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Good News for Jonathan Wilde

There's a new magazine in Lebanon. The editor-in-chief had this to say in a recent interview:

The body is always very present in the way I see the world; I always say that I write with my nails and my body. When I had the idea to start my own project in journalism I thought about doing a magazine but when I gave it a little more thought I realized I needed a bigger challenge, something new and that I’m very passionate about, so why not a cultural magazine that talks about the body? This magazine is also a need in my society—if I go to a bookshop this magazine is not there, it’s not present. It’s time to address the body in our society and as a subject that has been stolen from us.

For me it’s outrageous that the body is something that we can’t talk about because if you go back to our cultural and literary heritage you’ll see that we have Arabic writers who go back to 10th century who speak about these topics in a beautiful free way. On a more recent level in our contemporary time it’s become taboo to say things freely. When we come to say a word we say it in Arabic or French because it seems vulgar in Arabic but normal in English or French.

And check out the photo that acompanies said interview. She's 38 years old. I'd say it certainly backs up Wilde's previous claim:


What You May Not Know About the A-Rod PED Scandal

Go back to the first half of the decade when we've got Barry Bonds smacking 73 homeruns in a single season and the use of banned performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball starts getting press. Enough heat comes down where Major League Baseball (MLB) decides they want to start randomly testing players.

The player's union is against players having to submit to mandatory tests at random. They say MLB's claims about the percentage of players using banned PEDs are inflated.

The player's union and MLB essentially make a bet. The players will submit to an anonymous, league-wide drug test to determine what percentage of players are using banned PEDs. Samples will not be linked to players and there will be no penalties issued based on the results. The purpose is solely to determine how prevalent the use of banned PEDs is. If that percentage crosses a certain threshold, it will trigger mandatory random testing.

The promise of anonymity works, the players submit to the anonymous survey, the threshold of users is crossed and as a result, baseball now has mandatory random testing. By all accounts, instituting mandatory random testing combined with increased penalties has reduced the use of banned PEDs in baseball.

Up until now, the whole process was a success.

Turns out, in order to have samples destroyed, the lab(s) need someone to request their destruction. Neither MLB or the player's union bothered to do this.

The government recently seized the samples from multiple labs and has gone back and connected the samples to specific players. They then leaked one name of a player who tested positive, and one name only: Alex Rodriguez. They also leaked that there are supposedly 103 other players who tested positive.

The reporter that broke all of this is Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated. Now, if the government is going to be leaking this stuff, someone in the press is going to pick it up and run with it. If not Roberts, one of a thousand others.

Still, while I don't condone Rodriguez breaking baseball's rules, I think what Roberts and federal investigators have done is much more disgusting. The process has also exposed the folks who run the player's union as grossly incompetent.

First, I wonder how Selena Roberts would feel if the government revoked the press's ability to keep their sources anonymous? I imagine we'd hear some fairly loud shrieks from the third republic.

Second, the federal government is probably the only organization that could have seized samples and lists at multiple facilities and connected names to samples. That they obviously picked the best player among the list of those that tested positive and just leaked Rodriguez' name is a punkass publicity stunt.

Third, how on Earth, if you're Gene Orza (head of the player's union) do you not send a fax asking for the samples to be destroyed after you've already lost your bet with MLB?

People talk about corrupting the integrity of the game. Banned PEDs do that to an extent, but I don't think it is as terrible as it is made out to be. Players are breaking the rules, but doing so in an attempt to win at all costs. Compare this to players in different sports who have been caught shaving points (intentionally playing worse to help gamblers beat the spread), and the NBA's recent discovery that some of their officials were deliberately influencing games for the aid of betters, and banned PEDs don't look so bad (especially compared to the indignation they generate among the sporting press).

Perhaps the best explanation of why the press freak out so much when banned PEDs come up was put forth by Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan here:

Of course, the screaming is about the screamers. The loudest voices on the evils of steroids in baseball are in the media, and there’s probably a dissertation in that notion, because for all that we have to hear about how greedy, evil players have ruined baseball by taking these substances (and then playing well, according to this selective interpretation; no one’s ripping Chris Donnels these days), the reason we’re talking about this in 2009 is that so many “reporters”—scare quotes earned—went ostrich in 1999. We hear every year around awards time that the people closest to the game know the game better than anyone, because they’re in the clubhouse every day, and they talk to everyone, and they have a perspective that outsiders can’t possibly understand. For those same people to do a collective Captain Renault, which they’ve been doing since beating up players for this transgression became acceptable, is shameful. Take your pick: they missed the story, or they were too chicken-shit to report it. In either case, the piling-on now is disgusting.

Rodriguez says he hasn't used banned PEDs since mandatory random testing was implemented. His test results back his claim up. He willing submitted to a survey that should have stayed anonymous, that proved to be a big step forward for MLB.

Where government busybodies persecuting people for self medicating and hack journalists with no integrity like Selena Roberts get off judging anyone is the question I want to have answered.


