Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!
Friday, August 20, 2004
Selig's continued reign is bad for baseball
That's a bear you want to party with
Too much to quote, but definitely worth reading.
Jonah Goldberg on Hayek and marriage
A black bear was found passed out at a campground in Washington state recently after guzzling down three dozen cans of a local beer, a campground worker said on Wednesday.
It turns out the bear was a bit of a beer sophisticate. He tried a mass-market Busch beer, but switched to Rainier Beer, a local ale, and stuck with it for his drinking binge.
And he's got good taste in beer, too.
Indeed, in the abstract, some customs may not even be the most efficient or best way to do things, but simply because millions or billions of people have "invested" in that system, the costs of changing the system would be far, far greater than the benefits. Maybe, in the abstract, there's a better way to design traffic lights. Who cares? In the real world, our society is deeply invested the way we've always done it.
In short, the Hayekian opponent of same-sex marriage says that he doesn't necessarily need to give a good reason against changing marriage, because it's impossible to know all the functions and roles that marriage plays in a society. Tinkering with marriage is like reaching into your car's engine and monkeying around with the big round thingamajig without really knowing what it does.
Organic change depends on organic processes. Organic processes take time, particularly in democratic orders in which persuasion is the only route to consensus. Rauch may be completely convinced, but millions are not. The passage of time and the sifting of social trial-and-error has a teaching effect. As Edmund Burke also said, "Example is the school of mankind and they will learn at no other." It was only three decades ago when the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from their respective lists of mental disorders. It sounds awfully utopian to believe that in the span of a generation a few judges, under popular pressure, can convince the rest of society to accept an unprecedentedly radical revision of an institution that existed millennia before traffic lights, and upon which far more depends.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Sure. An "error"
Error Puts Kennedy on Airline No-Fly List
You saying he doesn't pose a threat to America?
Gross revenues have increased from $1.6 billion in 1992 to $4.1 billion this year.
How much of this is really attributable to Selig? What was the increase of rother sports? What percentage of the revenue increase is due to the addition of four more teams?
In 2002, concluded Collective Bargaining Agreement without a work stoppage for the first time in more than 30 years.
Because the players blinked, not out of anything the Commissioner did.
The 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement dramatically changed the economics of the game and resulted in:
- Meaningful revenue sharing (in 1992, $20 million was shared amongst the clubs; by the end of this agreement more than $300 million will be shared, an increase of 1400 percent).
- Competitive Balance Tax.
- Player salaries stabilizing for the first time since the advent of free agency.
- Competitive balance improving as the last three World Series have been won by mid-market clubs.
- Debt service rule has increased the financial stability of the Clubs.
In order:Revenue sharing/The Competitive Balance Tax largely rewards teams for not trying to compete. The worse your team is, the more money the owner gets. The Philadelphia Phillies received revenue sharing for a few years.
The debt service rule is designed to prevent teams from financing their own ballparks and signing players to high-dollar, long term contracts.
Centralization of all Club internet assets under a single roof - MLB Advanced Media.
Have you been to MLB.com? It's an awful site. All the team sites look just like each other. There's no room for individuality or team flavor.
Three division formats in the American and National Leagues.
The Wild Card and an additional round of playoffs.
First phase of realignment (Milwaukee moved to NL Central).
Don't even get me started on these. I don't like any of them. The phrase "first phase of realignment" really worries me.
Since 1992, the greatest ballpark construction boon in the history of the game, with new ballparks in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and Texas.
Paid for at taxpayer expense. The poor making the rich even richer. (With the exception of San Francisco, which was privately financed. Selig is still offended at the Giant doing that and refuses to give them an All-Star game, despite it being a tradition to give it to teams with new stadiums.)
Rejuvenation of the All-Star Game, MLB's Midsummer Classic, by awarding home field advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star Game.
Awful. This wouldn't have been necessary if he hadn't ruled the 2002 All-Star Game a tie.
Why exactly are they keeping this guy? Does any other major sport have a Commissioner so hated by the fans?
