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Roger Clemens Indictment Points to Ongoing Misdirection of Government

The great Roman orator and senator Cicero famously noted in 44 BC that those who wish to function in government and watch over the affairs of the public should remember two things.

1) to keep the best interests of the people so clearly in view that, whatever their own interests, those of the people will guide their conduct

2) to care for the well being of the whole body politic, and not that of any one party, especially not one which is prepared to betray the interests of the state for its own gain*

In 2010 the problems facing our government are numerous and grave. There is oil in the Gulf of Mexico and a fledgling economy.

While we have finally concluded a seven-year campaign in Iraq, we are deeply entrenched in an ongoing war to root out terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Our school systems still leave children behind, border states are struggling to figure out how to deal with ever increasing illegal immigrant populations, and of course our “global” is still “warming”.

Yet just yesterday Congress decided that an issue that requires further investigation, resources and taxpayer dollars is the two year case involving possible perjury of a now retired baseball player.

I’m not here to argue or hash out the sordid details surrounding the Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee case. There aren’t too many stones that have gone un-covered involving this case.

Popular opinion is that Clemens did knowingly use HGH and B12 vitamins. Popular opinion is that Clemens is a scoundrel who when confronted on the issue threw his wife under the bus and probably lied to Congress about his use of the drugs. Will it help to prove that he lied?

That really is no longer important. The role of government is to protect and serve its populace’s best interests.

Congressional hearings helped to force change in Major League Baseball’s drug testing policy. It contributed to an ongoing effort to rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs and educate people on the dangers of steroid and human growth hormone abuse.

But will the American public, who is sponsoring this ongoing investigation, see a direct or even indirect benefit to the further prosecution of one man?

Can proving acts of perjury against a man who has suffered the immeasurable indignation and condemnations of being publicly outed as a doper, cheater, and liar show itself valuable to society?

It seems easy to garner the public’s eye by trotting celebrities before congressional subcommittees. Senator Joseph McCarthy certainly reaped the benefit of such charades. For the congressmen and women there is no better way to get their face on camera and before their constituents than by openly indicting the recognizable.

However, when the smoke is cleared and the mirrors removed we will find that we are as a body no better than we were. Thomas Hobbes said, communities submit to rule of government with understanding that it is establishes “safety and public order”.* In the face of all the other turmoil that faces our country and world, I fail to see how further accusation and prosecution of the former Cy Young Winner will provide either.

*Cicero, De officiis, 44 BCE

*Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651



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Jayson Werth Knows He’s on His Way Out of Philadelphia

Call it J-Werth’s Senior-itis

The second semester of my senior year of high school I eschewed four years of perfect attendance, relegated studying to only that of the opposite sex, and made it a point to live it up at any and every moment because I knew, “Hell, I’m not going to be here in five months.”

I concerned myself little with what colleges might think as I a) had gotten into school and b) knew future colleges and employers would excuse a few months of truancy for the 17 years of hard work I’d put in.

Jayson Werth is in his Senior Semester with the Phillies and his performance and actions seem to suggest he’s got the senior-itis.

Let’s get the objective stuff out of the way. He’s batting average has dropped 103 points, his OPS 306 and his slugging percentage 371. Even that seems to belie Werth’s epic struggle.

In the month of July (54 at-bats) he has three RBI. The only number Werth has been able to keep steady are his strikeouts. He’s leading the team, averaging 23 per month and is well on his way to more than 30 swing-and-misses this month.

And those are only the cut-and-dried blunders that seem to be barreling down on the “Werewolf.”  (By The Way; shouldn’t that be spelled “where”wolf or “ware”wolf?)

A month ago Jayson was easily the most popular Phillies player, especially among women.

With seats just rows away from the right-field where Werth plays, I’ve been privy to the seemingly endless number of signs and admirers.

“Fear the Beard”

“Take Off Your Shirt / I’m Werth It”

“Sign the Man”

 “I’m Having Your baby”

If there were a rock star on this team, he stood 6’5″ with a beard that might have made Jim Morrison ‘69 jealous.

So what happened? It began innocuously, seemingly silent, odorless and invisible. Now the boos and catcalls have started to become audible and it is clear to everyone that the “Werewolf” is no longer under a full moon.

He’s cursed out fans, been the target of post-game lectures from Charlie Manuel, has been short and irate with reporters, was the victim of a now de-bunked rumor involving him and Mrs. Utley; and today came under scrutiny again as it became public knowledge that he was out until 3 a.m. (earliest reports) gambling in St. Louis with the injured second baseman.

You may say, it’s the result of living under a spotlight, right? Not for Werth, who has seemed to embrace his hard partying, rock star image without become front page news for the rumor mills.  Well, let’s add two headlines to that rumor mill right now.

“Jayson Werth Has Mentally Checked Out on This Team.”

“Werth Will Not Wear A Phillies Uniform in 2011”

Give him credit for dragging around Sisyphus’ boulder of burden (remember the Stonecutter episode of Simpsons?). His contract had to weigh on him this year.

But as he started out hot (hitting .325 in April) the weight of pending free agency probably felt like nothing more than a pebble.

However, the average dropped as did the power numbers, rumors started, and worst he’s seemed to develop a paralyzing fear of swinging the bat in two-strike counts.  

So now it’s a “F— It” situation. He’s put in three years and three months of solid MLB experience. Made an All-Star team and started on two World Series teams.

If the Phillies were going to re-sign him, they wouldn’t be shopping him loud and clear. Furthermore the Phillies’ organization knows if they don’t sign him, they have to trade him, as Ruben Amaro knows he’s in a position not to show minus points in any transaction.

Thus, Werth’s early-season pebble has grown into a boulder.  We don’t have to admit it, but Werth, the Phillies, and deep down, we the fans know that they we’re watching the sun rise on the Werewolf.  


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