Monday, January 13, 2014

Recently at Bloomberg View

I suppose I'll start a new post, and update it throughout the week, with links to current posts over there. As always with these, I may or may not update here in a timely way; your best bet is just to go over to my main page there.

Here are the weekend links:

Friday Baseball Post
What Mattered?
Sunday Question for Conservatives
Sunday Question for Liberals

And Monday, January 13:

Read Stuff, You Should
Why Campaign Finance Laws Make Things Worse
George Miller and the Ruling Class of 1974
Will High Court Trim Presidential Power?

Tuesday, January 14:

Read Stuff, You Should
Catch of the Day
Obamacare Isn't a Success -- or a Failure
Parties Dominate Their Presidential Nominees

Wednesday, January 15:

Read Stuff, You Should
News Media Fudge Unemployment Aid Filibuster

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking For Me? I'm Over At Bloomberg View

First post is up:

Will Scandal Cost Christie the Invisible Primary?

Yes, I got "party actors" and who they are into my first post...just worked out that way. More to come!

Again, my general page over there is also up (will get you first paragraphs of each post, click through for full thing...alas, true blogs just aren't happening any more).

Also yesterday:

Catch of the Day

And today, beginning with...yeah, still same name and format:

Read Stuff, You Should

What's So Bad About Political Polarization?

Obama Finally Getting His Act Together on Nominations

Republicans Aren't Too Conservative. They're Too Newt.

There were a few requests for keeping links here to posts there, at least until the rss feed shows up (in a few weeks, after their site redesign is launched)...I haven't decided yet, but I'll try to do them today at least, probably by updating this post.

So what are you doing here? Go over and check it out...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Moving Day

Yes, boxes are being packed and unpacked at Plain Blog world headquarters today for the big move...well, figuratively at least. But in fact the big day is tomorrow.

Bloomberg View is here. And they already have a page for me, here. Empty now, but by late morning tomorrow there should be something there. I'm afraid at first there won't be a dedicated rss feed, but they're actually a few weeks away from a redesign, and among other things one of the benefits will be rss feeds for the authors. I'll have all of that easy to find here once it happens. Meanwhile, you can use that bio page for all new posts, and of course I'll be tweeting out new posts.

Other than that, I think this site is going to go dormant, most likely, although I haven't made any final decisions. I suppose I could use it for any off-topic or personal posting, but I don't really do that sort of thing (and the View folks have assured me every time I bring it up that anything I've written here would be on-topic there).

For regulars: I know you've expressed some concerns about comments. I don't really have a sense yet of how that will go -- but I'm willing to give it an initial try to keep the comments section over there a value-added portion of the blog, as I very much think it has been here. I hate to say it, but probably the best way for that to happen is if some of the regulars here flood the zone at first...but, again, I don't really have a sense of how it will go.

Also for regulars: I'm keeping the morning links posts, pretty much as-is, but I'm thinking about coming up with a new name. I know some of you hate "Read Stuff," and I don't mind taking the opportunity to switch it at this point...but I've come up blank so far. I'm thinking about song titles/lyrics... The Beatles' "Good Morning" seems trite, Tim Armstrong's "Wake up, you son of a bitch" too nasty. I can't say that Colin Moulding's "Wake Up" is one of my favorites...there sure are a lot of songs called "Wake Up," aren't there? I could always go with New Day Rising. I can't think of a good one from Kristin Hersch, or even from Elvis Costello...what am I missing? At any rate, I'm taking suggestions.

One way or another, it's time for the big move. So see you all over there tomorrow!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Question for Liberals

Same one that I did for conservatives: who was your rookie of the year for the first session of Congress? Of those first elected in 2012, who impressed you?

(Fine. I know you all are going to say Elizabeth Warren. So if you have  runner-up, add that one, too).

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Looking back on the first session of Congress -- who is your rookie of the year? Who is the best of those newly elected in 2012?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Mattered This Week?

Last time here before the big move...

I'm certainly on board with Greg Sargent's comments this week that the spin over the first few days of ACA exchange plans kicking in doesn't matter.

As far as what does matter on this holiday week...I'm sort of thinking that Kerry's continuing press on Israel/Palestine might matter. How, I'm not sure. And perhaps it doesn't really...very hard to tell. But I'll go with that one.

What do you have? What do you think mattered this week?

