Congress Set to Inject Own Ass With Head

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The House of Representatives' Committee on "Oversight and Government Reform" wheezes into action tomorrow with another round of hearings on the pressing government-reform issue of steroids in baseball.

The congressmen are already in fine form. California Democrat Henry Waxman showed a charming pre-emptive fondness for collective guilt: "[E]veryone involved in Major League Baseball bears some responsibility for this scandal," he said. More:

"A lack of leadership and oversight in Major League Baseball enabled these abuses to continue. After 15 years of slow action, a new commissioner is needed to guide the league out of this era of drug abuse," [Florida Republican Cliff] Stearns said. […]

"The first step in restoring the reputation of baseball is taking all necessary actions to show cheating will no longer be tolerated. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while some players destroy the integrity of this sport," [Maryland Democrat Elijah] Cummings said.

Today, baseball. Tomorrow, hip-hop!

For contrary views, consult the New York Sun's Tim Marchman, The New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell, or our own voluminous past coverage.

To see a professional nostalgic do an endzone dance on the incarceration of a young mother who is "nursing one child and raising another," try Mitch Albom.

NEXT: That's My Mitt!

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  1. The solution, of course, is to end this Anti-Trust nonsense for everybody else, then baseball will not be so ‘special’.

  2. Love the headline. Not as puntastic as some of Gillespie’s, but a very strong effort.

    Not much to add that wouldn’t be preaching to the choir. It is nice to see that Congress has solved the MidEast crisis, placed Osama’s head on a pike in the Rose Garden, and cleaned up the budget mess, and so has time to spend figure out whether some gladiators violated a private organization’s internal rules.

  3. Waxman is so fucking ugly that even if he said something that wasn’t total statist bullshit I’d still automatically hate whatever he said. There are ugly people, and then there’s Henry.

  4. Waxman reminds me of the character of “Crocker” in the Fairy Godparents cartoon. For those without kids, Crocker is tall, skinny goon who’s always trying to prove fairies exist.

    The only difference is Waxman is always trying to find ways to expand the nanny state…

  5. forgive my ignorance but can someone please, please explain to me why MLB and steroids is a pressing concern for congress? 🙂

    oh, i forgot, its because kids look up to baseball players as role models, and if it wasn’t for that little itty-bitty issue with the steroids, they’d be frickin’ saints for the kids to emulate

  6. wheezes into action tomorrow

    Damn. Sure is good to have you back, Matt.

  7. At least they are not spending money, too much, when they are wasting time like this. We don’t hear about it much since the Dems now control Congress and Reason somehow lost interest in spending, but Congress is still wasting money at an amazing rate in the unending effort to get themselves and their chrony’s rich.

    Reason’s position seems to be that it is okay to lie to a grand jury or investigators as long as you believe the investigation is bullshit. Marion Jones lied to the feds. Everyone knows you can’t do that. Nor should you be able to. If she would have just told the truth she wouldn’t be going to jail. Yes, I know the cheap answer to that is the typical reasonoid “yeah like she should just go along with the fascist regime like a sheep so everything would be great.” bullshit.

    No. The abuse of prosecutorial descretion, does not justify or excuse lying under oath. The day reason comes on here and defends someone who goes to jail for using steroids rather than lying, I will be with them. Until then, I can’t buy the idea it is okay to lie under oath as long as you don’t agree with the investigation.

  8. Committee on “Oversight and Government Reform”

    HOW ABOUT THEY INVESTIGATE OUR VOTING MACHINES FIRST?

    http://blackboxvoting.org/

    – Both Democrat and Republican candidates have requested recounts

    – More than half of New Hampshire’s elections administrators hand count paper ballots in public at the polling place, with a public chain of custody. The rest of New Hampshire’s towns and cities use Diebold voting machines to count votes in secret, with a secret chain of custody.

    – Hand count and machine count locations, when calculated statewide, show an eerie statistic:

    Clinton Optical scan 91,717 52.95%
    Obama Optical scan 81,495 47.05%

    Clinton Hand-counted 20,889 47.05%
    Obama Hand-counted 23,509 52.95%

    – Two hand count towns reported “zero” votes for candidate Ron Paul to the media, even though they did have votes for him. The town of Sutton reported zero, but had 31 votes; the town of Greenville reported zero, but had 25 votes. The two towns had misreported results affecting exactly the same candidate in exactly the same way.

