Thursday, July 31, 2008
As Josh Marshall argues, the McCain campaign's plausible deniability on the Spears/Obama/Hilton ad isn't actually all that plausible. But as the occasion for Obama himself to make a fresh accusation that the McCain campaign is exploiting racism, it's pretty thin gruel.
Obama was definitely talking about the black thing with the dollar bill remark, but a prominent spokesman tried to walk it back afterwards by arguing he wasn't. That compounds the error by lying about it. Ramesh Ponnuru is right to point out that Obama has said basically the same thing before, and he knows he's got a good case because he's sending his NRO hordes over to the Washington Post site to make a big deal about it.
Now, predictably, the McCain campaign is turning around accusing Obama of being the one making race an issue, and I don't know why the Obama camp would want to have this out right now. The ad was getting panned or ridiculed by pretty much everybody already.
The whole ad is about the idea of fame without portfolio. Paris Hilton is famous for being famous. She draws a crowd for no apparent reason. Well, I think he has, you know — in Senator Obama's case, is the effort to be commander in chief and the leader of the free world about portfolio?
It's not as good as, say, the Mets getting Manny for Anderson Hernandez or something but it's better than letting a division rival get him.
C'mon Omar. Do something. Get Marcus Thames just to let us know you show up for work every day.
Glenn Greenwald gives the long form treatment to the relentlessly awful Dana Milbank and marvels at the press corps' ability to take what Karl Rove tells them and actually believe that he is describing a real phenomenon that only sophisticated analysts can see, when in fact he's clearly just calling Barack Obama an uppity negro.
Attaturk looked up "uppity" at Thesaurus.com and found a ton of words that have been getting thrown around a lot recently, including of course "presumptuous." As in the lead of Milbank's smarm-fest: "Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee."
Clever, Dana! Did you think of that yourself? No of course not, you smirking, wire-rimmed monkey.
I'm 100% certain that had Obama not gone abroad and met with world leaders and given a speech in Germany that attracted 200,000 people, he would have been presumptuous/uppity for thinking he didn't need to go see other countries first hand to be prepared for the presidency. In fact that's what McCain was saying before Obama went. They were going to say he should mind his place one way or the other.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The song is a little bit ridiculous and, uh, more than a little bit "edgy" but also kind of awesome. Calling Hillary a bitch and talking about McCain being paralyzed are going to make it a headache for Obama. The campaign has already sent out a response, giving it the full Maude Flanders:
"This song is... is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics."
I dunno. Obama's already 'fessed to having a little Luda in his iPod, and you can pretty much pick a song of his at random and find equally or more objectionable lyrics in it. Sure, they're clearly beyond the pale by campaign literature standards, but by rap standards they're not so bad. My gut tells me it's a net negative for Obama politically, but dammit we need more rappers dissing Republicans and Hillary Clinton, not fewer. Then Andrew Breitbart can tell the heartbreaking tales of ostracized conservative rappers.
via Liveleak (w/ lyrics) via Drudge
[In addition to his horrendous record on women's and gay rights] Even Kaine's Iraq position is questionable. While he was not in Congress in 2002, and thus not on the record about the war, he went out of his way during gubernatorial run to say that it would send "a horrible message" to "cut and run", and used his inaugural address to compare the war in Iraq to the American revolution, saying that Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson "stood here at a time, just as today, when Virginians serving freedom's cause sacrificed their lives so that democracy could prevail over tyranny."
Using the phrase "cut and run" even once does it for me. It may make sense politically to have him on the ticket, and Team Obama clearly knows what it's doing, but I don't see why we should have to have anyone who ever said anything that stupid one heartbeat from the presidency. Also, his State of the Union response ("There's a better way!") was terrible... almost but not quite as bad as the one delivered by fellow short-lister Kathleen Sebelius.
A propos of Kaine's SoTU response, Brendan Nyhan (who despite the blurbs he displays on his site is neither invaluable nor indispensable) focuses on another consideration: apparently in addition to having weirdly square hair he also has a crazy left eyebrow.
I guess there's nothing inherently wrong with this, except that it fits the profile of a guy who is at a stage in his career where he's not sure if he wants to be a news editor or a Republican operative, and there's a lot of evidence to suggest that he's resolved the conflict by effectively doing both, which ain't right.
The McCain campaign doesn't have a lot to work with except their candidate's reputation among the press as a straight-talking maverick who's all about personal integrity and who disdains political attacks. Sure, they have to make attacks anyway, but there are a million ways to do that while staying more or less in bounds. Their opponent is young and inexperienced, after all.
