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Oooooh, My Arm!

[ 14 ] September 16, 2010 |

Even granting that if a Slappy Rodriguez or Milton Bradley had done it they’d be getting raked over the coals, I don’t blame St. Derek of Pasta Diving for his acting job — I blame the umpires for yet another ridiculous blown call, which fortunately ended up not costing the Rays the game. Not just Barksdale — although I can’t believe he didn’t hear the ball squarely hit the bat, the home plate umpire really doesn’t have a great angle on that play. But wasn’t anyone else paying attention?

I’ll grant that being an Expos fan gives one a special bitterness in this area, but I note that this game between the two best teams in baseball — and with countless local Yankee fans to inflate the gate — was played to about 80% capacity, and the Rays are 9th in the league in attendance. (They are only about 200,000 ahead of the Pirates, a genuine small market that hasn’t had a decent team since the first Bush administration.) Funny, but I don’t remember seeing a lot of stories about what a horrible baseball market Tampa is and when they’re going to be contracted. For the record, the 1983 Expos — after one (heartbreaking) post-season appearance and enduring their second straight bitterly disappointing season, and in a park at least as bad as the Trop — were second in the league in attendance. I’ll have more to say this weekend, but let’s just say that there’s substantially more evidence that Montreal could support a well-capitalized team in a decent stadium than there is that Tampa could.


Bandidos Yanquis

[ 16 ] September 15, 2010 |

I have to say that I am shocked, shocked by the general level of evil and ill will demonstrated by Yankee partisans:

A curious phenomenon has emerged at the intersection of fashion, sports and crime: dozens of men and women who have robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot at their fellow New Yorkers have done so while wearing Yankees caps or clothing.

One of the three suspects in the gym break-ins wore a blue Yankees cap. A security camera photographed the man who tried to rob the Bronx bank, and though his face was largely obscured, his Yankees hat was clearly visible. The Queens robbery suspect was last seen with a Yankees cap on his head.

In some ways, it is not surprising that Yankees attire is worn by both those who abide by the law and those who break it. The Yankees are one of the most famous franchises in sports, and their merchandise is widely available and hugely popular.

But Yankees caps and clothing have dominated the crime blotter for so long, in so many parts of the city and in so many types of offenses, that it defies an easy explanation.

I can see at least two problems in the above text:

In some ways, it is surprising that Yankees attire is worn by those who abide by the law. That Yankees caps and clothing have dominated the crime blotter for so long, in so many parts of the city and in so many types of offenses, is easily explained by the evil nature of the Yankees fan.

Fixed it for you.

UPDATE: I used to think that this picture was cute.  Now I worry that Miriam is just looking for something to steal.

Our 70-521 prep courses & 70-669 includes the latest set of 70-294 practice questions and MB6-288 dumps with 100% guarantee for victory in 70-512.

Annals of Self-Promotion

[ 1 ] September 15, 2010 |

For those in or in some proximity to New York’s capital region, tomorrow evening I will be delivering a free lecture for Constitution Day that may well be worth at least that much.

Do Women Threaten National Security?

[ 25 ] September 15, 2010 |

A good question for Christine O’Donnell.

Least. Scary. Parade. Of. Horribles. Ever.

[ 15 ] September 15, 2010 |

Scalia’s attempt to use the nullification of masturbation bans as a scare tactic is definitely one of my favorite passages in the U.S. Reports.

Should Democrats Actually Be Happy About the GOP Punting the Delaware Senate Seat?

[ 44 ] September 15, 2010 |

Yglesias says no:

Looks like Christine O’Donnell will be the Republican nominee for Delaware. That means the aggregate impact of the Delaware Senate race is likely to be Democrats holding the Senate seat and picking up the House seat Mike Castle is vacating. In the short-term, that’ll be good news for progressive politics but as I said yesterday I don’t think that kind of narrowly partisan thinking gets you very far in the long run.
Ultimately, the two-party system operates near equilibrium, and so the internal state of both parties counts. It’s better for progressives and better for the country for Republicans to field strong, reasonable candidates.

