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The Effects of History Stopped In 1964

[ 11 ] June 5, 2008 |

Shorter Tom Maguire: All institutionalized racism ended immediately after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, because these changes to formal law both ended racism and erased the ongoing impacts of past racism. So it’s crazy to think that any person of color born in the United States after 1970 could suffer from any disadvantage based on their race!



[ 39 ] June 5, 2008 |

It’s hard to get much worse than getting swept at home by an Angels team without Guerrero (and not pitching Lackey). But I’m sure McLaren and company can find a way!

In other news, this has been building since several commenters argued last year that it was logically impossible for him to have allowed a run in Game 2 without the bugs, but Sweet Jeebus am I already sick of Greatest Pitching Prospect In Known World History Joba Chamberlain and the ceaseless hype surrounding him. If Saint Derek of Pasta Diving goes on the DL I think he can slide into the Most Irritating Yankee role right away.


[ 22 ] June 5, 2008 |

Clinton to drop out and endorse Obama on Friday. I am, once again, inclined to a more charitable view than Matt expresses here. I have been very critical of several aspects of Clinton’s campaign, although this was for specific acts (particularly the negative comparison of Obama and McCain and the increasingly farcical Michigan/Florida demagoguery) as opposed to staying in per se. But I really don’t think that it will be a serious problem in the general, and endorsing the candidate three days after defeat (especially given that many runner-up candidates have declined to do so, although why Clinton-to-Denver advocates bring up 1968 and 1980 as positive precedents I can’t tell you) is well within the range of acceptable behavior. Claims that Clinton was out to sabotage the party to set up a run for 2012 or some such have always been silly, and I think this should end that unproductive debate.

So let’s congratulate Clinton for her valiant and historic campaign, rejoice in Obama’s remarkable victory, and hope that the latter ends up in the White House.

…Farber declares Clean Slate Day.

There There?

[ 6 ] June 4, 2008 |

K.A. Geier makes the case about the Purdum article. I guess that an article that focused very tightly on his financial affairs could have been more useful, but I guess I had heard about most of the conflict-of-interest implications and didn’t really see anything new. But YMMV.

Against Roe Reductionism

[ 14 ] June 4, 2008 |

I can sort of understand why Roe takes center stage in debates over judicial nomination, although it obscures a lot of important questions and impacts of the court. But people explaining why Obama is infinitely preferable to McCain really shouldn’t begin and end with Roe. Even focusing solely on women’s rights, four more years of a Republicans in the White House will have many more bad consequences.

No There There

[ 1 ] June 4, 2008 |

It’s been a bad week for airline/gym reading. First, the New York that seemed (foolishly in retrospect) like the best option in the gym’s magazine rack when I forgot to put reading material in my bag featured the lengthy Phillip Weiss article sharing with us the news that middle-aged men sometimes feel sexual desire for younger women…even if they’re married! Then there was the New York Times magazine cover story, which let us in on such remarkable facts as that young people will sometimes stop dating one person and start dating another, dating co-workers can create some measure of tension, and sharing things about other people on your blog can upset said individual.

I would like to say that Todd Purdum’s Clinton story is less vacuous. But if so the distinction is marginal, and it’s (really) if anything more annoying. The pattern is established early. After some nice guilt-by-association innuendos about some of Clinton’s associates (you’ll be shocked to learn that some wealthy men have fathered children out of wedlock and dated considerably younger women), we get the only graf you need to read:

In fairness, it should be said that Clinton’s entourage that weekend also included his daughter, Chelsea, and her boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, and no one who was there has adduced the slightest evidence that Clinton’s behavior was anything other than proper. Nor, indeed, is there any proof of post-presidential sexual indiscretions on Clinton’s part, despite a steady stream of tabloid speculation and Internet intimations that the Big Dog might be up to his old tricks. On any given visit to London, for example, Clinton is as apt to dine with Tony Blair or Kevin Spacey as with anyone who might raise an eyebrow.

So, in other words, he’s got nothing. But does that stop him from making the implication again? Not when you’re dealing with the Clenis:

Less amusingly, in the run-up to the 1996 re-election campaign, when Clinton took one of his many fund-raising trips to California, I teasingly asked his press secretary, Mike McCurry, whether the president intended to go jogging with Eleanor Mondale, the daughter of the former vice president—as he had on a previous trip—after he was spotted with her (and Barbra Streisand) in the wee hours of the morning. The next day, as we boarded the plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to Los Angeles, McCurry, whose effectiveness as Clinton’s spokesman was aided by the fact that he never fell in love with him, sidled up to me and told me that he had passed my question on to the president, and that Clinton had responded, in vivid terms he knew I could not print, that I should not confuse exercise with extracurricular activity.

