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Archive for May, 2006

Ron Howard’s Crimes Against Humanity

[ 0 ] May 20, 2006 |

A.O. Scott’s review of the The Da Vinci Crap (“Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence”) is a goldmine for lovers of snark. Before reading it, though, I had forgotten about a particularly odious part of Howard’s oeuvre:

Luckily I lack the learning to address the first two questions. As for the third, well, it’s long, and so is the movie. “The Da Vinci Code,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, is one of the few screen versions of a book that may take longer to watch than to read. (Curiously enough Mr. Howard accomplished a similar feat with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” a few years back.)

Yikes–I didn’t realize that Howard had taken responsibility for that particular act of terrorism. I know this is a strong claim to make, but I think that Howard’s Grinch was considerably worse than the typical Christmas movie shown on an airline. You know the one, where the kids have to get the divorced parents back together on Christmas, and you don’t know whether to fall asleep or puke? It was worse. And I love the original cartoon; one of my few memories of the first home I lived in until Grade 1 was asking my father in July when the Grinch would come on again. The only good thing about that abomination is that at least we didn’t have to read a lot of articles whining about how poor Jim Carrey was getting stiffed by the Oscars; the bad news was that Carrey was even more irritating than usual.

I wonder if J-Pod is still claiming that Cinderella Man is one of the best films ever made?

Dare We Hope?

[ 0 ] May 20, 2006 |

This is encouraging:

As of Friday, Cook rates 75 seats as potentially competitive, of which the GOP must defend 55 (or 73 percent, up from 68 percent the previous week). Among the seats that could become competitive this year, Cook sees 46 as already competitive, with Republicans defending 36 (or 78 percent, up from 69 the previous week). Within the races that are today competitive Cook rates 12 as “toss-ups,” with the GOP defending 11 (or 92 percent, up from 82 percent the previous week).

It’s still a longshot, but if the polls stay like this–taking the House is at least possible, which I wouldn’t have thought six months ago.

The Wages of Stupidity

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

The problem with trading an outstanding young pitcher for an injury-prone mediocrity and a good innings-eater for an arsonist reliever is that you end up with such unplanned special events as “Lima Time!” and “Fireworks Day with Jeremi Gonzalez.” These events may be highly flammable.

Fortunately, you might be bailed out a bit going up against a fading Big Unit. His last start convinced me that while he can’t be as bad as he looks now Johnson is finished as a dominant pitcher. A two-run homer to…Mark Kotsay? Three years ago, they wouldn’t let that kind of punch-and-judy lefthander watch the start from the dugout…

Round 3 Preview: It’s All Uphill From Here

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

And by the title, I don’t just mean our Round 2 prediction record (when you’re right 0% of the time, you’re wrong 100% of the time! Although that’s a little misleading, because Michael himself went 1 for 4; our division of labor made things look worse.) The playoffs themselves have largely been a bust; three close series, one Game 7, and in two cases the favored team failed to show up for the elimination game. Even worse, the NBA playoffs appear to have been so good that I can imagine flipping over to a game during Yankees/Mets and/or Oilers/Ducks commercials, minimizing my chance for pointless intrafandom snark. [Wait--it's Friday night; shouldn't you have a date rather than watching a bunch of sporting events?--ed. Quiet you!] These two series look both great and evenly matched on paper, which means that you can safely bet on whatever team I pick being swept. Anyway, here’s our take, with One Of The 101–er, we mean 100–Most Dangerous Professors In America Michael first and then me:


Michael: OK, it’s time for Conference Finals picks! Scott and I went a combined 0-4 in the second round after posting a respectable 6-2 in the conference quarterfinals, so you Charles Barkley types out there know what to do: read everything we say and then put your money on whoever’s playing against whomever we pick.

