Friday, January 30, 2015

Puff Piece on AG Nominee Lacks Substance

Puff Piece on AG Nominee Lacks Substance
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 29, 2015

A terribly written article by Kevin Johnson of USA Today for The Indianapolis Star about the Senate confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch lacked substance and any relevant information regarding the type of attorney general Lynch will be.

If confirmed, Lynch will replace the often contentious Eric Holder, known to flout the law on more than one occasion. In Johnson’s puff piece he quoted Lynch as saying “If confirmed as attorney general I will be myself,” in response to Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn’s question, “You’re not Eric Holder, are you?”

In fact that was the crux of Johnson’s article, “AG nominee Lynch assures Senate she’s not Holder.”

What Johnson failed to report is how Lynch said prior to Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she admires Holder, considers him a role model, and would continue his work as the next attorney general as nominated by Barack Obama.

What Johnson also failed to report, and should have been the subject of the headline, is Lynch’s support of illegal aliens being allowed to work legally in the United States. In an answer to a question asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Lynch said “Senator, I believe the right and the obligation to work is one that is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here. Certainly, if someone is here—regardless of status—I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.”

For the presumptive top law enforcer in the nation, the support of miscreants further breaking the law should instantly disqualify Lynch from the position of attorney general. Lynch further stated that she does not interpret Obama’s executive order regarding the protection of upwards of five million illegals as amnesty. “I did not read it as providing a legal amnesty,” said Lynch. Yet none of this important information found its way into Johnson’s “news” article.

Those people who cross the border illegally have broken the law. They should not be entitled to work in the United States, free medical/health care, welfare, food stamps, schooling for their children, a driver’s license, or any other benefit afforded citizens and legal residents of this country. Lynch supports illegals having gainful employment – which is also illegal. What part of illegal does Lynch not understand?

“From a legal standpoint, she’s wrong,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Already testifying to the support of law breaking by an Obama administration nominee is a bad harbinger, but anyone reading USA Today would be unaware of that thanks to Johnson’s irresponsible writing. After all, this is an administration that has violated the law and the United States Constitution to the point where the Supreme Court has voted nine to nothing against Obama on issues. This includes Obama’s two High Court appointees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

And if the issue of illegals working in the United States is not enough to render Lynch unacceptable as the next attorney general, she also opposes voter ID laws, calling them suppressive. Next after securing the borders, should be the protection of the vote in this country. With all of the activities in the nation requiring identification, such as buying alcohol, an airplane ticket, real estate, a home, writing and cashing a check, opening a bank account, using a credit card, checking in to a hotel, securing a passport, purchasing a firearm, registering for college, getting married, among others, none of which are suppressive or racist. If it is not racist or suppressive to ask for ID at the bank, it certainly isn’t when showing up at the polling place to cast one’s ballot on Election Day. Voter ID laws protect the sanctity of the vote as cast by legal citizens of the United States. Illegal aliens who corrupt elections by diluting the legal votes render the process impotent.

Contact USA Today and politely demand their reporters present the real story. Call their headquarters at 703-854-3400.

Also call your United States senators and politely tell them why they should vote to reject Loretta Lynch as the next Attorney General. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or visit www.senate.gov to retrieve the phone numbers and e-mail addresses to contact your senators.

Remind the senators that Lynch’s support of illegal aliens working in the United States is also a national security risk. By keeping porous the borders of the United States, not only are illegal aliens invading this country, but terrorists have easy access as well. The floodgates are already open; Lynch is simply laying down the welcome mat for disaster.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pats Pigskin Peccadillo Simply Not Kosher

Pats Pigskin Peccadillo Simply Not Kosher
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 23, 2015

Initially dismissed as much ado about nothing, when given more thought, the New England Patriots did more than just deflate 11 out of their 12 footballs used in their demolition of the Indianapolis Colts during last Sunday’s AFC championship game.

Full disclosure, I root for the New York Giants – winners of two of their Super Bowls against the Patriots, and the New York Jets, a division rival of the Patriots. I do not like the Patriots, I do not root for them, and I think the deflating of their footballs should be punishable beyond a slap on the wrist of a $25,000 fine and the loss of a first round draft pick.

