Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Police As Military in Post-Racial America

If a police officer sees himself as a soldier, does he start searching for his own personal enemy combatants, even if there aren't any to be broad the middle of the street?

Reading about the sad death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri leads to lots of other online destinations, but I found this tumblr especially poignant and depressing. David Simon's Two Baltimores, John Edwards' (can we still mention him?) Two Americas, Obama's post-racial USA; only one is a seemingly mythical destination. And despite progress, it could continue for quite some time. We seem caught at the intersection of our own (economic, racial, religious, pick one or more) self-segregation, our easy comfort with violence, and our baffling acquiescence to any and all authority.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

World Cup 2014 Thoughts

  • That Belgium match was one of the most entertaining of the tournament, right up there with Costa Rica-Uruguay, US-Portugal, Ghana-Germany, and most Colombia matches.
  • The future looks kind of bright? I would think that the best indication of that would be the performance of the U-23 (aka Olympic) team in the next cycle - those guys have not been great recently - and of the U-20 team, which has had some mixed success in recent years. If those teams aren't getting into at least the quarterfinals of their tournaments, I'm not sure it's realistic to expect that the Senior MNT will do better in Russia. The potential young stars - Yedlin, Green, Brooks - are already here, but those junior teams will provide the depth that we simply don't have right now.
  • I could have added Altidore to the list above - he can get better, and even though he's seemingly been around forever, he'll turn 25 in November. I didn't add Johannsson because he showed very little in Brazil. And I think Diskerud is still on the team, but can't be too sure.
  • I would agree with Klinsmann, college soccer may be retarding development here in the States; I wonder if the NCAA's upcoming legal losses will change this. If they have to end up paying athletes, are these 'new' employees going to be allowed to "major" in their sports, such that the practice restrictions are done away with - or at the very least, loosened up quite a bit - and college programs become more like lower-level clubs or academies? One would think that this model could then filter down to the high school level (eventually).
  • I'm pulling for Costa Rica (I've been there, it's beautiful and friendly, they're on the same continent, et cetera) and Germany (my mom's family heritage, plus they're very tall and fast) from here on out.
  • I know it's a dry heat in Qatar, and they're planning on adding A/C to their stadiums; let's hope it works. I can't imagine that extra time will look pretty in 120F heat, if the A/C goes down. Then again, maybe it won't be an issue because the 2022 competition will be closer to home.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What the Birds really need to do to get back to October

I agree with pretty much everything in this Tom Verducci piece. But I was struck, while watching last night's game, by some numbers thrown out there by Gary Thorne: Baltimore is 20-7 in games that Chris Tillman starts. They're currently 71-61  on the season. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that they need better starters to complement Tillman. Or Buck and Dan need to figure out how to clone him and run four more copies of him out there. They'd be 98-34 right now if they had a whole year of an all-Tillman staff! That's how stats work, right?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Courage During Wartime

This is about a week or two late - all the discussion of illegal extralegal drone strikes that were prompted in part by the Brennan-for-CIA confirmation hearings occurred in that distant past (in journalism time) - but I saw too many great posts about drones, torture, and the all-encompassing war on terror in general. Here they are, with the money quotes:
  • Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, A Republic Demands Courage From Its Citizens. Conor quotes Jim Manzi of National Review, who calculates the risk of death to individuals should a 9/11 event occur annually at 0.001%: "To demand that the government "keep us safe" by doing things out of our sight that we have refused to do in much more serious situations so that we can avoid such a risk is weak and pathetic. It is the demand of spoiled children, or the cosseted residents of the imperial city. In the actual situation we face, to demand that our government waterboard detainees in dark cells is cowardice."
  • Ta-Nahesi Coates, The Atlantic, The Art of Infinite War: "The president is anti-torture -- which is to say he thinks the water-boarding of actual confirmed terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was wrong. He thinks it was wrong, no matter the goal -- which is to say the president would not countenance the torture of an actual terrorist to foil a plot against the country he's sworn to protect. But the president would countenance the collateral killing of innocent men, women and children by drone in pursuit of an actual terrorist. What is the morality that holds the body of a captured enemy but not the body of those who happen to be in the way?"
  • The always-excellent Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, At Least We're Not Measles"Welcome to the honor of American citizenship. Should we replace E Pluribus Unum with We Don't Kill as Many Children as Measles?"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Destruction From Space

Since space rocks are in the news today - here's the best video I've seen so far of the Russian Meteor - the  site Killer Asteroids and its Impact Calculator app is getting a lot of (deserved) attention. You need a Google Earth plugin for your browser. Destruction has never been this entertaining!

By the way, if you're using Chrome, the Green GO button to the left of the address dialog (if you should choose to enter your own location) has a tendency to come and go.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cloud Atlas on the Big Screen?

I was kind of blown away after finishing David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas last year; not only was it one of the best pieces of fiction I've ever read, it was also the most inventive, bizarre, and genre-distorting book that I've ever picked up. Long story short (and it is a long story, or rather group of stories), I highly recommend it.

So I was more than reticent when I just now discovered that it's going to be a fall film release. Not only is it the very definition of "challenging source material", but the choice of the Wachowski brothers as directors seems like a less-than-inspired choice. Sure, they knocked one out of the park with the Matrix, but that doesn't excuse the subsequent Matrix films. We'll see. I predict either disaster or Oscar nomination; I just can't imagine the middle ground with any interpretation of this book. Either way though, I doubt many people will see it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Good Luck Charm

Two days later, that last post seems...poorly timed. A 14-3 loss on Monday, as the home team ran straight into the Rangers' offensive buzzsaw - no huge surprise, at least with Matusz pitching [I don't get it, they send Tommy Hunter down to Norfolk but Matusz is still with the club?!? I sure hope Zach Britton is a fast healer]. And last night Arrieta pitched OK, but to one or two batters. Unfortunately, one of those guys is the 21st century version of Mickey Mantle. 18 total bases, that's kind of ridiculous. That's an awesome week for any player.