Mar 25 2019

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Regional Quarterfinals- Day 2

Time to let my freak flag fly!

Ok, so no bag pipes. What I learned from watching last night is that Louisville may or may not be good enough to stop UConn short of the Semifinals. Huskies had Foul trouble and despite that were not outstanding on Defense though the key to the game was the fact they got like 8 Turnovers in the First Quarter and converted nearly all of them for points.

Mississippi State is Scary Good. Baylor is Scary Good. Otherwise not so much, so the goal is to beat Louisville and then you have a chance for a Steal (Sweden in case you were interested).

Only two Underdogs to advance, Michigan State and Missouri State. Michigan State has a real program, don’t know about Missouri State.

Results 3/23/2019

Seed School Record Score Seed School Record Score Region
3 Maryland 29 – 4 73 14 Radford 26 – 7 51 East
1 Notre Dame 31 – 3 92 16 Bethune-Cookman 21-11 50 Midwest
6 Kentucky 25 – 7 82 11 Princeton 22 – 10 77 South
6 South Dakota State 27 – 6 76 11 Quinnipiac 26 – 7 65 West
3 North Carolina State 27 – 5 63 14 Maine 25 – 8 51 South
6 UCLA 21 – 12 89 11 Tennessee 19 – 13 77 East
8 Central Michigan 25 – 8 87 9 * Michigan State 21 – 11 88 Midwest
3 Syracuse 25 – 8 70 14 Fordham 25 – 9 49 West
5 Gonzaga 29 – 4 68 12 Little Rock 21 – 11 51 East
6 DePaul 26 – 8 78 11 * Missouri State 24 – 9 89 Midwest
7 BYU 26 – 6 73 10 Auburn 22 – 10 64 Midwest
8 California 20 – 12 92 9 North Carolina 18 – 15 72 South
4 Oregon State 25 – 7 80 13 Boise State 28 – 5 75 East
3 Iowa State 26 – 8 97 14 New Mexico State 26 – 7 81 Midwest
2 Stanford 29 – 4 79 15 UC Davis 25 – 7 54 Midwest
1 Baylor 32 – 1 95 16 Abilene Christian 23 – 10 38 South

Regional coverage again. Two sessions, 7 pm and 9 pm with a kicker at 11 pm if you don’t want to watch the regular Trevor, Stephen, Seth Late Night.

Tonight’s Games

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
7:00 pm ESPN 1 Notre Dame 31 – 3 9 Michigan State 21 – 11 Midwest
7:00 pm ESPN 3 Maryland 29 – 4 6 UCLA 21 – 12 East
7:00 pm ESPN 3 Syracuse 25 – 8 6 South Dakota State 27 – 6 West
7:00 pm ESPN 3 North Carolina State 27 – 5 6 Kentucky 25 – 7 South
9:00 pm ESPN 3 Iowa State 26 – 8 11 Missouri State 24 – 9 Midwest
9:00 pm ESPN 4 Oregon State 25 – 7 5 Gonzaga 29 – 4 East
9:00 pm ESPN 1 Baylor 32 – 1 8 California 20 – 12 South
11:00 pm ESPN 2 Stanford 29 – 4 7 BYU 26 – 6 Midwest

In this group I like Michigan State (not just because they’re going against Muffy), Syracuse, and Gonzaga.

Mar 25 2019

Not Your Grandfather’s Economy

Cheap Electrical Power is something we take for granted that, were it otherwise, would drive business and consumer economic incentives in entirely different directions. A major argument from pro-Carbon Dinosaurs (in addition to complete denial about Global Warming and misrepresentation about reliability) is that it’s cheaper.

Not so much anymore.

It’s cheaper to replace most coal plants with renewables than keep them open
by E.A. Crunden, Think Progress
Mar 25, 2019

It would be more expensive to keep the majority of U.S. coal plants open than to replace them with new wind and solar power alternatives, according to new findings published Monday.

Authored by the environmental firm Energy Innovation in partnership with the grid analysis company Vibrant Clean Energy, the research finds that replacing 74 percent of coal plants nationally with wind and solar power would immediately reduce power costs, with wind power in particular at times cutting the cost almost in half. By 2025, the analysis indicates, around 86 percent of coal plants could similarly be at risk of cheaper replacement by renewables.

“We’ve been closely following the cost of wind and solar in the U.S. and globally, and the costs have come down so far that we’re now seeing unprecedented low [costs] for wind and solar,” said Mike O’Boyle, Energy Innovation’s electricity policy director, on a call with reporters.