While it would be impractical to bar the Patriots from the Super Bowl due to the enormous financial investment already made by advertisers, fans, and the Glendale-Phoenix metropolitan area, for which they should not be made to suffer, there is a solution – rematch.

Have the Colts and Patriots suit up in Foxboro once again, this time with all balls under complete control by the NFL (as it should be in the first place), and tee it up. If the Patriots are as good as the 45-7 threshing they laid on the Colts, a New England victory should be the end result. While the old adage, on any given day, any given team can beat any other team is true, a rematch should erase all doubt. I realize this won’t happen as there is too little time left before the Super Bowl itself, but it is worth consideration for future cheatings.

A rematch notwithstanding, the game could be played without the two “stars” in this long winded drama – suspend Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. In his press conference on Thursday January 22, Belicheat sounded more like the inept buffoon Sergeant Hans Schultz from television’s Hogan’s Heroes. He claimed to “know nothing” in answering each question. Brady did his best impression of Barack Obama claiming to not have known anything about the deflated footballs until hearing about it Monday morning from the media.

Something happened – 11 of the 12 Patriots’ footballs were deflated to give an edge to that team, yet no one knows anything about how it happened.

Worse than the scandal itself is the message sent to not just football fans, but sports fans in general, and most specifically to the children who watch and play sports. It’s okay to cheat because there is no real punishment – certainly nothing to impact the game for which the cheating promoted the cheater. A fine of $25,000 is less than lunch money to a team worth $2.6 billion – second only to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. (www.forbes.com) Also, losing a first round draft pick will have little impact on a championship-caliber team that with little change should be just as good next season as this.

The young fans need to understand that rules are in place for a reason – so all teams play by those same rules and that the only advantage is that earned by the hard work of the athletes themselves and the team owners who invest capital to find the right formula to put a winning franchise on the field.

The NFL already has a black eye from the Ray Rice debacle. Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to step up and send a message that cheating will not be tolerated. It doesn’t matter whether the outcome of the game would have been altered, but it does matter that the Patriots have a history of playing fast and loose with the rules – spy-gate in 2008, a snow plow in 1982, as well as accusations of signal and even playbook stealing.

Cheating is wrong – on homework or tests in school, on a spouse or significant other, or on the job. There are far too many places – schools, relationships, the ball yard, or the workplace where there is such a culture of cheating it is barely acknowledged unless so egregious it must be combatted. Like the broken windows theory of governing employed so deftly by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, if cheating is addressed and punished swiftly from the outset, it will be reduced in total.

While this is not the war on Islamic extremist terrorism, the issue of racial strife in the United States, or the deficiencies of Obamacare, these are broken windows in need of repair before the entire building is condemned.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Friday, January 16, 2015

For the Love of the Game

For the Love of the Game
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 16, 2014

As a former teaching assistant at a major university during my graduate school days and a longtime fan of college sports I am not so na├»ve as to suggest college athletics is anything but a business for the schools that field teams – as long as those teams put fans in the stands.

Prior to jumping from the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) to the Big Ten, my alma mater, the University of Maryland (2002 National Champions in men’s basketball by way of defeating the Indiana Hoosiers) trimmed their athletic department by seven sports as a cost-cutting effort. I, for one, was disappointed to see the women’s water polo team bounced, but understood why. It’s all about the money – for the schools, but not for all the players.

Steve Siebold was wrong on several levels in his Thursday Indianapolis Star editorial “It’s time to pay college athletes.” His suggestion that because the players in the football championship did not receive monetary remuneration they did not emerge winners is faulty logic. The players won game after game on a national stage thus growing their own vales in preparation for the next level – the NFL.

Granted, not all players will play in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL; in fact fewer than two percent who play college athletics will collect a major league salary. But college athletes know that going in and still play. They still endure the two-a-day practices in sweltering heat, the long bus rides, playing in rain and snow. They play for the love of the game.

College athletes already get paid – scholarships covering tuition, room and board, and an opportunity to make something of their lives the lack of a college campus would not provide. Studies show athletes benefit from the sense of teamwork, discipline, and coaching in work places later in life from which non-athletes do not.

