Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reducing the Number of Governments a Step in the Right Direction

I'm an anarchist, so eventually I'd like to see the government go away. I'm not interested in moving government powers from one level of government to another because I don't think that helps. Having a relatively more powerful gang in Albany would not be a step in the direction of anarchy. Neither would a relatively more powerful gang in Poughkeepsie or Hopewell Junction or the Carmel Central School District. That's just rearranging the furniture.

In fact, the more local the government, the more meddling it does in my day to day life. My neighbors have shown no compunction about taxing the crap out of me to pay for schools, recreation facilities, wreaths on every power pole at Christmas, and American flags on them in July. There is nothing that the Town of East Fishkill and Dutchess County consider off limits when it comes to regulating my life. My best friend when it comes to checking local and state government is, I have to admit, the federal government.

All the layers of local government result in costly inefficiencies. Every local school board has its own administrative apparatus when it would be far cheaper to share administrative functions. Every town has its own police and functionaries in town halls when it would be far cheaper to consolidate them. This could be done without the subjects of these entities' sacrificing a single iota of freedom. I reckon we'd be more free since we'd have to pay less for the same services due to economies of scale and synergies we'd enjoy.

This applies likewise to states. Who needs them? Fifty legislatures, state executive departments, attorneys general, judicial systems and what have you represent a monumental waste of resources. Consolidate them and get them off our backs. Why does anyone think it is a good idea to have fifty sets of laws, especially nowadays when so much commerce and interaction is interstate, indeed international?

Let's have one government in America. That's a true step in the direction of anarchy since we now have thousands of governments to contend with.

Frankly, I like my government to be remote. Having it right here in Kent and Hopewell Junction is a little close for comfort. Did you know that they actually expect me to license my freaking dogs? And heaven forbid I should decide to erect a shed on my property without their approving it. But I digress. I would like to see all my government in Washington, DC, remote and too overwhelmed with the big picture to mess with me that much.

The next step would be One World Government.

Remote Area Medical and Licensing

I listened to Stan Brock of Remote Area Medical on WBAI this morning and was appalled to learn that the mission of that organization, which provides free medical care to remote areas and within the US, is obstructed by licensure requirements. California has a bill pending in its legislature to exempt medical, dental and optical professionals licensed in other jurisdictions from state licensing requirements when providing free services within California. Good for California if it passes.

Until it does, a dental hygienist licensed in New York is not lawfully permitted to volunteer to go to Fresno and give free cleanings to poor people. An eye doctor licensed in Illinois cannot give exams and prescribe eyeglasses to poor folks in Appalachia. A physician licensed in Florida can't treat a charity case in Idaho.

The system of state licensure for these professionals is a preposterous and unnecessary restraint of trade. Teeth, eyes and human bodies don't change when state lines are crossed. A root canal in New Mexico is the same as a root canal in Maine. A colonoscope in Vermont takes the same route in Minnesota. It is time to develop a system of national or even international recognition of professional licenses so that professionals may move freely over borders and their clientele will have more choices.

I cannot think of a good reason for maintaining the present system. It protects local professionals from out of state competition, but I consider that a bad reason.

I would extend this reasoning to engineers, teachers, accountants and lawyers as well. Numbers don't change from state to state, and laws are not all that different across the country. Educational and engineering theory and practice is the same everywhere.

I would also advocate taking a good, hard look at the proliferation of occupational licensing requirements across the country and eliminate them where they serve no useful public purpose. Flower arranging, hair braiding, and any number of other occupations have been saddled with onerous licensing requirements that serve only as obstacles to entry into trade.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is the Friday that the Lord has Made

Friday evening on a beautiful spring day, a glass of Luksusowa vodka and tonic in my hand (another already in my system), and birdsong. A man would have to be a blockhead to want more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What billmon said

The "Epistemic Closing" of the Conservative Mind

This is worth reading. This is why engagement with wingers will accomplish nothing and why it is more effective to be dismissive.

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yemen is a Hellhole

I heard on NPR this afternoon about Yemeni girls as young as 9 being forcibly married and raped by their older husbands. Recently, a 13 year old child bride was raped to death by her 23 year old husband. I suppose "rape" isn't really the right word here. After all, in Yemen, as in some states of the US not so long ago, a man has a right to have sex with his wife and to use the force necessary to enforce that right.

