Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Historic Blizzard Bust: First time in history entire NY City subway system closed due to snow-but blizzard never happened. Only a few inches in Manhattan. NY Gov. Cuomo said blizzard was proof of global warming. Lack of blizzard also reported to prove global warming

1/27/15, "City at Standstill as Blizzard Strikes," NY1 News, Time Warner, 2:08AM EST

Chelsea, NYC, 2:08AM, NY1

"New York City is without public transportation this morning and non-emergency vehicles are banned from the roads in an unprecedented response to what's quickly become known as the Blizzard of 2015.

By midnight the storm had dumped almost half a foot of snow on Central Park, with more than six inches accumulating at La Guardia Airport.
NY1 meteorologist John Davitt says he expects the storm to drop 12 to 18 inches or more on the city by morning, with the National Weather Service calling for up to 30 inches of accumulation....
Included in the shutdown are all subways, buses, Metro-North trains, Long Island Rail Road trains and PATH trains, making this the first time that the entire subway system has been closed to the public due to snow – although many trains are continuing to run empty to keep the tracks clear."...
"Andrew Cuomo says frequency of extreme weather, such as hurricane Sandy and current blizzard sweeping across north-east, ‘is a pattern never seen before’"

"Massive snowstorms such as the one sweeping into the US north-east on Monday are “part of the changing climate”, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, declared at a press conference announcing a state of emergency. 

Cuomo said on Monday that “there is a pattern of extreme weather that we’ve never seen before” – reiterating his comments in the wake of hurricane Sandy, when he said that “anyone who says there’s not a dramatic change in weather patterns is probably denying reality.”"...


Blizzard or no blizzard both prove global warming:

1/26/15, "Repeating News Story: Global Warming To Make Blizzards Worse," cato.org, Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels

"Over the next couple of days, as the Nor’easter honing in on the New England coast matures and eventually unleashes its winter storm fury, you are going to be subject to a lot of global warming hype.

After all, the climate change alarmist credo is: let no extreme weather event pass without pointing out that it is “consistent with” climate change caused by human industrial society.

The push has already begun.

But this time around, the pushback is also well-prepared.

While the “curator” of the Washington Post’s newly-minted online “Energy and Environment” section Chris Mooney tells us in his article that global warming may make blizzards worse by increasing the temperature of the western Atlantic ocean and thereby increasing the moisture feed into the developing storm, meteorologist Ryan Maue is quick to point out that just the opposite is likely the result—that the elevated sea surface temperatures actually act to make such storms tamer.

Maue goes on to add that it is easy to make case that global warming weakened this blizzard significantly due to warmer [sea surface temperatures].”

While Ryan is probably being a bit optimistic here, the reality is that this blizzard (in fact pretty much all storm events) are the result of a very complex system of physical interactions—the precise behavior of each one of which is not completely understood, much less perfectly predictable. This makes ascertaining the influence of human-caused climate change virtually (if not entirely) impossible.

Blizzards affecting New York City are perfect examples of this.

A couple years back, during another New York City blizzard, we looked at some of the confounding factors at play in determining how much it snows in Central Park. Our conclusion after reviewing the cases for both more and less snowfall there?

 Which leaves natural variability as the primary driver of just how white New York City’s winters are.
Figure 1 will give you some idea of what we were talking about. It shows the winter snowfall history from New York’s Central Park since the late 1800s.

Figure 1. Winter snowfall totals from New York City’s Central Park.

Kudos to you if you can pick out the patterns formed by global warming. And if you can, please write them up for scientific publication somewhere. The world awaits the definitive answer.

In the meantime, don’t believe the hype." Chart via Cato from NCDC AccuWeather data. via Climate Depot


Comment: I have a clear view up First Avenue in the 80's in Manhattan. As of 5:21AM there are only 3-4 inches of snow.