Siebold is wrong to suggest a free education is not enough of an incentive for student athletes. This is an opportunity many athletes would not be afforded were it not for their skill of the field of play. Consider how many non-athletes would salivate at the opportunity to have a tuition/room and board scholarship.

As for those not drafted by a professional team, many athletes take their skills and talents on the road, playing basketball in Israel, football in Canada, soccer in any number of European leagues. And aside from the big four major leagues, the WNBA, men’s and women’s soccer, golf and tennis, there’s not a high demand for many of the roughly three dozen sports found on college campuses.

It is because 98 percent of the college athletes will not be suiting up for a professional team in the United States that earning their degrees is so vital. Earn a living off the field of play. Many will stay on the field as coaches, some move into management – with a degree, some move into the broadcast booth – with or without a degree.

If players were to be paid, who would determine the salaries? The individual schools? If so, there would be bidding wars from schools to sign on the best high school players – not unlike the recruitment process of today, but infinitely more intensified, as the Ohio States and the Alabamas of the world would be able to outbid the Ohio Northerns and the Samfords of the world.

Should there be a salary cap like in some of the major sports, thus a slap in the face of capitalism. After all, if these players are to be paid, why should there be a limit to how much is too much? What would be the impact of Title IX with regards to potential gender bias? Would there be any involvement from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board)?

Would pay be the same for basketball players as both men and women play 40-minute games? Would it be more for men than women in tennis as men play five sets and women three? Would all athletes be paid – even in the sports that are revenue loss leaders? If a player transfers to another school who pays the remainder of the contract?

Clearly each player would have to be under contract. Would the contract include a period time that students would be allowed to be on campus as a student to earn a degree. Would turning pro be a breach of contract? And if so, what would be the penalty? The student should be made to remunerate the university the value of the contract – even if he or she is not signed to a professional contract.

More bad than good comes from paying student athletes. Paying athletes would eliminate all thought of being a student and put them on a singular, linear path of earning that paycheck, thus further separating them from the rest of the student body giving them a greater sense of entitlement and allowance to take more liberties.

I support a return to the days when freshman didn’t play. Extend eligibility a year, but hold the student athletes to academic standards. The NCAA is already the de facto minor leagues for the NFL and NBA. There should be minor league systems for those sports and those athletes who legitimately do not qualify to be on a college campus should go that route. Former Indiana coach Bobby Knight once said “college isn’t for everyone.” He was right then and it still applies today.

Those who are fortunate enough to play college sports and get an education should also be covered by the university with an insurance policy, with the player as the beneficiary. An athlete injured beyond the point of an athletic career should be able to continue their education and not worry about their future if injured on the university’s clock. As for merchandise, take all players’ names off the jerseys and the fans can buy them for the name on the front. Players come and go; one’s alma mater is forever. Go Terps!

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. The University of Maryland alumnus is a member of the Alumni Association, the Terrapin Club supporting athletic scholarships for student athletes, and the Rebounders, supporting the women’s basketball team.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Paris Marches Sans Obama

Paris Marches Sans Obama
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 12, 2015

Captain Obvious comment of the day: “We should have sent someone there with a higher profile than the Ambassador to France,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest the day after more than 1.3 million people including 40 world leaders marched in Paris against terrorism and rallied for peace.

This event followed a several day frenzy of terrorist attacks in Paris where Muslim extremists murdered 10 staff members of a weekly satirical magazine for publishing what the terrorists considered inappropriate cartoons of their prophet Mohammad. Charlie Hebdo regularly took shots at other religions sans violent recriminations. The terrorists also murdered three police officers over two days, and four Jewish hostages taken at a kosher supermarket.

Is this another example of Barack Obama leading from behind? Did Obama stare down evil in the face of adversity? No, Obama stared down football in the face of the NFL playoffs. When the whistle blew, there was Obama – on the sidelines.

“I was ashamed,” said Lt. Col. Ralph Peters about Obama’s failure to attend or at the very least send a high-ranking member of the administration to participate in the Paris rally. “There was simply no excuse,” said Peters.

