10/10/2012 archive

2012 NL Division Series- Reds at Giants, Game 4

I should really be more careful.  Now that the As have eluded elimination I no longer feel like a Left Coast jinx and if the Giants go down to the Reds today it means one less thing I need to worry about tomorrow.

Sigh.  If only I didn’t hate Pete Rose quite so much.

I must say that after the first round of games the Reds and the Tigers looked pretty invincible.  Now that they have been beat they can be and I wonder if the Giants will pull one out.  That would tie the series and force a deciding game in which the pressure would be on the Reds since they have the better record and home field advantage.

The Giants would have momentum.

On the other hand they did just barely eek out last night’s victory, so perhaps I’m reading too much into it.

The Reds finally had to put Cueto on the disabled list, this means he will be ineligible for the Championship Series should the Reds make it that far.  They’ll pitch instead Mike Leake (8 – 9, 4.58 ERA) against Barry Zito (15 – 8, 4.15 ERA).  On paper Zito crushes Leake like a bug.

Reds will sit Rolen and Hanigan.  Giants sit Belt and move Posey to 1st so Sanchez can catch.

2012 NL Division Series- Nats at Cardinals, Game 3

First of all, here are the links TheMomCat found for me so you can share the game if you don’t happen to get MLB Network.

The live scoreboard is pretty interesting, we were playing around with it last night.  I had played around with it before, what I discovered that’s new is the Game View button underneath the Diamond.  MLB Network is all happy that they were able to get Bob Costas to call the game.

I root too good.

I must admit when I was hoping for extended series I was not considering what a pain in the ass it is to have to cover 4 games a day, and there’s every prospect it will happen again tomorrow and I have some afternoon appointments.  TheMomCat is filling in to the best of her ability, but she has stuff to do also.  I guess we’ll just do the best we can same as always.

Nationals Park is conveniently un-corporately named and the Cardinals come to the field tied at 1 which, while not the very best position to be in, is about what can reasonably be expected.  I was gratified to see flashes of last year’s champions after becoming needlessly discouraged by their initial loss which seems much less decisive in retrospect after they thumped the Nationals in Game 2 12 – 4 (and it was much worse than that, 3 of those were pity runs).

Chris Carpenter is 0 – 2 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts since coming back from left side nerve problems.  It’s hard to say how well he’ll pitch, he does hold the best record in Baseball for playoff performance.  Edwin Jackson (10 – 11, 4.03) is the Nationals’ only pitcher with playoff experience.

Last year, with the Cards.  Go figure.

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”.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day

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Kay Tillow: Beware the ‘Grand Bargain’: Post-Election Deficit Deal Threatens Medicare and Social Security

The solution is Improved Medicare for All

After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more-unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand.

There is agreement from the Wall Street Journal‘s David Wessel to liberal economists Dean Baker and Paul Krugman that the pressure will be on to reach a Simpson/Bowles type of compromise.  Such a bipartisan plan would damage our most cherished programs and excuse the dastardly deed by asserting that the cuts are small and necessary because of the deficit.

Those who relentlessly scream at us and finance ads to persuade us that the deficit threatens our grandchildren are obscuring the truth.  The fact is that the transfer of wealth from public funds and the rest of us to the super rich is the real crisis.  But those who have gorged themselves on this massive transfer of wealth also seek to undermine the Medicare and Social Security which are our grandchildren’s heritage from generations of struggles for a better life.

Katrina vanden Heuavel: Mitt Romney’s Twentieth-Century Worldview

Like a caveman frozen in a glacier, Mitt Romney is a man trapped in time-from his archaic stance on women’s rights to his belief in Herbert Hoover economics.

And now it appears his foreign policy is stuck in the past, as well.

This week, Romney is on a six-day, three-nation tour. The trip comes days after he promised in a speech on international affairs to usher in another “American century.

What does Romney’s American century look like? His speech and his itinerary tell us volumes.

