I had one piece for Insiders this week, covering four players who look different in the early going this spring – Jason Heyward, Tyler Glasnow, Taijuan Walker, and Tim Anderson – although it’s not all positive news. I also held a Klawchat on Thursday.
You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. The book now has two positive reviews out, one from Kirkus Reviews and one from Publishers Weekly.
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And now, the links…
- Ryan Leaf might be the biggest bust in NFL draft history, but he’s made a second act for himself after serving a prison term, and told the LA Times his story in his own words.
- An ophthalmologist in Oklahoma posted an anti-vaccine screed to his Facebook page, but SkepticalRaptor is here to dissect and debunk this bullshit. If you live in Oklahoma, contact the state medical licensing board and ask them to investigate the doctor, James Meehan (license #21256), for posting these dangerous, false claims, which happen to be outside of any area of medicine for which he’s licensed.
- A reader sent along this National Geographic article on science’s evolving understanding of sex, gender, and identity. It led me into a series of clicks and searches that got me to this 2014 piece on sex ‘testing’ by the IOC, arguing that if you say you’re a woman, that should be enough for athletics officials.
- Another week, another article on why we fall for fake news, this one giving some cognitive-science explanations.
- Georgia Republicans are trying to further gerrymander the state to protect their majority. Full disclosure: I have donated to the campaign of Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is running in the April 18th special election to fill GA-6, the House seat vacated by new HHS Secretary Tom Price.
- Former (and maybe still?) Trump advisor Roger Stone went on a tirade of sexist, harassing tweets, but Twitter never suspended or deleted his account, so their claims about clamping down on this kind of hostile environment are so much bullshit. Meanwhile, the director of the Netflix documentary on Stone has said on Twitter that it’s a critical expose of the cretin, and that Stone isn’t getting paid for his participation. Should he even get this sort of publicity?
- On February 2nd, forty-eight US university and college presidents wrote this letter urging President Trump to rescind the Muslim ban, citing its threat to higher education. My undergraduate alma mater’s president is on there. I’ve reached out to Carnegie Mellon but haven’t had a response.
- Charles Blow of the New York Times called on Trump to pause this presidency, but he’s tilting at windmills, I think. I believe the Repulicans are going to try to slam through as much legislation and as many executive orders as they can, fearing a blowback in 2018 or more likely 2020.
- Ben Carson may have developed a method of separating conjoined twins, but he doesn’t seem to know how memory storage in the brain works.
- Also, Carson called slaves “immigrants,” as if they all left Ghana in search of a better life being worked, starved, and beaten to death in the American south. That linked piece, from the New Yorker‘s Jelani Cobb, puts Carson’s gaffe in the broader context of the misuse of American history to further political agendas.
- One likely candidate to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is a Republican Sikh trial lawyer, born to Indian immigrants, who once worked for the ACLU. The article says she’s hard to “pigeonhole,” although I left with the distinct impression that she’s further to the right than the head of the CRD ought to be.
- ProPublica has compiled over 400 Trump appointees across the country, which includes a recent high school graduate, many Trump supports, some alt-right figures, and the former massage therapist who got fired from his Department of Energy on Friday when Buzzfeed ‘uncovered’ his tweets calling for the extermination of Muslims. If they can’t even vet their own employees properly, why do we think their so-called “extreme vetting” will be worth anything at all?
- The Washington Post says Trumpism is a monumental fraud. Is it, though? I think he’s doing pretty much what he promised. The fraud was in the minds of people who thought he’d say one thing and do another.
- Former NSA analyst John Schindler says that Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped are a “kooky fantasy,” and that the Jeff Sessions-Russia link creates even more awkward questions for 45. Stephen Hayes summarized the wiretapping nonsense for the Weekly Standard, although he’s a bit kinder to the President than the circumstances appear to warrant.
- Trump signed an executive order that will help his own golf courses. All hail the kleptocracy.
- The same Missouri legislature who praised overdoses from “removing (victims) from the gene pool” has repeatedly blocked attempts to set up a statewide prescription database to help track patients who abuse prescription drugs and use multiple doctors to obtain them. Missouri is the only state without such a program. I think I’m supposed to say “#BFIB” here.
- Right-wing nutjobs love to claim that the debunking site snopes is some sort of left-wing blog, which I find puzzling because they’re about as rational as it gets. CNN did a great profile of the site, one of its founders, and its growth plans, including the desire to get into more first-person news reporting, which I don’t quite see as part of their core competency.
- Alex Jones, the batshit-crazy conspiracy theorist who claims those twenty kids killed at Sandy Hook weren’t really killed, is really just comedian Bill Hicks, who faked his own death and returned as the hero to the delusional and gullible masses.
- The defense attorneys for two San Antonio cops accused of sexually assaulting multiple women claimed it wasn’t a crime because the women were sexually experienced, and that the victims were wrong to have sex outside of marriage. Slut-shaming in 2016? God bless Texas!
- This Harvard Business Review article explains that how consumers view prices may matter more than the actual prices. For example, everyone thinks Whole Foods is expensive. If they lower their prices on some items, it may not actually boost sales, because consumers may still perceive Whole Foods as more expensive than competitors.
- HBR also weighed in on blockchains, bitcoin, and the future of currency, with a cautionary note about the venture capital being poured into startups that probably don’t offer anything new.
- I loved the subtitle on this ThinkProgress piece on the House GOP’s Trumpcare proposal: “These guys have no idea what they’re doing.”
- Should junk food be sold in plain packages to discourage their purchase? I find their claims a bit hard to believe – are adults truly that susceptible to brightly colored wrappers? – but would also characterize this proposed regulation as an overreach. I’m much more concerned with ensuring that packaging is clear and accurate.
- This BBC editorial comments on how women are treated differently if they have big breasts. This is another of those “I can’t believe we’re still doing this in 2017” topics.