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So Close, Mr. Huckabay

Gary Huckabay of the peerless Baseball Prospectus has an almost great rant about a bunch of posturing legislators that can under no circumstances turn down any opportunity to hand down their bizzaro version of government morality infront of the cameras, no matter how asinine the situation:

"Henry Waxman and crew have decided to spend their time, their staff’s time, and, unfortunately, our time, by grilling a bunch of ballplayers about whether or not they used substances to enhance their play on the field.

Let’s stipulate to a couple things, just as part of a thought experiment. Let’s say that all the players are guilty. Of everything any has in the back of their mind. Dianabol Smoothies. HGH facial wraps. Testosterone-injecting parties that make the party scene in ‘JFK’ seem like a Sunday afternoon at Orrin Hatch’s house. Let’s go further. Let’s say that these ballplayers are making personal visits to high schools across the nation, speaking to classrooms every day with the central message of “Steroids worked for me! And now I’m a Hall of Fame ballplayer, rolling in cash, and tapping tail that would make Brad Pitt and Jay-Z genuflect before me.” At the end of each speech, players pass out samples of D-Bol and HGH, and some delicious fruit roll-ups, laced with ‘The Clear’.

That still wouldn’t warrant this kind of treatment. Waxman and his committee are displaying the basest kind of vile pandering, willing to do anything for a few minutes in front of a live camera with an opportunity to wag their atherosclerotically clubbed fingers in righteous anger. We’re talking about small widgets in a small business, that’s already done a hell of a job cleaning up their act, if you actually look at the numbers."

And then he blows it:

"And before anyone gets the idea of writing me with yet another ironically juvenile “What about the children?!?!?!?” diatribe…piss off. The children are at far greater risk from the advertisement barrages that bracket innings within the game. No six year old should know who the hell Spuds MacKenzie or the Budweiser frogs are. Let’s tally up the damage to children from steroids compared to alcohol, shall we? Selective protection of the young teaches hypocrisy."

Huckabay was doing so well, and then decides to walk down the same path of moral posturing as the people he's criticizing?


Even Hippies Don't Deserve This

Arthur Magazine columnist Dave Reeves has been sentenced to 23 days in jail for a traffic accident that caused only $200 of damage. Reeves, on a motorcycle, collided with an SUV:

"Damage to guy’s SUV is a pencil mark-sized scratch on front of SUV guy’s mirror, obviously caused by the SUV’s forward motion against Dave’s motorcycle. $200 in “repair.” Jury can’t believe this is a trial. Reeves admits he didn’t call Burbank PD. Jury has to convict, given judge’s instructions. Judge Kirkland Nyby gives max sentence. Reeves gets 30 days of community service which is 240 hours of picking up trash and abating graf. Reeves did 7 days by the deadline to complete the service. Nyby has now sentenced Dave Reeves to jail for the remainder of his sentence."

This provides another case in the long list of examples that illustrate why jury nullification is so important. Who in their right mind would sentence someone to 240 hours of indentured servitude or incarceration for $200 worth of damage? And how much time and money were spent in handing down this verdict? The other party in this case is a villain straight from Aurthur Magazine Central Casting (an evil SUV driver talking on a cell phone), so who knows if Reeves is or isn't at fault for the accident. However, the stiffest penalty Reeves should be handed is payment of the SUV driver's auto repair and legal fees.

"Last we checked he had been moved to the MEN’S CENTRAL JAIL at 441 BAUCHET STREET, which, according to the LACSD website, 'currently houses the majority of Los Angeles County’s high risk, high security inmates, and ranks as the largest jail in the free world. The average housing cost per inmate is $53.45 per day.'"

So the taxpayers of California are out $1229.35 because the everyday people that made up the jury were intimidated by the state into ignoring both their common sense and moral compass? I've read some horror stories, via Vin Suprynowicz, about what has happened to jurors that stood up to judges. Is it worth risking time and money and possible jail time yourself to keep someone else out of jail for 30 days (and you might not be successful even if you try)?

The idea that something is immoral simply because the state forbids it ("but these immigrants are here ILLEGALLY!") is nonsense, and since it is clear those the state has tasked with administering justice (Judge Nyby in this case) are incompetent, it's certainly time juries of our peers got to weigh in on the validity of sentences handed out.

