Sunday, April 29, 2012

That Was Then, This Is Now- March: Obama Holds $30K Per Ticket Fundraiser in Maine. April- Feds Set To Cripple Maine Fishing Industry

Less than a month after President Obama held a $30,000 per-ticket fundraiser in the state of Maine, a series of shutdowns off the coast by federal regulators is poised to deal a huge blow to New England's fishing industry.

In a move to protect the estimated 60,000 to 90,000 harbor porpoises that live in the Atlantic waters between North Carolina and the Canadian maritime provinces, NOAA officials have ordered the shutdown of a busy fishing ground that extends off the coast of Glouchester, MA to southern Maine that will take effect on October 1st- peak time for New England fishermen. According to federal statistics, fishermen in the region pulled in about $4 million during that time.

The loss is huge in an industry that’s fighting for its future as it faces significant cuts in key stocks such as cod in the Gulf of Maine and yellowtail flounder in Georges Bank. There’s also no obvious end to the annual closure to protect porpoise, since the requirement to reduce accidental porpoise deaths down to 70 per year looks a long way off. The team of regulators, fishermen and environmentalists that devised the closure could conceivably decide there are better alternatives to shutting down the area, but they don’t meet until this fall. 
The industry has been battered by a variety of regulatory actions starting with a rough 50 percent cut in catch limits mandated by Amendment 16 two years ago and right up to the recent 22 percent reduction in the amount Gulf of Maine cod that can be landed in the 2012 fishing year beginning May 1, a result of a 2011 benchmark assessment that contradicted the previous benchmark assessment from three years earlier.
According to the NOAA, a total of 2,103 square miles of prime fishing ground will be off-limits to fishermen effective October 1st, 2012.

While the porpoise population off the New England coastline is abundant, the species is considered protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Although the law reportedly takes into account that a certain number of porpoises would be accidentally snared in the fisherman's gillnets, that total number that have recently been killed will trigger a provision in the law that would put the waters off limits.

To minimize the number of dolphins or porpoises snagged in the nets, a device that emits an intermittent sound to ward off the mammals called 'pingers' are required to be attached to the gillnets. However, regulators and environmentalists claim that the fishermen in the region have failed to comply with these requirements. The fishermen counter that it's difficult to tell whether or not a pinger has broken down.

The NOAA ruling comes about two months after the Natural Resources Defence Council successfully petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service list the Atlantic Sturgeon as a threatened species- a ruling that could leave even more of the New England coastline off limits to fishing.

Ron Smolowitz of the Fisheries Survival Fund, a scallop industry group, warned the council that restrictions to protect the fish could affect many fishermen who don’t use sink gillnets. Under the Endangered Species Act, certain areas can be designated as “critical habitat” if those areas are seen as essential to conserving the species.
Such critical habitat designations can come with restrictions that “could wipe out the entire fisheries of the East Coast of the United States,” he said.
Brad Sewell, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council, which petitioned to have the sturgeon listed under the Endangered Species Act, said in a phone interview said it’s extremely unlikely new sturgeon restrictions will have such a broad effect.
Changes to sink gillnet fishing will be the focus, and there are affordable, sensible measures can make it less of a danger to sturgeon, such as pulling up the nets more often or raising them off the ocean floor to avoid sturgeon, he said.

If you think the name 'Natural Resources Defence Council' sounds familiar, this is the same outfit of litigous enviromentalists who decided to sue BNSF and Union Pacific Railroads over deisel emissions in rail yards out west.
In January, Maine's Department of Marine Resources challenged a National Marine Fisheries Service ruling that required fishing boats in the state to be equipped with "rock hopper" bumpers on their nets in the middle of shrimping season.
Interesting that as federal regulators continue to crack down Maine's commercial fisherman (in addition to a number of paper mills shuttering- which in turn puts a number of truckers and railroaders out of work) the President shows up at a fundraiser whose price of admission is worth more than 60% of the state's median household income asking for another four years in office.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today's Train of Thought- Through the Dogwood Patch, April 28, 2012

Today's train of thought takes us to the Tarheel State as the local dogwoods are in bloom. Ubiquitous throughout the southeastern USA, the wood from dogwood trees are often used in the manufacture of small but durable wooden products like tool handles or cutting boards. The blossom from the dogwood tree is North Carolina's state flower, in fact.

Here, contributor Matt Robie catches Norfolk Southern GE C40-9 #8774 gliding through Landis, NC and past some blossoming dogwoods with a big BNSF GE trailing. The duo is powering Linwood, NC to Charleston, SC symbol freight 337 on April 16, 2008.

Video- "If I Wanted America To Fail"

This video had actually released earlier this month by Free Market America in time for Earth Day, but I thought it would be worth revisiting.
The video went viral last weekend- getting as many as 120,000 hits in 36 hours- yet the twitter account for Free Market America was suspended briefly before being reinstated.
The concept was reportedly inspired by a 1965 column from the late radio personality Paul Harvey called 'If I Were the Devil'

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sports Chowdah Update- Sox on Sox Violence; Capital Punishment; Patriots Getting Defensive in Draft; C's Feeling Hawkish;

RED SOX- As it turns out, the AL Central is providing quite the platform for the Boston Red Sox to rebound.  After last Saturday's fiasco at Fenway in which Boston squandered a 9-1 lead against their archrivals, Sunday night's game against the Yankees was rained out before the Red Sox hit the road.

After sweeping the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, the Red Sox headed to the south side of Chicago for a four game tilt against the White Sox. Thursday's Game 1 saw Felix Doubront in his first start since Saturday's trainwreck against the Yankees going up against Phillip Humber in his first start since throwing a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox got on the board in the top of the first with an RBI double from Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI single from David Ortiz to take the early lead. Although Chicago would get a run back on a Paul Konerko RBI double, the Red Sox blew the game open the next inning with a grand slam from Kevin Youkilis immediately followed up by a Jarrod Saltalamacchia solo shot.

Doubront would go on to get his first win of the season and the Red Sox took Game 1 in the South Side by a 10-3 final.

Friday night's game in the south side saw Daniel Bard back on the mound as Boston's starter against ChiSox starter John Danks. The White Sox go out to the early 1-0 lead thanks to an AJ Pierzynski RBI double in the bottom of the 1st. Boston would go on top on a 2-run homer from Big Papi before the ChiSox would knot things up at 2-2 on a passed ball down in the bottom of the 3rd, then re-take the lead on a Konerko solo homer.

However the Red Sox would break the game wide open in the top of the 6th- after Cody Ross tied the game up with an RBI single and with the bases still loaded, Darnell McDonald cleared the bases with a 3-RBI double before coming home on an RBI single from Marlon Byrd to give the Red Sox a 7-3 lead and chased Danks from the mound. Boston would get 2 more RBIs in the top of the 7th- from Cody Ross and Kelly Shoppach and a solo homer from McDonald in the top of the 9th.

The RedSox would go on to replicate their 10-3 final from Thursday night, with Daniel Bard getting his second win since Monday when he came on out of the bullpen against Minnesota. Friday night's win in Chicago is Boston's 5th straight since coughing up that 9-1 lead in Fenway Park last weekend.

Saturday's matchup will take place at 7:10 PM with Jon Lester [0-2; 6.00 ERA] getting the start against Jake Peavy [3-0; 1.88 ERA]. The game from Comiskey Park will be televised on NESN.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB- Detroit Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested in New York on hate crime charges stemming from an altercation outside the Midtown Manhattan Hilton as the Tigers were in town to take on the Yankees.

Young reportedly began shouting anti-semitic slurs at a group of men from Chicago and a panhandler wearing a yarmukule outside the hotel and knocked at least one member of the group to the ground before police showed up at the hotel.

In 2006, Young recieved a 50-game suspension from the International League after throwing a bat at an umpire while with Tampa Bay's AAA affiliate in Durham, NC.