    – Results in many locations arrived up to four hours late on Election Night, surprisingly, from machine-counted locations — not hand count locations;

    – A single private entity had control over coding for every memory card in New Hampshire. According to the contract for LHS Associates, this firm requires a right of access to any voting machine at any time, services the machines, maintains the machines and handles repairs, replacements and troubleshooting on Election Day.

    – Ken Hajjar, a key employee of this sole source private entity, LHS Associates, has a criminal record for narcotics trafficking. The state of New Hampshire knew of this conviction but approved the contractor anyway. According to a complaint filed with the New Hampshire Attorney General, Hajjar had called the Dan Pierce radio show in 1999 and threatened to rig an election.

    – A high number of “other” votes appeared in Manchester, where over 570 people apparently decided to go to the polls and choose none of the first tier OR second tier candidates.

    – The voting system in New Hampshire was updated, but to a version that had been proven to be vulnerable in studies in Florida and California. Instead of upgrading to newer versions which at least claim to address known security vulnerabilities, New Hampshire chose to implement none of the beefed up procedures or upgraded versions that other states are using.

  9. On the other hand, don’t we

  10. A lack of leadership and oversight in Major League Baseball Congress enabled these abuses to continue

  11. “The first step in restoring the reputation of [Congress] is taking all necessary actions to show [acting like showboating douches] will no longer be tolerated. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while some [Congressmen] destroy the integrity of this [republic],” [Maryland Democrat Elijah] Cummings said.

    There, I fixed it.

  12. Fucking comment engine! Try two:

    Don’t we benefit in some way from this?

    After all, when they are bloviating about base-ball they aren’t passing laws nationalizing health-care.

    While it’s not as good as Congress adjourning and refusing to meet for months at a time, if they are going to meet, I’d rather that they passed laws that only impacted some expendable sector of the economy.

  13. I’m more worried about steroid use by embedded correspondents

  14. ‘Cause he’s the Wax-Man.
    Yeaaah, he’s the Wax-Maaaaaan.

  15. Today, baseball. Tomorrow, hip-hop!

    I need to write a hip-hop song about doing steroids to keep the feds away. I mean, you don’t see them going after these guys for blunts and whatnot.

    Let’s see:

    Take it to the gym, I’m about to get ripped/
    Slip the needle in vein, No Pain! just dip/
    Bring the big guns, keep me bringin’ in the bitches/
    Though my nuts are like raisin and everything itches/

  16. Agreed with Tarran and John. Also, what exactly do we expect Congress to do to fix anything in the Middle East?

  17. After all, when they are bloviating about base-ball they aren’t passing laws nationalizing health-care.

    Wrong city, man!

    There are dictating to a private company how to conduct their treatment of drug use under the guise of protecting health.

    This gives precedent to dictate what employers can and cannot provide to their employees, amongst other egregious precedent.

    They’re just setting up the chess board…

  18. Gee, just what we need more tax dollars spent by the government for something that’s not their business. Baseball should take care of their own problems.

  19. Sometime, I swear that the ‘ol Wax-job, with his laser-like precision to shine the light of truth on the pressing issues of our time, is just a DC proxy for Stuart.

    The baseball players play on soil, too.

  20. I’m completely against the involvement of Congress in this. My representative, Tom Davis, lost my vote when he sponsored the first set of hearings.

    However, Marion Jones got the harsh penalties for check fraud and lying under oath. I’m not feeling very sorry for her.

  21. Sorry, I can’t comment on the scandal that is Steroids in Baseball. I’m still recovering from the awfulness that is Mitch Albom. Whose lack of leadership and oversight is responsible for the popularity of that gas-bag?

  22. After all, when they are bloviating about base-ball they aren’t passing laws nationalizing health-care.

    You act as if they’ve put nationalized health care on the back burner in order to talk about steroids. Trust me, if Pelosi and Reid and the rest of the Dems had the votes to nationalize health care, they’d do it, steroid crisis or not.

    This is just an example of idle hands being the devil’s workbench. Another reason for…The Sunset Amendment!

  23. Baseball is boring even with drugs

    no amount of them will improve ratings IMHO

  24. Guy nailed it in the first comment.

    If you don’t want your parents complaining about how you handle your finances, don’t borrow money from them.

    If you don’t want Congress butting into your private business, give up your special exemption.