Friday Baseball Post

It's Hall of Fame time. Can't miss this one.

As we all know, this year's ballot for the real voters is unlike any normal one: instead of being about which marginal guys deserve to be in, it's about dealing with the strategy of what to do with far more deserving players than the rules allow. There was a bit of this last year, but now it's getting silly.

So. Some sorting is in order. Last year I had nine easy choices: Bonds, Clemens, Biggio, Piazza, Schilling, McGwire, Raines, Trammell, and Bagwell, all of whom are back this year. Then I had three bubble guys, and said I would have voted for Palmiero for strategic reasons.

That's not going to work this time, because the nine easy ones all return, joined by Maddux, Mussina, Thomas, and Glavine. So that's thirteen guys who, to me, are obvious HOFers. There's also Jeff Kent, who for now I'll say joins the bubbles, with Palmiero, Sosa, and Edgar Martinez (and McGriff, although last year I concluded that he was a stretch).

What do we do with it?

There's no good solution. One way to go after it would be to forget strategic issues and just pick the best ten. Another way, and I think the way to go, is to worry mostly about ballot strategy.

There are really, I think, three issues. One is to support guys who are in danger of falling off the ballot: that would be, I think, Palimiero, Sosa, McGwire, and Kent. I've said in the past that I think Palmiero and McGwire are over my line; I haven't really decided on Sosa or, now, Kent.

The second is to support the guys who are relatively undervalued by HOF votes. For me, that's McGwire, Trammell, Bonds, Clemens, Raines, and maybe Piazza and Schilling -- all (to me) clear, easy, HOFers, but all having trouble with the voters.

The third is to put guys over the top in order to help clear the gridlock. Who is going to be right around the line this year? Biggio, I think, is the only obvious one. I'm guessing that Maddux makes it easily, and that the other three new ones fall short, although maybe the Hurt comes close.

Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, strategies two and three conflict with each other.

Still, I think that organizes things enough. Drop Maddux, who gets in anyway. Drop Bagwell -- he's not going to make it this year, but he's in the safe zone. And then drop...I don't know, Mussina, I guess, on the theory that he's less likely to make it this year than Glavine.

And, reluctantly, drop the bubble guys. Maybe I'd feel differently if I had a real ballot...I'm awfully tempted to include Palmiero, Sosa, Kent, and maybe even Edgar just to make sure they all stay on the ballot, although I suspect that Kent and Martinez are relatively safe.

So that gets me: McGwire, Trammell, Bonds, Clemens, Raines, Piazza, Schilling, Glavine, Biggio, Thomas.

And one main point: if you think that McGwire (or Palmiero or Sosa) is a clear HOFer, then you really should find room for them on your ballot this year.

Note too that at least as far as leaving Maddux off is concerned, this would be strategic voting which depends on other voters following different logic. As far as I'm aware (and I've seen Hank Schulman's ballot, but otherwise I missed most of the debates while I've been on vacation), no one is thinking of leaving Maddux off for strategic reasons, but if I was a real voter I'd be paying closer attention and, if I thought Maddux was going to have a close call for induction this time, switch to him (over, I suppose, Glavine).

By the way, leaving Maddux off is not intended as a comment on his surgical enhancement.

Update (OK, not technically an update since I hadn't posted yet, but I don't feel like going back and editing): it seems that I was probably correct on Maddux, but that McGwire is probably safe.

Oh, also, might as well link to Joe Sheehan on the HOF electorate. I hadn't really thought about the demographic issues he general sense is that the HOF has been pretty happy using the BBWAA, and that they're unlikely to change -- instead, what they'll do, as they've always done, is resort to ad hoc rules changes and special committees (and both) to rectify problems that arise, which (as Bill James pointed out) for the BBWAA basically means any interruption of a steady flow of new inductions. But Sheehan makes some good points about why the current system may not prove stable over time.

Obviously, I'm skipping the part where I argue about why the 13 easy picks are actually clear HOFers, and why the bubble guys are bubble guys, and why the rest shouldn't be in. I've argued all of this in the past except for the new guys, so my apologies for skipping it (if you really want to know, click the link above to last year's post, and work back from there). Anyway, my basic view is that I prefer a fairly generous HOF size, and I really don't think any of these guys are close calls at all; better to focus on the more interesting stuff.
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