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January 15, 2007

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Stands in front of the pitch, but has not yet been hit.

Hilarious. Well-summarized.

What's funny is that if you think Bush might, possibly, not suck at everything 100% of the time, that's enough to qualify you as right-leaning in this day and age.

For anyone just joining, we should probably give a shout-out to the blog formerly known as 'Hating on Charles Bird', now 'Taking It Outside'. It was started by Jackmormon as a place where people who might be tempted to, um, hate on Charles Bird could go instead. It has never been even close to hateful, despite its name.

Also, von: Charles did officially resign.

"Charles Bird: Still active, but has not been seen of late."

Charles, in fact, announced that he was taking a leave of absense, and wouldn't be returning for some time.

"Olmstead, Andrew"

Olmsted, even.

Yankee fans speak of Jason Giambi's ability to make the ball swerve away from the plate. The ability to make the ball avoid you would be nifty for a batter - for a fielder, not so much.

hey, I'm an attorney, aren't I evil?

Thanks all. Corrections made in the update.

I don't know, Von. You seem like a switch hitter to me, and I think I saw Andrew get hit by a pitch once while minding his own business warming up in the on-deck circle.

I'm a lefty in all senses, but the outside part of plate is mine, so I have a little bit of Gibson and Drysdale in me, and they were righties. I see you leaning in for the high cheese.

Hilzoy bats left because her heart was broken when she witnessed right-handed batter Tony Conigliaro take one in the noggin.

That'll turn any one around to the right .. I mean .. left side.

Steve: until very recently it seemed like anybody who believed Bush might not be 100% perfect, at everything, is a far-left lunatic who wants America destroyed. That's because, compared to the political establishment and talk radio, just about everybody is to the left. Since the election, though, people have realized that we shouldn't let the extremists define everyone leftward, so people who were always slightly to the right are now recognized as such.

Steve, I don't think von's uses of "right" have much to do with Bush at all.

But the usual complaint about the right-wing propaganda machine (blogs, pundits, White House statements, etc.) is that if you think Bush might, possibly, not be a great president, that's enough to qualify you as liberal in this day and age. That may have calmed down a bit since the election, however.

von: on closer examination, Charles wrote a post called Hiatus, which sounds temporary; but its actual text was:

"For family, work and personal reasons, I going to have to end blogging. My thanks to all of the editors for putting up with me and giving me this forum, and my thanks to all of the readers as well. I wish you all well."

And that sounds permanent.

I am now confused :P

What's with the inundation of attorneys? A sure sign that our vigorous economy will soon be brought to its knees. (But as a blog, we should have some different points of view: perhaps an economist?)

I feel towards attorneys the same way late Medici felt about monks in Florence: pure cost on the economy.

(Despite this flame-bait, I really am a kind, open-minded person, even towards the legal profession.)

"I am now confused :P"

It helps a bit to read Charles' amplifying comment, including:

[...] No, seriously, the family's intact, fine and healthy. I need to make a clean break because blogging is getting in the way of higher priorities in my life, and it's getting in the way of a writing project I'm working on (my Great American Novel). The key word is "hiatus", so if you think is the last you've heard from me, I'm afraid you'll be sorely disappointed ;). But I'm going to take the time away that I need.

I'd only add that once upon a time, there was also me. Not that I ever contributed anything of note, but I did help clean up comments spam, so the smart people didn't have to.

Yeah: what about Slarti? He contributed a lot (we'll be the judge of that, young man!)

Yikes. I knew there were a lot of lawyers about but hadn’t actually stopped to count.

Slarti convinced me to buy a nail gun.

;-)

that's Dr. Evil to you. i didn't spend years in Evil Medical School to just be called Evil. :)

Hey, I did something good!

...um, unless Thullen has taken up nailing me 'ead to the table.

Yikes. I knew there were a lot of lawyers about but hadn’t actually stopped to count.

Yeah, they promised me there would be no math.

(But as a blog, we should have some different points of view: perhaps an economist?)

If there is interest in adding an economist may I recommend Mark Thoma?

I don't know him and have no way to know if he would be interested, but I think he would make a good addition. A bit of a lefty, maybe, but we do have that short porch.

