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[ 20 ] March 13, 2010 |

Query: Could Johnny Damon be the first 3000 hit player to miss the Hall of Fame? Of course, this excludes the obvious problems (Rose, Palmeiro), and assumes that Biggio will make it… Damon is currently 36, and has 2425 hits. It’s not at all difficult to imagine that he could play for four more years and collect his 3000th hit without substantially improving his candidacy. Baseball Reference lists Damon’s HoF Monitor at 78 (100 is the average HoFer), and HoF standard at 38 (50 is average). Damon has played for the Red Sox and the Yankees, but I don’t think that he’s ever been perceived as much more than he is; a good, valuable baseball player who falls short of greatness.


Current “Current Intelligence”

[ 0 ] March 13, 2010 |

It’s been a busy week for me adjusting to new blog formats in multiple spaces. So while LGM readers wait for their heads to stop spinning at this site’s facelift, I encourage them to hop on over and check out the new Current Intelligence site, also just renovated this week.

Current Intelligence
, where I post from time to time about the laws of war, used to be an off-shoot of Complex Terrain Lab but is now an online journal with a blog, a set of more formal foreign policy columnists including my Duck of Minerva co-blogger Jon Western, and a “Letters from Abroad” series in which the site’s bloggers report from places they visit, like Durban, South Africa and Varanasi, India. Our illustrious editor actually convinced me to contribute a piece on New Orleans as a “letter from abroad” – something you can actually do at an online journal where political community is understood to be delimited by something other than sovereign territorial boundaries. Snippet:

“It was corporate hotel culture I and my colleagues visited, not New Orleans per se.The gap between physical and social place-ness struck me all week, just as it does when I “pass through” sovereign territorial-legal spaces while never leaving the neo-medieval corridors of international airports – each of which aims to present a caricature of national culture but all of which function as carriers instead of a global culture, one characterized by spaces of liminality and heterogeneity. And yet one’s experience in such spaces borders on strictly homogeneous from a class perspective. We find ourselves compartmentalized from others around us not by geography or language but by norms, rules, uniforms and political economies… Transnational conference sites are like this too. They are hyped up as opportunities to visit a locale, interface with a population, affect local understandings, but they are actually transnational sites in which cleavages are based on capital.”

Anyway. Current Intelligence covers foreign affairs, asymmetric conflict, war law and post-Westphalian political geography. It’s a fabulous community that includes a number of excellent bloggers such as Chris Albon (ConflictHealth is one of the finest human security sites I know of), Tim Stevens who also blogs at Ubiwar, and of course Mike Innes who blogs at Monkwire and is behind the whole thing.

[cross-posted at Duck of Minerva]

[ 6 ] March 12, 2010 |

Friday Cat Blogging… Starbuck

I’m a Far Better Option than Matt Yglesias

[ 11 ] March 12, 2010 |

I, too, would proudly be willing to write 4-5 incoherent, stream of consciousness posts a week for only $80000/year.  Indeed, I’ll go a step farther; I’ll write 6-7 posts for only $75000 per year.  And then I’ll run for the Senate.   As the Great Kaus himself might note, bloggers don’t suffer from a union; my ability to undercut Yglesias is key to the proper functioning of a modern economy.

Stuff White People Like Stealing

[ 52 ] March 12, 2010 |

Considering that

  • two Jews from the Bronx, Bill Finger and Robert Kahn (Bob Kane) created Batman
  • two Jews in Cleveland, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, created Superman
  • a Jew from Washington Heights, Mortimer Weisinger, created Green Arrow and co-created Aquaman
  • another Jew from Washington Heights, Stanley Lieber (Stan Lee), teamed up with a Jew from Brooklyn, Jacob Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby), to create the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, Galactus, Doctor Doom, and Iron Man
  • a few decades earlier, a Jew from Rochester, Joseph Simon, had also partnered with Kurtzberg, and together they’d created Captain America
  • another Brooklyn Jew, William Eisner, is possibly the most important comic artist ever (dayenu); arguably invented the graphic novel (dayenu); wrote two of the most influential theoretical books about comics (dayenu); and has the award for creative achievement in the medium named after him

would it be fair to say that white people stole superheroes from the Jews the same way they’d stolen rock ‘n roll from black people?*

