"What's that," you ask? I see this thing called, "The Rockies" in the NL West standings every day.
Yes, for years, the Rockies have played major league teams, and the games have counted in the standings, much as interleague games count, or the NFL replacement players' games counted in 1988. But the actual product on the field bore the same resemblance to major league baseball as Stephen Sondheim bore to Rogers & Hart. You went for a while, because it seemed like the thing to do. And then you stopped going.
This year promised more of the same until about two weeks ago. The Rockies were destined to play .500 ball, which would be progress. Then, suddenly, they started winning. And then, all at once, the games started counting. In late September.
So here I sit, work to do, watching the Rockies with the sound off and streaming the Brewers and Padres. There's a certain cognitive dissonance in doing that. You have to watch, rather than listen, for the crowd reaction when they post the Padres' score updates on the field on the TV.
Right now, it's 9-4 Brewers in the 7th, but the Rockies and Diamondbacks are in a scoreless tie in the 6th. The Rockies hitters seem to be trying too hard, though, swinging at first pitches, popping balls up, not able to capitalize on the few opportunities they're giving themselves.
(Rockies get a 2-out bases-empty walk in the bottom of the 6th.)
I've never seen a playoff game live.
(Rockies get a run-scoring double to right, scoring the runner from first, with the batter going to 3rd on a fielder's choice, as the 3rd baseman can't handle the throw from the catcher. It's 1-0, Rockies in the bottom of the 6th.)
The closest I came was in 1989 in Baltimore, the "Why Not?" year, much like this year in Colorado. Nobody expected much of that Orioles team, and the record wasn't so great, but they held first place all year until September, and even then it came down to the last weekend of the year. I went to the last Sunday home game, where they lost 2-0 to the Yankees, basically knocking them out of the race. The Orioles fell into a years-long slump, reviving briefly under to reach the playoffs Davey Johnson before Peter "Li'l Steinbrenner" Angelos fired him.
(The Rockies batter can't get down a suicide squeeze bunt, and it thrown out at first. So we go to the top of the 7th with one out.)
I am informed by the Brewers' announcer that the possible one-game playoff between San Diego and Colorado would be played here tomorrow.
(The Brewers' announcer has it in for the Rockies, dissing the Diamondbacks second-stringers who are starting today. Anyone with a bat in his hand is dangerous.)
Should that happen, and a 1-0 lead is paper-thin out here, you can bet I'll be there. I work one block away from the stadium. And a one-game playoff is still a playoff.
In the meantime, nothing's settled. The Brewers are piling it on the Padres, 10-4 now, but the Rockies just issued a 1-out bases-empty walk, and the next pitch almost ended up in Mile High Stadium down the road.
God, I love late-season baseball.
UPDATE: Well, they made it interesting, grabbing a 4-1 lead, and holding on for a 4-3 win. San Diego's coming to town tomorrow, after all. We'll see if they have time to break out the bunting.
Well, I guess that takes the attention away from Diana DeGette's decision today to vote in support of MoveOn.org, a decision that even Rep. Obey (D - Wis.) characterized as the equivalent of the Republicans not bringing Joe McCarthy to heel. (Although this September's Rockies might have managed it.)
Jim, what you choose to find offensive is a matter best left between you and your therapist. I'm not going to answer for or even discuss any right-wing fringe personal insults towards Cleland, the left-wing equivalents of which apparently pass for centrist and mainstream in the internal discourse of the Democratic party these days. In any event, blog postings or Ann Coulter weren't what prompted original Democratic puffery that made Max Cleland a byword. Losing was. This ad was:
Cleland was - and is - a politician, and attacks on a politician's campaign ads, and questions about his moral courage to confront evil, as opposed to his evident physical courage in fighting a war, are perfectly in line.
Nobody denied his heroism. Nobody disdained his military service. (And since the Left likes identity politics so much, Cleland's a hero in the Atlanta Jewish community, where my family lives. And rightly so.)
Nobody attacked his patriotism.
Right now, at this moment, the man with his life on the line isn't Max Cleland it's David Petraeus. And but for Bill Frist, he would have given his life for his country.
Over at the Washington Post's Post Global, journalist Daoud Kuttab continues to exhibit the Palestinians' debilitating tradition of hitching their wagons to increasingly toxic foreign leaders, hoping to rescue them from themselves:
Columbia University was correct to invite the Iranian president, and those opposing the invitation include individuals who do not tolerate any viewpoint other than their own, whether domestic or international. Iran is a major player in a region of strategic importance to the U.S.. American diplomats are willing to meet with their Iranian counterparts to talk about Iraq; certainly American academics and students (and hopefully the public at large, via CSPAN's television coverage) will get to hear the Iranian president’s opinions from his own mouth, rather than through the filters and spin doctors of the U.S.’s pro-Israel lobby.
