Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hockey is Coming

So, I started getting excited about hockey today. At a recent (hockey) draft party I won a pair of lower bowl tickets for the Thrashers. Also, I work where many of the local Fox Sports guys are my customers and we have been talking about their upcoming coverage of the boys and the new rookie, Evander Kane. So today I was doing some hockey reading, prompted by an email from the Blueland Outsider.

So, here's what my excitement has found:

Evander Kane should be a stud. If not now, then soon.

Last year we grew to be fans of #47, Rich Peverly. Here's hoping that The Pevs Dispenser (credit to whoever coined the name and to the Blueland Outsider for the pic) is able to build on last year's success.

Kovy is getting better every day. He transformed himself after Pevs arrived and the Thrashers put the "C" on his chest. It pains me to say this but there was a good article in the Atlanta Liberal Daily today about Kovy. Check is out here: http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2009/08/21/thrashers-good-fortune-kovalchuks-here-heatleys-gone/

Season and Home Opener is October 3rd. Are you ready?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Injuries stink. I know that they are a part of baseball, but they still stink. The Amazin' Mess in New York has suffered from the injury bug worse than any I can recall. Here's a quick run down of what the Mess have been missing this year:

J.J. Putz (The eighth inning man acquired to help bolster the bullpen, especially in the absence of the next guy)
Billy Wagner (He was traded this week and they knew he was out this year, but still?)
Carlos Beltran
Carlos Delgado
Jose Reyes
and most recently, the team's leader, David Wright

Each of these six guys are perennial All-Stars and capable of carrying a team that has decent starting pitching.

Back here in Atlanta, the home team is facing a sudden rush of health problems. Today's starting center fielder is Reid Gorecki - he was last night's center fielder as well. Reid was playing in Buford just last week (I know, I was there to see him). I would say that he is no higher than third or fourth as far as the choice in Braves optimal decision for center field behind McLouth, Church, and Infante. If McLouth were not on the DL, Gorecki would still be with the G-Braves.
Here is today's key injury listing:

Nate McLouth
Ryan Church
Garret Anderson
Martin Prado

I realize that this is only four guys and one is actually on the DL, but consider that the Braves carry 13 position players. Eight start leaving five bench players. Three are likely unavailable (Prado is uncertain, but likely out today), that leaves two reserves for today, one of which is the back-up catcher, you know he is staying on the bench for an emergency. That makes Greg Norton our lone bench option for today. Yikes.

Go get 'em boys, but don't get hurt, there isn't anybody available to play behind you except maybe Kris Medlin.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Something to Get You Pumped Up

I found this today. Only two weeks 'til kickoff.

Your Tax Dollars

I was troubled, but not really surprised, to read that the president is using tax dollars to run an advertising campaign supporting the health care (d/r)eform bill. Despicable.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favre, Strasburg, and Bertuzzi

So.. Favre is back....again. First he screws the Packers last year (And blames the team for how they handled the situation). Now, after insisting that he is retired for good, he signs a $25 Million contract for tow years with the Vikings. But he screwed them too. He waited until after training camp and after the first two pre-season games because he doesn't like camp. He claimed a rotator cuff problem, but I don't buy it. Favre has become the latest poster boy for lack of class.

In baseball...
Number one overall pick, Stephen Strasburg signed a $15 Million deal last night for four years with the Nationals. Strasburg has never pitched a single inning above college ball yet he is signing a deal like this. This entitlement syndrome (Like I mentioned previously) is catching on and it's not a good thing. Kansas City draft pick (#12 overall) Aaron Crow was drafted ninth overall last year by the Nationals, but failed to sign a deal and played in an independent league last year then re-entered the draft this year. He is exempt from the deadline this year and has until one week from next years draft to sign. The deal he turned down from Washington was worth $3.5 Million. Why do these agents keep filling these kids' heads with nonsense?! The first contract is not the important one. If they are any good, they will get to the show and make their dough. At this pace these kids are just making everyone mad.

And in hockey...
The Wings, who have seen several forwards leave for various destinations this offseason, just signed thug Todd Bertuzzi to a $1.5 Million deal. Yes, that Bertuzzi. I love the Wings, but I still don't know whether Bertuzzi deserves to be in the league. His victim, Steve Moore, who was in the middle of his first full season, still hasn't played another NHL game since the suckerpunch. Is it fair that Bertuzzi has played several seasons since?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Jeremiah is Relevent Today

First, let me apologize for taking six days between posts. I may not have many readers out there, but I might have a few. Its been a week filled with work, week 1 of Disciple Bible Study, and a lack of muse, so to speak.

