Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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23 October 2009

Replay Review in Baseball: It Ain't Gonna Work

The umps have been blowing at least a call a game in the playoffs, and its frustrating to see how blatantly wrong their calls are on the super-slo-mo replays they have now. But I can't see how video review of calls is going to work. You can't have the crew chief clambering thru the dugout to watch a replay each time there's an argument. You could have a guy in the booth to make the calls, but even if the MLB wanted to splurge on a 5th (7th, in the post-season) umpire for each game, what criteria is he to use when over-ruling? Could he just overrule each call if he disagreed? Or just the real bad ones? Where do you draw the line?

Football has a clever system where coaches must ask for the replay and forfeit a timeout if the call doesn't go their way. Time-outs in football are like gold - coaches typically hoard them and often end up wasting timeouts because they're too afraid to squander them early. And since the review takes time (a handy commercial-break's length of time) forfeiting a time-out makes sense. How would that work in baseball? You forfeit a trip to the mound if you don't get the call? Not likely to work - there's too many ways to stall in baseball. So you can't have the team's request a review because they'd be requesting them on every play. If you set a limit of 3 times per game, they'll use it 3 times every game. And there's no clear basis for a neutral party to intervene in some cases and not others. Allow the umpires themselves to ask for a review? Fat chance - they don't ask for help now from their crewmates, they're surely not going to ask for help from someone watching TV. I'm afraid we'll just have to put up with human beings for the foreseeable future.

12 October 2009

Is 'Diversity' the Root of All Stupidity

UPDATE: School board weasels out of suspension. The local school board passed a resolution changing the rule that kindergarteners and first graders would only face a 3 to 4 day suspension. Video here.

I don't mean actual diversity (that's another debate) - but the "diversity" mantra that rules our society, and I mean the stupidity we find in our public institutions. The recent persecution of a 6-year old Cub Scout by his school district highlights my meaning. The boy brought his brand new knife/fork/spoon camping utensil to school to eat his lunch, and was dutifully suspended by his school for possession of a weapon and will need to spend 45 days in reform school before he can return. Of course there are wails of protest insisting on "common sense" in these cases, but the school's superintendent is not persuaded. “There is no parent who wants to get a phone call where they hear that their child no longer has two good seeing eyes because there was a scuffle and someone pulled out a knife” he intoned.

But the reason for this policy is made clear in the same article:
Education experts say that zero-tolerance policies initially allowed authorities more leeway in punishing students, but were applied in a discriminatory fashion. Many studies indicate that African-Americans were several times more likely to be suspended or expelled than other students for the same offenses.

So there you have it. In order to justify the suspension and prosecution of urban students for bringing switchblades to school, we must equally punish white suburban cub scouts who bring eating utensils to school, even when they're six years old, or else we are guilty of violating the fundamental rule of diversity: There are no differences whatsoever between different ethnic/racial groups, and therefore any measured differences are the result of discrimination.

The "zero tolerance" is not for the behavior being controlled. What there's zero tolerance for is disparate outcome. Thus, no individual in authority can be trusted to use common sense, because common sense is inherently racist. On a much more dangerous level this is our approach to terrorism. We can't possibly discriminate against immigrants based on the terroristic proclivities of their native lands; nor can we profile Arabs or Muslims based on their disproportionate engagement of murderous terror activities. As a result the civil liberties of all must be curtailed, whether you're a 90-year old grandmother or a 15-year old freckle-faced schoolgirl. All are equally likely to commit mass murder.

So we can all ridicule the buffoons in Delaware all we like, but they're just following the rules we've given them. It seems every 6 months there's another story of a 7-year old put in handcuffs or a kid thrown out of school for taking an aspirin, but as long as we hold "diversity" to be the reigning principal of our age, we can't expect anyone to risk using "common sense."

09 October 2009

In Defense of the Nobel Committee (Kind of)

Yes, Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize is a joke, particularly considering that the nominaiton would have to have been submitted by February 1. But consider what would be the likely state of affairs under a President McCain. War with Iran - or at least heavy aerial bombardment of same - would be imminent if not already under way. Tensions with Russia over missile installations in Eastern Europe and breakaway provinces in Georgia would be at a fever pitch. And lord knows what degree of escalation would be going on in Iraqistan.

Leaving aside how our handling of these events play to the best interests of the USA (though missiles in the Czech Republic and the sovereignty of Georgia? - come on) - certainly from a peace-nik Norwegian committee, McCain would have been a disaster. So from their standpoint off in the idyllic confines of Norway, Obama's ability to get elected alone was sufficient reason to award him the prize.