Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama Speechifies Some More, Hopes You Don't Notice Even More Private Military Contractors In Iraq or Opposition to 2007 Troop Surge

Observe how the photographer superimposed concertina wire over the armoured vehicles to emphasise that these are US combat units leaving Iraq!

President Obama gave a speech from the Oval Office tonight, which in and of itself is pretty noteworthy considering that he wasn't campaigning or vacationing. The occasion of the speech was to mark the 'official' end of US combat operations in Iraq today, as well as re-writing recent history to suit his own ends. Particularly rich was his throwaway line about "there were patriots who supported this war and patriots who opposed it"- weasel words from a man who's hoping that most Americans have short-term memory that doesn't go back further than 2 years.

All in all, it was a mercifully brief speech- at least by Obama's standards. Chances are he had to switch the topic back to the economy and vacuous, halfhearted platitudes about how wonderful our servicemen and women are (despite protestations to the contrary from his base and own political party) to avoid any mention of the fact that the 2007 Iraq troop surge proposed by Gen Petraeus was vehemently opposed by himself and then Delaware senator Joe Biden- who went on to propose that Iraq be partitioned into three sectors.

Washington Examiner
Since Obama brought up the economy in his speech, it was rather reminiscent of his 'Gee you Army guys are swell, but your silly wars are so gosh-darn expensive' speech from the enemy camp US Military Academy at West Point late last year. As it turns out, the 7+ years of the Iraq war may not have been as big a drain on the Treasury as Obama's failed stimulus plans in his first 18 months in office.

Also, does anybody else remember the frothy, sanctimonious indignation over the use of private military contractors over in Iraq during the Bush era? [I for one think that accusations levelled against contractors were in large part trial balloons for charges the anti-war left was getting ready to level against American troops- NANESB!] Turns out Obama Administration is hiring an unprecedented number of them to fill the void left by departing US forces, according to a New York Times article rather ambiguously titled 'Civilians to Take US Lead as Military Leaves Iraq'. I have yet to hear the same voices critical of the Bush Administration opine on this development, even though it's the worst-kept secret this side of the Tigris River.

Miss Universe, Jimena Navarette, Has Her Work Cut Out For Her

There she iiiiiiissss.....
One thing I overlooked in the whole slew of grim news that besieged Mexico last week was that 22 year old Guadalajara native Jimena Navarette won the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

The Latina beauty queen rather deftly handled some questions from Spanish-speaking reporters about Arizona's SB 1070 by stating "Every country has the right to impose and enact their laws, But I tell you that all the Mexicans and the Latins that are living here in the United States are hardworking people — people who want to improve on their quality of life."

Navarette said she would like to work promoting Mexico to the rest of the world....[hence the title of this thread- NANESB!] and said "I want the whole world to know about my country and my people,"

Unfortunately for her, many people do currently know about Mexico thanks in large part to the murderous excesses of the drug traffickers and increasingly sophisticated and brazen criminals south of the border.

Wardrobe by Satanico Pandemonium
The unfortunate part is that Mexico does have much to offer in the way of exports, natural resources and tourist attractions. The country is the world's second largest producer of silver and has abundant copper, oil, gold, zinc and natural gas deposits as well as home of the world's largest bakery [BMV: BIMBOA] and producer of building materials [NYSE: CX].

But even the legitimate sector of Mexico's economy is under attack either from criminal gangs who don't want to run afoul of the cartels or cartel operatives themselves diversifying their operations- such as the increasing number of truck hijackings and train robberies.

Tourism isn't helped much by the fact that mass graves are being unearthed outside of popular tourist destinations like Cancun or the colonial city of Taxco.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Miss Navarette promotes Mexico from the relative safety of her New York City townhouse that was included in the prizes. Not that I begrudge her for that, as the grand prize also includes a scholarship to the New York Film Academy as well (which is difficult to attend all the way from Guadalajara).

With that in mind, I would like to wish Ms. Navarette 'buena suerte!'. Hopefully conditions on the ground in Mexico will make her job a little bit easier, and let's face it- do we really want a 100% lawless narco-state with daily massacres abutting our southern border?

On a side note, I'm sad to report that the USA's very own saucy little Muslimah, Rima Fakih, didn't even break into the Top 15 of the Miss Universe pageant....although to be fair, her national costume (representing Michigan) consisting of a pastiche of minature shuttered auto plants and foreclosed homes was a tough sell.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sports Chowdah Not Quite Labor Day Update- Not So Blue Rays Take 2 Out Of 3 From Sox; Manny Being Manny Elsewhere

RED SOX: Well, the 3 game series in Tampa Bay got off to a promising start with a 3-1 win behind the efforts of Jon Lester.

However, for two consecutive games, promising starts by the Boston pitchers were for naught as the late rallies by Tampa Bay erased early Boston leads. Clay Buchholz went 7 and 1/3rd innings Saturday night and was pulled after giving up he game-tying solo homer to BJ Upton. Scott Atcheson would go on to give up the tiebreaker in the bottom of the 11th, a solo shot to Rays DH Dan Johnson for the walkoff 3-2 Tampa win.

On Sunday, John Lackey gave up only one run over the first five innings before collapsing, giving up a 2-run homer to Carl Crawford and an RBI single to Dan Johnson before getting out of that and leaving runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 away for Hideki Okajima in the bottom of the 7th. Okajima got Crawford to strike out, but gave up an RBI single to Evan Longoria for some insurance in the Ray's 5-3 win on Sunday night. If dropping two out of three to the current wild-card leader wasn't bad enough, both the division leading Yankees and Wild Card Leader Rays won their respective games Monday.

The Red Sox have Monday off and will take on the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards Tuesday night. Josh Beckett (4-3; 6.50 ERA) is scheduled to start against Brian Matusz (6-12; 4.79 ERA).

OTHER SOX NEWS: The Red Sox traded relief pitcher Manny Del Carmen to the Colorado Rockies after being placed on waivers. The Sox will be getting minor league pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller, who's played with the Casper Ghosts of the Pioneer league and Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League.