Ahmadinejad is no saint; plenty of what he says reflects intolerance and can be considered hate speech. Iran’s role in the Iraq conflict can be debated, but compared to what President Bush and his administration and army have done in Iraq, Guantanamo, and in other parts of the world, I think that the Iranian president doesn't look so bad. I, for one, plan to hear what he has to say.
Assad, Nasser, Sadat, Arafat (what, you thought he was Palestinian?), Saddam, and now Ahmedinejad. Kuttab understands all too well that the real target of yesterday's propaganda wasn't the US, but the Middle East. So much for the unbridgeable Shia--Sunni divide.
Here's the translation from the original Indonesian article from the Jalal Center in Indonesia.
Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah’s Surprise
"If you, Zionists, think to attack Lebanon again, I prepare surprise for you, which will change the result of war and the future of the region."
-Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah in his speech to commemorate cease fire.
In history, Arab leaders always use hyperbolic rhetoric, rather than what they have achieved, in communicating with their people. Now, they have to acknowledge that Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah’s words should be seriously considered. Nasrallah not only avoids arrogance but also he approves with his achievements.
It occurs in what he calls as “God’s Win” in a battle with Israel last year, which is also well known as “Second Lebanon War” for Israel and “July War” for Siniora government. Israeli aggression, which is as a retaliation for its two ‘kidnapped’ soldiers (who illegally entered Lebanon border), is fought by Nasrallah with artilleries and Katyusha rockets.
After an attempt to assassinate him in an attack in his office in South Beirut fails, Nasrallah in al-Manar TV says “surprises that I promise to you will begin now. Now, you will witness the ship destroying civil infrastructures and houses burnt and drowned.”
Soon after that the ship, which has besieged Beirut, burnt. And, this incident is broadly broadcasted by televisions.
At the end of war, sophisticated modern arms are forced to accept cease fire. What they do is only demolishing but their objective is not achieved to destroy Hisbollah and kill Nasrallah.
The Arabs are happy. The Sunni Palestinians sing hymns for the Shiite militant group and Nasrallah is called as an “eagle from.“ He is leveled with Gemal Abdul Nasser and his name is mentioned in the whole region.
But this celebration is done only by the people not the leaders. Egypt, Jordan, Arab Saudi, and all American-allied dictators are surprised to see the ability of Hisbollah to defend their land and strike back.
From the perspective of America and the Arab leaders, there is more chance to make the situation in balance. And, the next war will begin from inside, through extremist Salafi infiltrated by the governments. If this plan fails, they will think another aggression, learning from their past failures and changing their tactics.
What then becomes Nasrallah’s surprise?
Once again, Ben-Elizer says, “he (Nasrallah) knows much better what he says. If he says 2000 rockets, I trust him, but I don’t know what surprise he means.” It is possibly more sophisticated arms, new navigating systems, or long -distance missiles? Perhaps. But, Nasrallah in his speech, which is broadcasted to thousands people gathered in dahiyah (South), said that the surprise will “change the result of the war and the future of the region.”
If they are foolish enough to attack again, is it possible for Nasrallah to unite Shiah and Sunni in a large scale to fight against the intervention and the invasion? Or is he able to show how a popular militant movement is able to win in its battle against a military state? Nasrallah has been able to convince the people that they have power to reject the corrupted governments, which pretend to protect national interests but what they do actually to protect their vested interests and America. And if the regimes only watch and do nothing, their people will take over the government. And, it will change the landscape of Middle East.
Whatever it is, Nasrallah’s surprise will come to the people who believe that he is only intimidating.
The Senate voted to condemn MoveOn.org's shameful ad attacking General Petraeus:
To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.
Senator Salazar voted in favor, but not before supporting the weasely Boxer Amendment. That amendment tried to link condemnation of MoveOn.org with supposed attacks on John Kerry's and Max Cleland's patriotism.
Now, I saw ads attacking Cleland's judgment, and Kerry's leadership, honesty, and honor. But not their patriotism.
But even stipulating that such attacks were made, the role of politicians and political campaigns is fundamentally different from that of the military. This is a man who has put his life on the line repeatedly for this country, and continues to do so every day. He is part of an institution that had better be defined by being apolitical. I'll wager than not one Senate Democrat in 20 has read Rick Atkinson's portrait of him, as the consumate professional, in In The Company of Soldiers.