I'm not accustomed to playing Republican concern troll, and there are plenty of actual Republicans who have expressed worry about damaging the McCain brand, but I still would like to know whose idea it was to cut an ad that was so nasty and bogus that even Andrea Mitchell felt compelled to call the foul.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
In all the excitement of the Mets' stirring turnaround I hadn't noticed, but the Braves had already been looking sickly at 49-56, and that was with one of the best first basemen in baseball and a Cy Young candidate in Tim Hudson. When Hudson went down, the Braves probably figured there was no sense in waiting to trade Teix.
What major league talent did they get back in the deal? Casey Kotchman? Good luck with that. When you're ready to field a competitive team again, come back without that stupid chant, you goobers.
Newsday reported yesterday that "Team officials don't see Ramirez as a fit because of his behavioral issues."
Now this kind of thing is common enough in all professional sports that I should be able to read that sentence and not freak out, but I can't. Behavioral issues? You mean behaviors like hitting for power and average? No, they're referring to Manny's lack of hustle (home to first in about an hour) and antics (like this).
To that I say: "Give me all the laziness and clubhouse distractions a .300/.400/.540 hitter could possibly bring to Shea's left field."
A friend emailed today that he heard a Beltran for Manny and Ellsbury deal. That sounds a little too good to be true, but it's something to wish for. There's no way Omar really doesn't want Manny Ramirez. He's not my favorite GM but he's better than that.
To elaborate a bit on the scenario involving a trade of Beltran: it's not that I think Manny would be that much of an upgrade on Beltran, all things (especially speed and defense) considered, but I'm a Jacoby Ellsbury fan. Through May this year his OPS was over .800, and sure, it's gone south quickly, but he's still 24.
Crazy stuff. I'm just glad I didn't get around to kicking the guy when the most likely explanation was pure evil.
It's nice when people who are so wrong about so much big picture stuff decide to make a small-bore binary prediction that proves wrong in less than a week.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Fortunately in the apartment it can connect to my home network and use the Apps store (I got Bloomberg, which is very nice looking, and Yelp both free). It took my mind off the beating the Mets took from the Marlins. Hopefully there's nothing too wrong with John Maine. If he was pissed at the coaching staff, that's a good sign. It's just too bad the bullpen turned in another wretched performance after getting the night off entirely. Scott Schoenweis must have thrown some good innings for his ERA to still be about 3.00, but I can't remember ever seeing one.
Not much new in the horserace, if you ignore the national poll showing McCain ahead and the "short short list" story on Tim Kaine, which I'm doing because I find them terrifying and unexciting, respectively.
Tomorrow after another trip to the AT&T store maybe the Jesus Phone will round out its feature set by actually making and receiving calls.
About 2/3 of the way through a guy tries to crowd surf or whatever these rowdy white kids do, and a security guard in a backwards baseball hat comes over and tries to bring him down. Somehow he ends up taking the guy's entire weight which he's obviously not prepared for and he goes down hard. Funny.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Carlos Delgado just hit his second home run of the evening and 15th of the year, continuing a ridiculous tear that I did not see coming at all when I was making fun of him a few weeks back. Shame on me. Still one more run needed to tie.
Obama's campaign called the accusation "wildly inappropriate." His spokesman has claimed that the visit to a military hospital in Germany was scrapped after the Pentagon raised concerns about political activity on a military base. Earlier, though, the campaign had said Mr. Obama decided the visit might be seen as inappropriate politicking. However, the Pentagon said the senator was never told not to visit.
The story reads like a companion piece to McCain's web ad:
The Pentagon spokesman the AP finally mentions by name in the last graf is also quoted on the subject by WaPo's Dan Balz, and at more length.
"The Senator's staff was informed of the limits on what the military can do with respect to a political campaign and how we could support a senator's visit to Landstuhl and, quite frankly, I expected them to have the visit."
Quite frankly? Hmm... I can't help but think that's the kind of statement the Pentagon's spokesman would make if he were under the impression that having Barack Obama catch heat for this wouldn't be such a bad thing.
As the Post, but not the AP piece explains, Obama's Europe stops were not part of his official congressional trip, and is funded by his campaign. Had Obama and his entourage descending on a military hospital in Germany, he would at least been at risk of violating some (or all) of the regulations separating the military from political campaigns.
I don't know what the restrictions were that the Pentagon would have placed on an Obama visit. Would he have had to travel without any expressly campaign-oriented staff? I like the idea of rules like that, personally, but if they're at all onerous it's absurd to expect a candidate to make the trip anyway.
