10/04/2013 archive

2013 Senior League Division Series: Dodgers @ Braves Game 2

Last night the Los Angeles Dodgers took the Atlanta Braves to school on the Braves’ home field winning

Clayton Kershaw was 7 months old the last time the Los Angeles Dodgers won a championship. All the members of the team know the year, Kershaw said, because every day, someone reminds them: the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988 – and have never been back. [..]

The easiest way for the Dodgers to do it is to pitch as Kershaw did in a 6-1 victory on Thursday. He humbled the Braves for seven innings at Turner Field, slinging fastballs, snapping curveballs and asserting the Dodgers’ presence as, perhaps, the favorite to win it all.

Kershaw allowed three hits, three walks and a run in his first postseason victory, becoming the first Dodger with 12 strikeouts in a postseason game since Sandy Koufax in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Tonight Zack Greinke, who bats and throws right handed, is the starting pitcher for the Dodgers.

Starting on the mound tonight for Braves will be Mike Minor who pitches left but bats righie.

The Braves are looking to take tonight to even the score in this best of five series.

The Dodgers and Braves continue their best-of-five National League Division Series with an ace-in-the-hole opposing an ace-in-training.

Really, a majority of Major League clubs could send out Zack Greinke or Mike Minor in Game 1 of a postseason and folks wouldn’t bat an eye. But the way Clayton Kershaw pitched all season and the way Kris Medlen pitched down the stretch dictated that both of these ballclubs would be trotting out an overqualified No. 2. On paper, it put both clubs in a comfortable position.

Now that we’ve seen the way Game 1 played out in reality, however, we can safely say the onus in Game 2 (6 p.m. ET Friday, TBS) is now on Minor, especially, to pitch like the ace he has so often resembled in this 2013 season.

2013 Junior League Division Series: Rays @ Sox Game 1

I have to be forgiven for having the Sox as my sentimental favorite, I live in the heart of Sox country.

That said I’m not a Yankee hating Sox fan.  First the Junior League plays a game more similar to rounders than to cricket and second, I flat out admire the Yankee commitment to winning.

Boston is clearly superior to the Rays in every respect and I suspect this will be a lopsided affair.

The Sox will be sacrificing Jon Lester (15 – 8, 3.75 ERA L).  Lester went all wobbly in the middle of the year but seems to have settled in now.  He’s won 7 of his last 9.

The Rays will counter with Matt Moore (17 – 4 3.29 ERA L) who has a walking problem.

And then there are the Red Sox bats.

The Great God Citgo says Sox in 3.

2013 Senior League Division Series: Pirates @ Cards Game 2


So here’s the deal- I’m away.  TheMomCat is also away.  Consider these Open Threads rather than live blogs.  I’ll come back later and fill in the inning by inning detail.  Don’t be afraid you’re jumping the Tip Jar.

I don’t need mojo here.

Senior League Division Series: Pirates @ Cards Game 2

There is no denying the Pirates got a good thumping last night, but as a Manager you say “Just a W.  We’ll kick their ass today.

Well, will we?

The Cards looked very strong, just as you always do in a 9 – 1 rout.  The Pirates had other flaws besides the melt down of A.J. Burnett, they also committed 3 errors. Carlos Beltran seemed like the reincarnation of Reggie Jackson, but Reggie wasn’t that good either.

Today they put up Lance Lynn (15 – 10, ERA 3.97 R) against Gerrit Cole (10 – 7 3.22 ERA R) So it looks more even.  Remember, if you can steal a single victory in the away park it gives you an advantage going on.

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 thea Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Reform Turns Real

At this point, the crisis in American governance has taken on a life of its own. Some Republicans are now saying openly that they want concessions in return for reopening the government and avoiding default, not because they have any specific policy goals in mind, but simply because they don’t want to feel “disrespected.” And no endgame is in sight.

But this confrontation did start with a real issue: Republican efforts to stop Obamacare from going into effect. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.

New York Times Editorial Board; A Population Betrayed

It is outrageous that millions of the poorest people in the country will be denied health insurance because of decisions made mostly by Republican governors and legislators. These people will neither qualify for their state’s Medicaid program for the poor nor for subsidized coverage on new insurance exchanges that are being established in every state by the health care reform law.

