Saturday, September 29, 2012

A's WIN!


Here's the scene at home plate, the team waiting for Brandon Moss to arrive, in what was one of the best games I have ever seen in my life. Tie it up in the 9th, win it in the 10th, for a major league leading 14th walk-off win. Just, wow

 We were doing the Bernie all OVER the place.
"Moss hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning after Josh Donaldson's tying two-run shot in the ninth, and the Oakland Athletics gained ground on the first-place Texas Rangers with a stunning 7-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. 
''Epic,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''It's a pretty dramatic win, maybe as dramatic as all.''

Below is Moss getting the Gatorade bath after he had been hit with the traditional pie. The A's can clinch with a win tomorrow if the Angels blow the double-header and Tampa loses. 

Whatever happens from here on out though - it sure has been a fun year at the Coliseum.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Walk Into Work


Usually it's foggy, but every once in a while... 

  Bigger view, where you can see Oakland.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Those People


Almost too easy, but oh so good that the Democrats couldn't pass it up. Next, put some money behind it, and get it on the air. 

Here's the thing about Mitt's new found empathy ad that's featured above, the only ad that the campaign will be running in nine swing states as of now - he found a way to screw that up, too. From Garance Franke-Ruta at the Atlantic:

It's not the most polished video in the world. But you can see the thinking behind it. The candidate will directly address the voters, making a spare, authentic, heart-to-heart appeal that he cares about how "too many Americans" are suffering.
And then he says it.
"President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families. The difference is my policies will make things better for them."  
Mitt Romney keeps talking about the people whose votes he needs as "them." In the 47 percent video, it was "those people."

I doubt he can help it. As my teammate Jennifer pointed out in Politico, he is the bubble candidate; from the time he was a child, to the time he was a governor, to the time he was a CEO, the public has always been "the other" to Mitt. 

Maybe Romney can't help it - but his campaign sure can, and because they didn't, it also reflects the attitude of the people that Mitt surrounds himself with. Not a good sign for who he would pick to help him lead the country - after all, chances are you are "those people" in their eyes as well.

City Hall


San Francisco, of course.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September Sunset

Sunset from the hills above Berkeley. You really want to see this in 1000 px

 That bright light across the Bay would be the Giants winning the division.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Space Shuttle Flyover

Fun fact: Dick Nixon was the president who first authorized the program back in 1969. 

Zipped up to the roof to see the shuttle buzz the Bay area yesterday - there are some great pictures that were taken near the Golden Gate, google to see. Our building is across the street from AT&T and looks east towards Oakland. Unfortunately yesterday was pretty hazy, and that has a tendency to look worse than it really is in the rising sun. She flew up from the southeast, went behind the ballpark...


1000 px here. This was the clearest shot I got.

... and then flew more towards the northeast side of the Bay; I believe they were shooting to fly above Berkeley and then head for the GG. Here's a shot looking toward Oakland...


1000 px here.

Anyhoo, it was a thrill to see it, me being old enough to remember when the first one went off in 1982.

A salute to those who gave their lives for this program: Greg Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Michael J. Smith and Dick Scobee on Challenger, and Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown, Laurel Clark and IIan Ramon on Columbia.

Thank you for your sacrifice - the dream lives on.

America's Cup


Sunrise along the Embarcadero - these are the America's Cup sailboats, waiting for the next race. 

1000 px here.

 Yesterday was one of those picture perfect days.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Romney Plan Revealed

Not a lot of time for this today - but here is the really, really big clue as to what Romney would do to pay for his tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations.

Last year, the Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Rick Snyder eliminated some tax exemptions on pension income and tax credits for seniors to make up for lost revenue from a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses and corporations. 

 "On the issues, (the Republicans) are in big trouble," said state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, chairman of the House Democrats' election campaign.

Look around the country. Republican Tea Wave governors and legislatures elected in 2010 did all sorts of tricks like this, from cutting the EITC and other tax credits for regular folks, to raising "fees" and other increases that directly affected the middle class - all to pay for more tax cuts that didn't create jobs.

BTW, how IS that unemployment rate in Michigan these days?

Vote accordingly this November.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Catnip 9/17/12: You Say It's Your Birthday


Occupy birthday at Ogawa Plaza. Not sure if they have anything planned for today: The weekend was very quiet there, this chalk will be power-washed off this morning, and as you can see, they have fenced off the lawn to re-sod and restore the grass.

