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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ban the use of the Win as a baseball statistic through the issuance of an Executive Order.

Openness will strengthen our game and promote efficiency and effectiveness in baseball.

The win is an ineffective tool in pitcher evaluation, far outliving its usefulness as pitchers no longer pitch complete games. Focusing on wins as a method of pitcher effectiveness gives a distorted and inaccurate picture:

1. Pitchers can perform well and receive a loss or no decision through lack of run support or poor team defense

2. Pitchers can perform at a subpar level and receive a win if their team has excellent offense

3. Relief pitchers can record just one out and receive credit for a win.

Eliminate the win and develop more effective statistics to measure pitcher performance.

Repoz Posted: August 31, 2013 at 10:11 PM | 89 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: August 31, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4532171)
Since this is likely to end up the OTP for September, first!

As it is, I cannot support this proposal. I don't want a president claiming jurisdiction over baseball statistics, but I would be in favor of the president simply making a statement that the win is dumb and a poor tool to evaluate a pitcher in modern baseball.
   2. Bote Man Posted: August 31, 2013 at 10:49 PM (#4532177)
I fully support this call for the President to usurp his power to dictate matters which are trivial to his office. He's got nothing better to do right now, anyway.
   3. Guapo Posted: August 31, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4532182)
Surely you can't be syrious.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: August 31, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4532183)
I've said in the past, it would take something like this to get 'the steroid guys' into the HOF.
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 31, 2013 at 11:18 PM (#4532191)
Well, the President is currently in a no-win situation, so it would be appropriate.
   6. Gamingboy Posted: August 31, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4532193)
I have come to the conclusion that every president, regardless of party, at the end of their term, actually screams: \"#### THIS! I AM OUT OF HERE, #######! I HATE THIS ####### JOB!"


And I believe things like this may contribute a small part of that. Seriously, Brian Kenny, can't you just keep the good fight on TV?
   7. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 31, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4532194)
I wonder if anybody has ever put together a matrix with rows "outs induced," columns "runs allowed" and entires W%/L%/ND%. And then you could say for each pitcher if they had "average run support and bullpen support" what their record would be (doesn't account for defensive support, but oh well).
   8. Ron J Posted: September 01, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4532232)
#7 Support Neutral Wins and Losses also adjusts for average bullpen support.
   9. catomi01 Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4532235)
#3 was good.
   10. You're a clown, RMc! I'm tired of it! Posted: September 01, 2013 at 07:40 AM (#4532252)
But will it create good jobs at good wages?
   11. Downtown Bookie Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4532313)
I have come to the conclusion that every president, regardless of party, at the end of their term, actually screams: \"#### THIS! I AM OUT OF HERE, #######! I HATE THIS ####### JOB!"

Shortly after leaving office in January, 1977, Gerald Ford took part in the Bob Hope Golf Tournament (a celebrity pro-am event). It was obvious that Ford was having the time of his life; indeed, he looked like a man that had just been freed from prison. He was paired with Arnold Palmer; a photo from that event can be seen here. I remember watching the tournament on television, and seeing how happy Ford was got me thinking to myself that maybe being the leader of the free world isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

DB
   12. Bote Man Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4532324)
There have been "studies" published by various magazines and newspapers over recent decades showing before and after photos of the presidents. Before taking office they looked virile and chipper, after leaving office they looked grayed and frazzled. Must be the low pay and stressful working conditions.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4532333)
I have come to the conclusion that every president, regardless of party, at the end of their term, actually screams: \"#### THIS! I AM OUT OF HERE, #######! I HATE THIS ####### JOB!"

I was talking to my most right wing opinionating, FoxNews watching, Tea Party parroting friend yesterday about Obama's speech on Syria, and his take on it was "After listening to that speech and thinking about it, the only thing I can conclude is that I'm glad I'm not the president. No matter what he does, he can't win." It may have been the first time I've ever heard him come out with a sentiment like that.
   14. BDC Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4532339)
This discussion of Wins was never of pressing interest, but I was amused by several stories in the DFW press over the past week expressing angst over the abilities of Yu Darvish. Darvish hasn't Won in almost three weeks, though he has pitched very acceptably (ERA of 2.79 while getting nine total runs of support, in his last four starts). So now the columnists who have little else to write about are wondering if he's an Ace, because he's not Pitching to the Score. For heaven's sake.
   15. Boxkutter Posted: September 01, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4532355)
#3 was good.


It made me LOL.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4532416)
#3 was good.


Concur.

What are the thoughts on the likely outcome of this Congressional Resolution?

I can't imagine why any Congressman would want to take that responsibility, especially given that Obama is saying he can act without it.
   17. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4532425)
Launch a limited missile attack after announcing your intentions that allows the Syrians to prepare, create wider regional war, collect another Nobel Peace prize - an award that is now the internationalist's version of the CC Johnson Spink award.

