October 3, 2007 - September 26, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
sure our liberal friends would tell us that fantasies are normal,
healthy, and harmless. Let's put it to the test. Yesterday's news
produced two different fantasies involving women. Check them out and
decide for yourselves which you prefer.
Here's the first one
[T]he welcome House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi got today on ABC's chick TV show "The View" was more than warm -
it was downright steamy.
Even before Pelosi walked on stage to take her seat at the round table,
the show's moderator, Whoopi Goldberg, and its co-hosts - with former
news anchor Barbara Walters leading the pack - started flirting with
the speaker's husband, Paul, who was seated in the front row.
"You wanna take a look at Nancy Pelosi's handsome husband?" Walters
asked the audience. Yes, came the answer in the form of whooping and
Poor guy was actually blushing...
Whoopi got the pleasure of introducing Speaker Pelosi, who she noted is
the first woman speaker of the House who, somewhere along the way,
managed to raise five children.
But Walters was still stuck on Mr. Pelosi, unfortunately for Mr.
Pelosi. And this is where a little blushing turned to a Code Red alert,
Trying to shout over Whoopi and her other gabbing co-hosts and excited
audience members, Barbara turned to Guest Pelosi and said she has heard
Whoopi say before that she'd "do Paul Newman."
"And I think she'd like to do your husband as well," Walters deadpanned
in that quintessential accent that made her the subject of late-night
lampooning over the decades.
Of course, Whoopi being Whoopi, she couldn't let that one go, which is
where the speaker begins blushing.
Yes, Whoopi implicitly acknowledged, she'd like to do Mr. Pelosi - but
she might take his wife while she's at it. "I would do her as well. But
we should wait on that because you're still in office, I don't want to
cause a problem."
And here's the second one, courtesy of Ann Coulter
If we took away women's right to vote,
we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of
a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's
going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women
are voting so stupidly, at least single women.
It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic
Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much
difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it's the
party of women and 'We'll pay for health care and tuition and day care
-- and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?'
Did one of these strike you as vile, absolutely not
normal, and maybe even
downright disgusting? Most people do have this kind of bifurcated
reaction. But that doesn't mean they're right. It means they're
probably neurotic about sex, one way or the other.
Take advantage of this opportunity to get some professional help.
This has been a public service message from InstaPunk.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Another New York
Genuine 1964 World
Series Tickets (unused)
I know New York Mets fans are grieving over the catastrophic end of
their 2007 baseball season. It hurts to have your hopes and
expectations dashed like that. But I'm getting irritated with the
current iteration of New Yorkers' tendency to make everything about
them -- i.e., the way they always
have to see themselves as the record setters for bests and worsts. It's
not bad enough that half the televised baseball games broadcast by the
NY-centric networks feature the Yankees playing the Red Sox. Now that
the Mets have collapsed, the New Yorkers on the tube keep repeating the
claim that the Mets collapse is the worst in baseball history. The few
who are trying to be technically honest qualify the statement by adding
"since the advent of divisional baseball."
Why do they do that? Because the Mets collapse is not
the worst in baseball history.
That designation belongs, ironically, to an ancestor of the team that
clawed past the Mets (winning 11 of their final 14 btw) to win the 2007
National League Eastern Division Championship. The Mets had a 7 1/2
game lead with 17 games to play and lost. The 1964 Phillies had a 6 1/2
game lead in the National League pennant race (no divisions, no
wildcard consolations, just one World Series berth) with 12 games
to play and... well, here's an account
so close to my age that he could have been writing my own personal
experience of it:
A crushing choke is an especially
painful thing for a young sports fan, which is exactly what I was in
1964. That was the first year I started watching baseball, and it was
the first year I was able to fully comprehend box scores and standings
and batting averages. Little did I know that I was becoming emotionally
involved in a team heading for one of the most legendary and painful
chokes of all time.
In '61, the Phillies set a major-league mark by losing 23 straight
games and finished with a terrifyingly bad record of 47-107. But the
Phillies brass saw potential in the core group of young players and
wisely kept them together. In '63, the Phils actually had a winning
season. Enthusiasm for the team was growing.
