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[ 30 ] April 2, 2008 |

NL EAST: 1. NY 2. ATL 3. PHI. 4. WAS 5. FLA This is how I would have picked them this weekend, and although I could revise it given the injury to Pedro, I decided to leave it. All of the top 3 teams are very talented and very flawed. I think the Mets have the best chance because they have both a serious pitching and hitting core, although the surrounding cast is getting increasingly decrepit. I think they’ll have just enough, and although the ridiculous Milledge trade may haunt the organization more than the Kazmir giveaway, this year Church could be nearly as productive. The Braves could be back for sure; they’re better than their last two years suggest, and probably have less downside than either the Mets or Phillies this year. The Phils will probably score the most runs in the league but outside of Hammels the pitching is mediocre-to-ugly, and I’m still far from sold on Manuel; I think they’ll have a bit of an off-year, although they can certainly repeat if the Mets and Braves break down enough. Bowden has quietly done a good job reassembling an offense; except for Guzman and maybe the aging LoDuca it’s pretty solid everywhere. Alas, they and the no-hope Marlins will compete with Baltimore for the worst rotation in baseball honor, although their bullpen is OK. The Marlins can console themselves with the best shortstop in the division.

NL CENTRAL 1. MIL 2. CHI. 3. CIN. 4. HOU 5. PIT 6. STL On paper, this is a silly pick, but since I can’t root for the Cubs and Lou Pinella (despite being a good manager overall) has allowed his bullpens and second-line starters to piss away much better talent cores than this, I’ll pick the upset. Milwaukee is probably a year away, but if the Cubs underperform they’ll slip in, and their core is young enough to really break out. The Reds are interesting; I can’t go so far as to call them a sleeper team but they’re putting together a staff to go with the decent (if declining) offense. The rest of the teams in the division are all terrible; I think the Pirates will improve a bit and the Cards (especially with Pujols looking not fully healthy) bottoming out, but I don’t see any of them being competitive.

NL WEST 1. LA 2. ARI(WILDCARD) 3. SD 4. COL 5. SF The young talent at the top of this division may (along with the Santana trade) help the NL restore a little balance. Any of the 4 major league teams in it could win. I;ll pick LA in a tossup because I think the DBacks’ young players are a little overrated and theeir record last were was considerably better than the team, but the team itself should be improved and Webb/Haren is an impressive 1-2. Most projections have the Padres dropping off considerably, and they might, but they’re a good organization and even with the park effects I like their rotation a lot. Colorado had a lot of things break right last year and could win again, but it’s tough to keep a good rotation together in that park and in a tough division I think the Plexiglass Principle will push them back a bit. The Giants are just a staggeringly bad team–the lineup a joke, with one average innings eater and two impressive young starters who might stay healthy the only remotely saving grace. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost 110.

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Take That

[ 0 ] April 2, 2008 |

Why I heart Elizabeth Edwards.

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Conservatives to Women: You’re Only Important When We Want (to Talk) Sex

[ 7 ] April 2, 2008 |

Wing Nut News yesterday featured a feature highlighting women bloggers…

…but, predictably, the focus of the post was dating – the women’s likes, dislikes, online dating tales, and war stories about converting those dread liberals to conservatives.

I have to wonder at what point women are going to start to realize that the WingNut faction of the Conservative movement isn’t interested in them for their brains.

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Bad Penny

[ 54 ] April 1, 2008 |

I’m apparently a bit late to the conversation, but I’d like to submit my brief as a penny hater. Forget the economic arguments, which are compelling enough; the fact is that the American penny is one of the ugliest coins on the planet.

Of course now that it’s Confederate Heritage Month again, I’m all for retaining currency in circulation so long as it reminds the South of its defeated status.

Also, without the penny we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this excellent Big Black tune. So now that I think about it, I guess the debate is kind of a wash after all.

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Dictatorship Is Over…If You Want It!

[ 0 ] April 1, 2008 |

A commenter chez Yglesias links to this 2003 interview with Paul Berman. I think this is my favorite part:

Even people who think that Bush is making a blunder with his military approach can try to undo that blunder themselves in some way by going ahead and doing the things that ought to be done — promoting liberal ideas. Promoting liberal ideas, finally, is the only real way to oppose the totalitarian movements that threaten us and threaten people in the Arab and Muslim worlds, whether they’re Baathist or Islamist.