I have a huge problem taking sides when radical Arabs are killing militant Arabs and any actions will allow the war to expand beyond Syrian borders.
   18. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4532429)
I expect their is a large enough contingent of Liberal Interventionist Centrists + Dems Who Support Their President + Neocon Republicans to pass a AUMF for Syria.
   19. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4532430)
I was talking to my most right wing opinionating, FoxNews watching, Tea Party parroting friend yesterday about Obama's speech on Syria, and his take on it was "After listening to that speech and thinking about it, the only thing I can conclude is that I'm glad I'm not the president. No matter what he does, he can't win." It may have been the first time I've ever heard him come out with a sentiment like that.
Reading the "centrist" blogs this AM, the consensus opinion seems to be: "Obama is a reckless imperialist, and I can't believe he's dithering like this in asking Congress for permission."
   20. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4532432)
Bob, the problem is that the war is already going to expand beyond Syria's "borders." Obama has made quite clear that he's not interested in helping either side "win" the civil war in Syria, he's interested in making sure that the international norm against the use of chemical weapons is a thing with teeth rather than an empty bromide that is ignored.
   21. bunyon Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4532434)
For that to happen, Sam, our actions have to cost Assad more than his use of banned weapons got him. I could be wrong but I don't see that happening.
   22. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4532440)
Does Assad have a finite amount of sarin, or is it something that can be manufactured quickly and in bulk?
   23. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4532441)
It's a really weird thing, but the reason the United States wants to lob cruise missiles at Assad's assets is because he used chemical weapons. The US has no interest in "regime change" in Syria. The US has no interest in bringing Islamicist rebels more power in Syria. The US has no interest in propping up Assad's government into the future (Iran and Russia do.) All the US wants to accomplish is to put a historical marker down that says "If you use chemical weapons, we reserve the right to punish you for that." Period. It's pure imperialism, with the liberal interventionist slant. It's a pure attempt to back up the "rules of civilized warfare" with some modicum of force.

Is that a thing worth doing? I don't know. Is that a thing that will be useful in the future? I don't know. Is the distinction between chemical weapons and "having your body ripped apart by flying shrapnel from conventional bombs" worth that investement? I don't know. But that's what the admin is interested in doing here.
   24. The District Attorney Posted: September 01, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4532442)
I preferred #5 as a bon mot here.

I can't imagine why any Congressman would want to take that responsibility, especially given that Obama is saying he can act without it.
Naturally he's saying that, but there's no practical way he can actually go ahead and do it if this thing doesn't pass.

But, I do expect it to. Obama has essentially poured gasoline all over himself, and Democrats can't let him self-immolate. And there are plenty of McCain-esque interventionists among Republicans. (Long Island crazyman Peter King is actually offended that this vote is even being taken because he thinks Congress shouldn't get a say in it.)

It is stupid. Obviously the Syrian chemical weapon stores are not going to be where they were a week ago, and I doubt we have good enough intelligence there to know where they went. And the whole message that we intend to send won't be sent anyway. Other countries won't take it as being motivated by the chemical weapons ban. They'll take it as "this is something America wanted to do anyway, and now that they found an excuse, they went ahead and did it."

This is the danger of American exceptionalism. We seem incapable of realizing that other countries don't see us as the "good guy" in the story, who only uses force when it's absolutely necessary to prevent a greater evil. We could argue whether other countries should view us in that way. I do agree with #23 that in this one particular case, they ironically probably should; our motivations are mostly idealistic here. But, they don't, and we can't make them, so there is no point.
   25. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4532446)
Peter King is exactly the type of crazy-assed neocon who will vote for the AUMF while ######## that he had to. Those guys are big fans of the Cheney-esque doctrine of unlimited executive authority on these sorts of things. The interesting thing, domestically, is this sort of cat and mouse game Obama is playing with regard to executive authority. I think (if I'm reading him right, and that's quite possibly not the case) that he *wants* to roll back the post-9/11 (and really, post-Vietnam) idea of "we go to war when the POTUS says so" and reestablish some of the constitutional framework around declarations of war. And he's playing his classic rope-a-dope, lead-from-behind gambit here, posturing quite strongly towards the "I can bomb whomever I like" line while telling Congress "go ahead, tell me I can't if you dare." Either way, he's a second term POTUS who is maneuvering the Congress back into the war-making decision process (much to most of the Congress-critters' chagrin.)
   26. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4532449)
It's pure imperialism, with the liberal interventionist slant.
Wait, what? You say in the sentences before the US isn't interested in propping up Assad or replacing him. Isn't that the definition of imperialism?
   27. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4532450)
A good point I read somewhere: What's to be done when the international community has no interest in policing violations of international norms?
   28. GGC for Sale Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4532453)
Was it a link to BTF where I read that Jerome Holtzman, after ElRoy Face went 19-1, invented the save to combat the win?
   29. Swedish Chef Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4532456)
WHat's to be done when the international community has no interest in policing violations of international norms?

The usual: hold press conferences, posture, schedule photo ops.
   30. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4532457)
Was it a link to BTF where I read that Jerome Holtzman, after ElRoy Face went 19-1, invented the save to combat the win?
Speaking of unintended consequences...
   31. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4532461)
Wait, what? You say in the sentences before the US isn't interested in propping up Assad or replacing him. Isn't that the definition of imperialism?


