Archive for October 16, 2008

Red Sox Still Alive!

October 16, 2008 2 comments

There could be a “real” World Series yet. (See my post yesterday about having a World Series in which each participant is one of the five teams in its league that goes back to the beginning of the 20th century and still plays in its original city.) When I saw online that the Red Sox were down 5-0 in the 7th, I figured I’d turn it on in time to see the end. I didn’t count on a half-hour-long top of the seventh in which the Rays upped their lead to 7-0, which is where things stood when I turned on the TV to see the end. And I sure didn’t count on what happened next. I can’t say it better than Joe Posnanski, who has just posted his own thoughts.

If they can just get a two-out, two-strike RBI single from Pedroia …

And if they can get a three-run homer from Papi …

And if they can get a two-run home from J.D. Drew …

And if they can get a 254-pitch at-bat from Coco Crisp and then, with a runner at second, let him hit a hard single to Tampa outfielder Gabe Gross who then uncorks the worst playoff outfield throw since Barry …

Then all they will need, in the bottom of the ninth, is a terrible throw from Evan Longoria and a line shot game winner by J.D. Drew over Gross’ head.

It all happened, just like that. Wow!

Categories: Sports, Today's News

Palin and Elitism

October 16, 2008 Leave a comment

One of the benefits I have derived in reading Andrew Sullivan’s blog at The Atlantic Monthly is my discovery of a whole cast of thoughtful, articulate conservative writers. It’s comforting to know that Bill Kristol (not thoughtful!) is not the norm. My latest find is Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute. She writes for their publication City Journal, in print and online.

Three weeks ago, with reference to Sarah Palin’s campaign, MacDonald wrote a piece entitled Anti-Elitism Goes Too Far, with the subtitle Sarah Palin’s defenders shouldn’t mock the value of learning. Clearly MacDonald and I have different views on the contemporary university, but I very much enjoyed her concluding passage:

… wouldn’t it be possible to signal that it’s not just paying the mortgage, pumping the gas, and enjoying her husband and children that qualifies a working mom for the vice presidency, as one commentator has suggested, but that the study of history and political thought might help, too? Such study can be accomplished at the University of Idaho no less than at Princeton.

I am not suggesting that having an Ivy League degree, or indeed any kind of degree, is a prerequisite to occupying the White House. I would have been delighted if a businessman who had created a successful enterprise were on the ticket, no matter his academic background. But the wisdom of the past offers its own lessons for political leaders; the Founders, who peppered their advocacy for the Constitution with discussions of the ancient Greek Amphictyonic council and the Holy Roman Empire, would have been surprised to see that resource so gleefully dismissed.

MacDonald’s most recent on-line article is Gettin’ All Mavericky. Its subtitle is Conservatives should not sacrifice standards for political advantage. It’s well worth reading. Here’s a portion: Read more…

Categories: Politics

McCain’s Appearance

October 16, 2008 Leave a comment

The impression Senator McCain has left on me in the second and third presidential debates is that of someone old and tired, lost somewhere in the past. This isn’t a statement about his age, or his intellectual capacity. He’s clearly a vigorous guy. It’s hard to imagine how anyone endures the physical, mental, and emotional intensity of a presidential campaign. It’s more about his demeanor, his continued focus on now-tired ideas, on the trivial, on slogans, on meanness. What he says, how he carries himself, the expressions on his face all are of a piece, and not an inspiring piece.

The New Yorker’s superb writer George Packer captures some of what I’m seeing in his latest blog post:

It made me sad, watching the tight-necked, pop-eyed, clenched-jawed, eyebrows-twitching, shoulders-heaving, ghoulish-smiling, rapid-blinking John McCain go from pale to translucent as he flailed away on TV last night, to remember the man I saw at a town-hall meeting in Salem, New Hampshire, last January—years ago. Back then he was witty, he was relaxed, he was appealingly combative, he was generous. For sheer talent at engaging with voters he had it all over both Obama and Clinton. The contrast now is so severe that it makes running for President seem like a personal disaster on the scale of a prolonged nervous breakdown leading to physical and psychological ruin. This campaign has done something terrible to McCain. And it’s entirely his own fault. Character is fate.

See also the comments of The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison. Some excerpts: Read more…

Categories: Politics, Today's News

That Overhead Projector

October 16, 2008 Leave a comment

In last night’s McCain-Obama debate, Senator McCain referred yet again to the earmark for a $3 million overhead projector that Senator Obama supported:

MCCAIN: … But I would fight for a line-item veto, and I would certainly veto every earmark pork-barrel bill. Senator Obama has asked for nearly $1 billion in pork-barrel earmark projects…

SCHIEFFER: Time’s up.

MCCAIN: … including $3 million for an overhead projector in a planetarium in his hometown. That’s not the way we cut — we’ll cut out all the pork.

The morning after the first McCain-Obama debate, I wrote about McCain’s other pet earmark peeve, the $3 million allocated for a study of bear DNA in Montana, noting that I was troubled about “his continued use of this expenditure as an example of self-evident waste, without making any effort to educate the audience (or perhaps himself) on why it’s a waste.” The same remark applies here, as does my suggestion that underlying this is an appeal to traditional anti-intellectual, anti-science currents in this country. Read more…

Categories: Politics, Science, Today's News