Now, onto things that matter. In Jeremiah 23, God tells the Hebrew people:

Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams. They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least.

Declares the Lord, in verse 32.

Immediately our president and the leaders of Congress came into my mind when I red this passage this morning. I think of the rhetoric and bold-faced lies being thrown about concerning health care (d/r)eform. Through Jeremiah, God is warning his people about false prophets who speak of magical, Utopian ideas and only tell the masses what they want to hear. There are many examples of such idea politicking, it is not just a phenomenon common to Washington D.C. It just seems to show up most often in D.C.

Friends, it is up to us to actively seek out God and listen to his direction. We must follow the command God gives us in II Chronicles, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Pray for our country. Pray for our country's leaders. Repent. A common theme of the prophets is repent and turn from our ways of sin. Repent and Pray.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Entitlement Syndrome

San Francisco 49ers #1 Draft pick is a prime example of one of the major flaws impacting America today. The former Texas Tech University star wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, is yet to sign a contract with the 49ers, who have the exclusive rights to sign him. Crabtree is threatening to hold out all year and re-enter the NFL draft next year if the Niners fail to offer him the money that he says he "deserves." Crabtree is yet to prove a thing about himself and his ability to compete in the NFL except that he has a star sized ego. The since of entitlement displayed in the sentiment that he is "owed" a certain exorbitant amount before having earned anything is, unfortunately not unique to Crabtree. We each see it everyday in the people we interact with. Most everyone seems to think that they are entitled to certain privileges and prizes. Sometimes they believe the government owes them, other times it is their employer, or some other party. None of these people have done anything to deserve these rewards, in fact the Bible tells us that what we deserve is eternal damnation. I believe this entitlement sentiment is getting us further into trouble. Where is personal responsibility?
If I were the 49ers, I would hold Crabtree to his word and make him sit out all year. They will have greater success without him and he is ruining his own chances for finding a team that will welcome him in the future.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

ABC Coverage of the Sotomayor Confirmation

ABC is the latest of the media juggernauts to blatantly display their liberal bias. The network referred to the confirmation of Sotomayor as a "Jackie Robinson" moment. The problem is that all these democrat senators who according to the left did such a great thing by confirming the first Hispanic justice to the court are mainly the same democrats who, in 2001, had the opportunity to confirm a Bush nominee, Miguel Estrada, to a lower court, the D.C. Court of Appeals. Rather than do so, however, they conducted a filibuster and Estrada never received a vote. Estrada was magna cum laude at Columbia University and later the same at Harvard Law. From there he went on to have a fantastic career. The mainstream media had no problem with the democrats opposing the nomination of Estrada to the D.C. Court of Appeals, yet they were in complete upheaval at those who voiced legitimate dissent with the nomination of Sotomayor, who is an outspoken racist and has been praised for her ideals of decisions based on empathy, rather than the law and the opportunity to legislate from the bench. This double standard is disgusting.

Hot Braves Pitching

Since the Base-on-Strikes on Friday night, the Braves pitching staff has worked 25 2/3 innings. In that span they have allowed three runs to the NL's top team by record. That is a 1.05 ERA. One of those three runs occured in the bottom of the ninth in Sunday afternoon's game when the local nine held an 8 to 1 lead and were working Manny Acosta, who in 2/3 of an inning allowed a run before being removed in favor of Peter Moylan. These guys are H-O-T. The problem is that we have ... ready ... the Nationals for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Nats? you say. Yes the Nats have won eight straight at the time of this post. 4 1/2 half out as of Sunday night. Go Braves.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strike... now take your base?!

Garret Anderson and the rest of the Braves lineup, including Nate McLouth, Yunel Escobar, and Ryan Church, saved Eric Cooper from having his blown call (among the worst I have seen, and we have seen some bad ones) decide the game.

With no outs and a man on first, Jurrjens threw a strike on the outside corner. With Rafael Furcal attempting to steal second on the pitch, home plate umpire Eric Cooper signaled a called strike two, witch second base umpire Chuck Meriwether observed before turning to see the play at second, on which he called the would be base stealer out. One out, two strikes, nobody on base. Except that Ethier was awarded first base on a mystery walk, making Furcal safe at second. After striking out Manny Ramirez, Jurrjens mist his target by a foot and a half to Casey Blake who sent a three run homer to left. That mystery walk cost the Braves one run for sure, and possibly two or three, as well as their starting pitcher in the game.

