Friday, January 11, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday -- why not -- to Marc Blucas, 41.

And a bit of the good stuff:

1. E.J. Graff: "Rape is not inevitable."

2. "After Obama was re-elected and Democrats maintained control of the Senate, however, I adjusted my views of what was possible in the next four years. But many of my fellow conservatives have not." That's Philip Klein, on understanding the playing field.

3. The Louie Giglio mess, from Sarah Posner.

4. Paul Krugman pretty much had the same reaction to the coin-backlashers that I had.

5. And Brad DeLong looks back at a letter to the Fed.


  1. I know people are tired of reading about Bonds, steroids, and baseball, but I really do believe this is something that should be read:

    I know it's not politics, and I thought about commenting on the Friday baseball post, but sometimes you link to baseball stuff here. It's just a great piece of writing, in my opinion.

    1. Definitely no need to apologize; everyone should definitely feel free to link to whatever they're reading on these links posts.

    2. First, I note that article is by Professor MacDonald of Williams College (who I, unfortunately, never got to take a class from, as it just never worked out in my schedule. Same with George Marcus. Regrets I have to this day).

      Second, I like the point, and it is taken well. That said, I'm less willing to give PED users a free pass. Not everyone used. It seems to me that there's 4 eras in steroid use: pre 1991, 1991-2002, 2002-2005, and 2005-present. Prior to 91, it wasn't even clear steroids were prohibited. So, I can't fault the Bash Brothers, because what they were doing seems to be bending the rules, but not really breaking much. MacDonald's argument holds perfectly here. 1991-2002, their use was officially "frowned upon" but, as MacDonald argues, there was a wink with that. So, I think MacDonald's argument holds there (though maybe not as well: Vincent had sent a memo noting that they were banned in 1991). Big Mac's andro was revealed as..."is it cheating? what is it? it SEEMS unsavory, but is it?" (if one wanted to introduce a fifth era from 98-02, I could appreciate that) 2002-2005: by this point, more of a consensus had emerged. Steroids are bad, m'kay. But, MLB hasn't really done anything. Is this partly because they're getting static from MLBPA? It's a real thing...the MLBPA was the most pro-steroid actor in the room the whole time, in my view. So, while the policy against steroids was toothless and poorly done, from 2002-2005 there's social and journalistic approbation. A user in 2002-2005 isn't going with the flow; they're doing something they know to be wrong. "But officer, I was only going 95 because some OTHER people went 95. Not everyone, but a couple did." MacDonald's argument doesn't hold up as well here. From 2005 to now, steroids are bad, with real penalties, and we all hate Bonds, etc. So, any user post-2005 is KNOWINGLY trying to CHEAT. They aren't keeping up with the Joneses; they are cheating. Plain and simple. MacDonald's argument holds, in his causal variable of the environment is negative, so the converse of his argument applies (users post-2005 do deserve some kind of Hall punishment).

      So, writers should have SOME sympathy for the steroid use they...enabled? encourgaged? ignored? But, that depends on the usage. Big Mac's andro? Not a big deal. Bonds' Clear and Cream? Big deal. Bonds & Clemens still should get in. Big Mac is on the cusp. Palmeiro & Sosa were dicier cases to begin with. But Craig Biggio? I can't understand anyone voting against him.

    3. I'll pass on engaging on the baseball issue again, but the other thing Matt says is intriguing: I'd love to see a threat about the professors we screwed up by not taking. I suppose this is particularly a thread for those of us who went to small schools (and probably mainly those of us who went to small schools and then became academics), but whatever -- it strikes me as really interesting.

      For me, it was without a doubt Richard Slotkin.

      Anyone else want to play?

  2. Biggio belongs in the Hall - period. So does Piazza. You can't keep people out due to rumors and innuendo.

    Bonds and Clemens? That's another story. There's far more than just rumors and innuendo for voters to work with in the case of these guys. There can be no reasonable doubt that they doped, and that they did so with reckless abandon and bravado - they are the Lance Armstrongs of baseball. They were not the only ones who did it, but they were the most successful and visible and therefore, they did the most damage to the reputation of the game.

    It should be within the discretion of the BBWAA members to officially reprimand these men - to make an example out of them - by withholding the sport's greatest honor.

  3. I wonder if it hadn't been for Riley everyone would have asked why Buffy never dated a "normal" guy. Like most, I never cared that much for Riley. But recently I caught the episode where he leaves and I get emotional every time Buffy has the talk with Xander and she runs to go find Riley.


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