The Best Explanation I've Seen

In response to Brandon's recent post, check out what Steve Sailer has had to say about the mortgage crisis here. The government didn't order anyone to offer risky loans. They just made it a requisite to get a merger approved between banks. This is why small banks haven't been impacted the way the large banks were. All of the recent mergers and acquisitions were comprised of banks making risky loans.

The government provided the incentive to make risky loans and helped to make sure the largest banks in America were the ones making risky loans. Houses for people who cannot afford houses backfires and you've got an explanation for a large part of the current crisis.

Edit: Or not (link | link).


Where's Naomi Klein When You Need Her?

What is it, something like 17% of the "stimulus" package targeted for big-ed spending? Makes perfect sense to me, I'm sure an industry dominated by unions and mostly removed from the private sector has been among the hardest hit.* And certainly the teachers' union is going to make room for all those now unemployed blue collar workers to join their ranks, no? I'm failing to see where this massive chunk of the massive "stimulus" package is actually going to do much to stimulate the economy in the short term (remember, we have to act now), even on Keynesian terms.

From Cato:

Like the PATRIOT Act, it’s a preexisting wishlist of initiatives being rammed through in an atmosphere of hysteria. Where the Obama administration has, to its credit, backed away from the language of war and crisis when it comes to international affairs and homeland security, the Obama team seems all too willing to revert to Bush-style fearmongering in the service of greater state involvement in the economy.

From Patri:

I would rather see money go to schools than bombs, but this is still a huge waste. I am no expert on education, but I have read enough to know that blindly throwing money at it is not the answer. Per pupil spending in the us has increased steadily and dramtically for decades with *no* increase in performance. Many countries that spend less do better. More money for schools makes a nice sound bite, but it is pork. It is a triumph of soft hearts over hard heads.

Don't forget the ratchet effect either. Govt agencies love to expand and they fight tooth and nail against cuts. What happens when the economy recovers in a couple years? We will have a permanently doubled education budget, with little to no increase in performance.

The us will run huge deficits and/or raise taxes, and it will be bad bad bad for our currency, economy, international competitiveness and country in the medium term.

I'm also positive this has nothing to do with the teachers unions that man phone banks for Democratic candidates. Massive kickbacks to your core constituents? Change!

*Yes, I know that public ed tied its fate to property taxes and some schools are facing tighter budgets, but tighter budgets are found everyhwere around the country right and most folks aren't a part of a union that negotiates exclusively with the state.


Socialism Not as Effective in Sporting Leagues, Either

Let Freedom Ring: Busting the Myth of the Salary Cap by Shawn Hoffman is short, and worth a read.


And You Thought Bush Was Clueless

-Obama was involved in a very favorable real estate transaction with Tony Rezko, and around this same time Rezko was awarded large HUD contracts, but Obama knew nothing of Rezko's wrongdoings.

-Obama attended the Reverend Wright's church for 20 years, but was shocked to hear Wright's inflamitory sermon in 2008, which was, according to Obama, new ground for Wright.

-Obama worked on Blago's 2006 re-election campaign, and Blago was telling the SEIU that he'd get the new Obama administration to help push SEIU's agenda if SEIU gave Blago an executive position once Blago was out of office, but Obama isn't in any way connected to Blago's under-the-table dealings.

We've elected Maxwell Smart to the White House.


Good Christmas Gift Under $50

The Perfumed Court is a cool website that allows you to buy small samples of hundreds upon hundreds of fragrances (including vintage and discontinued ones).

An important thing to note about fragrances is that they wear on people differently. Humidity affects how long a fragrance lasts, differences in pH among individuals has an effect, and there are other factors. Thus, you don't really want to recommend a fragrance for someone else. There is a better option, and you can find it at the Perfumed Court.

They offer very affordable sample packs of some of the very best fragrances from some of the very best houses and lines in 1 or 1.5 ML samples. Get your mom seven of the best women's evening wear perfumes for her next night out with friends, just $36 plus shipping. Get your brother five of the best men's day wear colognes for around the office, just $23 plus shipping. (Oh shit, I just reinforced gender roles big time, didn't I?)

Any fragrance is going to have three distinct phases, or notes as they're called. The top note comes first. It's what you smell when you first spray or apply the fragrance. After the top note fades, you've got your mid note. Then after a number of hours, you're left with the base note. It's important to pay attention and make note of each note.

This makes for a more interesting gift than you'd initially think. Be sure to point how the different notes will appear to your recipient and have them smell for these different notes as they try out their samples. They'll get to try out several different expensive fragrances, compare and contrast, see what wears well on them, and can use your gift to make an informed investment in a quality fragrance (some of the fragrances can approach $200+ per bottle, so trying out samples is definitely the way to go).

Just a thought.

P.S. If any of you are buying for an older gentleman, check out Vintage Tabaróme by Creed. They've changed the formula for Tabaróme and don't make the vintage stuff anymore, but the Perfumed Court has it available for sale. It's supposed to be the manliest of all colognes. It was commissioned in 1875 by King George IV and was the favorite fragrance of men like Winston Churchill and Humphrey Bogart. Smells like as cross between tobacco and an old leather club chair. I've got to stick with the new Tabaróme Millésime for now, as I'm not old enough to pull off the original. But I plan to switch if there's any of the vintage left in 20 years or so.


