Joys Of Box Scores

Of course one game does not determine a season but the Pirates-Tigers 3/30/18 games has at least two interesting stories.

First, is the Tigers catcher James McCann.  He had two hits, a walk, a run and two RBIs in the 10-13 loss in 13 innings.  But he was really active on the defensive side.  He started a double play and caught 10 strikeouts.  He had a passed ball, catcher’s interference, a throwing error, and threw out two of three stolen base attempts.  He had a very active day.

Both the Pirates and the Tigers are expected to do poorly in the season.  Pitching, and especially pitching depth is essentially to most contending teams.  The score line for a single day suggests that both of these teams will have their projected problems.  The two teams combined to score 14 runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.  One day could be an anomaly but it doesn’t bode well for the two teams but perhaps it was just the wind blowing out.  The long season will tell the tale.

Sample Of One On TPA

We were surprised to see an Instapundit link to the continuing debate over tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) in the NYT.  Big organizations have made their decision:

Stroke treatment guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association strongly endorse T.P.A. for patients after they’ve been properly evaluated. But treatment must start within three hours (in some cases, four-and-a-half hours) of the stroke’s onset, and the sooner, the better.  [Emphasis added]

But individual doctors have dissented.  We are about individual rights so we have some sympathy for those doctors.  And TPA only works for certain types of strokes so the properly evaluated in the quote above is critical.  The NYT quotes an example of the dissenters:

At Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Dr. Scott Bisheff, an emergency medical physician, tells patients there is great uncertainty about whether T.P.A. helps or harms. If it caused bleeding in a patient’s brain, the consequences could be catastrophic.

We think the last sentence is stating the obvious but the first is just wrong.  We have a sample of one, Lady deGloves.  About 15 years ago she suffered a stroke.  We got her to the hospital in a timely fashion where she was properly evaluated first by the emergency room physicians and then by a neurologist.  The neurologist came to ask us if we should try TPA.  They called it tPA then.  Our non-physician analysis was that she was 100% incapacitated on her left side with severe speech problems.  When then poked her with needles we jumped but she did not notice them.  The doctor said there were risks but TPA might help.  We thought what does she have to lose and approved the treatment.  They administered the treatment and told us that she would be moved from the emergency room to intensive care.  By the time we met her there our analysis was that she was 00.01% incapacitated.  The next day the physical therapist came in and said there was no need for her services.  The emergency room physicians came to see the miracle.  She needed surgery later to eliminate the arterial blockage.  Now, 15 years later and without any problems, it is beyond obvious that we made the right choice.

We know the dangers of small sample size.  We know that there are risks associated with TPA.  We know you need to get to the hospital FAST

Sidebar: FAST stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulties.  The T is for time.  If you are too late you can’t use TPA.  End Sidebar.

when a stoke happens.  Don’t wait or your options are limited.  If they offer TPA after  we would suggest that you take the risk.

Facebook Irony

Recently a Facebook friend shared an item showing two photos.  One was Putin and The Donald’s immediate predecessor (TDIP) labeled President Bad Ass and the other was Putin and The Donald labeled President Kiss Ass.  We laughed but then we realized both the originator and the sharer were serious.

Here is TDIP putting the fear of God into Putin:

[TDIP], during talks in Seoul, urged Moscow to give him “space” until after the November ballot, and Medvedev said he would relay the message to incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He also tried to support Putin financially by (unsuccessfully) restricting fracing and stopping pipelines.  He did little or nothing about Putin in Crimea, Ukraine, or Syria.

The Donald, on the other hand, has said nice things about Putin but supported fracing, pipelines, and exporting LNG.  All of those hit Putin in the pocketbook and limit the opportunities for Russian adventures and extortion.  The Donald has hardly been a Bad Ass but he has been the badder of the two.

Tammy And The Donald

The title refers to escapades economic rather than sexual.  Tammy is Wisconsin’s Democrat junior senator, surname Baldwin, who is running for reelection this year.  The Donald is undoing his previous good work on corporate and personal taxes by raising the excise taxes called tariffs.  It might cause a trade war.  It is certainly not well received in the equity markets.

Tammy is highlighting her agreement with The Donald on protectionism and trying to get him to take additional foolish actions on trade.  On tariffs she seems to agree but tries not agree with The Donald:

Bad actors like China are not playing by the rules on steel, aluminum and paper. We need the new tools provided in this legislation to take on China’s cheating,” said Senator Baldwin.

We’re not sure how this is different from The Donald:

Trump said this week he’ll slap 25% tariffs on $50 billion to $60 billion in Chinese exports to the U.S., including aerospace, information and communication technology, and machinery. The move is aimed at countering Chinese cyber and intellectual property theft of U.S. technology. It also tries to push back against China’s demands for technology transfers from U.S. companies in return for access to China’s market.

