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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Helicopter rescue of Antarctic global warming team now on ice as Chinese icebreaker may be stuck as well. Rescue needed two icebreakers in open water. Option now to wait 10 days for US icebreaker traveling from Seattle-BBC

Planned airlift would've required two icebreakers near each other in open water. Expedition may wait for US icebreaker, the Polar Star traveling from Seattle (parag. 7):
 
12/31/13, "Rescue for Antarctic ice-bound ship under threat," BBC 


"A rescue mission for a ship stuck in ice in Antarctica is under threat as reports have emerged that one of the assisting vessels may itself be stuck.

Fifty-two passengers and four crew members were due to be evacuated by helicopter from China's Xue Long ship as soon as conditions allowed.

However, the Xue Long has barely moved in a day and may be stuck in the ice.

The research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy has been trapped for nearly a week with 74 scientists, tourists and crew.
The ship is stocked with food and is in no danger, the team on board says.

The planned air evacuation required that the two icebreakers in the immediate area - the Xue Long and the Australian Aurora Australis - be positioned close to each other in open water, clear of the pack ice.

However, the captain of the Xue Long has told the Shokalskiy that he is keeping his vessel in a "holding position".

The Aurora Australis, is now understood to be planning to carve through the dense thick pack to assist the Xue Long.

The initial plan had been for a helicopter from the Xue Long to carry people in groups of 15 up from the pack ice next to the Shokalskiy. 


The airlifted passengers would then be transferred by a small boat, deployed from the Australian icebreaker, onto the Aurora Australis.

The expedition members would then have travelled to Australia's Antarctic base at Casey some four days' voyage away.

However, if the Chinese vessel is also stuck and the Australian vessel cannot help it reach clear water, there will be no airlift.

Under the initial plan, the remaining crew members would have stayed on board until another, more powerful US icebreaker arrived in up to 10 days' time, the BBC's Andrew Luck-Baker reports from on board the Akademik Shokalskiy.


However, it may now be that all of those on board may have to wait for the US icebreaker, the Polar Star, he adds.


Earlier attempts by Chinese and French icebreakers to reach the ship were also foiled by the thick ice.

The Shokalskiy was trapped on Christmas Eve by thick sheets of ice, driven by strong winds, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart - the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania."


-------------------------------

Reference for US icebreaker traveling from Seattle:

12/30/13, "Antarctic rescue mission fails to reach trapped ship," UK Guardian, Alok Jha

"Another option for rescue lays with the huge American icebreaker, the Polar Star, which is currently en route to the Ross Sea from Seattle. It had been due to travel via Sydney but it has now been ordered to sail directly to its final destination. If it was called upon to assist in the rescue effort, it could get to the sea ice edge near the Shokalskiy in eight or nine days.

There is no fixed timeline for the next steps, said Turney, while the captains of the Shokalskiy, Aurora Australis and the Xue Long waited for good weather. The forecast for the next few days, however, looks like there will be more of the same: snow, wind and heavy cloud.

AAE glaciologists on board the Shokalskiy, meanwhile, have been examining satellite images of the ice build-up over the past week to try and understand why the Shokalskiy got stuck.

"It's remarkable just how much change there's been," said Turney. "The ice that's packed around us is many years old, some is more than 10 years old."

The multi-year sea ice surrounding the Shokalskiy is much thicker and stronger than the new, first-year sea ice because it has had years of snowfall on top and freezing underneath.

According to the satellite maps, this ice was on the east side of the Mertz glacier until this past week, stuck fast to the land. Possibly because of a storm, or some other weather factor, this "fast ice" broke off and was blown into the area in which the Shokalskiy was sailing. Multi-year ice is a lot more difficult to cut through than single-year ice, which was the sort of material the Shokalskiy came through on its way into Antarctica....

The fast ice was partly in the area because of the huge iceberg, B09B. This broke away from the Antarctic continent in 2010, collided with and snapped off the extended part of the Mertz glacier, and then grounded itself in the entrance to Commonwealth Bay. Since then, the sea ice that would normally have formed and blown out to sea has instead been blocked by B09B and frozen into place. Given the recent reorganisation of the ice around the Mertz glacier, glaciologists aboard the Shokalskiy think the ship might have become inadvertently caught in the formation of a new area of fast ice, which could stay in place for several years.

When it got stuck last week, the Shokalskiy was just over two weeks into its month-long journey, from Bluff in New Zealand to Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica."...




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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Australian Global Warming research team still trapped in ever-growing Antarctic ice. Helicopter rescue couldn't take place because of too much snow-NBC News

12/28/13, "Stranded ship awaits Australian ice-breaker in Antarctic," WorldNews.NBCNews.com, By Daniella Silva and Alexander Smith

"NBC's Martin Fletcher reported that a helicopter Snow Dragon had on deck could possibly ferry passengers aboard the ship, but currently the aircraft could not take off because of the snow....

(Global Warming professor and CO2 entrepreneur) Turney told NBC News on Friday the Snow Dragon had encountered "multi-layered ice, two-plus meters thick (6.5 feet)," but with weather conditions now getting worse the ice was now said to be more than ten-feet deep."...

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"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the rescue, said the Aurora Australis was expected to reach the trapped research ship on Sunday around 12:00 GMT. The powerful icebreaker can cut ice up to 1.6m (5.2ft) thick..."...









Adelie penguins near global warming research vessel trapped in Antarctic ice.

12/29/13, "And they have some curious neighbours," BBC caption to Adelie penguins photo --------------------------------







Image of Adelie penguins by global warming professor and expedition leader, Chris Turney, 12/26/13 



12/27/13, "White Christmas: High spirits on trapped ship," CNN, Naomi Ng



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Friday, December 27, 2013

Pinstripe Bowl Sat., Dec. 28, 12 noon, Rutgers v Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium

12/26/13, "Pinstripe Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More," Bleacherreport, Jesse Reed

"When: Saturday, Dec. 28, at Noon ET
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
Watch: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Betting Lines (via Covers)
  • Over/Under: 52.5 points
  • Spread: Notre Dame (-14)
"The 2013 Pinstripe Bowl features two of the nation's most respected programs, as Rutgers (6-6) and Notre Dame (8-4) will compete at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl trophy on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Senior quarterback Chas Dodd led the Scarlet Knights to victory against South Florida on Dec. 7 to get Rutgers to the six-win threshold, thus qualifying for a bowl game.