Proceeds from purchases at Defend Brooklyn will help cover Reeves' legal fees, although I'm not familiar with the site and there is no About page so I have no idea what they stand for. In any case, here's hoping that Reeves comes through this okay and time moves quickly for him.

Update: Someone else also wondered what the Defend Brooklyn shirts were all about. Turns out they are a reference to a movie Reeves wrote and were originally made to help pay for post-production on that movie, so if you feel okay about defending Brooklyn with a communist rifle, purchase away.


Best Time to Be a Baseball Fan: Winter?

The steady stream of baseball annuals are coming out now, as they do every winter. The options are many.

Baseball Prospectus 2008 - Otherwise known as The Bible. If someone completely unfamiliar with Major League Baseball decided they wanted to start following the game, I'd have them do little else than read this cover-to-cover. It is an amazing blend of humor and analysis with one paragraph blurbs on almost every player in the Major Leagues (and those likely to reach the Majors in 2008). But it's not just for the casual fan. Every year the team at Baseball Prospectus publishes hardcore statistical studies and their PECOTA projections. PECOTA is a giant, computerized projection system that uses sophisticated metrics to compare a player to every other player in baseball history, and then projects a career path for that player based on how similar players in history developed. Fantasy baseball players love it because their projections for batters consistently beat the field every year (projecting pitchers, due large in part to the high risk of injury among other factors, is so difficult that it isn't uncommon for less sophisticated projection systems to beat PECOTA). Here's a sample of one of their player blurbs from the 2005 edition:

Christian Guzman, SS
Washington Nationals

One old insight into human nature is that if you know when a man was 20, you understand him. There might be something to that with [Washington Nationals' General Manager] Jim Bowden, because in signing Guzman, he might not have aged a day beyond 1980. Back then, guys like Ivan DeJesus or Gary Templeton were stars, and people said nice things about Dale Berra. Progress, A-Rod, Nomar, Jeter, Tejada, throw it all in a hopper, and we're in age when those sorts of sensibilities are as out of place as calling Rammstein's mosh pit a sock hop. Now that he's in D.C. and supposed to be a star, Guzman is about to become as identifiable and regretted as Pauly Shore.

For the record since joining the Nationals, Guzman, when not injured, has made fans wish he was. The best part about Baseball Prospectus 2008 is that if you pre-order, you get several hundred pages of the best baseball analysis around for just $15.

Baseball Forecaster 2008 - The precursor to the Baseball Prospectus annual. Fantasy Baseball has long suffered under a stigma of being just a game and detracting from the real statistical analysis done by the early members of the Society for American Baseball Research and other academic types (usually math professors with a penchant for hardball). Ron Shandler has been publishing his Forecaster since 1988 under the field of Fanalytics, attempting to bridge the gap between "serious" analysis as it relates to projection and the millions of fantasy players. (As to why fantasy baseball is seen as lowbrow by snootier baseball fans is beyond me, the current version evolved out of homerun pools and was invented by Dan Okrent with a professor of his while in grad school at Michigan. That's hardly plebian in origin.) As many slings and arrows as Shandler suffered, it is a little sad that his annual is no longer the best, but the kids at Baseball Prospectus have earned the top spot. The Forecaster is fantasy baseball specific, comes with its own projections and is worth picking up in addition to Baseball Prospectus 2008 if you are going to be playing in a fantasy league next season. It is available for $20 on pre-order right now (although I've got an advanced copy).

The Bill James Handbook 2008 - Usually the first annual to come out every winter because it has very little analysis, just past statistics and future projections. Like Prospectus and Forecaster, the Handbook contains projected statistics for most of the players that will see action in the 2008 Major League season. If you're unfamiliar, Bill James was the baseball evangelical that brought statistical analysis to baseball itself and the fans. James no longer works on the Handbook which bares his name (it is now published by the company he started, Baseball Info Solutions). There are some interesting statistics in the Handbook that you won't find easily elsewhere. The Handbook is best used while watching baseball at home by fans that like to second guess managers. You'll get platoon splits and individual batter-versus-pitcher stats for every player in the handbook, all in a conveniently sized reference manual of sorts. You can get it for $15 at Amazon and pretend you're Earl Weaver with his index cards next season.

