Monday, July 20, 2009

My Broken State, Part IV

It's bad. It's really bad. As usual, Digby says it better than just about anyone:
The system is broken and nobody couldn't have headed this off entirely. But I'm afraid that we are going to have to reform more than the state constitution to fix things. We need to reform politics itself somehow, convince people that it isn't American Idol or the World Series, or the ruling class will always be able to afford to put on a show whenever they need to manipulate the folks and the folks will probably fall for it.
She also refers to a Calitics post from this morning, detailing the degree of damage being done to the state today:
Democrats have caved and given Arnold Schwarzenegger what he wanted - a cuts-only budget that does massive and lasting damage to the state of California, to the people who live here, and to our collective future. It's taken 31 years, but Howard Jarvis is finally going to get the wholesale destruction of public services he always wanted.
As a nearly lifelong resident of the state, it pains me to see the deterioration in services and facilities. We had wonderful schools, parks, and programs when I was growing up, and now we have potholes, graffiti, and homeless people living in the streets. There is still a lot of great stuff here, but we've got some big, big messes to clean up.

I hope we can muster the will.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Truth, Stranger than Fiction

This is an amazing story. Even if you don't like baseball, there are some amazing elements.
It's impossible to know with certainty, of course, but considering all the evidence, it's very likely that Steve Dalkowski was the hardest-throwing pitcher in the history of baseball.
Wow. How come I never heard of him? He never reached the major leagues! How is that? Oh...
Quite simply, the problem was Dalkowski's control, or more precisely his utter lack of it. If there's reason to question whether Dalkowski's velocity was unmatched in history, there's really none to doubt his wildness. Not only has there never been another professional pitcher who achieved feats of wildness equal to Dalkowski's, there's never been another pitcher who came remotely close.
The page then recounts an amazing litany of accomplishments, starting with this:
- In high school, he had an 18-strikeout, 18-walk no-hitter.
But even more:
- In one extra-inning game in the Eastern League, Dalkowski struck out 27 batters and walked 16 while throwing 283 pitches.

- One time he was pulled in the second inning after throwing 120 pitches.
It just keeps going. And to top it off, there is a litany of brutal alcohol abuse and such. Just an amazing story, and all true.

Thanks to Paul Campos at LGM for pointing out this great item. I like his closing comment:
Apparently he didn't hit many batters, which I suppose is a tribute to the speed of human reflexes when survival is at stake.
What could I add to that?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

My Broken State, Part III

Oh, wait...it's not just about my state anymore (h/t to Atrios):
California is the state in the worst shape, and it’s also the state no one wants to help, because its problems stem from terrible institutions and a horribly dysfunctional government. They’re not just cyclically screwed; they worked very hard to get themselves into this mess, and the rest of America, quite reasonably, doesn’t want to bail them out. But this is a problem for the rest of America, because rare is the state that couldn’t use some additional help right about now.
It's true. California is so broken that it's going to make it really, really hard to fix the national economy. It's not going to be pretty, people.