Well aware that their political hackery can't withstand an honest report from an honorable source, their solution is to turn him into just another politician. Of course, with more than half the Democrats voting to oppose the amendment, and with Harry Reid dialy communing with them to coordinate strategy, MoveOn.org's money appears to be money well-spent.
Our New Governor (heh) was in Washington today, promoting the idea of a federal diktat on generating electricity with renewable sources: Ritter notes that 20 states have mandates. Of course, if they're anything like Europe's Kyoto targets, we won't be meeting them this century. If you actually look at what the states are requiring, the real mandates haven't started yet, and we have no idea of the eccnomic effects of actually producing 20% of our power this way.
"This has to be a national effort," said Ritter, a Democrat. "This is too important a conversation we face not to undertake it now."
If it's an important conversation, we should be having the conversation, not jumping to dictate policy. Of course, like most big-government enthusiasts, especially when it comes to the environment, honest "conversation" is the very last thing they want: "We need to move beyond debates about whether global change is occurring." I'm sure James Hansen over at NASA will be happy to hear he won't be facing that debate. After all, it's not as though it's the 30s, or anything like that.
And don't kid yourself about the ease of making an about-face if it turns out to be a bad bet. We hear lots of talk about improving Mexico's economy as the antidote to illegal immigration, yet in the face of tortilla riots in Mexico City, plow right on ahead turning food into fuel.
Mayor Hickenlooper wants more of your money. How much more? Well, based on a conversation with the city Auditor's office this morning, and reports in various news outlets, I've come up with the following handy-dandy Mill Levy and Bond Issue Profligacy calculator:
I've always been skeptical of the idea of, "self-deportation," the notion that people would return to a basket case in order to escape a temporarily deferred Land of Opportunity. But when DeutscheBank published a report a couple of months ago, claiming that homebuilders may have laid off 500,000 illegals nationwide, I thought that would be a good test of the theory.
Now, Mickey Kaus reports that LA, Tulsa, and Atlanta schools are all reporting that large numbers of hispanic children expected at school haven't shown up.
Has anyone seen anything similar here in Colorado? We're looking at hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living here, many connected with homebuilders. And if we are seeing this phenomenon here, it could be evidence that demand-side enforcement may be more effective than I had thought.
Well, you hear that, and, if you've got a brain, you think, "terrorism," or at least, "Chavez." Turns out there's evidence linking the EPR, who's claiming responsibility, to al Qaeda.
Another Pakistani document shows the links between al-Qaida and Mexico's Popular Revolutionary Army, EPR. The documents reveal that al-Qaida sees EPR as collaborators in attacks in Mexico on foreign targets – "especially those of the United States and Britain." It also says that EPR can play a key role in allowing al-Qaida operatives to enter the United States through the busiest land crossing in the world – Tijuana.
...a Saudi Arabian terrorist group linked to al- Qaeda called for strikes on oil and gas installations in Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. In May, Mexico formed a government committee to gather and share terrorism-related information with other countries.
According to the Arizon Star, "Mexico is a dangerously soft target since it has more than 17,000 miles of oil pipelines and 8,235 miles of natural gas pipelines to protect."
Why Mexico? And why now?
1) Mexico is notorious for preventing terrorists from transiting through its territory on the way to the US. This could be an indirect threat, making the Mexican government a deal it can't refuse
2) Natural gas is difficult to transport. What you get from North America, stays in North America. So hitting a natural gas pipeline is a way of hitting the American consumer.
3) That gives Chavez another chance to look magnanimous, and to allow various Massachusetts representatives to grovel in thanks when he offers heating oil to Americans
4) I doubt the terrorists would be thinking this far ahead, but we've been trying mightily to increase natural gas drilling out here. If the actual response is to divert more food to energy, it'll just mean more corn riots in Mexico City. Good if the Mexican government decides to reform its agriculture. But destabilizing nonetheless
5) Al Qaeda was going to try to hit Germany this week. Maybe they had to settle for this instead.
Never's a long time, but, "Never Enough" seems appropriate for the state Democrats and their enablers over at the Denver Post. This morning, the paper's Local & Western Politics Blog runs an uncritical story about the desire of state Democrats to raise taxes again ("Seventeen tax proposals under discussion in Colorado").