Great Shirts Available
Bud Selig's term as baseball commissioner was extended for three years through 2009 in a unanimous vote by owners Thursday.
No one has adequately explained why this isn't a disqualifying conflict of interest:
The 70-year-old Selig, whose family controls the Milwaukee Brewers, has been in charge of baseball since September 1992....
This is not a good day for baseball.
German men told they can no longer stand and deliver
German men are being shamed into urinating while sitting down by a gadget which is saving millions of women from cleaning up in the bathroom after them.
"Hey, stand-peeing is not allowed here and will be punished with fines, so if you don't want any trouble, you'd best sit down," one of the devices orders in a voice impersonating the German leader, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder. Another has a voice similar to that of his predecessor, Helmut Kohl.
It's official. German males are no longer men. They are being stripped of their final masculinity. I hope that they'll fight this and stand up for themselves.
I'm trying to resist the urge to say that something like this would not be needed in France...
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
My Current Reading
"The right to be left alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms." --William Douglas
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." --Barry Goldwater
"Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped." --Calvin Coolidge
"When those who are governed do too little, those who govern can -- and often will -- do too much." --Ronald Reagan
"Can there be a less self-aware creature in the entire universe than an American liberal?" --George Shadroui
Vice President Dick Cheney attacked John Kerry saying that he "lacks deeply held convictions". Today Kerry shot back, "That's not completely true."
In a stunning announcement, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey announced that he had an extramarital affair with another man. Finally a Democrat who can honestly say, "I did not have sex with that woman!"
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Catholicism & Liberalism: Not Exactly Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate
I finally finished the book while waiting for my plane up to Boston on Friday. It was very good.
His explanation of the end of the British Empire:
...the Empire was dismantled not because it had oppressed subject people for centuries, but because it took up arms for just a few more years against far more oppressive empires. It did the right thing, regardless of the cost. And that was why the ultimate, if reluctant, heir of Britain's global power was not one of the evil empires of the East, but Britain's most successful former colony.
Here he's responding to common academic view that the Empire ended because the indigenous peoples of the Empire rose up against their oppressors. What he argues, successfully, in my opinion, is that the Great Britain exhausted its ability to maintain her empire in the battle against Nazism and Fascism. Hitler had offered a truce to the United Kingdom that would give her the seas, while leaving Europe "safe" for Nazism. They rejected their chance to maintain their empire in order to defeat Germany. And had they been defeated by Germany and Japan, the people of the Empire would have been treated much, much worse than the worst the British ever did.
On the good the Empire did:
Without the spread of British rule around the world, it is hard to believe that the structures of liberal capitalism would have been so successfully established in so many different economies around the world. Those empires that adopted alternative models - the Russian and the Chinese - imposed incalculable misery on their subject peoples. Without the influence of British imperial rule, it is hard to believe that the institutions of parliamentary democracy would have been adopted by the majority of states in the world, as they are today. India, the world's largest democracy, owes more than it is fashionable to acknowledge to British rule. Its elite schools, its universities, its civil service, its army, its press and its parliamentary system all still have distinctly British models.
Britain laid the seeds for democracy around the world, and bears much of the credit for the relative peace we have today. It's largely the non-British colonies that are having trouble today. The problem is that the Empire was too big; it's that it wasn't big enough.
He closes with an argument that America is largely filling the role of successor to the British Empire, both unknowingly and unwillingly. He regrets that we historically have been unwillingly to directly rule nations we conquer, preferring to let them find their own way even at the cost of having them do it wrong. He'd rather we accept our role and act in the style of the British Empire: ruling over a nation, while giving and teaching the benefits of the rule of law.
It's definitely worth reading and contains a lot of insights that give advice on what we should do in the coming years. I definitely recommend buying
it and reading it.
I've already ordered his follow-up: Colossus
. The book description from Amazon.com:
Niall Ferguson brings his renowned historical and economic depth of field to bear on a bold and sweeping reckoning with America's imperial status and its consequences.