Since the boys from the A-T-L managed to come back and win in the 12th, all Cooper's botched call cost was some extra work by the 'pen, which did an excellent job (7 2/3 socreless innings). However, I went to sleep thinking we had lost this one and wondering how serious the no doubt ensuing appeal would be taken by Major League Baseball.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yanks v Sox

Tonight's marquee game (as proclaimed by the Northeastern media juggernauts) is the Yankees versus the Red Sox. The Evil Empire versus the "Nation." Just what we need, another nationally televised (MLB Network's game of choice) Yankees-Sox game. On the mound is Joba Chamberlain, who I am sick of hearing about, and John Smoltz, who claimed Atlanta's offer of $2M guaranteed with incentives of up to $10M if he pitched enough innings (which he could do if he was/is as healthy as he claimed to be over the offseason) was not good enough for someone who had given what he had to the franchise. I want to see both pitchers get lit up, maybe see the Yanks' youngster David Robertson get the win, and Mo get another save to add to his amazing career (I currently prefer the "Empire" to the "Nation").

New Racism - The Confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor

New racism is just as bad as old racism. And now, the U.S. Senate is supporting it. Today, the senate voted 68 - 31 to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. I believe this is a terrible precedent. The nine republicans who rejected their principles (part of the reason I do not claim to be a republican, but rather a conservative) will be listed later.

Sotomayor is one of the justices who decided that the Connecticut fire department that threw out the results of the promotion exam due to the fact that only one minority candidate scored a grade worthy of promotion was legitimate. It was a case of racism that was later overruled by a higher court. The racism was against the 16 white males who worked hard and scored a grade that would have made them eligible (out of 17 total who passed, the other was an Hispanic male).

Sotomayor is also the justice who as a guest lecturer stated that a wise Latina's experiences would lend her to make better decisions than a white male. She is stating publicly, as a guest lecturer at university campuses, that she is racist.

One of the characteristics of Sotomayor that President Obama stated publicly as a reason for her selection was her likelihood to make decisions with a level of "empathy." The bench is not supposed to look at a person's position. The bench is supposed to make decisions based on the law and the Constitution.

As promised, here are the nine republicans that voted to confirm Sotomayor, courtesy of Fox News:
George Voinovich of Ohio, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Kit Bond of Missouri, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Mel Martinez of Florida, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

I feel like we are living in Israel or Judah circa 600 B.C. We are headed the wrong direction. Will we listen to those trying to warn us, or like Israel and Judah will we be overcome?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Truth and The Remnant

I am blessed by many things in my life. I have a beautiful wife who loves me and loves God. I have a job, and I enjoy what I do. I am healthy and so is most of my family. I could go on and on.

Another of the many blessings in my life is that my pastor shares and reinforces many of the beliefs and opinions that I have. In fact, I believe that all of the ministers at my church are fantastic and I appreciate the fact the God has placed each of them where they are.

The pastor that I speak of and I both believe that there is a right and a wrong. Apparently, according to a recent Gallup poll that Pastor Fleming cited, he and I are in the minority. In the poll, over 70% of Americans agreed with the statement that, "there is no such thing as objective truth; different people can define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct." Pastor Fleming went on to say in his sermon the following four points which are the backbone for this post:

I. It matters what we believe.
I remember speaking the same idea 11 years ago when I was a graduating senior in high school. I encouraged my fellow students in the church to take the time to know what they believed.

II. It matters that what we believe is the truth.
I could reiterate Pastor Fleming's words here, but I suspect that this blog will be long enough.

III. There is such a thing as truth.
As Pastor Fleming says, God has revealed to us that we can know Jesus Christ, and he, and only he, can save us, and that is truth. There are some things that God has not clearly revealed and in these matters we must not be rigid. However, on the things in which God has clearly made himself known, we must not waiver.

IV. Truth is unchanging.
God's truth is the same today as it was 6000 years ago, and before the world began. It will be the same for all eternity. Likewise, it is the same here in Georgia as it is across the country or across the world.

In II Timothy chapter 4, Paul tells us that there will be many false prophets and those false prophets will be welcomed because they will tell the people what the people want to hear. The prophet Amos was scolded by King Jeroboam and his false prophet. Jeroboam was close to this false prophet because this false prophet told the king what he wanted to hear. Amos, contrarily, spoke God's call for Israel to repent and return to God. The king and the people did not want to listen.

Amos is not the only prophet like this. There have been many. Jeremiah spoke out to Judah, but he too was outcast. Judah's sins were so great that God told Jeremiah to not intercede for them because he (God) would not listen. He also instructed Jeremiah to be celibate, and not to attend funerals or mourn the deceased as a statement against the evil in Judah.

