Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tweeners Spelling Get All The Glory; Teens Doing Math Get No Respect

Sarah Kliff hypes this Thursday's Scripps National Spelling Bee, wherein a handful of precocious middle schoolers will attempt to spell incredibly obscure words (the competitors have gotten so good that contest organizers have had to dig deeper and deeper in order to produce a winner).

Meanwhile, here's the Lehigh Valley ARML team. ARML is effectively the national championship of Contest Problem Math. Lehigh Valley and has been on an incredible run in the past seven years, winning four tournaments and placing in the top 3 every year in that time span. But you won't find their success aired on ESPN or getting a call from the White House. I guess the younger, more ethnically diverse, and more gender-balanced distribution of spelling bee contestants makes it more attractive from a marketing perspective

If I had infinite time, there are a handful of small ways that I would like to try to change the world to make it a better place. One would be to write a book about the post-Jackie Robinson generation of African-American baseball players, and use that as a launching point for a discussion about race relations in the post-civil rights era. Another would be to do something that increased the level of interest in STEM among girls and young women. The third would be to get more pop-culture respect for math team. Please start by refraining from using the word "mathlete" in all contexts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If You Build It, Drivers Will Manage

Kevin Durant was never going to spend much time in a
Sonics jersey, but hopefully his rookie year will
not be the last time pro basketball appears in Jet City
Turning to local Seattle news for a bit, I agree with basically everything Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat says about the potential new basketball arena. I'm a longtime skeptic of publicly-funded stadia, and Seattle was right to let the Sonics/Thunder walk rather than force taxpayers to foot the full price of a new home for the basketball team. What's more, the NBA is the worst of the four major sports leagues when it comes to contributing private money towards stadium construction costs. The MLB, NFL, and NHL have all realized that municipalities just aren't going to pony up a half-billion dollars for a new stadium anymore.

But now that hedge fund gazillionaire Chris Hansen is willing to foot 60-75% of the construction costs privately and cover the balance with revenues generated from the arena itself (naming rights, taxes on ticket sales & parking, etc.) in order to attract a new team, Seattle would really be foolish to turn him down.. There are a number of moribund NBA franchises--Memphis, Charlotte, New Orleans--that might be willing to move to a larger more prosperous media market. Let the man build his stadium and figure out how to mitigate the traffic impact and whatever other concerns local business owners might have later.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Willie McBride

I find it hard to watch this video, as the singer emotes so intensely that it's kind of overwhelming. I sometimes play it in the background, though, as her vocals are wonderfully expressive, and "Green Fields of France" / "No Man's Land" / "Willie McBride" is an awesome song.  The "again and again and again and again" of the last verse always makes me shiver.  And World War I is an awesome historical background for an antiwar song.

Anyway, I hope you had a memorable Memorial Day!  And not in any way involving brutal trench warfare.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Was That So Hard?

The AP does filibuster reporting right.
In mostly party-line roll calls, senators voted 62-34 against the GOP package and 51-43 for the Democratic version, with each falling short of the 60 votes needed for approval.
I suppose its too much to ask for the writers here to observe that 60 vote approval was not the norm of Senate operations until recently, but ... baby steps.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mapping the Obama-Romney Presidential Race

With the recent Florida poll showing Romney up by 6 in the Sunshine state, it's worth taking a look at the broad view of the the Presidential contest: 

This is roughly what the campaign looks like, as of late May. Barack Obama seems to have locked down the Pacific Coast and all of the Northeast, including New Hampshire EDIT: and Pennsylvania, two states that Republicans would desparately like to put into play in order to expand the map. However, Obama's strength in the Upper Midwest has dissipated. Minnesota is still safe, and Michigan seems to have a strong Democratic lean. But Wisconsin and Iowa, which were more or less uncompetitive in 2008, now appear to be swing states. On the flip side, Obama appears to by ahead by a nose in Virginia.

