I have a feeling that if I surveyed even the most hardcore sabermetricians out there, they would all acknowledge that ideas of chemistry and clubhouse presence aren’t silly. They’d probably push back against the common narrative that Team X won the World Series based on the shining light of justice that came from Smith’s locker. (After all, there were probably veteran guys on all the other 29 teams who did not win the World Series.) They’d probably say that it’s hard to measure. (It is.) But if Smith sits down with Jones, shows him a trick he’s learned over the years on how to hit a curveball and Jones turns from a one-win player to a three-win player, don’t we have to give some of that credit to Smith?
I’m going to start with the assumption that chemistry and clubhouse presence exist and that they can have real, tangible effects on players, making them either better or worse. We don’t know how it works. We don’t know who’s who. We don’t know what the effects are. But what if we could at least make some reasonable assumptions about what those effects might be? Actual data-driven ones. For example, we know that some managers seem to have a special talent for keeping their players from burning out over the course of a year, and that the effect might be as big as 30 runs from the best to the worst.
So, how much could these soft factors actually be worth?
I’d be interested in coming up with a list of things that we assumed-away-because-we-couldn’t-measure, then realized-had-an-impact-when-we-developed-better-tools. I’m guessing that the list would be longer in football and basketball than in baseball, but of course it would also be interesting to track down some examples from politics.
Every player of the popular video game Civilization knows to hit the save button before engaging in the risky, stupid invasion of foreign country. In the case of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it became apparent after the first few months that the war was not working out as its framers had envisioned. The failure to find weapons of mass destruction was only the icing, so to speak, on the disaster of failed reconciliation, state collapse, and executive incompetence.
What if we had “saved game” before we invaded Iraq? What would America’s strategic options look like today?
Paul’s association with offshore balancing stems, in large part, from his father’s embrace of the concept. Ron Paul ran for President in 2008 on a non-interventionist platform, distinguishing himself from the rest of the GOP field. The elder Paul has made a career of arguing the quasi-isolationist (to borrow the term of his critics) position on foreign affairs.
But what does offshore balancing mean for the Asia-Pacific? We can imagine that a Paul presidency would resist the temptation and risk of commitment to Japan or any of the South China Sea claimants with respect to potential conflict with China. If offshore balancing can’t avoid war over a few rocks in the East China Sea, or a few piles of sand in the South China Sea, then it’s not worth very much as a strategic perspective.
Today, Apple decided to start yanking games that use the Confederate flag in any way (viaTouchArcade). For example, you can now no longer buy the strategy iOS games Civil War: 1862, Civil War: 1863, Civil War: 1864, and Civil War: Gettysburg, which, as you might guess, use the Confederate flag because they’re video games about the Civil War.
With any luck, this will work itself out in a couple of days, and the games will be restored. Right wingers are going apeshit, of course, but as far as I know there are no anti-flag activists of any standing who have decried the use of the Confederate flag in Civil War video games. Apple’s action stems from a misunderstanding of the arguments of activists, accompanied by a apparently complete disinterest in what they’re actually calling for. And to go out on a bit of a limb, this is a good example of why technology companies, and the corporate world more generally, should have an interest in supporting some degree of liberal arts education; it shouldn’t be difficult to sort through the differences between flying the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse, and depicting it in a video game about the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Supreme Court cemented President Barack Obama’s signature achievement on Thursday by affirming that the Affordable Care Act intended to help all Americans who need help paying for their insurance.
In their 6-3 majority in King v. Burwell, the justices ruled that Americans are eligible for subsidies regardless of whether their state set up its own exchange. The result preserves premium assistance for 6.4 million customers in the 34 states that rely on the federal marketplace. On a practical level, it also preserves the mandate, at the center of the law and of its controversy, that every American buy health insurance.
[SL] …hey, my prediction could have been worse:
The King plaintiffs in the new #Obamacare Sup Ct case will win 7-2 (RBG and SS dissenting). You heard it here first. @CatoInstitute
The education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, quickly rejected the students’ pleas, saying: “In truth, I was quite surprised by the petition. Because ‘to cope with’ is part of the things one learns — and I am not fluent.”
