December 2010


Americans United for Separation of Church and State is in a dither over a proposal by the state of Kentucky to issue a license plate with the motto “In God We Trust” on it. Sandhya Bathija claims there’s a constitutional problem with putting the national motto on a license plate. Really:

“The cabinet often receives comments from people out in the state expressing interest in having something like this,” cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “The cabinet believes there’s a sizable group of people who would like to have this choice.”

Wolfe told the newspaper that there are no church-state concerns with the new plate. “In God We Trust” is the national motto, he said, and motorists can choose an alternate plate for the same price.

I don’t know if Wolfe is right about the legal issue. Courts do sometimes uphold generic expressions of religion. But regardless, the proposed new plate is a bad idea.

And why is that?

The Rev. Paul Simmons, president of the Louisville Americans United Chapter, explained.

“It’s the kind of deism, a general God, that’s offensive to people who take religion seriously, and to those who take separation [of church and state] seriously,” he told the Courier-Journal.  “I dislike this sort of bumper-sticker, license-plate religion.”

Right. Those would be the hordes who have taken pitchfork in hand to storm the U.S. Capitol and demand that “In God We Trust” be replaced as the national motto by something that represents all Americans, like “Party On, Dude!” or “”Shop ‘Til You Drop.” Look, I get his point about civil religion, and I agree that this kind of expression is meaningless from the standpoint of genuine Christianity, but let’s get real–virtually the only ones who will be breaking down the doors to express outrage at this are strict separationists of the AU variety. Most Americans, including most devoutly religious ones, recognize this as just as harmless as the national motto.

Plus, the Constitution requires the government to remain neutral on religion, and issuing these tags is certainly not a good example of that.

So what she is essentially saying is that states can’t put the national motto on a license plate, though the courts have repeatedly held that the federal government can put it on money. Good luck making that argument stand up in court–either the legal one or the court of public opinion.

For anyone for whom it might not have been clear, I couldn’t care less whether Kentucky does this or not. It makes not one whit of difference in any realm I can conceive of, is not in any way supportive of Christianity, and has as much to do with genuine faith as a “God Is My Co-Pilot” bumper sticker. Why Americans United thinks that such trivia requires them to view-with-alarm is anybody’s guess.

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If ever there was doubt that an awful lot of evangelical preaching and teaching has been hopelessly ineffective, the Christian Post dispels it:

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

Among the faiths, 83 percent of evangelical Protestants agreed that good people of other religions can go to heaven. Ninety percent of black Protestants also believe good people can go to heaven.

When prodded further, more than half – 54 percent – of evangelical Protestants said yes, people of religions other than Christianity can go to heaven. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants agreed with the statement.

I haven’t read the book in question, so I don’t know what the questions were that were asked of those surveyed (what does “when prodded further” mean?). But those numbers are so high that it’s fair to believe that even if the actual figures are half of what the article presents, there are millions–maybe tens of millions–of “evangelicals” who have no clue what Scripture and their faith actually teach. What’s more, because they think that “good people” can be saved, it means that they have no incentive (other than obedience to Christ’s command, which probably won’t impress folks who have such a deficient understanding of Scripture) to witness for Christ. Is it any wonder that the evangelism efforts of so many evangelical churches is so anemic?

No, your browser isn’t broken. That’s “Merry Christmas” in Klingon, in case you aren’t up on your foreign languages. They don’t observe Christmas on Kronos, of course, but that hasn’t stopped some super-nerds from celebrating the holidays in true warrior style. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Across the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie? [That’s Trekker to you, Qatlh (slime devil).]

The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon—a language made up for a Star Trek movie.

For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.

The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.

For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.

We’ve all seen Shakespeare transported to other times and places–A Midsummer Night’s Dream set in 19th century Italy, for instance (very good) or Richard III set in 1930s Britain (not so hot)–but for literary reimaginings, this one takes the Rokeg blood pie.

