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More Adventures In McSexism

[ 48 ] August 6, 2008 |

Megan Carpentier:

When he failed to wow them with his “drill here and drill now” energy plan, or his tax plan or his plan to be out of Iraq for sure by 2013, he tried a different strategy. He suggested to Cindy and the audience that she should compete in the Miss Buffalo Chip contest. What’s so bad about that?

Miss Buffalo Chip isn’t a beauty contest in the traditional sense — it’s a relatively debauched topless (and sometimes bottomless) multiday contest where women dance, jiggle and reportedly even perform blow jobs on bananas for the titillation of the spectators. And John McCain offered up his 54-year-old wife as a contestant.

And, let be frank, he didn’t do it just because she’s pretty or has an enviable body for a 54-year-old woman or because he’s proud of his wife’s brand of socialite beauty. He did it to pander to the crowd’s idea of appropriate masculinity, and that apparently includes over-sexualizing your wife and the mother of your children for the amusement of a few people in a crowd. McCain offered up the thought of his wife objectifying herself for the sexual gratification of others (at his suggestion) in order to get a couple of chuckles, inspire some male fantasy and make a few “friends.” Fun!


But what does it say that he would suggest it of his wife? I think it’s another piece of gravel in a growing mountain of evidence that John McCain doesn’t think a lot about women, their place as equals in society or their rights in that society. But he does seem to think a lot about us as sexual beings — or, at least, sexual objects.

And, certainly, whatever is in his mind his consistently anti-feminist policy record is manifest.

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Walk On Bayh?

[ 29 ] August 6, 2008 |

As far as it goes, I think that Patashnik and Silver make reasonable points here. A congressman’s record has to be evaluated in context, and in said contexts Bayh’s record isn’t bad: ” there is no senator more liberal than Bayh in any state more conservative than Indiana.” He is a bit of a wet on abortion, for example — although better than Kaine — but there’s a reasonable argument to be made that his compromises are the minimum necessary for political survival in that context. Moreover, while “partial-birth” legislation is the very stupidest of that dismal genre, it’s also the regulation with the least impact on access to abortion. I also agree with Patashnik that “authenticity” means nothing; the fact that he’s moving left is a good sign, not something to worry about. And there are some surprising good points in his record especially the votes against Alito and Roberts. While suboptimal, he would be at least an acceptable choice in ideological terms.

Still, I’m definitely with Cohn. I think there should be a strong presumption in favor of having someone with executive experience on the ticket [whoops: as a commenter points out, Bayh was governor; my mistake], and as Cohn says even Bayh’s legislative record is undistinguished. I also think there should be a strong presumption against someone who supported the Iraq war. And I’d make an even stronger case against selecting him on strategic grounds. Even if we (very generously) assume that Bayh is the extremely rare candidate who could attract home-state votes as a running mate, there’s the problem that Indiana at the presidential level (whatever the polls at this early date say) is a deep, deep red state. If Indiana’s close enough that Bayh could put Obama over the top, Obama won’t need it. Bayh’s OK, but he hardly seems like the best Obama can do.

UPDATE: As elm notes, I neglected the most important point: it would almost certainly result in the loss of a Senate seat as well.

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The King of Nothing

[ 58 ] August 6, 2008 |

A couple commenters here (and I’ve heard this elsewhere) compared Mark McGwire to Dave Kingman. This really couldn’t be more absurd. Let’s start with their lifetime OBPs:

Kingman: .302
McGwire: .394

So, except for the fact that McGwire is vastly better at the most important hitter’s skill, they were very similar. Or compare the OPS+s from their first seasons up to age 30:

Kingman: 113, 109, 102, 117, 128, 96, 131, 146
McGwire: 164, 134, 129, 143, 103, 176, 138

And even this understates McGwire’s superiority, because OPS substantially overvalues power and undervalues OBP. With a better metric, the gap would be even larger than this. Comparing the two is like comparing George Bell with Ted Williams.

In addition, McGwire was a decent first baseman when he was younger, while Kingman was a complete butcher. True, McGwire was a slow slugger, and lost his defensive value early. But even if he was largely “one-dimensional,” so what? Derek Bell is more “multi-dimensional” than Frank Thomas. Who cares? The point is to win, and the enormous amount of runs McGwire created (in addition to adequate defense when he was younger) was extremely valuable.

Reasonable people can disagree about how much PEDs should affect Cooperstown. I, personally, would but virtually no weight on it, but I understand people differ. But unless all alleged steroid users are removed from consideration McGwire is not merely a Hall of Famer but an overqualified Hall of Famer.