While we're on baseball let me Farber John Thullen and point out that Drysdale and Gibson liked the inside part of the plate, and were happy to do what was necessary to claim it.

"If there is interest in adding an economist"

Oh, god. Yes, because there aren't enough lawyers and economists blogging. Why not be really unusual and find a philosophy student, or a journalist, or a computer programmer?

I don't know, Von. You seem like a switch hitter to me

Nah. Von bats right -- just not so far right as to foul consistently. Unlike some former front-pagers ...

Thanks to all for believing in the dream and putting some effort towards it.

But I have to say that whichever manager came up with this pseudo-alphabetical lineup order is a damn fool (and is therefore probably destined for Cooperstown). Charles batting leadoff with such an atrocious On-Base Percentage? I mean. . sure he's fast, but he strikes out too much. And three consecutive lefties in the heart of the order? That's asking for trouble.

Here's how I'd do it:


1 2B Olmsted, A - (bats S, great OBP)
2 DH von - (bats S, likes to make contact)
3 SS Holsclaw, S - (bats R, the only real athlete?)
4 1B hilzoy - (bats L, big slugger)
5 CF Ibartfast, S - (bats R, good clubhouse presence)
6 LF Underscore, E - (bats L, good power to all fields)
7 C Lane, M - (bats R, veteran)
8 3B Bird, C - (bats R, absence reduces effectiveness)
9 RF publius - (bats L, rookie works up the order)

I refuse to admit how much of my workday that took, but it was fun.

Great, sidereal, now comes the salary cap arguments and the trade talk. Can talk of steroids be far behind?

Time to start up our Fantasy ObWi League!

Quite amusing, sidereal. Although, as a lefty IRL, I'd more likely be at first base rather than hilzoy; I never could turn the double play (except the 3-6-3).

hey, I'm an attorney, aren't I evil?

sez you, Katherine. In about-land, you're still a law student.

For those who missed it, Katherine and I had quite a time arguing on the Stimson matter at volokh.com. It was basically the two of us against an army of "terrorists have no rights!" zombies, with the contest being whether Katherine or I would be the first to slash our wrists in despair at the knowledge we share a country with these clowns...

I actually put effort into making sure handedness matched position, though of course I was working with the ideological 'handedness' that von initiated. And I took liberties with switch hitters.

And I should definitely be in whichever field it is that people are least likely to hit to.

I started out ambidextrous, by all accounts, and learning to throw righty turned a more or less total lack of throwing talent into an all-out catastrophe.

Bernard:

Way too much Farbering of me lately, not that I mind, but I think I might have a leg to stand on this time. ;)

I believe Bob Gibson stated in his autobiography that batters needed to be taught that the outside of the plate was his, and leaning over their half of the plate (the inside; Frank Robinson, for example) to infringe on his half was why he needed to keep them honest by coming inside ---- early, hard, and often.

He was a fair-minded man. A lesson for today's pitchers as they face Barry Bonds.

Drysdale, a rightie who probably had an even more extreme view of property rights and executive power, once hit Mickey Mantle during the World Series, and as Mantle jogged down to first, Drysdale came a few feet off the mound toward the first base line and asked Mantle if he would like the bruise autographed.

My favorite Bob Gibson story is told by Tim McCarver, his long time catcher during the 1960s. McCarver, thinking Gibson needed a few words of advice during one particularly tough inning, called time and started out toward the mound. As he was half way out, Gibson, glaring, yelled "Hey, McCarver, where do you think you're going? Are you going to tell me how to pitch? The only thing you know about pitching is that you can't hit it! Now, get back behind the plate!"

Ryne Duren, a Yankee (among other teams) middle reliever during the late 1950s and early 1960s was an alcoholic, nearsighted (he wore Coke-bottle bottom glasses) flamethrower who took care of business before the action started.

As the on-deck hitter leaned on his bat watching him warm up, Duren would throw the last two of his warm-up pitches into the very top of the screen behind the catcher at 100 miles per hour.

I'm guessing the batter would swallow his tobaccy and try to look relaxed as he stepped over the chalk lines and into the box --- maybe two or three inches farther from the plate than usual.

