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Thursday, July 31, 2008

 

C,S and N and the Moribund Left

It was back to Central Park Tuesday night for those 60's troubadours, Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Plenty of familiar, if folky, songs though they did rock out a little on Stills' "Love the One You're With." The place was jammed and I had fun, but I never thought this was a great trio, though the addition of Neil Young did result in a terrific album (De Ja Vu. The title song was a highlight of the show).

But as one of my hosts remarked, it's really all about the politics, and he wasn't only referring to the anti-war and other left wing lyrics. We had voter registration folks everywhere, a table set up by Vietnam Vets against the War (I could have sworn it was over), etc. My comment was that I suspected the Republicans were in the minority. Just a wild guess.

Being an alum of a Quaker, pacifist college, I have given lots of thought as to why the philosophy of pacifist resistance is not the all-powerful weapon its adherents claim. Actually, it works quite effectively when deployed against enemies that have a conscience (see Gandhi v British; MLK v US segregationists). Enemies with a conscience may commit isolated violence but they generally don't seek to eliminate your entire population. Not so with really evil folks like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc. They have no problem killing everybody to achieve their ends. Passivity is a disaster when confronted with that kind of enemy, and so is appeasement.

We know that some of the evil folks we are dealing with around the world today are of that ilk, though they may currently be small-timers. In 1936, Hitler was a small-timer too, in what was more or less, a disarmed country. By 1938, appeasing Western leaders were handing him the Sudetenland. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it, a truism the population of the USA might keep in mind this fall before they turn the entire Federal Government Democratic blue.

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Fasten your seat belts, as Bob Murphy used to say, the last two months of the regular baseball season promise to be fun. We have tight races in every division except the AL West, where the Angels are the only solid team. In the AL Central, the White Sox picked up Griffey, but they will not have an easy time staggering over the finish line ahead of the Twins and Tigers. The Bengals improved their bullpen
by picking up Farnsworth form the Stinkees, without giving up much (Pudge was a part-time catcher for them). Still they are the underachievers in this race, versus the overachieving Twins and the inconsistent Sox. Two may make the playoffs since there is a good chance the wild card will come from this division. The three team race in the AL East features the Jeckyl and Hyde Rays (great at home, lousy on the road), the very shaky, now Manny-less Red Sox (can a team still contend with Wakefield in the starting rotation?) and the Yankees, who picked up a lot of players that probably won't help much. The Stinks will go as far as their starting pitching takes them, but I suspect Mussina's good part of the season is over, and that means they will get quality starts no more than half the time. Probably not enough.

In the NL, the Dodgers have looked like they might squeeze by Arizona, and with Manny, Joe Torre may have enough horses. Some people think Colorado can have another great stretch run like last year, but I don't see it. In the Central, I don't think the Cardinals can hold up, but the Brewers should stay in the race, probably falling just short of the Cubs. In the East, The Mets and Phils are likely to go down to the wire again, and Florida doesn't seem to be fading either. But the wild card may come from the Central, and that means things will get desperate in the East come September. The Mets may have good enough starters to get them to the promised land this time around. We'll see.

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Monday, I bought 200 shares of Carmax (KMX) at 13.60. Today, I sold 100 shares of Axsys Technologies (AXYS) out of my IRA for 75.08 at the opening. These were purchased for 16.05 on 5/17/06. Hooray!

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