Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 5/31/2010

I don't want to be over-critical and greedy, and objectively, 5-2 is always a productive week, and when it starts with a 3-game sweep, on the road, of a division rival who happens to have the best record in baseball, well, that's a good thing. But it could so easily have been even better...

  • For the first time, the Red Sox have moved into the AL top five in projected record, both on current winning percentage, and pythagorean winning percentage. They remain in fourth place in the Eastern division of a very unbalanced AL.
  • Friday's loss was "just-one-of-those-games" that you get, particularly from a Wakefield, where everything gets hit, and everything that gets hit falls in. Thursday was probably more frustrating. But that, and the fact that Matsuzaka's aesthetics are so bad when he isn't on, doesn't mean that he lost them that game. He certainly didn't contribute to a win, but the fact is, they were only down 3-1 after five innings. The offense didn't produce, the bullpen gave them another run and they lost, and the very poor start certainly contributed to the loss. But the start wasn't actually as ineffective as it was just ugly. Again, you never want to see your starter pulled without getting through five. And when Matsuzaka loses the plate, it's horrible to watch. But there was, I think, some overstatement of the horrendousness of the effectiveness of the start. That was a very winnable game when the sixth inning started.
  • It's important to not overstate good and bad stretches. Obviously, Tampa's 2-5 is not representative of their ability or their talent level. I remain convinced, however, that their overall record and pythagorean percentage don't, either. They are a very talented team, and they've played well, but their overperformance in "clutch" situations has led to a run differential that is a) better than the underlying fundamental performance and b) extremely unlikely to be sustainable. I thought Boston had a better team before the season started, and nothing that I've seen has changed my mind. That doesn't mean that the Sox will catch them, of course. That 5 1/2 game lead is real, and Boston will have to outplay them by that much to catch them. It still looks like a great race in the east down the stretch.
  • In his first three starts, Jon Lester allowed 15 earned runs in 16 innings, for an ERA of 8.44. His 8.44 was 109th out of the 115 ML pitchers with 3+ starts. In his last eight, he's allowed 9 earned runs in 56 2/3 innings, for an ERA of 1.43. His 2.97 overall ERA is now 23rd among the 97 pitchers with 11+ starts, and 9th among the 32 with 11+.
  • More on David Ortiz later, but his turnaround from April to May was as dramatic as Jon Lester's. For all of the early season drama, he's currently 2nd in VORP among all AL DHs.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - David Ortiz, who hit .391/.483/.870/1.353 for the week with three HR. At the end of April, he was hitting .143/.238/.286/.524 with 1 HR. At the end of May 2010, he's up to .272/.348/.581/.929 with 11 HR, thanks to a .362/.424/.787/1.201 month with 10 HR.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Daniel Bard through three clean scoreless (he allowed 1 hit) innings of relief in three outings, but was overshadowed by two of the starters. Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester each allowed one run over thirteen innings, for an ERA of .69, as the Sox won all four games that the two started.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/31/2010


Tampa Bay5.18(3)3.43(1)0.68(1)35163417-1

New York5.56(1)4.18(4)0.628(2)31193020-1








Kansas City4.39(9)5.02(12)0.439(10)22292130-1


Los Angeles4.44(8)5.12(13)0.436(12)232925272



Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay10854

New York9765




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay10953

New York10062




Standings for the week





New York5.33(1)4.67(7)0.561(4)33421



Kansas City4.83(7)4.5(5)0.533(7)33330

Los Angeles5.17(3)5(10)0.515(8)33421




Tampa Bay3.43(12)5.29(12)0.312(12)25250



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"Two Americas..."

William Forstchen:
We are two Americas today. Presidents have “missed” visiting Arlington before this day but this time, the reasons why and what commentators have said in defense so clearly shows a national divide.

Earlier this week a notice from the White House announced that the first family would “vacation” this weekend in Chicago. The First Lady was quoted as saying that this time the children “decided” where they would spend their mini-vacation.

Vacation? So Memorial Day is a vacation weekend now, even for the first family? Of course, it was quickly pointed out that the president would visit a military cemetery near Chicago. Of course.

But that is not Arlington. Arlington is the symbolic center of our national memory for those who died in service to our country. It is as well where the Tombs of the Unknown from most of our 20th century wars are located. The ritual of the Unknown Soldier, as symbolic of all the fallen emerged after World War One, when from the torn battlefields of Europe, America and other nations recovered the unidentified remains of one soldier, to thus symbolize the millions whose final resting places are “known but to God.” To honor the Unknown is the symbolic act of honoring all and thus it became a sacred ritual.