BOSTON BRUINS- Although the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last season after no less than three Game 7s in the postseason, there will be no Stanley Cup finals for the Bruins this year as they were eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the first round of this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Caps got off to the 1-0 lead in the first with a goal from Matt Hendricks before the Bruins got the equalizer from Tyler Seguin in the 2nd. After a scoreless 3rd, the game headed to OT where Caps RW Joel Ward scored the game-winner less than 3 minutes in- and apparently unleashed a torrent of ethnic slurs directed at him on social media. Both Washington and Boston later issued statements condemning the remarks directed at Ward, who's parents emigrated from the Barbados to Canada. [While some of the remarks appeared to come from Red Wings or Sabres fans, most of the comments directing racial slurs at Ward seem to have come from Bruins 'fans' who need to learn how the fuck to Google 'Willie O'Ree'- NANESB!]. Then again, the slurs directed at Ward also give Canadian sportswriters a chance to talk about something besides how no Canadian team advanced past the first round.

Tim Thomas made 25 saves on 27 shots faced Wednesday night while the Caps' Braden Holtby turned aside 31 of 32 shots faced. Boston went 0-3 on the power play (inlcuding one late in the 3rd) while Washington went 0-1 on their only opportunity with the man advantage.

On Saturday, Washington will go on to face the NY Rangers- who won their series against Ottawa in 7 games- while the Flyers will resume play on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils after nearly a week off.

Out in the Western conference, the Phoenix-Nashville series got underway with the series opener heading to OT (much like all but one game in the Coyotes-Blackhawks series went to OT) where Phoenix won by a 4-3 final on a Ray Whitney OT goal.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS- The New England Patriots are clearly thinking 'defense' with this year's draft, trading up to take Syracuse DE Chandler Jones at #21 and Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower at #25 in the first round.

In the second round, the Patriots drafted former fighting Ilini Tavon Wilson at strong safety, although he's also had some experience at corner and could offer some versatility. Wilson was the 16th pick in the 2nd round, 48th overall while in the 3rd round, the Pats selected Razorbacks DE Jake Bequette in the 27th slot- number 90 overall.

BOSTON CELTICS- The C's wrapped up the regular season and first place of the Atlantic division this week with a 74-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden on Thursday. For the first round of the NBA playoffs, they draw the #5 seed Atlanta Hawks. Game 1 gets underway from Atlanta at 7 PM ET on Sunday and will be televised on TNT.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NBA- The Laker's Ron Artest- who now goes by the name Meta World Peace- recived a 7-game suspension from the NBA for a vicious elbow against Oklamoha City's James Harden last week. Artest's elbow connected with the back of an unsuspecting Harden's head, sending the Thunder's top reserve to the hardwood with a concussion during Sunday's game in which the Thunder lost 106-114 to the Lakers.

The suspension was effective immediately and Artest missed the final game of the regular season against the Sacramento Kings. Artest will reportedly lose nearly $348,000 in salary if the entirety of his suspension is served this season- if the Lakers are quickly eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets, Artest's suspenstion will carry over into the next season [one more reason to root against the Lakers, I guess- NANESB!].

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tea Party Marine Discharged From Corps For Facebook Posts Critical of President Obama

The United States Marine Corps has announced the discharge of a Marine sargeant who posted several messages on his Facebook account critical of President Obama. The discharge also carries with it an automatic demotion to lance corporal- or the E-3 paygrade.
Sgt Gary Stein, 26, a Temecula resident, ran afoul of Marine Corps and Pentagon regulations restricting troop political activity by calling for Obama's ouster and making statements that the president was the "enemy" and that he would not follow his orders unless he considered them lawful.

Stein, who could not be reached for immediate comment, was informed of the decision Wednesday morning, according to one of his attorneys, Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

"He is very disappointed," Kreep said. "His grandmother died last night and then this hit him."

Stein will now fight for reinstatement through Marine Corps legal channels and continue pressing a court case, Kreep said. Earlier this month, he unsuccessfully sought to persuade a federal court to issue a restraining order or preliminary injunction to stop the separation.

In a statement issued late Wednesday morning, the Marine Corps said Yoo had reviewed the findings of a separation board that unanimously recommended earlier this month that Stein be kicked out after nine years of service.

"The Commanding General found that the board was conducted in accordance with law and regulation, that the findings of misconduct were supported by the evidence of record, and thus has approved the board's recommendation that Sgt Stein be separated from the Marine Corps with an "other than honorable" discharge," the Marine Corps statement said.

A Marine separated as a result of adverse conduct can receive an other than honorable characterization of discharge if the basis for separation is the commission of a serious offense which is a "significant departure from the conduct expected of a Marine."
Stein was also a member of the Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots- the offending commentary was reportedly left on the groups Facebook page.

According to court documents, Stein posted "'Obama is the economic enemy ... He is the religious enemy ... he is the 'Fundamentally change' America enemy ... he IS the Domestic Enemy" in one Facebook update. Stein's critcisms of President Obama would be perfectly legal under the First Amendment in the civilian world, his statements wouldn't neccesarily enjoy the same protections under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Although I think that Stein's comments should call for some sort of disciplinary action [short of discharge- NANESB!], one has to wonder why the Pentagon wasn't keeping as close an eye on the Facebook page of- oh, I dunno...let's say Bradley Manning as the were Sgt. Gary Stein.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catch Of the Day- Soccer Ball and Volleyball Washed Ashore on Alaskan Beach May Be First Salvageable Debris From 2011 Tsunami

Japanese Beach Volleyball star Miwa Asao- probably NOT the rightful owner of the volleyball that washed ashore in Alaska this month, but worth a look nonetheless.
Remember that derelict Japanese fishing vessel that was washed out to sea during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that the US Coast Guard sank off the Alaskan coast earlier this month? Many experts predicted it would be the first of many items to show up off the western coast of the USA and Canada after a substantial debris field made up of boats, buoys, vehicles and battered structures began forming in the Pacific Ocean after the catastrophic disaster that struck north-eastern Japan.

Turns out they were right, although not all of the items showing up in the waters off of Alaska and British Columbia are the size of the Ryou Un Maru.

An Alaska man beachcoming on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska southeast of the Kenai Peninsula found a soccer ball with Japanese script on it back in March.

Dave and Yumi Baxter displaying their Catch of the Day
David Baxter, a radar technician, told the AP by e-mail that when he first saw the ball, he immediately thought it might've come from the tsunami zone.

Baxter's wife, who is Japanese, was able to translate some of the messages written on the ball and with the help of a Japanese reporter was able to identify the soccer ball's owner as 16 year old Misaki Murakami.

Murakami, from the town of Rikuzentakata, is surprised and thankful the soccer ball has been found more than 3,000 miles away.

“It was a big surprise. I’ve never imagined that my ball has reached Alaska,” Murakami told public broadcaster NHK. “I’ve lost everything in the tsunami. So I’m delighted,” he said. “I really want to say thank you for finding the ball.”
He was particularly glad because all furniture and sentimental items in his home had been washed away in the March 11, 2011, tsunami.

The ball, which also had messages of encouragement written on it, was given to him in 2005, when Murakami was in third grade, as a goodbye gift when he transferred to another school.

Two weeks later, Baxter said had discovered a volleyball washed ashore on the same island. NHK reproted that the owner been tenatively identified as a 19 year old girl from Iwate perfecture.

The Baxters say they plan on travelling to Japan in May to return the balls to their rightful owners, although they said they were reluctant to visit Murakami directly, claiming they didn't want to raise too much of a commotion.

Although both the Ryou Un Maru and a number of basketball-sized buoys thought to be from Japanese oyster farms have turned up on shore or off the Alaskan coast, the NOAA belives this is the first instance of debris from the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami showing up in American waters and being returned to the rightful owners in Japan.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sports Chowdah Update- Flawless in Seattle; Sox on Target After Rough Week; Byrd Lands in Beantown; Capital Idea- B's Force Game 7 in the Garden; Torres Gets 25 Game Suspension

MLB- On Saturday afternoon at Seattle's SafeCo Field, White Sox starting pitcher Phillip Humber threw a perfect game against the Mariners in Chicago's 4-0 win over Seattle.

