Just an ant colony

Gotta love this, via MLB.com:

They call this a game of adjustments for a reason, and baseball has a long history of cycles and evolutions — some of which resulted in major modifications to the rulebook, while others were left alone. It seems reasonable to conclude that baseball’s ongoing offensive drought is more than just an aberration, and the sense around MLB is that the low strike is an issue that could be addressed substantively after this 2015 season.

“We’re all just an ant colony,” [Brandon] McCarthy said. “You put something in front of us, we’ll all just figure out a way to go around it and something else will emerge in its place. But it would be interesting to see how long that adjustment would take.”

Educate our way out of poverty

Not.

Let’s consider Paul Krugman’s arguments in today’s New York Times column. I’ll sneak in a quote:

Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.

The ubiquitous and fabulously wealthy Mr. Gates believes that the solution to most any problem is found in educational reform. And for him that means collecting tons of data to evaluate the performance of everyone. You’re only a number away from success, I suppose.

Mr. Krugman dissents, arguing that righting employment ills has everything to do with who wields power. As I wrote previously, it is the extractors of wealth who have rigged the system for their own benefit and to the detriment of the Rest of Us. They have power. We don’t.

And speaking of numbers, it seems to me that the only way for the Rest of Us to create an economy as if people mattered is wield the greater political force, which essentially means outvoting the rich and powerful. Revolutions are too messy and unpredictable.

Krugman offers some suggestions:

As for wages and salaries, never mind college degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance. Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.

Now, there’s a lot we could do to redress this inequality of power. We could levy higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and invest the proceeds in programs that help working families. We could raise the minimum wage and make it easier for workers to organize. It’s not hard to imagine a truly serious effort to make America less unequal.

Let us begin.

Deserving

Those who have and always want more deny the Rest of Us decent livings and a hopeful future, arguing that we get what we deserve. If you are homeless, having lost your job, your savings, and finally your personal shelter, it’s your own damn fault. As for a livable wage, or even a higher minimum, forget about it. The market determines our just desserts and, frankly, you don’t deserve it.

While a floor is easily discernible in our economy—after all, one can’t get below nothing—the sky is the limit for those at the top. They are the people who own multiple residences across the globe, each costing millions, or the equivalent to thousands of us trying to scrape by on $7.25 an hour.

And guess what? These extremely privileged individuals believe in their heart of cold hearts that they deserve every penny in their myriad financial accounts and capital acquisitions.

Surely this is wrong. Why do millions suffer so that a few can accumulate ad infinitum?

If being employed is far more than a paycheck, providing dignity and self-worth, an economy premised on people mattering would be so arranged and so operated as to make certain that each of us had a job. Period. And each job would pay a livable wage.

But what about markets and competition and efficiency? Well, what about them? They clearly don’t work to the betterment of humankind. This system rigged by the extractors admits no boundaries at the top while consigning most of the world’s population to misery and want.

Why do we put up with it?

I prefer baseball

Ted Van Dyk, writing for Crosscut:

Major League Baseball, unlike National Football League football, does not center around violence, booze and betting during an intense 16-game season and playoffs. Baseball remains our national pastime, a slower-paced family sport played over a 162-game season, prior to its playoffs, and relatively free of the on- and off-field “Look at Me” antics of NFL players, who are legends in their own minds. Those who love baseball, and can take or leave NFL football, might characterize pro football as barbarism, baseball as civilization.

As for football, you might take a look at this. An excerpt:

The question is not why the NFL can’t be safer. It’s why we—why Americans, since football is primarily a national obsession—crave its brand of violence. Do we watch simply for the visceral thrill, the same reason we might choose to buy a ticket for the upcoming film Jurassic World (a Super Bowl sponsor)? Or is it an inoculation against real violence; that is, do we watch football in the same way that certain deviants watch extreme pornography to satisfy their perversions? Or perhaps we watch to avoid contemplating the greater violences occurring all around us—of foreign wars, civil rights abuses, environmental collapse, and, per Tom Brady, ISIS.

This should shock, but it doesn’t

Writing for the New York Times, Timothy Egan:

To understand how we got here, you have to go back to 1994, when Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah midwifed through Congress a new industry protected from all but minimal regulation. It is also an industry that would make many of his closest associates and family members rich. In turn, they’ve rewarded him with sizable campaign contributions.

Government, for some, exists only to make a few people rich, often at the expense of the Rest of Us.