Arlington is “the vision place of souls,” and the Tombs of the Unknown, are the focal point of that memory. When a president lays a wreath before those tombs, it is a symbolic act of memory and mourning on behalf of all of us. The laying of a wreath in and of itself is also a tradition that harkens back to biblical times. For a president, it is one of the highest honors and obligations that comes with his office.

Is that too much to ask of our president? Is it too much to ask of a president to set such an example and rather than have a vacation defined by “the kids” that instead, as the first family together they lead the nation in a day of contemplation and prayer?
Read it all...

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Local media report

William Diamond Juniors perform in Williamsburg
On Saturday, May 15, 22 members of the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps performed at Drummer’s Call in Williamsburg, Va.

This invitational event, hosted annually by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums, is a weekend filled with parades and performances to celebrate Colonial music. It included 15 other corps from around the United States and Canada, most of whom were adult groups, including the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, a military unit that performs for the president and all visiting foreign dignitaries.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wordle puzzle - 05/28/10

Novel, English, 19th century.

The answer to last week's puzzle is Abraham Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Given two choices, Obama chooses...neither.

The quality of reasoning which has made itself so evident in our current economic situation was apparently on full display in the President's press conference this afternoon.
"I am the President of the United States," Obama said. "I don't endorse boycotts, or not endorse boycotts. That is up to private groups to decide."

So on the one hand, he doesn't endorse boycotts. But he also doesn't not endorse boycotts.

I've got news for you, Mr. President - that doesn't work. If you "do not endorse" boycotts, then you do "not endorse" boycotts. That's what "don't" means. This isn't one of those cases where you can pretend to triangulate between too outrageous extremes. One either endorses the boycott or one doesn't. There is no third choice.

One could choose between endorsing it and condemning it, of course. There is a third position between those two points, where one did not take a position on it. That, presumably, is the position which he's endeavoring to occupy. But between endorsing it and not endorsing it, well, there's just no room there. It's an either/or proposition. You can't vote present.

"Splunge" - "It's a great idea but possibly not and I'm not being indecisive..."

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More shocking - shocking! - economic news

If you've got a weak heart, you should probably skip this post, because the news is shocking, just shocking:
The economic rebound last quarter turned out to be slower than first thought, one of the reasons unemployment is likely to stay high this year.

The economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate from January to March, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was slightly weaker than an initial estimate of 3.2 percent a month ago. The new reading, based on more complete information, also fell short of economists' forecast for stronger growth of 3.4 percent.
I know - who could POSSIBLY have expected that?

I remind you again of that wonderful Jim Geraghty line:
If I find myself in a fistfight, I hope it's with one of these economists who are always getting quoted by Reuters or Bloomberg, because then I'll rest assured that I'll always have the element of surprise. These guys never expect everything.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is is still a racist law?

Using the standards of the Democratic party and the mainstream press, this story should be headlined

Racist President Calls Out Troops To Enforce Racist Law

But it isn't...

Obama to Deploy 1,200 National Guard Troops to the US-Mexico Border
President Obama has authorized the call-up of 1,200 National Guard troops to the US Mexico border, an administration official confirms, requesting $500 million in supplemental funds.

The enhanced border protection and law enforcement will, “provide intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance support; intelligence analysis; immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement; and training capacity until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train additional officers and agents to serve on the border,” an administration official says.
So after a month and a half of excoriating the people of Arizona as racists for having the temerity to want their public officials enforcing Federal immigration law, the President is going to send troops to the border to ... enforce Federal immigration law.

And somewhere along the line, no doubt, he'll tell us that "I've always said the borders must be protected..." Or, "there are some who say that we cannot protect the borders, but I say..."

What he will not say, under any circumstances, is "I'm sorry that I, and members of my staff, and members of the political party of which I am the de facto head, castigated the people of Arizona for taking reasonable steps to protect themselves and their property."

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Silent Spring Dead

Q: What's more silent than a Silent Spring?
A: The millions of dead human beings who have succumbed to malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne illnesses over the nearly forty years since DDT was outlawed.

