10/11/2012 archive

2012 NL Division Series- Cardinals at Nats, Game 4

You see?  The Rally Squirrel is not merely magical thinking.  It actually reaches through the screen and inspires and motivates the team.

We get to see Lohse (16 – 3, 2.86 ERA) for the first time since the Cardinals faced the Braves.  Detwiler (10 – 8, 3.40 ERA) of the Nationals we’ll see for the first time this post season.

Lohse was pretty dominant as I recall and went down with Verlander as a pitcher you didn’t want to face.

Davey Johnson is facing a lot of heat over what is being called ‘The Strasburg Shutdown’ (much of it coming from Fox Sports, in particular the Washington branch).  To me it’s a no brainer.  If a player is injured or potentially injured they sit.

And, as a few people have pointed out, a player is not a team.  Where is the offensive support?  The other pitchers?  If all you have is Strasburg maybe you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, best record in the Majors or not.


I’m probably not going to be available to watch this. If TheMomCat is not around to provide updates go to The New York Times Live Scoreboard and push the teeny tiny Gameview button for play by play commentary.

2012 NL Division Series- Giants at Reds, Game 5

This is it, the decider.  The Giants have clawed themselves back into a tie with the Reds and have a chance to join the historic 9% ever to come back from 2 games down in a short series.

Now if you happen to be a Reds fan they do have some advantages.  They’re playing at home.  They’ll probably start Mat Latos (14 – 4, 3.48 ERA) who has a rubber arm and did a good job for them in Game 1.  He’ll probably be facing Matt Cain (16 – 5, 2.79 ERA) who was unimpressive.  I suppose the Giants could start Bumgarner (16 – 11, 3.37 ERA) but he pitched more, more recently, and wasn’t any more impressive.

On the other hand the Giants have momentum and as I said at the start of Game 4- in a deciding game, the pressure would be on the Reds since they have the better record and home field advantage.

Not that they’re under ARod pressure of course.

If the Giants and the Cards advance I’ll be able to root Senior League whichever team makes the World Series.  Maybe the Giants will even make a stupid video on their break to replace this one.


I’m probably not going to be available to watch this. If TheMomCat is not around to provide updates go to The New York Times Live Scoreboard and push the teeny tiny Gameview button for play by play commentary.

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”.

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Dean Baker: Social Security: President Obama’s Biggest Failure in Last Week’s Debate

President Obama definitely had a bad night when he faced Governor Romney in Denver for the first presidential debate. However, for many listeners the worst moment was not due to his atypical inarticulateness. Rather, the worst moment was when he quite clearly told the country that there was not much difference between his position on Social Security and Governor Romney’s. He also expressed his desire to “tweak” Social Security to improve its finances.

This is very bad news to the tens of millions of people who depend on Social Security now or expect to in the near future. It’s also bad news to the hundreds of millions of people who have been counting on the Social Security system to provide a degree of financial security to their retired or disabled family members. [..]

When President Obama links arms with Romney on Social Security, it is not good news for supporters of the program. Nor was the situation made better by the desire to “tweak” the system.

Glenn Greenwald: Election Year Garbage

Whatever is awful about the US political process is magnified in the election season, and increases each day until it’s mercifully over

{..}It’s a bit bizarre, to put that generously, to insist that protecting Social Security is one of the prime reasons to dedicate oneself to Obama’s re-election when he not only worked hard to cut that program substantially, but himself said just last week that he and his opponent have a “somewhat similar position” on that issue.

Whatever is awful about the American political process is magnified in the election season, and exponentially intensifies each day as the election approaches. That would all be perfectly tolerable if not for the fact that the election process is 18 months long, or close to 1/3 of each president’s term. One of the most effective tactics for keeping the electorate distracted and confused is ensuring that the time when they pay the most attention to the political process is exactly the time when political reality is most obscured.

New York Times Editorial: Race-Conscious Admissions in Texas

Affirmative action provokes conflicting views about what equal protection means under the law. Does the Constitution permit race-conscious programs that provide minorities with opportunities, even though it prohibits programs that exclude minorities because of their race? [..]

