Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

IS IT JUST ME, or has the Daily Quickie on gotten more worldly of late? Today's Q involves references to blogger The Gawker, the phenomenon of auctioning off virtual girlfriends on E-Bay, and a joke about Dean's firing Joe Trippi. I'm not complaining: I've never believed that sports was a subject that should be hermetically sealed off from the rest of life, and since the Q is a humor page it makes sense that it should make fun of whatever it finds funny. Still, a curious development. One wonders: are the increasingly bloggish nature of the Q, and Bill Simmons new "superblog," a kind of atonement by ESPN for their shameful firing of Gregg Easterbrook last year? Or is it just that, in this faster-faster universe, everything gets bloggier after a while?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

WATCH THOSE METAPHORS, BILL Bill Bennett, you know, the one with the gambling problem, commented upon the Democratic primary thusly (as summarized by RealClear Politics):

"Bennett's comment, which I had read somewhere earlier in the week, was that since 1952 every candidate who has won Iowa and New Hampshire has gone on to win their parties nomination. Bennett suggested that if you were in the World Series of Poker Kerry would have a 90% chance of ending up with the nomination."

If you were an erstwhile public moralist who'd recently been scoured for losing millions of dollars in high-stakes gambling, wouldn't you try to pick a different metaphor for your public comments on electoral politics?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

TIM NOAH MAKES A SENSIBLE POINT ABOUT THE SOUTH It's not a swing region. It's the core of the Republican base. It is to the Democrats what California is to the Republicans: a place they're only going to win if they're running away with the election. Yeah, Bill Clinton won 4 southern states in 1992, and they netted him 39 electoral votes. But you know what? He beat Bush in an electoral landslide, 370-168. You know what would have happened if Bush the Elder had swept the entire old confederacy? Clinton would have won in a somewhat smaller electoral landslide, 331-207. Similarly, in 1996, Clinton won 4 southern states (exchanging Georgia for Florida, a twelve electoral vote pickup) which gave him 51 electoral votes. But you know what? Clinton beat Dole in the Electoral College, 379-159. And if Dole had completely swept the south? Clinton still wins, 328-210.

The Old Confederacy is the most heavily Republican region in the country. It's not terribly shocking that a Democrat, in a close race, would write it off. Republicans have basically written off California and the I-95 corridor in the same fashion. They know they're not going to win there unless they're going to win the election anyway. But nobody gives them flack for it, because "California and the I-95 corridor" isn't a recognizable geographical-political region in the way that "the South" is. And nobody in the Republican primaries talks about how the eventual nominee needs to be someone who can appeal to people in Vermont, or Rhode Island. They have a base region, and certain swing states that they target (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania). If New England or California goes Republican, great. If they don't, they don't. It's no big deal, because the Republicans don't need them to win. The Democrats could be the same way. Why they're not is anyone's guess.
THE YOUTH OF AMERICA AND ABORTION There's an interesting poll Newsweek poll on the political attitudes of Americans aged 18-29. While I'm skeptical of opinion polls in general, and Newsweek polls in particular, I'll accept, for the sake of argument, that the numbers here are valid. There's lots of good stuff about gay marriage, Iraq, etc., but one thing that struck me was the attitude of people of my generation towards abortion. We were evenly split (50% for, 49% against) on the issue of whether there ought to be a ban on abortions with a "rape, incest, life of the mother" exception. But 60% said they supported Roe v. Wade, whereas only 38% oppose it.

Newsweek's spin on this is that the young are weary of re-fighting the culture war:

"The obvious distinction between opposition to abortion and opposition to Roe indicates that while young voters may not be altogether comfortable with abortion, they are wary of re-engaging in the fiery battles of the past."

But isn't another hypothesis equally plausible? Isn't it possible that at least some people of my generation are sufficiently historically or legally ignorant that they don't understand what Roe actually says? Isn't it possible that the 10% of people who favor a ban on virtually all abortions but also say they support Roe don't actually understand that the latter makes the former impossible? Maybe they think that before Roe it was unconstitutional for states not to ban abortions.

Honestly, given how we're always hearing about how college students can't answer simple questions about American history, or don't understand basic things about how the government works, why shouldn't we think that some percent of people polled don't actually understand what the actual holding of Roe v. Wade is? No offense to Newsweek, but isn't that a somewhat more plausible explanation of the poll results than the idea that young people are desperate not to re-fight the culture wars, and are willing to accept heavy cognitive dissonance as the price? Don't get me wrong: I'm not eager to re-fight the culture wars, and I doubt that most of my co-generationists are either. But, following William of Occam, shouldn't we look to plain old garden-variety ignorance before constructing elaborate theories to explain odd poll results?