Why did Obama not attend this historic rally in Paris – the largest of its kind since World War II? He didn’t even bother to send Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry, who is so at home with the French. Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder was actually in Paris on Sunday, didn’t attend, and then ignored the 5,000 pound elephant in the room when asked about the war against Muslim extremism. “We’re at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks,” said the absent Holder.

Was Obama tidying up the White House for the visit to be made by the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday January 12? Perhaps he thought he should have visited Paris, TEXAS, a mere 378 miles from San Antonio. Perhaps he thought that because Spurs player Tony Parker is French, that counted. Who knows what goes through Obama’s mind. What is known, is that once again, when given the opportunity to do the right thing, Obama dropped the ball.

Earnest also committed a fumble-ia by being so terribly ill-equipped to answer the question as to Obama’s whereabouts Sunday during Monday afternoon’s presser. “I did not plan for a question about what the president was doing Sunday,” said Earnest, looking more like a deer in the headlights with each passing day. To not know what his boss was doing Sunday is egregious and extremely short sighted.

Perhaps Obama failed to attend because he declared al-Qaeda on the run or dead, ad nauseam during his 2012 reelection campaign. Yeah, not so much, Mr. Obama. The Muslim terrorist group continues to thrive alongside its more heinous co-commissioner of mayhem, ISIS, as homicide bombings of schools, the beheadings of children, and any other slaughter of innocents they deem appropriate are carried out by willing sub-humans.

Bottom line, 40 global leaders showed up. They stood and were counted. From the brave, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the hypocritical “Palestinian Authority” leader Mahmoud Abbas. Brave, because the slaughter by Muslim extremists was directed, first at the media – cartoonists at the weekly Charlie Hebdo, and second at the Jewish community the day after – putting Netanyahu at risk. Hypocritical, because Abbas has yet to condemn the slaughter by his co-religionists at every turn in the continuing murderous rampage against Christians and Jews, men and women, adults and children.

The world watched – and so did Obama – from the sidelines, “leading” from the couch in his own painfully feckless manner.

List of leaders to attend the Paris rally on Sunday:

Albania Prime Minister Edi Rama, Algeria Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, Austria Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, Britain Prime Minister David Cameron, Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Canada Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, Croatia Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Georgia Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greece Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Jordan King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, Latvia Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Palestinian territories President Mahmud Abbas, Portugal Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, Romania President Klaus Iohannis, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Switzerland President Simonetta Sommaruga, The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Tunisia Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Union President Donald Tusk, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. (http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-35205-44-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-world-leaders-join-Paris-million-march)


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson (1787)

Je Suis Charlie
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 8, 2015

It was not just a massacre at a French satirical periodical, but an overall assault on the freedom of speech, press, and the journalistic community as a whole – a community of which I have long been a member.

Ten members of the magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers were gunned down in a terrorist attack in the Paris area Wednesday, January 7 by gunmen shouting Allah Akbar while carrying out their planned slaughter. Additionally, there were 11 other people injured, four critically.

Barack Obama called the murders a “cowardly and evil attack on free expression,” but neglected, once again, to properly place blame where it belongs – squarely on the shoulders of radical Muslims who resort to violence, murder, and mayhem as a first option whenever they feel the need to curtail the rights of those with whom they disagree.

These methodical murderers are jihadists hell bent on violence due to their adherence to Sharia Law which they attempt to foist upon the communities which they have invaded, not just in recent years, but for the greater part of the last millennia and a half. These are patient, yet cowardly, terrorists with long memories. Knowing these Muslim extremists can’t obligate governments to shut down genres of communication, they resort to terrorist acts in an effort to intimidate the various newspapers, magazines, publishers, movie theaters, to self-censor. Without a free and open press, and under an opaque shield, these nihilistic thugs would succeed.

This was a “military style attack on innocent civilians. If it can happen in Paris, it can happen in Washington. [We are] still engaged in a war on terrorism,” said former United States Ambassador John Bolton.

“I’d rather die standing than live on my knees,” said Stephane Charbonnier, the publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, who did just that as one of the victims of the radical Muslim slaughter. The 47 year old was also an artist with the publication.

