Monday, August 31, 2015

The State of the Race — Republicans

Trump. Trump. Trump.

Sound familiar.

Yet it is. The Donald is still in first place in the recent round of polls. Right around 28% according to the Quinnipiac Poll. The next closest challenger is at 12%. And the person in second place is Ben Carson. All of the establishment candidates are in single digits.

Trump’s poll numbers continue to go up. The collapse that everyone in the media and punditry and the Republican Party seem to be wrong, at least so far. Trump continues to suck all the oxygen out of the room. He continues to be the main political story on the news. On the MSNBC nightly talk shows there are at least a couple of stories on each show every night. Trump probably doesn’t need to run any sort of campaign ads because of all the free publicity he gets.

That publicity means his poll numbers will in all likelihood remain high. And that means he will be in the second debate which is a little less than three weeks away. So he’ll be the center of attention again. It will be interesting who else gets to be on stage with him. But no doubt about it he will be center to everything.

Some in the media are actually starting to take him seriously. Personally I think he’s just one more clown in the Republican clown bus but he is and has been since he announced ahead in the polls. And that cannot be ignored. But I don’t seem him going away anytime soon. I think he will be around for the first contests.

It is time the media cover him in a more serious way. The editorializing in the straight news stories, especially on TV, need to stop. There are slight and very subtle digs against the Trump campaign in the news coverage. I saw in one report a correspondent refer to it as the Trump show. I can’t imagine them saying the same thing about Jeb Bush’s campaign. They wouldn’t call it a show.

Now that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asking tough questions. The standard line from Trump I’ll be the greatest president ever or fill in the blank on whatever issue he’s talking about. The obvious question is how would he do that. On immigration how would you deport all those people, where would the money come from to undertake such a program. And so on. They are starting to do that but the Donald just brushed them aside. Which of course the people who support Trump love to see because they hate the media.

The talking heads all see Trump as a fad. A summer fling that will fade away once fall and serious campaigning begins. That may indeed be true. But this could be a different type of campaign. Where candidates have access to huge sums of money that allows them to stay in for as long as the money lasts. It might also be the campaign where the far right decides they no longer are going to listen to the Republican establishment. This time around they will nominate a candidate to their liking. That just might be Trump. There are some problems with Trump and his positions that will come up with this group. But right now they are so pissed at the Republican establishment they just want to see that establishment suffer.

This has happened because the Republican establishment has made all sorts of promises to the far right that they have not been able to keep. Case number one is repealing Obamacare. Over and over again they promised Obamacare would go away. But the reality is they knew this was not going to happen. They made this promise to get votes. They did not make it because they thought they would be able to accomplish it. And that’s just one of the issues the establishment has failed on. Trump is the way for the people who feel they’ve been fed a line to get some pay back.

The question is of course how long can Trump keep going. It seems normal political events have little if any impact on his campaign. My feeling he is it for the long haul. And that should make establishment Republicans very nervous.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seeing Back to Back Wins by the Nats

One of the few times this year that I've been to back to back games where the Nationals have won both games.

Going to two games in a row is a little easier to do on a weekend then during the week.

Let's cover Saturday night's game first.

It was of course 80s night as I've posted about previously. One of my favorite pictures, Jordan Zimmermann, was on the mound. No matter what happens Zimmermann seems to be unflappable. Of course one of his best games was the no-hitter from last year. But I enjoy all of his games. He just seems like a rock. Not to say he hasn't had problems this year.

But what happened in the 4th sums up just the type of picture he is:
In the fourth inning of the Washington Nationals’ 5-1 win over Miami on Saturday night, Marlins third baseman Martin Prado lined a ball back at Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who collapsed to the ground, trying to catch it as he fell. He missed it, and as he lay on the ground, he slammed his glove against the mound in frustration. He thought he should have caught the ball, physics be damned.

Nationals Manager Matt Williams and trainer Lee Kuntz came out to check on Zimmermann, who waved them off dismissively. He now had two men on with no one out, and far bigger problems than a bump or bruise. Undeterred by the shot, unhappy about its outcome, he retired the next three hitters.

Moments like those are typical Zimmermann, unchanged by tribulations, unwilling to excuse failure or be consumed by it. He has endured a few more ups and downs this season than last, and he maneuvered around a few through seven one-run innings Saturday night.
That sums up the pitching. The offense was in high gear as well. Three home runs for the Nats. One by Ryan Zimmerman in the 2nd. Another by Clint Robinson with Anthony Rendon on base. And the next batter after Robinson, Ian Desmond, homered at well.

Ryan Zimmerman at home

Clint Robinson rounding third on his way home.

Ian Desmond.

A great night for Nationals' bats.

Sunday's game was much more dramatic in that the Nats were down early. Three runs were scored by the Marlins in the first inning. They added another run in the 4th. But the Nats refused to stay down.