The Bill James Goldmine 2008 - New this season, it looks like Baseball Info Solutions will be publishing essays and statistical analysis in an annual. My guess is if you added the Handbook and the Goldmine together you'd get the Baseball Prospectus annual, but be out another $15. I might pick this up if I see good reviews or get a favorable opinion from a credible source.

The Hardball Times Annual 2008
The Hardball Times Season Preview 2008 -The Hardball Times is an online baseball think tank similar to Baseball Prospectus, but is the lesser known of the two. A few Hardball Timers have gone on to write at Baseball Prospectus if that gives you an idea of the pecking order. They've separated their annuals into a look back at 2007 (the Annual) and a look forward to 2008 (the Season Preview). Not as epic as the Baseball Prospectus annual, the Times' Annual is still enjoyable. There is more attention paid to how the previous season shook out, with excellent divisional recaps that come with handy graphical representations of all the pennant races. The Annual is out and is a great read if you are looking to relive some or all of the 2007 season. The Season Preview doesn't come out until March which is very late for a baseball annual. If you polish off your other annuals by then, you may want to give it a look. I bought their first edition (the 2007 Season Preview) when they were self-publishing through Lulu, and thought it was alright, though I'll read anything baseball related and am not the most discerning opinion you could find. The Annual costs $14 and the Preview $13.

Graphical Player 2008 - John Burnson rolls with the Forecaster crew and churns out the Graphical Player each winter. He breaks down your favorite players' games with spray charts and hotzones that can help the obsessed fan become even more familiar with their favorite players. At $21 and heavy on the nerd-dom, this is only for junkies.

Baseball America 2008 Prospect Handbook - The original and definitive guide on who is who in the minor leagues. Read about the stars of tomorrow, today. This is a very useful book for fantasy players, as mid-season callups and prospects have far more of an impact in baseball than any other sport. The Prospect Handbook can also make you sound a lot smarter when discussing your favorite team's future. At $20, you save $10 by pre-ordering at Amazon.

The Baseball Prospects Book 2008 - Self-published by John Sickels who is a fellow Twins fan and the author of Minor League Ball (a great free website covering baseball prospects). Comparable to the Prospect Handbook.

The Newberg Report 2008 - Self-published by Jamie Newberg, author of the Rangers' blog The Newberg Report which covers the Texas farm system from top to bottom. Think a Rangers-only version of the Hardball Times Annual. If only fans of every team could have a team-specific annual of this caliber.


Freedom Lovin'

Since this is the Republic's culture blog, and all I've written about is sports and hipster rags, I thought I'd try something different. I have a question for the Republic: Has anyone here dated another Libertarian, libertarian, minarchist, anarcho-capitalist, agorist, Austrian schooler, public choicer, etc? I've dated both Republicans and Democrats, but never a libertarian.

The two party system builds political alliances that appear counterintuitive (to me, at least). Republicans used to back militant Islamic extremists because they opposed the Soviet Union, and pro-choice Democrats who uphold the right to own their bodies oppose the sale of kidneys, as examples. With the official platforms that define what is Conservative or Progressive, Republican or Democrat covering far too wide a spectrum to line up with all of any one person's specific positions (unless they adopt the party line in full), if you are a glass-half-full person you can always find things to agree on with whomever you meet (or wind up dating). While I agree that the political is personal, it is only because everything is personal, and if you take everything personally, that just makes you an asshole.

I suppose if I lived in D.C. and went to Reason pub crawls, I might meet a libertarian romantic interest, and I've noticed that Democrats and Republicans have started their own insular online dating communities. I realized, when a progressive friend of mine asked me how I could have gone out with a conservative ex, that similar political views are a very low priority in what I'm looking for. It also then occurred to me that this may be because I don't have much of a choice. Whenever Jonathan gets the Liberty Belles site back up and running, if you read their About page it talks about Drew Carey's call for more women to get involved in the libertarian movement. In addition to the vast majority of people being Republicans or Democrats, experience confirms that those few that do share my political leanings aren't likely to be female. Living where I do (Minnesota), politics would probably have to trump almost all other considerations for me to wind up dating libertarian.

