Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 26, 2006
BLOG: The National Journal Interview

I'm interviewed by the National Journal's Blogometer today.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 2:06 PM | Blog 2006-14 | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

Good interview. I noticed that you said you don't go to Fox News because there are too many popups. I go there and to ESPN all the time and I never get popups. The secret? Firefox! I highly recommend switching. Once you use firefox you should get the adblock plug-in which catches the few that get through the default firefox. If you need any help with it I'd be glad to assist. (It's the least I could do considering the enjoyment I get from your blog.)

Posted by: David G. at January 26, 2006 2:17 PM

Fantastic, Crank. Congrats.

By the way, I think your final point regarding "replacement-level" pundits is a good one, and probably very accurate.

Posted by: Mike at January 26, 2006 2:41 PM

Nice job Crank.

Posted by: maddirishman at January 26, 2006 2:43 PM

Nice Job Crank.

But why the shame in reading the Times?

Sure it's had a bit of nervous breakdown these last few years and moved more visibly to the left, but it's still a damn good paper (perhaps the best in the country).

I think no matter where your politics lie, its important to read quality reporting/opining from both sides. While that doesn't mean reading or listening to inanity, the Times is well above that standard.

Posted by: pat_rick at January 26, 2006 4:05 PM

Quality reporting in the Times? Sure. Burns and Filkins come to mind. A few others, I'm sure. Quality opining? No. Brooks is, at this point, the only readable opiner on that page. Never mind the glory days of Baker, Safire & Lewis. The Washington Post lineup, regardless of politics, blows it away. As does the WSJ, most days.

Its still trading of its repuation as America's paper of record, but its just another rag now. Which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so damn self-important. A daily dose of NYT is a daily reminder of the ancient wisdom: "Not being intelligent is no bar to being an 'intellectual'".

Posted by: seamus at January 26, 2006 4:35 PM

How about Krugman? The MIT trained economist has been saying since 2000 what became conventional wisdom in August, 2005: the President is in over his head.

Their op/ed page is a bit of an anomoly in that the conservative (Brooks), can be sappy and nostalgic and often backs up his points with broad generalizations, but the liberal (Krugman) offers well reasoned opinions supported by hard facts and analysis. (Before you jump all over me, note I said this was an anomoly).

Posted by: pat_rick at January 26, 2006 6:35 PM

Krugman's facts are frequently not so factual. And his consistent predictions of economic doom haven't turned out so well.

Brooks was more substantive when he wrote for the Weekly Standard, and had more space to work with.

Posted by: The Crank at January 26, 2006 6:45 PM

Krugman started out interesting, evolved into shrill and is now unhinged.

Brooks? IThe Crank's right, but its tough being every liberal's favorite conservative. One can only go so far.

Thank goodness patrick knew better than to support, or even mention, she-who-shall-not-be-named. Good sense there.

Posted by: seamus at January 26, 2006 8:17 PM

yes, i agree - she's not worth reading; its like People Magazine for the inside the Beltway crowd - smug, tacky, useless.

Posted by: pat_rick at January 26, 2006 10:20 PM

he Crank was probably just being polite in his gentle dismissal of Krugman. The Times could keep an ombudsman busy full-time just handling complaints about Krugman and his use/misuse/non-use of facts and numbers. Daniel Okrent's final column as the Times' ombudsman specifically called out Krugman on this issue.

Posted by: Maryland Conservatarian at January 26, 2006 11:45 PM

I find Krugman all-but unreadable. He hates Bush, fine. So do a lot of folks, myself included. But that means we want to read one of his rants every day?

And for a "liberal," "Nobel-prize winning" economist, he sure says some things that are either dumb, or just transparently supportive of the economic status quo.

The Gray Lady should wear a wig at this point.

Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2006 6:40 AM

(See Mr. Krugman's Response to said partining shots made by Okrent)

"In Daniel Okrent's parting shot as public editor of The New York Times, he levied a harsh charge against me: he said that I have "a disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults."

He offered no examples of my "disturbing habit," and maybe I should stop there: surely it's inappropriate for the public editor to attack the ethics of one of the paper's writers without providing any supporting evidence.

He responded to my request for examples with criticisms of specific columns. Those criticisms were simply wrong: in each of those columns I played entirely fair with my readers, using the standard data in the standard way.

That should be the end of the story.

I want to go back to doing what I have been doing all along: using economic data to inform my readers.

Princeton, N.J., May 24, 2005

Posted by: Patrick at January 27, 2006 8:16 AM

So many conservatives think they can dismiss any challenge to their distorted version of reality screaming into their echo chamber that the challenger is a liar.

I put Paul Krugman's economics up against ANYONE in the Bush Administration (that doesn't include John O'Neil the reality based former treasury secretary).

(btw, Crank (unlike MD Con) made a valid point. Krugman's doom and gloom forecasting is a little over the top, but I think most respected economists
would agree that the US economy is in rougher shape today as a result of GWB's irresponsible fiscal policy)

Posted by: pat_rick at January 27, 2006 8:27 AM

I have neither the time nor space at this juncture to recount Krugman's habitual distortions. Search for "Krug" in this site, or Google his name on QandO, JustOneMinute, or Man Without Qualities, and spend a few dozen hours reading the details. (Of course, Don Luskin's "Krugman Truth Squad" is the market leader in Krug-bashing, but Luskin can be overzealous at times).

Posted by: The Crank at January 27, 2006 8:40 AM

It should be plain to all that economics is more art than science. The reason for different forecasts from Krugman and Bush admin advisor, for example, is, ultimately, the amount of confidence each places in the world's confidence in America generally, and the dollar specifically. If you think that people think that America and the dollar are, whatever the state of current fluctuation, fundamentally strong, you see a relatively rosy economic future. If you think that people think that, whatever power the US may have in the world, America and the dollar are progressively weakening, then things look bleak. Data can be massaged in either direction. Ether way, practitioners of the dismal science are, like day traders and sports gamblesr, eventually just guessing.

Posted by: seamus at January 27, 2006 10:13 AM


True enough. But whatever one's "opinion" some fact are too important to ignore. Krugman calls the Green Genie onto the carpet for tax cuts and defecits, which he has no control over.

Yet, as to the massive inflation (read: dollar devaluation) that Greenspan *causes* through injections of credit and money, Krugman is silent. I see a man that hates one of the two parties in power, but loves the one party that matters: The Federal Government, the Central Bank, and its 22 little brothers.

Yeah, Krugman's quite the rebel.

Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2006 10:43 AM

Krugman holds Greenspan accountable for the massive deficits because of his testimony way back in 2001 regarding Bush's tax cuts.

Though he didn't endorse them, he also didn't explicitly discourage them, and he gave the Administration just enough of a green light, saying something like, "keeping money out of government's hands and in the private sector is generally a good thing."

This nod/wink enabled the administration to pass their tax cuts without any spending reform, and Dick Cheney was left with the sadly mistaken viewpoint that, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." (He lectured his Treasury Secretary on this back in 2002.)

I am sure a lot Bush supporters secretly believe the VP was right, but in fact, the reason we survived the Reagan deficits was a) the two Presidents who followed were responsible enough to face reality and raise taxes while cutting spending, AND b) we experienced an economic boom in the 90s of historical proportions.

If we are not as fortunate this time, we will be suffering from Bush's deficit binge for decades to come.

Posted by: patrick at January 27, 2006 11:29 AM


I agre with most of what you've said. But with all due respect, calling Easy Al a villain because he tacitly supported Bush's fiscal policies while ignoring the nightmarish monetary policies he's implemented, is like saying Stalin was a villain only because his various 5-Year Plans were economic failures.

Since 1987, Greenspan has presided over the greatest devaluation of the dollar since the Civil War. And he did it overtly and intentionally. For Krugman -- the great defender of the American wage-earner, and "nobel-nominated economist," or whatever the hell he is -- to ignore this tells me he doesn't want to talk about it. Because he likes it.

Posted by: Mike at January 27, 2006 12:17 PM

"Since 1987, Greenspan has presided over the greatest devaluation of the dollar since the Civil War."

Wait till the Chinese start cashing in all those US Treasuries.

Posted by: patrick at January 27, 2006 1:20 PM

What president cut spending? When did that happen? There may be a few individual programs that were cut, and a few others for which the rate of increase slowed, but in what year, recent or not, did the federal government ever spend less than the year before?

Posted by: Jeff A at January 27, 2006 1:39 PM

re: "What president cut spending?"

Very valid point. So when Bush cuts taxes by appoximately 20%, how does he expect to pay for all the spending, which as you point out, at best remains fixed?

You can either raise taxes in the future or the economy can grow. To rely so heavily on those two future occurances is one of the many reckless and irresponisible policies of this administration.

Posted by: patrick at January 27, 2006 1:47 PM
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