She is trying to move The Donald even more into the protectionist camp.  We see her touting her buy [more expensive] American in her TV ads.  Here is a press release that explains her position:

“We need to put America to work rebuilding our infrastructure and strong Buy American standards need to be at the foundation of any plan. Taxpayer money should not be spent on foreign steel from Russia and China. American workers need to rebuild our infrastructure with Made in America products,”

Of course, increasing tariffs and buying American are two sides of the same coin.  In both cases you are charging all Americans more to benefit a few Americans and harm other Americans.  There is no reason that we can’t work on infrastructure without without paying economic rents Tammy’s friends.

Sidebar: Tammy chided the administration for not being explicit about buy American in their infrastructure proposals.  We can’t find the WSJ op-ed on the cost of American infrastructure but we would support eliminating all restrictions on infrastructure projects so Americans can get full value for their tax dollars.  Tammy wants the opposite: high prices for everyone with the benefits going to her favored few.  End Sidebar.

We hope that Tammy and The Donald don’t end up in the same political bed on buy American.  We hope that the GOP can find a good replacement for her.  Tammy’s actions reveal that the Democrats are highly unlikely will have a better replacement for The Donald in 2020 or 2024.

Non-Transitivity Of Sport

We all know that sport results are non-transitive.  If A beats B and B beats C does not assure that A will beat C.  It might mean that A will be favored over C but the outcome is uncertain.

Today at the handball court we had a splendid example of that non-transitive nature.  On Thursday nights four of us play round-robin singles ending with a game of doubles.  Here are the results for the evenings top three players:

A beat B 15-1
B beat C 15-2
C beat A 15-10

There were no injuries, temper tantrums, or endurance issues that you might find in a local club. It could have been match-up problem like a lob serve but it wasn’t.  It was just about momentum.  You get on a roll and you need to bury your opponent because you know what can happen if you lose momentum to a capable opponent.

Relative scores in sports can be useful information but they are not definitive.  We showed that again tonight.

Sports Numbers

Numbers always interest us.  Here are the basketball numbers: 14, 18, 13, 10, 6, 5, 6, 13.  Here are the golf numbers: 372 and 18.

We don’t care about basketball, and particularly college basketball.  In addition we think a 68 team tournament is a particularly bad way to crown a national champion.

Sidebar: when we saw the Syracuse won its first real game after winning in the first four we wondered if there was something to a momentum theory.  Although we haven’t looked at it rigorously, the MLB wild card winner seems to exceed expectations.  In college basketball there are 32 conference tournament winners in the NCAA tournament field.  All those teams are on a winning streak.  There are 16 teams left and six are conference champs.  Of course it would like a much more exhaustive study to make any conclusions about momentum but it doesn’t seem like it is a big deal.   End Sidebar.

The eight basketball numbers are the sum of the seeds in the eight games of the sweet sixteen.  If everything went according to schedule then there would be eight fives.  The maximum is 29 and there are none of those.  Since there is only one five thing have not gone as the NCAA expected.  We are rooting for the last six conference champs to go out so the Final Four has no conference champs competing.

The golf numbers are from Rory McIlroy.  He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday by shooting an eight under 64.  The 372 was his drive in yards on the 511 yard par five sixteenth hole.  It meant he had 123 yards to the hole for his second shot on a par five.  Yes, 372 + 123 is less than 511 because he cut the corner of the hole with his impressive drive.  The 18 is his score (five under) for the last six holes.  Three sets of 18 would be 54 and that would be an astounding score for 18 holes.  These guys are good as the PGA tagline says and Rory was amazing yesterday and especially so at the end when it counts the most.


Free Speech And Diversity

We are back from vacation and catching up on a variety of things.  One is David French’s excellent article at NRO recognizing that free speech empowers marginalized groups rather than the opposite.  Do read it all but here is the paragraph that is crux of it:

The true tension in the First Amendment isn’t between freedom and diversity or freedom and inclusion. History teaches us that the tension is between freedom and power. Free speech, by its very nature, leads to questioning, debate, and — eventually — accountability.

David is exactly right.  What we see at almost all universities is that the power is on the left and they want to keep it.  David explains and we agree that the best way to keep power is to limit speech.  The right agrees on the usefulness of such a strategy.

The Ultimate Gerrymander

Glen Harland Reynolds discusses state secession at the USA Today. He is talking about splitting states rather than leaving the nation.  Read the whole thing to see some of the current movements.  Glen says:

Splitting a state is hard. West Virginia managed because the existing Virginia legislature was in rebellion against the United States, making it easy for President Lincoln and the Congress to recognize the new rump legislature put together in Wheeling as the “official” legislature of Virginia, and accepting its approval (which the Constitution requires) for forming a new state out of part of the old Virginia. Such circumstances aren’t likely today, let us hope, though if states like Illinois or California went bankrupt, they might agree to a split in exchange for a federal bailout.

