Results tagged ‘ Economic Crisis ’

Defending Logic

“One man’s balk is another man’s strikeout.”
–Mr. Allen Krause, August 30, 2011

Um… what?!?

Look, I don’t know what they put in that Big Government Liberal Kool-Aid, but whatever it is, it has some major psychotropic side effects, because in the game of baseball I know and love, a balk is a balk and a strikeout is a strikeout.  The two are never interchangeable.  NEVER.

But mistakes seem to be pretty common when it comes to the work of my opinionated and oft Yes We Can-chanting colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  In his gimpy and tired attempt to derail my Liberty-train party, he made several inaccurate claims whilst using pompous generalizations to try and hide the fact that our current two-party political system cares more about robbing you, ignoring you, and then guilting you into making it all seem okay with special buzzwords like “terror” and “patriotism” and “hope”.

Sorry.  I learned my lesson when my vote went to Obama, my taxes went up, my savings account lost its value and my buddies are still off fighting stupid, pointless wars.

At the time of this photo, Little Allen still believed in invisible sky daddies, gnomes and unicorns, so there is still hope.

Let’s see exactly what Mr. Krause had to say:

“Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian.  Ron Paul has a lot of libertarian positions but it’s like being vegetarian.  Once you eat a piece of meat, you can’t really claim to be a vegetarian anymore.”

I assure you, Mr. Krause: Ron Paul is a libertarian.  Just because he differs from his party line on some select issues doesn’t make him any less a representative of the movement as a whole.  Just like I’m sure there are gay Republicans and gun-owning Democrats, it ain’t all ones and zeroes, sir.  Don’t forget, your Detroit Tigers’ greatest player was a drunken racist womanizer.  Does that mean you support drunken racist womanizing? (Don’t answer that).

Also, we are not talking about anarchy here.  We are talking about limiting the federal government’s involvement in our lives, like the Constitution was meant to do.  You do remember that little thing called the Constitution, right?  You know Dr. Paul is an expert on the Constitution, right?  You know that your big government is sh***ing all over the Constitution, right?  Okay, just checking.

“Yes, the US bureaucracy is often unwieldy but it’s downright streamlined compared to most of our OECD friends.”

So, you’re saying that because there are countries still worse off than us that we shouldn’t complain about the terrible job ours is doing?  Tell that to the dying middle class who are out of work because some big government bed-sharing CEO wants to make an extra $500K on top of his $3 million salary.  Tell that to the folks paying $4.25 for a gallon of gas, the people who can barely afford groceries, who are meanwhile raped for 20% of their income in taxes to fund programs they’ll never benefit from.  The system is broke.  This system is BROKEN.  Time to fix it.

“Paul would have us close up our borders but it’s foreign trade that allows us all to have televisions in our home and computers at work for a fraction of what they would otherwise cost.”

Your claim is simply not true.  Not true at all.  Dr. Paul’s fiscal propositions heavily support a free market economy.  It’s sort of the bread and butter of the Libertarian economic plan.  But you do have a point in that Dr. Paul would have us pull out of some of the international arenas where we are mostly seen as an unwanted nuisance.  Why are we still in Iraq?  Why are we still in Afghanistan?  Why are we now focusing on Iran?!?!?

And don’t give me that terrorism mish-mash.  You know why those countries hate us so much?  They hate us because of our longstanding foreign policy which is to invade, overthrow and then set up puppet governments and act as dictators to protect our interests in oil.  That’s why they want to kill us.  Because we are interfering in their affairs and they don’t like it.  Heck, I don’t blame them.  If Canada invaded my home and forced me to watch hockey every day, I gather I’d be pretty willing to blow myself up to stop it too.

Let’s leave those people alone, protect our sovereignty as the United States of America and uphold the values and declarations of the Constitution — a document that aimed to distance itself from the heavy-handed inbred monarchy that troubled the people with excessive taxation and an intolerance for individual liberty!

And now, please enjoy this woman getting hit in the face with a foul ball.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

Pla-Po Leaves MoTown

placido polanco.jpgWell, if the “news media” and its “official reports” are to be believed, it appears that Placido Polanco will be leaving the Motor City for the City of Brotherly Love. Pla-Po (a name I gave him that just doesn’t seem to be catching on) will take his Gold Glove and join the not quite World Champion Phillies, leaving Detroit slightly more sucky. If that’s possible.

Now, as bad as this news is, it was made worse because I found out about it in the same way I inevitably hear about most bad news involving the Tigers, a gloating email from Jeff:

I’m sorry for your loss of of Polanco back to the Phils. 