Their plight is a result of the Supreme Court’s decision last year that struck down the reform law’s mandatory expansion of Medicaid and made expansion optional. Every state in the Deep South except Arkansas has rejected expansion, as have Republican-led states elsewhere. These 26 states would rather turn down incredibly generous federal funds that would finance 100 percent of the expansion costs for three years and at least 90 percent thereafter than offer a helping hand to their most vulnerable residents.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The GOP’s Shutdown Tab: One Billion Dollars and Counting

Forty million dollars an hour. A third of a billion every day. $1.6 billion every week. That’s a conservative estimate of the money Republicans are wasting by keeping the federal government closed down. And if pundits like Sean Hannity have their way, they’ll run up a much larger tab before this is all over.

But then, if there’s one thing Republicans know how to do it’s run a tab.

The bill has already come to roughly $1 billion as of today (Thursday), and it grows larger every moment the government stays shut down. Republicans in Congress recently voted to cut $4 billion per year from programs that feed the needy. In two and a half weeks they’ll have wasted more than that on their shutdown.

George Zorncik: Congressional Liberals Mobilize to Keep Social Insurance Out of Shutdown Talks

We’ve seen this movie before: Republicans force a showdown in Congress over funding the government, the debt ceiling or, in the present case, both. Then a “grand bargain” is proposed to solve the impasse-one that includes serious reductions to social insurance programs.

That’s just how the GOP would like the current drama to play out. Wednesday, National Review‘s Robert Costa reported that House Speaker John Boehner and Representative Paul Ryan are rallying nervous Republicans by telling them that while Obamacare may not end up getting defunded, GOP leadership is cooking up another big budget deal that includes cuts to the safety net so cherished by many conservative members. “It’s the return of the grand bargain,” one member told Costa. “Ryan is selling this to everybody; he’s getting back to his sweet spot,” said another.

In particular, Costa mentioned Chained CPI as one component of the emerging proposal. This, you may recall, is a cut to Social Security benefits dressed up as a ostensibly “more accurate” recalibration of the formula used to adjust benefits to inflation. (It’s not.)

Amy Jones: The Forgotten War

Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now?  If history is any guide, the answer is yes.  And if history is any guide,  three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why.

Since the 1950s, the U.S. has been trying to mold that remote land to its own desires, first through an aid “war” in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union; then, starting as the 1970s ended, an increasingly bitter and brutally hot proxy war with the Soviets meant to pay them back for supporting America’s enemies during the war in Vietnam.  One bad war leads to another.

Ralph Nader: Congressional “Mad Dogs” Render the Powerful Powerless

SHUTDOWN – blared the Washington Post headline. None of the powers-that-be could stop a small faction of Republicans in the House of Representatives from shutting down many federal government operations starting on October 1.

Suddenly the powerful Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce are powerless, along with two hundred corporate trade associations, who see Uncle Sam as their big customer. Suddenly, the Republican dominated National Governors Association, together with Mitt Romney, the Party’s presidential nominee in 2013, are powerless. Also powerless so far are the allegedly sovereign people, who want uninterrupted safety inspections, enforcement of labor and environmental laws, children’s nutrition and educational programs (like Head Start), student loan processing, veterans benefits, detection of epidemics, access to national parks, and inspections of nuclear power plants.

On This Day In History October 4

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 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 88 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1883, the Orient Express commences its first run.

The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train, the route for which has changed considerably in modern times. The first run of The Orient Express was on 4 October 1883. The train travelled from Paris to Giurgiu in Romania, via Munich and Vienna. At Giurgiu, passengers were ferried across the Danube to Ruse in Bulgaria to pick up another train to Varna. From here they completed their journey to Istanbul by ferry.

The Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Its route has changed many times, and several routes have in the past concurrently used the name, or slight variants thereof. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most intimately associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the service.

The original route, which first ran on October 4, 1883, was from Paris, Gare de l’Est, to Giurgiu in Romania via Munich and Vienna. At Giurgiu, passengers were ferried across the Danube to Rousse in Bulgaria to pick up another train to Varna, from where they completed their journey to Istanbul (then called Constantinople) by ferry. In 1885, another route began operations, this time reaching Istanbul via rail from Vienna to Belgrade and Nis, carriage to Plovdiv and rail again to Istanbul.

