SocraticGadfly: 12/2/12 - 12/9/12

December 08, 2012

And another Rick Perry budget cut backfires

Cut $73 million from Texas state family planning , to freeze out Planned Parenthood? Sure, no problem.

Watch poor women giving birth to more than 20,000 more babies than they planned, likely to cost the state as much as $200 million more than that over the next budget cycle? Austin, we have a problem.

Once again, wingnut lies about caring about budgets are exposed for the cold reality that they are. Ideology, at the state as well as federal level, wins out. Rick Perry's fine busting the budget either to leave poor women out in the cold or give rich business friends crony capitalism handouts.

December 07, 2012

The complicated Mr. Lincoln and black colonization

I’ve seen the new Lincoln movie twice, recommended it as a must-see, and stand by that. At the same time, after hearing Tony Kushner on NPR, I came to think that perhaps he (and Steven Spielberg) had put Abraham Lincoln on too much of a pedestal, and went on in a second blog post to further develop that idea. Per Eric Foner, I thought further that, while the movie might not be inaccurate, it is incomplete.

I want to background this somewhat.

First, I think Lincoln was the first modern president in a way that Jackson was not, namely, in the complexity, at least relatively speaking, of problems with which he had to deal. By this reckoning, the next modern president was Teddy Roosevelt.

So, it might be possible to see a president as great in some areas but still “iffy” in others. A good parallel to Lincoln might be FDR, and specifically on the issue of race relations. Did Roosevelt feel he had to go slow on how much he extended the New Deal to blacks because he felt the country as a whole, and not just Southern senators, weren’t ready to move faster, or did he have some racial “issues”?

That, then, ties back to Lincoln.

On some book reviews and other things, I’ve used the word “racialist” to note a person who is not a full-blown racialist, but who has more than just a touch of bigotry, and is willing to engage in pseudo-realistic explanatory devices to try to justify it.

Was Lincoln, by today’s standards, a racialist even in the 1850s? I’d argue yes. Was he still that way by his death? No. He had evolved that much.

Yet, and contra Foner’s comments in my second blog link, Lincoln may well have evolved little on the issue of wanting to colonize black Americans. He financially supported (he as president, not he as individual) a small colonization site in Haiti until 1864, and publicly, appears even after that to never have permanently repudiated the idea before an all-white audience.


A charitable but non-hagiographic argument is that he believed what he said in 1858, that the black and white races would simply find it too painful to live side by side.

But, if that’s true, how could he square that with his acceptance of Frederick Douglass’ statement that his ancestors had been in the US longer than Lincoln’s?

It is probably the biggest puzzler for me of just where we should rank Lincoln’s nobility and ideals.

Per one link in the second blog post of mine, Lincoln allegedly still discussed colonization with Ben Butler in April 1865, even after he had started talking about black voting rights.

I believe he would have continued to evolve, in a second term. However, I believe he may well have tried again to float colonization schemes, and that he might have been paternalistic about some aspects of Reconstruction.

In any case, perhaps Churchill’s famous quote about Russia, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” ultimately applies to where Lincoln was at, both personally and professionally, on race relations as of April 14, 1865.

At the same time, it's worth noting, that largely for the same reasons Lincoln favored it, many American blacks, whether free blacks of the North or just-freed slaves, also favored colonization. In fact, pre-Emancipation Proclamation, they included Douglass.

Texas schools are above average

I didn't type that with a straight face.

However, one of Texas AG Greg Abbott's minions witness-stand did say that, reportedly with a straight face, during the Texas school finance lawsuit.

Oh, and the fact that George Whitehurst, an ex-Bushie from the Bush-era Department of Education now works for Brookings is yet more proof it's not a "liberal" think tank. (Its neocon bloodthirstiness over Iraq should have dispelled that long ago, anyway.)

