Monday, October 31, 2005

Muslim wife beating is OK

The Aussies are pretty reliable allies and do things usually in a sensible way which is why this idiocy is so surprising and well, seems more like something you'd see in the UK.

The instructions come in a religious diversity handbook given to Victorian police officers that also recommends special treatment for suspects of Aboriginal, Hindu and Buddhist background.
Police are told: "In incidents such as domestic violence, police need to have an understanding of the traditions, ways of life and habits of Muslims."

They are told it would be appreciated in cases of domestic violence if police consult the local Muslim religious leader who will work against "fragmenting the family unit".
Islamic Women's Welfare Council head Joumanah El Matrah called the guidelines appalling and dangerous.
The guide also advises officers not to hold interviews with Aboriginal suspects or set court hearings during Aboriginal ceremonies involving "initiation, birth, death, burials, mourning periods, women's meetings and cultural ceremonies in general".

They are told to interview Baha'i suspects only after sunset in the fasting month.

And they are cautioned that when a Sikh is reading the Sikh Holy Script -- a process that normally takes 50 hours -- "he should not be disturbed".

The 50,000 handbooks instruct police to take shoes off before entering Buddhist and Hindu houses and mosques, and remove hats before entering or searching churches.
Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau head Gerard Daniells, who created the 82-page full-colour handbook, said common sense would prevail over the guide in an emergency.

Mr Daniells said the next edition would include Maori spiritual beliefs and practices.

The NEXT bloody edition? A hallmark of a cohesive civil society is equal protection under the law. Taking off shoes before entering a mosque? Not interrupting a reading of the Sikh holy script?


The Libby indictment: another abuse of process?

Hopefully the article linked in the title hereto, former Solicitor General Ted Olson blasting Patrick Fitzgerald over the Libby indictment and the investigation in the Plame affair, is available to you. If not, here's the crux of it:

has demonstrated yet again that the special prosecutor syndrome is alive and well. The man he has indicted, Lewis Libby, was investigated, along with numerous others, to see whether someone violated a law prohibiting the intentional disclosure of the classified identity of a covert intelligence agent who'd served as such outside the U.S. during the five years preceding disclosure. Apparently he committed no such crime -- at least the indictment doesn't charge him with that. Instead, Mr. Fitzgerald asserts, he misled investigators and grand jurors about conversations he had with reporters regarding Ms. Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador engaged in a bitter dispute with the administration over its justification for the Iraq war.

* * *
As chief of staff to the vice president, Mr. Libby participated in countless meetings and phone conversations every day, seven days a week. Talking to reporters, mostly on background, is a big part of life in these jobs. At this level, important events occur daily, one after the other. The same can be said about journalists in Washington. So many phone calls every day -- some on record, some off. It is impossible to remember the details of who said what during which conversation on what day -- even a week, much less years, later. So if Mr. Libby's memory is wrong about what he said to or learned from reporters in June/July 2003, or if reporters do not recall accurately, or if phone conversations are juxtaposed, that is natural, not sinister.

Remember that Mr. Libby is not charged with knowingly disclosing Ms. Plame's CIA affiliation in order to disclose the identity of a secret agent. It seems fairly clear that he had numerous conversations about Mr. Wilson's discredited grievances against the administration in order to refute those charges and explain Mr. Wilson's motivations, not to out a CIA agent. Ms. Plame was not manifestly central or even especially relevant to the underlying dispute.

In other words, the special prosecutor embarked on an investigation to determine whether anyone had committed a crime by revealing Valerie Plame Wilson's identity. He never answered that question and instead indicted Libby based on he said/she said accounts of Libby's conversations with the reporters (Matthew Cooper, Judy Miller, others) involved in the case. Fitzgerald believed the reporters' versions instead of Libby's and decided to indict Libby for making false statements to investigators. This is the power of prosecutorial discretion at an unacceptable level of caprice. If there was no underlying crime, or insufficient proof thereof, Fitzgerald should have left the whole situation alone instead of indicting someone merely to show some fruits of his "investigation".

In a few years, after Libby has been vindicated, he too will wonder the same thing Robert McFarlane did when his convictions after Lawrence Walsh's Iran-Contra witchhunt were thrown out on appeal: "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"

Second choice: a vast improvement

As you saw from Wongdoer, Pres. Bush nominated Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. On the second try, Bush made a real nomination for the Supreme Court.

This nomination puts the ball squarely in Bill Frist's court: Alito is highly intelligent, vastly qualified and completely competent; therefore Frist and the Senate Judiciary Committee must ensure that a qualified jurist does not get borked by the Left.

The Democrats will likely filibuster and the Senate Majority leader must hold firm. There is no reason for a Republican-controlled Senate if it cannot approve qualified judicial nominees made by a Republican president. The talking points are ready for the Left: (1) he is too radical for the American people; (2) he is no moderate but will replace one (O'Connor). Both critiques must be met with unequivocal support for the President and the nominee: he is unquestionably qualified, choosing him is the President's prerogative, and the American people voted in unprecedented numbers for THIS President. Any filibuster must be broken to enforce the Constitution -- a duty of every Federal officeholder. If the Senate cannot get Alito confirmed, Frist should step down as Majority Leader.

Other reactions:

Matthew Franck thinks there will be no filibuster and that ultimately 60+ senators will vote to confirm.

Ed Whelan says the Senate has a sufficient record to review, so this whole process should be swift.

For the first time in four weeks, Hugh Hewitt is right.

Orin Kerr also approves.

Alito for SCOTUS

President Bush nominated Samuel A. Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court today. Judge Alito, the son of public school teachers, has been a public servant for 29 years with impeccable legal credentials which include editor of the Yale Law Journal and 15 years as appellate court judge in the Third Circuit. I'll leave it to the Monk for the erudite analysis but this looks like a darned good pick and excellently timed to repair the 'fracture' over the Miers nomination which I think was not nearly as bad as the Left would have hoped for. We'll likely have to put out with some whining from the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only - e.g., Chafee, Snowe, Collins) but the Republicans and the Right will be rock solid supporting Alito. It also takes a lot of wind out of the Fitzgerald indictment.

The support from the right is virtually unanimous and the loathing from the Left equally so. The Left will base their opposition on one ruling - Casey.

Alito is best known for casting a dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1991). While the Left will aggressively sling Casey as napalm, Patterico gives a very good narrative of what Alito was getting at here: An excerpt:

Judge Alito then noted that the spousal notification provision at issue did not give the husband a veto power. Rather, a married woman simply had to certify (through her own uncorroborated and unnotarized statement) either that she had notified her husband, or that her case fell within any one of several statutory exceptions, including:

(1) [The husband] is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) [the woman seeking an abortion] has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her.

Judge Alito then argued that the appellees challenging the statute had not met their burden of proof — which Justice O’Connor had said rested with those asserting an “undue burden” — to show that the law had the “broader inhibiting effect” required by the whim of Justice O’Connor the relevant precedents.

Alito noted that the evidence showed that 1) most abortions are sought by unmarried women, and 2) about 95% of married women seeking abortions tell their husbands in any event. Of the small number of women remaining, the record was devoid of evidence as to what percentage would be unable to assert at least one of the four exceptions enumerated above. Nor was evidence offered to show what percentage of women would suffer retaliation from their husbands in ways not covered by the four exceptions.

Judge Alito concluded that, absent any evidence as to how many women would be adversely affected, the appellees had failed to meet their burden of showing that the spousal notification requirement imposed an “undue burden” on women. He specifically noted:

Whether the legislature’s approach represents sound public policy is not a question for us to decide. Our task here is simply to decide whether Section 3209 meets constitutional standards.

The key here is that Alito, referencing Sandra Day O'Connor's previous SC opinions, felt that requiring a woman to sign a non-notarized and uncorroborated document indicating that she had notified her spouse before having an abortion did not pose an undue burden. There are four, fairly broad exceptions - including risk of bodily harm - to this requirement.

Friday, October 28, 2005

NL fever -- hope it's not contagious

The newest question in baseball is "does the National League suck"? For 2005, the answer is yes (82-80 Padres in the playoffs, weak Braves, no-hit Astros, etc.). In general, it is too soon to tell.

Nonetheless, this season produced a dubious first: the first time two different teams from the same league swept the World Series in consecutive seasons. Even worse, the two NL losers have been the best teams in the NL for the past two seasons -- as demonstrated by their tilts in the NLCS.

But there's more: the NL has not only lost six of the last 8 WS, four have been sweeps. Sure, the '98 Padres were overmatched by the '98 Yankees (everyone was -- the Yanks stomped the 106-win Braves during the regular season, prompting Chipper Jones to note his team's "butt-whipping"); but the other three were a bit much. The '99 Yanks featuring the worst seasons for Clemens and Pettitte drubbing the 103-win best-record-in-baseball Braves; the '04 RedSawx humiliating the 105-win Cardinals in games 2-4 after a tough game 1 win; the '05 ChiSax swatting Clemens and Oswalt -- these results are outliers, or seemingly should be.