With just 96 pitches, Humber retired every Mariners batter he faced and became the third White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game in the club's history. Mariners pinch-hitter Brendan Ryan has strike three called on a checked swing with 2 away in the bottom of the 9th, but the ball got away from White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski and Ryan had to be thrown out on his way to 1st base.

Prior to Humber's outing on Saturday, the most recent perfect game for the White Sox was thrown by Mark Buehrle in July 2010 at US Cellular Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. The White Sox first recorded perfect game came almost 90 years ago to the day from Humber's start in Seattle- the Detroit Tigers went 27 up and 27 down against the ChiSox's Charlie Robinson at Tigers Stadium on April 30, 1922.

Humber's perfect game is also the 21st of baseball's modern era and the third to take place since I started up this blog. Oakland's Dallas Braden tossed a no-hitter on Mother's Day 2010 and the Phillie's Roy Halliday thew one on the road against the Florida Marlins less than 3 weeks later [so my humble little blog has been around for 1/7th of all the perfect games in MLB history- neat! NANESB!]

The first pick of the New York Mets in the 2004 MLB draft, Humber went to the Minnesota Twins as part of the Johan Santana trade in 2008 that sent the Texas native to the Twin Cities and 2-time Cy Young winner to Queens. Ironically, the New York Mets remain one of two MLB franchises whose pitching staff have not thrown a no-hitter. Humber would remain in the AL Central, spending 2010 with the Kansas City Royals before signing with the White Sox in 2011. Humber's previous start saw him go 5 and ⅓ innings against the Baltimore Orioles at home, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks and an earned run in a 10-4 loss against the O's on April 16.

RED SOX- Perhaps the best thing about Humber's perfect game was that it diverted attention away from the Red Sox's catastrophic outing at Fenway after the bullpen somehow managed to blow a 9-0 lead against the Yankees. Although Felix Doubront went 6 complete innings and allowed one earned run on four hits, things almost immediately took a turn for the worse when Vincente Padilla came out of the bullpen and gave up 5 earned runs in ⅓ of an inning....and it only got worse from there, with the Yankees scoring 14 unanswered runs to go on and win by a 15-9 final.

The Red Sox had already lost the series opener on Friday in a 6-2 game in which the only highlight seemed to be the unexpectedly hostile reaction to a videotaped message from President Obama playing on the jumbotron between innings. Mother nature apparently intervene on behalf of the Red Sox on Earth Day when the only thing preventing another beatdown from the Yankees was a Noreaster moving through the region, causing Sunday night's nationally televised game to be postponed.

Bard was scheduled to start on Sunday night against New York's CC Sabathia, but was temporarily moved to the bullpen and Jon Lester was named the starter for Monday night's road game against the Minnesota Twins.

Boston drew first blood with an RBI Sac-fly from 1B Adrian Gonzalez in the 1st followed by a 2-run homer from C Jarrod Saltalamacchia off of Twins starter Jason Marquis in the top of the 2nd inning. However, the Twins would come roaring back in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out 2-RBI double by OF Ryan Doumit followed by a 2 run homer by 3B Danny Valencia to make it 4-3 Twins. Minnesota would seemingly get an insurance run as SS Jamie Carrol grounded into a double play with a runner on 3rd to make it 5-3.

However, not only did Boston's Cody Ross come up with the equalizer in the form of a 2-run homer in the top of the 7th, Ross also produced the game's go-ahead run with a solo homer in the top of the 9th off of Twins closer Matt Capps. In the bottom of the 9th, Alfredo Aceves allowed a 1-out single to outfielder Chris Parmalee, but got the next two batters out to preserve the 6-5 win and break the Red Sox 5-game losing streak in which they were outscored by a combined 46-17 against the Rays, Rangers and Yankees.

The series against the Twins resumes on Tuesday night when Josh Beckett [1-2; 5.03 ERA] takes the mound against Minnesota's Nick Blackburn [0-1; 5.56 ERA] at Target Field. The game gets udnerway at 8:10 ET and will be televised on NESN.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS- The Red Sox have acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday in exchange for cash, RHP Micheal Bowden and a player to be named later. Despite a paltry .070 batting average with the Cubs, Byrd went 1 for 4 in his Red Sox debut on Monday night, getting a single off of Marquis in the top of the 7th.
The move comes as CF Jacoby Ellsbury is expected to miss nearly 6 weeks after suffering a partially dislocated shoulder while trying to break up a double play against Tampa Bay last week. CF Jason Repko also landed on the DL with a partially seperated shoulder after making a diving catch in center field during Friday's game against the Yankees. The Red Sox also called up 1B Lars Anderson from Pawtucket on Monday.

MORE RED SOX NEWS- Former Red Sox starting pitcher Derek Lowe had his 2004 World Series ring as well as a gold World Series trophy stolen along with women's jewelry and shoes from his Florida home this week, the Ft Meyers News-Press reported. The total value of the stolen items is estimated to be around $90K
Lowe, who is now starting for the Cleveland Indians, was on the mound for the deciding Game 4 of the 2004 World Series against the St Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium, which the Red Sox won by a 3-0 final. Lowe also has the unique disctinction of being recorded as the winning pitcher in the deciding games of the ALDS, ALCS and World Series.

Although he departed for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent the following season, Derek Lowe returned to applause at Fenway during the 2005 home opener to recieve his championship ring. After three seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Lowe was traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor leaguer Chris Jones at the end of the 2011 season.

BUT WAIT- THERE'S MORE RED SOX NEWS!- Daisuke Matsuzaka went 4 innings for the Red Sox High-A League Salem Red Sox on Monday night, allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits (including two homers) while striking out 3 batters. This is Matsuzaka's first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2011. Matsuzaka could see as many as 5 starts in Boston's farm system during his monthlong rehab assignement.

Although he made a bullpen appearence in Monday night's game against Minnesota, the Red Sox insist Bard will be their 5th starter for the forseeable future. However, Aaron Cook is doing well as a starter in AAA Pawtucket and the Red Sox may call him up to the parent club sometime this season. Depending on how well the rest of Dice-K's starts go, the Red Sox may have some felxibility with Cook or Matsuzaka.

YES, EVEN MORE RED SOX NEWS- Former Red Sox second baseman and current NESN color commentator Jerry Remy missed Monday night's game in Minnesota due to an unspecified ailment. According to NESN and Remy's own twitter feed, Rem-dawg hopes to be back in the booth in time for Tuesday night's game at Target Field.

BOSTON BRUINS- Let's face is- Saturday just wasn't a good day at all for anything related to Boston sports. While the Red Sox were managing to blow a seemingly insurmountable 9-0 lead at the Fens, across town the Washington Capitals managed to break a 3-3 deadlock late in the 3rd at the Garden. Troy Brower was able to get the puck past Tim Thomas on a Caps power play with less than 90 seconds to go in the 3rd to put Washington up 4-3 and give Washington the 3-2 series lead.

So the Bruins headed into DC's Verizon Center facing elimination in a must-win game on Sunday afternoon that was televised on NBC as the part two of an early game doubleheader. Game 1 on Sunday featured the Phildelphia Flyers eliminating the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 5-1 final.

The Bruins got on the board early after Rich Peverly tipped in an Andrew Ference slapshot past Braden Holtby to give Boston the 1-0 lead just under 6 minutes into the first. Just under 4 minutes later, the Caps would get the equalizer from Mike Green before the B's retook the lead on a David Krejci power play goal with just over 3 and a half minutes in the 1st to make it 2-1 and Boston's 2nd PP tally in as many games.

With less than a minute remaining in the second period, the Caps managed to knot the contest back up on a Jason Chimera goal- the only scoring in the 2nd period. With about 8 minutes remaining in regulation, Tyler Seguin forced a turnover in the B's end of the ice and was able to get a shot off towards Braden Holtby. Although Holtby stopped the shot on goal, he didn't corrall the puck and after lazily drifting by the sticks of Milan Lucic and David Krecji, Andrew Ference was able to bang the puck through traffic and past Holtby for the 3-2 Boston lead.