In 1889, the train’s eastern terminus became Varna in Bulgaria, where passengers could take a ship to Istanbul. On June 1, 1889, the first non-stop train to Istanbul left Paris (Gare de l’Est). Istanbul remained its easternmost stop until May 19, 1977. The eastern terminus was the Sirkeci Terminal by the Golden Horn. Ferry service from piers next to the terminal would take passengers across the Bosporus Strait to Haydarpasa Terminal, the terminus of the Asian lines of the Ottoman railways.

The onset of World War I in 1914 saw Orient Express services suspended. They resumed at the end of hostilities in 1918, and in 1919 the opening of the Simplon Tunnel allowed the introduction of a more southerly route via Milan, Venice and Trieste. The service on this route was known as the Simplon Orient Express, and it ran in addition to continuing services on the old route. The Treaty of Saint-Germain contained a clause requiring Austria to accept this train: formerly, Austria allowed international services to pass through Austrian territory (which included Trieste at the time) only if they ran via Vienna. The Simplon Orient Express soon became the most important rail route between Paris and Istanbul.

The 1930s saw the zenith of Orient Express services, with three parallel services running: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and also the Arlberg Orient Express, which ran via Zürich and Innsbruck to Budapest, with sleeper cars running onwards from there to Bucharest and Athens. During this time, the Orient Express acquired its reputation for comfort and luxury, carrying sleeping-cars with permanent service and restaurant cars known for the quality of their cuisine. Royalty, nobles, diplomats, business people and the bourgeoisie in general patronized it. Each of the Orient Express services also incorporated sleeping cars which had run from Calais to Paris, thus extending the service right from one edge of continental Europe to the other.

The start of the Second World War in 1939 again interrupted the service, which did not resume until 1945. During the war, the German Mitropa company had run some services on the route through the Balkans, but partisans frequently sabotaged the track, forcing a stop to this service.

Following the end of the war, normal services resumed except on the Athens leg, where the closure of the border between Yugoslavia and Greece prevented services from running. That border re-opened in 1951, but the closure of the Bulgaria-Turkey border from 1951 to 1952 prevented services running to Istanbul during that time. As the Iron Curtain fell across Europe, the service continued to run, but the Communist nations increasingly replaced the Wagon-Lits cars with carriages run by their own railway services.

By 1962, the Orient Express and Arlberg Orient Express had stopped running, leaving only the Simplon Orient Express. This was replaced in 1962 by a slower service called the Direct Orient Express, which ran daily cars from Paris to Belgrade, and twice weekly services from Paris to Istanbul and Athens.

In 1971, the Wagon-Lits company stopped running carriages itself and making revenues from a ticket supplement. Instead, it sold or leased all its carriages to the various national railway companies, but continued to provide staff for the carriages. 1976 saw the withdrawal of the Paris-Athens direct service, and in 1977, the Direct Orient Express was withdrawn completely, with the last Paris-Istanbul service running on May 19 of that year.

The withdrawal of the Direct Orient Express was thought by many to signal the end of Orient Express as a whole, but in fact a service under this name continued to run from Paris to Budapest and Bucharest as before (via Strasbourg, Munich, and Budapest). This continued until 2001, when the service was cut back to just Paris-Vienna, the coaches for which were attached to the Paris-Strasbourg express. This service continued daily, listed in the timetables under the name Orient Express, until June 8, 2007. However, with the opening of the Paris-Strasbourg high speed rail line on June 10, 2007, the Orient Express service was further cut back to Strasbourg-Vienna, departing nightly at 22:20 from Strasbourg, and still bearing the name.

I still have my compartment key

Humans at Fault for Climate Change

Climate deniers should apologize and weep while we all keep our fingers crossed for the future of the planet with humans still existing on it.

IPCC climate report: human impact is ‘unequivocal’

by Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

UN secretary-general urges global response to clear message from scientists that climate change is human-induced

World leaders must now respond to an “unequivocal” message from climate scientists and act with policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the United Nations secretary-general urged on Friday.

Introducing a major report from a high level UN panel of climate scientists, Ban Ki-moon said, “The heat is on. We must act.”

The world’s leading climate scientists, who have been meeting in all-night sessions this week in the Swedish capital, said there was no longer room for doubt that climate change was occurring, and the dominant cause has been human actions in pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

In their starkest warning yet, following nearly seven years of new research on the climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said it was “unequivocal” and that even if the world begins to moderate greenhouse gas emissions, warming is likely to cross the critical threshold of 2C by the end of this century. That would have serious consequences, including sea level rises, heatwaves and changes to rainfall meaning dry regions get less and already wet areas receive more.