Outbreak of Dengue Fever Is Reported in Florida
Dengue fever, a growing scourge in the tropics, has established itself in a popular American tourist destination, federal health officials reported last week...Dengue — a mosquito-borne virus that causes joint pain so severe it is nicknamed “break-bone fever” in Latin America and Asia. According to last week’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida health authorities have since found 27 more cases, all in Key West, the last in April. Most victims had a fever and pain in the head, body and eyes, and some had a rash.

The C.D.C. advised doctors to consider a dengue diagnosis in patients with similar symptoms who have been to subtropical parts of the United States. Although there have been outbreaks along the Texas-Mexico border since 1980, the disease had not been seen in Florida since 1934.

Unlike malaria, which is caused by a parasite, dengue is a virus, and there is no cure.
Rachel Carson was not available for comment...

Every action has consequences. Rachel Carson's classic environmentalist screed, Silent Spring, was the kind of hysterical misinformation which led to the demise of DDT, the single best means of controlling the mosquito population ever invented. As a result, millions of people have gotten sick and died of malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases over the last forty years, most of them the equatorial poor. In other words, Rachel Carson is the classic liberal success story, fighting for the birds and fish at the expense of poor human beings. Celebrated for the acknowledged positive results, while the much more serious negative ramifications are unacknowledged and ignored. A hero to utopian do-gooders everywhere!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 5/24/2010

Finally, they put together a very good week of baseball. Not all 5-2 weeks are created equal, and what Boston did in going 5-2 is more impressive, in my opinion, than what Tampa did in going 6-1.

  • How is 5-2 better than 6-1? Each team played two in New York against the Yankees. The Rays played two at home against the .381 Cleveland Indians while the Sox played two at home against the .591 Minnesota Twins. The Rays played three in Houston against the .341 Astros - the team with the worst record in the NL - while the Sox played three in Philadelphia against the .605 Phillies - the team with the best record in the NL. The strength of schedule is not comparable.
  • One of the encouraging events of the week was actually the 1-1 trip to New York. It's certainly not encouraging to see them fall behind 5-0 on consecutive nights, nor to see Papelbon melt down, nor to see Beckett headed to the DL. But despite the fact that they came back from a 5-0 deficit only to lose when the closer melted down on Monday, they once again came back from a 5-0 deficit to win the game on Tuesday.
  • The Boston Red Sox are not technically in the middle of a thirteen-game road trip. In effect, though, they are. When your "home stand" consists of flying in for two games, with no off-day on either side, when the flight lands at 5:00 in the morning on the trip in, that's essentially a continuous road trip. Possibly even worse, as a visiting team under those circumstances gets a bus to a hotel and some time to sleep, as opposed to needing to get themselves home, and dealing with family and family obligations when getting there. Two game homestands are no better than road games.
  • As badly as this season has started, and as much as the standings look horrible because of the Rays' start, Boston is only 2 1/2 games behind the suddenly old and struggling Yankees, and a 1 1/2 behind Detroit and Toronto in the AL Wild Card race. And tonight, they're expected to have their starting outfield on the field for the first time since the first week. And Mike Cameron wasn't healthy even during that first week. In other words, there is still plenty of time for this to be the team that we thought it was going to be. It's early, yet.
  • Early though it is, if they want to continue harboring realistic dreams of winning the East, they cannot get swept in Tampa this week. They don't need to sweep, but two out of three is highly desirable, if not absolutely necessary.
  • Yes, they got swept by Tampa earlier in the season, at home. They were playing with two-thirds of their starting outfield still on the roster but either unable to play (Ellsbury) or physically unable to perform while playing (Cameron). It was a bad time to meet up with a hot team, and the final result did not accurately represent the relative quality of the two teams. Hopefully, this will be a better representation, and Boston will get that little bit of luck that makes the difference, as Tampa did back in April.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Kevin Youkilis, who's been tearing it up all month, hit an eye-popping .409/.519/1.091/1.610 for the week, with four HR and five walks.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the week - There are lots of choices here, as Buchholz and Lester were both dominant against the Twins. Matsuzaka was outstanding on Saturday, but struggled badly on Monday. Daniel Bard was unscored-upon in four outings and Manny Delcarmen in two. But the prize goes to Tim Wakefield, who capped the week with an 8 scoreless inning start against the Phillies after throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the Yankees earlier in the week.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/24/2010