However, with under 5 minutes remaining, Alexander Ovechkin was able to get one past Tim Thomas right off a faceoff in the Bruins own end to tie the game up and force OT [seems as though there's alot of that going around the NHL this postseason- NANESB!].

Three and a half minutes into the OT, Milan Lucic managed to snag the puck at the blue line and fed it to an open Tyler Seguin, who fired the puck past Holtby for the game-winner. This was Seguin's first goal of the series, and he was also credited with the assist on Ference's 3rd period goal.

Tim Thomas stopped 36 of 39 shots faced while on the other end of the rink, Braden Holtby turned aside 27 of 31 shots faced. The B's were 1-4 in power play opportunities while the Caps went 0-4 with the man advantage on Sunday Afternoon. The deciding Game 7 will take place Wednesday night at the Gardeen with a 7:30 ET faceoff and will be televised on the NBC Sports network and CBC.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- The NHL has suspended Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Raffi Torres 25 games after his hit on Marian Hossa in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks. Torres left his skates to deliver a hit on Hossa that left him sprawled on the ice; Hossa would be carted off on a stretcher after the hit.

Hossa visited teammates on Monday at Chicago's United Center, although a timetable on his return is uncertain. Meanwhile in a statement released through the NHL Players association this week, Torres weighed a possible appeal of NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shannahan's decision. Shanahan reportedly factored in Torres' prior history of hits on opponents away from the puck into his punishment, and Torres is basically finished for the year no matter how far into the playoffs the Coyotes advance. If Phoenix is eliminated in the second round, then the remainder of Torres' supension reportedly carries over into the 2012-13 season.

The Coyotes shut out the Blackhawks 4-0 on Monday night to win the series 4 games to 2. Interestingly, that was the only game in the Phoenix-Chicago series that didn't head to OT. Although the exact schedule has yet to be determined, the Coyotes will draw the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Semifinals.

WESTERN CONFERENCE- With the Phoenix-Chicago series wrapping up on Monday, the Western conference matchups are set. #8 seeded Los Angeles finished off the President's Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night, winning on the road and selaing the series win with a Jarrett Stoll goal in OT to win the game 2-1 and the series 4-1. The Kings will advance to play the #2 seeded St Louis Blues, who took care of the San Jose Sharks- also by a 4 games to 1 margin.

The earliest playoff series to wrap up was the Nashville-Detroit series, which the Predators bounced Detroit out by a 4-1 margin.

EASTERN CONFERENCE- The only series in the Eastern conference that has finished up is the Philly-Pittsburgh series, which the Flyers wrapped up earlier on Sunday by a 4-2 margin after roaring out to a 3-0 series lead. The NY Rangers won at Scotiabank Center in Ottawa by a 3-2 final to force a deciding Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Florida holds a 3-2 lead over the New Jersey Devils and can wrap things up on Tuesday night with road win at Newark's Prudential Center, although the series will return to Sunrise, FL for a Game 7 if needed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day National Pin-Up Day from Not Another New England Sports Blog!

Instead of observing a holiday that was co-founded by a degenerate murdering hippie charlatan like an increasing number of Americans are doing, I'm still lobbying [in vain, apparently- NANESB!] that April 22nd instead feature some sort of official observance for the late Bettie Page.

What is it with chicks and shoes? Am I right, guys?
Actually, since Jayne Mansfield and Bettie Page's birthdays fall within a few days of each other, I wouldn't mind doing a 'National Pin-Up Day'...kinda like President's Day in that it could be used to honor more than one individual. Sunday, April 22nd 2012 marks what would've been Bettie's 89th Birthday. The secretary-turned-model found fame as one of the earliest models for Playboy magazine and went on to model for Irving Klaw and Bunny Yeager. Bettie also reportedly tried pursuing a career as a Broadway and film actress, but her southern accent was said to have hindered her from getting any choice roles.
Although summoned to appear before Congress as part of the 1957 Kefauver Hearings which linked pornography with juvenile delinquency, Paige was never called upon to testify. Paige's personal life afterwards were the subject of a number of conflicting rumors, although by the time she was 'rediscovered' in the late 1980s or early 1990s, she was living alone in the Los Angeles area and reportedly suffering from acute schizophrenia. Paige was reportedly unaware of her resurgent popularity until the 1990s.

While she agreed to licence her name and likeness to sell various items (books, lighters, t-shirts) she declined public appearances, hoping that people would remember her as she looked in the 1950s. With her health abruptly deteriorating, Bettie Paige passed away in December 2008. April 22nd, 2012 marks what would've been Ms Paige's 89th birthday. According to a 2011 Forbes article, Paige's estate remains worth an estimated $6 million, putting her on the magazine's top 20 list of deceased celebrities.

Today's Train of Thought- Cascade Green Apples, April 21st 2012

Today's Train of Thought takes us to Washington state, best known for coffeehouses, grunge music, the occasional exploding mountaintop and Apples- not the consumer electronic variety, either.

Accoring to USDA statistics, apples from the state of Washington account for more than 65% of  the country's total output. The state's Department of Agriculture estimates the value of Washington's apple crop to be in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, with most of the groves located in the eastern part Washington as well as parts of the Columbia River Gorge.

Here, contributor Aaron B Hockley catches westbound BNSF manifest freight PASLYD-M [PAS = Pasco, WA to LYD = Lakewood Yard in Portland, OR M = Manifest] heading past an orchard in bloom in the sparsely populated burgh of Maryhill, WA on March 28, 2004. On this day, BNSF GP40 #3020 leads a trio of 4-axle BNSF EMDs still in Burlington Northern colors westbound through the Columbia River Gorge.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ruff Crowd- Hostile Reception at Fenway Park to Videotaped Message From Obama Caps Dogged Week for President

Although it hasn't been a good week for the Red Sox, it's safe to say that this has been a much worse for the Obama Administration. After the Obama campaign and their media surrogates were trying to get further traction out of a 1983 story centering around presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's Irish Setter Seamus in which the ill pooch was transported in a carrier strapped to the roof of the family car for 12 hours, it turns out the Daily Caller's Jim Treacher apparently was one of the few Americans to actually read Obama's autobiography- Dreams From My Father.
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
While the revelation led to all kinds of irreverent messages and puns regarding the President's choice in cuisine, the Obama Administration had much more to worry about. In the last week, the White House has been sent reeling thanks to declining poll numbers, Obama's proposed 'Buffet Rule' not even making it out of the Senate, an increase in the weekly jobless claims, and high profile scandals involving the Secret Service and GSA.
'For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country ballpark'
But perhaps the most surprising slight came on Friday afternoon at Boston's Fenway Park. Friday's Yankees-Red Sox game took place on the 100th anniversary of the ballpark, and in the middle of the game, the Red Sox played a message from Obama recognizing the Park's centennial between innings.

The videotaped message apparently received a less-than-enthusiastic response from the crowd.

Yes...even in the heart of dark blue Massachusetts, it seems as though President Obama can't get any love. In early 2010, President Obama squandered much of his political capital in the Bay State campaigning for Martha Coakley's Senate Bid while- ironically- Republican challenger Scott Brown was meeting with fans outside of Fenway Park before and after the 2010 NHL Winter Classic. In fact, then Attorney General Coakley was abrupt and snidely dismissive of Brown's campaigning in front of the landmark ballpark at the time- one of many gaffes that many observers ultimately believe cost the Democrats the Senate seat that was held by the late Ted Kennedy for decades.

It should be worth noting that there was a huge pre-game ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of the ballpark [the first home game this season was on April 13th vs Tampa Bay, but Friday's game marked the anniversary of the first game played in 1912- NANESB!]. As others have pointed out, that's an exceedingly difficult ticket to get- so the stands were likely packed with connected and well-heeled Red Sox fans as opposed to the quasi-stereotypical drunken southies or belligerent sullys.