As for the larger point, this is a totally chickenshit ad by John McCain. The guy solicits (and receives) credit for not trading on his military record, even though he does it every chance he gets. This isn't even a legitimate opportunity to play "I love the troops more than you," but there he is, making an asshole out of himself.
Ah, yes. I knew I read somewhere that this attack is being made in completely bad faith. TPM got confirmation from the Pentagon that they told the Obama campaign, after they had left for the trip, that he couldn't come to the base in Germany with campaign staff (as opposed to Senate staff). So the Pentagon effectively cancelled the visit, unless you expect him to go anywhere without his campaign staff, which is just naive.
Brandon Knight is not a prospect. He's 32, and hasn't pitched in the bigs since 2002. Before his debut tonight he had been tearing up the PCL for New Orleans. They're saying he's headed for the Olympics, where hopefully he'll be more effective than he has been against the Cardinals. It's 4-0 with one out in the first.
Now they're saying he'll stay if the Mets want to keep him in the rotation. "No, that's okay Brandon. Really. Go chase your Olympic dreams."
It's funny because it's true. I also read a news story addressing McCain's unpopularity with Hispanics that expressed bafflement that they haven't been won over by his courageously independent position on comprehensive (as opposed to enforcement/deportation first) immigration reform. It never got around to mentioning that he changed his position on immigration to shore up the Republican nomination ("I have heard the message from the American people.") and maybe that's not helping matters.
Friday, July 25, 2008
The idea that John Edwards really has a secret love child with Rielle Hunter, and is having late night meetings with her at famous hotels so soon after having been a presidential candidate... well it strains credibility. If it's true, I will be devastated not only because the guy was my first choice for nominee, and I like Elizabeth Edwards a lot and she's got enough to deal with, but because Mickey Kaus has been a tireless promoter of the story when even Drudge was taking a pass. As Mickey proudly put it, it's not the first time he's pushed something that didn't meet Drudge's standards.
So the crowing he'll do if this is actually true will be unbearable. And, even considering the source, I have to admit the hotel encounter just doesn't sound at all good.
Here's a post of Mickey's back in December, which incidentally refers to Drudge teasing the Enquirer story, contra my point that Drudge ignored it. But I'm pretty sure (don't care enough to make sure) this isn't his first post on the story, and that he beat Drudge.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Anyway this thing is just stupid. On the one hand, UBS almost certainly did what they're accused of, namely exaggerating the extent to which Auction Rate Securities (ARS) are like cash. On the other hand, my impression is that they weren't peddling this stuff to little old ladies who didn't understand what they were buying. A lot of big corporations owned these things because they paid high yields, and we're supposed to believe they didn't understand the "auction" concept? I mean if they tell you they trade in auctions you don't have to be too skeptical to ask what happens if no one bids (like, on account of a massive credit crisis of the sort we're experiencing).
Incidentally, what happens if no one bids isn't that bad! Their holders aren't able to sell them and get their principal back, which obviously is a problem if they need it right away, but the interest rates they earn go to a maximum penalty rate that was set when the bond was issued.
This process is extremely painful for the bond issuer, which for a lot of ARS is a city or state, who will look to refinance the debt as soon as possible, and when that happens the poor institutional investors who have been out of pocket will get their precious principal back (again, having been paid confiscatory interest rates for their trouble).
I have no love for UBS, but this a dumb/clearly politically motivated thing for the NY AG to be spending a lot of time and resources on. Caveat emptor.
I swear he struggles to maintain a straight face at about 1:03
I didn't see it but my guess is he struck out Ryan Howard more than once. That he didn't get a Win tells you all you need to know about that stat. But you know that team wins count, too, and this one put the Mets alone in the lead at 55-47. Not too shabby.
In the notes section of that Courant piece is a rumor that the Mets have asked the Rockies about Brian Fuentes and the asking price is Jon Niese. Omar is apparently balking but as I've said before I don't consider Niese a real blue chip prospect, and after watching Tuesday night's debacle a consistent, high K:BB reliever would really hit the spot. If he's going to gear up for a playoff run, I think it makes sense. Of course I'm not sure how good a bet the Mets are to make the playoffs, but they are tied for the division lead!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This is pretty extraordinary. A candidate for the American Presidency is using flyers printed in German to turn people out for his campaign rally in Berlin on Thursday. This flyer can be found on a bilingual page on BarackObama.com advertising the event:
The German flyers bear Obama's campaign logo and say "Paid for by Obama for America."
I'm surprised at this lapse in judgment in an otherwise well-oiled and professional Obama campaign.
