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Summaries and Excerpts from ALL Bill James Abstracts

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Rich Lederer ran a wonderful series 15 years ago, recapping all the Bill James Abstracts. I’d highly recommend all those out there to check them all out:

1977 Baseball Abstract
1978 Baseball Abstract
1979 Baseball Abstract
1980 Baseball Abstract
1981 Baseball Abstract
1982 Baseball Abstract
1983 Baseball Abstract
1984 Baseball Abstract
1985 Baseball Abstract
1986 Baseball Abstract
1987 Baseball Abstract
1988 Baseball Abstract

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StatsGuru
10 hours ago
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This is great reading when you're stuck home looking for something to do.

Vin Diesel's Bloodshot Is the Perfect Movie For the New Direct-to-Streaming Era

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Faced with nationwide closures and an empty release schedule, movie theaters are asking for bailout money. The chief of the theater owner's lobby pitched it this way: As public gathering places, theaters are uniquely affected by the spread of COVID-19, and also comparatively inexpensive to prop up. The theater industry hasn't named a dollar figure, but for less than the price of bailing out one airline, you could save the entire theater industry, he told The New York Times. What's one more airplane brand next to the magic of the silver screen? Besides, people will need someplace to go when it's all over.

I am a little bit sympathetic to this line of thinking. I rarely fly, but I see movies frequently. Over the course of my life, movie theaters have provided me with thousands of hours of escape, entertainment, and engagement, both by myself and in the company of others. I genuinely believe that theaters, as director Christopher Nolan recently wrote, are a "vital part of social life." 

Still, I have to wonder: Have any of these people seen Bloodshot

Bloodshot is a PG-13 action film starring Vin Diesel, based on a somewhat obscure comic book from the 1990s, directed by a first-timer with a background in computer animation. If you asked a machine learning program to survey the last several years of theatrical releases and then generate its own by algorithm, it would probably come up with something like this. Bloodshot is very nearly the median Hollywood film. 

The movie was initially released in theaters two weeks ago, playing on about 2,800 movie screens domestically. Since then, a few things have changed. 

Today, barely any movie theaters are still open in the United States. As a result, many movies that were scheduled to open in the next several months have been delayed until after our viral apocalypse. In the meantime, several recent theatrical releases have found their way to video on demand. Normally this takes months, since theater owners have negotiated an exclusivity period with movie studios. But what's a theatrical release window when there are no theaters to release into? 

That is why, for a mere $19.99, you can now own-to-stream a 4k digital copy of Bloodshot from Amazon, iTunes, and other fine purveyors of high-quality ones and zeroes.

It's appropriate for a movie about a soldier given a digital rebirth. Diesel plays Ray Garrison, who is resurrected after losing both his wife and his life on a mission abroad. In his reincarnated form, he's a supersoldier held together by nanites, tiny bio-machines that rapidly heal wounds and give him super strength. Naturally, he seeks revenge, and with the help of a similarly super-powered squad of nano-soldiers, brought together by Dr. Emil Harting, a twitchy scientist played by Guy Pearce, he embarks on a mission to take down the sociopathic Martin Axe (Toby Kebbell), who stole everything from him. 

From there, the movie goes roughly where you expect it to go—and then, perhaps, a little further, with a twist that essentially turns into a kind of over-muscled sci-fi action-movie riff on Groundhog Day, albeit without the wit or light-footedness that made Edge of Tomorrow so enjoyable. Connoisseurs of slow-motion punching will no doubt appreciate the many slow-motion punches, along with the reasonably competent action scenes that director David S.F. Wilson builds with them. Generally speaking, you can tell what's going on, which is high praise for today's mid-budget action movies. 

As Garrison, Diesel spends the movie hulking and glowering in hopes that this will serve as a rough substitute for acting. He has a volcanically low voice that will challenge even the most competent subwoofer, but it's the only place his character shows signs of depth. You learn more about Garrison from the various performance monitors set up in Dr. Hartin's lab than from Diesel's one-note performance. At one point, the camera cuts to a screen purporting to monitor his "brain activity." It's low. 

In some ways, this is just par for the course for Diesel—an international superstar thanks to the Fast and the Furious franchise, but better understood as B-movie brawn. He has frequently dabbled in modestly budgeted action cheese. This has occasionally produced high-quality results, as in Pitch Black…but it has also occasionally given us movies like The Last Witch Hunter. (With a title like that, one can at least take solace in the hope that there won't be any sequels.).  

Diesel has a predilection for gloomy pulp, the sort of enjoyable trash that's best enjoyed in a college dorm room around 2 a.m. or as a television matinee on an afternoon spent channel surfing or app browsing. Bloodshot is no exception. It's a movie that was intended for theaters, and it even briefly surfaced in them. But it works better at home, from the comfort of one's own couch, probably while keeping a distracted eye on one's phone. It's not a movie that needs to be watched so much as one that you wouldn't mind having on. Bloodshot is not a great movie by any means, but watching it from the comfort of my basement living room, I thought: This is not too bad. 

I like movies—especially movies seen in a theater—as much as anyone. I hope our theaters reopen soon. And I genuinely worry that if this pause in theatrical viewing extends long enough, it will ultimately eliminate much of the theatrical experience as we have always known it. But I am also mindful of the potential for salutary effects from this otherwise awful scenario. 

It's true, as the theater owners say, that when this stay-at-home nightmare is over, people will need someplace to go. But no one needs to go out to see a replacement-level actioner like Bloodshot. Perhaps, in our post-viral rebirth, movies like this will more frequently find a fast route to the couch-based viewing where they are best appreciated. 



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StatsGuru
5 days ago
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Sounds like the author is introducing FAR, Films Above Replacement.