I don’t really buy it, for a few reasons:

  • Given current partisan norms in the Senate — which, like Matt, I think are likely to be persistent and aren’t objectionable in principle — the actual difference between the votes that would be cast by Castle and O’Donnell is likely to be quite small, and the more important the issue the smaller that difference is likely to be.
  • The only way this won’t be true is if the ideological priorities and strategic orientation of the Republican Senate leadership change.  I see no reason to believe that any such change is imminent, and certainly adding one more nominal moderate to a tiny handful won’t do anything to change it.
  • Given that if he won Castle could be expected to vote as a teabagger when it matters, isn’t it better not only for the Democrats but for electoral accountability if an actual unapologetic teabagger runs for the seat, rather than the bait-and-switch the Republicans preferred?
  • We should also be careful not to make the same mistake that Nate Silver did with his “secret sauce” playoff prediction formula — that is, assuming that past conditions will continue to hold.   (Findings that the vice presidential candidate didn’t matter, for example, were tied to past practices, which didn’t involve selecting candidates like Sarah Palin.)    The near-equilibrium of party control, and the closely related fact that economic fundamentals drive electoral outcomes, are premised on the assumption that large “brokerage” parties will want to maximize, or nearly maximize, their electoral support.   If parties put ideology above vote maximization, all bets are off, and one party may find itself in a minority position with much greater-than-expected frequency.    The fact that Delaware has gone from a near-certain GOP pickup to a near-certain Democratic hold without any change in the underlying fundamentals is an excellent illustration of this.

Given all this, on the proposition that Democrats should be unhappy about a certain near-term advantage because of speculative long-term effects that a Castle win in the primary wouldn’t have done anything to advance anyway, I vote “no.” O’Donnell’s win is, in fact, excellent news for the Democrats.

UPDATE: similar thoughts from Atrios.

Very Astute Political Analysis

[ 15 ] September 15, 2010 |


And I don’t know much about Castle, but why was a 70-year-old man running for a first term in the Senate? That struck me as self-centered vanity at odds with the interests of his party — which was particularly suspect given his RINO record. So — good for O’Donnell.

Yes, it would not be in the interests of the Republicans to have a 70 year-old who might only be able to serve two or three terms. Instead, they should select a farcically unelectable candidate who ensures that the GOP will hold the vacated seat for zero terms. Memo to the RNC: get Althouse on your payroll, stat!


[ 1 ] September 15, 2010 |

You may remember that forgotten-but-not-gone GOP hack Rick Lazio attempted to resurrect his long-dead political career by fomenting hatred about the Burlington Coat Factory community center. Amusingly, this was not enough to beat angry rich white guy/racist email forwarder Carl Paladino. Let this be a lesson: when you try to out-tea bag a teabagger, you end up covered in orange pekoe.

In other pleasing news, accused thief Pedro Espada and convicted domestic abuser Hiram Monserrate, two of the most disgusting political figures in the known universe, lost their primary races. You know what — go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out!

A Superb Choice

[ 10 ] September 15, 2010 |

Congratulations to the Republican primary voters of Delaware; I definitely would have voted the same way!

Global Road Safety Campaign Hits UN

[ 4 ] September 14, 2010 |

Over the summer the issue of global traffic fatalities began to move up the media agenda cycle in the US. This prompted blog discussions over the social construction of “problems,” especially why we care so much about terrorism which kills almost no one, and so little about traffic accidents, which though decreasing in the US remain, according to the World Health Organization, the third most frequent cause of death globally for individuals between the ages of 5 and 44 – and the top killer of people between 15-29.

As I’m kicking off my class in Global Agenda-Setting this semester, I’m delighted to see an emerging campaign on precisely this issue taking shape and beginning to impact United Nations discourse and practice. My students and I will be watching this campaign – and others – closely to see to what extent the activists goals are translated by governments into norms that might actually reduce traffic mortality worldwide.

So Much TIDOS-y Goodness…

[ 0 ] September 14, 2010 |

It’s all about the heritage.

The Plot To Suppress Jenny McCarthy’s Scientific Findings Continues

[ 21 ] September 14, 2010 |

Well, this is certainly a surprise.  If only peer-reviewed scientific evidence was as meaningful as random celebrity anecdotes!