Yowza. This guy writes at "The Next Right," which purports to represent a new breed of conservative thinking. I sure hope that's the case.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I don't subscribe to Gary Cohen's theory that pitching in unfamiliar roles was a significant contributor to the the relievers' performance. Duaner Sanchez has both closed and had really bad innings in the past, and once you get him out of the game there's not really a term for the guy who gets brought in after the closer spits the bit.
The primary problem is that Billy Wagner wasn't available to pitch and the other guys aren't as good. They don't have to be (and probably aren't) any less effective in the ninth inning than they are in the eighth.
Unfortunately, the polls coming into the week were going the other way, in Ohio and nationally. I can't believe they'll stay that way after elite opinion has deemed this trip a rousing success. It's important to realize how easily they could have gone the other way. I mean somehow the definition of success was set at avoiding saying anything too stupid into a microphone. And he probably did better than that even had he not gone 1/1 from three in front of the troops.
On a more substantive note, the best part as far as I'm concerned was his discussion of Petraeus. He acknowledged that Petraeus would like more rather than less resources and for longer, but also pointed out that's what you'd expect the general in charge of Iraq to say (or in Obama's empathetic version: "If I were in his shoes, I would probably feel the same way").
"But my job extends beyond Iraq."
Whoa! Did he just display a basic understanding of the Constitutional relationship between the president and his generals? Like, that he tells them what to do and stuff? That's totally mindblowing these days. On MSNBC they're talking about him "staring down" the generals, and Matthews is talking about how he's like Truman, who had to "fight generals."
It doesn't make any sense. Bush defied his generals too, except he didn't defy them exactly as much as fire them, as he was well within his rights to do. But all Bush's talk about "listening to the commanders on the ground," despite being a transparent and unusually craven way of passing the buck, seems to have really sunk in among the Howard Finemans of the world. So now Obama has to have another "teaching moment" about the purview of the president's job responsibilities.
To the extent that's perceived as professorial (even though that would be sad because it's elementary school civics), I guess there's some risk, but it also makes him look assertive of presidential power and willing to take responsibility for military decisions, which is good for a Democrat. The Hardball chyron was "Who's the Boss?" I mean you know Tweety loved it.
So yeah. Good week so far.
Monday, July 21, 2008
That's an anonymous former colleague of Keith Olbermann, in this excellent Radar Online profile of the TV personalities most hated by their peers.
Also unsurprising, but no less funny, is this vision of Chris Matthews:
"He's always running around the office with M&Ms and his diabetes medication stuffed in his blazer, amped up on sugar. He's totally self-centered and has absolutely no self-control."
But a cool trick to pull nonetheless.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Brian Schneider is worse than your typical terrible hitting catcher. He's hitting .243/.335/.294 in his 214 ABs, and it's not that off a year for him. Meanwhile, we have this funny looking guy on our bench who was hitting .286/.356/.462 before the homer he just hit. Those are numbers we'd love to get from our left field slot.
If Castro were a Mike Piazza-scale liability behind the plate, it might justify sitting him behind Schneider, but he's not that. He doesn't let the ball get by him much, he doesn't commit many errors, and for his career he's thrown out a very respectable 30% of base-stealers. What more does he have to do?
I'm afraid this is a case of two managerial bad habits converging: 1) giving a guy you acquired in trade (Schneider is the non-brain damaged half of the Lastings Milledge trade) every chance to fail rather than admit he's not a starter; and 2) overvaluing the intangible benefits of grizzled veteran catchers (see: Ausmus, Brad), and wasting untold outs on them.
The toad-man may not be great, but he's much better than Schneider.
That's just insane. Maliki just explicitly agreed with Obama's 16 month timetable. I was angry that the story has been soft pedaled to the extent it has, but what Gregory's doing here isn't just ignoring but getting the story completely backwards. Basically lying.
Much respect to Matt Drudge, whose frontpaging the headline "MAG: IRAQ LEADER SUPPORTS OBAMA PLAN" makes me seriously wonder whether I wasn't wrong to laugh at the Politico (aka Drudgico) profile suggesting that Drudge has been moving left.
He's just doing a terrible job with Gore. It's not even that he's just trying to adopt the wingnut attacks ("His house is big", "He thinks he's so awesome" etc.), it's that he's not even really doing it well enough to dictate the terms of the interview. So we're just getting Al laying his renewable energy game down. It's fine by me, I'm on board, but who's this guy who keeps interrupting him with stupid questions?
Whew. It's over. Brokaw's final gambit was to hold up the Terrorist Obamas New Yorker cover and ask "Whaddya think of this?" Pathetic.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The first question that jumps out is "Why?" That'd be like Tiger Woods going to some podunk driving range looking for swing tips. Motorola already tried stealing ideas from Motorola. It was called the RAZR 2, and no one wanted it.
