Pick Your Favorite Lindsey Graham Face

RS: Pick Your Favorite Lindsey Graham Face
Look, Lindsey Graham is what he is by now. He’s a serious voice on national security, whether or not you agree with his neoconservative point of view. He’s also an irritatingly moderate figure on many other issues, especially given that he’s elected by deep-red South Carolina. He’s the only serious, influential figure on the undercard stage, given that none of Huckabee, Santorum or Pataki has won an election in the past 13 years. Really Graham should quit this race, and the undercard debates should be brought to an end, as we get closer to the voting. But as long as they go on, we may as well get a few laughs from them. So pick your favorite face Senator Graham (R-SC) made in tonight’s debate:

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BLOGS: Oh, my; plus, ‘I’m intolerant of intolerance’

Posted by Ricky West

I told myself that I wouldn’t turn Crank’s site into a blog that talks about other blogs, but all I can say is…..wow.
Also, a tangential comment about this:

Hate dominates like the Celts in the East
Michelle Malkin wants to snitch
Like you tell the police
She ought to be shot

Not the lyrics and not anything about Malkin. Heck, the real crime to me is that people are still buying into the shinola that is hardcore rap (save yourself the effort), but for some reason it reminded me of an old episode of Politically Incorrect, the Maher show that at least tried to entertain instead of spread propaganda, where a no-name rapper was there to discuss the issues of the day (yeah, probably alongside Carrot Top). Anyway, the guy got around to admitting that he and his group were communists, not long after Maher had held up the band’s CD and urged people to purchase it at their local retailer, since the rapper was there as part of the band’s junket.
Reminds me of the young groupies following Rage Against the Machine (who rocked, by the way) and their willingness to adhere to the words urging them to stick it to the capitalist powers that be. Apparently, a part of the mechanism for the impending Marxist revolution was purchasing RATM CDs, shelling out cash for a moshpit-laden concert and making all the band members millionaires. What, you believed the lyrics?

The worst player in the majors?

Scott Boras, infamous for being a first-class jerk who nonetheless is constantly able to garner big bucks for his clients (often much more than they’re worth), may have been able to offset some of the bad PR throughout the entire A-Rod debacle, where he came out the big loser. He was able to snag a $36 million dollar deal (2 years) for Andruw Jones, who statisticcally appears to be the worst player in the majors. Say what you will about Boras, and there’s not much positive that I can conjure, but knowing that his client is guaranteed well into fiveeight figures next season is quite a feat when you consider that with the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, Jones has lost his grasp on the 4th outfielder’s slot in Los Angeles.
The year-to-date figures are staggering when one considers that Carlos Delgado almost matched the home-run and RBI figures in the Mets game of June 27.

Ricky normally doesn’t blog very much any more at blog.rjwest.com, but in his spare time he enjoys baseball, fantasy baseball, Baseball Tonight on ESPN and knowing that he can renew Tim Lincecum for a pittance on his fantasy team next season. On the downside, he realizes that Andruw Jones would probably be the third outfielder on this season’s Braves team. Plus, his phone service has been on the fritz for about 18 hours, so he’s hoping that he’ll be able to provide Crank with some material early on in his well-deserved vacation.

Walkoff Trivia

Baseball-Reference.com (which, by the way, just debuted a brand new updated-thru-2007 minor league stats page with stats going back to 1992, including helpful all-on-one-page listings by franchise/year – see here for the 2007 Mets farmhands), has a breakout of the 8 walkoff homers to end a postseason series. There’s a bunch of fun ways to do the trivia on this one (e.g., name the pitchers), but try this: 7 of the 8 came in tie games. Which was the only one hit from behind?