The Red Sox were reported late last week to have put in a claim for Angels 1B/C Mike Napoli off of waivers, altough the Boston Herald is reporting that an actual trade with Anaheim is unlikely. Instead, the waiver claim by Boston was seen as a purely defensive move to block Napoli (.249 BA; 21 HR & 60 RBI) from going to another team in the AL East.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is alive and well and back in Pawtucket now. The trade deadline pickup from Texas went 1-3 with a walk in last night's 2-1 win over the Rochester Redhawks at McCoy stadium in Pawtucket. Saltalamacchia was put on the DL and sent to the hospital after a localized infection in his right leg was discovered.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB: Manny Ramierez is with the Sox- this time the Chicago White Sox. Shortly after the Dodgers put Manny on waivers, he was picked up by the White Sox (National League Teams had first dibs on the shaggy slugger) and will likely join the team in Cleveland Tuesday night. Manny was batting .311 with 8 homers with the Dodgers this year

Roger Clemens pled not guilty to six counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in a Federal Courthouse in Washington D.C. Monday. The judge presiding over Clemens' arraignment set a jury selection date for April 5, 2011.

The Washington Nationals announced late last week that Stephen Strasburg will likely need Tommy John surgery in the offseason after it was learned he had a signficant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Strasburg was also seeking a second opinion from the same doctor who performed Tommy John surgery on fellow Nat Jordan Zimmerman last year.

NFL: The Pats lost to the St. Louis Rams 36-35 on Thursday night in which the defense apparently forgot to show up. One more preseason game remains, Thursday night against the NY Giants at the New Meadowlands stadium in E. Rutherford, NJ. Having said that, wake me when the games count.

NCAA FOOTBALL: For football games that will count, there's a full slate of NCAA football games this weekend. This includes the two Division 1A/FBS in New England. The BC Eagles will host the Weber State Wildcats at Chestnut Hill at 1PM ET, while UConn travels to the Big House in Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines at 3:30 PM ET. Both games are on Saturday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's in a Name? Media, Democrats Try Unique and Novel Strategy Against Surging Alaska Senate Candidate

Earlier this week, CBS News reported that the Democratic National Committee had stumbled upon a brilliant and wholly unique strategy of portraying projected primary winner Joe Miller as some sort of fringe extremist [complete with unflattering photo- NANESB!].

Miller is projected to be the surprise winner of Alaska's GOP Senate primary from earlier this week after holding a narrow 1600-vote lead over incumbent Lisa Murkowski. However, out of an estimated 16,000 absentee ballots which were sent out, there remains close to 8500 left to be counted.

While Joe Miller recently backpedalled from an online message from his Twitter account comparing a possible party switch by Murkowski to prostitution, Democrat National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse was unable to name thier party's Senate candidate for Alaska on a roundtable discussion on ABC News 'Top Line' webcast earlier this week [it's Scott McAdams, by the way- NANESB!].

Curiously the Democrats don't go into specifics in their allegations of 'extremism' on Miller's part, simply issuing this boilerplate, non-specific statement:
“Joe Miller seems more intent on imposing a strict social doctrine to please his out-of-state tea party backers but would leave the people of his state high and dry,”
Ah yes- those mean old Republicans are going to tell Americans who they can and can't sleep with when the country would be so much better off voting for Democrats who will instead be dictating to us what kind of vehicles we drive and what sort of light bulbs we can use. I think the Dems also running on 'Joe-Miller-thinks-unemployment-benefits-are-unconstitutional' platform based on an interview with ABC News last month.

Goodness, that's almost as ironic as a fat, career union thug decrying Sarah Palin for 'inciting violence' [Hey Trumka! I can see Eddie York's headstone from my house, you worthless fuck!- NANESB!]

Apparently 99 weeks worth of unemployment benefits are in fact constitutionally protected (had to fight tooth and nail for 4 weeks worth of benefits while unemployed for 6 months last year, but what the heck). The Dems want Alaskans to remember that when you go out to vote for Scott McWhatshisname in November!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today's Train of Thought: Going With the Grain- August 27, 2010

When one thinks of ethanol hauled by rail, one could understandably think of Midwestern shortlines and regionals along the lines of the Iowa Interstate or Iowa Northern, but sometimes that's just the starting point. That subsidized, grainy byproduct which loves to be shipped by rail winds up further afield in unlikely places such as Utah or Rhode Island.

The grain alcohol that winds up at the Motiva Enterprises Distribution Center in Providence, RI takes a rather circuitous route, according to Canadian Railway Observations. Typically, the ethanol originates on the Soo Line around Enderlin, ND and travels as far as Chicago as-perhaps somewhat ominously- Train #666 (the outbound empties are designated Train #667) before heading off between Chicago and Detroit on Norfolk Southern trackage rights. Once across the Michigan/Ontario border, the train is back on 'home' rails (Soo line is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Pacific) where it continues on to Montreal before heading south on another Canadian Pacific [NYSE: CP] subsidiary- the Delaware & Hudson. From Montreal, it only travels as far south as Whitehall, NY where it is interchanged with the Green Mountain/Vermont Railway system. Once on Green Mountain rails, the ethanol travels as far as Bellows Falls, VT where it is interchanged with Rail America's [NYSE: RA] New England Central. From there, the New England Central takes the ethanol as far south as Groton, CT before handing it off to the Providence & Worcester [NASDAQ: PWX]. Although a relatively straight shot from Groton to Providence on Amtrak's Northeast corridor, the volatile nature of the ethanol means that it has to move back north and reach its final destination via Worcester, MA.

A little under a decade ago, the P&W began selling off their fleet of 2300 HP former CSX GE B23-7s and purchasing 3900 HP GE B39-8s from LMX leasing as well as cabless 3000 HP B30-7AB 'boosters' from BNSF. At the time it seemed like a little much for the Worcester, MA-based regional, although the Wallingford, CT-Queens, NY stone trains justified that kind of horsepower. Then the P&W began handling imported coal from the port of Providence for power plants in Bow, NH and Holyoke, MA followed by the addition of the ethanol trains. In 2005, the P&W purchased four 4000 HP GE B40-8s secondhand from fellow northeastern regional New York, Susquehanna & Western.

Here, railpictures.net contributor Ron Chouinard catches former Susie-Q B40-8 #4002 sprinting southbound through the small P&W yard at Cumberland, RI on its way to Providence on a sunny October 27, 2008 afternoon with a loaded ethanol train. The #4002 is in charge of five units (two of them with cabs!) as the autumn leaves are approaching their peak.

UPDATED 8/27- Even More Borderline Psychosis: 72 Migrants Slain at Remote Ranch by Gunmen

The sole survivor of a brutal massacre alerted Mexican authorities to a bloody scene at a remote ranch in Tamaulipas after stumbling into a military checkpoint Monday.

Mexican Marines with helicopter support were directed by the wounded survivor to a ranch roughly 90 miles from the Texas/Mexico border. As the Marines moved in, gunmen opened fire on the marines, leaving one marine and three suspected cartel gunmen killed by return fire while more suspected gunmen escaped by truck.

At the ranch, the military discovered the 72 bodies. According to the sole survivor, an Ecuadorean national, the victims were illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador and Brazil who were attempting to enter the USA illegally via the Texas/Mexico border.

Authorities also discovered a cache of arms and ammunition as well as a number of trucks painted to look like military vehicles at the crime scene. The perpetrators are suspected to be from Los Zetas, the one-time enforcers for the Gulf cartel comprised mainly of former soldiers and police officers, who have also been extorting, kidnapping and murdering illegal immigrants that transit through their territory en route to the USA.
Earlier this year, the Zetas and Gulf Cartel were locked in a bloody turf war to secure lucrative smuggling routes through northeastern Mexico. However, the Zetas have been known to kidnap and ransom migrants or press them into service as drug couriers or prostitutes.

UPDATE- 8/27: The lead investigator in the massacre and an unnamed policeman from the nearby town of San Fernando have reportedly disappeared. There were unconfirmed reports circulating in the Mexican press early Friday that the bodies of the two men were found dumped by the side of the road near where the 72 migrants were massacred.
Speaking of the Mexican press, two car bombs were set off in Ciudad Victoria on Friday with one of them targeting the local Televisa TV station [NYSE: TV]. There were no reports of casualties, but the station lost its signal for several hours. The other car bomb was apparently targeting a transit center.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sports Chowdah With A Chance of Sprinkles- Mariners On the Rocks @ Fenway, Bittersweet Lou; Trouble in Strasburg? Vin-Comprable

RED SOX: Well, after winning three out of the last four games at Fenway, mother nature decided to put a damper on Boston's modest winning streak Tuesday night. So tonight's game will be made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on Wednesday. Josh Beckett (3-3; 6.67 ERA) gets the start against David Pauley (2-4; 3.70 ERA) in the day game while Jon Lester (13-8; 3.26 ERA) goes up against Felix Hernandez (9-10; 2.51 ERA) in the nightcap.

Clay Buchholz got the W in Sunday's weekend sereis finale against the Blue Jays, pitching 6 shutout innings, striking out seven and allowing five base hits and three walks. Adrian Beltre started off the scoring with an RBI double to left in the bottom of the 5th and came home when Bill Hall homered. Victor Martinez and Bib Papi followed that up with RBI singles of their own in the bottom of the 8th to make it a 5-0 game. Papelbon had Sunday afternoon off and Felix Dubront came on for two innings worth of work to close out the game.

On Monday night, Seattle got off to the early 1-0 lead in the third when Ryan Langerhans came home on Jed Lowrie's throwing error. In the bottom of the 5th, Marco Scutaro would get a 2-RBI single off of Mariners starter Doug Fister while JD Drew would drive in another run to make it 3-1. The Mariners got both runs back in the top of the 6th with Casey Kotchman's 2-RBI single off of Lackey to tie things up at 3-3. However, the Sox would reagin the lead with another Scutaro 2-RBI single followed by a Victor Martinez sac-fly to make it a 6-3 game.

Lackey worked eight whole innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, two walks and striking out 10. Since it was still a save situation, Papelbon came on to work the top of the 9th, giving up a leadoff single to Adam Moore before getting the next three batters out for the 6-3 Red Sox win.

OTHER SOX NEWS: Boston's highly anticipated reunion with Johnny Damon will have to wait, as the Tigers outfielder declined to accept being picked up by the Red Sox after being placed on waivers by Detroit. Damon had indicated that he was leaning towards staying with the Tigers from the beginning and had a no-trade clause that he declined to waive. In his first year in Detroit, Damon has been batting .272 with 7HR and 41 RBIs in 111 games so far.

ELSEWHERE: Cubs manager Lou Piniella stepped down Sunday afternoon after a 16-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Last month, Piniella indicated that he would retire at the end of the season, citing family concerns. The deteriorating health of his 90 year old mother is believed to have played a role in hastening his retirement.

Also this weekend, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully announced that he was returning to the booth for a 62nd season. The team announced that Scully would be calling the play by play for the Dodgers home games as well as road games against NL West opponents- similar to an arrangement that's already been in place for the last few seasons.
“The love of the game still produces goose bumps. That might be my thermometer,” he said. “Every time there’s a good play, the other night when the kid at second base threw the ball to first behind his back, I had goose bumps like it was the first big league game I’d ever seen.

“I went home thinking, `Holy mackerel, it’s still deep inside of me, this love for the game.’ I’m so blessed.”
Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg went back on the 15-day DL Tuesday after leaving the 5th inning of Saturday's game against the Phillies with what's believed to be a strained tendon in his right forearm. The rookie fireballer is slated to undergo further testing on Thursday.

NFL: Brett Favre is back with the Minnesota Vikings. Favre lasted exactly all of 4 plays, getting a 13 yard pass off to Adrian Peterson in Minnesota's 10-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chilean Miners Found Alive and Well 17 Days After Mine Collapse

33 workers missing and feared dead after an Aug. 5th mine collapse in northern Chile were discovered alive and well by rescue workers over the weekend.

