10/15/2013 archive

2013 Junior League Championship: Boston @ Detroit Game 3

No question about it, by losing their first game Boston is forced to get a least a split in Detroit and the Tigers are very strong at home.

If you like high scoring games (and I do) Game 1 was a snooze fest with the only action in the Top of the 6th when Detroit was able to scrape up a Run after a Walk and a Hit By Pitch set them up with 2 On and 1 Out.  Could have and should have been a bigger inning but as it turns out the Sox had no comeback.  Tigers 1 – 0, lead the Series 1 – 0.

Game 2 was quite exciting with 11 scores between the teams starting in the Top of the 2nd with a Double and a Single that put runners on the corners 1 Out.  Martinez scored from 3rd on an RBI Single by Avila and then Infante grounded into a Double play to end the inning.

After that it was quiet until the Top of the 6th when the Tigers appeared to put the game out of reach with 4 more Runs, a Solo Shot by Cabrera, a Double, an RBI Double, and a 2 RBI Homer.  In the Sox 6th they managed to eek out a Run on a RBI Double leaving the margin at 4.

Then came Boston’s improbable 8th.  They started with a 1 Out Double and drew a Walk.  A KO put them 2 On and 2 Out when a clutch Single loaded them up.  And Ortiz hit a Grand Slam.

Now tied at 5 in the Sox 9th Detroit couldn’t buy an Out.  Leadoff Single with error.  Wild Pitch, 90 feet away.  Another Single with RBI and it’s time to get on the plane.  Sox 6 – 5, Series tied at 1.

For the Sox this is not exactly a comfortable place to be.  They could lose today and not face elimination, but you would imagine they’ll try really hard to guarantee at least one more game at Fenway.  They will be sending out John Lackey (10 – 13, 3.52 ERA R) to face (well, not face actually, this is the Junior League we’re talking about) Justin Verlander (13 – 12, 3.46 ERA R) who on paper is only marginally better and is certainly not the dominating Playoff Pitcher we have seen in recent post-seasons.

Now for those of you who like pie I’ll point out that TMC and I have different picks in this Series.  She likes cats, even big ones, and favors the Tigers.  I suspect her residing in the Five Boroughs might have a little influence also.  I’m mostly indifferent to Rounders and unlike many of my Stars Hollow neighbors I don’t hate the Yankees with the burning white hot passion of a thousand suns.  On the other hand I’ve watched games in worse places than Fenway and pay a passing sacrifice to The Great God Citgo when I happen to be traveling though the Cradle of the Revolution.

Just don’t get me started on Kraft and the Patsies.

What would Jugashvili do?

Now frankly I still think the appropriate historic parallels are Late Imperial Rome and Nazi Germany, but for some reason (I can’t quite figure out why) people object when you point out their irrational worship of all things Obama is nothing more than Führerprinzip and the United States an exceptional example of decadence.

Matt Taibbi gives a more contemporary perspective-

Democrats Must Stop Ted Cruz’s Hollywood Ending

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

POSTED: October 11, 11:28 AM ET

Having lived in the former Soviet Union for 10 years, I will forever have plastered to the back of my cerebellum the commemorative bumper sticker: “WWSD?”

What Would Stalin Do? It’s a useful question to ask sometimes, because it offers valuable perspective. What would Stalin have done with Britney Spears? Have her declared a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union, with the Leningrad-Murmansk train line named after her. Dan Dierdorf would have been made Secretary of the Sverdlovsk Region. Shepard Smith would probably get to head up the Press Ministry to start, then maybe work his way up to Foreign Affairs. It’s hard not to look at the American cultural landscape and see all sorts of people the old seminarian would really have liked.

But the main reason I’m thinking of this now is the debt ceiling/government shutdown issue. How would Stalin have handled all of this? Reflexively, I can’t help but wonder.

I’m guessing he would have taken Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz’s caucus members, loaded them onto cattle cars, and relocated them to a piece of woodsy wilderness in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. Once there, guards would have handed saws and hammers to the esteemed legislators (still dressed in suits and heels – no wasteful government spending on parkas!) and instructed them to build new congressional “branch offices” out of the still-living trees surrounding them. Always conscious of cost, Stalin preferred, whenever possible, to relocate pesky populations to remote deserts and taigas rather than waste bullets liquidating them. Tea Party congresspersons would naturally be one of the first nationalities moved.

Leaders of movements were a different matter. Of those, one had to make very public examples. In this instance, with Cruz and company, Old Koba would likely go the “Kirov’s Assassins” route. First, he’d have someone like Ted Yoho bite an exploding apple during a live CNBC broadcast. Then he’d immediately send Eric Holder out for a massive impromptu press conference in which the White House, furious over the loss of so great a patriot, would announce a sweeping, coast-to-coast search for Yoho’s killers.