  25. If you don’t want Congress butting into your private business, give up your special exemption.

    I don’t have any special exemptions that I’m aware of, but yet Congress seems to have no problem repeatedly butting into my private business.

  26. “[E]veryone involved in Major League Baseball bears some responsibility for this scandal,” he said.

    Yeah, especially the bat boys!

  27. Don’t forget about the collaboration between Reggie Jackson and the Queen…

  28. Davebo,

    Guy nailed it in the first comment.

    If you don’t want Congress butting into your private business, give up your special exemption.

    I think you missed Guy’s point. The goal is not to end baseball’s special exemption but to make all other industries as special as baseball.

    BTW, the baseball decision is (unsurprisingly) yet another example of Justice Holmes showing off his idiocy. Worst Justice Ever! Of course, the fact that he wasnt on the bottom end of an 8-1 decision is a bit troubling too.

  29. If this is only the second inning, I’d love to see how this baby ends. Bring on the ridiculous and hyperbolic statements from Congress!

  30. Wait, I thought the lesson we learned as a nation during the Clinton impeachment was perjury was OK as long as you disagree with the basis of the investigation.

  31. Gladwell makes some excellent points, which get attacked in the comments section with the same approach that drug warriors use. The general consensus is that “we” can allow steroids because of the “risk to the athletes”. The is no concept of the athletes actually being able to decide risk for themselves. Point out that short term use of HGH, or anabolic steroids actually does aid in recovery, and they counter with “But it’s wrong!” or the assumption that if someone gets a short-term gain from something, they’ll immediately become a long-term abuser.

    Albom is a moralizing clown. It really makes him feel better that Jones (and hopefully Bond and Clemens, too!) is going to prison for offending his sensibilities. He doesn’t care about the method used to send her there. If anything, guys like him love it when authorities “put people in their place”. I watch TheSports Reporters every Sunday just so I can scream indignantly at Albom and Mike Lupica, their mythological approach to sports coverage, and the way the coo over authoritarian measures from sports commissioners, congress, and federal agents. Long live Jason Whitlock, whom I didn’t always agree with, but who had the balls to question why these guys treat sports as more important that any other entertainment product.

  32. Bring on Wolf Blitzer, his characteristic beard, and his humorous ability to treat anything congress does (especially stuff like this) as a perfectly serious matter!

  33. The last good sportswriter in this country was John Lardner.

  34. Waxman is so fucking ugly that even if he said something that wasn’t total statist bullshit I’d still automatically hate whatever he said. There are ugly people, and then there’s Henry.

    I’ve long thought Henry Waxman was the spitting image of a Morlock from the George Pal version of The Time Machine

  35. it is just plain-ass weird to see this kind of congressional scrutiny for a frickin’ game.

  36. A question for parents out there –

    Do your offspring spend more time watching sporting events or listening to popular music? Sports heroes or musician posters on the bedroom wall? ‘Cause I’ve heard that some of those musician guys and gals use illegal performance enhancing drugs.

    Unlike atheletes, they make no attempt to hide it. Should the recording industry perform random, unannounced testing on there contracted employees? I’ve also heard that there is some illegal drug use in the film and television industries, but that’s probably an urban legend.
    This is so monumentally stupid. Grandstanding crap so they can get there free campaign appearances on C-SPAN.

  37. Marion Jones got the harsh penalties for check fraud and lying under oath.

    Actually, the check fraud charges were dropped, in exchange for her agreeing both to a guilty plea and public mea culpa.

  38. Grandstanding crap so they can get there free campaign appearances on C-SPAN.

    Now that’s just ridiculous! Nobody tries to get on CSPAN.

  39. Waxman is right about one thing, baseball desperately needs a new commissioner.

  40. Actually, the check fraud charges were dropped, in exchange for her agreeing both to a guilty plea and public mea culpa.

    My mistake, every story I’ve read mentions the check fraud. For some reason I thought that check fraud would be deemed worse than steroid use. Foolish me.

    I still don’t feel very sorry for her. Unlike the nudge-nudge, wink-wink attitude of MLB, the Olympics have been very clear on their ban of performance enhancing substances for decades.

    BTW, I do feel sorry for her kids.

  41. Matt Welch-

    Thanks for that info. The whole money laundering/ bank fraud aspect of the story has been pretty much ignored. As I recall, those charges were used to bludgeon her into an admission of the “truly serious” crime of performance enhancement.