By '64, it was cool to be a Phillies’ fan. The team called up slugger
Richie Allen to play 3rd and had future Hall of Fame pitcher Jim
Bunning at the top of the rotation. But their biggest asset was their
core of solid veterans: Chris Short, Johnny Callison, Tony Gonzalez,
Tony Taylor, Art Mahaffey, Cookie Rojas, and shortstop Bobby Wine
(whose ability to throw a runner out at first while falling toward
third was a thing of beauty). They may not have had the stars of other
teams, but they played sound baseball.
"We executed better than any team in the league," Jim Bunning has said
about the team. "Moving base runners, turning the double play. We
seemed to do everything perfectly."
Manager Gene Mauch was a genius of situational baseball. He was the
father of what is today called "small ball." He'd manufacture runs with
bunts, grounders to the right side, and the hit-and-run. He also
platooned at six positions, something unheard of in today's game.
The Phils won eight of their first ten games that season and fought for
first place through most of the first half of the season with San
Francisco, which had prodigious talents like Willie Mays, Willie
McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Orlando Cepeda.
At the All-Star break, the Phils were in first place. Everything was
going right. Allen was headed for the Rookie of the Year award. Bunning
pitched a perfect game at Shea Stadium on Father's Day, the first
perfect game in the National League since 1880. When outfielder Johnny
Callison hit a dramatic three-run home run in the ninth to win the
All-Star game, the Fightin's seemed destined to win it all.
The Phils kept winning, and on September 20, they returned home from a
West Coast road trip with a 6 1/2-game lead on second-place Cincinnati
with only twelve games remaining. The city was buzzed. The World Series tickets and programs were
printed. [see photo above]
"Go Phillies Go" bumper stickers were everywhere. All they need[ed] was
another four or five measly wins to clinch the pennant.
Then the Reds came to town. The first game of the series was scoreless
in the 7th inning. With two out, the Reds had managed to get backup
infielder Chico Ruiz on third. As pitcher Art Mahaffey went into his
windup, Ruiz inexplicably broke for home. It was a crazy stunt, and
Ruiz should've been out by 20 feet, but the shocked Mahaffey uncorked a
wild pitch. Ruiz scored, and the Phils lost the game 1-0. The Phillies
went on to get swept by the Reds. And then Milwaukee. And then St.
During the losing streak, Mauch panicked. He ignored half of the
pitching staff and pitched Bunning and Short every other day. It didn't
work. As good as they were, Bunning and Short couldn't do it alone.
Their arms were spent. The clutch hitting disappeared. The bullpen
failed. They lost late inning leads in several games. The infamous
Philly boo-birds turned on the team. The normally red-faced, screaming
Mauch became withdrawn and sullen.
The excruciating losing streak stretched to ten games. It was a
nightmare that just wouldn't end. The Phils managed to win the last two
games of the season, but it was too late. As everyone says about 1964,
the season was just twelve games too long for the Phillies.
It is an understatement to say it hurt. I was naive and
vulnerable, and I paid the price. Even my grandfather, with whom I
watched many of the games, didn't know what to say. We were
shell-shocked. And forty years later, it still hurts. I learned a
valuable lesson the hard way -- life isn't fair.
That's the crux of the matter. It hurts and life isn't fair. The curse
of 1964 hung on throughout my prime fan years; even the World Series
Champion 1980 Phillies of Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt needed four
tries to get past the divisional playoffs to the series, and the post-season losses in '76, '77, and '78 were so pitiful they evoked memories -- and even
local TV exorcisms (attempted, anyway) -- of the Ghosts of '64
What it took finally to defeat the past was a nearly superhuman performance by Mike Schmidt in 1980, when his bat carried the Phils from far back in the pack to first place in a late-season 22-of-24 win streak and thence to the series after one of the most exciting sudden-death baseball games ever played, against an inspired Houston team led by (shudder)(even now) Terry Puhl. After that, the World Series itself was an anticlimax, despite being the first ever won by a National League Philadelphia team.
(Real baseball historians will know that the AL Philadelphia Athletics of 1929 are still considered superior by many to the more famous 1927 Yankees... but that's a whole different New York-Philadelphia beef best saved for another post.)