At a news conference with family member of the miners outside the San Jose copper and gold mine near Copiapo, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced that the miners had been found alive and well in an underground shelter and were able to pass a note through a grapefruit-sized hole to rescuers. The note Piñera displayed during his conference simply read "All 33 of us are fine in the shelter". Rescuers were able to lower a camera through the hole, which showed many of the miners shirtless and waving at the cameras.

The news came as rescuers and loved ones were giving up hope that the trapped be would be found and was cause for celebrations throughout the country, even as the good news was tempered with warnings that it could take up to 4 months to safely extract the miners.

While rescuers are working to shore up the smaller hole with which they can use to drop food, water, medicine and microphones down, details are emerging about the trapped miners' ingenuity in which they used a bulldozer to provide a canal of fresh water and used power from a truck's engine to rig a makeshift lighting system.

A specialized drill loaned by the state-run CodelCo is expected to take 3-4 months to reach the men. Chile's mining minister Laurence Goldborne said that rescuers would have to proceed cautiously in order to avoid triggering another collapse

In the meantime, two smaller shafts will be dug to further accommodate ventilation and communication with the surface. Authorities plan on sending microphones down so the trapped miners can communicate with loved ones on the surface.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Update: Pelsoi Wants Mosque Opponents Investigated (Dibs on Being Miss USA's Cellmate!); NY-NJ Hardhats Pledge Park 51 Work Boycott

Well, it didn't take long for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to weigh in on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, and in true Pelosi fashion she had effortlessly managed to come down on the wrong side of the issue. And I'm not talking Obama's tepid but condescending support for the Park51 project by pointing out the backers have a Constitutionally protected right to set up shop adjacent to Ground Zero. Get a load of what she had to say in a KCBS interview earlier this week:

There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,”
Wait a sec.....we're supposed to be getting paid for opposing the mosque? And here I was opposing it pro-bono like a complete and utter chump!

I wonder if Speaker Pelosi is going to start with notorious right wing shill and hatemonger Howard Dean who spoke out against the proposed Park 51 mosque and cultural center on Wednesday:
“This is something that we ought to be able to work out with people of good faith," Dean said in an interview with WABC radio.

"We have to understand that it is a real affront to people who’ve lost their lives, including Muslims.

"That site doesn’t belong to any particular religion … So I think a good reasonable compromise could be worked out without violating the principle that people ought to be able to worship as they see fit.”
Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also came out against the mosque earlier this week, although the cynic in me naturally wonders if he would've been as vocal in his opposition if he wasn't up for re-election in a closely contested race in the Silver State.

The reigning Miss USA, 24 year old Rima Fakih of Dearborn, MI, also weighed in on the controversy last week.
Ms. Fakih said in an interview with Inside Edition that she objected to the mosque being so close to Ground Zero. "We should be more concerned with the tragedy than the religion" she told the interviewer.Nine times out of ten, I don't really hold the opinions of beauty pageant contestants in high regard (unless it's the bodacious and kick-ass Katrina Hodge), but Rima and her family are practicing Muslims who emigrated to the USA from Lebanon when she was a child, so that gives her opinion a little more weight than the run-of-the-mill 'I'd wish for World Peace' boilerplate response from many contestants.

I'm actually a little surprised she spoke out on the matter, since nude pictures, loaded questions by Perez Hilton and bouts of kleptomania notwithstanding, contestants typically try and avoid controversy. Also, the default argument for Mosque supporters seems to be "If you don't support the Park 51 mosque, then you're just a semi-literate bigot!", ironically failing to realize that the 1st Amendment is a two-way street.

This argument is not lost on the wife of Park 51 Imam Rauf, Daisy Khan was awfully quick to pull out the "WAH! We're victims of bigotry anti-semitism" card when being interviewed by terrorist-apologist hack Christiane Amanpour for ABC News' This Week on Sunday morning.
I think we are deeply concerned, because this is like a metastasized anti-Semitism. That's what we feel right now. It's not even Islamophobia, it's beyond Islamophobia. It's hate of Muslims. And we are deeply concerned. You know, I have had, yesterday had a council with all religious -- Muslim religious leaders from around the country, and everybody is deeply concerned about what's going on around the nation.

Imam Rauf himself has been on a US State Department-sponsored trip to the Persian Gulf and Middle East for the last few weeks.

My God! Nobody's sold you for $1 yet!?
But fear not! Not only has a snide and increasingly irrelevant mainstream media has come out in full support of the mosque, but has also taken to telling Americans that we need to just 'get over' 9/11 and that we don't appreciate the wisdom and genius of our current Commander in Chief.
The president also bought "Freedom," a new novel by Jonathan Franzen about a dysfunctional family in America. This is apt, since Mr. Obama is the head of the dysfunctional family of America -- a rational man running a most irrational nation, a high-minded man in a low-minded age.

The country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown, with the right spreading fear and disinformation that is amplified by the poisonous echo chamber that is the modern media environment.

The dispute over the Islamic center has tripped some deep national lunacy. The unbottled anger and suspicion concerning ground zero show that many Americans haven't flushed the trauma of 9/11 out of their systems -- making them easy prey for fearmongers.
Oh no! If only our intellectual betters like Maureen Dowd could rescue us from the 'fearmongers' and we could go back to our sedative spiked sippy-cups of Kool-Aid, plop ourselves down in front of the boob tube and listen to Amanpour remind us of what a horrible, racist nation the United States is with every syllable.

Again, the notion that the controversy surrounding the proposed mosque and imam was ginned up solely for the benefit of the GOP seems to overlook the fact that the Republicans would be better off running against incumbent Democrats on issues like the economy, unemployment, increased government spending or Afghanistan.

People are pissed, and the more this current Administration, the Democrats, the media or select grievance groups tries browbeating them into silence, the more pissed they get.

Supporters and opponents of the mosque gathered in two separate rallies on Sunday in lower Manhattan- the opponents apparently outnumbering the supporters.

Elsewhere, the New York Daily News is reporting that a growing number of Union construction workers will avoid the former Burlington Coat Factory building that is the focal point of the Park 51 mosque. Brooklyn construction worker Andy Sullivan created a 'Hard Hat Pledge' on his blog where suppliers, construction and trade workers and others vow not to work on the project should it remain in its current location.