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Say It Ain’t So, Barry

[ 59 ] August 5, 2008 |

After various rumors that he might sign with some sufficiently desperate team failed to pan out, it seems increasingly likely that Barry Bonds has played his last major league game. If so, then Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa will all be appearing on your Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2013. Raphael Palmiero will show up the year before (correction — in 2011).

Are any of these guys going to get in? Should they? Sosa and Palmiero are strongly if not overwhelmingly qualified according to the traditional voting criteria. (I think these criteria need to be adjusted somewhat to account for the offensive explosion of the last 15 years — for example I doubt many people would rank Palmiero as one of the top 50ish players in history, given that he’s a first baseman who never led the league in almost any major offensive category). Bonds and Clemens, of course, are arguably the greatest player and greatest pitcher in the history of the game, respectively.

The most relevant evidence so far is the voting for Mark McGwire, whose overall level of qualification is similar to Sosa’s and Palmiero’s. McGwire has been on the ballot for two years, and received shockingly (to me) little support, appearing on just 23% of the ballots (75% is necessary for election).

In fact all these guys certainly would have made it absent the steriod thing, and Bonds and Clemens would have been very close to unanimous first-ballot choices (there are always a handful of Typical White Middle-Aged Sportswriters — TWMAS for future reference — who won’t vote for anybody on the first ballot because Babe Ruth wasn’t a unanimous pick or somebody slighted Jim Bunning in the balloting or whatever).

My guess is that the only guy who makes it out of this group is Clemens. This will lead to a big argument about how much Bonds’ race was a factor, which will be just one more domestic crisis that President Obama will have to deal with.

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A Joker Without A Clue

[ 69 ] August 5, 2008 |

Ed Morrissey tries to explain why Obama’s perfectly banal remarks about car maintenance and tire inflation are considered some sort of hi-larious gaffe among people who considered The Half Hour News Hour comedy gold and the Right Brothers the new Stones:

So yes, inflate your tires properly and get regular tune-ups. But if you think that will solve the supply crisis or make us independent of foreign oil, then you probably won’t get the joke no matter how many times we explain it.

See, here’s the problem: Obama doesn’t believe and has never said that we can be “independent of foreign oil,” for the obvious reason that it would be completely crazy to believe that this is possible. Certainly, McCain’s plans would bring us nowhere near this point. And even if we destroyed enough wildlife refuges and coastal economies to produce enough oil to meet the demand of American consumers — again, a complete impossibility — we would still not be meaningfully “independent.” After all, oil is a fungible commodity that’s part of a world market, and it’s not as if American oil companies will just give Americans a discount out of the goodness of their hearts. You have to pay the going rate no matter where the oil is produced.

So the punchline is that Obama’s suggestions will produce more benefits, without — and pay attention here — any costs. That’s not a gaffe. Thinking that Iran is training Al-Qaeda? Now that’s a gaffe. See? Sorry I had to explain it to you.

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[ 18 ] August 5, 2008 |

Apparently it’s possible that greatest pitcher athlete in Yankee recorded human history will be going on the D.L. Overhype aside, that’s a pretty serious hit, especially given their upcoming schedule. Maybe the Yankees will miss the postseason after all! Of course, I’m sure the Yankees will be able to come up with some complete stiff with no major league credentials to go 11-0 in his place anyway.

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Looking On in Stunned Disbelief…

[ 33 ] August 5, 2008 |

Lee Siegel:

I was called names that I can’t really repeat on your show. But at one point, someone called me a pedophile, not using that language, and I thought, you know, enough is enough. I called one of my editors and I complained about it and they said, well, you know, this is just the way it is. You can love it or leave it.

And I just answered out of exasperation and on principle, and, of course, out of my foolish pride, but I gave them tit for tat and the whole thing blew up, and it really wasn’t a very bad ending. I wrote a book, the policy at The New Republic changed; online anonymity is part of the debate now. Every cloud has a silver lining


Let’s review… On August 21, 2006, James Kincaid published an online article at Slate discussing the Jon Benet Ramsey case, and suggesting that Americans had an unhealthy obsession with child sexuality. A day or two later, Lee Siegel took exception to this argument, and in short order made the claim that James Kincaid was not only sympathetic to pedophiles, but quite possibly was a pedophile himself. We, among others, took some exception to this claim, as it was supported only by selective use of a doctored quote on the NAMBLA website. As Siegel had earlier earned the enmity of Left Blogistan by claiming that Markos Moulitsas was more or less akin to Hitler, these claims and counterclaims earned some attention. In the midst of the internet scrum that followed, Siegel famously took the name “Sprezzatura” to defend himself in the comments, eventually resulting in his suspension by TNR.

And now, Siegel seems to be claiming that he was the innocent victim of (what amounted to) pedophilia accusations, while not mentioning that his own unfounded attack on a scholar and fellow contributor to Slate is what initiated the uproar.