If you're a Phillies fan, you never had all that much sympathy with the
whiny Red Sox and their all too literary 'Curse of the Bambino.' Or the
ostentatiously yuppified suffering of the Chicago Cubs. The anguish of baseball
fans in Philadelphia was not a public lamentation that glutted the
airwaves of the nation with borrowed bathos. It was a private
thing, an ordeal that had to be faced and overcome within the family.
As it was. The 1980 triumph banished the ghosts but not all the
memories. Such is life.
This year, plenty of Phillies fans were pessimistic about the team's
chances. But not because of 1964 or other defeats before and after that
vortex of horror. They had good baseball reasons for fearing the worst,
principally a cheap and inept team ownership that refused to invest in
the pitching talent a murderer's row hitting lineup like the Phillies
have deserves. And we're all the more delighted and proud of the 2007
Phillies because they won anyway. In other words, we're grownups now.
That's my advice to New York and to Mets fans in particular. Do NOT
make the idiotic and arrogant mistake of transforming the Mets '07
collapse into one of your New York things
believing perhaps that it's some way to best Boston in the "pity me"
sweepstakes. You lost. Very dramatically. It happens. But you don't own
the record, and there's no point in pitching a narcissistic fit about
it (pun intended).
Deal with it. Support your team. And we'll see you again next year.
Go, Phillies, Go.
Can't Let This One
. Ilya Somin of The Volokh Conspiracy is a lawyer. He likes to be objective. He
thinks it's significant that conservatives tend to believe Clarence
Thomas and liberals tend to believe Anita Hill. He dares to draw
inferences from his observations. He's full of it. And the way he's
full of it is instructive about why we can't trust lawyers to guide our
responses to events. He says, in
Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Controversy and Irrational Hatred of
The publication of Clarence Thomas' memoir will focus new attention on
the controversy over who was telling the truth about Anita Hill's
charge that he sexually harrassed her. To my mind, the most interesting
aspect of this debate is the way in which nearly all conservatives seem
to believe Thomas, while nearly all liberals believe Hill. The few
exceptions are striking precisely because they are so unusual.
Since only Thomas and Hill themselves really know what happened with
any certainty, this degree of polarization is striking. Nothing in
conservative ideology precludes the possibility that individual
conservatives might engage in boorish and morally reprehensible private
behavior of the sort Thomas is accused of; similarly, liberal ideology
does not deny the possibility that a person in Hill's position might
lie for political gain. Given the murkiness of the underlying facts,
unbiased observers would not split so sharply along ideological lines
on this issue. You would expect to see at least some significant number
of liberals who believe Thomas, some conservatives who believe Hill,
and many in both camps who aren't sure who to believe.
Some of the polarization was probably just a matter of political
posturing. Conservatives did not want to lose a valuable Supreme Court
seat (as they might have, if Thomas' nomination had been defeated and
President George H.W. Bush were forced to nominate a centrist or
liberal replacement comparable to Souter or Anthony Kennedy). Liberals,
of course, sought Thomas' defeat for similar reasons.
However, most of the polarization over Thomas-Hill probably wasn't
feigned. It was instead a consequence of the all-too-common assumption
that our ideological adversaries are not only wrong but also evil - or
at least far more likely to be so than those who agree with us. If you
believe that liberals are, on average, likely to be morally corrupt,
then it would be rational for you to assume that a liberal is more
likely to be lying than a conservative and thus to automatically
believe Thomas over Hill even in the absence of clear proof. And vice
versa if you hold the reverse view.
I have previously criticized the unthinking equation of political
ideology with moral virtue here, in the context of explaining why many
people are excessively hostile to the idea of dating someone with a
different political ideology. The two situations are very different,
but the same phenomenon may be at work in each case. Both blanket
condemnation of cross-ideological dating and the Thomas-Hill
polarization are in large part the result of our unhealthy tendency to
equate ideological disagreement with moral depravity.
UPDATE: Various commenters point out that the Thomas-Hill polarization
can be explained by the possibility that conservatives are, for
ideological reasons, generally less inclined to believe accusations of
sexual harrassment than liberals are. There is some truth to this. But
it fails to account for the fact that, just a few years later, most
conservatives tended to believe and most liberals denied Paula Jones'
sexual harrassment accusations against Bill Clinton. In such
politically charged cases, the ideology of the accuser and accused
seems to determine ideologues' reactions far more than their general
perceptions of sexual harrassment.
