Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Don Murray, 84. Hey, he was in an "Apes" movie and an episode of The Single Guy; what else do you need? 

And some good stuff:

1. Jordan Ragusa looks at the vote on the Amash (NSA) amendment.

2. First it was Nader; next, as Kevin Drum notes, it's Erick Erickson with the fantasies.

3. And the great Joe Sheehan on Bud Selig and the coming suspensions. Brutal, but he's right.


  1. I had no idea Don Murray was still alive! His role in "Advise and Consent" merits a mention as well.

  2. The Rep's name is "Amash."

  3. 2 things:

    1) I clicked through to Erickson's passionate manifesto of ideological purity on the budget-cutting right, and I really wanted to go comment something like "Rock On Erickson! (as in my mind I heard this song).

    Before you make it to the comments, though, Erickson's website has an ad bar, on the left of which is currently two friendly oldsters and a link advertising "How Seniors Can Scoop Up Free $20,500 checks (See if You Qualify)". Though not a senior, I clicked it, thinking Erickson would trick me with a "F*** off, moochers!" message. But no, no, it was on the up and up, imagine that.

    2) On Sheehan: even if you believe (as I do) that the modern crop of cheaters have messed up the game's statistical history by finding far better drugs than their cheating forebears, its amazing that Selig seems to thinks the problem is the Biogenesis clinic.

    Really, Bud, ban A-Rod forever? At least with Rose there was a plausible reason to believe that very few baseball people would subsequently bet on their own teams. Will Selig wave his magical commissionery wand and cause the Biogenesises of the world to permanently disappear?

    Good luck with that.

  4. Re item one - I sure hope the Amish NSA amendment isn't about giving the NSA more tools so it can spy on people who don't use telephones or computers. (You may delete this comment if it becomes irrelevant.)

  5. On the Amash amendment, I think it's pretty clear that ideology determined the outcome, or at least was a strong factor, but Ragusa takes a too-simplistic view of ideology, lumping libertarian conservatives together with other (national security) conservatives. I'd assume that the same explains the correlation with the Patiot Act vote.

  6. If Barry Bonds were playing today, he would have been suspended for life a long time ago. Just sayin.

  7. To be clear (because Erickson is ANYTHING but): Erickson's TITLE says he wants a third party. He then says that they should "deliver the third party from within" by primarying anybody who does not agree with Erick Erickson. Which is, you know, just changing the GOP, not creating a third party.

  8. I think it's a slight misreading of Erickson's remarks to think he is advocating for a third party. He seems to be warning about one. Also, his website has rules against advocating for a third party when commenting.

  9. The Amash amendment seems a perfect example of how libertarian and progressive politicians align on things like personal privacy. I don't know how shocking that is, but it was an interesting read.

    The Erickson article strikes me as just another example of the legitimate fissure in the GOP. Libertarian vs. Traditionally conservative defense hawks never seemed like the perfect sides to fit in the same tent, but it has lasted this long. The GOP seems to have a real problem with the do nothings and the do somethings.

    As for Selig and ARod, this seems to be a legitimate example of overreach by Selig, but I'm shocked there aren't more articles about Roger Goodall in this light. Selig's ARod move and the collusion to get Bonds out of baseball seem to be right out of the Goodall playbook, but Goodall takes his authoritarian regime to much higher heights than Selig ever has.

  10. This is sort of apropos of nothing, and maybe not of interest to anyone, but as a sometime PED scold back here, Sheehan's column made me realize today that the only sane thing for Selig to do is not only not to throw a ferocious penalty at Rodriquez, but in fact to work behind the scenes toward Rodriguez' enshrinement in the Hall, and - far more importantly - Clemens and Bonds.

    The painfully obvious reason is that the PED issue will never go away in baseball. Baseball can move to a "testosterone passport" system like has been so effective in combating doping in cycling, with the obvious caveat being: in cycling, you have to keep up the doping for several weeks to win the most prestigious events, and everyone knows exactly when you're gonna dope.

    For baseball, as the mad scientists work toward faster and faster metabolizing testosterone, such that cheaters will, in the not too distant future, be able to load up on the exogenous testosterone during batting practice and excrete it after the 9th inning, what will baseball do? Randomly pull guys off the field in the fifth inning? Even then you wouldn't end the arms race.

    I think Selig can afford to let guys like McGwire and Sosa slide on the theory that their HOF resumes are somewhat weak as it is, and as the capacity for cheating gets more and more sophisticated, the weaknesses in Sosa and McGwire's cases will be more and more obvious. Same holds for Palmeiro and several other suspects.

    But not, not, not Bonds and Clemens. No matter how superhuman the chemically-altered players of the future become, Bonds and Clemens will have Hall-worthy resumes. Fighting that is to fight the inevitability of increasingly sophisticated chemical alteration of athletic prowess.

    And that's just stupid, bad management.

    1. And now its the headline at HuffPo: A-Rod is threatened to be run for good by the Commish.

      Thirty or so years from now, this list will be top of mind for many would-be Cooperstown pilgrims. It will have been updated with a few more names with pluses, and if inertia holds, those three glaring ones in or near the top 20 without. Johnny, 10, and his dad are thinking about visiting the shrine.

      Hey, dad, asks Johnny, why aren't Clemens and Bonds and Rodriquez in the Hall of Fame?

      Well, says his dad, they are suspected of using some now-discredited, early-generation PEDs that, compared to today, didn't help all that much.

      Really?, Johhny replies, confused, and there's a pregnant silence, followed by "On second thought dad, maybe we should just go to the Catskills instead".

    2. Which is exactly why I expect all of them to wind up in the HOF. Because...well, yes, there's all the items in the museum, but really the HOF in Cooperstown is pretty much like those apartment buildings in the Python skit that are built by magic and are long as the tenants believe in them.

      It's one thing to have a HOF that excludes Rose and Joe Jackson (as IMO it should), and that has a handful of mistakes over the years. It's another to have a HOF that has an incomprehensible hodgepodge of good/great players, some in, some out. At some point, ESPN or some rich dude or a smart web site makes their own HOF, and if enough players and fans buy in...well, Cooperstown is left with a cool museum miles and miles from where anyone wants to be, and with that museum having to compete with the upstart for items, anyway.

      They want inductions, they want a reasonably legitimate list of HOFers...they're going to let 'em all in. Might take time, but they will.


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