I have a hard time explaining it. I do think that if NL teams do not have Cy Young caliber pitching (contra 2001 Diamondbacks), they have trouble with AL lineups (just look at what the Angels did to the Giants in '02). Conversely, AL pitchers have less trouble with NL lineups because their pitchers get breathers in comparison to top AL lineups -- either a pitcher if the game is in the NL park, or a bench stiff pushed into a DH role. The NL does not and cannot have a bunch of David Ortizes on their teams because everyone needs to play the field in order to hit. Thus, the AL pitchers get a reprieve by facing the Padres instead of the Indians, or the Mess instead of the A-Rodian Mariners or even the Cards instead of the Yankees.

So yeah, right now the NL sucks. And the AL is going to be as good or better next year when the Yanks have healthy pitchers, the Chisax look for their first 100-win season, the Twins have a healthy Torii Hunter or star whom they received for him, the A's are a year more mature, the Orioles have Leo Mazzone, the B'Jays add talent (reportedly, they're buyers in the offseason), etc. In other words, the NL may have begun a down cycle when Curt Schilling took the mound in game 2 of the 2004 WS.

The real Miers fallout

As Hugh Hewitt whinges about how conservatives treated Harriet Miers (he can't help it at this point, he just needs to keep being wrong) in the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal notes the real fallout from the failed nomination:

Paradoxically, a judicial fight over philosophy is likely to help him. It will rally his core supporters, something he'll need if there are indictments in the Valerie Plame "leak" investigation. A debate would also educate the country about what is at stake in these Supreme Court nominations.

In choosing Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush tried to avoid such a debate, perhaps because he thought he had enough other fights on his hands. But the avoidance cost him much more than had he lost after a pitched battle on principle. The biggest lesson of the Miers nomination is that Mr. Bush can't avoid the battle for control of the Supreme Court that he promised Americans he would make in two elections.

And the rumor mongers at Red State are at least hearing from their sources (who tend to be better about the generalities than the specifics -- i.e., mood in the White House versus identity of the nominee) that the President will nominate a conservative that the Senate can fight FOR, instead of capitulating to the warnings and whinings of Arlen Specter and Harry Reid.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Courage, bravery, integrity? No high praise necessary

Many a conservative group, blogger or organization (National Review, Ed Whelan, Hugh Hewitt, Leonard Leo, et al.) are giving Harriet Miers and the President high marks for the way they acted in withdrawing the Miers Supreme Court nomination. This is rubbish.

The President should never have nominated her. Miers should not have accepted for three main reasons: (1) she knew her lack of qualifications; (2) she knew her lack of conservative thought -- the whole reason for her nomination; (3) she knew her potential conflicts and paper trail would create legislative-executive tension from her stint as White House Counsel. I will not praise the President for undoing what he never should have done, nor will I praise Miers for having the "courage" to withdraw although she lacked the integrity to decline the nomination.

Here are two major notes about what finally doomed the nomination and how the White House pulled the plug. Plug pulling first, courtesy Byron York:

According to informed sources, this is how the last day of the Miers nomination played out. Yesterday morning, President Bush met with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, and others at the White House, where they discussed the problems facing the nomination. There were staff conversations between the majority leader's office and the White House throughout the day. There was a meeting in Dick Cheney's office in the afternoon, with the vice president and nomination strategists taking part, in which the fading support for the nomination was discussed. And then in the early evening, Frist had a phone conversation with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card in which Frist gave what's being called a frank assessment of the nomination's prospects [Read: the nomination is doomed, Republicans want no part of her and they won't fight the Democrats for her so it's time to cut bait -- TKM]. Not long afterward, a final decision was made, and Miers called the president at 8:30 p.m. to say she would withdraw, and the formal announcement was set for this morning.

And the ultimate doom became sealed when the Washington Post reported two of her speeches from 1993 (this is the one to the Executive Women of Dallas). The two speeches caused a notable number of pro-Miers leaners and fence-sitters to jump ship: Pejman Yousefadeh, Ed Whelan, Ed Morrissey, and her second-strongest (and until his switch, the second most wrong) conservative defender Paul Mirengoff to all conclude that Miers is no conservative. Indeed, upon reading the speech to the Executive Women of Dallas, Mirengoff made the most damning observation of all: "it's the speech of a liberal."

In other words, this is not the time for conservatives to congratulate the President for smartening up, nor the White House Counsel for realizing whatever she realized that changed her mind. Instead, conservatives saved themselves from another Souter, forced a president to take a step to keep his promises to them, and helped raise the standards for Supreme Court nominees. Those results mean it has been a good day for the right.

AT&T brand survives

I LOVE American icons.

Three cheers for SBC Communications who will adopt the AT&T brand after the acquisition is finalized.

The right thing: MIERS WITHDRAWS

By now, you've probably heard that Harriet Miers asked the President to withdraw her nomination as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he "reluctantly" accepted. The text of her letter is available by clicking the title of this post. Note that because she has been nominated, it's actually the PRESIDENT's decision to withdraw the nomination.

This is a good result.

I blasted this choice on the day Bush announced her nomination. I further explained my reasoning two days after the announcement, and for once I was right on every criticism (blind hog finding an acorn factor at work). Before her nomination, I had predicted there would be no way the President would choose her because her negatives were far too high but the President proved me wrong.

Ultimately, this came down to two factors: quality and ideology. There have been far too many intellectual lightweights on the Supreme Court (Minton, Stevens, Whittaker, McReynolds, Blackmun), and far too many cronies (Fortas, Minton, Vinson). The conservatives in this country have worked hard to get a Republican President and Republican Senate (even The Monk contributed to certain campaigns in '02!) for precisely the reason Pres. Bush rejected out of hand: getting a nominee with a known conservative outlook on the bench.

Now the President goes back to the drawing board and has three choices: (1) accept the message and appoint the best CONSERVATIVE among the deep ranks of solid conservative jurists; (2) accept the message somewhat and limit his choices to women; (3) reject the message and nominate whatever squish he thinks will squeak through the Senate.

Obviously #1 is the best option: get a strong, conservative, qualified nominee and make the Senate do its job. Considering the weak effort Bush previously put forth, I have no hopes that he'll get it right this time.

Act of Loyalty - Miers withdraws

Harriet Miers withdrew this morning about 9:00am.

I'd like to think that my original thoughts here were right:

The only realistic scenario in which Miers isn't [confirmed] I think is one where she voluntarily requests that her nomination be withdrawn. Why would she do that? If, contrary to Deacon's sentiments, the conservative outcry surges and she believes that her nomination will do significant damage to her President and the causes she believes in, it may be a possibility. SCOTUS would be the crowning achievement of any legal career and for a woman whose two primary pillars appear to be her work and her faith it would be a pretty big disappointment. So not likely.

However, I would not put it past her - a woman whom many have lauded for her humility and faith - to say my nomination isn't worth the cost of splintering the conservative right and withdraw. That would be I think the consummate act of loyalty and, ironically, probably prove to her critics on the right that we were wrong.

In my view this wasn't a decision by the President but by a loyal supporter who could read the handwriting on the wall.

Thanks, Ms. Miers.

I doubt very much that the Miers episode will do the President any lasting harm. The affection that many Americans and most of the Right feel for him is deep and true. With the possible exception of Snarlin' Arlen they will circle the wagons around any credible, qualified, originalist nominee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Deserving a wow = the 2005 White Sox

Juan Uribe made a Jeteresque dive into the stands to PaleHos an out away, then picked up a slow roller to gun down Orlando Palmiero and finalize the White Sox's claim to baseball supremacy.

Some thoughts: (1) The White Sox have had talent for 3+ years, but it took some deft moves by GM Ken Williams (Contreras, Dye, Garcia, Posednik) and some swift kicks in the butt from manager Ozzie Guillen to vault the core (Buerhle, Garland, Crede, Konerko) into immortality. (2) I think all the criticisms and disdain that AJ Pierzynski suffered last year with the Giants are proven to be rubbish with the way he handled the Sox staff this year. (3) Guillen showed some of the moxy and gambler's guts that made Torre such a great manager in 1996-2000; Garner showed that he cannot handle the pressure -- his whining about MLB's demand to keep the roof open at Minute Maid Park before game 3 was just stupid because a good manager would have said "we don't care, we just need to concentrate on winning", his postgame outburst after game 3 that can and should earn him a pink slip. (4) Going 0-2 and wearing goathorns will have some effect on Brad Lidge -- we'll see what effect next year or so. (5) Don't let the scoreboard fool you: four close wins and a tie for the lowest combined margin of victory in a World Series sweep (outscoring the Astros by 6 runs in the four games; ties 1950 Yankees) does not mean this wasn't a beatdown. The Astros were a step behind this whole series except when they were six innings into game 2 and decided not to ride an ace starter. The Stros were outclassed, just like other teams that lost close games while getting swept out of a World Series ('98 Padres, '99 Braves, '66 Dodgers, '63 Yanks). Going out like suckers in game 4 just shows that the 'Stros were a beaten team. (6) I still cannot stand Jerry Reinsdorf; ditto Steve Lyons. (7) You need more than just good starters to win a World Series, a lesson the Braves well know -- the Astros Big Three were 0-0 and the relief lost all four games, including two by one-time ace reliever Brad Lidge.