The two liberal groups quoted, the Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, are not identified as such. Members of Bell campagned with Ref C supporters a couple of years ago. And the CFPI's parent institute, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, describes its mission as: "The Colorado Center on Law and Policy's mission is to promote justice and economic security for all Coloradans, particularly lower income people. CCLP advocates on behalf of the the poor, working poor and other vulnerable populations though legislative, administrative and legal advocacy." My guess is you'll find about as many free-market types there as you'd find Republicans in CU's Ethnic Studies faculty.
Meanwhile, they quote House Minority Leader Mike May, briefly suggesting other revenues, and former Republican Senator Hank Brown, now Presdient of CU, crying poor for the University again.
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is given whole paragraphs (and backing by Bell's "outreach director," to make his case for suspending constitutional restrictions in order to overhaul the state's tax code. Naturally, the fact that he won't discuss the nature of that overhaul in advance of voters approving the suspension goes unnoticed.
Also unnoticed is the fact of Referendum C, and the fact that tax revenues, far exceeding proponents' projections, aren't being used as promised. CFPI is full of dire claims for Colorado spending:
The state ranks 49th in the amount it spends per capita covering low-income families on Medicaid. It is 48th in state spending for higher education, 39th in state highway spending per capita and in the bottom third in per-capita investment in K-12 education, according to the institute.
Remember, these are the same folks who brought you the debunked claim (parrotted in at least 49 other states), that Colorado ranked 49th in state spending on education. Needless to say, these claims also go unchallenged.
Well, at least now we know their platform and talking points.
Well, some of the facts, anyway. As with any good propagandist, the secret is in what they leaves out. So maybe workers in states without Right-to-Work laws earn more than workers elsewhere. Let's see how much they have to give up in order to get it.
We'll use the list of states from National Right to Work. For purposes of the comparison we'll ignore DC, because it wouldn't be fair to include a forced-union district where the whole city is a company town. (It also skews the numbers, since we're primarily concerned with private-sector competitions here.)
According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the cost of living index averages 16% higher in non-right-to-work states (111-95). According to the Tax Foundation, for the year 2007, the state and local tax burden is over 8% higher (almost a full percentage point), 11.1% vs. 10.2%. So not only do you have to pay more for dinner, you've got less to cover it with.
I've also used BLS statistics to calculate the average unemployment rates for July 2007, but that's mostly a time limitation. It's basically a snapshot of what should be viewed as a movie, but I don't have the time at the moment to do much more. Yes, it's higher in the non-right-to-work states: 4.7% to 4.1%.
The one thing I haven't done is adjust for population. California, New York, the high-population Northeast and the old industrial midwest are all non-right-to-work. (There's a reason it's call the Rust Belt.) For the moment, that would just highlight how much more of the population lives under the threat of a closed shop.
At least until the rest of the jobs move to the South.
I like Mediapost.com, which, through a combination of reporting and opinion, tries to stay on top of, well, media and advertising. Fern Siegel is one of the writes on the Magazine Rack column, writing this in her review of American Cowboy:
Editor Jesse Mullins, Jr. says the cowboy world “values authority and the carrying on of tradition and revering the ways of our elders and forebears.” He could almost be Jewish — except for the authority part. Many of us revel in recreational arguing, which is a big distraction during a stampede. Still, Kinky Friedman, best-selling mystery writer and former lead singer of Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew Boys, once noted a striking similarity: Both wear their hats indoors. Meaning, I suspect, that observant Jews, like serious cowboys, do it 24/7.
I know her heart's in the right place, but all that recreational argument actually comes with great reverence to authority. And we do take on the yarmulke at night. Too many American Jews know so little, they don't even know that they don't know, never might what they don't know.
Noted briefly: the new iPod touch will have WiFi and browser. It also means that streaming internet audio and video can now compete on a more-than-equal basis with TV and radio, except in rural areas. This is a huge deal. Combine it with localization of ads, and it means that someone like a Salem network could eventually dispense with radio stations altogether. The shows could be broadcast from - well, wherever - and the ad server could get either local or national content to the listeners in real time.
In a statement issued before the report's release, the human rights organization said there was no basis to the Israeli claim that civilian casualties resulted from Hezbollah guerrillas using civilians as shields. Israel has said it attacked civilian areas because Hezbollah set up rocket launchers in villages and towns.
HRW notes that Hezbollah didn't wear uniforms, fired from next-door to UN positions, and fired weapons from on top of apartment buildings, but somehow falls short of condemning these as violations of the laws of war. (I will merely note that, as a result of these violations, by law, Hezbollah forfeits all rights under the Geneva Conventions.)