Places like Yemen will always be hellholes as long as women are this unempowered. It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the status of women and the degree of civilization in a place. The more equal women are to men and the more opportunities they have, the better the place is to live for everyone. The creativity and ambition of women, once released from repression, enriches society in manifold ways.

I pledge to avoid doing business or spending tourism dollars in any place that allows women and little girls to be treated so badly, and I urge others to do the same unless such spending or consumption benefits women. Not that I was planning a trip to Yemen. I just aim to be more mindful of this issue.

Senatorial Revisions

I have given some more thought to the question of the Senate and figure that as long as we are overhauling the legislature we should take a hard look at what we want a Senate to accomplish and how best to select Senators to achieve those ends. Unless our goal is to have an utterly corrupt body primarily beholden to moneyed interests, we can agree that direct election of Senators is preposterous.

It may be argued, by those who have not given it much thought, that selecting Senators by means other than selecting among candidates robs citizens of real representation. This is far from the truth. Half of eligible voters wisely decline to vote in most elections. Are they represented by the person whom the fools who voted selected? If your candidate loses, are you represented by the guy you hated? Are the two choices put up by the political parties a genuine exercise of choice? And for every informed voter, there are a thousand uninformed and misinformed sheep to drown out their voices with their imbecilic bleating. No, electing Senators directly is wrong for America.

What is the point really of a less representative upper house? Is it a vestige of the House of Lords designed to safeguard the interests of the propertied classes from the rapacity of the mob? No, that was buit into the system in other ways by limiting the franchise to propertied white men. Is it to safeguard regional interests? Originally, the idea was to assure small states of a voice when the larger states overwhelmed them in population and House seats. That was a political compromise that made some sense back in the 1780s when a constitution had to be sold, but it may no longer serve in the present context in which states are more or less political subdivisions with a few vestiges of sovereignty.

Perhaps there are other regional and minority interests that we reckon should be protected from majoritarian tyranny. And if there are such interests, such as rural concerns in an overwhelmingly urban and suburban country, we should determine how much of a power imbalance to adopt to achieve our goals. In the present system, sparsely populated states in Flyoverstan control far too much of the Senate in comparison to populous coastal states and do nothing to serve regional interests. Rather, they provide convenient venues for moneyed interests to invest in Senate campaigns and buy influence relatively cheaply. A Wyoming Senate candidate needs to buy many fewer votes than a candidate in California or New York. This imbalance results in the kind of GOP Senate caucus that we suffer from now and is bad for America.

I propose that we slant things somewhat but not so crazily to rural interests by consolidating a number of sparsely populated, rural states and rural areas of nearby urban states into a number of Senate Districts which is equal to the number of Senators that would be chosen on a proportional basis plus a premium of seats to be determined by how much we really care about this social divide.

Senators would then be chosen by lottery from a pool of eligible individuals (30 plus years old, domiciled in district, no felony convictions, no receipt of government funds for ten years except legislative pay) who have previously served in the House of Representatives or the Senate. The experience requirement would help to make the Senate a more deliberative body. Terms would be for 12 years. I estimate that our consolidation program would result in 30 Senate Districts, and since we have already increased numbers in the House I propose that each District select three Senators for a total of 120 seats.

I would still prohibit the Senate from proposing legislation or offering amendments and would require it to act promptly on affirmations and ratifications.

A Senate chosen by lot would look like America and would be likely to work for America rather than for itself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Congressional Lottery Redux

I've mentioned the idea of selecting Congress by lottery instead of elections as a way of eliminating campaign finance corruption. On further consideration, I find that my idea also helps curtail some of the serious problems inherent in the two party system.

To recap my earlier argument, the problems with campaign finance would go away if we no longer had campaigns. One way to do away with campaigns is to do away with elections. We could just as effectively choose Congress in a lottery. That way, anything that anyone gave to a Congressperson would be a transparent bribe.

Another benefit of the Lottery System is that political parties would no longer be primarily concerned with electioneering and winning elections. We would doubtless still have factions but these would be concerned first and foremost with governance rather than campaigning. We would likely avoid the dangerous situation that we have now where one of the major political parties, the GOP, is incompetent to govern effectively when it gets power and invariably makes a mess of things.

The current system has led to a duopoly of two parties which exclude all other factions or potential factions from meaningful participation in the political process. The Lottery System would smooth the way for multiple parties and shifting alliances and coalitions with less potential for polarization into two hostile camps intent on thwarting one another. Congresspersons would be able to form coalitions for special purposes rather than toeing strict party lines. They would be able to remain independent from parties altogether if it suited them. The Lottery System would permit a broader range of views to be represented in Congress.

While we are changing the system to eliminate corruption inherent in political campaigns, let us also make Congress more representative. 435 members is way too few for a population in excess of 300 million. Let's double the number of Congressonal districts to 870 to bring Congresspersons closer to their constituents and to allow for greater diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives. Better yet, let's triple them to 1,305.

Under the Lottery System, Congresspersons would be selected at random from the residents of each district. The only disqualifications would be youth, felony convictions and receipt of money from any governmental source during the previous ten years, including government contracts. I propose that their terms in office be at least 6 years so that they are not cycled out just as they are learning the ropes. No person would be required to serve if they were unwilling to do so. If the selectee declined to serve, the next name would be drawn until a selectee accepted the position. If we are careful about how districts are drawn, the resulting Congress will invariable look like America. About half of the members will be women. A wide range of age cohorts would be represented, and the distribution of classes in Congress would largely mirror those in the country. In short, we would have a truly representative body.

The Senate, if we decide to keep it at all, could be returned to the original system where its members were selected by state legislatures or it could be chosen by random lottery. I propose that the powers of the Senate be significantly curtailed and that it be limited to voting on legislation passed by the House rather than advancing its own legislation and to advice and consent. In the case of advice and consent, the Senate should be obliged in all instances to give an up or down vote on every nominee within 60 days of nomination and on every treaty within 180 days of submission to the Senate. If it does not, the nominee or treaty should be deemed confirmed or ratified.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Party "Contract from America" a Fiscal Suicide Pact | Crooks and Liars

Tea Party "Contract from America" a Fiscal Suicide Pact Crooks and Liars

This story has an interesting graphic about the sources of the deficit.

Another reason I am a skeptic when it comes to Tea Party claims that they are for lower taxes and smaller government is the unfeasability of their schemes.

Nobody on the right (except some of the right leaning libertarians) ever talks about reductions in military spending and ending expensive wars or about realistic plans to cut spending significantly. They simply have other priorities on which they would spend money or create deficits, the most important being cutting taxes on the relatively affluent. They'll borrow and shift the burden to future generations just as they have always done in my adult lifetime. They'll make a huge mess and leave it to Democrats to clean it up if they can. Government will be no smaller, and overall taxes will be higher (albeit deferred).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why I Don't Believe Teabaggers

Why don't I believe the Teabaggers when they say want smaller government and more freedom? First, I've heard this same crap by so called conservatives many times before, and it has always been false. Second, they lie or are just so misled about so many easily checked facts that they render themselves utterly trustworthy. Third, their authoritarian fellow travellers are not exactly testimonials to their freedom loving.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Garden and Bird News

Our new handyman came by and fixed the raised beds that I made so incompetently last year and built me a third bed. He is going to put in a fourth bed on Friday, so we will have 400 square feet (with the herb garden and strawberry patch) under cultivation plus the berry patch. With our CSA membership, we are going to be swimming in produce, so I reckon we'll have to do some canning or other preservation. My family in Georgia used to say about our huge harvest that "we eat what we can and what we can't we can".

I have my work cut out hauling wheelbarrows of top soil from the driveway to the garden beds, but I aim to do it and to plant all the beds by this weekend. We planted one already when we had that hot spell a week or so ago.

For the first time this year, I am daunted by pond maintenance. Mucking the pond by hand this years smacks of effort. I used not to mind it, but I am overcome with sloth or something this year. A pond guy is coming by to give me an estimate on muck removal and suggestions on how to reduce sediment flowing into the pond. If I can afford his solutions, I'll do it. Otherwise, I was thinking of getting a trash pump and sucking the muck out of the pond and spreading it on the lawn. That's what I was doing with the wheelbarrow loads. The grass is greener on the muck.

