There've been a few memorable one-game playoffs. The most famous one in NY and Boston is the 1978 game decided by Bucky "Effing" Dent's home run, but there have been others. The one that I remember was in 1980, when the Dodgers swept a three-game series with the Astros to force the playoff game but then got beaten on a Joe Niekro six-hitter.
In its infinite wisdom (that's sarcasm, folks) Major League Baseball has awarded the contract for its divisional series games to a cable channel. TBS and TNT will show the first round of the baseball playoffs. They will split League Championship Series games with Fox.
If you don't have or can't afford cable, too bad. If your cable outlet doesn't have those channels, too bad. If those channels are not included in your basic cable, too bad. Cough up.
Way to pay attention to your customers and grow the fan base, baseball.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has satellite images which show the destruction of villages in eastern Burma (prior to the current crisis).
A new analysis of high-resolution satellite images completed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) pinpoints evidence consistent with village destruction, forced relocations, and a growing military presence at 25 sites across eastern Burma where eyewitnesses have reported human rights violations.
Bromley, director of the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights project, said documenting human rights violations in Burma posed special challenges. Burmese military tactics reportedly include forcing ethnic minorities to abandon their homes, and the use of scattered mortar fire to intimidate those who try to grow rice or other crops.
Consequently, Bromley noted: "Physical evidence of reported attacks on civilians sometimes can be subtle compared to the slash-and-burn types of destruction that we saw in Darfur or Zimbabwe. It's also a lush ecosystem where plants can quickly grow to cover burn marks, and clouds and terrain often block satellite observation." In addition, he said, maps of the area are largely decades old, with "foreign" village name spellings that are not used by reporting organizations or local people.
Despite such challenges, AAAS precisely mapped the locations of 31 of some 70 reported human rights violations by comparing field notes with information provided by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Satellite image analysis then revealed physical evidence to corroborate reported instances of human rights violations at 25 of the 31 accurately mapped sites. Wherever possible, Bromley compared archival satellite images with newly acquired shots to examine sites before as well as after the reported military activity. In other cases, recent images revealed clear signs of destruction.
"Eighteen of the locations showed evidence consistent with destroyed or damaged villages," Bromley reported. "We found evidence of expanded military camps in four other locations as well as multiple possibly relocated villages, and we documented growth in one refugee camp on the Thai border. All of this was very consistent with reporting by multiple human rights groups on the ground in Burma."
Apparently this isn't the first time the AAAS has helped document human rights abuses. It's got a project called AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, which has previously done work on Zimbabwe and Darfur.
Huh. Next time you're wondering whether to subscribe or renew your subscription to Science, add this work to your decision-making process.
Since the Republicans are always generous with their advice to their Democratic counterparts ("You must denounce MoveOn.org!"), I think it's only fair for me to advise them.
When there's a Republican candidates' debate staged at an historically black college specifically to address issues important to minority voters, it's probably not a good idea for your four leading candidates to blow it off. It makes it appear that your party either a) recognizes that the chances of minorities voting for your guy in November 2008 are somewhere between slim and none or b) doesn't know or care about minority issues and has calculated that appearing at such a forum would offend your white base.
It's an unfair comparison, but the dollar figures are so close it makes it irresistible: SecDef asks for $42B for wars juxtaposed with Bush threatens veto of children's health program over $35B.
There's your "compassionate conservatism" right there, if you still harbor any doubts as to what Bush thinks is important.
I've been buying bags of shredded cheese for years, just because it's easier than grating blocks of the stuff myself and there's less cleanup. Okay, it's laziness on my part.
Yesterday I walked past the freezer case in Safeway and saw pre-sliced frozen pizza.
Are we that decadent? Are our forearms so weak we can't use a pizza slicer or chef's knife?
Both NPR and ABC News have noted that this week is the 50th anniversary of the opening of "West Side Story" on Broadway. The music was written by Leonard Bernstein, the lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the book by Arthur Laurents. It was conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins.
There's not a bad piece of music in the show, but here's the one I find myself whistling. It's America, sung and danced by Rita Moreno and the Shark Girls. (This is from the film. Chita Rivera played the part of Anita on Broadway.)
