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Today In Things That Seem Overdetermined

[ 117 ] October 17, 2016 |


Peter Thiel remains all-in on Trump:

Peter Thiel, true to his reputation as the most contrarian soul in Silicon Valley, is doubling down on Donald J. Trump.

The only prominent supporter of the Republican candidate in the high-tech community, Mr. Thiel is making his first donation in support of Mr. Trump’s election. He will give $1.25 million through a combination of super PAC donations and funds given directly to the campaign, a person close to the investor said on Saturday.

What are the odds that someone who started a (successful) campaign to bankrupt a media company because it published accurate information and/or judgments he found unflattering about he and his friends and wants to repeal the 19th Amendment would donate to a misogynist authoritarian who threatens to sue media organizations who print accurate information he deems unflattering?


MLB/NFL Open Thread

[ 140 ] October 16, 2016 |
May 11, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) in the dugout in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

May 11, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona (17) in the dugout in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

  • It’s been a pretty great postseason so far.  On last night’s game, like Schoenfield I generally hate IWs and think they’re substantially overused, and particularly almost always hate IWs to load the bases, but given the unique context of last night’s game and the opportunity to get Chapman out of the game, I think Roberts made the right decision — it just didn’t work out. I also agree that Baker’s decision in Game 5 to take Scherzer out after Pederson homered on a good pitch was questionable but not a Grady Little-level obvious blunder. He’s right to note how important that Justin Turner AB was.
  • Andrew Miller was an unusually consequential midseason pickup, and Tito has been using him masterfully.  If he takes the Tribe to the World Series I think that ends any question of whether he’s a Hall of Fame manager.
  • I’m curious about what office Curt Schilling is going to run for, exactly. Senate from Massachusetts or Rhode Island? Right. Is drivetime host of Boston’s most racist sports talk show an elected office? Does Trump have a yacht in international waters that needs a Grand Poobah? To be fair, he could probably be governor of Massachusetts if he got to run against Martha Coakley.
  • The Dak Prescott question. You can’t argue with the results so far — you name the metric, he’s been one of the best in the league, although I do wonder how sustainable it is if he can’t show more ability to stretch the field. But I agree that I’d stick with him as long as he keeps playing well. (Also, it’s waaaaaay to early to reach any conclusions, but I wonder if Elway is second-guessing himself a little for trading up for Lynch right now. At least he didn’t trade 40 1st-rounders for a guy who can’t beat out Case Keenum for the starting job.)
  • Speaking of ol’ 7-9 Fisher, he had a classic Thank You For Not Coaching 4th quarter last week. First, he kicked a field goal 4th-and-goal from the 5 with less than 7 minutes left that still left his team needing a touchdown to take the lead. And then, on the next drive he called for a fake punt from deep inside his own territory on 4th down. And not just a fake punt, but a fake punt so obviously telegraphed that the Bills defense clearly saw it coming and made appropriate adjustments before the play. Both decisions were terrible and worse collectively than either one was individually. And now the Bills need only beat the 49ers at home to be 4-2. I guess Greg Roman was the problem!
  • And, yet, ol’ 7-9 can’t even win last week’s TYFNC title, which must go to Mr. Todd Bowles. The Jets have had a brutal schedule and it’s not Bowles’s fault that Fitzpatrick has predictably turned into an Ivy League pumpkin. But the defense has also regressed and that decision was so bad that even “you just have to put the points on the board” types weren’t defending it.

There Will Never Be Peak Dreher, But…

[ 162 ] October 15, 2016 |

What can you even say?

I wouldn’t want my children around Donald Trump or Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus is a far more dangerous figure to human dignity and the imago Dei.

If you think that having consensual sexual relations with someone of the same gender is “more dangerous” for human dignity than someone grabbing your genitalia without your consent, your moral compass needs a pretty serious overhaul.

…as DocAmazing observes, the most influential conservative talk show host in the country beat Rod to it.

America’s Last Liberal President (TM) Responds To Attica

[ 106 ] October 15, 2016 |


As most of you know, on September 13, 1971 New York state troopers executed a violent takeover of Attica Correctional Facility, killing 10 hostages and 33 prisoners and seriously injuring scores more. Richard Nixon, America’s Last Liberal President (TM), and his administration had been working with the governor of New York and encouraged a violent takeover rather than a negotiated settlement. When he first heard about the takeover, he told New York’s governor that “I back you to the hilt” and said that, like the massacre of protesters at Kent State, it would “have a salutary effect.”

