The Rangers still suck.
If you work in the world of finance, as I do, there's a phrase that gets drummed into your brain. "You must avoid anything that is a conflict of interest or an apparent conflict of interest." What would constitute a conflict of interest is, I think, fairly obvious. Don't accept gifts that will sway your decision on a contract. An apparent conflict of interest is one where, even if it doesn't sway your decision, it could appear to a reasonable person like it might. So you don't accept gifts over some nominal limit from potential vendors at all.
None of what we're talking about is actually illegal. Just unethical. If you accept tickets to the World Series for you and your family from a potential vendor, you won't go to jail. You won't be charged with any crime at all. You may well be fired, but that isn't a legal punishment.
So when I read about the number of judicial candidates who donated money to Republicans in decision-making capacities while they were judicial candidates, the first phrase that pops into my mind is "apparent conflict of interest." It might even be an outright conflict of interest, but at a minimum, it is an apparent one. Judgeships shouldn't be up for sale, or even look like they're up for sale. I hear that too often they are rewards for patronage of different sorts, which is despicable. The judiciary is meant to be a check on the executive and legislative branches. If they're doled out as repayment, then what kind of check do we have? It's exactly this kind of behavior that enables the executive branch (read "George W. Bush") to think they can simply take whatever powers they want, the other branches of government be damned. If you're willing to simply ignore the legislature and have the judiciary in your pocket, why worry about anyone putting a stop to your power grab?
As citizens, we need to send a clear message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. If you live in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York, here are the politicians you should be wary of: Senator George Voinovich, Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Rick Santorum, and Governor George Pataki. I left Senator Mike DeWine off the list, even though he is discussed in the Salon article, because it seems he returned all the money. You can't stop someone from making a contribution. You can return it. DeWine did the right thing, at least on this issue. Santorum is up for re-election this year. I hope his opponent makes this an issue. It looks like Santorum is going to lose regardless, but this should still be made an issue.
Specter isn't up for another four years, but don't buy his BS that "it's just not possible to know everybody" who donates to his campaigns. Of course it's not, but there aren't that many judicial candidates he's nominated. It's not that hard to scan through the database of contributors on a regular basis for their names and return any contributions. Specter also trots out the "but it doesn't actually sway my decisions" tripe (that's my paraphrase, not an exact quote). Even if that's true, it's still an apparent conflict of interest. It's called "ethics", Arlen. Look it up.
Oh, there's one more Republican politician who accepted contributions from judicial candidates - George W. Bush himself. It starts at the top.
Read an article in today's NY Post that the Sci Fi Channel is developing a prequel to Battlestar Galactica. Set 50 years in the past, Caprica traces the development of the Cylons, those mean nasty toasters that have the human race on the run in BSG. It's touted as a family drama, not a sci-fi show; still, I can't wait for this to air. BSG is awesome!
Blue Moon, our wedding song. We had the band play the American Standards version. I've always loved the Doo-Wop version, but never paid much attention to the lyrics until I heard the Ella Fitzergald version. I think it's a perfect choice for a wedding:
Blue moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I could really care for
And there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms would ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked the moon had turned to gold
Blue moon, now I'm no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Couldn't more aptly sum up how I feel about finding Judy (and how she feels about finding me).
If you're not a member of my family or one of my friends, feel free not to go below the jump.
I love you all dearly, but there is one thing you must stop. Now. I regret ever mentioning to you that A and I are going to Paris next week. There are things that people do in Paris other than elope or get engaged.
I was very excited about going to Paris with him, but you are all doing your unintentional level best to ruin it for me. Because when I discuss it with you, and the "elopement" or "engagement" question gets, inevitably, raised, I feel like I'm disappointing you when I tell you that we are not eloping, nor will we getting engaged. I feel like somehow I'm failing at what I am constantly reminded must be my central mission in life as a woman - to get married.
I have accomplished quite a bit in my life. I have a bachelor's degree and an MBA. Both with distinction. I spent a month in France in high school, and a trimester at Cambridge in college. I have a very successful career. I'm always there for all of you when you really need me.
I do have a wonderful boyfriend, whom I love very much and who loves me. Maybe we will get married some day. Maybe we won't. I don't know. I hope we will, but I don't know. But if we do, I will be doing it for me. So leave us to work it out on our schedule. If it becomes a problem for me, I will let you know. It is not a problem for me right now. So stop making it one.
Over at The Corner, a friend of K-Lo e-mails her the following about Jim Webb's book:
Race is over. Finished. Done. Webb is toast.
Yes, it's only fiction, but that bit about the father and his naked son is so despicable that the sensible people in red Virginia will certainly "go home" and support Governor Allen.
I think Webb even loses some of the independents in Northern Virginia with these revelations.
Maybe you guys in Manhattan are desensitized to this filth, but the people of Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, Fredericksburg, etc., aren't. And no way will these voters EVER accept the argument that it's only fiction.
So, let's do a check. Jim Webb writes a piece in a novel about an apparently common cultural practice in Vietnam that he observed while he was a Marine. Not something he made up. Something he witnessed that he felt was important to the context of the book he was writing. (Incidentally, John Cole notes that one of Webb's novels is recommended reading of the Marine Corps).
George Allen insults a man of color using the racist term "macaca". He professes a great fondness for the Confederate flag, even though he's not from the South originally. He has connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist group. Apparently there's something that K-Lo's friend the conservative activist thinks the people of "Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, Fredericksburg, etc." are desensitized to.
Oh, but there's no Southern strategy. No, nothing to see here. Move right along.
Gary Sheffield is one unhappy camper. What's new? He's blustering how he doesn't want to play first base for the Yankees on a one-year deal or go to another team without a contract extension. Now in fairness to Sheff, the critics who say his position on the Yankees picking up his option has been inconsistent - he fumed in spring training when they didn't pick it up and is fuming now when they're ready to pick it up - his situation has changed. He thought he would be the right fielder next year, not the first baseman. The Abreu trade shifted the landscape. Still, Gary the Mouth should shut his. You have no leverage, Gary. None. You signed this contract without a no-trade clause and with a fourth-year team option. Your choice. Now you threaten to cause problems if it's picked up without additional years added to the end or you're forced to play first base? Tough noogies! You have no choice. It's either play or don't play. Cause problems and you kill your chances for a new contract. Cause problems and don't produce, and you kill your chances at 500 homeruns and a ticket to Cooperstown. So really, Gary, what I'd like to see more of from you is less. Go away and be a headache somewhere else.
Cross posted at THTRB.
Stumping for Republican candidates in the days leading up to the election, W. insists that the Democrats can't be trusted to control Congress because they have no cohesive plan for winning in Iraq. All you hear from Democrats is a mix of ideas and paraphrasing him that they'll cut and run before the job is over. An interesting position from a man who clearly has no plan himself. What exactly is his strategy for success in Iraq? If he has one, I'd like to hear it. Up until recently, it was stay the course, even though staying the course was getting us nowhere except deeper into the morass. Now he advocates flexibility and a series of benchmarks for gauging when it's safe to turn things over to the Iraqi government. Yet the Iraqi government publicly disagreed with W. this week over his policy and timetable for removing U.S. troops. They claim to be on the same page now, but that's just a public dog and pony show. I'm sure there are deep divisions, and how can W. have a plan if the Iraqi government doesn't support it? Even if he has a plan, it's been a miserable failure up until now. Can he truly be trusted as the person to lead us to victory? Wasn't he, after all, the one who claimed mission over when it was and is nowhere close to being over? Isn't he the one who's insisted on the same policy all these years even though it clearly was the wrong course?