Affirmative action is largely a voluntary commitment by leading institutions that are convinced it is in their self-interest to enlarge opportunities for historically disfavored groups, because it helps fulfill their missions. It would be a travesty for the court’s conservatives to reverse or weaken longstanding legal precedent on this issue. The harm they would inflict in doing so would be felt in education, business, national defense and many areas of American life.

Martha Burk: The Corporate Court’s War on Women

So far, not so good.

When President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, women’s groups mobilized to no avail. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to filibuster either nomination despite personal pleas from feminist leaders. Our main worry was reproductive freedom.

But many of us feared something that has proven to be just as menacing – a strong bias in favor of corporations. Women’s rights at work have been under constant assault since Congress passed the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibiting sex discrimination in the workplace in the 1960s.

History has proven that our fears of a Roberts Court were well founded. In 2007, it overruled six lower federal courts by upholding a ban on one abortion procedure with no exception for a woman’s health. The same year, in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, the Court overturned 40 years of precedent when it severely curtailed a woman’s right to sue for sex discrimination in pay. And in 2011 it piled on the punishment with Walmart v. Dukes, cutting the heart out of women’s ability to sue as a class when they’re unfairly denied pay and promotion.

Jim Hightower: The 1 Percent’s Cry for Justice

It’s out! This year’s list of American success stories has just been published, and according to its compiler, it “instills confidence that the American dream is still very much alive.”

Maybe you are one of these success stories. You might be a great public school teacher, for example, who motivated students to achieve new heights or an inventor who came up with an energy-saving device and got it to market at a fair price, generating a profit for yourself, the environment and society generally.

No, no, no. Not that kind of success. We’re talking money – the flow of mammon beyond regular people’s wildest dreams. That’s how Forbes magazine measures not only “success,” but also a person’s value: You are what’s in your Swiss bank account. And, just to rank last on this year’s “Forbes 400” listing of America’s wealthiest people, you need more than a billion dollars in financial wealth. To get into the top 10 requires at least $25 billion. And to be numero uno means you’ve got $66 billion socked away. Who says America is broke?

Gail Collins: Democrats at the Deep End

It’s a tough time to be a Democrat.

When Democrats run into each other in elevators, they exchange glances and sigh. Or make little whimpering sounds. [..]

Things haven’t really gone off the deep end for the Obama campaign. They’ve gone back to normal. You knew that the Obama-is-going-to-win-by-10-points euphoria wasn’t going to last. When did anybody ever win a presidential race by 10 points? Don’t tell me about Ronald Reagan. When Ronald Reagan was president, gas was 90 cents a gallon and I was writing on a Kaypro.

Maybe Democrats should try to be more like the Republicans, and reduce stress by blaming all bad news on incorrect information, cooked up by cabals of political partisans.

The Missing Debate Within the Debate

Our fate, for one, but I know that is really depressing(why I don’t write about it as much as I should) because as a whole no party really is going to do anything about it, even the Democratic party who kept the filibuster(despite Sen Merkley and Udall’s efforts to even change it to make it less damaging) after whining about it to you asking for money you don’t have that you gave them in 2008. But they really wanted all that environmental legislation that died in the Senate to pass. At this point Daryl Hanna is putting up more of a fight in my state of TX and kudos to her for her efforts.

But the Keystone pipeline will be a reality regardless of this election like drill baby drill Obama style(we thought we were voting against that in 2008) if the entire population does not emulate her example. So like Charles Ferguson, director of Inside Job, I’m going to concentrate on other real issues no one really paid attention to in this Presidential debate or general election that could be handled more easily without Congress. That is, if those in charge of running the Department of Justice weren’t so pathetically unable to live up to their namesake in the executive branch.

On This Day In History October 11

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 11 is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 81 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1982, The Mary Rose, a Tudor carrack which sank on July 19 1545, is salvaged from the sea bed of the Solent, off Portsmouth.

The Mary Rose was a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent, the straits north of the Isle of Wight. The wreck of the Mary Rose was rediscovered in 1971 and salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The surviving section of the ship and thousands of recovered artefacts are of immeasurable value as a Tudor-era time capsule.

