6/15/08 Quick Links

*The idea of a steroid blacklist is not implausible, but it’s not the simplest explanation, especially where Barry Bonds is concerned: it seems more likely that no team wants the PR headache and distraction of the disgraced, indicted Bonds. And with guys like Jay Gibbons, there’s the double issue of “will he still be any good if he’s not juicing?”
*Will Carroll on Secretariat:

Here are the important numbers:

Big Brown (2008 Kentucky Derby): 2:01:82
Affirmed (1977 Kentucky Derby): 2:01 1/5
Secretariat (1973 Kentucky Derby): 1:59 2/5

I don’t need the advanced numbers like Beyer Speed Figures to see what’s at work here. Big Brown won two legs of the Triple Crown, possibly aided by steroids, but he wasn’t as fast as the last Triple Crown winner, and he wasn’t as fast as horse racing’s Babe Ruth. Steroids didn’t make a horse into Superman. Horse expert Michael Hindman said it better than I could:
Secretariat would be Babe Ruth if Babe Ruth had once hit 90 homers in a season and no one else has ever hit more than 50. The gap in physical ability between him and all other thoroughbreds is unlike anything else in sports history. Put it this way: Secretariat was capable of hitting 600-foot homers. Secretariat’s 35-year-old Kentucky Derby record time still stands, and nobody has ever come close to it. His 35-year-old world record time at a mile and a half set in the Belmont has never been challenged by any horse ever, anywhere. He ran his mile and a half in 2:24. No other horse–anywhere, ever–has broken 2:25.3. That means that the second best time at a mile and a half, ever, would have been eight lengths behind him. Secretariat also set the world record at a mile and an eighth. He ran once on the grass and set a track record at Belmont Park (again at a mile and a half) that still stands 35 years later. Secretariat ran against and beat the crap out of at least five other Hall of Fame horses. Big Brown is beating one of the worst crops of three year olds ever. By the way, we’ve used Winstrol and Equipoise on horses from time to time over the years, and as far as I can tell it doesn’t do much for them other than run up the vet bill.

*Drill, drill, drill. It’s not the long-term answer, but it’s appalling that the U.S. insists on preferring to import Saudi and Venezuelan oil rather than do the sorts of routine oil exploration and development that’s done everywhere else in the world. Note Gingrich’s point about offshore drilling in enviro-conscious Norway.
*The NY Times on the dangers of an inexperienced candidate for president. You know, a lot of Bush-hating liberals respond to questions about Obama’s experience by noting Bush’s relative inexperience compared to some past candidates…but even if you insist on ignoring the advantages Bush had over Obama, I have to ask: are you saying now that Bush worked out just fine? Because that wasn’t what I heard from you up to now.
*Yes, McCain’s been busy already in key swing states.
*Excellent 3-part interview with Justice Scalia here, here and here. One excerpt:

In the course of writing the book, you and your co-author, Bryan Garner, consulted more than a dozen judges. Did you learn anything about the habits of your colleagues?
We learned an awful lot from them. Stuff that I didn’t know. For example, the part about judges who retro-read.
Read the briefs in reverse.
Yeah. If you’re really in a hurry and you don’t care about how the lawyers have slaved to make sense out of stuff, it saves time because, as the case goes along, it gets narrower. You pare down. It’s good if you really want to find the kernel of a dispute. I didn’t know that a lot of judges did that. I don’t do it. I don’t think it’s fair to the lawyers.

I’d have to think that would be counterproductive in a lot of cases where the briefs are loaded with references back to complex facts and defined terms in the beginning, but it’s a caution to lawyers to consider how a brief looks like from the back to the front.
*Free speech is so un-French.