Is America an empire? Certainly not, according to our government. Despite the conquest of two sovereign states in as many years, despite the presence of more than 750 military installations in two thirds of the world's countries and despite his stated intention "to extend the benefits of freedom...to every corner of the world," George W. Bush maintains that "America has never been an empire." "We don't seek empires," insists Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. "We're not imperialistic."
Nonsense, says Niall Ferguson. In Colossus he argues that in both military and economic terms America is nothing less than the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Just like the British Empire a century ago, the United States aspires to globalize free markets, the rule of law, and representative government. In theory it's a good project, says Ferguson. Yet Americans shy away from the long-term commitments of manpower and money that are indispensable if rogue regimes and failed states really are to be changed for the better. Ours, he argues, is an empire with an attention deficit disorder, imposing ever more unrealistic timescales on its overseas interventions. Worse, it's an empire in denial-a hyperpower that simply refuses to admit the scale of its global responsibilities. And the negative consequences will be felt at home as well as abroad. In an alarmingly persuasive final chapter Ferguson warns that this chronic myopia also applies to our domestic responsibilities. When overstretch comes, he warns, it will come from within-and it will reveal that more than just the feet of the American colossus is made of clay.
Should be another interesting read.
James K. Fitzpatrick makes the very valid point that not every government program that will "help the poor" actually does so. Just because the liberals claim they care about the poor more than conservatives doesn't mean that their programs are actually better. As someone once put it, "Compassion should not be measured by how much of someone else's money you're willing to spend."
"I would happily die for my country, but I will do all I can to get out of paying income tax. No-one is patriotic about taxes."---George Orwell
Monday, August 16, 2004
Judge denies divorce: Adultery not enough
More Warsaw Uprising
This is interesting:
"Adultery cannot be established solely by the admission or confession of the defendant. Rather, there must be additional corroborating evidence which supports the finding of adultery," Kent said in his four-page decision, denying Gail Ozkan's request for divorce. "Moreover, merely the general admission by the defendant, that he had an affair with someone other than his wife is not, by itself, an admission that he engaged in adultery within the statutory definition."
In other words, there has to be actualy evidence of adultery in order for adultery to be used as a defense. People can't just make up claims to end marriage. So, New York law seems to be pro-marriage.
Naturally, this upsets some people:
Currently, there is a move to get lawmakers in Albany to adopt a different law -- one similar to those in states such as California and Florida -- where grounds for divorce are as uncomplex as irreconcilable differences.
Vincent Stempel Jr., a matrimonial lawyer in Garden City and chairman of New York State Bar Association Family Law Section, said his organization voted in June to lobby lawmakers to make the changes.
"It's long overdue," Stempel said. "It decreases counsel fees and frees up valuable court time."
Yeah, we should break up marriages and harm children simply to free up court time. That's what matters.
Why New Jersey is so corrupt
Geroge Weigel on the bravery and importance of the Polish resistance:
The Polish government never formally surrendered, after resisting the German onslaught far longer than the French managed in June 1940. Polish intelligence gave Britain Germany's supposedly unbreakable "Enigma" coding machine, probably the greatest intelligence coup of the war. Polish pilots flew with the Royal Air Force and helped save England during the Battle of Britain; as RAF fighter chief Sir Hugh Dowding later said, with typical British understatement, "Had it not been for the … [Polish] squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the battle would have been the same." The 1st Polish Armored Division led the Allied breakout from the Falaise Pocket in Normandy, making it possible for LeClerc's Free French to liberate Paris and Patton's U.S. Third Army to roar across France toward the Reich. General Wladyslaw Anders' Polish II Corps won the fourth and decisive Battle of Monte Cassino, clearing the way for the Allied liberation of Rome.
But on this sixtieth anniversary, we should remember that Warsaw was betrayed by Britain and the United States in 1944, for crude Realpolitik reasons. My Polish friend's mother will cry this month from memory; Britons and Americans should cry from shame.
Pretty even-handed look at it.