SocraticGadfly: 3/17/13 - 3/24/13

March 23, 2013

Another example of what's wrong with #scientism

Scientism goes beyond proper science in claiming that the methods of the sciences are appropriate for understanding poetry, music, and  things like philosophy.

It's greedy reductoinism, a misuse of science, a misunderstanding of science, and more

That "more" is ultimately the veneration of science, the putting of sceintific method on an unwarranted pedestal.

Scientists are humans, though, no less than anybody else.

And the latest news in the "immortal" cells of Henriettra Lacks, both privacy issues, and the lack of ethics of many scientists, and official scientific organizations and societies, to speak about said violations of privacy, proves this.

This is another reason the Michael Shermers and Sam Harrises of the world are just wrong in their veneration of scientism. Science is no guarantor of ethical superiority. As for the specific issues of gene sequencing without consent? American Indians have had similar done to them repeatedly. Scientists have egos, lusting for fame and more, and will in some cases cut ethical corners to their ends.

So, respect, support and use the scientific method. But, never, ever, let science arbitrate non-science issues. The eugenics movement started in the US, before Nazi German, in part for that reason.

Meanwhile, more scientism here from the Public Library of Science, as part of a paper claiming the scientific method makes you think more morally.
Science has stood as a powerful force in shaping human civilization and behavior.
Er, some specific examples on shaping behavior for good? What a #fail.

Let's say someone at PLoS points to science showing being gay/lesbian is driven largely by heredity, therefore we should treat gays/lesbians with equality. I counter that a philosophically based liberal humanism says we should treat them with equality whether homosexuality is biology or choice.

#Hillary2016 — terrrifies GOP insiders — and liberal outsiders

Texas blogger Jobsanger is just the latest of many a liberal blogging pundit to tout the wonders of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016.

Yes, she would probably beat any likely GOP competitor.

But, a retread of her husband mixed with some of the worst of Obama on civil liberties issues?

Democrats, if you really want that, you can have it. I'll vote Green again in a heartbeat.

And, would her nomination be a cakewalk, anyway? I'm not so sure.

It's arguable some of the same sexism she face in 2008 will be around again, combined with an ageism that hits women harder.

On the other hand, the Democratic "bench" is pretty thin. Andrew Cuomo? Bleah. And probably a more neoliberal version of his Hamlet-like Dad. Jerry Brown? Bleah, blah and too old. A phony's phony even within today's Democratic Party, too. Wait until he actually tries to ram through the Jerry Brown Peripheral Canal. Even Gang Green enviro groups will have to run away from him.

Now? Name me another Democratic gov.

I had to Google to find John Hickenlooper of Colorado. The background metrics are good, theoretically. He's overseen a reddish state go blue, right? Of course, under Dick Lamm, Colorado was blueish a few decades back, so let's not oversell that. Medical marijuana, and Denver's halfway liberal in terms of modern America, right? Hickenlooper opposed both Denver and statewide medical marijuana initiatives. And Hickenlooper himself? Charisma or other things to be president? I think not.

He's also, as true liberals know regarding his protest crackdown during teh 2008 Democratic National Convention, no more liberal on civil liberties of some sorts than Dear Leader or Hillary. So, even if he has a chance of beating Hillary, he's no better than her.

Deval Patrick? A snowball's melting in hell before America has a second black president, sorry. Especially since Patrick was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. Wayyyy too much baggage coming after Dear Leader, there. And, his 2010 re-election, even with midterm Obama baggage nationally, wasn't that impressive.

Martin O'Malley? Possible dark-horse governor, who's known to have ambitions.

Senators? Obama was kind of a fluke. Another Democratic senator-cum-president is highly unlikely. I would personally consider voting for Barbara Boxer, who might actually have a shot, or Al Franken, who almost certainly wouldn't, not in today's Democratic Party. I'd consider Tammy Baldwin, too, but she has less of a shot than Al Franken, probably.

March 22, 2013

Anthony Kennedy — more than ever, the gay rights swing vote

As many expected, but of which one could never be sure until it happened, the Obama Administration officially filed an amicus brief earlier today in the California Proposition 8 appeal before the Supreme Court.

And, the verbal judo is clearly targeted at Justice Anthony Kennedy, who, despite a fairly consistent conservative vote pattern on anything involving business or money, is a moderate liberal on at least a certain amount of civil rights issues.