Is it better for those of you that live in different parts of the country? Does anyone have experience with the D.C. dating scene, and does it divide along political lines? Has anyone wound up with another libertarian? Is there anyone here that will date conservatives but not progressives, or progressives but not conservatives?

Anyone care to weigh in, so my post that asks so many questions doesn't wind up with a small number of responses, making me feel more rejected than if I were to introduce myself as a capitalist at a DailyKos mixer?


Jake Peavey, Union Altruist

In what has to be the best PR stance ever taken, San Diego Padres' ace and 2007 National League Cy Young winner Jake Peavey had the following to say about his expected contract extension negotiations (after spending his entire career in the Padres organization Peavey is set to become a free agent after the 2008 season):

I'm certainly not after a big dollar amount. That's not what it's about. I want to be here, period. And we'll see what comes of it. But I've got to do what the market says I should do, or what's close to that. I'm certainly not going to drive this market down and do anything to upset the balance where my peers would look down on me.

Poor Jake Peavey, caught between not wanting to make additional millions and the cruel peer pressure to do so that supposedly hurts fans. Seeing as Carlos Silva is going to sign a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $44,000,000 for four years of work, if I were Jake I wouldn't worry about driving down the cost of starting pitching in the major leagues.

Depending on your view of it, the brillance of the free agency system negotiated by the Players Union is that it restricts the number of free agents that hit the open market (Marvin Miller pushed for such a system over letting all players become free agents at the end of each Major League season for precisely this reason). Because the available talent pool is restricted by teams controlling the rights to players at minimum salary for their first two-to-three major league seasons and the arbitration system that kicks in for the three seasons after, fourth starters like Silva make second starter money once they hit free agency.

The money that would go to the underpaid youngsters stuck in MLB's five-to-six year term of indentured servitude in a completely open market gets piled onto the trickle of veterans that reach free agency each offseason. The only players that should take issue with Peavey's payday are baseball's young stars, provided they don't think their own shot at a future inflated payday offsets the undercompensation early in their careers.

Still, it's kind of nice to hear a union member talking about the need to use market prices for the greater good. Kind of. The problem is, most teams devote a fixed percentage of their gross income to player payroll and are going to spend that amount each season regardless of the particular distribution. There are always holes to plug and young talent to lock in longterm, so if the Padres get a discount on Peavey, those savings will still get spent on player contracts.

I'm not the world's biggest Andrew Zimbalist fan, but this reminds me of his critique that proponents of public financing of sports stadiums are wrong when they claim that new stadiums boost business for their metropolitan areas. Zimbalist argues that as entertainment dollars are a fixed part of people's budgets, if people spend more at the ballpark, it's because they're spending less on restaurants, movies, bowling allies, etc. A similar situation applies to the Padres.

There are only two things proven to draw fans to the ballpark over an extended period of time (there is a three-to-five year honeymoon period for new stadiums, after which attendance returns to old stadium levels): winning baseball and free stuff. The Padres (and every other team) know this and are going to spend all of their payroll budget to try to put the best team on the field they can. Peavey is actually helping San Diego fans if he takes a discount, because assuming the Padres spend the resulting savings wisely, it should result in a better onfield product.

Elsewhere, being well aware of the political leanings of my fellow Minnesotans as a whole, I'm pretty sure I've just burned half my bridges in the Twins blogsphere.

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone know what happened to the Liberty Belles?


A Favorable Definition?

From the Devil's Dictionary X:

capitalism

1. a financial system which supports personal choice to buy or sell what one will, allowing another is freely willing to make the exchange; the opposite of stealing.

2. a similar system which accepts a common standard of value for trade, the carrot.

3. the only fundamental difference between America and every nation leaking boat people to Her.

I was worried, with a title like the Devil's Dictionary X, they weren't being sincere, until I read their definition of Slashdot.


