November 29, 2005

Jeter/A-Rod to Center?

Posted in Baseball at 5:55 pm by antonello

It’d be all Robin Yount-y!

November 23, 2005

Chew on this for awhile

Posted in Politics at 3:40 pm by antonello

Murray Waas in the National Journal.

This is the money quote:

Those grievances [ed. regarding the CIA] were also perhaps illustrated by comments that Vice President Cheney himself wrote on one of Feith’s reports detailing purported evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In barely legible handwriting, Cheney wrote in the margin of the report:

“This is very good indeed … Encouraging … Not like the crap we are all so used to getting out of CIA.”

November 21, 2005

Saving Silverman

Posted in Random at 7:00 pm by antonello

An article on American Prospect asks the questions I wish this New Yorker profile didn’t ask several weeks ago.

November 18, 2005

The Tide Swells

Posted in Politics at 3:06 pm by antonello

More proof that Mark Schmitt’s observations are correct:

A great deal of Bush/Rove/DeLay’s success over the past five years has come from pushing through party-line votes as if they were confidence votes in a parliamentary system. Many of the votes pushed through with massive arm-twisting and unprecedented procedures, such as the Medicare prescription drug bill and the 2003 tax bill, were sold on the basis that the president needs the victory. You may not think this is good policy, wavering Republicans were told, but if the president wins, he gets reelected and we all win; we lose, and our whole edifice of power collapses.

November 16, 2005

Woody

Posted in Politics at 10:17 pm by antonello

Hunh

It can only further taint his legacy.  At least now calling it Plamegate seems less arbitrary. 

November 15, 2005

Wait Til Next Year (MLBPA Edition)

Posted in Baseball at 10:14 pm by antonello

Major league players and owners agreed to toughen penalties for steroid use to a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. AP, Nov 15, 2005

I am some kind of shocked that the MLBPA ended up agreeing to the ownership’s exact terms on this. Fehr and Orza had said for quite some time that any random steroid testing program was an invasion of players’ privacy and impingement on the presumption of innocence before they agreed to open the CBA to include drug testing last year. That Fehr ended up reopening the CBA again and agreeing to these terms after having suggested a less onerous package indicates some heat from below (and above. and Senate.)

I understand the union leadership’s argument from the perspective of fiddling with the CBA; it is a slippery slope. Still a muscular (ha!) steriod policy that settles the issue out of season and before the CBA expires next year seems like a better strategic move (John Brattain seems to agree with this). It’s also solid (well, at least, not bad) PR for the union which often suffers from derision especially when negotiating comes round.

November 8, 2005

Baseball’s Owners Prove Again Why They Suck

Posted in Baseball at 5:32 pm by antonello

Hmm. Who to add to America’s unsavory cabal, the Major League Baseball owners:

the Anti-Semite, best known as Nixon’s Jew counter at BLS, or the provocateur who could revitalize an ancient and dying franchise?

 

Update: from slate via deadspin.  This does not change my opinion on this subject.  But Ayn Rand should coach the Mavs from beyond the grave.

More on France

Posted in Politics at 3:57 pm by antonello

Today Salon reprinted an article by the staff of Der Spiegel.

The Molotov cocktails, the stone throwers and the fanaticism are all reminiscent of the student riots of 1968. But this time the rioters are not the avant-garde, their leaders not leftist intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre or Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

What is shaking the public order in Europe’s cities today is seething desperation that has erupted in directionless violence. The rioters’ targets can just as easily be the government in Paris as other members of the underclass, as was recently the case in Birmingham. And the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London are also fresh in people’s minds.