Tampa Bay5.45(2)3.14(1)0.734(1)321232120

New York5.59(1)4.11(3)0.637(2)28162618-2








Kansas City4.33(9)5.09(12)0.427(10)19261827-1

Los Angeles4.35(8)5.13(14)0.425(11)202621251




Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay11844

New York9666




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay11943

New York10161




Standings for the week


Tampa Bay6.14(1)3.86(3)0.701(1)52611



Kansas City5.71(3)4.29(6)0.629(4)43430






Los Angeles5.57(5)5.86(12)0.477(10)34340


New York5.43(8)6.57(14)0.413(12)3425-1



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Friday, May 21, 2010

Wordle puzzle - 05/21/10


The answer to last week's puzzle is Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


Well, I've been quiet for the past week, largely because I was out of town for five days, and really kind of "off the grid." Here's a selection of pictures, for those interested, of our recent trip to Harper's Ferry, Colonial Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam and Gettysburg...

Lyford's pictures

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Wordle puzzle - 05/14/10

French short story.

The answer to last week's puzzle is Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Not one of them was a U.S. citizen..."


Pinal County (Arizona) Sheriff Paul Babeu:
Last month alone, just in one patrol region, we had sixty-four pursuits. That means people who were driving a vehicle, failed to yield, took off like a bat out of hell, running red lights, creating traffic wrecks, numerous people were killed in these wrecks over the last several months, and who are these people? Not one of them was a U.S. citizen.
Do the people who are crying "racism" over the new Arizona law know this? More importantly, would they even care if they did?

The people of the state of Arizona have a right to defend themselves. They're being invaded, and the federal government, which is constitutionally obligated to protect their border, is doing nothing about it. I'm passionately disinterested in hearing Manhattan-Westport-Fairfax County-Orange County liberals decry the "racism" of a people who are under siege and attempting to protect themselves. The idea that they've passed this law because they "hate hispanics" is patent nonsense, and the "racism" argument is the default position of the intellectually vapid and self-satisfied.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Government at its best...

A recent exchange between a City of Boston functionary and a minister that I know...

City of Boston: Dr. X, come in person to the Registry Division w/ $12 ‘Sir, you used MAY in the date of a marriage certificate vs. 5. We won’t accept it’

Dr. X: But what’s the reason?

CoB: State law.

Dr. X: What’s the purpose?

CoB: They won’t accept it with letters, numbers only.

Dr. X: Why not?

CoB: Because they’ll send it back. That’s my job, send it back.

Dr. X: Why do you send it back?

CoB: It’s a law.

Dr. X: But what’s its purpose?

CoB: ‘Sir, I have no idea’


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Monday Pythagorean Report - 5/10/2010

Objectively speaking, it's possible to paint this as a very productive week. They went 5-2, which is good, they gained ground in the division (1/2 game closer to the Rays, who went 4-2), and they led the AL in runs scored. But somehow, it doesn't feel that good.

  • The four games against LAnaheim looked good - good pitching and good hitting, and they really kind of looked like they were getting things together. But LAnaheim doesn't look like they're a very good team this year.
  • The weekend was saved from being a complete and total disaster by Jon Lester and the offense, but it wasn't good. They lost two-of-three to the Yankees. Buchholz got man-handled by the New York offense. The bullpen failed to stanch the bleeding. Beckett was horrible. And they didn't pull out a big offensive effort in either game where they needed to overcome a bad start from the starter.
  • That's probably not totally fair. They did come back and take the lead against Sabathia on Saturday. But Buchholz gave it right back, and things unraveled after the rain delay.
  • Fox gripe: I saw not a single pitch from Saturday's game. Part of that was because I was on the road during the afternoon when it started, and when they went to the rain delay. But when they came back after the break, still in a competitive game (down three, as I recall), the Boston Fox station had gone to Atlanta-Philadelphia, and then into Seinfeld and Simpsons re-runs. As near as I can tell, I had no access to the last four innings of Saturday's Red Sox-Yankee game. As it is, I've no desire to have seen it, but if the Red Sox had outscored the Yankees 4-0 over that span, certainly not an outlandish scenario, they would have won 7-6 and I wouldn't have been able to see any of it. I'm not happy about that.
  • Amusing professional commentary of the week, from whoever is the third person in the booth with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Sunday night: "This is the pitch they want to get him out on..." The count was 3-2. OF COURSE it was the pitch they wanted to get him out on - the alternative was a walk. That was commentary worthy of Joe Morgan, and it didn't even come from Morgan.
  • Amusing (read: idiotic) amateur commentary of the week, from the moron who called WEEI yesterday morning to say that "we all knew that they couldn't win with this offense. They don't have enough offense to win, and everybody knows that." This call came after back to back games in which the starting pitcher allowed 6+ runs, in which the team allowed 10 and 14 runs. He's talking about the team that is currently 3rd out of 14 teams in offensive performance in the AL, and 14th out of 14 teams in pitching/defense. But he "knew" before the season started that they didn't have enough offense, and he's got to be right, dagnabbit. (Obviously, they don't have enough offense to win given how they've pitched, but neither does anyone else...)
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - Kevin Youkilis, who hit .450/.645/.800/1.445 for the week, with 1 HR, 2 doubles and a triple. But there were abundant candidates to choose from, as the team scored over seven runs per game in leading the AL in hitting for the week. David Ortiz hit .286/.312/.571/.883, which would have won this award some weeks, and there were seven or eight guys better than that.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Jon Lester, who has gotten through his early season doldrums a little quicker than he did last year, and looks, again, like a dominating ace. In two starts this week, he pitched at least seven in both, and allowed a total of 3 runs in 15 innings for a 1.80 ERA.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/10/2010