I don't know what the right course of action is. Maybe the Democrats have competing visions for winning over there. Still, I'd like to see an alternate plan of action to the plan we've had up until now. Since the Republicans have flopped thus far, I'd like to see how a different party would handle the situation. The Democrats deserve the opportunity to come up with a cohesive strategy of their own, not that it would do much good anyway. Whatever approach they advocate won't have the support of the President, whatever legislation they pass will be vetoed with no possibility of override. We're stuck until a new President with a new vision comes into office. Will he or she have the answer? I don't know, but whatever happens, it would nice to see something new.
LaRussa appears to be speaking English, but I can make no sense of his words:
This was a huge game and he was our biggest hero," La Russa said of [pitcher Jeff] Weaver.
If the right has its way, the Foley scandal will go down in history as a bunch of nosey bodies getting all worked up over a few salacious e-mails and IMs. Worse, an invasion of privacy that should chill the blood of all of us, because you never know when our IMs and e-mails might be used against us! [On this point, I'm going to say if anyone is sending out salacious e-mails and IMs from work, you should be worried about that. Your e-mails and IMs are almost certainly being logged by your employers, and they have every right to be concerned about what you do with their equipment on their time that might get them sued.]
Case in point: The blogger and commenter I mentioned in a post last night. The highlights, again.
Blogger: "...but if a few vulgar IMs can send the media into a major fit for nearly two weeks..."
Commenter: "At such a critical point in our history for the campaign to be centered on such trash as a Congressman's salacious instant messages..."
Another case in point, Camille Paglia. It almost makes me want to cancel my subscription to Salon. [Spare me pointing out that Camille Paglia is a Democrat. I know that. However, if she wants to be taken seriously as a liberal, she can cease parroting the talking points of the right.]
The Foley scandal exploded without any proof of a documented sex act -- unlike the case of the late congressman Gerry Studds, who had sex with a page and who was literally applauded by fellow Democrats when they refused to vote for his censure. In the Foley case, there was far more ambiguous evidence -- suggestive e-mails and instant messages. Matt Drudge, to his great credit, began hitting this issue right off the bat on his Web site and radio show. What does it mean for Democrats to be agitating over Web communications, which in my view fall under the province of free speech? It's a civil liberties issue. We can say that what Foley was doing was utterly inappropriate, professionally irresponsible, and in bad taste, but why were liberals fomenting a scandal day after day after day over words being used? And why didn't Democrats notice that they were drifting into an area which has been the province of the right wing -- that is, the attempt to gain authoritarian control over interpersonal communications on the Web? It's very worrisome and yet more proof that the Democrats have lost their way.
Now let's talk about what Foley actually did. He sent sexual IMs and e-mails to minors, something which was illegal under a law he helped pass (Great Irony's Ghost). Even if the age of consent in DC was a factor here, there is still something creepy and wrong about 50-year-olds engaging in sexual relations and communications with teenagers. Just because something's legal doesn't mean you should do it. Adults are supposed to watch out for children and teenagers, not exploit their lack of maturity. But let's ignore that. We wouldn't want to spoil the fun of adult men.
He also sexually harassed pages and former pages. Yes, he did. Not just hostile environment sexual harassment either. Quid pro quo sexual harassment. The most egregious kind (emphasis mine).
The messages were innocent at first. But after the young man moved home, he recalled, Foley started asking about "my roommates, if I ever saw them naked." Within months, the congressman was dangling a job offer, "because I was a hot boy," he said. Two years later, when he contacted Foley for advice on D.C. hotels, the congressman wrote back: "You could always stay at my place. I'm always here, I'm always lonely, and I'm always up for oral sex."
Do you get that? A congressman offering a page a job because he was "a hot boy." A congressman offering a former page, whom he knew was interested in working in politics, a place to stay in exchange for a blow job. Quid pro quo sexual harassment. It's against the law. Even forgetting the age of the people in question.
This is not about "salacious instant messages." This is certainly not about freedom of speech. Free speech does not extend to illegal behavior. You don't get to pass insider information to someone to profit off of via e-mail, for example, and get away with it because you have a right to free speech. The whole idea is preposterous. It's also not about Foley's sexual orientation. His behavior would have been every bit as illegal (and far more common) if the victims had been female.
But why worry ourselves over sexual harassment, right? It's only something that happens to women and gay men*. It's not like it happens to real people.
This is where Paglia truly flies her craven colors. She does talk about sexual harassment. But not with regards to Foley's behavior. With regards to the behavior of Bill Clinton. As it so happens, I agree that Bill Clinton was a sexual harasser (and rapist). I believe that the power disparity between him and Monica Lewinsky was such that consent was rendered effectively meaningless. I also believe Kathleen Willey about being groped and Juanita Broaddrick about being raped (both beliefs perfectly consistent with my feminism). Regardless, Bill Clinton's behavior is irrelevant to Mark Foley's behavior. Foley was still a sexual harasser. The fact that he seemingly never got the fruits of his sexual harassment doesn't change that. Paglia only brings Clinton up to shame other Democrats for their castigation of Mark Foley. It still doesn't matter. Even if other Democrats were wrong about Bill Clinton, that doesn't make them wrong about Mark Foley. It doesn't mitigate Mark Foley's behavior. Just because you don't believe person A is a murderer doesn't mean you're wrong about person B being a murderer or that person B shouldn't be punished for murder. No one really believes that, not even Paglia. Therefore, I conclude she isn't really concerned about actual sexual harassment, but about shaming Democrats.
This dismissal of the age issue and sexual harassment is making me quite angry, even if I find it unsurprising.
*Of course, this is untrue. It can and does happen to straight men too, although with less frequency. Nonetheless, there is a belief that if a gay man hits on a straight man, there's something wrong with the straight man, like maybe he's secretly gay. It gets displayed by the kind of teasing a straight man will get if hit on by a gay man. I find this another way to excuse the behavior of straight men. If they had to admit that a gay man hitting on a straight man can be upsetting because no one likes unwanted sexual attention, they'd have to admit that straight men hitting on women can be upsetting for reasons other than women being overly sensitive bitches or teases.
I was going to do a post that I'm glad Lt. Gaeta didn't get bumped off on Battlestar Galactica and is back in the fold (not that I really thought it would happen), but something else caught my attention on the show's video blog: Who dies? Apparently one of the top 7 or top 10 characters will be killed off this season and various actors on the show postulate whom it might be. First order of business, who are the top 7 characters on the show. Here's my spin:
The first three are easy.
1. Admiral Adama
2. President Roslin
3. Gauis Baltar
Now the going gets tough.
4. #6 (she and Baltar are tied at the hip; can't have one without the other)
5. Lee Adama
6. Colonel Tigh
Would be interested in hearing other takes on this. Cue Lesley.
As for who might be bumped off, Aaron Douglas (Chief Petty Officer Tyrol) speculates that it might be Lee, and that makes sense. He's not critical to the show - the top 4 are the only ones critical to the show - and it would set up a nice subplot in which Admiral Adama has to deal with the death of his other son. He gets my vote as the most likely to be bumped off. The next most likely in my book is Tigh. He's a major character and would be another big hit for Adama. Otherwise, the list is endless. Boomer, Starbuck, Helo, or the Chief, to name a few. My bet is on someone key, though they did knock off Billy last year. Stay tuned.
Update: On second thought, it could be Starbuck. Adama is closer to her than Tigh. He loves her like a daughter.