Here's a key statement:
Whitehurst also refuted conclusions by school-district witnesses that Texas schools are underfunded by billions of dollars per year. He said that, in general, the study of education and educational outcome has lagged far behind research in other areas and is something of a “backwater.”
Even more scary? If Rick Perry stands behind what Whitehurst says, will he propose whacking even more from the education budget in January?

Hutchison determined to leave Senate on a wingnut note

Ahh, Miss Cheerleader. (And what is it with Republicans who are cheer or yell leaders in high school or college, then become politicians? Rick Perry, W., KBH, etc?)

Anyway, in her latest PR column, she's determined to hold on to supply-side dogma until somebody pries it from her cold dead hands:
Pundits, economists, politicians and Americans from every walk of life have been discussing the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff that the country is poised to go over on January 1st.  People are understandably both scared and frustrated.

Recently, I wrote about the effects of higher tax rates on the small businesses we depend on to create new jobs.  Raising tax rates on these job creators would be bad for our ailing economy and depressing news for the more than 20 million Americans who are seeking full-time work. 

Fortunately there’s a better way.  

It has been proven time and again that lowering taxes for everyone results in higher revenues.  If we enact lower, flatter tax rates for everyone, we would accomplish the goal of a fairer, simpler tax system, which would be a catalyst for faster economic growth.  Small businesses have historically invested in their companies and grown their businesses – resulting in increased hiring.
Ahh, what laughability in the name of pee-down economics.

Don't you mean job outsourcers like Mitt Romney, not "job creators"?

Small businesses have historically done all sorts of things,  not just reinvested in their businesses. Let's not forget that, reinvesting or not, many small businesses fail.

"Fairer, simpler tax system" is of course code for making it even less progressive than it is now. You get the rest of the picture. 

And, Kay, if you really want to create jobs, get some more National Parks in Texas and the country, or other protected public lands. 

December 06, 2012

What's next for Yankees, #A-Rod? Last place? (Updated)

Yahoo's Jeff Passan says that the type of hip surgery that's staring Alex Rodriguez in the eyeballs is one for which it takes several months to get comfortable. He translates: Expect A-Rod to spend most of his time at DH next year, not 3B, whenever he gets back to the team.

Passan next says this is about more than just A-Rod:
Failed prospecting sends the Yankees right back to the free-agent market, the most inefficient place in baseball, and their over-reliance on it shows. Nine players on the Yankees' roster have eight-figure contracts, and among them – A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, Jeter, Cano, Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera – they will make $159 million. Their average age is ... 35.6 years old. That is the mean age of the Yankees' core: a retired player. 
He then points out the rest of the issues — the BoSox signing Mike Napoli (though they need more help than that by far), the Orioles hoping to build on next year, Tampa looking to deal James Shields or others and rebuild on the fly, and all of Toronto's trades, the men in pinstripes could spend a lot of time next year looking upward in the standings.

I had already penciled in Toronto as my preseason favorite in the AL East. This only adds to it. In part due to Joe Maddon, I'll put the Rays second. In a somewhat tight cluster below that, I'll list Baltimore at third, Boston at fourth, and yes, the Yankees in last. Don't forget Sabathia has not always been the healthiest of critters the last few years. Kuroda and Pettitte? One or the other, I'll venture, spends significant 2013 time on the DL. And, what if the Yanks can't/don't resign Ichiro? (I'll put the Angels and Giants as two likely landing spots; he'd be a nice replacement for Torii Hunter, for example.)

Specifically to A-Rod, I'll put him at .265 BA and .410 slugging in no more than 325 ABs.

Oh, and it won't get better. Passan, with some on-background expert comment, says it's likely what you and I have said: it's the roids. In turn, that makes the relatively injury-free later years of Barry Bonds all the more remarkable, or all the more "something." Actually, per its reported injury-healing help, it makes me wonder how much HGH was in the "clear" or the "cream." That, in turn, would explain why his head got so damned big.