James Wall, the former editor-in-chief and still contributing editor of the Christian Century, comes out today as an unabashed, enthusiastic supporter of Hamas, the terrorist movement sworn to the destruction of Israel. He does so by way of mourning the fact that after the 2006 Palestinian election, Hamas was not permitted to takeover the Palestinian Authority and significantly increase the resources it had to pursue its war against the Jews. He writes:

For one brief shining moment, before the 2006 results were rewritten to fit the Zionist narrative, democracy lived in the land where Christ was born.

The “Zionist narrative” is presumably the ridiculous notion that Jews should have a homeland in which they can be secure in the face of active efforts on the part of people like Hamas to indiscriminately kill Jews.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was shocked at the election results. Israeli intelligence had assured her that Fatah would win. She had not counted on having to deal with a non-subservient Palestinian leadership.

In other words, she had not counted on having to deal with a Palestinian leadership that would want to continue and expand the war against the Jews. Failure to foresee the Hamas victory was, admittedly, a fairly shocking lapse on the part of both the U.S. and Israel, and the response was, I suspect, in large part a result of that shock and the lack of preparation for dealing with an unpleasant eventuality. No one ever said that either country’s government was perfect, or even close to it.

Israel had agreed to tolerate the election, knowing that if Hamas won, the results could easily be manipulated to fit the scenario Israel would write.

The election results were revised to fit the standard “terrorism” narrative. It works this way: When Israel does not win a war or an election, it simply rewrites the script to conform to whatever fits Israel’s preferred story line.

“Rewrites the script”? What does that mean? That Israel tries to spin the perception of events to its own advantage? Shocking! I can’t think of another government anywhere in the world that does that, can you? Or is this perhaps Wall’s way of saying that he agrees with his anti-Semitic buddies at Veterans Today that the Jews control the media, the American government, and the way the whole world sees events in the Holy Land (and they’ve been real successful in getting everyone to agree to their view, don’t you know)?

Israel could not allow Hamas to be seen as a political party that had won an election the way parties do in a democracy. Hamas had to be peddled as a “terror” organization that is a threat to world peace, a narrative pattern that continues to this day, as Israel and its US neoconservative allies pound the war drums against Iran.

So Hamas is a political party that doesn’t target civilians, doesn’t carry out suicide bombings when it can, doesn’t assassinate its political opponents or those accused of “collaborating” with Israel, doesn’t seek to smuggle arms into Gaza from Iran, in fact has no ties with Iran at all, in short is really no different from the U.S. Democratic Party or Britain’s Conservative Party. Okey-dokey.

Following Israel’s script for the next five years, Israel, the US and the European Union refused to accept the results of the 2006 election.

The U.S. and European Union, of course, are not independent government entities with their own views and interest. They are wholly owned subsidiaries of Israel, who take their orders from the Jooooos.

Immediately, Israel took over the story. Since the Hamas legislative majority had been deemed by Israel and the US to be a “terrorist” organization, all outside funding was funneled to the now minority Fatah party, which remained under Israeli control.  Cutting off the funding was intended to starve the Hamas political organization, leading to it failure.

But Hamas did not fail, not even after Israel sealed the Gaza strip.

An ongoing economic blockade and periodic military assaults on Gaza’s civilian population, in “retaliation” for home-made rockets fired into Israel by non-Hamas forces, also did not lead to Hamas’ defeat.

Right. Hamas–an authoritarian organization that doesn’t hesitate to kill its opponents and has total control of the Gaza Strip–doesn’t have any involvement in or the wherewithal to stop the shadowy “non-Hamas forces” that continue to shell Israeli civilians on a daily basis. Wall no doubt still believes in the Easter bunny, too.

Hamas simply hunkered down; its army defeated Fatah in a US endorsed civil war in which Fatah’s army was funded and trained by the US military.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Since when does a political party have an army? The answer: Hamas isn’t a political party, though it has elements that are similar. It also has a social welfare component, one that is employed in pursuit of its political goals. But the most important aspect of the Hamas operation is the military one, which is the only reason why it was able to defeat Fatah in Gaza. Can anybody guess why Israel, the U.S., and the EU might have had some hesitation to turn the military resources of the Palestinian Authority over to such an organization?

