Monday, March 2, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 3/2/15

The first Ten of March. I'm glad to have gotten back in the swing of things. It's pretty amusing that I have put more content out in the past two weeks that I had the previous two years. Actually, forget amusing, that's just sad. Alas, today we have a more diverse Ten. -- J.L.

They could just use budget reconciliation to pass a bill, or the Senate could have passed the "clean" bill with the House having the ability to tack on amendments that required only 51 Senate votes to pass the amended version. But of course not. McConnell is what he is (I won't repeat the earlier image from last week) and Boehner "doesn't do messy." Mencken was wise, at least when it came to the nature of the democratic process.

I need to step outside. Pardon me...
Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who is likely to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, took a veiled shot at a potential rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a speech in South Carolina on Saturday, criticizing the politics of “triangulation” that have historically been associated with the Clintons.
“The most fundamental power of our party and our country is the power of our moral principles,” Mr. O’Malley said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by an aide.

Ok, I've calmed down. Just needed to get that out of my system, especially the part about "potential rival" and the quote about moral principles. Seriously, I don't even think Mrs. O'Malley believes that the former governor has a prayer. Considering that despite all of his appearances on Meet the Press, most people don't have the first damned idea who he is.

And that's not a bad thing. The only one who has a prayer taking on Hillary is Elizabeth Warren, and that's only if Hillary drops out, which I peg at about a 50-50 shot. Good luck, O'Malley. You'll need it.

(I only included that last part because I am tired of the Verizon pitch. The "half-fast" is nothing more than an update of the old "sofa king" nonsense. Oh, look at me, I can swear without swearing! Aren't I sooooo clever!!?)

Anyway, as much as Vox annoys me with its patronizing "Voxsplaining" (as if people don't know how to read things for themselves) not everything it puts out is totally bad. What's interesting about this link is that the conclusion is mostly correct, but the premise and process of arriving there is wrong. Not taxing something isn't the same as subsidizing it. It's the same premise that I hear from liberal think tanks and Congressmen about how we have to find a way to "pay" for tax cuts. It doesn't quite work that way. Budgeting is based on what you have, not what you assume you are going to bring in.

The "President" of Venezuela is being tragically ludicrous, claiming that an American pilot is there to help stage a coup against him. He is truly in the finest tradition of Hugo Chavez!

The Pope has been discovered, to the horror of many people who were hoping for some Episcopalian social justice warrior, to be...Catholic! I'm not sure what people are complaining about. He was merely reiterating what Jesus himself said (and St. Paul reaffirmed in his epistles) that money was a means and not an end. Once it becomes an end in itself, the individual who makes it an end is committing idolatry.

Do I think Francis is a little too loose-lipped at times? Yes, but this wasn't one of those times. 

On the very first Ten, I posted an article about Jesuit colleges hiding their Catholic identity. In this link, it's an eight-year old column from Rusty Reno (now the editor of First Things) about college educations and how there is a "closing of the American mind." Reno's thoughts turn to how Catholic colleges, who ought to be at the forefront of a full and challenging education, also fall into the closure:
Every Catholic university has its own story. But the basic dynamic tends to be the same. For all their good intentions, most Catholic administrators are hopelessly confused and inconsistent when it comes to the goals of education. Just talk to a Catholic dean or college president. They do not want non-Catholic students to be “uncomfortable,” and they want everyone to feel “included.” Then, not a minute or two later, the conversation shifts, and the very same proponents of inclusion will insist that we need to challenge our students with critical thought and diverse perspectives. Hello! You can’t have it both ways—making students comfortable and challenging them.
Of course, what most Catholic educators usually mean is that a professor should challenge the traditional beliefs of Catholic students and challenge any conservative political or economic beliefs that students are foolish enough to expose. This critical project, which is conveniently well-coordinated with the agenda of secular education, has the desired effect of making administrators and faculty feel good about their great vocation as critical educators while—miracle of miracles—making anybody who disagrees with the teachings of the Catholic Church feel comfortable and welcome.
Much as with society at large, we have a very mistaken notion of what "academic freedom" means. Liberty in society doesn't mean "libertinism" or hedonism. It means being free to seek the truth and seek what's right without fear of retribution. And it's the same in academia, rather than just being able to espouse whatever is the trend du jour

A certain man once said "the truth will set you free." Maybe if we listened to him for a while.

So Google wants to rank searches by "fact"? What could possibly go wrong with this? Talk about control of information! Who gets to decide what is factual and what isn't? And we keep being told that Net Neutrality was only about putting the smackdown to big eeeeevil corporations. 

8. Life And Death

I was saddened to hear about the death of Anthony Mason over the weekend at the age of 48. He was part of those New York Knicks teams that made you fear driving down the lane. I didn't like those teams one iota, but Mason was my favorite player on it. Mostly because a) he was left-handed and b) he had the funkiest foul-shooting form I have ever seen.

Also of note was the first black Major League player in Chicago, Minnie Minoso, who died at age 92 (or however old they are saying now - there are conflicted sources on his age). He was one who slips through the cracks when discussing that era, especially with Ernie Banks playing on the other side of town, but any good fan of baseball should know who Minnie Minoso was.

As an avowed Sabermetrician, I really enjoy how the use of advanced numbers has opened up the understanding of the games. The story (from Grantland) demonstrates that the statistical war is over; advanced numbers won. Now, the war is about who rather than what. This is a much more visceral element, because it has become personal. It gets to the heart of Howard Cosell's criticism of what he called the "Jockocracy," that only those who played, who were there, get to make commentary about the state of the game and everything within. Does the view of the player matter? Of course! Is it the only view that ought to be considered? Not really. 

The Phillies lost their first spring training a college team!

Yay, this is going to be a fun season. Stay tuned!

No comments: