Saturday, October 31, 2009

Penn State ties Wooden's Bruins with 88th straight win


By Gordon Brunskill-
Centre Daily Times
October 31, 2009

UNIVERSITY PARK — When your team is now getting compared to the UCLA men's basketball squads of the early 1970s, you must be pretty good.

Penn State's Megan Wilson goes for a kill against Minnesota's Ariana Filho (11) and Mia Tabberson at Rec Hall on Friday, October 30, 2009. CDT/Christopher Weddle

The Penn State women’s volleyball team hit another major milestone Friday night at Rec Hall, even if it’s not an official record.

The two-time defending national champion Nittany Lions joined those John Wooden-coached Bruins with their 88th consecutive victory after sweeping No. 7 Minnesota 25-14, 25-16, 25-17.

“If you’re in coaching and your name is in a conversation, and John Wooden’s name is in the conversation,” head coach Russ Rose said, “you pinch yourself.”

The streak, which dates back to a five-set loss to Stanford on Sept. 15, 2007, matches the 1971-74 Bruins among the longest NCAA Division I runs. Within reach is the North Carolina women’s soccer team’s 92-game win streak from the Mia Hamm days in the 1990s. The best all-time stretch is the 137-match win streak by the Miami men’s tennis team.

The top-ranked Nittany Lions (24-0, 12- 0 Big Ten), however, have been paying little attention to these accomplishments. Junior libero Alyssa D’Errico was quizzed about it at a booster club get-together earlier in the day and she had no idea what the number was.

“I know we haven’t lost,” D’Errico said, with teammate Cathy Quillico knocking on the wooden table. “That’s the one thing that I do know. It’s match-to-match. I just know the next team that we play is the one that matters.”

The win featured standout performances above the net by Megan Hodge and in the back row by D’Errico and Quillico.

Hodge rocked in 19 kills — just five more than the entire Golden Gopher team.

“That pretty much says that she was the best player on the floor this evening,” Rose said of the three-time All-American, who was followed by eight kills each from Darcy Dorton and Blair Brown.

Hodge had an array of spikes down the line and cross-court, with soft tips, hard blasts and even a couple at tight angles well inside the 10-foot line, and registered just short of half of the team’s 40 kills and 35 of their 82 total swings to hit .429.

“I don’t like the idea of having to set her so much, for having one player to have almost 50 percent of our kills,” Rose said, “but she was by far the best player and she was playing very well. It made sense to set her. She was due.”

She was playing so well that at one point during the match, after Hodge had drilled the ball into the floor over a pair of Gopher blockers, D’Errico said to Quillico, “She makes it look easy.

“At some points in the game, it was just like, ‘Set Megan the ball,’” D’Errico said. “You know it’s going to be a kill. We have so much confidence, if we do our job in the back row, the ball gets set to her, we’re going to end up winning the game at some point.”

D’Errico and Quillico had their own contributions to the highlight reels, with each making several diving saves to set up the offense. Quillico led everyone with 12 digs and D’Errico added nine.

“Our coaches take a lot of credit for this,” D’Errico said. “They tell us where to go, they tell us what the tendencies are of the hitters and our block definitely does a great job of funneling the ball to Cathy and I.”

That defense, and a 9-7 advantage in blocks led by Arielle Wilson’s six, helped force Minnesota into 23 hitting errors and a .011 hitting night.

“We played really a scrappy defensive style that enabled us to keep some balls in play,” Rose said, “and I think maybe frustrated Minnesota a little bit. It transferred into we got a few runs, got some points and got some things going.”

Lauren Gibbemeyer’s six kills led the No. 7 Gophers (17-6, 8-3), who must finish the season without Brook Dieter. The second-team All-American, who was leading the team and third in the Big Ten at 3.94 kills per set, left the program about two weeks ago for personal reasons.

Notes: Along with 88 straight wins overall, Penn State has won 68 straight at home and 56 in a row in the Big Ten. During the 88-match run, the Nittany Lions have dropped just 14 sets, winning 94 percent of the frames. … Penn State hit .341 for the night. … The team has its first Saturday off all season and does not play again until traveling to Wisconsin next Friday. … With the match on Halloween weekend, many among the 3,512 in attendance showed up in costume.

Obama makes Bush his blame czar

It's now Obama's war, his jobless rate, his debt, etc.

Syndicated columnist
Orange County Register
Friday, October 30, 2009

Valerie Jarrett announced the other day that "we're going to speak truth to power."

Who's Valerie Jarrett? She's "Senior Adviser" to the president of the United States – i.e., the leader of the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth. You would think the most powerful man in the most powerful nation would find a hard job finding anyone on the planet to "speak truth to power" to. But I suppose if you're as eager to do so as his Senior Adviser, there's always somebody out there: The Supreme Leader of Iran. The Prime Minister of Belgium. The Deputy Tourism Minister of the Solomon Islands. But no. The Senior Adviser has selected targets closer to home: "I think that what the administration has said very clearly is that we're going to speak truth to power. When we saw all of the distortions in the course of the summer, when people were coming down to town hall meetings and putting up signs that were scaring seniors to death."

Ah, right. People "putting up signs." Can't have that, can we? The most powerful woman in the inner circle of the most powerful man on Earth has decided to speak truth to powerful people standing in the street with handwritten placards saying "THIS GRAN'MA ISN'T SHOVEL READY." Was it only a week ago that I wrote about this administration's peculiar need for domestic enemies?

The Senior Adviser seems to have forgotten that she is the power. Admittedly, this is a recurring lapse on the part of the administration. There was Barack Obama only the other day, blaming everything on the president – no, no, silly, not him, the other fellow, the Designated Fall Guy who stepped down as head of state in January to accept the new constitutional position of Blame Czar. Musing on problems in Afghanistan, Obama blamed the "long years of drift" under his predecessor. The new president – OK, newish president – has been Drifter-in-Chief for almost a year but he's too busy speaking truth to the former power to get on top of the situation. It could be a while yet. In his more self-regarding moments, such as his speech to the United Nations, he gives the strong impression that the "long years of drift" began in 1776.

Rocco Landesman, head honcho at the National Endowment for the Arts, seems closer to the reality of the situation. In his keynote address to the 2009 "Grantmakers in the Arts" conference, Landesman hailed Obama as "the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar". He didn't mean a "powerful writer" as in a compelling voice, gripping narrative, vivid characterization, command of language, etc. He meant a "powerful writer" as in Caesar was king of the world, and now Obama is. He came, he saw, he stimulated: "If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists."

I suppose so. He could invade somewhere and force the natives to accept degrading roles in NEA-funded performance art. He could take out the Iranian nuclear program by carpet-bombing it with unreadable literary novels. That is, if you "accept the premise" that the United States is the most powerful country in the world. Rocco Landesman may, but it's not clear, from his actions (or inactions) in Eastern Europe, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere, that the president does. But, even so, it seems an odd pitch to "American artists." Rocco Landesman, Speaking Goof to Power, isn't the first Obama groupie to enjoy the kinky frisson of groveling obsequiousness, but he's set an impressive new standard in public revelation thereof. Rocco's aunt, Fran Landesman, is the great lyricist of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" as well as "The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men." But surely there are few sadder middle-age men than her nephew, prostrating himself before his master as the most literate global colossus in two millennia.

Meanwhile, Larry David is now doing televised NEA exhibits on his HBO show "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Christians are said to be "angry" at him because of an episode in which, after he accidentally sprays his urine on a picture of Jesus, his assistant mistakes the droplets for tears and calls in her mother to witness the miracle of Christ weeping. Ha-ha! Oh, those brave transgressive artists! Of course, Christians aren't "angry" in the sense that two U.S. residents arrested last week are. The pair – one an American citizen, the other Canadian – were so "angry" about the Muhammad cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they hatched a plot to kill the artist and his editor. As many commentators pointed out, Mr. David's splashy stunt is a dreary provocation: It's easy to be provocative with people who can't be provoked. If he were to start urinating in a more Mecca-ly direction, he'd find an entirely more motivated crowd waiting for him at the stage door.

But I liked the point made by the Anchoress, a writer at the magazine First Things: Putting Muhammad, et al aside, if Larry David had a yen to urinate hither and yon, wouldn't it have been "braver" to have done it to the religious icon du jour? That's to say, Barack Obama. And then maybe Ashton Kutcher could have marveled at how even Obama's image was empathizing tearily with all 687 million Americans without health insurance. Or, alternatively, dribbling warm champagne from his Norwegian Nobel banquet toast. C'mon, Larry. Sure, you might not have a career afterward, but, unlike any Islamo-provocations, you're not gonna get killed. Just fired, and probably damned as a racist. But at least you wouldn't be a simpering suck-up to power like Rocco Landesman and the other creeps.

At some point the Caesar cult has to manifest itself in an achievement – I mean a real achievement, not merely some dud prize handed out by Norwegian Lefties. Afghanistan is his now: Notwithstanding "years of drift," whether it winds up as victory or defeat is his call. It's Obama's war. It's Obama's economy. The stimulus bill is his stimulus, and for $787 billion it created 30,000 new jobs (according to the government) or (according to the Associated Press) 25,000. Either way, you do the math. It's Obama's unemployment rate, Obama's dollar, Obama's debt. Pace Valerie Jarrett, the truth is you are the power. And those on the receiving end of it are going to be speaking a lot louder in the months ahead.


Friday, October 30, 2009

The Obama White House: Bundlers' Paradise

By Michelle Malkin
October 29, 2009

Like Capt. Renault in "Casablanca," I am shocked, shocked to discover that access peddling is going on in the Obama White House. Perks for deep-pocketed donors? Presidential meetings for sale? The stale Chicago odor of pay-for-play wafting from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Knock me over with a feather.

Despite the president's claimed distaste for the campaign finance practice known as "bundling" (rounding up aggregate contributions from friends, business associates and employees), the House of Obama has been a campaign finance bundlers' paradise from Day One. A new report by Matthew Mosk of The Washington Times just confirms the gob-smackingly obvious: It's business as usual in the era of Hope and Change. O's wealthiest Democratic donors have received lavish receptions, golf outings, bowling dates and movie nights with Obama.

And internal Democratic National Committee documents acquired by the Times reveal that "high-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections." Yup, they're just haggling over the price.

Many Obama bundlers have secured slots on federal advisory panels and commissions. Still more have benefited from the time-honored patronage tradition of rewarding political benefactors with ambassadorships. Clinton did it. Bush did it. And despite all his fantastical, Balloon Boy-level rhetoric of bringing a "new politics" to Washington, Obama's done it, too.

His ambassador to London, Louis Susman, is a Chicago crony with no diplomatic experience who bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for Team Obama and is known as "The Vacuum Cleaner" for his fundraising prowess. His ambassador to France, entertainment mogul Charlie Rivkin, headed up Obama's California fundraising operations, raking in $500,000 for the campaign and another $300,000 for the inaugural. His ambassador to Spain, Boston moneyman Alan Solomont, also bundled the same amounts for the campaign and inaugural.

In June 2008, candidate Obama railed: "We need a president who will look out for the interests of hardworking families, not just their big campaign donors and corporate allies." Immediately after the speech, he headed to a campaign fundraiser at the Manhattan headquarters of Credit Suisse, one of the major investment companies caught up in the subprime lending debacle. President Obama collected $3 million last week at another Manhattan fundraiser after carping about Wall Street's "self-interestedness." Audacity is his middle name.

When Obama inveighs against Wall Street greed and politicians beholden to Big Business, remember this: The Wall Street gamblers that Obama and his wife carped about on the campaign trail shoveled money to his campaign hand over fist. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, hedge funds and private equity firms donated $2,992,456 to the Obama campaign in the 2008 cycle. No fewer than 100 Obama bundlers are investment CEOs and brokers: Nearly two dozen work for financial giants such as Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs or Citigroup.

Obama happily accepted more than $200,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager James Torrey, more than $100,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones and more than $50,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin, chief executive officer of Citadel Investment Group in Chicago. Another notable: Chicago investment banker James Reynolds, who raised more than $200,000 for the Obama campaign while chief executive of Loop Capital Markets. The municipal bond specialist was a longtime friend of Obama's—feting the rising star in his Hyde Park home and convincing friends and associates to open up their wallets more than a decade ago.

In 2003, USA Today reported, Reynolds was caught on FBI wiretaps arranging what prosecutors called a "sham" consulting contract with a gal pal of a Philadelphia mayoral adviser. After the conversations, Reynolds snagged $300,000 in no-bid city contracts for Loop Capital Markets. City officials went to jail over the scam. Reynolds skated. The Obama campaign's only statement? "Jim Reynolds has admitted that he made mistakes, but he has not been charged with any wrongdoing."

Fortunately for Obama bundlers who may find themselves in legal trouble in the future, Clinton-era donor-maintenance fixer Eric Holder (who oversaw the pardon for fugitive financier Marc Rich) is guarding the henhouse at the Justice Department.

Every corner of the Obama administration is stuffed with crony moneybags. Take the first lady's social secretary, Desiree Rogers. More than a party planner, she's a fundraising machine in her own right.
According to left-wing watchdog Public Citizen, Rogers bundled more than $200,000 for Obama and contributed $28,500 to Democratic committees.
Rogers' ex-husband, John W. Rogers Jr., chief executive of multibillion-dollar Ariel Capital Management, played basketball with Michelle O's brother, Craig Robinson, at Princeton. Mr. Rogers also served as a campaign finance bundler for Team Obama—and hung with Obama in the White House on Super Bowl Sunday.

An indignant White House says this is about "friendship," not influence peddling. But as Obama himself noted in 2007: "It is no coincidence that the best bundlers are often granted the greatest access, and access is power in Washington."

Indeed, the Obama White House policy can be summed up in four words: No Bundler Left Behind.


Michelle Malkin [email her] is the author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website. Michelle Malkin is also author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild and the just-released Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.

The Fruits of Intervention: Endless War In Iraq, Afghanistan—And Pakistan, Iran?

By Patrick J. Buchanan
October 29, 2009

If we had it to do over, would we send an army into Afghanistan to build a nation?

Would we invade Iraq?

While these two wars have cost 5,200 dead, a trillion dollars and a divided America facing an endless war, what have we won?

Gen. Stanley McChrystal needs 40,000 to 80,000 more troops, or we risk "mission failure" in Afghanistan. At present casualty rates —October was the worst month of the war—thousands more Americans will die before we see any light at the end of this tunnel, if ever we do.

Pakistan, which aided us in Afghanistan, now has a war of its own to fight. Its army is in a battle in South Waziristan, while the country is wracked by terror bombings, the latest in a Peshawar bazaar that specialized in women's clothing and jewelry and toys for kids. So horrific was the toll even the Taliban and al-Qaida denied any role in it.

The 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are, after almost seven years, to begin pulling out two months after January's election. But a hitch has developed.
Iraq's parliament missed the deadline for setting the rules. At issue: Will voters be allowed to choose individual candidates, or will they be allowed only to vote for slates of candidates?

Gen. Ray Odierno implies that postponement of the election may mean postponement of U.S. withdrawals.

Ominously, in August, terrorists bombed the foreign and finance ministries in Baghdad, and last week blew up the Justice Ministry and Baghdad Provincial Governorate. And the Kurds are now claiming their control of oil-rich Kirkuk is non-negotiable, which crosses a red line in Baghdad.

Next door, a terror attack by Jundallah (God's Brigade) in Iran's southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan killed 40, including two senior commanders of the Revolutionary Guard.

An enraged Tehran pointed the finger at the United States, as there have been charges the CIA has been in contact with Jundallah as part of President Bush's destabilization program to effect "regime change."

But Barack Obama has been in office for nine months—and he would never authorize such an attack on the eve of a critical meeting on Iran's nuclear program. Moreover, the State Department condemned the Jundallah bombing as terrorism and offered public condolences to the families of the victims.

But if we didn't authorize this, who did?

Was the timing of this attack coincidental? Were these just freelance secessionists on an operation unrelated to the U.S.-Iran talks? Or is someone trying to torpedo the talks and push Iran and the United States into military collision?

For this was a provocation. And whoever carried it out and whoever authorized or abetted it wishes to dynamite the U.S.-Iran negotiations, abort a rapprochement and put us on a road to war.

Speculation is focusing on the Saudis, the Gulf Arabs and the Israelis, who have been accused, as has the United States, of aiding PJAK, a Kurdish faction that has conducted raids in northern Iran.

If we have any control of these organizations, we should shut them down. With U.S. armies tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America conducting Predator and cross-border attacks in Pakistan, provoking a war with Iran would be an act of madness.

Looking back, how has all this fighting advanced U.S. national interests?
We have a "democratic" Iraq that is Shia-dominated and tilting to Iran. We have an open-ended war in Afghanistan that will likely do for Obama what Iraq did for Bush. But we can't pull out, it is said, for if we do, Kabul falls and Afghanistan becomes the sanctuary for an Islamist war to take over Pakistan and its nuclear weapons.

And if that should happen, it would indeed be a crisis.

And so, how has all this intervention availed us?

We ran Saddam out of Kuwait and put U.S. troops into Saudi Arabia. And we got Osama bin Laden's 9-11. We responded by taking down the Taliban and taking over Afghanistan. And we got an eight-year war with no victory and no end in sight. Now Pakistan is burning. We took down Saddam and got a seven-year war and an ungrateful Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Turks, who shared a border with Saddam, have done no fighting. Iran has watched as we destroyed its two greatest enemies, the Taliban and Saddam. China, which has a border with both Pakistan and Afghanistan, has sat back. India, which has a border with Pakistan and fought three wars with that country, has stayed aloof.

The United States, on the other side of the world, plunged in. And now we face an elongated military presence in Iraq, an escalating war in Afghanistan and potential disaster in Pakistan, and are being pushed from behind into a war with Iran.

"America rejects the false comfort of isolationism," said George W. Bush in his 2006 State of the Union. And we did reject that false comfort. And now we can enjoy the fruits of interventionism.


Patrick J. Buchanan needs no introduction to VDARE.COM readers; his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, reviewed here by Paul Craig Roberts.

Detroit Jihad

By Robert Spencer
October 30, 2009

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the imam of Detroit’s Masjid Al-Haqq (Mosque of Truth), was killed Wednesday in a shootout with FBI agents. The agents were trying to arrest him on charges of conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, firearms offenses and more. Agents also arrested eight mosque members; then Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught Abdullah’s son, Mujahid Carswell. Two other accused jihadists also fled, and have not yet been found.

According to the indictment, in his mosque in Detroit Luqman Abdullah was preaching “offensive jihad” and the establishment of a Sharia state in North America. This sovereign Isamic state would be ruled by Islamic law – and by the apparent godfather of Abdullah’s movement, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Al-Amin is the former Black Panther and convert to Islam who gained fame under the name H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin is now serving a life sentence for murdering two police officers, while his disciples, like Luqman Abdullah, carry on the message he articulated so memorably in the 1960s: “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.”

In the spirit of his mentor, Abdullah has told his flock: “America must fall.” He has encouraged the Muslims in his mosque to support Hizballah, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. He exhorted them to bestir themselves to pious deeds: “We should be figuring out how to fight the Kuffar” – that is, unbelievers. “We got to take out the U.S. government. The U.S. government is nothing but Kuffars.” Among the unbelievers were FBI agents, about whom Abdullah declared: “Deal with them, deal with them the way, the way they supposed to be dealt with…. It’s not that complicated, man….If they are coming to get me I’ll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody.” A law enforcement official wrote in an affidavit that “Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting” – in accord with Abdullah’s dictum that every Muslim believer should “have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed.”

Abdullah found justification for all this in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which he said “justified stealing, robbing and other illegal acts, as long as they profit Islam.”

One would think that Muslim spokesmen in America would be anxious to prove their moderate bona fides by repudiating Abdullah, praising the efforts of law enforcement officials, and announcing new measures to teach against the understanding of Islam that prevailed at the Masjid al-Haqq and to shore up the moderate Islam that politically correct orthodoxy insists prevails in all mosques in America in the first place. But no such luck. Instead, they praised Abdullah and excoriated law enforcement.

Dawud Walid of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reinforced CAIR’s image as an unsavory group with numerous ties to terror – an image newly reinforced by numerous revelations in the explosive new book Muslim Mafia — as he tried to paint a very different picture of Abdullah: “I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community.” He emphasized the Masjid al-Haqq’s charitable activities, perhaps forgetting that Nazi Germany (and Hamas, and Hizballah) ran social programs as well, and thus their existence is no indication that the one operating them is in every sense benign.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Walid said that a group of imams were going to meet with the head of Detroit’s FBI office, Andrew Arena, to complain, about “linking the weapons and smuggling charges to the Muslim faith” – as if the FBI, rather than Luqman Abdullah, had done this. Arena probably won’t need much convincing: he has already asserted, without explanation, that Abdullah taught “a very hybrid radical ideology – one mainstream Muslims “would not recognize.” For his part, Walid also warned that the death of Abdullah and the arrests of other Masjid al-Haqq would anger Muslims and make them even more suspicious of law enforcement than they already are: “As much as our president says nice, flowery things about Muslims and Islam in Cairo or Istanbul, these types of stories just erode that.”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Alliance of North America, of which Abdullah was a member, complained about the shootout in a statement: “This tragic shooting raises deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents. We urge law enforcement and the media not to take undo advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize … African American Muslims in particular.”

These kinds of statements fall into a pattern that has played out many times before. An Islamic jihadist plots murder and mayhem, explicitly justifying it all by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. Then putatively moderate Muslims, instead of support law enforcement efforts, criticize them and complain about Muslims being victimized and Islam being unfairly linked to terrorism. Generally this is followed by the spectacle of media and law enforcement officials bending over backwards to make sure that no one gets the impression that Islam had anything to do with the bloody plots that the arrested parties were planning.

The problem with this pattern is that no one involved is doing anything to keep the story of Luqman Abdullah and the Masjid al-Haqq from being repeated in other mosques in the United States in the future. No one is challenging the Muslim community here to clean its own house and stop the dissembling and finger-pointing. No one is speaking openly and honestly about what the Qur’an really says, and what the implications are of that fact. No one, in short, is doing much of anything to ensure that Luqman Abdullah, one of the first clergymen in the United States to be killed in a shootout with the FBI, is not just the first of many.

Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter are key in double play that helps New York Yankees win Game 2

By Mike Lupica
The Daily News
Friday, October 30th 2009, 4:00 AM


Mariano Rivera on the mound and Derek Jeter (below) in the infield prove to be a winning combination in the eighth inning.

There was a moment, right before Mo Rivera had to make another pitch in the World Series, make a big pitch and get a big out, where there was a conference at the mound. Derek Jeter came in from shortstop and Jorge Posada came out from behind the plate and there the three of them were, in the middle of it all again at Yankee Stadium on a night like this. Rivera, Jeter, Posada. The Yankees were ahead, 3-1, in Game 2 and Rivera was already in there in the eighth, and now the Phillies had Jimmy Rollins on second and Shane Victorino on first, one out, Chase Utley at the plate. The Yankees needed a pitch from Rivera, an out, needed the game.

In the clubhouse later, Rivera was asked what the conversation was about at the mound and he said, "We just wanted to make sure we kept an eye on Rollins at second. The basics."

The basics. After all the winning he had done in games like this, the Yankees needed more winning from him. Rivera got behind Utley. If he walked him, the bases were loaded and it was him against Ryan Howard, a run-producing machine, now and always. It would have been Howard, the best money hitter of this baseball October, against the greatest money player of them all.

A.J. Burnett was gone by now, after pitching the kind of game he was hired to pitch, giving the Phillies just one run in seven innings. Pedro Martinez was gone, even if he had shown the Stadium and all the people yelling "Who's your daddy?" that he is still a great opponent for the New York Yankees, for any Yankee Stadium, even at 38, even without a fastball that can get to 90, even just going on guile and heart and memory. He had pitched into the seventh last night, left after six hits, finally ended up being charged with all three Yankee runs.

He was still something to see. He had talked on Wednesday, when he talked about everything except President Obama's health-care plan, about how Mo Rivera is the pitcher he has always admired the most.

Now that pitcher had to make a pitch in the eighth. The count went all the way to 3-2 on Utley. Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, elected not to send the runners, thinking Utley would never hit into a double play. Utley hit a hard ground ball to Robinson Cano's left. Cano got the ball away to Jeter for the force on Victorino, who came into the captain of the Yankees hard. Came in hard and got him good on the outfield side of second base.

"Shane got there fast," Jeter said.

Got there and tried to take out the captain of the Yankees with a clean hit. But Jeter got the ball off and made a perfect throw to Mark Teixeira, and Utley was out by a step. Or safe, if you're a Phillies fan. Rivera made the pitch and Jeter made the turn and the Yankees turned the double play. Rivera was out of the eighth. The lead stayed at 3-1. Howard walked back to the dugout. The Yankees were going to win Game 2, not go down to Philadelphia down two games in the Series.

"A tough double play to turn," Jeter said in front of his locker. "But a huge play at the time."

Not just a huge play. The real ending for Game 2. Rivera was asked about Jeter's play and said, "Not bad for an old man."

Somebody said, "You're just supposed to be the old man," and the great Rivera said, "Then he's the one who comes after me."

The Phillies got one more runner on in the ninth, a two-out double from Raul Ibañez. Then Rivera threw his 39th pitch of another two-inning save - and even with a day off that is an awful lot - and Matt Stairs struck out. But that wasn't Rivera's game. His game was the pitch to Utley. When he had to make that pitch, he did. When Jeter had to make that turn, he did. It is how they did all that winning together once, try to do that kind of winning again.