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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Billionaire who owns 5 mansions stopped by Davos via private jet to warn that Americans must reduce lifestyles because jobs aren't coming back, danger of social unrest

1/23/15, "The 5 mansions of the billionaire who wants America to live a 'smaller' existence," Adrian Glick Kudler, homes.yahoo.com


"Jeff Greene is a billionaire who made most of his fortune shorting subprime mortgages ahead of the last recession. Greene took a private jet to this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, along with his wife, children and two nannies, and then told Bloomberg that "America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."
Green owns a $195-million palace in Beverly Hills with 23 bathrooms and a rotating dance floor, two other Los Angeles mansions, a mansion in Palm Beach, a mansion in the Hamptons, and a 145-foot party yacht called Summerwind that once severely damaged a protected coral reef off Belize."...image via Yahoo News

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Smell of smoke from the fire at John Sterling's New Jersey apartment building has permeated the halls of buildings on the East Side of Manhattan

1/22/15, 7:11am: I live near First Avenue in the East 80's in Manhattan. I smelled smoke in the hallway outside my apartment a few minutes ago, so went down to speak to my doorman about it. When I got in the elevator I smelled the same smoke. It was in the lobby too. I asked the doorman if he smelled smoke, and he said, yes, and pointed in the direction of New Jersey. "It's from the fire in New Jersey."

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Fire in Edgewater, NJ apartment complex leaves Yankee radio play by play announcer John Sterling without a home-NY Daily News

1/21/15, "Multialarm fire engulfs Edgewater, N.J. apartment complex, leaving Yankees announcer John Sterling among hundreds without a home," NY Daily News, Bob Raissman, Nina Golgowski

"The 400-unit Avalon at Edgewater complex was destroyed after a multialarm fire broke out around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. New York Yankee’s broadcaster John Sterling is one of those who called the complex home. He told the Daily News he fears he’s lost everything."

"A massive multialarm fire that lit up the western skyline along the Hudson River has destoryed a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey and left hundreds homeless — including the beloved voice of the New York Yankees.

John Sterling, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the MLB team, is among those who have called the Avalon at Edgewater complex home.

“Maybe I’ll get lucky and there won’t be that much damage,” the sports broadcaster told the Daily News while taking refuge in a hotel.

Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland, who took office Jan. 2, declared a local state of emergency as firefighters battling the blaze reported it remaining out of control four hours after it first broke at 4:20 p.m. Five FDNY fire boats attacked the inferno from the river, but by 9 p.m. parts of the complex began to collapse, The Bergen Record reported.

No serious injuries to civilians or firefighters have been reported. About 400 residents were evacuated, the complex owner said. Officials said all people and pets have been accounted for.
But many residents, during a particularly frigid night, were left in the cold not knowing what possession they may have left. Sterling is one of them. “I don’t know what to expect. Now, I have nowhere to go. And I need a toothbrush," he said. Sterling said he was returning to the 408-unit building, attempting to board an elevator, when he noticed the smell of “intense smoke.”

“On one side of the building the elevators had already been shut down. I went to my elevators (at the back of the building) and tried walking in, but the smoke was so intense I said to myself, ‘John, you better get the hell out of here.’ So I just drove away,” he recalled.

“I was wondering what I was going to do for clothes. But then I started thinking about all the stuff, all the memories, whether it be music, books, and a lot of other stuff,” he said. “You know I was planning on moving to a new apartment complex and felt I was going to throw a lot of that stuff out. Now I hope I haven’t lost it,” he continued.

“One positive is, if there can be any, is all the people that have called me up asking how I’m doing. Like Willie Randolph, a secretary from the Yankees. Suzyn— another friend from Los Angeles. It must be a big fire because she heard about it on Ch. 7 L.A.,” he said.

As for what Sterling said he plans to do next: "I have a TV taping Saturday with Mary Carillo for the Hallmark Kitten Super Bowl. All I have to wear now is what’s on my back: Jeans, a polo shirt and a sweater."

Authorities say it appears that everyone in the four-story, luxury complex was able to get out safely, although the cause of the fire was not immediately known. Displaced residents have been moved to the nearby Eleanor Van Gelder School and the Boys and Girls Club.

Edgewater schools will be closed Thursday.