Romney’s world is one of special relationships, particularly with Britain, Israel and Poland-the three nations he’s visiting. It’s also a world of special enmities-against Iran-and unending suspicions-about China and Russia. For Romney, there are three types of countries: countries that are with us; countries that are against us; and countries that will be against us, sooner or later.

Joan Walsh: Mitt’s Magical Thinking on Foreign Policy

Romney’s VMI speech hints at more war in Iraq and Afghanistan — and demands that Europe spend more on defense

Mitt Romney’s hailed foreign policy speech combined magical thinking and mendacity, with promises or threats to maintain, restore, escalate or commence military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran, at minimum. Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney had to have his audience of cadets wondering how many wars he’d commit them to if elected. [..]

Perhaps fittingly for a guy who has staffed his foreign policy team with Bush retreads, Romney got high praise from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who tweeted: “Terrific, comprehensive speech by Gov. Romney at VMI. He knows America’s role in the world should be as a leader not as a spectator.”

Doreen T. Warren: Go for the Jugular: What a Real Attack on Mitt Romney and the 1% Could Look Like

I agree with Deepak Bhargava that President Obama’s record “is more mixed” than critics and admirers admit, that progressives must refocus our attention on Congress and statehouse elections, and that elections are a “necessary but not sufficient condition for a revival of progressive politics.”

While Bhargava is right that we need to build a “deep alliance of movement forces” to pursue and win on a progressive agenda, we also need to become more hard-nosed, strategic and indeed ruthless in our effort to weaken the legitimacy and power of the right. Much as conservatives went for our collective jugular after the 2010 midterm elections by targeting the public sector labor movement, we must be willing to go for theirs-regardless of how much more money and power they might have.

What would a principled attack strategy look like? It must proceed on at least three tracks: ideological, organizational and structural. On all three, the Occupy movement has been a spark in jump-starting such a national campaign.

Bryce Covert: Why We Should All Care About the Walmart Strikers

As Josh Eidelson reported last week in Salon, retail workers at Walmart walked off the job in a strike for the first time in the company’s fifty-year existence. And he reports today that the strikes have spread: workers in Dallas, Texas, and Laurel, Maryland, have joined the original strikers in Southern California stores, and workers in other cities are expected to join in. Walmart is famous (or infamous) for successfully warding off unionization at its stores during its entire history, and these strikes were, as Eidelson reports, “in protest of alleged retaliation against their attempts to organize,” as well as a call for improved benefits and staffing.

While not a union making formal demands, the group behind the strikes, OUR Walmart, presented a “Declaration of Respect” to the company in June. It called for, among other things, a minimum of $13 per hour, full-time jobs for those who want them, predictable work schedules, affordable healthcare and wages and benefits that don’t mean employees have to turn to government assistance to fill in the holes. Walmart says the average hourly wage for its full-time workers across the country is $12.40, but an IBISWorld report put that figure at $8.81, barely above the minimum wage. And studies have shown that Walmart workers are more likely than others in the industry to rely on government benefits. In California, for instance, where the strike started, employees’ families use 40 percent more publicly funded healthcare and 38 percent more public assistance programs than the average employee at a large retail company. Walmart, for its part, has told Eidelson that the company “has some of the best jobs in the retail industry-good pay, affordable benefits and the chance for advancement.”

Leslie Savan: Why Mitt Likes to Say ‘I Like’

I’m not sure if I like the way Mitt Romney likes things. As the newly empathic candidate was promising to kill Big Bird at Wednesday’s debate, did you notice how he backed into it?  

“I like PBS,” Romney started out. “I love Big Bird. I actually like you [to moderator Jim Lehrer] too. But I’m not going to-I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it. That’s number one.”

