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True = Funny

[ 12 ] July 27, 2008 |

This is a fantastic piece of performance art:

What I love best about No Quarter is the smart, lively debate about issues of critical concern, the colorful and flamboyant language that is often enough wildly clever and can be knee-slapping funny…

But, beware of Trolls who can ruin the party. Trolls have been around since the Internet began, sort of like how maggots emerge from good fruit. The usual definition is someone who has no real interest in lively debate but rather aims to sabotage the post by making irrelevant, often inflammatory diatribes that disrupt the communication process.

I couldn’t agree more. Because a vigilant citizenry is ill-served by pranksters who would stoop to —

holy crap! Barack Obama is a Republican Manchurian candidate concocted in the undersea laboratory run by Donna Brazille and Karl Rove! Cue the videotape! Cue the videotape!

Saturday Food Chain Blogging

[ 8 ] July 26, 2008 |

It’s hard out there for a salmon. Better luck next time, my friend.

If Dubya were a relief pitcher

[ 0 ] July 26, 2008 |

He would be Todd Jones, i.e., he would

(1) Inexplicably be handed a series of very important high-paying jobs; where he would

(2) Suck at them; yet

(3) Continue to get promoted; thereby destroying

(4) The United States of America/The Detroit Tigers’ season.

Actually the Todd Jones Situation (and wouldn’t that be a good name for a band?) is even less defensible than the Bush presidency. At least Bush doesn’t have an ERA or a K/BB ratio.

[Edit: I now see there are implied references to the topic of How Much Todd Jones Sucks in the Pirate Booty thread, where it’s conceded he’s not an “elite” (LOL!!!!) reliever. The guy has had one good season in the last eight years! He has an adjusted ERA of 84! He’s not even an average relief pitcher let alone an average closer! He’s being paid $7 million this season by a team with a $133 million payroll! Alright doctor I’ll stop now]

The Obvious Proved

[ 9 ] July 26, 2008 |

Shockingly, the Clinton logic that because Obama performed worse against her in the Democratic primary among Hispanics that he was therefore doomed to struggle against them in the general turns out to be faulty. Why, the next thing you know you’ll tell me that Clinton would have gotten more than 10% of the African-American vote against McCain!

Is There a Monkey Gap?

[ 10 ] July 26, 2008 |

Appalling from a variety of perspectives:

Hundreds of endangered African monkeys are being taken from their natural habitat and sold for scientific experiments, as well to a “secretive” biological laboratory in Iran, London’s Sunday Times reported.

In an undercover investigation by the Times, animal trader Nazir Manji said he sells some 4,000 vervet monkeys a year to laboratories all around the world for about $100 each.

The monkeys, although protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species — or Cities — are likely to undergo sometimes painful experiments ultimately leading to their death, the paper reported.

Manji, who has been exporting monkeys for 22 years, said Iran’s Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute bought 215 vervet monkeys from him this year.

The biological research institute, which has headquarters near Tehran, has been accused in the past by an Iranian opposition group of conducting biological weapons testing, it is reported, further fueling suspicions that the monkeys are being used for nefarious purposes.

For Iraq we get yellow cake, and for Iran there’s nothing but monkeys. I have my doubts about the “nefarious purposes”; there’s not much reason to credit the veracity of an unnamed “Iranian opposition group”, but nevertheless it sucks for the monkeys.

Pirate Booty

[ 45 ] July 26, 2008 |

While picking up something at the hardware store today, I heard a talk radio guy complain that the Pirates were driving too hard a bargain on players who rightfully belong to the Yankees, boo-hoo. But when you’ve recently benefited from trades that seem to be crackpot talk radio caller proposals, why no expect to add useful parts without losing anything significant? So, right on cue, following Pat Gillick generously donating OBP machine Bobby Abreu and the late Cory Lidle to the Yanks two years ago in exchange for a 2-for-1 McDLT coupon, the Pirates gave the Yankees decent RH outfielder Xavier Nady and outstanding LH reliever Damaso Marte. In exchange, the only quality prospect they received is someone (admittedly only 19) who can’t hit AA pitching and already has wrist and hamstring problems. But he’s toolsy so he may learn to hit someday. Ehh. Moreover, they took this highly underwhelming package several days before the deadline despite several contending teams in the market for outfield and bullpen help. I’m tempted to say that nothing has changed in Pittsburgh, although in fairness if Littlefield was still there they would have received Pavano, Igawa, and the rights to Dave LaPoint instead of two of the prospects.

I’m tempted at this point to bet Howard a donation to the anti-Prop 8 campaign that the Yankees win the division outright. Not because the Sox didn’t hit tonight per se — two excellent pitchers combined with Foster’s Alice-in-Wonderland strike zone will do that — but because Ramirez may be hurt and Ortiz doesn’t look anywhere near 100%. With the bottom of the order having become a vast wasteland and the leadoff hitter looking almost equally atrocious, they can’t afford to have both of these guys out or in significantly subpar form, especially with Drew bound to cool off. Maybe Manny will be Manny tomorrow and Papi will shake off the rust more quickly than his performance tonight would indicate, but it wouldn’t be very surprising for the Yankees to outplay them by 3 games the rest of the way, especially with Cashman having addressed their weakness against lefthanders while giving up nothing they’ll miss.