Not that it’s much of a mitigating factor, but at the time of Nixon’s initial response the media was dutifully spreading the lies of the New York state government, who asserted that the hostages had been tortured and killed by the prisoners, “necessitating” the violent takeover. This lie, however, was quickly exposed. Monroe County medical examiner John Edland performed autopsies on the killed hostages and found they had all been killed by gunfire, which given that the prisoners didn’t have firearms settled the question of whether the hostages had been killed by the troopers or the prisoners. He also found that the alleged castration of a hostage did not happen. New York’s Republican authorities reacted in a familiar manner: by threatening Edland and portraying the conservative Republican as a radical hippie revolutionary bent on smashing the state. After two more medical examiners ignored implicit and implicit threats and also found the bodies of the hostages riddled with bullet holes and without their throats cut, the official narrative finally crumbled (although, of course, once a narrative takes hold it is difficult for mere facts to dislodge it.) Here was Nixon’s reaction upon hearing the news:


As you can see, the violent takeover was enthusiastically ordered by Saint Nelson Rockefeller, another Republican some liberals and left-of-liberals like to compare favorably to contemporary liberal Democrats for roughly the same reasons (and with the same factual basis) that sports broadcasters like to say stuff like “baseball is 90% pitching” and “you just. put. the. points. on. the. board. in. the. NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE!”

In conclusion, if only the liberal Richard Nixon rather than the neoliberal Barack Obama had been president the left might have actually gotten something out of the last 8 years.

All of the facts about Attica are from Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water. I will have a longer review published later this month, but it is a monumental accomplishment and you should read it.

Trevor Siemian, All-Pro

[ 89 ] October 14, 2016 |


It is it impossible for a mediocre NCAA quarterback to become a good pro? I suppose not, but it’s certainly massively unlikely. After his good second half against the Chiefs a lot of people were crowing that Trevor Siemian was the exception. I wasn’t ready to go along then and I’m certainly not now:

Quarterback grade: Trevor Siemian, 40.5

The book is out on Siemian

Teams are figuring out the Denver quarterback: Force him to throw deep. And chances are he still won’t. Even with the Broncos behind late in the game and needing multiple scores, Siemian still refused to throw anything other than underneath routes. On the day he completed only one of his nine attempts targeted 10-plus yards down the field. Those are abysmal numbers and the Chargers exploited it by squatting on underneath routes and giving Siemian nowhere to go.

There are capable starting NFL QBs, and there are QBs who throw nothing but checkdowns when trailing by multiple TDs in the 4th quarter, and there’s certainly no overlap in those categories. Maybe Siemian will develop a great deal quickly, but again I know how I’m betting. My basic take on the Broncos before the season started would be that their defense would still be really good but not as dominant as last year’s and their passing game wouldn’t be good enough to make up for that, and as of now I stand by it.

While Siemian may not be better than his predecessor Tim Tebow as a quarterback, though, at least nobody’s trying to pass him off as a professional baseball player:

In his ESPN Insider column today Law eviscerates Tebow-the-baseball player, calling him “an imposter pretending to have talent he does not possess.” Law says that Tebow’s bat speed is terrible, his foot speed is terrible and his routes to baseballs in the outfield are terrible. Law says “there’s absolutely no baseball justification for Tebow to be here.” He then lays into the Mets and Major League Baseball for craven opportunism for Tebow’s presence when, absent his fame, he’d be nowhere near the AFL, which normally caters to top prospects and organizational talent which at least has the pretense of a baseball future.

I’ve noted that, in many respects, ESPN has itself been craven in the promotion of Tebow’s baseball aspirations. He’s an ESPN employee, after all, and the farther he goes in baseball the better chance there is for ESPN to promote its talent and, perhaps, turn this whole baseball business into some shoulder programing in the form of a documentary or extended feature of some type. It’s good to see that at least one ESPN employee — one who knows a thing or three about prospects — isn’t having any of it.

Ah, the American meritocracy! Wasting a roster spot on your lowest minor league team in Tebow is silly, but trivial. Slots in the AFL, though, really should be going to people who are actual prospects. It’s a disgrace that the Mets are trotting him out there.

Son of Serial Sexual Harasser Says Women Should Suck Up Sexual Harassment

[ 142 ] October 14, 2016 |


I must call attention to an example of neoliberal dishonesty from Hillary Clinton:

Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.

I rate the first two claims “mostly false” and the last “extremely true”:

Donald Trump Jr., the embodiment of every stereotype about people named “Jr.”, said in 2013 that women who can’t handle harassment at work “should go maybe teach kindergarten.” He also opined that all-male golf courses are “cool” and that everybody is so uber-sensitive these days. How original!

The comments were uncovered by Buzzfeed News: Trump Jr. made them during a March 2013 episode of The Opie and Anthony Show, a year before one of the hosts was fired for going on an extended racist rant about black people. Trump Jr. said first that he had a hard time letting go of all-male golf courses: “If you have a guys’ place you have a guys’ place.”

Apparently, the orange doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Slightly Defective Robot Repeats Inane, Irrelevant Talking Points

[ 70 ] October 14, 2016 |


It says a great deal about the Republican Party in 2016 that Mike Pence is somehow the more competent and less misogynist politician on the ticket.