After a brutal second half of the season in which Rutgers won just two of its final seven games, the Pinstripe Bowl offers the program a chance to finish the season on a high note.

Notre Dame's 8-4 season was extremely disappointing—especially after the Fighting Irish posted a perfect record before playing Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game just one season ago. Brian Kelly's team finished the regular season with a whimper, too, losing two of its last three games.

Here's a look at when and where you can catch the upcoming bowl game, along with injury reports for both teams, betting lines and a closer examination of the biggest key of the contest."...

=======================

Added: "Pinstripe Bowl Preview," 11-11:30AM, 12/28/13 on YES Network

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ESPN provides nearly half Disney's operating profit. Connecticut 'politicians who were not on board with ESPN did not find much success'-NY Times

"ESPN also qualified for $6.2 million in credits to support the production of “The Bronx Is Burning,a television mini-series....For the past 25 years, Connecticut has been last in the nation in job creation, with no net job creation over that period."

12/26/13, "For ESPN, Millions to Remain in Connecticut," NY Times, Steve Eder

"With nearly 100 million households paying about $5.54 a month for ESPN, regardless of whether they watch it, the network takes in more than $6 billion a year in subscriber fees alone. Still, ESPN has received about $260 million in state tax breaks and credits over the past 12 years, according to a New York Times analysis of public records. That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program, as well as savings of about $15 million a year since the network successfully lobbied the state for a tax code change in 2000.

For Mr. Malloy and other public officials in Connecticut, the conventional wisdom is that any business with ESPN is good business. After all, ESPN is Connecticut’s most celebrated brand and a homegrown success story, employing more than 4,000 workers in the state....

This spring, it is scheduled to open the 193,000-square-foot Digital Center 2, which is being built with Malloy’s pledge of nearly $25 million in state support. Workers there recently constructed the massive studios that will house ESPN’s flagship lineup of shows. The main hallways in the building were designed to be wide enough to fit a racecar....

The critics say incentives should be redirected to smaller companies that are more in need than ESPN, which accounts for nearly half the operating profit of Disney, its corporate parent. They also say ESPN, sitting on 123 acres in central Connecticut, is hardly a risk to move elsewhere....

The critics say ESPN has been successful in getting an audience at the State Capitol in Hartford partly because of its ability to communicate its needs effectively to the state’s decision makers. ESPN employs one of the top lobbying firms in Connecticut and has spent $1.2 million on lobbying expenses since 2007, records show. 

But Mr. Malloy, a Democrat who will be up for re-election in 2014, says no lobbying is needed to convince him of what he considers obvious: ESPN is one of Connecticut’s best resources, and the state must use all tools available to aid its growth and keep its home base and the thousands of well-paying jobs it promises in Bristol. 

He sees ESPN as a magnet for attracting other sports media jobs to his state. NBC Sports, which also received state benefits, recently opened its new headquarters in Connecticut. “I don’t want to imagine Connecticut without ESPN,” Mr. Malloy said in a telephone interview, adding that state incentive programs benefited large and small companies. “We want ESPN to have the biggest possible footprint in Connecticut, and we want them spending their dollars in Connecticut instead of any other state.” 

Everyone seems to agree that ESPN is a shining success story for Connecticut, in terms of the state’s early support of an upstart through its development into an international powerhouse. The company’s executives acknowledge that state and local officials have played important roles in their success. But they also say their company has provided an exceptional return on the investment. For the past 25 years, Connecticut has been last in the nation in job creation, with no net job creation over that period....

Since 2000, ESPN has spent about $1 billion on construction in and around Bristol, a town of about 60,000, erecting 13 new buildings and expanding several others. During that period, the company’s work force in Connecticut has swelled from 1,700 to more than 4,000. That makes ESPN the 25th-largest employer in the state, according to rankings by the Hartford Business Journal....

The network’s Connecticut origins stem from its founder, Bill Rasmussen, an executive with the Hartford Whalers who wanted to use satellites to beam Whalers and University of Connecticut games to cable television subscribers. The fact that ESPN made its home in Bristol, an old manufacturing town about halfway between New York and Boston, was a point of pride to locals. 

Politicians who were not on board with ESPN did not find much success: One mayoral candidate campaigned against the network’s dishes, saying they were a danger to birds. That message did not register in a place that was quickly emerging as the home of ESPN....

Incentives to Stay
 
By the spring of 2000, ESPN had shed its roots as a small start-up and was beginning to look more like a mature corporate behemoth. 

Disney, its owner, looked to ESPN as a key part of its revenue machine and one poised for immense growth. The network had 1,700 employees in Bristol, and another 700 worked elsewhere — as the network now had facilities or subsidiaries in seven other states. 

That is when ESPN did what other big, multinational companies had done: It went to the statehouse in Hartford and sought financial incentives in exchange for continued growth in Connecticut. At the top of ESPN’s agenda was supporting a measure by state lawmakers that would change the corporate tax formula in a way that would save broadcasters money. 

The legislature had done this three years earlier for financial companies. If the adjustment was applied to broadcasters, ESPN stood to be the biggest beneficiary by far — reducing its taxes by about $15 million a year....

The lawmakers were pleased to have ESPN on hand; one even stated, “for the record,” that he watched “SportsCenter” “two nights a week during the legislative session” but “four nights a week the rest of the year.” 

The lawmakers approved the change to the corporate tax formula, and a review by Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Research in 2004 showed that ESPN was fulfilling its promise to the legislature.
That year, ESPN opened the 136,000-square-foot Digital Center 1.

In 2006, as ESPN continued to grow, the Connecticut General Assembly, along with Mr. Malloy’s predecessor, M. Jodi Rell, had designs on expanding the state’s digital media sector. They wanted to offer tax incentives to companies that use the state as a base for initiatives like making films, building studios and increasing their online operations. Since the program began, the state has awarded about $450 million in tax credits to businesses that have spent $1.6 billion in the state. 