I always have doubts about committing to a mini-series on television, since I have the same attention span that I'm told the average American has: that of a bumblebee or gnat.
I was riveted by last night's first episode of Ken Burns' newest movie "The War."
I want applause. I stopped by Borders to pick up two books (The House That George Built & The Secret Way to War) for Mom and did not buy anything for myself. No CDs, no books, not even a cup of coffee at the in-store Starbucks.
I admit it was hard.
When did you buy your first PC? What was the first spreadsheet program you used? Word processing software? Modem? Its speed?
In my case, 1983 - an IBM PC with a 10mb hard drive and (maybe) 640kb memory. Lotus 1-2-3. Multimate (a Wang lookalike). A Hayes 1200 baud.
I bought all of this for my employer at the time, and as I recall the hardware alone was about $5,000. The Lotus software was approximately $499, the Multimate WP program was about the same, and the Hayes modem was over $400. We only used the modem to communicate with our bank, checking out balances and moving cash around.
Credits/memories: Thanks to Scott for sending me a copy of the Buckingham Nicks album on CD. I went to see the film "It's a Hard Day's Night" with my mother, who was a fan of the band. There are about a zillion versions of "Summertime," and it's hard to select one as a favorite; Anne Brow has a very pure soprano voice, though. Michael Feinstein started out as a pianist and became a music archivist for Ira Gershwin; he knows as much about the brothers' music as anyone alive. As far as I can tell this 1931 version of "That's Entertainment" was the earliest; it's appeared on numerous television specials. As well as singing the theme, Sinatra won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the film "From Here to Eternity."
Way back here I briefly wrote about a paper that John Mearshimer and Stephen Walt had written arguing that the Israel lobby exerts influence on American foreign policy way out of proportion to Israel's strategic importance to the United States. They have now expanded their paper into a book, and it's getting slammed and praised (mostly the former, from my limited reading, which may prove their point). Here's one of the columns denigrating it.
The reader should easily be able to figure out that the author of the following paragraph is a former speechwriter for Bush. Bush wouldn't recognize a strategic insight if it bit him. Political insight, sure, but strategic?
President Bush's emphasis on democracy has been driven not by outside pressure but by a strategic insight. He is convinced that the status quo of tyranny, stagnation and extremism in the Middle East is not sustainable -- that the rage and ideologies it produces will cause increasing carnage in the world. The eventual solution to this problem, in his view, is the proliferation of hopeful, representative societies in the Middle East.
This argument is debatable. But it is at least as likely as Walt and Mearsheimer's naive belief that "the U.S. has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel" -- the equivalent of arguing that Britain had a Nazi problem in the 1930s because it was so closely allied with Czechoslovakia.
That's a stupid and incorrect analogy. There's been racial hatred towards Jews for millenia; since the establishment of Israel it's been easily focused on that tiny strip of land along the Mediterranean coast. The Nazis had no racial hatred of the Czechs and Slovaks; they had a desire for lebensraum, "living space," and Czechoslovakia was a convenient target.
I think America's problem with terrorism is exacerbated by its unquestioning support of Israel; think about Hezbollah's attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, Islamic Jihad's murder of the American University president (Malcolm Kerr) in 1984, and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer on the Achille Lauro. There are other reasons for terrorist attacks on the US: its propping up of dictators through aid and political support in various parts of the world, its high profile, and its cultural reach. But the overarching theme of terrorism against the US seems to me to be tied greatly towards its perceived unwillingness to criticize Israel (particularly during the GWB years) even when Israel's actions seem to do nothing to advance peace. For example, Israel has been settling previously-Palestinian land with its own people for decades, and even when the US mildly remonstrates, it's continued to do so. Here's an example from 1991:
In early September of 1991, Israel's right wing government had asked Washington for a loan guarantee for $10 billion in commercial paper – seeking the new credit line to finance the resettlement of Jews leaving the Soviet Union. Bush had six months earlier driven Saddam Hussein's armies from Kuwait, helped by a broad Arab coalition; he then was planning to convene an unprecedented peace conference in Madrid. And he didn't want to undermine the conference by subsidizing massively the settlement of a million new immigrants to Israel on Palestinian land in the West Bank – where the Shamir government was inclined to place many of them.This was the effort which resulted in Bush One's famous comment "I heard today there were something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We've got one lonely little guy doing it." He spoke further about being "up against some powerful political forces."