Here's the heart of the amicus:
The government’s brief concludes with a ringing denunciation of the California ban on same-sex marriage, which it said is based in “impermissible prejudice.” 

It then cited a concurrence in a 2001 Supreme Court case that said prejudice might not rise “from malice or hostile animus,” and might well be the result of “insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.” 

No matter, the brief said. “Prejudice may not, however, be the basis for differential treatment under the law.” 

The author of that concurrence is Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is expected to be a crucial voice within the court in both of the current cases. (That argument is similar to the one made in the administration’s brief in a second case before the Supreme Court concerning the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996.)
Will Kennedy mind being referenced so directly? Actually, he may be flattered; he's got one of the bigger egos on the court.

That said, will the trick work?

I'd say yes, in part because the Administration narrowly tailored the amicus to the state (pun intended) at hand, rather than going national.

I predict Kennedy votes as part of a 5-4 majority to boot Prop. 8. And, even if the ruling is tailored to California, it will be a precedent of sorts.

Update, March 15: Some indication of how Kennedy may be leaning might be inferred from the Nine giving the Department of Justice speaking time on its amicus brief.

Michael McConnell has a different tack. He notes that SCOTUS could, in the Prop. 8 case, find that the Californians suing to uphold it don't have legal standing. It's actually a strong argument legally.

Meanwhile, per Lyle Denniston and others, it looks like DOMA is toast, toast, toast. Again, Kennedy seems to be leading the charge on killing it in some way, shape or form.

#Obamacare, #Medicaid, Tricky Ricky Perry, and neoliberal blue stateism

Ron Brownstein has a good column at National Journal about how Tricky Ricky Perry could help turn Texas blue.

Well, first, let's take this with a grain of salt.

Dems haven't won a statewide election here since what, 1990, when Miss Ann was elected gov?

Second, depending on this to drive Texas blue is about as smart as depending on Hispanic numbers growth to do the same.

That said, the story notes that some GOPers on the House side of the Lege are still pushing for an Arkansas deal on the Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare.
Last week, (GOP State Rep. John) Zerwas introduced legislation that would authorize state health officials to negotiate with the Obama administration to expand while delivering coverage for the newly eligible through new means. He likes the deal the administration is discussing with Arkansas, which could allow the state to use Medicaid expansion dollars to instead buy private insurance for its eligible adults, and he believes that approach could be “sellable to the governor.”
Yes, this would be better than nothing, but I generally DO NOT LIKE the Medicaid expansion of Obamacare being negotiated away so that states can do it all through private insurers. That said, since the non-Medicaid part of Obamacare is all through private insurers, are you surprised that Obama would agree to this?

And speaking the Texas Senate GOP harder line?
Key state Senate Republicans, though, are striking a harder line. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Tommy Williams says he will support enlarging Medicaid only if Obama allows Texas to transform the way it delivers Medicaid, not only to the expansion population but also to the current recipients. “The existing program is not sustainable,” Williams says.

That’s a hardball position, but not necessarily disqualifying: The administration has reached an agreement in principle with Florida, for instance, to move more Medicaid recipients into private managed care. Many here, though, wonder if Perry would take any deal. The widespread belief is that he intends to seek the GOP presidential nomination again in 2016, and accepting more Medicaid money would smudge his image of Alamo-like resistance to Obama.
Obamacare through private insurers, including the Medicaid portion. The possibility of more of that on the non-Obamacare portion of Medicaid. Still no plan by Team Obama to submit a bill to end cost-ineffective Medicare Plus, Medicare's version of cost-ineffective private coverage. Obama pushing for free trade deals to benefit Big Pharma.

And, as part of the neolib snake oil, no federal department or bureau for insurance regulation.

That said, Brownstein notes that because many, many of the uninsured here in Tejas are Hispanic, this would be another gunshot-in-foot move by Perry in particular and the GOP in general.

And, Dems would get the pickings, even with not necessarily helping Hispanics that much. Hence, the last part of my header.

Climate change news: EROEI and iron-eating plankton

Scientific American has a great post about just how much energy return on energy investment a modern society needs. That's EROEI for short in the Peak Oil world, though SciAm drops the second use of "energy" and calls it EROI.

