Morning Ed: Government {2016.07.06.W}

Some former FDA commissioners are arguing that the FDA should become an independent (cabinet-level) agency. My view on this is entirely outcome-based. What do they want to be doing that red tape won’t allow? What are they being required to do that they wouldn’t otherwise?

Patrick Clark looks at baseball stadia and their rather short lifespan. I’m genuinely quite stunned to see that a Sun Belt team is spending over $100m to buy Turner Field and then spend a lot more to transform it for their Sun Belt football team.

Just in case you were worried about subprime borrowers getting loans, the government is on top of it.

Holy freakin’ crap, what a mess. Given the nature of the error, it seems to me that this is something that should be written off.

Minor League baseball players are barely paid in the five digits, and congress may allow them to be paid less. Minor league sports and their athletes, it turns out, are not very valuable (unless associated with a university).

Transitioning from colleges to the courtrooms, Yes Means Yes is taking hold. It looks like it’s going to be up to the courts, in the end.

Well this is a lovely story. So is this. Good job, Dixie. Good work.

I don’t mind this, but I’m not going to pretend the fact that it moves the ball in the direction it does isn’t significant. The concept of legislative momentum is right there in the story: We should do this because of that previous thing we did.


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Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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42 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Government {2016.07.06.W}

  1. Bomb Squad: Yeah, like I’m really motivated now to defuse that bomb. I think I’m going to need you to sign this OT/hazard pay bonus form before I go diffuse it. Might want to hurry…looks like the counter is counting down to zero……

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  2. In the 80’s, pretty much every cop show and cop movie had the same bit of dialog when the bomb squad got brought out:

    Young Idealistic Rookie: Golly! What do those guys get paid?
    Grizzled Cynical Veteran: Not enough.

    Perhaps after this adjustment, we can bring that joke back.

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  3. Former OTer Bouie does not think our media knows how to handle Donald Trump and merely treats his bigotry and outlandishness as another partisan dispute:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/07/our_political_culture_doesn_t_know_what_to_do_with_trump_s_explicit_prejudice.html

    If political media exists to do anything, it’s to reveal this flow from the fringe. To educate audiences on what these ideas mean, to give context for symbols like the one we saw on Saturday. Thus far, the media seems ill-equipped for the job. For every display of “pro-truth” bias, there are a dozen examples of mindless coverage, as reporters present racist rhetoric as simple “controversy” or frame anti-Semitic propaganda as a “he said/she said” dispute.

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    • — No one really has good statistics on this crowd, so everyone is giving their impression from what they see. (You know the blind guys and the elephant story.) Anywho, it seems to be a varied mix of terrible malcontents. My take: there is a point where you have so perfectly imitated an actual Nazi that I feel comfortable treating you as an actual Nazi. And that is that.

      Fucking Nazis.

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    • Saul,
      I dunno about you, but leaving the barn door open for the Russians was some delicious trolling.
      [Let them take credit for it, they’ve got the nukes].

      Trolling can be an awesome ploy. But few people understand how to troll effectively.
      You’re a lawyer, trolling should be instinct. (Takes a rather deft layman to troll a lawyer into a rage, it does).

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  4. Re minor league baseball players, the bill is not to further lower their salaries, but to exclude them from the new overtime rules, allowing their salaries to remain at their current low levels. Also, I understand that one of the bill’s sponsors has withdrawn.

    I may do a post on the economics of minor leagues. It is an interesting topic. Yes, the players really aren’t worth a whole lot, economically. But this is incidental to the affiliated minors. Those function as developmental leagues for a small number of prospects, with all the other players there to fill out the rosters. Everyone is paid by the major league affiliates, because that is the real point. The more direct example is the independent leagues, where they are, at least in theory, paid to play competitively, thereby attracting a paying crowd. It turns out that no, this is not a lucrative employment.

    Overtime rules for athletes is not a straightforward topic. Is time spent working out in the weight room “work” for this purpose? Even if it is not mandated?

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      • There’s fires as in regular ground fires that burn off the underbrush and deadfalls and the saplings and keep the ecosystem healthy. Then there’s the fires you get after most of a century of total fire suppression. So now the forests are sick, and every little fire that starts runs the risk of reducing 100,000 acres to sterile ash, and the feds say “Oh, it’s too expensive to do any significant mitigation or restoration.”

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        • People think all wildfires are the same, without understanding that normal grass & brush fires don’t burn hot enough to kill mature trees or destroy root systems & microbiological colonies in the top soil. But let the undergrowth build up for years & years by stomping out every sign of fire that pops up, and you get enough fuel to make a really hot fire, one that will kill everything in the top soil and cause the sap in the trees to boil & explode.

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          • Ah, you want suggestions. The Republican budget writers in the House could stop saying “$750B per year isn’t enough for Defense, but $5.5B per year is too much for the USFS.” Congress could safeguard the mitigation funds, so that the USFS doesn’t have to spend them on firefighting in bad years. The Forest Service could prioritize its efforts away from preserving scenic views towards protecting waterways and watersheds. USFS could set its logging fees high enough to guarantee that it makes money — some years it doesn’t — with the added benefit of reducing clear-cutting and mono-species replacement planting. Bureau of Land Management could be charged with regularizing federal land holdings through swaps and compensation — the god-awful widespread checkerboard pattern of public and private land ownership is a management disaster.

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              • They do, in areas that are isolated enough, or the terrain is too rugged, or the weather is too extreme, despite knowing what’s going to happen. Close enough to one of the national parks or wilderness areas (as opposed to it’s “just” national forest) and they do their best to stop it dead — anything to avoid the kind of sh*tstorm they took over Yellowstone in 1988.

                There’s on the near order of two million acres of beetle-kill trees on federal land in Colorado that will eventually burn and screw up local streams, rivers, and water supplies for years/decades. OTOH, for an “iconic” view in one of the national parks, they spray the snot out of the trees that frame it to kill the beetles (and any number of beneficial insects as well) before they can bore in.

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  5. Re: that Yes Means Yes article. It was an unusual choice to choose Brock Turner as the peg for this story. He was found guilty on three counts. The salient issue was the judge’s lenient sentence, not a law that let him walk away scot-free.

    It’s kind of like how anti-abortion TRAP laws were “justified” by the Kermit Gosnell case, as if he didn’t break a statute book full of laws already on the books.

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      • I dunno. It seems like a good idea to choose a situation where the new law would make a difference. Like, “Hey, see this situation where this proposed solution wouldn’t actually make a difference? Well, it is evidence that we should adopt this solution because it would solve problems unlike this one.”

        This is not the strongest rhetorical position. It might work as cheerleading, getting the respective parties to shout “yay” or “boo,” but not much else.

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