Obviously, given this map, you would rather be Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. Obama is slightly ahead in Wisconsin and Virginia; victories in those states alone would secure the nomination. But if the economy continues to stutter and the conservative megaphone succeeds in discrediting the President, Obama may find himself in a position where it's difficult to shift the electoral map in any direction at all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Just In, Again: Catholic Leadership Divorce From Laity on Birth Control

The P-I's Joel Connelly flags a Gallup poll showing that 90 percent of Americans and 82 percent of American Catholics consider the use of birth control "morally acceptable". This number is partially deceptive, as lots of people consider themselves Catholic even if they rarely if ever attend mass. Therefore, it's likely that the people that Catholic priests and bishops interact with aren't quite so friendly to contraception. But it's another case where church leaders seem determined to destroy the Christian brand in the eyes of the public at large, as broadly unpopular messages continue to dominate the church's public persona.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Barack Obama and the Hurt Feelings of Our Galitan Overlords

Josh Marshall has a nice piece on business leaders' reaction to the Obama Administration. Despite the fact that Washington pulled capitalism from the brink in '08-09,  the business community in general and high finance in particular has been apoplectic over their treatment in the subsequent years. He notes:
President Obama is, when compared to Democrats over the last half century, objectively quite middle of the road. And yet the reaction from Wall Street and the halls of finance is one you’d think meant he was trying to bring capitalism to its knees. The President’s policies and tenure in office simply don’t explain the reaction. And I don’t think political spin does either. We need to look deeper into the political economy of the nation at large to understand it
How did we get here? Let's try to at least start with some observations.
  • We should start by re-reading Keith Poole on polarization. The Cliff's Notes version is that partisanship increases in lock-step with income inequality, as the parties come to represent the "haves" and the "have nots" and respond to the needs of their constituents accordingly. Inequality has returned to levels not seen since the Gilded Age, if not earlier, and business leaders are the ultimate haves, so that's certainly a factor.
  • Second, I think there are some real ways in which Dodd-Frank means that high finance will never again be as free-wheeling as it was in the mid-aughts. That's good for everyone else, but bad if you're a banker. Likewise, as best I can tell the Bush administration had the most lassiez-faire regulatory apparatus in the post-war era. So for any business--not just finance, but anything--that got used to having the EPA, DOA, DOL, OSHA, etc., accomplishing close to nothing, the Obama-era agencies are a kick in the pants. Things might feel awful for the business community, but if that's so, they got used to the cushy times during the Bush era way too quickly.
  • Third, with a shrinking (or very-slowly growing) economic pie, people are crankier in general. If the economy were growing at 3% annually and we were arguing about how to split up the gains, it's much easier to come up with a solution that largely satisfies all parties. But instead we had several quarters of a shrinking economy followed by anemic growth. Under those conditions it's natural for everyone to be more pissed off than they otherwise would be.
  • People want to be liked. Especially powerful people who think that everyone should like them. I'm reminded of a post by Atrios where he relays an off the record conversation he had with a Democratic Representative or Senator. The basic gist of the politician's remarks were "why do you say mean things about me/why don't you write about all the good things I do". The Big Swinging Dicks of the financial industry aren't much different. They want to make a ton of money all while everyone tells them how much good they are doing for the world. And here they are, confronted with a politician who's unwilling to play along, at least in speeches. 
  • When you are as rich as the guys badmouthing Obama, there's very little you can't have. You can't buy a 747, like Sergey and Larry. There might be some extremely high-priced real estate you can't afford. You won't be able to build a bigger yacht than Paul Allen. But that's about it. Still, money can't buy you love, even if you try, and Lord knows the finance industry has tried (and succeeded) in buying love in Washington. The badmouthing of finance means that their attempt to buy loved failed. And I'm sure we can all imagine how much the titans of Wall Street hate to fail.
  • To a certain extent, the ability of the financial services industry to survive in its current form depends upon political support for the idea that the financial services industry in its current form is good for society. Which, I think at this point, it's clear that it isn't. Rather than matching risks with those best able to bear the risks, the bulk of what finance seems to be doing right now is obfuscating the actual amount of risk and identifying customers who are unable to see through the obfuscation.  So any time the political system threatens to attack their line of business as not socially useful, it's an existential threat to their industry. Therefore even the mere suggestion that the status quo is unsustainable cannot be tolerated.
I'm not able to roll these observations up into a coherent point, but the basic theme here is that things have gotten tangibly more difficult for business in general and Wall Street in particular. Combine that with the direction of the economy, and the fact that love from Washington is one of the few things business leaders can't buy, and I think the situation isn't terribly surprising.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Valley/Tech Consumption Patterns