*Not really.  This is territory is trod plenty and well, but it’s worth rehearsing: Elvis Presley borrowed rock ‘n roll from black people, and always returned as much of it as he could promptly and with gratitude.  But he could never give it all back, because from the perspective of white America, it tainted him: anyone that the New York Times could call, as it did Elvis in 1956, a “blues shouter … imbued with the spirit and style of those Negro singers” clearly had dangerous and unsavory associations. That same year, the Chicago Defender pushed the issue of this affinity to the fore in articles like “Arrival of Elvis Presley No Puzzle to T-Bone Fans,” in which Presley’s speech was rendered in Negro dialect: “Yew-oo ain’t nuthin but a houn’ dawg,” the paper has him singing; later, he explains his style by saying “Ah’m jus’ singin’ the only way ah know how.”  Claiming, as Eric Lott did in Love and Theft, that Elvis was no better than a Nineteenth Century minstrel; or, as people generally do, that he stole rock ‘n roll from black people, misses the point: many black intellectuals, following the lead of black musicians, not only praised Elvis for respecting their tradition, they loved the fact that, via Elvis, that tradition had been embraced by the sons and daughters of die-hard Dixiecrats.  One editorial in the Defender (that I can’t relocate at the moment) was a series of winks, nods, and nudges about ceremony in Tupelo at which John Rankin, reputed to be the last white man to utter the word “nigger” in anger at a black man on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, was forced to bestow some sort of honor on Tupelo’s most famous son.**

**I’m not sure why the footnote is that much more substantial and academic than the post it qualifies, but I figure that if I can get away with it in a dissertation, I can get away with it on a blog.

[ 6 ] March 12, 2010 |

MiriamFriday Daddy Blogging… Miriam

Equal Opportunity Water-boarding

[ 8 ] March 12, 2010 |

Karl Rove defends mock drowning once again in his new memoir. After all, we do it to our own troops during training to help them learn to withstand torture. Not that it is.

A more forgiving assessment from Peter Feaver. Helpful roundup of responses from The Atlantic Wire.

We Contemplate Eternity Beneath the Vast Indifference of Heaven

[ 0 ] March 12, 2010 |

If you want a good example of the extent to which we live in an unjust world, comapre the sad fate of the first black woman to be elected to the South Carolina legislature with that of Kindly Ol’ Strom Thurmond.

More Please

[ 1 ] March 12, 2010 |

This story about reading dissents from the bench reminds me why Pamela Karlan belongs (with Diane Wood) at or near the very top of Obama’s Supreme Court shortlist:

Consider Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 decision that said there was nothing in the Constitution to stop states from making it a crime for gay men to have consensual sex at home. Justice Harry A. Blackmun had written a dissent, and he was thinking about summarizing it from the bench.

That sounded good to his law clerk, Pamela S. Karlan.

“The majority’s treatment is a disgrace,” she wrote in a memorandum to the justice that became public when his papers were released “and it’s well worth making clear to everyone what the case is really about.”

The dissent itself — which, if I understand correctly, was primarily authored by Karlan — is a very good one.

Pre 9/11 Yoosta-Bees

[ 12 ] March 12, 2010 |

You may remember that one of the most annoying guests to routinely appear on cable news during the 2000 election theft was Pat Cadell, who (following up his appearance as the creepy costume store owner in Eyes Wide Shut) showed up to relentlessly bash Al Gore but was described as a “Democratic pollster” because he took a couple polls for Jimmy Carter in 1976 or something.   Apparently, he’s still around, still being describing himself (or being described) as a Democrat, still a reactionary, and still making arguments that would need to accrue a lot more coherence to rise to the level of being “illogical.”


[ 15 ] March 12, 2010 |

What exactly does this mean?

Jakob Dylan has announced plans for an upcoming nation-wide tour with his band Jakob Dylan and Three Legs, which features Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. The tour is set to kick off April 9th in Pittsburgh, PA in support of his newest album Women and Country set for release April 6th. Prior to the release, Jakob will showcase his album in Austin at this year’s SXSW Festival, where he will be playing shows at Paste Magazine and Rachael Ray’s annual parties.

So… if I have no interest in seeing Jakob Dylan, but would really like to see Neko Case, is this something I should be wasting my precious cubits on?

Funny Because it’s Funny, Funny Because it’s True…

[ 0 ] March 12, 2010 |

The tragic return of Jay Leno, dramatized.