ESPN has been among the largest participants in that program, spending $318 million in Connecticut and receiving $84.7 million in tax certificates — about a fifth of the total amount awarded. Companies like Blue Sky Studios and World Wrestling Entertainment have also benefited. 

The program has provided ESPN with financial incentives for the development of ESPN.com ($54 million) and ESPN Mobile ($3.2 million), as well as infrastructure credits for the construction of a research and development building ($6.6 million) and the Digital Center 2 ($14.4 million). ESPN also qualified for $6.2 million in credits to support the production of “The Bronx Is Burning,
a television mini-series.

ESPN regularly sells the tax credit certificates to other entities in private transactions, which could mean that the network receives less value than the amount on the voucher. Such transfers are common and within the rules of the program. 

George Norfleet, the director of the state’s Office of Film, Television and Digital Media, said he was in regular contact with ESPN, treating the network as a “corporate constituent” with room for growth. “We want to make sure that happens here, not in Orlando or Los Angeles,” he said. 

A recurring theme in ESPN’s dealings with the state is that the company could move its operations elsewhere. When Malloy announced ESPN’s inclusion in “First Five,” a state plan to create jobs and promote business development, he said the network had other places where it could have invested. He mentioned recent production facilities in Los Angeles and Austin, Tex.....

Mr. Malloy, for his part, is comfortable with the state’s ties to ESPN. In fact, the governor said he would like more of them. 

We want a larger footprint for ESPN in Connecticut rather than a smaller footprint for ESPN in Connecticut because we know that a large footprint is harder to move out,” Mr. Malloy said."

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Empire State Building in Christmas lights











12/23/13, "Watch the Empire State Building's New LED Lights Dance to Holiday Music," jaunted.com

"New York's Empire State Building may have unveiled its new LED light show a few months ago around Halloween, but it's these winter holidays that are showing exactly what spectacle the building's new 16 million LED color combinations are capable of, following the upgrade. Holiday-theme light shows started on December 20th and will continue to play every night through December 24, with the action starting at 7pm. Each show is 4-5 minutes long and entirely unique, including synchronized holiday music selections simultaneously broadcast on Clear Channel New York’s 106.7 Lite FM."...photo from jaunted

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Star over Bethlehem

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WFAN and Francesa ratings survive poor New York sports autumn-Neil Best

12/23/13, "WFAN's Mike Francesa finishes first in radio ratings," Neil Best, Newsday

"The worst sports autumn in recent New York memory did not hurt the market's talk radio leader, WFAN, which in the fall ratings released Monday finished first in afternoon drive time and second in the morning.

The station ranked first from 3-7 p.m. in the period covering Sept. 12-Dec. 4, averaging 7.2 percent of the listening audience in the key demographic of men ages 25-54.

It was the fifth time in the past six quarters (not counting summers) that Mike Francesa has finished first. Francesa said Monday he was particularly happy with the numbers in light of the Yankees' absence in October and the Giants' early-season flameout.

Since parting ways with his longtime partner, Chris Russo, in August 2008, Francesa largely has maintained the time slot's ratings dominance.

"That was a very, very transitional time for the station and a lot of people obviously were not only rooting against me but also waiting to see what the reaction was going to be and the numbers were going to be," he said. "I'm very, very proud of what I've accomplished the last six years."

ESPN New York's Michael Kay finished seventh in the fall with a 4.3 share, his best rating to date and the highest ranking for a show in the station's history.

But Francesa was unimpressed. "If that's the dent, good luck to him," he said. "Maybe I'll be able to find him in about another 50 years at this rate."

Kay declined to comment.

The Spanish-language station WSKQ was second to WFAN in the afternoon with a 7.0. The stations were neck and neck into late November, which is what prompted Francesa to work on Black Friday for the first time -- and the station to add a promotional giveaway of $1,000 per hour. The ploy vastly expanded the audience for that day, perhaps making the difference in a tight race.

(WFAN's ratings include both its AM and FM outlets.)

In morning drive time, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton finished tied for second from 6-10 a.m. with WSKQ at a 6.6, behind No. 1 Z100 with an 8.3. It was the WFAN morning show's highest rank in three years.

ESPN's national morning show featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic ranked 11th at 3.3, half of WFAN's figure.

WFAN was fourth with a 5.3 share from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., a period that covers both Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and the first two hours of Francesa's show. ESPN ranked 15th during those hours at 2.4."



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Monday, December 23, 2013

Mariano Rivera in Connecticut at Ridgefield High

12/21/13, "Yankees legend Mariano Rivera lends a hand in Ridgefield," newstimes.com, (Danbury, Ct.) John Nestor

"The event was held as a fundraiser for both Rivera's church, Refugio de Esperanza, in New Rochelle, NY and Tiger Hollow Inc., which is raising funds to put lights up at Tiger Hollow II, Guido Maiolo Field....

Rivera went on to talk about what an honor it was to be the last player to wear No. 42 and say his greatest honor as a ball player was to be able to put on the Yankee uniform every day. He also said his childhood sports hero was the great Pele and that he loved soccer as a child.

Thee were a number of lighter moments too like when Rivera gave credit to Edgar Martinez as the toughest batter he faced when asked by a young fan who was the most feared hitter he went up against.

"First I have to say there was no fear for any hitter," Rivera joked. "But Edgar Martinez, he was tough. I just couldn't get him out and later in his career I was just thinking `god, get him out of here."

Rivera also said Yogi Berra was his Yankee hero and he cherished the time he got to spend with him and that he may like to coach in the minors some day....

"We are trying to get the lights built by next fall since this field is used by the high school as well as the youth programs who would also really benefit," Tiger Hollow president John Pavain said. "We need to raise approximately an additional $175,000 and today will really help us get there and we couldn't thank Mariano enough."...photo by Lisa Weir, News Times 

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snowboarders and skiers find plenty of snow in Sochi, Russia, site of next Winter Olympics

















"Snowboarders at Rosa Khutor near Sochi, Russia"

12/20/13, "A Test Run at Russia’s Olympic Hopeful," NY Times, Andy Isaacson

"Before I could board the gondola at Rosa Khutor, a ski area that is part of Sochi, the site of next year’s Winter Olympics, I first had to trundle through a metal detector manned by Russian soldiers with machine guns and furry hats. This is not something I’m used to. At chairlifts in the American West, where I typically ski, you find cheerful young attendants who are stoked to be on their feet all day because that’s what it takes to live the dream. 

