Swinging on America’s J-Curve

June 4, 2010

I think I’m going to lose it if I have to listen to one more person talk about how America’s fiscal problems are a “failure of the political class.”  You hear this every Sunday on the major talk shows, David Brooks writes some variation of it every other week in the back of the New York Times, and most of the Washington journalistic corp not only buys into the idea, but all of them seem to think they invented the concept because they were the last ones to write about it.

It’s complete nonsense. Whatever shortcomings you might ascribe to America democracy, that the Members of Congress are ignoring a massive pubic outcry  is not one of them. As if somehow the problem is that all the people want nice balanced budgets and a reduced public debt, it’s just that the politicians won’t deliver it to them. Please… Read more »


Perfection calls Perfection…

June 4, 2010

Vin Scully calls the 9th inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, September 9, 1965.

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On Jim Joyce and this generation’s Harvey Haddix…

June 3, 2010

I’m pretty sure that everyone who grew up playing baseball has been supremely jobbed by an ump at least once in his life. I was standing on second base at Krank Park in Albany when the 1989 county little league championship game ended. My West Albany Little League lost 1-0 to City American Little League after Josh Myrtle struck out with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Two pitches earlier, I had scored the winning run when Josh sent a no-doubter high down the left field line and into the south-side night.I was halfway between 3rd and home, trotting with my hands in the air, before I realized they were sending me back to second. Foul ball, my ass. That thing was fair by 20 feet.  And everyone in the park knew it. Even the ump. But he didn’t change his call. And Krank Park still doesn’t have tall enough foul poles. Years later, when we were playing Babe Ruth, Josh was still bitter. “That was my last little league at-bat. That fucker ended my childhood.”

Fast forward to last night. Five thoughts, in no particular order:

1. There is no question in my mind that perfect-game attempts are the most exciting thing that one can randomly happen upon when you’re sitting around watching otherwise-meaningless regular-season sports. Normally, I might choose a Golden Girls rerun over having to watch every pitch of a A’s-Rays game, but make it a perfect game in the 7th inning and I’ll be afraid to go the bathroom. And the Internet / cable TV revolution has made it so much more likely that you’ll be able to get to the game live. I’ve seen all three this month, and it’s been great. Read more »


On southern nationalism…

June 1, 2010

There’s a house in my town that prominently flies the confederate battle flag on a flagpole in the middle of the front yard.

Now, that’s not something you see every day in northern Virginia. Sure, seemingly every highway here is named after Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, or Robert E. Lee. And yeah, many of the high school mascots are still “Rebels.” But all that stuff… Read more »


On the idea of “anti-incumbency”

May 18, 2010

You really can’t swing a dead cat around the chattering class these days without hearing about the “anti-incumbent” situation both political parties are facing this primary season and then this November. It’s really become the CW of a wide stripe of armchair political analysts, both the (over)paid type on TV and their counterparts at your water cooler. Judging by those two bellwethers, you’d think that most of the House was in serious danger of losing this fall.

I agree  that there’s something very interesting (and perhaps quite unusual) going on right now in American electoral politics. But I’m skeptical that “anti-incumbency” is the right word for it.The supposed evidence has significant flaws: there was no incumbent running in PA-12. there’s no incumbent running for Senate in Florida. There’s no incumbent running for Senate in Kentucky. The Pennsylvania Senate race featured an incumbent who was facing a new primary electorate for the first time.

But, you say, what about the other primaries? Read more »


Research Note: On Walking Out

May 17, 2010

Order of southern walkout at the 1860 Democratic conventions in Charleston, SC and Baltimore, MD: Read more »

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Supreme Court Justice Venn Diagram #3: Antonin Scalia

April 4, 2010

Previous Venn Diagrams


John Roberts, 3/30/12

Clarence Thomas, 3/29/12


Michele Bachmann, 12/22/11

Newt Gingrich , 12/19/11

Jon Huntsman, Jr., 12/20/11Up

Willard Mitt Romney, 12/21/11

Rick Perry, 12/23/11

Herman Cain, 12/25/11

Rick Santorum, 12/28/11

Ron Paul, 12/31/11

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