Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keith Law Declares Kansas City Royals MLB Champs for 2009

Defying conventional wisdom, ESPN baseball analyst and statistical expert Keith Law has named the Kansas City Royals as baseball's best team in 2009. "It's not even close; by almost all statistical standards, the Royals lapped the field in 2009."

Reaction in New York, where the Yankees had apparently won the 2009 World Series, was irate. Sports call-in shows were flooded with angry callers demanding to know how Law arrived at his decision. But at least one New York sports talk host, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Law. "When you look at KC's LAW RAT (Leveraged and Averaged Win Ratio), there's no comparison. The Royals had a LAW RAT of 19.762; the next closest was the Nationals with 17.118."

Law defended his decision by citing the numbers. "Greinke's WACKY (Win Average Coefficient per Strikeout Yield) was off the charts, the Royals' bullpen's Average Saves In Nine Innings (ASININE) led the league, and their Defensive Uncategorized Errors (DUNCE) score was first in the AL."

When an AP reporter reminded Law that the game was played on the field and not on sabremetician's spread sheets, and that the Yankees had actually won the world championship, Law responded, "The World Series is an invalid determinant of the best team. What you saw was an illusion. The complex variables that go into an assessment of which team is better has nothing to do with vague and amorphous things like a pitcher's stuff, quality at-bats, momentum, fielders' instincts, and managerial decisions. To put it in terms the layman can understand, it's about what players could do...not what they do do."

Meanwhile in Kansas City, the mayor has scheduled a belated victory parade through the downtown district on Tuesday, and Bud Selig is expected to award the Commissioner's trophy to the Royals organization on that occasion.

Law, who has an MBA from Harvard and once worked as a consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays, drew similar ire when he voted Javier Vazquez second on his Cy Young ballot and omitted St. Louis's Chris Carpenter, despite Carpenter's apparent statistical advantage over Vazquez. "Any dope can cite ERA and wins; that's not what determines good pitching. I look at Games Over Ongoing Fielding Yield (GOOFY) average."

When asked who should win the world championship in 2010, Law responded, "Well, right now I'm favoring the Pirates. Their Cosine Rating At Position (CRAP) is astronomical."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Amelia" Lacks Excitement; How Is That Possible?

Part of the allure of the Amelia Earhart story is the mystery of how it ended. World-renowned as the first successful female aviator, she attempted to circle the globe in 1937, but her flight vanished somewhere over (or in?) the Pacific Ocean just as she was about to finish the last leg of her journey. I love bios, especially those with a good mystery attached, so I entered the theater drooling with anticipation. I left the theatre needing a poke in the ribs from my wife to stay awake. How did this happen? One can lay the blame on director Mira Nair's unimaginative direction, Hilary Swank's acting, and a script that does not even attempt to speculate on what became of Amelia's last flight.

Hilary Swank's impersonation of Earhart is dead-on (no pun intended). She looks, acts, and speaks like the real much so that I was diverted by it several times during the film. I mean, I thought I was watching a resurrection of Earhart rather than an interpretation of her life. In other words, Swank's mechanics are impeccable, but they dominate the performance to the point that the viewer comes away wondering what Earhart was really like. Somehow Swank did not capture the elan and verve of Earhart. There was no soul in the machine.

Nair makes the same mistake. She touches all the bases of Earhart's life without hitting a home run. All the dates, times, names, and places are accurate, but it adds up to not much more than a National Geographic special. I didn't feel anything for the characters and their plights.

But all this could have be redeemed by a boffo ending. They couldn't screw that up, right? Earhart's fate has been the subject of innumerable theories and wild conjecture for over 70 years. Hundreds of books, articles, and essays have been written about her death. All of them trying to solve the mystery in an original way. There was no dearth of material from which the director and writer could choose. Some say Amelia and Fred Noonan (her co-pilot) landed safely on a remote Pacific island and lived there for years. Some say the Japanese captured and tortured and imprisoned them during World War II. Some say the flight just vanished into thin air, a victim of a South Pacific/Bermuda triangle. Whatever happened, no trace of the plane was ever found despite a massive search. So how did the film deal with all this? It ignored it entirely. The movie ends without an ending. Amelia is running low on fuel and people look worried, but no conclusion is drawn. Credits come up, and hopes crash.