It doesn't happen this way without Burnett pitching the way he did, getting ahead of hitters all night long, not just a fastball on this night, a tight curveball, too, the kind Cliff Lee had in Game 1. Lee gave up one unearned run, went the distance, struck out 10, walked nobody. Burnett struck out nine, walked two, gave the Phillies just four hits, won the game he was hired to win. When it was over, they asked him what it was like to finally pitch in the World Series, and if the occasion was everything he always thought it would be.

"It was way more than I thought," Burnett said. "You try to prepare yourself for these games, this place, this crowd ..."

Big night at the place. Burnett pitched the way he did, Teixeira hit a home run to put the Yankees on the board, Hideki Matsui hit one off Pedro and got the Yankees ahead. Posada knocked in the kind of add-on run in the seventh that the Phillies had gotten in the eighth and ninth the night before.

So Thursday night Posada did something, too. After that came the double play in the top of the eighth. Rivera needed to make a pitch. Jeter needed to make a play. The Yankees got the game they needed. Game on in the Series.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phillies befuddle Bombers in Game 1

October 29, 2009

NEW YORK – The ballpark couldn’t have emptied any faster, turning Sinatra’s lyrics into an eerie echo. “New York, New York” blasted away, full volume, but it couldn’t drown out the Yankees’ shock after Game 1 of the World Series.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: Cliff Lee #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in Game One of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 28, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The Bombers didn’t just lose to the Phillies, 6-1, Wednesday night, they were embarrassed by the Phillies in front a national television audience that was expecting a full-blown war. Instead, baseball’s most dominant offensive machine was shut down – no, obliterated – by Cliff Lee’s monster curveball, which accounted for 10 strikeouts and not a single earned run.

Say what you want about the Phillies – they’re loud, they talk too much, they ran through an inferior league – but they more than backed it up against the Yankees. Lee even managed to rub it in the Bombers’ face, tagging out Jorge Posada with a disdainful pat on the rump in the seventh inning, and catching Johnny Damon’s half pop-up to the mound near his hip in the sixth.

The left-hander insisted, “I try to not be cocky,” but eventually admitted, “after the first three or four innings, I knew it was going to be a good day. I knew I had my stuff.”

Lee’s complete-game performance was highlighted by three key factors: the Yankees were never comfortable with the huge, sweeping arc of his overhand curveball. He toyed with the middle of the lineup, striking out Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez five times.

Second, Lee never gave the Yankees a chance to exploit bad counts. Of his 122 pitches, 80 were strikes – he didn’t walk anyone.

And most importantly, Lee deflated the Yankees almost instantly, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. That left a dark imprint on the Bombers, so much that Joe Girardi was left grasping for a way to console his team, if not himself.

“One thing I know is that [Lee] can’t pitch every day,” the manager said, glossing over the possibility that Lee might otherwise start three times in this Series. That’s terrible news for the Yankees, who now face a must-win scenario against Pedro Martinez, who has the brains and the guts to take down the Bombers, if not the arm.

Suddenly it’ll be up to A.J. Burnett to shut down the Phillies, having watched CC Sabathia fail. That was the biggest shock of all for the Bombers, seeing their ace humbled not just once, but twice, by Chase Utley, who hit dramatic home runs in back to back at-bats in the third and sixth innings.

Utley turned around Sabathia’s heat with incredible ease – blistering a 95-mph fastball over the wall in right. The next time up, Sabathia ratcheted up the velocity, unleashing a 96-mph heater. Utley dented that one, too, launching it deep to right-center.

That gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead, but given how well Lee was throwing, the deficit might as well have been 20 runs. The team that had come back from behind 51 times in the regular season and five more times in the playoffs had no shot – none.

The pressing question is what this means to the Yankees’ presumed road to a world championship. They’d never expected to be beaten so easily be the Phillies. They never considered that, sooner or later, they’d run into a team that wouldn’t make foolish mistakes on the base paths or call on relievers (like Joe Nathan or Brian Fuentes) who were afraid of the pinstripes.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 28: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning against C.C. Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees in Game One of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 28, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Yankees found out there’s no Nick Punto or Vlad Guerrero in the World Series. They found out their own bullpen is less dependable than ever – and that’s especially true of Phil Hughes, who walked the only two batters he faced in the eighth inning and was booed thickly by the Stadium crowd.

The Yankees found out that the Phillies were capable of manufacturing four add-on runs in the eighth and ninth innings, which not only sealed Lee’s victory but demoralized the Yankees, who hadn’t lost a postseason game at home this month.

“We definitely don’t like this situation we’re in,” said Damon. “We can’t lose three more when we’re shooting to win four.”

Jorge Posada was even more candid.

“I can’t really live here [in the aftermath of the loss],” he said. “We have to move on.”

The Yankees have no choice, they’ll have to find a way to cope with Pedro’s change-up, his moxie, his obvious lack of fear. We’ll know soon enough if Burnett has the stomach for this fight.

But before they move on, the Yankees will have to purge themselves of the realization that Phillies were smarter than them, too, and that’s what really hurt. Even the cool, calculating Hideki Matsui was no match for the super-deke that Rollins pulled in the fifth inning.

It started when Matsui, who’d led off with a single to center, was fooled into thinking Rollins was turning a double play on a ball hit by Robinson Cano.

Lee made it all possible, blistering Cano over the inside corner with a power fastball. Cano lifted a benign flare towards short, where it appeared Rollins would field it on a short hop. Matsui, believing a double play was about to be launched by the Phillies’ defense, left the base and took two steps towards second.

But at the last moment, just as it appeared Rollins was going to let the ball drop in front of him, he caught it clean, a half-inch from the ground. Rollins pretended the ball had bounced, stepping on second and firing to first to complete the faux double play, which had Matsui so confused he stood frozen – two feet off the bag, doubled up as Rollins’ throw landed in Ryan Howard’s glove.

The umpires called everyone out after a brief conference, as Matsui, properly dazed, trudged off the field. Later, Charlie Manuel smiled and said, “that was a pretty good deke.”

The manager knew it was the perfect way to bookmark a nice night for the National League champs. Actually it was better than that for the Phillies: they’d made the Yankees blink first in this war of the worlds.

Losing Ground

Hispanic children fall behind their peers quickly, a study finds.

By Heather Mac Donald
October 29, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

A forthcoming study on Hispanic children’s cognitive skills underlines the challenges the country faces in aspiring to close the achievement gap between these children and their white and Asian counterparts. Hispanic “children fall behind their peers in mental development by the time they reach grade school, and the gap tends to widen as they get older,” reports the New York Times. “The drop-off in the cognitive scores of Hispanic toddlers, especially those from Mexican backgrounds, was steeper than for other [low-income] groups and could not be explained by economic status alone. . . . From 24 to 36 months, the Hispanic children fell about six months behind their white peers on measures like word comprehension, more complex speech and working with their mothers on simple tasks.”

This new study, from the University of California–Berkeley, may be unusually blunt in its assessment of Hispanic cognitive development, but it is hardly unprecedented. A 2004 study by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office found a similar decline in Hispanic students’ ability to keep up with their peers in learning English. Children from Mandarin- and Spanish-speaking households begin kindergarten with similar levels of English proficiency, but their paths quickly diverge. The Mandarin-speaking students make continuing progress in mastering English, while the Hispanic students’ advance stalls out in the second and third grades as the demands of California’s English-proficiency test grow more difficult. Mandarin kindergartners establish oral skills in English in one year, the legislative analyst found, and by the beginning of second grade, they have begun developing a mastery of reading and writing, unlike Hispanics. The widening English-proficiency gap between Asian and Hispanic students may reflect parental willingness to expose children to English at home, but the gap occurs in math as well.

This summer in Southern California, I observed Hispanic students who had been taught in English throughout their school careers, yet who possessed very weak formal language ability. An in-class reading assignment at Locke High School in Watts asked students to answer the question: “Why is it important to use all your skills during your teen years?” A ninth-grader wrote in response: “To make it better.” Another question, “What sudden insight came to the engineer?” elicited the answer: “How to put the little mirrors.” While diagnosing the student-written sentence, “The pigs squealed loudly because the’re [sic] bored at the barn,” a high-school English teacher in Santa Ana asked his class: “Why does the dependent clause need to be in the past tense?” A student answered: “Because you’re talking about a lot of people.”

The Berkeley researchers speculate that the early decline in Hispanic students’ language and reasoning skills may reflect inadequate maternal stimulation in the home. And indeed, a Santa Ana elementary-school principal recounted to me her largely unsuccessful efforts to get parents to teach their children such basic kindergarten-survival tools as cutting with scissors and the words for colors. “Kids come in not knowing the alphabet in Spanish or the sounds of Spanish,” she said. “They use three-word sentences; they come in without oral-language ability.”

