The Blog @ TJBrown.com Rotating Header Image

Book Talk

The arrow is DOWN?

An interesting study by University of Chicago’s Tobias Moskovitz suggests that Cubs’ fans have grown more “fair-weather” the last few years. These days attendance is very sensitive to team performance.

The team finished 75-87 last year, and is off to a 3-3 start in 2011. On Monday, the Cubs acknowledged their lowest attendance at a game in nine years — 26,292 fans for a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, though maybe half that many were actually there.

“I think the fans are showing a little tough love,” said Moskowitz, a Cubs fan.

The pressure is going to be on the Ricketts family soon if the Cubs continue to stumble and fans begin to stay away. If revenues slip, they might have no choice but to sell the team for something in a few years.

It might also signal the beginning of the end for Wrigley Field.

Full-circle in 50 Years

Last week, I noted that Atlas Shrugged has experienced a resurgence in sales. It’s not terribly surprising to me.

Two months ago, writer Stephen Moore suggested that we are witnessing a real-life Atlas Shurgged with businesses colluding with government to prop up failing companies.  I don’t think he’s too far off base, even if (God willing) we don’t reach the depths that prompted John Galt, Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart to retreat from society.

Ayn Rand deserves another close look as we have a government hell bent on bringing back New Deal economics.

In February 1959, Rand gave a television interview with Mike Wallace (who still persists as a semi-retired journalist).  Fifty years later, Rand’s creed (and her response to Wallace’s protestations) warrant thought.

Who would have predicted?

 

Apology accepted? Aw, Hell, why not?

Apology accepted? Aw, Hell, why not?

Just four months ago, Christopher Buckley paused from writing brilliant novels to endorse Barack Obama, an interesting stunt since he told conservatives to shut up and be happy with John McCain (Buckley’s favorite) just eight months prior in a New York Times Op-Ed piece.

The humiliation of the son of the father of modern conservatism endorsing Obama was to be a death knell to conservatism itself. The flagship National Review, of which Christopher Buckley owns shares inherited from William F. Buckley himself, “fired” him (although the magazine insists nothing of the sort happened).

I can tell you conservatism is alive and well. With every billion forked over to “save” AIG (so far the cash is saving AIG the same way Neifi Perez “saved” the 2005 and 2006 Cubs’ seasons), you’ll see conservatives enjoy a resurgence. It’s sad that it’s taken this for Congressional Republicans to find religion and for Americans to figure out that Keynesian (and neosocialist) policies are exacerbating the problems.

At any rate, back in October, a prescient if not persistent blogger wrote:

Buckley is convinced that  Obama will quickly learn that his desire to raise taxes on the five percent of Americans who tend to employ other Americans and to raise capital gains taxes and to strip down NAFTA and every other free trade agreement would be disastrous. That’s too big a gamble to make.

 Buckley indeed thought Obama was going to just come to his senses.

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

The prayers, both secular and sacred have gone unanswered.  Spending bills are measured in the Billions. Good firms like Northern Trust are shamed into booking Earth, Wind and Fire for their clients (because the government insisted on giving them capital) when the taxpayers directly paid for Earth, Wind and Fire to play in front of Obama’s clients at the White House. (I’m not saying Obama shouldn’t have entertainment there; I’m just wondering when Barney Frank and John Kerry decry such behavior as inappropriate.)

AIG received anothe $30 Billion today. The details of Obama’s budget are trickling out.  Christopher Buckley, maybe having an epiphany on the anniversary of his great father’s death, has awakened!

I don’t want to say that I told you so, but…

A is A


As we are propping up the non-productive businesses on the backs of the productive ones, and as we are calling for less freedom than more freedom, should it be any surprise that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is seeing renewed interest?

It’s truly a book worth your time. Dagny Taggart is the heroine, and you’ll find out the answer to who John Galt is. Hint: Galt is not a government commission or an Obama-appointed czar.

As long as it is, it’s shorter — and more pertinent to solving our economic woes — than the famed Stimulus Bill!

Lost Fall

This August marks the three-year anniversary of the beginning of my journey through graduate school. All-in-all I’d rate the decision to go back to school my best decision of my professional life. It truly has been great. I’ve felt that I’ve become more valuable at work, I’ve met and befriended some spectacularly talented classmates (and professors), and it has been particularly fun to be a part of the school’s community during a period of major change.

But while the past three falls have been marked by the start of school, it also means the beginning of high school football season, and the amping up of my other job as a stringer for the Daily Herald. I’ve been freelancing with the Herald since 2002, so that’s five high school football seasons. From December 1999 until early 2002, I was a sportswriter for Pioneer Pressbureau in Lake County. The three years before that, I was assistant sports editor at the LaPorte Herald-Argus (now a shell of its old self, but that’s another story).

So that means that since 1997, the end of August has meant my Friday nights have been dominated by football. That’s 11 years, an average of 10 games per year, 110-plus high school football contests since 1997.

Not this year. Every Friday, beginning Aug. 29, I will be otherwise occupied. Class on Friday. Can there be anything better?

Ever since I left the full-time world of journalism and began stringing, my hold on the title of “sportswriter” as my line of work has become more and more tenuous. That’s fine, I suppose. I’m engaged in my business, and while I enjoy the opportunity to freelance for the Herald (and I hope they like my work), it isn’t the center of my life. But it is part of my life.

I hope I can get back to stringing once I’m done with school (mid-February, hopefully), but this Fall will feel strange.