Daily Archive: 10/05/2012

Oct 05 2012

2012 NL Wildcard Sudden Death

First of all let me just say I thoroughly approve of any sporting competition that includes the words ‘Sudden Death’ and I am a long standing advocate of allowing players to keep their bats on the base paths and eliminating the ‘Hit By Pitch’ rule.  I am convinced these innovations will return the Metropolitans to their rightful place as the premier team in New York, the only Baseball city you’ll ever need.

Perhaps next time I will share my game changing borough re-alignment plan.

This year marks the introduction of a new level of playoff competition- the Wild Card round, a single game elimination between the two teams in each league with the best record that did not win their Divisions.

Today at 8:30 pm the Junior League attention hogs will play a sport loosely associated with baseball in a pathetic attempt to induce support for an inferior product, this afternoon we have a chance to see the real thing (without my masterful improvements alas).

Remember this?

Yes, it’s the Rally Squirrel.

You know, the Cardinals are only the defending champions and their 88 – 74 record conceals a lot of hard luck games they probably should have won.  By contrast the Braves look tired and old and unless they pull one out for the retiring Chipper Jones I can’t help but feel that they are the most vincible team in the expanded playoffs with the exception of the Orioles.

The Cardinals are also starting Lohse, their ace, while the Braves will counter with Kris Medlen who started the season in middle relief and spent 3 rotations in the minors.  He wasn’t promoted to starter until after the All-Star break but piled up an impressive number of scoreless innings.  Another positive for Braves fans is that they’re better rested and less injured than usual.

The winner advances to face the Nationals.

Meta

We’ll be attempting to cover every game of the Major League Baseball Playoffs.  Normally my rooting interests are fairly transparent, but should you happen to favor another team it’s really ok to participate.  My team is the Mets who are expectedly absent once again, anything else is a temporary attachment.

All the Wild Card and Division Series games (except for maybe Sunday’s As/Tigers Game 2) will be on TBS, your Braves broadcaster.  Tonight’s second game will be Orioles at Rangers.

Oct 05 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Romney’s Sick Joke

“No. 1,” declared Mitt Romney in Wednesday’s debate, “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” No, they aren’t – as Mr. Romney’s own advisers have conceded in the past, and did again after the debate. [..]

So, about that sick joke: What Mr. Romney actually proposes is that Americans with pre-existing conditions who already have health coverage be allowed to keep that coverage even if they lose their job – as long as they keep paying the premiums. As it happens, this is already the law of the land. But it’s not what anyone in real life means by having a health plan that covers pre-existing conditions, because it applies only to those who manage to land a job with health insurance in the first place (and are able to maintain their payments despite losing that job). Did I mention that the number of jobs that come with health insurance has been steadily declining over the past decade?

What Mr. Romney did in the debate, in other words, was, at best, to play a word game with voters, pretending to offer something substantive for the uninsured while actually offering nothing. For all practical purposes, he simply lied about what his policy proposals would do.

New York Times Editorial: Peace Talks With the Taliban

American military commanders long ago concluded that the Afghan war could only end in a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, not a military victory. But now the generals and civilian officials say even this hope is unrealistic before 2015 – after American and coalition troops are withdrawn. They are, instead, trying to set the stage for eventual peace talks between the Afghan government and the insurgency sometime after their departure.

President Obama’s failure to make headway in talks with the Taliban is a serious setback. Of course, persuading militants to negotiate a peace deal was always a daunting challenge. But the Obama administration has not been persistent enough in figuring out how to initiate talks with a resilient, brutal insurgency that continues to carry out deadly attacks against American and NATO forces.

Bob Herbert: No More Excuses

It’s time to stop making excuses for Barack Obama. With so much at stake in this election, his performance at the debate on Wednesday night was indefensible.

Ever since he was elected, there have been reasons offered, either publicly or privately, for why Obama has been unable to fully engage some of the nation’s most important challenges. Despite the rampant increase in poverty in the worst downturn since the Depression, Obama supporters whispered that he couldn’t do more for the poor and couldn’t speak out more forcefully on their behalf because that would not be politically advantageous. So nearly all of his economic initiatives had to be couched in language that referred to the middle class, even though the poor were being hurt far worse. LBJ could launch a war on poverty but not Barack Obama.

Robert Kuttner: GOP in Florida: Crying Fraud, Then Creating It

They have been obsessively claiming that voter-suppression measures are necessary because of widespread “ballot fraud.” However extensive investigations by the mainstream media have shown that ballot-fraud is a convenient myth.

Even the Bush administration, in an extensive five-year search, turned up no evidence of the kind of voting fraud-fake IDs, voting in the name of dead people, folks being bribed to vote-that the Republicans routinely allege. Republicans, evoking the tactics of the pre-civil rights segregationist South, simply want to make it more difficult for people who might support Democrats to exercise their right to vote. Some five million people, mostly minorities and the poor, are at risk of being denied their right to vote in 19 states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, according to a report from the Brennan Center. Happily, the courts have struck down the most extreme of these measures, in Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and most recently Pennsylvania.

Now, however, Republicans can claim some vindication. Serious voter fraud has emerged in Florida. But the ballot fraud is being perpetrated by Republicans!