Yes and no. Depends on what kind of imperialism you're looking to impose. In the traditional model - Rome, Soviet Union/Cold War, etc - you install puppet regimes (or governors) and simply run foreign territories in lieu of local governance. That's not the kind of empire the liberal interventionist/western idealist is interested in. Western imperialism is more interested in imposing an international moral framework within which "legitimate" governments can operate. That framework is built on the western notion of human rights, etc. States which abide by the most basic rules of that framework are accepted (even if they fail to reach the "extents" of human rights "understanding" as western Europe and North America.) States which ignore the framework completely are considered "rogue" and the empire of "western civilization" reserves the right to engage rogue states militarily when and where they see fit.

Obama wants to define a bright line for military engagement by the Empire of the West at "use of chemical weapons." Thus bombing Syria.
   32. pthomas Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4532464)
The Republicans will be against this. Just because.
   33. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4532469)
Yes and no. Depends on what kind of imperialism you're looking to impose.
This is entirely semantics (which, because I work in a field where words carry weight*, I can find rather fun) but you need a new name for the "Western imperialism." You mention Rome and the USSR, but the US has engaged - hell, IS engaging - in that kind of imperialism just fine. I'm at a loss for what to call this, although I like the paradoxical statement that we may bomb Syria for humanitarian reasons.

* - Politics/government, if you care. At the moment, I don't - it's Labor Day weekend and I'm off the clock. :p
   34. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4532488)
What are the thoughts on the likely outcome of this Congressional Resolution?

I can't imagine why any Congressman would want to take that responsibility, especially given that Obama is saying he can act without it.


Of course that's either the main reason (if you're cynical) or an ancillary reason (if you're not) that Obama is putting the issue before Congress. Either way, it's going force Senators and congressmen to declare themselves one way or the other BEFORE they know how it's actually going to play out. Not exactly a position that your generic politician likes to be put in when it comes to matters of war and peace----they'd rather wait so they can say that they were right all along----but as many people have said, what in the hell did they think they were elected for? They've been demanding for more involvement in military decisions, and now they've got their wish.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4532489)
The Republicans will be against this. Just because.

I hope so. Sometimes partisan orneriness lines up with doing the right thing.

Peter King is exactly the type of crazy-assed neocon who will vote for the AUMF while ######## that he had to. Those guys are big fans of the Cheney-esque doctrine of unlimited executive authority on these sorts of things. The interesting thing, domestically, is this sort of cat and mouse game Obama is playing with regard to executive authority. I think (if I'm reading him right, and that's quite possibly not the case) that he *wants* to roll back the post-9/11 (and really, post-Vietnam) idea of "we go to war when the POTUS says so" and reestablish some of the constitutional framework around declarations of war. And he's playing his classic rope-a-dope, lead-from-behind gambit here, posturing quite strongly towards the "I can bomb whomever I like" line while telling Congress "go ahead, tell me I can't if you dare." Either way, he's a second term POTUS who is maneuvering the Congress back into the war-making decision process (much to most of the Congress-critters' chagrin.)

But, from a Congressional point of view, why do you want to share responsibility with Obama if you have no real say?

If I'm in Congress, I only want to vote if it's binding. If not, you vote no. Never accept responsibility w/o authority, is a good rule in pretty much any situation.
   36. Gamingboy Posted: September 01, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4532492)
Actually, I take what I said back... slightly: I think Bill Clinton would have enjoyed having a third or fourth term. Dude loved being president, although admittedly the 90s were a ton easier to be president in than the aughts or the aught-tens.
   37. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 01, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4532494)
Obviously the Syrian chemical weapon stores are not going to be where they were a week ago, and I doubt we have good enough intelligence there to know where they went.
I'll bet we do, via satellites. Chem weapons infrastructure for attacks on that scale can't be hidden for long.

But if US intelligence doesn't know, I'm certain the Mossad does.
   38. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4532538)
If I'm in Congress, I only want to vote if it's binding. If not, you vote no. Never accept responsibility w/o authority, is a good rule in pretty much any situation.


I agree with snapper. Taking what amounts to a symbolic vote regarding a supposedly life and death crisis that needs immediate attention but will be voted on nine days from now is absurd. Call Congress back to debate and vote now if it is that crucial.

And a few questions:

What if we hit a chemical weapons storage depot and in the process spread verve agents that kill thousands in the surrounding area? Are we as morally culpable for these deaths as those that created the weapons?

Why hasn't the NSA program allowed us to collect accurate and timely intelligence on Syria as opposed to making Israel once again do our dirty work and risk their lives?

   39. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4532549)
one thing that a lot of people dont seem to understand is that the president has all the power to send people into combat. Whether you callit combat or war, same thing. So he even has the right to send people into a war.

This didnt change post Vietnam or post 911. He had this power all along, it comes with the title of Commander in Chief which is in the Constitution.

The reason people keep thinking that there was some sort of post vietnam change has to do with certain resolutions passed by congress. One of them being the War Powers act which was passed in 1971 near the end of vietnam. My take is that all that did was have the admin make certain concessions to congress like after 90 days he would either pull out troops or ask for more power or something.