The excavation and salvage of the Mary Rose was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology, comparable in complexity and cost only to the raising of the Swedish 17th-century warship Vasa in 1961. The finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies and a wide array of objects used by the crew. Many of the artefacts are unique to the Mary Rose and have provided insights into topics ranging from naval warfare to the history of musical instruments. Since the mid-1980s, while undergoing conservation, the remains of the hull have been on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. An extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts is on display at the nearby Mary Rose Museum.

The Mary Rose had no known career as a merchant vessel. She was one of the largest ships in the English navy throughout more than three decades of intermittent war and was one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built sailing warship. She was armed with new types of heavy guns that could fire through the recently invented gun-ports. After being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she was also one of the earliest ships that could fire a broadside, although the line of battle tactics that employed it had not yet been developed. Several theories have sought to explain the demise of the Mary Rose, based on historical records, knowledge of 16th-century shipbuilding and modern experiments. However, the precise cause of her sinking is still unclear, because of conflicting testimonies and a lack of conclusive physical evidence.

International Day of the Girl 10/11

10-11-12 has been designated the International Day of the Girl by the United Nations:

The theme for the first-ever observance of the Day will be “Ending Child Marriage,” chosen because child marriage is a phenomenon that violates millions of girls’ rights, disrupts their education, jeopardizes their health, and denies them their childhood, limiting their opportunities and impacting all aspects of a girl’s life.

Ending child marriage has taken a backseat due to an the shooting of a 14 year old girl on her way to school in Pakistan:

There has been intense public reaction in Pakistan to the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year-old schoolgirl, by Taliban gunmen.

Yousafzai, who was seriously injured in the attack, is unconscious while she recovers from an operation. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

Private schools closed for the day in protest and students gathered to pray for her.

Yousafzai had come to public attention at the age of 11, when she publically criticised the Pakistani Taliban for its violent action against girls’ schools in the area which was then under its control, and became the first recipient of Pakistan’s National Peace Award for Youth.

The government has condemned the attack, with Asif Ali Zadari, the Pakistani president suggesting that Yousafzai should get medical treatment in Dubai. But the teenager does not have a passport and is too unstable to be moved.

There have been many instances of clashes between tribal law, custom and a democratic constitution in Pakistan.

The reality:

In more than 100 countries, school is not free, and parents of limited resources choose to invest in their sons’ education, not their daughters’.  The high rate of child marriage in some cultures means that many girls in developing countries never even have the opportunity to go to school. Worldwide, only 30% of girls are enrolled in secondary school.

And when it comes to overall literacy, there is a gap between males and females worldwide.  Though there has been progress over the past decade, there is a 5.1% gap between male and female youth literacy, meaning that fewer young females are literate.

According to UNESCO, “Despite progress, girls and women continue to be disproportionately excluded from education, especially at secondary education level and in the area of adult literacy.”

Our hearts are with Malala and her companions for their recovery.  

How To Politely Say STFU Aussie Style

Australia’s first female Prime minister, Julia Gillard delivered a 15 minute blistering smackdown of opposition leader Tony Abbot for his hypocrisy in attacking a member of her party over sexist text messages. This is want Mr. Abbot said:

Mr Abbott was perfectly within his rights to put forward the motion that speaker Peter Slipper should be immediately dispatched. Most Australians feel likewise. But the words Mr Abbott chose to deliver this message were not only vicious but monumentally stupid beyond belief. Who are his advisers – the Sydney University young liberals?

Here is what Mr Abbott said: “I must allude to the vile anatomical references to which this Speaker appears to be addicted in his text message… Should (Gillard) rise in this place now to try and defend the Speaker, she will shame this parliament again… And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

Can you believe Tony Abbott used that phrase? Can you believe, after every drop of water that has flowed under the bridge since (Alan) Jones’ ill-advised speech to the young libs, that the would-be Prime Minister of Australia still thinks it fitting to poke further fun at the death of the sitting Prime Minister’s father. Can anyone believe that?

Alan Jones made the remark that M. Gillard’s father had “died of shame” over her politics at an Abbot fund raising lunch. The aftermath caused advertisers to pull ads and Mercedes Benz took back the $200,000 car on loan to the broadcaster.