Unlike those armed soldiers, Sasha Krasnov, a local guide I’d arranged to meet, would be at home in the Rockies. Twenty-seven and shaggy haired, he is a self-identified “free rider” — an off-piste skier. A storm had delivered two feet of fresh snow overnight, ending a long dry spell, and Sasha, his head tucked under a dirt bike helmet, was as giddy as a child on Christmas morning. 

The gondola ferried us out of the base area, high above an Italianate clock tower built with an oligarch’s money, across a birch forest stippled with powder. Thick clouds obscured my view, so I unfolded a trail map, which was entirely in Russian. On it, I could see that Rosa Khutor was laid out much like a European resort, with a series of chairlifts linking the river valley, at 1,800 feet, with a craggy, treeless summit at 7,612 feet. As in the Alps, the resort takes a laissez-faire approach to marking trails. Only a handful had designated names, which weren’t helpful anyway, unless you read Cyrillic or had a knack for symbol recognition. I wondered aloud whether any rope or signage designated the resort’s boundary. 

“No rope!” Sasha replied with a knowing smile. “This is Russia.” 

Vladimir Putin may be better known as a judo master and shirtless fisherman, but come winter, when snow coats the onion domes atop St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the Russian president heads for the slopes. The Wikipedia entry for ski suit, in fact, features an image not of the Olympic stars Lindsey Vonn or Bode Miller but of Mr. Putin, wearing the red two-piece uniform of Russia’s national team. On his personal website, he declares skiing “a dynamic sport that requires mastering a technique, and is a great opportunity for an active holiday, to stay fit and get a boost of energy and good spirits.” 

He also claims to prefer skiing in Russia. Until recently, however, there was little the country offered a foreign skier seeking an active holiday, never mind those good spirits. Russia’s tallest peaks are along its southern border with Georgia, in the Caucasus mountain range. The mountains stretch diagonally in a belt from the Black Sea, east to the Caspian. The tallest of them, Mount Elbrus, reaches higher than any in the rest of Europe, with an elevation of 18,500 feet. But beyond some heli-skiing operations, the handful of ski areas dating from the Soviet era hardly justified an Aeroflot ticket

Not surprisingly, then, wealthy Russians have preferred skiing the Alps. Around a decade ago, the Russian government decided that there was no reason they needed to lose those vacation rubles to Switzerland, France and Italy. They flew in a mountain resort developer from Whistler, British Columbia, Paul Mathews, to evaluate the potential of the Caucasus for winter tourism. Mr. Mathews looked at the jagged ridgelines surrounding the sleepy village of Krasnaya Polyana, nestled in a river valley above Sochi, a city of about 400,000; at the long, deep gulleys that tumbled down from them; at the region’s glaciated bowls and gentle plateaus. It reminded him of Les Trois Vallées in France, among the world’s largest linked ski areas. Mr. Mathews drafted some plans, and in 2002, Interros, a conglomerate controlled by Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men, and Gazprom, the world’s largest natural-gas producer, began building ski resorts. 

Situated on the Black Sea, Sochi has a pleasant, temperate climate that has lured Russians to seaside sanitariums since the days of Stalin. The palm trees there can almost fool you into believing you’re in another country. “Sochi is a unique place,” Mr. Putin told the International Olympic Committee in his winning pitch to host the 2014 Games. “On the seashore, you can enjoy a fine spring day — but up in the mountains, it’s winter.” 

When I flew into Sochi last March, joined by my friend Than, it was neither springlike nor fine. The late-winter storm, which had diverted our flight from Moscow the previous night, cast a gray and despondent mood over the subtropical city. We took a taxi to Krasnaya Polyana, an hourlong trip up a winding, two-lane road, through the gorge of the Mzymta River. (A new highway and high-speed railway, being built across the river, will cut the travel time in half.) ...

”This is a nice present for us,” Sasha said as we rode the gondola the next morning. The storm had delivered too much of a good thing, it turned out, as the exposed upper half of the mountain — arrayed with chutes and couloirs — was closed. Sasha handed me an avalanche transceiver from his bag, and asked if I had used one before. We would be skiing inbounds and close to the lift — nothing too steep — but the implication was clear: We were, for all practical purposes, on our own. This was Russia. 

At the top of the lift, a digital board displayed ski conditions, rating the avalanche danger as four on a scale of five. “Very dangerous in alpine zone,” Sasha said. 

We were joined by a handful of other locals, including Inna Didenko, a blond Sochi native and competitive free rider. Than and I followed their tracks into the woods. The crystalline snow there was thigh-high and untouched; a snowboarder in neon yellow pants jokingly declared, in Russian, the universal skiing dictum of there being “no friends on a powder day” before leaving us behind. 

Each of us then picked our own line, first Sasha, who banked three turns and swiftly vanished behind some birch trees. I chose a route to his right. Midway down, from across the slope, I could make out Than, hooting loudly. 

That evening, at the swanky bar inside the Park Inn, I met with Jean-Louis Tuaillon, the mountain manager at Rosa Khutor. “Have you been on the road in Russia and seen how people are driving?” he asked me. I thought of my taxi driver’s slalom turns and tailgating up the winding road from the airport. “They are skiing the same way. The typical Russian experience is wild skiing.” 

Mr. Tuaillon was with the French company Compagnie des Alpes, which operates major resorts like Chamonix and Val d’Isère and has been tasked by Rosa Khutor’s owner with turning it into a world-class ski area. This apparently entailed making Rosa Khutor less Russian. 

“Our goal is to have friendly people at guest services,” added Mr. Tuaillon’s colleague Jean-Marc Farini, the ski area’s general manager. In Russia, this hasn’t been done before. You still have this Soviet legacy. People don’t care.”