Glen left out an example and a related problem that makes splitting a state darn near impossible now.  The example is Maine.  Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820.  Wikipedia tells us how it happened:

Formal secession and formation of the state of Maine as the 23rd state occurred on March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, which geographically limited the spread of slavery and enabled the admission to statehood of Missouri the following year, keeping a balance between slave and free states.

Glen doesn’t mention it but we think that northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would make a peachy new state.  New states change the balance of power in the US Senate.  In 1820 it was free versus slave.  Now it is Republican versus Democrat.  All of the proposals to add a new rural state would be welcomed by the GOP but would never be supported by the Dems.  The one possibility the Dems might consider is changing California into six states and of course if the Dems support it then the GOP would be against it.  In every case one of the parties will block it.

This reminds us of innovative ideas from new faculty members, in some cases we were the new ones.  The answers from the senior faculty members were always the same, “We’re not going to die on that hill.”  Sometimes they added one more word to the answer, “Again.”  We think it is still good advice.  There will be no Miconsin.


We had a lovely evening with the Lady de Gloves in the 77 square miles surrounded by reality.  For dinner we went to the Tempest Oyster Bar.  It was excellent although we didn’t go for the oysters because we were going to An American In Paris.  If it was Singing in the Rain we might have had to try them.  We had scallops for an appetizer and jerk swordfish and trout for dinner.  Everything was perfect.  The Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac was a great finish.

Then we were off to see the touring version of An American In Paris at the Overture Center.  It is about a GI staying in Paris to paint after WWII.  We were never a big fan of the movie so we went with some trepidation.  We haven’t seen the movie in some time so we don’t have our criticisms at the ready but our recollection is that it was OK but given the music it could have been better.

The play is S’wonderful.  It is fast paced (OK, the ballet in the second act is the exception) with wonderful music, terrific dancing, stunning gowns, and great sets.  We are not quite sure how all of the mirrored sets with video work but they worked well.  It has the little touches that make a show ratchet up a notch.  One of the fake names used is Oscar Levant, who played Adam in the movie.  It dabbles with some bigger issues like the fate of the collaborators, without being preachy.  It differentiates between the resistance (and doesn’t diminish it by tying it to the current appropriation) and saving Jews.  It appears that local folks view the former as good while the latter is not entirely virtuous.  Of course, two of the main characters are Jewish.

In short, the play is great fun, beautifully presented, and has a good heart too.

Republicans Versus Conservatives

We came down hard on The Donald for his tariff increases and rightly so.  We also said that we are happy he won in 2016 and we are even happier that his predecessor is gone.  Jonah Goldberg in his G-file tries to make it a problem with populism:

The funny thing is that this move toward protection is celebrated or condemned as a fulfillment of Trump’s “populist” agenda. I get that we label protectionism “populist” these days — though I’m old enough to remember when protectionism was a technocratic cause. But populism is supposed to mean putting the interests of “the people” first. (The problem with populism is that populists never mean all the people; they only mean their people.) And this move isn’t in the interests of most people.

It isn’t.  It is a problem with elections and Republicans in particular.  Reagan and W are the two most conservative presidents since Coolidge and he was not a free trader either.  Almost everyone remembers that W did some backsliding on tariffs:

The temporary tariffs of 8–30% were originally scheduled to remain in effect until 2005. They were imposed to give U.S. steel makers protection from what a U.S. probe determined was a detrimental surge in steel imports. More than 30 steel makers had declared bankruptcy in recent years. Steel producers had originally sought up to a 40% tariff. Canada and Mexico were exempt from the tariffs because of penalties the United States would face under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Additionally, some developing countries such as ArgentinaThailand, and Turkey were also exempt. The typical steel tariff at the time was usually between zero and one percent, making the 8–30% rates seem exceptionally high. These rates, though, are comparable to the standard permanent U.S. tariff rates on many kinds of clothes and shoes.

Holman W. Jenkins, jr. in the WSJ reminds us that Reagan made much more extensive choices than W:

Reagan slapped import quotas on cars, motorcycles, forklifts, memory chips, color TVs, machine tools, textiles, steel, Canadian lumber and mushrooms.

Holman argues that it didn’t matter because they were negotiated.  Perhaps.  What does matter is that Republicans backslide on tariffs because there are intense big winners and widely dispersed small losers.  Sadly, protectionism is a good political game and our most conservative presidents including Reagan have played it.  The Donald does too.  We are rightly worried about The Donald continuing to play it because he is not a conservative.  We will continue to encourage him towards free trade while reminding everyone that free trade was not supported by either presidential candidate in the 2016 general election.  Yes, it would be better if this was Mitt’s second term but that was not a choice in 2016.