Israel became an even more isolated military fortress, threatening its neighbors and encouraging the US to come over and save the world from the deadly non-existent Iraqi WPDs [sic–I’m guessing he means WMDs]. With that successful enterprise completed, Israel turned to the nuclear threat it insists it sees in Iran.

Wall obviously needs to check a calendar, since the Iraq war started almost four years before the Palestinian election over which Wall is grieving. As for Iran, Wall is obviously skeptical of what pretty much everyone outside of the fever-swamp left agrees upon, which is that Iran has nuclear ambitions that, when combined with its bloodthirsty rhetoric against the “Zionist entity,” indicates that Israel (not to mention the rest of the world) has some reason to be worried about those ambitions.

Five years after that brief 2006 shining moment when democracy threatened to break out in Palestine, the military power that is Israel stands alone in the Middle East, a nuclear-armed behemoth that has abandoned any pretense of democracy even as it continues to cling to the fiction that it is the “only democracy” in the region.

A “brief…shining moment”: you know, when an organization that is dedicated to the destruction of its nearest neighbor, and the forcible conquest of the territory of that neighbor, and the expulsion if not killing of the Jewish residents of that neighbor from the region, was voted into power. At the risk of violating Godwin’s Law, I can’t help but compare that “brief…shining moment” of democratic action with that of January 1933. when another democratic election brought to power another regime devoted to the destruction and conquest of neighbors and the killing of Jews. Wall’s devotion to formal democracy is laudable. His enthusiasm for the terrorists who won that election is despicable.

UPDATE: For some reason, I forgot the link to Wall’s post. I’ve corrected that.

Just because James Wall, former editor-in-chief and now contributing editor of the Christian Century, refers to the folks at Veterans Today as his “friends,” I’ve been keeping tabs on them to see what new lunacy they come up with. Most of it has been of the typical anti-Semitic, anti-Israel fare that Wall seems so fond of. Most of it isn’t worth passing along, since it doesn’t add to what’s already been exposed about Wall’s buds. But there’s one on the front page today that I pass along simply for the humor of it. Seems that WikiLeaks has some information about aliens, and I don’t mean illegal aliens:

Those “in the know” have long since picked up the fact that Wikileaks is a game, or “game theory warfare” as Jeff Gates puts it.  The players, a Rothschild law firm, the pro-Israel gang at the New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel and the Mossad.  The leaks have been, as Zbigniew Brzezinski puts it, a combination of chickenfeed and “seeded, pointed material” from an “intelligence agency.”  Now we are told by Wayne Madsen and others that Wikileaks has UFO materials and is going to buy its way out of the “dog house” with them.

Wikileaks was Israel.  Now, Wikileaks is going to be X-Files.

For years, the reports have been of the Air Force adapting UFO technology at the Area 51 base in Nevada, triangular aircraft capable of unusual maneuvers with some type of drive capable of using aspects of physics I won’t begin to describe.  Dozens, maybe even hundreds of movies, books and television shows have been made about this subject or various derivations of the Majestic 12 document, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” of the UFO world.

These stories, true or not, national secrets or conspiracy theory of such power and breadth as to become a major cultural phenomena, are old news, long debunked by “debunkers” long proven to be unreliable, untruthful and untrustworthy.  Welcome to uncertainty.

Where there is uncertainty, there is also something to hide.  The rumor wouldn’t be “out there” unless it had power of some kind.  Accept the fact that something startling  may or may not be released to the public, depending on whether some agenda of Wikileaks or Wikileaks and Israel, is met.

Can America’s UFO secrets force an attack on Iran?  This is the kind of game that could be played here.