The other victims of the slaughter include Charlie Hebdo staffers:

Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, lead cartoonist;
Georges Wolinski, 80, artist and cartoonist since the 1960s;
Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, member of Cartoonists for Peace;
Bernard “Uncle Bernard” Maris, 68, economist and columnist;
Philippe Honore, 73, artist who drew the last tweeted cartoon by the magazine;
Mustapha Ourrad, copy editor;
Elsa Cayat, columnist and analyst;
Frederic Boisseau, building maintenance worker;

Michel Renaud, former journalist visiting the Charlie Hebdo offices.

Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, 49, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, were both murdered in the line of duty. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11332671/Charlie-Hebdo-attack-The-12-victims-of-Paris-shooting.html)

Charlie Hebdo, as a satirical publication, often poked fun, mocked, and/or chided Christianity and Judaism, speech protected by law, without violent recriminations. In fact, more egregious attacks on those two faiths did not elicit terrorist attacks by Jews or Christians. Take for example the “Piss Christ,” a disgusting, completely offensive so-called work of art depicting a 1987 photograph of a crucifix immersed in the urine of the artist whose name will not be mentioned here. Or the many volumes and interpretations of the categorically false, anti-Semitic tome, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first published in 1903, which detailed a Jewish conspiracy of global domination. Hitler and the Nazis used this text as valid even after it had been disproven as a fraud perpetrated against the Jewish people. Neither of these examples, each more deleterious than the cartoons that cost 12 Frenchmen their lives, drove Christians or Jews to violence.

French police are searching for two brothers Said Kouachi, 34 and Cherif Kouachi, 32, both French nationals who perpetrated the heinous slaughter. Hamyd Mourad, 18, is also being sought. They are allegedly attached to Iraqi and Yemeni al-Qaeda terror groups.

While blame will not be assigned to the victims, it will be charged to the French government for the continuing allowance of unfettered immigration of Muslims, many running amok demanding, and in some cases, establishing Sharia Law in “their” communities, unchecked by the host country. This is a pattern that has been allowed to perpetuate itself in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Spain.

The behavior by these terrorists is typical, not atypical, yet the Obama administration has yet to refer once to radical Islam as the root cause or perpetrators of such continued acts of terror. Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States destroying the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, as well as causing a diverted plane to crash into a field in Shanksville, PA, Muslim extremists have managed to carry out over 80 known terror attacks around the world from Bali and China, to Moscow and Turkey, as well as India and Sweden.

October 12, 2002 Muslim extremists set off bombs in the tourist district of Kuta on Bali, murdering 202 people and injuring 240 more.

March 11, 2004 Muslim extremists detonate bombs on the Madrid commuter train system murdering 191 people and injuring 1,800 more.

July 7, 2005 Muslim extremists explode four suicide bombs on London Underground trains murdering 52 people and injuring 700 more.

July 11, 2006 Muslim extremists bomb trains in Mumbai, India murdering 209 people and injuring more than 700. There would be another eight such terrorist attacks on India during this time period following September 11, 2001.

November 5, 2009 a Muslim extremist goes on a terrorist shooting rampage at Fort Hood, TX murdering 13 people and injuring 33 more.

May 22, 2013 Muslim extremists murder British Army soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight on London streets.

It is high time for the world as a whole to be on guard for Muslim extremists and for the Obama administration to call them for what they are – Muslim extremists committing wholesale terror against a cowering and weakening globe.

The answer to hate speech, and the slaughter of innocent journalists is certainly an act of hatred, is never less speech, but in fact more, much more speech. It is up to those of us who believe in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791) and other documents guaranteeing the freedom of expression such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) to stand up, defend the rights of all people to enjoy the freedom of speech, expression, press, and religion. We must fight the ongoing threat to the availability of information on a global scale.