Like the life and last flight of its eponymous heroine, "Amelia" is unfinished business.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Op-Ed News Article Names Traitors in JFK Cabinet Who Plotted To Have Him Killed

I am re-printing below an article posted recently on Op-Ed News (an online opinion mag to which I've contributed several times). It was written by Alen Salerian, MD, a Washington-based physician, author, and historian, who has been practicing psychiatry and psychopharmacology for 35 years. He is the former chief psychiatrist of the FBI's mobile psychiatric unit. He has authored numerous articles on behavior, government integrity, neurobiology, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology in various publications.

The topic of the article posted below is the JFK assassination, and Dr. Salerian's assertions and hypotheses are stunning. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the assassination, but Dr. Salerian has new evidence based on his reading of Robert McNamara's book, In Retrospect, published a few years ago. In Retrospect was McNamara's mea culpa for his sins committed as Defense Secretary under JFK and LBJ. Dr. Salerian contends McNamara is asking forgiveness not only for the colossal blunder of Vietnam, but also (in veiled, coded language) for the assassination of JFK. I have read McNamara's book and found it to be much too little, much too late, to be an acceptable path to his redemption. But I was unable to make the same inferences that Salerian has. Salerian uses other source documents with which I am very familiar to build his case for a high-level coup d'etat, hatched by CIA operatives and traitors--McGeorge Bundy, Lyndon Johnson, and Robert McNamara among them--within the Kennedy administration...culminating in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The lesson for me was this: beware of those in the JFK cabinet who stayed on to serve LBJ after the bullets flew in Dealey Plaza. Here's the article:

"...he [McNamara] is the first modern statesman who openly acknowledges his errors and takes responsibility for them. This is a first in history and it is a very good thing for humanity.

"I want to bypass all the drama, all the phony diplomatic rhetoric, the thinly veiled transparency of obsessive minds and to leap over all the artificialities to embrace and celebrate McNamara's unique gift to humanity.

"It is my hypothesis that Bundy, McNamara, Allen Dulles (the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency), General Curtis LeMay (Air Force chief of staff), Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and possibly a few others engineered a coup d'état to wage war in Vietnam. It is also my hypothesis that President Kennedy's death was just the collateral damage of war and so was the disappearance of over a thousand people after the assassination.

"Why do common sense, reason, and statistics suggest that all the following pieces perfectly fit together for a complex design to make a coup d'état a success? They are all very rare or extraordinary firsts in history. For instance, the president, the vice president, and virtually the entire Cabinet were away from Washington on the day of the coup (2). The president was in Texas along with the vice president, and the Cabinet were on their way to Tokyo. By now, we know that the Secret Service was grossly negligent before, during, and after the ambush (3). We also know that all of the images of the president's death captured by photos and videos are not authentic (3). The president's autopsy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital is a sham, as are the X-rays and the autopsy photos (3,4). This is astonishing for Bethesda, the flagship of all the best the military can provide for medical care.

"On the day of the ambush, the phones in Washington, D.C., the press phones, and the Cabinet airplane communication all ceased to function (2). The only two people in Washington from the president's team were Bundy and McNamara, and they happened to be the architects of the new war opposed by President Kennedy but endorsed by the new President, LBJ (2). Bundy and McNamara were at the Pentagon precisely at the time the presidential limousine approached Dealey Plaza (1).

"Both Bundy and McNamara lied about small details of the assassination repeatedly and unnecessarily, in some ways inviting special attention to their own behavior. McNamara said for 90 minutes he was not aware of the president's assassination, although he was at the Pentagon, the epicenter of reaction to national emergencies (1). Strangely, he was chairing a routine budget meeting, which he did not interrupt. Even a month later when information emerged that several communication systems were sabotaged, McNamara never evinced curiousity about the origin of all these mishaps.

"None of these, of course, individually make McNamara or Bundy a suspect, yet collectively they click and suggest they were not random events. There are other more fundamental developments that can actually solve the puzzle. Most important, Kennedy had opposed the war in Vietnam and had issued specific orders through National Security Action Memorandum 263, dated November 21, 1963, to end the war (1,2). This was to begin with the withdrawal of '1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.' (2). His orders were precise and unequivocal. But upon his death, not only were his orders reversed, but then the war expanded at an eventual cost of 58,000 American lives.