I described my experience renting skis that morning — late-model Rossignols, with a snazzy sticker reading “CZAR” — which had involved the usual Russian formalities: relinquishing my passport at a cashier’s window in return for a paper stamped with an official-looking seal. 

Mr. Farini nodded sympathetically. “For the cash register, I wanted to adopt a single line, so you go up to the first one that’s available,” he said. “But that just doesn’t work in Russia.” 

The next morning, we found the mountain still socked in. With the upper half of Rosa Khutor closed — still with an avalanche rating of “very dangerous” — we took a free village bus 10 minutes downriver toward the center of Krasnaya Polyana, to Gornaya Karusel (Mountain Carousel), another new ski area. 

The entrance to the base gondola is beside the main road, and as we lifted off, I was afforded an aerial view of the bulldozers and earthmovers remaking this former backwater. The build-out of the Sochi Olympics — a megaproject of new tunnels, highways, ski lifts, stadiums and lodging — is said to have cost $51 billion, the highest price tag ever for the Games. But its environmental cost might add untold billions to that figure. Environmental groups point to pollution and deforestation, of Sochi National Park shrinking in size, of coastal wetlands being used as a dump, of the Mzymta River becoming unswimmable. As activists have spoken, they’ve also been detained. ...

Meanwhile, in response to violence promised by Islamist insurgent leaders, based just 250 miles or so from Sochi in the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, Russia has put in place unprecedented security, including the use of underwater sonar and drones. 

That security plan also includes armed soldiers at ski lifts. After two gondolas, we wended our way down an empty, untracked chute along the ski boundary that fed into a spacious glade. The air was warmer than the previous day, cementing the powder as we descended. Our trail petered out at the edge of a dirt service road, which we had to walk across to reach the chairlift. The security guard manning the lift glared disapprovingly at our muddy boots, muttering something to Sasha, who lectured something back. The guard shrugged and looked away. 

Sasha later explained: “He says to us, ‘You cannot get on with your dirty boots.’ I tell him, ‘You are not the boss. You have to be hospitable to the guests.’”"...image from NY Times, Isaacson

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Top 10 MLB players most searched in google in 2013, Arod, Miguel Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Puig, Jeter, Mariano, Chris Davis, David Ortiz, Brian Wilson, Ryan Braun

12/18/13, "Google: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera among MLB's most searched," NJ Star-Ledger, Brendan Kuty

"Three Yankees were among the 10 most-searched Major League Baseball players on Google in 2013. 
 
The search engine said Alex Rodriguez was searched the most out of anybody. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera took fifth and sixth, respectively.

The global interest in Rodriguez is understandable. The third baseman has spent most of the year fending off allegations of performance-enhancing drug violations — the second time in his career he's been accused of such.

Rodriguez is battling a 211-game suspension from the game. It’s unknown whether he’ll play next season.

He’s also suing the Yankees’ team doctor for alleged medical malpractice while also suing Major League Baseball, accusing it of destroying his reputation and ruining his endorsements.

Jeter also had a difficult of a year, but for much different reasons. The Yankees’ captain spent all but 17 games in 2013 sidelines with various injuries. He’s said repeatedly that he hopes to return in 2014 in all-star form. He said his offseason workouts have gone well and that he expects to be in the starting lineup on Opening Day.

Meanwhile, Rivera excelled in his final season, leaving Yankees fans clamoring that he wouldn’t retire. Instead, Mo reveled in his farewell tour, taking gifts and earning cheers at virtually every stadium he visited.

Since the season’s end, Rivera has been on what seems like a non-stop touring schedule, hitting charity after charity event. He had said he wants to use his celebrity to help people.

Miguel Cabrera and Bryce Harper finished No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Boston's David Ortiz took eighth."


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Some Cuban baseball players are allowed to play temporarily in other countries such as Mexico, meaning a raise from their usual $23/month salary. The US is still off limits however-BBC

12/18/13, "Cuba's baseball revolution: Why players are turning pro," BBC,

Isla de la Juventud is a small, sleepy island with a big passion for baseball, and this year it has been at vanguard of a revolution in the game. For more than five decades, all professional sport has been banned in Cuba, with athletes drilled to perform for the love of their country, not cash. 

But this summer, La Isla's team captain played as a pro in Mexico.

"I never thought it'd be possible," Michel Enriquez admits, back in his hometown of Nueva Gerona. But the small experiment he was part of is now being rolled out across baseball and other sports.

In a huge policy swing, Cuba says it will allow players to sign for professional sides abroad.

"I think it's very positive," Enriquez says, as he drives to a training session ahead of the season's first home game.

He manoeuvres the silver saloon slowly through the narrow streets to avoid other traffic, mostly horse-drawn carts and bicycles with extra passengers balanced precariously on the handlebars.

His car was a recent reward for his years representing Cuba at the highest level. Before that, he would catch the bus or hitch a lift to training like everyone else.

Like all Cuban athletes, the star third baseman received a salary linked to a phantom profession - a state job he never did as he was playing baseball full time - of around $23 (£14) a month, plus bonuses for his many medals.

But Enriquez says that by playing in Mexico for just one month before he got injured, he earned "$5,000 or $6,000" (£3,075-3,700).

"We're moving away from the idea that the state has to look after us, and we're taking care of ourselves," says Enriquez, explaining how the policy change has made it possible for him to buy furniture, furnish his kitchen and install air conditioning in his home

"I think it's a big advantage. We can afford things with our own salaries and don't have to wait for gifts from the state," he argues.

State cut
 
There are restrictions built into the new arrangement.

Players must return to Cuba for the local season, and a state sports body will manage all contracts, deciding which players can benefit from it, and taking a cut of the cash.
.
Officials suggest the cut will amount to 20% of a player's total earnings - money which will help fund Cuba's vast national network of free sports coaching that formed players like Enriquez.

For those who do not go abroad, the new policy will link their salaries to their actual job. It also doubles their basic wage to $40 a month, with up to $100 extra for medal winners.

Described as a "just" move by the government and "only the start", the changes seem aimed at slowing the talent drain of players that has had a devastating impact on Cuban sport.

