October 26, 2002

The wise and merciful Eschaton advises those of us who view the loss of Paul Wellstone as the national tragedy that it is to buy the late Senator's book, Conscience of a Liberal, an idea with which I wholeheartedly concur. The title, interestingly enough, refers to a classic tome written by the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, a conservative whose integrity and honesty were much admired by Wellstone. In fact, the reaction of those on the right to the Senator's passing has been heartfelt and deeply emotional: several GOP Senators were in tears when they discussed his death, and just in this little corner of the media known as the blogosphere, a number of my more conservative brethren have been especially eloquent in their memorials. What strikes me about most of these elegies is how personal they are; rather than paying innocuous tribute to some politico's "integrity" or to legislation he passed, these tributes all seem to be about the man himself, about ways in which he touched them, even if they disagreed with him. In short, conservatives seem to have viewed Wellstone with much of the same respect and appreciation that liberals felt towards Goldwater, a feeling which speaks to the underlying humanity within each of us.
This is what they call a "vote of confidence". Mike Scioscia, facing an elimination game tonight, has pulled Ramon Ortiz from his seventh-game starter role, and intends to use the Dominican-born pitcher tonight in relief. Obviously, Scioscia does not believe Kevin Appier is going to last long, a not unreasonable prediction based on the way Frisco lit him up in Game 2. If the Angels somehow outscore the Batterychucks tonight, John Lackey, a rookie who was called up in July, will start Game 7.

October 25, 2002

Here's a very touching elegy about Senator Wellstone written by, of all people, Peggy Noonan. The same tone that I tend to find so annoying when she writes about issues and politics really works in this context (via Cursor)

UPDATE: For those of you googling over, thanks to Charles Pierce, the aforereferenced elegy was one she wrote before his memorial service. Pierce is referring to a piece she wrote afterwards, a more typical one for the Dolphin Queen, which used the convention of Wellstone meeting past Democratic icons in Heaven to denounce the living.
Of particular importance for me was Senator Wellstone's yeoman work in delaying the passage of the odious "Bankruptcy Reform Act" currently before Congress. In 1998, he was the only dissenting vote in the Senate on the measure, which was subsequently vetoed by then-President Clinton. With a Republican President poised to sign the more recent version, his task became more difficult, but he rose to the occasion grandly, as this speech shows. Preserving the people's right to a fresh start in our bankruptcy courts ought to one of his greatest legacies.
Although the temptation is great to view the tragic death of Paul Wellstone this morning through the prism of how it affects control of the Senate, my immediate feeling is that his loss is one too terrible for liberals to bear. Even if he had lost his reelection bid, he still would have been one of the more inspiring public figures of his generation, a man who never backed away from taking an unpopular stand. He will be dearly missed.
GAME 5: Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. CRAP. Crap. Crap.

October 24, 2002

My first visit to a dentist in over a decade (sorry, my ancestors were English) confirmed the bad news I had been trying to avoid, that I have several cavities, and that the metal fillings on my other cavities would have to come out. Also, that my lower left pre-molar would need to have a crown, but I kinda knew that already, since it broke in half during the sixth inning of Game 1 Saturday, and had been slicing a hole in my tongue ever since. My compliments to the dentist, who actually got his education and training in the old Soviet Union, for the very professional manner in which he examined me, after he confirmed that I had insurance.
Excellent synopsis in TAPPED of recent GOP efforts to intimidate black and Native American voters by fabricating "voter fraud" controversies. In light of what happened in Florida two years ago, when a concentrated effort to remove black voters from the rolls on the bogus (and factually incorrect) ground that they were "felons", the media would do well if it considered the source the next time these allegations arise.
GAME 4: Giants get lucky, scoring three in the fifth set up by an infield hit and a fair/foul/fair bunt single, and the winner in the eighth following a passed ball, to beat the Angels, 4-3. The Angels' offense stunk after the 3rd inning; this time it was the Giants that kept blowing scoring chances.