I know, I know: we’re talking Weekly World News here. But catch the conclusion:

What I do know is that what we will be told.  Unless the United States relinquishes defacto control of our military forces to the State of Israel, Julian Assange is going to unleash his stockpile of UFO documents.

The sign that the United States has surrendered will be increased rhetoric from President Obama over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and, at some point, the false flag attack on American forces in the Persian Gulf that the Bush administration was prevented from enacting in 2007.

You have to admit, that’s priceless. It definitely deserves the Joaquin Phoenix Award for Fine Headgear:

We haven’t had a Theocrat Watch in a while, so I welcome the Washington Post asking the contributors to its “On Faith” column this question: “In a time of economic turmoil and record poverty levels, are tax cuts for the wealthy moral?”

Let’s start off with PCUSA minister Janet Edwards, who wants the government to implement through taxes what Jesus called for through repentence:

And by the measure of Jesus’ ministry, continuing the tax cuts for the wealthy among us is clearly immoral.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill (Matthew 5:17).”

Extending the tax cuts for the wealthy violates both the law and the prophets.

Given that the law and the prophets don’t specifically mention the moral distinction between a 35% and a 39.4% tax rate, how is this possible?

Let’s consider the prophets first. The prophet Micah reminds us that God expects simple but difficult things of us: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).”

This must be one of those numerology thingys. You know, you add up the numeric value of the letters of the verse, and it adds up to 39.4, thereby indicating how it directly applies to this issue.

Luke 19:1-10 tells the story of Jesus choosing to dine with the rich man, Zacchaeus, who promises to give half his goods to the poor and repay four times over all those he has defrauded.

Fair taxes for the American wealthy are the latter day form of the rich standing up like Zacchaeus to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.

Of course, it wasn’t the Romans ordering Zacchaeus to take this action that makes it so striking. In fact, if the Romans were to do it, we’d think absolutely nothing of his obedience. It’s because it demonstrates a repentant spirit that Zacchaeus is well regarded by Christians.

Second consider the law. In Scripture, the heart of the law is the Ten Commandments.

The Eighth Commandment is “You shall not steal.”

That’s correct, Rev. Edwards, the Eighth Commandment is in fact, “You shall not steal.” Given that those in the top tax bracket aren’t stealing from anyone, but simply paying what the government requires them to pay, I suspect you citation is irrelevant. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

From a Christian perspective, ending these tax cuts is the moral thing to do. Not just shame is ours if we fail here, Divine judgment is ours as well.

So God is going to judge us if we don’t go from a 35% to a 39.4% tax rate in the top bracket? Reminds me of Gene Wilder’s character in Blazing Saddles, who quips when he sees Harvey Korman shoot someone for chewing gum in line, “Boy, is he strict!”

Next up, UCC pastor Susan Smith, who isn’t willing to go as far as Edwards, but still sees a problem:

I don’t know if I would say that tax cuts for the most wealthy Americans are immoral, but they certainly are not just or fair.

It is a fact that historically, the rich have become rich on the backs and at the expense of, the poor. Howard Zinn noted, in “A People’s History of the United States,” that even in the time of Columbus, this was the case; Spain’s population, he said, mostly peasants, worked for the nobility, who were 2 percent of the population and owned 95 percent of the land.” (p.2)

Bill Moyers noted in an essay he wrote earlier this year that the United States is becoming a plutocracy – that is, we are becoming a nation where the very wealthy are more and more in control of what happens in this country. If statistics I’ve read are correct, we are about in the same place as Spain was in the 1400s.

Well, they are correct, Susan, but thanks for playing. That’s what happens when you get your information from a political agitator masquerading as a historian. She concludes:

Extending the tax cuts to the most wealthy may not be immoral, but it is definitely out of line with the Christian commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and to be concerned with “the least of these.”

And why is this? We have no idea. Such a moral judgment is evidently so self-evident to Smith that she doesn’t bother to explain it.

Then there’s the overtly partisan Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite of the Center for American Progress, who takes her cue from the story of the rich young ruler:

All too true. It’s also easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a bill with the rich paying their fair share of taxes to get through Congress. Not gonna happen.

