milles bornes

I play Milles Bornes on my computer with a fair bit of regularity (it gets my head out of what I'm doing for a few minutes).

FWIW, the version I'm using is called macbornes, and it's a nice port of the game. Not without flaws (like counting the winner of a hand as the one with more miles, rather than more points. I count that as a flaw because the game is won and lost on points, not miles. It also has occasional GUI issues, where the image of a card being moved across screen will stay in one spot (along the track)), but it's still pretty nice.

I just wanted to point out this game I just played; in the last three hands, I got a total of 5 green lights (one of which went to the end of the deck, and the second of which was within seven cards of doing the same). But here's the result:

The save rule

Something I saw in the last couple of days got me thinking about the absurdity known as the save rule. If I remember correctly (and I'm much too lazy to go look it up, even knowing that it's on MLB's website), the save rule states, essentially, that a reliever earns a save by entering the game with a lead, and getting the batter, the man on deck, or the person batting behind the man on deck to be in a position to tie the game. Oh, and finishing the game (if they don't, but leave with the lead, they'll just get a hold (which might just be an even more useless stat)).

While there is some logic to this rule, it results in all sorts of ridiculous situations. For instance, a Rangers reliever got a save a few years ago in a 30-3 victory (over the O's, IIRC).

Anyway, my point is that the rule does a terrible job of what it is supposed to do (identify the critical reliever, I think). What makes that truly pernicious, though, is that most current managers let that rule dictate their bullpen usage. That is, they refuse to bring in their 'closer' unless it is a save situation.

In games tied in the ninth inning or later, especially when on the road, this frequently means that your best reliever stays on the bench, because no save situation will arise.

To take a step back, I'm not a big fan of the stats WPA/LI. My biggest problems with them are two-fold. The first is that it has little or no predictive value. It'll tell you who did the best job in critical situations over the prior season, but gives little or no insight into who will do so over the next season. My other problem is this (and hopefully I can explain it so that it makes sense).

A home run in the first inning is just as valuable to winning a game as a homer in the ninth inning. But if you take them both out of context, and just say that the homer in the first inning only adds, say, 10% to your team's chance of winning, while the same homer in the eighth or ninth might add sixty or seventy percent. And while I can't exactly argue with this analysis, I think that it is missing one critical element.

That is, look at a specific game. If a batter comes up in the ninth inning, and hits a homer, we say that the chance of winning the game rose by, say, fifty percent. And if he had hit that homer in the first, it would have raised the chance by a tiny percentage. But I think the better comparison would have been, if that batter had hit that homer in the first, what would the difference be on winning percentage for that critical at-bat in the ninth.

I'm not sure, maybe what I'm saying is bupkis.

But to get back to my original point, I wonder if a better "save rule" (assuming that we actually need one) would be based on, for instance, the highest WPA (or average LI, maybe) among relievers. We don't really need to specify entering and leaving with a lead in this formulation, as entering with one and leaving without will certainly put one at the bottom of the pile by virtue of what it means.

And this would certainly put us on the track of recognizing the most successful relievers. It would also put managers back on the track of doing what they should be doing in trying to win a game. That is, they wouldn't be managing to a rule, because they wouldn't have the WPA/LI calculations handy, most likely. But it would also get out of this rut of 'this guy pitches the eighth' and 'this guy owns the ninth' (as a side note, 'Mac the Ninth' was about the coolest nickname ever for a reliever).

And then when you say that a reliever has 500 saves, you know it really means something. (Just to be clear, this was not all meant as a back-handed slap at Mariano Rivera; he's earned a higher percentage of his saves than most, as far as I can tell.)

Hitchhiking across the universe

I mentioned in an earlier post looking at The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

It wasn't the first time I'd looked at it, but several things occurred to me while reading it. The first won't surprise anyone, I think: Douglas Adams was brilliant.

The second might surprise some people, though; I found that comedy novels just don't keep my attention very well. While I enjoyed what I read of it, I had no problem putting the book down, and taking up another one. I'm not sure why that is.

It would explain why I've never read the entire series before (in fact, I haven't even finished the second one before). And it isn't the first time it's happened before, either. I started on Sir Apropos of Nothing, found it hilarious, but still put it down before I'd gotten more than ten or twenty pages into it.

I'm really not sure why that is, though. Hmm... I wonder if that's why I never finished Even Cowgirls Get the Blues? I thought that was absolutely brilliant, but it was still an effort to get through it. (And as I implied, I never succeeded in that.) Maybe it was just that it was so meandering. Or maybe it was that the language, while fascinating, just took too much effort to keep up with it. Honestly, it was ten years ago when I last tried; maybe I should try again.