[Hat tip Weasel Zippers; Jammie Wearing Fool; Lonely Conservative; Woman Honor Thyself]

Wyclef Jean Left off of Ballot for Upcoming Haitian Elections; Plans to Appeal

Given how Wyclef Jean has run Yele Haiti, it's probably best that he was left off of the ballot. I suspect that governing a state- even a failed state- requires far more effort than a few months of gimmickry and publicity stunts while campaigning.

Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has said he will appeal against a ruling that he cannot run in Haiti's presidential election.

Haiti's electoral commission said that Mr Jean was ineligible to stand as the Haitian constitution requires candidates to have lived in the country for five years prior to an election.

The 40-year-old singer lives in the US.

But he argues that his role as a roving ambassador for Haiti since 2007 exempts him from the residency requirement
The comission made its ruling on Friday, and a statement issued saying that while he disagreed with their opinion, he would accept their ruling. However, Wyclef Jean tweeted over the weekend that his legal team would appeal the electoral comission's ruling.

Haiti's presidential elections were scheduled for February 28, 2010. However, after the devestating Magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck on January 12th, it was decided to move the polling date back to at least November 28. As many as 230,000 were feared killed in the quake.

Candidates will also be running for ten senate seats and 98 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Swelterin' Sports Chowdah Update; Jay Walkingoff in The Fens; Rocket Trouble

After dropping the final game of the 3-game series at Arlington, TX last weekend, the Sox went back to Fenway and played host to the visiting Angels, winning 2 out of 3 games before facing the always-troublesome Toronto Blue Jays.

Let's just say that Friday night's 16-2 ass kicking at the hands (and bats) of the Blue Jays was not how a team trying to chase down two division opponents for a playoff berth wasn't an ideal start.

Saturday's game would go a little better for Boston, but it would need to be decided in extras. Tonight's game pitted Daisuke Matsuzaka against Ricky Romero and Victor Martinez got the scoring started in the bottom of the 3rd when he had a 2-RBI single that plated Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro.

In the top of the 4th, John McDonald had an RBI double that plated Aaron Hill. Lyle Overbay triding scoring from 2nd, but was tagged out at the plate after a collision with Victor Martinez to make it 2-1 Boston.

Martinez would bring in a third run in the bottom of the 5th after Scutaro and JD Drew got on base with back to back singles w/one away. After Big Papi struck out, Adrian Beltre would bring home JD Drew on an RBI single before Mike Lowell struck out.

Boston's 4-1 lead was short lived, though, as Jose Bautista led off with a single and Vernon Wells doubled immediately afterwards, with C John Buck hitting a sac-fly deep enough to plate Bautista from 3rd. After getting Aaron Hill to pop out, Overbay belted a homer to deep right to make it a 4-4 game.

The score would remain deadlocked until extras, with Bard and Papelbon coming out of the pen after Dice-K's 8 innings of work. With Casey Jansen on the mound for Toronto in the bottom of the 11th, Jed Lowrie hit a 2-2 offering into the stands in deep right-center field for the solo shot and walkoff 5-4 win.

The rubber game is set to take place tomorrow, with Toronto's Shaun Marcum (11-6; 3.69 ERA) going up against Clay Buchholz (14-5; 2.36 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM Easter, 10:35 AM Pacific.

OTHER SOX (DL) NEWS: Well...that didn't take long. If you had a feeling Pedroia might've been brought back up off the DL too quickly, you're probably right. The Boston 2B started in all of two games this week before going back on the DL. No timetable has been set for his estimated return.

There was a Jason Varitek sighting as well, as the team Captain was taking early BP with the team on Saturday night. Terry Francona said that the team, doctors and Varitek had a conference call earlier and came to the conclusion that while his broken foot from July 1 is healing nicely, 'Tek still isn't ready to come back yet.

Trade deadline acquisition Jarrod Saltalamacchia remains hospitalized with some sort of infection. Saltalamacchia was placed on the DL with some sort of infection in his lower right leg on Thursday and hospitalized. Francona reported that the infection is alot more localized and that doctors are still awaiting the results of some blood tests done earlier.

Hideki Okajima, who was on the 15-day DL earlier this month with a strained hamstring, gave up a hit in a scoreless inning of relief against the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, NY on Saturday afternoon.

Also down in Pawtucket, 1B Carlos Delgado went on the 7-day disabled list this week due to soreness in his left hip (his surgically repaired right hip hasn't been a problem so far, according to the team).

Catcher Kevin Cash was also sent down to Pawtucket for a rehab assignment after a hamstring problem. Instead of travelling with the team to Allentown, PA or Buffalo and Rochester, NY, it was decided to send Cash to single A Lowell of the New York-Penn league to continue rehabbing.

ELSEWHERE IN MLB: New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day DL with a left calf strain Saturday.

A Federal grand jury indicted Roger Clemens on perjury charges for allegedly giving false testimony to Congress about his use of steroids and HGH. A 6 count grand jury indictment claims that Clemens instructed a Congressional inquiry with 15 statements that were part of his testimony while under oath.

NFL Pre-Season: Pats beat Atlanta 28-10 on Thursday night. Wake me when the games count in the standings. I'm not paying attention to the contract melodrama surrounding Tom Brady at the moment either since I'm starting to think most of it is sound anf fury signifying nothing for the yammering heads on ESPN to prattle on about for some 20 minutes every weekday.

ESPN: Speaking of which, ESPN 'personality' and AOL columnist Jay Mariotti was arrested in Los Angeles after officers responded to a 'domestic incident'. Mariotti was booked on an undiclosed felony charge and released on $50,000 bond early Saturday morning.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Iron Horse Roundup For August 2010

CHINA: Passengers stranded on a train that was stuck on a partially collapsed bridge Guanghan, Sechuan were successfully evacuated shortly before at least two of the cars plunged into the river below this week. Amateur video shot inside one of the cars shows passengers making frantic calls to loved ones as the bridge starts to buckle, and later on shows another train passing in the background on a separate bridge immediately in the background as the passenger cars are plunging into the river. Rescuers and railway officials were able to get the passengers out of the cars minutes before the first passenger car toppled into the floodwater-swollen river and came to rest at the abutments of nearby bridge that was still under construction.