Thing is, Gibson and Drysdale had the control to hit you in the kidney (NEVER the head) when they wanted. Duren couldn't hit a guy if he tried.

"A lesson for today's pitchers as they face Barry Bonds."

And impotently hit him in his 4-inch thick kevlar arm armor, then to watch as he gets another free pass to first base?

If crowding doesn't hurt (a lot) hitters will crowd and the brushback will either disappear or escalate to (in Satchel Paige's words): "throwing smoke at their yoke", which is worse for everyone.

John,

You may be right about Gibson. Have I been reFarbered?

I remember Duren well. It's true he couldn't hit you if he tried. What was terrifying about him was that he might hit you, at 100MPH, when he wasn't trying, but wanted to go off the plate outside. With Gibson or Drysdale the batter at least knew when he was in danger.

It's alleged, by the way, that there was a guy, whose name I've forgotten, worse than Duren. He could throw the ball so hard it went through the backstop. (I mean the wire cage, not the catcher). he was an Oriole farmhand who I think never made the majors.

Sidereal:

I see you have Charles at third base -- the hot corner.

Casey Stengel had two things to say about a Yankee third baseman during the mid 1950s, whose name escapes me:

"I hate guys who drive in two with their bat and then give up three with their gloves."

and

"He plays third so badly that he's ruined the position for everyone."

Those were jokes, folks!

After all, Casey was a guy who contrived when he was an outfielder way back when to place a bird under his cap and when the crowd cheered a catch he made, he doffed the cap and bowed, as the bird flew away, delighting everyone.

It would be cool if Charles showed up now and pinch-hit a three-run homer.

:

"he might hit you, at 100MPH, when he wasn't trying, but wanted to go off the plate outside."

This sounds like the policy Tom Friedman endorsed after 9/11 - we should act a little unhinged so everyone will want to keep out of our way.

"a guy .... worse than Duren"

Steve Dalkowski. A lefty in the Orioles organization.

My grandfather used to tell me that if I spent as much time and effort on my homework as I did studying the backs of baseball cards, I would go far.

Unfortunately, he was right.

"the only real athlete..."

Funny thing is that I was immediately shocked to see that, but I guess nowadays I am an athlete. It is funny how your gradeschool picture of yourself gets stuck.

It was basically the two of us against an army of "terrorists have no rights!" zombies

An apt description. I was the guy who got pulled down into the zombie hordes in the first reel.

"This sounds like the policy Tom Friedman endorsed after 9/11 - we should act a little unhinged so everyone will want to keep out of our way."

That's the old Nixon "madman" strategy.

Kissinger: I really think you should accept these proposals; there's no telling what President Nixon might do. Massive bombing; nukes, even; global thermonuclear war; he's a bit mad, you know.

It never actually worked, so far as I know, but it was one of their repeated ploys.

Nixon did give it the necessary plausibility, after all.

just surfed over to Volokh. Gawd, what a circus. Heroic effort. I hope to god that the blog has to be more than a bit embarassed by the level of that commenting crew.

The problem with the madman strategy is that the public can't know whether you're really insane either, as we're experiencing now.

I was the guy who got pulled down into the zombie hordes in the first reel.
I hope this is one of those older movies where you just got pulled below the frame and the rest was left to the imagination, not one where we have to see the zombies' fingers in your eye sockets as they pull you apart. Gore and goo technology has ruined horror movies.

"The problem with the madman strategy is that the public can't know whether you're really insane either, as we're experiencing now."

FWIW, Nixon and Kissinger were considerably invested in Secret Diplomacy far more than in public dealings, if there were any possible way to have the one and minimize the other.

Thus Kissinger, before he added Secretary of State to his National Security Advisor portfolio in the second term (Ford eventually making him give up being NSA, much to his dismay), doing all the significant diplomacy out of the White House, and beyond SecState Rogers, and the rest of the State Department's, back. This as regards the Soviets, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.

Of course, the public was always pretty well divided between those who had nailed Nixon's act back in the Jerry Voorhis/Helen Gahagan Douglas days, and those who bought into one of the many-splendored "New Nixon"s available that month. (And the apathetic, but do we care about them?)

Steve Dalkowski.

That's the guy.

Well done, John.