“Like” is a decaffeinated form of “love” when Mitt uses it, but it’s also a mild protest, a plea for understanding. He usually lays a slight stress on the word, as if he’s revealing some vaguely surprising truth-“You may see me as an unfeeling, uncaring, bottom-line guy, but let me tell you, I enjoy life. I like things.” This man, who is so buttoned-up he can’t be honest about what he’s running on-like whether or not he’d cut taxes for the rich or cover pre-existing conditions in his health plan-uses like to establish his personal bona fides. I’m like you, he’s saying, I have “likes.”

Jessica Valenti: I’m Not a ‘Mother First’

Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said it was better for children to have a parent at home. “To have one parent to stay closely connected and at home during those early years of education can be very very important,” he said. It’s not hard to imagine which parent he’s talking about.

Romney’s statement didn’t elicit much in the way of outrage, a sign that American women have one more hurdle to overcome on the way to equality: the sexism of mom-ism. It’s no longer enough that women love their children. To be a truly committed parent, women are expected to be mothers above all else-we’re “moms first.”

Michelle Obama says that despite all her accomplishments, her “most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief’.” Ann Romney told the crowd at the Republican National Convention that it’s mothers “who really hold this country together.”

“We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters.”

The sentiment may seem innocuous, but there’s a danger in returning to an ideal where women’s most important identity is relational rather than individual. If we want equality, women with children would be better served calling themselves people first, moms second.

On Mandatory School Busing Here in Boston:

Hi, everybody;

Lately, there has been some discussion over Boston’s mandatory school busing debacle..almost 40 years after it first got underway, by many Bostonians and former Bostonians alike.  Many people agree that not bringing it out into the open and talking about it honestly is part of why Boston has not moved as far forward as it could’ve regarding racial issues, insularity, and most, important of all, education for their children.  Only now, 40 years after Federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that the Boston School Committee had unconstitutionally segregated the Boston Public Schools, has any kind of discussion begun about it.  I myself, hope it continues.  Many people from Boston who experienced it first hand, both white and non-white alike, wish to have their stories heard, which is only fair.  

Here is my own personal essay on Boston’s mandatory school busing, which is cross-posted over on firefly-dreaming, docudharma, and afew other forums:

On Mandatory School Busing here in Boston:

Unlike  many, if not most of the Southern areas,  Boston’s busing program was confined to the city limits,  which  was also partly  why Boston became so explosive during the mid to late 1970’s when  mandatory school busing was implemented there.    A Metropolitan solution was considered in a number of areas including Boston, but it got scrapped.   People in Boston’s all-white suburbs would not  accept it,  and Boston’s black  community, already small, and fearful that the limited amount of influence and power that they had, would be “diluted in the sea of suburbia”,  also rejected it. 

However, the Boston area also had a METCO program (I forget what the letters stand for), in which black students from Boston were bused in to a number of the outer-lying bedroom communities,  including my old hometown, which implemented METCO later.  The METCO program was a  voluntary program aimed at inner city students from Roxbury,  Mattapan and North Dorchester who wished to participate in it,  and a great many METCO kids benefited by getting a better education at better schools in wealthier communities.

On This Day In History October 10

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 10 is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 82 days remaining until the end of the year.

On October 10, 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess premieres on Broadway.

Porgy and Bess is an opera, first performed in 1935, with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It was based on DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and the play of the same name which he co-wrote with his wife Dorothy Heyward. All three works deal with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Rainbow Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Originally conceived by Gershwin as an “American folk opera”, Porgy and Bess premiered in New York in the fall of 1935 and featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers-a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time. Gershwin chose African American Eva Jessye as the choral director for the opera. Incorporating a wealth of blues and jazz idioms into the classical art form of opera, Gershwin considered it his finest work.

The work was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976, when the Houston Grand Opera production of Gershwin’s complete score established it as an artistic triumph. Nine years later the Metropolitan Opera gave their first performance of the work. This production was also broadcast as part of the ongoing Saturday afternoon live Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some critics from the outset have considered it a racist portrayal of African Americans.

