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To the Last Day and Beyond

[ 0 ] September 30, 2007 |

Ah, there’s nothing more fun that having four teams alive without having clinched on the last day of the year (especially when the one you have a rooting interest came back from the dead.) Officially, of course, I’d like a Mets win and Phillies loss, but absent that I have to say that a four-way tie with multiple play-in games would be pretty much the coolest thing ever. Play-in games are great…

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket,

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Gad, that prick has been tormenting me for years, although it used to be because he could pitch. And the focus on the scoreboard by the Mets announcers is beginning to grate; I can’t really generate any enthusiasm for hoping the Nationals win (although it is appropriate that it once again comes down to the former Expos.) The Phillies have been the better team; they deserve to be in. And Edroso‘s not even drunk-blogging the game. The only good thing today is that my gym’s erratic satelite system for once worked in my favor, as they couldn’t get Channel 11 so at least I only had to hear most of it…

…at least there might be a Rockies/Pads play-in!

…I’d also like to know why the Mets’ network isn’t covering the press conferences instead of beach volleyball. But make sure to tune in for the Mets playoff preview at 6:30!

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Nice Life

[ 0 ] September 30, 2007 |

At least subprime mortgages have been a good deal for someone:

Countrywide Financial Corp. Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozilo cashed in $138 million in stock options over the last year, switching his trading plans as the mortgage company went into a tailspin, it was reported Saturday.

Between November 2006 and August, Mozilo changed the plans outlining how many of his shares would be sold monthly, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mozilo unloaded 4.9 million Countrywide shares, most of which he bought through exercising options.

But, in fairness, without allowing executives to engage in this kind of self-dealing there wouldn’t be any incentives companies could use to get brilliant executives to protect the interests of their shareholders

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Further Proof that Our Criminal Justice System Really is All About Retribution

[ 0 ] September 30, 2007 |


I’m not excusing what Dr. Charles Friedgood did, but it seems to me that it’s well past time to let him out of prison.

It’s also worth noting (as the article does), that there is a class action suit pending against the state Parole Board for its universal no-parole policy for violent offenders, at least under Pataki. Friedgood, 89 and dying, isn’t the only person who has stayed in jail longer than humane because of this policy. Jean Coaxum (scroll to the bottom of the page), a true rehabilitation success story, was denied parole four times despite already serving much longer than the court-imposed minimum sentence, being very ill with Hepatitis that went untreated while she was incarcerated, and being universally recognized as a model prisoner. New York’s Office of the Appellate Defender won her release last year.

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To the Regret of Democrats Everywhere

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

Newt is out. The Republican primary remains in the odd position where it seems logically impossible for everyone to win except Huckabee, who seems to be running behind the ghost of George Romney in the polls.

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Great Moments in Religion

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

John McCain.

So far, bloggers near and far are scratching their heads over McCain’s facially ignorant claim that the Constitution established a “Christian nation.” I wouldn’t, though, agree with Tristero that McCain’s Constitutional exegesis reduces him “to the level of a Holocaust denier.” Holocaust deniers — about whom nothing salutary can usually be said — almost never seem to be as unprepared as McCain was for this interview. For someone who professes to hold deep religious convictions nourished by five years as a POW, McCain genuinely appears not to know what the hell he’s talking about.

For years, you’ve been identified as an Episcopalian. You recently began referring to yourself as a Baptist. Why?
[It was] one comment on the bus after hours. I meant to say that I practice in a—I am a Christian and I attend a Baptist church. I am very aware that immersion is part—as my wife Cindy has done—is necessary to be considered a Baptist. So I was raised Episcopalian, I have attended the North Phoenix Baptist Church for many years and I am a Christian.

What prevents you from taking that final step of undergoing the baptism?
I’ve had discussions with the pastor about it and we’re still in conversation about it. In the meantime, I am a practicing Christian.

So the baptism is something you still might do?
Oh, sure, yeah. But, some of the factors haven’t got so much to do with religion as they have to do with just—I’m in conversations with [my] pastor about it, as short a time ago as last week. But I would not anticipate going through that during this presidential campaign. I am afraid it might appear as if I was doing something that I otherwise wouldn’t do.

I dunno, John. You could always accept baptism and, like, not make a big deal about it.

Obviously, a candidate’s religious beliefs matter only to the degree that they might shape actual policy choices or messianic, expensive foreign adventures; it doesn’t matter a gingersnap to me that McCain conveys the impression of a man who rarely thinks about religion in any sophisticated way. It might be illuminating, for instance, for him to say that he’s thinking of leaving the Episcopal Church because of its liberal stance on capital punishment, affirmative action, and gay rights. Maybe the Baptists offer him a more satisfying home for the reactionary social views that today’s Republican voter base requires. But who knows? Maybe his religious beliefs are just as boring and ecumenical as most American “Christians.” Or maybe he just likes a good bath.