I LOL'd

In an open letter to Sean Hannity after being quoted out of context, Deepak Chopra let's the following slip at the Huffington Post (emphasis mine):

I was hoping to come back on your show and have a reflective, intelligent dialogue, but perhaps the attack mode is the only way you know to make a living. The best excuse for your dishonest accusations against me is that you don't believe what you're saying. The far right has deflated, so you are there to pump it up with hot air. If you stop blowing, you'll be out of a job. I empathize.

Chopra is right. If anyone knows the pressures of having to constantly expel hot hair to sustain his career, it's Deepak.


YTMND

Weighs in on the bailout(s) here and here.


Half Right

Benicio del Torro, in response to Miami protesters' reaction to his Che film that just premiered in unnecessarily impovrished Havana, dismissed the Cuban exiles saying that many hadn't seen the movie. He neglected to mention that they and their parents had lived it.

I also have not seen it yet. I'm anxious to see if the time Che shot a teenage prisoner in the face at point blank range and then proceeded to empty his clip into a holding cell, wounding the other prisoners that reacted to the execution has made it past the cutting room.

As always, SWPL has already pegged it.

It’s also critical that you avoid the fatal mistake of getting creative and comparing people you don’t like to other evil dictators, such as Joseph Stalin or Fidel Castro. With few exceptions, white people are actually fond of almost any dictator not named Hitler, and your remark that “this is just like something Mao Zedong would do” will be met with blank stares and possible social alienation. This is because, with the exception of Hitler, oppressive dictators share a passion for many of the things white people love- such as universal health care, conspiracy theories, caring about poor people while being filthy rich, and cool hats. Stick to the script and compare things you don’t like to Hitler, and Hitler alone.


Free Dr. Pepper

Apparently the folks who make Dr. Pepper made some bet about Guns N' Roses not finishing Chinese Democracy in 2008 and the bill has now come due, so:

Beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m., coupons for a free 20-ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper's Web site. They'll be honored until Feb. 28.

Here's a mild hooray for an end to Axl Rose's procrastination.


Continuing...

In the esteemed blogging tradition of creating no original content of one's own, I read the following over at Who is IOZ, and thought, right on, man, right on:

...this whole "erstwhile conservative party" thing is a little questionable in my mind. To believe it, you have to conceptualize the Democrats as being historically something like the party of labor interests, the Republicans as being historically something like the party of business interests, and the crazy minority ID-politics types and the oogedy-boogedy faith-healing millenarian types being respectively the infestations that ruined them. Whereas in reality you have two corporate imperialist factions who differ on how best to keep hoi polloi in line, with the Democrats dangling the carrot of redistributive economic justice and the Republicans offering the illusion of social and moral harmony. Republicans never actually deliver a fag-free, abortionless, desexualized, post-Hollywood culture, and Democrats never do much for the downtrodden, but we live in an era of marketing, whatever, forever and ever, shantih, amen.

The donks let Liberman keep his chair, forcryingoutloud. It's all Coke versus Pepsi to me.


This Is Mildly Blowing Up

Insomuchas three blogs I read took the time to mention Kay Hymowitz's Love in the Time of Darwinism in the past day or so.

It got a link at Mindless Ramblings.
The ladies got their say over at Jezebel. And,
The fellas got theirs via Roissy.

The impression I'm left with is that the kids are figuring this stuff out and adapting. There's a wide chasm between the social viewpoints of the latter two blogs listed above, but they both kinda get to the same place, approaching from different directions.


God Bless America

From Yahoo's front page early this morning:

I don't know what metal detectors coming in at number ten says about us. More thrift perhaps? In addition to online coupon codes at number six, people are going old school in these tough economic times and searching for change and jewelry at the beach?

Comforting, that at the end of the day, we're going to have meat stuffed with meat stuffed with meat on the table.


Commies Denounce New Bond Girl

The Communist Party of St. Petersberg has condemend actress Olga Kurylenko for her role in the new Bond flick they say aids, "the killer of hundreds of Soviet people and their allies." The group described 007 himself as, "a man who worked for decades under the orders of Thatcher and Reagan to destroy the USSR." Thatcher, sure. I don't think Yanks get to order around British secret agents.

I guess the Communist Party of St. Pete is offended because Bond has only killed hundreds of Russians, and they think this total is too meager? Or were they upset they didn't get to starve a few extra hundred?

It gets better. The party reaches out to Kurylenko:

The Soviet Union educated you, cared for you and brought you up for free but no one suspected that you would commit this act of intellectual and moral betrayal.

Ah, most folks don't associate the USSR with freedom, intellect or morality. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Ukrainians are some of the last people who would sign on to that kind of endorsement.

The party goes on to claim the new Bond film is trying to drive a wedge between the Ukrainian and Russian people. I'm sure the invasion and occupation led to a wonderful brotherhood. Curse you, James Bond, for souring all the communists have worked for!