own rules without state interference or definitions.

2) Let the State acknowledge a new kind of Civil Union, which is based on Economic Stability, not sexual relations. Under such an arrangement, an elderly brother and sister (think of Marilla and Matthew in Anne of Green Gables) could just as easily be a "civil union" as a husband-wife couple, a single woman and her grandma, two gays, or two best friends who happened to live in a non-sexual house after retirement. Churches would grant marriage certificates under their own rules, and the State would issue Civil Union decrees which simply acknowledge the intent of people to live, love, and be responsible for each other, efficiently granting them a full set of rights in law.

In such a situation, The Church maintains the integrity of her Sacraments. The State recognizes - and grants security - to the many forms that households take. And, it all occurs without Christians or gays or secularists or social workers or politicians or anyone else using the State as a tool to impose a particular view of society.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Kelo v. New London: Mob Rule and Might-Makes-Right

In what will go down in history as perhaps one of the most significant nails in the coffin of American Liberty, the U. S. Supreme Court today, by a 5-4 vote, expanded the right of a city (New London, CT) to take any private property it wants so that ‘private’ development which has some ‘public good’ (such as increased tax revenues) may proceed.

In this case, the private property consists of people's homes. Never mind that one family lived in the same house for 60 years. Never mind that one man sold sandwiches for 21 years to buy his house.

The City Planners decided that they would prefer an upscale, tourist-and-shopper retail experience, and decided to take these homes by eminent domain – and in the process, enrich favored city developers. And they decided that "the people" – acting through their elected officials – have the right to run roughshod over the property rights of the minority simply because they were (1) numerous or (2) powerful. Oh, and yeah, (3) Because They Wanted It. (I weaned my children of the notion that they can take something simply because they want it when they were about three years old...)

Might Makes Right. The Mob Rule (and Reign of Terror) of the French Revolution is here.

Frederic Bastiat explained this over 150 years ago in his treatise, “The Law:”

“… the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds….”

…imagine that this fatal principle has been introduced: Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few — whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so.

…As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious. To know this, it is hardly necessary to examine what transpires in the French and English legislatures; merely to understand the issue is to know the answer.

….how is… plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

….Do not listen to….sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it. “

Would that we would listen to this man.....In the meantime, perhaps a boycott of New London might be a response for those who still believe in Liberty...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Calling Interference on Congress....

OK, easy quiz: Which of the following words or phrases does not belong:

“Ground Rule Double, Pitcher, Yankees, Shortstop, World Series, Dugout, Congress.”

Hmmmm….that was hard, wasn’t it? Actually, for the self-appointed Inquisitors looking into the steroid ‘crisis’ in Baseball, that is a hard question. Somehow our friendly politicians have decided that only they can determine the rules and penalties under which baseball is played, thus saving the sport from itself.

God help us. Next they’ll be dictating the temperature at which Apple Pies must be baked.

The Congressional Breast-Beaters believe that they are the only solution to whatever perceived problem there is concerning ‘roids. What they have never understood, and still don’t understand, and I guess never will, is that Free Markets are always a more effective and efficient arbiter of ‘problems’ than Congress is.

Long before Congress started holding committee meetings to decide what to do about the Enron scandal, the Market had already reacted. Shareholders and investors pummeled Enron in a matter of days, punishing the company for its transgressions. While Congress talked and argued, the Market decided that Enron should die for its shenanigans. We really didn’t need Congress to say, do , or legislate *anything.*

In an effort to be ‘tough on drugs” and appear in a glamorous setting with sports superstars, the McCarthyesque drama began with an attempt to tear down Mark McGwire. Congress insisted that there was Trouble, Big Trouble, and that starts with T and that rhymes with P…..ooooops, sorry, wrong demagogue…...They insisted that the American Public needed protection from the druggies, demanded honesty from the players, and were outraged at the prospect of steroid use in professional sports.

But how did “we” the public actually feel? How did the Market react? Quite frankly, the McGwire-Sosa rivalry is credited with bringing Major league Baseball back into popularity after fans became disgusted with MLB after the players strike. In fact, the Market has sent the message that it likes Baseball. While Congress may see some Phantom of disgust, the fact is that fans are attending MLB games in increasing numbers.

If the Fans, or the Players Unions, or the Players themselves, or anyone else thought there was a problem, or unfairness, surely all of them have mechanisms to already to address those issues. Since when does Congress need to poke its nose in?

“Ah, but those are America’s heroes! Children are watching them!,” counter our politicians, those Paragons of Virtue and Heroism. “Since children watch them, they need to be held to a higher level!” they say.

Well, when I was a kid, statesmen were my heroes. I read about Lincoln and Jefferson and Washington and a host of politicians. If Congress is so intent on setting a good example, why not concentrate on their own house?

Ah yes, the makeup of the Steroid Scandal Committee is quite interesting.