A choice, not an echo -- the Miers nomination

Hugh Hewitt, the Right's leading apologist for Harriet Miers who has now styled himself "anti-anti-Miers", propounds the following questions to those of us who dislike the Miers nomination. His questions, with The Monk's answers, follow:

Does George W. Bush deserve any loyalty from his party? From pundits identified with his party? If so, how much and why not more?

Loyalty is a two-way relationship. The effort of conservatives to get better conservative judges in the Federal courts and to expand the pool of good conservatives who would be candidates for the Supreme Court has been a 25-year project dating back to Reagan's election. Bush OWED conservatives for helping get him elected and helping get him a Republican Senate so soon after the Jeffords perfidy in 2001. He spurned us when he nominated Miers, thus his selection of a personal friend who has no real claim to be a Supreme Court justice deserves little deference.

Do Harriett Miers' many accomplishments count for nothing?

The fact that Harriet Miers is not competent to be a Supreme Court justice certainly does not mean her accomplishments "account for nothing" in the larger scheme. But even within the smaller universe of pioneering female lawyers, she's not among the best, the brightest or the most accomplished.

Does Harriett Miers strike the commentator as a dedicated public servant?

This is basically irrelevant. Given the prestige and tremendous honor that a Supreme Court nomination carries, whether she has been a good soldier for the public means little to me.

Why not wait for the hearings to at least begin?

This is simple on two levels: First, her lack of qualification to be a Supreme Court Justice is so manifest that the hearings cannot demonstrate otherwise, instead they would at best show that she can study up and regurgitate legal catchphrases just as any good law student or litigator is able to do. Second, she is a cipher even to her closest friends, therefore she is unlikely to say anything useful at the hearings -- why bother and waste our time?

How important is it that Roe v. Wade/Casey be reversed?

It is important that the judicial legislating and sophistry that comprise the foundations of these decisions be excised from legal decisionmaking. Reversal of the cases themselves is secondary. Furthermore, Hewitt's implied premise is that she will vote to reverse those cases; the evidence seems otherwise in light of the recent WaPo articles on her previous speeches.

Which five precedents does the commentator think are in most pressing need of reversal?

Kelo first, foremost and beyond question (eminent domain for non-public purpose); McConnell v. FEC (upholding the free speech limitations in McCain-Feingold); Grutter v. Bolinger (racial preferences at U. Michigan); Roper v. Simmons (evolving "international standards" imported into US law); Raich v. Gonzales (commerce clause extension), in that order.

Does the commentator agree with George Will's assertion of Justice Lewis Powell as the "embodiment of mainstream conservative jurisprudence?"

This is a trick question. Will said this when Powell was nominated, to the Court, not recently. Powell was a country club lesse majeste conservative, so he actually fit the bill in the early 1970s. Since Powell's retirement from the court, the mainstream conservative jurisprudence has changed and Will's assessment has too.

Is a neo-Borking underway which will discredit the conservative cause's defense of its future nominees against similar, future attacks from the left?

Why? The conservatives are decrying cronyism, lack of competence, lower standards and poor analysis of the nominee's thought processes and judicial temperament -- these are all good things.

What are the political consequences of a defeat of Miers at the hands of a GOP controlled Senate?

A stern and well-deserved rebuke to the President; emboldening the left yet satisfying the right that the Supreme Court should not be the repository of patronage appointments and political hacks.

Not my kinda black

Washington Post editorial columnist Eugene Robinson wrote a column today on Condoleeza Rice that one has to read to believe. His reasoning is preposterous but his thinking is dangerous and, sadly, probably shared in no little extent by many on the left.

Robinson begins by posing a question that is absurd:

Like a lot of African Americans, I've long wondered what the deal was with Condoleezza Rice and the issue of race. How does she work so loyally for George W. Bush, whose approval rating among blacks was measured in a recent poll at a negligible 2 percent? How did she come to a worldview so radically different from that of most black Americans? Is she blind, is she in denial, is she confused -- or what?

Robinson's premise is obviously 98% of blacks can't be wrong so what's wrong with Rice? First, a 2% approval rating. Sounds a bit dodgy - as dodgy as someone getting a 98% approval rating. He admits no possibility that Rice could be right and the black majority wrong.

It gets worse as Robinson goes in for some pop psychology:

It's as if Rice is still cosseted in her beloved Titusville, the neighborhood of black strivers where she was raised, able to see the very different reality that other African Americans experience but not to reach out of the bubble -- not able to touch that other reality, and thus not able to really understand it.

Ah so she was sheltered! By the way is there something wrong with striving?

Forty years later, Rice shows no bitterness when she recalls her childhood in a town whose streets were ruled by the segregationist police chief Bull Connor. "I've always said about Birmingham that because race was everything, race was nothing," she said in an interview on the flight home.

Perhaps Rice feels that a lifetime of bitterness doesn't accomplish much?

A friend of Rice's, Denise McNair, was one of the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. That would have left a deep scar on me, but Rice can speak of that atrocity without visible emotion.

There - emoting is key. See authorities Jackson, Sharpton et. al.

When Rice was growing up, her father stood guard at the entrance of her neighborhood with a rifle to keep the Klan's nightriders away. But that was outside the bubble. Inside the bubble, Rice was sitting at the piano in pretty dresses to play Bach fugues. It sounds like a wonderful childhood, but one that left her able to see the impact that race has in America -- able to examine it and analyze it -- but not to feel it.

"Pretty dresses and Bach fugues?" How about CHEAP SHOT?

I would have perhaps a shred of regard for Robinson if he had the courage to come out and say. "Rice is black and she got ahead by acting white." It's not about race and never has been.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline wallops Robinson's analysis here.

Phil Garner is a dope

Last night, Phil Garner had the worst meltdown of any manager or head coach since Terry Murray said his team was in a "choking situation" after the Philadelphia Flyers were whomped 6-1 to go down 0-3 to the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 (the Wings won in four). Here's what Garner said about his team after it lost a 14-inning game yesterday/this morning:

"Absolute rotten hitting.''

"We might have played 40 innings and it didn't look like we were going to get a runner across the bag.''

"It's embarrassing to play like this in front of our hometown.''

"I'm really ticked off.''

Way to stay cool under pressure, Phil. Nice to give credit to the White Sawx who held your team to one hit in nine+ innings after a disputed homer, or to praise Jon Garland who righted himself after four mediocre innings to shut your boys down.

Better yet, Phil, berate yourself for yanking Andy Pettitte after only 98 pitches in game 2 with a 4-2 lead or for not trying to squeeze home a run in the bottom of the ninth yesterday with two excellent bunters up, one out and a runner on third. What a great walk-off play that would be: it forces the defense to make a fantastic play and send the message to the team that everyone needs to do what is necessary to win.

The Great Verducci contrasts Garner (click title) with Lou Piniella:

Remember when the Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle in two close games [to start] the 2000 ALCS [actually, 2001, which started in Seattle where the Yanks won 4-2 and 3-2; the 2000 ALCS started in NYC and the teams split -- TKM]? Then-Seattle manager Lou Piniella went to the interview room and promised the series would come back to Seattle. It didn't, but the manager took the focus off his players and at the same time tried to create a sense of confidence for them.

Perhaps that indicates why Piniella won the 1990 WS with an inferior team (90-72 Reds with up-and-down rotation v. 103-59 A's with three top starters) and will have no shortage of job offers if he wants to manage outside of Tampa.

Woman bites dog story?

She's a world-class athlete, gold medal winner, three-time WNBA MVP and one of the best female basketball players in the history of the game.

Sheryl Swoopes is also a lesbian.

But why her sexual orientation makes the news and why it is of importance is questionable. There have been many prominent female athletes who are homosexual, and there is a stigma and prejudice that they've faced (e.g., Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Nancy Lieberman). But acceptance has been a lot easier in the women's sporting world than in the men's (contra Esera Tuaolo, the NFL lineman who feared for his life if he admitted his homosexuality in the ultra-macho NFL).

Frankly, I don't care about Swoopes' preferences (she was once married and has an 8-year old son). She's an American, a champion and a fine ballplayer. And I'd rather her be a prominent celebrity as a likeable person and good human being (Ellen DeGeneres) than as a prominent GAY celebrity. Why? Because her character is more important than her sexual preference.

Cannibalism at the NYTimes

The New York Times is working hard on cutting Judith Miller loose after 'revelations' that she wasn't entirely forthcoming about her ties with Lewis Libby. The specifics aside one should note how the Times used Maureen Dowd to go after one of their own.

I don't usually read Dowd, because, well it always ends with "It was Bush's fault." Her recent piece, Woman of Mass Destruction, [WMD - how cute] though is worth reading. It's basically a Times' management hit piece on Miller and done in an unbelievably shrill and callow manner. It's TimeSelect so I'll supply a few excerpts:

I've always liked Judy Miller...

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - have never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.
She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."
An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Good G*d. And she's "always liked" Judith Miller!

Now, for some background.