Atrios flags The Times story on (non)-consumption patterns in Silicon Valley, using the soon to be newly minted Facebook millionaires as a news peg. The article makes it seem that Zuckerberg's hoodies are part of a larger symbolic rejection of conspicuous consumption. Atrios chalks this up to "spending money in ways that show up the bosses" but that's not quite what's going on.

What's going on here is that Valley & tech culture consumption just follows different patterns than Eastern seaboard consumption. The most visible difference is that nobody buys fancy clothing. But there are other ways in which techies spend more money than those on the East Coast. I imagine lots of vested employees will be filing for long unpaid Leave of Absences to travel the globe, having bought some very expensive backpacking gear, bikes, snowboard equipment, or reserved rooms in nice hotel. Owners of  high fidelity audio/video companies in the Bay Area will probably have several good months of installing ridiculously expensive home theater systems. Local high-end restaurants will probably see some more business, and if there are any foodie/techies there who have the time to cook, they can renovate their kitchen to their hearts' content. The basic shape of tech luxury spending, though, is that people don't try to keep up with the Jones's. If you're not a foodie you might not renovate your kitchen at all just because you can afford to and everyone else is doing it. If you're not a car buff you might get yourself a new Subaru or even spring for a low-end Lexus, but not everyone is going to go get themselves an M-class BMW. If you're not an audiophile why light money on fire by installing a five-figure stereo system. And so on. My perception is that people in the tech world seem to do a better job recognizing what sort of spending they'll derive enjoyment from and what they won't, and they're better able to avoid spending money that would be purely part of a positional competition in which they have no personal interest in participating.

Friday Obama Caption Contest and Kitsch Cover

Original Caption: President Barack Obama does push-ups on the White House Basketball Court after a member of the Harlem Globetrotters made a shot, April 9, 2012. The President participated in "Shoot for Strength", a game where children did push-ups for every basketball shot made by the pros, during the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll festivities

Today's Kitsch Cover is Babes in Toyland performing "We are Family" by the Pointer Sisters.
 Leave your captions and kitsch cover nominations in the comments.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Did Saint Brigid Perform An Abortion?

The early writer Cogitosus seems to say so in his Life of Saint Brigid (650 AD):
With a strength of faith most powerful and ineffable, she (Brigit) blessed a woman who, after a vow of virginity, had lapsed through weakness into youthful concupisence, as a result of which her womb began to swell with pregnancy. In consequence, what had been conceived in the womb disappeared, and she restored her to health and to penitence without childbirth or pain.
I don't actually think that this medical procedure has clinically demonstrable efficacy, but it's a reminder that for a long time, stopping abortion didn't loom as large as it does now on the list of Christian priorities.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Infrastructure Turnaround Times

It's tough to get voters
to approve rail service
when they may not be
living in the same city,
or at all, when the trains
start running.
My wife and I are thinking of buying a house (much more on that process later), but the relevant policy point to this discussion is that we're at least trying to consider our transit options when we decide where to live. In 2008 Seattle Metro residents approved a massive expansion of light rail service that covers, among other places, one of the neighborhoods we're looking at. But the trains won't start running there until 2023. And this is one of the first pieces of light rail expansion that will be finished. It's a difficult proposition to get people to vote for something where they won't see benefits for in fifteen years. The only stories you'll get in the news are stories on groundbreakings (good!), architects' renderings (tantalizing!), financing woes (bad!), and construction delays (also bad!). If you're wondering why it's been hard to build political support for big infrastructure investment in rail even as crime has subsided both directly and as a political issue, this is a good reason why.

I don't know what can be done, especially in cities where most of the land is already privately held and therefore simply acquiring the necessary land is in and of itself a difficult project. But surely we can do better than turnaround times well in excess of a decade for these sorts of capital projects. Sports stadiums these days are now built over the course of a single offseason, two years at most. Can't we get something up and running within five years?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Huey Newton On Feminism And Gay Rights

I had never read anything by Huey Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, before I saw this speech of his from 1970 discussing feminism and gay rights.  It's really something:
sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have...

...Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people. 
It's amazing to see such forceful prejudices combined with the ability to reflect on them and overcome them.  There have been a lot of political views claiming origins in Marxist thought, and a lot of them have been really bad.  But this way of looking at things where oppressed groups understand how much they have in common with each other and stop oppressing each other is impressive.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dear Jacob & Sophia!

The SSA released their list of the most popular baby names in 2011. Those two names top the charts, and the general trend towards the popular names becoming less and less popular in absolute terms continues. The number of Biblically influenced names at the top of the list seems to have dropped in recent years.

Wishing For Open Access Journals

Ezra writes:
I have conflicted feelings about the public money that goes to academic research — including political science — in this country. I admire and rely on the work that comes out of these disciplines. But for all the public money that goes to support them, there’s a decided lack of public-spiritedness in how they act. The research is often locked away in pricey journals. There’s a premium placed on unnecessary convoluted rhetoric that confuses and dissuades interested outsiders. There’s almost no effort put into connecting research with the public debate — and academics who try and engage in it often risk professional and social sanction.

 If it were up to me, any research that took even a dollar of taxpayer funds would have to be in an open-access journal and stored in a publicly searchable repository. While much of this research deserves public support, the prevailing mores in academia don’t. 
I'm very sympathetic to a lot of this.  I agree totally with the bit about unnecessary convoluted rhetoric, and I'd boast on behalf of philosophy that we've been making some headway against that problem.  Metaphysics 200 years ago was a convoluted mess (Kant, especially Hegel) but the superstars of metaphysics in recent times (Saul Kripke, David Lewis) are fairly clear and straightforward writers.

The pricey journal problem is a huge one, and I'd like to lay out the problem that people like myself are caught in.  Because it sort of made sense in the pre-internet days to have for-profit corporations handle the printing and distribution of journals, a lot of the old prestigious journals that have historically published the most influential papers are in private hands.  I send papers there because that's the only way to get ahead in our profession.  And it's going well!  I had a paper come out in the #1 journal back in 2009, and I've got a forthcoming paper in the #2 journal.  (You can see the rankings here.)  When I was chatting with a senior figure at a conference this weekend, and I mentioned these papers, he swiftly said "You're getting tenure."

I do like to submit things to Philosophers' Imprint, the #10 and rising journal (founded in 2001) which is the only open-access journal in the top 20.  But they only publish 15 or so papers a year, as is generally the case with top journals (I haven't gotten anything in there yet).  And I published in JESP rather than the other journals in its class because it was open-access.  But there aren't enough open-access venues for us to publish in, and if you restricted yourself to them, your career wouldn't go anywhere.

There are a few things we could do about this.  I'm hoping that eventually when I and the rest of the internet generation rise to prominence, we can turn some of the journals open-access.  And when there are enough open-access journals, we can refuse to referee papers for the closed-access journals.  We can also set up more things like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is the best thing in all of philosophy.  But to get the prestige and power to accomplish these goals, we have to play the game by the current rules and submit to highly prestigious closed-access journals.

The point I'm trying to make is a lot of people are on Ezra's side about how it'd be better to have open-access journals, and it's absolutely the right side.  But it's less an issue of prevailing mores and more an issue of historical path-dependent phenomena locking us into a bad situation we can't get out of.  A lot of us are grumbling about the problem, but we can't actually do anything except play the game by the existing rules and hope to change it in the future.  I'm really not sure what the situation is with the senior people who currently run the journals, but my impression is that it's less an issue of actually liking the current system than of not feeling any motivation to go through the hard work of making changes.  I'm not really sure what can be done about them, especially given the collective action problems faced by large numbers of weak people trying to change how small numbers of powerful people behave.

