Daily archives: February 2, 2016

The Clinton “Fluke”

Hillary Clinton only “won” Iowa because she won all six coin tosses in tied precincts. What are the odds against six successive coin toss wins? I calculate 1 in 64, or you have a 1.5% chance of pulling it off. If I am right, do we really believe it did happen? That question is posed without taking into account the indisputable bias for Clinton of the Democrat machine which was organising the vote, and other startling irregularities, including the falure of the organising committee to staff over sixty caucus meetings. It all stinks, frankly.

I have been trying to think up a word to describe the kind of society we have now, in which a tiny number of extremely wealthy people control the politicians and manipulate the public through the mass media. Then I realised we already have a perfectly adequate word for it – plutocracy.

It is a plutocracy where 85 people own the same wealth as the other 50% of the population of the entire world, and the wealth gap still grows at astonishing pace. A reaction from the people who actually create that wealth is inevitable. The extraordinary concentration of capital has only been possible because of the existence of state mechanisms designed to promote it, and a popular movement to end that state bias was bound to happen. It was also predictable that it would be dominated by the young. To see youth mobilise for Scottish independence, for Corbyn or for Sanders has been life-affirming for me.

I might wish the movement for change to be sometimes better directed. But there is now a generational shift, a desire of young people for fundamental change, resisted by their elders. This phenomenon has not been seen so strongly since the 60’s. In the battle between the growing and the dying, there is only one ultimate winner. A good time to be alive (again). Almost makes up for struggling on through Thatcher and Blair…

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Why That Particular Mankad Was Cheating


Even this picture does not give the idea of how close it was. The bat is moving forward (left to right), and you can see the stump has already moved forward a fair way. At the instant the stumps were broken, the bat was further back towards the crease. If it was out, it was by well less than a millimetre (on the line is out – you or the bat must be grounded behind).

Cricket is a game of marginal decisions. But this is different. At the moment when the bowler would normally have entered his delivery stride, the bat was still grounded well and truly within the crease. It is plain that the bowler had run up with no intention of actually bowling, but purely with the intention of completing a mankad. There was no early run by the batsman that triggered the mankad. The batsman was not attempting to steal an advantage. Had the bowler completed his delivery in the normal way, the batsman would still have had his bat grounded at the point of release.

I am not against all mankads on principle, but I do think that the accepted convention that the bowler gives a warning first if he feels the batsman is backing up too enthusiastically is a good one. Here no warning was given.

Zimbabwe needed two runs to win with six balls remaining and one wicket left. By this bit of cheating West Indies have knocked Zimbabwe out of the U-19 World Cup. I use the word cheating because I am convinced there was never any intention to bowl a legitimate delivery, while the batsman was plainly attempting to operate within both the spirit and laws of the game.

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