Jasper is getting into fair weather Kong fetching shape. He's already hunting amphibians for hours on end.

We have a new species of bird, the great crested flycatcher. I hope he eats as many flies as he can and invites his whole clan. No hummers yet. The goldfinches are getting golder by the day.

I bought a propane grill- a CharBroil Red and have been cooking out every chance I get.

Life is so much better when winter is over.


I have seen protesters several times in the last couple of weeks referred to as "anti-government". Yet, when they prevail, they immediately form a government.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

So you think slavery wasn't at the heart of the Confederacy…

PZ Myers nails it. So you think slavery wasn't at the heart of the Confederacy…

We're Doomed

I got a little depressed when I found out that Andromeda and the Milky Way are on a collision course. Odds are that this will have a negative impact on survival of whatever we've evolved into by then. This means we have only 4.5 billion years to become an intergalactic civilization. There's not a moment to waste.

Afterlife Schmafterlife

I lean toward universalism but I don't really have strongly held beliefs about the afterlife. It's a mystery as far as I'm concerned, and I'll know what I need to know when I need to know it.

The concept of hell is bothersome. I trust that if hell exists God has His reasons and that them as are consigned to hell belong there. I trust that ending up in hell will be in furtherance of God's plan. I assume that God will cause the resurrected saints to forget about the tormented souls in hell or that He will construct them in a way that will enable them to embrace the fact. Some folks would doubtless be disappointed if there were no hell. I would not. It seems to me that God would not resurrect the damned just to destroy them or subject them to eternal suffering. And if there is a hell, perhaps it's temporary so that when the damned have learned their lesson they can join the saints. I just don't know. How could I? Nobody ever comes back and explains anything.

I'm not sure about hell at all. I'm not even sure about heaven or the whole idea of the afterlife. What a gift it is just to have lived at all and to have been a sentient being. We should be grateful for that and not squander it on hopes for pie in the sky when we die. If there is an afterlife, then it's a bonus. I trust that God knows what is best for us. I would still follow Jesus even if the promise of life everlasting be a myth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

SCOTUS Endorsements

What is wanted on the Supreme Court is a greater diversity of professional background. There are enough law professors and career jurists on the court already. I reckon somebody with an executive or legislative background would be an asset to the court and to the country. For example, Governor Granholm of Michigan or Secretary of State Clinton might make excellent justices and would bring new and important perspectives. It would be helpful to have someone on the court who actually knows how the government really works and can speak to the likely practical impacts of decisions.

Wonkette : Romney Beats Ron Paul By Exactly One Vote In GOP Confederate Straw Poll

Wonkette : Romney Beats Ron Paul By Exactly One Vote In GOP Confederate Straw Poll

As Wonkette puts it:

"An unelectable Taxachusetts liberal gazillionaire, an unelectable libertarian extremist, an unelectable idiot teevee host and an unelectable chocolate-sucking amoral has-been … it’s the cream of the crop, Republican-style!"

Can this really be the GOP field? Maybe these are all just placeholder candidates while the real potential candidates wait and see whether there really is any kind of shot in 2012.

Taibbi Takes Brooks to Task for Douchebaggery

Brooks: Let Them Eat Work - Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - True/Slant

Seriously, Brooks claims rich peoiple deserve to be rich because they work harder.

"Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company, or listening to impatient assholes scream at you at some airport ticket counter all day long, or even teaching disinterested, uncontrollable kids in some crappy school district with metal detectors on every door.
Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Take on the WBTS

Confederate history has been in the news lately thanks to Virginia's proclamation that April is Confederate History Month and the omission of slavery in the original proclamation. The governor of Virginia knew what he was doing. Even though he apologized for his "mistake", everybody knows where his heart really is. Slavery was bad. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Now folks are arguing about how we should feel about the Confederacy and what the Confederacy was all about. My confederate bona fides are as good as anyone's. I'm the direct descendant of at least eight Confederate veterans and the indirect descendant of many more. There's not a single Union soldier in my family tree. I am interested in the history of the time and the role my family played in it and how we were impacted by it.