Vote for Alan Hevesi and you support a thief of public funds and the public trust. Elect Chris Callaghan, and you have installed a man utterly unqualified to be NYS Comptroller. Do you elect Hevesi to ensure that the NYS Legislature can choose a more qualified replacement? It's a question that I will wrestle with over the next week and a half. Most likely I will wind up abstaining from the election.
In classic tragedy, the tragic figure has a fatal flaw that leads to his or her demise. In King Lear, for example, Lear's fatal flaw is hubris, as is often the case in tragedies.
Alan Hevesi seems to suffer from the same problem. The correct course of action for Hevesi is to resign from office, withdraw from the election, and when indicted, which no doubt he will be, to strike a plea agreement. Instead, he insists on fighting to the bitter end and enduring continued public humiliation that will only get worse as the days pass.
It's hard to fathom why, but I suspect that it's hubris, plain and simple. He felt that the law didn't apply to him, and in the words of the NYS Ethics Commission, that he could substitute his own judgment for theirs. Now he insists one mistake, no matter how criminal, should not erase 35 years of public service. Yes, it should. You break the law and abuse your authority and the public trust, especially as New York's chief auditor, and you don't deserve to be in office. He is pathologically unable to understand this fundamental truism. He is the big bad Alan Hevesi, the trusted public servant and steward. New Yorkers should be allowed to choose their own Comptroller, independent of what he feels are partisan machinations. True they do, but he has forfeited the right to earn anyone's trust, and I suspect he will find that New Yorkers will choose Chris Callaghan over him.
One way in which Hevesi does differ from classic tragic figures. He doesn't recognize his flaw. As a result, he deserves no sympathy or absolution. He will suffer a well deserved public humiliation.
Riddle me this:
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked the moon had turned to gold
Remember, don't blurt, be subtle, leave a clue.
New goal: to post at least once per day. No promises, but I will try.
Let's start here: I forgot to post answers to the last two Name That Tune posts.
#26: Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon. Hat tip to Solonor for an excellent clue and teaching me something I didn't know.
#27: Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah. Elayne's clue was so subtle that I didn't even get it until Lesley clarified.
There has been much talk of the record low ratings of this year's World Series. Two solutions have been offered by the media. The first is to move the World Series to a warm weather climate. The other is to shorten the season to avoid the sudden change in weather that can make a Series game a miserably cold and uncomfortable experience. Before offering my own thoughts, let me say, "Fools!" We're talking about TV ratings. In the words of Tony Reali, host of ESPN's Around the Horn, I fail to see what the weather has to do with TV ratings.
Now onto my own thoughts. I'm not sure what to do about the low ratings. Not many people outside of St. Louis and Detroit care much about a Cardinals-Tigers series. There's understandably greater interest when a major media market team is in the mix. I suspect that baseball would do better, drawing ratings similar to the Super Bowl, if the Series was shorter and each game correspondingly more meaningful. Asking non-fans to endure seven games, vs. the one game of the Super Bowl, is a bit much. I, for example, watched the end of last night's game because it was the potential clincher for the Cardinals. However, no one is about to shorten the World Series.
Still, it's not a bad idea to shorten the season. Games should not last until the end of October when it gets downright chilly in northern climates. If I were Bud Selig for a day, I would shorten the regular season to 154 games; shrink the Wild Card round to best two of three, with the higher seeded team hosting all three games; and shorten the LCS back to three of five. That would cut two weeks off the season. Since none of that is happening, however, one solution to shortening the season is to have teams host more day-night doubleheaders. Toss in eight of them a season and you can cut the season by a week. The logistical difficulty is that they would have to be played on the weekend, otherwise, owners would balk at the lost gate receipts and TV ratings for the weekday portion of the double dip. I don't know if there are enough four-game series to make the idea workable for a week's worth of games.
Oh well, I guess have no real solution, other than mere fantasies of the way things should be. Wait, here's one. At a minimum play the weekend games of the LCS and World Series during the day. It would be nice to see some day baseball again.
Cross posted at THTRB.
Lesley and I have a bet. The other day it was reported that the Yankees have no plans to trade A-Rod this off-season. Lesley believes he will still be traded. I don't. I offered her the following bet, provided that Judy agreed: if A-Rod is traded, we treat her and Alan to a game next year, concessions included. Otherwise, they treat us to a game next year. Judy has agreed.
Personally, I would like to see A-Rod traded. Not so much because I believe he can't produce in New York, which I do, but more because I'm sick of the drama. Sick of the stories, of the fans booing him every time he fails to come through for the Yankees. I find it stressful, and I'm just a fan. Imagine how A-Rod must feel.
Cross-posted at THRTB.
Unable to tell the difference between fictional characters and real teenagers.
Allah and Patterico actually get it almost right.
The latest big bombshell in the Webb-Allen race is that Webb wrote a novel containing a scene that depicts a man performing oral sex on a young boy.
Let's stipulate that such practices are illegal and disgusting. However, this is a novel. All sorts of odd things happen in novels. Creative people need freedom to let their imaginations run wild without having people assuming that every fictional scene is an expression of their internal desires.
It's an odd little vignette, to be sure, but the other characters seem as mystified by it as the reader is. The story's about Vietnam; maybe he's describing some obscure cultural practice that he encountered there. Or, just maybe, he made it up. Have we actually reached the point where Senate seats now turn on the sex scandals of fictional characters?
But then Allah drags up something totally irrelevant and Patterico agrees:
If George Allen had written this book, not only would the left be going berserk, they'd be circulating lists of characters in his other books whom they suspect of being gay.
However, a commenter at Patterico and another blogger Allah links to seemingly can't tell the difference between a character in a novel and real Congressional pages.
Blogger Allah links to:
Its not a major scandal, by any stretch, since it doesn't appear as though he acted on any of the impulses that he wrote about in his novel, but if a few vulgar IMs can send the media into a major fit for nearly two weeks, and a stint at the Playboy party can become a running gag on The Daily Show, this deserves at least a lookover in a campaign commerical and a few "rescue" interviews, or at least some sort of new adjective attached to Jim Webb's name when he's mentioned on nighttime political stew shows, something right in the middle of a Foley and Ford, Jr.
Commenter at Patterico:
At such a critical point in our history for the campaign to be centered on such trash as a Congressman's salacious instant messages and another's even more lurid fiction (the boy was the son of the man BTW), boggles the mind. As a brilliant rocket scientist friend of mine keeps reminding me, half the voters have IQ's under 100.
They both seem to have missed the point. Totally. The issue over Foley's e-mail wasn't that they were vulgar or salacious. It's that they were sent to minors and were a form of sexual harassment. If Foley had sent them to an adult over whom he didn't have any power, NO SCANDAL! Get it. None.
Webb? Wrote a novel. That's why there's no scandal. There is no comparison between real teenagers and fictional characters, except in some fantasyland.
OK, it's not the entire GOP. But I needed a title.
Although I think a stopped clock is right more often than Jonah Goldberg, even he has to admit one of his readers has a point. Goldberg posts this e-mail he received:
So let me get this straight: It's an outrage when Michael J. Fox, an actual Parkinson's sufferer, films a political ad supporting a measure allowing stem cell research, but the fact that stem cell research opponents used a fake Jesus speaking in Jesus' language, gets no comment? Which side is being basely manipulative?
I can't remember which blog I saw this at, so I apologize to that blogger for the lack of credit and linkage ((although it's not as if a link from me would bring much in the way of traffic).
Less than two weeks to go before elections. People are dying in Iraq. People are dying in Afghanistan. GDP data was significantly softer than anticipated. So, what should the President talk about?