Jayson Werth had a fantastic day. He homered in the 3rd inning to bring the Nats to within one run. In the 5th inning he doubled driving in a run. Clint Robinson came off the bench to pinch hit in the 7th and hit a home run with Danny Espinsoa on base. That was all the offense would need to win 7-4.

The only down side to the win is that Stephen Strasburg left the game with upper-back discomfort.

As to where they stand in the race against the Mets and the seemingly endless series of injuries I think the Post sums it up pretty well:

“We don’t have a choice,” said Clint Robinson, one of the unexpected contributors the Nationals have required all season, who homered for the second straight game. “We’re here trying to win ballgames. We don’t have time to sit there and try to get comfortable, try to massage our egos and all that kind of stuff. We’ve got to go out and win ballgames.”

Robinson hit his first career pinch-hit home run in Sunday’s win, in which all eight starters and two pinch hitters — Robinson and Matt den Dekker — chipped in with hits. After a season of waiting to be whole again, after a few weeks of readjusting to being that way, these Nationals are now the team they will be in September. No reinforcements are coming to save them now. If they are to come back in the National League East, those starters and those bench players must be the ones to do it.

Next up a three game series against the best team in baseball the Cardinals. They need to win at least a game if not two. If they are swept by the Cardinals, the Nats have to hope the Mets have a lose or two.

Just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

More from 80s Night at Nats' Park

The Nats switched up the player's pictures for 80s night. Each one of them was put in an iconic movie or TV show or in one case an album cover. By far the funniest one was of Danny Espinosa.

Here they are.

80s Night at Nats Park

Last night was 80s night at Nats Park. Lots of 80s music. The presidents dressed up in 80s gear or at least attempting to. Here are some of their pictures. (Finally got the pictures to load.)

Teddy and his leg warmers. All the presidents had them on.

Attempting to Add Pictures to a Post

My intention was to do a post about the Nats game from last night. It was 80s night and I was going to upload some pictures of the presidents in their 80s outfits.

When I click on the icon to upload pictures, all I get is a blank screen. I've been trying on and off for the past twenty minutes or so to get this to work. I closed out of the screen I was working on and tried it again. No luck. I quit out of the browser I was in and then went back into the program. Again no luck. Tried another browser still no luck.

I clicked on the complain to Google tab in the lower right hand corner of the blogger page. Put in the information. At the end you get although we can't respond to particular problems we'll use this information to make our products better in the future.

Wow that is just so helpful in solving my problem. Oh wait it isn't at all.

So I'll continue trying on and off for the next hour or so. But I have to get ready to head out to another game after that.

I have to say less than impressed by the response.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Looking for a Forever Furry Feline Friend — This Adoption Event is for You!

 My friend, Yolanda, is a volunteer with the Washington Humane Society. She's part of a cat adoption fair this Sunday.

The fair will be at Annie’s Ace Hardware, 1240 Upshur St NW, this Sunday from 12pm – 3pm.

So if you are looking for a furry friend and companion, stop by the fair this Sunday and see all the wonderful cats ready to be adopted.

More about the Humane Society:

The WHS Mission
The Washington Humane Society inspires and creates a community where all animals have secure homes and where people and animals live together with joy and compassion.

About WHS
The Washington Humane Society (WHS), the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, has been the area’s leading voice for animals since 1870. As the open-access shelter in the Nation’s Capital, the Washington Humane Society provides comfort and care to over 43,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering for homeless animals, a comprehensive adoption program and off-site adoption events to find new families for the animals in our care, low-cost spay and neuter for pet owners and other local organizations, an aggressive TNR (trap-neuter-return) program for feral cats (CatNiPP), investigations of each allegation of animal cruelty or neglect through the Humane Law Enforcement, lost and found services to help reunite lost pets with their families, pet behavioral advice to help resolve issues that lead to animals being relinquished to shelters, working with breed rescue groups to find more homes for more animals, volunteer and foster programs to allow other members of the community to help us help more animals and an award winning Humane Education program that teaches kindness to animals to the next generation of animal lovers.

Look how cute those guys are in the poster!

You can also follow the Petworth Monthly Cat Adoption Event on Facebook.

2Political Podcast Episode 110

2Political Podcast Episode 110 is now available. You can listen to it or download it from the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode (you can access the five most recent episodes from the list on the right side of my blog).

We start today by talking about some fun things, like Jason’s recent visit to the National Building Museum (which Arthur didn’t know existed) and their “The Beach” exhibit.

Our first topic today is “The Hair Donald”. Arthur thinks that pundits still don’t get how much Trump speaks to the base of the Republican Party. Jason points out how much of the conventional wisdom about the race is wrong. The Republican Party created all its own problems—and it has a lot of problems.

And, we managed to make this episode shorter!