Here's Myrna Blyth at NRO:

Of course, Maureen complaining that Judy is a diva is sort of like the pot taking off on the kettle. And bringing up the time Judy wanted Maureen, who was then the Times’s official White House correspondent, to give up “the New York Times seat” to her at a White House press briefing does show what a calculating piece of work Miller can be. But then for Maureen to remember this and use it against Miller 15 years later shows Maureen is some piece of work, too. And Maureen‘s putting down Judy for having influential men friends at the paper while she has had a few of them herself…? Obviously the Times newsroom was never big enough for the two of them.

and Andrea Peyser at the NYPost: [remember that bit 'tropism towards powerful men'?]

This crowned a remarkable week, in which the Times' two 50-something, Pulitzer prize-winning sex kittens engaged in an eye-gouging catfight.

Rather than fight like a man, the newspaper of record this weekend deployed Maureen Dowd to pen a column in which La Dowd suggested that her fellow female colleague had used, shall we say, unladylike methods to get ahead.

This has led some on the sidelines to chuckle about Dowd's own personal history.

"It sounds like one big geriatric daisy chain over there," laughed one source familiar with the players.
Funny how "tropism" works at the Times — if you're female and have all your teeth.

The men in Judy's life would include none other than Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger. The two have known each other since she joined Arthur as a reporter in the Times Washington bureau in 1977.

Though a "relationship" has long been rumored, it can be said that Judy and her then-boyfriend, Steven Rattner, shared a Maryland weekend house with Sulzberger and his wife. He's protected her ever since.
Dowd, who has never married, has dated her share of well-known and powerful men. These include actor Michael Douglas, in his pre-Catherine Zeta-Jones days, and TV's Aaron Sorkin, as well as Howell Raines — before he was Times editor.

Dowd, like Miller, flourished under Raines' tenure at the top of the masthead. Her column moved to a coveted Sunday spot.

However, since Raines resigned amid the Jayson Blair fiasco, Dowd's work has been moved to a lesser Saturday space.

Meanwhile, Judith enjoyed star status on the paper, Raines or not.

Which may help explain Dowd's column on Miller. It gives the impression that Dowd has not been happy running second in the competition for the Times' Top Babe.

Here's Dowd's final line:

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country." If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

From your mouth to G*d's ears, Maureen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The 2,000 hoax

Tonight and tomorrow there will be plenty of time devoted in the media about the 2,000th military death in Iraq. This major based in Qatar tells why this focus on the 2000th 'death' is inaccurate and is being amplified to serve the aims of the "Bush Lied, People Died" caterwaulers:

...Unfortunately, this story is bogus for a few different reasons. Please keep in mind I am military, and none of that which follows is to make light of any of the deaths not matter what column they fall into, but rather to point out that those that make hay about this milestone, and actually celebrating it to further their own cause.

First, being in the military is a high-risk enterprise, even when you are not in combat. Humvees roll over, helicopters crash, people commit suicide, people get hit by vehicles. People die. But in this instance, since they happened in a combat zone, they fit neatly into the meme of the leftists that "Bush Lied, People Died". They would have you believe that all of these brave souls died as victims of imperialist government fighting in an illegal war. says "So far, more than 1950 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq ...."

But only slightly more than 1500 have actually died from hostile fire. More than 400 military members have died due to non-combat causes. And not all of the almost 2000 deaths have actually happened in Iraq. If a military member dies in the AOR, on orders for OIF, his/her death is counted towards "the milestone of 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq".
Now, as I said before, none of this is to make light of everyone that has died, no matter the circumstances. But he point is to not allow those on the left make you buy into this "milestone". It is bogus accounting to try and further an agenda, and as in many cases, the MSM won't exert itself to do the analysis it should and read the data behind the numbers. This is how myths and memes survive.

Inspector Javert?

Nicholas Kristof, though decidedly from the left side of the aisle, has a decent, sane piece about the Fitzgerald investigation in the NY Times today. I don't have any particular affinity for Kristof, but he, like Thomas Friedman from time to time contribute to a sane discussion. [As opposed to Dowd and Krugman about whom the less said the better.]

It's TimeSelect so I will give you a short excerpt:

Before dragging any Bush administration officials off to jail, we should pause and take a long, deep breath.

In the 1990's, we saw the harm that special prosecutors can do: they become obsessive, pouncing on the picayune, distracting from governing and frustrating justice more than serving it.
Special prosecutors always seem to morph into Inspector Javert, the Victor Hugo character whose vision of justice is both mindless and merciless. We don't know what evidence has been uncovered by Patrick Fitzgerald, but we should be uneasy that he is said to be mulling indictments that aren't based on his prime mandate, investigation of possible breaches of the 1982 law prohibiting officials from revealing the names of spies.

Instead, Mr. Fitzgerald is rumored to be considering mushier kinds of indictments, for perjury, obstruction of justice or revealing classified information. Sure, flat-out perjury must be punished. But if the evidence is more equivocal, then indictments would mark just the kind of overzealous breach of prosecutorial discretion that was a disgrace when Democrats were targeted.

And it would be just as disgraceful if Republicans are the targets.
So I find myself repulsed by the glee that some Democrats show at the possibility of Karl Rove and Mr. Libby being dragged off in handcuffs. It was wrong for prosecutors to cook up borderline and technical indictments during the Clinton administration, and it would be just as wrong today. Absent very clear evidence of law-breaking, the White House ideologues should be ousted by voters, not by prosecutors.

HT: Dan from Brazil - an old friend.

Rosa Parks, 1913-2005

Rosa Parks, 92, passed away in Detroit yesterday. Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus in 1955 gave rise the civil rights movement and helped bring to prominence a young preacher named Martin Luther King. From the NYTimes obituary:

...For her act of defiance, Mrs. Parks was arrested, convicted of violating the segregation laws and fined $10, plus $4 in court fees. In response, blacks in Montgomery boycotted the buses for nearly 13 months while mounting a successful Supreme Court challenge to the Jim Crow law that enforced their second-class status on the public bus system.

The events that began on that bus in the winter of 1955 captivated the nation and transformed a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. into a major civil rights leader. It was Dr. King, the new pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, who was drafted to head the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization formed to direct the nascent civil rights struggle.

"Mrs. Parks's arrest was the precipitating factor rather than the cause of the protest," Dr. King wrote in his 1958 book, "Stride Toward Freedom. "The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices."

Her act of civil disobedience, what seems a simple gesture of defiance so many years later, was in fact a dangerous, even reckless move in 1950's Alabama. In refusing to move, she risked legal sanction and perhaps even physical harm, but she also set into motion something far beyond the control of the city authorities. Mrs. Parks clarified for people far beyond Montgomery the cruelty and humiliation inherent in the laws and customs of segregation.

On Fitzgerald

Andrew McCarthy, former prosecutor and one of the best legal pundits writing today, on Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald:

...some conservatives are hitting the airwaves with preemptive suggestions that my friend Pat Fitzgerald may not be as apolitical as his press clippings indicate. In particular, I am being pointed to favorable comments made by Senator Schumer about Pat’s competence and integrity.

Let me just say this. Pat is at least as apolitical as his press clippings suggest. And just because Senator Schumer says something doesn’t make it wrong.

Pat Fitzgerald is the best prosecutor I have ever seen. By a mile. He is also the straightest shooter I have ever seen – by at least that much. And most importantly, he is a good man.

...The only thing the guy I know would do is bring charges or close the case without charges when the facts of the investigation warranted doing so.

I hope he's right.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Conquest's Third Law in action

Robert Conquest's Third Law of Politics is "The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies." How else to explain the CIA in the Plame leak exchange. Here, some excerpts from Steve Hayward:

FOR FOUR YEARS, A slow-motion war between the CIA and the Bush administration has been unfolding over America's airwaves and on its front pages. A principal weapon in this war has been the deliberate leaking of information to the media.

Read the whole piece.

In latter days?

Wellington Mara is one of the great owners in major sports history -- a man of grace, class and honesty. The Monk joins this sentiment of Sports Illustrated's Peter King:

Think good thoughts, or pray or do whatever you do for Wellington Mara, the Giants' 89-year-old patriarch, who is home ailing, battling cancer. Mara is as close to a flawless and guileless man as I've met in this world.

UN covering for Assad regime

The UN report on the Hariri assassination has deeply implicated the Assad regime. However, as James Taranto points out in OpinionJournal, the UN sanitized the document before releasing despite Kofi Annan's promise not to do so. Here's an example of what Annan's apparatchiks deleted:

96. One witness of Syrian origin but resident in Lebanon, who claims to have worked for the Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon, has stated that approximately two weeks after the adoption of Security Council resolution 1559, Maher Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamil Al-Sayyed (senior Lebanese and Syrian officials) decided to assassinate Rafik Hariri. He claimed that Sayyed (a senior Lebanese security official) went several times to Syria to plan the crime, meeting once at the Meridian Hotel in Damascus and several times at the Presidential Place and the office of Shawkat (a senior Syrian security official). The last meeting was held in the house of Shawkat (the same senior Syrian security official) approximately seven to 10 days before the assassination and included Mustapha Hamdan (another senior Lebanese security official). The witness had close contact with high ranked Syrian officers posted in Lebanon.