But like Scott pointed out, if McCain’s candidacy were still viable, this sort of incoherent bumbling might actually matter.

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Russian Literature Bleg

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

You weren’t expecting that, were you?

So there’s a short story from the Soviet era, late Stalin I think or shortly thereafter, about a group of friends and acquaintences with a number of lingering personal and sexual conflicts and jealousies. An official announcement is made by the government that for one day, Soviet citizens will be allowed to murder one person without any legal reprocussions. The story revolves around the ways in which this group of people prepare, offensively and defensively, for that day.

If anyone has a clue about the author or title of it, I’d be immensely grateful.

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Sophistication

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

Must read: Marc Lynch on Biden’s meaningless, preening “sophistication.” It’s one of those ideas that might sound like it’s worth thinking about for out three seconds if you don’t know much about Iraq. But it’s different, it’s complicated, it’s sophisticated.

What I don’t exactly get is why 74 US Senators are enabling Biden here. If they think this makes it look they’re supporting a “clean exit strategy” they’re not thinking very hard, or assuming their constituents won’t either. I’d like to think most of the 74 know this is a pretty terrible idea (perhaps that’s overly generous), so I’m left looking for the political angle. It’s not at all clear to me.

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What a Coinky-Dink!

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

The Verizon policy chief behind the selective attempt to stop NARAL from paying Verizon to set up an IM network turns out to be…an anti-choice former Congressman who explicitly endorsed the GOP plank to make abortion 1st degree murder in all 50 states, and not surprisingly was strongly opposed by NARAL. Verizon will have to decide whether it wants someone to let personal and policy grudges hurt the company…

..a commenter suggests that the decision of Verizon wireless was not connected to Tauke, which is certainly possible. Either way, this is a good time for Verizon customers to into that new i-Phone they’ve been thinking about…

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It Can Always Get More Pathetic

[ 0 ] September 29, 2007 |

In his latest attempt to revive his stillborn campaign, John McCain — beloved, you may remember, earlier in this decade by the media and an inexplicable number of liberal pundits for an alleged refusal to pander — decides to engage in rank religious bigotry, arguing (among other things) that a Muslim is not qualified to be President of the United States and (in a Orwellian retelling of history) that the Constitution established a “Christian nation.” It’s even more disgraceful because it won’t work.

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Gene Mauch Memorial Last Week of the Season Open Thread

[ 0 ] September 28, 2007 |

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I’ve always thought the pennant race was more exciting than the post-season, and at least in one league this year he have a great finish. Where did the people who care about baseball in Philadelphia come from? Can the Padres keep winning without Bradley and Cameron? Can the Rockies run the table for the last two weeks? Will their incredible luck catch up to the Diamondbacks? Can the Mets win a game against the Marlins? That’s why they play etc…

…Mets up 12-0 in the 8th on Saturday. In fairness, I’d have to give them at least a 15% chance of winning this one…

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The MPAA’s Double Standard

[ 0 ] September 28, 2007 |

In her review of the new Ang Lee picture, Manohla Dargis identifies it as another example of the bizarre way that the MPAA evaluates sex and violence relative to each other:

And flirtation is the word, despite the shoving and hitting, a few harsh lashes and geometric configurations that put me in mind of high school geometry more than it did the Kama Sutra. The Motion Picture Association of America, that tireless, cheerless band of Comstocks who regulate all things sexual and few things violent on behalf of the major studios, has saddled the film with an NC-17 rating — no one 17 and under admitted, even with an adult — because of “some explicit sexuality.” The horrors of female nudity (unshaven armpits!) and the vigorous pantomime of coitus apparently offended the sensibilities of the M.P.A.A., which routinely bestows R ratings to movies in which characters are tortured to death for kicks.

If anyone can defend an NC-17 for a not-even-pronographic film with nudity and an R for the torture porn that seems to come out every month, I’d love to hear it…

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The Myth of a Shepard Myth

[ 0 ] September 28, 2007 |

Roy has been doing a good job with Andrew Breitbart’s War Against Culture lobs against David Ehrenstein, but missed one thing: Breitbart’s claim that Matthew Shepard “was killed by crazed meth addicts for drugs and money — not because he was gay.” As Roger Ailes points out, these claims that the Shepard killing wasn’t a hate crime rest entirely on on the six-years-after-the-fact, uncorroborated, contradictory, and self-serving claims of the killer and his relatives. If we are to apply the arguments of Breitbart and the other people peddling this crap consistently, we can release about 95% of our prisoners right now –I mean, they didn’t do it, Scout’s Honor!

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