BC’s weekend reads

Around the Web

  1. Arms in the Several States. This is a great post by a law professor at Fordham (Nicholas Johnson) on the legal history behind the struggle of black Americans to arm themselves in the face of State oppression.
  2. World War I and Australia
  3. Held up in customs: Life in China gave Brittany Griner more than she bargained for. This is an excellent piece on the life of a female (former) college basketball star living in China.
  4. Putin’s Cold New World. This is a piece in Dissent magazine by a Polish Left-wing sociologist who deplores what he thinks of as inadequate protection from the United States. Interesting to read in tandem with the knowledge of factions and rent-seeking that is often addressed here at NOL.
  5. The House sues Obama: Political theatre, political pain. A penetrating insight from Will Wilkinson into the House’s decision to sue the Obama administration. The best account I’ve read of the drama so far.

Go Bruins!

That is all.

I’m originally from northern California, by way of Utah (long story: ask me about it sometime!), but I love Los Angeles! One of the world’s greatest cities.

In case you are wondering, UCLA’s football team just beat Southern Cal and won the division title in the nation’s toughest football conference. I don’t care what you say, but until I see some SEC teams come out West and play our boys, I’ll continue to argue that the West plays the best football in the country.

As for Southern Cal, well, there’s always basketball season…

“The Fastest Race Ever Run”

That’s a headline piece from the Economist. An excerpt:

Nate Silver, a blogger for the New York Times and sports statistician, points out that only five world records in track and field were broken in Beijing out of 47 events. Even that was a decent tally: the previous four Olympics saw a total of just seven new world bests, compared with a whopping 22 world records in swimming. Mr Silver attributes this disparity to economic inequality. “An athlete with the perfect swimmer’s build,” he writes, “and a world-class work ethic would still stand little chance of competing in this year’s games if he happened to be born in a poor nation like Cameroon or Panama—he might never have gotten into a pool, let alone an Olympic-size one.”

Running, in contrast, is more democratic […]

Read the rest here. I’m not a big fan of the Olympics, just because of the nationalistic impulses it taps into. Why shouldn’t these sports become completely separated from the state?

With that obligatory libertarian statement out of the way, I can’t help but admire the feats accomplished by some of these athletes. A lot of hard work goes into training for the Olympics, and I think that pushing the state out of the way would help to reduce the obvious inequalities associated with national competitions. Did anybody see the US basketball team play Nigeria?

If sports were separated from the state we’d see more games like the NBA: very competitive, cosmopolitan and lucrative (unlike the bloodbath between the US and Nigeria).

Anyway, I like it when individuals from poor states win big in the Olympics. Nothing like seeing an underdog win, especially an underdog with a name like Usain Bolt!

Update: I spoke too soon about the level of competitive play at London’s basketball tourney. Check out this piece in Grantland about the semis between Spain v. Russia and the US v. Argentina. And ESPN has a brief recap of the Russia v. Spain game. I’ll keep my eye out for a more passionate recap, though. Spottieottiedopalicious!

Update 2: Spain’s leading daily newspaper, El Pais, reports on the game with Russia. The Russian press spilled a lot of ink on their team’s quarterfinal win over Lithuania, and not so much ink on their semifinal loss to Spain…

What? You don’t surf with Google’s Chrome browser? I hope you have fun looking for some sort of translating software instead having Chrome do it for you on the spot…