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Winning Card: Obama and Democrats Need Social Security and Medicare

There’s a lot of post-debate analysis going on — some would say too much — but not enough is being said about the ace in the Democrats’ deck: defending Social Security and Medicare. That’s not just a winning card for the candidates who play it. Seniors, young people, the disabled, the jobless: Everybody at the table wins.

Everybody, that is, except the Republican in the race.

So why aren’t they more concerned this time around? Why didn’t the president play this winning card last night? Why aren’t more Democrats using it? It’s as if they’ve all signed a secret pledge to appear fair and reasonable — by not admitting they hold a better hand. [..]

You can’t beat the other guy, even with the best hand in the house, unless you play it. Word to the Democrats: It’s time to lay your cards on the table. It’s time to fight for Social Security and Medicare — no cuts, at no time, no how.

Michael T. Klare: Extreme Energy Means an Extreme Planet

The new “Golden Age of Oil” that wasn’t as forecasts of abundance collide with planetary realities

Last winter, fossil-fuel enthusiasts began trumpeting the dawn of a new “golden age of oil” that would kick-start the American economy, generate millions of new jobs, and free this country from its dependence on imported petroleum.  Ed Morse, head commodities analyst at Citibank, was typical.  In the Wall Street Journal he crowed, “The United States has become the fastest-growing oil and gas producer in the world, and is likely to remain so for the rest of this decade and into the 2020s.” [..]

It turns out, however, that the future may prove far more recalcitrant than these prophets of an American energy cornucopia imagine.  To reach their ambitious targets, energy firms will have to overcome severe geological and environmental barriers — and recent developments suggest that they are going to have a tough time doing so.

Oct 05 2012

Quantum Leap is a really good show.

The Great Debate

Overture

Part 1- Firing Big Bird

Part 2- You’ve done a great job

Part 3- Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman

He’s not pitching at Coors Field Al.

Oct 05 2012

On This Day In History October 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 5 is the 278th day of the year (279th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 87 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1877, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians surrenders to U.S. General Nelson A. Miles in the Bear Paw mountains of Montana, declaring,

“Hear me, my chiefs: My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

Chief Joseph (March 3, 1840 – September 21, 1904) was the chief of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard‘s attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other “non-treaty” Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho. For his principled resistance to the removal, he became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker.

Joseph the Younger succeeded his father as chief in 1871. Before his death, the latter counseled his son:

“My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. When I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people. They look to you to guide them. Always remember that your father never sold his country. You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more and white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words. This country holds your father’s body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.”

Chief Joseph commented “I clasped my father’s hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”

The non-treaty Nez Perce suffered many injustices at the hands of settlers and prospectors, but out of fear of reprisal from the militarily superior Americans, Joseph never allowed any violence against them, instead making many concessions to them in hopes of securing peace.

In 1873, Chief Joseph negotiated with the federal government to ensure his people could stay on their land in the Wallowa Valley. But in 1877, the government reversed its policy, and Army General Oliver Howard threatened to attack if the Wallowa band did not relocate to the Idaho Reservation with the other Nez Perce. Chief Joseph reluctantly agreed.

Before the outbreak of hostilities, General Howard held a council to try to convince Joseph and his people to relocate. Joseph finished his address to the General, which focused on human equality, by expressing his “[disbelief that] the Great Spirit Chief gave one kind of men the right to tell another kind of men what they must do.”

Howard reacted angrily, interpreting the statement as a challenge to his authority. When Chief Too-hul-hul-sote protested, he was jailed for five days.

The day following the council, Joseph, White Bird, and Chief Looking Glass all accompanied General Howard to look at different areas. Howard offered them a plot of land that was inhabited by Whites and Indians, promising to clear them out. Joseph and his chieftains refused, adhering to their tribal tradition of not taking what did not belong to them.

Unable to find any suitable uninhabited land on the reservation, Howard informed Joseph that his people had thirty days to collect their livestock and move to the reservation. Joseph pleaded for more time, but Howard told him that he would consider their presence in the Wallowa Valley beyond the thirty-day mark an act of war.

Returning home, Joseph called a council among his people. At the council, he spoke on behalf of peace, preferring to abandon his father’s grave over war. Too-hul-hul-sote, insulted by his incarceration, advocated war.

The Wallowa band began making preparations for the long journey, meeting first with other bands at Rocky Canyon. At this council too, many leaders urged war, while Joseph argued in favor of peace.

While the council was underway, a young man whose father had been killed rode up and announced that he and several other young men had already killed four white men, an act sure to initiate war.

Still hoping to avoid further bloodshed, Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs began leading his people north toward Canada.

With 2,000 U.S. soldiers in pursuit, Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs led 800 Nez Perce toward their friends the Crows, but when the Crows betrayed them and joined the United States army for money, the Nez Perce went towards freedom at the Canadian border. For over three months, the Nez Perce outmaneuvered and battled their pursuers traveling 1,600 miles (2,570 km) across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. General Howard, leading the opposing cavalry, was impressed with the skill with which the Nez Perce fought, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications. Finally, after a devastating five-day battle during freezing weather conditions with no food or blankets, Chief Joseph formally surrendered to General Nelson Appleton Miles on October 5, 1877 in the Bear Paw Mountains of the Montana Territory, less than 40 miles (60 km) south of Canada in a place close to the present-day Chinook in Blaine County. The battle is remembered in popular history by the words attributed to Chief Joseph at the formal surrender:

“Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are-perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”