A bit of Googling reveals that he averaged about 1.5 strikeouts and 1.5 walks per inning in the minors.

"I hope to god that the blog has to be more than a bit embarassed by the level of that commenting crew."

Whether or not you can judge a blog by its comments depends on the blog and the purpose of the blog. WashingtonMonthly and Volokh have posters and commenters and rarely do the two meet. Here the commenters and posters have quite a bit of intercourse. (Hmm).

I'm going to shamelessly take advantage of you lawyers to ask you a career question:

When people ask me what my 17-y.o. Sprog The First (who wants to major in Classics) might want to do for a living, I say, "She'd make a superb lawyer, but I don't know if I could stand the shame."

What I really mean is, the only lawyers I know who happy in their work 20 years out are the ones in public interest law, teaching, or both; all the others are, to one degree or another, dissatisfied, stressed out, or at least more interested in their hobbies than in their jobs.

I think this is one reason there are so many lawyers blogging, compared to, say, medical doctors, who are fairly rare birds in the blogosphere. But it may also be that lawyers don't have to actually work all that hard . . .

Here the commenters and posters have quite a bit of intercourse.

Indeed...? So... who got lucky?

I've not been a volokh reader (ever since the torture stuff), but my impression was that they actually monitored the comments, whereas at Washington Monthly, that whole comment ecosystem diverged from the topside stuff long ago. Looking at their comment entry form (Volokh) suggests that they have begun to diverge, but when I was reading them, they were constantly updating based on comments (though I don't know if they were wading in) I have to wonder if it has anything to do with Google Adwords. A buttoned down comment section is not the way to financial adsense bliss it seems. It's Gresham's law all the way down.

So... who got lucky?

I'm guessing it was one of the switch hitters.

Applause. A double entendre on top of another double entendre.

Just want to recommend the late George V. Higgins's story "Jack Duggan's Law" (from e.g. _The Best American Mystery Stories 2005_). It speaks to Doctor Science's point, and is both educational and hilarious.

"A double entendre on top of another double entendre."

Who's on top in this metaphor?

"A double entendre on top of another double entendre"

And who wouldn't want to be the meat in that entendre sandwich?

And who wouldn't want to be the meat in that entendre sandwich?

Hey, this isn't unfogged people! (nttawwt)

"Hey, this isn't unfogged"

Which is a gang together? (Would add "bang" here but I'm not sure what the current slang means precisely.)

Would add "bang" here but I'm not sure what the current slang means precisely.

Story of my life.

the "not sure what the current slang means precisely", that is. ;-)

lj,

I think Volokh's comments have declined sharply in the past few months. The thread that had Steve and Katherine tearing their hair out may have been a bit abnormal, but not much. I just gave up on explaining that conservatives by and large opposed the civil rights movement.

I'm not sure what the problem is. There are some seriously stupid commenters over there, and it may be a blog version of Gresham's Law. (Come to think of it, Gresham's Law may be a very good analogy).

I don't think my reaction is completely based on ideology. Drum's comments are pretty unreadable also.

"Drum's comments are pretty unreadable also."

A-yup. Not entirely, but too much to bother with for me. (Though, hey, some fine folks show up there, and if you're one of them, blessings upon you.)

Kevin Drum does make an occasional appearance in the Washington Monthly comments, and I even remember one post that specifically responded to something the "Al" collective said.

There's nothing at all wrong with a thread that evolves from baseball to sex, two of my three favorite subjects.

Making risotto being the fourth.

Doc Sci,

Being an in-house lawyer also is good for career satisfaction. Not just lesser hours, but knowing both that your worth to your employer is not tied to bringing business in the door and that you can decide how much time something needs to have devoted to it, without wondering if the client will pay for the number of hours it took.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to be an in-house lawyer without being at a firm first...

Yeah, the story of my life is showing up for the together bang and finding out they changed the lingo and the address.

Actually, no, the story of my life is not being told anything about the together bang ahead of time.

That's not true either. The story of my life is looking across a crowded room and then having everyone leave without me for what I imagine is a together bang.

No, not quite right. The story of my life is having a friend talk about a together bang and me turning to him and asking "What's a together bang?"

And then falling in love and getting married, which really puts the kibosh on peace, love, and banging, I mean, understanding.