Severe flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall have battered southern China leaving hundreds dead and hundreds missing this month alone.

HOLLAND: An out of control maintenance-of-way train crashed through a barrier and tore its way through 300 feet of parking lot and slicing a watersports shop in two before coming to a stop in the town square in Stavoren, Holland on July 26.

Dutch Daily De Telegraaf reported that the official in charge of safety on the maintenance of way train was a temporary worker that spoke no Dutch. Investigators said that the firm- Spoorflex Safety First- had a history of safety infractions over the last two years and suspended the contract.

IOWA: The volunteer fire departments in Atlantic and Anita, Iowa held a fundraiser that featured Iowa Interstate's Chinese made QJ 2-10-2 #7081 powering an excursion between the two southwestern Iowa towns. The excursion ran on the western portion of Iowa Interstate's former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific between Blue Island, IL (Chicagoland) and Omaha, NE (across the river from Omaha, NE) line.

Two trips were initially planned, but a third was added due to increased demand.

ALASKA: The Alaska Railroad announced that Kiewit Pacific Co. has been awarded the contract to provide general contracting and construction management services for the first phase of their planned 80-mile extension from the current end of the line between Fairbanks, AK and Delta Jct.

Kiewit is the same company that Alaska Native Coropration Suulutaq Inc subcontracted their $54 Million no-bid Napa Valley Wine Train Project to for less than $30 million earlier this year.

ELSEWHERE: The trailer for Unstoppable is now available online. The movie was flimed along portions of the Wheeling & Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and Western New York & Pennsylvania in western New York State using locomotives from Canadian Pacific and Wheeling & Lake Erie (modified to portray the fictitious Allegheny & West Virginia)

OK....not to get all Jay Sherman here, but it looks like Tony Scott took some of the Cop Show/movie tropes and applied them to a fictional railroad and its workers....["turn in your gun and badge fluorescent safety vest and walkie talkie!!"- NANESB!] Ah well....as I mentioned earlier, the movie is very loosely based on a real life runaway train incident in Ohio back in May 2001.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

President Obama Spends Weekend in Panama City, FL- Local Democrat Congressman Hardest hit

President Obama and the First Family spent part of this weekend down visiting some of the beaches along the Florida panhandle in an effort to encourage visitors to vacation along the Gulf Coast after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama started their Panama City Beach vacation talking with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons, Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, hotel manager Lee Ann Leonard, charter boat Capt. Gary Jarvis and restaurant owner Carolyn Holman.

Obama said he would dedicate most of his time in the region to listening, and at the end of the roundtable discussion he said he had learned firsthand how the oil spill has damaged the Panhandle’s economy...[snip]

Obama said he and his family — his daughter Sasha and the family dog, Bo, were along for the trip; his other daughter, Malia, is at camp — are visiting in hopes of attracting public attention to all the region has to offer
Apparently absent from the list of people Obama met with was the current Democrat Congressman who's district includes Panama City. Representative Allen Boyd (FL-2) was nowhere to be seen- the Panama City News Herald makes no mention of Boyd being present for Obama's visit and neither Boyd's campaign website or his official House of Representatives homepage make any mention of the Commander in Chief's weekend stopover as of Tuesday night. [You'd think that would be pretty newsworthy, wouldn't you? -NANESB!]

This seems to be keeping with a theme of Democrats who want to get elected, re-elected or run for a different office not wanting to be seen in the same ZIP code as Obama lately.

Unfortunately for Boyd, avoiding Obama didn't really help his numbers at all. The non-partisan Cook Political Report updated the statuses of 10 different Congressional races today- all of them favoring the GOP to some extent. Among them- Boyd's district , which went from 'Leaning Democrat' to 'Toss Up'.

Obviously, I don't live in the district and Charlie Cook changing FL-2 to a 'tossup' so soon after Obama's Panama City visit could be a coincidence, but those seem less and less likely in an election year. Apparently dodging the President for one weekend isn't enough to make your constituents forget that you voted for Cap & Trade and 0bamacare.

Happy Birthday, Mae West! Early Talkie Bombshell Born on This Day in 1893

Born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, NY, Mae West got her start in Vaudeville and stage before moving on to the then relatively-new medium of the talking pictures.

She also was also a playwright and after penning a number of plays under the pseudonym Jane Mast, her 1926 play Sex earned her notoriety when the New York Police Department raided the theater and West was sentenced to 10 days jail time for indecency. She got two days knocked off her sentence for good behavior and the publicity around her arrest and sentencing helped her career.

In 1932, West was offered a motion picture contract by Paramount Pictures at the age of 38 and made her talkie debut in Night After Night. Her next film, She Done Him Wrong, paired her with a relatively unknown Cary Grant in 1933.

Besides her walk and her double-entendres, West is probably best known for her frequent run ins with censors over the Motion Picture Production Code. Since West would write or re-write lines for her charachters and her 1926 arrest over Sex basically put her on the map, the censors would reportedly go over her script with a fine-toothed comb. West reportedly got around this by placing particularly bawdy and attention-getting lines that she knew wouldn't make it past the MPPC censors so that they might overlook some of her more subtle and coy double entndres in the script.

Now that I think about it, the only Mae West film I ever saw was My Little Chickadee in which she shared top billing with WC Fields.

Reportedly the two lead actors couldn't stand each other, with West apparently being a teetotaller in real life and WC Fields living up to his on-screen lush persona. The 1940 film ends with Fields and West swapping their trademark lines, with WC's character urging West to "Come on up and see me sometime" to which West replies "I'll do that, my little chickadee".

[OK...technically the film ends with a giant 'THE END' on West's posterior as she's walking away from the camera, but let's not pick nits here- NANESB!]

West would later go on to infrequently appear on stage, screen and TV until her death in 1980.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Republican Study Committee: "These Voices Don't Speak For the Rest of Us"

This video comes courtesy of Republican Study Committee chair Tom Price (GA-6) and overlays an earlier speech of Ronald Reagan against some of the Democrats in the White House, Congress and Senate over the last 18 months pretty effectively.