What? That's not what John McCain means when he says all options are on the table?
I mean, it can't be that he's proposing a taxpayer bailout, because he's a principled conservative Republican, and they don't believe in government intervention in the free market. Plus, just this past winter he was telling the good people of Michigan that he opposed such a bailout and that some lost jobs are not coming back. And we all know that he's a man of deep political conviction and integrity. So there's just no way he'd start dropping hints that he'd compromise himself just for one industrial state's electoral votes. The press would never let him get away with it.
10 in a row has a certain ring to it. As does "tied for the division lead." Let the Phillies have their precious Joe Blanton!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Talk about being scared of your shadow.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
But I can't think of anything less enjoyable to watch than Brett Favre having a heart-to-heart with Fox's Greta Van Susteren (or any interviewer) about his future plans and his relationship with the Packers organization.
GVS: Have they offered to have you join the team as a backup?
GVS: Would that be unacceptable to you?
BF: I think probably, yes.
Me: Who could possibly give a rat's ass?
Netroots vitriol against Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) is the most latent example of their irrationality.
If you guessed misuse of the word latent, congratulations. You're not as bad a writer as Kirchick.
Those are terrifying numbers. Some of the blame falls on the press, but like Kent Brockman I'm putting the blame squarely on you, the viewer. I don't believe it's the most important criteria for president, but there's just no excuse for a voting population that pays any attention at all to think that Obama has changed his views more than McCain.
Of course poll after poll finds that voters overwhelmingly favor Obama's position on Iraq, but trust McCain more on Iraq, so I guess it shouldn't be surprising.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
What I can't figure out is why no one else has tried. As far as I can tell he hasn't officially retired. It's that no team has offered him much money to play baseball. My impression was that last year he was starting to look washed up, and there was the chronic and ultimately season-ending knee injury, but his half-season numbers were stellar: 28 HR in 340 ABs with a .276/.480/.565 line.
I understand a certain amount of reluctance to bring on the Barry Bonds media circus (taking Pedro Gomez out of cold storage, etc.), and find the guy personally unappealing myself, but for the general manager of any AL team to let him sit there, with his huge arms and head, just getting older and being pissed, while he's still capable of cranking out lots of home runs... well it borders on malpractice.
The problem with the Giants wasn't that they had Barry Bonds and he ruined their chemistry. It was that every other player on the roster was horrible. That wouldn't be the case for the Yankees. Or the Mets for that matter.
Kosuke Fukudome? I'm glad the Japanese are excited about their MLB players and all, but that's one of the least deserving All Stars in recent memory, and that's including the default representatives since they started requiring that every team gets one.
Sheryl Crow just started the national anthem... and there's the stealth bomber.
Ever since he called out the bad-even-for-FNC bunch on "Fox & Friends" for "two hours of Obama-bashing," I've been pretty convinced that the guy really doesn't want to be thought of as a right wing hatchet man, and for all I know he doesn't want to be one. I thought it was visible earlier, too, in the aftermath of his interview with Bill Clinton when he got the Big Dog a little heated when he asked "Why didn't [he] do more" to prevent 9/11. He was quoted by Howie Kurtz:
"I thought it was a fair, balanced and not especially inflammatory question... But he went off. And once he went off, there was no bringing him back. He wanted to talk about it in detail. He wanted to conjure up right-wingers and conservative hit jobs and a theory involving Rupert Murdoch that I still don't understand."
It's one thing to play dumb, but it's an entirely different matter to be befuddled by the idea not only that Fox News is run by right wingers, but that right wingers exist at all, and aren't just mythical beasts that crazy Democrats conjure up. "Why didn't you do more to prevent the deaths of 3,000 Americans?" is not even an inflammatory question? Fox News is impartial while MSNBC is in the tank? Brit Hume is an anchorman to Keith Olbermann's pundit?
These are things you'd expect a conservative commentator to suggest, but not one with much interest in being seen as a remotely credible mainstream reporter. The Obama-bashing incident, along with several other moments of earnest evenhandedness I vaguely recall, suggest that Wallace really does want to be taken seriously.
My theory is that he really just doesn't have any inkling of how illegitimate Fox is as a news organization. Keep in mind he works for a network that was just recently caught doctoring the photos of two New York Times reporters who wrote a critical piece about them, including a rather audacious nose enlargement for Mr. Steinberg.
How can he still not put the pieces together? I think garden-variety stupidity plays a part, but more than that he's a great example of the Upton Sinclair quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."
Hit jobs? By Fox?