Eastern Finals: (2)Carolina vs. (4) Buffalo Here we have two likeable, hardworking, underrated, deserving teams. Awww! Can’t they both win? Well, no, actually, they can’t. And so we will have to award the Stanley Cup Final berth to The City That Wants It More. A frenzied check of the websites of the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes reveals that the Sabres’ three home games are sold out, whereas Carolina has plenty of good seats available in all available price ranges. In a goddamn conference final! And they even have a segment on how “personal faith” guides some of their players to victory. Such, evidently, are the perils of moving a hockey team out of New England and sticking them in a part of the country that spends much of its time reading the Left Behind series and watching cars go round and round. (Though I won’t indulge any faux-nostalgia for the Whalers’ glory days in the hideous little burg of Hartford, a.k.a. The Town That Fun Forgot.) Whereas Buffalo . . . oh, let’s not revisit Buffalo’s many woes, shall we? Except to say yet again that Scott Norwood’s missed field goal was not a frigging chip shot, people, and that even if Brett Hull’s no-goal had properly been ruled “no goal” back in 1999, you Buffaloes still would have had to beat Dallas in Dallas for game seven. So let’s not hear any whingeing and mewling from the good people of the City of Lights.

Besides, Buffalo will win this one in six. Their first-round victory gave me pause, because those first two losses in Philly suggested that they didn’t know how to hold onto a lead– in a game, or in a series. And I didn’t think very much of their defensive corps, either. I thought their matchup against Ottawa would amount to a series of frenetic games in which the last team to score wins, and game one bore me out to the letter. But over the rest of the series, Buffalo demonstrated two things that made a believer out of me: they bounced back in OT of game three after having been tied in the closing minutes (by contrast, say, with the Sharks, who never recovered from Torres’ goal in the third period of game three), and they clamped down defensively, contained Ottawa’s fearsome first line, and won yet another OT game – their third consecutive win on Ottawa ice – to take the series. Four one-goal wins over the Senators, two of them in OT? That’s not a fluke, that’s the Sabres’ forechecking speed and nine different scoring threats at work. And would the Senators have pulled it out if Dominic Hasek were in goal? Yes, possibly, and maybe the Rangers would have beaten the Bruins in 1972 if Jean Ratelle hadn’t broken his ankle late in the season and if the parameters of spacetime were tweaked just slightly so that the plane of the ecliptic didn’t run right through Madison Square Garden. Which brings me to . . .

Carolina: will Cory Stillman play? If not, then they’re facing a deep Sabres team without two of their best forwards – Stillman and Cole. Granted, a team that features playmaker extraordinaire Doug Weight on the “third” line has its own claim to depth (check out the game five highlights for Weight’s brilliant behind-the-back pass to set up the clinching third goal). In net, rookie phenom Cam Ward is every bit as phenomenal as rookie phenom Ryan Miller, so that’s a push. Last but not least, we know that the Canes can pick themselves up off a canvas. This probably won’t be one of those series in which the team who scores first wins every game. About that much, at least, we can be sure. Sabres in 6.

Scott: Indeed, considering playoff hockey in Carolina makes me think of Jim Carr solemnly intoning that “good seats are still available at the War Memorial” and interviewing Dennis Lemieux to give the fans some of the finer points. (“Then da play stop then start up.”) This really is a tough one to pick. Both teams have great speed up front, and Buffalo’s depth competes with Carolina’s greater front-line talent (Staal is certainly the best forward remaining in the playoffs, even if he wasn’t good enough for the Canadian Olympic team. Seriously, even on NHL ice, anyone think that the Hurricanes would be better off with Bertuzzi or Doan? Anyone?) In addition, Carolina (whose regular season point total seemed misleading) have proven themselves in different but impressive ways: coming back from two backbreaking defeats in Game 1, and then just crushing the Devils in Round 2. Like Michael, though, despite Carolina’s marginal edge up front (which, as Michael says, is getting more marginal if not non-existent if Stillman is out), I have to go with Buffalo, for two reasons: goaltending and defense. I think you have to take Miller over Ward at this point, as well as the latter has played. And Buffalo’s defense is really underrated. Numminen has always been a quality defenseman. And Lydman was a terrific pickup–he’s as good as a defensman can be without being a good hitter or scoring many points. And if that seems like a backhanded compliment, it’s not: he plays tons of minutes, makes the first pass, rarely gets beat 1-on-1. (Compare the absurdly overrated Scott Hannan getting outpositioned by Mike Peca in Game 6.) Buffalo’s defense is very well-suited to the transition-game-emphasizing New NHL (TM). With Carolina, it’s just not impressive–Hedican’s got great speed but isn’t really a top-2 defenseman, Karberle and Wesley are spear-carriers, and Michael will remember how folk hero Mike Commodore’s severe limitations were relvealed against Tampa last year. I just don’t see that team in the finals: I think Buffalo will get a shot. (Although Michael’s right that it would help if they stopped making Norwood an unfair goat.) SABRES IN 5.