The "threat" to marriage, of course! What threat is this? Apparently that posed by yesterday's ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
"Yesterday in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage," Mr. Bush said at a luncheon at the Iowa State Fairgrounds that raised $400,000 for Mr. Lamberti.
Interestingly, the New Jersey Supreme Court did not decide on the issue of marriage at all, leaving that to the legislature. It simply decided that the state could not offer benefits to married couples that were not also offered to domestic partnered couples. New Jersey has a law that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, so you might think the courts were not being particularly activist here, that they were just applying that law. But why let a little thing like that get in the way of good old-fashioned GOP homophobic fear-mongering?
The president drew applause when he reiterated his long-held stance that marriage was "a union between a man and a woman," adding, "I believe it's a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended."
In reading that quote, my first question is "Defended from whom?" Where is this grave threat to heterosexual marriage? From gays and lesbians who want to have legally recognized unions? I may be naive, but I always thought that a marriage was based on the love and commitment of the couple. Not on other people, at least not other unrelated people. So if two women want to cement their love and commitment through a legal ceremony, this somehow threatens the love and commitment of heterosexual spouses? If people really do believe that, and it's fairly obvious that they do, how is this not based on fear of gays and lesbians? It's pretty clear that the real threat to heterosexual marriages are posed by the people in those marriages. Marriages don't break up because other people get married. They break up because one spouse cheated on the other. One spouse lied to the other. One spouse... Oh, you get the point.
However, while there are people that believe that same-sex marriage will threaten heterosexual marriage, I don't believe for three seconds that any of them are George W. Bush. If he did, he wouldn't raise this issue only right before elections. He's pandering to the fears of his base, and that kind of cynicism, IMO, is worse than the fears of his base. You might eventually convince someone who is afraid that there's no reason to be so. It's hard to convince a cynical manipulator not to seek to increase his/her own power. If they actually gave a damn about other people, they wouldn't manipulate them so blatantly in the first place.
Eliot Spitzer has withdrawn his support for Alan Hevesi in the upcoming New York State's Comptroller's race.
And my lack of faith in Shelly Silver has also been vindicated. I don't know what he thinks is the possible excuse for this lapse on Hevesi's part, but I don't know what Shelly Silver's thinking most of the time anyway. "I forgot" or "I made a mistake" are no excuses for the top financial watchdog of the State of New York, and these seem to be the only excuses Hevesi's offered. If he's got a better one, I'd be curious to hear what it is. However, as he is responsible for making sure the State has strong financial controls in the first place, I cannot envision an excuse that would be acceptable.
Alan Hevesi: "I forgot."
Moderator: "You forgot?"
Hevesi: "Well, excu-u-u-u-se me!"
Note: the last line is made up. The rest is not.
Feministe guest blogger Vanessa (aka Plucky Punk) put up an intro post giving us some of her background. So you're probably thinking something along the lines of "How nice. Gives the Feministe readers a chance to get to know her, understand where she might be coming from, and say 'Hi!'" Which is how the majority of commenters reacted.
Ah, but what you don't know is that Vanessa provided several pieces of information. First, she has a baby. Second, she is returning to school to finish her degree. Third, she works in a call center. Most of us would read that and think "Huh, interesting." One commenter, though, named Momma2babies would read that and think "Wow, I better set this bitch straight about what good mothers do!" Even worse, she would do that all the while calling herself a feminist and, basically, shaming anyone who would dare to question that point. She does that in the context of "Being a stay-at-home mother is a feminist choice," but it ultimately comes down to "I'm a feminist, and you don't have the right to tell me I'm not. Neener neener neener."
Well, yes, I do have that right. Momma2babies is not a feminist. Not because she opted to stay at home and raise her children. A woman can still be a feminist and be a stay-at-home mother. Because she shames another mother for not staying at home because that's "against nature." Sorry, that is not feminism.
Further, this definition of "nature" seems to be derived from watching episodes of "Father Knows Best". Life, however, is not a 1950s sitcom.
In the non-sitcom world we actually live in, throughout most of history, women did not stay home and raise their children. Women worked. They worked in the fields. They worked as servants in other people's houses. They worked in factories after the Industrial Revolution. Unless they were very wealthy, they did not stay at home.
If they had children, they might leave the children with an elderly relative who was no longer capable of working. Or they might take the children out in the fields with them. Once the children were old enough, they would work in the fields too. After the Industrial Revolution, the children would work in the factories. Surely we're all aware of the horrid conditions children worked under and the struggle to make child labor illegal. Child labor has only been illegal in the US since 1938. In non-industrialized countries, these conditions still exist.
As for the upper class women who didn't work (nor did their children), they weren't spending time raising their children either. Upper class mothers did not nurse their own children. They had other women, called wet nurses, do it for them.
In the West, upper class women also had governesses. The governesses would raise the children. Upper class mothers would only see their children for maybe an hour a day.
It was really only with the rise of a middle class that it became more common for women to stay home and raise their children. I say more common, because the more numerous working class women did not stay home. The middle class mothers did not do this on their own, though. They couldn't afford the same number of servants the upper-class women could, so they would spend much of their time keeping up the house with the aid of one, maybe two servants. Their life was nothing like the life that Momma2babies has. There were no conveniences like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and vacuums. Doing the laundry was a whole day affair. These women were working very hard all day long. There wasn't a lot of free time to nurture their children.
I don't quite understand where this glamorized past comes from, but it's extremely destructive. Perhaps history classes focus too much on politics and too little on how most people lived. Not that the politics of the time aren't important. I just think that the reality of life for most people is important too.
"You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew," said John Spencer of Clinton's younger days.
"I don't know why Bill married her," he said of the Clintons, who celebrated their 31st anniversary this month.
Jackass. Speculation on the length of time until the non-apology apology of "I'm sorry if I offended anyone" comes?
UPDATE: No non-apology apology. No apology at all. A flat-out denial. Although Spencer's words are interesting. He denies using the word "ugly", although the Daily News reporter never put that word in any of the direct quotes he attributed to Spencer. He denies saying she had "millions of dollars" of plastic surgery. The Daily News reporter did put that in quotes, indicating it was something Spencer actually said. Spencer does say he talked about a lot of things back in the 60s [on the plane] and did say that Hillary Clinton looks good. He doesn't appear to deny saying "You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don't know why Bill married her." So, is Spencer lying or is the Daily News reporter? Tune in later.
I have a better idea. If the teachings of Islam are such that it is improper for men to mingle with women while swimming, ban the men from swimming at the main beach. I mean, surely that would be just as effective, no? Or have separate times for men and women to swim.
But that would mean that you were simply concerned with upholding your religious beliefs and not at all with privileging men over women. Which, of course, isn't the case.
Why couldn't you have pitched this well when you were on the Yankees? I'm just saying.
Yours in the bond of baseball,
PS, Go Tigers (aka Go American League)!
Over at a Quick Links post at Balloon Juice, a commenter says the following about Barack Obama:
Saw Obama on MTP today. He is remarkably well-spoken. An Obama campaign would be a feast for the ears, regardless of anyone's political views.
Someone calls him on that. Said commenter responds:
Did I say that? No, I just said that he was well-spoken. Don't project your own racial prejudices on me.
Shorter version: I didn't mean it that way.
Short answer: That doesn't matter.
Long answer: Given the freighted meaning of those words when applied to a person of color, it doesn't matter whether you "meant it that way' or not. I'm even going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt that he really didn't mean it that way and that he just didn't think about it. Still, that is how it will read to most people of color. With good reason.