I dont even think it was binding, it was called a Resolution whatever that means. But no one ever really thought it takes away the presidnets power to send out the troops. Nor do I think it was ever really binding.

Other stuff was passed after 911, I dont know the details.

But Obama is C in C. so he can send troops anywhere.

Then what does it mean that "Congress has the power to declare war?"

Well declaring something a war kicks of certain internationally approved standards or rules of war so to speak. One them would be how to treat prisoners. We've seen a lot of this with Gitmo and admin saying they are not subject to Geneva Conventions. There are other things too, like whether someone is considered to have been in combat. How to count casualties. Also whether something can be ended by a treaty, if there's no war, then I dont think you really need a treat to end it. So stuff like that. Mostly bullshit. but it doenst take away from Pres = C in C.

The reason his hands are tied, is that it seems pretty firmly established that Congress has the power to tax and spend and they can simply cut off spending for that which they dont like. Something like that happened near the end of vietnam although I am not clear on the details.

This aspect of the balancing act may not be firmly established in our history, but it seems to be the operating position that most observers take. or so it seems to me.

So hopefully this helps to understand, or maybe stand for correction..
   40. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4532550)
Why hasn't the NSA program allowed us to collect accurate and timely intelligence on Syria as opposed to making Israel once again do our dirty work and risk their lives?


how on earth would you know what NSA has or hasnt collected? Isnt that the pt of NSA??

****

We need Tony Blair to explain to us the "moral choice" in all this. [insert sarcasm emoticon here]
   41. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4532553)
That's not the kind of empire the liberal interventionist/western idealist is interested in. Western imperialism is more interested in imposing an international moral framework within which "legitimate" governments can operate. That framework is built on the western notion of human rights, etc. States which abide by the most basic rules of that framework are accepted (even if they fail to reach the "extents" of human rights "understanding" as western Europe and North America.) States which ignore the framework completely are considered "rogue" and the empire of "western civilization" reserves the right to engage rogue states militarily when and where they see fit.


OK fine. THis sort of thing has been going on in europe since at least the middle ages, with distinction between Christian kingdoms fighting one another and fighting barbarians or infidels.


Is there any distinction between what you are saying here and what was happening 1000 years ago?
   42. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4532568)
how on earth would you know what NSA has or hasnt collected? Isnt that the pt of NSA??


We do not, but in the case of the Boston bombing and the Ft. Hood shooter, the signs were plainly evident and no one acted - we didn't need warrantless wiretaps or metadata, just common sense.

The NSA collects what they want,rubber stamped by a judge and are supported in Congress by the same hawks that want us to invade every country in the world. And it apparently hasn't made us one bit safer.

if they would drop the PC and just look for people shouting "Allah Akbar" - it's the best place to start to protect us.



   43. The District Attorney Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4532571)
Then what does it mean that "Congress has the power to declare war?"

Well declaring something a war kicks of certain internationally approved standards or rules of war so to speak. One them would be how to treat prisoners. We've seen a lot of this with Gitmo and admin saying they are not subject to Geneva Conventions. There are other things too, like whether someone is considered to have been in combat. How to count casualties. Also whether something can be ended by a treaty, if there's no war, then I dont think you really need a treat to end it. So stuff like that. Mostly ########. but it doenst take away from Pres = C in C.

The reason his hands are tied, is that it seems pretty firmly established that Congress has the power to tax and spend and they can simply cut off spending for that which they dont like.
Yeah, well, that's a crap-ass system.

A) If "war" is defined as an optional way to incur a bunch of extra obligations, then naturally no one (in either the executive or legislative) is ever going to want to "declare war", and thus you might as well not have a concept of "declaring war."

B) It's virtually politically impossible for Congress to vote to defund troops that have already been dispatched, unless the public has accepted that a quagmire is a fait accompli. So if you do things in that order, it amounts to the President being able to do whatever he wants, with the only check on that coming after disaster has already occurred.

So, I am actually glad that the President is asking Congress to vote on this, as opposed to just going ahead. At least it's something. But it rings hollow when he didn't do it for Libya, and, as Bob says, when he's not even pressuring the 'critters to cut their vacation short to deal with it. I feel like Obama's goal here is to disturb the universe as little as possible while technically adhering to his "red line" promise. All that that illustrates to me -- and I'm sure I'm not any smarter than the rest of the world -- is that the "red line" was a bad idea of a bluff in the first place.
   44. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4532578)
B) It's virtually politically impossible for Congress to vote to defund troops that have already been dispatched, unless the public has accepted that a quagmire is a fait accompli. So if you do things in that order, it amounts to the President being able to do whatever he wants, with the only check on that coming after disaster has already occurred


it's true Congress would not pull the rug out from troops already engaged. But this might also be seen as a check on Congress, because they are beholden to voters, then they wont do anything extreme unless/until the electorate starts to exhibit serious push back. Something like this happened during the vietnam war.

The President cannot do anything he wants, but there are only a few real checks on him, e.g. impeachment or some sort of judicial decision going against him. Scalia, perhaps surprisingly can be rather prickly in this regard. The gov't was arguing one of the Gitmo case and he asked their attorney "Can the president, just shoot him [the prisoner]?" Its clear Scalia does not think he can.