It'd delight me if the federal government simply stopped enforcing copyright on publicly funded research.  None of us make any serious money off of books, and refereeing is entirely done on a volunteer basis.  I'm pretty sure there's no way to make this happen, though.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Irish Whiskey, Not Irish Austerity, For Germans

When chatting about European financial woes, my friend in Erfurt endorsed the stereotype of the German belt-tightener who works hard and saves his money.  He seemed amused by my suggestion that Germans need to do their part to fix the European crisis by buying lots of cool stuff from the troubled European economies.  But that's the happiest way out of this.  If the troubled countries are going to do better economically, they'll have to export more stuff.  For them to export more stuff, someone has to buy the stuff.  They can't buy their own stuff, since their economies are depressed and they don't have money.  So the buyers they need are Germany and the other prosperous countries in Europe.

This is why the European Central Bank needs to cut rates (actually, they need to start printing money to generate inflation.)  The way a central bank can make people spend is by making saving money a bad deal.  High interest rates make saving a great deal, low interest rates make it a mediocre deal, and inflation makes it a bad deal.  What people don't save, they spend.  There are lots of fun things to drink in the troubled countries, and Germans could spend their money on those.

Of course, this isn't likely to happen anytime soon.  Jens Weidmann, head of the Bundesbank, wants the ECB not to cut interest rates.  Which is a pity, as I think the Germans would really have a good time drinking Ireland and Southern Europe out of the financial crisis.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Did Steve Jobs Save Mass Transit Without Even Trying?

The above is my attempt to write an attention-grabbing headline that bears only tangential relevance to the point of this post.

Five years ago, there were no angry birds you
could launch at pigs to take out your frustration
at bus service delays.
But it does have some relevance in this case. I think Atrios is missing the key way in which smartphones have improved the experience of waiting for and riding the bus. They've made it more fun! When I worked at Microsoft ten years ago, you would occasionally see some twenty-something male bus rider with a Game Boy Advance. But no self-respecting person who's not a twenty-something male geek would walk around with something like that. The will, however, walk around with an iPhone or Galaxy Nexus, which they can use to read news, play games, do crossword puzzles, or get some actual work done.

I sometimes think that mobile games are a blight upon society, distracting us from real person-to-person interactions, but in this use case, they may be giving more people reasons to take the bus. Perhaps Neil has a utilitarian point he could make here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Destroying the Christian Brand

The exact numbers in this Rachel Held Evans piece, which show that almost all young American non-Christians and even most self-identified young American Christians think that the primary tenet of Christianity is hating on the gays, are a little higher than I've seen from other public opinion surveys. But the general shape is the same. The Millenial Generation has broadly equated Christianity with the political project of conservative Christians at the national level. Which is to say, opposition to abortion and gay marriage, with little room for anything else. Locally, this or that Catholic Parish or mainline Protestant congregation may try to insert itself into issues such as homelessness, or even at the national level we might see the Catholic Bishops might criticize Paul Ryan's budget. But these efforts are being drowned out by the homophobia and antiabortion rhetoric.

This should really serve as a wake up call to church leaders. The once near-universal brand of American Christianity is being associated with an ever-shrinking size of the American public. Like Burger King and Axe Body Spray, you may wake up one day and find that the overwhelming majority of the public has simply tuned out everything you have to say. Now, it's always possible that the leaders of the major American churches may want it this way. But for those who don't, the window of opportunity where people might be willing to consider a more relevant form of modern Christianity is closing.

(hat tips to Amanda MarcotteJamelle Bouie).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Summer Travel Plans

As the last couple posts have indicated, I'm in Europe!  So let me fill you in on my summer travel plans to Europe and the USA, just in case you want to hang out and I'm there.

May 5-7: Strasbourg, France
May 7-9: Erfurt, Germany
May 9-12: Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
May ?-18: Berlin, Germany
May 19: New Jersey
May 20-22: St. Louis
May 22-26: Illinois
May 26-31: DC
May 31-June 2: Portland
June 3-28: SF
June 28-July 6: New York
July 7-11: ??
July 11-18: Oxford, UK
July 18-20: Naples, Italy
July 20-26: Salou, Spain
July 26-Aug 7: Bumming around Europe

Some of this is for conferences and lectures, but some of it is just me hanging out in neat places.  