Tampa Bay5.61(2)3.03(1)0.755(1)238229-1

New York5.93(1)3.7(3)0.704(2)2192190









Kansas City4.13(10)5.44(13)0.376(11)12201121-1

Los Angeles3.97(11)5.36(12)0.366(12)122114192



Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay11547

New York11349




Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay12141

New York11448




Standings for the week


Tampa Bay4.5(7)2.33(1)0.769(1)5142-1

New York7(2)3.67(4)0.766(2)51510









Kansas City4.14(10)6(11)0.337(11)2516-1

Los Angeles4.14(10)6.71(14)0.292(12)25250



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Saturday, May 08, 2010

A supporter of Arizona (and Federal) law speaks out...

Here's one of those viciously racist Arizonans (a woman who no doubt loathes immigrants and hispanics) who supports that new Arizona immigration law (in which Arizona state officials enforce laws that have been part of the federal law enforcement code for years but the federal government won't enforce) which reminds so many of the high-minded leftists in this country of the Nazis.

God bless you, Gabriella...

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Friday, May 07, 2010


And again, the wonderful Michael Ramirez:

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Wordle puzzle - 05/07/10

American, 19th century short story.

The answer to last week's puzzle is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Why we homeschool, parts ... well, I've lost count, but trust me, there are many reasons...

But a couple of stories from the past couple of days. First, we've got the American students at an American high school who were sent home from school for having the temerity to wear, on a Mexican drinking holiday, clothing displaying the American flag:
On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.

"They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today."

The boys said the administrators called their T-shirts "incendiary" that would lead to fights on campus.
If t-shirts showing the American flag are "incendiary," if they could "lead to fights on campus," well, the school and the community have far greater issues to address than could possibly be addressed by having the kids wear the shirts inside-out.

And up in that bastion of liberal tolerance and open-mindedness, Ann Arbor, Michigan, there's a school principal who sees nothing wrong with choosing a subset of a class to receive a special educational experience based on nothing but race...
An Ann Arbor elementary school principal used a letter home to parents tonight to defend a field trip for black students as part of his school’s efforts to close the achievement gap between white and black students.

Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison wrote the letter to parents following several days of controversy at the school after a field trip last week in which black students got to hear a rocket scientist.


“The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.”

A handful of parents have complained to district administrators about the trip, the group and Madison. More than a half-dozen parents contacted to raise the complaints, but none would agree to talk on the record, citing concerns of reprisals to their children by Madison.

While there’s no clear agreement between the two sides about exactly what happened, most of the controversy centers on a field trip taken last week by the Lunch Bunch for African American boys and girls to hear a black rocket engineer talk.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said after the trip was over, those who went returned to their fifth-grade class and were greeted by boos by those who didn’t go on the trip. Margolis said Madison, who is black, heard the boos, and went to talk to the class. She said he and the class had a “discussion” about race issues.

“He wasn’t yelling at them. He was very passionate about it,” Margolis said.

Parents have complained he was yelling at the class and belittled a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination.
Your tax dollars at work. I guess racism and discrimination are only bad when they come from white people...