But of course these sorts of inequities are always going to be present when military is involved. Or I daresay anytime one wishes to but into the concept of "nations" or "parties" or "religions" and all that entails. If you are going to buy into the notion of subserviance and patriotism, the notion that nations are some sort of moral entity, the notion that some person or some nation's stand means something, the notion that so and so is leader, the notion that my country is always right, the notion that my happiness is tied to my countries greatness, etc etc. then that sort of problem is going to be there all along.



We do not, but in the case of the Boston bombing and the Ft. Hood shooter, the signs were plainly evident and no one acted - we didn't need warrantless wiretaps or metadata, just common sense.


OK so now the government is acting and ... you have a problem with that too? It sounds like you contradict your own argument here. You say the problem is they should have acted but now you dont want them to act.
   45. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4532582)
A) If "war" is defined as an optional way to incur a bunch of extra obligations, then naturally no one (in either the executive or legislative) is ever going to want to "declare war", and thus you might as well not have a concept of "declaring war."


well you're begging your own question here arent you? Obviously nations do declare war. Why? Can you figure it out? They do so in their own self interest, mostly having to do with the whole "we are Christian nations, we fight but we fight fair." SOmething of that sort.

That's all it is. What else did you expect? DId the Japanese need a DoW to bomb pearl harbor? DO you need a declaration of war to kill a deer? What about if Martians attack? No one really cares about these other things although in the great scheme of things they are sentient beings, too arent they? BUt they are seen as just pests or varmits or infidels, terrorists or whatever, that's the prevaling attitude.
   46. Steve Treder Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4532583)
the "red line" was a bad idea of a bluff in the first place.

There is no question whatsoever that it was a bad idea of a bluff in the first place.
   47. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4532607)
You say the problem is they should have acted but now you don't want them to act.


No. I want them to be collecting information that is actionable and in a way that comports to laws and/or real restrictions that protect my rights.

The all powerful and wonderful NSA and intelligence community didn't react to a warning by the Russians that the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous (and if Putin thinks you're dangerous...) ...and the military didn't react to a history of statements and actions by Major Hasan extolling the virtues of being a soldier of Allah....and the State department didn't react when 19 Middle eastern "students" overstayed their visas and were lost in the system until 9/11.

The Boston bombing, Ft. Hood massacre and 9/11 could have been prevented by legwork - it didn't need to turn the microscope (and computers) on all of us.

I am not a fan of fences, border security, TSA and the like, but it is better to question in detail those entering and leaving the country, those with regular business and family meetings outside the country and allow the rest of us to experience a somewhat free life within it.


   48. Sunday silence Posted: September 01, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4532614)
does this even relate to the Syria sitation?
   49. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 08:47 PM (#4532636)
does this even relate to the Syria situation?


The comment was in response to your post regarding government action and spying on individuals and how it did not prevent these attacks.

Now it's my turn to ask a question that was asked earlier that was selectively ignored that does relate to Syria:

What if we hit a chemical weapons storage depot and in the process spread verve agents that kill thousands in the surrounding area? Are we as morally culpable for these deaths as those that created the weapons?

They may be stored near Damascus, Homs and Hama - all major metropolitan areas with 2 million plus people. What happens?

And another logical question: Why has no one asked our former State Department head and all but announced candidate for President what she thinks? It seems far too logical that we get the response of someone who was in the position for years as opposed to one occupying the position for a few weeks.
   50. Srul Itza At Home Posted: September 01, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4532640)
What's to be done when the international community has no interest in policing violations of international norms?


If they have no intention of policing it, it ceases to be a norm.
   51. Srul Itza At Home Posted: September 01, 2013 at 08:59 PM (#4532641)
I agree with snapper. Taking what amounts to a symbolic vote regarding a supposedly life and death crisis that needs immediate attention but will be voted on nine days from now is absurd. Call Congress back to debate and vote now if it is that crucial.


What if Obama really doesn't want to bomb Syria, but has talked too big to just say "nevermind", so he gets Congress to back him out of it?
   52. Steve Treder Posted: September 01, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4532643)
They may be stored near Damascus, Homs and Hama - all major metropolitan areas with 2 million plus people. What happens?

#### happens, obviously. Absolutely everyone knows that this is one of the reasons why this thing is a #####.

And another logical question: Why has no one asked our former State Department head and all but announced candidate for President what she thinks?

Why on earth do you think no one has?
   53. bobm Posted: September 01, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4532644)
Kerry Casts Obama’s Syria Decision as ‘Courageous’

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry, delivering a full-throated defense on Sunday of President Obama’s plan to delay military action against Syria, called the move to seek Congressional approval a “courageous decision” and said the administration had evidence that the neurotoxin sarin was used in the Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/world/middleeast/syria.html

This reminded me of:

Sir Humphrey: There are four words you have to work into a proposal if you want a [Cabinet] Minister to accept it.
Sir Frank: Quick, simple, popular, cheap. And equally there are four words to be included in a proposal if you want it thrown out.
Sir Humphrey: Complicated, lengthy, expensive, controversial. And if you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn't accept it you must say the decision is courageous.
Bernard: And that's worse than controversial?
Sir Humphrey: (laughs) Controversial only means this will lose you votes, courageous means this will lose you the election.