Links for this episode:
National Building Museum
At the Beach at the National Building Museum – All Jason’s posts on the exhibit
“Charles Koch scolds the 1 percent: The plutocrat’s surprising moment of clarity” – from Salon
“The missing clown” Arthur’s blog post on the 17th Republican Clown Candidate
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two Games in Two Nights — Two Very Different Results

A Busy Baseball Schedule

Two games in a row. Tuesday was suite night. Wednesday part of the regular packages of games. A little hard to get things up on the blog in a timely manner. This composite post will have to do. I’m writing this part of it on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday’s game was great. Due in no small part to the fact that they won the game. (Also the fact it was suite night for the season ticket holder group I'm part of.) Also it was great to see Ryan Zimmerman hit a grand slam with two outs no less.

Things got off to a rocky start when in the second inning the Padres got a two run homer off of Stephen Strasburg. But the Nats responded in the bottom of the inning with a two run shot of their own by Wilson Ramos.

But that was the only problem Strasburg had for the night. He had 102 pitches, 65 for strikes. He struck out 7 and had one walk.

Final score 8-3. It was a much needed win because the Mets one on Tuesday night as well. To get a little perspective on this win for the Nats, this was their third win in a row. It was the first time they’ve been able to do that since the All Star break. And that’s the main reason they are 5 1/2 games behind the Mets.

In another move last night, showing the Nats are taking the Mets seriously, something that should have been sooner, the rotation has been adjusted:

the Nationals adjusted their rotation following Monday’s off-day so that their big three pitchers — Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg — can face the Mets on Sept. 7-9 in Washington.
If Tuesday showed what’s gone right with the Nationals’ season last night showed what’s gone wrong.

The team seemed listless until the 7th when they got things going. But the last two innings they were back to form. There were some major opportunities missed to be sure. In the third inning:
Escobar made a critical throwing error. Matt Kemp drove in two runs when he smacked a low inside fastball into the right field gap for a double. Two pitches later, Gonzalez gave up a two-run home run to Justin Upton, who has struggled on the road and against left-handers this season.
In the 6th inning with two outs, after already scoring a run, with runners on second and third, Ian Desmond struck out. He had another horrible night. He was at bat four times and struck out on three of them. Another lost opportunity.

But the strangest at-bat had to be in the bottom of the 7th. The Nats had scored three runs (one of them was walked in no less with bases loaded). There was one out. Rendon is on third. Harper is on first. A hit ties the game for sure. Knowing Harper’s speed he might be able to score from first base. I’ve seen it happen before.

Then this happened:
The first three pitches from San Diego reliever Marc Rzepczynski to Yunel Escobar in the biggest spot of Wednesday’s game weren’t close. With runners on the corners in the seventh and the Washington Nationals trailing by a run, all three sinking fastballs crossed the plate low. Conventional baseball wisdom is to take the next pitch. But Nationals Manager Matt Williams preaches aggression and often allows his team to swing away in such situations.

Escobar swung — and grounded into an inning-ending double play, extinguishing the Nationals’ best rally of the night in a 6-5 loss to the Padres.
These two games are a microcosm of what the Nats season has been like. Great play one day and then poor day the next. Great batting one day and then poor choices and strike outs at the worst possible time.

The playoffs are still possible. But in order to do that they have to win the division. Their record is too poor to get in as a wild card (unless somehow they win 90 percent of their remaining games). But more important as my friend Mark said is that the Mets have to loose a few games (while the Nats win a few games). If that doesn’t happen it won’t matter how many wins the Nats get.

I’m going to try and remain optimistic. But most of all I’m going to enjoy the rest of the season no matter what.

Anyone for a Rendon Gnome

Ryan Zimmerman's grand slam!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Finally the Line-up the Nats were Supposed to Have

Finally the Nats have the starting line-up they were supposed to have at the start of the season. 

Hopefully it will do great things. Go Nats!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Linus and the Blanket Saga, Part I

A major theme running through Peanuts is Linus and his blanket. Here's is yet another adventure that Linus has with it. Here Linus tries to out whit his "blanket-hating grandma." Things don't work out exactly as planned.

Linus and the Blanket Saga, Part II

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to Nats Park

It's always fun to get back to the park. 

But it's mixed with concern that the post season is rapidly slipping away from the Nats. They got creamed last night by a team that stinks and that's being kind. 

Not sure what is wrong with the Nats. They were operating on full throttle in May and June. But since then they have been horrible. They are 6-14 in August. They are five games back from the Mets. And they don't seem to have much life in them. They had just two wins in a row once this month. They need to get hot and get hit now. I'm not sure they have it in them. The only way they get in the playoffs is to win the division. 

What makes me sad is they really are a good team. A very talented team. A few years back, when they lost 100 games two years in a row, you knew the talent wasn't there. But slowly they got better. This year the talent is there and yet. 