The nut grafs in this Q-and-A piece are on page 2:
Is there some minimum EROI we need to have?
Since everything we make depends on energy, you can't simply pay more and more and get enough to run society. At some energy return on investment—I'm guessing 5:1 or 6:1—it doesn't work anymore.

What happens when the EROI gets too low? What’s achievable at different EROIs?
If you've got an EROI of 1.1:1, you can pump the oil out of the ground and look at it. If you've got 1.2:1, you can refine it and look at it. At 1.3:1, you can move it to where you want it and look at it. We looked at the minimum EROI you need to drive a truck, and you need at least 3:1 at the wellhead. Now, if you want to put anything in the truck, like grain, you need to have an EROI of 5:1. And that includes the depreciation for the truck. But if you want to include the depreciation for the truck driver and the oil worker and the farmer, then you've got to support the families. And then you need an EROI of 7:1. And if you want education, you need 8:1 or 9:1. And if you want health care, you need 10:1 or 11:1.
Anybody who's followed the issue knows that Canada's tar sands are on the borderline of that 6:1 at best. It's more than global warming/climate change issues of this relatively dirty oil that's the problem. It's the amount of energy needed to extract them, and what sources are used for that energy, and then, how does THAT affect climate change as a sidebar.

But, it's more than "just" climate change. Author Mason Inman, in those nut grafs, also ties it to quality of life, and somewhat, if you will, to quantity of life.

On some things, increased efficiency will continue to help. But, recycling, like when that truck breaks down? That takes energy itself.


Meanwhile, in news more directly related to climate change greens have long touted the possibility of oceanic phytoplankton "eating" a fair share of our burgeoning carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate-related geoengineers then came up with the idea of seeding patches of ocean with microscopic iron to stimulate phytoplankton growth.

Then, nature provided a ready-made experiment.

Ash from the recently erupted Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull provided enough iron to stimulate 2010 plankton growth in the North Atlantic the size of France or Texas.

But, the effect was short-lived and for a specific reason.

Unfortunately or fortunately, perhaps, the specificity of the reason could lead to further experimentation elsewhere.

The reason why it was short-lived is that the additional plankton quickly gobbled up oceanic nitrates.

So, the reason an experiment could be tried elsewhere is that our Big Ag produces a nitrate-laden "dead zone" every year just beyond the mouth of the Mississippi. On the other hand, what if this works and a huge  bloom causes other problems? What if some of the plankton evolve into freshwater forms and start colonizing the river?

And, in the Southern Ocean, phytoplankton have reached their limits, it seems.

March 21, 2013

Matt Yglesias, Brat Pack pro-bankster libertarian

The "Brat Pack" is a phrase I coined a couple of weeks ago, when folks like Ezra Klein and Felix Salmon started kicking freelance writer Nate Thayer in the 'nads for the temerity of asking Atlantic Monthly to actually pay him money, not "exposure," for writing an article.

At the time, I realized, per Yevgeny Morozov, that most alleged or self-identified neoliberal geeks of this type are actually libertarians in drag.

And now, as if I had much doubt before, I realize Matt Yglesias is part of the crowd with this pro-bankster piece, including this WTF line:
The thing about "too big to fail" is that nobody responsible for bailing out TBTF institutions has ever actually cited size as the key consideration.
No, Matt, but plenty of people outside the Beltway "Responsible People" have said exactly that.  

The rest of the piece?

Matty Y first says that mid-major banks have a vested interest in us actually creating a "too big  to fail" class and breaking them up. That may be true, but the implication that the general public doesn't is bullshit.

He then essentially claims that this is an issue separet from other regulatory issues for banks, then gets into Beltway wonkery.

It's part of a bigger piece wondering Sen. David Vitter (R-Whorehouse) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are making such strange bedfellows on this issue. But, even there, Matty Y whiffs, mainly on not being nearly skeptical enough of Vitter's motives, which could be many, including:

1. Posturing in preparation for a campaign donation shakedown of the banksters, for himself, a 501(c)4 or whatever;
2. Building up cred with any Louisiana Tea Partiers that are actually anti-bankster;
3. Being the GOP senator officially designated to emasculate whatever Brown has in mind.

 Meanwhile, being a Brat Pack libertarian means getting others to work for "exposure" so you can drop 1.2 million large on some exclusive Beltway digs, like Yglesias.