Ed at Mets Fever sees that his most recent outing (a 7 inning shutout) was well attended by scouts, raising the possibility of his inclusion in a trade. But Ed is wary about giving away a pitcher who may be ready for the rotation next year, given the thinness of our pitching staff:
While Bay, Nady, or Holliday would be great, we could have three rotation holes to fill and only one starting pitching prospect almost ready for the majors. Any top level player will cost left handed starter Jon Niese who could be in the rotation next year if he isn't traded.
I'm not even sure how great Bay or especially Nady would be, but Holliday is the kind of guy you don't sweat some B-level prospect over. I hadn't even been aware of the rumor, so I looked it up and, per Dom D, Jerry Manuel expressed an interest in having him (duh) about a week ago, but today Joel Sherman comes along and dashes my hopes. Apparently the Rockies are aware of how good Holliday is and want more than the Mets would be able to part with.
But in general, as much as I love young homegrown talent, I'm not at all convinced Niese is good enough to be considered untouchable. He's 21, and he's been pretty good at Double-A (110.2 IP, 5 HR, 40 BB, 97 K, 3.05 ERA), which is nice, so don't flip him for Xavier Nady. But if he's the lynchpin of a deal for a Matt Holliday-type corner outfielder, Omar needs to do the damn thing.
Monday, July 14, 2008
"I was actually drinking a Bud Light when I heard, and I couldn't even finish it. That's the honest-to-God truth," [St. Louisan and former Bud Light drinker Philip McClary] said Monday.
I believe him!
Michael Calderone has a piece in the Politico that details the editorial change and gets some reactions to it. James Taranto, of the country's nuttiest op-ed board, is quoted arguing that given the abundance of political opinion writing the AP should "should emphasize what they're especially good at, namely impartial reporting."
Presumably it's not the pro-McCain stuff that bothers Taranto as much as the AP's overarching and pervasive liberal bias. (While conservatives tend to believe that literally all mainstream news outlets except Fox are indistinguishable from Daily Kos, they consider the AP an especially bad offender.) But regardless of the reasoning, he's completely right about this. The AP has gone amazingly bad, and Fournier should be sacked as soon as possible.
Of course, he was just recently promoted so that's probably not going to happen. The AP will have brought John McCain so many donuts by the time this thing is over.
Last night's win was the Mets' ninth in a row, but I'm actually still able to retain a fair amount of skepticism about the team as a whole. Relying on Nick Evans and Fernando Tatis as starters at the outfield corners, ever, is not a tenable situation.
UPDATE: An astute reader informs me that SAB Miller is a South African company, so they would hardly be in a position.
Anyway I got my TV back first and it appears the New Yorker decided to run a cover of Barack Obama in a turban, terrorist fist-jabbing Michelle, who is wearing camo and carrying an AK-47 (the Communist's weapon of choice), while an American flag burns in the fireplace.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
"Regardless of any executive proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this week," Eason wrote just after midnight, according to e-mail messages released in response to a public records request.
L.F. Eason, III, ladies and gentlemen.
I remain concerned about the Phillies, but if Mike Pelfrey really turns out to be a non-busted draft pick, as he seems to be doing, it would make a big difference. The Mets might have the better rotation regardless of whether Pedro returns to form. Hell, Orlando Hernandez is still among the living, and may be back after a few more rehab starts.
I don't have a good sense for what if any deals may be on the horizon. As I understand it from reading my good friend Toby, the elite prospect cupboard is pretty bare except for Fernando Martinez, who I gather is still "untouchable" despite having a pretty mediocre season at Binghamton. (Yeah, he's only 20 and he's at Double-A, but I have this weird thing where I like to see Top Prospects put up monster stat lines everywhere they go.)
C.C. Sabathia or Rich Harden would have been nice gets, but we really need another bat. I know this is probably a minority opinion but I think we could make use of Adam Dunn. We know JP Ricciardi doesn't want him!
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Price of Allied Capital (ALD) stock at today's close: $12.29.
"Mr. Einhorn's short position since then apparently has failed to pay off, despite his persistently promoted case that the company was engaged in fraudulent overvaluation of its loans and other assets. One likely reason is that the market simply was never naive about Allied's accounting in the first place. If anything, Allied's share price benefited from Mr. Einhorn's badgering of management to improve an opacity that caused Allied's value to be discounted in the market." [The discounting clearly had not yet begun in earnest]
"He perhaps should have been a buyer rather than a seller, then launched his critique of management. Them's the breaks. And yet his intermittently enjoyable book is valuable for several reasons – not least for prompting one to wonder why a slush bucket like the Small Business Administration (a villain in his tale) even exists." [Or the WSJ op-ed page, for that matter]
"Mr. Einhorn laments that the SEC didn't rip Allied to pieces, driving its share price to $3. How would that have been justice for investors?" [Maybe because that's the price that reflects the true value of the shares, and it would save them from throwing more money into the company's gaping maw through their regularly scheduled secondary offerings?]
