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[ 5 ] July 2, 2010 |

So, so true:

The truth is that for most conservatives “family values” doesn’t mean much beyond discriminating against gays and opposing abortion rights.

With the caveat, as always, that the de facto Republican position on abortion is not so much “abortion should be illegal” as “abortion should be illegal but not so illegal that daughters of Republican politicians couldn’t get one.”


Happy Canada Day!

[ 4 ] July 1, 2010 |

Comment Hunting is the Lowest Form of Blogging…

[ 6 ] July 1, 2010 |

I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a less appropriate invocation of Gramsci.

World Cup Quarter Finals

[ 12 ] July 1, 2010 |

I was going to write something about this, but . . . no.  I’ve grown addicted to my monthly “paycheque”.

The quarter final brackets for the World Cup are . . . unbalanced.  Look for yourself:

Friday, 2 July
Netherlands v Brazil 15:00 BST, 10:00 EDT, 07:00 PDT
Uruguay v Ghana 19:30 BST, 14:30 EDT, 11:30 PDT

Saturday, 3 July
Argentina v Germany 15:00 BST, 10:00 EDT, 07:00 PDT
Paraguay v Spain 19:30 BST, 14:30 EDT, 11:30 PDT

I’m going to boldly predict that the final will include the team that wins the Netherlands v Brazil match and the Argentina v Germany match.  This should not be taken as a disparagement of Spain, the reigning European Champions, but they haven’t really appeared all that sharp, especially with a blatantly unfit Fernando Torres playing in every match.

As I am now happily ensconced in Oregon, catching up on research that I haven’t had the time to work on back in Plymouth (goal for the next month: three new articles sent off, and two book proposals in the can by September.  no, really!), I’ll be waking early to go visit a friend’s house to watch the Netherlands v Brazil match.  Since the USA were eliminated, I’ve transferred my allegiance to the Dutch.  Ironic, considering the only tournament held during my three years in the NL, the 2002 World Cup, didn’t feature the side at all.

This will not be one of the Holland Brazil matches of yore.  Both sides have adopted the more circumspect, cautious football that everybody save for the English have managed to master at this level (which in part may explain the relative paucity of goals at this tournament).  Both sides line up in what traditional nomenclature would refer to a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3, but both formations are more nuanced than tradition allows: it’s really a 4-2-1-2-1.  England, of course, stay wedded to the tried and true (and outdated) 4-4-2.  It worked in 1966!!!  But then, they also stay wedded to the tried and true Single Member District / Plurality electoral system, but I digress.

Realistically, one has to like Brazil to win this match, but I am holding out hope for De Oranje, as Brazil have a few niggles and suspensions, whereas Holland manager Bert van Marwijk has an injury and suspension free 23 to choose from.

For those interested, I’ve read a few excellent books on Dutch football.  Indeed, I’ve found the quality of insightful writing on football soccer to be excellent at times, and both of these blend football with broader observations of Dutch politics and society:

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football (at Amazon here).

as well as the brilliant Simon Kuper‘s Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe during the Second World War.

Kuper also wrote the excellent Football Against the Enemy, which includes a chapter on the 1974 World Cup final between the Dutch and West Germany if I recall correctly, as well as coverage of the same two sides match in the finals of the 1988 European Championship.  I have several other suggestions, but, alas, my library is in England, and I’m in Oregon.

The Kagan Hearings

[ 13 ] July 1, 2010 |

One the one hand, I agree with Rosen here, with the major caveat that “more substantive that the last three hearings” is a bar comparable to a major league team having a better shortstop than Yuniesky Betancourt.   Kagan’s answers have come closer to reflecting how Supreme Court actually works than has become the recent norm, and she has sometimes avoided the emptiest “we just apply the law” cliches of Roberts and Alito.

On the other hand, the hearings still haven’t told us much of anything about what kind of justice she’ll be beyond the very broad parameters established by her past political service.    And her (unsurprisingly) strong performace as a nominee just underlines what a wasted opportunity the pick was — she could have been confirmed just as easily as Breyer and Ginsburg were (if not by the same vote margin), so why pick her now?