Not true either.

Mine is realizing that the together bang was last week and I was invited, but I was too oblivious to realize it.

Which one of you guys is the devil-may-care demo expert, and which of you is the flinty tough guy with a code of his/her own?

And we have to have a Jewish one and one from Brooklyn.

And a big, good-hearted kid from a small town/farm, and a voluble ethnic FOB who talks with their hands a lot.

FOB?

Forward Operating Base?

"And we have to have a Jewish one and one from Brooklyn."

I could potentially (hopefully) be both of those one day, but for now I'm a shiksa in Chicago.

Maybe the character from Brooklyn could be named risotto, or reese.

FOB?

Fresh Off the Boat (i.e., immigrant)

"Clumsy. Ugly. Greasy. F.O.B. Loud. Stupid. Four-eyed. F.O.B. Big Feet. Horny. Like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. "

Ah. Thank you.

Katherine, I'm afraid I don't think that would count, unless you developed a Brooklyn accent when you move. Also, I think the Jewish one and the Brooklyn one have to be different people, although I'm not certain of that. I thought the Brooklyn one disliked Jews, but eventually comes around?

Sorry: Fresh Off the Boat - and trying to be more American than the "Americans" (accent optional)

I thought the Brooklyn one disliked Jews, but eventually comes around?

No. That's the Midwestern farm boy. You see, he never met any Jews before, so...

What's going on with the captcha checks? I had to go thru four of them for my 10:47 post (which even for ObWings is a lot of effort for little result!)

Bernard,

My mistake. It's a complex grouping, after all.

I was thinking: Friend of Bill.

I was thinking: Friend of Bill.

I was thinking of a natural linkage that came to me. (Rare that my personal history links up to a discussion)

Now if we'd followed someone's suggestion and managed to get an actual Economist here, s/he'd have pointed out that the obvious meaning of FOB is Free On Board (in trade statistics, in contrast with CIF [Cost, Insurance, Freight], IIRC).

There's a reason they call it the Dismal Science.

And it's certainly not because it's scientific!

Which one of you is the loose canon detective, just one screw-up away from being busted down to writing parking tickets?

As far as why there are fewer doctors than lawyers blogging - there are fewer physicians in RL. Also, as a percentage, there are more literate lawyers than literate doctors.

"there are more literate lawyers than literate doctors"

Not in literature.

loose canon detective? that's me. (it's been about a decade since i've looked, but somewhere in Calfornia's voluminous code there used to be canons of interpretation. SH, are they still there?)

the only lawyers I know who happy in their work 20 years out are the ones in public interest law, teaching, or both; all the others are, to one degree or another, dissatisfied, stressed out, or at least more interested in their hobbies than in their jobs

as someone 15 yrs out, I can attest that I'm pretty stressed. unlike doctors, however, when we really f**k up, the client is still alive.

Stress: i work in a very small firm that represents a small city that has a contaminated water supply. the residents of the city are working poor. if the litigation / remedy team (about 5 lawyers) makes a mistake, the residents of the city will pay higher water bills essentially in perpetuity. Defense counsel for the 40 some odd polluters are some of the biggest firms in the country, and they're watching like hawks for the client to make even the most minor mistake.

Stress? ayup. On the other hand, everyone deserves a water supply that is clean, affordable and reliable. Without me and my co-counsel, about 100,000 majority minority working poor residents of a city in California would be going 0-for-3.

so it's a good stress. [often. well, occasionally. rarely?]

canon vs cannon

1. There are times when auto spell-check fails miserably.
2. I rest my case on the lawyer vs. (student) physician literacy rate issue.

I was thinking: Friend of Bill.

Is that the hetero version of Friend of Dorothy?

No. That's the Midwestern farm boy. You see, he never met any Jews before, so...

We may be mixing archetypal groups here. The midwestern farm boy hates Gays/Jews/Blacks (usually in that order, from most to least) among members of the Real World archetype group. In the classic War Movie archetype group, however, it's the tough-talking dude from Brooklyn (sometimes Bronx), of usually Italian extraction (sometimes Irish), who hates Jews. At the end of the day, however, Midwestern Farm Boy / Italian (Irish) Dude from Brooklyn (Bronx) learns a valuable lesson about Jews/Gays/Black men and the two become good friends/lovers/members of the ill-fated hip-hop group D20.

