Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last Call

Hey, it's always news in baseball when the rarest of the rare happens:  a perfect game.

Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfect game Saturday in a 4-0 win over the Mariners in Seattle.

Only 20 other pitchers have tossed perfect games, in which no opposing batter reaches base, in Major League history, according to

It was the first no-hitter of the 2012 season.

Humber threw 96 pitches, 67 for strikes, and struck out nine. The last batter he faced, Brendan Ryan, nearly spoiled the perfect game when he struck out but had to be thrown out at first when the ball got past Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

Until Humber's gem, Philadelphia's Roy Halladay had the most recent perfect game, on May 29, 2010, against Florida. Oakland's Dallas Braden had the American League's most recent perfect game, on May 9, 2010, against Tampa Bay. The last White Sox pitcher to throw a perfect game was Mark Buehrle against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009.

Pretty good if you ask me.  They play 2,000+ games in a season, and MLB's been going for over a century.  Only 21 perfect games, too.   Restores my faith in humanity, if only just a bit.

Edmonton, We Have A Problem

Stop me if this sounds familiar to you:  rich energy company interests are backing a young, female former media personality to lead the charge to the hard right on a platform that the federal government is immoral, that local government should have all the power, that natural resources should be exploited no matter what the environmental consequences are, and that climate science is a cruel hoax.  They've even managed to round up the most conservative, liberatarian elements of the anti-war left, too.

Such a winger insurrection at the state level is annoying, but in the Canadian province of Alberta, the parliamentary system means their version of the Teabaggers, the province's Wildrose Party, is leading in the polls and set to inflict some serious damage on the country.

The Wildrose Party, named after the province’s official prickly flower, was formed in 2008 amid growing disaffection with the Tories over fiscal and social policies, judged to be straying from its libertarian roots.

The scion of the ruling Progressive Conservatives was able to capture seven percent of the popular vote in elections that year, but failed to win a single seat in the Alberta legislature.
Four years on, the Wildrose Party is back, led by former journalist Danielle Smith and leading by seven percent in the polls.

The battle lines were drawn at the height of the last recession when the current Progressive Conservative government proposed hiking royalties paid by companies exploiting the oil sands, the third largest oil reserve in the world and a key energy supply to the United States.

“Well, what happened then, we saw all kinds of money from big oil and gas companies going to the Wildrose Party, big donations,” political scientist Bruce Foster of Calgary’s Mount Royal University told AFP.

The rest, as they say, could be history.

In the dying days of the election campaign, the Wildrose has faced a backlash in the media over racist, homophobic and bigoted public comments of its candidates, as well as ridicule over its platform debunking climate change science.

But it’s unclear if this has affected voting intentions.

Wildrose leader Smith responded to critics by saying that she is personally pro-choice on abortion and supports gay marriage, and vowed that a Wildrose government would not legislate on “sensitive moral issues.”

Sure.  Not until they get into power.  And Alberta becomes Texas overnight.

A Nun-Issue

(Reuters) - A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns' group said on Thursday it was "stunned" that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been "silent on the right to life" and had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank in its agenda.

It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by American bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops - "who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals" - is unacceptable, the report said.
In other words, shut up and do what the men tell you.  Not a surprising statement, considering the source, but maybe the nuns will come together and be heard.

Nuns spending too much time actually doing something to make the world a better place aren't falling into line, and that is a major problem.  They haven't stopped producing good works to jump through the hoops their superior men wish they would.  They dared to think instead of repeating what they are fed by their superiors.

That they were judged failures for failing to dive into human sexuality and family business says all I need to know.

While I'm not Catholic, I have known a few nuns in my life.  Each one was an awesome woman in her own right, balancing faith while keeping true to being a person just like any other.  Of course there are nun horror stories as well, but I want to say directly that I respect those women a lot for what they do, and what they put up with from the world in general.  The few nuns I have personally known were committed to working to bring goodness and demonstrate compassion by example.  Merely disagreeing is deemed unacceptable, imagine what might happen if these women tried to actively told the bishops to shove it up their pious little arses.

Crappy Day At School

WASHBURN, Mo. -- A mother is upset over over a classroom incident that left her kindergartner embarrassed.   A 6-year-old girl had an accident in her classroom, and her parents are pushing for policy changes.
"They told me that the teacher had asked her to go to the restroom before testing time," said mother Lisa Skidmore.
Skidmore says asking a young child to go to the bathroom on demand is next to impossible.

"You can't do that to a 6-year-old."
That's why, when her kindergartner told her teacher she had to go to the restroom during the test and wasn't allowed, Skidmore couldn't believe it.  Her little girl couldn't hold it.
It wasn't even a real test, it was a practice.  In order to prepare this poor child for the real thing, the teacher declined to let her use the restroom.  Un-freaking-believable.

I don't want to heap any more shame on this poor child and her family, but I want to emphasize a few things.  When she did have the accident, they still didn't do anything about it.  They gave her a trash bag to keep from making an even bigger mess.  I don't care what pop psychology says, that's the sort of thing that is humiliating for the rest of one's life, but especially right now.

How does a person in elementary education not understand that a six-year-old's control is limited, as is their ability to gauge when they will need to use the restroom?  Imagine how hard she must have tried to put it off and avoid the inevitable disaster.

There is also the health concern of sitting in feces for the better part of an hour.  I won't go too deeply into that, but it's valid and could lead to painful repercussions for her.

I'm so angry.  Normally I'm not one to call for someone to lose their job, but the teacher who said no should be gone, and never be responsible for a child again.  Anyone with such a gross misunderstanding of where priorities lie simply cannot be trusted with children.

This story has gotten national attention, but a shout out to KY-3, one of the last stations that gives a damn about reporting news, for bringing this out.

Bundle Of Trouble

Why Jon Corzine is still on the list of President Obama's fundraising bundlers, I have no clue.  The guy's basically responsible for billions in Wall Street fraud.

Corzine, according to the Obama campaign, has once again helped raise more than $500,000.

(He was likewise named a bundler in January, when the Obama campaign last released the names of their money men.)

"MF Global and its brokerage sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a $6.3 billion bet on the bonds of some of Europe’s most indebted nations prompted regulator concerns and a credit rating downgrade. Corzine quit MF Global Nov. 4," Bloomberg reported.

As ABC reported, "President Obama once hailed [Corzine] as an 'honorable man' and one of his 'best partners' in the White House." Since that time, Obama has tried to distance himself from Corzine, who at one point was considered for the treasury secretary slot.

But apparently Obama is still willing to use campaign funds from the embattled Corzine.

No.  The Weekly Standard has every right to call the Obama Campaign out on this one, it's completely moronic that Corzine is anywhere near this.  He's a scumball crook, and there's no conceivable way the Obama guys taking money from him is not going to totally bite him in the ass.

Toss this idiot off the rolls.  Give the money back.  Do it now, do it publicly, lance the boil and get rid of the stench.

EPIC FAIL, Team Obama.  Sorry.

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