Archive for July, 2008

Manny from Heaven

Posted on July 31st, 2008 in Uncategorized | 23 Comments »

The Red Sox have traded slugger Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here’s my question about Jason Bay, the outfielder with basically equivalent stats the BoSox got in return. He’s been rookie of the year and an All-Star (twice). 

So why has he now been traded four times?

And here’s the question AL East watchers will want to know the answer to: Is this basically good or bad for Boston?

A final note: Hours after the trade has happened, there is nothing on the Boston Globe website. (And no, Boston.com doesn’t count.) Pathetic. Or maybe just sad.

A final, final note: It is very Yankee-like of the Red Sox to simply eat $7 million of Manny’s contract. 

John McCain Bites the Hand that Feeds Him

Posted on July 31st, 2008 in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

The GOP presidential candidate is running an ad that compares Barack Obama to Paris Hilton.

(Because, you know, being a married-with-kids African-American Columbia and Harvard grad whose entire career has been devoted to public service is pretty similar to…Paris Hilton.)

Oops! Turns out Paris’ parents have donated $4600 to McCain this year.

One is starting to come to the conclusion: John McCain is an idiot.

Gratuitous Paris Hilton photo.

Epstein in Prison

Posted on July 30th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The New York Post reports that pervy billionaire and Harvard insider Jeffrey Epstein is spending his time in prison e-mailing models and “promising them career help.”

Let’s hope they’re over 18!

Sox Fans and The Greatest Game

Posted on July 30th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

For what is generally a semi-literate group (kidding!), Sox fans have, interestingly, probably been more supportive of The Greatest Game than have Yankees fans.

Maybe Yank fans take that season for granted; maybe Sox fans appreciate that the book reinterprets the narrative of that season in a way that is generally favorable for Boston.

Or maybe it’s just easier to be generous when your team is kicking ass this decade.

In any case, the blog Fenway West has some nice words to say about TGG.

As a Sox fan*, I don’t agree with the title of the book because no game can be the greatest if the Yankees come out on top. However, Bradley reminds us that the 1978 playoff game was not just Bucky F’n Dent’s home run nor Yaz’s pop up for the third out in the ninth anymore than the ’86 World Series was just about Buckner. There were so many other storylines to the season and the game like Matin and Jackson’s relationship or Mike Torrez on the mound for the Sox to face his former team that he believed never appreciated him.

The Greatest Game is a good read and something Red Sox and Yankee fans could enjoy as we get closer to the 30th anniversary of the game.

Thanks, Sox fans!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Virtually no one who’s read the book has picked up on the fact that I don’t argue that the 1978 playoff was baseball’s greatest single game; what I do argue is that baseball itself is the greatest game. Okay, it’s subtle. But the theme of the tension between playing baseball for the love of the game and the way free agency was changing the sport is probably the book’s dominant thematic storyline.

More on LHS, Math, Boys and Girls

Posted on July 30th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 36 Comments »

We seem to be having a lot of Larry Summers news lately, but don’t blame me: For better or worse, the man makes far more news than does his replacement (which will be the subject of a later post).

Anyway.

There’s been some interesting second-guessing about how the media reported on that boys-and-girls-are-the-same-at-math study. The MSM almost uniformly declared that the study showed that boys-and-girls-are-the-same (you get the point) and went out of their way to remark on the Larry Summers incident and say that the study proved Summers wrong.

Except…hold on a minute. Listen to the Wall Street Journal lede:

Girls and boys have roughly the same average scores on state math tests, but boys more often excelled or failed, researchers reported.

…The researchers, from the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, didn’t find a significant overall difference between girls’ and boys’ scores. But the study also found that boys’ scores were more variable than those of girls. More boys scored extremely well — or extremely poorly — than girls, who were more likely to earn scores closer to the average for all students.

Since that’s pretty much what Summers said in his infamous Cambridge talk, shouldn’t the consensus MSM story have been not that the study proved Summers wrong, but that it actually supported his argument?

Canada’s National Post says,

Unfortunately, journalists of both sexes tend to not be math geniuses. Few of them anywhere on the continent noticed that [the study’s] data actually come a lot closer to supporting Mr. Summers’ hypothesis than they do to refuting it.

The blog Marginal Revolution (new to me) also argues that this UC-Berkeley study shows that Summers was right.

….consistent with many earlier studies (JSTOR), what this study found was that the ratio of male to female variance in ability was positive and significant, in other words we can expect that there will be more math geniuses and more dullards, among males than among females.

Fascinating comments after the post, by the way.

I’m no expert, so I won’t comment on the nature or existence of differences between boys and girls in math aptitude. (Nancy Hopkins, are you there?)

But I do know something about the media, and it seems to me that the general spin on this study has been inaccurate—which, dare I say it, looks like it may be the result of the authors’ politics, and the way that they spoonfed the story to the MSM.

Larry Summers in the Washington Post

Posted on July 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

The former Harvard president continues to show that Harvard is paying him $400k or so a year for doing virtually nothing other than campaign for a return to Washington in an Obama administration.

(Whether that’s a reasonable investment for Harvard is, actually, an interesting question.)

In this Washington Post editorial*, Summers argues that it’s good for the government to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, although there’s room for argument, but “no one should suppose, however, that the issue is satisfactorily resolved, even for the short term.”