Trump has worked hard to save U.S. coal, going so far as to advocate for a financial bailout to rescue the dying industry. But data largely suggests that coal’s economic value will continue to plummet, a downturn that comes as wind and solar power are becoming increasingly cheaper and more viable options.

“America has officially entered the ‘coal cost crossover’ – where existing coal is increasingly more expensive than cleaner alternatives,” the report argues.

Using a data set of coal, wind, and solar costs, the report contrasts the cost of generating energy at coal plants against costs associated with potential wind or solar hubs in the nearby area. The report only examines the “local” area — defined as 35 miles from a given coal plant — to determine whether the plant has the potential to be replaced by cheaper renewables within that zone. Restricting the distance to the local area, however, leads the analysis to be more conservative.

“That local analysis is quite constraining,” O’Boyle said, noting that wind and solar grow in number when considering areas farther away from coal plants. The authors indicated that they opted for the local comparison because it offers a greater incentive to communities looking to transition from coal to renewables.

Nonetheless, the findings are stark even on a local level: 211 gigawatts (GW) of existing U.S. coal capacity as of the end of 2017 is at risk from renewable energy alternatives capable of providing the same amount of energy at a cheaper price. Within six years, that number increases to 246 GW, or nearly the entire U.S. fleet.

Some 93 GW of existing U.S. coal capacity, meanwhile, is substantially at risk from new renewable energy sources in 2018, with wind and solar poised to undercut costs by 25 percent. Even as federal renewable energy tax credits phase out, the amount of coal at risk of being replaced by renewables is projected to increase to 140 GW by 2025.

The firms behind the study both support renewable energy and argue in favor of a transition away from fossil fuels. But their analysis builds on existing research showing that the U.S. coal industry is rapidly on the decline. In fact, more coal plants shut down during Trump’s first two years in office than during former President Barack Obama’s entire first term. U.S. coal consumption also dropped to its lowest rate in nearly 40 years in 2018.

That swift decline has come hand in hand with the rise of wind and solar energy, both of which are widely considered far more economically appealing than coal.

“Coal is a dirty and expensive way to generate electricity,” the report observes, going on to note that it is becoming “increasingly uneconomic” when contrasted with new wind and solar opportunities.

Regional opportunities also abound. While the Midwest is likely to be disproportionately impacted by the closure of coal plants within the next five years, the region has ample potential for wind energy, according to the report. There are also abundant solar opportunities in a number of areas, including the sunny Southeast, where almost all coal plants are already substantially at risk.

So there. Good News. Decline in the use of Coal and Petroleum for Power is inevitable, even in the absence of positive Governmental incentives (use for Petro-Chemicals is likely to continue).

Gone the way of Buggy Whips, Coaches, and Farriers (all of which are still available for hobbyists, check Amazon).

Mar 25 2019

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering 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 “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Charles M. Blow: It’s Bigger Than Mueller and Trump

Trumpism follows a historical pattern: Whenever black people make progress, white people respond forcefully.

The Mueller Report has landed … with a thud. According to summary findings released by Attorney General William Barr, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year-long investigation found no conspiracy between Donald Trump and his associates and Russia. The report would seem to support Trump’s mantra: No collusion. Trump will no doubt use these findings as a cudgel against future inquiries, regardless of merit.

The report did not, however, exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice. I submit that we witnessed that Trump obstructed justice in open view, from the White House and on social media.

And while Trump waged a two-year battle of slander and misinformation to defame the Mueller investigation, the majority of Democratic leadership did nothing to make the case that he had already reached the threshold of accountability, even without the report. Instead, they put too many eggs in the Mueller basket, and allowed Trump to move the goal posts. Indeed, now the goal posts are permanently affixed to skates.

The best case against Donald Trump and the age of Trumpism has always been, and remains, the moral case. Criminality is only one facet of that, although it is the one that the courts and Congress can use to punish him.

Robert Reich: It’s Mueller time but don’t forget: Trump has undermined the very idea of America

We may never know for sure whether Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to obtain Russia’s help in the 2016 election, in return for, say, Trump’s help in weakening Nato and not interfering against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Trump and his propaganda machine at Fox News have so aggressively undermined the legitimacy of Robert Mueller’s inquiry – repeatedly conjuring a “witch hunt” and maintaining a drumbeat of “no collusion” – that Mueller’s report, whatever it shows, will almost surely be overwhelmed by a fog of alt-interpretation and epistemological confusion. What’s “collusion?” What’s illegal? What’s unethical? Has Trump been vindicated or not?