Cusack Hates Cato

Do you think all these people work at the Cato Institute? No. Even the people who work at these places, I've met them. They don't have any monopoly or insight into anything. Where does their intellectual or moral clout come from? Nowhere. The guy's talking in front of a camera, reading from a teleprompter, bitching at people. I know enough to be intimidated by serious men and women, but I won't be cowed by people like that. - Cusack, Metro

Watchout, America... don't let the policy experts at the Cato Institute intimidate you into submission. What a brave radical and truthteller John Cusak is. Intimidated? Really? For me this registers up there with the shame level of unexpectedness as the reaction to Don Imus' racism (in that I had no idea there were people that listened to Don Imus). I guess the work the folks at the Cato Institute are doing is having an effect. It reminds me of one of Constant's posts, in that "If you look at political writing, one of the unmistakable trends is that political writing is about stuff that scares the writer. Whatever his surface attitude, he is worried. Maybe he has intellectual contempt for his enemies, but he's worried because he sees they have met with some success and may meet with more." Also, which "serious men and women" does Cusack know enough to be intimidated by? The ones he agrees with?

Cusack: The question becomes one of intellectual honesty and basic morality. I wanted to talk about the players or the heirs of the Friedman legacy who are in the public sector today... The Grover Norquists and Bill Kristols of the world come to mind ...You also talk about the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute as pursuing the goal of the elimination of the public sphere and the total liberation of corporations.

Klein: I refer to the people in those think tanks as "the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks" because a huge amount of the funding for these think tanks is coming directly from the weapons and homeland security industry. They are funded by some of the wealthiest families and the wealthiest corporations in this country so the question of intellectual honesty really has to come up. They exist in a strange intellectual gray zone where they get money in order to think. And besides, I'm not sure thinking really belongs in tanks.

Cusack: So you're saying that the Shultzes and the Perles and the Kissingers and the Jim Bakers of the world are embedded in the homeland security/privatized war economy?

Klein: More than embedded. I mean, they are it. - Huffington Post

Everyone Cusack disagrees wtih gets branded dishonest and immoral? Save me righteous Cusack from the evil ones! Reduction of the public sphere, yes. Liberation of corporations, no. Cato responds here and here.

The best quote from the two articles linked above has to be Klein's, "They exist in a strange intellectual gray zone where they get money in order to think." So... that's different from government and academia how exactly? Protect your children, the think tanks are coming!


Yahoo! Isn't Even Trying

The people that built Yahoo!'s fantasy sports website are either computer geeks that know nothing about sports, or sports people that are incredibly lazy. Their Hot or Not players for each sport are based on the highest and lowest fantasy point totals from the previous week without taking playing time (or any other expectations) into account.

Pictured above we have the Bears' fourth string wide receiver, one of the Vikings non-threats in the league's most embarrassing passing attack, and the Panthers' fourth stringer. Many a fantasy player must have been burned by expecting too much from Robinson, Williamson and Bradley last week...

Yahoo!'s fantasy experts aren't all that hot either (Brandon Funston is a living punchline on several fantasy message boards), so it's not like one of them couldn't pick three players at each position that underperformed the previous week--that'd take any expert all of two minutes, so, a full five for one of the Yahoo! guys.

Stay away from Mark Bradley? Thanks for the update. With his zero receptions to date in 2007, perhaps I've been riding him too long and do need to make a change.


Blog Hooligans and Rock Show Riots

Tucker, Young, Johnson and Ginn

Progressive blogger Jeremy Young, in the comment section of his taking-to-task of Durham in Wonderland critic Charles Piot, says the following about fellow historian and Duke rape case blogger KC Johnson (Piot more or less blamed Johnson personally for offensive comments on left of Johnson's blog and an anonymous threating e-mail he received):

I don't believe KC has crossed the line just because of his blog comments, but he has an obligation as a blog proprietor to wade into the comment section and set a certain tone there, just as I am doing here. In my admittedly limited observation, he has not done that. I understand that he didn't have as much experience with a large and raucus comment section as I do (I blogged at Daily Kos for three and a half years before starting this place, so I know how to handle disruptive commenters), but he might have asked for help or advice if he wasn't sure how to handle the situation.