Bush asked Congress to delay the loan guarantees for four months. The Israeli lobby shifted into gear; one day, about a thousand lobbyists began paying visits to Congressional offices, making the case for the United States to dispense the guarantees immediately.
Mearshimer and Walt are making an argument that seems self-evident to this objective observer: Israel's lobby exerts undue influence on American foreign policy to the detriment of its best interests, and it would behoove American policymakers to recognize it and try as best they can to push the lobby back into the same place other major lobbiests inhabit; that of a group which has a viewpoint to be weighed but not blindly followed.
With the demise of Times Select we can all now read the NYT columnists at no monetary cost. That's nice. What's even more interesting is that Paul Krugman will not only be writing his usual columns but will also be blogging at the NYT. Here's his first post.
I’ve given this New York Times blog the same name [The Conscience of a Liberal], because the politics and economics of inequality will, I expect, be central to many of the blog posts – although I also expect to be posting on a lot of other issues, from health care to high-speed Internet access, from productivity to poll analysis. Many of the posts will be supplements to my regular columns; I’ll be using this space to present the kind of information I can’t provide on the printed page – especially charts and tables, which are crucial to the way I think about most of the issues I write about.
Well now. This should be on the required reading list.
The NYT seems to misunderstand what's going on here. The current headline for this story about the Webb amendment (which would have forced the military to equalize time in Iraq with time at home recovering) and its obstruction by filibuster by the Republicans reads "Democrats Fall Short in Effort to Shift Course of Iraq War."
Well, no. The Democrats tried their damndest, but 43 Republicans and one Republican-lite (Lieberman) voted to block a full vote on the amendment, thus keeping soliders in Iraq indefinitely with no respite. It wouldn't seem too hard for professional journalists to recognize that, but maybe the NYT doesn't want to offend the Republican party.
A Republican filibuster in the Senate today shot down a bipartisan effort to restore the right of terrorism suspects to contest their detentions and treatment in federal courts...
The detainee rights bill was an effort to reverse a provision of last year's Military Commissions Act, which suspended the writ of habeas corpus for terrorism suspects at the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other off-shore prisons.
The Supreme Court had previously ruled that such detainees did have the right to appeal their detentions in federal court, but the court invited Congress to weigh in on the issue. At the urging of the Bush administration, the Republican-controlled Congress last year voted to sharply limit detainee access to the courts.
The authors of last year's bill staunchly defended that decision this morning, saying advocates of habeas corpus rights for detainees would open the federal courts to endless lawsuits by the nation's worst enemies.
"To start that process would be an absolute disaster for this country," said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), an Air Force Reserve lawyer who was instrumental in crafting the provision in last year's bill. "I cannot think of a more ill-advised effort to undermine a war that I think will be a long-standing effort."
Had you asked me a few years ago, I'd have said there was absolutely no way an American lawyer would ever have advocated the destruction of habeas corpus, aka The Great Writ, the concept in law which says that a government must justify its detention of an individual to the governed. Yet last year the Senate passed S. 3930, which says in part:
Amends federal criminal justice provisions to deny any court or judge jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of, or to hear or consider any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention, treatment, or trial of, an alien detained outside the United States who is or was detained by the United States and has been determined to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.
I can only conclude that the 43 Senators who voted in favor of this filibuster have lost faith in the law they're sworn to uphold and live in a perpetual state of fear. The people who live in the states they represent should bear that in mind when they go to the polls again; these men and women prefer authoritarian rule to the rule of law.
This looks to be an interesting boxed set of American song. The idea came to the former Attorney General when her niece and nephew-in-law songwriter Ed Patterson were visiting her in Washington in 1998.