Sunday, January 25, 2004

TOMORROW MY SECOND SEMESTER OF LAW SCHOOL BEGINS. Wild to think it. My plans are many and manifold for the coming months, but I'll share this one. I want to use the word "eldritch" in conversation or class participation sometime in the next month. But it can't be forced; it will have to happen naturally. I'll check back at the end of February with a progress report.
I'VE DISCOVERED A GREAT NEW BLOG, Old Oligarch. A systematic theologian with a taste for the sauce and a wife named Zorak? This is a man whose blog must be read. I'll add it to the side list soonish.

You Are


You are a beautiful person, in a wistful kind of way. If you could, you would spend all your time daydreaming and writing poetry. You are a tragic beauty.

You are sensitive and caring, and you don't take insults well. You don't smile much, but when you do, you really mean it.

People like to be around you because you are a calming influence. You have an appreciation for all things beautiful, and you probably have some potted plants. You also most likely own a cat.

You like Sundays and hot tea. You will spend your entire life yearning for quiet beauty, which is a rarity in this world, so you read a lot.

Everyone you know thinks you're "nice."

Take the Which Led Zeppelin Song Are You? Quiz
CONTRACTIONS are one of my favorite parts of the English language. I was wondering, though, how common are they? As an effective uniglot, I have very limited expertise in the subject of non-English languages, but I do know that English and French have contractions. What about other languages? Chinese? Xhosa? Serbo-Croatian? Please email me if you know. This will also be a useful exercise in figuring out who reads this thing.
AT BASF, WE DON'T MAKE A LOT OF THE PRODUCTS YOU BUY, we make a lot of the products you buy weapons of mass destruction. Well, not quite. But it is somewhat chilling to think of "a man of Middle Eastern descent with bushy hair and a mustache" who shoots security guards as they approach snooping around chemical plants.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

IT'S STORIES LIKE THIS that make me skeptical about the International Criminal Court. "War crimes" are things like the systematic rape of civilians, or the summary execution of POWs. The use of imprecise munitions, that's something else. It's not great, and in an ideal world weapons would only kill the bad guys. But calling cluster bomb use a war crime cheapens the whole idea of "war crimes", and I'm afraid may deaden our revulsion at actual atrocities. It's like the "Bush = Hitler" analogy. If every right-winger is a Nazi, then what would you call a real Nazi if you met one? A Republican with a flair for the dramatic?
MY HEART GOES OUT TO THOSE BRAVE BOYS Russian soldiers struggle to save 10 tons of beer trapped beneath the frozen river Irtysh. sweet, sweet beer...

Monday, January 19, 2004

TNR'S DEAN-O-PHOBE SUGGESTS AN INTERESTING POSSIBILITY That a Kerry victory in Iowa actually helps Dean, insofar as it prevents the party from coalescing at an earlier point around an anti-Dean. Does this mean that having two candidates beat him is even better for Dean, since there are now three viable candidates to split the anti-Dean vote? Or does it suggest that the party doesn't need a single anti-Dean, since even a divided field has shown it can squash People-Powered Howard? I know opposition to Dean is the Dean-O-Phobe's raison d'etre, but maybe the race's dynamic has changed such that it's no longer Dean vs. Anti-Dean. Maybe we're back where we were a year ago, with a field of three viable mainstream candidates (except we've replaced Gephardt with Edwards and Lieberman with Clark) and an insurgent Dean as the outside challenger.
QUICK IOWA THOUGHTS Dick Gephardt's run is over. But we all knew that. He's basically been going through the motions for months, hoping that organization would propel him to an Iowa win, which would slingshot him into competitiveness elsewhere in the country. i.e., he was hoping against hope. And now he's done. He had a great career, and in an alternate universe in which Bush won in '92, he might've been the nominee in '96. But not in this universe, I'm afraid.

Dean is obviously a loser, but how big a loser is difficult to project. He's still got a ton of money and (apparently) pretty good national organization, so he can keep the fight going. On the other hand, no small amount of his national support may I suspect have been based on the idea of Dean's inevitability. Once that bubble is popped, can he continue? He's obviously not going to drop out, but is his fate now to soldier on and get 15-20% in every subsequent primary? And (bonus question): if Dean's not the nominee, will his core voters show up to the polls in November? And will they vote Democrat, or Green?