In response to the report, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said in a statement: “This is yet another wakeup call: those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire.”

“Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or commonsense should be willing to even contemplate,” he said.

The new IPCC climate change report makes deniers overheat

by Michael Mann, The Guardian

As their erroneous efforts to discredit the ‘Hockey Stick’ curve reveal, sceptics are tying themselves in knots to maintain denial

The original 1999 Hockey Stick study (and the 2001 Third IPCC Assessment report) concluded that recent northern hemisphere average warmth was likely unprecedented for only the past 1,000 years. The 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment extended that conclusion back further, over the past 1,300 years (and it raised the confidence to “very likely” for the past 400 years). The new, Fifth IPCC Assessment has now extended the conclusion back over the past 1,400 years. By any honest reading, the IPCC has thus now substantially strengthened and extended the original 1999 Hockey Stick conclusions. [..]

The stronger conclusions in the new IPCC report result from the fact that there is now a veritable hockey league of reconstructions that not only confirm, but extend, the original Hockey Stick conclusions. This recent RealClimate piece summarizes some of the relevant recent work in this area, including a study published by the international PAGES 2k team in the journal Nature Geoscience just months ago. This team of 78 regional experts from more than 60 institutions representing 24 countries, working with the most extensive paleoclimate data set yet, produced the most comprehensive northern hemisphere temperature reconstruction to date. One would be hard-pressed, however, to distinguish their new series from the decade-and-a-half-old Hockey Stick reconstruction of Mann, Bradley and Hughes. [..]

The lesson here, perhaps, is that no misrepresentation or smear is too egregious for professional climate change deniers. No doubt, we will continue to see misdirection, cherry-picking, half-truths and outright falsehoods from them in the months ahead as the various IPCC working groups report their conclusions.

Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors and the Rube Goldberg contraptions. The true take-home message of the latest IPCC report is crystal clear: climate change is real and caused by humans, and it continues unabated. We will see far more dangerous and potentially irreversible impacts in the decades ahead if we do not choose to reduce global carbon emissions. There has never been a greater urgency to act than there is now.

As IPCC Warns of Climate Disaster, Will Scientific Consensus Spark Action on Global Warming?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set to issue its strongest warning yet that climate change is caused by humans, and that the world will see more heat waves, droughts and floods unless governments take action to drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The IPCC report, released every six years, incorporates the key findings from thousands of articles published in scientific journals, concluding with at least 95 percent certainty that human activities have caused most of Earth’s temperature rise since 1950, and will continue to do so in the future. “Drought is the number one threat we face from climate change because it affects the two things we need to live: food and water,” says Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground. We also speak to Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo.


Transcript can be read here

2013 Senior League Division Series: Dodgers @ Braves Game 1

This shapes up to be a classic display of hitting vs. pitching.  The Dodgers unquestionably have superior pitching with their 2 aces, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Kershaw (16 – 9, 1.83 ERA L) is considered the top Cy Young contender in the Senior League and has tonight’s start.  He’ll be opposed by Kris Medlen (15 – 12, 3.11 ERA R).

But the Braves are the marginal favorites because of their hitting and they have a great bullpen.  There will be a game 3 at Dodger Stadium and neither Kershaw nor Greinke will pitch it.

Now as bad as the history of the Dodgers is (and it’s very dodgy) and regardless of the fact that the Braves have been a clearly superior organization, reliably getting into the post-season for over 30 years now, I just can’t bring myself to root for Atlanta.

But you can’t rule them out, they’re a great team.

2013 Senior League Division Series: Dodgers @ Braves

This shapes up to be a classic display of hitting vs. pitching.  The Dodgers unquestionably have superior pitching with their 2 aces, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Kershaw (16 – 9, 1.83 ERA L) is considered the top Cy Young contender in the Senior League and has tonight’s start.  He’ll be opposed by Kris Medlen (15 – 12, 3.11 ERA R).

But the Braves are the marginal favorites because of their hitting and they have a great bullpen.  There will be a game 3 at Dodger Stadium and neither Kershaw nor Greinke will pitch it.

Now as bad as the history of the Dodgers is (and it’s very dodgy) and regardless of the fact that the Braves have been a clearly superior organization, reliably getting into the post-season for over 30 years now, I just can’t bring myself to root for Atlanta.

But you can’t rule them out, they’re a great team.