There’s Tom Davis, who introduced legislation to prohibit government auditors from examining contractors billing records (I’ve never quite figured out how you conduct a fair audit under those conditions.) Or Tom Lantos, the hit-and-run driver who ran over a kid in Massachusetts and sped away in spite of the pleas and shouts of the crowd. Or Jim Bunning, who refused to recuse himself from considering his sons appointment to an appellate judgeship (the American Bar Association expressed “serious doubts” over his appointment). Or Henry Waxman, who strenuously opposes tort reform (for the public good, of course), but whose #1 contributor is the membership of the Association of Trial Lawyers.

Ah, yes, upstanding committee members who set an example for today’s youth, huh? These fine men have suggested that a Baseball player should be forced to sit out 50 games in the event of a ‘steroid’ use, since the youth of America is looking up to them.
Do they think the youth of America does not see what its elected officials do as well? Perhaps each time a Congressman does something that sets a poor example for America’s youth, we should make them sit out the next 50 votes. Or the next 50 elections……

Sitting on my shelf is a bottle of ProLab ThermaPro, a thermogenic designed to raise metabolism and help burn fat. I used this (same basic ingredients as the old Hydroxycut and Xenadrine) several summers ago, while running in the hot Dakota sun every morning while trying to lose weight and tone up (mission: successful!). Ah, but this product contains ephedrine!!! [crowd gasps in horror in the background.] When I used it in 2002, I was using a sports supplement. When the FDA banned it last year, I became the possessor of an illegal substance. When the Court overturned the FDA ban, I was an upstanding citizen again. Then the FDA declared that my 20 mg ephedrine was greater than the amount in the court case, and was illegal, and presto-chango, I’m a criminal again.

And this has been the history of steroids and sports supplements. The non-steroidal Androstendione which was available in every health and vitamin store a few years ago, all of a sudden disappeared because the FDA arbitrarily decided that since it was only “one step away” from a steroid, it is now illegal. However, DHEA, which is two steps away from a steroid, is still OK (for now…stock up while supplies last….)

The steroids that Jose Canseco mentions being used in MLB were by and large completely legal in 1980. Many of them are still legal in much of the world, including industrialized nations such as Germany and Holland. Some (Fina) can be made of 100% legal substances in your kitchen. Others are legal as veterinary substances.

The history of Sports is the history of going the extra mile and being slightly better than anyone and everyone else. Athletes give up much of their personal lives and incur a great personal cost in training. They regulate what they eat. They take vitamin supplements such as Calcium. They take Glutamine to prevent muscle breakdown. They take Milk Thistle and ALA to keep their livers healthy. They take Glucosomine to help repair their stressed joints, and if they’re in trouble, they get shots from their doctors. Some take “stacks” to raise metabolism and speed weight-loss (like my illegal aspirin-caffeine-ephedrine stack). They use Creatine as a muscle volumizer and NO2 to increase muscle pump, while downing extra-heavy whey-protein isolate shakes to increase food to muscle cells. Somewhere along the line Congress is going to find out that many use insulin to increase food nutrition entering the muscle cells as well. Some use 2-step-away prohormones like DHEA, others used 1-step-away-prohormones.’

And yes, some use steroids. Yes, the bar is constantly raised. In the effort to be bigger, better, stronger, greater. And if anyone thinks that taking steroids means you take a pill and you’re suddenly Hulk, they are sadly misinformed. Guys who take steroid injections and just ‘wait’ for the effects find themselves fat and tired. An athlete who has chosen to use steroids will be working his butt off 5-6 days a week in grueling workouts. There is no ‘free ride’ by using steroids.

It is amazing, isn’t it? If someone goes to Beverly Hills and forks over $10,000 to a surgeon to have 40 pounds of lard sucked out of their gut in a two-hour operation, that is not only legal, it’s indicative of being One of the Beautiful People. But if you work your tail off during a 12-week steroid cycle to reduce your body fat from 15% to 6% through arduous workouts, well…..”that’s illegal! That’s immoral! That’s just not right!!!! We must punish baseball players!”

Actually, it seems a hell of a lot more honest to me.

Of course, why stop at baseball players? Do they really think that that high school kids are dealing in ‘roids because of Baseball? Have they considered WWF? Do they think the models on the cover of Mens Fitness go that way from situps and spinach? Have they asked the Governor of California how he got that big? Wake up, gentlemen: when you outlaw a substance, you don’t make it go away….you make it go underground. Anyone remember Prohibition?

What’s more important, is that no one has been able to tell me just who is so harmed by an individual athlete’s choice to juice that it requires federal robocops. Let us *assume* for the sake of argument that Mark McGwire used steroids.

Has he killed anyone? Assaulted anyone? Robbed anyone? Maimed anyone? Can you point to any damage he has caused? (Of course, Congress is probably collectively guilty of all these things). So why the witch-hunt?

There are those who will say that when young people emulate these guys, they are hurt. But that’s like saying that NASCAR should be responsible for kids who drive fast , that McDonalds should be responsible for obese slobs who sit and eat Big Macs every day, and that Clint Eastwood should be responsible for a kid who shoots someone.

If the Players are upset, or the union, or the fans, or the owners, they have immediate remedies and avenues. If they have chosen not to pursue them, perhaps Congress should realize they’re barking up the wrong tree.

We don’t need Congress to decide who should be and shouldn’t be our sports heroes. We’ll do that for ourselves, thank you.