But the students have their defenders. “This word ‘to cope’ is unusually hard to translate into French,” wrote Carol Just, a teacher of English in France, on the change.org website, “and the English notion is difficult to understand even for experienced adult learners because there is no real equivalent in the French language and in the French mind.”
But at a press conference on Tuesday, in the midst of a national debate over the propriety of Confederate images, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell identified one place where Davis shouldn’t be: the Capitol building in his home state of Kentucky. A statue of Davis stands alongside former President Abraham Lincoln—his Civil War adversary—and other Kentucky-born leaders.
After last week’s deadly shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, images emerged of the suspected gunman’s affinity for the Confederate flag, spurring debate over whether the Confederate symbol should be represented on state property. According to reporters at the news conference, McConnell said that a “more appropriate” location for the Davis statue would be a state museum. This week, McConnell expressed support for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia.
This isn’t the first time that Davis’s place of honor in the Kentucky Capitol has been questioned. Earlier Tuesday, a Kentucky gubernatorial candidate called for its removal, and last year, a former state treasurer started an online petition to replace Davis’s statue with a memorial to boxer Muhammed Ali, who was born in Louisville.
Kentucky is blessed (or cursed) with a very interesting pair of Senators. Rand Paul, with his outspoken foreign policy views and willingness to filibuster, grabs many of the headlines. His senior colleague, however, has much more influence over the course of U.S. foreign policy. Mitch McConnell has served as Kentucky’s Senator since 1985. He has acted as the Senate Majority Leader since January, moving up from the Minority Leader position in the wake of the GOP’s victories in the 2014 midterms. No one has ever accused Mitch McConnell of having “flash,” but he’s widely regarded as one of the most powerful men in Washington.
I actually have a fair amount of sympathy for some Southerners who love the Confederate flag. I even once wrote a piece about them. For these people, the flag really is a representation of their heritage; perhaps more importantly, it may be the only thing in their lives that actually transcends their daily existence. Put it this way: if you’re a guy whiling away your days in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, the fact that your great-great-grandfather fought at Gettysburg–the only thing connected to your life that you ever actually read about in a history book–is a real source of pride. Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable that you’d express that pride by flying a Confederate flag, or putting a sticker of it on your car. And there’s nothing more unfair than being branded a racist for doing so.
Truly a loss to civilization that the archives of the Plank are so difficult to dig up these days…
Where does East Asia stand in the globalization of horse racing? Few Americans know much about East Asian racing, except for the very few Kentuckians who study the subject intensely. Racing in Japan, South Korea, and especially Hong Kong is taking an ever-larger role in a sport traditionally associated with Kentucky and the Middle East.
The Comparative Government AP Reading moved to Salt Lake City this year, after five years in Kansas City. KC was lovely, but five years was enough, especially as our group was stuck in the Hotel of Death every year. It felt like folks could go either way on Salt Lake; it was a different place, but doesn’t exactly have a reputation for catering to the industrial-age drinkers of AP.
I wasn’t that worried, because I knew that the city had changed a lot during the last decade and a half. “Don’t you have to be part of a club to buy a drink?” was something that I heard a lot, but could safely dismiss. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how bohemian (for lack of better terminology) downtown Salt Lake had become. There were plenty of bars, including good beer bars, restaurants, shops, attractions, and whatever else you might need. Temple Square is cool to visit, any reservations about LDS notwithstanding, and good hiking is available in easy walking distance. The crowd for the USA-Sweden match was, in a word, the most “Portland” group that I think I ever hung out with. Salt Lake even has the angry, assertive homeless community that’s characteristic of every city on the West Coast, but apparently is surprising to people east of the Rockies.
Two caveats; first, I suspect that leaving the 12 square blocks at the heart of the city would offer a much different picture of the area. Second, Utah state laws mandate that no liquor pour amount to more than 1.5 ounces, which effectively hamstrings the cocktail culture. I didn’t have a decent cocktail at any point during our ten day stay, unless I made it myself.