I love John Edwards. (no seriously, I love John Edwards. see below.) He's obviously a big winner here today. His big worry, I imagine, has got to be: if Kerry wins in Iowa, and follows up with a win in New Hampshire, can Edwards stop his momentum in veteran-heavy South Carolina?

Kerry is tonight's big winner. And the one that makes me look like a big yutz, since only two weeks ago I was trying to figure out how best to make fun of a friend who was working for the Kerry campaign when his candidate dropped out of the race. Obviously I'm still cleaning egg out of my eyebrows. Buuuuut, and this is a big but, I still think Kerry is a lousy candidate, and that this is ultimately going to fizzle somewhere along the line. Maybe it won't be until after he's sown up the nomination, but I just can't see John Kerry not screwing this up somewhere. Remember: a year ago, Kerry was the front-runner. Then he spent a year frittering away his lead, and only recovered it in a last minute push. This wasn't accidental. I can't shake the feeling that Kerry will find a way to blow this somehow.

I strongly suspect that Clark is the #2 loser out of Iowa, trailing only Gephardt. If Kerry's become a viable candidate all of a sudden, then the whole rationale for his campaign is evaporating before our eyes. I always thought of Clark as Kerry mark 2: the same model of politician (electable war-hero insulated on national defense issues by his biography) with some of the initial bugs worked out. It's worth remembering that Clark didn't get rolled off the assembly line until late summer, when the Kerry campaign had (apparently) made it clear that it wasn't up to the task of stopping Dean. But Clark-bot has shown that he isn't exactly bug-free himself (evidenced chiefly by his propensity to say looney things) and all of a sudden Kerry-bot's bugs don't look so bad. So you've got Kerry with the big Mo, coming back to a state neighboring his home, where Clark's numbers have been stalled for a few weeks. I do believe Clark is done.

OK, perhaps these thoughts weren't so quick. Back to studying for contracts! HO!
BLOG IN HASTE, REPENT AT LEISURE When I linked to this article earlier, I was a bit, er, hasty. The website for The Australian was running slow, and I couldn't get the page to load past the title. I made a critical assumption about the subject of the article: that it was about East Timor. In fact, it was about West Timor, which is still part of Indonesia, and not under U.N. mandate. Inserting my foot squarely into my mouth, I used the article (or, more exactly, the headline) as a base from which to attack the U.N.'s nation-building track record.

Now, I continue to think that we're, on balance, better off without the U.N. running Iraq, but the Australian piece wasn't exactly on point.
"TIMOR MORE DANGEROUS THAN IRAQ" Think about that: the U.N. has been in East Timor for four-and-a-half years (since August 1999). They were invited by the people of East Timor. East Timor is a small half-island of 860,000 people (almost one sixth the population of Baghdad, and one twenty-sixth the population of Iraq). How incompetent are these people? And: shouldn't this make us somewhat skeptical about the inherent benefits of internationalizing the occupying forces? Thirty-one countries had troops there in 2002, including a number of countries that have declined to participate in Iraq (Russia, Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Pakistan, among others). Maybe we're better-off in Iraq without these guys, and without a United Nations mandarin-class running the show.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


Friday, January 16, 2004

YOU KNOW WHAT DEMOCRATIC TICKET I'D LIKE TO SEE? (And I do mean see....) John Edwards-Evan Bayh. Could there be a hotter ticket? I'm not gay or anything, but a pair of saucy moderate Dems with movie star good looks? that might just do it for me. Plus, both come from states Bush carried in 2000, which would be, y'know, an advantage in the, um, election. Yup.
CRUSHING OF DISSENT! in the Sims Online. I don't know what's weirdest about this story. That a grown man - a professor! - would go to the trouble of setting up a virtual newspaper in the Sims Online, for the purpose of reporting on the seamy underbelly of Alphaville, the Sims' virtual city? Or maybe that Electronic Arts, which acts as the government of Alphaville, would close down his newspaper and send the professor's Sim counterpart into exile, "for the good of the game and its community"? Or maybe it's that there is a seamy underbelly to Alphaville at all, filled with con artists, virtual prostitutes, some kind of Sims mafia and a crooked, parallel town government?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

JUST OVERHEARD ON THE E! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY OF "BAYWATCH" "And, of course, the greatest improviser in the history of television is David Hasselhoff...."