NPR just made helicopter moms' heads blow up

A bit more specifically, National Public Radio just made its white, Volvo-driving, skim-milk-latte-sipping, Meyer-lemon-for-lemonade squeezing, skim-milk-to-kids serving helicopter moms' collective heads explode.

How so?

By having a segment with a study showing that kids switched early on from whole milk to skim were, on the average, fatter.

Here's the nutshell:
(Study authors) found the relationship between skim-milk drinkers and higher body weights held up across all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. DeBoer says their data also show that low-fat milk did not restrain weight gain in preschoolers over time.

The study included about 10,700 children in the United States. Parents were interviewed about their child's beverage consumption on two occasions: once when the children were 2 years old and again at 4 years. Direct measurements of height and weight (to calculate body mass index) were taken by researchers.
Few thoughts.

First, 10,000-plus kids is not an insignificant study. NPR also mentions its not the first such study.

So, let's assume there is causal, not just statistical, correlation.

The story mentions one: Whole milk makes a person feel more satiated.

I'll suggest a second. It's generally known as the virtuousness paradox or similar. Obvious example is a diet soda drinker who thinks that "allows" him or her to put extra butter on the baked potato.

Or it's possible causal path No. 1, satiety, is interacting with other causal issues.

The Palestinian vacuousness of Obama

Well, after his first-term administration played fiscal purse bare-knuckle bruising of the Palestinian Authority, his vacuousness about the process for Palestinian statehood shouldn't be totally surprising, even if he's not up for re-election.

I mean, calling the land grab of Israeli settlements an "irritant" that should not be a precondition for resuming talks? WTF?
"If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there is no point for negotiations, so I think it is important to work through this process even if there are irritants on both sides," Obama told reporters at a joint news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
The Palestinians have, in the past under Yasir Arafat, shot themselves in the foot, tis true. And under Mahmoud Abbas during Obama's first term:
 During his first four years in office, Obama had sided with the Palestinians on the issue. He and his surrogates repeatedly demanded that all settlement activity cease. However, when Israel reluctantly declared a 10-month moratorium on construction, the Palestinians balked at returning to the table until shortly before it expired and talks foundered shortly thereafter.
But, a land grab is more than an irritant.

That said, I think the Gaza Strip should be eliminated and Palestinians given additional territory on the south of today's current "West Bank" to form a single contiguous state.

As other geographically divided countries, like East/West Pakistan and post-World War I Germany have shown, these geographically split nations have a tendency not to work out in the long run. In Germany's case, it led to a push for war. In the two Pakistans, it was a tragic mix of civil war plus war with India.

So, alternative B is, since Gaza and the West Bank are almost two separate countries anyway, make this legally real. Palestine = West Bank and Hamasland = Gaza.

Of course, that's got about zero chance of happening. Not just Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, but Israel, and Egypt, and Jordan and much of the rest of the Arab World would all oppose a Hamas state.

Meanwhile, speaking of bare knuckles with the fiscal purse? We're in the fricking sequester, right? So, why not cut off, or at least seriously cut back, foreign aid to Israel?

March 20, 2013

Harry Reid, Nary Balls

Why do people now say that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to further change Senate filibuster rules?

The Senate GOP hasn't changed its stripes since the start of the term, when Harry the Ballless passed on making substantive changes when it would have been relatively easy to do so.

But, neolib-type Obamiac/Democratiac folks like Talking Points Memo bring up this tired old song again.

So, Harry Reid, Dick "Dick" Durbin, et al? Fool the Obamiac/Democratiac types once ... keep on trying, I guess!

And, TPM in general moved from too much old-time blog to too much online newspaper without an op-ed section. That said, is Josh Marshall still running gushing posts of slideshows from official White House photography?

The latest #Google excuse for snooping

Like I'm going to use a cloud-based "notes" app from teh Google, an online, cloud-based version of Mac's Stickies program. Good excuse for a mix of Google the snoop, Google the nanny and Google the hypercapitalist. Sorry, Wired, but Google Keep AIN'T "overdue."

Of course, Wired has a "greeaaat" history with privacy issues. Just ask Bradley Manning.

And, it also has a "greeaaat" history with being honest about privacy issues coverage. Just ask Glenn Greenwald.

Even worse is the obtrusiveness. Imagine if this gets put on Google Glass as well as smartphones.

You're staring at me, but I can tell you're actually looking at your Google Glass. You suddenly say, in a monotone, "Oh, I have an errand to run."