Western Finals: (6)Anaheim vs. (8) Edmonton

Michael: The remarkable six-seed Ducks and the remarkable eight-seed Oilers! Who needs the regular season? 82 games and they were all just a warmup to late April tee times for the Flames, Stars, and Red Wings. Though I hear that some courses will give you a free bucket of range balls if you win a Western division. . . .

The good news is that these Ducks are not the Ducks who faced the Minnesota Wild in the Western conference finals three years ago. You’ll remember that one: the wild-and-crazy . . . er . . . Wild had miraculously won their first two series against far better teams (Colorado and Vancouver) after trailing three games to one in both. In fact, they’d scored 19 goals in their last three wins over the Canucks. And then they lost to the Ducks 1-0, 2-0, 4-0, and 2-1, in a series that is still recommended by four out of five doctors who prefer to treat insomnia without drugs. The Ducks went on to face the Devils in a Cup final of trapping teams with great goaltenders– a series that allegedly led the ghost of Lord Stanley to say, “hmmm, I’m not sure this whole ‘North American hockey’ thing was a good idea, after all.” These Ducks can skate, they can score, they can play exciting hockey, they can blow opponents out of the building. “Who’s the best player left in the playoffs?” my son Nick asked me as the Oilers dispatched the Sharks. “Best individual player? Scott Niedermayer,” I replied. “Nope,” he said. “Teemu Selanne.” Perhaps both of us are right! We can both win!

The bad news, of course, is that these Ducks are still from Anaheim.

So it’s hard to pick them over a serious hockey city like Edmonton. Unfortunately, that’s just what I’m a-gonna do. The Oilers did a masterful job of showing the world what the Sharks look like when they melt down: they look abysmal. They blew a 3-1 lead in game three, giving up five unanswered goals, and then, in the pivotal game five, they began the third period down 2-1, promptly traded four goals with the Oilers in the first four minutes . . . and then decided to spend the rest of the game perfecting the “defensive lapses and boneheaded penalties” style of play (check out the box score if you don’t believe me! Five stupid penalties in the final ten minutes, leading to two power play goals by the Visitors). In game six, after Michael Peca’s brilliant individual effort gave them a one-goal lead, the Oilers played the rest of the game as if they were down a goal, hustling to every loose puck as if it were all that stood between them and a summer of oblivion, while the Sharks played as if they would be really disappointed to lose game six and have to return to San Jose for a deciding game. (As I remarked to Scott via email, I believe it was coach Ron Wilson’s job to inform his players that they were actually losing the series 3-2.) Their power play consisted chiefly of mishandled passes, and we got to see a lot of those, because the Oilers gave them as many power plays as they could have desired. Perhaps the Sharks’ big guns were hurt; I find it hard to understand why Thornton and Cheechoo couldn’t find the handle, and Michalek was clearly nursing something or other, too. And Hannan is overrated, just like Scott and I told you back in April. All of which is to say that while I recognize the world-historical significance of Roloson’s stunning glove save on Cheechoo in OT of game three, which prevented the Sharks from going up 3-0, I still think that the Sharks folded. Credit to the Oilers for making them fold, yes, but I don’t think the Oilers are all that good, and I know the Ducks won’t be nearly so accommodating. It’s a shame, really. I’ve always liked Michael Peca, and I’m glad that Darcy “Below the Belt” Tucker didn’t end his career four years ago with that full-body slam to his knee. Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth are grade-A players, and I’ve been newly impressed by Samsonov, Stoll, Pisani, and especially Horcoff. But alas, the Disney team with the flying wedge and the silly name and the infantile jerseys will take this one in six, even though their home town is a parking lot and even though I actively dislike Getzlaf, Marchant, Pahlsson, and Lupul. Look for a matchup of rookie goalies in the Cup finals, as Bryzgalov squares off against Ward or Miller (but probably Miller, if you’re going by what you read here). And I’ll come back to do some final prognosticatin’ then. Ducks in 6.