The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the Mueller report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump’s competence and character.

An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 25 2019

End Of The Beginning

I suspect many of you are just as frustrated and furious about recent developments as I am. I’m grateful that between Curling and Basketball and American Gods I’ve had enough distraction that I have not yet damaged equipment I can ill afford to replace or gotten arrested (I’m always depressed, anxious, and angry, that’s my secret).

I’ve also been looking for a piece that summarizes the events and puts them in a positive context. emptywheel delivers-

How William Barr Did Old Man Back-Flips to Avoid Arresting Donald Trump
by emptywheel
March 24, 2019

When we were awaiting the Mueller report yesterday, I wondered whether William Barr was thinking about two things he had said as part of his confirmation process. First, in his column that has always been interpreted to say that a President can’t obstruct justice, at the bottom of the first page, he instead acknowledged that a President actually could obstruct justice.

Barr — who at the time had no understanding of the evidence — made three comments in his confirmation hearing about obstruction. Among others, he point blank said that a person could not lawfully issue a pardon in exchange for someone’s promise not to incriminate him.

We know Trump has repeatedly floated pardons to witnesses who have, in hopes of obtaining a pardon, not incriminated him.

That’s true of Paul Manafort most of all.

So on the basis of what he said to get this job, Barr is already on the record saying that Trump obstructed justice.

Barr ignores the crimes in front of him to avoid considering whether Trump obstructed those crimes

Now consider how Barr — having been given the job by Mueller of deciding whether Trump obstructed justice — avoided holding himself to sworn views he expressed during confirmation.

In the letter sent to Jerry Nadler (who surely just kicked off an impeachment inquiry in earnest) and others, his analysis consists of the following.

The guts of the letter describe the two parts of Mueller’s report. The first part reviews the results of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. It describes the conclusions this way:

  • [T]he Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts
  • [T]he Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in [its] efforts … to gather and disseminate information to influence the election

Note that the second bullet does not even exonerate Roger Stone, as it pertains only to the Russian government, not Russians generally or WikiLeaks or anyone else. This is important given that we know the Trump campaign knew of and encouraged Roger Stone’s coordination with WikiLeaks.

Then Barr moves along to the second section, in which Mueller considered whether Trump obstructed justice. In it, Barr doesn’t mention the scope of the activities that Mueller considered evidence of obstruction of justice.

Barr and Rod Rosenstein have spent less than 48 whole hours considering that evidence.

Here’s the thing, though: at least given what they lay out here, they only considered whether Trump was covering up his involvement in the hack-and-leak operation. It doesn’t consider whether Trump was covering up a quid pro quo, which is what there is abundant evidence of.

They didn’t consider whether Trump obstructed the crime that he appears to have obstructed. They considered whether he obstructed a different crime. And having considered whether Trump obstructed the crime he didn’t commit, rather than considering whether he obstructed the crime he did commit, they decided not to charge him with a crime.

Greg Sargent at the WaPo is also helpful-

Trump won with illicit help. He abused his power. His AG is blocking a full reckoning.
By Greg Sargent, Washington Post
March 25, 2019

  1. Donald Trump got elected president in part due to a massive foreign attack on our democracy.
  2. Even if Trump’s campaign didn’t collude with that act in a criminally chargeable manner, he committed extraordinary abuses of power to try to prevent a full accounting of that attack on our democracy from taking place.
  3. Trump’s attorney general is in the process of preventing a real public airing of the full dimensions of both of the above points.

Multiple news organizations are pushing variations on the idea that a “cloud” has lifted from Trump. The president himself claims “Complete and Total EXONERATION.”

This is nonsense. Indeed, one of the most important takeaways from Barr’s brief summary of Robert S. Mueller III’s conclusions is that it underscores the above three points with fresh urgency.

On collusion, Barr writes, Mueller’s investigation “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” in its sabotaging of the election on Trump’s behalf, via massive cybertheft and disinformation warfare. As the Lawfare team notes, while this is certainly exonerating, it’s possible Mueller documented collusion-like behavior that fell just short of criminality, but we can’t know without seeing the full report.

On obstruction of justice, Barr’s letter says that Mueller declined to decide whether Trump had committed crimes. Instead, Mueller’s report “sets out evidence on both sides of the question,” and explicitly says that it “does not exonerate” Trump of criminality. That left the decision to Barr, who says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein determined that the evidence developed by Mueller is “not sufficient to establish” obstruction.