Another possibility is that many in the crowd remember the Obama Administration's treatment of Cambridge, MA PD Sgt. James Crowley after Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct back in 2009- an event in which Obama, by his own admission, weighed in without the facts and later tried to reconcile with a highly contrived 'Beer Summit' between Profeesor Gates and Sgt Crowley at the White House.
[Hat tip- Weasel Zippers]

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Syrian Forces Open Fire on Refugee Camp Across Turkish Border; Suspected Iranian Arms Shipment Diverted to Turkey

Gunmen fired from Syria into a refugee camp across the Turkish border a few days prior to a UN-brokered ceasefire between the forces loyal to Syria's Assad regime and rebel soldiers and defectors from the Syrian army.

Syrian activists claim that Syrian forces were responsible for a fusillade of gunfire that raked a refugee encampment near the south central Turkish city of Tilis earlier this month.
At least 15 other people were wounded outside the facility as they were fleeing Syria into Turkey, the activists said.

Clashes between Syrian forces and Free Syrian Army rebels are taking place regularly during the night along the Turkish-Syrian border, activists told The Times. However, this reportedly was the first known incident of direct fire at a refugee camp.

"There were clashes in the border area between FSA and the regular army," said an activist at the camp who requested to be identified only as Tariq. "It started around 3 a.m. We hear gunfire every night. But it is the first time they directly fire at the camp.”

The camp is 400 to 500 yards from the border and hosts about 8,000 refugees, though it has a capacity of 12,000, he said.

"The regular army fired at the camp around noon," he said. "There are four wounded, including a Turkish nurse, and two Syrian refugees who were killed. They were both standing next to me on a higher ground, watching the clashes; I was filming when they were killed."
The incident could be construed as an attack on Turkey by Syria, which could trigger a mutual defense agreement Turkey retains with the rest of NATO.

On Wednesday, Turkish police and customs officials boarded a German cargo ship in the Mediterranean after a Der Spegiel magazine investigative report claimed the Atlantic Cruiser was carrying Iranian weapons destined for Syria.
Turkish Foreign Ministry and port officials said the ship was being towed into the port which is located on Turkey's eastern Mediterranean coast just over 100 km (60 miles) north of Syria, on suspicion it was carrying weapons.

The officials could not confirm if there were weapons aboard but said they were planning to inspect all the ship's cargo once it had been offloaded. The ship had been due to offload some of its cargo in Turkey as part of its route, they said.

A Reuters reporter in Iskenderun said he could see Turkish police from the customs and smuggling department on board the ship. Port officials said they had already inspected parts of the ship and would allow photographers aboard once the ship was docked.

German shipping company W. Bockstiegel, which owns the Atlantic Cruiser, ordered the vessel on Monday to turn its transponder back on after the ship switched off the tracking system because its crew feared attack.

The company has said it has no information about any weapons on board the ship which was originally destined for Syria.

White Whale Shipping, the Ukrainian company that chartered the Atlantic Cruiser has denied there were arms on board and said its cargo was civilian goods. Sending weapons to Syria would be in violation of a European Union arms embargo.
A website which tracks maritime shipping reported that the vessel was flying an Antigua Barbuda flag while Turkey's Dogan news agency had reported that the ship was displaying the Bahamas flag when it was intercepted.

Quicke Post-Tax Day Sports Chowdah Update- Bruins Belt Way To Win Over Caps; Rangers Shell Beantown;

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
BOSTON BRUINS- Monday night's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup quarterfinals series between the Washington Capitols and Boston Bruins was unlike the first two in a number of respects.

Besides being a much more physical contest [at times reminiscent of the fisticuffs seen in the Penguins-Flyers series- NANESB!], Game 3 from Washington DC's Verizon Center also featured more goals than in Games 1 and 2 combined- although given the goaltender performances of both Tim Thomas and Washington's Braden Holtby in those games, that's not saying a whole lot.

The Caps opened up the scoring late in the first with a power play goal by Alexander Semin, only for the Bruins to get the equalizer off the stick of Rich Peverly early in the second. Washington would re-take the lead with an even strength Alexander Ovechkin tally not even 15 seconds later. About midway through the 2nd, Daniel Paille would knot the contest back up for Boston, tying the game at 2-2.

Boston would then get their first lead of the night with a Brian Rolston goal just over a minute into the first. At the time, I was in no way confident that the Bruins could maintain a 1-goal lead for pretty much an entire period, and sure enough- with six minutes remaining in regulation, Brooks Liach buried the puck behind Tim Thomas on a breakaway opportunity.

After both Milan Lucic and Matt Hendricks were sent to the penalty box late in the 3rd, there was some 4 on 4 hockey that the Bruins took advantage of captain took advantage of for Chara to get a shot past Holtby with 1:53 remaining in regulation for the 4-3 lead.

Despite pulling Holtby for an extra attacker, the Bruins held off Washington in the remaining 110 seconds to hold on for the 4-3 win and taking a 2-1 series lead. Tim Thomas had 29 saves on 32 shots faced while the Bruins seemed to have Braden Holtby figured out better than they did the first two games. Holtby turned aside 25 of 29 shots faced on Monday night after turning aside a combined 72 of 74 shots faced in Game 1 and 2. The Caps went 1 for 4 on the power play while Boston went 0-5 on the night.

A curious sidenote before the game was that a number of Washington fans thought they could rattle Tim Thomas by wearing Obama masks or holding up cutouts of President Obama- a reference to his declining an invite to the White House with the team earlier this year. Yes- apparently they thought they could get inside the head of the Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winning goaltender by invoking the image of the biggest dud to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in decades.

So on top of the defending Stanley Cup champions finally figuring out a way past the difficult Braden Holtby and taking a 2-1 series lead, I was also treated to the sight of a bunch of sad, mopey clowns dejectedly hanging on to their Obama cutouts on the way out of the arena. I have to tell you that scene alone filled me with the kind of warmth and joy usually reserved for buxom, flirtatious and uninhibited MILFs who want to buy me a drink.

Game 4 is set to take place on Thursday night from DC's Verizon Center at 7:30 on Thursday night. The Caps will have to play Game 4 without Center Nicklas Backstrom, who received a 1-game suspension for cross-checking Rich Peverly towards the end of Mondya night's Game 3. Backstrom netted the game-winning goal in double overtime against Boston in Game 2 and had an assist in Monday night's game. The game will be televised on NBC sports network and the CBC.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- Both the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins- who were sent reeling after quickly finding themselves down 0-3 in theor respective series- live to fight another day after staving off elimination.

The final score of the Penguins-Flyers game was more reminiscent of a Steelers-Eagles contest with Pittsburgh absolutely manhandling Philly by a 10-3 final on Wednesday night. Out on the West coast, the Vancouver Canucks beat the LA Kings by a 3-1 final at the Staples Center.

NCAA WOMEN'S HOOPS- The all-time winningest coach in NCAA Basketball- men's or women's- has announced her retirement due to early-onset dementia.

Tennessee Lady Vol's head coach Pat Summitt announced her retirement as head basketball coach on Wednesday. The University of Tennessee said that Summit will remain with the program as an assistant and development coordinator.

Summitt had a career 1,098-208 record in her 38 years with Tennessee, leading them to 13 title games and eight national titles- including a perfect 39-0 run in the late 1990s. In 2000, Summitt was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and has garnered NCAA Coach of the year honors seven times.

In recent years, the Tennesee Lady Vols had a longstanding rivalry with the UConn Huskies, meeting four times in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship game between 1995 and 2004.

The University of Tennessee announced long-time assistant coach Holly Warlick will be promoted to head coach.

Brian Babineau/Getty Images
BOSTON CELTICS- Paul Pierce had a busy night against the Orlando Magic with 29 points, 14 assists and 5 rebounds during the Celtic's 102-98 win Wednesday night.

Avery Bradley had 23 points and Brandon Bass scored 21 while Rajon Rondo sat out Wednesday night's game with a sore lower back and Ray Allen missed the contest with a sore right ankle.

The Celtics win was more of an afterthought for the Magic after persistent rumors regarding All Star Center Dwight Howard refusing to play until head coach Stan Van Gundy was fired. Although both Howard and the club denied the rumors, Howard missing time due to a reported lower back injury has only fuelled speculation along those lines.

The Celtics next game will be on the road at Atlanta on Friday night at 7:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN.