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Tear Down This Wall

Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan then stood much where George W. Bush does now – 6 1/2 years into his term, rejected at the polls the prior November, facing a Democratic Congress and a hostile media, mired in battles with Congress over scandal, increasingly overshadowed by the coming Presidential race, abandoned by many of his best subordinates, given little credit by elite opinion for a long-booming economy. But Reagan had one big advantage: he was Reagan. And so he seized a moment to make history: “Mr. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Powerline has more, including video of the speech and Reagan’s decision to override nervous Nellies at the State Department:

The day the President arrived in Berlin, State and NSC submitted yet another alternate draft. Yet in the limousine on the way to the Berlin Wall, the President told Duberstein he was determined to deliver the controversial line. Reagan smiled. “The boys at State are going to kill me,” he said, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

Of course, this was itself a call Reagan had been making for two decades, witness this line from his famous 1967 debate with Robert F. Kennedy:

I think when we signed the Consular Treaty with the Soviet Union, I think that there were things that we could have asked in return. I think it would be very admirable, if the Berlin Wall, which was built in direct contravention to a treaty if the Berlin Wall should disappear, I think that this would be a step toward peace, and towards self-determination for all the peoples if it were. And so, I think that what you’re bringing up here, and this ties in with something that Bill Bradley said, and it’s very significant–among people of good will in the world today, there is too much of a tendency to argue challenging or suspecting the other fellow’s motive, when perhaps what we’re challenging is only the method that has been suggested. Let’s start with the premise that all people want peace, and not suspect that anything that someone else suggests is a plot. For example, we don’t want the Berlin Wall knocked down so that it’s easier to get at the throats of the East Germans. We just think that a wall that is put up to confine people, and keep them within their own country instead of allowing them the freedom of world travel, has to be somehow wrong.

How Bad Has Adrian Beltre Been?

Well, let’s just put it this way: Dodger fans have been less than impressed with Norihiro Nakamura and his .369 OPS. But Beltre hasn’t exactly been tearing it up himself. In fact, though his OPS is at least above .500, other metrics suggest that he’s closer to the futility of the former Japanese superstar.


Jose Valentin has been superior to both, posting a .722 OPS, 2.8 VORP, and 3.9 RARP. Surprisingly, however, his contributions have not come in the form of power; he only has 2 homeruns with his .164 ISO. Rather, they have come in the form of plate discipline, as his 16 walks and .364 OBP suggest. He’s also the league leader in pitches per plate appearance: 4.41. This ranking isn’t as anomalous as it may appear, since his career P/PA is just slightly under 4.0.

Update: For additional comments, see this post by the new and insightful Blue Think Tank.

One For The Ladies

Drezner and Michele discuss the relative paucity of female bloggers among the tippity-top of the A-List of bloggers who influence the media. Michele asks:
Lots of stuff going on today about women in the blogosphere. Are females underrepresented? Has Wonkette become the media’s official spokesperson for the female portion of the blogosphere? Are we destined to just be cute and adorable playthings? Or is the whole idea of sexism in blogs just a manufactured tale thought up by people who just aren’t making the time to find blogs that aren’t already on their small links list?
Well, looking over my own blogroll – which, given the concentration of baseball blogs, is bound to be male-dominated – I see five female-authored blogs (Michele, Bookworm, Erin O’Connor, Meryl Yourish, and Jane Galt), plus NRO’s Corner, which is male-dominated but moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez, one of the most active contributors to the group, and The Command Post, at which Michele is one of the ringleaders. Other female bloggers I’ve linked to – only sporadically – would include Dana at Note-It Posts, law blogger Denise Howell of Bag and Baggage, Baldilocks, Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, and, of course, Wonkette. Not nothing, but clearly a minority.
Here’s the thing: at the dawn of blogilization (late 01-early 02), the leading blogs were overwhelmingly white, male, bespectacled, between 30 and 50, pro-war, centrist/libertarian on domestic issues, and dominated by academics and professional writers, especially those with ties to the New Republic (Reynolds, Sullivan, Lileks, Kaus, Volokh, Marshall, Goldberg, den Beste, Welch, Jarvis, C. Johnson . . . each of them hits several if not all of these points). The image stuck, and those guys ascended to a sort of firmament.
While people have to be pretty dim to ignore the likes of Michele, Jane Galt, and Yourish, Wonkette is indeed one of the few female bloggers who has the paid position, journalistic background, etc. to get instant credibility with the media – other female bloggers tend to be civilians, as it were, rather than journalists or academics (Merritt may be something of an exception, as a sometime TV pundit).
You see, in the blogosphere, when it comes to influencing the media, there are still two classes of bloggers: the credentialed in-crowd and the civilians. Bloggers who are professional journalists are in the in-crowd, however much they may (like Sullivan) maintain a contrarian pose that costs them with employers inside journalism. Bloggers who are academics get the entree as well; besides having jobs that permit them to blog at length during business hours, journalists respect academics. Look at how Drezner slid easily into a column at The New Republic. (If you’re young enough, like Matt Yglesias, you can write your way into the in-crowd. If you’re old enough to have a job and a mortgage, you’re out of luck).
My conclusion here: Michele is among the best and brightest of the “civilian” bloggers. And we ought to be a happy bunch, since we’ve come a long way from the days when civilians had no hope of getting published. But except for Wonkette, few female bloggers are part of that in crowd. The fault isn’t the blogs themselves; it’s the who-you-know nature of journalism.
(It may also be that fewer women are interested in writing political blogs; Yglesias explains the gender gap as it pertains to men vs. women following politics).