That can't be right, can it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Monday, January 12, 2004

SIMPSONS QUIZ Of course I scored a 10 out of 10. I would have killed myself, samurai-style, if I hadn't.
SABINE HEROLD: A FROG I COULD REALLY GET BEHIND. I have two words vis a vis Mme. Herold, and they're hubba-hubba. I especially like the picture of her giving what appears to be the French-power salute (scroll down). Oh yeah, and she's an important voice for liberty in Europe yadda yadda yadda.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

PEYTON MANNING IS A BAD MAN and he's coming for you, Bill Belichick. The Python is coming to Foxboro.
A GOOD ANALYSIS OF THE SADDAM P.O.W. ISSUE can be found here. (Link via the Conspiracy) The basic gist: contrary to what you may be hearing/reading in the mainstream media, Saddam's current P.O.W. status has no impact whatsoever on whether the Iraqis will eventually be able to try him for war crimes. It had been suggested that now that he's been classified as a P.O.W. the United States would have to try him for war crimes, if he were going to be tried at all. Mr. Carter lays out, with cites to the Geneva Convention, why that's not so.

But if you think about it, that just makes sense. Virtually all of the crimes for which Saddam will be tried took place before the invasion, and don't involve the Americans at all. Under the "the U.S. must now try him" theory, a person declared a P.O.W. can only be tried in military commissions belonging to the occupying power. If this theory is correct, it produces all sorts of crazy results.

Take the case of a hypothetical Iraqi soldier, whom we'll call Ali. Before being conscripted into the army, Ali was a petty thief who stole air conditioners from apartments in the upscale neighborhoods of Baghdad. Early in the war, Ali is captured in the battle of Umm Qasr by British soldiers, who detain him as a P.O.W. Under the theory being promoted by the news agencies, only the Coalition could try Ali, not just for any violations of the law of war he may have committed but also for his past air conditioner theft. Iraqi civilian authorities would have lost the power to try him for that crime forever. And even if we assume that military commissions have jurisdiction over all past unpunished misdeeds committed by captured prisoners of war (which is, to say the least, a stretch) it's hard to believe that the Coalition would be all that interested in punishing old air conditioner thefts, or any number of other petty crimes committed before their arrival. Which means that when hostilities have ended and Ali and his fellow P.O.W.s are repatriated to Iraq they will be immunized, forever, from the possibility of prosecution for their pre-war crimes.

As I said: crazy results.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

YOU THOUGHT BABY SEA TURTLES HAD IT ROUGH Apparently you're more likely to be murdered on the day of your birth than on any other day of your life. I suppose the oh-so-witty would say: not true. You're most likely to be murdered on the day of your death. At any rate, it's a rough world out there.
J.R.R. TOLKIEN: HOSS SUM'BITCH Followed a Mark Steyn link to this page, which features a draft of a letter by Tolkien. It seems a German publisher in the late '30s was interested in putting out a German-language version of The Hobbit, and had contacted Tolkien's publisher, Allen & Unwin to negotiate a deal. But before negotiations began, they wanted to know: was Tolkien of aryan extraction? The blogger posts a draft of Tolkien's reply, which is great, and adds an interesting data-point to the "is the Lord of the Rings racist?" debate.
WHAT IS BOB NOVAK SMOKING? In his most recent column, national-security endangerer Robert Novak frets about the possibility that Sandra Day O'Connor might use the redistricting case currently before the Supreme Court as an opportunity to once again betray the conservatives that put her on the bench, and show her true allegiance to Sauron, The Enemy, keeper of Barad-Dur, Lord of the Earth, or the Democrats, or whomever. After all, she sided with the liberal judges on gay rights! and campaign-finance reform!

There's only one problem with Novak's analysis: it's totally crazy! We are, I assume, talking about the same Sandra Day O'Connor who said in her concurring opinion in Davis v. Bandemer expressed the opinion that political gerrymandering questions were non-justiciable political questions? And the same Sandra Day O'Connor who, in the oral arguments for this case (which, by the way, I attended), all but said she intended to stick with the non-justiciability. (Her words, as quoted here: "Maybe the way to go is to just stay hands off these things.") We're supposed to believe that she's going to abandon these apparently deeply held beliefs because the three-judge panel in Texas that recently ruled on that state's recent gerrymandering warned of "excessive partisanship"?