For the past fifty years, athletes have been forced to defect to turn pro, and the chance of earning big money with foreign clubs has proved highly alluring.

The ideological about-turn means they are now free to compete in foreign leagues, and then return to Cuba....
 
But there is a hitch.

American sanctions against communist Cuba will keep US Major League baseball off limits.

"There is more money in the USA than in any other country, and also the best baseball. But [as a Cuban] the only possibility you have to play, is to cut your ties with your country," sports journalist Reinaldo Taladrid explains.

"You could play baseball in the USA and live in North Korea or Iran, but not in Cuba," Mr Taladrid points out.

He is therefore doubtful that the new measures can stop the defections. Warming up for training - crunching bones and stretching - La Isla players tend to agree.

The team here is noticeably young precisely because so many members have defected; another promising pitcher skipped the country just before the season started.

"I think more money will help," team director Armando Johnson says. But he fears the reforms can only slow the talent flight, not stop it.

"It's not just the money, but the satisfaction of being at the top level of world baseball," Mr Johnson says. And that means the USA

Home advantage
 
Still, after his own experience, Michel Enriquez is hopeful.

"Players can think … that it's better to earn thousands and be able to return to your home and help your family financially, than to have millions and never see your family again," he argues.

But it is a tough call, especially when younger players hear stories like that of Jose Dariel Abreu. The star slugger left Cuba and recently signed a jaw-dropping $68m-deal with the Chicago White Sox.

It is Abreu's old side, Cienfuegos, who troop out to take on La Isla that afternoon.

"We could never pay that much!" La Isla fan Miguel sighs, during a break in play. His own club cannot even afford new floodlights, years after they were destroyed in a hurricane.

"I think we do need to pay our players more though," his friend suggests. "Maybe then it'd be harder to steal them."

The match is a nail-biter, finally snatched in dramatic style by La Isla just before sundown, to the delight of the small crowd who drum, chant and sing throughout....

Despite decades of talk of the purity of Cuban amateur sport, players say the fact they will be paid more will help them perform better.

And so will the knowledge that talent scouts will be watching closely, ready to snap up the most promising with lucrative deals once the season ends.

"I came back to Cuba with extra motivation," Enriquez admits.

"Because I see possibilities now, that's the stimulus. I can go back to play in Mexico, or for any other team that's interested, and then return."...

"We can afford things with our own salaries and don't have to wait for gifts from the state, Michel Enriquez Cuban baseball player"...images from BBC

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 NY Yankee Christmas Holiday Greeting video features scenes of Pettitte, Jeter and Rivera

12/17/13, New York Yankees Video Holiday Greeting features 2013 scenes of Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera, via RealMichaelKay Michael Kay

"You have got to check this out. Very cool. Well done: Happy Holidays from the Yankees http://t.co/ydERN3qmOr via @yankees”", via David Lennon         @DPLennon "

"No singing, but fun nonetheless RT @RealMichaelKay: Happy Holidays from the Yankees http://atmlb.com/ZDObB4  via @yankees"

"Happy Holidays from the Yankees." Also here at the Star-Ledger.

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Our notion of Christmas might have to shift...'Children aren't going to know what snow is,' per top global warming experts, March 20, 2000

3/20/2000, "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past," Independent UK, Charles Onians
12/25/09, North Yorkshire, UK
"According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".
The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain's biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. "It was a bit of a first," a spokesperson said. 

Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. "As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it's few and far between," he said.

Michael Jeacock, a Cambridgeshire local historian, added that a generation was growing up "without experiencing one of the greatest joys and privileges of living in this part of the world - open-air skating".

 Warmer winters have significant environmental and economic implications, and a wide range of research indicates that pests and plant diseases, usually killed back by sharp frosts, are likely to flourish. But very little research has been done on the cultural implications of climate change - into the possibility, for example, that
  • our notion of Christmas might have to shift....
David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold.
.
Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.

The chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying"."...

11/26/10, Powys, UK











First image, 12/25/2009, White Christmas in North Yorkshire, UK, ITV News, Giles 





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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hoping Robinson Cano's new beard won't slow him down-Mushnick

12/15/13, "Here’s hoping Robinson Cano’s new beard doesn’t slow him down."




12/15/13, "Fans need defense against neglectful commissioners," NY Post, Phil Mushnick (above item at end of column). photo via Seattle Mariners

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Astrodome wasn't first predominantly taxpayer funded stadium but set a new standard for such facilities-Leahy

12/14/13, "Astrodome Gave Birth to Modern Crony Capitalism in Sports," Breitbart, Leahy

"Late Sunday night, a construction company demolished three ramp towers of the Houston Astrodome. It was the first step in what is likely to be the complete demolition of the entire facility.

Known at the time as "The Eighth Wonder of the World," the Astrodome opened in 1965 as the new home of the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team and the Houston Oilers of the NFL. The Oilers left after the 1996 season to become Nashville's Tennessee Titans. After the 1999 season, the Astros moved into the newly constructed Minute Maid Park.


The Astrodome was the first domed stadium. It blazed the path for the modern sports stadium. No earlier sports stadium contained its previously unknown levels of opulence, both on and off the field. The Astrodome also set a new standard for the role of public financing in the construction of professional sports stadiums.

Prior to World War II, most professional sports teams played in privately owned stadiums. Yankee Stadium, for example, which could hold 60,000 fans and had twice the seating capacity of other Major League Baseball stadiums at the time, was built in 1923 with $2.5 million in private funding provided by New York Yankees owners Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston. 

In 1931, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, built at a cost of $2.5 million (later increased to $3 million by over runs) and owned by the city of Cleveland, was one of the first professional sports stadiums paid for by taxpayers. For more than six decades it was home to Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, and later, the NFL's Cleveland Browns. Throughout its history, it was a financial drain on the taxpayers of Cleveland.


After World War II, several other professional sports franchises were able to convince local city and county governments to help finance the construction of new stadiums. The size of those financings, however, was significantly less than the Astrodome's. Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, home to Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles and the NFL's Baltimore Colts, was built in the early 1950s at a cost of $6.5 million.

