Terry Francona says, "Read DCAT's blog!!!"
Can someone please explain to me how Virginia Tech is ranked ahead of Boston College? The two teams play in the same conference. They have the same record, as both teams are 10-2. And they played once this year. Boston College won. And so what we have here is a case in which the voters (I realize there is the computer component to consider as well) have decided, despite what has happened on the field when the two teams played, that Virginia Tech is better than Boston College despite the fact that all things are equal and Boston College won when they met on the field. The experts have chosen to place themselves above the action on the field. And yet at the end of year we are supposed to believe that things have worked out because the very people who have a say in the system tell us that they have finally gotten it right.
I realize that neither Boston College nor Virginia Tech is going to be in the national championship picture. And I realize that BC and Virginia tech will meet again tomorrow in the ACC championship game. But if the supposed experts can allow this pretty clearly unjustifiable glitch in the system to happen largely because of their own belief that their opinions matter more than what has happened on the field, how can we take them seriously as the final arbiters of a system that everyone else knows is flawed?
Soon enough I'll be making my case for Hawaii's deserved place in the BCS Championship game (if they hold up their end of the bargain in the last game of the regular season at home against Washington tomorrow night).
The Know-Nothings today are spoken of with disdain, but their attractiveness to voters was once a powerful political phenomenon. One of Romney's predecessors as governor of Massachusetts, Henry J. Gardner, was elected three times on the American Party (the "Know-Nothing") ticket. He had plenty of company: In the 1854 election in Massachusetts alone, the Know-Nothings won every statewide office, every seat in the state Senate, virtually the entire state House of Representatives, every seat in the congressional delegation, and a slew of local offices.
It wasn't a party of single-issue yahoos. The Know-Nothings opposed slavery, supported greater rights for women, expanded constitutional liberties, mandated paid legal counsel for poor defendants, increased aid to public schools and libraries, enacted numerous consumer protections, and cracked down on corruption in public office.
But who recalls any of that today? The Know-Nothings are remembered now for one thing only: the anti-immigrant bigotry they inflamed and exploited for political gain.
Giuliani and Romney are not single-issue yahoos either. But they are letting their hunger for power overwhelm their better judgment and decency. Recklessly bashing illegal immigrants may score them points with one angry segment in the GOP base. But what are they doing to their party's reputation - and their own?
I live in the Southwest where the issue of immigration is more than just a cynical topic to scare white suburbanites and I find Giuliani and Romney's conversion to represent facile opportunism. There is no easy solution to this issue. But demonizing immigrants strikes me as a vicious and craven way to approach immigration policy. Texan George W. Bush understands this, and I don't give the president all that much credit on many issues. I don't entirely agree with Bush's immigration policies either, but at least he is making an attempt to find a solution within a context where any policy is going to lead to deep dissatisfaction.
The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.But rather than representing false conservatism, doesn't Huckabee represent one of conservatism's two distinct wings in a party that has an increasingly divided Big Tent? Novak has a distinct view of what conservatism is, and his version certainly long held firm. But conservatism also now "is," to some degree, its socially conservative, religious evangelical wing as well. For so long the Democratic Party had to balance disparate and often conflicting constituencies. The rise of conservatism in the last third or so of the twentieth century as uch as anything capitalized on the Democratic inability to maintain that balancing act by drawing some of that constituency toward the GOP. Think, for example, of Reagan Democrats. But the rise of the religious right appears not to have strengthened the Republican party by making it bigger, but rather to have created a divide among conservatives and the party within which they long have felt comfortable.
As for the book, Klein writes:
“Gonzo” is a wonderfully entertaining chronicle of Hunter’s wild ride, but it is also a detailed, painful account of his self-destructive immersions; the brutality he visited upon his wife, Sandy; and the anguish of a life that veered from inspired performance art to ruinous solipsism.I'll certainly read Wenner and Seymour's book at some point, but even before I do, I'm sure I'll revisit some of Thompson's work. With the election coming up, I may well go back to Thompson's tour de force, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, 72, which reveals Thompson not only as the doyen of Gonzo journalists, but also as an acerbic, uproarious, and astute political observer.
But one aspect I find interesting is that i simply do not care about the postseason awards now. For years, the award season was all that Red Sox fans had to salvage a season that went awry sometime between June and late October. Now? Let Sabbathia win thew Cy Young Award over Josh Beckett. Anyone who watched the postseason knows who is the better pitcher. Let Eric Wedge win Manager of the Year. We have Terry Francona, the only manager ever to win his first five World Series games as a manager (he is at eight and counting). I hope ARod enjoys his MVP award (and his new contract. Way to take a tough stand, Hank Steinbrenner. Punk.). Big Papi will just have to wait to size his second World Series winners ring.