Scott: Two teams that I haven’t fully believed in, been proven utterly wrong, and one of them has to win. The Carlyle/McTavish will be a matchup of two of the most impressive young coaches in the game, both of whom have tactically bested respected veteran counterparts so far. And it must be said that Michael makes a convincing case. The Ducks have been just devastating; you could brush off their smothering defense in round 1 by noting the Flames’ utter lack of playmakers, but you sure can’t say that about the team they humilated in round 2. I agree with Michael that Niedermayer and Selanne are the two best players in the series (although the former’s advantage over Pronger is marginal.) They also have speed, toughness, a good checking line that can also score some–it’s a good mix. The hateful gentlemen Michael mentions are also terrific penalty killers. Edmonton’s forwards have great speed but often not great hands; they can outplay the opposition for large stretches without scoring.

Still, I think there are some things to be said in Edmonton’s favor. I’ve said the first two rounds that Edmonton were an underrated team that wouldn’t win because of their goaltending, but Rolason has done the job; I don’t think Anaheim has any proven advantage in the nets this time. Which should remind us that Edmonton had almost as many points as Anaheim, in the league’s toughest division, despite playing most of the year without Samsanov and twelfth-rate goaltending. (Even if you’re not a fan of Rolason, and I’m not–Conklin? Morrison? Markkanen? Jesus Christ, even Rolason’s usual medicority replacing that parade of stiffs all year would have easily made this a 100 point team.) And looking carefully, you can see why. If you compare forwards 2-4 (and Selanne’s not that much better than Smyth), you have at worst a draw for Edmonton: Horcoff/Samsonov/Hemsky is, I think a slight edge over McDonald/Lupul/Kunitz. Both teams have a lot of depth after that, but I think again you have to give the slight edge to Edmonton–they have great speed and penalty killing up and down the lineup, too, and Peca is surely the best 4th-line center in the league. And on defense, it’s just a mismatch after the #1 slot: Spacek/Smith/Bergeron is considerably better than Beauchemin/Salei/O’Donnell. And impressive as Anaheim’s last six games have been, it’s worth remembering that they were a couple inches on a Huselius breakaway from losing in six to a team for whom 12 forwards and their #1 defense pair failed to show up. Sure, Rolason ain’t Kirpusoff, but they’re not going to hold Edomonton for periods at a time without scoring chances either. I see a similar dynamic as Edmonton’s first two series, with Edomonton looking like they might get blown out early, and getting better as the series goes on. That’s risky, obviously; a couple of bad breaks and Edmonton could be down 3-0 before they can get their feet fully planted. But I don’t see a short series, and I don’t see Anaheim beating this team in a long one. I think the two great hockey cities will meet in the finals. Oilers in 6.

Venezuela’s Retort, or The Only Suspected Terrorist that Bush Won’t Torture

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

Interesting stuff. Via Helmut:

Just as the Bush administration is ignoring our efforts in the war on terror, it is also thwarting attempts to bring notorious terrorists to justice, and it is doing so for political reasons. The State Department has ignored repeated requests from the Venezuelan government to either try or extradite three known Venezuelan terrorists currently taking refuge on U.S. soil. The most infamous of these, Luis Posada Carriles, is known as the “Osama bin Laden of Latin America” and is widely believed to have masterminded the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that left 73 innocent civilians dead. Despite repeated requests, the Bush administration has refused to honor the extradition treaty it signed with Venezuela in 1922.

Here is the Wiki on Carriles. And here is a BBC article.

One man, terrorist, freedom fighter. And all that. The official US reason for not deporting Carriles is that he might face torture in Venezuela. Ponder that for a few minutes.

Sigh.

Free Exercise I: The Misuse of "Religious Freedom"

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

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[Picture via LGF watch.]

One of the strategies that we’re going to see more from cultural reactionaries is to misleadingly cite “religious freedom” in asking for broad exemptions to civil rights law, which we recently saw in a Weekly Standard cover story authored by Maggie Gallagher. In a subsequent post, I’ll actually express some sympathy for recent Supreme Court doctrine on free exercise, which has aroused ire both left and right. What’s important to emphasize right now is that whether or not you think the free exercise clause should be interpreted more broadly than the Supreme Court currently does, these arguments about “religious freedom” should be considered a non-starter.