Back to A-Rod again. Who will replace him? Eduardo Nunez? But, what if Jeter isn't ready to start the season? Not to mention the power dropoff. That said, the Bronx non-Bombers will pay through the nose for a corner infielder in trade. And the free agent market at the hot corner is thin indeed. (Eric Chavez is now off the boards, gone to the D-Backs on a one-year deal.)

So, I'm not overdoing it. I think last place is quite possible.

And, are the Yankees really on the hook for 5 years and $114 million? Not if A-Rod is declared "physically unable to perform." Ken Rosenthal explains how this could work out.

In light of that, and email conversations with friends, I could see A-Rod playing two more years. That gives the Yankees time to get serious in a longer-term search for 3B help either internally, externally via trade, or externally via free agency. It gives them two years of overpaid but moderately above average for 3B play. (Of course, he'll be an average DH.)

 But, will doctors "pull the trigger" in two years? 

Update, Dec. 6: OK, I forgot about Kevin Youkilis as a free agent. Seriously, though? The Yankees are desperate indeed with this offer.

December 05, 2012

Thinking #350 — will carbon divestiture actually do much?

It sounds like a great idea, right?

Divestiture helped (theoretically) push South Africa away from apartheid. (That said, the "theoretically" is there because how much effect it had is highly debated, and not necessarily on political lines.)

So, that's why, although college presidents are wary that college boards of trustees are afraid this would affect bottom lines on endowments, the likes of Bill McKibben are pushing for colleges to divest their endowments of holdings in Big Oil and other carbon giga-generators.

Not so fast. From further to the left, there's an argument it won't really do much.

At Counterpunch, certainly, overall, even further left than McKibben, Christian Parenti says, let's get real about what divestment will and won't do.

His key counterexample is a simple one: About 70 percent or so of today's proven oil reserves is held by state-owned companies untouchable by divestiture.

His second? He references leading left-liberal economist Doug Henwood to say that stocks aren't the primary source of funding in general for most publicly traded companies.

Read the whole thing. Beyond "just criticizing," it's constructive criticism with a suggestion to tell Obama to put his outlet plug where his Department of Energy dollars are, and start buying green power massively, among other things.

Parenti's first example is obvious. And, I trust and agree with Henwood enough to accept the second answer.

So, McKibben? Instead of divesting from Big Oil? Tell those Swarthmore students to ask where their college gets its electricity.

Pentagon: It's OK to kill kids; I bet Obama agrees; #Obamiacs?

Per The Nation, high-level military brass are saying that targeting children as necessary, as part of the war in Afghanistan, is OK.
“It kind of opens our aperture,” said Army Lt. Col. Marion “Ced” Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. “In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”
Who defines what constitutes "potential hostile intent"? I mean, between the word "potential" rather than "actual" and "intent" rather than "action," that's a whole big enough to fly a couple of child-killing Predator drones through.

Beyond that, it certainly seems like Light Col. Carrington is looking for excuses to be more bloodthirsty.

So, will Dear Leader denounce this? Five bucks, or 500 Afghan kids' lives, says no. Why? Beyond the fact that he's redefined "legitimate casualties" from drone strikes, Carrington's casuistry is of the same general level that has led him not only to arguments like that on expanding the drone war, but also expanding warrantless snooping on Americans and more. (Counterpunch has a lot more on all the Afghan kids being killed by drones.)

There is, arguably, a little nuance to the story, more than The Nation allows, although not a lot. At the same time, this is another good reason for us to get the hell out of Afghanistan ASAP. (Which Dear Leader also seems to be foot-dragging on.) Accepting as factual that the Taliban use at least some kids, or people who would be considered kids in any modern, developed nation, for various insurgency missions, this is simply a no-win issue for the US. And, it again puts paid to neoconservative ideas of nation-building. If a substantial minority, not even a majority, not only doesn't want to be "rebuilt," but is vehemently and lethally opposed, there's just not a lot we can do.