Even worse, can you imagine politicians using this as a fricking mini TelePrompTer? (And yes, it spells that was a trademarked name.)

Pretty soon, most people's lives, who have the money and geekitude for it, will be nothing but a canned sales script. Speaking of, even worse than politicians using this as a mini TelePrompTer, imagine horndog types combining Google Keep on Google Glass with the infamous NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

And, on the privacy side, beyond Wired, don't forget Google was the Do Some Evil if You Can Get Away With It folks who ran Google Street View then lied about it.

Finally, get a laugh out of Sergey Brin doing a TED talk on Google Glass.

First of all, if he thinks his geeky device will be any less distracting, not just to one's self but people around oneself, as a smartphone, he's full of bullshit.

Second, per commenters — hey, Sergey? If you can't present any better at a TED talk, get somebody else!

March 18, 2013

Is Jeb Bush running in 2016?

Given that he was one of the five GOP insiders who helped create a sweeping-the-Nets "autopsy report" that recommends the party junk caucuses, add primaries, and make a set of regional primaries, all of which could benefit moneyed candidates versus insurgent types, it would be hard to deny that.

Especially when you add in he's semi-smart enough to not totally antagonize Hispanics, even as that happens again, just after every semi-wingnut and his momma admitted this was a problem, and he'd have to be considered likely to give a hard look at a race, at least.

How well he can live down his brother, and somewhat with NRA and further-right gun nuts, his dad, remains to be seen.

Most transparently money-grubbing administration in history

In case you missed it, this New York Times piece last Friday by Nicholas Confessiore will give you the details of the sordidness of President Barack Obama's selling "access" via Organizing for America. It's far beyond Slick Willie Clinton's Lincoln Bedroom pay-to-stays, or anything W. did.

Here's a few highlights, with commentary.

First, the legal backdrop:
Unlike a presidential campaign, Organizing for Action has been set up as a tax-exempt “social welfare group.” That means it is not bound by federal contribution limits, laws that bar White House officials from soliciting contributions, or the stringent reporting requirements for campaigns. In their place, the new group will self-regulate. 
Yeah, right, on "self-regulate." If you believe that, I've got some tombstones in Chicago that are eligible to vote to sell you.

Then there's this:
But those contributions will also translate into access, according to donors courted by the president’s aides. Next month, Organizing for Action will hold a “founders summit” at a hotel near the White House, where donors paying $50,000 each will mingle with Mr. Obama’s former campaign manager, Jim Messina, and Mr. Carson, who previously led the White House Office of Public Engagement. 
Don't think some lobbying is going to be done there?

And, if you're a CEO, and $50K isn't enough to get enough access, well, you can just multiply it tenfold:
Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.  
Plenty of "access" right there.

The type of "access" that, to riff on an old conservative book, "None Dare Call It Lobbying," but rather, Maximum Leader's buddies in the health care business call it "convening."

Plus, looks good on a corner-suite resume, don't it?

Finally, there's this:
Organizing for Action has also promised to steer clear of electoral politics, unlike the politically active nonprofit groups like the right-leaning Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and Americans for Prosperity. Such groups spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising during the recent election campaign season, ostensibly for issue advocacy, spurring a wave of lawsuits, ethics complaints from campaign watchdogs and criticism from Mr. Obama himself. 

But the distinction between campaigning and issue advocacy may be hard for Organizing for Action to maintain in the prelude to the 2014 elections, especially if it continues its emphasis on pressing lawmakers on delicate issues like immigration and guns. 

And, while Obama's version of this is the most egregious, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has something similar, and its PR edge doesn't bode well for uses of Organizing for America, either.

And, Post-Citizens United, expect this shite to only get worse.

That said, the money issue itself is bad enough.

It's the hypocrisy that adds to the problem.

I mean, an honest thief, you have some idea of just how "bought" they are. With a hypocritical one, it's hard to tell.

And, that hypocrisy remains part of the issue on things like this.

Then, there's issue B. If this is political action committee in disguise, what are Obama's political plans? He gave lip service to climate change in his second inaugural; he gave lip service to Social Security cutbacks the month before that, though.

Update, March 18: Columbia Journalism Review lists four specific ways to "steer unlimited sums into the president’s new operation without leaving a fingerprint." They are: unregistered lobbyists, "laundered" contributions, in-kind contributions, and delayed disclosures. All four have relatively long and ignoble histories. No. 2, for example, was a favorite of Jack Abramoff.