Eventually, the chief suspects would be arrested, and they would be everyone you would expect – the Koch Brothers, Rand Paul and of course Cruz himself, who, weeping and begging for forgiveness, would confess in lurid detail to the crime in a live televised trial. He got Michelle Bachmann to design the exploding apple! They conspired to have it delivered on-set by Maria Bartiromo! And they all removed Yoho out of jealousy (he was getting too much ink for out-dumbing the field, saying a default would “bring stability to world markets”)!

Not making any value judgments at all, but that’s what Stalin would do. What is Barack Obama doing? Well, something much less than that. Much, much less, to the point where it’s getting a little weird.  

The 2008 crash was triggered by the failure of one investment bank, Lehman Brothers, and when that bank collapsed, the world discovered that it was now so interconnected financially that one significant and unexpected failure could start a nuclear chain-reaction of losses. The Lehman impact stunned everyone. The average American family lost 18 percent of its wealth within months. The stock market lost half its value. The repo market collapsed, freezing economic activity and leading to massive declines in asset prices. Unemployment soared past 10 percent almost instantly.

And that was just one bank failure. Can one imagine the consequences of the failure of the United States? The $12 trillion in outstanding government debt is 23 times bigger than the $517 billion Lehman owed when it went under in September 2008. In every way that Lehman’s failure played havoc with the economy, the failure of U.S. debt would repeat the disaster, only it would do it on an almost inconceivably huger scale.

The entire world financial system revolves around the notion that the U.S. will never default, because under normal, rational circumstances, it can’t. (It can always print enough money to meet its obligations, as even Alan Greenspan conceded two years ago.) Before this latest political madness, no one could ever have conceived of a sovereign state intentionally defaulting. But we’re, like, a week away from this happening, and where’s the emergency mobilization?

I’m not saying that this is the case, but one wonders whether the Democrats have made a miscalculation here, based upon their own narrow, transactional, materialistic view of politics. The Democrats may be sitting back just a little bit, content to let this felicitous political situation develop just a little longer, perhaps (and I have no proof of this) convinced that the other party will come to its senses and stand down at the last minute.

But Cruz and his people are something we never see in Washington – believers.

Obama and his Neoliberals are believers too, and it’s not in democracy.

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

New York Times Editorial Board: The Senate Tries to End the Crisis

The Senate, forced to extinguish the wildfire set by the House, is nearing a deal to reopen the government and end the imminent threat of default by the United States government. Some of the provisions in the deal are troubling, and senators need to ensure that it doesn’t in any way give in to Republican blackmail. If they can do so, the agreement may finally represent a way to end the crisis without encouraging blackmail when the debt ceiling comes up again. [..]

Assuming the Senate reaches a deal on Tuesday, it would only go into effect if Speaker John Boehner allows it to go to a vote in the House. If he continues to cater to the Tea Party wing of his caucus, piling on new demands, the delay could be catastrophic – a “rapidly spreading fatal disease,” as the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank put it. The time to stop it has arrived.

Dean Baker: Republicans are delusional about US spending and deficits

The story of out-of-control debts and deficits is just plain wrong. US deficits have fallen in the past four years

It is understandable that the public is disgusted with Washington; they have every right to be. At a time when the country continues to suffer from the worst patch of unemployment since the Great Depression, the government is shut down over concerns about the budget deficit. [..]

Going to the wall for something that is incredibly important is a reasonable tactic. However, the public apparently did not agree with the Republicans. Polls show that they overwhelmingly oppose their tactic of shutting down the government and risking default over Obamacare. As a result, the Republicans are now claiming that the dispute is actually over spending.

Anywhere outside of Washington DC and totalitarian states, you don’t get to rewrite history. However, given the national media’s concept of impartiality, they now feel an obligation to accept that the Republicans’ claim that this is a dispute over spending levels.

Joe Conason: Corporate Leaders Bemoan Tea Party Default Crisis Created by Their own Donations

America’s great minds of business and finance have reached a consensus on the government shutdown and worse, the prospect of a debt default: While the latter is worse, both are bad. Those same great minds are well aware how the shutdown came to pass and why default still looms on the horizon, whether next week, next month, or next year.

Yes, the frightened corporate leaders surely know how this happened-because their money funded the tea party candidates and organizations responsible for the crisis.

Brian Beutler: Get nervous: The fate of the country is in John Boehner’s hands

With a Senate deal imminent, the speaker has a choice to make: His job or our economy. He could go either way

Minding the caveat that fluid events are fluid and thus subject to flowing to unexpected places, it looks like Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are a hair’s breadth from a deal to reopen the government and extend the debt limit for several months.