Just Tell Me Which Side are the Jedi…

[ 7 ] July 1, 2010 |

This is all interesting and stuff, but it would help if someone would explain which side is in favor of democracy, goodness, and apple pie, and which side is Islamist, anti-semitic, genocidal, Nazi, Communist, and so forth. I’m guessing that the Azerbaijanis have to be the Sith, but the Armenians have those pesky close relationships with the Iranians and the Russians. Then again, now that the Turks are evil maybe the Armenians are good by default. Where’s a neocon when you need one?

Cream Rises…

[ 0 ] July 1, 2010 |

LGM World Cup Standings following the Round of 16…

1 bourbon renewalh. hjklhljkh 22 24 46 99.4
2 Meinong’s JungleJ. Brown 20 24 44 98.4
3 johnbparker1 1J. Parker 19 24 43 97.7
3 wang1870 1D. Sessoms 19 24 43 97.7
3 1buddhacat 1R. Vaidya 19 24 43 97.7
3 welloiledmachineS. Rockhold 19 24 43 97.7
3 AlSuA. Berry 23 20 43 97.7
3 Great Russian DinosaursM. Jeffery 23 20 43 97.7
9 DelawhereJ Sellers 18 24 42 96.2
9 greller49 1A. Greller 22 20 42 96.2
9 bobby lenarduzzid. loveland 22 20 42 96.2
9 tnpsc 1v. las vegas 22 20 42 96.2
9 brokenax16 1D. Collins 22 20 42 96.2
14 Automatic BallpointG. Jenkins 21 20 41 94.2
14 Smarter Than YuoS. Fleury 21 20 41 94.2
14 With the Russians TooD. Merrill 21 20 41 94.2
14 PALGOLAKp mac 21 20 41 94.2

I’m currently tied for 82nd…

Advice That Should Have Been Taken

[ 13 ] July 1, 2010 |


Ever heard the phrase “get over yourself.” I don’t use it often but: Get over yourself.

v. Althouse:

I would be curious to see what was said about me then. Was there jubilation that this video clip could be used to attack me? A plan to pick a spin and stick to it? An agreement to deprive me of links forever and ever? I’d like to know. I mean, I can imagine it on my own, but it would be fascinating to have the transcript.

Why, I would be surprised if JournoList ever discussed any topic but Ann Althouse! Anyway, I think we have evidence for Adam’s point:

I’m not even really certain that Breitbart really believes there’s some sort of liberal conspiracy here. Rather, this seems to be motivated by the same thing that made the leaks from “journolist” a scandal in the first place — there are a certain number of high-profile conservatives who are almost pathologically thin-skinned, and the thought that someone, somewhere might be saying something mean about them is absolutely infuriating. I’m betting it’s still dominating the conversation on some of their off-the-record e-mail lists.

For bonus comedy gold, let’s watch as Althouse comes up with an argument for being the kind of scumbag who publicizes private emails she considers devastating:

Let’s test Cole and the other performers of outrage about how they feel about illustrious leakers of the past. Deep Throat. Daniel Ellsberg. Please do your “honor”/”privacy” routine in that context.

Yes, the fact that Ellsberg was probably justified in leaking documents proving that powerful public officials repeatedly lied about a war that resulted in millions of deaths means that privacy and commitments to confidentiality should never be given any weight at all, no matter how trivial the subject. This is very convincing. Why, if you were to leak the contents of Ann Althouse’s inbox, you’d be a hero! After all, she might have said something mean about someone, and information wants to be freeeeeeee!