The Prime Minister, who is 51, unmarried and has no children, has been told to “make an honest woman” of herself, a “slut”, taunted with signs saying “Ditch the Witch” and worse.

At naked capitalism, Yves Smith notes that Americans politicians could take some lessons from PM Gillard:

Look how Gilliard speaks effectively and energetically, referring to notes only when she needs to read quotations, for fifteen minutes. As YY indicates, the context is clear enough that you don’t need the backstory to infer what happened.

Do we have a single politician in the US who could command attention for that long and deliver a blistering attack with so little in the way of props? I suspect this is one of the by products of the Commonwealth tradition of “question time,” in which government ministers have to deal with the cut and thrust of Parliamentary debates, while in the US, we have far more staging and far less real controversy in our political discourse.

Billionaire Thinks Raising His Taxes Is a Dumb Policy

Last week, Bill De Blasio, New York City’s Public Advocate and possible mayoral candidate, proposed raising taxes on NYC residents making over $500,000 to provide funds for “more pre-kindergarten classes and after-school activities for students in grades six through eight”:

Mr. de Blasio argued that improvements in early childhood education were critical to improving the city’s long-term economy and its middle class. He estimated that the new programs would cost about $500 million, which could be generated through a small tax surcharge on New Yorkers who earn $500,000 or more. [..]

A person earning $1 million in annual income would pay an additional $2,120 under Mr. de Blasio’s plan, which was modeled after a similar surcharge used to hire new police officers under a 1990s anticrime initiative of Mayor David N. Dinkins, Mr. de Blasio’s former employer. Any new surcharge would require approval by the State Legislature.

New York’s three term billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg was horrified stating that Mr. De Blasio’s proposal was “about as dumb a policy as I can think of.”

Capital New York reports that Bloomberg– whose net worth as the country’s 10th richest person increased from $22 billion to $25 billion over the course of six months this year— responded to a question Monday about de Blasio’s tax, saying, “Well if you want to drive out the 1 percent of the people that pay roughly 50 percent of the taxes, or the 10 percent of the people that pay 70-odd percent of the taxes, that’s as good a strategy as I know. That’s exactly the ways to do it, and then our revenue would go away, and we wouldn’t be able to have cops to keep us safe, firefighters to rescue us, teachers to educate our kids.”

Mayor Bloomberg has flip-flopped from his position in 2008 backing NY State Governor David Paterson’s tax on millionaires:

I can only tell you, among my friends, I’ve never heard one person say I’m going to move out of the city because of the taxes. Not one. Not in all the years I’ve lived here. You know, they can complain, ‘Ugh, I got my tax bill, it’s heavy.’ But my friends all want to live here.

The “good” Mayor has been in England, where he maintains a home and a business, addressing Britain’s governing Conservative Party on Wednesday. He compared his governing style to the right wing austerity government of Prime Minister David Cameron:

Mr. Bloomberg noted that both he and Mr. Cameron had taken office amid crises – the mayor in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the prime minister during the world economic crash.

Mr. Bloomberg said he and Mr. Cameron had each made difficult decisions on the economy, a reference to the sweeping austerity measures Mr. Cameron has introduced. Balancing his own city budget, Mr. Bloomberg said, involved “raising taxes and cutting spending, and let me tell you, that didn’t make me the most popular man in New York.” [..]

Conservative officials, who have felt hampered by their coalition government with a liberal party here, also expressed admiration for the New York police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who visited London before the Olympic Games this summer. “They run things a bit like we’d like to,” one official said, “if we didn’t have to worry about inconveniences like compromise.

The British conservatives would love to be able to crack down o civil liberties as Bloomberg and his private army, the New York Police Department, has. What our world traveling mayor failed to point out to his austerian buddies was that NYC’s rich make 40 times more that the average poor person living in the city. Nor would he have mentioned that NYC’s poverty rate reached its highest point in a decade rivaling some Sub-Saharan countries:

Median household income in the city last year was $49,461, just below the national median and down $821 from the year before (compared with a national decline of $642). Median earnings for workers fell sharply to $32,210 from $33,287 – much more than the national decline.)