"President Kennedy was the author of NSAM 263 ending the war. The new President, Lyndon Johnson, authorized NSAM 273 overriding the intent of 263 (1,2).

"If, despite the evidence, one might possibly be dubious of McNamara's role, there can be little doubt of Bundy's involvement. Bundy, according to Army General Maxwell Taylor, a trusted confidante of both John and Robert Kennedy, was the number one responsible party for the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs (2). On April 16, 1961, on D-day at 9:30 p.m., Bundy would cancel President Kennedy's orders for air strikes against Cuban targets (2). Bundy's reversal would be determined to be the most crucial error contributing to the debacle. At the end of the Cuban study group, General Taylor's conclusion declared that Bundy's blunder was the main cause of failure (2). Bundy himself would offer his resignation, which Kennedy declined.

"Bundy's blunders—if that is how we wish to characterize them—would continue. He single-handedly managed to create an epochal cable on August 24, 1963, authorizing a coup against the leader of South Vietnam, President Ngo Dinh Diem (1,2). At first, the dispatch of the cable appeared to be a mere accident. Bundy pointed the finger at his young assistants Michael Forrestal and Roger Hilsman (1,2). Kennedy was furious, of course. 'This shit must stop!' he shouted at Forrestal. The young Bundy assistant took the brunt of Kennedy's fury and offered his resignation (4). Once again, Kennedy declined. But the question is: how could Bundy, the nation's top gun on national security, be unaware of such a pivotal message? How could a young national security aide, without the knowledge or approval of his boss, send a historical paradigm-shifting cable to authorize a covert coup d'état in Vietnam? Bundy's response? It's a bad idea, he said, to make major policy decisions on weekends.

"The error of August 24 could not be fully appreciated if it had not been preceded by a similar occurrence during the Bay of Pigs. Bundy's absence was eerily similar to the disappearance of Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA, during the crucial days of the Bay of Pigs. Bundy's tricks with the October 29th meeting are well recorded with his admission that, in fact, he had given Henry Cabot Lodge, the ambassador to Vietnam, a green light for a coup d'état despite presidential orders against such an act (4).

"The coup did occur, not only toppling the government but also taking the lives of President Diem and his younger brother and adviser, Ngo Dinh Nhu (2,4). This was yet another blow to President Kennedy's personal instructions. He had sent his personal friend as his emissary to Vietnam to negotiate Diem's peaceful exit out of Vietnam. Understandably, when the news arrived at the White House, a sickened and ashen president in visible distress quickly left the conference room (2,4). The conclusion seem inescapable that he had realized someone had been betrayed him, although he did not know who, why, or how. It might have been his gut feeling telling him that something horrendous was going on, yet he could not let himself think his most important aide and his chief military adviser was the mole.

"A modern Brutus betraying democracy. Bundy's jokes were telling. When the Diem brothers' murders surfaced with their hands tied behind their backs and bullets lodged in their necks, he commented, 'This is not the preferred way to commit suicide.' Bundy was at the White House Situation Room chatting with Lucien Conein, the CIA station chief in Saigon who was at the command center of the coup d'état with bags full of dollars for the triumphant generals (2,4). Did Conein and Bundy team up on November 22nd when Conein was on Houston Street and Bundy at the White House Situation Room? We know however, they were there (2,4). What did Bundy do at the White House situation room? Was he organizing Operation Big Lift[1] or was he running the ambush from the Situation Room?

"And why was Conein's smile published all over the world with the presidential limousine slowly approaching the death zone on Elm Street (5)?

"Was this a Dulles or Bundy genius to boldly inform the world who makes the big decisions in Texas by not concealing the face of the CIA station chief, recently returned from facilitating a coup in Vietnam only three weeks earlier?

"Perhaps it is nothing more sublime yet devastating than deception by a trusted man that makes us understand JFK's failure to suspect the virulence of Bundy, a brilliant virtuoso of deceit. Some historians and behavior experts may wrongly blame Kennedy for letting his guard down to trust a compulsive liar like Bundy. Or worse for not firing Bundy after the Bay of Pigs.