Waterboarding, known ironically in earlier times as "the water cure", remains -- in the view of this administration and many supporters -- not torture. And if it's not torture, then it's not cruel and unusual punishment or a violation of due process.
But here's the rub.
In 1926, the Mississippi Supreme Court called the water cure torture. No qualifiers. No hedging. Just plain, good ol' fashion torture . . . and therefore a forbidden means for securing a confession. These men were hardly a group I'd call *activist* or *liberal* and certainly not bent on subverting our country in the name of coddling criminals.
Baseball, more than most sports, reflects the times in which it is played. Rules change, ethics shift, and one era’s decisions become another’s poor judgment. Sometimes the judgments of the day are merely questionable; often they’re exercises in hypocrisy. If, in an age when Barry Bonds, a seven-time mvp, can be demonized strongly enough to dull the lustre of the all-time home run record, it seems only fair to apply the same kind of critical scrutiny back through the ages, to re-examine the “great” feats of yesteryear.This is one of those cases that we can never solve completely. But it just should remind us that we are on a slippery slope when we start trying to invoke asterisks for modern-day records, or when we privilege the past over the present.
One can choose to believe that Joe DiMaggio ran the equivalent of a nine-second 100-metre dash in 1941. But to do so one must neglect the fact that his race was timed not by an impartial third party, but by a friend of his — an admirer, a co-worker — and that it took place at a time when America badly needed heroes. Was the streak the most singular sustained accomplishment in the history of sport or the work of a collective imagination seeking a new mythology?
LAPHAM'S QUARTERLY sets the story of the past in the frame of the present. Four times a year the editors seize upon the most urgent question then current in the headlines - foreign war, financial panic, separation of church and state - and find answers to that question from authors whose writings have passed the test of time.
I read. A lot. It's sort of a professional imperative. And I love much of what I read -- scholarship, political commentary, reviews, and so forth. And yet there are certain writers whose work will always get me to stop what I am doing. Hornby is one. Chuck Klosterman is another. Both write readable, sometimes mesmerizing prose with a distinctive voice and worldview. Their work is quite removed (in many ways -- Hornby's Fever Pitch did influence Bleeding Red and I am writing a review essay in which Hornby's High Fidelity and several of Klosterman's books feature prominently) from anything I write about or teach. Some probably see them as fluff, but I don't buy that.
Accessibility should not be a bad word. Scholars in all fields (history is far from the worst) need to absorb this message. Clear, crisply written narrative history ought to be the gold standard in the field. Even for those writers whose narrative strengths do not measure up, the goal of clear, readable prose still should be foremost. Most writers could learn something about their craft from Nick Hornby.
That term is used to describe several interrogation techniques. The victim may be immersed in water, have water forced into the nose and mouth, or have water poured onto material placed over the face so that the liquid is inhaled or swallowed. The media usually characterize the practice as "simulated drowning." That's incorrect. To be effective, waterboarding is usually real drowning that simulates death. That is,the victim experiences the sensations of drowning: struggle, panic, breath-holding, swallowing, vomiting, taking water into the lungs and, eventually, the same feeling of not being able to breathe that one experiences after being punched in the gut. The main difference is that the drowning process is halted. According to those who have studied waterboarding's effects, it can cause severe psychological trauma, such as panic attacks, for years.
The United States knows quite a bit about waterboarding. The U.S. government -- whether acting alone before domestic courts, commissions and courts-martial or as part of the world community -- has not only condemned the use of water torture but has severely punished those who applied it.
Oh -- and I'm sure those of you who aren't Boston sports fans are thrilled that four consecutive SI covers have had Boston teams on them. (Pats twice, Sox once, C's once, all wholly justifiable.)
Someone help me figure out what to think of an article that has a paragraph like the following (and if you think I'm not using my puzzlement to promote this teaser, you really don't know me after all these years):
All royal courts of the day had their dwarfs. King Sigismund-Augustus of Poland had nine dwarfs while Catherine de’ Medici had only six but actively encouraged those six to engender more. Vitelli, a Roman cardinal, amassed thirty-nine to serve as waiters at a special dinner. But it was during the reign of Charles I, king of England from 1625 until he was beheaded by his people in 1649, Leslie Fielder claims, that “the erotic cult of the Dwarf” reached its peak and was perhaps most sumptuously embodied by all eighteen inches of Jeffery Hudson, whom Charles presented to his young bride hidden beneath the crust of a cold pie.Mmmmm. Pie.
This unintended homage to newspapers is merely my way of directing you to Sally Jenkins' column today in the Post's sports section, which is easily one of the five best in the country. I probably would not have discovered it had I not been flipping through that sports section this morning. It provides the best non-Boston, non-Pats-fan perspective on the various pseudo-controversies swirling around the Patriots these days. It really is a fantastic column.
Now I need to go check out the op-ed pages. And then wash this damned ink off of my hands.