Subscribe via RSS Feed

Author Page for Scott Lemieux

rss feed

That Glove Looks Good Now That We’ve Seen Your Bat

[ 102 ] November 7, 2007 |

I see that Derek Jeter’s defense has become so wretched that the Gold Glove has finally gone to a good defensive shortstop instead. However — because God forbid we go a year without a popular New York player winning a Gold Glove with his bat — David Wright somehow won the NL Gold Glove at third. I don’t mean to suggest that it’s similarly egregious; Wright is OK defensively, maybe better than his reputation. But you’d have to be crazy to think that he’s better than Feliz or Zimmerman.

Which reminds me: recently King Kaufman wrote about the all-time Gold Glove team. There are a couple people who won with their bats: Morgan was a good second baseman but although as a player he arguably had the highest peak between Mantle and Bonds he was no Mazeroski
with the glove. Griffey was a decent CF in his prime, but overrated; just among ones I’ve seen play every day Grissom and Cameron were better and Beltran not significantly worse. Parker probably wasn’t as good as Hernandez but was good, and I kind of like the idea of there being more light-hitting defensive specialists. The fun comes, however, in the runners-up:

What surprises me about this silly exercise is that current players didn’t dominate. Derek Jeter finished second in the shortstop voting, ahead of Vizquel, Concepcion, Aparicio and Belanger. That’s ridiculous, but at least he didn’t win.

Wow. Like, wow. It’s not like Jeter is a good-but-overrated defender like Griffey or Alomar. He’s a bad shortstop. This is clear if you watch his range, and also empirically unassailable. Only recent Prospectus numbers show him as even OK, and that 1)requires the implausible belief that he suddenly greatly improved in his early 30s, and 2)can’t be detected by more sophisticated methodologies, which show him as being just as bad as ever. To rank him above these guys is like claiming that Brad Ausmus is a better hitter than Manny Ramirez. Anybody who thinks that Jeter is a better defensive shortstop than Vizquel should never be permitted to watch a major league game again for their own good; they obviously don’t know what they’re watching anyway…

And Don’t Get Me Started on What He Did To Vince Foster

[ 20 ] November 7, 2007 |

I mentioned during the Althouse/Valenti dustup that justly earned the former a Golden Wingnut Award that comments sections were awash in claims that Clinton was a serial sexual harasser, groper, etc. The problem is that such claims crucially rely on the claims made by Kathleen Willey, and these claims were so lacking in credibility that even Chief Whitewater Snipe Hunter Ken Starr wouldn’t go forward with them. So what has Willey been up to lately? Well:

In a new book alleging a campaign of slander and intimidation orchestrated chiefly by Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Willey points a finger of suspicion at the former first couple for the death of her husband, who was believed to have killed himself.

Willey, who claims she was groped by President Clinton in the White House, acknowledged in an interview with WND today that she stands by the speculation she poses about her husband’s demise in “Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton,” set for release this week by World Ahead Publishing, WND Books’ partner.

Asked if she suspects her husband Ed, a lawyer and son of a prominent Virginia lawmaker, was murdered, Willey replied, “Most definitely.”

A highly credible source, no question. Given these crank accusations, however, only one question can remain: when will she be appearing on Hardball? The fact that Hillary Clinton is now the alleged source of the conspiracy makes her an even more attractive guest for shows where it’s now going to be all-90s-era-Clinton-lunacy-all-the-time!

Embarassment

[ 4 ] November 7, 2007 |

This is true. I think the exclusion is because I don’t really think Norbiz will be gone for long…

Those Damned Female Persons!

[ 27 ] November 6, 2007 |

I’m glad that Matt alerted his readers to this classic SDB essay, which helpfully divides humans with vaginas into two categories: “women” (i.e. strippers and women who, hypothetically, will sleep with SDB or at least be incredibly flattered by awkward come-ons from co-workers) and “female persons” (women who won’t sleep with SDB.) This typology would be helpful if applied in other manifestations of wingnuttery. For example, perhaps future idiotic abortion regulations can be more explicit by dividing subjects into classes of “women” (i.e. people who share Rick Santorum’s conception of gender roles and hence can be presumed to be acting freely) and “female persons” (who reject 18th century conceptions of gender roles and hence need to have their most intimate personal choices extensively regulated.) I expect the essay to be quoted in the next Kennedy opinion upholding an arbitrary abortion regulation…

The Case For D*n B*este

[ 0 ] November 6, 2007 |

Although he’s blocked any access to the post Matt references here (and that earned him a special judges’ prize), Kieran Healy had the relevant excerpts:

De facto [France is] allied with Saddam even if there’s no publicly-declared treaty or agreement; so will they be willing to intervene militarily? Will they smuggle some sort of weaponry in? Or ship it in openly?