Perhaps Novak should stick with his core competencies, like revealing the names of covert CIA agents, and leave Supreme Court panic-mongering to the professionals.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I'M GENERALLY INCLINED TO DISTRUST POLLS, but I wanted to pass on this nugget from the latest CNN/ USA TODAY/ Gallup poll. Scroll down to question 13, which asks regarding a hypothetical Bush/Dean matchup in November (which I think we can all agree is the most likely scenario): "How certain are you that you will vote for Bush or Dean next fall, or do you think you may change your mind between now and the November election?"

Look at the numbers (in the "likely voter" category):

Certain for Dean 20%
Vote for Dean, may change mind 17%
Vote for Bush, may change mind 12%
Certain for Bush 47%
No opinion 4%

Those numbers are, to put it mildly, astonishing. If these numbers are correct (and that's a BIG assumption, obviously) then all Bush has to do, between now and election day is convince an additional 4% of likely voters to vote for him, and he'll lock in a win, with the first presidential-election majority since his father won in '88. Dean, on the other hand, has to either convince essentially every likely voter who isn't already locked-in with Bush to vote Democratic, or else bring to the polls such a huge number of previously-unlikely-to-vote persons to overcome Bush's apparently huge advantage among likely voters.

There numbers aren't determinative, not in one poll, not eleven months out. But they surely don't mean nothing.
I LIKE DONALD RUMSFELD He's right near the top of the "living people I've never met but nonetheless have warm feelings for" list, trailing the Pope. (I try to reserve my affection for people I actually know, which is, I think, a rarity in this celebrity-obsessed world of ours, but I am, of course, an old-fashioned guy.) There's just something magnetic about Rummy. He's the kind of guy who could convince me to join a cult, I think. Sure, it would be a square, Midwestern cult, but it would be evil and cultish nonetheless.

I seem to have lost my original point. Stories like this one, in which it's revealed that Rummy turned down Time's "Man of the Year" honors and suggested they give it to "the American soldier" instead, are, I think, a large part of why I dig the guy so much. You may point out: the story put forward by the Time editors doesn't necessarily confirm Rummy's account, does it? And: doesn't Rumsfeld lose most of the humble points he picked up by refusing the honor by bragging at a holiday party about how he declined the honor, and then having that bragging get reported in the Congressional newspaper? I say: Do not question the decisions of the leader. He loves you. Why can you not see this? He suffers so much for our sake, and you reward him with your doubts? Do not question the leader. He will know what to do.

The night time is the right time. The night time is the right time.
"HILLARY'S GANDHI JOKE: WAS IT OUT OF LINE?" That's MSNBC's question of the day. I'm torn on this issue. Generally speaking, I'm willing to grant off-color jokes a pretty wide latitude. I'll forgive a lot if something's funny.

The big problem I have with Hillary's Gandhi "joke" was that it wasn't funny. What exactly is the joke here? That Gandhi was Indian, and that many gas stations are run by Indian-Americans and that many Indian-Americans live in or near St. Louis? I suppose these elements could be assembled in a humorous way, but not in the way Clinton did it. I'm reminded of the Simpsons bit in which McBain tries his hand at stand-up comedy:

"Did you ever notice how men always leave the toilet seat up? [pause] That's the joke."

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

THE MOVEON.ORG ANTI-BUSH ADS ARE FINALLY OUT, and they're actually pretty good. Some of them are downright great. I particularly like "Child's Pay", which is as good as any professionally produced ad for a real product I've ever seen. (As good even as the Miller Lite "Catfight" ads? I'm afraid so.)

What I find remarkable is this: as far as I know, the people who produced these ads were operating with very limited budgets and resources, less probably than even the most shoe-string long-shot moonbat candidate has at his disposal (we all know who I'm talking about, Dennis K.). But even the worst of these ads was at or above the quality of the average real-world political ad. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on presidential campaigns, but most of the TV ads they run are only a little better than those self-produced ads for local furniture companies. You know, the ones with the overweight Italian-American gentleman and his family talking about how now is a great time to buy a new loveseat...