That’s Kind of Impressive…

[ 20 ] July 26, 2008 |

German reporter works out with Obama:

He goes and picks up a pair of 16 kilo weights and starts curling them with his left and right arms, 30 repetitions on each side. Then, amazingly, he picks up the 32 kilo weights! Very slowly he lifts them, first 10 curls with his right, then 10 with his left.

I’m not sure I believe that Barack Obama can curl a 70# dumbbell with each arm. I could do it, ‘cept that I hurt my back moving a TV…

Australians Blowing Up Our Stuff

[ 11 ] July 26, 2008 |

Have received this from several correspondents:

No match for this, of course.

They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

If You Like Counterproductive Imperialism, You’ll Love McCain

[ 10 ] July 25, 2008 |

Ilan Goldberg explains why imperialism is not a sound strategy for dealing with Iraq. Matt is correct to note that Charles Krauthammer “wants an imperial relationship with Iraq, Bush wants an imperial relationship with Iraq, and McCain wants an imperial relationship with Iraq, but Iraqis don’t and thus Maliki prefers Obama.” The key graf:

McCain, like George Bush, envisions the United States seizing the fruits of victory from a bloody and costly war by establishing an extensive strategic relationship that would not only make the new Iraq a strong ally in the war on terror but would also provide the U.S. with the infrastructure and freedom of action to project American power regionally, as do U.S. forces in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Ah, yes, “infrastructure.” This would seem to mean “permanent military bases, which, in distinct contrast to those in Germany, Japan, and South Korea would be maintained despite the strong opposition of the Iraqi government and Iraqi population, and hence will present the likelihood of perpetual conflict for no obvious benefits.” But at least American military presence in a major Middle Eastern nation hasn’t played a large role in motivating a recent major terrorist attack on an American city or anything. Oh wait…

See also Ackerman.

Shunning war criminals

[ 180 ] July 25, 2008 |

As Jack Balkin points out, for both “legal” and “political” reasons it’s unlikely that any U.S. court will prosecute war crimes committed by members of the Bush administration. This circumstance highlights both the moral and practical importance of the question asked recently by Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba: will those who, among many other things, ordered American soldiers to torture people, be held to account, and if so how?

Consider the case of John Yoo. Yoo, a law professor at Berkeley, played a key role in making it the official policy of the United States government that it (we) could and indeed should torture people suspected of being terrorists, and, if necessary, small children.

Unlike German lawyers who helped facilitate Nazi war crimes, Yoo and other Bush administration lawyers will almost certainly not be prosecuted by U.S. courts. (Standard disclaimer: I don’t think the Bush administration is as bad as the Nazis. Disclaimer to standard disclaimer: I don’t think “not as bad as the Nazis” is an appropriate standard for legal exculpation).

It’s been suggested that the University of California investigate Yoo’s conduct, to determine if he should face employment sanctions. That, too, isn’t going to happen, for both good and bad reasons having to do with the nature of academic politics.

Given that Yoo and his ilk are very unlikely to face either criminal or civil penalties, can anything be done? One possibility is social and professional shunning. For example, earlier this month I took part in a conference at which Yoo was appearing on another panel. I wasn’t aware of this until I arrived at the conference itself (it was a large event with a couple of hundred participants), but in retrospect I wonder whether I could have justified taking part in the event if I had known Yoo was participating.

Now I acknowledge that from an academic and historical standpoint, it’s a good thing to get Yoo’s views on questions regarding the limits of presidential power, the definition and legality of torture, etc., and therefore the idea of simply refusing to invite him to conferences and the like is problematic. But subject to such caveats, I wonder (this isn’t a rhetorical device — I’m sincerely wondering) the extent to which it’s either desirable or defensible to continue to treat Yoo as an ordinary colleague, as opposed to, say, a man who at the very least is arguably a war criminal, who for legally and morally dubious reasons cannot be criminally prosecuted, or even formally sanctioned by his employer.

A natural objection to all this is that limiting the “punishment” of Bush administration officials for their crimes to things like not inviting law professors to conferences, or refusing to participate in conferences to which they’re invited, is a profoundly pathetic response to the situation. And it is indeed pathetic. But it may be better than nothing.

Bears Shift to Wolfpack Tactics

[ 0 ] July 25, 2008 |


Terrified workers at a mining compound in one of Russia’s most isolated regions are refusing to go to work after a pack of giant bears attacked and ate two of their colleagues.

At least 30 of the hungry animals have been seen prowling close to the mines in northern Kamchatka in search of food, where the mangled remains of the two workers, both guards, were found last week.

The co-workers at the compound in the Olyotorsky district are trapped and frightened: the gruesome discovery has left them too scared to venture out. A team of snipers, with orders to shoot the bears, is now being dispatched to confront the invasion after government officials authorized an off-season hunt.

A spokesman for the local government in the capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, said that the area was so isolated that it would take until at least Saturday to get there. Attempts to reach the scene by helicopter had to be abandoned because of thick fog.

The Kamchatka brown bear is one of the world’s largest, with males growing to around 10 feet and weighing up to 1,540 pounds. They can also reach speeds of up to 30 mph despite their size.

This really sounds like a setup for a horror movie; packs of giant ravenous bears, thick fog, no hope of outside assistance… hopefully the situation can be resolved without the infliction of excess further harm on either the humans or the bears.

Bush Administration Lawbreaking

[ 0 ] July 25, 2008 |

An interactive guide.