Archive for February 3, 2009

No Middle Ground

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve had a long post brewing in my mind since December about the mainstream media, the effect blog reading has had on my newspaper reading habits, and why I find myself missing certain aspects of daily newspaper reading less and less (even as we continue to take three newspapers — the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — and even as I spend more time reading news on line than I may ever have spent reading the papers). That post may yet get written. But in the meantime, I will quote from a blog post this morning of Paul Krugman, who in turn refers to a blog post yesterday of Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.

The starting point is remarks the Washington Post’s David Broder made about the stimulus package in an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. See the video above. Key quote: “it’s much better off if it includes the best thinking that’s available in both parties, not just one party.” Once upon a time, I liked reading David Broder. That time ended years ago, and this quote is as good an example of why as any. But let’s listen to Paul Krugman.

… the part that really got me was Broder saying that we need “the best ideas from both parties.”

You see, this isn’t a brainstorming session — it’s a collision of fundamentally incompatible world views. If one thing is clear from the stimulus debate, it’s that the two parties have utterly different economic doctrines. Democrats believe in something more or less like standard textbook macroeconomics; Republicans believe in a doctrine under which tax cuts are the universal elixir, and government spending is almost always bad.

Obama may be able to get a few Republican Senators to go along with his plan; or he can get a lot of Republican votes by, in effect, becoming a Republican. There is no middle ground.

Categories: Politics

Baseball Guess Who

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment


This post is for baseball fans. If that’s not you, you can skip it. And in any case, I have nothing original to say. I simply want to draw your attention to Joe Posnanski’s latest post at his blog today. In it, without naming names until the end, he lays out the case for a particular contemporary baseball player to be regarded as “baseball’s greatest winner.” As one reads along, one’s thoughts may drift to Derek Jeter, but Posnanski anticipates this and says no, that’s not who he’s talking about. Finally, at the end, he reveals the player’s identity. Go to Posnanski’s post for the details. Below I will get you started. And if you don’t want to go to Posnanski’s post, after the jump I’ll tell you who Posnanski is describing.

I’m thinking of a baseball player who has never played for a losing team. Not even once. Well, that’s not technically true: He played very briefly for a terrible team when he was 21, a team that had been terrible for a very, very long time. Then, the next year, his rookie year, that terrible team became instantly great. And he helped lead his team to the World Series the very next year.

The guy has never, ever played for a loser since. Not ever. He carried his teams to the playoffs 10 times in his 15 full seasons, and four times those teams went to the World Series. His teams, over his rather lengthy career, have a .578 winning percentage, which is rather incredible. …

But it’s even more than his winning percentages. He helped turned around the fortunes of one dying franchise. He helped end one of the longest droughts in American sports. He turned around a third team instantly after being traded there. This isn’t like the story of Derek Jeter, who wins every year but always for the New York Yankees. No. Wherever this guy goes, no matter the tradition, no matter curses, no matter anything, his teams win. HIs teams win big.

You could argue based on all this, that this player is the greatest winner of his generation. We all know that one player in baseball cannot make the whole difference, one player cannot turn a bad team into a good one. But you can’t argue with the man’s record. He’s a winner. He might even be THE winner.

Read more…

Categories: Sports