Only one of my Confederate ancestors owned any slaves. The rest were poor farmers or tradesmen who worked their own land or plied their own trade without the help of enslaved persons. I don't aim to piss on the graves of my ancestors, and I don't aim to attribute grand motives to them. Each had his own reasons for fighting. Some were conscripted. Others responded to the call to defend their state in the same way that so many bastards have been duped throughout human history. At least one of them was probably defending the institution of slavery by which he profited. Every one of them would have been better off if he hadn't been involved in the war. The South should have stayed in the Union and argued the point about slavery through legitimate processes. If abolition resulted, then the South should have manned up and accepted it. I like to imagine that my ancestors would have been on board with something like that rather than tearing their country apart.

I doubt that any of them gave a second thought to tariffs or abstract constitutional arguments. The war was not of their making. They were caught up in it as pawns of powerful elites. What the war was "about" for each of them we can no longer say. In a larger historical sense, the war was about defending the right of people to own other people and about the fundamental structure of the United States of America. The pro-slavery side lost. The concept of the US as a loose confederation of sovereign states also lost.

Those who advocate a system of state sovereignty with a weak federal government should perhaps avoid coupling their argument with an apparent nostalgia for slavery. There's nothing inherently immoral about the idea of such a government structure, and it ought to be discussed on its merits. And forget about turning back the clock and revising the interpretation of the Constitution that has prevailed for a century and a half. If we want a weak federal government with strong states, we'll need a new constitution or some radical amendments. The idea should be put to the political test for what it is, a radical rethinking of the structure of the government.

States' "rights" has been so often deployed in the context of the reprehensible (slavery, Jim Crow) that it has become almost universally recognized as code for racism. That's what Reagan meant when he talked about respecting states' rights in 1980. He was appealing to disaffected southern voters still angry over civil rights legislation. The GOP is still engaged in this "Southern Strategy". They poison discussion about the concept of decentralization by coupling it with reactionary and authoritarian ideas.

Let's stop talking about the frakking WBTS, and start talking about decentralization on its own merits. Moreover, let's discuss it pragmatically and accept ad arguendo that some things are more appropriate for decentralization than others. Let's talk about it in the context of actual policies and issues that matter today and forget about what the government was like in 1840 or what the Founding Fathers would have preferred. They're dead, and it's the living who will have to contend with our constitutional arrangements.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Embarrassing Mistake

This morning on the way to work on the Taconic, my carpool companion spied a state trooper on the side of the road pointing a device at us. Fearing that it might be an RPG, we opened fire on him. It turned out to be a radar gun. Was my face red or what?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Corporations are Creatures of the State so the State Should Create Them Diffrently

One way for ordinary people to deal with corporate power is to get state legislatures to enact more stringent rules for operating as a corporation like what existed before general incorporation laws became common. Back in the day, states granted charters more sparingly, and strings were attached. Moreover, states could revoke charters whenever it seemed to be in the public interest to do so. Charters were for limited time periods and required renewal. Charters were for limited purposes, and corporations had to get permission to change their line of business. The liability scheme could also be modified to keep executives honest. Corporations could be required to act in the pubic interest, and public directors could be mandated.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Stuff in the News

bpsycho posts about the collateral murder video and Oliver Willis's hissy fit about liberals who criticize the military:

I don't reckon pointing out bad acts necessarily constitutes a blanket condemnation of all servicemembers. I have observed a lot of right wingers among my FaceBook acquaintances who go to great lengths to defend even egregious crimes like the one in the video. War is ugly sometimes, they say, so what can you do? Avoid indiscriminate killing of civilians, for one thing. Observe the rules of engagement and the law of land warfare for another. Prosecute war criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

So the Pope knew about child molesting priests and was involved in the cover-up? D'uh! That would be true no matter which Cardinal had been elected Pope. Covering up and enabling were the policy of the Church, and you don't get to management in a top down hierarchy by bucking policy.

Afghan President Kharzai threatens to join the Taliban? What are we fightng for over there, again?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Rush Limbaugh is a Walrus

This is the the most awesome SadllyNo piece in a long time.