It’s important to understand how broadly “religious freedom” is being used here. We’re not talking about churches being forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies, which would indeed be a violation of religious liberty. What we’re talking about here is religious freedom being used to defend religious institutions who want to engage in secular functions with taxpayer dollars while violating civil rights laws. The punchline to this Rod Dreher post praising the silly Gallagher article sums it up:

The real kicker is this: “Once sexual orientation is conceptualized as a protected status on a par with race, traditional religions that condemn homosexual conduct will face increasing legal pressures regardless of what courts and Congress do about marriage itself.” Translation: churches, synagogues, mosques, religious schools and other institutions that uphold traditional moral teaching about homosexuality stand to lose their tax-exempt status.

Lose…their tax-exempt status! The horror! Actually, it’s not really clear that this would be the case; only the secular functions of churches would presumably be subject to most civil rights laws. But even if this is right, it’s worth remembering that we’re not talking about religious institutions being forced by state coercion to admit gay members, or say good things about homosexuality, or perform gay marriages. The issue is whether churches can discriminate on the taxpayer’s dime. The response of a serious religious believer might be to note that this is exactly why the separation of church and state is good for religion; the entanglement of the two will tend to press churches toward official state policy via the lure of taxpayer money. But to people who care more about power than about principle, the idea is that you’re entitled to be showered with taxpayer money while practicing bigotry. Indeed, because this bigotry has a religious foundation the state is allegedly not allowed to say that it’s bigotry at all. Consider this Gallagher quote:

Generally speaking the scholars most opposed to gay marriage were somewhat less likely than others to foresee large conflicts ahead–perhaps because they tended to find it “inconceivable,” as Doug Kmiec of Pepperdine law school put it, that “a successful analogy will be drawn in the public mind between irrational, and morally repugnant, racial discrimination and the rational, and at least morally debatable, differentiation of traditional and same-sex marriage.” That’s a key consideration. For if orientation is like race, then people who oppose gay marriage will be treated under law like bigots who opposed interracial marriage. Sure, we don’t arrest people for being racists, but the law does intervene in powerful ways to punish and discourage racial discrimination, not only by government but also by private entities.

Sounds good to me! Obviously, the claim that discrimination against gay people is more “rational” than racial discrimination is question-begging that (as Gallagher’s own embarrassingly feeble efforts to attack gay marriage have shown) is highly implausible (racial discrimination was also supported with religious texts, and of course so is gender discrimination.) But, anyway, there’s no serious issue of “religious” liberty here. The analogy is with pharmacists who want to be paid although they’re not willing to do their jobs: they’re not standing on principle at all, they want to have it all ways. This isn’t about churches to stand up for their principles; this is about churches who want to suckle at the taxpayer’s teat while practicing bigotry (and the state discriminating by outsourcing social services to religious groups.) It’s actually quite straightforward: churches will sometimes have to choose between their teachings and state money. And if they want to perform secular functions, they should be subject to a state’s civil rights laws when they do so, and these laws should protect discrimination against gay people. The entanglement of church and state will inevitably produce these conflicts; that the Gallaghers and Drehers of the world think the solution is more entaglement shows they haven’t learned anything.

That’s it, Crooked Timber is off the blogroll…

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

Chris Bertram:

And I’ve enjoyed all of them, with the possible exception of The Drive-By Truckers who struck me as over-loud Skynyrd wannabees

Ack. Responding to a statement like that would lend it more dignity that it deserves. Here’s a more sensible perspective on the Truckers:

On the other hand, the Drive-by Truckers kicked much ass. I was fully rocked. This is just such a great band. The songs are spectacular. They have 3 songwriters much superior to Jay Farrar. They had fun. They sang like they gave a fuck. Their guitar solos had meaning. And think about that. Every band uses guitar. But how many bands actually do something with it? How many bands make it worth a damn? How many bands today come up with a riff that you remember? And Drive-by Truckers do this with every song they write.

One of the great things about Drive-by Truckers is how they are rehabilitating one of the most underrated forms of American rock and roll–Southern Rock. They are firmly within that tradition but are taking it new places. Can you ask more of a band than that? And when was the last time a band really made a statement in that genre? The Black Crowes in 1991 or so maybe? Early Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers albums?

I’ve seen them 3 times in the last three years, and have been impressed every time. Tomorrow night they play in Louisville with Ralph Stanley, YMSB, and Alejandro Escovedo. I’ll be attending with the distinguished Dr. Payne of Duck of Minerva.