Greece: Nazis Bad, Tsipras Good!

Obviously the Golden Dawn party doing well in Greece is not what you want.  Their logo is at right, and it may remind you of something.

But the Greek election result still seems pretty good to me.  Nothing I've read indicates that Golden Dawn is going to end up in a governing coalition, and the bigger news is that the anti-austerity left wing Syriza party came in second.  Their leader, Alexis Tsipras, sounds good enough to me: “The crisis isn’t just Greek, it’s European,” he said on April 22. “There will either be a collective, sustainable and fair European solution to the public debt issue or it will collectively fall apart."

If Tsipras and the other anti-austerity parties can form a coalition government, and the newly elected Hollande is willing to push for greater accommodation of countries on the Eurozone periphery, maybe we'll end up with enough political pressure to move Eurozone policymakers in an anti-austerity direction. In light of this, there's room for Golden Dawn's success to actually be a positive thing.  If you like European political integration and you don't like Nazis (I take it that this is the stance of EU policymakers) you might be willing to make deals with a left-wing Greek coalition that keeps the Nazis from rising any further.

A Socialist Party

After Hollande's victory in French elections, young folk of Strasbourg gathered in the town square to celebrate. It's a conservative area, so there aren't that many of them. But they were dancing and playing music and climbing a statue and having a good time.

Strasbourg And The European Ending

Right now I'm in Strasbourg, France.  The semester has ended in Singapore, and I'm on the road as I usually am at these times, with a few lectures and a conference ahead of me in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Strasbourg is in Alsace, a region that France and Germany were fighting over for most of the last few centuries.  That's made it a good symbolic site for monuments to recent European cooperation and the hope for world peace.  The building depicted here is the European Parliament.

I'm generally optimistic about the future of humanity, and the history of Western Europe over the last 60 years is the kind of story that supports optimism.  Nations that had been slaughtering each other for centuries in horrific ethnic, religious, and nationalistic conflicts have managed to put aside their differences and achieve a high level of material prosperity through cooperation.  There are serious economic problems in Europe at present, but the possibility of millions of people killing each other in a Europe-centered World War is so far off the table that nobody even thinks about it.  And there's really no force to lead us backwards -- the economic incentives support positive-sum international cooperation rather than negative-sum military conflict.  That the last century started so horribly and ended so well for Europe is a nearly unfathomable human achievement.

I don't think that the Israelis and the Palestinians or the Hutus and the Tutsis or the Hindus and Muslims are going to be at each other's throats for the rest of human history.  Establishing the preconditions for peace will be hard -- it took centuries for things to fall into place for France, England, and Germany.  But I'm optimistic that as long as humanity doesn't completely wreck itself through global nuclear war or extreme climate change or some other planetary catastrophe, all the peoples of the world will find their way to a European ending.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

After Lugar

Jonathan Bernstein writes:
it's looking more and more as if Dick Lugar is toast. If it does cost Republicans the seat -- unlikely in my view, but certainly possible -- it does make you wonder if there's any point at which they might start rethinking their strategies, no? 
I'd be surprised if any serious rethinking came out of a defeat in Indiana.  In 2010, Republicans lost very winnable Senate races in Nevada and Colorado as well as near-certain victory in Delaware because their primary voters nominated extreme and sometimes flaky candidates when electable moderates were available.  If there was a serious internal rethinking in the GOP about nominating extreme Senate candidates after that, I didn't see it.  And it didn't seem to reach Indiana.

I guess it's a little different because those were open seat races while Lugar is an long-serving Senator, but I don't think that's really going to weigh heavily on anyone's mind.  There aren't that many moderates left in the GOP who would drive a freakout over this (if there were, Lugar would be coasting to victory) and while sitting Senators probably don't like the effects of this dynamic on their job security, being the first to speak out against it would put them in greater primary-election peril, so they'll keep their mouths shut.

As an institution, the Republican Party has decided to sacrifice a few Senate seats in the name of ideological purity.  I'm pretty happy about this, because I like it when they lose Senate seats.  The price is that you get a more extreme Senate Republican Party, but it's not like the so-called moderates were doing all that much for us anyway.