The Berkeley study will inevitably be used to buttress the Obama administration’s plans to pour billions of federal taxpayer dollars into early-education programs. As a matter of education policy, such efforts represent wishful thinking. Head Start has been repeatedly shown to have no lasting effect on students’ academic performance. Even the most successful and lavishly-funded of such early-intervention programs — the iconic Perry Preschool Project from the early 1960s in Ypsilanti, Mich. — explained only 3 percent of the earnings of its participants at age 40, and about 4 percent of their educational-attainment levels, wrote John J. Miller in NR in 2007. Replicating the Perry Project’s services on a national scale for Hispanic children would be extraordinarily expensive and produce only modest results. Many children who receive early intervention provide inferior intellectual stimulation for their own children, whether for innate cognitive or for cultural reasons.

But the more interesting implications of the study and others like it are for immigration policy. Our de facto immigration policy is currently weighted to a population that appears to require massive additional government education spending — even before formal schooling begins — to be made academically competitive. This choice would not seem to be economically rational, at least so long as we aspire to universal college-going. If the country remains committed to sending a far greater number of students to college, as even many conservatives continue to be, we better get ourselves a different mix of immigrants if we don’t want to bankrupt our education budgets. Alternatively, if the open-borders lobby prevails and Latin American migration continues to dominate our immigration flows, it’s time to acknowledge that many students never will be college material, nor do they need to be to lead productive, fulfilling lives.

— Heather Mac Donald is the John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and co-author of The Immigration Solution.

A reality check on drug use

By George F. Will
The Washington Post
Thursday, October 29, 2009

During his immersion in his new job, Gil Kerlikowske attended a focus group of 7-year-old girls and was mystified by their talk about "farm parties." Then he realized they meant "pharm parties" -- sampling pharmaceuticals from their parents' medicine cabinets. What he learned -- besides that young humans have less native sense than young dachshunds -- is that his job has wrinkles unanticipated when he became director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"People," he says, "want a different conversation" about drug policies. With his first report to the president early next year, he could increase the quotient of realism.

Law enforcement has a "can-do culture," but it also instructs its practitioners about what cannot be done, at least by law enforcement alone. Kerlikowske, who was top cop in Buffalo and then Seattle, knows that officers sweeping drug users from cities' streets feel as though they are "regurgitating perps through the system."

He dryly notes that "not many people think the drug war is a success." Furthermore, the recession's toll on state budgets has concentrated minds on the costs of drug offense incarcerations -- costs that in some states are larger than expenditures on secondary education. Fortunately, the first drug courts were established two decades ago, and today there are 2,300 nationwide, pointing drug policy away from punishment and toward treatment.

Kerlikowske is familiar with Portugal's experience since 2001 with the decriminalization of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Nature made Kerlikowske laconic and experience has made him prudent, so he steers clear of the "L" word, legalization, even regarding marijuana.

Asked whether he thinks that it is a "gateway" drug leading to worse substances, he answers obliquely: "You don't find many heroin users who didn't start with marijuana." And he warns that more intense cultivation of marijuana is yielding a product with notably high THC content -- the potent ingredient.

In 1998, the United Nations, with its penchant for empty grandstanding, committed its members to "eliminating or significantly reducing" opium, cocaine and marijuana production by 2008, en route to a "drug-free world." Nowadays the United Nations is pleased that the drug trade has "stabilized."

The Economist magazine says this means that more than 200 million people -- almost 5 percent of the world's adult population -- take illegal drugs, the same proportion as a decade ago. The annual U.S. bill for attempting to diminish the supply of drugs is $40 billion. Of the 1.5 million Americans arrested each year on drug offenses, half a million are incarcerated. "[T]ougher drug laws are the main reason why one in five black American men spend some time behind bars," The Economist said in March.

"There is no correlation between the harshness of drug laws and the incidence of drug-taking: citizens living under tough regimes (notably America but also Britain) take more drugs, not fewer." Do cultural differences explain this? Evidently not: "Even in fairly similar countries tough rules make little difference to the number of addicts: harsh Sweden and more liberal Norway have precisely the same addiction rates."

The good news is the progress America has made against tobacco, which is more addictive than most illegal drugs. And then there is alcohol.

In "Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson," historian David S. Reynolds writes that in 1820, Americans spent on liquor a sum larger than the federal government's budget. By the mid-1820s, annual per capita consumption of absolute alcohol reached seven gallons, more than three times today's rate. "Most employers," Reynolds reports, "assumed that their workers needed strong drink for stimulation: a typical workday included two bells, one rung at 11 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m., that summoned employees for alcoholic drinks."

The elderly Walt Whitman said, "It is very hard for the present generation anyhow to understand the drinkingness of those years. . . . it is quite incommunicable." In 1842, a Springfield, Ill., teetotaler named Lincoln said that liquor was "like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay, if not the first, the fairest born in every family." Which helps explain why the nation sobered up (somewhat -- these things are relative). One reason crack cocaine use has declined is that a generation of inner-city young people saw what it did to their parents and older siblings.

Kerlikowske can hope that social learning, although slow and intermittent, is on his side. But perhaps he knows the axiom that experience is a great teacher but submits steep bills.


By Ann Coulter
October 28, 2009

The Democrats' all-new "opt out" idea for health care reform is the latest fig leaf for a total government takeover of the health care system.

Democrats tell us they've been trying to nationalize health care for 65 years, but the first anyone heard of the "opt out" provision was about a week ago. They keep changing the language so people can't figure out what's going on.

The most important fact about the "opt out" scheme allegedly allowing states to decline government health insurance is that a state can't "opt out" of paying for it. All 50 states will pay for it. A state legislature can only opt out of allowing its own citizens to receive the benefits of a federal program they're paying for.

It's like a movie theater offering a "money back guarantee" and then explaining, you don't get your money back, but you don't have to stay and watch the movie if you don't like it. That's not what most people are thinking when they hear the words "opt out." The term more likely to come to mind is "scam."

While congressional Democrats act indignant that Republicans would intransigently oppose a national health care plan that now magnanimously allows states to "opt out," other liberals are being cockily honest about the "opt out" scheme.

On The Huffington Post, the first sentence of the article on the opt-out plan is: "The public option lives."

Andrew Sullivan gloats on his blog, "Imagine Republicans in state legislatures having to argue and posture against an affordable health insurance plan for the folks, as O'Reilly calls them, while evil liberals provide it elsewhere."

But the only reason government health insurance will be more "affordable" than private health insurance is that taxpayers will be footing the bill. That's something that can't be opted out of under the "opt out" plan.

Which brings us right back to the question of whether the government or the free market provides better services at better prices. There are roughly 1 million examples of the free market doing a better job and the government doing a worse job. In fact, there is only one essential service the government does better: Keeping Dennis Kucinich off the streets.

So, naturally, liberals aren't sure. In Democratic circles, the jury's still out on free market economics. It's not settled science like global warming or Darwinian evolution. But in the meantime, they'd like to spend trillions of dollars to remake our entire health care system on a European socialist model.

Sometimes the evidence for the superiority of the free market is hidden in liberals' own obtuse reporting.

In the past few years, The New York Times has indignantly reported that doctors' appointments for Botox can be obtained much faster than appointments to check on possibly cancerous moles. The paper's entire editorial staff was enraged by this preferential treatment for Botox patients, with the exception of a strangely silent Maureen Dowd.

As the Times reported: "In some dermatologists' offices, freer-spending cosmetic patients are given appointments more quickly than medical patients for whom health insurance pays fixed reimbursement fees."

As the kids say: Duh.

This is the problem with all third-party payor systems -- which is already the main problem with health care in America and will become inescapable under universal health care.

Not only do the free-market segments of medicine produce faster appointments and shorter waiting lines, but they also produce more innovation and price drops. Blindly pursuing profits, other companies are working overtime to produce cheaper, better alternatives to Botox. The war on wrinkles is proceeding faster than the war on cancer, declared by President Nixon in 1971.

In 1960, 50 percent of all health care spending was paid out of pocket directly by the consumer. By 1999, only 15 percent of health care spending was paid for by the consumer. The government's share had gone from 24 percent to 46 percent. At the same time, IRS regulations made it a nightmare to obtain private health insurance.

The reason you can't buy health insurance as easily and cheaply as you can buy car insurance -- or a million other products and services available on the free market -- is that during World War II, FDR imposed wage and price controls. Employers couldn't bid for employees with higher wages, so they bid for them by adding health insurance to the overall compensation package.

Although employees were paying for their own health insurance in lower wages and salaries, their health insurance premiums never passed through their bank accounts, so it seemed like employer-provided health insurance was free.

Employers were writing off their employee insurance plans as a business expense, but when the IRS caught on to what employers were doing, they tried to tax employer-provided health insurance as wages. But, by then, workers liked their "free" health insurance, voters rebelled, and the IRS backed down.