Nick The Sick

Nick Johnson’s hurt again, and this time it’s back trouble, which underlines the fact that the Expos got jobbed. Johnson was a great prospect once, but I foresee a career that looks more like Cliff Floyd or JD Drew than Jeff Bagwell or Jim Thome. Which is still useful, but no Hall of Famer. (The downside is if the back trouble eats into his power).
On another, neither here-nor-there note, the Baseball News Blog now links to us as “Baseball Frank.” Can I get that on a bun?


Speaking of the Agonist, he also had this revealing map of our support in Europe for war in Iraq. It’s mostly spot-on, although the Irish seem to be leaning towards support. Also, the Turks should be purple – they’re not neutral, just unwilling to support war until they are certain it’s almost here, for pragmatic reasons that are far more sympathetic than those of, say, the Belgians. Not only will they eventually support us, but unlike the French & Germans, their help will be militarily crucial. And reports Friday indicate that their support is coming out in the open now that we are clearly going to war.


I go back and forth on the death penalty. I’m 100% certain that it’s morally appropriate to put terrorists to death; that’s really no different in my mind from killing soldiers as they invade your shores. The nature of terrorism, moreover, is such that a terrorist remains a threat even in prison: a threat of becoming a cause celebre. a threat of indoctrinating others, etc. Plus, terrorists are notoriously hard to deter; any weapon at hand must be considered. There may be cases where it’s more prudent not to execute terrorists, but as long as we are agreed that the only question is what is prudent in our own best interests, we’re on the same page.
Beyond terrorism, I have my doubts, mostly about the point at which it becomes impossible to reconcile being pro-death penalty and being a pro-life Catholic. And clearly, the situation in Illinois suggests that the criminal justice system there may have had more than its fair share of flaws. But one thing remains true: the more I see and hear from opponents of the death penalty, the more I tend to support its continuation.
Outgoing Illinois Governor George Ryan has commuted the sentences of everyone on death row, more than 160 people, mostly murderers. I haven’t followed the individual cases, but apparently Governor Ryan hasn’t either; he just decided that the Illinois justice system was so broken that no death sentence could be trusted. Convictions, yes; not death sentences. Many of those spared were people about whom there was no doubt as to their guilt; if there were some cases of wrongful convictions, however, their bids for release from life in prison fell on deaf ears.
There are a lot of arguments out there, but I can’t get past this one question: if George Ryan really didn’t have the time or the moral courage to face up to the individual cases and decide between those that deserved clemency and those that should go the way the jury sent them, he had a simple option: just focus on the most obvious abuses, and let his democratically elected successor – Rod Blagojeoveohcihsch – handle the rest. Executions aren’t being carried out; there was no urgency to the matter. The people elected a new governor, and one from the party that is traditionally more skeptical of the death penalty. Why could the people’s choice not be trusted with this duty?

Trent McCain

Trent Lott’s BET appearance, embracing affirmative action in its every form and effectively promising to support reparations for slavery, is his McCain moment. McCain is still a Republican in many ways, and belongs in the GOP caucus. I voted for him in the primaries, and I’m still not convinced he would not have made a good president himself. But McCain is totally unfit to be Majority Leader because remorse over the Keating Five scandal has driven him to crusade against his own party’s position on a significant issue – campaign financing – which in turn has led him to fall in with his new ideological bedfellows on other issues of greater public importance.
Lott’s new embrace of racial preferences and the like may well be a sham – it probably is – but Republicans can’t run the risk of being led by another McCain, a guy who pours buckets of boiling scorn on his own party out of guilt.