There is not just a war on terrorism, but on freedom of the press and free expression – each perpetrated by Muslim extremists. We must continue to fight for these freedoms by speaking out, writing editorials, ensuring books are published, movies are screened, and that churches and synagogues remain open, vibrant, voices of reason. To do otherwise is to surrender to evil and if our voices go silent, the world as we used to know it ceases to exist.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pitchers to Dominate Hall Induction

Pitchers to Dominate Hall Induction
Sanford D. Horn
January 5, 2015

Having just turned the calendar from 2014 to 2015 and the thermostat up a couple degrees while donning another collegiate sweatshirt all eyes naturally turn toward – yup, that’s right – baseball! While pitchers and catchers don’t report for duty for about six weeks, there is some important baseball business needing immediate attention – the upcoming vote on who will earn entry into the Hall of Fame.

“Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” (http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/rules-election/bbwaa) This is the standard by which the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is to do their jobs.

The crux is character and integrity – neither of which was exhibited by Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, or Sammy Sosa, each accused of using steroids during their playing careers. These players’ bad behavior should not be rewarded. They only way they should be allowed into Cooperstown is with a paid ticket for admission. For as many years as these miscreants have been on the ballot, I remain steadfastly opposed to their entry, and will continue to be so in the future until their eligibility is exhausted and beyond.

Were I entrusted with casting some of the precious votes to determine the Class of 2015 into the Baseball Hall of Fame, seven retired players would appear on my ballot – four holdovers from last year and three appearing in their first year of eligibility.

Craig Biggio spent the entirety of his 20 years in the majors with the Houston Astros. The seven time all-star also earned four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and reached the magic number of hits, surpassing 3,000 with his 3,060. Biggio managed to appear in many offensive leadership categories while playing for a typically sluggish Astros team. The former second baseman, who I incorrectly predicted would be a first ballot entrant in 2013, and missed election by a  mere two votes in 2014, still deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.

Checking in with 270 career wins is two-time ballot occupant Mike Mussina, who spent 10 years with the Baltimore Orioles and eight with the New York Yankees. A big fan of “Moose,” an economics graduate from Stanford University as an Oriole, it hurt my eyes to see him donning the pinstripes. Mussina was selected to five All Star teams and won seven Gold Gloves. While he was overshadowed by Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux in 2014, Mussina garnered more victories than Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal – with whom Mussina was compared, and Whitey Ford. Mussina ended his career at age 39, the oldest to record his lone 20-win season, going 20-9 with a 3.37 ERA.

Because Mike Piazza played nearly eight of his 16-year career with the New York Mets, naturally he is a favorite. However, the 12-time all-star cracked 427 home runs, batted .308 and earned 10 Silver Slugger awards all while catching 1629 games – top flight numbers regardless of what team he played for. Piazza, the 1993 Rookie of the Year, spent the first six-plus years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a year each with the San Diego Padres and Oakland A’s as well as five minutes with the then Florida Marlins. Piazza’s place in Cooperstown is all but bronzed – is what I erroneously predicted the last two years, but I still believe he will be enshrined.

Curt Schilling, bloody sock and all, is on my ballot. The six-time all-star pitched 20 seasons in the big leagues – three with the Orioles, one with the Astros, eight-plus with the Philadelphia Phillies, three-plus with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then calling it a career with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling tossed 83 complete games, appeared in three World Series, and had three 20-plus win seasons within a four year span at ages 36, 38, and 39. Schilling should have his ticket stamped this summer – was my mistaken prediction the last two years, and perhaps he may be overlooked again on this year’s pitching rich ballot, but Schilling still belongs among those who will enter the Hall before him.

It would be nice to see Schilling enter the Hall with former teammate Randy Johnson, a bona fide first ballot entrant. They led the 2001 Diamondbacks to a World Series championship against the emotional favorite New York Yankees mere months following the terrorist attacks of September 11. (This lifelong Mets fan rooted hard for the D-backs.) Johnson’s career spanned 1988-2009, when he retired at age 46, having pitched for the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks, Yankees, and San Francisco Giants. Having amassed 303 victories and a winning percentage of .646, Johnson may be the last to reach that win total milestone for a long time to come as the five-man rotation may set the new standard at 250. Johnson was the dominant hurler from 1993-2002 winning five Cy Young awards with a record of 175-58 and a 2.73 ERA culminating in winning the pitching Triple Crown with 24 wins, 334 strikeouts, and a 2.32 ERA. Johnson’s career strikeout mark of 4,875 leaves him second all-time behind only Nolan Ryan, while also averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. The “Big Unit” not only tossed a no-hitter in 1990, but hurled a perfect game in 2004, at age 40, the oldest player to do so.