Summertime” is by far the best-known piece from the work, and countless interpretations of this and other individual numbers have also been recorded and performed. The second best-known number is “It Ain’t Necessarily So“. The opera is admired for Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.

Porgy and Bess tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black beggar living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina. It deals with his attempts to rescue Bess from the clutches of Crown, her violent and possessive lover, and Sportin’ Life, the drug dealer. Where the earlier novel and stage-play differ, the opera generally follows the stage-play.

The Porgy and Bess original cast recording was included by the National Recording Preservation Board in the Library of Congress, National Recording Registry in 2003. The board selects songs on an annual basis that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

On July 14, 1993, the United States Postal Service recognized the opera’s cultural significance by issuing a commemorative 29-cent postage stamp, and in 2001 Porgy and Bess was proclaimed the official opera of the State of South Carolina.

Supressing the Vote: Ohio

As in the past, Ohio is a key state in the electoral politics of the 2012 general election and the Republican Party is doing their level best to suppress voter turnout. On Friday, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohio must make early voting (pdf) during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court decision. On Tuesday Ohio Secretary of State John Husted announced that he would appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court:

This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections.

This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.

At FDL News Desk, David Dayen doesn’t think this will fly with the Supreme Court:

Remember that Husted’s original ruling for early voting would have allowed Republican districts to keep their voting hours open longer and for more days. And he sought to keep options for military voters open while closing them for, say, minorities in Cleveland. So his appeal to equal protection, in light of his previous decisions, is comical.

I doubt that the Supreme Court would choose to intervene here, though of course you never know. But that won’t stop Husted’s well-earned gold star as the hardest-working voter suppressor in America.

Who knows what this Supreme Court will do but here’s hoping that they let the lower court decision stand.

2012 AL Division Series- As at Tigers, Game 3

At least the As are on the right side of the Home/Away equation which means their task is not as hard as the team across the Bay, but it’s still a historical 9% chance they get to teach NYC the Bernie Lean.

Still, they are the favorites to win tonight among those with investments in sports futures and if they manage to eek out a win with Brett Anderson (4 – 2, 2.57 ERA) the prospects aren’t nearly so bleak at 2 – 1 they are at 2 – 0.

They’ll continue to face elimination though even if the manage to get around the Tigers’ lefty Anibal Sanchez (9 – 13, 3.86 ERA) who’s a better pitcher than that and isn’t coming off ligament-replacement surgery and a strained right oblique (ironically coming in a start against the Tigers at Comerica).

It would certainly be easier on me if there were 2 fewer games tomorrow, but I don’t want to be accused of putting on some Bay area jinx.

Since we’re in Extra Innings with the Giants and Reds, they’ll be starting out on TNT.

Back on TBS.

It’s Not Easy Having Green

America’s super rich are having a good decade, but The New Yorker claims they can’t enjoy it because President Obama hurt their feelings.

The growing antagonism of the super-wealthy toward Obama can seem mystifying, since Obama has served the rich quite well. His Administration supported the seven-hundred-billion-dollar TARP rescue package for Wall Street, and resisted calls from the Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, and others on the left, to nationalize the big banks in exchange for that largesse. At the end of September, the S. & P. 500, the benchmark U.S. stock index, had rebounded to just 6.9 per cent below its all-time pre-crisis high, on October 9, 2007. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have found that ninety-three per cent of the gains during the 2009-10 recovery went to the top one per cent of earners. Those seated around the table at dinner with Al Gore had done even better: the top 0.01 per cent captured thirty-seven per cent of the total recovery pie, with a rebound in their incomes of more than twenty per cent, which amounted to an additional $4.2 million each.

Notwithstanding Occupy Wall Street’s focus on the “one per cent,” or Obama’s choice of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars as the level at which taxes on family income should rise, the salient dividing line between rich and not rich is much higher up the income-distribution scale. Hostility toward the President is particularly strident among the ultra-rich.

Pity the Poor Billionaires