Is it me, or what?
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by Ron Cruger
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I guess it was the two hundred and fifty million dollar contract that Alex Rodriguez signed a few years back that started the insanity of paying baseball players millions of dollars a season for playing the game. Now we have pitchers winning five games a year or hitters batting .230 pulling down ten million bucks or more during the season. The pay for brain surgeons, U.S. Presidents, astronauts, Army generals or college professors pales to insignificance compared to modern baseball players.
Rodriguez of the Yankees leads the major leagues with a $28,000,000 yearly salary. Manny Ramirez, now of the Dodgers gets $18,929,925 a season. Carlos Beltran of the Mets gets $18,622,810. Adam Dunn of Cincinnati gets a check for $13,000,000 a year. Itíll be interesting to see which of these guys gets inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but then again, making $28,000,000 a year might beat earning a Hall of Fame plaque.
Team payrolls have skyrocketed. The Yanks pay out $218.3 million a year followed by the Red Sox with a $155.4 million annual tab. The Dodgers payroll is $125.6 million a year.
All of this results in some super-inflated ticket prices. If you want to watch a Yankee game from a field level seat it will cost you $400.00. A loge seat will cost you $350.00. If you have Clark Kent eyesight or some powerful binoculars you can still get a seat in the far off bleacher section for $14.00.
So, some of the things I donít understand is how many citizens can afford $400 for one seat at a Yankee game. Take a guest and a kid or two, add in some beers and hot dogs and youíve spent the equivalent of buying a used car.
And while youíre watching Rodriguez hit a homer or strike out, bear in mind that heís earning $173,000.00 for playing in that game.
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I wonder if the reason that General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are in the mess that theyíre in has anything to do with their not making cars that people want to purchase. If word got around that General Motors made cars that were superior to Japanese brands I have a hunch more people would be buying Chevrolets, Buicks or Pontiacs. Same with Ford. Same with Chrysler. The more people found out that Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans were built better than American cars the more they bought them and left Fords and Chryslers sitting on the new car lots and the deeper in debt fell the American car builders. Maybe we should bail out these American car makers, but I wouldnít do it unless we kicked out some of the top level guys and replaced them with men and women who know how to build dependable cars Ė and do it better than the Japanese. Unless we get that assurance it might be better to let them go bankrupt. If we donít we would just be prolonging the agony.
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The E-mail waves are filling up, now more than ever, with those diatribes at the Democrats and/or liberals. Iím getting more of those creative, but nasty, messages that are filled with innuendo, falsehoods and accusations about the secret agenda of president elect Obama and his wife. These ultra-conservative dispatches portray a United States doomed to sink under the nefarious weight of the Obama leadership. All this, before the man has even taken office.
What I canít figure is the almost total lack of those inventive, fanciful and smutchy e-mails about the current presidential office holder. For some reason, beyond me, the befouled rhetoric has Democrats and or liberals as their singular targets. Either those ultra-conservatives are more creative and perceptive than the Democrats or the Democrats are just too feeble and feckless to engage in malice-based innuendo. Or perhaps that is one of the major differences between the two parties.
Seems that the man and the party that is responsible for the invasion of Iraq, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the sorrowful response to Katrina, the plunge of our economy and our trifling world wide image would be prime targets for equal antagonism and some rancid e-mail creations.
But please donít send them to me!
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Evidently, according to news sources, handguns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles are rapidly moving off the shelves of gun shops and into the hands of people who fear that President-elect Obama will restrict their right to own a gun. I doubt if that will happen, but Iíd be happy if there are some restrictions placed on the average citizen purchasing grenade launchers, fifty caliber machine guns that can fire a bullet through a Buick or shatter a tank from a mile away. Seems a trifle more than is needed to kill a deer or a partridge in a pear tree.
Might also be a good idea to keep these weapons out of the hands of nut-cases and potential assassins, murderers and high school killers.
Iím not worried about our new president. Not a bit. Nuts with guns worry me.
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What kind of place votes back into office a guy like Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska? Theyíre still counting the votes between Stevens and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Iíd like our children to find out that if you steal from American citizens you go to jail Ė and you lose your job Ė even if you are a United States Senator.
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Iím not sure of which businesses have already received billions of dollars in handouts from our representatives in Washington. I think that the giant insurance firm A.I.G. has received a hundred and fifty billion dollars or so, but Iím not sure if theyíre done taking our tax money. Iíve read that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is arranging for the House to provide aid to the ailing auto industry. Iíve read about meetings in Washington with all sorts of people, discussing what to do with the 700 billion dollars. I donít know who is going to get a portion of that giant package, but my bet is that the hawks and vultures are now circling over the Treasury building, just waiting to pounce and escape with a portion of that 700 billion dollars.
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I donít feel good about our countryís debts. We owe Japan almost $586 billion, China $541 billion, United Kingdom $307 billion, OPEC nations $180 billion and banking centers in the Caribbean $147 billion. That adds up to $2.67 trillion dollars. We pay interest on these debts.
Keep your eye on these figures. They have a lot to do with the taxes that we will pay as will our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond will be paying.