July 9, 2014 archive

Democracy Now: Julian Assange, 2 Years in Ecuador



2014 World Cup Semifinals: Argentina – Netherlands

The winner of today’s match will face a very formidable German team in the final on Sunday, July 13. The loser will play Brazil for 3rd place on Saturday. Yesterday’s trouncing of home team Brazil by 7 – 1 was the most lopsided World Cup semifinal game ever and devastated the Brazilian fans.

Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, and Brazil’s Day Goes Dark

The fireworks began at dawn. All around this city, loud pops and bangs rang out as men and women and children, so many dressed in yellow, set off flares and beeped car horns. It was supposed to be a magical day. The Brazilian national soccer team, playing at home, was one game away from a World Cup final.

No one could have guessed the tears would come before halftime. No one could have imagined there would be flags burning in the streets before dinner. Certainly no one could have envisioned that any Brazilian fans, watching their team play a semifinal in a celebrated stadium, would ever consider leaving long before full time. [..]

At the very minimum, it will go down as Brazil’s worst loss, surpassing a 6-0 defeat by Uruguay in 1920. It was also Brazil’s first loss in a competitive home game since 1975, a stretch of more than 14,000 days. For more than six decades, Brazilians had been hoping to erase the embarrassment of their team’s defeat in the 1950 World Cup final – also against Uruguay – which denied them a championship the last time they hosted their favorite sport’s biggest tournament.

Somehow, the fans came away from this World Cup with a nightmare even darker.

The team’s humiliation continued on the internet with Twitter exploding with match becoming the most discussed sports event in Titter history with 35.6 million tweets most of them laughing at the team.

Here are some of the things to look for in today’s game:

How will Di María’s absence affect Argentina?

While Ángel Di María was Real Madrid’s best player in the Champions League final, he has been more fitful for Argentina.

Van Persie’s form

Robin van Persie began the tournament with the header to end all headers, that staggering swan-dive improvisation that sent the ball looping over a baffled Iker Casillas and Holland on their way to a momentous 5-1 crushing of Spain.

Higuaín and Lavezzi’s movement

Gonzalo Higuaín has never quite convinced in an Argentina shirt and there were many wondering whether he was worth his place leading into the quarter-final against Belgium.

Holland’s defence without Vlaar

Ron Vlaar has been a rock for Holland, marshalling their defence and using his experience to guide the younger players around him, so it will be a huge blow if a knee injury keeps him out on Wednesday night.

And some analysis from The Guardian‘s Zico:

Argentina v Holland: two teams on the up, both fancying their chances – it’s too close to call and I won’t dare predict a result. Our neighbours and the Dutch have deservedly made it to the semi-finals and Wednesday’s game in São Paulo promises to be an occasion we will remember for a long time judging by how the teams have fared at this World Cup.

Let’s start with Argentina. It was clear from the start that Lionel Messi would be their focal point in this tournament and he has delivered when they needed him most, either through vitals goals or assists, or making moves that opened up spaces or created chances for others. That latter scenario we saw in the game against Belgium. Gonzalo Higuaín was the scorer but Messi had created enough havoc to allow the Napoli striker to pounce on that ball.

A crucial factor for Argentina in the knockout stages has been the improvement in their defensive system. [..]

Holland’s graph is also rising but unlike Argentina they are not so dependent upon one player. In Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie they have an attacking trio that is clicking at the right time. [..]

In terms of fitness, Holland have been through some tough games under the north-eastern sun in Brazil but I haven’t seen them struggling as much as other teams. Even Germany looked more tired when they finished their quarter-final against France.

I think the Dutch have got enough in reserve to match Argentina – this could be even more intense than some games we have seen so far. Both teams have peaked at the right time and I reckon this semi-final could be decided by very tiny details.

The game coverage begins at 3 PM EDT with kick off at 4 PM.


The Breakfast Club 7-9-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

On This Day In History July 9

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

July 9 is the 190th day of the year (191st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 175 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1995, the Grateful Dead gave their last concert at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL.

For mishima

Le Tour 2014: Stage 5, Ypres / Arenberg Porte du Hainaut

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So first day in France and not only more sprinters, but the same guy won for the 3rd time out of 4 stages.  The day started without Andy Scheck who had ligament damage in a crash just outside of London in Stage 3 and had to withdraw.  It soon claimed Chris Froome, one of the favorites in the General Classification.  Thomas Voeckler staged a breakaway to claim the Sprint checkpoint but he was caught up 16 km from the finish.  Shortly after the 30 km mark from the end of the stage Lotto had a crash that involved 3 of their own riders forcing one of them, Greg Henderson to withdraw and severely hurting the team’s chances as he was considered the primary setup man for André Greipel.