7 thoughts on “6/15/08 Quick Links”

  1. “*Drill, drill, drill. It’s not the long-term answer,”
    So, a few things on this.
    * The entire “drilling” solution assumes there is a supply problem. There is not. There will be in time, but not now – and it can’t be judged till there is some price stability
    * Increasing supply does not mean price would drop, as the majority producers (OPEC) can cut back if needed.
    * Only volatility would be changed, at best
    * Kudlow ignores completely that the current price of oil is due to speculation, which everyone is aware of. Why not suggest something to do with that, first, which would change things much faster?
    * Oil off of Florida vs. Saudia Arabia would not matter, as it would be extraction cost+transport. If it is still cheaper to buy from Venezuela, that is what will happen. Tariffs anyone? This is the reason wells have been capped in Texas for a long time
    * Norway has both a 50% tax on oil sale profits(in addition to corporate income tax), and a gas tax 10x the US rate(aside from land leasing rate) – hey, you want Norway, you get Norway? OK then, I’m ok with the Federal Government ramming down close-shore drilling on states, and skipping states for BLM regulation.
    * Throw in insurance to protect from a Santa Barbara type spill 45 miles from Miami. At least until trust can be rebuilt
    * Norway also is going towards dramatically reduced emission levels, due in part to their policies. Can I get that as well?
    And most importantly – realizing that the majority of these problems would not make a difference for at least 10 years, in anything. If they make one by then

  2. “You know, a lot of Bush-hating liberals respond to questions about Obama’s experience by noting Bush’s relative inexperience compared to some past candidates…but even if you insist on ignoring the advantages Bush had over Obama, I have to ask: are you saying now that Bush worked out just fine?”
    Heh, I love this. Experience didn’t matter in 2000, good advisers were all that was needed. Now, it does! Why do I have a feeling that this narrative is customized to the candidate? If Jindal gets the nomination in 4 years(more likely 8), think we’ll see this pop up?
    And as to the question – experience didn’t wasn’t in the top 5 criteria then, and it isn’t now, and hopefully it won’t be. Flexibility, ability to learn, knowledge of how the world works, and any number of leaning on people to juggle policies is more. Let alone the ability to show good judgement.. honestly, the list goes on, all of which make a difference.
    Cheney + Rumsfeld had reams of experience. Could anyone say they have done a superior job?
    And really – do you really want to build this up in the case Eric Cantor is selected as VP, or someone with similar lack of experience?

  3. I would contend Man ‘O War was a greater horse than Secretariat (as compared to their contemporaries) even though Man ‘O War didn’t win the triple crown. But, it’s kind of like picking between Babe Ruth and Ted Williams on hitting ability.
    (In my mind, Jindal already has more real experience than Obama has.)
    I’ve always been told by judges that they only read the beginning of the brief, not the end.

  4. Oops. Looks like Senator McCain needs a bit more staff work to explain to him what his positions are.
    Excerpt: “A couple of weeks I noted that John McCain didn’t seem to understand what a cap and trade system was, despite the fact that he not only advocates such a system, but has actually co-sponsored legislation to create one.”
    Maybe he should adopt your drill all the time proposal.
    The full post is here: https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/06/there-he-goes-1.html

  5. Man O’ War might have been greater than Secretariat under modern conditions, but–from what I’ve read–he was never really allowed to cut loose like Secretariat was in the 1973 Belmont. He didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby because his owner didn’t believe in running three year olds that early in the season. The one race he lost, it was because it was in the days before starting gates, and he was facing the wrong way when the race was started–he still finished second by only a half length. In other words, there isn’t enough concrete evidence to say that Man O’ War was better, but there are reasons to believe that his record–as astonishing as it was–doesn’t tell the whole story as far as trying to rank him against Secretariat.

  6. I agree that there is no real way to compare Man O’ War and Secretariat. Completely different eras and they were treated completely differently. I have a hunch Secretariat would win a match race simply because he probably had better training, better nutrition, better competition, etc.
    But, then again, winning 20 out of 21 races is hard to ignore.

  7. No! Don’t drill! These alternative technologies are never going to take off unless there is sufficient demand. High oil prices make these technologies more attractive to consumers.
    Unfortunately, my position doesn’t win many votes. I see the Republicans really pushing this drilling thing in the general election, and voters who are no doubt suffering from high oil prices will find that an attractive solution.

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