Tigers suck.

J

You know what else sucks? You suck. You……sucker.

There, now that I’ve finally added a certain level of maturity to the discussion maybe I can move back to the important question which is, what do we do now? My lucky wood carving of Simon Bolivar practically screams out to address the problem by acquiring more Venezuelans. But I think the number of Chavistas on the team right now already leaves the Tigers in danger of imminent nationalization at the hands of El Jefe. Not that this would present a problem for Detroit considering what has happened to its other industries.

No, the solution lies elsewhere. And since I’ve always believed that uncertain times call for intellectually suspect and overblown measures, I’m pretty sure I hit upon the perfect plan. I am calling for Lou Whitaker to step out of retirement and once again man second base. Of course there will be naysayers against my “Draft Lou” campaign but those are the same people who say that it was a bad idea to put a banker in charge of regulating the banking industry. That worked out all right in the end so why shouldn’t this? Come back, Lou! Let’s see some of that 1984 magic all over again.

-A

I’m Not a Player, I Just Get Crushed A Lot

kourtney kardashian bikini.jpgWhile on the subject of tragically sweeping heartache, I guess by now everybody knows that Kourtney Kardashian is preggers with that toolbox Scott Something-or-Other’s kid, once again dashing my dreams of landing her on my “fantasy team” and rendering one of the hottest (and dumbest) free agents officially off the market.

Great.  Just great.  First some spazzbot ruined any chance I had at “getting close” to Erin Andrews by sneaking into her hotel room… and now this?

Ugh.

Still, dear readers, let us remember that it is often in the worst of times that we find the truest and simplest joys in life.  Sure, the Cardinals got swept in the NLDS.  But hey, we’re not the Cubs!  True, President Obama hasn’t solved US America’s economic crisis… or the health care crisis… or, well, any crisis.  But hey, he’s not George W. Bush!  And well, okay, Kourtney’s probably not gonna have my baby now.  But hey, at least I’ll never have to face the awful task of actually listening to her talk for any length of time!

Not that I would have anyway, ‘cuz, well, y’know, hers is one of the most annoying voices “like um, y’know, like, ever or whatever.”  I’m just sayin…

There are worse things in life, people.  And besides, there’s always Kim… as long as you don’t mind three-ways with Reggie Bush.

I think I’ll leave that opportunity to Mr. Krause.  He’s always been the adventure half of RSBS.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m sly, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Flexing the Omnipotent Pipes

devils_night_detroit.jpgGod hates Detroit. As if there were any doubts about this fact after watching last year’s Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Tigers, all you have to do is check the Detroit skyline every October 30 or read the newspapers today. Yes, god hates Detroit but it appears there is a good reason. Detroit hates god right back

And now it also appears that god has decided to flex those omnipotent muscles a little more in smiting Detroit. In the past five days, not only did Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya land on the injured reserve, Gary Sheffield is also looking for a new home. Granted, Sheff has often been a cancer in the clubhouse and both Willis and Zumaya had less than impressive stuff last season. But these are not the kinds of things that Detroit and the state of Michigan need right now

However, I have a couple solutions. Perhaps we just need to butter the big guy up a little. How about a little of this to help out:

Or maybe we just have to really hope that Nietzsche had it right. What I do know is that things can always be worse. At least I’m not a homeless guy in Detroit.

detroit_frozen.jpg-A

The Filibuster

On Thursday, the initial sale of the San Diego Padres to new owner Jeff
Moorad was completed.  Knowing that it only took Sandy Alderson and his
equally ignorant chum, Kevin Towers, a few years to extensively
decimate the Padres franchise like Chris Brown did Rihanna’s face, how
long will it take Moorad to get the Padres competitive again?

– Jeff

__________________________________________

padres.jpgHave you already forgotten about that epic tie-breaker two short seasons ago when the Rockies edged the Padres on their way to a World Series appearance? The fact that San Diego was so close to the playoffs kind of puts the lie to your question and its entire premise. Yes, the Padres should have been more competitive recently and poor decisions were made (which are explained much more eloquently by the Prince of New York over at PaulLebowitz.com) but we’re not talking about the Knicks under Isiah Thomas here. This is not a team that’s lost for a generation.

It does kind of make you wonder what baseball executives get paid to do, though. Prince’s hatred of Alderson and Towers and your open contempt for Mozeliak in St. Louis remind me of some of Bill Simmons’ old columns where he rants about the management of the Celtics. However, once they won a championship the volume became a little muted. So, are sports executives really that incompetent or are other forces at work here?

