Rudy Giuliani betrays Yankeeland in a shameless act of political pandering:
CONCORD, N.H. - Pigs flew, lions slept with lambs - and No. 1 Yankee fan Rudy Giuliani miraculously transformed himself into a Red Sox fan on the eve of the World Series.
"I'm rooting for the Red Sox," the Republican presidential contender Tuesday told a Boston audience, just a few T stops from Fenway Park.
"I'm an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets. Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn't because I'm loyal to New York."
Later in New Hampshire - a loyal dominion within New England's Red Sox Nation and, more importantly to Giuliani, home of the first primary in 2008 - the former mayor expanded on his heresy.
"Somehow it makes me feel better if the team that was ahead of the Yankees wins the World Series," he told a group of mostly local reporters in explaining his sudden backing of the Red Sox, "because then I feel like, well, we're not that bad."
Grr. In normal situations, rooting for one's own league or even for the team that beat you is OK, but I don't think that flies when it is Red Sox - Yankees. And I can't believe anyone in Red Sox Nation will admire his flexible allegiance, either, although having said that, this Boston Herald editorial seems to be welcoming him aboard.
The WaPo Caucus has pics of the NY Post and NY Daily News front covers, where Rudy is a "Traitor" and a "Red Coat". One of the tabloids also calls him a "Mass-kisser".
Well. Since the NY Times is in the tank for him let me offer some tangentially related Rudy-bashing. Via Glenn we come to this Times piece about the relationship between leaded gasoline and crime:
Has the Clean Air Act done more to fight crime than any other policy in American history? That is the claim of a new environmental theory of criminal behavior.
In the early 1990s, a surge in the number of teenagers threatened a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. But to the surprise of some experts, crime fell steadily instead. Many explanations have been offered in hindsight, including economic growth, the expansion of police forces, the rise of prison populations and the end of the crack epidemic. But no one knows exactly why crime declined so steeply.
The answer, according to Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, an economist at Amherst College, lies in the cleanup of a toxic chemical that affected nearly everyone in the United States for most of the last century. After moving out of an old townhouse in Boston when her first child was born in 2000, Reyes started looking into the effects of lead poisoning. She learned that even low levels of lead can cause brain damage that makes children less intelligent and, in some cases, more impulsive and aggressive. She also discovered that the main source of lead in the air and water had not been paint but rather leaded gasoline — until it was phased out in the 1970s and ’80s by the Clean Air Act, which took blood levels of lead for all Americans down to a fraction of what they had been. “Putting the two together,” she says, “it seemed that this big change in people’s exposure to lead might have led to some big changes in behavior.”
All well and good but the WaPo had the same story last July and, perhaps sensing his impending flip-flop to the Sox, managed to frame it as a Rudy-basher:
Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Data May Undermine Giuliani's Claims
By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 8, 2007; A02
Rudy Giuliani never misses an opportunity to remind people about his track record in fighting crime as mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001.
"I began with the city that was the crime capital of America," Giuliani, now a candidate for president, recently told Fox's Chris Wallace. "When I left, it was the safest large city in America. I reduced homicides by 67 percent. I reduced overall crime by 57 percent."
Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning.
The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives.
What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.
I scarcely want to start a fight about intellectual precedence but the Times story features Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, who apparently did a state-by-state comparison within the US; late in the Times story we learn about Rick Nevin, who seems to have preceded Ms. Reyes with his international work. The WaPo also includes this:
Other evidence has accumulated in recent years that lead is a neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression, but these studies have also drawn little attention. In 2001, sociologist Paul B. Stretesky and criminologist Michael Lynch showed that U.S. counties with high lead levels had four times the murder rate of counties with low lead levels, after controlling for multiple environmental and socioeconomic factors.
In 2002, Herbert Needleman, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh, compared lead levels of 194 adolescents arrested in Pittsburgh with lead levels of 146 high school adolescents: The arrested youths had lead levels that were four times higher.
"Impulsivity means you ignore the consequences of what you do," said Needleman, one of the country's foremost experts on lead poisoning, explaining why Nevin's theory is plausible. Lead decreases the ability to tell yourself, "If I do this, I will go to jail."
By comparison, the Times does not mention Stretesky and Lynch and only notes Needleman in their closing paragraph.
The impulse control point is interesting. One objection to the Reyes and Nevin studies is that they correlate a drop in violent crime but not property crime. From the Times:
The magnitude of these claims has been met with a fair amount of skepticism. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, wonders how lead could have had such a strong effect on violent crime while, according to Reyes, it showed almost no effect on property crimes like theft. He also doubts that the hypothesis could explain the plunge in the U.S. murder rate from the 1930s through the 1950s.
Off the top of my head, the obvious response is that property crimes may tend to be more pre-meditated and less a matter of impulse control.