Subscribe via RSS Feed

Best to Keep Loosening

[ 5 ] August 20, 2010 |


The win set a pair of season highs for the momentum-gaining Reds: It was their sixth straight, and it propped their lead to 3 1/2 games over the Cardinals in the National League Central. It also loosened up what, in one sense, had been the tightest pennant race in Major League annals. While that may sound like a preposterous statement for a game with the rich history of baseball, the Elias Sports Bureau folks have discovered that the Reds and the Cardinals had kept company at the top longer and closer than any other two teams ever.

Until the final out Thursday night, either the Reds or the Cardinals — they have had 19 lead changes — were ahead of the other by three games or fewer for 101 consecutive games. That broke the me-and-my-shadow record of 98 days set in 1964 by the Phillies and the Giants.

The Cardinals came into Great American last week and just mauled the Reds. While we tend to be inclined towards materialist analysis of baseball at this blog, it felt as if the upstart Reds had been given a good thrashing by a veteran team with pennant race experience. That the Reds have managed to turn it around and win six straight is quite impressive; Great American is actually starting to sell out.


Mistakes were made

[ 75 ] August 19, 2010 |

This is an admirable post by Matt Yglesias.

What I especially like is his willingness to conclude that his mistake in judgment on a specific issue was a product not merely of idiosyncratic circumstances, but of a structurally flawed way of thinking about the world, and specifically an over-willingness to trust elite opinion (this is especially impressive for for someone from Yglesias’ background, i.e. upper class Harvard grad etc.).

Oh My Goodness Gracious

[ 44 ] August 19, 2010 |

My official reaction to the indictment of Roger Clemens is that I don’t like perjury charges that are an outgrowth from “OMG baseball players use different kinds of PEDs than the good, clean ballplayers of my youth did” witch hunts. On the other hand, something bad has happened to Roger Clemens, so you can see my dilemma here. Maybe the feds can get him to name Jeter so we never have to hear about steroids again…

UPDATE: No Clemensy!

Ads without products; or, “Don Draper” is now never himself

[ 31 ] August 19, 2010 |

In the previous post, I called the transition from the scene at the firm to the one in Draper’s hall a “wipe,” but that’s not quite right. The camera pans left into the wall:

But the second it succumbs to pure black, it bounces back to the right to place the viewer in the hall outside Draper’s apartment:

I debated calling this a “manual wipe” before my better angels piped up, but now I’m not sure what to call this. (An artifact of an impending commercial break? Irony itself would get the vapors.) All of which is only to say that whatever this particular transition is called, it creates a continuity between Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce and the hall outside Draper’s apartment. Why?

Most likely because Draper has finally decided that he will never be more than the professional persona he created. Not to sound my own trumpet, but my first attempt to understand the Peter/Peggy/Draper dynamic turned out to be largely correct: Peter and Peggy are headed into their respective futures, whereas Draper is slowly become solely an object of his own creation. His last link to Dick Whitman — Anna Draper, the wife of the man whose identify he stole — will be dead within months, at which point the only person who will that “Don Draper” deserves those quotation marks is his ex-wife. Soon he will be his creation, but instead of this moment marking the culmination of a lie or life self-fashioned, the result is as devestating to his personality as it was to his marriage.

If there were some way Draper could arrange a divorce from himself at this point, all indications are that he would: he deliberately sabotages the family-friendly Janzen campaign by presenting the company with the very sort of lascivious material they wanted no part of; he sleeps with his secretary then treats her in a way that invites retaliation; and he starts drinking alone. The vast quantities of alcohol consumed on the show serve a social function, and they continue to do so during working hours. But without a wife and a fiction to uphold, “working hours” for Draper consist of his entire waking life, as when he drinks alone in his apartment and watches his own commercials on television. He has become the man he created and is miserable.

Read more…

Idiotic “Constitutional” Arguments In Defense of Racism Are No Vice

[ 27 ] August 19, 2010 |

Shorter Verbatim Sarah Palin:  “Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”).”

When I said that when a winger talk show host asserted that private individuals criticizing her racist remarks were violating her First Amendment rights she was echoing the constitutional theories of the most recent Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States, I wish I was joking.