If you look at the chart, you'll see the short hadn't even gone that wrong at the time he wrote it. It's not like the stock ran up in Einhorn's face. It had just failed to decline very much. So Holman W. Jenkins Jr. wasn't even right about the historical performance of the stock, let alone his theory that the market had already "discounted" the problems Einhorn has been pointing out. Corporate America needs better bootlickers.
Disclosure: I work at a firm with a short position in Allied Capital
"Though the evidence is as much anecdotal as anything else, I think the book has made a lasting mark on the culture, despite the best efforts of the lefty blogs and the liberal establishment to close ranks in a concerted effort to discredit it and/or me." [emphasis mine]
I don't even know what to say. I guess it's true that if you write a book that's intellectually odious enough, you'll attract enough attention from sympathizers (few) and people who ridicule you (many) to rightfully claim to have made your mark. It doesn't make the book or its author any less appallingly stupid.
Via Thers, who makes the "skidmark" joke that needs to be made.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
MCCLELLAN: Certainly you can't discount the large oil reserves inside Iraq and how much that plays into our national security interests and I don't think you can discount how much that plays into the vice president's thinking.
BROWN: Or his portfolio for that matter.
MCCLELLAN: Or his portfolio for that matter, absolutely with that being a former chief executive officer for Halliburton and that certainly played heavily into his thinking more so I think than the idea of transforming the Middle East into a beacon of democracy.
I was under the impression that while McClellan's book certainly had its strongly worded criticisms, it was mostly a sort of namby pamby critique of the Bush administration's "permanent campaign culture" or whatever. This is pure, uncut blood-for-oil speculation. I'm an angry blogger and even I'm reluctant to argue that personal financial gain "played heavily into" their thinking. And this is Bush's not so long ago press secretary? That's some good apostasy.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Sure enough, he does, but David Wright was not baffled. He didn't even look slightly confused. He just looked like one of the world's best hitters watching a baseball approach him really, really slowly and hitting it out of the park.
Score one for the scouts.
So that's where the recently freed hostages come down on The FARC Debate. You know, the debate about whether armed leftist Colombian guerrillas are terrorists or misunderstood freedom fighters... What, that debate isn't really taking place? But how else could this be a front page story?
"BREAKING: Saved Hostages Unsympathetic to Captors' Politics, Tactics"
Update: I see CNN has changed the headline. I'm going to go ahead and take credit.
But I give him credit for carving out maybe the coolest niche in journalism: the guy who writes scathingly negative pieces about the recently deceased. Today Jesse Helms got served, and if ever there were an easier mark...
Yesterday was bad enough. I was starting to think about switching to Verizon if they could set me up before the Time Warner tech arrived on Thursday. They have a store in the first floor of my office, too. I toyed with the idea of buying a hideously expensive wireless broadband card, which I would normally have little justification for, just to alleviate the pain.
Yeah, it's that bad. I'm a bit over a week into my first effort to quit smoking after nine years of about a pack a day, and the absence of the internet was a much bigger issue for me yesterday.
Sweet sweet digital content. Don't ever leave me again.
Friday, July 04, 2008
"How interesting an observation and acceptance is that, from someone ostensibly so opposed—conceptually and on principle—to any such easy insouciance with regard to the powers of the presidency? One has to wonder if the blogger is so focused on reassuring some that it's the intentions and goals which matter that he's failed to notice the concession. Which makes him different from those he eschews (for careless assumption of an entitlement to power and a smug 'tude toward implementation) and any more worthy of planting his flag on high ground—how, exactly?"
To respond with my characteristic "insouciance": That's Article II for ya! I'm not conceding anything I disagreed with before. I've never argued that Bush is acting outside his power by keeping troops in Iraq indefinitely. It's his assertion that his Article II power authorizes him to violate statutory laws (like FISA) if he deems it necessary for national security, his use of torture, his signing statements that purport to reserve his "right" to break the laws he's signing, and the general lawlessness of his administration that I object to. His Iraq policy per se is awful but not unconstitutional.
I don't have a "smug 'tude" towards implementation. I want our troops withdrawn from Iraq. I didn't think Bush should have invaded, etc. My point was that, unlike on legislative and legal matters, the president doesn't need Congressional approval (or approval from the generals, who answer to him) to withdraw troops, so Obama can make gestures in the direction of being more inclined to leave them there than he really is.
