July 22, 2016

Some Bird

The hummingbird arrested but briefly on a twig.

July 14, 2016

The Break

Major League Baseball comes to rest around the All-Star Game, a four-day pause in the year's relatively incessant schedule of games, marking the ceremonial halfway point in the season, though strictly speaking the halfway mark is long past. The San Francisco Giants have played 90 games going into the break, nine more than half a season's worth.

No ballclub has had an easier schedule than the San Francisco Giants had during the first half of 2016.

That will change for the Giants eventually, as is mentioned elsewhere. But for now, the club continues to enjoy the salad days of its schedule, returning from the four-day All Star Break with the MLB's best record, 57-33 (having surpassed the Chicago Cubs in that regard after a couple of weeks of stumbling from the Chicagos to close out their first half), to face the more or less hapless San Diego Padres.

The Giants have yet to lose a game to the Padres this season. They are 9-0. Those nine wins explain a lot about the position of two clubs as the second half begins. Without them the Giants are less bafflingly successful, the Padres not so deflatingly bad.

Granted, good clubs are supposed to win most of the games they play against poor teams. But, winning 6 of 9 games against a poorer club is considered feasting on that team. Winning 9 games in a row against any club, no matter how poor, is way over on the far edge of the probability curve. Baseball doesn't normally operate that way.

Nevertheless, the Giants get to play the Padres 10 more times this year, starting tomorrow night.

Soon the DL will disgorge Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, and Matt Cain. Reliever Sergio Romo is already back. Other teams may hope to bolster their lineups by working some magic before the end-of-the-month trading deadline. The Giants look to become considerably stronger simply by welcoming back four of their own.

July 13, 2016

Questionable Times for the New PM

The British Prime Minister apparently has "You're It!" powers when it comes to naming the heads of the offices of government, who set and carry out the policies of the party in power using those offices under the Prime Minister's direction, including the newly created office of Secretary of State For Exiting The European Union (David Davis). No messy formal advise and consent, just, here, you're it.
It is a mark of the equivocal importance of the Foreign Office in what remains of Britain now that it has voted to go to its room, that the new Foreign Secretary will be Boris Johnson.

July 11, 2016

Lemmy And Jolie

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon got together and sang this song
And everybody else wants to sing along
Sing along to this real old song.

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon met up together and sang this song:
Everbody else wants to sing along
Sing along to this real old song.

Lemmy Caution and Jolie Blon get 'em together and we all sing along
Sing along to this real old song,
Real old song, we all sing along,
Sing along to this real old song.

July 06, 2016

Department of O.K. Fine If You Say So

Words that cannot be gainsaid, at least around here:

Indeed, it has been shown that the proposition that every vector space has a basis is equivalent to Zorn's Lemma (and hence also to the axiom of choice)

July 05, 2016

Annals of Privilege

The Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined, according to this Greenwald article at The Intercept.

…Comey also detailed that her key public statements defending her conduct – i.e., she never sent classified information over her personal email account and that she had turned over all “work-related” emails to the State Department – were utterly false; insisted “that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position . . . should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation”; and argued that she endangered national security because of the possibility “that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.” Comey also noted that others who have done what Clinton did “are often subject to security or administrative sanctions” – such as demotion, career harm, or loss of security clearance.

…Despite all of these highly incriminating findings, Comey explained, the FBI is recommending to the Justice Department that Clinton not be charged with any crime. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information,” he said, “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” To justify this claim, Comey cited “the context of a person’s actions” and her “intent.” In other words, there is evidence that she did exactly what the criminal law prohibits, but it was more negligent and careless than malicious and deliberate.

…perhaps Democrats might start demanding the same reasonable leniency and prosecutorial restraint for everyone else who isn’t Hillary Clinton.

That last line pointedly about well-known miscreants Snowdon and Manning.

July 04, 2016

The Winningest Team In Baseball

The 162 game schedule, drawn up before the start of the season, has arbitrarily favored the Giants with a stretch of weeks pitted against teams with losing records. Since taking three of four in Pittsburgh against a presumptive playoff rival, the Giants have so far played 11 games against teams with losing records, winning six.

These pleasant prospects, from games #75 through #101 of the schedule, featuring 24 of 26 games against teams with losing records (PHI, COL, ARI, SD, CIN, NYY), will extend through the All Star break this year, eventually ending in late July.

Alternately, the Giants schedule for early August features seven games against the East-leading Washington Nationals in a ten-game span, followed by 15 games against 5 teams vying with various stages of desperation for playoff slots (MIA, BAL, PIT, NYM, LAD).

The Giants have been rewarded with a soft schedule that will turn brutal in August. If there are a subtle few extra wins that will make the difference this season, these weeks bridging the All Star break look to be the place the Giants need to find them. Because August will be hard.