Monday, August 21, 2006

Is either of these a Great, at-bat? Are both at least Good?

Following are back-to-back plate appearances in the current NY@BOS baseball game.

First, from the bottom of the seventh, Gabe Kapler v. Scott Proctor, just brought in for the Yankees in relief:

Note that he goes seven pitches, including one called a ball that appears to be on the strike area (but see NOTE below), against a new pitcher. The end result is P6, but it's a hard-working at-bat. Is it at least a good one? Does your answer change depending on whether you believe the fourth pitch should have been called a strike? Does it change back when you see Cabrera's at-bat?

The next at-bat is Nick Green, leading off the eighth inning for the Yankees against Boston starter David Wells:

Again, a lengthy at-bat (eight pitches, seven for strikes). The differences appear to be that the ball is clearly a ball, and the end result of the at-bat is a double to left field, after which Wells is relieved. (Green eventually scores the second, winning run for the Yankees on a wild pitch.)

Is an at-bat great only if it results in the batter reaching base (or at least advancing runners)? Is there a significant difference against a relief pitcher—that is, someone you're not likely to see again that game?

In this context, is Bob Klapisch's contention that the Yankees are a patient team likely to help them significantly in the playoffs?

Right now, I'm just asking. Maybe more later...

NOTE: As you can see from Cabrera's at-bat, the pitches on the border were consistently being called balls (which is what one expects from a home plate umpire: a consistent strike zone):

The Rich Stay Healthy, the Sick Stay Poor

I want to say nice things about my job.

I'm now halfway through antibiotics, 20g having been dropped into my body over the past five days. I've made it into my assigned office one day in the past six working, and an office two days (this being the second).

If this were twenty years ago—or even ten—one of several things would have happened. I might have missed all of last week. I might have forced my way into the office and sweated and coughed all over people. Or I might have been told not to come in until the antibiotics were finished.

As it is:

  1. As a salaried employee, I will be paid in full on Wednesday (paid sick leave, as Tom has noted, is an incentive in employer selection)
  2. I was allowed to postpone this week's scheduled vacation trip to South Bend
  3. The drugs were mostly covered by our insurance plan (not the best, but better than paying $110 out of pocket and eventually being reimbursed for some—or not being reimbursed at all)
  4. I was able to work via VPN and file transfers so that I only lost two days to illness (and the company gained two days of productivity while I was out of the office).

All of these are advantages one could take for granted. But in reality, they are hard-fought accomplishments gained over several decades of effort—which we can tell, in part, by the simple fact that many lower-level workers are not provided with some or all of the advantages that are clear in that list above.

Today—and especially Wednesday—I celebrate the good fortune of an employment agreement that often seems far from ideal, but which is much better than the vast majority of workers have.

(Cross-posted from Marginal Utility)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Richard Nixon Plays His Piano Concerto #1

My experimenting with YouTube continues:

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Liberace and Cassius Clay

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Bush pardons S&L embezzler, Deserter, Coke Dealer

Among the 17 Minor Criminals pardoned by George W. Bush today, three stand out:
-Kenneth Clifford Foner, Niobrara, Neb., conspiracy to impede the functions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., commit embezzlement as a bank officer, make false entries in the records of an FDIC-insured bank, and commit bank fraud. Sentenced July 19, 1991, to five years probation, conditioned upon performance of 1,000 hours of community service and payment of $17,750 in restitution.

Looks as if he's a minor fish from the S&L Crisis days. John McCain, as a member of the Keating Five, should be proud of this one. Can't wait until CJR Daily's Economics reporter tells us he "really didn't commit any crime." The FDIC's mileage may vary.
William Grover Frye, Indianapolis, Ind., absence without leave (two specifications), escape from lawful confinement, sale of a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Sentenced Oct. 3, 1968, by U.S. Army general court-martial to confinement at hard labor for one year, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a bad conduct discharge. Sentenced Oct. 15, 1973, in U.S. District Court to two years probation.

From those charges, seems to be a Viet Nam-era deserter who broke out of military jail, stole a car, and sold it to try to remain free.

Why does George W. Bush hate the troops?