What happened? The latest release of MS Word has automatic tracking of edits and showed very clearly what was edited and when. Taranto links an html version of the report, the original word doc and the Times of London story which broke it.

Pull the plug on Miers' nomination

John Fund again writes a devastating critique and report of how the Bush Administration nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, pushed her nomination on unwilling conservatives and its ineffective attempts to spin her as a worthy justice. Here are some of the more devastating nuggets Fund unearthed:

Many longtime supporters of President Bush have been startled to get phone calls from allies of the president strongly implying that a failure to support Ms. Miers will be unhealthy to their political future. "The message in Texas is, if you aren't for this nominee, you are against the president," one conservative leader in that state told me. The pressure has led to more resentment than results.

Similar pressure has been applied in New Hampshire, site of the nation's first presidential primary in 2008. Newsweek has reported that "when George W. Bush's political team wanted to send ambitious Republican senators a firm message about Harriet Miers (crude summary: 'Lay off her if you ever want our help')," they chose loyal Bush ally and former state attorney general Tom Rath to deliver it. Plans were even launched to confront Virginia's Sen. George Allen, a likely 2008 candidate for president, and demand he sign a pro-Miers pledge. Luckily, the local Bush forces were warned off such a move at the last minute.

Last week, we learned that Rath pushed for David Souter as a Supreme Court nominee and helped convince John Sununu (Sr.) to back Souter with Pres. Bush I. Andy Card, the current President's chief of staff is one of the strongest Miers supporters; he also supported Souter when he was Sununu's deputy chief in the Bush I administration.

But the White House was not only dumb, it was cowardly and craven:

. . . the same White House that says it won't listen to senators who tell them the Miers nomination should be withdrawn was highly solicitous of Senate objections to other qualified nominees. One federal judge was nixed by a powerful senator over a judicial opinion that would have been attacked by feminists. Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, both of whom won tough confirmation battles for seats on appellate courts only this spring, were nixed by other GOP Senators as too tough a battle for the high court. Alice Batchelder of the Sixth Circuit was deep-sixed by an old Ohio political rival, Republican National Committee co-chairman Jo Ann Davidson. The White House and some senators deemed Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit too difficult to confirm. Given Mr. Bush's idée fixe that the nominee had to be a woman, it's possible the White House allowed itself to be pushed into a corner in which Ms. Miers was literally the only female left.

Worst yet, how do you build support for a non-entity? Fund tried to learn about Miers, he really did:

In desperation, I took to going on radio talk shows in Texas and tongue-in-cheek offered to practice "checkbook journalism" for the first time in my career. I said I would write a small check to the favorite charity of anyone who contacted me and could plausibly say that he has had a serious discussion about politics or judicial philosophy with Ms. Miers. So far it hasn't cost me a dime. For my trouble, I have been incorrectly attacked by allies of Ms. Miers, including some in the White House, for supposedly waving a checkbook seeking negative information about her. For the record, I made my offer in a jocular fashion, but to make a serious point. With the exception of President Bush, no one appears to know the nominee's judicial philosophy.

I'd like to say I had great prescience that this nomination would be a disaster, and on the merits I nailed it. But from the "seen it coming" file, exclusive to The Monk (I mentioned before that I work with some of her former colleagues): one former colleague of Harriet Miers told his secretary six years ago that if Bush became president, he'd nominate her for the Supreme Court. That says more bad things about the president's cronyism and lack of conservative credentials than anything John Fund will learn.

United Nations: shilling for dictators since 1945

A brilliant pickup by James Taranto today -- the article linked above from The Times of London. The key point:

THE United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday.

The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.

The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.

The mistaken release of the unedited report added further support to the published conclusion that Syria was behind Mr Hariri’s assassination in a bomb blast on Valentine’s Day in Beirut. The murder of Mr Hariri touched off an international outcry and hastened Syria’s departure from Lebanon in April after a 29-year pervasive military presence.

* * *
The final, edited version quoted a witness as saying that the plot to kill Mr Hariri was hatched by unnamed “senior Lebanese and Syrian officials”. But the undoctored version named those officials as “Maher al-Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamal al-Sayyed”.

The deleted names represent the inner core of the Syrian regime. Maher al-Assad, President al-Assad’s younger brother, is a lieutenant-colonel and head of the Presidential Guard. He is known for his quick temper and six years ago was said to have shot his brother-in-law, General Assef Shawkat, in the stomach during an altercation.

So the UN is covering up to give plausible deniability to Syria for its role in assassinating anti-Syrian Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri. What a vile corrupt organization.

Astros: 0-2 and in the dumps

Here's the question for the Astros, and their play in Houston will decide the answer: is it easier to come back in a World Series after having your hat handed to you, losing close games, or losing heartbreakers?

In 2004, the Cards went home down 0-2 after their pitchers were slapped silly by the Blosax . . . and honked in four without even a whimper.

In 2001, the Yanks came home down 0-2 after two beatings and scraped to three straight wins.

In 1999, the Braves hit road down 0-2 and charged to a 5-1 lead in game 3 . . . choked that up and lost in four.

In 1998, the Padres headed home down 0-2 and led the Yanks in game 3 with their closer on the mound . . . a Scott Brosius bomb later and the Yanks were on their way to the sweep.

In 1996, the Yanks took two beatdowns from the Braves, went on the road down 0-2 and won the series in six -- the first and only team ever to win the World Series in six games after losing games one and two at home.

In both 1987 and 1991 the Twins Metrodome led to a pair of home wins, then the Twinkies lost three straight on the road. (The Twins are 0-9 on the road, 11-1 at home in the World Series -- the home loss was to Sandy Koufax in game 7 of the '65 Series with Koufax pitching on two days' rest).

In 1986, the Mess were down 0-2 and went to Bawstin, but at least they faced weak pitchers in Oil Can Boyd and Al Nipper -- both of whom they smacked around to tie the series.

Patterns? I don't know that I can discern any between the teams that crashed and the teams that revived to play a good Series other than the fact that, outside of the Cards who completely tanked, all had opportunities to win in later games, and the ones who revived cashed in on those opportunities.

But one thing will help the Astros revive: don't be stuck on stupid. Biggest stupidity: yanking Pettitte after only 98 pitches. Look: everyone says Pettitte is a BIG GAME pitcher, and the fact is he was typical Yankees-quality Pettitte last night -- 6 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 K (in the AL, Pettitte had one season where he gave up fewer hits than IP and by a narrow margin, unlike this season where he threw 210+ innings and gave up less than 190 hits). The way the Astros have their rotation set, Pettitte will pitch game 6 on five days' rest. He pitched out of trouble all night. Answer = leave him in with a 4-2 lead in the 7th, let Lidge pick up six outs and don't monkey around.

Instead, Garner puts in the relievers, who cough up four runs and the lead, and then uses Lidge to maintain a tie in the 9th (closers are better at closing than maintaining tie games; just look at Rivera's game logs). The failure is Garner's decision to yank Pettitte and put Lidge in his second-best situation.

The other failure is Lidge letting wiffleball hitter Posednik (0 HR in 500+ AB this season) take one out to right-centerfield (which is a decent shot b/c Chicago's cruddy yard is not particularly homer-friendly and it's harder for the singles hitter to bang one out in the gaps than it is to hook one over the wall just down the line -- see Smith, Ozzie, game 5, 1985 NLDS). All told, however, the Chisax aren't just getting the breaks or getting lucky -- the wags said that about the '99 Yanks who stomped through the postseason at 11-1. At some point there's a combo of better execution, better pitching, better managing that make a better team.

Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher; the Astros should be glad that Oswalt will be the man tomorrow.

Plame Leak Perspectives

Andrew McCarthy, the National Review's resident legal pundit, has a great note on the pending Fitzgerald decisions which have the Left near orgasmic in anticipation.

His premise is quite basic.

Why do we know that Lewis Libby was Judith Miller's source and Karl Rove Matthew Cooper's confirmatory source? BECAUSE, CONTRARY TO THEIR PROTESTATIONS ABOUT 'SOURCE CONFIDENTIALITY', THEY TALKED. Sure, they put up a fight but ultimately they talked to the grand jury and leaked it all publicly.


An excerpt:

And did they mention, by the way, that it is a selfless heroism? So vital to our democracy, to our liberties, yea, to our very lives is the principle that a reporter must be able to conceal the identity of a source that nothing can supersede it. No subpoena, no public-safety urgency, no cry for justice. The lips of these titans are sealed.

Unless, of course, it makes for a good story. Then all bets are off.
You know them because the journalists decided to tell you. Miller and Cooper both made certain that the public knew every syllable uttered by the sources they've sanctimoniously told us, again and again, they made commitments to shield. And they did it in the worst possible way: in hyper-hyped, autobiographical, self-adulating accounts of their valiant struggle to withhold information from a grand jury despite that nagging inconvenience the rest of us know as the law. Miller, in fact, is planning to cash in with a book about the whole thing, while the previously obscure Cooper has become America's latest fifteen-minute celebrity (whose clock, we can hope, is nearing its last ticks).

A good one. Read it all.