David Wright was pulled from the game with what was originally reported as a back injury but has been relocated to a groin injury, which he says won't cost him any more time. That's a very good thing. I don't think people realize how bad they'd be without him.
Tonight was nice, but if you can't hit 24 year old non-prospect Mitchell Boggs...
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Sure, Yankees and wannabe Yankees could grow mustaches like Jason Giambi's current gem, but why say no to the possibility of cool below-the-lip facial hair, like that sported by Billy Koch, Scott Spezio, or late career Jeff Bagwell?
It's good Jerry Manuel doesn't want to live in that kind of drab, soulless world.
If I were the raging purity troll I sound like on the FISA stuff, I'd be concerned, but I'm okay with this. For one, as Matt Yglesias points out, Obama has from the beginning left himself plenty of wiggle room on the withdrawal timeline, so there's not the same flat self-contradiction as there was on FISA.
Second, he's not selling core American values down the river. The questions of exactly when and how to withdraw troops from Iraq are practical ones. And even on the issue of Iraq the logistics are much less politically fraught than the judgment questions of "Should we have invaded?" (BO no, JM yes) and "Should we withdraw our troops soon?" (BO yes, JM no).
Given the high awareness and relative popularity of those conflicting positions, Obama might as well try to sucker as many war supporters into voting for him as possible. He's just gotta make it clear that he's no pansy. He's not going to take his army and put it away, like a good little boy after playtime. He's gonna confer with the death dealers and see if any more death needs to be dealt before he slowly, at his leisure, removes the boot from the neck of our adversary. That kind of thing.
At the end of the day, he'd be able to do whatever he wanted with the troops as president, and I don't see any suggestion outside certain corners of winguttia that he's secretly resigned to the idea of keeping a massive troop presence in Iraq for years and years.
While it's good to get more confirmation that the Bush administration has been a fundamentally criminal enterprise, I've given up expecting any day of reckoning. Bygones.
Steve Schmidt does appear to have a bit of an Erwin Rommel thing going on.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The detail that tells me he really cares: he knew when Rocco Baldelli was expected to return. I care so little I've already forgotten in the time it took me to write this. Don't they have B.J. Upton manning center field rather ably?
Anyway Dick Vitale knows the deal, but he wasn't able to elaborate because he had to tell Andrews that she was "a 15" on the proverbial 1-10 scale.
Over at AOL, our question for the day is: What do you think of Barack Obama's private promise to end strict federal oversight of the Teamsters Union? So far, 75 percent believe it's "a corrupt bargain." Only 13 percent are unconcerned. You can vote here.
So I clicked and it turns out these are self-generated polls. AOL just provides the platform and bloggers can poll whatever questions they want. The three options Paul gives the reader are: A) It's a corrupt bargain; B) I don't like it, but that's politics; and C) It's of no concern.
Voters simply don't have the option of responding positively to it. That's not to say I would, even if I were to look into the issue on Paul's say-so, which I won't, but it's funny nonetheless. Almost as funny as the question mark at the end of his post title, as if he's surprised that so many people would use such strong words to condemn Barack Obama. Who knew the rage ran so deep?
Don't let her employment as a law professor fool you. That's really the level she operates on. I'd bet any amount of money she has no idea what's actually in the bill, and that even if she did, she wouldn't care. She's an unusually stupid and incurious hack.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Child rapists, dude. He's probably against delivering hot bottled water to dehydrated babies, too.
These are not large blogs. These blogs are like this blog, insofar as it's absurd to think that Google gives a goddamn what they contain.
I, however, was curious so I went to hillaryorbust.blogspot.com. It's good stuff. One post is entitled "I Won't Sleep with Obamabots" Noted!
Another one, "An Alternative View on Iraq," reads:
I was opposed to the war in Iraq. But now that we are there, I think it's wrong to blanket promise that we can pull troops out immediately without creating a worse situation in the region. I think Obama and his supporters are naive to think that we can pull troops out at lightning speed without it backfiring. Here's an interesting take on the subject:
Why Iraqis Back McCain
Yes, that's the WSJ op-ed page she's linking to, as if the title didn't narrow down the possibilities substantially. Her last post at the blogspot URL was on Saturday:
While it appears that my "spam" flag has been removed, I cannot take the chance that it will happen again. I have moved this blog to its own domain name.
No, you wouldn't want to take that chance. Google wants you to think you're not being targeted for your anti-Obama views, but they're all Obamabots, and you won't sleep with them.
The current post at the new digs? "We Have Them Running Scared" Awesome.
h/t the Nutty Professor