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR PROHIBITS REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS DURING CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY. Earlier: Pl…

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MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR PROHIBITS REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS DURING CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY.

Earlier: Plastic bag bans dangerous during COVID-19 pandemic: “For that reason, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu issued an emergency order over the weekend prohibiting reusable shopping bags and requiring that stores use disposable plastic or paper bags instead.”

Or to put it another way: Left’s Pet Issues Like Mass Transit, Reusable Bags Prove Deadly During Coronavirus Crisis.

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StatsGuru
10 days ago
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I feel vindicated. I've been against the plastic bag ban from the beginning.

Happy 244th Birthday “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”

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(Don Boudreaux)

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On this date – March 9th – in 1776 Adam Smith’s An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations – was first published. I mark this happy anniversary by doing my best, in my latest column for AIER, to clear-up a misunderstanding about Smith’s attitude toward protectionism. A slice:

The first exception [that Smith mentioned to a policy of unilateral free trade] – national security – is not an economic exception at all. Yes, protective tariffs might be advisable in limited circumstances to maintain military readiness. But Smith was clear that such protection is a cost. Although security against foreign invasion is unquestionably important, protectionism carried out to further this security “is not favourable to foreign commerce, or to the opulence which can arise from it.”

The second exception – equalizing taxes – is also not really an exception. A policy of free trade is one in which the home government treats the sale and purchase of all goods and services identically, regardless of where they are produced. Smith argued that if the home government taxes the domestic production of some particular goods, then failure to impose identical taxes upon the sale of imports that compete with those domestically produced goods would give an artificial – and, hence, economically distorting – advantage to the imports.

The third exception – using at home what are now known as “retaliatory tariffs” in the hope of inducing tariff reductions abroad – is indeed a genuine exception. But no sooner did Smith mention this exception and its possible benefits than he cast doubt on its advisability. He called the typical government official who in practice would determine if retaliatory tariffs stand a good-enough prospect of working an “insidious and crafty animal.” Such a person is hardly the sort to be blithely trusted with power to obstruct trade. Furthermore, Smith thought it important to explicitly observe that the domestic citizens who bear the brunt of the very real costs of retaliatory tariffs are seldom the same domestic citizens who would benefit from any resulting reductions in tariffs by foreign governments.

The fourth exception – shielding workers in protected industries from sudden and unexpected economic disruption – is, like each of the first two ‘exceptions,’ not really one. Not only do such tariffs not promote industry and growth, these tariffs should be reduced until they are eventually eliminated. Fearful that too-quick and drastic liberalization of trade might unduly harm workers in protected industries, Smith was willing to tolerate the temporary continuation, but at falling rates, of some tariffs. Smith thought it to be a matter of justice to workers, despite any resulting reduced economic growth, for government to reduce existing tariffs gradually – tariffs that, Smith is clear, should never in the first place have been imposed.

One may agree or disagree with Smith on any or all of these so-called “exceptions.” But one cannot legitimately identify Smith’s own discussion of these “exceptions” as reason to doubt that he strongly believed that maximum widespread prosperity and justice over the long run are best ensured by a policy of unilateral free trade.

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The economic impact of the Bernie Sanders agenda

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From Casey Mulligan:

If fully implemented, but otherwise implemented wisely, Senator Sanders’ agenda for the economy would reduce real GDP and consumption by 24 percent.  Real wages would fall more than 50 percent after taxes.  Employment and hours would fall 16 percent combined.  There would be less total healthcare, less childcare, less energy available to households, and less value added in the university sector.  Although it is more difficult to forecast, the stock market would likely fall more than 50 percent…

Even if without any productivity loss or increased utilization in healthcare, college, and daycare, this means that the Sanders agenda would be expanding the Federal budget by 13.25 percent of baseline consumption.  Including 19 percent additional utilization of these “free” goods and services, tax rates on labor income must increase by 23.5 percentage points (it would be more but the Sanders agenda does expand the tax base by eliminating the exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance).  GDP falls by 16 percent (this does not yet consider productivity losses — that comes below).

You can quibble with some of the numbers on productivity decline, but that such estimates are even possible from fairly standard parameters should give a number of you some pause.  Here is my earlier post on the economic policy ideas of Bernie Sanders.

The post The economic impact of the Bernie Sanders agenda appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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StatsGuru
37 days ago
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Do people realize that Sander's only talent is talking?
freeAgent
37 days ago
I mean...people elected Trump, too. It's surprising and sad to find that many people do not employ logic or even factual information when making voting decisions.

Why are we letting FDA regulations limit our number of coronavirus tests?

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Since CDC and FDA haven’t authorized public health or hospital labs to run the [coronavirus] tests, right now #CDC is the only place that can. So, screening has to be rationed. Our ability to detect secondary spread among people not directly tied to China travel is greatly limited.

That is from Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA, and also from Scott:

#FDA and #CDC can allow more labs to run the RT-PCR tests starting with public health agencies. Big medical centers can also be authorized to run tests under EUA. For now they’re not permitted to run the tests, even though many labs can do so reliably 9/9 https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/rt-pcr-detection-instructions.html

Here is further information about the obstacles facing the rollout of testing.  And read here from a Harvard professor of epidemiology, and here.  Clicking around and reading I have found this a difficult matter to get to the bottom of.  Nonetheless no one disputes that America is not conducting many tests, and is not in a good position to scale up those tests rapidly, and some of those obstacles are regulatory.  Why oh why are we messing around with this one?

For the pointer I thank Ada.

The post Why are we letting FDA regulations limit our number of coronavirus tests? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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freeAgent
40 days ago
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Los Angeles, CA
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StatsGuru
39 days ago
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Yes, let's elect a socialist and regulate the nation even more! :(
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