If Johnson’s first ballot election to the Hall is a no-brainer, so too should Pedro Martinez’s. While I put him on my ballot for rookie year enshrinement, additional research was the clincher. Martinez’s career with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies spanned 18 years from 1992-2009. While Martinez won 84 fewer games than Johnson, Martinez won 219, his per season record was actually better than Johnson’s – 17-8 versus 17-9. Martinez won the Cy Young award three times as well as the 1999 American League pitching Triple Crown with 23 wins, 313 strikeouts, and a 2.07 ERA. His winning percentage of .687 ranks sixth all time while averaging 10.04 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Martinez fanned 3154 batters, for 13th all time, and was a part of the 2004 Red Sox World Series championship.

Last, but not least on my ballot would be John Smoltz, who spent 20 of his 21 years with the Atlanta Braves before splitting time with the Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals his last season, pitching from 1988-2009. Smoltz, on the ballot for the first time, is the only pitcher with 200+ wins and 150+ saves, garnering 213 and 154 respectively, while winning a Cy Young award in 1996 and his 3,084 strikeouts places him 16th all time. Between 2002-04, Smoltz not only earned 40+ saves each year, he set the National League saves mark with 55 in 2002.

While it is important to not sully the Baseball Hall of Fame with the likes of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Sosa, the focus should be on the greats who will be enshrined this July and how they will continue to be the true ambassadors to the community as so many before them have been.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He has been a Patron-level member of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 2007.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sony Caved - Obama Led the Way

Sony Caved – Obama Led the Way
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
December 22, 2014

I don’t particularly care about Sony. I had and still have even less interest in this film “The Interview.” And I think former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton said it best when he said of the North Korean hackers, “They picked a trivial industry to go after.”

That said, the bigger picture is not how it affects Sony, but how it depicts the nation as a whole – weak and spineless, and for that I place blame on the narrow shoulders of both Barack Obama and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton who can argue all day long that Sony did not cave, has not given in, did not capitulate, when in fact they did all of the above. Lynton can make all the excuses he wants, but the bottom line is Sony pulled the film on the heels of a cyber-terror threat. Yes, Lynton is correct that he/Sony doesn’t own the theaters, but there are plenty of theaters who believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and would have shown the film.

Therein lies the bigger issue – censorship. If Sony can be intimidated by such a cyber-threat, what will be next? A television network? How about a newspaper or magazine? This is the entertainment industry, and while I agree with Bolton that it is a trivial industry, news and information are more important industries and the people in the United States rely upon a free and open press, again, one of the guarantees of the First Amendment.

As for Obama’s culpability in this crisis, he has set the bar at its lowest with his “leading from behind,” mantra, his disastrous deal making from a position of weakness when he is able, yet unwilling, to lead from a position of strength. This is evident in at the very least, the Bergdahl and Cuba cases. Obama’s leadership style, if it can be called as such, is weak and feckless. He injects himself into incidents where he should not, does not do so when he should, and is more often than not, wrong on his stances on the issues where he does inject himself.

Obama and his poor leadership aside, as he will be out of the White House in 25 months; a greater concern is the ability of hackers, regardless of from where they come, to infiltrate the banking industry. If that is hacked with the ease with which Sony was hacked, the entire nation could be brought to its knees. Electronic records destroyed would eradicate trillions and trillions of dollars of wealth, earnings, and retirement accounts thus affecting the housing industry as well as commercial real estate. This would send the United States into a financial tailspin that would make the Great Depression feel like a party with the Gatsbys. The devastation would be global and catastrophic.

So while Sony is a minor player on this stage of hacking and censorship, it is vital for all of corporate America to shore up its defenses, create more firewalls, and have as many paper trails as possible. Sometimes the Luddites are better prepared for the financial Dark Ages that may be beset upon the world.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.