RED SOX- After a promising weekend at Fenway, the Boston Red Sox had dropped three straight games at home. The four game series against Tampa Bay wrapped up early on Monday for the Patriot's day game in which Daniel Bard was outdueled by Rays starter James Shields in a 1-0 loss.

Tuesday night's game was pretty much a demolition derby when the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers shelled the Red Sox pitching staff by an 18-3 final. On Wednesday night, the Red Sox lost their 3rd straight game when the Rangers beat them by a 6-3 final.

With Thursday off, the Red Sox will host the New York Highlanders Yankees at Fenway on Friday, April 20th- the 100th anniversary of the first Red Sox game at the Fens [the game was actually supposed to take place on April 18th 1912, but two days of rain pushed back the opening day to the 20th- NANESB!]. This will acutally be an afternoon game, with a scheduled start of 3:15 PM and will be televised on NESN, YES sports and the MLB Network.

OTHER MLB NEWS- Florida Miami Marlins won their first game after manager's Ozzy Guillen 5-game suspension stemming from controversial remarks about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The Marlins had 14 hits in their 9-1 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Starter Mark Buehrle went 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits.

COLORADO ROCKIES- 49 year old Colorado Rockies starter Jamie Moyer became the oldest MLB pitcher to win a game after Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Moyer went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits before the bullpen took over to close out the contest. The previous record was held by Jack Quinn of the Brooklyn Dodgers who beat the St Louis Cardinals by a 6-5 final on September 13, 1932.

Quinn was 49 years and 70 days when he became the oldest pitcher to notch a win in the majors while Moyer was 49 years and 150 days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Illinois Bishop- Obama "Intent on Following a Similar Path" As Hitler, Stalin

The Bishop for the Peoria, IL diocese delivered a homily that featured a stern rebuke of the Obama Administration and the recent Department of Health & Human Services mandate that Catholic institutions provide employees contraceptives and birth control as part of Obamacare.
According to Jenky, the new Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate has put the country on a dangerous path for religious freedom.

“[N]o Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb,” he explained.

“No Catholic ministry — and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries — can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions,” Jenky went on to say.

“The church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the president of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS and of the current majority of the federal Senate,” he continued. “May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.”

Jenkey recalled in detail other leaders that have “tried to force Christians to huddle and hide,” including Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

“Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care,” he said. “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama — with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda — now seems intent on following a similar path.”
Jenky's criticism of the Administration and HHS is the harshest yet from the Catholic Church. Earlier this month, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated that the Obama Administration and HHS mandates were a radical intrusion into the lives of the faithful in an interview with CBS News' Face the Nation.

A Chicago native, Jenky was appointed as the 8th Bishop of Peoria in 2002. Jenky's homily appears over at the Catholic Post in its entirety [lest anyone think the Bishop is too quick to go Godwin, keep in mind that the Obama Administration is basically demanding that the Catholic Church no longer adhere to their beliefs in order to fall into compliance with the 0bamacare mandate- NANESB!].

Coincidentally, the pivotal vote in 2010 for Obamacare came from supposedly pro-life Catholic Democrat Representative Bart Stupak. The Administration assured the Northern Michigan Democrat that federal money wouldn't be used to fund abortions or contraceptives at the time. Within weeks of 0bamacare passing, Stupak announced he wouldn't seek re-election as a number of potential challengers emerged from the woodwork. A surgeon from the upper peninsula named Dan Benishek eventually won Stupak's former seat.

Foreign Workers Hired For Multiple Stimulus-Funded Projects

Gosh- didn't see this coming as far back as 2009 or anything.

Companies that had received funding as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are said to have hired foreign workers for their projects, according to auditors, labor unions and local press.

In July 2010, LG Chem- a subsidiary of South Korean-based LG Electronics- broke ground on a new plant that manufactured electric car batteries in a ceremony attended by President Obama.

However, Unions in Western Michigan are now saying that the plant is being built with labor from South Korea- although LG Chem initially denied the reports.

LG Chem and another company- Dow Kokam- told CBS news that the foreign workers were 'legal and temporary' and have highly specialized expertise with the equipment being involved. Dow Kokam also used stimulus funds to build a battery plant near Midland, MI. LG Chem received nearly $151 million in stimulus funds to build the Holldand plant while Dow Kokam's Midland plant received a $161 million grant from the Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Local plumbers, pipefitters and millwright unions in Michigan are saying that even if temporary, most of the positions going to the foreign workers could easily be filled by local labor. Currently, Michigan's unemployment rate is around 8.8%- higher than the national average but the lowest the Wolverine State's jobless rate has been in recent years.

Over in Oregon, it was disclosed in late 2011 that at least $7 million went to contractors that ended up exploiting legal loopholes to hire foreign workers for a stimulus-funded forestry project. The contractors said they could not find enough local labor in central Oregon, although one state Senator disputes that.
That came as a surprise to local officials, who said they often got hundreds of responses to every job opening.

"This is a timber area and we hadn't been cutting trees for years," said state Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend. "It really ticked off a lot of people here."

In a report on the investigation this week, the Department of Labor's Inspector General found that contractors who brought in foreign workers violated no laws or regulations, but used legal loopholes to hire foreign workers.

While legal, the hiring practices appear to violate the spirit and purpose of the $840 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the stimulus, which was designed to create jobs that would jumpstart the country out of recession.

The federal investigation looked at 14 contracts to clear federal forests in central Oregon. The contracts were controlled by four Oregon companies: Medford Cutting Edge Forestry, Summitt Forestry, Ponderosa Reforestations, and G.E. Forestry. All hired foreign workers, according to the report, though they didn't all handle hiring in the same way.

The contractors applied for H-2B visas allowing them to hire workers for seasonal jobs, according to the report. In order to get clearance, contractors must prove the jobs can't be filled with local residents and that pay won't dilute local prevailing wages.

But there is a loophole. Under federal rules, notice of the job openings must be made where the job "originates." And while the bulk of the work took place in Oregon, smaller jobs originated in other states.

"Employers were not required to recruit U.S. workers in Oregon, and we were provided no evidence that they did," federal investigators said. "Workers in Oregon were likely unaware that these job opportunities were available."

In fact, although 146 U.S. workers were contacted for possible employment, investigators found that none was hired.

Contractors used another regulation to dampen response from Oregon residents, the report said. The visa regulations allowed the contractors to do all their hiring four months before work started. That made unemployed workers who needed jobs immediately reluctant to commit to temporary jobs four months later.

Despite the barriers, 29 U.S. workers learned of the jobs and asked about employment. The report did not say if they were from Oregon.
The reports from the Oregon newspaper- the Bend Bulletein- did not mention the nationality of the foreign workers. The comapnies also reportedly advertised the job openings with state employment agencies in Idaho, Arizona, California and Wyoming but not with the state of Oregnon's Employment Department.

The findings come about two years after Congress learned that funds for 'green energy' projects from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act were going overseas to purchase solar panels and wind turbine components that were manufactured in China and other Asian countries.

[Hat Tip- Weasel Zippers; The Bend Bulletin]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Not-So-Titanic Sports Chowdah Update- Fireworks at the Fens Continues; Capital Deadlock- Bruins, Caps Series Tied at 1-1

AP Photo

RED SOX- After a pair of big 8th innings on Friday and Saturday's wins, the Red Sox got off to a fairly quick start on Sunday at Fenway Park when Kevin Youkilis led off the top of the 2nd with a single followed by a double from DH David Ortiz to put two on with nobody out and OF Cody Ross in the Batter's Box. Long story short, Ross got all of Matt Moore's pitch and simply belted it over the Monster Seats to make it a 3-0 ballgame as the ball bounced around somewhere on the Mass Turnpike [not much of an exaggeration, by the way- NANESB!].

A day after his logging his first-ever stolen [and a trainwreck of a slide at that- NANESB!] C Kelly Shoppach belted an RBI double to make it a 4-0 game. However, the Rays would get to starter Felix Doubront in the top of the 5th to make it a 1-run game before a 6th inning Luke Scott solo homer tied the contest up at 4-4.