Unless I'm misreading it, Young should have said "his blog's comments". Young's belief that Johnson is responsible for the behavior of his audience reminded me of the criticism thrown at Black Flag for not policing the violent behavior of a portion of their audiences at early punk rock shows in Los Angeles. Check out Ken Tucker's 1981 review of Black Flag's Six Pack 45 published in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner:

I've Heard It Before and Six Pack are good songs but Black Flag proves a point of pop music theory: you can't isolate the music from the artists. When you see a band presiding - or rather declining to preside - over a sea of shoving, rancorous fans as Black Flag does regularly in concert, you begin to wonder about the band's motives. My own impression after seeing Black Flag half a dozen times is that they're either sympathetic to the hostile atmosphere their concerts create, or their noncommittal attitude is part of the act, an image that says, in essence, "We're so cool that we're not shocked by your violence." And while the music the band makes is better than worthwhile neither of the attitudes described above is effective as an aesthetic strategy. Until Black Flag figures out what to do with the enormous rage implicit in both their music and their fans, all of their eloquent anarcho-nihilist philosophizing will remain the worst sort of dilettante bunk; let's hope they keep the records coming, though.

During confrontations between kids and cops at Black Flag shows, the band would continue to play. The cops would cut the PA, but the band's amplifiers were plugged in elsewhere and Dez Cardena would take up screaming into his dead microphone. The police would have to unplug all of the band's equipment and take Roberto Valverde's drumsticks away before the music would stop.

I've read Johnson's blog, and the comments there aren't any worse than what you'd find at DailyKos (except that, in the eyes of Young, they often come from cultural conservatives). Any heavily trafficed blog that takes on highly polarized issues and events is going to draw heated comments that devolve into shouting matches, and the anonymity doesn't do much for civility in the first place. Johnson deletes the worst of the worst and lets the rest stand on their own. Criticisms like Young's strike me as conspicuously peripheral. He's picking up where Piot left off in going after the atmosphere created by Johnson's blog. More specifically, not the atmosphere Johnson has actively created, but the one that has resulted from Johnson not wasting his time chastising flamers.

Johnson has gone after the silliest of extreme liberals in academia. The problem for the far left is that he's been extremely thorough and transparent while doing so. Instead of criticizing his coverage of events and the conclusions he has drawn, which would be more difficult, it's his failure to police other people that draws ire?

If the world of rock caved to Tucker's wishes we'd be left with nothing but U2 and Bruce Springsteen, and with  people getting stabbed, as opposed to someone flaming a blog, the stakes were a lot higher back then.

On an completely unrelated note: Finally.


It Begins

Game one of the 2007 World Series provided the worst possible outcome. While the cinderella Rockies have been fun to root for, I don't have a problem with the Red Sox winning game one (or the series for that matter). But after sweeping the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, the Rockies had to wait around for the Red Sox to emerge as American League champions as their series with the Cleveland Indians went the full seven games, giving the Rockies eight days off.

If only game one would have been close, instead of a 13-1 shelling, baseball fans wouldn't have to listen to talking heads, reporters and writers blather on about the Rockies extended time off as the culprit behind their hot streak imploding in grand fashion on the biggest stage possible.

The truth is, the Red Sox are the better team. They led the majors in wins this season. They beat a Cleveland team in the ALCS that won the second most games. The Rockies got hot at the right time, but don't have the pitching to hang with the far superior Red Sox. The Rockies are supposed to lose. But that won't stop windbags everywhere from suggesting that it was the Rockies eight days away from competition that are the cause of their poor performance in game one:

Colorado has the altitude -- the series shifts to mile-high Coors Field this weekend -- and had won 21 of 22 coming in. But after a record eight days off, the Rockies looked like a team starting spring training.
-ESPN

One of the fears for the Rockies was that their eight-day break after the NLCS would disrupt their timing at the plate, and they did nothing to dispel that notion. Beckett struck out the first four batters he faced, joining St. Louis’ Mort Cooper (five in 1943) and Los Angeles’ Sandy Koufax (five in 1963) as the only pitchers to achieve the feat.
-Boston Herald

Despite their insistence that inactivity would not be a factor, the eight-day layoff left them stale, and out of synch. The Rockies' appeared to be swinging their bats through maple syrup vats, unable to catch up to Josh Beckett's fastball.
-Denver Post

Josh Beckett has shutdown every team he has pitched against this post season. That he did so again tonight against the Rockies would be par for the course, not an aberration. Hopefully the Rockies will win convincingly in game two and put all this nonsense to rest. But seeing as the Red Sox will bring better starting pitching to the mound in every game this series, it looks like there's no relief in sight for the Rockies or baseball fans.


