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  • Lance Mannion
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« Cheapskates | Main | Why you can't fool an honest man and why you don't need to »

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Michael Bains

Exactly why ball players have to go to the highest bidder, despite being given their chance when they struggled through their early years: it's the principal of the thing.

(And we don't need to love the cheapskate owner's - with their municipally built and funded stadiums - to see the reality of that one either.)

DuWayne

I just went the rounds on anti-taxing with my pastor. We were actually discussing health care (I'm a single payer supporter) and all he can see is the taxes. We then continued on the vein of taxes and while he doesn't want to see a decrease in services he does want to see eponentialy lower taxes. The assumption a lot of anti-tax people is that somehow welfare is sucking up all our tax dollars and if we just cut it off we would have a lower tax burden. No matter what proof you might show a person like him that it could easily cost us more to eliminate it they get stuck on those welfare dollars and refuse to see any cost analysis comparisons.

sfmike

Great rant(s), Lance.

Jim Bouton, the former major league knuckleball pitcher and author of the late 1960s inside-baseball diary classic "Ball Four" has just published a book that goes straight to the heart of what you write. It's called "Foul Ball" and is the story of a 19th century minor league baseball park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the Berkshires that Bouton and a group of friends tried to save from a group of local politicos who were trying to tear it down and put up a new, taxpayer-financed stadium. The small-town power brokers and their pennywise, poundfoolish supporters are such outrageously crooked, venal characters that they are quite entertaining in a horrible way, and the fact that General Electric (and its toxic PCBs)is the shadowy money/power behind the scenes only makes the story more fascinating.

I haven't gotten to the end of the book yet, but I believe that one of the appendices indicates that most of the bad guys have ended up in prison. Do check it out.

Linkmeister

sfmike, he was on the old Moyers-run "Now" program in Nov. 2003. I wrote a post about that appearance.

Kevin Wolf

Great couple of posts, Lance.

Yeah, it drives me crazy when I get into one of these conversations. I'm sorry to say most of my family members are of a conservative bent and tend to think they pay too much in taxes and that every dollar spent is a waste and that the entire system is rigged to hurt them. These are folks who make much, much more money than I do.

We've somehow lost the ability to see the benefits of group projects and of sharing the cost of needed services.

Worse, I can get no meaningful answer when I bring up the profligate ways of our current federal government, which is spending money all over the place, entirely on "projects" that benefit only a few.

grasshopper

Another great fear for suburbanites re: making the most of their natural surroundings, such as, let's say, a giant field of land along the Hudson River, where one might watch children building arm strength and friendships by swinging from hand ring to hand ring is--and I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it--xenophobia.
We lived within a certain school district but outside the "town limits" of a place along the Hudson with a beautiful, sprawling park at the river's edge. Iron gates and police on duty prevented anyone who lived outside arcane and shifting-with-who-you-were boundaries from entering the park, which showed movies on summer nights, hosted fire works, and served as a preferred class trip for the elementary school when the children studied riverlife. (School children who attended the public schools were written into a special exemption code.) The cut-off age, however, was fourteen, causing annual consternation when the high school's best all-round baseball player lived within the unwelcome fringes.
The mayor then would relax inspections for twenty-four hours. Word would go out: the Shaney family (fictitious name)is being honored at a baseball barbeque: No one's carding tonight.
Routinely I asked not just the guard on duty but all the town's bigwigs why I was not allowed inside the park gates UNLESS it was to "help out" at a first grade outing, for which the teacher had asked me to bring the drinks, paper cups, sandwiches, brownies, apple slices, and carrot and celery sticks? And routinely this is the answer I was given:
"You know, lady, we can't let just anybody in! Do you want to see people taking the train here from the Bronx?!"
My children then watched me lose my thin grasp on civil control more than once. The "train from the Bronx" I explained to my son and daughter were fighting words.
Soon my children were warning the sports coaches and town police: Please, don't get into it with her. She's nuts.
While the park did provide a very pleasant spot for those paying a special, living-within-park-range-tax, it also welcomed swarms of very nasty geese. Often the beautiful grass wore a carpet of guano.
About the time we moved, the little town did build another, bigger park along the river, supposedly open to all comers. And, it was spectacular: Basketball courts, meticulously maintained baseball fields, everything but shade, which the old park owned in its entirety, thanks to ancient, cloud-cradling oak trees.
From late November to mid-February, I sneaked into that forbidden park, which was blustery and freezing cold. I'd swing on the iced-over swings. I'd rollerblade along the frozen winding path. And I had tons of fun all by my lone self. For I would not be denied my slippery cold satisfaction--even if I was never caught.

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