Having been burned before on making predictions on teams I care about, I will avoid doing so here, but this pundit feels that the winner tonight better be the Angels, or they're cooked. I can see his point, but I would also add that Baker may have made a questionable move starting Reuter in Game 4 rather than tonight, and not Jason Schmidt. Under that format, Schmidt could have come back on three days rest and pitch in Game 7, if necessary. Instead, after tonight, the Giants lose their ace for the series, and will have to pitch Hernandez instead; a big factor, if you saw the Angels tee up on him in Game 3 (the other move would be to bring Reuter back on three days rest).

October 23, 2002

Next to follow the Anna Nicole route: Angeline Jolie ?!?
Freed from the burdens of having to attend any campaign fundraisers this morning, The Governor and Mrs. Bush paid a visit to daughter Noelle this morning, the first time they had seen her since she was sentenced to jail last week. Although they couldn't be troubled to attend her sentencing hearing last week, they did show they had their priorities straight when they permitted a campaign contributor and family friend to visit her over the weekend.

October 22, 2002

GAME 3: Again, Anaheim has no problem solving the Giants' starting pitcher, and breezes to a 10-4 victory that wasn't even as close as that score would indicate, as the Angels left 15 runners on base. Ramon Ortiz looked sluggish in the opening inning, ran out of gas in the fifth (when he allowed homers to Aurillia and, natch, Bones), but still got the win, and the Angel middle relievers faced only one batter over the minimum in four innings. K-Rod and Troy both got the night off, and should be rested for Game 4, which features two rookie starters. Long live our benevolent ruler, Rally Monkey !!
One of the first things I do every morning is link to "The Note", ABC's on-line posting of political gossip, news, and data. Its filled with snarky asides, and is very much the fave with bloggers who specialize in snarky asides. However, one annoying habit it has is to play up the Beltway spin about the political drift of the country; much of the time, it reads like a Karl Rove blastfax. In the past couple of weeks, it has hyped "scandals" involving Democratic Senate candidates in Iowa and South Dakota, long after those stories were discredited or minimized. The typical "Note" will usually begin with how Iraq is completely dominating the news cycle, so therefore the American people aren't going to be concerned with the rotten economy, and will elect a GOP Senate.

Nevertheless, I still like reading it, since it does give good gossip, but this morning it did something that I absolutely despise in journalism. It granted anonymity to a source for no good reason. In case you don't bounce obsessively around the internet, or don't subscribe to the Washington Post, the big political story today concerned an article published this morning by Post political writer Dana Milbank, which basically stated that the President is a liar. Not in those words, of course; this is the new, right-friendly, Don Graham Post, but still, saying the Boy Prince has a "malleable" interpretation of the truth is awfully close to the hated "C-word". The story itself wasn't extraordinary for being a scoop, but for the fact that it was published at all.

The reaction by "The Note" was as follows: it quoted a "senior Administration official" who blasted Milbank and took exception to the claim that three of the examples used in the article were dishonest. So why, may you ask, was the source not quoted by name? After all, whoever said it wasn't going to lose his job for defending the President. It wasn't under oath. He didn't defame Dana Milbank. I doubt his life will be in jeopardy.

As I see it, there were two reasons why the "senior Administration official" would be granted anonymity. One, it's Karl Rove himself, and printing the attack under Rove's name would confirm what most of us already believe, that "The Note" is basically his spinsheet (not to mention the fact that Rove does not have the best reputation for veracity either). Or two, their anonymous source is someone with so little credibility that printing his name would diminish the credibility of the assertion. It's kind of like when a sportswriter refers to what "informed sources" say about a player from Georgetown or UCLA around draft time: his informed source could be Jerry West, but more likely it's Donald Sterling, and giving the source anonymity allows him to publish whatever he wants without losing credibility in the eyes of his reader. After awhile, of course, the reader begins to mistrust much of what he reads.