Just not thinking about it is still a problem. It's a manifestation of the fact that you don't HAVE to think about it. People of color don't have that option, that benefit. Having spent their lives subjected to prejudice, they do have to think about it. Those of us with the privilege not to need to be aware of the reality of those without that privilege. We need to think about the things we say and do in that context, not in our privileged context. The world doesn't actually revolve around us and operate the same way for everyone else.
When we do say something that is fraught with meaning and get called out on it, we have a tendency to get defensive. We don't want to think that we're bad people, so we often twist the claim around to place the problem on the heads of those who made it. We need to stop that. If someone without our privilege tells us that we've done something hurtful, we need to listen and take that seriously. We're not necessarily being told that we're a bad person. We're being told that we did a bad thing. That's not the same. So stop, listen, consider the impact of our words and actions on others.
As for any "crusaders" who rail about the "evils" of "PC speech", get off it already. You're not James Madison, Thomas Paine, or Thomas Jefferson fighting the scourge of tyranny with your words. Really. You aren't. You aren't being censored. No one's going to throw you in jail or exile you for your speech; a threat and reality that was faced by the men mentioned above. In fact, no one's asking you to do a damn thing you don't already do on a smaller scale.
Think I'm wrong? Do you never watch what you say in front of friends? If you know something will upset your friend, do you not most often stop yourself from saying or doing it? The vast majority of us do. If your friend tells you that something you said or did upset them, don't you listen to them and take them seriously? Again, the vast majority of us do. That's what you do for your friends. If you don't, you're really not much of a friend.
If you can't be bothered to consider the impact of your words and actions on someone else; if you can't be bothered to take them seriously and address their concerns seriously when they tell you that something you did was hurtful, you can't truly expect them to believe that you actually give a damn about them. This extends beyond individuals.
Stop. Think. Listen. If needed, think again.
5 episodes into the 10th Doctor, and I'm fairly sure that David Tennant is my favorite Doctor ever*. Up until this season, the 4th Doctor, aka Tom Baker, was, unoriginally, my favorite Doctor. Christopher Eccleston, the 9th Doctor, was my second favorite.
There's just something about David Tennant's portrayal, however. He's got some of the goofiness that endeared Tom Baker's Doctor to me. But by his third episode, he had managed to keep that, yet work it into something more mischievous, something more transcendent. He's taken episodes that should be as cheesy as any other Doctor Who episode, but, IMO, managed to rise above that and take the entire episode with him. Part of the fun of Doctor Who is its cheesiness (really, aliens that resemble silver traffic cones with plungers sticking out their heads are wonderful), but Tennant's managed to retain those elements while turning them into something better.
Spoilers will be brought forth, so if you don't want to know, don't go below the fold.
You start to see this in Tooth and Claw. Now, if you're a Doctor Who fan, you might be thinking "Queen Victoria. Evil, fighting monks. An alien cum werewolf. How can this not be as cheesy as anything that doesn't contain Daleks?" Somehow, though, it isn't. I'm not going to go as far as to say it's really good television, but it does manage to transcend the cheesiness of that plot. Part of this is David Tennant's obvious fun at playing the role and speaking with a Scottish accent. Since he is Scottish, the latter shouldn't be a great surprise. It may well have just been easier for him to speak with a Scottish accent than the more proper English accent he adopts as the Doctor. Regardless, it works.
Tennant really starts to come into his own, though, in School Reunion. The subplot with the intelligence-sucking aliens (it's a bit more complex than that, but leave it as is for now) is somewhat annoying. However, the main plot - the reunion of the 4th Doctor's primary companion, Sarah Jane Smith, with the 10th Doctor and her ultimate bonding with the "competition", Rose - is fantastic. Tennant manages to portray the Doctor's mix of emotions at seeing Sarah Jane again astonishingly well. His joy at being reunited with her. His pride in her achievements. His sadness at knowing that she will continue to age and, eventually, die while he remains alive. His ability to get Rose to really understand that one day, she will no longer be his companion either. It's here that you first begin to see what will define the 10th Doctor. The joy of time travel, of exploring the universe, sweet yet bitter as intermingled with the loneliness of being the last Time Lord in a universe where all other creatures, all other friends, will eventually die. In a way, this makes him the most rounded of all the Doctors.
The Girl in the Fireplace cements this incarnation of the Doctor. It has been the best episode of this round of episodes. Again, the bare plot wouldn't lead you to think that. A seemingly deserted spaceship with a series of time windows onto the life of Madame de Pompadour. Clockwork creatures in 18th century French costume trying to scavenge her brain to power their broken spaceship. The Doctor appearing through these time windows to save her. On the face of it, it sounds quite silly. But it isn't. It's haunting. In part, the music that plays under the scenes between Madame de Pompadour and the Doctor contributes to that feeling. In part, the portrayal of Madame de Pompadour by Sophia Myles (who was great in Art School Confidential) contributes. The most important element, though, is David Tennant's ability to play sheer exhilaration always tinged with loneliness.
The only criticism I have of the episodes with Tennant is not one against Tennant himself. It's that the characters of Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith become increasingly irrelevant as Tennant plays against his guest stars. I think that Billie Piper and Noel Clarke just can't stand up against him. I almost find myself wishing that the 10th Doctor would travel without companions, freeing him up to interact with the people he finds without the distraction of his companions. That, though, would not be true to what Doctor Who is. As Billie Piper is departing the series after this season, here's hoping Freema Agyeman, her replacement, can stand up to David Tennant's Doctor.
Long live the 10th Doctor!
*Other than an abiding affection I have for Rowan Atkinson's portrayal of Doctor Who in a Comic Relief sketch. Of course, it's not serious, but the thought of Edmund Blackadder flitting about through time and space fighting plunger-headed aliens and Jonathan Pryce as the Master is awesome. This particular sketch had the added benefit of Joanna Lumley becoming the final incarnation of the Doctor, the first, and likely only, female Doctor. She and the Master ran off together.
I went to the blogger barbecue held in honor of Roxanne of Rox Populi. It was great to meet Roxanne, who is one of my regular blog visits. She attended with her husband, Earl, and her friend, Jean Denis.
The barbecue was held at the home of our very gracious hostess, Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged. Much fun was had by all. And by all, I mean a lot of bloggers! I got to meet a lot of other people I read regularly.
First, I have met Julia and Elayne of Pen-Elayne once before, but it was great to see them again.
I also got to meet zuzu of Feministe, who is one of my favorite bloggers. I am really looking forward to her eventual return to blogging.
Scott Lemieux of Lawyers Guns and Money and now TAPPED too. It was great meeting him, as I've long been a fan of his posts on feminism, as well as other topics. But his posts on reproductive rights are, for me, especially great.
Lindsey Beyerstein of Majikthise was there. I didn't really get a chance to talk to her, which is largely a function of my massive introversion. She is a daily read of someone special to me, so hopefully I'll get more of a chance to do so at a future blogger thing. At any rate, Lindsey will be added to my list of regular reads too.
Mad Kane was there, which was a great treat. She's one of the first bloggers I ever came across, and one of the first to link me. She's funny in person as well as in blog. I spent a good deal of time talking with her husband too, as we are in similar fields.
Seth the talking dog was there. I have read his blog previously, so it was fun to put a face to the blog.
A non-blogger whom I especially enjoyed meeting was Julia's friend Carla. I hope I get to meet her again, as I had a really great conversation with her.
Julia's brother, pka Uncle Procrustes, was there. I met him once before at the NTodd thing. He's always a good person to have a discussion with, even if I didn't know he was a blogger.