At least local discount furniture warehouses can make the excuse that their product is just dull, and that there's no way to make a non-hokey commercial about the great deal they're offering on a slightly damaged pull-out sofa. But politics isn't dull, and the MoveOn people have demonstrated (albeit not without some ads that misfire) that political ads can be interesting. I actually don't think I'd mind a particularly nasty Dean-Bush election, full of unfair accusations and vicious televised smears, if only those ads would be interesting. If I could feel about political ads the way I feel about beer ads, or ads for that new NFL network (God, love that Rich Eisen), and horrible mud-slinging was the price, well then sling that mud, God-damnit!
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF COMMUNIST ATROCITIES! I did pretty badly on this quiz; I scored a mere 45%. In my defense, though, the test is pretty difficult. I'd like to see you do any better.

Monday, January 05, 2004

UTTERLY TERRIFYING/UTTERLY HILARIOUS Ace of Spades assigns Dungeons & Dragons characters to some Democratic presidential candidates. I laughed my ass off. Which, combined with the fact that I've spent the morning watching the director's cut of The Two Towers instead of studying for my torts exam (or, say, going outside) strongly suggests I may be a huge nerd.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

THE LIFE OF A LAW STUDENT PREPARING FOR EXAMS It just occurred to me that all I've had to eat today was a communion wafer and a bottle of orange Fanta. My vacation's not even over, and already I need a vacation!
OH, FANTASY FOOTBALL, YOU ENDED A WEEK TOO SOON Y'know, given that my fantasy football team included Peyton Manning (377 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs), Marvin Harrison (133 yards, 2 TDs), Edgerrin James (78 yards rushing, 37 yards receiving, 1 fumble), Reggie Wayne (43 yards receiving, 1 TD), John Kasay (5 FGs, 2 PAT), and the Baltimore Ravens' defense (20 points allowed, 3 INT with one returned for a TD), I might just have had an OK week this week, if my FFL league hadn't ended with the regular season. Damn you, Yahoo!!

(P.S. When I spell-checked this post, the only alternative that the spell-checker came up with for Peyton was "python." I've no doubt Peyton would be happy to discover that thinks so highly of him. Interesting to note, also, that before he could be declared a python, he had to beat Jake "the Snake." What a world this is.)

Saturday, January 03, 2004

ROSE AND THE HALL OF FAME Baseball Musings makes an interesting point vis a vis Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame: he's no lock for admission if reinstated. The basic point: you need the vote of 75% of voters to be admitted into the Hall. That means that 25% plus one, a not terribly large minority, can block the admission of any candidate. Great hitter though he was, it's not totally far-fetched to think that anti-Rose elements, with a little skillful campaigning, could meet that relatively low threshold.

Rose may be caught in a Catch-22. There are basically three types of people with respect to Pete Rose: people who think he bet on baseball and therefore shouldn't be admitted to the Hall of Fame (anti-Rose), people who think he bet on baseball but should be admitted to the Hall of Fame anyway (pro-Rose), and people who don't know whether or not he bet on baseball and therefore don't want to prejudge whether he should be admitted into the Hall of Fame (undecided). Right now, there doesn't seem to be an anti-Rose majority among fans, writers or players, which is why Rose is even getting the opportunity to come clean and get reinstated. But that's the heart of Rose's problem: he has to come clean to get reinstated. He has to admit that he bet on baseball. And once he does that, the undecideds will melt away. Rose has to, ahem, gamble that enough of the undecideds go over to the "eh, what the hell, why not?" side to push him over the 75% threshold. And I'm not sure that's such a great bet.

Also, former Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent pointed out in the Times recently, Rose is running out of time. Since he stopped playing in 1986, he only has until 2006 to get into the Hall via regular election. After that, he'll have to go to the Veterans Committee, which, as Vincent points out, is pretty stingy when it comes to admitting overlooked players into the noble brotherhood of the Hall.

If I were a betting man like Rose, I'd say he's probably got a less than 50-50 chance of being admitted to the Hall, even if Selig reinstates him. I'm curious to see what happens.
FOOTBALL PICKS FOR THE NEW YEAR I'll keep it quick, 'cause I want to go watch the game.

Week One
Tennessee over Baltimore
Carolina over Dallas
Indianapolis over Denver
Green Bay over Seattle

Week Two
Tennessee over New England
Indianapolis over Kansas City
Philadelphia over Green Bay
St Louis over Carolina

Week Three
Indianapolis over Tennessee
Philadelphia over St Louis

Super Bowl
Indianapolis over Philadelphia

bonus pick: LSU over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl