Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Happy Saturday

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Happy Saturday. You’ve earned it.

* On the Yankee payroll. Via Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

In 2002, the Yankees spent $17 million more in payroll than any other team.

In 2003, the Yankees spent $35 million more in payroll than any other team.

In 2004, the Yankees spent $57 million more in payroll than any other team. I mean, it’s ridiculous from the start but this is pure absurdity. Basically, this is like the Yankees saying: “OK, let’s spend exactly as much as the second-highest payroll in baseball. OK, we’re spending exactly as much. And now … let’s add the Oakland A’s. No, I mean let’s add their whole team, the whole payroll, add it on top and let’s play some ball!”

In 2005, the Yankees spent $85 million more than any other team. Not a misprint. Eight five.

In 2006, the Yankees spent $74 million more than any other team.

In 2007, the Yankees spent $40 million more than any other team — cutbacks, you know.

In 2008, the Yankees spent $72 million more than any other team.

In 2009, the Yankees spent $52 million more than any other team.

Congrats again on that World Series.

* Ryan recommends Paul Fry’s literary theory course from Yale Open Courses. I’ve downloaded all the lectures and they’ll be joining me on my run tomorrow.

* First, Let’s Kill All the Credit Default Swaps. Related: an NPR interview on The Greatest Trade Ever, which tells the story of how a middle-of-the-road hedge fund manager made billions during the financial collapse.

* Al Gore, revolutionary.

When making his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore arguably had it easy: it’s fairly straightforward to grip an audience when you’re portraying scenes of apocalyptic destruction. The new book pulls off a considerably more impressive feat. It focuses on solving the crisis, yet manages to be absorbing on a topic that is all too often – can we just come clean about this, please? – crushingly boring. Importantly, it seeks to enlist readers as political advocates for the cause, rather than just urging them to turn down the heating. “It’s important to change lightbulbs,” he says, in a well-burnished soundbite, “but more important to change policies and laws.” Or perhaps to break laws instead: peaceful occupations of the kind witnessed recently in the UK, he predicts, are only going to become more widespread. “Civil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play. And I expect that it will increase, no question about it.” People sometimes express incredulity that Gore, who was groomed for the presidency almost since birth, seems so resolved that he’ll never return to electoral politics. But here’s a vivid example of the benefits of life on the outside: how many serving politicians would feel able to come so close to urging people to commit trespass?

A friend reminds me that Al Gore was elected President of the United States 9 years ago today.

* And Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book argues that positive thinking is destroying America.

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