11-17-10 November 17 Update

NOVEMBER 17 UPDATE

EARLY THANKSGIVING SHOWCASE

Pools have been posted for 16U and 18U teams entered this weekend in the annual Batbuster/Surf City pre-Thanksgiving tournament. (www.surfcitytourneys.com)  Just as the tournament at Disney World was heavily loaded with Eastern and Southeastern teams, and Ronald Macdonald with teams from the Southwest, the Thanksgiving tournament has a preponderance of California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon teams.

Looking over the pools, there are numerous excellent matchups at both age groups.  The field includes the 18U Premier/ESPN national champion Southern California Athletics and the 16U national champion Batbusters.

Games will primarily be played at Huntington Beach, Harvard and Bill Barber Parks, but also with games at Alicia, Costa Mesa and other complexes.

 COMMITMENTS

FLORIDA FURY

CAITLYN SMITH – P, OF – to Newberry College (SC)
CHRISTINE HENDERSON – P, OF, 1B – to Seton Hill University (PA)
COURTNEY REINFELD – 3B, 1B, P – to University of Maryland Baltimore County
HAYLEY REINFELD – P, CF, OF – to University of South Carolina Upstate
KACI KELLEY – 1B, 3B, OF – to Florida Institute of Technology

Texas Aces Express Gold Signings-Commitments:

Erin Barrientos  (IF) …UT-Dallas 2011

Jessica Bowden  (RHP) … McNeese State Univ. 2011

Sara Clements  (OF) … East Texas Baptist Univ. 2011

Lindsay Davis  (IF/OF)…  Univ. of Alabama-Huntsville 2011

Kirbie Ferrell  (IF)… Belmont Univ. 2011

Lauren Langner  (IF)… McNeese State Univ. 2011

Bianca Lilly  (LHP)… McNeese State Univ. 2011

Lindsey Lyles  (C-IF)… TX. A&M Corpus Christi 2011

Leandra Maly   (OF)… Blinn College 2011

Sydney Darby, 2011, Nevada Comets,  C/3B Signed with Dominican College, NY

American Athletics 18-Rizzo

Addy Hoskins Utility  Northwest Christian University

Amanda Reiss IF   Northwest Christian University

Alison McKibbon 1B  Humbolt State University

Dominique Lawrence P  Howard University

Kimmi Takahashi  P Chapman University

Tulsa Elite Class of 2011 Alumni signing NLI (11)-

Madison Thompson – North Texas

Taylor Woodall – Oklahoma State

Callie Parsons – Oklahoma

Kaytie Spencer – Central Arkansas

Ashley Boswell – Central Arkansas

Tory Fitch – Central Arkansas

Tiffany Roby – Central Arkansas

Chelsea Stout – Siena

Whitney Hamilton – Southeastern

Jacee Bennett – Southeastern

Sadie Reed – Arkansas-Tech

Tennessee Lady Vols Tennessee co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly and the University of Tennessee softball program have announced the signings of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2011-12 academic school year.  Signees include Hannah Akamine (Escondido, Calif./Escondido H.S./San Diego Legacy), Haley Fagan (Cornersville, Tenn./Cornersville H.S./Tennessee Fury) and Cheyanne Tarango (Anaheim Hills, Calif./Canyon H.S./Worth Firecrackers)

Mississippi State – Mississippi State head softball coach Jay Miller has announced that Florida infielder Erika Gaul, Mississippi standouts Swayze Hollenhead and Ashley Phillips, Georgia first baseman Megan Nesbit and Oklahoma infielder Courtney Vanlandingham have signed national letters of intent to join the Bulldogs beginning with the 2012 season.

Mack Captures Softball’s Annual Tiger Triathlon
BATON ROUGE – Brittany Mack won the 2010 edition of the Tiger Triathlon as the LSU softball team recently competed in the yearly event around campus. Mack won the eighth-annual event with an overall time of 47:03 and edged out Jessica Mouse by 28 seconds. Heidi Pizer, Ashley Applegate and Allison Falcon rounded out the Top 5.

 “I’m proud to know that our team is full of competitors who push themselves to win no matter what,” Mack said. “I was especially proud to see my fellow teammates who are recovering from surgery or other injuries beast through the Tiger Tri. Every player on this team went all out and gave everything they had just to catch the girl ahead of them. I’m a proud teammate.”

 The Tigers began the triathlon by swimming 300 yards, the equivalent of 12 laps, at the Natatorium. Immediately after finishing the swimming event, they picked up a bike and rode 5.2 miles along a course that wove around various athletic venues and finished with the levee portion. The triathlon wrapped up with a two-mile run as the players crossing the finish line at the levee flagpole. 

 “The swim is definitely the hardest part considering most of us don’t swim on a daily basis,” Mouse said. “In fact, I haven’t been in a pool competitively since the last triathlon. We pretty much look like fish out of water. The race is tough but certainly impressive to see everyone finish.”

 For the first time since the 2008 season, LSU will spend opening weekend inside the friendly confines of Tiger Park. Bowling Green, Louisiana Tech and Purdue head to the Capitol City as part of the Wilson/DeMarini Tiger Classic from Feb. 11-13.

THE PROBLEM WITH EARMARKS

Rather than some politically incorrect thoughts I have been having about Sarah Palin and her homophobic daughters, the tea party campaign to cast votes for Bristol, and Palin’s bombshell that she can defeat Obama in 2012 – I had been hoping that the Wills-Cate engagement would knock all the Palins off the front page for a week or two – I will comment instead on earmarks.

Earmarks are as old as the appropriations process; contrary to some members of Congress, the process did not begin in the 1970’s.  Reading election returns, voters are not so much opposed to earmarks – as they are to wasteful spending.  After all, one man’s bridge to nowhere is another man’s sewage treatment plant for a city whose facilities have gone beyond repair.  The new rule which requires Members to identify their names with earmarks and declare their purpose, which of course means they will be publicized, and greater oversight by the committees, should reduce the abuses.

But, a reading of the Federalist papers makes clear that Congress is mandated to look after the interests of their constituents, whom they are obliged to represent.  Admittedly, in this age of lobbyists, electronic media campaigns by interest groups, etc., the public interest has often been subordinated to special interests.  Congress can improve the process – through more oversight.

To be sure, some Members will always have a private interest, often shielded.  There was a Member who every year, when the State-Justice appropriations bills were marked up (mark up sessions are where the real decisions are made) would ask government witnesses privately if they would support language to castrate all rapists; a member of his family had been raped. 

Not widely known, but the State Department has an air force, primarily for spraying narcotic crops, but not exclusively so.  Late one night, we got some helicopters for Guatemala we weren’t necessarily seeking from Sen Jesse Helms in exchange for our getting more crop dusters; the agreement I sought was that we would not arm the helicopters, a pledge I had made to Rep. Dante Fascell, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committees.  Senior civil servants most commonly took the chair at markup because the issues were often too sensitive for ambitious political appointees.  The latter really got their shorts in knots when a joint Senate-House markup doubled the budget for the narcotics bureau; agreement was reached at 2am in the Speaker’s office; the politicos tried several maneuvers to divert the money, but the agreement held. 

On another occasion, I rode up in the Rayburn building elevator with Rep. Dan Flood who was not happy to see me; offered to split the difference between his bill and the amount offered by Sen. Magnusson, his counterpart; between the basement and fourth floor, a deal was done.  I went on to the Committee room; took my chair, and waited with State’s lawyers.  After 30 minutes an aide to Flood came out and informed me the chairman had called Magnusson to tell him a number was struck, adding, “Now I don’t have to listen to Rayburn Hesse telling me how to run my committee.”  Later, a number of State political appointees claimed to have been involved in the tense negotiations between Flood and me; very crowded elevator!

I learned how the appropriations process really works from the Master of Pork, Senator Robert Kerr, when he chaired Appropriations.  The New York Times said every conflict of interest investigation in Washington should begin with the Oklahoma senator.  In 1956, when I was in Washington laying groundwork for a post-Army career, Kerr, a friend of my father’s and for whom I had campaigned in 1954 while in college, introduced me around to Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn et al.  One night, there was a testimonial dinner for retiring Senator Walter George.  I had to wear a dinner jacket, like everyone else, but Kerr, who had a table directly in front of the dais, wore a brown suit.  He kept one chair open at his table; he said that with the appropriations bills coming up the following week, he would have a stream of visitors wanting earmarks.  And they came down to talk to Kerr: Johnson, Humphrey, Dirksen, Kennedy, Kefauver, Jackson, even Harry Truman – a veritable Who’s Who of Washington. 

Was the public interest served?  More or less!  But, that is how Washington works.

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