Lastly, there were a few other people who may or may not be bloggers. One couple was named Steve and Lydia. I'm not sure if they're bloggers or not. There was also Barbara and her family. Not sure if Barbara is a blogger either. I didn't get a chance to really talk to any of them, but they all seemed like quite nice people.
I didn't break out the camera to take any pictures, but Elayne did. Hopefully she'll post some of them soon, and I'll throw up a link to them. She may or may not have taken a picture of me eating cheese and crackers, but I guess I'll find out soon enough!
UPDATE: Elayne did post the photos, and yes there is one of me eating cheese and crackers. With my eyes closed. Fortunately Elayne knows more people than I do, so yes, Steve blogs at No More Mister Nice Blog and Barbara is Barb of Mahablog.
Not that long ago, the feminist blogosphere went through another round of analyzing those things we currently associate with femininity and whether or not these are at odds with feminism. It started when Jill of Feministe brought up a quote from Twisty Faster of I Blame the Patriarchy.
Women are understandably reluctant to concede that their deep attachment to the trappings of patriarchy (marriage, femininity, gender, fashion, porn, religion, beauty, the nuclear family, pink tool kits, et al) is not the manifestation of empowered personal autonomy, but rather a survival skill.
Where I take issue with this is the implication that beauty is a gender-related trapping of the patriarchy, rather than a class-related trapping of the patriarchy. Over the last 150 years or so, beauty rituals have become defined as feminine. I'd go even farther and say they are equated with femininity. As such, they bear no correlation to masculinity. The only men assumed to have any interest in beauty rituals are gay, and gay men are typically considered feminine. Over the last 10 years, a resurgence of interest by some non-gay men in beauty has spawned the term "metrosexual". This term is something of a pejorative, again reinforcing the idea that beauty and fashion cannot exist with "traditional" definitions of masculinity. They are "feminine" and, therefore, for the weak.
I put the word traditional in quotes above, because what we now consider traditional is relatively uncommon in the annals of recorded history. It is not, in fact, a specific practice of long standing. We broke from tradition sometime in the 1800s. Throughout history, the centuries in which men of the upper classes wore makeup far outnumber the centuries in which they did/were not. Men wore powder. Men wore rouge. Men wore eyeliner. In the Western world, men wore heels and wigs. Barristers in the UK still wear wigs, which is a nod to a custom that was quite common among the Western upper class three hundred years ago.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, the use of cosmetics fell out of favor. It was considered a mark of prostitution. It is really only since that time that what we now consider traditional with respect to beauty began. The majority of prostitutes were/are, of course, women. Make-up is, therefore, now considered something for women. As more and more women began to wear make-up, make-up became associated with the objectification of women by men.
I do get that. I get that in the world of today, make-up exists in that social context and, as such, the choice to wear it is interpreted in that social context. What bothers me about the usual discussions about cosmetics and feminism, though, is the implicit assumption that this is the only context in which we can analyze cosmetics. At any rate, it's the only context in which we generally do.
This bothers me because it seems to me a sign of how the things that are associated with women are defined as being frivolous, whereas the things associated with men are considered normal. For centuries when make-up was worn by men, there was no real social analysis of the potential frivolity of it. It was just normal. Look, make-up may well be frivolous, but if it is, it is frivolous in a class context, not a gender context. It would be frivolous because the amount of money and time it takes to do it "right" ("right" being defined by society, not me) is something that can only be afforded by the upper classes. If you're worried where your next meal is coming from, you're hardly going to be spending a small fortune on cosmetics. If you're working two jobs just to feed your family, you're not going to be able to take a lot of time to apply it. If, like me, you have class privilege, you can afford the money and time. In that context, I understand why the choice to wear it has broader social ramifications. I don't see any way around that. I do not see that it is a necessary equation that it has the same ramifications with respect to gender. So if anyone wants to analyze this choice in terms of how feminism ought to be about classism as well (and in many instances it is not) I'm with you. Absolutely.
I'm not with you when we start talking about analyzing the choice in terms of gender paradigms, though. Cosmetics, historically, have not been gendered. What we should be focusing on is not cosmetics but the tendency to equate women with frivolity. We're not going to win that battle by not wearing cosmetics. Something else will just come along to take its place. In fact, I think we're headed along a path where make-up will be commonly worn by men again. Should that happen, will we still be having discussions about cosmetics and gender, or will we finally have mainstream discussions about cosmetics and class?
Let's look at shaving. Women shave their legs, underarms, and bikini areas. Men shave their faces. There are times in history when beards are popular, so most men don't. There are times, like now, when being clean-shaving is popular, so most men do. Although the whole goatee, van dyke, etc. thing is in the mix these days. And some men prefer beards. Nonetheless, you don't really see broad discussions deconstructing the choice of men to shave or to have some kind of facial hair. It's just normal, regardless of their choice. Men shaving is no more natural than women shaving, but male choices are just considered normal. Women shaving or not? No, that requires a ton of angst and analysis. What it should require is a "who cares, because either choice is normal."
Again, I get that there is a social context that currently says that women shaving is proper female behavior, and those who do not are being "bad" women. No such social context exists for men. So, yes, the choice to shave or not is made in that "women shaving is normal" social context. I just think the thing to focus on is not shaving. It's this tendency to normalize male choices and other female choices. The constant discussions about whether or not to shave does not accomplish ridding ourselves of this tendency. If anything, I believe it fosters it. It accepts a paradigm that says that somehow there is something that "good" women should do, even if it's not the thing imposed on us by the broad class "men".
This is not to say that there are not real social pressures on women to make certain choices. There are. It is not to say that we do not most often make those choices based on these pressures rather than what we might do in a world where those pressures were absent. We do. It is not to say these choices empower us. They do not, but many of our other choices don't empower us either, both female and male. I just think the context in which we generally analyze these choices lends credence to the classification of masculinity as normality and femininity as frivolity. We don't break free of the patriarchy by doing non-feminine (i.e., masculine) things. We break free of the patriarchy when we reconstruct masculinity and femininity to be valid, normal choices. For all of us. We break free of the patriarchy when choices are not classified as gendered. They are just available. To all of us.
So, yes, we should critique the ways cosmetics and shaving are marketed to women as being proper and normal for us. We should critique the idea that they are somehow empowering for us. We should do that to normalize any choice we might make about them. We should not be critiquing women ourselves for making a choice about them. At least not in a gender context.
My true weight is 170 3/4 pounds. That at the doctor's office yesterday on an empty stomach.
Excerpt from an article about the pending merger of AT&T and BellSouth:
The deal would place under one roof 67.2 million telephone lines, 57.3 million Cingular Wireless customers and 11.1 million high-speed Internet customers.
Explain to me again: Why did the government dismantle AT&T?
As in University of Miami. For those who missed it, there was a brawl of criminal proportions between Miami and FIU on Saturday. Seems that everyone jumped into the fray, police had to break it up, one player for Miami wielded his helmet as a weapon, and the defensive co-captain of Miami stomped on a fallen FIU player. All in all, 31 players were suspended for one game, 13 from Miami and 18 from FIU. From there, the story takes a different path.
FIU reacted strongly and swiftly on Monday, kicking two players off the team, suspending the others indefinitely, and ordering anger management classes and community service for the team and coaches. Miami's reaction? To make the suspension for the helmet-wielding fool indefinite and requiring community service. That's it. Nothing else. The rest of the thugs miss one meaningless game against Duke and are then back. The guy stomping on people? One-game suspension. He and his helmet-wielding pal should be off the team and behind bars.