As my friend Mark said the replacements were playing better than the starters. The starters came back (Rendon, Zimmerman and Werth) and they have been very rusty. One can only imagine what shape the Nats would be in without Bryce Harper. 

Perhaps tonight will be the start of a hot streak like they had in May. 

One can only hope. 

Odds and Ends

Bag Check at Metro

I was on the way to work yesterday. At the Rhode Island Metro stop the Metro police were conducting a "random" bag check. I was stopped and was told it would only take 30 seconds. Like all things associated with Metro it took longer than that.

My bag was swabbed and the swab was put into a machine to check to see if it had any gun residue on it (at least I'm assuming that what the bag was checked for). Of course nothing was found and I was on my way.

I'm not sure what or how this keeps anyone safe. Not everyone was stopped. And if you did have something in your bag that was bad you could just turn around before you entered the system. If I was a bad person with something bad in my bag, I could have turned around and walked to the Brookland Metro stop and gotten on Metro from there.

To me this is Kabuki theater at it's best by Metro. Does anyone really think this will stop a terrorist or some other bad guy from doing something on Metro? If they do then they are being foolish.

A better use of the Metro police time would be to actually be riding the system and protecting people. They might have a better chance of helping someone (say the guy who got stabbed to death on July 4 on a train) they doing this stupid bag check.

I am to Be Processed

The latest phone message scam that's hit my answering machine. Some woman, that sounds like an old battle axe, keeps calling and leaving messages. The message is that I am to be processed that day. For what is never made clear. If I want to avoid this from happening I need to call the following number. Again if I don't call I will be processed that evening.

Funny thing is I've been getting these calls for the past three weeks or so. That's the pattern with these types of calls. It was the same way when the "IRS" called me. They'll call for a few weeks then stop. A couple of months will go by and then they'll be right back calling again.

It is a nuisance. It is annoying. But I'm thinking does anyone really call the number. Do people really fall for this? Unfortunately the answer is that people do. There was a story about the IRS scam on one of the local news station. Someone was taken for thousands of dollars. I have to say I feel sorry for that person but I also think where's your common sense on something like this.

I thought just for fun some day I might do just that and see what happens. But then I think I have better things to do with my time.

I have carpet bettles

I discovered these little buggers in my linen closet the other day.

Gross to say the least. I've been washing like a crazy person. And vacuuming too. (I discovered a problem with the vacuum cleaner sigh. It no longer sucks.)

I might try and get some moth balls or something to try and keep them away. In the meantime, as I wash everything, I'm taking the time to throw some all sheets out. I've also discovered that I have a couple of incomplete sets of sheets. A top sheet without the fitted sheet (I still think the person who invented the fitted should be hunted down and hurt). Of the other way round.

The main problem is where to store everything as the sheets and towels and blankets get washed. I don't want to put them back in the linen closet until I figure out if I want to do something more than just vacuum. The upshot is laundry is piling up all over the place. See the pictures below.

Sheets on the stairs

Towels on the coffee table

And that's it for odds and ends today.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Last Pictures from Nationals at 10: Baseball Makes News

A few more pictures from the Nationals at 10: Baseball Makes News exhibit.

From the Post on the exhibit:
Over the span of 10 years, the Washington Nationals have gone from being a struggling team with such players as Brad Wilkerson and Livan Hernandez taking the field at the decrepit RFK Stadium to preseason World Series favorites led by Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. The key moments of the team’s remarkable transformation are explored in “Nationals at 10: Baseball Makes News,” a small exhibit of 10 artifacts and pieces of baseball history opening Friday on the second floor of the Newseum.

The show, arranged chronologically, is a whistle-stop tour of the Nationals’ greatest moments, and it plays out just like the game footage that screens on a loop above the display. There are lineup cards from the first Nationals game, in Philadelphia (Terrmel who?), and from the last game at RFK Stadium; the jacket and jersey President Obama wore while throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park; items related to the mega-hyped debuts of Harper and Stephen Strasburg; a champagne bottle popped in the locker room after the team clinched the 2012 NL East title; and the home plate from Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 season.

Baseball purists may roll their eyes at the inclusion of the Presidents Race — images of the racing presidents (minus newcomer Calvin Coolidge) are projected on the floor, and a glass case holds the golden sneakers Teddy Roosevelt wore when he finally won his first race in October 2012.

That nod to Teddy seems to sum up the feel-good vibe of the exhibit. You might think the Nationals have always been perennial postseason favorites. Those difficult early years, with six seasons under the .500 mark, are mostly glossed over. There’s nothing about how relentless preseason hype from Sports Illustrated and other prognosticators winds up crushing fans’ dreams by the time fall rolls around, and although you’ll see the jersey Jayson Werth was wearing when he crushed that homer in Game 4 of the 2012 National League Division Series, there’s no trace of the glove Drew Storen used when the Cardinals scored four runs in the top of the ninth in the following game.