I suppose that like any story, there are two sides to this one. I’m sure most GMs would argue that it’s tough to judge their success on winning alone since a large part of that depends on the human element, the players. And meanwhile the fans wonder why their team is going out and signing a guy like Dontrelle Willis to an extension while letting Cameron Maybin get away. And both sides are probably right. For all the statistics and sabrmetrics that exist today, this, like economics, is not an exact science:

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:southparkstudios.com:222638

But, to get back to your question, I don’t know when the Padres will be competitive again. It depends on a lot of factors in addition to just the current management team. It depends on resolving the Peavy situation and like a lot of things nowadays, it probably depends in part on the economy. What I do know, though, is that at least the Padres haven’t yet p!ssed off god. Seriously, what is the deal in Detroit?

-A

Credits:
-Video from Comedy Central via The Daily Dish.

Small Solutions to Big Problems

gold digger.jpgWE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

If you read the newspaper or watch the evening news or leave your house every day, you might find the above statement to be true.

Ironically, it is true.  Because whether we like it or not, we are all going to die; however, I personally like to think it won’t happen to me until I’m around 90 years old, gripping a cold one while I overexert myself with my 20-something year old gold-digger.

And I’m cool with that.

What I am not cool with is the tense and terse escalation of fear-mongering which has replaced logic and common sense among those who “inform” us on the world’s goings-on.  Admittedly, some problems are bigger than others.  I ain’t no fool.  I get it.  But since I am willing, able and sober (for now), allow me to mend some of these major issues with some easy fixins’…

THE PROBLEM: Mexico’s Exploding Drug Violence
THE SOLUTION: Carlos Lee

It’s easy.  Hand El Caballo an AK-47.  Give him immunity.  Let him go to work. 

carlos lee.jpgI know, I know.  Carlos is Panamanian, not Mexican.  Doesn’t matter.  He speaks the language, he’s scarier than Dick Cheney on a hunting trip and he plays for the Astros (meaning he’s expendable).  Indeed, I had the pleasure of meeting El Caballo as he was getting on the Astros’ team bus after a game at Wrigley a couple of years ago and while the man is only 6’2, he has to be the most behemoth of a human being I have ever encountered in real life.  He’s listed at 235 lbs., but that is a stone cold lie.  He looks like he ate my entire family for lunch and I have a huge family.  Anyone who can devour me and my six sisters has the inner wrath and tenacity it would take to bring down Mexican drug lords galore.  ¡Venga, Carlito!  ¡Ya basta!  ¡Venga, venga!

THE PROBLEM: World Financial Crisis
THE SOLUTION: Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres

Assemble the wealthiest 1% of people in the world.  Force them to put their money into global markets equally, thus spreading the love, injecting life, creating confidence.  If they do not follow this direction, simply hand them ownership to the Pirates, Royals and Padres and watch them die a slow, meaningless death.

THE PROBLEM: Chicago’s Intra-City Turf War
THE SOLUTION: Shut Milton Bradley’s Trap

Milton Bradley pouting.jpgFor a guy who has the meaty reputation of being an unadulterated ^sshole everywhere he goes playing for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in 101 years, Milton Bradley sure does a lot of incessant yapping.  Uh, Milton, didn’t you get the memo from Ryan Dempster and Ronny Cedeno?  Yeah, they’ve been there, done that.  Their feet ended up in their mouths.  Yours probably will too. 

‘Cuz no matter how good the Cubs are on paper, Milton, no matter how good they should be this season, no matter how many knowledgeable baseball folks pick you guys to go all the way, at the end of the day, Milton, you play for a loser.  A LOSER.  In fact, they are the only professional baseball team nicknamed the “Lovable Losers”, Milton.  Yes.  That’s true.

You want to talk about Chicago winners, Milton?  Since Jordan & Co. left town, the White Sox are it, buddy.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

Recession, Recede!

Don’t look now, folks, but with less than a month to go, the Major League Baseball season is right around the corner, ready to pounce and ready to perhaps take your wallet:

baseball statue.jpgAnd while some speculate that the current economic crisis will severely hinder and affect baseball as well as the game’s overall attendance, I like to think that baseball will be just the thing that kicks us all in the collective ^ss and gets our minds thinking about things other than plummeting stocks and dwindling 401Ks. 

The good news is: we are already seeing signs that point to positive attendance numbers. 

The bad news is: people are really hurting.

I know it.  You know it.  We can’t turn on the evening news anymore without being fear-mongered to death by stock prices horrifically reminiscent of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Dick Cheney.  Such scare tactics seem more responsible for soft markets and second-guessing investors than anything else.  We are being bombarded by negativity!