She is the brains behind Song of America, a three-CD, 50-song ''history book'' that is due in stores on Tuesday.
The sonic journey begins in 1492 with Lakota Dream Song and wends its way through 25 eras of the American Story before concluding with Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, a 9/11-inspired song.
Song of America presents an unblinking look at the nation's history, one that doesn't shy away from troubled chapters. Dixie's Land, with all the emotionally charged baggage it has picked up through the years, and Streets of Philadelphia, the modern-day lament on the AIDS epidemic, play alongside Battle Hymn of the Republic and Stars and Stripes Forever.
"It's the good, the bad and the ugly," Reno said. "To omit Dixie or the Streets of Philadelphia is to omit a part of what has made America."
She did attend the 2005 Grammy Awards with Macias, though, to recruit artists to cover and reinterpret the songs on the CD.
"It was fascinating," she said of the awards ceremony. "It was a festival. They would ask me, 'What are you doing here?' and they'd look at me in stunned amazement when I told them."
John Mellencamp, Janis Ian, Old Crowe Medicine Show, the Black Crowes, Bettye Lavette and the Blind Boys of Alabama are some of the artists who signed on to the project.
If you have an interest in the history of American music as I do, this looks to be a should-have.
Somebody stop me. I keep reliving my past by buying old (well, remastered) CDs. Recent acquisitions:
And several Ronstadt CDs I'd never heard before:
Thank heavens for Second Spin. Their prices can run as low as $2.50 plus S&H for an obscure CD, and the higher the volume purchased the lower the S&H per unit.
So you get the "Memory Card Full" alarm on your camera, and you say "Hah! I have another one!" and then you replace the full one with the new one and then you say "What the heck do I do with the full card?"
In the film days you'd have a full photo album and store it wherever you store them; with a full memory card do you put it on a keychain?
Life is so complex.
In the game of extravagant hype, ESPN has somehow managed to exceed that of the Bush Administration.
Yesterday on SportsCenter the network put up a trailer under a discussion of this weekend's Michigan - Notre Dame game. What did that trailer say, o trenchant observer of idiocy? I'm glad you asked.
"The Most Important Game Between Unranked Teams in College Football History."
McConnell isn't the only one spouting this Korea line. We now know where it came from. In a lunch with television journalists pre-speech, Bush espoused it as well.
He really does live in an alternate universe. South Korea was facing a threat from outside; Iraq faces one from within. South Korea asked the UN for protection; Iraq did not. South Korea was attacked by an enemy; Iraq was invaded by the United States on the pretext that it would be "good" for Iraq.
I think the President of the United States has gone mad.
I just heard Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell say on All Things Considered: "He foresees a long-term mission in Iraq similar to the U.S. deployment in South Korea." Um, for 57 years and counting, Senator? That ought to go over well with the soldiers, their families, and the American public.
Over at Making Light, commenter Terry Karney composes the speech we should have heard on September 12, 2001.
"There are people who are willing to commit heinous acts to change what we do, who we are, and how we act.
We are not the only nation to face such problems, the Basque separatists in Spain, the Tigers in Sri Lanka, the IRA in Ireland; and the UK, all have afflicted those nations.
If we overreact, and give up our liberties, villainize those who share nothing more than nation, language or religion with those who have attacked us, be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Jew; Nationalist or religious fanatic, then we not only grant them a minor victory in a skirmish, but cede to them the field of battle. For if we let them make us demonize those with whom we have no quarrel, we will forfeit allies.
No, rather we shall affirm what we have always been. We have made mistakes; and for those we must own up, but nothing we have done justifies the targetting, the killing, the terrorising of a nation, much less the random killing of those who were not Americans, but merely victims of circumstance.
There's more at the link.
So we're going to be told that the Bush war machine will "withdraw" the same 30,000 troops that went into Iraq as the surge's main body, and this will somehow serve as a sign of progress. I am reminded of that old David Bromberg song "Sharon" when I imagine this afternoon's speech. To be properly presented, somebody should come out to introduce him (Tony Snow in a surprise second swan song, maybe?) and say:
Folks, you know she walks, she talks,
She crawls on her belly like a reptile.