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

To whom it may concern...

So apparently the seventeen year-old moron (is that a redundancy?) who was tasered on the field in Philadelphia the other night called his father to ask permission first:
Steve Consalvi, a 17-year old high school senior, called his father from the Philadelphia Phillies game on Monday and asked for permission to run on the field.

“He said, ‘Dad, can I run on the field? ‘I don’t think you should, son,’ ” his father Wayne, 45, told the Philadelphia Daily News.
What I'd have told mine in that situation is something like, "If you want to spend the night in jail and pay the fine, that's your decision. But don't use your phone call from jail to call me, because I'm not going to bail you out if you do something that STUPID. I'll testify for the prosecution that it was pre-meditated and that you obviously knew it was wrong, because if I haven't managed to teach you not to do something that STUPID, you're obviously going to need more education from the legal system than I can give you."

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Big Brother - Alive and well and collecting taxes for the Keystone State

I can't vouch for the authenticity of this, but if it is truly what it purports to be, then someone in the PA department of Revenue is guilty of outrageously bad judgement...

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Hey, it's the "no fly" list...

... not the "not allowed on board the plane for an international flight" list.

I'd have expected them to be the same thing, of course, but the government dictionary always tends to differ from the civilian dictionary...
Deputy FBI director John Pistole says the alleged Times Square bomber was placed on the No Fly list Monday, hours before he was arrested.

This was a key step to stop the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, from fleeing the country.

Customs and Border Protection officials at the airport ordered that the flight be stopped before takeoff. They were able to arrest Shahzad on the plane and turned him over to the FBI.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declined to say how Shahzad was able to board the flight if he was on the No Fly list.
She's sure to issue a statement soon telling us how well the system worked, though...

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"If the GOP wins only half the seats listed below..."

His editors at National Review Online had a special request for Jim Geraghty:
"Hey Jim, could you put together a list of House races where it’s either an open seat race or a vulnerable incumbent?” the editors ask, oh-so-innocently.

Do they have any idea how much work that entails? Scott Brown won a Senate race in Massachusetts by a healthy margin this year — you can find a list of winnable House seats by starting at page one of Michael Barone’s Almanac of American Politics and working your way to the index. It might be shorter to list the Democrats who
aren’t vulnerable this year.
But he proceeeded to do so.
Once you add up the upcoming special elections, the open-seat races, and the races where there’s some indicator of trouble for a Democratic opponent — a particularly strong challenger, favorable district demographics, surprising fundraising numbers, a particularly weak Democratic incumbent, or a combination of these factors — you come up with more than 90 House races. If the GOP wins only half the seats listed below, they win back the House.
It's a good read, with a lot of painstaking research behind it. And if you're at all interested in the campaign season leading up to the elections, you should be reading Geraghty's blog every day. He's following all of the races, and is on top of everything where there's a competitive election.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Monday Pythagorean Report - 5/3/2010

It looked like they might be turning a corner, as their three-game sweep in Toronto brought them to 7-2 over nine games. But any optimism generated was quickly squashed in Baltimore.

  • They've played the entire month of April and the first two games of May, 25 games total, and the Boston Red Sox still do not have a comfortable victory. They have only one win by more than two runs, and that was a two run game through seven innings. They've played badly, and are, frankly, lucky to be only three games under .500 at the moment. When they pitch well, they don't score; when they score, they don't pitch well.
  • It's nice to win one-run games, and it certainly helps your record to win a bunch of one-run games, but if you keep playing one-run games, you aren't going to win them, and it's indicative of not being a very good team. This has not been a very good team so far. As worried as people were about the offense, it's been slightly above average (sixth out of the 14 AL teams) with only two players (Scutaro and Beltre) close to their pre-season expectations.
  • But they've had the worst pitching/defense in the American League so far. Of their "big 3", the "aces" at the top of the rotation, the best ERA is Lackey's below-average 4.50. Lester's at 4.71 and Beckett's over 6. Buchholz has pitched well, though his ERA looks better than it should because he's given up several unearned runs in situations where he's failed to make a good pitch and "pick up" his defense. Wakefield's been bad, Matsuzaka was very good for four innings and then awful for one. The starters have been, as a group, bad, putting up a 4.96 cumulative ERA over the first 25 games.
  • The relievers have been, as a group, better, but that's misleading, too, because they've given up key hits at bad times.
  • Of course, that's what happens when you play close games - every time is a bad time. That's why record in one-run games doesn't correlate well to team quality, why it's a bad indicator of whether a team is a good team or not. If you've got a four run lead, Bard can give up a home run in the 8th and it doesn't hurt that badly. If you've got a one-run lead, you end up losing in extra innings.
  • Red Sox Player of the Week - J. D. Drew, who has shown signs of coming to life, hit .304/.407/.783/1.190 on the week with three home runs.
  • Red Sox Pitcher of the Week - Giving out two this week, to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz for their outstanding performances in Toronto. Buchholz gave up one run in eight innings, Lester no runs in seven while allowing only one hit and two walks and striking out eleven.

