Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hail and Farewell

UPDATE: Icing on the cake big time, though expected: Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' center fielder, won the National League Most Valuable Player award, with an unusual 28 out of 30 first place votes.  And one of Jim Leyland's players in Detroit, Miguel Cabrera won the American League award, for the second straight year.  He achieved the Triple Crown last year (leading the league in homers, RBIs and average) and came pretty close to doing it again this year.  Congrats to Cutch and Cabrera. Cutch's win is especially sweet because he's an old school player, loyal to his team and its city of Pittsburgh, intent on playing his entire career there.

Congratulations to Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates who won the 2013 National League Manager of the Year award.

And a belated farewell to Jim Leyland, who retired from major league baseball after the 2013 season.  He was manager of the Detroit Tigers for several impressive seasons, and managed the Florida Marlins to the world championship in 1997, but I'll remember him as manager of the last great Pirates team before this one.  By all accounts he was a great guy, and a real Pittsburgher.  Between jobs, he was often seen watching Pirates games in the stands with another former Pirates manager, Chuck Tanner, who took his 1979 team to a world championship.  Leyland's late 80s/early 90s teams--with the Killer Bs-- Bonds and Bonilla--plus Andy Van Slyke--won 3 division titles but never quite got to the Series.  I rooted for the Marlins in 97 just so he could get the championship he so much deserved.  I read somewhere he's planning to retire in Pittsburgh.

Who Needs Fox News (or Republicans)?

Who needs Fox News when we've got CBS?  On two recent major stories their false reports parrot GOP Rabid Right line.

First they made a big deal out of a GOP wet dream story on Benghazi  that they have since had to retract.  At first it seemed they may just have been suckered, but the prim non-denial denial by 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan seemed suspicious to some, as does she.

Today CBS topped this by rushing to air a story about the website management apparently based on nothing more than a leak by GOPer congressional staff.  The accusation in the story is false, as was established in open hearings.

There is currently a feeding frenzy over Obamacare, enabled by sensationalist media to the delight of GOPers.  The problems with are now mythic, though by the way the site seems to be working pretty well now.  Which given the standards of most corporate as well as government interactive websites is a high standard.  The early problems with implementation mirror the early problems with Social Security, Medicare, the Massachusetts Romneycare and Bush's Medicare Part D.  If anybody cares.

Now there's excessive noise over people not able to keep substandard plans or who are getting a percentage jump in their premiums, though their benefits are substantially better and the actual amounts are neglible, especially considering the usual rate of healthcare inflation.  And happy to join in the frenzy are a number of Democrats proposing "common sense" fixes that also happen to undermine the market reforms at the heart of Obamacare's longterm beneficial effects.  This includes one of our own senators, Feinstein of CA, which happens to be a state where the rollout has been smooth and effective, due mostly to early adoption of the state exchange.

I wholly endorse Josh Marshall's view on this. This is a big and fateful gut check for Democrats.  The Rabid Right Republicans in Congress are a scary and probably crazy bunch, but their fervor gives them fortitude in their insanity.  Democrats need a little rational fortitude.  Without it, the madness of King Republicans rules.    

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

“We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves...The greatest tragedy to befall us is to go unimagined.”
N. Scott Momaday

Zombie Apocalypse

The numbers are astonishing.  Sustained wind speed of 195 mph, with gusts to 235 mph.  Perhaps 10,000 people dead, more than half a million displaced,  9.5 million people affected in the Philippines.  But Haiyan is not done.  Though greatly weakened, it still hits Vietnam with winds of 85 mph and will likely cause flooding and other damage in China.

We don't hear much about storms in this part of the world, but this has been an active season, causing a lot of damage and chaos.  This superstorm got attention for not only the immense impact but for what it might portend.  Where the storm hit full force it caused immense catastrophe with these insanely powerful winds and storm surges, and the resulting chaos.  Now the challenge is to bring relief and medical care to these utterly devastated places.

A storm almost as powerful as this one (165 mph winds) hit the Phillippines just last year.  During a climate crisis conferences the Phillippines delegate made an impassioned plea for action, citing that storm as highly unusual.  But this was an even worse storm with greater consequences.  Is this the real zombie apocalypse? And are we all the real zombies?