Clever, old man. Very clever indeed.

NPR link via Alterdestiny.

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Yoo: His Half-Baked Work is Also Dishonest Crap

[ 5 ] August 4, 2008 |

To spare you valuable time that might be more usefully devoted to, say, the selfless nurturance of human progress, Louis Fisher reads John Yoo’s unpublished thoughts on Thomas Jefferson and executive power. Given the enthusiasm that Bush’s defenders have shown in comparing their hero to Harry Truman, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mozart and all the rest, it’s not surprising that Jefferson has been deliberately modified to suit Yoo’s purposes. One interesting detail that Fisher discovers: Yoo writes extensively about the trial of Aaron Burr without quoting or citing or even mentioning the trial transcripts — transcripts he’d used extensively in an article he published a decade ago. Not surprisingly, it seems the trial transcripts would have undermined Yoo’s argument (which I believe he’s made elsewhere) that Jefferson’s actions in the trial amount to a clear precedent for claims of executive privilege.

(Via Ralph Luker)

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Can this get more idiotic?

[ 42 ] August 4, 2008 |

I mean can it?

Needless to say MoDo is long past praying for, but really:

Despite Obama’s wooing, some women aren’t warming. As Carol Marin wrote in The Chicago Sun-Times, The Lanky One is like an Alice Waters organic chicken — “sleek, elegant, beautifully prepared. Too cool” — when what many working-class women are craving is mac and cheese.

In The Wall Street Journal, Amy Chozick wrote that Hillary supporters — who loved their heroine’s admission that she was
on Weight Watchers — were put off by Obama’s svelte, zero-body-fat figure.

“He needs to put some meat on his bones,” said Diana Koenig, a
42-year-old Texas housewife. Another Clinton voter sniffed on a Yahoo message board: “I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.”

Thus does Amy Choznick’s almost completely spurious “news” report (see Scott’s post below linking to this) become the basis of Dowd’s latest exercise in narcissistic projection.

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"No, it didn’t used to be this way at all."

[ 21 ] August 4, 2008 |

Via Cernig, the Templars are finally getting back at the Pope:

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).

They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.

But their motive is not to reclaim damages only to restore the “good name” of the Knights Templar.

I can only hope that this will somehow lead to King Juan Carlos filing suit to reclaim his lost patrimony as King of Jerusalem. Or perhaps Heirs of Vercingetorix vs. J. Caesar?

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The Uselessness of BMI: An Addendum

[ 19 ] August 4, 2008 |

As a follow-up to Paul’s post below, I note that among the people classified as “overweight” by the BMI index we can find…George W. Bush. Sure, he may exercise regularly and seems healthy and trim for man his age, but…the BMI has spoken! Let’s hope we can get it on more report cards soon!

Also, Obama may want to be careful in the weight room, or journalists with no integrity inventing ridiculous “electability” tautologies may have to switch to saying that Obama can’t be president because he’s almost as much of a gross fatty as Al Gore himself…

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[ 0 ] August 4, 2008 |

At first glance (via Thers), I thought a blog with the irony-free title “What’s Wrong With the World” would be something along the lines of Stuff White People Like. But no, it turns out these people are genuinely funny, like Conservapedia or the Euston Manifesto. Here, for example, they helpfully offer Barack Obama some snappy comebacks to John McCain’s petty and childish web ad — suggestions that I think everyone will correctly perceive as rivaling the comedic talents of Carlos Mencia, Larry the Cable Guy, and Dane Cook. Behold:

* I was going to invite Senator McCain to the Transfiguration. Not anymore.
* Ye of little faith.
* Next time he asks for me to heal his melanoma, the answer is “no.”
* I’ll turn water into wine for him, but I draw the line at being his designated driver.
* I’m surprised Senator McCain didn’t say, “I knew Moses; Moses was a friend of mine; Senator Obama, you are no Moses.”
* Ironically, more men named “Jesus” will vote for me than will vote for Senator McCain.
* The people want more jobs and less Job.
* This just shows us that the McCain campaign is a non-prophet organization.
* If I’m number one, this ad proves that the McCain campaign is full of number two.

This, also, is pretty great:

We are happy warriors, for our defense is motivated primarily by gratitude for what our ancestors bequeathed to us. We are hardly what the world calls “optimists,” for our sense of the crisis of our age is robust indeed; but despair is among the more fashionable sins today, and our hostility to it, too, is implacable. We put not our trust in princes, but stand on the Solid Rock, against which neither the tyranny of the Crescent nor the blank negations of Liberalism shall prevail.

Did someone say “happy warriors?”

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