Sunday, August 15, 2010

Monday Musings

Fox 9 Storm Prophet Keith Marler has graced us with a beautiful day. I spend the entirety of it blogging! Let's muse, eh?

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It's rare that anyone in baseball over the age of 50 does anything that is both a) unpopular and b) right. So I just want to salute Ron Gardenhire for his decision to pull Kevin Slowey in the midst of a no-hitter last night.

Slowey was on 106 pitches, and coming off an injury. He is the third best starter in a slim rotation for a team very likely to make the playoffs.

Further, even though he is a very average pitcher, his salary makes him an extremely valuable asset for the future. For a mid-market team with a small-market fan base, which has already committed huge dollars to Joe Mauer, high production-to-contract players like Slowey and Jim Thome are essential. It would cost $3-4M to replace him on the open market.

So, hurray, Gardenhire made a great decision. He should now become the first manager to swear off bunting, codifying has genius status.

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I told you this Obama guy doesn't get it. A little over a year after needlessly wading into the Cambridge cop affair in the midst of a health care presser, Obama decided to wade into the 9/11 Mosque controversy. I like it when Obama wades, since he invariably gets swept away by the current. The guy either doesn't know a river where he sees one, or has a drowning fetish.

Many have compared 2010 to 1994, in the electoral sense. One unheralded feature of the 1994 topographical political map, largely forgotten by history, was Bill Clinton's crime bill. The bill itself was moderate for its time, a ban on assault weapons was accompanied by a pledge to put 100,000 new cops on the street. It came at a time when even many conservatives saw crime as an increasingly federal issue.

But it was vilified by opponents on the basis of one thing. Midnight basketball.

The bill provided $40 million (a lot of money back then) for a then-private initiative to get poor kids to play basketball, ostensibly instead of shooting each other. To critics, it was emblematic of the sort of ham-fisted, doctrinaire approach to crime that was failing our larger cities, and it had the embarrassing smell of pork to boot. Seeking to placate the liberal base, especially black voters who were leery of a brigade of federal police forces, Clinton highlighted the midnight basketball program.

Clinton keyed in on a relatively inconsequential issue that allowed his opponents to frame his party culturally liberal in the fall of an election year. But he did so in defense of a moderate bill addressing a major problem. Obama came out in favor of the mosque for no damn reason at all.

If ever there is a book entitled Profiles in Frivolous Courage, it will certainly feature Obama. Maybe he can co-author the foreword with Ron Paul.

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One more on the mosque thing. One of the talking points cum arguments that is circulating is that Timothy McVeigh bombed the OKC federal building, out of fealty to the Christian religion, and so those who oppose the construction of the mosque must also oppose the construction of churches near the locale of the OKC bombing.

Setting aside the efficacy of this argument, its premise is incorrect. McVeigh was not a Christian. He was raised Catholic and then became, explicitly, agnostic. Yet people are repeating the spiel verbatim as a sort of gotcha argument. Dumb.

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People are starting to lay into Lenny Gibbs pretty hard. Rep. Grayson described him as Bozo the Spokesperson. To which, is he going to be the sacrificial lamb after the 2010 elections? Is that what the administration is saving him for? Dude, casting off an incompetent spokesperson who has been compared to a clown by your party's court jester is not going to persuade anyone that you are changing direction.

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On a personal note, my good friend and fellow blogger Adam Omelianchuk (who I interviewed here in 2005) has taken off for California to pursue... Well, I forget. I think he's going to be a screenwriter. Anyway, everyone wish him a good flight!

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Had the chance to go to Travail, the newly opened gastropub from the former chefs of Victory 44. The concept is similar (wildly inventive small plates with a couple of larger staples). Downtown Robbinsdale is a nice locale, and it's great that it finally has a restaurant worthy of its charm. The kohlrabi soup was excellent. I'm sure I'll become duly fantarded about the place.




















California

Gibbs
Travail

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