Numerous firefighters from Edgewater and surrounding towns swarmed the scene to help battle the blaze — easily seen raging from across the Hudson River in Manhattan — but their efforts were being hampered by windy conditions and temperatures in the low 30s.

Streets around the burning building were cordoned off, but no major traffic problems have been reported.

Authorities are looking into reports that plumbers were working close to where the fire broke out, in a wall of an apartment on the first floor at the south side of the complex, Edgewater Police Chief William Skidmore told The Record.

Shockingly, this wasn't the first time the apartment complex has burned down.

During its 2000 construction the $75.6 million building, then called the Avalon River Mews, caught fire after reports of an explosion.

One witness described the fire as needing only 12 minutes to ignite all three of the wood-frame buildings that comprised the new housing development, thanks to fanning winds.

"I went out front and the flames were like 500 feet high," Mike Caprio told the News that August."

Image NY Daily News, Sam Costanza


12/22/14, "John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman officially back in Yankees' WFAN booth for 2015," Newsday, Neil Best

"John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will return as the Yankees' radio team for 2015, WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff confirmed Monday.

Newsday reported in September that the duo likely would be back, but since then, that has become official, meaning Sterling and Waldman are set to spend an 11th season together.

Sterling, 76, always has been consistent about his thoughts on retirement, telling Newsday in September: "I'm never going to retire. I don't understand why people would."

The Yankees do not have hiring or firing power over the announcers for their games, but they do have input.

Team president Randy Levine said in September: "I think John and Suzyn, they are iconic . . . I love them. They're friends, they're great people and they're part of the Yankee brand.""

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Does democracy matter in sport? More sports events are being hosted by authoritarian states using them to gain political legitimacy-BBC Sports, Roan

1/20/15, "Does democracy matter in sport?" BBC Sports, Dan Roan

""Less democracy is sometimes better for organising a World Cup." 

"The words of Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke in the fraught build up to Brazil 2014 may have surprised some people, but they serve as a reminder that sport's relationship with democracy is an uneasy one....

In the 21st Century, more and more sports events seem to be hosted by authoritarian states, using them to gain political legitimacy and strengthen the power and profile of their rulers.

Where once sports turned to Western democracies as the natural place to do business, they increasingly look east, to countries where money, rather than freedom, rules.

Thanks to its vast wealth, the Arab world is becoming a true sporting hub, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in particular hosting more global events, sponsoring shirts and stadia, and buying up sporting assets to gain exposure, improve their image, and accumulate "soft power" among their trading partners and military allies in the Western world

No matter that Amnesty International says the United Arab Emirates is a "deeply repressive state", a recent report pointing to "a climate of fear, with authorities going to extreme lengths to stamp out any sign of dissent, criticism of calls for reform"....

Repressive regimes have certainly looked to exploit sport for their own political ends. During the Cold War, Communist countries wanted to use Olympic medals as a means of proving the superiority of their ideology over capitalism....

But what role does sport play in democracies?

We are often told here that sport and politics should not mix, that politicians should not meddle with sport, and most sports organisations actively discourage governments from encroaching on their territory....

And when it comes to the furthering of political causes, sport has often shown itself to be more powerful than elected representatives....

England cricketer Moeen Ali wore "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" wristbands during a test match in 2014.

But he was quickly banned from doing so by the International Cricket Council, on the basis that the rules "do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match".

Having tweeted his support for the Yes campaign on the morning of the referendum on Scottish independence, tennis player Andy Murray received a torrent of abuse, via social media and quickly expressed his regret at having revealed his opinion."...

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Nationals trade star reliever Tyler Clippard to Oakland-Loverro

1/18/15, "LOVERRO: Keeping Tyler Clippard a luxury the Nationals couldn’t afford," Washington Times, Thom Loverro

"Never fall in love with a relief pitcher — unless his name is Mariano Rivera.

Who knows? Maybe Tyler Clippard will wind up being the Mariano Rivera of set up men coming out of the bullpen. But $9 million for an eighth-inning pitcher is a luxury the Washington Nationals can’t afford, so the popular reliever was traded last week to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Yunel Escobar, as Washington general manager Mike Rizzo continues to battle the payroll beast.

The Lerner family is going to keep this team’s payroll in the $140 million neighborhood — an upscale, if not luxury, neighborhood.

In order to do that, you can’t be paying the setup reliever $9 million, what Clippard is seeking in arbitration, and not when you have two ace starting pitchers and a three-time Silver Slugging shortstop facing free agency after the 2015 season — and hope to keep any of them.

Remember, yesterday’s failed starting pitching prospect is tomorrow’s ace reliever. See Clippard.

Clippard had been a starter — a bad one — in the New York Yankees system since he was drafted in 2003. By the time 2007 came around, he was an afterthought, traded to Washington for relief pitcher Jonathan Albaledejo. And it wasn’t until two years later, after a conversation with Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, that Clippard moved to the bullpen — and a Nats star was born.

Fans fall in love with relief pitchers because, besides the starting pitcher’s walk from the bullpen to the dugout before the game after warming up, relievers are the only players on the team that make a grand entrance — and often in dramatic conditions. No one made a grander entrance than Clippard with his goggles and long-legged show horse strut. He connected with a fan base still learning how to fall in love with a baseball team.

But remember, so did Chad Cordero. So did Joey Eischen. Relievers are often shooting stars — here and gone. Others come along.

It’s up to Rizzo to find one. Maybe he already did — another afterthought.

Blake Treinen came to Washington as a supporting cast player in the Michael Morse three-way trade to Seattle that brought Nationals pitching prospect A.J. Cole back to Washington from Oakland, along with reliever Ian Krol. Treinen worked both as a starter and reliever last season, back and forth between Washington and Triple-A Syracuse, but when Rizzo saw Treinen in spring training last year, he knew he had something special.

He posted good numbers last year when used as a spot starter in Washington — a 3.00 ERA in 36 innings. But he was lights out coming out of the bullpen, with a 1.23 ERA in eight relief appearances. Will he be Tyler Clippard? That’s a high standard. Rizzo told reporters last week after the deal was made that Clippard “maybe the best eighth-inning setup man in the history of the game.”

But the Washington Nationals can’t afford to have the best setup man in the history of the game. Actually, they could easily afford it, but ownership chooses not to, so it’s up to Rizzo to project forward to insure payroll flexibility — after talent, the two most important words for any Major League Baseball franchise seeking long-term success.

Payroll flexibility drove Clippard to Oakland, just as it brought Escobar to Washington. The infielder is here because the future of the Nationals infield up the middle is up in the air. There is no obvious second base choice right now, and shortstop Ian Desmond is on the trading block, going into the final year of his contract, with the two sides reportedly not even close to make a long term deal.

Washington reportedly offered Desmond a $90 million contract extension last season, which he turned down. They don’t appear close to agreeing to any sort of lengthy contract extension, and Desmond has been the subject of numerous trade talks.

Rizzo has three such commodities — Desmond and starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister. One or two of them will likely be playing someplace else next year. Rizzo has to juggle those future payrolls. Escobar helps him do that — but only if he performs above what he did last year in Tampa Bay. He is a career .276 hitter with an above-average glove. He hit .258 with the Rays last season, finishing with 18 doubles, seven home runs and 39 RBI in 137 games. His .324 on-base percentage and .340 slugging percentage were each below his career averages of .347 and .381, respectively.

“We got ourselves a really good everyday baseball player that can play shortstop on a regular basis, has done it on a championship-caliber club,” Rizzo told reporters. “And this year, [he] fulfills us as an upgrade at second base. We have protection and depth in the infield beyond 2015, so we feel that we’ve checked off a lot of the boxes that we try to check off during.”

Protection and depth in the infield beyond 2015. It may be maddening for Nationals fans to lose a favorite now to hedge future bets. But after waiting 33 years for Major League Baseball to return to Washington, a plan for future success should make everyone feel good."

• "Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com."

