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Archive for November, 2010

The Apex of Conservative Ressentiment

[ 17 ] November 23, 2010 |

The Bristol Palin thing shows, above all else, that Nixonian resentment remains very much at the forefront of modern conservatism. 1)Stuffing the ballot boxes for a crappy reality show, 2)in order to piss of liberals, 3)despite the fact that the vast majority of “liberal elitists” they will claim to have met at apocryphal cocktail parties couldn’t have less interest in the question of who wins the crappy reality show competition, and also 4)to pay liberals back for entirely imaginary vote fraud — perfect!

On Headlines, and Ferocity…

[ 8 ] November 23, 2010 |

I suspect that the crew of the Cheonan might dispute this headline from Reuters:

North Korea shells South in fiercest attack in decades

I suppose we run into definitional issues, and it’s true that the latest shelling has killed civilians. However, torpedoing a patrol ship without warning (even if the warship was in a disputed area) is pretty darned fierce. I worry that the greater degree of plausible deniability provided by a submarine attack relative to an artillery barrage (we can’t be SURE SURE SURE that it was a North Korean torpedo) means that the destruction of Cheonan needs to be treated as an “on the one hand, on the other hand” kind of incident.

h/t topofmyvoice.

Murray Chass Should Put Away His Slide Rule

[ 11 ] November 23, 2010 |

Bill James (subscription required):

It is the people who bad-mouth statistics who inevitably start spewing them. The people who tell you why you can’t trust statistics are the people who trust them most, who rely on them most blindly. What WE do is try to teach people NOT to rely on them, but to examine them more carefully and more suspiciously. Steve Stone may have gone 25-7, we say, but did he really pitch that well? Ichiro may have won the batting championship, we say, but was he really the best hitter in the league? We question the statistics and examine them further. The traditionalists accept them at face value.

Conveniently enough, online columnist Murray Chass:

My problem is with Hernandez winning the award with 13 wins. I am not alone in that view. Four writers voted for David Price (19 wins) and three voted for CC Sabathia (21).

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune voted for Price because, he said, Hernandez’s 13 wins didn’t merit the award and Price was a dominant pitcher in his own right.

Speaking of the one-sided outcome of the vote, Rogers added, “I wonder how much of it was bullying on the Internet. There were a lot of columns written in September saying no one should be stupid enough not to vote for Felix. Maybe that’s what happened, but I hope not.”

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun noted that the difference between the leaders in wins last year was three (Zack Greene 16, Hernandez 19) and this year was eight (Hernandez 13, Sabathia 21.)

As I said recently, Chass doesn’t even try the old “whatever the statistics say, I’ve seen him play!” routine, which is generally foolish, but at least coherent. What I really don’t understand is how you can simultaneously spend about 90% of your energy as a writer attacking number-crunchers and then assert that the pitcher you concede to be the best in the league should be denied the award given to the best pitcher in the league because he ranks lower according to a single arbitrarily selected (and obviously heavily team-dependent) statistic.

WTF, North Korea?

[ 20 ] November 23, 2010 |

This is mildly alarming:

North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire on Tuesday after dozens of shells fired from the North struck a South Korean island near the countries’ disputed maritime border, South Korean military officials said. Two South Korean soldiers were killed, 15 were wounded and three civilians were injured, said Kiyheon Kwon, an official at the Defense Ministry. The military went to “crisis status,” and fighter planes were put on alert but did not take off. South Korean artillery units returned fire after the North’s shells struck South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island at 2:34 p.m., said Mr. Kwon, adding that the North also fired numerous rounds into the Yellow Sea. News reports said dozens of houses were on fire, and TV footage showed large plumes of black smoke spiraling from the island.

In and of itself, this would be unfortunate but not particularly indicative of a major increase in tensions or a shift in North Korean policy. Combined with the Cheonan incident, the revelation of the nuke facility, and a number of other small incidents, it’s somewhat disconcerting. My best guess is this: North Korea is taking behavioral cues from the increasingly tense security relationship between China on the one side and the US and Japan on the other side. The North Koreans may believe that these tensions open up a wider space for action because they reduce the chances of collaboration between China and the US. Pyongyang may also believe that Beijing tacitly approves the series of escalations. I have no idea regarding Beijing’s actual attitude; China normally regard North Korea as an embarrassment, but in this case they may appreciate that the DPRK has some utility.

But that’s just guesswork. Thoughts?

…see also Spencer, Sigger, and Stratfor.

LGM Readers

[ 5 ] November 23, 2010 |

All get two minutes for looking so good.

Scan My Junk, Please.

[ 39 ] November 22, 2010 |

William Saletan on the idiocy of Airport-Scanner Opt-Out Day.

The Hall of Hacks

[ 15 ] November 22, 2010 |

The first six are all superb choices.

Public vs. Private

[ 70 ] November 22, 2010 |

Is it wrong for me to feel untouched by this plight? Unless your parents are paying for it, I really see very, very little justification for pouring money into a private college for an undergraduate degree.  Grad and professional school is a different story; outcomes are sufficiently determined by school to justify serious investment in the best schools.  For undergraduate, my advice will always be to save money and try to get into a solid public institution.

Congratulations to Joey Votto…

[ 1 ] November 22, 2010 |

just another immigrant trying to take a job away from a hard working American.

Civil Liberties For Me…

[ 21 ] November 22, 2010 |

I actually don’t think it’s surprising that conservatives have suddenly decided that privacy and dignity should be given some weight in the War on Terror (TM). The problem is that the awful new TSA program isn’t arbitrary enough for them. As I’ve said before, Robert Jackson said it extremely well:

I regard it as a salutary doctrine that cities, states and the Federal Government must exercise their powers so as not to discriminate between their inhabitants except upon some reasonable differentiation fairly related to the object of regulation. This equality is not merely abstract justice. The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation, and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected.

So, of course, to wingers the necessity to violate people’s rights to confront allegedly existential threats becomes much less compelling when it’s their rights being violated. Hence, the inevitable calls from conservatives that the new TSA policies not be applied in a manner consistent with the equal protection of the laws.

…Serwer is very good on this.

Upper-Class Twit of the Day

[ 10 ] November 22, 2010 |

Holy Joe Lieberman.

Breaking: Hooverism Doesn’t Work

[ 17 ] November 22, 2010 |

Ireland has been a teabagger laboratory, going with a program of austerity to deal with a financial crisis.   How’s that been working out?

Ireland’s economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession. Signs of the downturn are everywhere. Dublin’s main shopping area is full of for-rent signs and handwritten posters in store windows advertising special one-day sales. Mr. Morgenroth sits in his office overlooking an almost vacant office complex.

OK, but despite all the misery the austerity has caused, at least they didn’t have to bail out the banksters, right? Oh wait. And more won’t be inevitable right, right? Well, funny thing about that…

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