Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 1, 2008
BLOG: Quick Links 2/1/08

*Bob Klapisch has a must-read (really!) article about how the Twins got backed into the Santana deal with the Mets instead of taking better packages from the Yankees and Red Sox (one is left with the impression that the Red Sox, possibly rationally, lost interest once the Yankees were out of the bidding - unlike the Yanks they don't have unlimited financial resources and have a fairly solid pitching staff at present). Via Pinto. On the one hand, the Twins' new GM Bill Smith clearly screwed up by turning down a deal involving Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and two additional prospects in December; on the other hand, the Yankees will probably regret turning down a last-minute chance to get Santana for just Ian Kennedy, Melky and one other prospect (and I say this as someone who thinks Melky has a good shot to be a real good player).

*Speaking of great reporting, Fred Barnes' account of how President Bush decided on the surge, based heavily on interviews with the president himself, is also a must-read for intelligent discussion of the subject.

*The five stages of voting in Republican primaries. Via Vodkapundit. Absolutely spot-on.

*The wages of Kelo: the Second Circuit this morning affirms the use of the eminent domain power for the munificent public purpose of bringing the Nets to Brooklyn.

*Stanley Kurtz on Waziristan past, and Waziristan present.

*This is an amazing story, if true.

*You will look long and hard for two savvier observers of presidential politics than Karl Rove and Patrick Ruffini, and their takes on the 08 scene are worth reading, especially Rove's point about exit polls and Patrick's point about the advantages of online fundraising (added advantage he doesn't mention: online donors don't show up demanding favors).

*The FBI interrogator who questioned Saddam after his capture confirms what we all knew: Saddam intended all along to retain the ability to ramp up WMD production as soon as he could, and he made a deliberate effort to appear to still have WMD capability:

Mr. Piro: "The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there."

Mr. Pelley: "And that was his intention?"

Mr. Piro: "Yes."

Mr. Pelley: "What weapons of mass destruction did he intend to pursue again once he had the opportunity?"

Mr. Piro: "He wanted to pursue all of WMD. So he wanted to reconstitute his entire WMD program."

Mr. Pelley: "Chemical, biological, even nuclear."

Mr. Piro: "Yes."

*Great move by the Yankees snagging Morgan Ensberg. Ensberg has had his struggles lately and granted he will be less useful as a first baseman, but his combination of power and patience makes him a potentially very useful bat.

*Color me un-shocked that Clinton crony Strobe Talbott would be duped by Soviet agents.

*The real DB Cooper, unmasked? Nah, he would never have stolen paper currency just months after Nixon took us off the gold standard.

*Mark Steyn rightly takes McCain to task for his hostility to making money in the private sector. I think John Hinderaker has the better of the argument about preferring McCain to a novice politician like Romney on foreign affairs - unlike Steyn's example of Hillary, McCain is a longstanding, indeed life-long, foreign policy hawk who has no illusions about the likes of Putin (I believe he once said he looked in Putin's eyes and saw the lettters "KGB"). And Pejman properly takes McCain to task for misrepresenting Romney's position on timetables and the surge, which is a shame because there really is a fair contrast (see here and here) on the fact that McCain was a longstanding, vocal leader on Iraq strategy while Romney played the role of a cautious follower who always kept his options open to bail on victory in Iraq for the greater good of getting himself elected.

*Andrew Ferguson on Fred: brilliant. Ruffini's Fred postmortem is also worth reading.

*This video about Hillary's role on the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart will likely hurt her mostly in the primaries, and certainly doesn't scandalize me. But it's amusing and interesting on a few levels, not least the accent she was using back then. There's also a lesson about what drives journalists; biases are one thing, but when Brian Ross mentions that he covered this story 16 years ago, it's pretty clear that returning to it now is about Ross' career more than about Hillary.

*I know this is wrong, wrong, wrong, but it was emailed by a friend (I'm not sure what the original source was) and cracked me up:

hillaquiddick.JPG

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 PM | Baseball 2008 • | Basketball • | Blog 2006-13 • | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Eminent domain for the New Jersey Nets: read all about it at www.secondcircuitcivilrights.blogspot.com.

Posted by: steve at February 1, 2008 1:18 PM

I would believe almost anything incredible by Jerry Pournelle. It's also a plug for the books (especially 20 years ago) that he and Larry Niven wrote. The Mote in God's Eye and Lucifer's Hammer are among the most brilliant science fiction novels ever written (I give the top nod to Asimov's The End of Eternity), and their rewriting of Dante's Inferno was a delight.

OK, you gave us a sampling, so here is a nice, random one. At breakfast this morning, the guys behind me (we are all regulars), a bunch of blue collar guys, who would normally be talking Super Bowl (I'm in a NY suburb, and they are Giants fans) were instead discussing the debates. Better than any pundit. This is the first time since, I'm not sure when, maybe what 1964? that folks really do care, I think will turn out in large numbers, and are really looking at all sides.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 1, 2008 1:35 PM

I imagine Smith called Cashman about the deal and Cashman went to Crazy Hank and said, "The Twins say they're going to take this crappy deal from the Mets if we don't do something else pronto." At that point Hank went apoplectic, threw stuff across the office and screamed, "I won't be lied to any more!!! They won't make a fool out of Hank!!" Cashman calls Smith and says he doesn't believe him. Smith calls Epstein about the Mets deal, Theo asks what the Yankees had to say about it, for some reason Smith actually tells him the Yankees aren't countering, Theo says his mom is on the other line and will call him back in 5 at which point he boards a plane to Istanbul. Isn't that possible?

Posted by: jim at February 1, 2008 1:39 PM

Dammit! This reading list just ended my weekend plans, I can only hope to finish by the time the Super Bowl starts Sunday night.