So I can’t help but ask: Isn’t the state of the economy more of an attitude than it is a tangible barometer for life?  Can we not convince ourselves that everything will be okay, that our bank accounts will be okay, that the Cardinals might make the post-season?

Despite King Bud’s ominous foreshadowing, the fact remains: we Joe Six-Pack US Americans (and some Canadians) need baseball.  We need to have that summer escape, experience that trite tranquility, find that bubbly beer-man.  Without it, we would be lost.  Believe me.  I remember 1994.

And it almost killed me.

Sure, we will all have to make sacrifices.  In fact, I have already begun instituting a frugal fiscal program that will eventually afford me the ability to go to the ballpark this season:

Instead of Johnnie Walker Black, I’ll drink Johnnie Walker Red.

Instead of Giordano’s, I’ll eat Little Caesars.

Instead of going to Kelly Clarkson concerts, I’ll watch American Idol Rewind.

And boom!

Simple as that, I have a few extra dollars to blow on $5 hot dogs and and $7 Old Styles.

But I will be happy… and that’s the most important thing.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

(Image courtesy of these guys)

The Interns Channel Their Inner Cassandra

four_horsemen_apocalypse.jpgEvery time I sit down to read the news these days, it seems that one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse is leering out from behind the story. Wildfires in Australia, cholera in Zimbabwe, war in the Middle East and famine here, there and everywhere. Even in the United States we are far from immune to these problems. Unemployment is out of control, no one knows where the financial crisis will ultimately leave us and despite the situation, Congress still can’t seem to figure out how to work together.

But I think the problem can be traced back deeper. No, Mr. Huckabee, it’s not the “anti-religious” forces within the country. And thank you for your input Bristol but it’s not because of teenage pregnancy and the unrealistic idea of abstinence. No, my very exact calculations based on the careful use of a divining rod and an ancient gypsy monkey paw have placed the sewing of the seeds of this crisis on September 9, 1992.

Oddly, another event took place that same day. Could the two be related? It seems too perfect to just be a coincidence. And since there was only one way to find out, I flew the RSBS interns in from Chicago and set them to work. And by the end of the day, in typical RSBS fashion, they came up with several interesting conclusions.

In much the same way that lax regulation allowed the housing market to become overheated, Bud Selig’s single-minded focus on increasing owner revenue allowed a bubble to develop in the baseball market. This enveloped the entire spectrum of baseball related services, too, from the price of seats at a game to the inflated salaries earned by players. But, as fans start tightening their belts, the teams are going to have to figure out some alternate way to keep the money coming in. Perhaps they’ll do it by offering better deals on ticket prices or attempting some new way to keep the concessions moving. It’s a pretty safe assumption that the owners won’t be seeing the same kind of money they did in the past, though. Soon, they might even have to start applying Verizon math to make ends meet.

Additionally, the confluence of decreasing revenue streams and the steroid situation will hit the free agent market pretty hard. The current log-jam in the credit markets came about as a result of toxic assets floating around the banking sector with no one knowing who would take the hit at the final reckoning. It’s like Barry Bonds floating around the periphery of MLB, trying to convince someone to take a chance on him. In the halcyon days of 2005, someone would have been willing to take the risk on both the fancy financial instrument and Mr. Bonds but the market is too tight right now to justify adding such huge liabilities to the books. Free agents will be signed to short-term contracts with PED stipulations, the union will call foul and soon we’ll have a breakdown, just like what we’ve seen in the credit market.

On the bright side, baseball still does provide a quality product so it won’t turn into a situation like that facing the automakers:

calvin_and_hobbes.jpgAt the same time, though, the tendency of owners to rely on municipal largess to rejuvenate the flagging fortunes of their franchises has backfired, a similar situation to what we’re now seeing at GM and Chrysler. Just look at the two new ballparks in the Bronx and Queens, payed for in large part by taxpayer money. As a result of the current economic situation, both teams are struggling to find the sponsorship and financing they need to finish off their end of the bargain. And once again the burden will fall on the shoulder of the taxpayer and the consumer because all the effected parties are “too big to fail.”

The question is, what do we do with these conclusions? Do we continue to chant the Selig mantra, sticking our heads in the sand and claiming that we did all we could do and no one would listen to us? Do we follow the new administration’s path and throw lots of money at the problem in hopes that it will break up the jam? Me, I think there’s a simpler answer. It’s time that the leader who got us into this mess admitted his culpability and fell on his own sword. Healing cannot take place until the tumor has been removed. For that reason, Bud Selig must go.

-A (with special thanks to DK) 

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