His whole argument is lawyerly bullshit, and so are those of the
commenters he chooses to acknowledge in his update. He omits what
lawyers always omit, the human capacity to read character from mien. He
also omits the demonstrated liberal propensity to define character as
political posturing rather than personal behavior. To put it simply,
his (rational) default position is that liberals and conservatives
interpret each other's behaviors based on the same criteria -- i.e.,
ideological agreement. This might be a reasonable assumption if the
ideologies in question did not reflect fundamentally discrepant moral
perspectives. But they do.
We have seen time and again (and again) that so-called liberals can
forgive any personal failing in people who express support for the
rights of those who cannot be expected to meet any ethical or legal
standard, especially if they are black, brown, female, criminal, or
incapable. Name a Democrat who has publicly condemned the behavior of
Kennedy at Chappaquiddick, Clinton with Lewinski, Jackson with his
mistress-on-payroll, or Barney Frank with his prostitute lover as
somehow disqualifying in terms of the right to hold public office. But
the very same people who defend these behaviors are appalled at the
unproven possibility that Bork rented X-rated videotapes or that
Clarence Thomas joked about a pubic hair on a Coke can? Their position
cannot be described as seeing moral depravity in a political foe. It is
about seeing political depravity in someone who disagrees with their
Since the response of Democrats and liberals is a political calculation
based on ideology, we are also expected to believe that the response of
Republicans -- who express far more interest in personal responsibility
and good personal conduct -- is similarly corrupt. But this expectation
facilely substitutes the liberal abstract judgment system for the
personal judgment system one might reasonably look for in people who
profess to value personal judgment over political posturing. Why would
conservatives believe Clarence Thomas? Because it is almost impossible
to find a man more intent on maintaining a faultless dignity in the
field he has chosen to pursue. In every interview, every public
statement, every facial expression, every uttered word, we confront a
man who is determined to be
the opposite of the stereotypes his race has been demeaned for. Even at
the emotional extremity of the hearings in which he was accused of
humiliatingly vile trivialities, he did not abandon that dignity for a
moment. We can feel
is an armor which he never
takes off, even at considerable cost to his his opportunities for
intimacy. We can draw an entirely personal, entirely
non-ideological conclusion that Clarence Thomas would not
make a joke about a pubic hair
on a Coke can. It doesn't fit.
Could Bill Clinton? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) Could Jesse Jackson?
Could Al Sharpton? Could Newt Gingrich? Could we? Yes. But not Clarence
Thomas. He has more invested in his dignity than anyone else we have
And note the necessary next step from this reasonable personal inference
to the lawyerly position that equates liberal and conservative. Sure he could.
Why? Because we are
all corrupt. Everyone
that bad streak which can't be controlled. But if that's where your
argument goes, I contend that says more about you than Clarence Thomas.
It's liberals who want this damning indictment of human nature to be
true, an original sin that can only be mediated by beneficent
government designed to save us from ourselves. Never mind that the
saviors have no expectations that anyone, including themselves, can
rise above the deadly sins. Prosecutors have orgasms about the
implications of such a social contract.
But there's a problem with the legalistic hypothesis.
It's not true that absolute self-discipline is impossible. It may be
impossible for you, and you, and me, but I'm also old enough to
remember people for whom it was second-nature. My grandfathers mostly.
Odd that Clarence Thomas chose as the title of his new book, My Grandfather's Son
Curiously, what's easier for me to imagine than Clarence Thomas harrassing
Anita Hill is imagining how contemporary liberals would have responded
to my two intransigently moral grandfathers. It's not hard to conceive
of an angry young woman with an inferiority complex concocting stories
to topple them from their high dignity and natural authority. Easy to
envision the vengeful envy that might have driven such an act. I'm sure
they'd find a lawyer like Somin to argue the egalitarian imperative
represented by their charges. But everybody who really knew my
grandfathers would have laughed the plaintiff and her dirty-minded
lawyer out of court.
I believe Clarence Thomas because he reminds me of my own grandfathers.
Not because he's a conservative. Truth is, he's a conservative because
he's so like
Write a brief about that, Mr. Somin.