So now, employer-provided health insurance is subsidized not only by the employees themselves through lower wages and salaries, but also by all taxpayers who have to make up the difference for this massive tax deduction.

How many people are stuck in jobs they hate and aren't good at, rather than going out and doing something useful, because they need the health insurance from their employers? I'm not just talking about MSNBC anchors -- I mean throughout the entire economy.

Almost everything wrong with our health care system comes from government interference with the free market. If the health care system is broken, then fix it. Don't try to invent a new one premised on all the bad ideas that are causing problems in the first place.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fido, a.k.a. the Climate Criminal

Environmental activists live in a fantasyland.

By Jonah Goldberg
October 28, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

The government cannot have my dog.

Don’t tell that to the authors of the new book Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living. They calculate that dog owning is much worse than SUV driving for the planet. So when you see a car heading to the dog park with some happy labs drooling out the window, you should think “climate criminals.”

Meanwhile, in less surprising news, cats (long known as the handmaidens of Satan) have roughly the ecological paw print of a Volkswagen Golf.

Authors Robert and Brenda Vale don’t actually suggest you eat your dog. But they do say we’d be better off if we weaned ourselves from pets that treat Gaia like a fire hydrant. Better to play fetch with our pet chickens and then eat them.

The book has gotten lots of press because dogs and cats sell newspapers. What interests me is how environmental activists live in a fantasyland.

The push in Congress for a huge new carbon tax is a dangerous farce. Yes, CO2 levels and global temperatures have risen since the Industrial Revolution, and that’s something to take seriously. But the political reality is that truly meaningful global restrictions on CO2 emissions in the near future simply will not happen, and pretending otherwise is a waste of time, money, and political capital.

Last week, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing that belief in, and concern for, climate change is evaporating. Belief in global warming has dropped from 71 percent in April to 57 percent; only 36 percent believe man is mostly responsible for climate change. Only 35 percent of respondents said it’s a “very serious problem,” down from 41 percent.

This is after more than a decade of near-relentless fearmongering — er, sorry, “education” — from Al Gore, academia, and Hollywood. They can’t persuade the American people to spend trillions for less than a degree Celsius of cooling a century from now.

No doubt the fact that neither climate models nor doomsday predictions have panned out (there has been no increase in global temperatures since 1998) is a big part of the story.

But my hunch is that the bigger reason for the shift is that Democrats are threatening to really do something about it, and the costs no longer seem hypothetical. Throw in a bad economy, and Americans simply balk. And that’s Americans — the notion that China, India, and Brazil are going to don carbon handcuffs is just silly. Those countries want to get rich, and they’ll gladly sell their carbon to do it.

But the anti-global-warming industry seems to be on autopilot, churning out books that only half-jokingly propose eating your pets. Others insist that Americans will have to restrict themselves to only one child, just like in authoritarian China. If those are the costs, free people will not pay them.

In response to popular reluctance, the Jeremiahs are not only getting more shrill, they’re starting to resent democracy itself, sounding more and more like they want to make an end-run around the people.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, for example, has made no secret of his envy for China’s ability to Get Things Done. In 2005, he wrote: “I cannot help but feel a tinge of jealousy at China’s ability to be serious about its problems and actually do things that are tough and require taking things away from people.” Last month, he lamented that the GOP’s refusal to bend to Democratic cap-and-trade proposals demonstrated that our system of “one-party democracy” is worse than China’s “one-party autocracy.”

Meanwhile, an international bureaucracy pushes “global governance” to combat climate change, heedless of popular sentiment. America’s founders revolted to protest too much taxation and too little representation. The notion that America will sacrifice its sovereignty and treasure — and dogs! — to reduce warming by a fraction a century from now is absurd.

If you cannot afford — politically, morally, or economically — the solution to a perceived problem, then it’s not a solution. We cannot afford to end the use of carbon-based energy, so a better strategy is to develop remedies for the bad side effects of carbon use.

That’s the case Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make in their book SuperFreakonomics, which is already being torn apart by environmentalists horrified at the notion they might lose their license to Get Things Done as they see fit.

Is the atmosphere getting too hot? Cool it down by reflecting away more sunlight. The ocean’s getting too acidic? Give it some antacid.

The technology’s not ready. But pursuing it for a couple of decades will cost pennies compared with carbon rationing. Moreover, you just might get to keep your dog.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. © 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Turkey: An Ally No More

By Daniel Pipes
October 27, 2009

“There is no doubt he is our friend,” Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, says of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even as he accuses Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman of threatening to use nuclear weapons against Gaza. These outrageous assertions point to the profound change of orientation by Turkey’s government, for six decades the West’s closest Muslim ally, since Erdoğan’s AK party came to power in 2002.

Three events this past month reveal the extent of that change. The first came on October 11 with the news that the Turkish military – a long-time bastion of secularism and advocate of cooperation with Israel – abruptly asked Israeli forces not to participate in the annual “Anatolian Eagle” air force exercise.

Erdoğan cited “diplomatic sensitivities” for the cancelation and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu spoke of “sensitivity on Gaza, East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque.” The Turks specifically rejected Israeli planes that may have attacked Hamas (an Islamist terrorist organization) during last winter’s Gaza Strip operation. While Damascus applauded the disinvitation, it prompted the U.S. and Italian governments to withdraw their forces from Anatolian Eagle, which in turn meant canceling the international exercise.

As for the Israelis, this “sudden and unexpected” shift shook to the core their military alignment with Turkey, in place since 1996. Former air force chief Eytan Ben-Eliyahu, for example, called the cancelation “a seriously worrying development.” Jerusalem immediately responded by reviewing Israel’s practice of supplying Turkey with advanced weapons, such as the recent $140 million sale to the Turkish Air Force of targeting pods. The idea also arose to stop helping the Turks defeat the Armenian genocide resolutions that regularly appear before the U.S. Congress.

Barry Rubin of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya not only argues that “The Israel-Turkey alliance is over” but concludes that Turkey’s armed forces no longer guard the secular republic and can no longer intervene when the government becomes too Islamist.

The second event took place two days later, on October 13, when Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem announced that Turkish and Syrian forces had just “carried out maneuvers near Ankara.” Moallem rightly called this an important development “because it refutes reports of poor relations between the military and political institutions in Turkey over strategic relations with Syria.” Translation: Turkey’s armed forces lost out to its politicians.

Thirdly, ten Turkish ministers, led by Davutoğlu, joined their Syrian counterparts on October 13 for talks under the auspices of the just-established “Turkey-Syria High Level Strategic Cooperation Council.” The ministers announced having signed almost 40 agreements to be implemented within 10 days; that “a more comprehensive, a bigger” joint land military exercise would be held than the first one in April; and that the two countries’ leaders would sign a strategic agreement in November.

The council’s concluding joint statement announced the formation of “a long-term strategic partnership” between the two sides “to bolster and expand their cooperation in a wide spectrum of issues of mutual benefit and interest and strengthen the cultural bonds and solidarity among their peoples.” The council’s spirit, Davutoğlu explained, “is common destiny, history and future; we will build the future together,” while Moallem called the get-together a “festival to celebrate” the two peoples.

Bilateral relations have indeed been dramatically reversed from a decade earlier, when Ankara came perilously close to war with Syria. But improved ties with Damascus are only one part of a much larger effort by Ankara to enhance relations with regional and Muslim states, a strategy enunciated by Davutoğlu in his influential 2000 book, Stratejik derinlik: Türkiye’nin uluslararası konumu (”Strategic Depth: Turkey’s International Position”).

In brief, Davutoğlu envisions reduced conflict with neighbors and Turkey emerging as a regional power, a sort-of modernized Ottoman Empire. Implicit in this strategy is a distancing of Turkey from the West in general and Israel in particular. Although not presented in Islamist terms, “strategic depth” closely fits the AK party’s Islamist world view.

As Barry Rubin notes, “the Turkish government is closer politically to Iran and Syria than to the United States and Israel.” Caroline Glick, a Jerusalem Post columnist, goes further: Ankara already “left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis.” But official circles in the West seem nearly oblivious to this momentous change in Turkey’s allegiance or its implications. The cost of their error will soon become evident.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

San Francisco has to pay for its sins

In this novel set in 2040, the U.S. has split into an Islamic Republic and a Christian Bible belt

by Mark Steyn on Thursday, October 22, 2009 3:00pm

Seven and a half years ago, a girls’ school in Mecca caught fire. Many of the pupils were able to escape the burning building, but unfortunately they ran straight into the hands of the mutaween, Saudi Arabia’s “religious police,” who flayed them for having fled the conflagration without first putting on their head scarves and then drove them back to die in the flames. Fifteen schoolgirls perished—for being “immodestly” dressed. Remember that story? Robert Ferrigno does:

“The upper windows of the madrassa blew out, glass shimmering as it fell through the air. Five girls clustered on the outer balcony, far above the street, raising their arms to the sky, howling, their white night clothes billowing up past their knees . . .