Getting back to H2G2, though. I mentioned in that other post that the leather-bound edition was the closest to the one I have. When I looked at what I have, though, my copy has a more solid border, and uses a different font on the cover. I have no idea what that means. What's even a bit weirder, though, is that I have no idea why I have such a nice edition. Yes, it's a really interesting series, and all that, but since I never finished more than the first volume, why did I get such a nice omnibus edition?

Answer? I have no idea. But it definitely is something that any SF fan should read at least once.

(Oh, and if anyone's wondering, yes, the title is an homage to The Firm's "Star Trekkin'".)


Is it worth the extra money?

Seth Godin has a very short, but incisive post that points out something that never consciously registered with me.

I'm generally willing to spend more to get higher-quality goods. In the long run, with many items, at least, it's worth it. That's especially true if what you're looking at is going to be used frequently.

On the other hand, I buy almost nothing that could be considered a luxury item (in the sense mentioned here; in terms of 'necessary for survival'? Ok, I don't buy much that wouldn't be considered a luxury by that standard). Why? Well, I couldn't care less about status. I like my toys, but I won't even buy a really cool toy if I'm not going to use it. And if it's really cool because of features I won't use?

This is about the point where my wife would be pointing out the ridiculous amount I spent on my current home theater receiver. However, I'd never seen another that offered even half the features available in that one that didn't cost twice as much. At the time, I wasn't too happy with the sound of my old one. More importantly, I had already had to buy an outboard component video switcher to use with it that was out of inputs. There were also several surround standards that the old one didn't support (of prime relevance are DTS and SACD).

And then I saw the Denon receiver. It had all of that, plus a number of other surround formats I didn't need, but might use. It would also take all those component inputs and convert them to digital output if needed. Plus it had 5 HDMI and one DVI input. When I switched my system over to all HD video, I didn't need to do anything except switch inputs. Plus, I cut the number of cables approximately in half, even after bi-amping my front speakers (believe me, if you saw the rat's nest still behind it, you'd understand instantly why I noticed that).

It also does a bunch of other things that I probably won't ever use, but I'm indifferent to that stuff. But I definitely don't feel like I wasted any money on it. I just wish I had more time to use it, these days.

Ok, that's really more than I needed to say about that; my point about it is merely that it's definitely on the side of premium.

And I'm not going to go all fan-boy about it, but I buy Macs for the same reason. Perhaps a little extra cost (if you've never looked into it in detail, this point could be argued), but the extra features are more than worth it.

Od Magic

Od Magic, by Patricia McKillip, was the latest book I finished. I picked it up at the library when getting Butcher's Small Favor (which I already finished, but need to think more on before I write much).

While it had a few elements very much in common with my favorite of her series, The Riddle-Master of Hed, it was all about meeting the unknown.

And in that vein, it was very appropriate to current events.

People, in general, will react with either love or fear of the unknown. Personally, as an outgrowth of my firm belief in the Golden Rule (the original, not the more recent, very cynical, perversion of it), I've always tried to meet such things with wonder.

This is why Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is one of my all-time favorite movies. Nothing else captures the wonder of everyday life, and seeing the world as a child again, like that movie.

Getting back to the relevance to current events, this is what drives most of the political discourse these days. Somewhat less so, since Obama was elected, but it was the driving force for almost everything the Bush Administration did. And they stayed in power for a second term by forcing that fear of the unknown onto a hefty chunk of the population of the US. This is why we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars killing brown people.

Some powerful people are afraid of what those people can do. They missed the main point, though, I think (likely deliberately); those people, even in the direst predictions made of their putative abilities, never were, and never will be, an existential threat to the US.

That is, they can hurt us, and kill a lot of people, but to destroy the US, you'll need to do more than kill a few (million, perhaps) people. Occupation would be a necessity for that mission. And how many people would that require? I'm not sure, but I'm thinking that the number is in the millions (maybe single-digit millions, but still more than hundreds of thousands).

Are there millions of terrorists? Of course not. The very idea is ludicrous. If there were that many of them, they'd form their own army (to go straight to the most practical of arguments).

So the idea that terrorists could ever be an existential threat to the US is absurd.

Ok, that went considerably farther than I think was useful. My whole point is that we should all try to be more like Yar, in the book.

