Monthly Archives: March 2010

Political Protests

AKIE BERMISS: I understand the idea behind protests. For the human psyche, there is something oh-so-alluring about standing up for what you believe in. Yes, something romantic about gathering with like-minded people in an act of conspicuous solidarity. Its really no surprise that protests are as popular as they are. A protest has everything a parade has (good weather, tons of people, signs and placards, music and shouting) but adds in a little good-natured self-righteousness. You can’t miss! Everybody (who agrees with you) wins.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Akie talks about the heyday of protesting. Maybe we can point to the Nixon Administration’s tactic, talked about at length on the brilliant Nixonland by Rick Pearlstein, of infiltrating anti-war rallies with violent actors to discredit the entire movement. But I am hard-pressed to think of the last protest that worked.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’m feeling a little weird writing about the lost art of political protesting here, because I realize I’m being nostalgic over something I never fully experienced in its true form. Kind of like when I watch VH1’s I Love the 80’s and chuckle ruefully about TV shows that reached a height of popularity in 1982, when I was 1. Continue reading

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Elijah Dukes

HOWARD MEGDAL: The case for a team signing Elijah Dukes is a simple one. He is disliked, but hasn’t committed any crimes or done anything that would disqualify him from a major league roster. The Nationals cut him for baseball reasons, but the Nationals are hardly the arbiter of what makes good baseball sense.

CHRIS PUMMER: There’s perhaps a shrinking chance that the soon-to-be 26-year-old turns things around and puts together a career something like what Carlos Lee or Milton Bradley have done. That seems unlikely to me considering both of those players had far more major league plate appearances at a similar age.

The odds are much better that Dukes is just the next Terrmel Sledge. And if that’s the case — and I’m sure Washington GM Mike Rizzo has decided it is — then there’s not much reason to put up with whatever his perceived negative qualities are. Continue reading

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Perpetual Post NL East Preview

Projected 2010 Finish:
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Washington Nationals
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Perpetual Post NL Central Preview

Perpetual Post writers Howard Megdal, Jason Clinkscales and Chris Pummer deliver a rundown of how they see the National League Central Division shaping up this season. Continue reading

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Census Forms

AKIE BERMISS: I missed the last census… by a nose hair. I would’ve been seventeen years old at the time. It was a rough year for me all around. I had to take the SATs (and for some reason, I’d thought they were no longer necessary for college), it was the 2000 election and I just missed voting for Al Gore (of whom I was a huge supporter for years), Y2K didn’t happen and so I had to go keep going to school and brushing my teeth and saying my prayers. And all that. And I’m not saying that the census really ranked up there with all these other things, but I’ve always been interested in census information. And I find the notion of census taker walking from house to house, apartment to apartment, block to block to be a pretty romantic idea. Just some plucky census-worker, with a clipboard, and a sharpened No. 2 pencil behind their ear.


HOWARD MEGDAL:
I deeply resent the government intrusion into my life that is nearly as searingly personal as when I buy anything retail or visit Switchboard.com. Continue reading

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Cliff Lee and Spring Training Suspension

JESSICA BADER: I’ve given up on trying to discern any consistent policy in the enforcement of baseball’s beanball rules, but even as accustomed as I am to seeing ejections and suspensions get handed down or not seemingly on a whim, what happened in Tucson last week takes the madness to a whole new level. Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee received a five-game suspension to be served once the season begins for throwing at Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder during a spring training game. Yes, a regular-season suspension for throwing at (but not actually hitting) a batter during an exhibition game. This is truly absurd.

CHRIS PUMMER: Just because the final score of a Cactus League game won’t be represented in the final standings doesn’t mean the penalty should be any less stiff for Lee exercising reckless retaliation throws in an attempt to prove how macho he is. Continue reading

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New Brad Mehldau Album

AKIE BERMISS: Jazz can be an esoteric music style. Especially in the last few years, its become harder and harder to find jazz albums that can reach across to the public at large. So frequently the instrumentation, the musical material and even the recording/mixing techniques demand a certain amount of study and familiarity from the listener. And so there are very few jazz artists who, when they release a record, have the potential to affect music across several lines of genre and taste. But if I had to pick one it’d be Brad Mehldau.

HOWARD MEGDAL: For me, Brad Mehldau often found a sweet spot between what is customarily thought of as jazz and classical music, with many little highlights throughout this album. Continue reading

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Red Bull Arena Opens

JASON CLINKSCALES: It’s considered by many a media member within the soccer/football community the most important stadium in American history. Seated in the shadows of New York City, Red Bull Arena is supposed to signal not only a new era for the hometown Major League Soccer franchise, but place the final piece of permanence of pro soccer in the United States. Despite strong interest in the facility for the last three years, I considered this belief as more of my home region’s maddening self-importance. Once I stepped inside Red Bull Arena this past Saturday with that raucous crowd, however, I was more than convinced that RBA is the league’s way of telling the world that American soccer is here to stay.

I just hoped it told some of these crotchety, soccer-bashing types, too.

HOWARD MEGDAL: So Jason has things exactly right; the Red Bulls have one of the finest sports venues in the country right now, and it is unique to the United States in that it is dedicated to soccer.

While what must follow is Hans Backe putting together a team that wins more than five matches this season, of course. But the long-term implications of an arena such as RBA will stem from the effect it has on those who attend. Continue reading

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Salinger and Publishing

I am against the posthumous publishing of a late author’s work unless it can be proven without a doubt that posthumous publication is the express wish of the author. If it can’t be proven, then the default action should be…

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Open Primaries: A Good Idea?

DAN SZYMBORSKI: It’s time we send our system of primary elections to the trash heap.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Dan’s points are well taken. But I see the system as it is, and given the reality of our political system, eliminating party primaries and labels makes for a less-informed electorate. Removing party labels would be like removing lipstick from a pig.
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