I discovered Jay Albert Noch while reading an issue of National Review magazine. Noch has an essay called, "Isaiah's Job." That is a job like a chore, not Job, the man that God was so proud of 5000 years ago in the time of Genesis. Noch points out that when God called Isaiah, he warned him that the people would not listen. Isaiah wondered why God was sending him, if the people would not listen. God's response was that Isaiah was being sent for the benefit of the remnant, those that didn't drink the mainstream Kool-Aid. This lesson is important today just as much as it was then. There are going to be times when we need to speak the truth. There is truth. Many, likely most, will not listen. Speak the truth for the remnant.

Credit to Rev. Terry Fleming for his sermon titled, "The Importance of Good Doctorin'[sic]"
and to Mr. Jay Albert Noch for his essay, "Isaiah's Job"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The State of Baseball

The Okra Blogs wishes to apologize for the 2-3 days of silence recently. I was returning home with not enough time before I had to get up the next morning. Still, I have two new posts for your perusing.

There has been some serious shake-ups in the world of baseball this week. Here's a quick look:

Roy Halladay, still a Blue Jay (I called that one).

Jake Peavy is now a member of the White Sox. I forgot all about Peavy as nobody had made offers since the spring that came close to what the Padres wanted for him. The Sox gave up four young pitchers. Clayton Richard, who is 25 years old, has appeared in 26 games this year (14 of which were starts) and put up a 4 and 3 record with a 4.65 ERA. Aaron Poreda, who is 22, was sent back to the minors July 21. Before that this year he was 1 and 0 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 appearances out of the pen. He was a first round pick by the Sox in '07. Dexter Carter has been pitching at A-ball. The 4th pitcher is Adam Russell who made 22 relief appearances for the Sox last year with a 5.19 ERA. This year has has pitched at Triple A.

Cliff Lee is now a Philly. The Phils got him for a steal, but I have doubts about his effectiveness.

The Pirates shipped Ian Snell, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, and Adam LaRoche. Earlier they sent Nate McLouth to the Braves. Quick, name another pirate player. waiting.....waiting..... that's what I thought. What is this team's plan?

By trading a younger shortstop for Orlando Cabrera, the Twinkies showed they want to win. He wins everywhere.

Scott Rolen goes from the Jays to the Reds. When healthy and in the N.L., he is fantastic. He is older now that before.

The Red Sox made lots of news. In trades, the acquired Victor Martinez. He can give the captain, Varitek some time off behind the plate, He can DH, and he can play first. Big win for the BoSox. They also traded for Casey Kotchman, who I believe is as good as anyone at first with the glove. Move Yukilis over to third and these Sox are right back in it with the Yanks.

Kotchman was traded for Adam LaRoche, who returns to the Braves. If LaRoche has a typical second half, this is a decent move for the Braves. If he hits .250 which is less than we get from Kotchman and costs us even a little with the glove I will be unhappy with the deal.

There was a little bit of other news surrounding the BoSox this week. More of the notorious 2003 list was revealed. On the list was Manny Ramirez (no real surprise considering his suspension this year), and David Ortiz. I really thought Ortiz was clean and that his decline was due to Dominican age tricks. I guess I was wrong. This whole list is a shame. Performance enhancing drugs are bad for baseball. I hope the MLBPA figures out how to fix things.

Trade particulars from ESPN.com

The Ongoing Battle in Health Care (D/R)e-from

At current, it appears that any votes on health care reform will be waiting until after the August recess. It also appears that there WILL be congressional votes in mid-September immediately following the August recess. In the house, three separate committees (the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Education and Labor Committee) have passed versions of the bill that must now be combined and then voted on. The Senate Finance Committee is looking at a September 15 vote deadline.

You may be saying, "What can I do?" Well, during the August recess, members of congress don't just run away to Aruba or some nice vacation spot. Many do for a short time and some do for longer, but most are campaigning in their constituent arenas. There are going to be quite a few of the now famous town hall meetings. Find one near you and go. It is a great place to give your opinion. Also, you can call their office. Those of us hear in Georgia will most likely meet less resistance that those of you elsewhere. Our congressmen from Georgia have an office that is fairly receptive to the messages we send them. You can find the phone number for your congressmen here http://www.senate.gov/ and here http://www.house.gov/. If getting through by phone doesn't work, send them a note.

Whatever you do, my advice is to tell anybody with a vote the following:
Please vote "No" to any version of a bill that mandates health insurance or to any bill with a government health insurance option.

Instead, encourage those with a vote to seek legislation that helps to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs for doctors and hospitals. Also encourage them to vote for legislation that will give individuals who acquire their own insurance the same tax breaks that business which provide insurance for their employees receive. Legislation such as these will go far in lowering the cost of health care in America.