Multiple legal observers have been scaldingly critical of Barr for making this decision, because of its haste, and on substantive grounds. Marcy Wheeler points out that during his confirmation hearings, Barr flatly conceded that certain types of conduct Trump has actually committed would constitute obstruction of justice. So why the absolution?

Underscoring that point, former prosecutor Ken White notes that Barr is silent on a crucial question: whether he concluded Trump didn’t interfere in the investigation in an obstructive manner based on the evidence, or, by contrast, that Trump didn’t obstruct justice because interfering inherently cannot be obstruction when done by the head of the executive branch.

Barr made this latter argument in an unsolicited memo that has been sharply criticized by legal experts. Crucially, this is also the theory advanced by Trump’s own lawyers. The question is whether Barr based the decision on this theory. If so, as Neal Katyal suggests, this would put Trump above the law.

But we cannot even evaluate Barr’s decision unless we see the evidence that Mueller laid out “on both sides of the question.”

Barr could release the obstruction portions right now

We do have some sense of the evidence Mueller amassed from reporting on Trump’s efforts to derail the investigation. They include firing his FBI director after demanding “loyalty”; pressing him to lay off his national security adviser; leaning on other intelligence officials to corral him; and Trump’s effort to bully his former attorney general into protecting him from the probe. While establishing criminal obstruction is tricky, those are all flagrant abuses of power.

It’s all but certain Mueller has established substantially more about those episodes than is publicly known. And as Katyal points out, Barr’s letter notes that Mueller investigated numerous potential acts of obstruction, not all of which have been publicly reported, meaning there are episodes we still don’t know about.

Mueller amassed all this evidence without exonerating Trump on obstruction. Barr looked at all of this evidence and did exonerate him — allowing Trump to claim vindication on obstruction as well.

“Barr gave the president a powerful talking point that Mueller didn’t,” former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller told me.

But what’s stopping Barr from releasing the facts Mueller established, so we can evaluate this decision for ourselves? Nothing, Miller argues, because this evidence wasn’t gathered via grand jury, which could require the maintenance of secrecy.

“There’s never been any sign that Mueller used the grand jury for the obstruction inquiry,” Miller told me. “The White House produced documents and witnesses voluntarily. If there’s no grand jury involvement, then Barr could release that portion of the report today.”

Let’s remember what this is really about

Trump’s efforts to derail the investigation weren’t merely about halting scrutiny of “collusion.” They were also about halting an accounting of the Russian attack on our democracy irrespective of whether “collusion” happened. Barr’s letter reminds us of this, by noting that Mueller’s report documents Russia’s extensive efforts to swing the election, including a concerted campaign to divide the country along social lines.

We already know a great deal about this from Mueller’s indictments of Russians. But Mueller’s report would likely tell us much more.

We know Trump has long opposed a full accounting of that Russian attack — not just because he denies collusion but also because he reportedly saw the very existence of that attack as undermining the greatness of his victory. Indeed, it’s been documented that this is why he did so little to secure the country against the next Russian attack.

Thus, what Barr’s letter really tells us is that, without the Mueller report, we are being denied a full reckoning into that subversion of our democracy and a full public airing of Trump’s efforts to prevent that reckoning from happening.

Lots of gaslighting coming out of D.C. because our elected “Representatives” and their toady Versailles Villagers are too craven to confront the fact that Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottmless Pinocchio is guilty of Treason. He is a Money Launderer for Russian and Saudi Oligarchs. He has accepted Quid Pro Quo Bribes from Foreign Nationals and Governments. He has Abused his Power to attack his political enemies and thwart the normal processes of Government. He has lied in official filings and directed his subordinates to Lie to Congress in testimony. He runs a Criminal Organization as defined by RICO. He’s guilty of Felony Campaign Finance Violations. And he Obstructed Justice to cover up his crimes.

Just the highlights.

On January 21st 2017 I and about a Million other people just in D.C. alone took to the streets to make the point that whatever was necessary, we would not rest until this Human Stain was locked up.

My resolve has not faltered.

Mar 25 2019

Cartnoon

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Mar 25 2019

The Breakfast Club (Genderless)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 marchers to the state capitol in Montgomery, Ala. 146 people were killed when fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. in New York. Aretha Franklin, Elton John born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.

Gloria Steinem

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 24 2019

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Regional Quarterfinals- Day 2, Evening

Once again the division is arbitrary, I’ll drop it in the Regional Semis and Finals next week.