Same ole' line except one part,
You don't need no money, boy, you pay with your heart
I mean, really. Does Bush think he's going to persuade the American public that a withdrawal of 30,000 soldiers, bringing the troop level down to the same number that had been there before the surge is somehow a sign that the surge was successful?
Forget the carnival barker; this is like Dr. Hook selling snake oil.
"Follow the money," Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein during their Watergate investigation, creating a phrase which has become a dictum for all subsequent reporters. So who's still funding Osama bin Laden, six years after 9/11?
Well, ABC News says he still gets lots of money from shadowy Saudi figures (video link), among other sources.
Despite some efforts as a U.S. ally in the war on terror, Levey says Saudi Arabia has dropped the ball. Not one person identified by the United States and the United Nations as a terror financier has been prosecuted by the Saudis, Levey says.
"When the evidence is clear that these individuals have funded terrorist organizations, and knowingly done so, then that should be prosecuted and treated as real terrorism because it is," Levey says.
Among those on the donor list, according to U.S. officials, is Yasin al Qadi, a wealthy businessman named on both the U.S. and U.N. lists of al Qaeda financiers one month after the 9/11 attacks.
The Saudis have been treated with kid gloves for the past forty years by Administrations of all persuasions, but it does seem a little overdone with this one. Remember GWB holding hands with the prince at a meeting a few years back? Remember that Prince Bandar has often been referred to as Bandar Bush for his close ties to the Bush family?
At what point does the United States say enough?
We have a little leverage, since the Saudis want to buy American weapons; we could say "not until you turn off the money flows and arrest the al-Qaeda financiers." Is that so hard?
Bottom line: Americans will go to the polls on Nov. 4, 2008 with basically the same Iraq policy in place as we have now. All of the rest is the sound and fury of political positioning. If the American people want to end this war faster, they will have to vote to do so—again, since that is what most of them thought they were doing in 2006.
Yep. Goes to show that when you've only got a slim majority and the opposition is more interested in preserving its own position and that of its President, rather than good policy or the best interests of two countries, it takes time to change.
Froomkin has a slew of links to other columnists, so go visit his site.
Petraeus said he has "recommended a drawdown" of U.S. forces starting later this month with the withdrawal of a Marine unit. Further "redeployments" should continue into next year, with U.S. troop strength reaching its pre-surge level of about 130,000 troops by mid-July 2008, he said.
We revert to what was status quo as of December 2006, a month after public anti-war sentiment gave control of Congress to the Democrats? That's it? That's the best you can offer, General? And we don't even do that until July 2008?
What was the freaking point? 729 more coalition deaths since the beginning of the surge (arbitrarily set at February 1, 2007), and the result is we can bring 30,000 troops home in another 10 months?
Democrats, this is unacceptable. De-fund future expenditures for anything other than withdrawal. As Bob Dylan wrote in a different context, "How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?"
From the 1995 album Feels Like Home, here's Linda Ronstadt singing a lovely song called "The Blue Train," written by Jennifer Kimball and Tom Kimmel.
If you're a college football fan, be sure to check out Fanblogs for all your student-athlete news, usefully collected into conference-by-conference sections.
Michigan was defeated again, this time by Oregon. Oregon? One of the also-rans in the Pac Ten?
Meanwhile, Hawai'i rival (and 22-ranked) Boise State was beaten by the Washington Huskies, ending its 14-game winning streak. Hawai'i, meanwhile, is tied 14-14 with Louisiana Tech with 7 minutes left in the first half.
Maybe it's time the national sports media stopped focusing on the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference and recognized that other teams play pretty good football. I realize that's like asking ESPN to recognize that there are other baseball teams besides the Red Sox and Yankees, but I can dream, can't I?
Update: Hawai'i knocked down a 2-point conversion attempt in overtime to win, 45-44. The oddsmakers had UH winning by 28 points.