“we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight”

[ 162 ] October 13, 2016 |


Now this is how you call a bluff:

The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.” Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.

It is indeed pretty hard for the publication of evidence of conduct you’ve boasted about to be libelous. The whole thing is great:

“Our Incompetence Is Your Fault,” An Endless Republican Series

[ 114 ] October 13, 2016 |


Jazz Shaw is VERY USPET about the timing of the latest revelations about Donald Trump, and why not since they’ve reduced his chances of winning from “very poor” to “76ers winning 5 straight NBA championships starting in 2016-7.” Certainly, nobody could possibly have known that he was a gross misogynist with many potential skeletons in his closet until October 2016:

People want me to [run for president] all the time … I don’t like it. Can you imagine how controversial I’d be? You think about [Bill Clinton] and the women. How about me with the women? Can you imagine?

Oh, sorry, that was Donald Trump in 1999. Here’s Jazz:

John already broke down the claims being made by several women regarding unwanted sexual advances by Donald Trump anywhere from ten to thirty years ago, and the hounds have been loosed in the usual media sources. But now that the headlines have had twelve hours or so to percolate, can we talk about the real elephant in the room here? Are we simply going to ignore the awfully convenient timing of this batch of accusations in defiance of reason and the normal rules of engagement in political warfare?

This comes down to a fairly basic case of Occam’s Razor. The two explanations can be defined without much effort by anyone without a vested interest in the outcome of the race. On the one hand we have the possibility that these women are innocent of any subterfuge and are seeking justice for alleged misdeeds. That would also mean that for anywhere from ten to thirty years they somehow found reason to not make much of a big deal out of the incidents. All that time Trump was a nationally known figure and a wealthy person who would be an obvious target for some sort of civil suit if not an outright criminal prosecution. Even if they had “put it all behind them” for some reason, but were reminded of the offenses when they noticed that Trump was running for President, this could have been done as early as the fall of 2014. Or any time in 2015 when Trump was rising in the polls after officially launching his campaign. Or any time during the primary when he was closing the deal. Or even after the convention when he was the official candidate and climbing in the polls.

In the light of Cosby, Savile, etc. etc. the idea that it’s somehow unusual that revelations of even serial sexual assault have taken a long time to surface, and that it takes a certain tipping point for victims to feel comfortable coming forward, is absurd. The floodgates that were set in motion by the Alicia Machado trap that Trump predictably blundered right into are a fairly predictable pattern.  (Nor is it true that Trump hadn’t been subject to civil suits for his behavior prior to the last week.) So, sure, the campaign is not incidental to the timing — but that’s politics, and Clinton’s baiting only worked because Trump was in fact guilty as well as being undisciplined and incompetent.

In fairness to the Republican Party, it’s not as if he had to participate in a nominating contest with 16 other candidates who were free to perform opposition research and make their findings public. Actually, come to think of it, he did have to. So the interesting question is how this particularly rich target for oppo research managed to emerge unscathed from the primaries. The first factor is the laziness and incompetence of his opponents. Not just the flat-out grifters/griftees like Carson but putatively serious candidates like Rubio ran comically inept campaigns that couldn’t be bothered with serious opposition research any more than they could be bothered constructing more than threadbare state organizations. The second was a sort of collective action problem, in which the people who thought they would win (including Cruz) played kid gloves with Trump expected to be the last opponent standing when Trump inevitably imploded.  Not even necessarily a bad idea at the time, but it failed miserably. Still, I don’t think the latter is a full explanation — Jeb!, for example, couldn’t pretend to play nice with Trump, and yet the Bush who ended up inadvertently taking Trump down for good was Billy.

Anyway, to Republicans who think it’s unfair that this stuff is coming out now, LOL, and LOL again. It’s your problem on every level.

The Shoe Storm Shows No Sign Of Abating

[ 190 ] October 12, 2016 |


The Times gets in on this Trump-related-journalism thing:

Donald J. Trump was emphatic in the second presidential debate: Yes, he had boasted about kissing women without permission and grabbing their genitals. But he had never actually done those things, he said.

“No,” he declared under questioning on Sunday evening, “I have not.”

At that moment, sitting at home in Manhattan, Jessica Leeds, 74, felt he was lying to her face. “I wanted to punch the screen,” she said in an interview in her apartment.

More than three decades ago, when she was a traveling businesswoman at a paper company, Ms. Leeds said, she sat beside Mr. Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York. They had never met before.

About 45 minutes after takeoff, she recalled, Mr. Trump lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.


Mr. Trump’s claim that his crude words had never turned into actions was similarly infuriating to a woman watching on Sunday night in Ohio: Rachel Crooks.

Ms. Crooks was a 22-year-old receptionist at Bayrock Group, a real estate investment and development company in Trump Tower in Manhattan, when she encountered Mr. Trump outside an elevator in the building one morning in 2005.