I think this should be required viewing for not just conservatives or independents, but anybody who still thinks President Obama, the Senate or the House of Representatives is doing a fine job. Just like the President himself said during the 2008 campaign and last year's healthcare debate- "Get in their faces." Should the defenders of this Administration or Congress start sputtering and whining about how those quotes are 'taken out of context', point out that the full context is even more damning. Those are THEIR words, raw, uncut and far more sinister than any inartful gaffe by the likes of Bush or Palin- and they are the ones who have held the reigns of power virtually unchecked and now have to defend their records to we the people. If they have a problem with it, then maybe should've thought of that when they were running for office. Memo to liberals- You've pretty much had your way for the last 18 months. The 9.5% unemployment rate, record levels of spending and the record high number of US and allied casualties in Afghanistan last month? This is happening on your watch. Republican obstructionism has nothing to do with it, since the GOP doesn't even have the numbers to block whatever invasive, crappy job-killing legislative agenda items you might come up with. I suppose these words could be dismissed as those of your typical angry white male, but to be honest....if you aren't angry, you aren't paying attention. November cannot come fast enough. [Hat tip- Ace of Spades]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

President Obama Walks Back Comments Supporting Ground Zero Mosque; NY Democrats Scatter

Well damn- this issue had been brewing for a little while but you had to figure it was only a matter of time before the Vacationer-in-Chief stepped in it in some way, shape or form.

President Obama expressed support for a proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque that would be adjacent to Ground Zero during a White House dinner with guests marking the start of Ramadan on Friday. While addressing guests and the White House press pool, the President said:
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country, That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable"
Wow- so glad that all those problems regarding the US/Mexican border, the Deepwater Horizon spill, Afghanistan and the economy are now solved so that the President can give us vapid, condescending civics lessons with strawmen galore.

Naturally, many survivors and loved ones of those murdered nearly 9 years ago weren't too happy with what President Obama had to say.

Of course, to be fair, Obama was only following Mayor McCheese Bloomberg's lead. Bloomberg- the Mayor who won in a landslide over C Montgomery Burns- basically held a weepy press conference with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop earlier this month saying that if the 13-story touchdown dance kitty corner to Ground Zero Park51 Cultural Center/mosque wasn't built (adjacent to the site of Al Qaeda's most high-profile victory) then it would be a victory for Al Qaeda.

Yes, REALLY. Heck, Bloomberg apparently doesn't even care where the estimated US$100 million for the ambitious reconstruction project is coming from.

Personally, I'm against the idea of a mosque or Islamic cultural center setting up shop in the former Burlington Coat Factory building- a structure that was close enough to the World Trade Center site that the roof was damaged by falling debris. Columnist Charles Krauthammer outlined his opposition far more eloquently than I could mine, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

Although Imam Rauf and the Park51/Cordoba founders say the project is supposed to foster outreach and interfaith dialogue, figuratively poking the survivors and loved ones of those who were slain on 9/11 in the eye with a sharp stick isn't the best way to start off such an endeavor. And the more they persist on this particular venue, the more anybody with more than two functioning brain cells have to question their stated intentions. Hell, Governor Paterson sought a compromise where the state would aid the Park51/Cordoba project in finding a location elsewhere and that was rejected outright by the developers.

Ironically, it's the breathless, condescending whining and shrill cries of 'Racism!' from the Park51 cultural center/mosque's non-Muslim supporters that really convinced me. It seems these days, frantic cries of racism have become the last refuge of scoundrels...whether it comes to healthcare 'reform', the US/Mexican border, the Tea Party or this mosque. There's also the strawman that opponents of the Park51 cultural center/mosque are unfairly painting all muslims as potential terrorists, which is pretty rich considering how the left and their allies in the media and Democrat Party broadbrushed the Tea Party as exactly that- including Mayor McCheese Bloomberg himself.

I'm well aware that Imam Rauf and the Park51/Cordoba developers have the right to build the mosque where it is- but that doesn't mean they should. I'd be a little bit surprised if somebody who objected to the mosque didn't already try appealing to Rauf's better nature and explaining how this project would come off as gloating to the survivors and families of those slain on 9/11 and hinder moderate muslims who really were interested in interfaith dialogue or outreach. Rauf- who has a difficult time describing Hamas as a terrorist organization- seems hell-bent on going full speed ahead with the project.

So apparently my questions along the lines of 'In what fucking universe would this mosque or cultural center even remotely resemble a good idea?' becomes "Grrrrr!!! I hate the Constitution, Bill of Rights and brown people!! FENWAY SMASH PUNY HUMANS!!"

And as it turns out, the Park51/Cordoba developers may only own half the land on that parcel, with ConEd owning the other half. So when all is said and done, this could turn out to be sound and fury signifying nothing.

However, the opposition to Park51/Cordoba is hardly monolithic. A number of moderate muslims have come out against the idea, including the daughter of Iranian immigrants whose mother was killed in the attacks. The New York based Anti Defamation League- hardly a bastion of rightwing nutcases- has also opposed construction of a mosque at the current site.

But what is cause for alarm is the ease with which the Park51/Cordoba development has been breezing through the mountains of red tape in New York City. All while they're still finding human remains at Ground Zero.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (above), located beneath the Twin Towers, was destroyed in the attacks and is still waiting for funds and official approval to rebuild nearly nine years later. That's quite a contrast, isn't it?

While some of the more fringe critics of President Obama have claimed his support (however tepid) for the Park 51 cultural center/mosque is some sort of proof that he's a clandestine Muslim, I think his blithe, flippant disdain for the families who had loved ones murdered on 9/11 proves that he was in fact paying attention those 20 years as a parishioner at 'Reverend' Wright's Trinity United Church of Chirst.

Rev. Wright sermon on September 16, 2001
Even though President Obama tried walking back his comments from the Friday night dinner later that weekend, there may well be immediate political consequences to this. Fresh from dodging questions about Charlie Rangel, Empire State Dems seem remarkably mum on the President's opaque statements regarding the Park51/Cordoba mosque.

