October 29, 2011

The Cardinals wrapped it up in fine style last night. Life, at the moment at least, is good.

Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell, with whom I have had several bones to pick over the years, writes a gorgeous column about what this means.

ESPN\'s Jayson Stark, who’s becoming my BFF, has a more detailed analysis.

Now, in the words of my fellow Vermonter Willem Lange, I gotta get back to work.



Happy Birthday, Ms. Liberty

October 28, 2011

The Statue of Liberty turns 125 today



October 28, 2011

David Freese and teammates celebrate as Mark Lowe hangs his head (DMN photo)

I have to admit, when Jason Motte gave up that 2-run homer to Josh Hamilton in the 10th, my heart sank. Motte had already blown a save in Game 2, wasting a terrific performance by starter Jaime Garcia, and we had the tail end of the order coming up.

One announcer called this the greatest poorly-played World Series game ever, and he wasn’t far wrong, particularly from the Cardinals’ point-of-view. They had more errors than hits through the 5th. David Freese, later the hero, dropped a pop fly any 8-year-old could have caught, setting up another Rangers’ score. Matt Holliday got picked off 3rd with one out and the bases loaded. Until the 9th, Pujols went 0-4. I lost track of the number of missed scoring opportunities.

But they battled back. Freese turned on a 98 mph fastball on a 1-2 count and tripled in the bottom of the 9th to tie it. Theriot and Berkman drove in runs to tie it again in the 10th after Hamilton’s homer. Then Freese went from Bill Buckner to Bill Mazeroski and sent a 3-2 from Mark Lowe into the seats for the first walk-off WS homer in Cardinal history.

Jayson Stark at ESPN, lists reasons why the Cardinals can say this was a great game:

• They should say they were a part of the first World Series game in history in which a team got down to its final strike, its final breath, twice — once in the ninth inning, once in the 10th inning — and somehow won.

• They should say they were a part of the first World Series game ever played in which any team trailed five different times — and still came back to win.

• They should say they were a part of the first World Series game ever in which a team found itself losing in the ninth inning and extra innings — yet still found a way to win.

• They should say they played in the first World Series game in history in which two different players — Josh Hamilton for the Rangers, then Freese for the Cardinals — hit go-ahead home runs in extra innings.

• They should say they were the first team in the 1,330-game history of postseason baseball to score in the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th innings of any game.

Game 7 tonight. Just about everyone thinks Chris Carpenter will get the ball. We’ll see. This would be the second time in his career he’s pitched on 3 days’ rest. The first time, against the Phillies on October 2nd, he gave up four runs in less than 4 innings. He has been solid, but not outstanding, against the Rangers in the Series. In Game 1, he pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. The bullpen held, and the Cardinals won. In Game 5, he pitched 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, but his teammates couldn’t hold it, and the Cards lost. On short rest against a team that’s now seem him twice in 9 days, it will take more than his iron will to prevail. We may need some more offensive heroics, along with a bullpen that has to find the kind of moxie they showed earlier this month.


The Economic Mobility Project

October 27, 2011

It’s a deeply-held belief – now mostly a myth – that, in America, all you have to do is apply yourself, get a good education, stick to the rules, work hard, and you can succeed, build some economic security for yourself and create a platform for your heirs to go even higher.

After years of growing income inequality and shrinking real wages (despite longer hours worked and greater productivity), this is no longer reality for most Americans.

The Economic Mobility Project is a joint venture of the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute, the New America Foundation, and Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute aimed at analyzing data and presenting economic facts about how easy – or not – it is for Americans to move up the economic ladder. One of the most recent reports comes from The Pew Charitable Trusts report that finds that a quarter of all children in middle class families will be downwardly mobile, and that jumps to 40 percent for African-American males.

Clearly, something’s terribly wrong when the basic assumptions about our economy – and, by extension, our democracy – is no longer valid for millions of Americans.


Stimulus? Didn’t work, right?

October 26, 2011

Martin Sullivan at Tax.com has a quick-hit little chart on relative GDP growth of the US (with that accursed, Socialist stimulus) and the UK (without).

Looks rather stark to me.

Thanks to Ms. Rampell and Mr. Thompson for drawing my attention to this.


Sometimes Nature just strikes awe

October 26, 2011

Thanks to the crew at Talking Points Memo for assembling this slide show of the Northern Lights the other night:

Aurora borealis


CBO, income inequality, and why so many of us accept it

October 26, 2011

The Congressional Budget Office has a new report, being widely covered in the media (surprise!), tracking income distribution between 1979 and 2007. Three guesses what it says.

I’ve gone on at length about this before, so no need to rant, really, but my man Derek Thompson over at the Atlantic has an excellent piece.

Brad Plumer . one of the Washington Post’s economic bloggers, also weighs in, noting that CBO finds our public policy apparatus hasn’t done much to address the situation. I wrote about this back in March.

Robert Pear, at NYT, makes this point, as well.

So, Occupy Wall Street aside, why aren’t more people up in arms? Catherine Rampell at NYT, had an interesting piece the other day, citing this report on why Americans will hold beliefs – and eventually vote – against their own economic interests.

Perhaps it comes down to psychology. Tina Dupuy has a neat little think piece about how the fundamental American myths of self-reliance prevent people from seeing how the world works. Nothing wrong with self-reliance, of course, but the myth that’s grown up around it, abetted by t.v., movies, books, etc., that we’re just a nation of rugged individualists, not really connected to one another, is destructive.