In the wake of Appalachian State's defeat of Michigan last weekend, the Associated Press announced that it would allow its voters to include Division 1-AA schools in their selections of the top 25 teams in the country. Seems fair, right? Ah, but what if you're one of those teams ranked 20-25 before the almost-certain inclusion of Appalachian State in next week's poll, and perhaps another one of the lower-division teams? You're almost certainly bumped out of the top 25, unless you continue to win. Even if you win, it had better be done convincingly, preferably against a quality opponent.
21 Georgia Tech
22 Boise State
23 Texas A&M
Here's the current Division 1-AA Top 25 poll.
. . .the lesson of the past six years is that Republicans will accuse Democrats of being unpatriotic no matter what the Democrats do. Democrats gave Mr. Bush everything he wanted in 2002; their reward was an ad attacking Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, that featured images of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
Finally, the public hates this war and wants to see it ended. Voters are exasperated with the Democrats, not because they think Congressional leaders are too liberal, but because they don’t see Congress doing anything to stop the war.
Paul Krugman, who's not really saying anything new, but is saying it to a much broader audience than most bloggers have.
The Bush bubble has now reached the Antipodes, I see. From the Sydney Morning Herald, which says Bush:
...arrived in Australia in a chipper mood.
"We're kicking ass," he told Mark Vaile on the tarmac after the Deputy Prime Minister inquired politely of the President's stopover in Iraq en route to Sydney.
But never mind. George knows things we don't know.
Impeach George Bush. Impeach him now.
Rawlings has announced its All-Time Gold Glove Team for the best defensive baseball players by position over the fifty-year life of its award.
The greatest measure of fielding excellence since 1957, the heralded Rawlings Gold Glove Award® is presented annually to 18 Major League Baseball players, one for each position, in both the National and American Leagues. (In 1957, only nine players received the award.) These outstanding players are selected as the best fielding players at their respective positions by Major League coaches and managers prior to the conclusion of the regular season. Managers and coaches may not select players from their own club and only vote for players in their own league.
Here are the results:
I'd quibble at second base. Joe Morgan was great, but Mazeroski was better.
Let the arguments begin!
If I sort my iTunes library into "album by artist" order, I go from Buffalo Springfield to the Byrds. That seems to be about right. (I have no CSN in iTunes -- yet.)
Who else has fortuitous juxtapositions like that in their library?
Some pro-war advocates say we can't leave Iraq because the country will devolve into massive ethnic cleansing, neighborhood by neighborhood.
When Gen. David Petraeus goes before Congress next week to report on the progress of the surge, he may cite a decline in insurgent attacks in Baghdad as one marker of success. In fact, part of the reason behind the decline is how far the Shiite militias' cleansing of Baghdad has progressed: they've essentially won. "If you look at pre-February 2006, there were only a couple of areas in the city that were unambiguously Shia," says a U.S. official in Baghdad who is familiar with the issue but is not authorized to speak on the record. "That's definitely not the case anymore." The official says that "the majority, more than half" of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now Shiite-dominated, a judgment echoed in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: "And very few are mixed." In places like Amel, pockets of Sunnis live in fear, surrounded by a sea of Shiites. In most of the remaining Sunni neighborhoods, residents are trapped behind great concrete barricades for their own protection.
Okay, since that argument has now been blown out of the water, can we just begin an American withdrawal?
Frank Loesser had a wonderful career in theater and film. Anyone who's a fan of Broadway musicals knows his music, if not his name. Here's my iTunes collection of his songs:
Loesser died in 1969. He was only 59 years old.
(YouTube performances not necessarily by the same artists cited above.)
Heard on NPR's newscast just now: "President Bush telephoned Senator Larry Craig to tell him he'd made the right decision [by resigning]."
Man, Bush is even more of a jerk than I had thought he could possibly be. Here's a guy who just quit a job he's had for nearly 20 years, one which affords him a ton of status and power, and you call him to say quitting was a good thing?
Bush isn't only as dumb as a box of rocks, he's got the same amount of empathy as the rocks.
The Hugo Awards, given annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award. The Hugos are voted on by the thousands of members of the current Worldcon which is also responsible for administering them.This is a big big deal, and I'm very happy for Patrick and Teresa.
*Ultraman is part of the trophy this year. See the photo at the third link.