The New Fed Chairman is ... UPDATED

the CW has that it will be former Fed governor and current Chairman of the President Council of Economic Advisers Ben Bernanke, one of the frontrunners who CNBC has tapped will be the pick. The announcement is due at 1pm today.

The former chief US economist at my bank here likes Bernanke and thinks he'll be an effective chair.

Other frontrunners are Martin Feldstein, Glenn Hubbard and Lawrence Lindsey.

I had Feldstein at Harvard for American Economic Policy and he would be my preferred pick. Feldstein argues strongly and effectively on national savings and has always been an outspoken proponent of incentiving saving rather than consumption. I don't know that much about Bernanke who advocates a more explicit inflation target with which I don't agree. Explicit targets limit flexibility and distort the decision-making process.

John Tamny at National Review does not like Bernanke, calling him "Keynesian".

It's unlikely that the Bush Administration will 'Harriet Miers' this pick even though Bush's track record on finance related appointments has left something to be desired. Any of the favorites above would be market friendly. Both the Dow and S&P are up about a percent which indicates support for a Bernanke pick.


Bernanke is the pick.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Today's sign of the apocalypse

This is disgusting. Just click the link.

But sunlight is the best disinfectant, right?

Friday, October 21, 2005

On Miers, Plame and DeLay

Here's a quick check of the Tradesports' market on various legal issues engrossing the nation:

1. Harriet Miers to be confirmed by the US Senate: 35/38

This contract is down 24 odd points so far in the day in heavy volume (1,000 contracts). This may be related to John Fund of the WSJ appearing on Fox opining that the nomination will be withdrawn.

2. Indictments in the Plame case before 12/31/05
Rove to be indicted: 55/59
Libby to be indicted: 75/79

Volume here not nearly as high and the market on Rove is drifting lower and Libby higher.

3. Tom Delay
- found guilty of conspiracy: 15/20
- found guilty of money laundering: 19/20

Very light volume but overall the market isn't buying Earle's flimsy case

4. Alabama vs. Tennessee, Alabama to win: 60/62 Roll Tide!

I would take these numbers as broad indicators of market sentiment and look for big moves and trends and filter out the noise.

'Red' Card for Andrew Sullivan?

James Taranto skewers blogger Andrew Sullivan for, well, a fixation with fake menstrual blood. [You CAN'T make this up.]

It seems that Sullivan cannot help but constantly refer to an episode reported in the Associated Press which recounts how an female interrogator used red ink on a prisoner claiming it was menstrual blood. Taranto goes on to cite a dozen instances where Sullivan declaims "fake menstrual blood".

So the "fake menstrual blood" that Sullivan describes as "insane," "inhumane," "evil," "immoral" and "disgusting" turns out to be . . . red ink!...Sullivan's frenzied reaction seems completely out of place--and it also leads us to think that the use of "fake menstrual blood" may be an effective interrogation technique, just as the Muslim linguist told the female interrogator it would be.

Note how when Sullivan (or most anyone else) writes about this, it's always "fake menstrual blood," never just "fake blood." Lots of people are squeamish about blood, but the suggestion here is that there is something sordid about menstruation. [emphasis original]

This is nonsense. A woman's reproductive cycle is natural and normal. Girls realize this within hours of hitting puberty, but it takes longer for boys to figure out. To a preteen male, the news that women have periods is unsettling. But boys eventually become men, and most of them have intimate relationships with women, which helps to demystify the female reproductive system. To a mature man, menstruation is not a horror.

There are, however, exceptions--adult men who remain strangers to the female body. Among them are homosexual men who identify as gay at a young age and thus do not have heterosexual experiences. Also among them are single men from sexually repressed cultures, such as fundamentalist Islamic ones, in which contact between the sexes is rigidly policed. Many of America's enemy prisoners fall into the latter category. If the mere idea of "fake menstrual blood" discombobulates Andrew Sullivan so, it stands to reason that its actual employment might be an excellent way to break the enemy's resistance.

Best arbitrators = baseball umps?

An AP-AOL poll result showed 80% of respondents think that baseball umps do a good or excellent job. And the majority is right.

Ever since the umps tried and failed to force MLB to cave in to their salary and oversight demands in 1999, the umpiring at the major league level has been very good. Even before then, most umps were decent although some horrific ones could not be dismissed.

Compared to other sports, however, baseball umpires are outstanding. Consider:

NFL referee crews are a mixed bag; the best can be very good but the worst are horrific. Instant replay, the tuck rule and an unwillingness to rule fumbles instead of "down by contact" are the major culprits.

MBA refereeing is uniformly poor. It is disgraceful that the league has allowed its referees to be so bad.

NHL refereeing is a mixed bag, but better now that the league has two refs and two linesmen.

NCAA football refereeing is usually spotty and depends upon the conference; in the Big Ten it is uniformly terrible, in the ACC it tends to be good.

NCAA basketball officiating is actually decent, much better than that of the NBA. Again, conferences are in charge of their officials and quality varies. Big East, ACC, Big 12 are good; Big Ten is weak.

But the worst of all officiating is in soccer, especially international soccer. One referee, 9375 square yards of playing surface, 11 players per side and tons of pushing and shoving on set plays lead to plenty of blown calls. It is a major reason why soccer is still a third-class sport in American eyes.

Prescience by the President

When Pres. Bush rejected the treaty establishing and granting jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court, he explicitly noted that the Court could easily be used as a tool for an anti-American agenda because it would purport to exercise jurisdiction over American soldiers and diplomats. He was right.

Today, under the reprehensible theory of universal justice, two grandstanding jurists from erstwhile allies have issued warrants for Americans acting in American interests in the war on terror: a Spanish judge issuing arrest warrants against three American soldiers for "murder" in the accidental death of a Spanish cameraman in Iraq; and an Italian judge issuing warrants for 13 CIA agents relating to the alleged abduction of a terrorist from Italy and taking him to Egypt. The US should state in no uncertain terms that the consequences for European countries (and any others) who attempt to exercise jurisdiction over American diplomats, soldiers and agents will be most severe.

The Investors Business Daily editorial linked in the title notes the differences between Euro-justice and Iraqi justice -- who gets charged with crimes, the length of time it takes to adjudicate a dictator and the efficacy of the punishment. My vote favors the Iraqis.

WSJ catches up to The Monk

Eighteen days ago, I wrote that the Harriet Miers nomination was a complete disaster. Today, the Wall Street Journal catches up to The Monk and the rest of the mainstream conservatives:

After three weeks of spin and reporting, we still don't know much more about what Ms. Miers thinks of the Constitution. What we have learned is that the White House has presented her to the country, and thrown her into the buzz saw that is the U.S. Senate, without either proper preparation or vetting. The result has been a political melee that is hurting not just Ms. Miers, who deserves better. It is also damaging the White House and its prospects for a successful second term.

Instead of a fight over judicial philosophy, we're having a fight over one woman's credentials and background. Instead of debating the Kelo decision's evisceration of private property rights, we are destined to learn everything we never wanted to know about the Texas Lottery Commission. (See John Fund's column today.)

Instead of dividing Red State Democrats from Senate liberals, the nomination is dividing Republicans. Pat Robertson is threatening retribution not against moderate Democrats but against GOP conservatives who dare to oppose Ms. Miers. Chuck Schumer couldn't have written a better script.

Regarding Ms. Miers's qualifications, we aren't among those who think an Ivy League pedigree or judgeship is a prerequisite for a Supreme Court seat. But the process of getting to know Ms. Miers has been the opposite of reassuring. Her courtesy calls on Senators have gone so poorly that the White House may stop them altogether.

Complete failure.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Astros-WhiteSawx preview I

Where would you be without The Monk's trenchant baseball insights? Probably still not watching the World Series, as FOX will find out. It will be disappointing for the third and fourth largest cities in the US to have a WS with such low ratings.

The pitching staffs facing off are two of the best in baseball and arguably the two best rotations. The Astros have household three potential Hall of Famers -- one definite in Clemens, one highly possible in Pettitte (172-91, .654 winning %, career ERA+ of 120, 14 career postseason wins; compare that to Don Sutton's .559 win%, career ERA+ 108 and one 20-win season to Pettitte's two), and one on pace for it in Oswalt (83-39, win% .680, ERA+ 141, consecutive 20-win seasons). The White Sox have no future HoF members in their rotation, but have four good starters, not just three-plus-a-question-mark, who could prove anathema to the light-hitting Astros. So where is the difference?

There are two key differences between these teams, and the one that comes into play most may decide the series. First, the Astros have the bullpen edge with Lidge and Qualls over Jenks, Marte, Cotts and El Duque, but the question may be whether they'll be able to use that advantage against the rotation that pitched 44.1 of 45 possible innings against the Angels in the NLCS. Second, the WhiteSawx are ultimately an AL team with a lot of bashers who know Pettitte and Clemens well and have done well against those two; the Astros have pop (Berkman, Lane, Ensberg, Biggio) that the Angels lacked, but could not hit the Cardinals -- whose pitchers are not quite as good as the Palehos' starters and whom the Astros had seen often.