However, in the bottom half of the 6th, the Red Sox would re-take the lead on an RBI double by Big Papi. Sox SS Mike Aviles led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homer to make it a 6-4 game.

Valentine would have to go to his bullpen early, but the pen managed to preserve the 6-4 lead thanks to a 1-2-3 top od the 9th from Alfrdo Aceves. Red Sox take the first three games of this weekend's 4-game series.

Tomorrow's Patiots Day game gets underway at 11:05 AM with Daniel Bard getting the start against James Shields. The game will be televised on NESN.

BOSTON BRUINS- The 1st round of the playoffs for the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins are heading to Washington DC's Verizon Center with the series tied at 1 game each thanks to a tie-breaking tally from Niklas Backstrom less than 3 minutes into a second overtime on Saturday afternoon.

The Caps got on the board first with a goal from RW Troy Brouwer late in the second before the Bruins were able to figure out a way past Washington's Braden Holtby midway through the 3rd, with Benoit Pouliot knotting up the contest at 1-1. The first OT passed without any scoring before Backstrom netted the game-winning goal easly in 2 OT.

Niether team scored on the power play on Saturday- Boston had 2, the Caps had 3. Tim Thomas turned aside 37 of 39 shots faced while Braden Holtby stopped all but one of the 44 shots he faced.

Game three will take place Monday night at 7:30 PM ET and will be televised on the NBC Sports network.

ELSEWHERE IN THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS- A pair of teams with a strong regular-season showing now find themselves on the brink of elimination Sunday night.

The Phildelphia Flyers roughed up the Pittsburg Penguins, winning by an 8-4 final in a game that saw 72 total penalty minutes assesed. To add insult to injury, Penguins wingers Aaron Asham and Craig Adams face automatic suspensions from the league for cross-checking and instigating fights with Flyers Scott Hartnell and Braden Schenn.

Over on the West Coast- back-to-back President's Trophy winners Vancouver were shut out by the Los Angeles Kings at LA's Staples Center after the Kings won two games in Vancouver- including two shorthanded goals from Dustin Brown in Friday Night's Game 2.

Brown also accounted for the only goal in Game 3, beating Marblehead, MA native Cory Schnieder who was between the pipes for Roberto Luongo late in the 3rd on Sunday night.

NBA- The Celtics went 2-1 on a 3-game 3-night road trip to Toronto, New Jersey and Charlotte over the weekend.

After a 94-82 win against the Nets Saturday night, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were given Sunday night off and didn't even make the trip to Charlotte. Even without the C's Big 3, they were still able to handle the Bobcats fairly easily with Rajon Rondo having 20 points and 16 assists on the night. Curiously, the C's beat the Bobcats by the exact same score they beat the Nets on Sunday night- 94-82.

Guard Mickael Pietrus returned to the C's lineup on Friday night after suffering a concussion when he fell and hit his head on the floor in Philadelphia back in late March. Pietrus had 11 points and 6 rebounds in Sunday night's game against the Bobcats.

Denmark Trial Begins For Men Plotting Mumbai-Style Terrorist Attack Targeting Danish Crown Prince and Mohammed Cartoons Newspaper

One of the dozen cartoons dating back to 2005 from Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Four men pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges in a Copenhagen court on Friday after prosecutors accused them of plotting to carry out an attack on the offices of Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten while the crown prince was scheduled to visit. Three of the men were mid-eastern immigrants residing in Sweden who were arrested by police in that country in late 2010- a few days before they were scheduled to carry out their attack in Copenhagen.

Prosecutors have charged the three men along with an accomplice originally from Tunisia with terrorism and weapons charges. One defendant pleaded guilty to weapons charges but not guilty to the terrorism charges. Although Prosecutor Henrik Plaehn said there was no apparent indication that Crown Prince Frederik was specifically targeted for attack, he was scheduled to attend an event at the Jyllands Posten headquarters when the attack was supposed to take place. Speak
ing to the court on the first day of the trial, prosecutor Henrik Plaehn said the four men — three Swedish citizens and one Swedish resident — had been arrested hours before an appearance by Crown Prince Frederik at the Politiken newspaper in Copenhagen.

The heir to the Danish throne was to distribute an annual sports award and Plaehn said prosecutors believed that terrorists had intended to launch a violent attack on the ceremony, which eventually took place as scheduled.

Plaehn also said the alleged terrorists were linked with Pakistan, a point he would try to prove during the trial.
The 2005 Jyllands Posten Mohammed cartoons caused an uproar throughout the Islamic world, resulting in widespread protests and sporadic attacks against Danish embassies. In January 2010, a Somali man with ties to that Islamic Al Shabaab militia was shot in the leg and wrist by police as he broke into the Copenhagen home of Kurt Westergaard, one of the cartoonists. Although Westgaard was unarmed, he had time to grab his 5 year old granddaughter before the two of them locked themselves in a panic room.

Although Islam supposedly prohibits any kind of depiction of Mohammed, there are a number of depictions of Mohammed ranging from 13th century Persian manuscripts to a 2001 episode of South Park. None of these representations became controversial until after the 2005 Jyllands Posten backlash.

Today's Train of Thought- Apple of My Eye, April 15, 2012

Today's train of thought takes us to the Garden State, whose monicker isn't being used in an ironic or facetous sense this time around.

Although split up by competitors Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation in 1999, Conrail is technically still around in the form of Conrail Shared Assets operations. Unlike the mainlines belonging to Conrail and their predecessors, Conrail Shared Assets Operations performs switching and the running of local freights on behalf of CSX and Norfolk Southern to prevent either railroad from gaining a monopoly in some of the markets Conrail had prevously operated in. This includes ports and branchlines along the northeast corridor in the Philadelphia and Jersey City area as well as Detroit- although CSX or Norfolk Southern equipment is routinely used.

Here, contributor Gerald Oliveto caught CSX GP38-2 #2577 trundling past some crabapple trees in bloom with a Conrail Shared Assets local freight in the quiet north Jersey burgh of Helmetta, NJ on April 24, 2008. The train originated in Browns Yard in Sayreville, NJ (and still operated by Conrail Shared Assets) and is travelling along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Amboy Secondary, which was once electrified. Although the wires came down sometime in the 1990s, the catenary poles are still standing along the route.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

FBI, Coast Guard, Alaska State Police Hunt for Suspect After 2 Killed in Kodiak Coast Guard Station

Authorities in Alaska are searching for a suspect after two people were shot to death inside a supposedly secure Coast Guard communications center on the southwestern Alaskan island of Kodiak on Thursday.

The two victims were found inside their work station. Monitoring long range communications between aircraft and maritime traffic, the communications center where the bodies of the two men were found at is about three miles away from the main Coast Guard installation on the island, which houses about 4000 personnel.

The deceased have been identified as Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and Richard Belisle- a civilian employee. Belisle was also a retired Coast Guard petty officer before working as a civilian employee.

Investigators believe the men were shot sometime between 7 and 8 am on Thursday. Security levels were raised at the larger Coast Guard base and some of the local schools were put into lockdown as police searched the area.

According to an FBI spokesman, evidence at the crime scene indicated that the deaths were not part of a murder-suicide. Local police, Alaska state troopers, Federal agents and Coast Guard Investigative Service agents were still combing the island for a suspect on the weekend.
FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said Saturday that residents of the island, about 250 miles south of Anchorage, do not appear to be at risk.

"Right now, there's no credible evidence that the community as a whole is in danger. However we continue to counsel them to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez would not say why the FBI believes island residents are not in danger.

Gonzalez declined to answer specific questions about the ongoing investigation. Releasing details could harm investigators' chances of catching the killer, he said.

"The integrity of the investigation dictates that we can't say much about what we're doing," Gonzalez said.

A team of FBI agents is working with the Coast Guard's Investigative Services, the Kodiak Alaska State Troopers and Kodiak police to bring the person responsible for the deaths to justice, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the team is "conducting logical investigative steps."

"Certainly, interviews are part of that," he said. "We've been interviewing a number of people."

Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Charly Hengen said residents should be aware of their surroundings, have a heightened sense of security, and if they see anything suspicious, report it to law enforcement.