New Yorkers at the bottom end of the income spectrum lost ground, while those at the top gained.

Median income for the lowest fifth was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919.

In Manhattan, the disparity was even starker. The lowest fifth made $9,681, while the highest took home $391,022. The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times what the lowest fifth reported, a widening gap (it was 38 times, the year before) surpassed by only a few developing countries, including Namibia and Sierra Leone.

It is well past time that taxes on the wealthiest were raised, and not in just New York City. Richard (RJ) Eskow thinks the tax rates for the highest earners should be doubled:

Forget the “Buffett rule.” It’s not enough. What’s more, “letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich” isn’t enough either — although it might get us halfway there.

As for that “Simpson Bowles” so-called “deficit reduction” plan: It’s a hoax, another ploy to give the ultra-rich yet another huge tax cut — unless you believe that the lobbying fairy will magically grant a wish that’s never been granted before: an end to billionaires’ loopholes.

If you buy that — which I don’t — then the plan’s just grossly unfair.

The real moment of truth Washington won’t face is this one: It’s time to admit that we can’t rebuild our economy — or balance the Federal budget — without raising taxes on the very wealthy. That’s what Simpson, Bowles, and all their highly-funded friends won’t tell you: We need to raise their taxes a lot.

And by “a lot,” I mean doubling them.

Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about imposing sharp increases on incomes over $250,000 or even $500,000, at least not until the economy’s healthier. At those levels an expiration of the Bush tax cuts would probably be enough. But once you hit income of a million dollars a year and over, we should go back to the higher tax rates that were in place for millionaires during the Nixon years.

Not a bad idea, at least until the economy has stabilized and there is a handle on regulating Wall St.

Oh and Mr. Bloomberg, do NYC a favor, resign and stay in England.

2012 AL Division Series- As at Tigers, Game 4

What can I say?  I like the Bernie Lean.

But I’m done with the As.  The Tigers’ can win it any time as far as I’m concerned and while last night didn’t have any particular urgency, it’s not generally a good idea to face elimination on the road and you should avoid it if possible, more so since the Tigers have a terrible record Away.

If Tigers starter Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA) is healthy again there are those who say he’s as good as Verlander though I’ll have to see it to believe it.  He’s opposed by rookie A.J. Griffin (7-1, 3.06 ERA) who will start for the A’s. His only loss came against the Tigers on September 18.

What’s been sputtering here is the offense.  The Tigers are batting .268 and the As marginally worse.  You would expect that against ‘great’ pitching, but neither team has shown much of that.

If the Tigers take it to tomorrow Verlander comes riding in on his white horse.  I’m sure Leyland would rather not have to and set up a proper rotation for the Championship Series.

This game is being carried in it’s entirety on TNT.  Don’t forget to change the channel when the Yankees are done.


I will be temporarily unavailable during the day tomorrow.  I will put the Playoff Diaries on pre-post and TheMomCat will update as her time allows.  I think at the moment that we’ll cover the VP Debate with an Open Thread and some analysis Friday.

My thinking is that I can always catch the repeats if it seems sufficiently interesting.

2012 AL Division Series- Yankees at Orioles, Game 3

Well, now that everybody’s blood pressure is back down after Pettitte’s start and we’re safely back in the Stadium the truth is that the Yankees should have little difficulty closing this out.

Unless what Lola wants is a way out of ARod’s contract.

He’ll be batting 3rd as DH which at least keeps his error prone ass out of the field.

The Yankees will be pitching Hiroki Kuroda (16 – 11, 3.32 ERA) who is the best on their team on paper.  The Orioles will counter with Miguel Gonzalez (9 – 4, 3.25 ERA) who’s a rookie but is 2 – 0 at the Stadium and beat Kuroda head to head August 31st.

Of course all anyone wants to talk about is Rodriguez and the Yankee offense which is the same as it’s always been.  What I find particularly frustrating is that no one took the time to list Kuroda’s vital stats without breaking them into Home/Away WHICH IS COMPLETELY USELESS!

I had to look them up on a stats page and by the way, you can shove your stupid stinking malware ads too.