Native Son

Yeah, I get that Newt is from Georgia, but he only represented one Congressional district and look, he’s a nut with no chance of winning the nomination now.  Just don’t quite get the rationale behind his supporters in Georgia where he won easily with nearly half the vote.  Then again, I think it is fair to say I don’t really get people who think Newt Gingrich would make a good president, period.  More Super Tuesday tomorrow.

The Wire Bracket

Big Steve has kept pushing me to address this Bracket for Wire characters put together by the folks at Grantland.  It’s pretty cool, but given the depth of Big Steve’s analysis, he’s clearly got more free time than me these days.  Steve breaks down the whole bracket.

Grantland Bracket (Day One)

In my case, I’ll simply select the characters I found to be most compelling from each.  My final four is: Prop Joe, Stringer Bell, Chris Partlow, and my #6 seed darkhorse, Cedric Daniels.  My next four would be Bubbles, D’Angelo, Carcetti, and Boadie.

The thing about Santorum

FB friend of mine today linked to the latest (old, but) offensive statement of Santorum’s:

“Most people agree a continuation of the current [welfare] system will be the ruination of this country,” Santorum told a town meeting in Clairton, Pa., in February 1994, according to transcripts of the appearance obtained by Mother Jones. “We are seeing it. We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms.”  [emphasis mine]

Certainly happily married two-parent households are ideal, but rhetoric like this is just offensive to all the single moms who do their damndest to raise successful children.  Not to mention, the idea that our country is “falling apart” because of this is absurd.  In the commentary thread on FB, another linked to this great Onion piece on Santorum:

Voters Slowly Realizing Santorum Believes Every Deranged Word That Comes Out Of His Mouth

WASHINGTON—As Rick Santorum has emerged to become Mitt Romney’s leading opponent for the Republican presidential nomination, the American electorate said Monday it had slowly begun to realize that the former Pennsylvania senator sincerely believes every deranged word that exits his mouth.

Uneasy voters told reporters it was becoming more and more evident that comments from Santorum defending sodomy laws as acceptable restrictions on “wants and passions” and characterizing pregnancy occurring through rape as a “gift” from God were not politically calculated but were, in fact, spoken out of sincere, startling conviction.

Well, if that doesn’t sum up his recent slide.  This could actually pretty much be a real news story.  Here’s the thing about Santorum.  He’s always said and believed, nutty, fringe things (this is Rick, “man on dog” Santorum, we’re talking about).  What’s amazing is not that he says these things, but that someone who says these things is seriously challenging for the Republican nomination.  That’s what is so shocking and disturbing.  It’s also why Mitt Romney is such a lucky man.  His bonafide conservative challengers have either been incredibly non-intelligent (Perry), nuts and immoral/unethical (Gingrich), and just way out there and politically tone-deaf about it (Santorum).  I still think Tim Pawlenty’s got to be kicking himself.

Photo of the day (WPA)

Bryan Resnick at the Atlantic put together this absolutely amazing collection of public service art posters created by the WPA during the Depression.  This one below should convince you that the whole gallery is worth checking out:



Jason Kottke makes a nice argument that one of the reasons that Lionel Messi is the world’s greatest soccer player is that– unlike most of his peers– he never takes a dive.  Here’s a great video of him staying on his feet:

Actually, what I really like is that he ultimately he relates this to the same concern I’ve always complained about with soccer–huge amount of space, but only one referree and two assistants.  The result is that soccer is easily the poorest officiated of any sport.  Anyway, Kottke:

To Americans who have grown up watching American football and basketball, it is also one of the most ridiculous sights in sports…these manly professional athletes rolling around on the ground with fake injuries and then limping around the pitch for a few seconds before resuming their runs at 100% capacity. I still dislike the players who go down too often, lay it on too thick, or dive from phantom fouls, but much of the time there’s only one referee and two assistants for that huge field and you’re gonna get held and tackled badly so how else are you going to get that call? You dive.

Except for Lionel Messi. It’s not that he never dives (he does) but he stays on his feet more often than not while facing perhaps the most intense pressure in the game…

By diving instead of staying on your feet, you usually give away that advantage (unless you’re in the box, have Ronaldo on your team taking free kicks, or can somehow hoodwink the ref into giving the other guy a yellow) and that doesn’t make any sense to me. If you look at Messi in that video, his desire to stay upright allows him to keep the pressure on the defense in many of those situations, creating scoring opportunities and even points that would otherwise end up as free kicks. It seems to me that Messi’s reluctance to dive is not some lofty character trait of his; it’s one of the things that makes him such a great player: he never gives up the advantage when he has it.


Chart of the day

Damn, Mitt Romney sure loves the military.  Nice to know we’ll be able to afford this while cutting taxes, too!  (courtesy Yglesias):


Santorum: Back to Earth

Well, it’s been a fun ride, and maybe Santorum can keep his campaign sputtering along, and even give us some suprises in the remaining months, but it sure looks like he’s come back to earth:

Recent Trend: Republican Presidential Nomination Preferences

Honestly, at the beginning of the semester, I thought this was going to be my most boring campaigns and elections class ever.  I consider it a huge victory that we made it to spring break with so many unexpected story lines.  And, as a Democrat, I’m pretty convinced that this has led to a small, but real, increase in Obama’s chances for re-election.

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