What is their “fair share”? Religious leftists love to use language like this, but it is full of nothing but fluff and hot air. Is 39.4% “fairer” than 35% How about 50%? Or 75% Or 90%? According to Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, the wealthiest 5% of Americans make approximately one-third of all American yearly income, but they pay 59% of the income taxes. Is that fair? Why not?

But that’s the moral thing to do. Our tax policies in this country are a way to help our neighbors who are the “least of these,” as Jesus also notes. We “distribute the money” so that we can help those who are the most vulnerable like children, the sick, those with handicapping conditions, and the elderly. It’s a way to “distribute the money” to those of our citizens who want to work and can’t find it. We give unemployment benefits to people thrown out of work while they struggle in hard economic times to find another job. We pay taxes to educate our young, keep our bridges from falling down, and support our troops.

Yes, that is all true. We do all of those things. But the federal government isn’t about, or even primarily about, helping poor people. The feds have their paws in a hundred different things that have nothing to do with the poor, from maintaining the military to the National Endowment for the Arts to public broadcasting to Social Security for millions of people who don’t need it to funding idiotic research projects to funding local school districts to paying interest on the national debt. Talking about nothing but anti-poverty efforts in the context of tax rates is as close to a non sequitar as you can get without being totally irrelevant.

Politicians love to pontificate on how we need to restore “Christian values” in the public square, but that’s mostly limited to denying equal civil rights for gay Americans, or controlling women’s bodies. When it comes to what the bible says about wealth and poverty, however, you’ll never hear that touted as morality in the public square. No, no. That’s “private.”

Baloney. The bible is filled with references to the religious imperative to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10) and “the worker deserves his pay.” (Luke 10:7) When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he “sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury.” (Mark 12:41) Jesus watched what people did with their money. He sees the money-changers in the temple charging pilgrims an exorbitant rate of exchange and he turns over the tables in anger, saying, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13)

The only baloney that’s being peddled here is the stuff in Thistlethwaite’s column. The Galatians reference is to the church, the Mark and Matthew references to the Temple. The Luke reference has to do with how the disciples’ should support themselves as they go from place to place preaching the gospel. It’s amazing to think that one could get to be a seminary president with some a pathetic grasp of Scripture.

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics is sure that those who prefer a 35% to a 39.4% upper tax rate are just plain materialistic:

Protecting the poor is a biblical imperative. It’s a non-negotiable moral imperative for Christians in the public square.

But today too many Christians negotiate away the biblical imperative to protect the poor in favor of the harmful fable that our society must protect the rich – the very rich.

Most Republican and too many Democrat politicians of faith claim that we must extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans because they will look after the rest of us. Those who adhere to this fable are following the materialistic imperative, not the biblical imperative.

The message is clear – too whom much is given much is required. The wealthiest citizens are expected to pay more in taxes. It is how a faithful society advances the common good.

Actually, those who defend the continuation of the present tax rates have noticed two facts: first, as noted above, a great deal is already being asked of the rich; and second and more importantly, what Parham disparagingly refers to as “look[ing] after the rest of us” is in fact the function of job creation, which is done by those with the means to pay others to do stuff for them. For example, the donors to the Baptist Center for Ethics have the extra income that allows them to give Robert Parham money to pontificate in public.That, by the way, is the thread that unites all of these folks crying “unfair” and “immoral”: none of them understand the role of wealth in job creation.

Retired religion professor Gene Davenport knows who God is going to be mad at for this travesty of justice–Republicans:

At various times, on one issue or another, I have been critical of one or the other of the two major political parties. More often than not, I have been critical of both Democrats and Republicans and of both liberals and conservatives. With regard to extending the tax reduction on those making more than $250K, however, the Republicans seem to be in a morally dubious position. The most common rationale for extending the reduction is that to eliminate it will enable the wealthy to help small businesses and create jobs for the unemployed. This theory was espoused during the Nixon Administration, and was nicknamed the “trickle down theory.”