About 15 km from the line Peter Sagan had a fall that dropped him all the way to the back of the field.  He staged an amazing comeback though to finish 4th.  Giant-Shimano delivered the victory to Marcel Kittel but in a far less convincing fashion than in the previous stage as Katusha made a strong challenge.

Top Stage finishers in Lille were Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff, and Arnaud Demare with Peter Sagan in a miracle 4th.  All of the top 98 finishers were awarded the same time as Kittel.  In the General Classification Vincenzo Nibali continues to lead with 20 riders 2 seconds behind.  Top points awards for the stage were Thomas Voeckler with 20, Luis Angel Mate Mardones 17, and Peter Sagan with 15.  15 Riders scored points in the Sprint competition.  The overall point leader is Peter Sagan with 158, Marcel Kittel 135, and Brian Coquard 121.  Their nearest competition is 39 points behind.  There were 2 category 4 climbs yesterday  but Cyril Lemoine still leads with 6, Blel Kadri has 5, and Jens Voigt and Nicolas Edet are in a 2 way tie for 3rd with 4 each.  In Team results there were no changes with Sky, Astana (-00:12), and BMC (-00:14) are in front with only NetApp-Endura and Trek within a minute of the leaders.  No changes in the Youth championship either with Peter Sagan, Roman Bardet, and Michal Kwiatkowski still in a 3 way tie for the lead.

Today’s stage is the dreaded cobbles of Belgium which even when dry produce severe vibrations that can force injured riders, especially those with upper body injuries (like Chris Froome, left wrist), to withdraw in the best of times.  They can also produce punctures and other equipment failures that can take riders out of contention, at least temporarily.  When damp they are very slippery and nearly always cause crashes of greater or lesser consequence.  There will be 9 sections of cobbles.  Many riders won’t use this section to win and will merely be seeking to survive without too much damage, but it’s not impossible that we will see as many changes in the standings as we would if this were a Mountain stage.  The stage is 97 miles long and relatively flat with no rated climbs.  The 9 cobble sections start after the halfway mark with only the first coming before the intermediate Sprint line.

Late Night Karaoke

I had a thought

It was a great thought then I forgot what it was.

But anyway I have this

When Lisa Norris was a kid in Cookeville, Tennessee, her father worked at Acme Boots, and that plant and her childhood were intertwined. One of her earliest memories is of wandering around the factory among bins of leather, breathing in the smell of the well-​oiled wood floors. Then the boot plant went to Mexico and her dad landed at Wrangler, which makes jeans, and then Red Kap, which makes workwear, and rarely ever again did he stay at a job for more than eighteen months. Each time, the plant would downsize or shutter, the jobs would cross the border, and he’d have to start all over again.

During the current recovery, productivity growth hasn’t even resulted in increased hiring; rather, it has occurred in concert with massive layoffs and record long-​term unemployment. “U.S. employers cut jobs pitilessly” during the recession, noted a typical story from the Associated Press. “Yet after shrinking payrolls, many companies found they could produce just as much with fewer workers.” The result has been a recovery marked by increased productivity and record corporate profits, but with catastrophically low employment growth. Yet economists and pundits continue to chew over our “jobless recovery” as if it were an anomaly.


For something so vital to the future of the US economy, there’s disturbingly little data collected about plant closings and offshoring, let alone analysis of what goes into these decisions. Corporate annual reports and SEC filings are silent about the logic behind closings. Philips’s 2010 SEC filings, for example, reveal nothing about why the firm offshored the Sparta plant, or the many other North American plants it has shuttered, beyond a brief reference to “initiatives to structurally reduce our overall cost structure” and “transferring technologies to low-​cost countries.” WARN notices, required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act from firms before they make mass layoffs, only contain numbers of jobs lost, not the thinking behind them, and are arduous to examine because they’re filed state by state. Until the 2013 sequester, the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled them but only published aggregate data that lumped offshoring in with temporary layoffs. As the SEC does not require firms to break down their employee numbers by nation, multinationals, like Philips, increasingly provide only global or regional numbers in their public filings. American multinationals are required to report their total employees here and abroad to the Commerce Department each year, but the aggregate data made publicly available provides only a rough hint as to the scale of offshoring-​and, again, nothing whatsoever about the thinking behind it. A 2010 NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that more Americans-​86 percent-​blamed offshoring for the struggling economy than any other cause. And yet the Department of Labor tracks offshoring numbers only to the extent that laid-​off workers petition for “trade-​affected” status, which entitles them to training grants. Since few nonunion workers know to do this, the DOL numbers are definitely an undercount. Yet in 2010, the most recent data available, such petitions represented 287,000 offshored jobs, the equivalent of a thousand factories like the one in Sparta.