The full report was being released Thursday at a news conference in Jerusalem. Human Rights Watch had to cancel a similar news conference in Beirut last month because of threats of Hezbollah protests. That report accused Hezbollah of firing rockets indiscriminately at civilian areas in Israel.
That giant sucking sound you hear is the last of my free time leaving the building. I've signed up to be one of the guest bloggers on the Denver Post's Gang of Four blog, on its PoliticsWest site run by Stephen Keating. Stephen's basically a conservative, which explains why the site is fairly balanced.
Another Virginian, from Tidewater no less, Jim Spencer, will blog from the left.
The idea is to provide a western, and Colorado, perspective on politics both national and local, through this election cycle. Right now's kind of a probationary period, so stop by and see what you think.
I can think of at least two non-competing reasons why Ellison might want to join this group, and at least three reasons why he might be allowed to. None of them is very flattering to the participants.
Lantos, et. al., probably see PR benefits themselves, a chance to co-op the opposition. They may also truly believe that inclusion is better than exclusion, or that Ellison deserves a chance to prove his bona-fides. If so, as CC points out, there are better places for him to start.
As for Ellison, the PR benefits are obvious, both for himself and to defang the fact that CAIR and other nationally-prominent Muslim groups are openly anti-Semitic. After all, when he criticizes Israel for defending itself during the next war, or votes against aid or military cooperation, or enters the latest AP or Reuters fauxtograph into the Congressional Record, he will thunder in disdain, "I'm not anti-Semitic. I'm on the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force! How dare you!"
The other, complementary job here, is to make sure that the ongoing Islamist war against Jews doesn't get attention from this group. I'd be surprised if it finds anything other than white supremicist and European Christian anti-Semites abroad. No doubt the armed soldiers at the re-dedication of Berlin's synagogue were there to protect against regnant Nazi groups.
So you take pictures going out, and you take pictures coming back. This one's of a State Park just south of Steamboat. For some reason, they're building houses practically up to the water's edge, but I managed to keep them out of the photo.
It's also a prime spot for fishing. I've never particularly liked fishing, but when there's no place for the dog to swim because he'll scare the precious, rare trout away from the line, it's too much.
Yes, there are still cowboys who ride horses and wear hats. They use pickup trucks instead of wagons, but a pickup truck is a pretty blunt instrument for herding.
Colorado has a lot of mountains and overpriced lift tickets, but it also has a lot of this. Much of which is for sale. Has been since I've been out here, so I don't think it's just people defaulting on mortgages.
I took a detour through some fairly non-descript country, trying to find what the map said was a route through to CO-131. I wouldn't necessarily call it a wasted hour, but there's a perfectly good scenic byway through the Flat Tops (below) that I bypassed because it would have taken too much time.
It's also the start of hunting season, which made me very glad I was wearing a red shirt and driving a blue Jeep, rather than, say, wearing camoflage and driving the Sahara version.
A few pictures of the Colorado headwaters area, near a place called State Bridge. Not sure what all the other bridges are, but this one is State Bridge.
Just as this went by, a Ute raiding party of about 100 swept down from the ridge and...ok, not really.
Sometimes you get the light you want, and sometimes, you get back in the Jeep because you see lightning.
And then just before you rejoin CO-9 at Kremmling. Kremmling calls itself, "Sportsmen's Paradise," which I guess means a lot of fishing. So the town has a Sportsmen's Bar and Sportsmen's Lounge. I didn't any ads for the Sportsmen's Quartet, probably because they won't let them smoke their Luckies any more.
I don't want to take the Super 8 as in any way representative of Steamboat Springs as a whole. For instance, I'm sure that if I had paid a little more, I could have found a place where the cleaning lady spoke English, and it wasn't a 5-minute conversation to find the ice machine. Try as I might (< Star Trek computer voice >working...working< /star trek computer voice >), it's been a while since high school, and the word for, "ice" just wasn't there any more.
A few hundred yard down the road, there's this - thing - called the "Gates of Asopus," of which for some reason, the City of Steamboat Springs seems proud of having acquired. All the more peculiar because it seems to be related to the "Path of Betrayal" followed by the Persians at Thermopyle. All the more peculiar because the artist seems to take the Liebeskindian approach to his art: much of his sculpture looks like a lot of the rest of his sculpture.
Summer's last hurrah, the last tentpole of the season. An short overnight jaunt up to Steamboat Springs, on some new roads. And some new pictures. The panorama shots are stiched together by a remarkable program called AutoStitch (hat doff and bow to Soccer Dad).