At a total cost of $43 million, the Astrodome blew the lid off previous stadium construction costs. Of that initial cost, $37 million was paid for by a municipal bond guaranteed by the taxpayers of Harris County, and only $6 million was funded by private investors.


In November, just a month before the demolition of the three towers, voters of Harris County rejected a proposed $217 million bond offering that would have converted the Astrodome into a convention and exhibition center. Given that taxpayer rejection, the future of the facility remains unknown.

As the Houston Chronicle reported, the vote brought "the iconic but decaying stadium . . . a step closer to the wrecking ball." Sunday's demolition of the three ramp towers is likely to be followed relatively soon by the demolition of the entire facility.

Judge Roy Hofheinz was the man who conceived the idea of the Astrodome and organized the public and private groups
that turned it into reality. The flamboyant Hofheinz got his start in 1930s, when he managed future President Lyndon Baines Johnson's first political campaign. From 1936 to 1944  he served as the presiding judge (an elected executive position ) of Harris County. From 1953 to 1955 he was the mayor of Houston, an independent city within Harris County.

In the late 1950s, Hofheinz organized a group of investors, the Houston Sports Association, who secured the Major League Baseball expansion franchise for the Houston Colt 45s in October 1960. This major business success was accomplished one month before Hofheinz's political mentor, Lyndon Johnson, was elected Vice President of the United States. The team began play in 1962 at Colt Stadium, and changed their name to the Astros when they moved into the Astrodome in 1965.

In the 1960s, Harris County sold $36 million in municipal bonds to finance most of the Astrodome. Harris County then leased the Astrodome for $750,000 annually for forty years to Hofheinz's Houston Sports Association." image from Air 11, Sunday Dec. 8, 2013 demolition of Astrodome exterior ramp

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Arod and Cano among celebrities at 2013 David Ortiz Golf Classic

12/13/13, "David Ortiz opened the 6th leaves. Celebrity Golf Classic at Cap Cana," ElNuevoDiario

"Participants Celebrities
 
Celebrities who are confirmed: Alex Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Felix Sanchez, Robinson Cano, Yonder Alonso, George Bell, Jose Bautista, Troy Brown, Ken Casey, Sean Casey, Fernando Cuza, Octavio Dotel.
 
Similarly participate, Rachel Dratch, Eliza Dushku, Rick Fox, Andres Galarraga, Aimee Garcia, Butch Hobson, Barry Larkin, Manny Machado, Kevin Millar, Michael Park, Sam Page, Placido Polanco, Aly Raisman, Jim Rice, Ivan Rodriguez, Lawrence Taylor, Mark Lepselter, Craig Sager, Matty Siegel, Luis Tiant, Ming Tsai, Chris Tucker, Nick Varano, Tim Wakefield, Micky Ward and Heidi Watney." (end of article) google translation from Spanish. original Spanish

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Arod in Dominican for David Ortiz Golf Classic receives word of judicial ruling in his favor

 
12/13/13, "Enjoying the motherland," Arod twitter pic from the Dominican Republic

12/13/13, "A-Rod thrilled by federal judge’s ruling,"  NY Post, Rich Calder

"Alex Rodriguez scored big in court on Friday when a federal judge dealt a huge blow to the 211-game doping suspension Major League Baseball hopes to slap on the embattled Yankees slugger.

Manhattan federal Judge Edgardo Ramos sided with A-Rod’s former PR maven, Michael Sitrick, granting him a stay. That stay gets “The Wizard of Spin” out of complying with the judge’s Nov. 22 order to honor an MLB subpoena and appear before the independent arbitrator who will determine the ban while Sitrick appeals the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ramos also vehemently rejected an MLB request to hold Sitrick in contempt of court and slap him with daily fines for wanting to appeal the order, which also requires the PR maven to turn over documents the league believes Rodriguez took from Anthony Bosch, owner of the now-shuttered Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis and baseball’s star witness in the appeal hearing.

“It would be unseemly and unruly to hold him in contempt while he pursues his public right to appeal,” Ramos said of Sitrick.

I read the ruling and I think the judge got it right,” Rodriguez told The Post’s Kevin Kernan Friday from David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

“I’m optimistic,” Rodriguez later told reporters. “It’s been a very tough several months, a very tough year, but I’m optimistic that a decision will come soon and we can get it behind us and take all this stuff off the back pages and focus on playing baseball and all the great things that are happening with the game, make the decision, whatever happens, let’s move forward.’’

MLB badly wants Sitrick’s cooperation, because he could help confirm the league’s allegation Rodriguez obstructed baseball’s investigation into Biogenesis. The league asserted Sitrick or an underling leaked Biogenesis information about the Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli and the Brewers’ Ryan Braun to Yahoo! Sports, in an attempt to divert attention from Rodriguez.

The judge’s ruling is a huge blow to MLB’s case against Rodriguez because it’s unlikely the Second Circuit Court of Appeals would rule on the matter before the independent arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, decides on the suspension as expected in early-to-mid January. In theory, the federal appeals panel could expedite the process, although such a move is rare.

But when asked afterward if he thought it would be difficult for the arbitrator to uphold the full suspension if Sitrick never testifies, MLB lawyer Howard Ganz told The Post, “I would not think so.”
Sitrick has argued since he lives in Los Angeles and primarily works in Southern California, he shouldn’t have to comply with a subpoena served at his satellite office in Times Square.

His lawyer, Gayle Klein, said Sitrick is vehemently objecting to testifying because it would cause him “irreparable harm” by setting a precedent of forcing him to fly thousands of miles from his California home to New York for future legal matters.

Ganz said the league twice asked Sitrick to sign sworn affidavits stating neither he nor his employees had the Biogenesis documents — rather than have him appear in person before the arbitrator — but were snubbed.

“We believe the documents are of considerable importance … and were leaked by Mr. Rodriguez or someone on his behalf to [hurt] the [MLB] commissioner’s investigation,” Ganz said.

Ganz also said the league initially thought it would have more time to deal with the matter, but was floored when Rodriguez’s lawyers moved to close the case after presenting two witnesses to the arbitrator, when they had initially promised to call “15 to 20 witnesses.”