Yes Minister - "The Right to Know"
   54. Bob Tufts Posted: September 01, 2013 at 09:16 PM (#4532649)
Why on earth do you think no one has?


Past press refusal to question her, her style of avoiding the press and no evidence on line of any quotes

She has not weighed in according to ABC and numerous news sites that should be asking her how she'd answer the 3pm phone call - forget about the 3am call, because we saw what happened in Benghazi - or let it roll to voice mail and have Huma Abedin pick it up.

And +1 to bobm for a "Yes Minister" reference. Nigel Hawthorne RIP.
   55. Lassus Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4532666)
Syria blah blah blah whatever.

What I don't understand is how people break the page and don't bother even noticing.
   56. Steve Treder Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4532712)
Past press refusal to question her, her style of avoiding the press and no evidence on line of any quotes

She has not weighed in according to ABC and numerous news sites that should be asking her how she'd answer the 3pm phone call - forget about the 3am call, because we saw what happened in Benghazi - or let it roll to voice mail and have Huma Abedin pick it up.


Right, the fact that "ABC and numerous news sites" aren't in the loop is evidence that no one at State or the White House has talked with Hillary about it. Because being portrayed as second-guessing Kerry and Obama in public would be such a bright thing for her to be doing. Got it.
   57. greenback is not cosmopolitan Posted: September 02, 2013 at 01:32 AM (#4532720)
Because being portrayed as second-guessing Kerry and Obama in public would be such a bright thing for her to be doing.

This is a weird comment. The assumption is that Hillary disagrees with the policy, which would answer Bob's question. The State Department isn't going to seek out someone's opinion if they expect that someone to call them dip #####.
   58. Steve Treder Posted: September 02, 2013 at 01:57 AM (#4532724)
The assumption is that Hillary disagrees with the policy, which would answer Bob's question. The State Department isn't going to seek out someone's opinion if they expect that someone to call them dip #####.

Who the hell knows whether Hillary disagrees or not, or who she thinks is a dip ####? The belief that no one in the administration at all has discussed it with her is what's weird. That such discussion would likely be shared with the media is naive.
   59. Swedish Chef Posted: September 02, 2013 at 02:16 AM (#4532727)
What I don't understand is how people break the page and don't bother even noticing.

Now that's a reasonable use for military force.

One little trick is to ignore the perp, instant fixed layout!
   60. Ron J Posted: September 02, 2013 at 03:31 AM (#4532737)
The all powerful and wonderful NSA and intelligence community didn't react to a warning by the Russians that the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous (and if Putin thinks you're dangerous...)


That one's actually pretty easy to understand if you're willing to be objective about it. They (well the FBI, not the NSA) asked for details, didn't get any and assumed, "Chechen nationalist, not our problem"

And it wasn't the brothers plural. Absolutely nothing on the record about the younger brother.

   61. Bob Tufts Posted: September 02, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4532770)
Who the hell knows whether Hillary disagrees or not, or who she thinks is a dip ####? The belief that no one in the administration at all has discussed it with her is what's weird. That such discussion would likely be shared with the media is naive.


She's running for President. Her opinion on a crucial foreign policy issue matters - not just her off the record comments to public officials.
Pperhaps her response to everything is "what difference does it make?"
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 02, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4532774)
She's running for President. Her opinion on a crucial foreign policy issue matters - not just her off the record comments to public officials.

Even though Hillary technically hasn't yet declared her candidacy, I agree it would certainly be nice to see her opinion on the proposed resolution be voiced in public prior to the congressional vote. Same goes for any other prospective candidates. 20/20 hindsight is less than impressive.
   63. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 02, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4532793)
And +1 to bobm for a "Yes Minister" reference. Nigel Hawthorne RIP.

+1 for the reference. -10000000 for breaking the page.
   64. The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4532806)
#44/#45: Not sure how to respond. It seems like your basic point is "this 'declaring war' thing is something we made up to begin with, so who cares." And it certainly won't have any meaning, if we decide that it doesn't have any meaning... but I'd prefer that we didn't decide that, since I think it serves an essential purpose.

My technicality point would be that not only is Hillary not officially running yet, nobody is officially running yet. Martin O'Malley might run; do we need to get him on record about Syria? Bobby Jindal might; how about him? Why does Hillary have to make a commitment that her 2016 opponents (other than those in Congress) don't have to make?

It would indeed be admirably courageous of Hillary to pick a side on this. But from a Presidential run risk/reward perspective, she'd be completely crazy to do it, and I don't think any less of her for not doing it.
   65. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4532821)
OK fine. THis sort of thing has been going on in europe since at least the middle ages, with distinction between Christian kingdoms fighting one another and fighting barbarians or infidels.

Is there any distinction between what you are saying here and what was happening 1000 years ago?