Update: I forgot to add that conformism was another topic that was very central to this book. And this has been a very relevant issue in recent years, as well.

The previous administration spent a lot of time and effort trying to force conformity on the entire country. The entire push about the dangers of 'islamo-fascism' was one of the biggest farces in the country. In fact, 'islamo-fascism' as a term is almost self-contradictory. If you're not sure why that is, look up the definition of fascism. The idea that a religion (even a small religious sect) could be pushing fascism is absurd on its face. Fascism is all about conformity and nationalism. Unless you're in an explicitly muslim state, the concept is impossible. And much was made of the terrorists not being part of any state (that was the whole argument for declaring captured terrorists as 'unlawful combatants', remember (ignoring, for a minute, how few of those captured were actually terrorists)).


Why are drug advertisements such a big problem?

Well, I've long thought that the big reason drug companies advertising directly to the consumer was such a bad idea was that it got people to go to their doctors, and ask for drugs. After all, pharmaceuticals cure all ills, right? Isn't that what the ads say?

My wife was talking to a business partner this evening about a drug (Xicam, maybe? I hadn't heard of it before). Apparently, it can cause loss of smell (that is, lack of detection of odors, not lack of causing; the latter would sell quite well, I'm thinking). This has been known for a while, but apparently not well known.

And I started thinking about why that would be. Well, it's a known problem with media consolidation that advertisers can affect stories told by the news. If you'd like to hear about a particularly disturbing case, get your hands on 'The Corporation', and find out how Fox argued (and won) a case in court proving that the news does not have any obligation to be truthful. Big surprise that it's Fox, right? But I'm sure that particular problem cuts across all the big media companies.

So, my point is, a second reason that drug companies advertising directly to the consumer is a double-plus-ungood thing: the companies have leverage to keep the news from reporting about problems with the drugs that are out there. *Yuck*

Oh, and the third reason: I'm really not looking forward to watching a football game, and having my preteen daughter asking me what an erection is. Yes, that's years off, but still...



I mentioned in my last post that I still needed to use Verizon's ActionTec router. The reason for this is actually rather stupid.

But first, a small digression about it. Most people have their system set up so that that router gets all of its input from its coax connection. (The reason for this is that it spares them from having to run another cable to the router. If you're using existing cable TV wiring, this is a good reason. But it limits your options; you MUST use this router to connect FiOS, if you don't run that extra cable. This will detail why that might not be such a good idea (like most things related to the network, it depends on your needs).)

Ok, so you have your router plugged directly into the ethernet port on the ONT; why do you still need their router connected? Well, because the set-top boxes for your TVs need it for the guide, VOD, and similar stuff. How do they use it? They use it as a MoCA (Media over Coaxial cable Alliance) bridge to access the internet.

This seems like a pretty cool thing. Now you only need to run a coax cable (which you've already done) to each TV to get that stuff.

So why did I say that it's pretty stupid? Because the STB already has an ethernet port. And it won't use it. So, even if you've got that cat5 cable run, you still need that router to act as the bridge. And that just blows.

FiOS installation

Warning: this will be pretty long, and mostly uninteresting unless you're looking to get FiOS installed yourself.

So, I've been waiting for FIOS since verizon announced it was coming to the DC area. I believe that was in Oct of 2004. I live pretty close to the city (we sometimes walk to Georgetown for dinner, and my wife is not a walker), so I thought we would be one of the earlier areas to get it installed.

Nevertheless, I signed up for it no more than two days after it was available, took the first available installation appointment, and they came out to install it Wednesday. Almost five years. *sigh*

I'll preface the rest of this by saying that the installation guy, Chuck, did a really good job overall, and put up with a lot of me saying, "I want it done this way", even if that's not the way they normally do it.

There are a couple of reasons why I needed to be very specific. One is that we are keeping our cable modem for at least a month, to make sure everything is good in transitioning to FIOS. Another is limitations on the wiring in our house; some of it is pretty difficult (and some is very hard to find without ripping out walls. I also wanted to keep my router as the main path into the house; it accepts two WAN connections, and can do load-balancing between them (and doesn't have a significant limitation on the NAT table, like the ActionTec router Verizon provides)).

Because of the wiring limitations, I had a specific spot in the house where I wanted the Verizon equipment to go (basically, the cable intersected with a lot of wiring that I did myself at that spot). I dropped a couple of extra lines in that spot the night before the guy arrived for the install, just in case they were needed (an extra network drop, and a phone line).