[ 16 ] August 19, 2010 |

The odd thing about Dean’s tenure as a liberal standard-bearer is that he really wasn’t all that liberal; certainly, a good argument can be made that Kerry’s record was more progressive on balance, and the best argument against Dean in the Democratic primary is that he was perceived as much more liberal than he was.     Dean’s record as governor of Vermont was more of a DLC contrarian than a solid liberal, especially in the context of Vermont politics.   It’s just that in 2002 and 2003 any significant public figure who was willing to point out that the Iraq War didn’t make any sense was suddenly some left-of-Chomsky nut.     And Dean deserves a lot of credit for getting Iraq right and being willing to say so!     But if you look at his record as a whole I don’t think his disgraceful pandering here is that shocking.

The Yoosta-Bee Becomes Glenn Beck

[ 8 ] August 19, 2010 |

Shorter neo-neocon:  “Everything changed for me on September 11.  I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I think Barack Obama hates America and may well be a closet Muslim.”

[Link to original classic. And of course.]

Further DF-21 Thoughts

[ 12 ] August 18, 2010 |

Geoff Forden wrote a fantastic post on the technical challenges that the Chinese DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile system faces, and poses. Make sure to read the comments as well.

Mission Accomplished

[ 27 ] August 18, 2010 |

Mission Accomplished

This is the way the war ends.

Grasping the precise semantic distinction between “combat troops” and “the 50,000 remaining U.S. troops that will go on combat missions with Iraqi troops (if asked), plus an unspecified number of special forces that will continue to engage actively in combat operations against ‘terrorists'” would have strained the literary critical faculties of Frank Kermode (RIP).

Dispatches from Nerd Camp II

[ 2 ] August 18, 2010 |

Among nuggets of wisdom about social networking tools that I’ve picked up under the tutelage of one Stanley Wasserman is this: not only can you network electronically, but now so can your poodle. Read more…

Are There Even Four Votes For A Right To Same-Sex Marriage?

[ 8 ] August 18, 2010 |

A commenter on the recent thread about Kennedy says probably not:

I see no reason why anyone would assume that Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kafan would be votes to affirm. Nothing in their records suggests it, as far as I can see. As for Ginsburg and Breyer, see Washington v Glucksberg. As for Kagan, see this blog on her nomination. Broad pronouncements of privacy and equal protection aren’t in their nature. Even in Lawrence everyone just joined Kennedy’s opinion, with nobody writing separately to endorse, say, Blackmun’s dissent in Bowers and the approach used there (which Kennedy, in the court’s opinion, never even discussed – he treated Steven’s dissent as if it were the principle one).

I do agree that there’s a non-trivial possibility that at least one member of the Court’s liberal wing would against a right to same-sex marriage; certainly, this is more likely than Alito, Scalia or Thomas (and, in my view, Roberts) voting to find one. However, I think this specific set of charges is too pessimistic:

  • The idea that “nothing in their records” suggests that the Court’s four more liberal members would find bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional is transparently wrong.   Surely, to the extent that substantive due process cases are relevant at all, Lawrence is much more on point than Glucksberg, a very different kind of case.   Indeed, I’m well to the left of any current member of the Court and would vote to uphold Perry without a second thought, but I’ve never found Glucksberg‘s failure to find a constitutional right to die (as opposed to a right to refuse medical treatment) objectionable.
  • The fact that Kennedy was given the opinion in Lawrence isn’t proof of anything other than that Stevens knows what he’s doing; assigning opinions to lock in the shakiest vote is Supreme Court strategy 101.   And given how unusually (and gratifyingly) forceful Kennedy’s repudiation of Bowers was, there was no reason for liberals to add a superfluous concurrence.   I also don’t think there are any major substantive differences in the Stevens and Blackmun dissents in Bowers.
  • My critique of Kagan is simply that while we know she’s a “liberal” in some broad sense that’s not good enough in this political context.    I agree that Obama should have appointed someone we could be confident would vote to uphold Perry.  But even a generic liberal is more likely than not to vote to hold bans same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

I think the most likely outcome is that if Kennedy finds a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, there will be five votes.

Creeping Palinism

[ 23 ] August 18, 2010 |

Sarah Palin’s fascinating theory that the First Amendment should exempt her from criticism gains another adherent in odious busybody Laura Schlessinger:

Well, I’m here to say that my contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year and I have made the decision not to do radio anymore. The reason is: I want to regain my First Amendment rights.

Apparently, the First Amendment contains not merely a right to be exempt from criticism for making racist remarks but also a right to receive advertising revenue. I join with the other bloggers of LGM in expressing outrage about all of the companies that refuse to advertise on our site, hence violating our First Amendment rights!