Leaving aside the narcissism involved in the implicit claim that making banal arguments about liberal democracy being preferable to totalitarianism represent great courage, I’m confused about the causal mechanism here. Protests that had no impact on a domestic government’s rush to war can be expected to topple dictatorships in other countries? Protest movements in Iran will be helped by being associated with western groups? In fairness, Berman is consistent — he also seemed to really think that rather than being dispensed with once their useful idiocy had served its purpose, liberal intellectuals — including war opponents — could actually influence Bush’s conduct of the war. (“The people who have demanded that Bush refrain from action should now demand that the action be more thorough.”) Perhaps they could help by conjuring up troops that don’t exist, knowledge about how to impose democracy ex nihilo by force that doesn’t exist, etc.

It should also be noted that the interviewer does a very good job. Responding to Berman’s claims that Bush couldn’t defend this allegedly liberal war in liberal terms, she asks the obvious question: then why didn’t Blair do it? His answer:

I admire Tony Blair but I imagine that he’s hobbled by the Bush policy. Bush has confused the whole situation by saying that the goal of the war in Iraq is disarmament. Disarmament has nothing to do with the establishment of liberal freedoms.


He’s made it very difficult to present the war as an extension of the liberal and humanitarian interventionism of the 1990s in which Tony Blair played a distinguished and honorable and brave role.

Maybe it was hard to “present” that way because…it wasn’t. Anyway, apparently we were supposed to be believe that the leader of the most important American ally in the war couldn’t influence Bush’s conduct at all, but some liberal hawks with no electoral constituency who supported the war for the right reasons could. Evidently, the fact that this kind of stuff is presented in a frame of self-congratulation for telling the Hard Truths that war opponents are too blinded by Bush-hatred to see adds to the comic effect.

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Yet Again with the Diavlogging

[ 24 ] April 1, 2008 |

Me and Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard mix it up. A taste:

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Fafblog Returns?

[ 14 ] April 1, 2008 |

Glory be. Let’s hope it’s not just April Fools.

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Noted Without Comment

[ 2 ] April 1, 2008 |

From the 2003 Berman article in The New Republic, discussed here and here:

TODAY, WE ARE living through not just a military crisis but something of a political crisis within the larger liberal democratic world, trans-Atlantically. Robert Kagan has written a subtle and brilliant book on this theme called Of Paradise and Power

Admittedly, he doesn’t think Kagan is quite right in his descriptions. He says that Europeans are from Venus “Tocquevillean”: they are defined by “a liberal democratic idea of a sort that cannot conceive of wielding power.” Americans aren’t Hobbesians but are from Mars “Lincolnians.” Uh-huh.

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The "Technological Change" Dodge

[ 0 ] April 1, 2008 |

In a post engaging in the time-honored pastime of Mickey Kaus-bashing, Kathy makes an important point with respect to Kaus’s claim that increasing income inequality is the result of “increasing returns to skill produced by trade and technological change”:

…over the past several decades, other industrialized countries were faced with the same economic forces, such as technological change, globalization, and trade, that the U.S. did. Yet among OECD countries, only the U.S. and the U.K. saw large increases in wage inequality; the other countries saw only modest rises in inequality.

Right. Globalization, technological change, etc. happen to all market economies, but most of them have nothing like the increasing inequality of the U.S. There’s nothing inevitable about it; it’s in significant measure a product of policy choices.

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Score One For Legal Realism

[ 0 ] April 1, 2008 |

The Supreme Court’s decision today in New Jersey v. Delaware was decided in favor of the latter. The two dissenters? Trenton’s Antonin Scalia and Trenton’s Sam Alito. (Well, Stevens dissented in part, but to argue that the rule announced by the Court was insufficiently protective of Delaware’s sovereignty.)

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The Grim Reality of What Eventually Happens When Jeffrey Loria Runs A Team In Five Words

[ 6 ] April 1, 2008 |

Mark Hendrickson, Opening Day starter.

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Learning to Curse

[ 1 ] April 1, 2008 |

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

I think this is mostly my fault, but I’ll simply point out that we’re rank amateurs compared to Thers and Molly, who hit 45%. As for the LGM Enemies List, here’s how things stack up:

Althouse: 16%
TIDOS Yankee: 7%
Mickey Kaus: 3%
Americaneocon: 1.6%
Richard Nixon: 0.9%
Glenn Reynolds: 0.6%
Jonah Goldberg: 0.0%

Via Don Surber, of all the fucking people. Of course, Surber shits himself and enters the addresses on his blogroll incorrectly, giving him a string of zeros for proprietors who apparently do not deserve them.

Dr. Helen, of all people, comes in at 17.5%. That can’t be right.

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