AL Pythagorean Projection Report - 5/3/2010
Tampa Bay5.88(1)3.2(1)0.753(1)196187-1
New York5.67(2)3.71(3)0.685(2)1681680
Los Angeles3.92(11)5(10)0.391(11)101612142
Kansas City4.12(9)5.28(13)0.388(12)101510150
Top 5 projections (using current winning %)
Tampa Bay11745
New York10854
Top 5 projections (starting with today's record, using Pythagorean winning %)
Tampa Bay12141
New York11151
Standings for the week
Tampa Bay5.67(4)2.83(1)0.78(1)5142-1
New York6.67(1)3.67(4)0.749(2)42420
Kansas City2.57(13)3.71(5)0.338(11)25341
Los Angeles3.33(12)5.33(10)0.297(13)24240

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The Bully Party

Matthew Continetti on the Democrats, the bully party:
The Democratic response to dissent is a lot like their governing style: partisan, arrogant, and self-righteous. In recent weeks, various Democratic factotums have lectured the public about “extreme” rhetoric, insinuating that the Tea Party takes its cues from The Turner Diaries. Some liberals suffer from a pathological inability to refer to the Tea Party by its name, preferring a crude and infantile sexual epithet. The folks waving signs and holding peaceful rallies have been insulted as fakes, wackos, ignoramuses, racists, nihilists, and hicks suffering from status anxiety. But when a poll revealed the Tea Party movement is better educated and wealthier than the electorate at large, a prominent Washington Post columnist summarily dismissed the movement as the “populism of the privileged.” The lines of attack change, but the message is always the same: Go home. Shut up. Let us do what we want.
It's a good read.

I will say this, however. On this particular topic, I actually blame the media more than the Democrats. The Democrats are playing on the field as it exists. They are, in the words of Bill Belichick, "doing business the way business is being done." It's the media that actually makes the Democrats the bully party, by supporting this nonsense whenever they do it, and siding with them in every discussion. If the principal is always standing up for the bully, well, it's not really the bully's fault anymore that he behaves the way that he does. If we actually had an unbiased media in this country, the Democrats would cease to behave this way because they'd get called on it when they did, and it would hurt them more than it helped. And if the media were reversed, there's no particular reason to suppose that Republicans would prove resistant to this particular temptation.

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Muster video

The William Diamond Jr. Fife & Drum Corps perform their standpiece as the host corps at the Lexington Muster, May 2, 2010, at the Minute Man National Park in Lexington, MA.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Morning anthem - Blow Ye The Trumpet

Blow Ye The Trumpet 1

Blow ye the trumpet, blow.
Sweet is Thy work, my God, my King.
I'll praise my Maker with all my breath.
O happy is the man who hears.
Why should we start, and fear to die,
With songs and honors sounding loud.
Ah, lovely appearance of death.

Composer's Note
"Blow Ye The Trumpet," from my opera John Brown, was the name of Brown's favorite hymn. A number of different hymn tunes and verses have this same title; as I have been unable to discover which version Brown knew, I have chosen the text I found most beautiful and appropriate - indeed, prophetic - for his life and death. It seems to prophesy both the day of jubilee and the martyr's death which Brown knew would hasten the destruction of slavery. None of the existing hymn tunes seemed to me to do justice to these words, however, so I gave them a new melody in the style of early American folk music.
- Kirke Mechem

Here are the men of the Park Street Church Sanctuary Choir in a TTBB arrangement of Mechem's Blow Ye The Trumpet, May 2, 2010. C. Thomas Brooks directing, with Norma Brunner on piano.

1 - As quoted in Stephen B. Oates, To Purge This Land With Blood: A Biography of John Brown, New York, 1970.

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