I would take it one step further if I were U of M president Donna Shalala. The program has been an outlaw program for basically the last 20 years, save for a stretch under Butch Davis. This is the third on-field incident for the team in its last 7 games. Their players, two especially, were captured for the world to see on video tape committing acts that would get you arrested anywhere else. If Duke cancelled the lacrosse season on what are now questionable charges, rushing to judgment before all the facts were marshaled, then don't you think the Miami season should be cancelled for stuff that's out there for anyone to see and seems based on the facts that have come out so far (see 60 Minutes from Sunday) to be worse than anything that the Duke players did?
Even though I am a Democrat and liberal myself, I can't help but wonder if Shalala, who served in the Clinton Administration, is one of those too-soft-on-crime liberals. Coddle them, hold back the stick? What Miami and FIU did was atrocious, criminal, and shameful. FIU gets it. Miami doesn't. Shame on them.
Update: Miami says the penalties are fair and strong enough. They do add that anyone who fights in the future will be thrown off the team, but still, it's not enough given the team's history and I fail to understand how someone who stomps on a fallen player is suspended for only one game.
#6 (dated 9/5/06, days before my wedding):
No good. Still can't run, and worse, I added between 3 and 5 pounds. Not sure which. The scale said 166 yesterday, 164 today. Either way, it's the wrong direction. I will strive harder this week not to cheat except for this upcoming Sunday, of course) and get headed in the right direction.
#7 (dated 9/25/06):
It's been a while since an update. My leg may finally be better. No pain yesterday at all and there doesn't seem to be any today as of now. Still not doing well with the weight loss. Stuck at 164. Considering signing up with Weight Watchers and attending meetings as an extra motivation to get my diet on track.
#8 (dated today):
Haven't been true to my word about weekly updates. Truth is there's been little progress, which I'm embarrassed about. The weight. Not the running. My leg still isn't there yet. But I've made no progress on the weight front. In fact, I've slipped. According to a weigh in at Weight Watcher's yesterday - I signed up and attended my first meeting yesterday - I weigh 176.4 fully clothed. When I got home I used my scale and came in at 172. Thus my scale is 4 pounds off. When I last weighed myself on Thursday, I weighed 166 on the home scale. So I now weigh 170 pounds, and I can feel my clothes becoming too tight. Today is my first day on the weight watchers plan.
All in all, I don't know how long it will take me to drop the weight to get down to 150. I don't believe I will meet the December deadline and seriously doubt that I will be in running shape for the 15k in time. I don't know when I can start training again.
So I don't envision collecting on the pledges everyone offered, but that doesn't mean I stop striving towards my goals. I plan on dropping the 20 pounds even if it takes 5 months (a pound a week) and intend on getting back into running.
I will continue to keep you posted for good and bad.
Oy vey did I get my predictions wrong for the post-season. Every single series was I wrong on. I had the Yankees going all the way, taking down the Twins in the ALCS and the Padres in the World Series. And I had the Dodgers as the other team in the NLCS. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I saw it this way. The Yankees had the pitching and the offense to win it all, that Santana would take two for the Twins and the Twins would find a way to get it done in one more game, that the Mets pitching was too shattered to stand up to the Dodgers pitching, and that the Padres had the best pitching in the NL. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Still won't stop me from making predictions for the World Series. After seeing the Mets take down the Dodgers, I see no way they don't take the Cardinals easily in the NLCS. A's and Tigers is a compelling match-up. Good pitching on both sides of the ball. For the same reason the Tigers made me nervous going into the ALDS - Verlander, Rogers, and Bonderman - I like them in the ALCS.
Leaves Mets-Tigers in the World Series. My initial instinct is that the Tigers pitching shuts the Mets down, but the Mets have a talented, balanced, and young line-up - yes, the Yanks had a good line-up, too - one that has a player in Jose Reyes that will give the Tigers fits. He gets on and the dynamics of the game changes, and he has so many ways to get on. Mets in 6.
My other prediction? I will be wrong, wrong, wrong.
Cross-posted on THTRB.
Way back in 2004, Lesley angered the baseball gods with her hubris after the Yankees took a 3-0 lead over the Red Sox in the ALCS. She declared the series over, annointed Hideki Matsui MVP, and went out and bought a Hideki Matsui shirt. Since then? The Yanks dropped dead against the Red Sox, lost to the Angels in round 1 last year, and folded against the Tigers this year. I have urged her on numerous occasions to burn that shirt. She refuses. The Yankees will not win another World Series championship until she does. It's the Curse of Godzilla.
Cross posted on THRTB.
I read today that the Marlins fired Joe Girardi. I have to say that I love Joe Girardi. He was a big part of the Yankees World Series wins in the late 90s. Which got me thinking about how I do have fondness for many former Yankees. I think it's fair to say that if you played well for the Yankees and aren't Roger Clemens, I will always love you. I have to add that "and aren't Roger Clemens" part, because I never liked Roger Clemens. I fully recognize that he may well be the best pitcher ever, but I do not like him. I was at many games where he was pitching and Mike Piazza was batting, and damned if it didn't look to me like Clemens was targeting Piazza. I don't even like Piazza, but that's besides the point. Roger Clemens - Great pitcher. Classless jerk.
Aside from Roger, though, there are many former Yankees that I love.
Willie Randolph. Oh man, I adore Willie Randolph. He was one of the Yankees players of my youth. I can still name the starting line-up of that team. Thurman Munson. Chris Chambliss. Willie Randolph. Bucky Dent (OK, I do not love Bucky Dent; mediocrity, thy name is Bucky Dent). Graig Nettles. Reggie Jackson. Mickey Rivers. Lou Piniella. And, yes, I love all of them except Bucky Dent. One homerun in a playoff game in a career of mediocrity does not earn my undying love. Even if that homerun did knock the Red Sox out of the post-season. I'm totally not that cheap. See also Aaron Boone. I do not love Aaron Boone. I have a mild fondness for Aaron Boone, but not love.
Luis Tiant. Come on, who could not love Luis Tiant? Sure he played most of his career with the Red Sox. Sure he played only two years with the Yankees. But, dude, he's Luis Tiant!
Tino Martinez. Nuff said.
Paul O'Neill. He and I share a birthday. He is the warrior. Plus, he loves the Ramones. Birthday + Warrior + Ramones = I love Pauly!
Scott Brosius. Scotty Brosius, MVP!
Andy Pettitte. I curse whoever for ever letting Andy go to Houston. Whoever might well be Roger Clemens, and that would be yet one more reason for me to hate Roger Clemens.
David Wells. Come on. The man is New York. Drunk. Loud. Obnoxious. What's not to love?
Rickey Henderson. Best.Leadoff.Hitter.Ever. "If you split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers." - Bill James.
Current Yankees whom I will always love:
Bernie Williams. Bern baby Bern. This will be his last season, and he will get a huge standing ovation at his last at bat.
Derek Jeter. Because what's not to love about the Captain?
Mariano "Mo" Rivera. Best.Closer.Ever.
Jorge Posada. Hip hip Jorge!
Hideki Matsui. He's like a rockstar in Japan, and he's like a rockstar to me. If I had a plane, I'd paint his face on it too.
Mike Mussina. The Moose is loose!
Hey, who said that baseball fans don't have loyalty to the players? What? Nobody. Yeah, okay, whatever.
I suppose the easy answer is "because they breathe." How much lower could Drudge sink? He's blaming the Congressional pages for egging Mark Foley on.
You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him.
Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't...they were talking about how many times they'd masturbated, how many times they'd done it with their girlfriends this weekend...all these things and these "innocent children." And this "poor" congressman sitting there typing, "oh am I going to get any," you know?