“Three teenagers leaped through a ground-floor window, sprawled on the ground for a moment, bleeding, then ran toward their parents. Jenkins intercepted them, whipped them back, the tips of his beard smoldering, pinpricks of red light surrounding his face as the flail rose and fell. Police joined in, pushing the girls back into the flames.”

Jenkins? That’s right: “Mullah Jenkins.” In his new novel Heart of the Assassin, Robert Ferrigno recreates the Saudi school burning in every particular except one: the madrassa is now in America.

I recall the original report very clearly. It was not long after 9/11, and it was hard not to be struck by the contrast: on the one hand, the brave men of the New York Fire Department pounding up the stairwell of the World Trade Center to save innocent victims from the inferno; on the other, the brave men of the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice forcing innocents back into the inferno in order to protect their “honour.” The incident seemed to distill something profound about two cultures, and serve as an implicit rebuke to Edward Said’s insistence that each was too “intertwined” with the other to be able to “draw the line”: the respective authorities’ response to fire evacuation seemed a pretty clear line.

Seven years is a long time for such a vivid image to strike the fancy of a novelist. If truth is indeed stranger than fiction, nowadays that may be a conscious choice: Der Spiegel reported the other day that the Droste publishing house of Düsseldorf had cancelled a new novel about “honour killing” in Germany, pleading the now familiar “safety” concerns.

Ferrigno’s “Assassin” trilogy was his response to a simple question he posed in the early days of the post-9/11 era: “What if it’s a long war?” In a short war, bet on technology—smart bombs and unmanned drones. In a long war, bet on will—or, as the novelist put it, “it’s the spiritual strength of the combatants that matters.” We like to think that those fearless firemen are emblematic, but what if that German publisher is more typical? What then?

For Ferrigno, the answer was North America circa 2040: the United States has split into an Islamic Republic in the north and west, and in the southeast “the Belt”—a Christian Bible belt. The edges are being nibbled off everywhere: a hedonist playground in the Nevada Free State, the Mormon Territories, Nueva Florida, a mighty Mexico reborn as the Aztlán Empire and annexing turf from California to Texas, and (golly) a Dominion of Canada that’s somehow managed to seep south of the 49th parallel and grab great chunks of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Islamic Republic is mostly “moderate”—more Morocco than Yemen—but San Francisco, formerly the land of Milk (Harvey) and Nancy (Pelosi), is paying the price for its past. Renamed New Fallujah, it’s under the control of the Black Robes, a Saudi-style mutaween. Don’t waste your time looking for your favourite gay bar. The fornicators and sodomites have scrammed. And what’s left of those who didn’t can be found on the city’s new landmark: the Bridge of Skulls, formerly the Golden Gate.

Meanwhile, the Belt is less a bastion of republican virtue than an impoverished swamp of garish sentimentality whose national shrines are Waco and Graceland.

It’s an ingenious scenario brilliantly realized, and its detail is persuasive enough to enable Ferrigno to pursue all the traditional thriller conventions, the molls and McGuffins, against a familiar yet utterly transformed landscape. If the final third of the trilogy doesn’t seem entirely to resolve the story of maverick fedayeen Rakkim Epps, perhaps that means that the author will one day return to his Islamic Republic for further dispatches. Meanwhile, there are two aspects of his Islamotopian future I came especially to appreciate as the saga progressed: his villain, a would-be Twelfth Imam known as “the Old One,” is a very literal embodiment of Islam’s pre-modernity and fecundity. The guy is a century and a half old, so he plays a long game: “The world was a vast, multilayered chessboard, and the Old One took years between moves.” His patience is aided by multitudes of children by dozens of wives, “the many seeds planted across the earth, beautiful girls raised among the kaffirs in the Belt and Russia and China, raised among the faithful in Arabia and Europe.” His daughters marry powerful men. His sons wield it for themselves: one becomes pope. The Old One is the apotheosis of Muslim demographic insinuation.

The other shrewd insight is one I was skeptical of back when the trilogy started, in Prayers for the Assassin: this Islamic Republic is the fruit not of Muslim fertility but of conversion. As the new nation’s bestselling history book explains: “Even the election in 2008 of a multiracial president named after the grandson of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) could not prevent a cruel, godless capitalism from sending jobs overseas, where labor costs were cheaper, leaving millions at home unemployed, and embittered . . . Children and adults could draw no moral sustenance from a permissive culture that celebrated immorality and materialism.”

Or as someone muses more philosophically: “It’s the modern, the man without faith or future, who’s the easiest to turn . . . Freedom is a terrible burden, much too heavy for the weak man to bear.” Recently, a British police bigwig told me that 100,000 people converted to Islam last year. The figure didn’t seem possible: Jews have been in Britain for centuries and their numbers are down below 200,000. Never mind immigration or high birth rates, Islam surely can’t be converting in the space of a single year a number equivalent to half the entire Jewish population.

But it will, one day, soon. Let’s say you work in an office in Brussels, Amsterdam, or some other city on the brink of majority Muslim status: so management installs a prayer room, and a few co-workers head off at the designated time, while the rest of you get on with what passes for work in the EU. A couple of years go by, and now a few more folks scoot off to the prayer room. And meanwhile everybody young and hip is Muslim. As Ferrigno recounts: “Shania X, the most popular country music recording star in the world, made her declaration of faith at the Grand Ole Opry. A week later, three major movie stars declared their submission . . .  These high-profile conversions created a cascade effect.”

I can see that happening—not in America, perhaps, but in Britain: a former Spice Girl, three Premier League footballers, and, if not a cascade, at least trickle-down Islamics. Why not fit in? Go along to get along . . .

Finally, a point of personal privilege, as the parliamentarians say. Reviewing Heart of the Assassin in FrontPage Magazine, David Forsmark noted:

“Here is a clue as to just how great Ferrigno’s Assassin trilogy is: giving a rave review to the first book was part of the indictment against columnist Mark Steyn when he was hauled before Canada’s so-called Human Rights Commission. Recommendations don’t come any higher than that.”

Indeed. Any self-respecting author would be proud to have “As Non-Recommended By The Canadian Human Rights Commission” emblazoned across his cover. What’s sadder is that Mr. Forsmark is correct: my review of Prayers for the Assassin was Exhibit No. 3 in the Canadian Islamic Congress’s indictment of Maclean’s systemic “Islamophobia.” The plaintiffs painstakingly listed every plot twist (“1) America will be an Islamic Republic by 2040 . . . 2) There will be a break for prayers during the Super Bowl,” etc.) without betraying any understanding that Robert Ferrigno’s book is a work of fiction.

Invited to prosecute a complaint resting on the proposition that discussing the plot points of a novel constitutes a “hate crime,” any justice system worth the name would have laughed it out of court. So, needless to say, the Canadian, British Columbia and Ontario “human rights” regimes took it seriously. Which is one of the more obvious reasons why any freeborn citizen should reject their jurisdiction: these self-aggrandizing statist hacks are simply too bone-crushingly stupid to have any say over your lives.

There are enough Muslim fans of Mr. Ferrigno for his novels to have been translated into Turkish and Arabic. But here’s how nutty Canadian “human rights” are: a publisher in Egypt is free to publish the “Islamophobic” Ferrigno. But a publisher in Canada will be dragged into court in Vancouver merely for running a favourable review.

You begin to see why the Old One fancies his chances.

Dismantling America

Will the country wake up before it’s too late?

By Thomas Sowell
October 27, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many “czars” appointed by the president, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another “czar” would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers — that is, to create a situation where some newspapers’ survival would depend on the government’s liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called “experts” deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life-and-death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America?

How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.

How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries.

We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brownshirts of dictators than like anything American.

How far the president will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.

Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to “change the United States of America,” the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles, and the people of this country.

Jeremiah Wright said it with words: “G** damn America!” Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community-activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn’t know what such people were like, when he had associated with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government — people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, and resent America’s influence in the world.

Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed. Fox News is now high on the administration’s enemies list.

Nothing so epitomizes President Obama’s own contempt for American values and traditions as trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year — each bill more than a thousand pages long — too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question — and the biggest question for this generation.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2009 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Andy dandy in postseason again

New York Post
October 26, 2009

Andy Pettitte was the lone figure on the field at Yankee Stadium early Saturday night. The lights were off and a strong rain was falling. Game 6 of the ALCS had been postponed about an hour earlier. Pettitte now had a huge workday ahead of him in 24 hours, but he ran, and ran on a doused warning track.

And that felt right: Pettitte working hard in October.