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Derek Jeter chats with Seattle Seahawks Champ Russell Wilson before June 2014 Yankee-Mariner game in Seattle

6/11/14, "The Captain and the Super Bowl Champion
Jeter with Russell Wilson, QB of Seattle Seahawks, via Erik Boland twitter. Final NYY 4 Seattle Mariners 2.

1/18/15, "Lynch, Wilson lead epic comeback to send Seahawks back to Super Bowl," USA Today

1/18/15, "Emotional Wilson 'honored' to play for Seahawks," FoxSports

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Michigan rollercoaster has no customers in January

"Out of service: In this photo, snow is pictured covering a wooden rollercoaster at Michigan's Adventure in North Muskegon, Michigan," ap

1/10/15, "Stunning pictures of Michigan's St Joseph Lighthouse transformed into giant icicles as arctic blast continues to sweep across the US," UK Daily Mail, by Sophie Jane Evans

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mighty US government joins lawsuit to deny Washington Redskins use of trademark. Loss of trademark doesn't mean team must change its name

1/9/15, "Obama lawyers go to court to fight Redskins over team name," Washington Times, S. Dinan

"The Obama administration joined a lawsuit opposing the Washington Redskins‘ team trademark on Friday, filing court papers to defend the federal law that gives the government the power to deny recognition to trademarks it believes to be disparaging.

The Patent and Trademark Office's appeals board had revoked the NFL team’s trademarks last year, finding that they were offensive and so they weren’t protected under federal law. The Justice Department said it agrees with them, and will fight a lawsuit by the team’s owners seeking to overturn the federal Lanham Act as a violation of free speech.

I believe strongly in the rights of all Americans to celebrate and maintain their unique cultural heritage,” said Joyce R. Branda, an acting assistant attorney general. “Going forward, we will strive to maintain the ability of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to make its own judgment on these matters, based on clear authorities established by law,” she added.

Mr. Obama hasn’t always intervened to defend laws. Most notably, his Justice Department refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.

But in this case his Justice Department said the law prohibiting offensive trademarks deserved backing.

Losing trademark protection doesn’t mean the Redskins must change their name, but it could make the name less lucrative because the team could have a tougher time enforcing its brand against counterfeiters.

Some Indians have argued the name is an outdated slur that should not be given federal protections."

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Edgar Martinez should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame-Washington Post, Neil Greenberg

1/6/15, "Edgar Martinez should be in the baseball Hall of Fame," Washington Post, Neil Greenberg

"Edgar Martinez, a seven-time all-star, should be in the baseball Hall of Fame, but support for his candidacy has been waning over the past three seasons.

I’m not surprised that my percentage went down,” Martinez said a year ago. “We just have to wait and see for the future.”

The biggest knock on his enshrinement is that he played as the team’s designated hitter and thus had little to no impact on the defensive part of the game. However, he still deserves to be in.

For starters, the American League has required a designated hitter ever since the 1973 season, so to penalize him for playing at the position is ludicrous. Martinez played his entire 18-year career with the Mariners (1987-2004) and spent the final 10 seasons primarily as a designated hitter. He was so good they named the award for outstanding designated hitter after him.

Martinez hit .312 for his career with an on-base plus slugging percentage that was 47 percent higher than the league average after adjusting for park effects. He also led the league in on-base percentage three times (1995, 1998 and 1999) and had a career mark of .418. He struck out 100 times just once in 18 seasons: his last in 2004 at 41 years old.

According to the Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor, which attempts to determine how likely a player is to be elected to the Hall of Fame, Martinez is at 132. Anything over 100 is considered to be likely enshrinement.

Bill James’ Hall of Fame Career Standards, a 0 to 100 scale which determines how well a player’s career statistics match up to the typical standards of the HOF, has Martinez right at where you would find the average Hall of Famer (50).

His 68.3 career rWar is higher than that produced by Craig Biggio (65.1), who received 74.8 percent of the vote last season. it is also higher than Mike Piazza (59.4), who was listed on 62.2 percent of last year’s ballots.

The numbers speak for themselves: the best designated hitter of all time deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

"Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd." via Free Republic

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