Monthly Archives: June 2014

World Cup intermission: underachievers and overachievers so far

The round of 16 features at least nine surprises. Who has outperformed expectations? Who swallowed their tongues?

The group stage of World Cup 2014 is done and we have our entrants in the round of 16, which commences tomorrow. As always there have been surprises, so let’s have a look at the teams who have performed contrary to our expectations.

Overachievers

1: Costa Rica. Anyone who has watched this Tico team in recent years knows they’re tough as damned nails. Honestly, CONCACAF qualifying trips down there are about as bad as visits to Azteca. Read more

Howard Baker dead: a former Republican remembers the last GOP statesman

Baker was the man who set me on the path to progressivism.

Former Tennessee Senator and Reagan White House Chief of Staff is dead at 88. Baker was, in many ways, one of the last of his kind: to wit, a coherent Republican. I have noted before that in my youth I was a conservative – by the standards of that era, anyway. I voted for Reagan twice – I’m not proud of it, but I won’t hide from the facts – even though I can’t say I was ever a true blue Reaganite. No, my ideals ran more toward the old school conservatism of men like Baker. Smart, reasonable, diplomatic. He was, I have argued, the last Republican statesman. Read more

#USMNT 0:1 Germany: Yanks back into round of 16

It wasn’t pretty, but the Yanks advance. What next? Also, the ghost of Landon Donovan.

The US Men’s team lost to Germany today, but thanks to Portugal’s win over Ghana the Americans advance anyway. 10 stray thoughts, in no particular order.

1: The pervasive emotion is relief, not elation. Thanks to its last-minute collapse against the Portuguese this was tense until the final whistle for the US. Still, backing in is better than not getting in at all. Read more

Amusing ourselves to death: new Sciencegasm meme nails it

The public interest is what the public is interested in, bitches.

Thanks to Facebook, we all see new memes every day. Some of them are funny, some insightful, and a lot are of the preaching to the choir variety, which even though they’re right as rain, they occasionally get tiresome. Like a lot of us, frustrated as hell with the sorry shape of our society and the deteriorating condition of our planet and the sheer hopelessness of mounting an assault against the mountain of cynical, corrupt cash standing between us and a solution, I guess I suffer from bouts of what we’ll call Fact Fatigue. If we’re intelligent, I fear, the truth is too much with us.

Every once in awhile, though, somebody sends one around that’s so on-point you can’t ignore it. Today, for instance, it was my friend Heather Sowards-Valey (she of Fiction 8 fame) sharing this one from Sciencegasm: Read more

Portugal/#USMNT tie 2-2: seven thoughts (and tiebreaker scenarios)

It was a collapse for the ages. Now it’s white-knuckle time.

Gutted. Absolutely gutted. All we had to do was kill off 30 more seconds.

[sigh]

Well, for you glass-half-full types, at least now the Germany game means something.

1: Michael Bradley. Had you told me before the tournament started that at this stage Bradley would be one of our weaker links I’d … well, first off I wouldn’t have believed you. But if I did, I’d figure we were done, 0-2, and the German match coming up would be a meaningless exhibition. That he has been this disappointing and we somehow have four points and are still alive, that’s just remarkable. Read more

Nigeria 1:0 Bosnia-Herzegovina: how bad was the officiating?

Edin Dzeko’s disallowed goal was clearly onsides, but a close review of the replay suggests that it was a simple missed call.

Yesterday’s pivotal Nigeria/Bosnia-Herzegovina match featured a blown offsides call that deprived BIH of the only goal it scored. Moments later Nigeria scored courtesy of a controversial no-call on the play that produced the goal by (of all people) Peter Odemwingie. The Bosnians were aggrieved, to put it mildly. Read more

Doco’s Freeway Camping Life: political, personal, progressive

Trevor and Joshua Booth’s music has always been political. On their most recent CD they make clear that progressive values begin at home.

 

Doco: Joshua Booth, Trevor Booth, Dave Burkart

Doco: Joshua Booth, Trevor Booth, Dave Burkart

We have a long, proud tradition of politically active, strongly progressive musicians in the US. Woody Guthrie, Peter, Paul and Mary. Dylan. The Beatles. Punk in general. Green Day’s American Idiot was an iconic classic straight out of the box. And that’s barely a start. Once upon a time, if you were a serious artist, anti-establishment values were more or less a prerequisite. Then came the Reagan years, which laid the groundwork for the corporate takeover of music with the neutering of the FCC and the Public Interest standard. The assimilation was completed during the Bush II years, when all of a sudden you had Clear Channel staging pro-war rallies. Read more

20 years ago today: OJ’s famous ride

Remembering one of the most bizarre moments in American popular culture history.

JFK’s shooting. The Challenger explosion. 9/11. Where were you?

Our history occasionally presents us with events so iconic, tragic, traumatic, or perhaps flat-out weird that we can always tell you where we were when they happened (or when we found out). June 17, 1994 was one such moment for many of us: OJ Simpson’s 60-mile, low-speed chase through LA in the famed white Bronco. Read more

FIFA World Cup: Netherlands 5:1 Spain – Dutch murder tiki-taka

For years now, Pep Guardiola has been getting credit that belongs to Xavi and Iniesta. Yesterday’s result is more evidence that proves it.

The first matches were played in Group B yesterday, and the marquee event was Spain/Holland, a rematch of the dour 2010 final won in extra time by Spain. That meeting was a contrast in styles, with the elegant Spanish tika-taka dance countered by a thuggish Dutch response that merited (but did not receive) two red cards in the opening minutes. It was hard to watch and unless you were a Spain supporter who was just happy to win, it was a thorough disappointment.

Yesterday? Not so much: Read more

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