Well, he showed up, and after discussing it with me for a little while, convinced me that we might as well connect their router directly to the ONT (not sure what that stands for, but it's the in-house unit that accepts the fiber line; it outputs phone lines (up to two in the standard model), coax (for TV and/or internet), and ethernet (internet only; usually not used) via coax.

The reason for using coax is that a) the router needs to have that connected, regardless, for MoCa (I'll come back to this), and b) we'd need to run another line to this box for the ethernet anyway (and I'd had trouble feeding my fish through the ceiling to enable this anyway).

We went through the steps to get the fiber into the house (I also didn't want this done the way they probably would have done it normally), and connect up the ONT. When it failed immediately, he did some investigation, and found out that he had the wrong model of ONT. Basically, it wasn't compatible with the neighborhood distribution point unit, since that is a brand-new model (like I said, I signed up immediately, so the equipment is really, really new).

To make matters worse, he didn't have the newer model. He (and his supervisor) made some calls to procure one. Eventually, they succeeded, but it was going to take a little while, and he had earlier told me he had a doctor's appointment to which he had to go. I didn't want to screw him on that appointment, so when he asked if finishing the next day was ok, I said that was fine.

It ended up being a good thing that I did, because when he left, I did some research on that ActionTec router. That's how I found out about that NAT table limitation. I also found out how to get my router to be next to the ONT. All that was needed was to connect to the ONT via ethernet; ok, I now had the time to fish another line over there.

So, when he showed up the next morning with the new ONT (a Motorola 1000, I believe he said), I told him about the need to run the extra line (I'd already done the hard part of pulling it, so I was only adding about five of minutes of work for him). He was a bit skeptical, but didn't see any reason not to do it; so after the ONT was in, we worked on it.

Unfortunately, apparently the provisioning on this ONT was also different, so he (and his supervisor) had to figure out how to do it.


Ok, this is getting so long _I'm_ starting to get annoyed. Kudos if you made it this far.

Well, they figured it out (the ethernet part was an additional hassle, figuring out, but they got that, too; apparently, nobody uses that). Eventually, after a tiny bit of stupidity on my part, I got my router to be the entry point again, putting their router behind mine. I'll talk about why their router was still necessary in another post.


Butcher-ing words

I mentioned in a previous post very much liking Butcher's Dresden series. One point I failed to make was that he's actually done a better job than any series I can think of for keeping the series fresh and exciting, especially given the number of volumes.

I was a bit irked today, though, when I went to buy the second-most-recent one (Small Favor; I actually thought it was the most recent, until I got there) at the bookstore today. The irritation came when I found out that the paperback edition is $10. That's 25% more than any other paperback novel I've seen. I'm sure the book's going to be good, but I'm not going to pay that much for it. I guess I'll just get it from the library for now; maybe it'll come down in price, later.

I do note that the kindle edition is cheaper than the paperback. Not much to see there, but at least that's the way it should be.

And I don't pay a lot of attention to hardback prices, but the hardback of the newest book in the series (Turn Coat) is $26. Like I said, I pay less attention there, but that seems a bit expensive.

Update: Maybe I earlier looked at the large print edition or something of the latter book; at least it is discounted, unlike the paperback. Maybe I'll just get the hardback.


Dreaming the dream

I'm told that it's a common dream; finding oneself in the middle of a test, without any preparations.

I've had this dream a few times. What's odd is that it's only occurred in the last year.

Why is that odd? Because I completed my MS over a year ago. What else is odd about it? When it's happened, it's been about an even split between happening at my grad school or at my high school. Undergrad? Hasn't happened yet.

What to make of it? I've no idea; just thought it was interesting.

couple minor baseball notes

Well, as expected, the Nats took Strasburg. I hope that works out a whole lot better than any previous pitcher taken with the top pick. That's quite a record of destruction. My fingers are crossed, both for him, and for the team.

Brad Lidge went on the DL yesterday; I wonder how he feels about last year's All Star game now. For those who missed it, he threw about 100 warm up pitches in that game before finally entering and locking down the win for the National League. (Hmm... I wonder what the over/under is for years until the Nats can hope to take advantage of that home-field advantage.) His ERA for the rest of the year more than doubled (and I think it was almost triple at one point towards the end of the season). But he still didn't blow any saves (I was amazed when I noticed this at the end of the season, having occasionally noted his ERA), and they won the World Series. Worth it? Maybe. Probably depends on how serious the injury is. Or maybe not; some people would say that's worth anything.