“The [arbitration] hearing ended a lot earlier that we thought it would” on Nov. 21, he said, adding the league hopes to reopen the case to take Sitrick’s remarks.

The arbitration hearing ended a day after an irate Rodriguez bolted from the session because the arbitrator ruled MLB commissioner Bud Selig did not have to testify.

Sitrick has claimed he never leaked the documents, but has never responded to questions about whether his staffers did.

Rodriguez also has denied leaking Biogenesis documents and said he reached out to his teammate, Cervelli, to personally discuss the allegations."

==========================

12/14/13, "Baseball’s battle with A-Rod trumped Florida law," Miami Herald, Fred Grimm, opinion, via Arod twitter

"Not that we don’t relish the prospect of overpaid jocks getting their comeuppance, but there’s a small problem with trafficking in stolen property. It’s stolen.

Florida law’s not fuzzy about the legality of "dealing in stolen property." A state statute puts it bluntly. "Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree."

The legislature, in writing the statute, failed to include an exception for Major League Baseball. No worries. It has become apparent, as this latest baseball doping scandal unfolded, that MLB investigators are allowed to operate beyond legal restraints that hamper less exalted elements of society."...

===========================

12/12/13, "Alex gives boost "Classic David Ortiz"," El Nacional

"The baseball star Alex Rodriguez arrived Wednesday to Dominican Republic to participate in Saturday's Celebrity Golf Classic "David Ortiz."
 
Rodriguez said he came to give a boost to his friend and brother David Ortiz, in recognition of the contributions made by the Boston slugger with such noble causes such as raising funds for children suffering from heart problems.
 
He said he brought the country to friends who participate in the event to help with the event as well as the third baseman Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado fellow."...google translation from Spanish

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Friday, December 13, 2013

December 20 marks end of twelve year radio show with WOR's John Gambling and NYC Mayor Bloomberg

12/12/13, "Q&A: John Gambling on the End of the Mayor’s Radio Show," WSJ Metropolis blog, Mara Gay

"The end of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office this month marks the final chapter of another long reign: the weekly radio program, called the John Gambling Show, where he shared candid and polarizing thoughts on life and politics.

WSJ: You’ve sat down with the mayor almost every Friday for 12 years. How well do you know each other? Are you friends?

I would say we are friends, yes. I wouldn’t hesitate to call him if I needed something. I wouldn’t describe myself as a close confidant but having spent 500 broadcasts or so – that’s probably a fair number – you get to know somebody when you sit with them for 500 hours. You get to talk. there’s downtime because of the commercial breaks, and he and I are talking golf, usually. He’s invited me to spend some time with him – not a lot, but I would say half a dozen times. We’ve golfed together.

WSJ: Who’s a better golfer?

He is. But not by a lot.

WSJ: What was your vision for the show?

I wanted to give him the opportunity, and me piggyback off the opportunity, to present to ny listeners Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he is. I get criticized by those of you in Room 9, or by some of you in Room 9 [the room in City Hall where reporters sit], for throwing softballs at him and not asking the tough questions like, ‘Were you in Bermuda this weekend?’ I find those questions agonizing as I’m sure the mayor does as well.

WSJ: Have you been too easy on the mayor?

I’ve read what they say. I don’t think too much about it one way or the other either way, to be honest. I think what I’ve done has been good for the mayor, and good for me and most importantly good for my listeners.

WSJ: What do you know about the mayor that the rest of us don’t?

He comes from a place of wanting to make people’s lives better. He always comes back to the fact that the average life expectancy of a New Yorker is longer than any other city in the United States. It’s up three years across the city, I think. He is incredibly proud of that fact. That really is where Michael Bloomberg starts and ends.

WSJ: You mentioned the snowstorm. Is there an issue on which you guys disagree? 

The snowstorm is not one of them. It certainly is not high on his list of achievements that he’s been involved with. I think that there have really been only two areas that we’ve disagreed on: Climate change, global warming is one of them. And immigration, to a degree. He and I both agree on how you fix immigration but I must admit I’m not as open-armed as he is as welcoming the illegals.

I think global warming is a complete hoax. I argue with him that I’ve lived on Long Island Sound my entire life and I can assure you the water levels haven’t moved at all. His response is, ‘John, you have the right to be wrong.’ And that’s when I laugh, and we move on, talk about something else.

WSJ: What do you think about Bill de Blasio? 

[Long pause] He’s certainly not somebody I would have voted for. I don’t live in New York City so I don’t vote in New York but if I did I would not have voted for him. I’ve been very vocal against his policies.

WSJ: Has your standing date with Mayor Bloomberg served the public?

It allowed me and the mayor to get into a comfortable place when a lot of the answers are different than they would have been at a press conference. He was comfortable with me. This was my favorite part and this was not discussing the city, it was discussing the major issues – to have the opportunity to sit with certainly one of the richest men in the world but also one of the smartest, and is at the center of global politic.

WSJ: Do you think his outspokenness on your show hurt him?

I don’t think it’s hurt him at all. It’s required he and his press folks to react on Saturday, and they do.

WSJ: Do you have any special plans for the final show? (scheduled for Dec. 20)

No. I don’t think we’re going to do the full hour only because it’s going to be a very busy day. What I really want to do with the mayor is sit for 15 minutes and reminisce a little bit. Talk about his future, my future, the city’s future, America’s future and just see what we come up with.

WSJ: How tightly controlled is the mayor during the show?

He shows up with his press secretary, Marc LaVorgna now, and he has his security detail with him. The mayor will show up around 6 minutes after 8 ‘o clock. They’re good about getting him here on time. He usually gets himself a coffee and half a bagel, and that’s it, then it’s just Mike and John. Marc goes in the control room, and listens carefully, obviously to all of the things that are being said. If the mayor has extemporaneously thrown out a wrong number or what not, he’ll correct it during a commercial break." via NY Radio Message Board

12/12/13, "A Mayor and a Broadcaster Sign Off," WSJ.com, Mara Gay

"Mayor Bloomberg's Long Run on 'The John Gambling Show' Has Been Favored Platform."

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