If 20 cargo jets take off from French territory and head towards the middle east, what will we do? If they ignore all attempts to prevent them from reaching Iraq, would we be willing to actually shoot one or more of them down?

Just how far are they willing to take their opposition to us? They’ve reached the point where it seems as if they’re willing to make any sacrifice. Do they see the stakes as being high enough so that they might actually threaten to nuke us?

The context, of course, being that the idea of opposing deposing secular a regime that posed no threat to the United States or France and replacing it with an Islamist quasi-state was so irrational that France must have been an actual enemy of the United States. This kind of lunacy really did pass for serious analysis among warbloggers (and propelled many of them to mainstream media gigs.) Who still make these kinds of arguments — remember Glenn Reynolds surmising that we haven’t engaged in an even more disastrous invasion of Iran…because of the nuclear weapons they already possess, presumably strapped to unicorns with a very long range.

Oh No–Teh Gay!

[ 37 ] November 5, 2007 |

Gay-bashing with some regional ressentiment; the only tactic that state GOPs have left. Pat Boone was a nice touch, though, especially when you’re trying to convince people that it would be horrible if Louisville was turned into San Fransisco. (“And next, the Dhimmicrats will force oldies stations to play Little Richard’s version or “Tutti Frutti” rather than my respectable version! Head for the hills!”)

Lethal Injection and Moral Seriousness

[ 0 ] November 5, 2007 |

An interesting article by Elizabeth Weil on the strange origins of the current formula for lethal injections now under challenge at the Supreme Court:

Hoping to coat the nastiness of killing with a veneer of medical respectability — and also hoping to save the state the expense of fixing its electric chair — Dr. Jay Chapman, then the chief medical examiner in Oklahoma, devised the three-drug cocktail in 1977. Dr. Chapman has described himself as “an expert in matters after death but not in getting people that way,” and he has acknowledged never having done any research on how best to kill a man. Nonetheless, some version of his three-drug cocktail is now used by the federal government and the 37 states that kill inmates by lethal injection. (Nebraska, the 38th state with a death penalty, uses the electric chair.)

The three-drug cocktail is meant to mimic the induction of general anesthesia and it works like this: The execution team inserts an IV line into the condemned prisoner and then delivers a dose of sodium pentothal, an “ultrashort-acting barbiturate,” intended to render the inmate deeply unconscious. A second drug, pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant, then paralyzes all skeletal muscles including the diaphragm. (This keeps the inmate from gasping, moaning, flopping around on the gurney or otherwise disturbing the witnesses; it also keeps him from breathing.) The third drug, potassium chloride, stops the heart.

In theory this method should kill inmates quickly and painlessly. The problem is that in practice lethal injections are botched routinely. In May 2006, in Ohio, Joseph Clark raised his head in the middle of his own execution to say, “It’s not working.” In December 2006, Angel Diaz, in Florida, grimaced on the gurney for 26 minutes. He sustained 11-inch and 12-inch chemical burns on his left and right arms respectively, and took 34 minutes to die.

So, basically, we have a set of procedures that don’t always work, that we literally consider insufficiently humane to use on animals, and were developed by someone with no relevant expertise in the field — and yet they were quickly adopted by every state. And as Weil points out, the second, paralyzing drug — which prevents us in many cases from seeing if the prisoner was executed in intense pain — is part of the formula to exempt witnesses from having to see the consequences of the state’s action, which is an especially bad reason to do it.

Also interesting is this case, in which various public officials have reacted in a fury against a judge in Georgia who has taken the radical step of requiring the state to provide adequate resources to a defendant in an extremely complex capital case. This is part of a trend towards death penalty prosecutions that are failing because the state is unwilling to provide the necessary resources, which rather tends to undermine claims by death penalty advocates about its importance to criminal justice. If the death penalty has a powerful deterrent effect, reflects the Moral Seriousness of the Community. etc. etc. then spending the resources necessary to ensure a fair process seems relatively trivial in the context of what the state spends. That many advocates aren’t willing to face these choices simply reinforces my assumption that the death penalty in fact doesn’t accomplish much of anything that imprisonment doesn’t.

And even if (like me) you think that the Constitution does not categorically forbid the death penalty for first degree murder, both of these cases are instances where judicial intervention is appropriate. Assuming arguendo that the death penalty is permissible, it has to be carried out in manner consistent with the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If states can’t be bothered to design a means of execution that minimizes the possibility of someone being tortured to death, or to provide the resources necessary to mount a competent capital defense, then it shouldn’t be allowed to execute prisoners at all.