Monday, April 05, 2010

We bought some plastic storage bins to stash our Christmas decorations and keep the voles from nesting in them. They had the above warning sign on them. I'm not sure what it means. Is it a warning to people that the bin is not suitable for storing a baby? Or do babies like to crawl into stoarge bins and pull the lids down on themselves? A baby that stupid would never understand the warning sign, so I'm guessing this is for adults. Never put your baby in a bin!

I never knew how irresistible babies found buckets. Apparently, they like to stick their heads in them. If they are full of liquid they will drown. I'm not sure those babies are smart enough to heed the warning sign I have seen on buckets that I own.

These were hazards that were never explained to me when I was a wee one. We knew about plastic bags.
We even had a vesre of a song: "Suffocation, we like suffocation. Suffocation, that's the game to play. First you take a plastic bag, then you put it on your head. Go to bed...wake up dead. Oh oh oh oh." We were warned about abandoned fridges as death traps and about the perils of blasting caps. Apparently, it was common back then just to leave blasting caps lying around. Forks and toasters did not mix. We did not fear buckets and bins, however.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I'm OK with Pedophile Priests as Long as They Don't Act on Their Pedophilia

I'm not Catholic, so as far as I'm concerned the Pope is just a guy in a funny hat. This Pope has even less moral authority from my perspective than your average Pope what with the handling of the priestly pedophilia scandal. It's not enough to transfer sexually abusive priests to parishes with less attractive children. Seriously, what does it take to get fired as a priest? The way it was handled makes it look as if the RCC condones child molestation by priests and considers the problem to be exposure rather than the abuse itself.

And now the defense of the Pope and the RCC seems to be to accuse critics of anti-Catholic bigotry. Talking about priestly child molesting is worse than priestly child molesting. This fits in with the notion that the problem is exposure rather than the abuse. Unless the RCC actually considers child molesting a priestly prerogative, it ought to acknowledge the mistakes it has made and pledge to do better in the future.

Standing on Principles

I have to hand it to Wm Norman Grigg for sticking to his principles. He continues to call out DHS and to defend the rights of recent terror suspects. I'm not so courageous. I have been very disturbed by the "Patriot Movement" and the possibility of domestic terrorism and by the tone of discourse from the right that appears to condone violence. Also, a part of me gets a kick out of seeing right wingers who were so gung ho about the security and surveillance apparatus when GW Bush ran it become targets of it.

New Talking Point for Wingnuts

I guess it's not really new, but it's used in a new context. Accuse people who point out Tea Party craziness of being "name callers". What's worse than advocating domestic terrorism? Pointing out that someone advocates domestic terrorism.

The idea is that the craziness of the Tea Partiers does not detract from their ideas. I reckon that would be true if the movement actually had any ideas and was anything other than a manifestation of a generalized reactionary discontent. In principle, the movement has certain not very controversial objectives such as smaller government and lower taxes, but it appears that the rank and file are willing to use violence to air their vaguely expressed grievances and, if not willing to use it or advocate it, to condone it. This makes it very hard to trust them on any issue or to take their positions seriously.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Why the Windies Will Never Dominate Again

West Indian acquaintances who learn that I am interested in cricket invariably ask me to explain why the West Indies, unstoppable for a decade not long ago, cannot recapture the days of glory. I usually just nod and remark on what a mystery it is and promise to look into it. The answer is pretty simple, though. The rest of the world adapted to the relentless pace attack that the West Indies mastered and monopolized during its Decade of Dominance. The rest of the world learned to hit fast bowling and to cultivate pace bowlers themselves. The West Indies needs a new trick if it aims to dominate again. Its population base is too small to allow it to outcompete year in and year out the teams from larger countries.

Another reason for the decline in the fortunes of West Indies cricket is a product of the earlier success. Youth cricket has become highly institutionalized in the West Indies with the result that "sandlot" cricket is an increasingly rare phenomenon. Youth are channeled into organized leagues, and playing outside the formal system is devalued. This drives many young would be cricketers away from the sport.

Still, you gotta love the Windies. They're America's team.