I'm inclined to believe in the Palehos at this point: they've allowed 20 runs in eight playoff games, dominated both the powerful (RedSawx) and the scrappy (Angels) and face a team that finished 11th in the weak-hitting NL in scoring. Their starters are better conditioned to finish what they began and are well-rested. Their manager is less apt to make colossal screw-ups (see here for a criticism of Phil Garner last year). And the first-finisher factor helps sway my vote (the team that won its LCS earlier has won all but one of the last 10 WS).

Then again, my analysis is often good, my picks can be iffy . . .

Ignoble Nobel

Jay Nordlinger has a good Impromptus today decrying the politicization of the Nobel Prizes which seem to be increasingly politicized:

Harold Pinter won the literature prize, and here the Nobel committee performed almost a parody of itself: They picked the most anti-American, most unhinged writer they could find, and one whose literary gifts are less than Dantesque.
The peace prize was a parody, too: It was given to Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency. (ElBaradei is director general of the IAEA — the successor to Hans Blix.) This is not only a parody, but a cruel joke, and an insult, and a disgrace. The IAEA may not be damnable, although that is debatable. But it is virtually impotent, and to accord it this great honor is appalling.

For one thing, it misleads people: about the efficacy of the IAEA (which is supposed to enforce the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty). (Have you noticed much nonproliferation lately?)
A man who has a special place in my heart — so to speak — is Joseph Rotblat, winner in 1995. You may not remember him. I remember him well, however, in part because I wrote a piece on him when he won, exactly a decade ago.
Rotblat worked on the Manhattan Project, but he walked out on that project, because he believed that Nazi Germany would never acquire the bomb — also that the U.S. was seeking its own bomb "merely" to defeat Imperial Japan, and to deter a post-war USSR. Rotblat was, to use a term that now seems antique, a fellow-traveler.
In the 1950s, Rotblat helped start the Pugwash Conferences, in which Western scientists would meet with Soviet ones, along with their KGB chaperones... Ostensibly, this was an anti-nuclear group, but somehow they managed to serve the Soviet agenda, whatever it was that year. The Pugwashers declared themselves completely opposed to the concept of deterrence — and everything else that eventually ended the Cold War, and won it for freedom. Before Rotblat received the Nobel prize, he and the Pugwashers were decorated by such peace-lovers as Husak, the Czechoslovakian dictator, and Jaruzelski, the Polish dictator. In fact, the Pugwashers were pleased to hold their conference in Warsaw after Jaruzelski imposed martial law.

Best idea for the Peace Prize?

...the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize should be the American military, every year: for the American military is the planet's greatest guarantor of peace.

Miers as a business jurist?

In the Wall Street Journal today, Ronald Cass and Ken Starr have an op-ed praising Harriet Miers' business litigation background and imply that her experience with business issues will enable her to be a credit to the Court.

Prof. Matthew Franck eviscerates their argument in the post linked above. Some excerpts:

The body of the piece begins with this sentence of pure buncombe: "As teachers and writes on constitutional law, we would not for a moment downplay the importance of constitutional issues." That begins a sixteen-paragraph effort to do just that. But worse, [their argument] all but concedes that Ms. Miers is not ready for prime time in constitutional law.

Anyway, Cass and Starr can't manage to talk about their chosen subject of business law without regularly straying into the constitutional dimensions of the relevant case law. Whether high punitive damages violate due process, whether the recent extension of copyrights by Congress was within its constitutional authority, whether last summer's Kelo ruling on eminent domain rested on a good or bad reading of the takings clause — these are the sorts of cases where Cass and Starr think Miers will bring some expertise to bear. (Perhaps they really believe this guff — they construct one of the weakest arguments I've seen against the Kelo decision, precisely because they approach it from an economic perspective, not a constitutional one.)

So the realms of "business law" and constitutional law are not so distinct. What about other, non-constitutional problems in law? Cass and Starr cite some other dimensions of "business law," like jurisdictional questions and telecommunications, where the relevant skill of the judge is his well-trained eye for statutory construction — a subject-neutral form of legal acumen that is more likely to be developed by deciding or at least arguing many federal appellate cases than by representing businesses in their everyday affairs.

* * *
Whether they like it or not, Cass and Starr have made the case against Miers stronger than the one for her.

Iraqis confident

Michael Rubin [in Tuesday's OpinionJournal] discusses freedom and politics in Iraq. But the following passage on how confident Iraqis are is quite illuminating:

When people fear for their future, they invest in gold; jewelry and coins can be sewn into clothes and smuggled out of the country. When people feel confident about the future, they buy real estate. Property prices have skyrocketed across Iraq. Decrepit houses in Sadr City, a Shiite slum on the outskirts of Baghdad, can easily cost $45,000. Houses in upper-middle-class districts of Mansour and Karrada can cost more than 20 times that. Restaurant owners spend $50,000 on top-of-the-line generators to keep open despite the frequent blackouts. In September 2005, there were 40 buildings nine stories or higher under construction in the Kurdish city of Sulaymani. Five years ago, there were none. Iraqis would not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate if they weren't confident that the law would protect their investment.

But car bombs make better copy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A fine mess

John Podhoretz and National Review readers have been having a written scrum since JPod earlier wrote that Harriet Miers' experience in 8 trials and 8 appeals did not seem overly impressive considering her 29-year long history in private practice.

Here's JPod's most recent comment (as of this post). As an attorney in private practice, I agree with the part I've bolded below:

LAWYERS IN LOVE... [John Podhoretz]
...with their own arguments continue to insist that they really do a lot of hard work outside the courtroom. I get it. What I was trying to say, from this morning onward, was this: Those who acknowledge Miers' weakness in the field of experience with constitutional law have been arguing that her deep experience as a corporate lawyer gives her a voice worth hearing on the Court. Having then said that 16 court cases in 27 years of practice really didn't sound like a lot to me, I was informed--repeatedly-- that, yes, it was, or it could be, or it ought to be. Fine. So she's a corporate lawyer with a pretty standard resume and pretty standard experience as a corporate lawyer. So at the risk of offending all corporate lawyers, let me say that experience as a standard-issue partner at a decent law firm does not make you a credible candidate for the United States Supreme Court.

And to go back to the very beginning of this argument, no other Republican president in any alternate universe who might have prevailed in 2000 and won reelection in 2004 would have ever even heard of Harriet Miers. The end. Now shouldn't you be billing somebody? Or are you even now billing hours to a client while you are reading The Corner? (Tsk, tsk.)

Here's an excerpt of what I wrote TO JPod earlier [with some snippings]:

Miers' total of eight trials is unimpressive because Texas had a pick-up-the-file-and-go attitude toward trials through the '70s and into the '80s -- which is when Miers started and many lawyers of her generation started in litigation . . .

Miers also acted primarily as an adjunct in four of the eight trials (once as local counsel and three times as second-chair). I also contrasted Miers' experience with that of other commercial litigators I know and her experience is not extensive at all. One friend from my class at law school is in his 30s and has tried more commercial cases than she has. That says a lot because, as I noted to JPod, in the 1970s and 1980s there was much more opportunity to obtain courtroom experience as a litigator in a large private firm than there is today.

Ultimately, there are two key points to the Miers nomination: (1) she's on nobody's short list for the Supreme Court but the President's; (2) she's not demonstrably conservative. The latter point is the one that made the nomination a colossal failure because Conquest's Second Law of Politics, "[a]ny organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left wing," applies with full force to Supreme Court nominees.

NY Times frothing on Fitzgerald

The Grey Lady can hardly hide its glee in a front page article today which notes:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Byron York at NRO notes though that it's not clear at all for what Rove and/or I. Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, could be indicted.

While defense lawyers involved in the case have carefully studied the two statutes most frequently mentioned as possible grounds for charges — the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the 1917 Espionage Act — some informed sources who follow the investigation find it difficult to believe that either could become the basis for prosecution.
One former intelligence official suggests that most of the speculation that charges might be brought under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act was the result of a misunderstanding in the press. "The Identities Protection thing, I don't think, was ever a likely act to be cited," the official told National Review Online Tuesday.
"The Espionage Act would strike me as a huge leap," says the former intelligence official. "I don't think this amounts to espionage by any stretch of the imagination."

However, York notes, that it's possible to have a Martha Stewart type indictment (I'm no fan of hers but I think she was totally railroaded) where:

Given the difficulties with prosecutions under both the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, it appears that if Fitzgerald is indeed moving toward indicting anyone, he might well choose to base the charges on allegations of obstruction of justice or the making of false statements, either to Fitzgerald's investigators or to the grand jury. "At the end of the day," says the former intelligence official, "this could end up being a situation where there wasn't a crime until there was an investigation."

Miers nomination = worse by the day

The indefatigable John Hawkins of Right Wing News found this article (linked in title) from right-wing bomb-thrower Ann Coulter that should make any Miers supporter blanch. The Monk is by no means a Coulter fan, but she did her research on this, and even without her hotheaded Coulterisms the inferrable comparison of Souter to Miers is frightening. Why? First, Coulter's column appeared in August as an argument against JOHN ROBERTS, whose conservative bonafides are only a concern to hard-core right-wingers like Coulter! Second, the excerpts speak for themselves:

As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire "would become the abortion mill of the United States."