So, Dear Leader? You got Obama's head stuffed and mounted on your mantle, at least metaphorically. Why are you sticking around? Is it to divert either America as a whole, or yourself, from domestic issues? Do you still believe some of your "messianic" self-talk? Are you that bloodthirsty? Some combination? Items I haven't mentioned?

And, per the last word in my header, you Obamiacs — how much are you going to try to even halfway defend this? (Appeals to "Well, Romney might have done worse" don't count.)

Douthat: A new kind of #birther (extensively updated)

So Ross Douthat thinks that America is having too few babies.

Well, there's just two things wrong with this.

One, he proposes nothing to make it easier for American women to have an easier time of it raising children while often still working full time, either by choice or by necessity. No Scandinavian-style, or even French-style, paid maternal (let alone paternal) leave. No true national health care system to help with prenatal and neonatal health, etc. He actually mentions that France is spending more money than us on child-rearing related issues without spelling out all of what it involves.

Two, he doesn't address how a new population boom in the most energy-profligate country in the history of the globe (even as he lauds semi-low-density suburbia and very-low-density exurbia) will negatively impact both climate change/global warming and Peak Oil. 

And, in addressing his critics in a blog post about this column, he still doesn't address the resource consumption issue, or even acknowledge that any critics mention it.

He is also selective on his definition of "emerging powers." Yes, Brazil has a lower birth rate than us. But India has a much higher one, and has Hindu nationalists explicitly urging "birther" policies (in this case, to pass China in total population) of the same sort that Douthat urges here. Argentina and Turkey are two other developing to semi-developed nations with higher birth rates than ours, per Wikipedia, which also notes that some "social democratic" advanced nations, like New Zealand and Iceland, are still above "replacement level" birth rates. In fact, scarily (which Douthat doesn't note) India is still above the world average.

Oh, other than that, there's nothing wrong with what has to be in the running for his most ill-informed column ever.

Beyond that is the open question of whether his "more babies" comment is actually meant for all Americans, or whether this was a dogwhistle to conservative whites. And, not to be too uncharitable, but given that this is the same type of claptrap that the likes of tea partiers and Charles Murray spout, I'd say it could be a dogwhistle. His use of the word "decadence" certainly underscores that.

Besides, contra Douthat's hints and the outright comments of a Murray, aren't squeaky-clean, high-breeding Mormons like the Romneys right enough for Douthat and his ilk? 

Finally, Douthat is wrong in an implication, namely that one must have a "homogenous" society for social democracy. Reality? Canada has two national languages, a larger black population by percentage than any Scandanavian country, and large East and South Indian populations, as well as a growing Hispanic body. France has an Afro-Francian population about as big, by percentage, as African-Americans in the US. 

These factors, all added up, including the fact that Douthat had the chance to address some of them, or even acknowledge their existence, which he didn't, in his follow-up blog post, means that this is indeed, from where I sit, the worst column he's written at the NYT.

And, Bill Moyers? I know that you consider, or have considered, Douthat a "sensible" enough conservative, especially on matters of religion, to have him on your show in the past. Please don't do that again. Repent of the idea if it's in your mind. 

(Megan McArdle has now taken up the cudgels of Douthat's position. She's marginally better, but no more. While she notes the environmental degradation concerns, she passes them off with less than 3 percent of her total content. And, "good" libertarian that she is, she ignores state-funded efforts to help women raise children more easily.

December 04, 2012

Two wrongs definitely don't make a right for Pop Ev Psych (updated)

Far be it from me to agree with Rebecca Watson (and I simply don't agree with her cheap "cribbing" of her ideas), but she's right indeed that Pop Ev Psych isn't all it cracks itself up to be.

(Note: This post have been extensively updated since my original posting.)

And, a blog post by Ed Clint at Skeptic Ink that indulges in over-the-top defense of not just the 25 percent or so of evolutionary psychology study that's legit, but the whole field, Pop Ev Psych and all, doesn't make itself right by totally unsubstantiated claims.