Thomas Boswell and the Threat of Sexual Assault

From Thomas Boswell's legendary 1987 Post article in which he gives 99 reasons baseball is better than football:

75. Someday, just once, could we have a punt without a penalty?

Now, from the comments under different entries in Jezebel's running series Crap e-mail From a Dude:

10/23 - Everytime I see one of these at the end of the day, I bring my glass of wine to the desk and just... savor. But for real? She needs a [f]ing restraining order, STAT.

9/2 - I am going... to go consult my attorney now... about a restraining order.

9/11 - Restraining order has been filed. If you dare step to me you'll get to meet my other two loves, Smith and Wesson.

8/30 - Ummm... In the old country we used to call this sort of thing "a stalker". Darlin' best get herself a restraining order an a handgun.

8/16 - Dear Paula, a restraining order is your best bet at this point. Otherwise you will turn into a Law & Order SVU storyline and nobody wants that. xoxo

It goes on, but you get the picture. My question, in Boswellian fashion, is: Someday, just once, could Jezebel have a Crap e-mal From a Dude without someone mentioning a restraining order? Or at least, for the sake of efficiency, have someone program a bot to spit out "restraining order" in the comments section each time a new entry goes up?


Darin Erstad = Boxed Wine

                    

Ubelmann of World's Greatest Online Magazine fame takes on seperate equilibrium and marginal utility in a bizarrely homoerotic fashion and handles the two better than the commentators over at Jezebel.


0-2 Count

                                         

Hakes & Raymond revise their 2006 study on the effect of plate discipline on salary in the post-Moneyball world. Phil Brinbaum throws them a second curve.


Protest Against Whom?

The New York Times reported on a student protest that followed an unidentified racist hanging a noose on the office door of a teachers college professor at Columbia. The protest happened on Wednesday, one day after the noose was discovered on the professor's office door by a colleague. ABC News reports that the protest drew around 200 people including Columbia students that walked out of class and students from other New York colleges. My question is, a protest against whom or what? General racism in society?

The protest came only a day after the incident and everything I've read indicates that both Columbia and the NYPD are taking things seriously. Beyond cooperating with the NYPD to find the identity of the coward that hung the noose and expelling/firing the student/faculty member responsible, what else is Columbia responsible for? I couldn't find any criticism of the current Columbia administration's handling of the case.

There were some things that did catch my eye. From the Times article linked above:

“It’s like throwing a match on a haystack,” said Christien Tompkins, 21, a senior who is co-chairman of the United Students of Color Council. “This obviously really touched a nerve for a lot of folks.”

Mr. Tompkins was one of about two dozen students who met with Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, to discuss the case yesterday afternoon.

At that meeting, Mr. Tompkins said, students have used the noose as a point of departure to talk about other issues, including Columbia’s plans to expand into adjacent neighborhoods.

And:

At a separate meeting, 600 Teachers College students and faculty members gathered to air their own grievances before Susan H. Fuhrman, the president of Teachers College, and other administrators.

...

Dr. Fuhrman said yesterday that she would work to retain and recruit more minority faculty members, and offer students more scholarships.

“There’s nothing good about this incident, this is horrible,” she said. “But we should be doing this talking, and if it takes this thing to make us do this, so be it.”

The Times piece mentioned that the targeted professor is involved in a lawsuit with another professor at Columbia. So, when (most likely) an angry colleague does something reprehensible and inexcusable to a coworker, immediate termination of employment and criminal and civil charges aren't enough? The University of Columbia itself must up its minority hiring quota and avoid expanding?

I sympathize with the targeted professor, who shouldn't have the threat of violence hung on her office door, but the peripheral demands of the protestors, tied into broader Progressive concerns, just don't carry a strong enough connection to the original incident for me to take all of the protestors seriously in light of people like Mr. Tompkins using the incident "as a point of departure to talk about other issues." If it takes all of a day for the co-chairman of the United Students of Color Council at Columbia to use the incident as a springboard to talk about the University's proposed expansion among other issues, it brings into question the sincerity of some of the protestors when the original incident is deserving of outrage.