Kevin Drum does make an occasional appearance in the Washington Monthly comments, and I even remember one post that specifically responded to something the "Al" collective said.

they've even begun to moderate, over there. impostors get yanked pretty quickly, and i haven't seen the Charlie/Thomas1/Cheney/etc troll around in weeks. it's still nearly an anarchy, though.

Francis, you count as one of the public interest lawyers, so I would expect you to be stressed but glad you chose your line of work.

Dantheman: I know two in-house lawyers pretty well. One is quite happy in his job, you're right: he finds the work interesting but not so soul-sucking he has no life. The other is, frankly, kind of unhappy -- and by "kind of unhappy" I mean "thinking of quitting and going back to school for a MSW." In her case, at least, the fact that she has to *always* be on the side of the powerful mega-corp is one of the big downers.

As for numbers of doctors versus lawyers: the US has 885,000 active doctors and 1,115,000 active lawyers. That's a difference of about 25%, but my impression is that there are many times as many lawyer-bloggers as doctor-bloggers.

Calling doctors "illiterate" is perfect nonsense. They don't make their living by writing as lawyers do, though, so they may feel much less of an impulse to write in their off-hours.

Calling doctors "illiterate" is perfect nonsense.

I'd tag doctors as being a bit more reticent than lawyers, and walk away from the whole mess. I've never met a lawyer (IRL) who wasn't more than willing to talk my ear off, on any topic whatever, even when I wasn't being billed for the time. It's entirely possible, just working from the evidence at hand, that doctors are much more literate than lawyers, only less anxious to convince you of that.

Not saying anything at all about our pack of lawyers, note. Probably they're just like you and me.

Lawyers sit in front of a lit computer for hours on end. This begins and ends the explanation, I'm afraid.

I enjoy the law. It's true, DS, that you really have to like it, or it's a long ugly slog.

There's also the fact that lawyers are trained to turn out buckets of prose, quickly. Doctors don't babble professionally, so blogging and commenting would probably, on the average, be more effortful, where lawyers are sitting in front of computers all day and think nothing of writing a quick couple of paragraphs on this or that.

What really puzzles me is all the blogging philosophers. I get why academics generally blog; same as lawyers. But philosophers seem vastly overrepresented compared to historians, or political scientists, or people studying literature.

I was being more than a little facetious when I claimed doctors are illiterate.

In fact, when a doctor writes up a patient report, they are in effect writing a "story" relating the patient's self-described symptoms, history of the illness, physical findings, labs/tests, family history, and fitting them all to a diagnosis. This report is then used, in effect, to convince colleagues and/or superiors (if you are a student or resident). The best ones are succinct, convincing, and have a nice narrative flow.

Internal medicine has a long tradition of taking this practice very seriously. A complicated hospital case written up well is tough and takes practice. Surgeons, on the other hand, can get away with - "Pt presents with abdominal pain suggestive of appendicitis. Schedule OR and prescribe antibiotics."

Off topic: im at duh IRS, lookin at ur info

Regarding numbers, I assumed (wrongly) there were many more lawyers than doctors b/c there are many more law school spots than med school.

A quick googling shows 42,673 JDs and 15,925 MDs graduated in 2006.

I'm sure are plenty of reasons why these numbers don't track to active numbers.

lawyers are trained to turn out buckets of prose, quickly.

"Buckets" is the key word here.

I've always thought Dr. Chekhov palpated the human condition pretty thoroughly.

But philosophers seem vastly overrepresented compared to historians, or political scientists, or people studying literature.

Because they have less to do? (:

"Off topic: im at duh IRS, lookin at ur info"

Where does this usage come from, and to what does it refer?

what's the lawyer count for people who post and comment regularly?

publius
holsclaw
von
katherine
francis
charleycarp
dantheman
lizardbreath
steve

???

I'm honored just to be mentioned in such esteemed company. By the way, whoever said "it's because we sit in front of a computer all day" was right.

At my first job as a lawyer, we didn't have Internet at work. Imagine how productive I was.

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