The last is the most insidious. From an administration that touts the benefits of the digital world in things like electronic patient records, not to disclose donations immediately is hypocrisy one malebolge deeper.

March 17, 2013

#Yankee desperation hits new lows in Chipper Jones bid

Why else would Brian Cashman ask Braves lifer Chipper Jones to come out of retirement other than he knows Kevin Youkilis isn't a full-season answer at 3B and that A-Fraud ain't coming back this year?

Is this desperation?

I say yes. If Cashman had asked a month ago, different story. But Chipper can't be in game condition until May 1 at earliest, so now it's desperation.

That said, with an admittedly small sample, the reason for the desperation is obvious. The Greek God not only isn't hitting a buck-fifty, he's not even hitting a buck. (Update: With more of a spring-training sample, that's improved.)

And apparently Scott Rolen, not technically retired, but without a job, not even a minor-league invite-to-spring-training contract, has caught Cashman's eye now, too. (Note to Cashman: There's a reason a 38-year-old third sacker who hasn't had 350 plate appearances either of the past two years, and 500-plus only once in the last five, doesn't have a contract!)

Other current options at 3B (other than my previously-suggested trade of David Freese and pitching parts for C.C. Sabathia) are basically crap. If you don't believe me, here's Yahoo's list of MLB third basemen. (Would the Giants make Pablo Sandoval an option? Would Pablo make himself an option by eating too damned much one too many times?)

Add in Mark Teixeira's injury possibly being worse, even much worse, than currently stated, and him not coming back until, say, the All-Star game. The Yankees are now talking to Derrek Lee, out of baseball since the end of 2011, and with good reason, and didn't play more than 150 games a year since 2008. That shows right there that they're worried about Tex. After all, Lee is a 1B, not a 3B. And a 1B who's been subpar defensively for years.

(Update, March 15: It gets worse. Whatever the Yankees were offering, it wasn't enough for Lee! And, Cashman was/is reportedly looking at Rolen here, not 3B; he must really be worried about Tex.

Update March 17: And, it looks like Tex's injury is worse than first realized or admitted. He has a partially torn tendon sheath, like the Blue Jays' Bautista did last year. Says he's hoping to avoid surgery and still be back by the start of June. Yeah, good luck with that.)

Then, what if the Cap'n himself, Derek Jeter, shows himself to be post-broken ankle mortal? Say .270 and a .370 slugging percentage, exactly what he had in 2010. And, that, already by the All-Star break, he's a -1 on dWAR.

(And now, March 19, Jeter's ankle is "cranky" and "stiff." Joe Girardi says he may DH to open the regular season.)

Is it possible the Yankees hit the Al East cellar? You bet your butt it is.

(Update, March 21: In fact, ESPN's David Schoenfield says he foresees something of that nature.)

So, let's say something like that happens.

What do the Yankees then do with their 2014 potential free agents, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro, Hideki Kuroda, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes et al? (I'm assuming Andy Pettitte has the brains to retire for good after this year.)

My take?

Granderson had a career year last year. He shouldn't get much more than $15M/year in the future, and not for more than three years.  But he'll probably be close enough to that this year that he will.

If the Yankees get the 2011 Seattle version of Ichiro this year, they'll offer another one-year deal, and should. Ichiro, if he is at that level, will accept, still hoping for 3K hits here in the US.

Hughes? The Yankees may be dumb enough to pay more than $10M a year for him, vs. his current $7.5. They shouldn't.

Chamberlain? I'd give him Hughes' current money, no more, on a 2-year deal laden with health/performance incentives.

Kuroda? Especially if they're smart enough to let Hughes walk, I'd do another one-year deal with him, plus an option year if needed.

Cano? ESPN's Schoenfield wonders whether, if the Pinstripes start out badly enough, especially if they then find out Tex needs season-ending surgery, the team doesn't entertain trade offers.

And, where does Cashman get the money to pursue other free agents? (Who could the Yankees trade for right now? Right.) Does he tell Hank Steinbrenner, in essence, "Hey, the A-Rod extension was YOUR decision. You have to mentally write that off"?

And if Hank says "no dice," Cashman is hopefully smart enough to already have been working on Plan B for his post-Yankees employment.