As I say every year to TMC, who rolls her eyes in that “You know you’re barking mad” way, only the first week is an insane crush of work. After that it gets much easier.

Oh, and in this group I like… nobody.

It’s ok, I was going to watch American Gods anyway.

Evening Games

 

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
7:10 pm TBS 4 Virginia Tech 25 – 8 12 Liberty 29 – 6 East
7:45 pm truTV 1 Virginia 30 – 3 9 Oklahoma 20 – 13 South
8:40 pm TNT 3 Houston 32 – 3 11 Ohio St. 20 – 14 Midwest
9:40 pm TBS 12 Oregon 24 – 12 13 UC Irvine 31 – 5 South

Mar 24 2019

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Regional Quarterfinals, Day 1- Evening

Oh, you thought I was being obnoxious? You don’t know how obnoxious I can be.

Next time with bag pipes.

This will be a very instructive night. You’ll be able to directly compare Mississippi State to UConn on ESPN. They are a powerful program, worthy of respect. Since they don’t play UConn head to head so much it’s hard to tell how strong they are.

Muffy on the other hand…

89 – 71. Remember that?

Oh, and tonight’s draw contains all the underdogs from the first day of the Tournament- Buffalo, Clemson, and Indiana.

Evening Games

 

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
7:00 pm ESPN 2 Connecticut 32 – 2 10 Buffalo 24 – 9 East
7:00 pm ESPN2 4 Miami (FL) 25 – 8 5 Arizona State 21 – 10 West
9:00 pm ESPN 1 Mississippi State 31 – 2 9 Clemson 22 – 12 West
9:00 pm ESPN2 2 Oregon 30 – 4 10 Indiana 21 – 12 West

Mar 24 2019

House

Joke – Third Eye Blind

On My Way – Alan Walker, Sabrina Carpenter & Farruko

Savages – Kerli

Mar 24 2019

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2019: Regional Quarterfinals- Day 2, Afternoon

Same Format as yesterday with New and Improved Results from the second day of the Round of 64. Actually there were a fair number of upsets with Iowa, Oklahoma, UC Irvine, Oregon, Washington, Liberty, and Ohio St. advancing to the Regional Quarterfinals. That’s 7 of 16 or 44% (well, 43.75%) which is pretty remarkable.

Though I wouldn’t know if it’s been remarked on actually. I haven’t really watched much of the action yet, my attention has been focused on Women’s World Championship Curling where Sweden and Switzerland are facing off for the Gold. It’s a long story and I’m sure you don’t want to hear it.

I understand there have been political developments too. March Madness!

Results 3/22/2019

 

Seed School Record Score Seed School Record Score Region
7 Cincinnati 28 – 7 72 10 * Iowa 23 – 11 79 South
8 Mississippi 20 – 13 72 9 * Oklahoma 20 – 13 95 South
3 Texas Tech 27 – 6 72 14 Northern Kentucky 26 – 9 57 West
4 Kansas St. 25 – 9 64 13 * UC Irvine 31 – 5 70 South
2 Tennessee 30 – 5 77 15 Colgate 24 – 11 70 South
1 Virginia 30 – 3 71 16 Gardner-Webb 23 – 12 56 South
6 Buffalo 32 – 3 91 11 Arizona St. 23 – 11 74 West
5 Wisconsin 23 – 11 54 12 * Oregon 24 – 12 72 South
8 Utah State 28 – 7 61 9 * Washington 27 – 8 78 Midwest
1 Duke 30 – 5 85 16 North Dakota St. 18 – 16 62 East
3 Houston 32 – 3 84 14 Georgia State 24 – 10 55 Midwest
5 Mississippi St. 23 – 11 76 12 * Liberty 29 – 6 80 East
1 North Carolina 28 – 6 88 16 Iona 17 – 16 73 Midwest
8 VCU 25 – 8 58 9 * UCF 24 – 8 73 East
6 Iowa State 23 – 12 59 11 * Ohio St. 20 – 14 62 Midwest
4 Virginia Tech 25 – 8 66 13 Saint Louis 22 – 13 52 East

Afternoon Games

 

Time Network Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
12:10 pm CBS 2 Tennessee 30 – 5 10 Iowa 23 – 11 South
2:40 pm CBS 1 North Carolina 28 – 6 9 Washington 27 – 8 Midwest
5:15 pm CBS 1 Duke 30 – 5 9 UCF 24 – 8 East
6:10 pm TNT 3 Texas Tech 27 – 6 6 Buffalo 32 – 3 West

Good afternoon to nap.

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