* * *
He filed a brief [as New Hampshire AG] arguing that the state should not have to pay for poor women to have abortions – or, as the brief called it, "the killing of unborn children" and the "destruction of fetuses."

Also as state attorney general, Souter defended the governor's practice of lowering the flag to half-staff on Good Friday, arguing that "lowering of the flag to commemorate the death of Christ no more establishes a religious position on the part of the state or promotes a religion than the lowering of the flag for the death of Hubert Humphrey promotes the cause of the Democratic Party in New Hampshire."

Souter vowed in a newspaper interview to "do everything we can to uphold the law" allowing public school children to recite the Lord's Prayer every day.

As a justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court, Souter dismissively referred to abortion as something "necessarily permitted under Roe v. Wade" – not exactly the "fundamental right" he seems to think it is now.

In a private speech – not a brief on behalf of a client – Souter attacked affirmative action, calling it "affirmative discrimination."

Souter openly proclaimed his support for the "original intent" in interpreting the Constitution.

Given this paper trail, no wonder John Sununu (Sr.) vouched for Souter as a Supreme Court Justice.

Miers has nothing even close to this type of record. And if Souter (whose high intelligence is unquestioned) could lurch (far) left after decades as a seemingly stalwart conservative, how far will a seemingly undecided, average legal intellect lurch leftward? The possibilities are frightening to any conservative.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Donnie Moore Moment

In 1986, the California Angels (later Anaheim and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) led the ALCS 3 games to 1 over the RedSawx. They took a 5-2 lead into the top of the 9th in Game 5 with their ace, Mike Witt (18-10, 2.84, 14 complete games) on the mound to lead Gene Mauch to his first pennant. Witt bonked a bit: he gave up a hit and a one-out homer to Don Baylor = 5-4 Angels. But Witt recovered a bit by getting Dwight Evans to pop out to put the Angels one out away from the Series.

Then Mauch got cute. Because Rich Gedman had pounded Witt (3-for-3 with a HR) that day, Mauch brought in a lefty to face him instead of Angels' closer Donnie Moore (21 SV, 2.97). Gedman got plunked and set the stage for a pitch that changed three lives.

Mauch went to Moore. David Henderson, who had bounced a deep fly off his glove and over the wall for a two-run Angels' dinger three innings earlier, came to the plate. Moore went 0-2 to Henderson: ONE STRIKE AWAY. Moore's next pitch was below the knee, Henderson golfed it . . . and hit a homer. Red Sawx led 6-5.

The Angels tied the game in the 9th; Sawx scored in the 11th and held on. The next two games in Baaaaaaaastin were blowouts (10-4, 8-1) as the Sawx won the pennant.

Henderson went from goat to hero on one of the most famous homers in baseball history. Moore went nuts -- he fell into manic depression that culminated in a murder-suicide on July 18, 1989 when he shot his wife dead and did the same to himself.

Last night, I saw the second Donnie Moore Moment. The Monkette2B and I were watching somedangthing b/c she had control of the TV. I made her pause (UltimateTV, beats TiVo anyday) and switch to the Cards-Astros for the top of the 9th (I'd seen on the computer that the Astros had taken a 4-2 lead) because it was history in the making: the 'Stros were three outs from their first World Series and the first World Series for the great state of Texas with the best closer in the NL on the hill. And he looked it for two batters as Brad Lidge whiffed the first two Cards he faced. Then David Eckstein pulled a two-strike slider into left for a hit and Jim Edmonds walked. Two out, two on, down 4-2, NL MVP-to-be at the plate in Albert Pujols.

Lidge throws 95-99 mph fastballs and will toss a slider. In 1996, Tim McCarver first-guessed Mark Wohlers in game 4 of the World Series for throwing sliders that Jim Leyritz would foul off down the lines instead of the 95-98 mph fastballs Leyritz fouled straight back. McCarver said Wohlers would only speed up Leyritz's bat and do so with his second-best pitch. Sure enough, Leyritz pulled a high slider over the left-field wall for a three-run homer that tied game 4 and turned the momentum of the series as the Yanks won that game and the next two for their first World Series title since 1978.

Lidge did the same thing as Wohlers. And he knew it: 0-1 pitch to Pujols, slider down-and-away, but not enough of either, and when the bat crack on the ball sounded, everyone in the stadium knew what had happened -- a monster homer for Pujols onto the train track running above the left-field wall, a 5-4 Cardinal lead, and, three Isringhausen outs later, a trip back to St. Louis.

Whether Lidge goes the route of Mitch Williams (not Moore, for goodness' sake) and loses his stuff remains to be seen, as does the outcome of this NLCS. But for an instant, I saw the Donnie Moore Moment and a reason why baseball is the most dramatic of the major sports.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Marketing Miers

Once again the White House has failed to do anything to make the Miers nomination palateable. First, there was the "trust me" routine. Then came the "evangelical" sales pitch that countered every argument the White House's supporters had used to decry left-wing targeting of Roberts and Pryor for their Catholicism. Now comes the limp appeal to Texas jurists.

The jurists are all former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justices, a curious trio considering that she is not and never has been an appellate stalwart. Former CJ Joe Greenhill presided over the anti-business Texas Supreme Court in the mid-70s until the early 1980s. He's an old bugger -- around 90. Former CJ John Hill, Jr., is a partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, which is the firm Miers headed before she went to Washington (he was the "Hill" in one of LLS' predecessors, Liddell Sapp Zivley Hill & LaBoon). Hill made his reputation and his fortune as a plaintiff's lawyer; he also served with Miers on the Texas Lottery Commission. Former CJ Thomas Phillips is one of the more renowned Texas chief justices for his role in strengthening the reputation of the Court, his integrity and his pro-business bent.

NONE of the three are themselves conservatives. Phillips' court was conservative because its strongest legal minds during his tenure were Nathan Hecht, Priscilla Owen (Fifth Circuit), Greg Abbott (Texas AG), John Cornyn (Texas AG then Senator) and Raul Gonzalez (retired, no relation to current US AG Alberto [and they spell their surnames differently]). In other words, these gentlemen are just more members of the Texas legal network that are vouching for a friend.

White Sox ascendant

Congratulations to the AL Champions, whom I ridiculed as paper tigers all year. To all those who complain that the WhiteSax won game 2 on a bad ump call and that changed the series, remember that the game was still tied after the Pierzynski non-whiff and the WhiteSax had to go out and win it, which they did. Just like the '96 Yanks after the Jeffrey Maier homerun catch (tied the game, Yanks won in extra innings). And then the White Sax went ON THE ROAD and dominated the Angels . . . just like the '96 Yanks against the Orioles. In other words, the Angels lost game two, but had three games at home to do damage and did none.

I'm impressed that the ChiSax' pitchers have allowed all of 20 runs in 8 playoff games, including a mere 9 in their sweep over the big-bopping RedSax. I'm also impressed that Ozzie Guillen has revived the concept that a starting pitcher should finish his work -- four complete games in the ALCS, only 2/3 IP for the relievers in the whole series. Talk about throwbacks! The last time a team had four consecutive complete games in the postseason was 1956 when the Yanks beat the Dodgers in the World Series (the Yanks pitched complete games in games 3-7, and they lost game 6, 1-0 in 10 innings). More importantly, in the last two games of the ALCS, Guillen kept his starters in for the bottom of the 9th even though both games were "save situations" -- 5-2 and 6-3 leads on the road.

Obviously part of the reason Guillen's starters pitched complete games in games 3-5 is the lack of any better arms. Simply stated, the White Sox cannot upgrade significantly over Garland, Garcia and Contreras even after those men have pitched 7 or 8 solid innings and tossed 100+ pitches (unlike his cohorts, Buerhle had thrown just 99 pitches and had a tie game after he finished 9 innings) because their "closer" is a fill-in and their original closer is battling injury. It's not like the Palehos have a Rivera, Hoffman, Lidge, Gagne or even an Isringhausen. Nonetheless, it speaks volumes for his pitchers that they are remaining strong for the whole game (Contreras set down the last 15 Angels he faced in Game 5).

Here's a scenario I'd actually root for: the White Sox and Cardinals, with the ChiSax winning by pitching their starters for complete games whilst the Cards lose as the LaRussa bullpen matchups backfire. The "creeping LaRussaism" that Peter Gammons decries has elevated the role and importance of middling arms and questionable mentalities in the 7th and 8th innings of games while denigrating the mental fortitude of starting pitchers who no longer think to pitch their full nine.

And a final thought: the White Sox are the first team into the World Series. That has some significance because for the 10 seasons that the three-tier playoffs have been in effect since 1995, only one team that won its League Championship Series first has lost the World Series (2000 Mets). Naturally, the importance of this factor will fluctuate: in 2002, both the Giants and Angels had plenty of rest for the World Series because they polished off their LCS victims on the Sunday or Monday before the Series started on the next Saturday. But in other cases (2003, 2004 when both LCS went seven games and wore out the two teams), the early pennant-winner has been fresher with the extra rest. That's why the White Sox are rooting for the Cards tonight.