If they ink it today, they can probably pass it before Thursday, at which point the Treasury Department will run out of headroom under the debt limit and the country will be at the mercy of its lenders.

That raises a troubling question: What the hell happens in the House?

E. J. Dionne: Obama Can’t Waste This Moment

The key in politics is to snatch victory from the jaws of victory.  [..]

It is up to Obama to seize this moment. If he just slips into the style of budget negotiations that so weakened him in the summer of 2011, he will have squandered a triumph won by his willingness to stand firm. If he allows his opponents to regroup and act as if this huge reversal never happened, he will lose the chance to push his priorities to the fore: universal pre-kindergarten education, immigration reform, rebuilding our transportation and communications systems-and, one would like to hope, an even broader agenda for speeding growth and sharing its dividends fairly.

Obama’s 2012 re-election failed to break the right-wing fever he always talked about. Now is the time to heal the nation of this infirmity.  

David Zirin: Bob Costas Spoke Out Against ‘Redskins,’ and It Was a Big Deal

Judging by the utterly unscientific polling in my twitter feed, Bob Costas’s half-time commentary on the Washington Redskins name managed to displease almost everybody. The sports fans were enraged that Costas said the name could be seen as “a slur” and “an insult”. They were irate that Costas would bring his “politics” into sports, as if having a team representing the nation’s capital called “Redskins” is not in fact political. They also used various forms of the phrase “pussification of America,” which makes me curious why the men in my Twitter feed who love the Redskins name also seem to have such unbridled contempt for women.

On the other side of the issue, there were many tweeting, texting, and e-mailing me that they were angry Costas started his commentary by saying, “There’s no reason to believe that owner Daniel Snyder, or any official or player from his team, harbors animus towards Native Americans, or chooses to disrespect them.” They argued that by telling mistruths about the team’s history, responding with such rancor to those asking about changing the name and refusing to meet with Native Americans who disagree with the name, he is absolutely “disrespecting” Native American history.

On This Day In History October 15

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 15 is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 77 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte begins his final exile on the Island of St. Helene.

Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a military and political leader of France and Emperor of the French as Napoleon I, whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century.

Napoleon was born in Corsica to parents of minor noble Italian ancestry and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France. Bonaparte rose to prominence under the French First Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, he staged a coup d’etat and installed himself as First Consul; five years later the French Senate proclaimed him emperor. In the first decade of the 19th century, the French Empire under Napoleon engaged in a series of conflicts-the Napoleonic Wars-involving every major European power. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe, and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.

The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon’s fortunes. His Grande Armee was badly damaged in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig; the following year the Coalition invaded France, forced Napoleon to abdicate and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he escaped Elba and returned to power, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the island of Saint Helena. An autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer, though Sten Forshufvud and other scientists have since conjectured he was poisoned with arsenic.

Napoleon’s campaigns are studied at military academies the world over. While considered a tyrant by his opponents, he is also remembered for the establishment of the Napoleonic code, which laid the administrative and judicial foundations for much of Western Europe.

Congressional Game of Chicken: Countdown to Default

Chris Hayes, the host of MSNBC’s All In, has the most concise and informative summary of the countdown to default.

Transcript can be read here

With days until default, a breakthrough?

With just three days to go until an unprecedented, possible U.S. default, there is some hope at this hour of a deal to re-open the government, raise the debt ceiling, and put an end to the shutdown. Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Scott Rigell join Chris Hayes to discuss inner dealings and where we’re at the road to re-open the government.

2013 Senior League Championship: Cardinals @ Dodgers Game 3

Eeking out a pair of single run victories does not exactly a commanding lead make, but it’s definely better to have held Home Field advantage as you take the show on the road.  Game One was a 13 inning Pitcher’s Duel with Beltran earning his money with a Walk Off RBI Single.  The Dodgers struck first with a pair in their half of the 3rd, the Cardinals evened it up right away.

And then there were 9 more innings.  Fascinating viewing if you like watching people spit sunflower shells while not much is happening.  It isn’t often I’ll conceed the thrilling nature of International Football but by comparison with that yawner it is indeed a beautiful game.

Saturday was a single run affair, but at least the 5th was interesting with a Leadoff Double and a passed ball.  It turned out that was all the margin St. Louis would need.

Tonight we have a pair of Aces facing off.  Adam Wainwright (19 – 9, 2.94 ERA R) is generally thought to be the best pitcher still playing but Hyun-Jin Ryu (14 – 8, 3.00 ERA L) matches up well on paper.  Ryu may have a slight advantage in that he delivers from the left which makes his pick off move to 1st easier.

Win or lose the Cardinals will head back to Busch Stadium while the Dodgers need at least 2 at home to extend this Series.