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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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Women as Tropes

[ 12 ] March 31, 2008 |

The NY Times is a repeat competitor in the let’s shove women into boxes olympics. This week’s entry: the Magazine’s article about people who remain abstinent into their teens…people at Harvard (gasp!).

Melinda Henneberger* gets to the heart of my complaints on XX factor. In the Times’s oh-so-clever way, they are able to stereotype subliminally. But we are on to you, gray lady.

* surprisingly, this is about the fourth time in a row that I have agreed with her.

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And again…

[ 0 ] March 31, 2008 |

Prisons are a feminist issue.

Last week, the Supreme Court let stand a ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court that requires prisons to provide transportation for incarcerated women seeking abortions. It’s a blow to America’s Toughest Sheriff (TM) Joe Arpaio, who makes his male wards wear pink underwear because he believes that it feminizes them and makes them more docile. Cute, huh?

As Pamela Merritt makes clear in her RH Reality Check post today, prisons are a feminist issue not only because of abortion, but also because of the over two million people incarcerated in the US today, tens if not hundreds of thousands of them are mothers, caregivers, pregnant, or the daughters of women who also found themselves in jail. But I’d argue that we’ve got to push further than Merritt does — it’s not just about protecting reproductive rights for incarcerated women. It’s also about recognizing that prison reform is important for women on the outside — and for their families and communities.

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Some Initial Basra Thoughts…

[ 0 ] March 31, 2008 |

This looks to me like a clean victory for Sadr. In the words of the immortal Jim Malone, if you open the door on these people, you have to be prepared to close it; Maliki couldn’t close it, and now he looks pathetic. It’s becoming clear that Maliki or elements within his government asked Sadr to ask for a ceasefire, which indicates that the former believed there was no chance for victory.

The broader point is that the Iraqi central government utterly lacks meaningful coercive capacity. Training is all well and good, but after all the development of skill is something quite different than the development of capacity; the well trained Army that fought in Basra and Baghdad lacked the wherewithal to deliver victory against Sadr’s militia. And of course when the central government tries to exert its authority and fails, it is weakened as a result.

The Surge and the broader tribal strategy has utterly failed to create Iraqi state capacity. Divide and rule is a fine strategy for running a territorial empire, but a poor one for attempting to make a new state.

See Spencer for more.

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Worst American Birthdays, vol. 43

[ 14 ] March 31, 2008 |

Michael Alan Weiner — otherwise known as Michael Savage — was born 66 years ago today.

If Savage had been alive during the early 20th century, he would almost certainly have been among those calling for the lynching of Jack Johnson, the African American boxer whose affection for white women drove white men to distraction; the additional fact that Johnson’s birthday happened to be March 31 might have churned Savage’s stomach into a mighty froth.

In his own wretched lifetime, the bigoted talk radio host and erstwhile herbalist has been forced to share his birthday with Barney Frank, Richard Chamberlain, Patrick Leahy, Al Gore, and Cesar Chavez — each of whom contributed in some small small way to the ruin of a country that used to be run by conservative, white, heterosexual men.

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Tourney Challenge Leaderboard

[ 0 ] March 31, 2008 |

With two each in the final eleven, the Mackin America Conference and the All-LGM Conference have both done well:

1 Mackin 1, J. Mackin 1060 99.9
2 Client #69, I. Fish 1040 99.6
3 MMGood, f. derf 1000 98.1
4 Axis of Evel Knievel, D. Noon 980 96.1
4 Watkins 1, D. Watkins 980 96.1
4 Smith 1, P. Smith 980 96.1
7 Cecil 1, D. Cecil 970 93.5
8 Hornberg 1, A. Hornberg 960 92.2
9 Death or Glory, c. loar 950 90.5
9 Muirshin Durkin, G. Mackin 950 90.5
9 drip, P. Driscoll 950 90.5

I am forced to point out that picking all four number one seeds represents nothing so much as a failure of imagination, but nevertheless.

Remember to sign up for LGM Baseball Challenge:
League Name: Lawyers, Guns and Money
Password: zevon

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MLB Preview I: The AL

[ 15 ] March 31, 2008 |

AL EAST: 1.NYY 2.BOS (WILDCARD) 3. TOR 4. TB. NOT CLOSE TO 4th. BAL There’s obviously not much to choose between the top two, of course; Yankees have the better offense, the Red Sox solider pitching. My guess is that while Girardi will have problems long-term — if he can’t get along well enough with management and the press to survive in Florida, you wonder how he’ll deal with New York — his attention to detail will cause them to jump forward after the more avuncular Torre. The Blue Jays have become a little overrated; their offense is mediocre and their fine pitching too injury-prone to push them into contention. The Rays are also being puffed up a bit (their over/under last I checked was 76); they’re headed in the right direction, but they don’t get on base enough, a 73-year old Troy Percival won’t fix a ghastly bullpen and while I like Shields and Garza Kazmir’s injury and Maddon selecting Hinske over Gomes are ominous signs. They’re a year away at least. Meanwhile, although the Jones trade bodes well for their future this is the year when the Orioles hit rock bottom.

1. DET 2. CLE 3. CHI. 4. KC. 5. MIN Again I’ll go with offense over pitching, albeit without much conviction; I’m not sold on Carmona as an ace or on the Cleveland bullpen-except-the-awful-closer repeating, but if I’m wrong about either they’ll be in the postseason. Getting a better year out of Pronk is key. Still, Detroit could outscore the Yankees and their pitching should be a little better than last year. I like Chicago adding some onbase guys, but their rotation is also shaky and their core ain’t Ordonez/Cabrera/Sheffield/Guillen. The Royals continue their modest improvement. Very modest. The Twins could be over .500 if their pitchers all fulfil their potential, but that seems like a bad bet, like Mauer playing 145 games.

1. LAOFCAUSA 2. SEA 3. OAK 4. TEX The Mariners have become a trendy pick, and I wish I could agree. I see the logic: the Mariners were over .500 last year, and (whatever the long-term cost) added the ace pitcher they’ve lacked, while the the two underrated pitchers that kept the Angles in 1st despite their hacktastic offense will be hurt (one for the year.) The problem is that the Mariners weren’t as good as their record last year, and are an old offense that lacks both power and plate discipline. I could see a really good management team putting the Mariners over the top; alas, the manager was a time-serving bench coach who showed no sign that he knew what he was doing when he took over and was hired anyway, and the GM thought trading Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez was a good idea. Oakland is retooling; they may hang in a little longer than many expect but it won’t involve the postseason. I thought Texas would be OK last year; I’m not falling for that again until some pitchers actually deal with the park successfully.

It’s amazing how far the west has fallen in 5 years…

NL later on Opening Day the Third. But I’ll say this: if you’re anywhere near Vegas, take the Giants under 72 and put $500 on it for me. You’ll thank me in October…

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On The Prison Rape Problem

[ 10 ] March 31, 2008 |

Good op-ed from Ezra.

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