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |


Friday Cat Blogging… Nelson and Starbuck

Effects Based Operations?

[ 0 ] May 19, 2006 |

Kingdaddy has some useful commentary on “Effects Based Operations“, a term which apparently refers to operations directed against enemy strategic targets rather than military forces. Such targets include morale, industry, infrastructure, and communications (although the last two certainly have operational military elements). Kingdaddy points out that while advocates of EBO operations have made grand claims about their ability to win wars, these claims have never been reflected in reality.

For example, on the question of what Giulio Douhet, founding theorist of strategic bombing, believed, let’s ask Lt. Colonel Richard Estes, USAF:

Douhet believed that, with the advent of technology, the army and navy had become “organs of indirect attrition of national resistance.” The air arm, on the other hand, could act directly to break national resistance at the very source. But not just any air force would do. Douhet rejected the idea of an auxiliary air arm of the army or navy or a collection of “knights-errant” flying fighters. Rather, he called for a fleet of massive, self-defending bombers that would dominate not only the enemy, but also the military budget of Italy–or any other country that would listen to his ideas. He wanted an air force that could win not just air battles but total command of the air. This command of the air would have a debilitating effect on the capability of land and sea forces, which would be relegated to a secondary role in future conflicts. The army and navy would remain part of an “indivisible whole” of the three armed services but would no longer be a significant factor in successfully resolving a war. With the ascendance of the air force, “the history of the war … presents no more interest.”

It can be fairly said that this prediction failed to manifest in World War II. The strategic bombing campaign against Germany did damage German industry and did use German resources. This result was deeply disappointing to many on the Allied side of the war. Arthur Harris, for example believed that the destruction of German morale would be the key to Allied victory. He resented any shifting of resources to attacks on German industry, German communications infrastructure, and German tactical assets. To their credit, American commanders were more skeptical of these kinds of arguments, and attempted to focus their bombing on the destruction of specific industrial assets. Americans Army Air Force officers were, it should be noted, willing to push Harris’ arguments in an effort to win independence for their service.

The author of the initial post is reduced to defending EBO as part of a tapestry of military operations. This defense is reasonable, were it not for the grandiose claims made by the proponents of EBO. Unfortunately, the author falls into a similar claim with this:

9/11 was an EBO; we are still feeling the effects long after the smoke cleared, the rubble was collected and the bodies were buried. The damage extended far beyond thephysical targets.

Regarding “Shock and Awe”: Is Saddam in power right now? Shock and awe was succesful in meeting its intended effect: depose the Saddam regime. “Shock and awe” was never meant to address the reconstruction and insurgency.

The term “Shock and Awe” is generally used to describe the effect of the precision bombing raids in the opening days of the war, an operation launched in the hope of compelling Saddam’s regime into submission without a fight. I have never heard it used otherwise before now. Saddam is out of power because Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities were conquered and occupied by the US Army and the US Marine Corps, a very traditional method of fighting war. It should also be noted that the effect of 9/11 on the United States is hardly a recommendation for EBO…

Mmm… Pork

[ 0 ] May 18, 2006 |

I’m going to outsource the discussion of Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers to Redbeard at Vague Nihilism. What’s notable about this isn’t the evident, obvious corruption, but rather that this is the kind of behavior that is almost certain to get you re-elected in the United States. Say what you will, but Rogers is doing a bang-up job for his constituents.

A Hearty Thanks…

[ 0 ] May 18, 2006 |

… to our commenters. As Akirlu reminds us, you guys are super. Hell, even our trolls are often informative.

My First and Last Post About Pro Basketball

[ 0 ] May 18, 2006 |

Two related questions:

  • Are sportswriters still bitching and moaning about LeBron James having the temerity to sign a professional contract out of high school? Are they still planning to complain that the new restrictions on the drafting of 18-year-olds are in the (non-financial) interests of the league or the athletes?
  • Would sportswriters claim that it’s better for an 18-year-old to go to college for a couple years to get some credits towards a degree in billiards strategy from Oklahoma State rather than signing a mutli-million dollar contract in a sport in which the players were predominantly white? (Actually, I think we have the answer to that: maybe it’s a difference between the Canadian and American media, but I don’t recall anybody complaining about how it would be vastly better for all concerned if Mario Lemieux or Joe Sakic had gotten a couple years at North Dakota in before turning pro…)
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