I dunno, it seems to me the Clinton, er, has a point here. And while I grant that I’m no expert in arranging adulterous liaisons, it strikes me that jogging with someone in public probably isn’t the ideal method.

Anyway, this not-quite-an-accusation shtick becomes intolerable pretty quickly. So unless you’re in the market for some reasonable-but-trite observations about Clinton’s slightly rusty political compass and some questions about the financing of Clinton’s post-presidential activities that the article does little to illuminate, I’d give the article a pass. It does serve as a reminder, though, that however problematic some of their recent behavior has been, when it comes to the press they have an entirely legitimate grievance.

Obama Wins Without Concession

[ 60 ] June 4, 2008 |

She made her decision about how to react to the inevitable. I guess I’m not as anrgy about it as Matt is, since I didn’t really expect anything much different (although I guess I would have assumed that Clinton’s speech would have been a little more concillatory than it was.) I don’t think that Clinton is trying to tear the party apart or anything like that. It’s difficult to lose a race that you reasonably expected to win and didn’t (and let’s be frank, if you’re a Democrat you probably know what the intensity of this disappointment is like pretty intimately.) What she does next matters more than whether she concedes tonight, and I hope that she will start working for the party’s nominee soon.

Seeing the contrast between Obama and McCain tonight, I don’t see how a Democrat could fail to be optimistic about the fall.

Can Barr Matter?

[ 0 ] June 3, 2008 |

I would like to think that Barr’s candidacy will help Democrats in the fall. I’ve been pretty skeptical, even if we assume that Barr can attract more support that the typical Libertarian candidate. The biggest reason is that one would assume a serious Libertarian to cross-cut existing political cleavages in the way that Nader didn’t. The GOP is better on some Libertarian issues but worse on others, and while in practice a strong majority of Libertarian voters seem to be of the “Republicans who want to smoke pot” faction as the Libertarian vote expands I don’t think one can assume that they’re just taking votes from Republicans.

In this case, however, there’s a possibility that a somewhat increased Libertarian vote could help the Democrats, because given his prior history Barr is likely to have a lot more appeal to conservatives disillusioned with Bush than left-libertarians. And perhaps he can provide an outlet to libertarians (for obvious reasons) really, really hate McCain but are reluctant to vote for a Democrat. Still, overall I think Atrios is probably right that Barr can only have an impact in a race that Obama is already poised to win comfortably; my guess is that most strongly anti-McCain Libs will vote for Obama anyway, and it’s a pretty small faction.

As some people have pointed out, the biggest impact Barr might have is putting Georgia in play. I very much doubt that Obama could win it, but if he can even force McCain to waste scarce resources there it would be helpful. If you want to be a real optimist, you can remember that Clinton narrowly won and narrowly lost Georgia in three-way races in 1992 and 1996. I wouldn’t read much into that — it’s a different climate, Barr won’t be as popular as Perot was in 1992, and ’96 just reinforces Duncan’s point — but it’s not unreasonable to think that Barr might give McCain a fire or two to point out in Georgia and/or a couple western states when he doesn’t really have the money to spare. Not a major impact, but it can’t hurt.

"Those dreams have remained…"

[ 0 ] June 3, 2008 |

I forgot to mention Jesse Taylor’s return to Pandagon. Rejoice!

…in other Panadagon news, see also.

The Passive Virtues

[ 8 ] June 3, 2008 |

The Supreme Court denies cert to an appeal by Major League Baseball seeking to overrule an 8CA opinion that MLB’s attempt to stop fantasy league operators from using their statistics violated the 1st Amendment. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that this is the most important decision by the Supreme Court since its ruling that disparate treatment for out-of-state winemakers violated the Commerce Clause.

SaTC and The Bechdel Test

[ 28 ] June 3, 2008 |

Lis Riba asks:

In 1985, Alison Bechdel created the Mo Movie Measure (also known as the Bechdel Test) evaluating films by whether they:

1. have at least two women in it, who
2. Talk to each other
3. About something besides a man.

So, can anybody confirm or deny:

Does Sex and the City pass the Bechdel Test?

Does anyone know?

Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind

[ 16 ] June 2, 2008 |


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