The Littlest Soapbox

June 10, 2010

The Daily Bulletin 6/10/10

Filed under: General Interest,News & Politics,Sports — mikecgannon @ 4:37 PM

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning their first Stanley Cup since 1961, and props to both teams for a well-played game of hockey last night. Once the NBA finishes up its finals, we will be facing a couple of bleak months between now and the start of college football, with only baseball on TV (shudder).

Speaking of baseball, rookie Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg had a historic debut a few nights ago. Conor over at Reasonably Certain has great breakdown of his performance, and why he thinks Strasburg isn’t going to flame out early.

First, he had more movement on his 101 mph fastball, his low 80s curve, and his 89 mph changeup than I have seen from most pitchers that I have ever watched. He would throw a curveball that would magically drop two feet on a dime. He wasn’t throwing parabolas: he was throwing step graphs. The thing I liked the most though is how he attacked the strike zone. In an era of highly over-conservative managers, pitching coaches, catchers, and pitchers who look scared to be playing baseball, Strasburg threw every 3-ball-count pitch square in the strike zone. And he didn’t get to three balls often because after his first two batters he was mostly just hitting the strike zone all the time. He was attacking batters.

Victor Davis Hanson ruthlessly dissects the troubling swing in Turkish policy, as is his wont.

Turkey’s new ambitions and ethnic and religious chauvinism are antithetical to its NATO membership. The United States should not be treaty-bound to defend a de facto ally of Iran or Syria, which are both eager to obtain nuclear weapons. European countries foresaw the problem when they denied Turkey membership in the now fragile European Union, fearful that Anatolian Islamists would have unfettered transit across European borders.

Finally, writer Tunku Varadarajan at the Daily Beast (kind of) understands why race is not a factor for conservative politicians like Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both of whom are of Indian descent, and are extremely popular among their Deep South constituencies. I don’t agree with everything he writes in this piece (which is pretty par for the course when it comes to him), but he ends his article with an obvious insight into why identity politics is poisonous, but one that doesn’t get said aloud enough in our country.

I will close with another question: Why has no Indian-American liberal risen as high in the Democratic ranks as Jindal and Haley have done in the GOP? Could it be that because Democrats put more of an emphasis on identity politics, an Indian-American Democrat would have to contend with other ethnic constituencies that might think that it’s “their turn” first? And once you go down the “identity” route, your success as a politician tends to rest more on the weight of numbers—the size of your ethnic constituency, or your racial voting bloc—than on the weight of your ideas. The most striking thing about Jindal and Haley’s success is not that they are Indian-American politicians who have triumphed in conservative Southern states, but that they are conservative Southern politicians who just happen to be Indian American.

Have a great day!

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