First, the idea of a single Environment of Evolutionary Adaptiveness is not scientifically falsifiable or testable. Legit Ev Psych would be better off junking the idea entirely. This, the idea of an EEA, is usually a time-based claim that human psychology massively evolved in the Pleistocene.

Bullshit. On several counts.

Humans rely on vision more than any other sense, and the last major evolution in vision was the re-evolution of a third cone cell for trichromatic vision a couple of million years before hominids evolved, but arguably more important than just about any evolution that happened within the genus Homo within the Pleistocene.. On the other hand, humans as social animals are hugely dependent on language, which evolved just 50,000 years ago, roughly. (I had previously, in the emotional heat of the first writing, credited re-evolution of trichromatic vision to hominids and not primate ancestors, and apologize for the mistake.)

Beyond that is the claim that hominids were hunter-gatherers during this time. 

More bullshit. We were usually scavenger-gatherers. Much less "noble." It's quite likely that we didn't become hunter-gatherers until after the invention of fire, and then cooking, which has been postulated as a major factor in the evolution of homo sapiens, and not just hominids in general.

Related to that, we can't, as of now, and likely ever, due to the rarity of brain imprint fossilization, to say nothing of how little such imprints on the inside of skulls can actually tell us anyway, point to one time period in human history and say evolutionary development related to human psychology was either more critical at this point or more rapid at this point.

Again, that's not testable now and probably never will be.

Beyond that, there's a variety of hominid species within the Pleistocene. So, there's massive imprecision there, as well as a "confounding" of homo sapiens and predecessor species.

A variety of hominids cover that 2 million year period. Can psychological evolution of homo sapiens really be explained by psychological evolution of homo erectus? Would you explain the psychology of the modern horse in terms of Eohippus, or even something halfway between?

Beyond that, here's a way of putting it by analogy.

As long as legitimate evolutionary psychology remains wedded to the concept of the EEA as a lynchpin of theorizing, it's like psychology was 50 years ago, when behavioralism was still "in the saddle." Or 70 years ago, when Freudianism still ruled.

That's how scientific the EEA is. Period. It's about one or two steps above junk science. If that.

Oh, and commenters? Rather than talk about my attitude, tell me where I'm wrong, especially about the EEA. Tell me where, since 2009 and Buller's crushing response in Scientific American, he's been proven wrong. Or, per my own observations, tell me you can view the speed of evolution as uniform over the entire Pleistocene, and uniform from earlier hominids to humans.

As for doing comparative study with our primate kin, like chimps and bonobos? We may know how their brains or their genes evolved since our common-ancestor split, but we have no idea of how their culture evolved, nor do we have any idea of how various epigenetic influences affected their genetic expression. And, in both cases, again, we likely never will. (And, as the recent history of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, and older history of primate research has shown, sometimes, "detachment/attachment" issues get in the way of research.)

That's why, within legit Ev Psych, the most acceptable claims are the ones that are, in general, the most narrowly stated.

For more on my thoughts on the subject in general, here's the link to my post tag for Pop Evolutionary Psychology, and for Evolutionary Psychology. (Posts may have some overlap, being tagged for both.)

Second, contra claims in that blog post (linking to the Center for Evolutionary Psychology) that David Buller, the leading critic of over-the-top claims of Ev Pysch, Pop or otherwise, have been refuted? Simply not true. In 2008, after the last serious attempt at refutation, Buller crushed his critics. Period. End of story. Since then, they've remained shut up. 

And, I'm not the only skeptical type to find Watson largely on target. Read James Croft.
Proof that Atheist Plusers don't do criticism well?

That said, regular readers of my blog know that I have nothing but scorn for Atheist Plusers, especially the likes of Rebecca Watson, even more than for "old" Gnu Atheists. In fact, I have blogged specifically about the start of the "pluser movement."