"There could be (a suspect) still out there. We don't know," Hengen said. "That's why we're encouraging residents to be extra vigilant when they're out ... whether someone's going to the grocery store, going on a hike, whatever they need to do during the course of a day."

Hengen would not comment on whether Coast Guard personnel were being interviewed by the investigators, nor would she comment on the possibility any Coast Guard members might be considered suspects.
Authorities have also declined make public a possible motive for the two murders. Since Kodiak Island is only accessible by sea and air, its thought that the gunman is most likely still on the island.

Life on Kodiak Island with the Coast Guard has been the subject of a reality show on The Weather Channel called (appropriately enough) Coast Guard: Alaska that had recently been renewed for another season. The show highlights the remote and dangerous nature of some of the search and rescue missions flown from the island.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Centennial Sports Chowdah- Beckett Rebounds in Red Sox Home Opener; B's Open Up Playoffs By Working OT; Razorback's Edge- Arkansas Fires Petrino

Getty Images
BOSTON RED SOX- After a forgettable 1-5 start in Detroit and Toronto, the Red Sox returned to Boston on Friday for not just any ordinary opening day, but to christen the 100th season of Red Sox baseball in Fenway Park.

Fenway is the oldest active ballpark in the major leagues and was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places last month.

With pregame ceremonies that included the national anthem as sung by the Boston Pops, a flyover of F16s from the Vermont Air National Guard as well as cermonial first pitches being tossed out by recently-retired Red Sox Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, the game against the Tampa Bay Rays got underway from Boston on a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Last Month, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced that Josh Beckett would be the starter for the Red Sox for their Friday the 13th home opener. Six days prior, Beckett had allowed 5 home runs in a 10-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on the second game of the season.

Although Beckett would allow an RBI double off of Rays 2B Jeff Keppinger in the top of the second for the game's first run, he would get plenty of support in the bottom of the third when the Red Sox got on board thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single after Rays starter David Price struck Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach with a pitch to lead off the inning. 3B Kevin Youkilis would bring in another run on a sac-fly and David Ortiz would get an RBI single off of Price to make it a 3-1 Red Sox lead. In the bottom of the 4th, Kelly Shoppach would add on another run with a 1-out double to make it 4-1.

After giving up the run to Keppinger, Beckett would pitch 6 shutout innings and the Red Sox would explode for 8 runs off the Rays bullpen in the bottom of the 8th to make it 12-1. While Mark Melancon would allow a solo homer off the bat of Ben Zobrist, he would close out the game and seal Boston's 12-2 win.

In eight innings of work, Beckett would allow five hits, one walk, one earned run and strike out one batter. Kelly Schoppach would go 3-4 with 2 RBI on the day while 3B Kevin Youkilis would go 2 for 4 with 3 RBI. Center Fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had to leave the game in the bottom of the 4th after sliding into second base attempting to break up a double play. Ellsbury was examined at Mass General, although the team still hasn't announced the full extent of Ellsbury's injuries or whether or not he's expected to return anytime soon. Ryan Sweeney came in for the injured Ellsbury and went 1 for 3 with 2 RBI.

Saturday's game will get underway at 4:05 ET and will feature Clay Buccholz. Tampa Bay is expected to send Jeremy Hellicson onto the mound. The game will be televised on NESN tomorrow afternoon.

AP Photo
BOSTON BRUINS- The Bruins defense of their Stanley Cup title got underway on Thursday night in the Garden when they hosted the #7 seed Washington Capitols. Heading into the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Caps held a 3-1 advantage over Boston in the regular season.

The scoring summary on this one was mercifully brief. After a scoreless regulation, Chris Kelly scored the game-winner for Boston 1:18 into OT.

Prior to Kelly's shot on goal, Washington goaltender Braden Holtby had turned aside 29 shots while Tim Thomas turned aside all 17 shots that he faced. During the regular season, Holtby was 4-2 in the 6 games he started in. The Caps didn't capitalize on their two power plays while the Bruins went 0-3 with the man advantage.

A rather bizarre incident took place shortly after Kelly's game-winner. As the Bruins were still celebrating the win on the ice, some fans pushing against the plexiglass panel in front of their rinkside seats had managed to dislodge it.

The large pane of glass then hit C David Krejci on the head as it fell, sending him to the ice. Fortunately, Krejci was still wearing his helmet an although he still had a sore neck on Friday, he was expected to appear in game 2 on Saturday.

Game two will be televised on NBC on Saturday from Boston with a 3:00 PM faceoff.

NCAA FOOTBALL- Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino has been fired by the school's administration after lying about a motorcycle accident he and his mistress- 25 year old Jessica Dorrell- were involved in earlier this month.

In public statements, Petrino said that he was alone at the time of the accident but an Arkansas State Police accident report released a few days later contradicted his version of events and the married 50 year old coach admitted to having an affair with Dorrell.

"Just a few more questions about the accident, coach..."
"Go away! Leave me alone!"
Cellphone records indicate that Petrino and Dorrell exchanged 4300 texts and more than 300 phone calls over a 7-month span.

Petrino also reportedly gave Dorrell a $20,000 'gift' which she used to purchase a new Acura. On Petrino's reccomendation, Dorrell was offered a position as student development coordinator with the football program last month, but after being hired she has since been suspended by the University. The 2008 graduate and four time letter winner with the Razorbacks volleyball program was also engaged to marry the director of swimming operations for Arkansas.

I have to say that the only entity I really feel bad for in all of this is the Razorbacks volleyball program- seems as though the only reason people are even tangentially interested in the topic is because of somebody who hasn't played with them for nearly 4 years.

NBA- After back-to-back wins in which they bested the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks earlier this week, the Celtics pretty much laid an egg against the Toronto Raptors, losing by a 79-84 final on Friday Night. However, they still remain 3 games up on both the 76ers and Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division.

On Saturday night, the Celtics will travel to New Jersey to take on the 22-38 Nets. Tip off starts at 7:30 and the game will be televised on CSNE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Juche Apparently Isn't Rocket Science

Just in case you were wondering, 'Juche' is a political thesis from the late North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung that supposedly emphasised military and economic self-reliance. This is somewhat ironic, considering that Sung and his successors have relied heavily on imported food and materials long before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union- one of North Korea's main trading partners.

As North Korea dedicated its efforts to building up their military arsenal in recent years, North Korean civilians have endured drought, famine and government crackdowns. This did not change after Kim Il Sung's 1994 death or the December 2011 passing of his son Kim Jong Il. Within weeks of Kim Il Jong's death, his youngest son and heir apparent- Kim Jong Un- took power.

In carrying on his father and grandfather's traditions of flouting treaties and international agreements, North Korea had been preparing all month to launch a long-range rocket. As US, South Korean and Japanese forces in the region went on heightened alert, the secretive North Korean government took the unusual step of allowing foreign reporters in to view the Sohae launch site, which is in the northwestern part of the country along the border with China. At the end of March, Japan's defense ministry announced they would shoot down North Korea's rocket should it pass over Japanese territory. In 2009, a long-range rocket from North Korea overflew Japan's home islands during a similar launch.

The US State Department says the launch is a breach of United Nations Security Council sanctions andan agreement reached between the USA and North Korea in February of this year restricting further development of North Korea's long-range weaponry. The North Korean regime, however, insists that Thursday's launch was to put a satellite into orbit to mark Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday. Japan, the South and the USA believe the lauch is to further develop long range missile technology.

However, in what was probably the least surprising development since the sun rising in the east, the Unha ("galaxy") rocket followed a similar trajectory to that of Keith Olbermann's broadcast career- crashing and burning spectacularly shortly after launch. The Nork rocket reportedly didn't even make it as far as 100km before exploding over the East China Sea.

In a rare move, the state-run news agency reported to a North Korean audience that the launch was unsuccessful. North Korean broadcasts are typically reserved for flowery, melodramatic propaganda heaping nonstop praise on the communist government. South Korean military experts believe that Un will try and deflect attention away from the failed launch or a military provocation directed against the South.