And, finally,
Jerry Dean Walker, Newark, Del., possession with intent to distribute cocaine Sentenced April 10, 1989, to three years imprisonment, as amended Oct. 19, 1989

There are a couple of other soldiers and a couple of other drug dealers (as best I can tell Victoria Diane Frost of Medina, Ohio, was involved in methedrine "conspiracy to possess and distribute L-Ephedrine Hydrochloride"), but that, as per John Tierney, is not an epidemic, the way, say, cocaine is supposed to have been in the 1980s.

The Stingiest Pardoner has certainly selected an interesting cast of criminals this time.

(Cross-posted to Marginal Utility)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Charity Values

At Marginal Utility, I asked if there was any way to help Lebanese refugees.

Juan Cole provided one good answer. (Direct link here.)

Badger Tracker noted that Catholic Relief Services is working with folks on the ground as well.

It took until today to realise that there may be someone who reads here but not there.

For those who want to help both sides, the American Friends Service Committee would be a good start.

This post will remain at the top of the blog until there is a cease-fire.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

On the Internet, 137 AOL Users are Pete Townsend?

Perhaps they really are doing research. Or were looking for a recent article.

Meanwhile, I hope User 17556639 is an aspiring mystery writer.

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Compare and Contrast

All of the attention, including the lede of this CNN piece has been on Joe Lieberman, the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut.

Note the subhead, in which the evil Democratic Party attacked one of its own--forcing her not just into a primary but a runoff. Which she lost.

Where is the outrage? Where is the horror that the Democratic system worked in Georgia?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Is My Brain Small Enough?

Legendary Dead Kennedy's foil Doug Fieger is "expected to have a full recovery" from brain surgery.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Chosen to Sit This One Out"?

Via Dan Drezner comes a Michael Totten post at Instapundit:
Aside from my personal affection for Lebanon, the country where I recently lived, the only country other than the US where I've ever lived, this is what anguishes me the most: The Arab world's only democracy is being torn to pieces by another democracy.

But it's telling, I think, that the Lebanese army, the fighting institution that represents democratic Lebanon and not just one totalitarian-sponsored political party, has chosen to sit this one out.

A country's army that "sits out" an attack on its citizens can hardly be described as a citizen's army. But it is nice to see Totten implicitly acknowledge that Israel is at war not with Hezbollah, but Lebanon itself. And Drezner refers his readers to a book one might wish W had carried around as if he were reading it.

Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Quote of the Day

What keeps being overlooked is that wars should only be fought to achieve goals that cannot otherwise be accomplished. If invading Lebanon should be viewed as BATNA, then what are we to make of the reality of
the most unsuccessful war:
It is frightening to think that those who decided to embark on the present war did not even dream of its outcome and its destructive consequences in almost every possible realm, of the political and psychological damage, the serious blow to the government's credibility, and yes -- the killing of children in vain. The cynicism being demonstrated by government spokesmen, official and otherwise, including several military correspondents, in the face of the disaster suffered by the Lebanese, amazes even someone who has long since lost many of his youthful illusions.

If one changed "Lebanese" to "Iraqis," would the sentence still apply?

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

With all due respects to Duncan...

The normally-astute Duncan Black tries to trace the Lieberman sellout to 2004:
I'm really not sure I buy the "Joe got all pouty when no one wanted him to be president" theory. He was pretty wankerific before the presidential primary campaign heated up (and, of course, during it.)

Most of us would trace Lieberman's sellout of the party and its values to at least 2000, when he:
1. Allowed Dick Cheney to claim that "I tell you that the government had absolutely nothing to do with [his financial success at Halliburton]." It was only on October 9th--four days after the debate--that the Gore/Lieberman campaign responded, and

2. Did nothing in a timely manner during the Recount Time, most especially after the Republicans used out-of-state operatives to disrupt and delay the Dade County recount:
In a belated response to Wednesday's events, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman on Friday issued a meek appeal for the Republicans to curb their operatives' activities in Florida: "These demonstrations were clearly designed to intimidate and to prevent a simple count of votes from going forward," he said. "This is a time to honor the rule of law, not surrender to the rule of the mob." [emphasis mine]

What Connecticut--and the world--saw during the recount is the recurring Lieberman pattern: say too little too late, and only try to support Democratic values when they don't matter.

(cross-posted at Marginal Utility)

Too Funny Not to Post

I sent a link to Mel Gibson's second apology out to several people. Included in the responses was the following picture, allegedly of Mel's cat: