Monthly Archives: May 2010

State of the Blumenthal

HOWARD MEGDAL: In the wake of a New York Times piece citing instances when Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General for the state of Connecticut and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, misstated his service record, calls were rampant for the Democrats to dump him as nominee, while the Republicans sensed a pickup opportunity.

The reality has been heartening to those who value public service: Blumenthal’s decades of great work have trumped this one week story. Indeed, it is certainly what saved him.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: The good news for Blumenthal, in addition to the polling that Howard mentions, is that he still looks like he has a fairly strong lead over McMahon.

However, the story is still fraught with danger for Blumenthal. Continue reading

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British Top Ten Lies

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: British study, your ‘Top Ten Lies Told by Women’ list cut a little close to home for me. Please stop revealing my secrets.

AKIE BERMISS: There more I read studies from the UK, the more I become convinced that they are out of their minds over there. I liked this articles, it was about an entertaining as the chain emails people used to kick around AOL back in the mid-90s. In fact, it is basically one of those emails verbatim. Remember those “Open This To Learn The 10 Lies YOUR Girlfriend Is Telling You”? I read those at 15 and knew (even back then) that it was a stupid thing for anyone to write about.

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Is This Photo Racist?

STEPHON JOHNSON: It comes around every year: a potentially racially-charged photo spread in a fashion magazine. But it doesn’t make Interview’s spread any less worthy of discussion.

AKIE BERMISS: Shock value — that’s all it comes down to. I don’t know anything about fashion or photography, but I do know about shock value. I do know about the social mores of the 20th and 21st centuries in America. I do know about the objectification of women and the theoretical hyper-masculinity of the black man. How one is the embodiment of purity, innocence, and beauty and the other is the paradigm of savagery, carnality, and evil. And that even when that innocence or purity is somewhat sarcastic (or, over the top, if you will) and even when that beauty is not really all that beautiful, and even when the savagery and the evil are meant to seem dangerously seductive — I know that the basic morality play is the same. This (good) versus that (bad). And who can resist so compelling a dichotomy?
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Trading Baby for Beer

HOWARD MEGDAL: Baby for beer.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: That’s really insulting and I hate people like that. What kind of moron thinks a baby is worth 2 beers? Continue reading

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Indians: Unlucky or the Residue of Design?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Chris makes a number of valid points, but I see his top line as proving the essential point: a team that managed to identify, and trade for, so many good young players to complement their homegrown talent is unlucky to have gotten a single playoff appearance out of it. And I continue to be amazed at the regression of the players from that 2007 team.

CHRIS PUMMER: What’s awful for Indians fans is that when a title was within reach, the team refused to stretch any more than it did to grab it. Instead Cleveland waited for good luck to carry it to a title, and it didn’t happen. Continue reading

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Google Stealing Data

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Right now a debate rages as to whether Google grossly overstepped its bounds by collecting and saving the data of users on wireless unencrypted networks for around 3 years. Frankly, I don’t see how there is any way that Google’s actions are defensible.

AKIE BERMISS: I’m with Molly — I fear Google. I find their hippy-dippy branding to be way over the top. Five years ago, it was hip and wonderful and exciting. Now its such obvious pandering as to seem malicious. I’m not saying I hate Google — I use Gmail, google calendars and documents, blogger, and my main browser is Chrome — but I think that when you get to a certain level of power and ownership it can become nearly impossible not to be an overbearing presence.

DAVE TOMAR: People have aggressively surrendered their privacy in exchange for the narcissistic view that we can be noticed by others and leave a mark on the world, even if it is just a media footprint. The Warholian 15 minutes of fame has been critically devalued. In theory, everybody gets the 15 minutes. But it used to be for good reasons like foiling convenience-store robberies, winning local bake-offs or finding a Rembrandt lodged between the pipes in your attic. Now, you just tell everybody in the world exactly what you’re doing at all times and hope that somebody gives a crap enough to click the ‘thumbs up’ icon. Continue reading

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State of the Napoli

JESSICA BADER: The rise of defensive metrics like UZR and Plus/Minus has helped immensely in clearly sorting out how much value position players have in the field. However, it is still difficult to quantify a catcher’s defensive contributions, so the old cliches about calling a good game and how a catcher looks back there still carry a lot of weight. Perhaps the most frustrating example of this is in Anaheim, where the underappreciated Mike Napoli dons the tools of ignorance.

CHRIS PUMMER: Even good, well-run teams like the Angels are guilty of it. So despite all the talk about how they favor a catch-and-throw guy like Jeff Mathis behind the plate, Napoli still got more than 400 plate appearances last year. Even without the Mathis injury, he would have probably reached that level again this year so long as his bat continued to cover up any defensive deficiencies the Angels either perceive or imagine. Continue reading

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Rand Paul: What Now?

JESSICA BADER: I don’t think the Civil Rights Act flap will directly hurt Paul much in his quest to succeed Jim Bunning – Paul’s senatorial ambitions are more likely to be directly hurt by other comments he has made. That being said, I could easily see the Civil Rights Act controversy hurting the GOP outside of Kentucky.

DAN SZYMBORSKI; Rand Paul getting the nomination is definitely one of the weirder things in recent years, no doubt reinforcing the notion that we are going to be witnessing one of the strangest election cycles in memory. Continue reading

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Hank Jones Tribute

HOWARD MEGDAL: The passing of Hank Jones is a sad one from a musical perspective alone. Jones, who died last Monday at 91, was productive right up to his passing. Few artists can claim to release ten albums after age…

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Lost Series Finale in Review

ZOË RICE: The final two and a half hours of Lost were both better and more disappointing than I expected. The ride was jam-packed with action and emotion. Awesome fight scenes, hugs and smiles, jumping off cliffs, tears tears tears. A few unexpected twists, a few much-hoped for explanations that just wouldn’t come. In the end it turns out that the show was about “Live together, die alone, but then live together again, except for the living part.”

TED BERG: So that’s it then, huh? No more Lost. Continue reading

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