  42. Wait until McCain gets finished with boxing. Nothing in the corner, ’cause the water might be juiced, the cut packing stuff will only be available by prescription and all injuries will be treated by appointment only.

  43. robc,

    Yes, you are on the right track with colorful wording. If everybody has the same “specialness” then nobody is special.

    Get rid of Anti-Trust.

  44. Guy,

    Every industry should be the exact same individual snowflake.

  45. Anybody with the “good sense that God gave a goose”*, realizes that this is a collective bargaining issue between the owners and the MLBPA. That explains the congressional hearings.

    * J sub D’s Mom.

  46. JsD,

    And if we did not have all of those pro-union “bargaining” laws it would be none of their business either.

    Along with Anti-Trust, abolish “collective bargaining” protection laws too, says I.

  47. Along with Anti-Trust, abolish “collective bargaining” protection laws too, says I.

    IIRC, the MLBPA and major league baseball came to present agreement without neither help nor hindrance from the government. Free market in action.

    BTW, anti-trust exemption that baseball has only relates to franchise relocation anymore. The reserve clause was killed by [gasp!] collective bargaining and a few strikes some time ago.

    Good Americans, i.e. baseball fans, are aware of this.

  48. Wait, I thought the lesson we learned as a nation during the Clinton impeachment was perjury was OK as long as you disagree with the basis of the investigation.

    I learned that when they slap you in front of a federal investigation, forget everything but your own name. They can’t nail you for perjury later if you can’t recall anything under oath. Repeat after me “I do not recall at this time.” Let’s see somebody make a perjury charge stick on that answer…

  49. JsD,

    Almost everything MLB does after the whif of a Congressional hearing is because of the threat of losing their Anti-Trust exemption.

    Now, back to the real issue, let’s abolish Anti-Trust, shall we.

  50. This may not be shape the course of the nation stuff, but no one ever got ahead in electoral politics by saying: “I don’t give a crap what all these overgrown children do to themselves and this silly game; it’s all really a big waste of time compared to deciding how much gas a car should use in like five years”

    Stupid or not, people attach deep gravitas to what happens down on the playing field. And, like everything else in this country these days, if it’s mildly important to anyone, the federal government must get itself involved.

  51. Now, back to the real issue, let’s abolish Anti-Trust, shall we.

    No argument there.

  52. There are dictating to a private company how to conduct their treatment of drug use under the guise of protecting health.

    I’m not a sports historian, but it seems to me that this is all baseball’s fault for seeking, accepting and promoting a charter of monopoly from congress. And it’s not just congress, as local government’s coast to coast are building and maintaining stadiums at taxpayers expense for this “private company”.

  53. “it is just plain-ass weird to see this kind of congressional scrutiny for a frickin’ game.”

    It’s a game with big corporate and gambling interests which need the game to appear to be untainted, so Congress, with nothing better to do, is compelled to get involved. Lots of money on the line, nothing to see here folks, go back to sleep, sleeeep.

    /Baseball could cease to exist today for all I care. Just a bunch of overpaid men playing a game.

  54. What’s all this nonsense about “baseball’s fault”?!? “Baseball” – meaning the owners of the teams – comes out of this smelling like a rose, like the members of the capitalist/governmental cabal normally do.

    They’ve made huge jack out of the Steroid Era, with revenues quadrupling, now they have the federal government taking their back on their labor negotiations (again and still).

    Bud Selig has to take some public humilation? So what! He’s a used-car salesman – he doesn’t embarrass easily.

  55. If you commit perjury in an attempt to escape (or allow someone else to escape) an unjust law, or unjust authority, that’s perfectly fine, as far as I’m concerned.

  56. If anybody really cared…the true scandal in baseball is getting billions of dollars of public funds for private business(stadiums), a hell of a lot more important than this damn steroid scandal. Waxman is usually great, this stupid steriod investigation was begun during Republican control to divert from everything else….Should have just ended when Dems too over.

  57. Bud Selig for president!

  58. If anybody really cared…the true scandal in baseball is getting billions of dollars of public funds for private business(stadiums), a hell of a lot more important than this damn steroid scandal.

    QFT!!!

  59. To see a professional nostalgic do an endzone dance on the incarceration of a young mother who is “nursing one child and raising another,” try Mitch Albom.

    Are all sports writers fascists?

    Honestly, i never read the sports page.

  60. Congress is about as credible a source of moral direction as the Mafia.

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