Missing Bloggers

[ 9 ] November 5, 2007 |

I concur with Ezra’s list. Other strong candidates for me:

  • Billmon
  • Jeanne D’Arc of Body and Soul
  • Steve Gilliard (RIP)
  • A White Bear of Is There No Sin In It?
  • My first online editor, Sam Rosenfeld of TAPPED

Meanwhile, speaking of the Mighty Reason Man, I’ve seen a couple people mention his classic anti-wingnut immunization posts, which are indeed classics. Collectively, he has Glenn Reynolds down cold:

HERE’S AN INTERESTING POST by a guy named Steve from Des Moines. He highlights the direct connection between the modern Democratic Party and the National Socialist German Workers Party. Some incriminating stuff here. Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you only watched CNN…

posted at 05:43 PM by Glenn Reynolds

THE NEW YORK TIMES IS FULL OF SHIT because they quote unreliable sources and make things up.

posted at 05:17 PM by Glenn Reynolds

[…]

THE MEDIA’S WAR ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION continues unabated. Recent events have combined with the media’s anti-Bush agenda to paint a misleadingly dark picture of Iraq. If you received all your news from CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Army Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, the Sacremento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, The Orlando Sentinel, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Lansing State Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe, the Houston Chronicle, UPI, Reuters, or the Associated Press, you would be under the impression that things are pretty bleak in Iraq.

Fortunately, Michael Ubaldi has several blog posts explaining how good it actually is over there. Just keep scrolling.

[…]

THANKS TO PRESIDENT BUSH’S TAX CUTS, I was finally able to buy new blinds for the upstairs. This has made the InstaWife a diehard Bush supporter. Who says the tax cuts were only for the well-off? Something tells me most Democrats won’t be celebrating the windfall.

posted at 04:36 PM by Glenn Reynolds

If only he will still around to do Powerline and Althouse. Speaking of which, isn’t it about time for Altmouse to make a comeback?

Better Zebras Please

[ 72 ] November 4, 2007 |

Surprising as it is to say that I’m happy that the Patriots scored the touchdown to make it 20-17, if the Colts are going to thwart their unbeaten season it would be nice if they did it fair and square, not with the help of beyond-farcical pass interference penalties. Has anyone checked to see if the officiating crew for today’s game has recently been in touch with Tim Donaghy’s bookie? That’s the charitable interpretation; if nobody’s taking money I wouldn’t hire the ref(s) who made the PI calls on Hobbs and Moss to work an intramural flag football game. Not that it would really determine the outcome per se, but in a game of this importance, are minimally competent refs too much to ask?

… I remian ambivalent about this outcome, but one has to concede that making Gregg Easterbrook cry is a major plus.

The Good and the Ugly

[ 8 ] November 4, 2007 |

Feingold announces his opposition to Mukasey. Good, even if moot.

I hadn’t intended to write about the sellout by Feinstein and Schumer; it was too depressingly predictable. And, as my essay laying out the case against Mukasey acknowledged, it was as much about symbolism as anything; a good AG is not really an option (although in this case the symbolism is important.) But then Feinstein decided to defend her decision in op-ed form. And, as Elton sums it up:

I’m OK with using any amount of pain to extract information from suspects, as long as we don’t call it torture.

The whole thing is remarkable. Her implication that Mukasey didn’t dodge the key questions…I mean, you want to vote for him for pragmatic reasons, alright, but at least try not to insult our intelligence. And worse, she doesn’t seem to understand the contents of statutes she voted for. California really needs to do better.

The Peaks Of Wingnuttery

[ 13 ] November 4, 2007 |

A worthy compilation of nominees. I would have to vote for Althouse, but really, they’re all winners! (On the other hand, the standards of podcast wingnuttery established by her claim that NARAL’s house blogger was invited to a meetup by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as part of a conspiracy to get Bill Clinton laid will prove to be invulnerable, and of course the vlogging thing speaks for itself.) Actually, I think that her post about the upsides of policemen summarily executing people for running while wearing a ski jacket would be an equally strong candidate.

With other such worthy candidates as Dean Esmay’s HIV denialism and Powerline’s repeated claims that no memo with a typo and GOP wingnut talking points could be authentic GOP talking points memo (whoops); I would have to nominate J*sh Tr*vino’s thoughtful discussion of liberals’ “bottomless opposition to parents” for serious consideration.

Pre-Qualified

[ 3 ] November 3, 2007 |

Publishing stuff like this, as well as stuff like Jamie Kirchick’s arguments with the strawmen in his head, seems relevant to questions about how much nepotism was involved in hiring the new editor. If Commentary was meant to be a serious, highbrow intellectual journal, then obviously the hire would be pretty much 100% nepotism. Given that the actual content of the journal seems to be sixth-rate defenses of failed imperialist schemes and feeble Republican hackery, however, J-Pod seems eminently well-qualified. And it also makes the question moot; when the journal isn’t intended to produce anything of value, “is the candidate related to the no-longer-sane former editor?” seems about a good a criterion for choosing an editor as anything.

Page 558 of 776« First...102030...556557558559560...570580590...Last »