Well, that's about it; the only other thing I'll say is, at this point, I hope the Nats can hold on to their current draft position. Oh, and I'd be very happy if the A's can get back into the race in the AL West, but that's quite a long shot.

Update: This is the original article I saw about Strasburg's odds of not being that great. TINSTAAPP, y'know.


Number one is open?

So, the Stanley Cup finals are going on right now, between my two least favorite teams in the league. And frankly, I can't decide which of them I like less. I'm still trying to figure out a way in which both teams can lose.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I couldn't possibly care less about who wins the Cup this year.

But the Post was talking about the Caps prospects this morning, and there were a couple of interesting tidbits.

The first was saying that management has told all three likely Caps goalies for next season (Varlamov, Neuvirth, and Theodore) that the number one spot is open for next year. If that's true, then they haven't been paying attention at all.

Barring serious injury, Varlamov should have the top spot locked up. And ideally, the Caps would find a taker for Theodore. For something good, you know; maybe a bag of pucks. Ok, that's a bit mean; Theodore isn't that bad. Actually, he did show flashes of brilliance from time to time last year, but man, was he frustrating.

Frankly, I don't see any way around Varlamov as primary, with Theodore backing him up. Unfortunately, that leaves Neuvirth stuck in Hershey, which is certainly unjust. I wonder if it would be better for all involved to see about trading him for a very good defenseman or center. While Neuvirth has done everything asked of him, I just can't see them sitting Theodore and his $4.5M salary on the bench for the whole season.

I guess we'll see.

The other interesting tidbit was about Giroux. My first experience seeing him was in the playoffs, and he looked pretty good. And he seems to have torn up the AHL last season, which is pretty cool. But it's pretty hard to get excited about a 27-year-old player who's played less than half a season at the NHL level.

I don't really know about aging trends in hockey, although I doubt they're hugely different than in baseball. And in baseball, a player almost invariably reaches their peak at twenty-seven or -eight. So it's pretty tough to call someone that old even a prospect, let alone a likely difference-maker for your team. Yes, once every few decades you might find someone like Ryan Howard, but that's really, really rare. (And, btw, Ryan Howard should not have been nearly that close to winning the MVP last year. He wasn't even the best player on his own team, let alone in the league.)

So, we'll see what happens. I'm more interested in John Carlson; a 19-year-old who's even borderline NHL-ready is very exciting. Hopefully, he'll stay healthy, and we'll hear a lot more about him next year.


Race for the Cure

In celebration of my daughter finally learning to crawl yesterday, we all went to the Race for the Cure today. No, that's not really why; I've been to quite a few Race for the Cures. The first was back in '92; some people from my chapter of my fraternity came down to volunteer. It didn't make all that big an impression on me; I didn't do another one for many years.

I was looking at the 2000 race, in fact, I was even looking at the Philadelphia race that year until I found out that it was for women only. Kind of irksome, that.

But my wife and I have gone to each of the last several races, ever since my Mom passed away from breast cancer. She'd lived for eight years after initial diagnosis, but it was badly misdiagnosed when it came back. So, remember how dangerous cancer can be; and how long it remains an issue.

As far as the race this year, it was set up a bit differently. They had completely different starting lines for runners and walkers (a good thing), but a huge mess of a bunch of tents at the finish line for sponsors giving things away. And what really bothered me was the Komen gift shop, also at the finish line. It's probably good marketing, but felt pretty tacky.

It was a bit weird walking along this year, though. Most everyone seemed to be chatting with friends and family, but I spent almost the entire thing thinking about my mom. And that really didn't make me want to talk with anyone. Our daughter sleeping through the whole thing didn't help that any, either. Especially thinking how, if I was able to ask my Mom what she missed most about passing away when she did, I know that she would say that she wanted to meet Anya.

Update: I forgot that I wanted to mention, for the benefit of those who haven't had to push strollers in a crowd before: it's just as annoying for the people with the strollers as it is for you.


Flaming Memories

Finally read Holly Lisle's Memory of Fire. It had been sitting on my shelf for a long time (several years, I'd guess), only a few pages having been read.

The book got off to a rather odd start, with one of the main characters being kidnapped. The kidnappers were very careful not to hurt her, however, even when she fought back against them.

The world we find is one where there are many worlds; probably an infinitude, although we only see more than a brief glance of two. There's a general arrangement of them, with a bidirectional flow of magic and energy (energy flows in one direction; I forget exactly what flows in the other). In any event, the arrangement is called upworld and downworld.

