This is the sort of bullshit that I allow to needlessly get under my skin.
He also voiced his concerns about the loss of loyalty and the rise of individualism in British society, singling out footballers for acting like “mercenaries”.
Benen, Yglesias, and Krugman said what needed to be said about this Douthat column. I can’t decide which aspect of the argument is worse — the cherry picking of one “red state” or using a state in a fiscal crisis largely because it’s burdened by stupid conservative initiatives as a representative “liberal” state. I think it may be the latter. We would all disagree about what “liberalism’s favorite laboratory” would consist of, but I think we can all agree that it would not involve artificial limits on property taxes and supermajority requirements for tax increases.
Tomight Justin Verlander gave up five runs in the first, then pitched shutout ball until the ninth, while Detroit came back to tie it up. Then Fernando Rodney got the last three outs before the Tigers won on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning.
How much sense does it make in this situation for Rodney to get credit for the win? Practically none, but baseball is still stuck with scoring rules that were devised when starting pitchers finished 90% of their starts.
I’m not plugged into the sabermetrics scene, so I don’t know how much discussion there’s been about changing the rules. And of course changing them would have some real costs in terms of record-book continuity. But the present scoring rules for wins (and to a lesser extent saves) seem quite arbitrary, given the nature of the modern game.
Sarah Wildman on the glories of the individual insurance market:
Our six-month-old daughter cost over $22,000.
You’d think, with a number like that, we must have used fertility treatments—but she was conceived naturally. You’d think we went through an adoption agency—but she is a biological child. So surely, we were uninsured.
Nope. Birthing our daughter was so expensive precisely because we were insured, on the individual market. Our insurer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, sold us exactly the type of flawed policy—riddled with holes and exceptions—that the health care reform bills in Congress should try to do away with.
Last fall, the National Women’s Law Center issued a report detailing exactly how women who want to bear children are derailed when searching for out-of-pocket health care. Only 14 states require maternity coverage to be included in insurance sold on the individual market, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In contrast, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 requires employers with more than 15 employees to include maternity benefits in their health insurance packages. “We looked at 3,500 individual insurance policies and only 12 percent included comprehensive maternity coverage,” said Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor at the National Women’s Law Center. Another 20 percent offered a rider that was astronomically expensive or skimpy or both. One charged $1,100 a month; others required a two-year waiting period.
It’s definitely worth clicking through and reading in full. (Or, for those who prefer things in podcast form, she talks about it here.) This is one of the many things that an incremental reform package that keeps the private insurance system in place is going to have to regulate very, very carefully.
I think the passive-aggressive ones — with Tom Maguire being the supreme example — are my favorites. Although sometimes you have to prefer the undiluted variety; i.e. “[the transparently fake alleged birth certificate from a country that didn’t exist when it was issued is] from WND, but appears legit.”
In, fairness, though, the birthers do have Larry Johnson on their side, which always heightens credibility!
A USN aircraft carrier should not, under any circumstances, be named the Barry M. Goldwater. While I’ll concede that Goldwater would probably be a better choice from the perspective of US history than either Carl Vinson or John C. Stennis, the idea that any of them deserve a supercarrier is simply absurd. The next US CVN should be the William Jefferson Clinton; he was a two termer, a better President than either George H. W. Bush or Gerald Ford, and more popular than Ronald Reagan. Any wingnuts who would feel wobbly about serving on the USS William Jefferson Clinton can go fuck themselves. And no, USS Enterprise is not an acceptable alternative, at least not for CV-79. I’m open to naming a future carrier after the Enterprise, but not this one; I’m tired of the conceit that Republican Presidents get CVs, but not Democratic ones. We can talk about George W. Bush after the USS Lyndon Baines Johnson is commissioned, although I’m guessing that Bush the Younger will still be residing in Nixon’s Locker when the time comes…
…this may seem trivial, but the fact that Republican one-term and half-term Presidents get major fleet units named after them (and yes, I know that Jimmy Carter has a submarine; subs are a far less visible projection of national power) perpetuates the notion that only Republicans and conservatives are serious about national security. There is no halfway; if you name aircraft carriers after a succession of mediocre Republican Presidents, you can’t suddenly insist that you “want to take the politics” out of ship naming. You can name the next ship Enterprise if you go back and rename Stennis, Vinson, Reagan, Bush, and Ford…
With the weather forecast to be kind tomorrow, England will be hoping to take the last eight wickets and chase a smallish target. Australia will want to bat until tea and then hope. The game is still alive.
An unfortunate aspect of England’s success is that the world seems to become an exceedingly grim place. Australian fans, not used to losing, grow hugely critical of their team, while English fans barely manage to escape their bubble of self-protective cynicism and focus on whatever bad can be found in their victories. You’d be forgiven for thinking that both teams were losing the Ashes.
Reason number one to vote against the Tories in 2010.
Allen Barra and Will Weiss say much of what needs to be said about Toure’s review of three books largely about steroids in baseball. (Amazingly, a second Times review has considered and uncritically praised Selena’s Roberts’s book while not engaging with any of the problems that pretty much every other reviewer has found with it.) In addition to some bizarre claims about Slappy (who allegedly hurt attendance although the Yankees never drew four million fans before he got there), we get two classic tropes of drug war moralists. First, the inability to distinguish between correlation and causation, taken to extremes:
The real, unignorable problem, the main reason steroids cannot be allowed to proliferate, is that they are killers. Steroids can lead to several forms of cancer, heart attacks, liver disease, even homicide and suicide. The football star Lyle Alzado died at 43 from a brain tumor that he was certain steroids were responsible for. The high school baseball star Taylor Hooton committed suicide, perhaps because of depression brought on by steroids. Ken Caminiti, the National League’s most valuable player in 1996 and an admitted steroid user, died from an accidental drug overdose at 41.
We’re pretty much dealing with self-parody here. I mean, if someone with Lyle Alzado’s impeccable scientific credentials believes with no evidence that steroids caused his brain tumor, that’s all the data I need! And surely Ken Caminiti overdosing on coke and pills provides even more compelling evidence about the negative health effects of steroids.
Toure also engages in bog-standard union bashing, attacking the MLBPA for not agreeing to drug testing with no conditions. (The owners, for some reason, manage to escape scrutiny entirely, although if they had wanted a testing program they could have negotiated it.) Those damned unions, standing up for the privacy rights of their workers! At any rate, I’m sure Toure would be happy to submit a urine sample with every piece he sells and have the results made public. I want to know that his writing is natural — I mean, won’t someone please think of the children!?!?!?!?!?
Speaking of which, make sure to see here for an excellent rebuttal to claims that the illegal leaking of confidential tests should be made more widespread.
How, exactly, does Alessandra Stanley keep her job?
THE TIMES published an especially embarrassing correction on July 22, fixing seven errors in a single article — an appraisal of Walter Cronkite, the CBS anchorman famed for his meticulous reporting. The newspaper had wrong dates for historic events; gave incorrect information about Cronkite’s work, his colleagues and his program’s ratings; misstated the name of a news agency, and misspelled the name of a satellite.
“Wow,” said Arthur Cooper, a reader from Manhattan. “How did this happen?”
The short answer is that a television critic with a history of errors wrote hastily and failed to double-check her work, and editors who should have been vigilant were not.
And it would be one thing if she was a first-rate critic or something, but she (unlike most regular Times critics) is a flyweight.
Excellent background here.