Bottom line? Watson is a twit aspiring for intellectual pretensions. "Lucky" for her, she hit gold in stumbling on something that to some degree (Randy Tanehill and the adaptiveness of rape, anybody) halfway fit her concerns about sexism, even if she did crib all her arguments. It's too bad that there's not a better refutation of Watson at SkepticInk than this one, which is, in its last part, worthy of ridicule itself. And, so, Rebecca winds up with a new tar baby. 

(And, if any of the commenters so far object to my attitude toward Watson, not Pop Ev Psych, I'm not even debating you. She "lifted" her comments on the blog via some cheap Googling.)

And, great, or "great." Stephanie Zvan has jumped in the fray; nth-wave feminism tidal wave ahead. That's what's behind the picture just above.

On the third hand, one can criticize both Watson and people who skirt too close to Pop Ev Psych. If it's Rebecca Watson vs. Ed Clint, and somebody's trying to make me take a Hobson's choice, I want the deck reshuffled.

More below the fold, mainly back to my thoughts on legitimate evolutionary psychology and what the field needs to do to become more legitimate.

December 03, 2012

Talk about getting Thomas Jefferson wrong

Corey Robin, even if he has written in The Nation, comes off as a conservative apologist for Thomas Jefferson, in an article that almost sounds as if George Will had written it.

Ignoring the reality of ongoing cruelty in both word and deed by Jefferson, documented in this NYT op-ed by Paul Finkleman, rightly titled "The Monster of Monticello," Robin basically tries to make Thomas Jefferson into Abraham Lincoln, first, and second, believe Jefferson's thought was frozen in amber after he wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

His main claim is that Jefferson was worried about what would happen upon the event of black emanicipation and freedom.

Yes? Well, so was Lincoln. Per Finkelman and his NYT op-ed, the fact that Jefferson was focused on black freedom, not black slavery, doesn't lessen his cruelness as a slaveowner. A piece like Robin's would be better read for those who criticize Lincoln the man, or worry that Lincoln the movie is too hagiographic.

The critics, of the movie, the president himself, or both, also ignore Lincoln's genuine evolution on the issue. Jefferson, meanwhile, can only be described as devolving, not evolving.

As for Robin's appeal to Jefferson's words of the Declaration of Independence?

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence 50 years before he died. Appealing to it wipe out a clear legacy of both later writings, and actions, which point in a clearly contrary direction?

Meanwhile, the Volokh Conspiracy tries to claim that because Lincoln, in 1858 comments about Jefferson, appealed to his sentiments? Lincoln's comments, too, were about the Jefferson who authored the Declaration, not the Jefferson who threatened to sell slaves "down the river," so to speak, etc.

And, don't forget he wrote the Kentucky Resolutions, which even more than Madison with the similar ones for Virginia, were the first articulated argument for nullification.

I do mean it about Lincoln, though. He was sincerely wrestling with a post-slavery world back in the 1850s, during the Lincoln-Douglas debates. No, he wasn't the most "advanced" person on racial thought then, but he was legitimately struggling with this issue more than Jefferson, because he was looking forward to slavery's eventual end, while Jefferson was engaging in hand-waving bullshit, to be blunt.

Between Jefferson being a hypocrite about miscegenation worries after having fathered multiple children via Sally Hemings (will Robin deny that next?), his nullification ideas (and his decades-long cowardice on not owning authorship) and more, he is arguably one of our five or so most hypocritical presidents ever, and that's saying a lot. 

Update: Robin thinks I've seriously misread him. Given that he has multiple posts on interpretation of Jefferson, explicitly attacks Finkelman, and has raised the eyebrows of other commenters than me, I think not. Also interesting that he references Notes on the State of Virginia without finding anything untoward about Jefferson there.  

Just say NO to telecommuting

Don't believe the bullshit about how it will make your work easier. Basically, it's a ploy to get you to work harder and longer, and we now have documentation:
(A)ccording to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin, for most employees who work remotely, telecommuting equates to working more hours.