A person who moves upworld becomes something very like a ghost, a person who moves downworld becomes a very powerful magician (for lack of a better term). The downside to going downworld is that, when you use magic, there's a "reverberation" of your spell back in your home world. If you don't know what you're doing, that reverberation can cause huge consequences where you come from.

To move between them, gates are created. There isn't much of an explanation, but it seems that gates are created with mirrors. It's unclear how you can move back through the gate, after passing through it, but you can. (The reason that it's unclear is that there doesn't have to be anything specific, like, say, another mirror, at the other end. The gate doesn't even have to be left open for you to return through it. It's unclear how you can even know that there's a gate there, through which to return.)

To keep from having problems, there are scattered groups of Sentinels who attempt to regulate magical flow from downworld spells. They also attempt to control all gates.

As you might guess, the main problem to be overcome in this book (though there are intimations of other problems to be resolved in later books) is a reverberation of a spell gone very bad. In our world, it is causing a very bad flu. Oddly, it is causing greater havoc in the (otherwise) healthy adult population, rather than the very old and very young, as tends to be the case with the flu.

(As a side note, there are at least two ways that that can happen with a real flu virus. Either it is being curtailed by the current flu shot, and fewer healthy adults have gotten the shot, or it happens because it just sends a person's antibodies into overdrive, and the overreaction of the immune system kills the person. In the latter case, it tends to have the greatest effect on those with the strongest immune systems.)

Anyway, without getting too deeply into the plot, I'll just say that an awful lot of people die. Two of the four main characters come within a hair's breadth of being killed. In fact, you could argue that one of them does die. The child of one of the remaining lead characters is also almost killed. Most of the secondary characters are killed. And about four million other, random people are killed by the flu.

So I figured that I'd read something a bit less depressing (I don't even own the sequels; I'm debating either tracking them down or getting them from the library); I grabbed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Of course, I forgot that, near the beginning of the book, with the three ominous lines:
There was a terrible ghastly silence.
There was a terrible ghastly noise.
There was a terrible ghastly silence.

the entire planet was destroyed. Subtle was definitely not Douglas Adams' calling card.

Update: The link above is to the closest I can find to the edition I have. There's also a paperback version. I'm going to put another post up with some thoughts about this.


A few thoughts on the Supreme Court

In discussing Obama's nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, many right-wing commentators have pointed out that she's been overturned 60% of the time by the high court. I've got to admit, that certainly does sound like a lot. But mostly ignoring the point that that is only three times out of five (small sample size alert!), I was even more surprised to find out that that is actually less than average for decisions being overturned by the high court (And, FWIW, Alito was overturned more than average, so how good an argument does that sound like, to pursue).

After thinking about it a bit more, though, maybe that does make sense. After all, SCOTUS won't hear cases where they don't see something wrong to begin with. They're not, after all, obligated to hear every case put before them. (I imagine they'd be completely inundated if they were so obligated.) But that does seem to explain why they overturn the appeals judge in such a high percentage of the cases before them.

So it occurs to me to wonder if a better metric of judicial... competence, maybe?... might be how often SCOTUS agrees to hear cases by a particular judge. I have no idea what the numbers on that would be, either for Sotomayor in particular, or for SCOTUS in general. But it does make me curious. Of course, I suppose that also raises the issue of whether or not the losing party in any given case decides to appeal, and I'm not sure how that factors in, either.

But I think there's something there.

Of course, one problem that's being entirely overlooked in this whole thing: do we really want another appeals judge on the Supreme Court? One thing I do like about Sotomayor is that she has served as a prosecutor in the past, as well as serving as a corporate attorney. I'm not so thrilled by the latter, as I don't think business interests, in general, need any help in getting their way, but the former is important, I think.

Only one other justice has that experience (and maybe it's Souter; I forget), but we do need more justices with experience arguing cases before a court. Actually, I'd really like to see someone with experience as a public defender. They'd be used to looking out for the little guy (you know, the person who actually needs help to get what they need). Getting someone with experience as a DA or as an AG would also be useful, I think. I would have been very interested in seeing what Spitzer might have done as a justice, but apparently an affair is the only thing, these days, that automatically ends a political career. (Not that I support his having an affair, but it's a much less important issue, to me, than, for instance, starting a war under false pretenses, supporting torture, protecting the torturers from accountability (even when innocent people were tortured), supporting arbitrary imprisonment, removing government oversight of businesses, and many other issues.)