Monthly Archives: January 2009

Here’s a post about politics.

We all know who Sarah Palin is, after this last election cycle. The Republicans nominated her for Vice President. She’s an evangelical Christian and the governor of Alaska. Personally, I think she’s great.  Governor Sarah Palin Sarah Palin In Iraq

Many liberals seem to hate her. If you look around the internet at liberal blogs and at comments made by liberals under news stories at places like Fox News and CNN, you can see that. They basically seem to think that she’s an extremist, she’s dangerous, she’s a hypocrite, she has no “intellectual curiosity”, she’s stupid, blah, blah, blah. None of this is fact-based, by the way. It’s all based on inaccurate, biased reporting by the mainstream media, and on their own preconceptions about conservative Christians.

So, this is about an article that appeared in the online Wall Street Journal not long after the election. (Not sure if it appeared in the print edition or not). Here’s the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122610558004810243.html  It was written by Mark Lilla, and titled “The Perils of Populist Chic.” Basically it said that the conservative intellectual tradition is dead, implying that Palin and her supporters are dumb. I thought it was a pretty stupid article. I felt like I’d stumbled onto some liberal blog.

Then I read the comments, a lot of which disagreed with the article. They were much better. There’s one that I want to copy and show on this site. Here it is:

As a pro-Palin ‘intellectual’, I would have to seriously disagree. ‘Intellectualism’ on both the left and the right has become an end in itself, an arrogant competition in who can spin the most complex webs. The end result of that is already visible in the market; look up what the Nobel Prize winners of Long Term Capital Management wrought a decade ago, or the the current disaster of ot he GSE’s aided and abetted in large part by Harvard Law grads Frank and Dodd. Go through the list of failed investment banks; most were led by people with advanced degrees in that softest of sciences, economics, while advanced degrees in mathematical sciences were a prerequisite for the geniuses that created toxic debt instruments.

Intellectualism to be useful needs to be grounded in reality – that somewhat forgotten notion of common sense. This is especially true in any field that has to do directly with assessing risk, because risk itself is not quantifiable, it is subjective. The Wall Street brain trust forgot that; people like Palin, or Joe the Plumber, have to live with it every day. Unlike the professorial class, there’s no job tenure for for your average person. Palin was able to articulate it very well, but unfortunately that message – through a rather dark MSM filter – was seen as ignorant, provincial, demogogic.

But just how true is caricature? I would suggest, not very, and in fact I would suggest that those who subscribe to that belief ask themselves on just what real evidence they do so. There’s very little to support their claims; if you sit down and trace the most egregious complaints about her -particularly with respect to abortion, or drugs, or education, to her actual political stands, and her accomplishments in office and in her family, you’ll find more often than not that what the public is being shown is what the media has chosen to project upon her. This is just bad partisan reporting, and in itself is not unusual. Reporters are not paid to think. Her actions in office indicate a person that – while strongly committed to her own view – are both open and tolerant to others, and flexible enough to generate real, political consensus. The failure of the self-annointed intelligensia to use that fundamental tool – doubt – supported by independent research to clarify issues for themselves and others stands in far greater condemnation of academia than of those they oppose.

It’s a very dangerous precedent for the US, where, on the whole, history has been more balanced. There have been slips (like Kennedy’s ‘Best and Brightest’, who brought the US into Vietnam, or FDR’s economic revolution, that kept unemployment well above 10% until the advent of WWII). But on the whole, the US professoriat stayed away from the hard partisanship one found, say, in 1931 Germany, in which academics led suport for National Socialism by a two-to-one margin relative to the working classes. It should be worrisome to anybody that they seem to be slipping back into that mode now, particularly with regards to the manner in which they are doing so.

So, there it is. Hope you weren’t too bored with it.

Here are some more pictures of her, followed by a couple videos.

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2009 Indians Preview

Baseball is my favorite of the professional sports, and since I live in Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Indians are my favorite team. The Indians’ fortunes have been up-and-down in the past several years. Last year, they began with high hopes, as they were going with basically the same team that went 96-66 the year before and captured the Central Division crown by 8 games. But a disappointing first half left them in last place and 16 games under .500, and they had to give up on the season, trading away C.C. Sabathia, Casey Blake and Paul Byrd for minor leaguers. However, the rest of the season gave the Tribe hope for this coming year. They went 44-28 after July 9, the second-best record in the American League during that stretch. Since then in the offseason, they’ve made some smart moves to improve the team, and league observers feel that they’ve done a good job.

Recently, the Indians’ overall fortunes have gone up and down with the success of the bullpen. With that in mind, they signed closer Kerry Wood, who will have the best fastball that any Indians’ closer has had in a long time. If he stays healthy, Wood will DOMINATE. They also added right-hander Joe Smith via trade. In the infield, they added prospect Jorge Valbuena in the same trade that landed Smith. He’ll start the season in the minors, but he’s close to being major-league ready. If someone gets hurt, he’ll get the callup. So he provides depth for this year, and he might be a starter in years to come. They also added veteran Mark DeRosa, a high on-base-percentage (OBP) guy with some pop, through another trade. He will play third base, but he also can play at second, first, and the corner outfield. He’ll probably be the #2 hitter in the lineup. Remarkably, in these trades the Indians didn’t lose anyone that we fans should lose sleep over. Franklin Gutierrez (who was traded for Smith and Valbuena) is one of the best outfield defenders in baseball, but it’s questionable whether his bat will ever be good. He has some power, but doesn’t hit breaking balls well and will probably continue to have a low batting average and a subpar OBP. In the DeRosa trade, the Indians only lost 3 minor leaguers: Triple-A reliever Jeff Stevens, and Class-A pitchers John Gaub and Chris Archer. Although Stevens was good bullpen depth, none of them was among the Indians’ top 20 prospects. So, give General Manager Mark Shapiro credit for a job well done, as usual. The Tribe’s front office is considered to be one of baseball’s most advanced in statistical evaluation, and while Shapiro has made some mistakes, he’s one of the best GMs in baseball. It’s fun being a fan of a team that knows what it’s doing.

Shapiro also signed Carl Pavano to an incentive-laden one-year contract. Pavano was a pretty good pitcher several years ago, but injuries derailed his past few seasons. This is a low-risk, high-reward type of deal. It may not turn out well (Pavano might get injured or he might just suck), but it doesn’t have to, since the Indians don’t have much invested in him, and they also have decent minor-league depth.

Peter Gammons recently talked about the Indians’ offseason. I uploaded the video to the ‘Videos’ section. Take a look.

Sporting News has another positive article about the Indians. Click on this link to read it