Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Red Sox spend a lot of money on Cuban teen. A LOT of money...

And apparently, there was good reason for doing so.

Keith Law (ESPN):
If Moncada were in the 2015 MLB draft, he'd be the first or second pick...He'd be a top-10 pick in any draft class, given his potential to play somewhere in the infield and hit for average and power; even if you want to cap his ceiling as that of an average regular at second or third, that's at least a $15 million-a-year player, and the Red Sox would recoup most of their investment before Moncada hits his second year of arbitration.
It may turn out to have been money just thrown away, but it sure looks like they have added a lot of talent to the organization in the last year. And, of course, by signing Moncado, we get the secondary benefit of the Yankees not getting Moncado. So that's a good thing, too...

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Don’t Blame Staples

Kevin Williamson, National Review Online:
San Francisco is raising its minimum wage from $11.05/hour to $15/hour, and the owners of Borderlands, who already were barely able to make the shop a going concern, announced that they would have to close. The minimum-wage hike meant that the store was going to go from making a princely $3,000 a year to losing $25,000 a year. Of course, you’ll still be able to get your sci-fi and fantasy novels – from Amazon, or from another similar operation without the labor costs involved with running a conventional bookstore. Which is great if you’re Jeff Bezos, but kind of stinks if you’re the sort of sad character (ahem) who likes to lurk around in bookstores. I’m perfectly happy to see every Staples clerk replaced by something sold to Staples CEO Ronald Sargent by Jawas offering a deep corporate discount. But, damn it all, I like bookstores. (And if San Francisco continues raising its minimum wage, the robots are ready.)

In San Francisco, the people who were bemoaning the impending closure of Borderlands admitted sheepishly that they’d voted for the minimum-wage hike. “It’s not something that I thought would affect certain specific small businesses,” one customer said. “I feel sad.”

Yeah, Adam Smith feels sad, too, you dope.

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The Daily Show host is leaving.

My reaction to the news that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show is to quote, again, Screwtape.  Because this is what I always hear on the rare occasions that I'm unable to avoid listening to  Stewart1...

But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy: it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practise it...

That sums up Jon Stewart for me.  "The joke is always assumed to have been made.  No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it."   And, of course, his audience, and his fans, are convinced of their own moral and intellectual superiority.  The cloud of smug emanating from every frame is intense. 

The downside is that he'll no doubt be replaced by someone just as bad, doing the same sort of schtick.  And no doubt he'll pop up somewhere else, doing the same thing.

But I'll manage to continue not watching...

1 - I don't ever watch his show, but there are enough people who do, and enough commentary about it, and enough viral videos demonstrating his awesomeness in interviews with relevant political figures, that I've seen quite enough of him, I believe, to comment. So I shall.

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