Aware that her company did business with Mr. Trump, she turned and introduced herself. They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go, she said. Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he “kissed me directly on the mouth.”

It didn’t feel like an accident, she said. It felt like a violation.

“It was so inappropriate,” Ms. Crooks recalled in an interview. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.

It seems the Billy Bush tapes were an extremely rare instance of Trump telling the truth.

…See also.

Are Women People With Rights Independent of Their Relationships With Men? Views Differ

[ 155 ] October 12, 2016 |


The “I am a husband and/or father of daughters and therefore actually find the sexual assault of women disturbing” formulation is in itself sexist, and was frequently deployed when Republicans were so outraged they had to hastily re-word their ongoing support for Donald Trump. It’s not only Republicans who talk this way, of course, but it’s definitely not a case where Both Sides Do It equally:

There has been a lot of advice from Washington in the last week about how to treat women:

They should “be championed and revered” (Speaker Paul Ryan); they need “protecting” from “abusive, disparaging treatment” (Senator Michael Crapo); they “deserve to be treated with respect” (Senator Orrin Hatch.)

The language that politicians used to chastise Donald J. Trump for the way he talked about groping women in a video uncovered last week said a lot about their own attitudes toward women.

Many described them in terms of their relationships to men — wives and daughters. Some described women as in need of protection, and others as deserving of respect. In many cases, according to a linguistic analysis of statements by senators, the reactions broke along party lines.

Of the 73 senators who publicly reacted to the video, Republicans were much more likely to refer to their wives, mothers or daughters, and to women’s need for protection. Democrats were more likely to expand their remarks to other groups besides women. The two parties were about equally likely to describe the effect on women as demeaning or some similar language.

The analysis came from Textio, which makes software that companies use to analyze job postings and other documents for bias. At the request of The New York Times, Textio analyzed the language of every public statement made by a senator on Twitter or elsewhere in response to the video in the 72 hours after it was released.

Republicans were much more likely to make a statement: Only five of the 54 Republican senators did not. Nine of them — but no Democrats — phrased their comments in terms of their familial relationships with women.

“I used to think that sexually assaulting women was a riot, like Billy Bush, but then I married one and I dunno, it seems wrong.”

I guess it’s time to revisit this Mallory Ortberg classic:

Listen, as a father of daughters, I’m really against this kind of behavior, this kind of treatment of women. The kind where they get hurt or they can’t vote or we don’t give any money to them. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind I don’t want my daughters to experience, and then I just sort of extrapolate out from there.

It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of.

Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.

Personally, now that I have daughters, I don’t think anyone should do bad things to women, especially the ones who are my daughters. I think we should treat every woman in the world like she was my daughter, except for my wife and my mother, who I will treat slightly differently.

Did you know that when you have daughters, it’s like making a woman you have to care about out of parts of your own body? Well, it’s true. Now that I have daughters (two of them, to the best of my knowledge), I’ve got all sorts of new ideas about how to treat women. Now that I’ve got daughters, it’s time for the whole world to make some changes.

I’m not proud to admit this, but before I had daughters, I sometimes used to harvest women for their organs to build Liver Pyramids in my backyard. I just didn’t see a problem with it. I sure do now, though. What if someone killed my daughters just to make a pyramid, or even a ziggurat, out of women’s internal organs in their backyard? I sure wouldn’t like that at all. They’re my daughters!




“Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”

[ 244 ] October 12, 2016 |


Donald Trump continues to be the Reductio ad pre-vert of the contempt the Republican Party has long shown for the autonomy and dignity of women:

On an April, 11, 2005, airing of “The Howard Stern Show,” Donald Trump bragged about some of the special perks he enjoyed while he was owner of the Miss USA pageant. They came not in a locker room but a dressing room.

“I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else,” he said. “And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it.”

Stern replied, “You’re like a doctor.”

Trump responded: “Is everyone okay? You know they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

CNN broke the story of his Stern show comments.

CBS 2 Los Angeles did a little fact-checking and, guess what, this time, no Pinocchios. Tasha Dixon, Miss Arizona in 2001, told the TV station that Trump just came “waltzing in” while contestants were nude or half-nude as they changed into bikinis.

Separately, BuzzFeed reported Wednesday that four women in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Trump walked into their dressing room while they were changing. Some were as young as 15, BuzzFeed reported.

Three spoke anonymously, and one allowed her name to be used. “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” Mariah Billado, a former Miss Vermont Teen USA, told BuzzFeed.

Trump, she told BuzzFeed, said “something like ‘Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.’”

He’s a true gynosupremacist!

It must be noted, however, that we have found in the latest Assange-provided blockbuster scoop that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has — make sure you’re sitting down for this — tried to spin journalists, almost as if it was a minimally competent political operation or something. So, really, Both Sides Do It.

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