The editorial proposes a plan under which the government would place strict operating conditions on these government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.

The government would operate the GSEs as public corporations for several years. They would then be in a position to extend credit where appropriate to support resolution of the housing crisis. Once the crisis has passed, the federal government would divide their functions into government and private components, the latter of which would be sold off in multiple pieces. The proceeds could be used to fund the low-income housing support activity that was previously mandated to the GSEs.

I don’t know enough about this issue to evaluate Summers’ plan. What strikes me, though, is how much better he seems speaking out about economic issues than about social issues generally.  Is that because he knows less about social issues than he does economic ones…or because I (and much of the public) know (or think we know) more about social issues than we do about how the economy works?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

* This is actually Summers’ regular column from the FT, which, somehow, he placed in the Washington Post as well. Hmmmm….that’s sort of unusual for both organizations. What does it mean? Probably that Summers really wanted it in the Post…..

Tuesday Morning Zen

Posted on July 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

From Sunday night’s Yanks-Sox game at Fenway Park, to which a friend was good enough to invite me. That is, of course, Derek Jeter at the plate.

Tragically, the Sox won, and the endurance of that injustice required true zen on my part. Not to mention the quiet tolerance of being surrounded by tens of thousands of bloodthirsty, thuggish, semi-literate Sox fans.

(One of whom, seated behind me, repeatedly suggested that Boston pitcher Jon Lester—man, he’s good—hit various Yankee batters in the head. Stay classy, Boston!)

And here was another injustice: Fenway Park stopped selling beer halfway through the fifth inning. (Apparently Sox management knows their fans.) As I was desperately seeking a tall cold one, I bumped into two other Yankees fans in search of the same liquid respite, and we shared a few moments of bafflement together. “What kind of p***y town is this?” said one, and we agreed that Boston was, in fact, lacking in manliness.

On the other hand, Fenway Park, Yanks-Sox, seats between home and first, a cool summer night, in the heat of a pennant race…. You can’t ask for more than that!

All right, that’s not true. I could ask for a Yankees sweep. But I will settle for two out of three at Fenway. And the race, as Jerry used to say, is on!

“Personally Offensive”

Posted on July 27th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

That’s what Red Sox owner John Henry said about Manny Ramirez’s allegation that the team wasn’t being straightforward in dealing with his contract. 

True dat.

But you know what else is offensive? And not just personally, but to the entire world community? 

The way Red Sox fans cheered when some lame Sox reliever hit A-Rod on the arm with a pitch that looked like it would have hit Rodriguez in the head if he hadn’t twisted himself out of the way. 

Rodriguez was clearly in pain after being hit; the Sox fans—a lot of them—burst into delighted applause.

Now, that’s class.

I can honestly say that I’ve never heard that reaction following the same play in Yankee Stadium.

Don’t get me wrong: I can understand that the Red Sox wanted to retaliate after Joba Chamberlain’s knockdown of ugly man Kevin Youkilis. Fair’s fair. So you hit A-Rod with a curveball to the thigh—not a neck-high fastball.

But either way, it’s not something to cheer about.

Thankfully, the Yankees won the game 10-3. Last one tonight! What with two straight losses to the Yankees, one a blow-out and won a shutout, mightn’t the Sox be just a little demoralized? 

 

 

Joba!

Posted on July 26th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

My, that was a fine baseball game last night, and even better because the morally superior team won. Beating Josh Beckett and shutting out the Red Sox in Fenway Park—I’m going to live off that (at least until today’s game). 

What’s happened to the Yankees since the All-Star break? Well, Robinson Cano has finally started to hit. Derek Jeter has picked up his performance a notch. 

But really, it’s just been the pitching, which has been awesome, and last night, Joba Chamberlain had one of those games that not only validates the decision to move him out of the bullpen into the starting rotation, but suggests that he’s going to be a great pitcher for a long time to come. Seven innings, just three hits, and nine strikeouts. Heaven. 

(My, he really doesn’t like Kevin Youkilis, though, does he? Not that I can blame him—like many of the Red Sox, Youkilis is a terrible, terrible human being; plus, he looks like he wants to be your best friend in prison) but Joba should probably lay off those pitches in the head and neck area. Scary!)

And then my guy Jason Giambi drives in the only run with something you see less frequently from him than you see the Sox getting shut out at Fenway: an opposite-field single.

Even Sox fans will agree that this was a terrific baseball game. Let’s hope that the next two are equally good…and that the morally superior team continues to come out on top. 

(By the way, Mike Lowell is ridiculous for arguing that called third strike so vehemently. Sure, it was borderline. But what’s the point of getting yourself thrown out of the game?)

P.S. The Yankees made a trade! And it sounds like a good one: They get an outfielder having a career year and a left-handed reliever, which, astonishingly, they lacked, in exchange for four minor-leaguers. 

And Just To Give You Something To Look Forward To

Posted on July 25th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Variety reports that the third “Harold and Kumar” movie is in development….

First film garnered a cult following, earning $18 million domestically in 2004 and generating more than $30 million in DVD coin. Sequel, which cost $12 million, earned $14.9 million its opening weekend before topping out at $38 million. “Guantanamo Bay” is set for release on DVD on Tuesday.