"And here comes the creative genius of Allen Dulles, the most likely architect of the big strategy. During the Bay of Pigs, Dulles made himself the conspicuous target for the blunder, the obvious villain by disappearing for several days to lure the Kennedy brothers to an elegant trap (2,4).

"What is remarkable is that Dulles's success rested on its blunt openness of his obvious responsibility for the military fiasco. He virtually produced the evidence making him the fall guy to steer any careful scrutiny away from Bundy and Bundy's defining error correctly diagnosed by General Maxwell Taylor—that is, the error or calling off the all-important air strikes, thereby ensuring a rout by Cuban forces.

"The President took the bait, so did his brother Bobby. If Dulles had designed a simple plan for future spies, his strategy should be recorded as a classic in the annals of grand deceptions. Whereas democracy, human life, and progress depend on trust and transparency, Dulles and his organization had a different premise.

"Some modern thinkers share the opinion that diplomacy always relies on deception. Consider, for instance, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's masterly use of the sitting duck of Pearl Harbor to unleash the American might.

"The danger that arises with such a comparison is a dismissal of trust and hierarchy. Roosevelt was always in charge. His admirals and code breakers did not set up Roosevelt to declare war on Japan. Roosevelt was the chief architect, unlike Dulles, who was sabotaging his boss, the commander in chief.

"Let us for a moment digress and consider one other and possibly crucial act by Dulles during his service under President Eisenhower.

"Among the researchers who uncovered Dulles's sabotage of impending talks between Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev are James Douglass and Fletcher Prouty (2,4). Thanks to their meticulous documentation we now know that indeed the U2 incident with Francis Gary Powers landing on Soviet soil and canceling the talks between the two leaders was another rare Dulles gift to world politics (2,4). Prouty, a patriotic man, tactfully and methodically presents the evidence leading no doubt that Eisenhower's order for no flights was openly violated with the U2 mission (2,4).

"The revelation of Dulles's strategy sheds new light on JFK's failure to recognize Bundy's combustible presence at the White House.

"On September 21, 1996, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. eulogized Bundy with an article published in George, He wrote, 'Born a privileged Republican he has become a liberal Democrat, and a single tragic error seriously compromising his full potential as a statesman.'

"In that respect, Schlesinger just joined a distinguished group of people who never understood Bundy's sick brain. The cheating had a deep, slow, unmistakable ascent in Bundy's life leading to Dealey Plaza.

"Though the principle element is deception, the early signs are well concealed under a mixture of dry humor, intelligence, and surprise. The entire magical powers of Bundy can be surmised in how naturally Bundy cycled his triangular package of deception.

"This observation, of course, is made possible only with a bird's eye view of history from a distant site and angle and aided by an abundance of key information.
Once again Bundy's center of gravity is deception. Consider:
Bundy enters Yale without completing the entrance exam (6). With a cute and imaginative excuse, he refuses to write a mandatory essay.
- Bundy enters the Army by cheating the eye exam—memorizing the eye chart (6).
- Bundy teaches government at Harvard without ever taking a government course (6).
- Bundy becomes a Harvard dean without ever earning a Ph.D. (6).

"Such gross, open violations of boundaries are regularly and flauntingly illustrated in Bundy's pre–White House life he had mistakenly confused as daring brilliance instead of a dysfunctional brain juxtaposing his poor control of chaotic emotions and drives.

"Who is Bundy? What kind of a man would engage in such deception after reaching such a privileged position of trust, power, and influence?

"He was a broken mind with an internally roaring fury at all the Kennedys and what they represented, and his viruliferous rage destroyed so many Southeast Asian people, families, farms, forests, peasants, businessmen, enemy fighters, and more without any mercy, sorrow, or remorse—not even with his death in 1996.

"Once Bundy's deception emerges and his emotional, historical, political roots to Dulles and their frenzied, coordinated demolition of the Kennedy White House are discovered, the giant sketch of the coup d'état is visible and not so mysterious or hypothetical. You do not have to be a student of the complexity theory to marvel at the painstaking labor and extensive design that put so many diverse and dissonant pieces together that paved the road to Dealey Plaza.