To follow up on dsquared’s comment, it also seems worth remembering that Ellsberg was prosecuted and probably would have been convicted were it not for the Nixon Administration’s Althousian conception of privacy and ethics.  (From the standpoint of MLK’s conception of civil disobidence, of course, this doesn’t mean what Ellsberg did wasn’t justified.)  When you combine this with the fact that anyone who would trust Breitbart to preserve their anonymity would lend their house keys, vacation schedule, and safe combination to someone they just met at a halfway house, this is why it’s extremely unlikely that a substantial portion of the archive will be leaked. Anyone cynical enough to do this would also know that the more people who are involved the more unlikely it is that their anonymity would be preserved, and especially once any EU residents were involved your reward and lots more would swallowed up by legal fees and possibly legal judgments. You may get one or two more targeted leaks intending to harm more specific individuals, but that’s about it.

UPDATE:  via Dave in comments, see also.   Although you have to admit that the alleged JournoList conspiracy to get Eric Alterman, Jon Chait, and David Dayen to act in ideological and partisan lockstep certainly was a roaring success.   I demand answers!

When Torture Isn’t Torture

[ 0 ] July 1, 2010 |

See Serwer, Drum, and Greenwald on the sudden unwillingness of the elite media to call torture torture when Americans led by the Bush administration engaged in the relevant practices. Of course, if you follow wingnut logic to be be against torture even when Americans do it would be “moral relativism.”

After This, Hopefully the Yankees Will be a Little Less Timid About Spending Money to Attract Free Agents

[ 1 ] June 30, 2010 |

Shorter Verbatim Jay Nordlinger: “I think many of my conservative colleagues are far too gingerly when it comes to liberal media bias. Far too timid, delicate, and forgiving.” I can’t wait for Nordlinger’s follow-up about how the Azzuri are just too timid about trying to get fouls called in their favor by exaggerating or inventing contact…

What I’ll Be Reading on the Plane to Thailand

[ 3 ] June 30, 2010 |

I’ll be mostly off the grid traveling for the next two and half weeks, and I want to thank LGM readers for your many suggestions as to what I should take with me – a comments thread that is printed and archived in my trip folder for consideration as a I browse the airport B&N.

I have decided on one book I’m definitely taking with however – and it’s not even a paperback: Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do by Albert Laszlo Barabasi.

Barabasi first captured my imagination with his book Linked, a lay person’s guide to network science, and his new book is said to extend his analytical vision through time as well as space. His argument – drawing as usual on wide swaths of interdisciplinary science plus fascinating historical and current events anecdotes – is that “we work and fight and play in short flourishes of activity followed by next to nothing: our daily pattern isn’t random, it’s ‘bursty.'”

But what I’m in it for is not his findings but his methodology: Barabasi has developed this theory by culling data from our digital lives. “Mobile phones, the Internet, and email have made human activities more accesible to quantitative analysis, turning our society into a huge research laboratory. All those electronic trails of time-stamped texts, voice-mails, and searches add up to a previously unavailable massive data set that tracks our movements, our decisions, our lives. Analysis of these trails is offering deep insights into the rhythm of how we do everything.” I’ll be interested to see how he converts that mass of data into an argument, and I’ll be interested to see if I buy it.


The Latest Kagan Non-Scandal

[ 14 ] June 30, 2010 |

For the reasons cited by Barbara, this would-be Elena Kagan “scandal” about changed wording in an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists position paper — being promoted by the likes of world’s-phoniest-“libertarian” Glenn Reynolds — is a complete joke. There’s no contradiction between the two drafts, because D&X abortions are, in fact, not medically necessary in a majority of cases. But this fact doesn’t mean that they are never medically necessary, and indeed the original statement implies that there are cases where D&X abortions are necessary or preferable for a protecting a woman’s health. Adding a statement to clarify what was implicit in the first draft doesn’t “distort” anything, and of course if ACOG didn’t think the statement was accurate Kagan had no power to get them to change it. There’s nothing here.

And since the only point of this feeble “smoking gun” is to allow Senate Republicans to mention the phrase “partial birth abortion” a lot, I should note once again that for reasons Judge Posner and Justice Stevens have explained the entire issue is a farce. The distinction between D&X abortions and other abortion procedures is wholly arbitrary, and for people who have supported irrational laws making such a distinction to pretend to care about rigorous medical science is nothing but comedy of the lowest form.