Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I saw the headline on ESPN.com that the Dodgers were trading Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros to the Cubs, and my first reaction was, "OK, but what do the Cubs get in return?" Then I saw that they are sending the Dodgers Todd Hundley. Has there ever been a trade in the history of sports that was immediately a successful addition by subtraction for both teams? One of the most dubious sports "achievements" I saw live was the night Eric Karros was recognized as the all-time home run leader for the Los Angeles Dodgers, surpassing Ron Cey (for whom I have always had a fondness because the first baseball glove I ever had was a Ron Cey model; let's just say the other kids were underwhelmed), but never mind the fact that Duke Snider had over 200 more for the Dodger franchise as a whole!

The one thing I've posted so far that got the most feedback by far was the political stuff about the left-wing, so I'll be coming back to that regularly I think. One of my thoughts on something that could help the left re-emerge is that I think we need to find a way to make the case to redefine some key terms. "Big government" is one, and I think this one has to do with people's fear and lack of understanding of complexity. Why does "big" equal "bad"? It's not clear. The only halfway smart idea I remember from my wasted time studying PoliSci was from E.E. Schnattsnyder (or something like that) who said that a big society with big institutions and big business needs a big government to manage it. Yes, big means slow and plodding at times, but it beats the alternative. Somehow, someone needs to get the idea out that "government" does not equal pointy-eared bureaucrats in Washington wasting time and money, but it's people who get roads paved, food inspected, etc. The idea that government somehow causes the societal problems it was created to solve is a dangerous one--as is the idea that government screws up everything it touches while business somehow always manages total efficiency. How much evidence against that do we have now?! And yet somehow this idea persists, most recently in the President's idea of privatizing large portions of the bureaucracy. And yes, a big government means some taxes, which are another thing we need to redefine, but more on that another time.

One thing I forgot to mention about the coal mine yesterday is how scenic the area around it is--seclusion will do that. On one of my first days there, we actually saw deer and wild turkeys wandering just about up to the parking lot, and they were barely out of the woods. The woods all around here are very stark now that they are leafless, but there is a strange beauty in that too. Not that you can relish that beauty for long, of course, because it is currently about 10 degrees. Yes, Fahrenheit. Can someone please remind me why I left SoCal again?!?!

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