In scope and tactic, not so much in kind. This is what Obama wants to do. You can argue all day and well into night about whether or not it's practical, viable, or even a good idea. But if you want the bottom line for why Obama and his admin wants to bomb Syria, it's because they want to lay down a historical marker that says "we, the Empire of the Liberal West, believe that use of chemical or biological weapons is a line that can not be crossed by legitimate actors even during acts of war, and reserve the right to counter attack any party who does so."

You want to talk about the fuzzy boundaries of that "bright line?" Sure. It's really not bright at all. You want to talk about how ####### fantastic it is that a world power that laced half of Iraq with depleted uranium shells not 10 years ago is lecturing others on the boundaries of civilized war? Have at it. I'm just pointing out the logic of the argument they're making.
   66. villageidiom Posted: September 02, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4533097)
What if we hit a chemical weapons storage depot and in the process spread verve agents that kill thousands in the surrounding area? Are we as morally culpable for these deaths as those that created the weapons?
I'll set aside the second question to answer the first. Damn sure Syria and its allies will claim not that our missile hit their chemical weapons, but rather that our missile was loaded with chemical weapons. And if our attack against Syria is "justified" by their use of chemical weapons, then such a claim will "justify" attacks on America forevermore, in any form.

In short, we had better not do it.
   67. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 02, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4533104)
There are a lot better "why we shouldn't do it" premises than that. What's to stop Syria from cutting out the middleman, gassing more people, and then claiming America did it anyway?
   68. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: September 02, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4533122)
If they have no intention of policing it, it ceases to be a norm.
Say the Americans don't bomb. (Or, say the Americans do bomb but the result doesn't create a forceful-enough show of deterrence.) Would chemical warfare then increase? Who would be the second dictator to use it?

If you're looking to start a panic among civilians, the threat of chem weapons is the way to go. Wargaming out a North Korean sneak attack on the South, even the whisper of a release of sarin or VX in Seoul... whoo.
   69. Ron J Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4533134)
#66 That's not going to hold Obama et al back. The people who'd believe such a claim:

A) have all the justification they need already
B) will believe that the US did the gassing whether an air strike comes or not (and one will come)

And yeah, the issue of collateral damage is a nasty one. I'd expect the targets to be something like the Syrian Air Force. Expensive and fairly easy to break, but not likely to impact the war in any way.

And #67 same answer applies. The people who'd believe that aren't what you'd call interested in evidence.
   70. BurlyBuehrle Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:34 AM (#4533153)
The reason people keep thinking that there was some sort of post vietnam change has to do with certain resolutions passed by congress. One of them being the War Powers act which was passed in 1971 near the end of vietnam. My take is that all that did was have the admin make certain concessions to congress like after 90 days he would either pull out troops or ask for more power or something.

I dont even think it was binding, it was called a Resolution whatever that means. But no one ever really thought it takes away the presidnets power to send out the troops. Nor do I think it was ever really binding.


@39 -- This is all incredibly wrong. It's nice that you think the War Powers Act* wasn't/isn't "ever really binding," but it is a law, duly passed by Congress. It can be found at 50 USC Sec 1541 et seq.

Where you're (sort of) right: it is true that every President since the WPA was passed has both (a) insisted that it was/is an unconstitutional infringement by the Legislative Branch on the power of the Executive Branch; and (b) basically ignored its most important provisions, which can be found at 50 USC 1541(c).

*It was originally known as the War Powers Resolution, but it is now almost universally called the War Powers Act.
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4533252)
We've finally found it. The one issue that everyone on BBTF agrees on, which can bring the politics thread to a screaming halt.
   72. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4533279)
We've finally found it. The one issue that everyone on BBTF agrees on, which can bring the politics thread to a screaming halt.


Want as I am to find some way to dispossess any group of tranquility and agreement, let me propose the following:

1. The United States should bomb Syria.
2. The United States should bomb ALL of Syria, not just Assad.
3. The United States should conduct the entire operation from the air.
4. The United States should walk away from the smoking pile of ruin and say "this, #############, is what barbarism is. If you want top play at it, we will show you the end game in short order."

The international community would faint. Liberals would palpitate. The next Assad would think twice.

If you're going to demand a rule of war, demand it.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4533307)
Want as I am to find some way to dispossess any group of tranquility and agreement, let me propose the following:

1. The United States should bomb Syria.
2. The United States should bomb ALL of Syria, not just Assad.
3. The United States should conduct the entire operation from the air.
4. The United States should walk away from the smoking pile of ruin and say "this, #############, is what barbarism is. If you want top play at it, we will show you the end game in short order."

The international community would faint. Liberals would palpitate. The next Assad would think twice.

If you're going to demand a rule of war, demand it.


What do you mean "bomb ALL of Syria"? Are you talking WWII carpet bombing? How many people do you plan to kill?
   74. zenbitz Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4533314)
Maybe take a page out of the Jihadist book here. Try Assad in absentia, issue a death sentence (Fatwa) for use of chemical weapons, assassinate him.
   75. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4533318)
What do you mean "bomb ALL of Syria"? Are you talking WWII carpet bombing? How many people do you plan to kill?