Can you believe anyone is seriously trying to pass that off? A 53-year-old Congressman, who is in a position of political authority, is being set up by high school students. How can anyone seriously put that forth as a defense? Foley had authority over these students. He also was instrumental in passing a law making his own behavior criminal. Yet, we're supposed to believe that he was being set up. He couldn't control himself in the face of those "wily" high school students. This is classic victim-blaming. It's also the classic excuse used by sexual predators. Even Foley isn't making himself out to be the victim here.
A former page sums up why sexual harassment laws are needed:
Loraditch says that some of the pages who "interacted" with Foley were hesitant to report his behavior because "members of Congress, they've got the power." Many of the pages were hoping for careers in politics and feared Foley might seek retribution.
That's exactly why Foley's behavior was coercive. That's exactly why it's ludicrous that he was the victim, rather than the minors he was soliciting. Had they been adults, his behavior would still have been wrong. The fact that they were minors makes it even worse.
As for Tony Snow's nonsense about the only thing House leadership having to go on being some "overly friendly e-mails", please. Hi, Tony? When a 53-year-old asks a 16-year-old non-relative for pictures of himself, total red flag. That's enough to call for an investigation. No one's saying you take action against the man on the basis of that evidence alone. You do, however, investigate. You talk to the pages to see if anything else has happened. You look at the man's computer records. You don't just brush it aside and say "Well, we didn't know anything else." You should have asked. Not you specifically, but Denny Hastert. He doesn't remember anyone telling him? Too bad, so sad. That's his job. His job is not to ignore a classic sign of sexual predatorship, thus putting other minors at risk. Besides, if Loraditch above is to be believed, and I see no reason why he's not, there were members of the House who knew of this behavior 5 years ago. 5 years. Surely long enough to have done a proper investigation and protected the minors working for Congress.
UPDATE: Add Bob Beckel to this list. According to Ace of Spades HQ, a Democratic strategist named Bob Beckel suggested on Hannity & Colmes that Foley's sexual orientation should have "raised questions" about the e-mails. I don't watch Hannity & Colmes and couldn't find a video or transcript to link to, but I'm going to assume it's true. In which case, Beckel is full of BS too. The fact that Foley is gay should not have raised any questions about the e-mails. The fact that he was an adult asking a non-related minor for pictures should have. If he had asked the same question of a female page, the same red flags should have been raised. Mr. Beckel, if you believe otherwise, you're a homophobe.
But it won't be labeled as one.
A 32-year-old trucker went into an Amish school*, ordered all the boys to leave, tied up and shot three of the girls, and then killed himself. This was allegedly "revenge" for something that had happened to him 20 years ago. I put "revenge" in scare quotes, because it's utter BS that shooting innocent girls can be revenge for something that someone else did to you. That's why this is a hate crime. The murderer held a grudge not just against the person (one would assume a girl or woman) who did whatever she did, but against all females. He felt perfectly justified in killing innocent girls just because they were girls. If that isn't a hate crime, what is?
However, this won't be called a hate crime. It will be called a senseless tragedy. It will be called a revenge killing. It will be called a school shooting. But it will not be called a hate crime committed by a male who hated females.
*Just to be clear, the murderer was not Amish himself. He apparently selected the school as one that would have lax security.
With Detroit's loss to Kansas City and Minnesota's win over the White Sox, the Yankees are spared from having to face inevitable 2006 AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana twice in a short series. With Liriano out of the pst-season and Radke off form (it sucks to be Minnesota fans), I feel better about the Yankees' chances to beat the Twins in a 7-game series. But the prospect of facing Santana twice in a 5-games series was not a happy one (sorry Oakland).
The Mets are also spared from having to face Houston in the post-season, since they lost again today, allowing the Cards to clinch even with their loss. This makes my boyfriend happy, so I'm happy.
*To regular reader and Tiger fan Rick, sorry. I know. But a fan's got to wish for what a fan's got to wish for. And this is for the Twins to win the AL Central so the Yankees face Detroit in the ALDS. Up for another interblog wager?
I saw the following headline on My Yahoo! earlier: S.C. official: Sterilize bad parents.
The first thing I thought when I read the headline is, "Yet another indication that reproductive freedom isn't just about abortion." And it's not. This is the kind of suggestion you usually hear about the poor and women of color (under the guise of the term "drug addicts" but the meta is women of color). The general line is that they're not fit to be mothers and shouldn't be allowed to have children. This can translate into "take their children away" to suggestions of sterilization. It's rarely how can we help drug addicts recover.
Then I read the article itself. The reporter states that the comment was made about the gender-neutral tem "parents". The quote itself? Read it:
"We pick up stray animals and spay them," Larry Shirley said in a story published Saturday by The Post and Courier of Charleston. "These mothers need to be spayed if they can't take care of theirs. Once they have a child and it's running the street, to let them continue to have children is totally unacceptable."
So much wrong with that quote. First, the comparison of women to animals. OMFG. Yeah, we do a lot of things to animals that we don't do to human beings. People will sometimes give shelters their dogs who pee on the furniture. Who wouldn't be horrified if someone suggested that as an acceptable thing to do with children who wet their bed?
Second, did I miss the word "fathers" in the quote? Was it silent? No, it was non-existent. Mr. Shirley wasn't referring to "parents". He was referring to mothers. Note how nothing is ever the fault of the fathers. If a child does something wrong, that reflects poorly on the mother, not the father. This is even true if we're talking about a man who grows up to abuse women. It's that his mother didn't raise him right, not that he picked up this behavior from his father. One thing I was raised to believe is that if you want rights, you have to accept responsibility. Note to the father's rights activists: If you want rights, take responsibility. It's not feminists who have made fathers invisible, so stop blaming us. Mr. Shirley is clearly no feminist.
Haven't done one of these since April Fool's Day. So in the vein of jokes, try this one on for size:
I went hiking with Joe Spivey
He developed poison ivy
You remember Leonard Skinner
He got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner
Remember, don't blurt, be subtle, leave a clue.
I had a most productive day yesterday. The third season of Battlestar Galactica starts this Friday, and I wanted a refresher on the first two seasons. Granted, there's a disk - Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far - that would do a nice job in refreshing my memory, but for a SciFi geek like me, that's not good enough. Instead, I want to watch the first two seasons again. Married life, the marriage and honeymoon, and Rosh Hashana last weekend left me far behind, having seen only the miniseries so far. So yesterday, I decide on a marathon: the first six episodes from season one. I started the day first by catching up on Stargate Atlantis - I missed the final three episodes of the season - and then segued into BSG. I managed to sneak in a total of seven episodes yesterday and could have done the whole season - no TV burn out here - if not for dinner plans last night. Today shall be equally productive. Another episode down, four more to go, which I will find the time to get in. Then season two is up!
A new law is about to come into effect in the U.S., setting the boundaries for how we can deal with terrorism suspects. There are two aspects of the law that are especially frightening. One is to strip the right of habeas corpus for detainees being held in Guantanamo. The other is to allow evidence seized without a search warrant to be used in court.
Instead of a long-winded essay on why I find this new law so disturbing, I will use a quote from Commander Adama on Battlestar Galactica to make my point. In responding to questions from an independent tribunal investigating an act of terrorism on board Galactica, Adama says, "You've lost your way, sergeant. You've lost sight of the purpose of the law. To protect its citzens, not persecute them. Whatever we are, whatever is left of us, we're better than that."
We are losing our way as a country. We are thretening the foundations of our legal system, as critics of the law note, and our core values as a country. Whatever we are, whatever is left of us after 9/11, we're better than that.