Well, in any event, it's a pet peeve of mine. I just wish the news media would show its cards a little more often. After all, they are in the truth business.
I don't think the Supreme Court decision to permit the California Coastal Commission to compel public rights-of-way through private beachfront property will have much effect. The Commission is one of the most corrupt entities in American politics, having much in common with traffic ticket collection in Brooklyn or construction permit approval in Chicago. The governor (or the Speaker of the Assembly) typically appoint their flunkies and hacks, who are expected to defend the interests of private beach owners on the coast. With this governor, it will be a warm day in Frisco before he allows the Coastal Commission to pave a bike path through David Geffen's back yard, even if it does belong to the public.
Either the life of an econ prof is really sheltered, or the estimable Paul Krugman laid an egg with this morning's column. It may well be true that SEC lawyers have to type their own briefs, and do their own copying. In the real world, most lawyers (and almost all good lawyers) do the same, including the lawyers at the megafirms that represent the stock cheats the SEC lawyers are prosecuting. That has become routine in the era of the personal computer and the internet; no one dictates anything to a secretary anymore, unless you want to find yourself replaced/passed over for a promotion by an attorney willing to do the work herself. Secretaries still do much of the routine clerical work, such as filling out court forms, assemblying and copying multiple pleadings, debriefing clients, etc., but the average attorney can expect to spend most of her day in front of a monitor (unless she's at a depo, in which case she will spend the afternoon in front of a laptop). It's not simply a matter of cost or convenience; an attorney needs to type everything important simply to maintain a high level of quality for his work. One of the most important classes I took in high school, and the only one that had any real-world applications to the practice of law, was a one-semester typing class in the 10th grade (btw, the rest of Krugman's column is dead on; in matters of policy, Bush is the most dishonest President since Nixon).

October 21, 2002

Some random thoughts about American foreign policy: if the reason we're not picking a fight with North Korea, but might go to war with Iraq, is that North Korea claims to have nukes, whereas Iraq doesn't, which we only know because the North Koreans themselves admit having nukes, not from any intel the CIA might have, what's to stop Iraq from claiming that it's now a nuclear power; wouldn't that mean we'd have to give peace a chance with the Iraqis as well. Also, if the principal reason we aren't fighting North Korea is that they are a threat and could fight back, whereas Iraq isn't now a threat, but could be in the future, aren't we simply wasting resources fighting Iraq that could better be used against North Korea, a country that actually has weapons of mass destruction (of course, North Korea is not an oil exporter). Just asking....
GAME 2: Outstanding !!! Angels take BP off the vaunted Giants' pitching staff, K-Rod shuts down all nine batters he faces on only 27 pitches, and Percy, after giving up the obligatory home run to Bones, gets the save in one of the highest scoring (and longest) games in World Series history, 11-10. For all the talk about how this was a must-win for the Angels, the pitching match-up last night was the one that probably most favored the Giants, with their best starter going up against the least effective starter in the playoffs for Anaheim. So far, the Angels have showed no fear pitching to Bonds, who has not backed down himself. Of interest now is the Game 4 starter; with Lackey pitching two innings last night, will the Angels come back with him on Wednesday, or do they pitch Washburn on three days rest?

October 20, 2002

GAME 1: Tough loss, with the Angels blowing numerous chances and losing 4-3. Washburn didn't back off from pitching to Bones, for all the good that did. I seem to remember that one of the neat things about the first World Series game at each city would always feature a complete introduction of the team rosters, much like the All-Star Game, rather than just the starting line-up. It gave the fans an opportunity to cheer the team as a whole, from stars to utility players. I don't know if its one of the things they have given up for TV, but they don't do that anymore. Also, no TV coverage of the first ball: I guess if you're not a President, Fox won't show that ritual--so sorry, Mrs. Autry. I'm hoping that the pattern of the first two series holds, and the Angels can recover from a Game 1 loss, and give SoCal another title (Way to go, Galaxy. Viva, Carlos Ruiz)