How many are there? 22 mil or so? My understanding of the situation is that there are three types of people in Syria: Alawites (Assad's people) who are the type of people release sarin gas into civilian populations for shits and giggles; 'the rebels,' whom I understand to be mostly al-Quaeda medievalist types; and 'civilians' who even if they're mostly 'innocent' of whatever they might be innocent of, are generally ###### regardless. So yeah. Kill 'em all. Let god sort 'em out.
   76. Steve Treder Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4533319)
The international community would faint. Liberals would palpitate. The next Assad would think twice.

If you're going to demand a rule of war, demand it.


Best in which voice:

- Slim Pickens
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Margaret Thatcher

???
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4533329)
How many are there? 22 mil or so? My understanding of the situation is that there are three types of people in Syria: Alawites (Assad's people) who are the type of people release sarin gas into civilian populations for shits and giggles; 'the rebels,' whom I understand to be mostly al-Quaeda medievalist types; and 'civilians' who even if they're mostly 'innocent' of whatever they might be innocent of, are generally ###### regardless. So yeah. Kill 'em all. Let god sort 'em out.

So, the largest genocide in history in order to enforce the Geneva Conventions. Interesting. I'm pretty sure the President issuing that order would lead immediately to a coup, backed by the entire Congress and Supreme Court.
   78. Ron J2 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4533344)
#75 Well at minimum 2 million Syrians have fled the country.

Bombing those (presumably for the sake of completeness) seems likely to anger their new hosts.
   79. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4533353)
So, the largest genocide in history in order to enforce the Geneva Conventions. Interesting. I'm pretty sure the President issuing that order would lead immediately to a coup, backed by the entire Congress and Supreme Court.


So you don't believe in the theory of human rights? At least not enough to actually fight for them?
   80. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4533354)
Bombing those (presumably for the sake of completeness) seems likely to anger their new hosts.


You don't chase them down in refugee camps. Hell, you don't target anything other than real military targets. But you target all of those; regime, rebel, wherever. And you level them. Collateral damage be damned.
   81. zenbitz Posted: September 03, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4533585)
This is OTP/Sept, right?

Obama assures americans...
   82. zenbitz Posted: September 03, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4533587)
Played this a little bit this weekend: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-??? From the same designer as Andean Abyss. Seemed fun, although more like Twilight Struggle than AAbyss with it's multiplayer kidnap/extort/eradicate fun.
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4533601)
Played this a little bit this weekend: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-??? From the same designer as Andean Abyss. Seemed fun, although more like Twilight Struggle than AAbyss with it's multiplayer kidnap/extort/eradicate fun.

What kind of game? Shooter? War game? Diplomacy sim?
   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4533709)
Bold prediction re Syria: We will see the liberals reluctantly become pro-war, and the conservatives eagerly become anti-war.

All of the same human rights arguments that fell on deaf liberal ears w/r/t Iraq will be cited by the left in support of their leader.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4533724)
I don't think we can dip our toe into this war. If we dip our toe in, we will eventually be all in.
   86. zenbitz Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4533807)
Boardgame
   87. Monty Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4533812)
Bold prediction re Syria: We will see the liberals reluctantly become pro-war, and the conservatives eagerly become anti-war.

All of the same human rights arguments that fell on deaf liberal ears w/r/t Iraq will be cited by the left in support of their leader.


I think both sides become pro-war. It would be more entertaining if they both switched sides, because then everybody would be directly contradicting what they said about Iraq.
   88. 2 dudes are better than STIGGLES; i'm both of em Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4533860)
Bold prediction re Syria: We will see the liberals reluctantly become pro-war, and the conservatives eagerly become anti-war.
by conservatives, do you mean republicans? because there's no chance in hell they'd miss an opportunity to both kill brown people AND funnel taxpayer money into the hands of defense contractors.

You don't chase them down in refugee camps. Hell, you don't target anything other than real military targets. But you target all of those; regime, rebel, wherever. And you level them. Collateral damage be damned.
well, at the very least, it is kind of interesting that ol'neckstabber is lining up behind donald rumsfeld and neil cavuto in support of a fullscale bombardment.
   89. tshipman Posted: September 04, 2013 at 01:01 AM (#4533865)
I don't think we can dip our toe into this war. If we dip our toe in, we will eventually be all in.


Doesn't this point of view lack a certain amount of engagement with the events of the last three years? We've successfully "dipped our toe" in Libya, Yemen, North Pakistan, and a number of other regions.

I don't think people are referring to Libya as a quagmire these days ...

***

This is similar to the problem with the economy. People who grew up in the 1970's who learned the lessons of Vietnam and Stagflation want to apply those lessons to every situation. Everything is going to cause runaway inflation. Every military action will become a quagmire. In their turn, Vietnam and Stagflation were caused by the lessons of the Great Depression and Appeasement ...

For the record, I am not pro-war. I am pro-intervention. I said in the last thread that I see value in deterring chemical weapons. I am glad that Obama has gone to congress for approval because I think the powers of the executive should be limited (although he does not need to by any relatively normal reading of the War Powers Act).

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