The study, co-authored by Jennifer Glass, professor in the Department of Sociology and the Population Research Center, shows that most of the 30 percent of respondents who work from home add five to seven hours to their workweek compared with those who work exclusively at the office. They are also significantly less likely to work a standard 40 hour schedule and more likely to work overtime. In fact, most telecommuting hours occur after an employee has already put in 40 hours of work at the office.
So, there you go. It's just a way for your boss to try to get you to work longer. And, since you're a white-collar salaried person, and you're agreeing to this, no way in hell he (or maybe she) is going to give you "comp time" for those additional hours of work you're doing by telecommuting.

Period. End of story.

#Arsenicgate part deaux from NASA on #Curiosity?

In line with NASA's bullshitty non-annoucement of anything new on Mars, and with the "fiscal cliff" ahead, is every US federal government agency going to have similar PR in days ahead?

Background for that rhetorical question?

When the actual "Arsenicgate" press conference was held, I said NASA had "good" reasons for it's PR fluffery, namely that budget talks were ongoing, and NASA was looking at the possibility of some serious cuts.

In fact, I got into a spat with over-serious science blogger Greg Laden, who both strenuously insisted that the researchers had found something real and significant (wrong, Greg, as they've been refuted on everything from the actual findings the the quality of their work and in between, and are now too lazy to even want to put in the effort to try to replicate their own earlier research) and that NASA wouldn't do something like that (also wrong, as scientists are just as much human beings as anybody else).

Indeed, Laden eventually threatened to "ban me from the Internet," revealing (even before his Freethought Blogs issues) just how over-the-top he is.

But, back to today.

Given that NASA said something incredibly breathless about three weeks ago about a finding by Curiosity, and then, when that went more viral, took more than a week to start walking that back, good skeptics should once again rightfully be suspicious of the agency, in my opinion.

And, while my opening paragraph was halfway snarky, it's not totally so. If the Pentagon suddenly says something rosy about Afghanistan, hold on to your wallets.

Clemens, Bonds officially on HOF ballot

Bonds & Clemens together forever in eternity/Yahoo Sports
It's official, baseball fans! Big Head (Barry Bonds) and Batrage (Roger Clemens), along with No Speaka da English (Sammy Sosa) are on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. How much better will Bonds and Clemens do than Mark McGwire?

Should they be in?

My stance, which evolved but has reached its current position several years ago is a qualified yes.

The qualifications?

Apology and admission of “guilt” from the player concerned.
Admission of “guilt” from Commissioner Bud Selig.

Bonds and Clemens both were HOFers in pre-roiding days. Sosa? Not so sure. Take away the roids and he’s below 500 HRs, below 1,500 RBIs, below .500 slugging and a couple of other things. Ignore the ESPN fluffery for Sosa.

(Big Mac? Definitely not, and I’m a lifelong Cards fan.)

And, that’s the other point. One has to do some reasonable “readjustment” of the career numbers of known or highly-suspected roiders (or PEDers of other drugs like HGH) versus “the field.”

Oh, and while we’re at it? Please, HOF voters, also read some sabermetrics and do NOT induct Jack Morris.

But do elect Jeff Bagwell. And Craig Biggio. And, I’d be OK with Tim Raines. But not Edgar Martinez. And, I’m unsure about Curt Schilling.

Heck, for that matter, given how late in his career his own peak was … maybe Schilling was a roider. He strikes me a bit like the stereotypical homophobe who’s actually “projecting.”

Update, Dec. 1: Per a survey of some voters, it looks like none of the Big 3 are getting in. 

Update, Dec. 4: Mr. Dodger Blue, Tommy Lasorda, says keep them out. Barry Larkin (Dec. 6) agrees with Lasorda.

And, click the  "MLB Hall of Fame" tag for more on other candidates on this year's ballot and my thoughts.