"And that brings us full circle to subject of this article: Robert Strange McNamara. Why is McNamara great? History and countless researchers and ordinary citizens inspired by diverse factors have unearthed crucial pieces to the JFK puzzle. May it not be possible that as more time has passed since the assassination and with more evidence the puzzle has finally been solved?
McNamara reports only the facts. He does not openly point his finger at anyone. But he does establish the foundation of the giant puzzle. He had every reason to imitate the other three and forever take the truth to his grave as Bundy, Dulles, and Johnson did. There is, of course, some reason to indicate that LBJ did his reasonable share to leave a paper trail behind.

"LBJ was not in Honolulu, on Oahu, on November 20, 1963, possibly the most important gathering for the coup. Ostensibly, the conference was chaired by McNamara to review the political, economic, and military status in Vietnam (4). The conference was attended by key military and government leaders, including virtually the entire Cabinet. In point of fact, the end result of the conference was to torpedo NSAM 263, the document ordering U.S. troops out of Vietnam (1,2).

"In In Retrospect, McNamara's measured, careful tone reviewing the events preceding the Vietnam War meticulously introduces the important history-defining revelations. Through his stated words, as well as beautifully presented omissions, he recapitulates an important section of American history. His chain of logic, recording history by color-coding the essential truths, then gently dropping absent cues is simply magnificent.

"In the comforting illumination of his fatherly wisdom, one suddenly makes sense of so many seemingly impossible mishaps that occurred before, during, and after the ambush. McNamara makes a point of explaining what is essential and what occurred. He makes a point of specific details such as his learning the news at the Pentagon at 2 p.m., almost 90 full minutes after the president was shot (1). He reminds us gently that he is with Bundy at the Pentagon (1). Equally gently, he tells us that he continues with the meeting, a fairly routine budget discussion. He is equally tactful in pointing out that the August 24, 1963 cable was a mistake, but the mistake was not caused by the young assistant Hilsman or Forrestal and it was unquestionably Bundy's fault (1). In essence, this is McNamara's way of exposing Bundy and Bundy's successful sabotage of JFK's Vietnam strategy. He makes a very clear point of establishing the truth that Kennedy's position on Vietnam and the difference between National Security Action Memorandum 263 and 273. He therefore establishes the truth at the expense of the Pentagon Papers and their manifold misrepresentations: JFK had given clear and absolute orders to exit Vietnam.

"Most importantly, without using highly precise descriptions of actions that would be defined as 'treason' or 'sabotage,' McNamara would record history. On page 69, he is most precise. This is where McNamara reveals how Hilsman on September 27, 1963, via Michael Forrestal, sent a handwritten note to Lodge. The content of this letter is a clear violation of JFK's specific orders. Hence, McNamara exposes the treachery by Hilsman, Forrestal and of course, because Bundy is their boss, Bundy. McNamara skillfully disengages himself from the decisions made in Honolulu on November 20, 1963. On page 85, he makes a reference to Honolulu where he says, 'I remember nothing specific about Honolulu, but I remember and I know who remembers Honolulu well - Bundy.' This is McNamara's way of saying Bundy was responsible for the fateful decisions, most likely a reference to the coup d'état and assassination that was finalized in Honolulu.

"It is impossible not to inhale McNamara's wisdom or not marvel at his healing voice and the core message that he conveys: 'We should march forward wiser and more humble after Vietnam and after the loss of a great American president with a beautiful and realistic peaceful vision of the world.'

"I say thank you, Mr. McNamara, and that is why I nominate him for a peace award."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Signing Event--Collinsville Holiday Arts Festival

I'll be signing copies of my book, Murder Of An American Nazi, at the Authors Corner in the Community Room of the Collinsville, Illinois, Public Library. The event is part of the Collinsville Holiday Arts Festival, and it will take place from 12 noon till 8 pm on both Dec. 4 and 5, 2009.

The Collinsville Public Library is located at 408 West Main Street in downtown Collinsville. Eleven other St. Louis area authors will be participating. It's an eclectic group covering a wide spectrum of genres, so there will be plenty of good books from which to choose.

For more information, you can contact Barbara Rhodes at or call (618) 344-1112.