For now this can be said about Pettitte: When it comes to the postseason, no pitcher has ever started more games, won more often and won more clinching games. Sure Pettitte has benefited from pitching for superb teams and in an era with three rounds of playoffs. But it is one thing to have opportunity. Another to capitalize.

And, of course, one reason the Yankees have enjoyed all this success is because they have had Pettitte to pitch so often in the playoffs. There will be many lasting images of this time in Yankees history. One of the most enduring will be Pettitte, the cap pulled low on his forehead, his glove held high covering everything but his dark eyes.

Often at this time of year, this has looked like victory. It did again last night.

"He really is a big-game pitcher," Jorge Posada said. "He really is amazing."

Pettitte further galvanized his rep in ALCS Game 6. For he not only won, but he won when a loss would have been so debilitating, when a loss would have meant a win-or-go-home Game 7 tonight, when loss would have meant using CC Sabathia in the decisive contest and harming World Series chances even if the Yankees prevailed.

Pettitte kept Sabathia in line for Game 1 against the Phillies by limiting the Angels to one run in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-2 triumph that sent the Yankees to their 40th World Series. Pettitte is going to his eighth Series, seventh as a Yankee, and considering Philadelphia's lefty might, he projects as pretty darn vital again.

In a euphoric clubhouse roiled by champagne, beer, blaring music and hearty hugs, Hal Steinbrenner called Pettitte "the best investment I made all year long." And that was even with $423.5 million earmarked for Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixiera. At the end of a tough negotiation, Pettitte accepted a major pay cut, down to $5.5 million plus incentives. It felt like a dismissive afterthought.

"Everybody knows I wasn't really happy with the contract I took," Pettitte said. "But I wanted to take it to come back here to have a chance to do this."
So he did this: Won his 16th playoff game, eclipsing John Smoltz. Generated his fifth clinching win, topping Roger Clemens, Catfish Hunter and Dave Stewart. And he did it in style, producing his 14th postseason start in which he yielded one or no earned runs.

To prepare for this moment, Pettitte began running under the Tampa sun in February and continued in a late October deluge in New York because, he said, "I stick to my routine, I run before I start."

So he had the endurance when the biggest out of Game 6 was needed. Two outs, two runners in scoring position, Yankees up by two, 3-1 in the sixth.
Pettitte fell behind Kendry Morales 3-0. A walk and Joba Chamberlain would be in the game. A hit and the score would be tied. Pettitte told himself not to give in. He threw a fastball for a strike, and then a hard sinker. Morales smacked the ball back toward the mound. In a goalie reflex, Pettitte swatted the ball down with his glove, retrieved, threw to first. Crisis averted, lead preserved.

"That is what we expect of Andy, especially in games like this," pitching coach Dave Eiland said.

And the Yankees got it, again. Pettitte left with one out in the seventh to a standing roar from the largest crowd ever at the new Stadium, 50,173. A cheer for today, but also for all the previous October heavy lifting.

"I didn't want to put it on CC," Pettitte said. "I didn't want him to have to pitch a Game 7."

There is no Game 7. Cap low, glove high: It looked like October victory in The Bronx again.


Rivera saves Yanks, same as it ever was

October 26, 2009

NEW YORK – By the end Yankee Stadium had turned into Animal House – all that was missing were the kegs. The Angels were falling apart, literally, dropping the ball, throwing it away, ruining their reputation for being the last American League teamthat wasn’t afraid of the Yankees.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Jorge Posada(notes) #20 and Mariano Rivera(notes) #42 of the New York Yankees celebrate their 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the top of the ninth inning of Game Six of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 25, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The New York Yankees won the ALCS series 4-2 over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to capture the American League pennant. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It made for a great show for the sell-out Stadium crowd, everyone body-surfing their way to the World Series. The Twins caved in a hurry and the Angels were softer than anyone knew, but the Yankees are bracing for a miniature apocalypse with the Phillies. Finally: a notheast-hardened team that’s unmoved by the Bombers’ mythology.

But no one was thinking about this Turnpike turf war just yet. For one night, the Yankees were cherishing their gifts in a 5-2 victory in Game Six of the AL Championship Series – notably the Angels’ errors that led to two unearned runs in the eighth inning, Andy Pettitte’s crisp 6.1 innings and Mariano Rivera’s six-out save.

It was only fitting that the game’s greatest closer delivered the Yankees’ first pennant since 2003. For once in this series Joe Girardi controlled his urge to over-manage, marginalizing Joba Chamberlain (two-thirds of an inning) and by-passing Phil Hughes altogether.

When the first note of “Enter Sandman” filled the ballpark, it was as if Girardi had taken a blood oath to never again stray from the straight and narrow path of late-inning success. Rivera jogged in from the bullpen, the crowd letting out a roar that was more like a thick wall of sound.

How many times have we seen Rivera accomplish the near-impossible, reducing major league hitters to jelly – a thousand? A million? He allowed the Angels a run in the top of the eighth, but Mike Scioscia’s players, noted for their sound, crisp defense all year, made two appalling errors in the bottom half of the inning. Howie Kendrick dropped a throw covering first base on Nick Swisher’s sacrifice bunt. And then Scott Kazmir threw Melky Cabrera’s attempted bunt somewhere to China.

It was an embarrassing end for a team that really was sloppy, confused and surprisingly under-motivated. Except for a late, two-run rally in Game Five, did the Angels ever play like their hearts were in it?

By the time they stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, the Angels knew the last three outs would be a formality. But Yankees fans didn’t treat it that way. Rivera got Howie Kendrick to bounce out to Mark Teixeira for the first out, and induced a harmless fly ball from Juan Rivera. The Angels handed pinch-hitter Gary Matthews a bat as their last hope and – talk about a pigeon being sucked into the turbines of an oncoming 757 – Rivera quickly had two strikes on him.

The crowd was now on its feet, woozy with pennant-lust, every Yankee perched along the top step of the dugout, Alex Rodriguez, on his way to his first World Series as a Yankee, seemed frozen at third base.

It might’ve been fitting for A-Rod to grab that final out, like Charlie Hayes in the 1996 World Series, but not symmetrical as Rivera destroying Matthews with a cut fastball for the ages.

It was the same devastating pitch the Yankee closer has been using for a decade, and like the thousands of hitters before him who were over-matched, Matthews simply swung through it for strike three.

The ball exploded in Jorge Posada’s glove, turning the place into an open-air asylum. It was Animal House, alright, but instead of Belushi you heard Frank Sinatra booming “New York, New York” over and over into the night.

The Yankees mobbed each other, back-slapping, high-fiving, hugging each other – men’s substitute for tears. They sought out Pettitte, who set a major league record with his 16th post-season victory. They crushed CC Sabathia, who was voted the ALCS Most Valuable Player, and A-Rod, who was freed from the prison cell of his past October failures with another brilliant night. He reached base in all five trips to the plate, raising his post-season average to .438.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Mariano Rivera(notes) #42 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the top of the eighth inning in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 25, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

And the Yankees made sure to find Rivera in the chaos because as Derek Jeter would later ask, “where would we be without him?” The right-hander, just shy of his 40th birthday, continues a run of excellence that defies the laws of aging.

Man or machine? Rivera has appeared in 47 post-season games at home during his career, and has allowed an earned run in just three of them. There were rough moments in 1997, 2001 and 2004, so it’s unfair to say Rivera has been perfect. He is the first to admit, “I’m only human.”

But all night, the Angels knew time was running out on them. They trailed by two runs after the fourth, and Scioscia realized that unless he could tie the game before the seventh, his hitters would have to deal with Rivera over a span of six outs.

Pettitte spoke for everyone when he said, “when we bring Mo in, we feel like the game is over.” Rivera remains the single greatest asset the Yankees have known since 1997, and now he has a chance for his fifth Series ring.

The Phillies are waiting for Rivera, for A-Rod, and, yes, CC, too, even as he’s preparing to pitch in Games 1, 4 and 7. The NL champs have been busy crushing faux powerhouses for the last three years, starting with Mets in 2007 and now the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009. Jeter was right when he said, “when you’re in the playoffs, every round gets tougher and tougher.” But the difference between the Yankees and Phillies will be in the bullpen and, specifically, those last three outs.

You don’t have to ask who holds the advantage between Rivera and Brad Lidge. The Yankees just beat an Angels team that believed destiny was theirs, only theirs, and it was Rivera who made it final, whipping one more perfect cutter by Matthews.

“This is very tough for us, it really stings,” Scioscia said. “But the bottom line is the Yankees played better than us. They beat us, and they deserve (to go to the World Series).”

The champagne flowed like crazy in the home clubhouse, everyone wishing the party could go on forever. But there’s one more stop along the way. The World Series awaits, and somewhere, somehow, you know the Yankees will eventually turn to Rivera with a familiar October request: save us.

Same as it ever was.