Some opponents of extending the tax reduction for the wealthy claim that the recipients will simply use the money for their own luxuries or put it in the bank. I have no idea what they will do with it, but for almost half a century the trickle down theory has failed to do what its proponents claim. Had I not come the point that very few things surprise me anymore, support for this theory today would astonish me. But after a few decades, politicians of all stripes tend to reclaim old worn out ideas as though they were tried and true formulae.

I don’t know about the “trickle down theory” (except that it’s a slogan rather than an argument), but since Davenport seems to be convinced that small business and the wealthy don’t create jobs, I’d like to know who he thinks do. And I can certainly understand why he would have so much trouble with the economic policies of the last thirty years, which after all involved extraordinary growth and prosperity driven by the private sector rather than the state. That means it was immoral.

Jennifer Butler, formerly the PCUSA representative to the UN, and now director of Faith in Public Life, clearly spent way too much time at Turtle Bay:

Taxes are a moral issue because how we spend resources demonstrates our values and priorities. Whether we give massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires who don’t need the money while asking the most vulnerable to shoulder the burdens of deficit reduction is a moral choice.

Only in the mind of a true statist are tax rates a matter of “spending.” Oh, and this is as good a place as any to point out that no tax “cuts” are being proposed, except in the payroll tax; what’s proposed is to keep rates that have been at their present level for eight years the same for another two years. There is no rate level that is always optimal, so to continue to speak of “cuts” after such a long period is really to use an inappropriate nomenclature. Speaking of nomenclature, Butler indicates that so much of the sound and fury on the religious left is just spin:

Faith communities and religious leaders can offer a unique contribution to this contentious debate over taxes by re-framing it as a moral issue rather than simply a political one. This will require us to have some potentially uncomfortable conversations with our congregations, and it will require us to sharply rebuke politicians who cry “class warfare!” whenever anyone dares point out that they are emptying the public coffers into the pockets of millionaires while bemoaning Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility. It’s a dialogue and a public witness that our nation desperately needs.

“Re-framing.” That Washingtonese for, “let’s put our ideological agenda in moral terms so that the rubes will think this is a faith issue.” See, that’s where the real problem with all this is. There are prudential arguments, based in economics and public policy, both for and against the tax rate deal. The “moral” argument, however, is based on nothing more than using terms like “fairness” without providing any substance to them, and claiming that Christians can’t support the deal because it’s “immoral.” In other words, what Butler and her ideological allies want to do is impose their own religious vision of what tax rates should be. That’s what a theocrat does.

One of the greatest pitchers ever and one of the last links with the fabulous era of the 1930s in baseball is gone:

Teenage pitching sensation, World War II hero, outspoken Hall of Famer and local sports treasure. Bob Feller was all of them.

One of a kind, he was an American original.

Blessed with a right arm that earned the Iowa farmboy the nickname “Rapid Robert” and made him one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Feller, who left baseball in the prime of his career to fight for his country, died Wednesday night. He was 92.

Feller was part of a vaunted Indians’ rotation in the 1940s and ’50s with fellow Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. He finished with 2,581 career strikeouts, led the American League in strikeouts seven times, pitched three no-hitters—including the only one on opening day—and recorded a jaw-dropping 12 one-hitters.

The first pitcher to win 20 games before he was 21, Feller was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

An eight-time All-Star, Feller compiled statistics from 1936 through 1956 that guaranteed his Hall of Fame enshrinement. He led the AL in victories six times and is still the Indians’ career leader in shutouts (46), innings pitched (3,827), walks (1,764), complete games (279), wins and strikeouts.

On top of all that, Feller was the first major league player to enlist in the Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, joining on December 8, 1941 and serving with distinction on the USS Alabama. He was an irascible, opinionated old coot who didn’t think much of a lot of today’s players, especially coddled pitchers, who I loved to listen to. He will be sorely missed.

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