This parallel is troubling. Why the need to distinguish this violence from ’68 or other violence in France’s history? France has had a very long history of violence from the working class in order to inculcate political action, usually due to a lack of representation. France’s political order is not set up to deal with a very large disenfranchised mostly immigrant population. Further why is it necessary to combine a comparison with terrorism? Der Spiegel attempts to clairify

The events in Birmingham and the Paris suburbs are unrelated to terrorism. The riots are not about jihad, Iran or Palestine. But they have given rise to concerns that this urban violence could easily become a breeding ground for terrorist organizations like al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

Indeed this riots are not about jihad; more accurately they are about a lack of political and economic opportunity in communities. Urban violence could spawn terrorism, much like many feared industrial conditions would spawn Marxism in the 19th century. The most successful liberal democracies anticipated this threat and undertook a concerted effort to give disenfrachised workers an alternative to Marxism; (granted so did many illiberal undemocracies – I’m looking at you Mussolini! – but we’ll leave this for another day)

This New York Times article by Craig Smith detailed the antipathy that France has shown towards affirmative action programs as a means of creating viable, potent channels of political power for North African communities. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider. To put it crudely, if you can’t beat them down, allow them to join you; people in power don’t like sharing, but when they do, it has a strange way of subduing violence.

Der Spiegel creates a dichotomy between old, white Europe versus new teeming, seething New Europe. To lump all of Western Europe’s difficulties with immigration is reductive and unhelpful;immigrant and Muslim communities are not monolithic . What about other non-Muslim immigrants? Where are the Roma? The migration of Eastern Europeans to the West since the expansion of the EU?

PS – I think it should go without saying that regardless of the press coverage, the French government has been absolutely appalling in its reaction to the violence.

PPS – Some more interesting blog analyses via Max Sawicky: Belgravia Dispatch and Transatlantic Assembly

November 7, 2005

Troubles in France

Posted in Politics at 3:35 pm by antonello

I find it odd that at least in the American media it has been very difficult to find a report about the troubles in France that is not written from a top-down perspective. Frequently the coverage has concentrated on Sarkozy, de Villepin or Chiraq (or his absence until recently). Usually this prefaced by a description like this one from the AFP or this one from the bbc:

Police figures showed 1,408 vehicles were destroyed overnight — up on the previous record of 1,300 on Saturday — and 395 people arrested. Most of the cars — nearly 1,000 — were in towns and cities outside Paris, reflecting the way the violence has spread from its original flashpoint. (AFP)

At least 1,400 vehicles have been burnt out and 395 people arrested in France’s latest rioting, while the unrest has apparently claimed its first fatality. (BBC)

Where are interviews with any of the people involved in the violence? Occasionally you read a French politician saying that the violence is “organized.” Is it? It seems strange if it were because there has been no press of a leader or any organization.

November 4, 2005

Google Desktop

Posted in Technology at 7:16 pm by antonello

The first iteration of Desktop left much to be desired.  A basic replication of the google search interface for searching my desktop was a nice amenity, but it did not significantly impact how I worked.  For searching desktop I have always preferred Copernic which gives a better breakdown of exactly what files fit the search criteria and offers preview of a highlighted file.

 The second beta was an upgrade certainly.  On an anecdotal basis I certainly found it more effective.  The introduction of the sidebar was interesting, but I didn’t even use it beyond a single go.  I couldn’t see the immediate utility and I am extremely protective my desktop space.

Today I decided it was high time to try the new version of the Desktop, especially now that it had graduated from beta.  Several features really caught my eye.  I predominatly use RSS feeds via my yahoo to keep track of sites I visit regularly.  Even before RSS really caught on, I used my yahoo as a launching point. The new Google desktop may change all of that. 

The web clips feature (I am ashamed to say I don’t know whether this is significantly different than the beta version) is the second portlet available on the Google sidebar.  The clips are drawn from RSS feeds.  An added module allows a user to add RSS feeds from recently visited sites (presumably brought in from your web history); the web clips refresh to keep you constantly updated with the latest from your respective sites. 

This certainly improves on the my yahoo interface because it is no longer necessary to browse between pages to see which site has been updated; web clips does that for you.  Expanding the web clips portlet brings up a scrolling window the height of your screen that gives you a list of clips from the past day.  The RSS of frequently visited sites can be added with a tick. 

Also included is the immediate google search bar, weather, news, etc.   Desktop has got a hook in me; now here’s to seeing if it reels me in.

 

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