GOP candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives and Governor- almost all of them who are opposed to the mosque/cultural center as well- have seemingly been given yet another gift-wrapped issue with which the Administration (and by extension, the Democrat supermajority in the House and Senate) is at odds with much of the public.

The difference being that this time around, it could cost the Democrats dearly in what's normally a solidly dark-blue state.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sports Chowdah Update for August 10-14- Lone Star Heat Wave; Saints Come Marching In

RED SOX: The current road trip seemed to be getting off to such a promising start, first by splitting a 4-game series with the Yankees in the Bronx and the taking the first two from Toronto in the Rogers Centre. However, the Jays managed to avoid the sweep with 4-run bottom of the 9th on Thursday- with three of those runs coming off of Papelbon- for the 6-5 win over Boston.

On Firday the 13th, they were in Arlington, TX to take on the AL West leading Texas Rangers for the first of a 3-game weekend series. Despite an offensive explosion early from Boston in the form of a 7-run 4th inning, starter Josh Beckett got as far as 5 complete innings before the bullpen squandered the 8-6 lead to the Ranger's potent offense. Although JD Drew added a solo homer to the tally in the 7th, that wasn't enough insurance as Scott Atchison gave up a sac-fly and RBI double in the 7th to make it a one-run game and Ranger's DH Vlad Guerrero ran out an infield single that plated Josh Hamilton to make it a 9-9 game in the 8th and eventually force extra innings. DelCarmen and Papelbon would hold the Rangers scoreless for the 9th and 10th innings, but Nelson Cruz would belt a solo homer off of Tim Wakefield as the first batter in the bottom of the 11th for the Ranger's walk-off win.

So if last night was home run derby, and it was- Lowrie, Big Papi and Beltre had solo shots while JD Drew had two to his credit and Mitch Moreland, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young all went deep for Texas...not to mention Cruz's walk-off- then tonight's game can be described without any snark or hyperbole as a pitcher's duel and Lester adeptly filling in the role as Boston's 'stopper'.

Requisite Awesome Lester Photo courtesy AP
With the mercury pushing past 102 at the start time and bullpen needing some rest after the last two games, Lester didn't disappoint. Of course, Rangers starter Colby Lewis didn't give up a run until the top of the 5th inning on a JD Drew RBI single. Throughout the rest of the game, the Sox 1-0 advantage seemed insurmountable, with Lester going 8 whole shutout innings and throwing 109 pitches, allowing five hits (including a 1-out Nelson Cruz triple that he managed to work around in the 7th). However, given the inconsistent nature of the Sox bullpen and the explosive nature of the Ranger's bats (presently batting a team average of .275- tied with 2nd best in the AL), the desire for some insurance runs was perfectly understandable.

And that wish came true in the top of the 9th when 1B Mike Lowell worked a 9-pitch at bat into a leadoff double (which the Rangers announcers were convinced could've been a triple if it weren't for Lowell's deteriorating hip) off of Darren O'Day before reaching third on a Ryan Kalish single. Bill Hall then singled to bring home Lowell, snapping O'Day's club-record 29 scoreless innings pitched. Scutaro then hit a fly ball to center off of reliever Matt Harrison that probably was deep enough to bring in Lowrie from 3rd, except Texas OF Julio Borbon couldn't quite handle it on the fly- so instead of one home, two away and one out, it was one in, bases loaded with nobody out. Harrison would get out of the inning by getting JD Drew to ground into a double-play, intentionally walk Victor Martinez and then get Big Papi to ground out and end the inning.

With Bard and Papelbon being rested (not to mention their less-than-stellar outings Thursday and Friday), Scott Atchison was sent in to close it out. He got Micheal Young to line out to start off the inning, but Josh Hamilton belted a solo homer to deep center and Vlad Guerrero reached on yet another headfirst slide into first base.

Not satisfied with the way things were developing, Francona sent in Felix DuBront to relieve Atchison. Guerrero helped DuBront out considerably by attempting an ill-advised steal of 2nd base where Victor Martinez threw him out from home. Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland would strike out looking to end the ballgame and give DuBront his first Major League save.

The rubber game in this weekend's series will feature Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-3; 4.09 ERA) against CJ Wilson (10-5; 3.30)

OTHER SOX NEWS: 'Hey- where's Jacoby Ellsbury?' you might be asking. The answer is 'Back on the 15-Day DL'....this comes after he collided with Texas pitcher Tommy Hunter while running to 1st during Friday night's game (Friday the 13th, no less). Ellsbury was back in Boston undergoing MRI and CT scans on Saturday and was diagnosed with bruising on the left side of his ribcage. Friday night's game was only his 9th of the season after two seperate stints on the DL stemming from an April collision with Adrian Beltre in Kansas City.

In other DL news, Dustin Pedroia began the first of what was expected to be a 2-game rehab stint in AAA Pawtucket on Saturday. Pedroia went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk in Pawtucket's 6-4 win over the Buffalo Bisons on Saturday night.

Carlos Delgado is also down in Pawtucket, batting .250 with three hits in 12 official at-bats over the last 4 games.

NFL: Whaddaya know? Preseason's here!

Thursday's preseason game against the defending Super Bowl New Orleans Saints didn't count, so naturally it had a much different outcome than that one-sided beatdown on Monday Night Football last season.

Although he's reportedly healing nicely, WR Wes Welker sat this one out, which was probably just as well, seeing that New Orleans RB Lynelle Hamilton tore an ACL during practice on Wednesday and P Thomas Morstead was knocked out of the game on the first play, tackling Pat's WR Julian Edelman after a 40-yard kickoff return. Pat's RB Laurence Maroney had 30 yards and 2 TD's on the night.

Pats win this one 27-24 at Gilette on the boot of Gostkowski with 53 seconds left in regulation and will face the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome next on Thursday. The regular season kicks off with a home game in Foxboro against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, September 12.

[Don't get me wrong- I'm glad football season is right around the corner, but I can't get that worked up about the games until they start counting in the standings- NANESB!]