Posted by: Dodger Steve at February 1, 2008 2:45 PM

1. Barnes is pure shill...this blog should be above highlighting him.

2. More important, I believe the Prez' recent signing statements are the biggest challenge to our Constitution in a long time. Even (perhaps especially) conservatives should initiate a hue & cry.....

Posted by: AttorneySteve at February 1, 2008 2:54 PM

Amazing truely amazing...

Posted by: Free Sports Picks at February 1, 2008 3:40 PM

It's 4:30 pm and we don't have a deal yet...

Posted by: A.S. at February 1, 2008 4:29 PM

After the FBI agents comments on 60 Minutes, is there any debate about the need to take out Sadaam when we did? If we had waited, we would have faced WMD and taking the country would have been much more difficult and many more lives would have been lost. Just one more reason that history will be VERY kind to W.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 1, 2008 4:40 PM

Crank: Great links today. Barnes' column was incredibly detailed. Ruffini and Rove both hold their own, two masters of messages. Strobe Talbot and his One World Order nonsense should have landed him in an orange jumpsuit, along with most of the people who "served" the Clintongue presidency. No surprise he was always working against America. I suggest a fund drive to buy him a one way trip to Club Gitmo.

If Klapisch's sources are accurate, that whole trade scenario is amazing. I think that column was the first time I've read anyone say something about Santana's "questionable" health.

Posted by: Dodger Steve at February 1, 2008 5:21 PM

I keep hearing the "surge is working" the "surge is working" as if a few months of a downturn in violence, expected regression to the mean just like Magglio's batting average will decline this year, means that (1) there's a long term political/security apparatus in place, and (2) the war was justified from the outset. It means neither, its a desperate attempt by the hawks to hold onto power in this election cycle with spin spin spin. Why is it so hard for Repubs, particularly the neo-cons, to EVER say mea culpa, we were wrong and deceitful on this mess and we really dont know the proper way out. Staying there for 100 more years? McCain's addled, absolutely addled.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at February 1, 2008 7:26 PM

I keep hearing the "surge is working" the "surge is working" as if a few months of a downturn in violence, expected regression to the mean just like Magglio's batting average will decline this year, means that (1) there's a long term political/security apparatus in place, and (2) the war was justified from the outset. It means neither, its a desperate attempt by the hawks to hold onto power in this election cycle with spin spin spin. Why is it so hard for Repubs, particularly the neo-cons, to EVER say mea culpa, we were wrong and deceitful on this mess and we really dont know the proper way out. Staying there for 100 more years? McCain's addled, absolutely addled.

Posted by: dante at February 1, 2008 7:27 PM

Sorry madirishman.
Forgive me if I don't buy the BS the FBI agent is tossing around.
Did you see that interview? Who was that interviewing him, Cheney?

Saddam wasn't trying to hide his WMDs. He gave the UN a 12,000 page report on exactly what happened to the WMDs on 12/7/2002. He also invited UN inspectors into Iraq to verify he no longer had WMDs.
Bush lied plain and simple. He lied when he said Saddam wouldn't come clean on the WMDs and wouldn't let UN inspectors in to search for WMD programs. Bush is the one who threw the weapons inspectors out of Iraq (or suggested they leave Iraq before he bombed the country), and this clown on 60 Minutes bought W's lies hook, line, and sinker. Shameful.

A lot of people (including Edwards and both Clintons) thought Saddam had WMD programs. But Bush is the one who lied when he said Saddam wouldn't tell the truth about his WMDs and threw out the weapons inspectors.
Between those lies (to start a war) and his spying on American citizens without a warrant (a direct violation of the Constitution of the United States), there is enough to impeach the guy at least twice.
Yet we still have a member of the "liberal" (LOL) MSM touting W's lies to the American public. The whole lot of them should be brought up on war crimes.

Posted by: Robert in BA at February 1, 2008 7:30 PM

The surge IS working and you can tell because when you watch the nightly news, left wingers like Couric aren't showing you the slain soldiers and their body count ticker. You're allowed to hate Bush and the GOP and the so called neo cons, but this administration has been protecting you and you have not been attacked since 9/11.

Posted by: Right Now at February 1, 2008 7:35 PM

Thanks for the above, that made no sense.

Posted by: jim at February 1, 2008 8:53 PM

The news media has covered Iraq about as well as the Twins front office handled the outplacement of Johann Santana

Posted by: ironman at February 2, 2008 8:02 AM

Robert, the interview was by Scott Pelley and he nis NOT a COnservative. It was clearly stated that Sadaam intended to restart his program. And, Yes, I did watch the interview. I was shocked with the accuracy 60 Minutes allowed on this subject.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 2, 2008 10:36 AM

Well Irish, maybe the news media actually does try sometimes to be right. However, the WMD were clearly going to be aimed at Iran; with a long term goal of controlling oil. So yes, the war was about oil. Because it is a world lifeline, and the idea that a national policy is built around a commodity that is needed for plastics AND fuel is insane.

But back to the surge: so just how desperate for suicide bombers are those cannibals that they need to use handicapped people? That is, in a very sad and sick sense, a good sign.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 2, 2008 11:12 AM

This is probably the best evidence yet that the surge has seriously damaged the insurgants.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 2, 2008 7:13 PM

Saddam had "plans" because the politicized FBI tells you so, and Morgan Ensberg has patience and power. Man, what you guys choose to believe is amazing.

Posted by: AstrosFan at February 5, 2008 10:52 AM

I admit to writing this before actually reading the Barnes article, but he has written an encyclopedia worth of fantasy analyses of Bush. How could you believe at this point anything he writes n the subject?

Posted by: Magrooder at February 6, 2008 8:22 PM
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