Sorry the color on this is so weird. At the time I walked by yesterday it was half in shadow, and the correction washes everything out a bit.

No notes today. Another schedule shift has me going in very early in the morning - perhaps I can write something at night, but usually I'm pretty wiped out from the day... so, we will see how it goes....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Catnip 9/14/12: Campaign Implodes in 3... 2... 1...


The bridge from Richmond to Marin, she really doesn't get the attention the others do. You can see San Quentin as you are heading north on this one.

Back to the news... and the portrait of a desperate man:

Nothing like calling your debate opponent a "liar" before they even begin. Going to do that to our adversaries too, Mittens? Won't we be well-loved across the world, just like we were under Bush! "Romney, who spent several days in debate prep last week as the Democratic National Convention was underway, said he's been studying Obama's performance at previous debates. The Republican presidential nominee added he's still trying to outline his strategy." Yes, for Mitt, it's not about ideas on improving the country or governance, it's about strategy of taking down your foe - but that much should be obvious by now.

The Chinese don't appreciate Romney's tough talk, threatening that a Romney presidency would be a disaster for the world. "In a strongly worded English-language commentary, Xinhua said Romney's anti-China rhetoric, if converted into policy upon him assuming office, would trigger a catastrophic trade war and damage the already weak global economic recovery." They then went on to point out the hypocrisy of a man who made his fortune outsourcing to Chinese companies now bashing the practice. And hey, where are all those righties who called the Democrats "xenophobic" when we brought up the issue of trade?

While the fossil fuel industry opens the wallet to make sure to keep this country dependent on our oil addiction while they kill the renewable industry, the speculators on the "free market" are responding to events in the Misddle East like they always do - jacking up the price of oil. "Crude oil hit a four-month high as the killing of the US ambassador to Libya and fears of unrest in the Middle East fuelled supply concerns in an already tight market." Watch the price at the pump climb, and remember the Republicans want to chain the country to this path.

Remember how Republicans lied about Obama gutting the welfare work requirements? Yeah, funny thing about that - they are pursuing legislation that would eliminate the work requirements altogether by giving the money to the states and letting them do whatever they want with it. This "block grant" move on everything is simply a prescription for corruption - ask the states that took stimulus money to pad their budget and pass more tax cuts. "States would be given so much flexibility that the restrictions in the 1996 welfare law need no longer apply, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service." Surprise! Not.

Well, lookit that, when Congress has their ass on the line, Congress can actually get something done.

And me, weeping for joy, as a Democrat stands up for clean energy innovation and speaks out against the GOP's bullshit Solyndra bill. "Silicon Valley’s Democratic representative said Republicans would handcuff U.S. competitiveness in clean technology if the GOP succeeds in ending a federal loan guarantee program... 'There is an urgent need for investment in new technologies in America,” Honda said. “There is an urgent need for venture risk in America, and the federal government must be involved through programs like the Department of Energy's loan guarantees.' " Hal-le-frickin-lu-jah. Can we all start rowing in the same direction now?

Gotta run, "Values Voters" and a certain viral video need my attention....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Catnip 9/13/12: Is Romney Beating the Drums of War?


1000 px of Nor-Cal goodness. And it goes on forever...


While the media twists and turns itself inside-out trying to explain away Romney's misleading and dangerous foreign policy blunder on Libya and Egypt - don't let this ominous report slip away unnoticed: "US Strikes on Iran Would Risk Major War: U.S. military strikes on Iran would shake the regime's political control and damage its ability to launch counterstrikes, but the Iranians probably would manage to retaliate, directly and through surrogates, in ways that risked igniting all-out war in the Middle East, according to an assessment of an attack's costs and benefits." No shit. Realize this also: You hear the neocons beating the drums on Iran. You now know Romney would jump at the chance to prove how tough he is. Just listen to his bluster on Russia and China. America to pay ready for years of drawn-out Middle East conflict? Think hard, and remember in November.

Census report showing us the results of Republican trickle-down economics - 46.2 million in poverty, median wages declining. Why? The Atlantic takes a look at the stagnation/fall of wages for men, simple explanation: Loss of manufacturing jobs. "Manufacturing employment hit its century-high mark in the mid-1970s and has since dropped to its lowest level since the 1930s... It's the confirmation of 30 years of awful wage growth for men, even fully employed men. In other words, this is not merely a reality of Obama's America, but also both Bush's America and Reagan's America (real male wages clearly grew under Clinton)."

One excellent piece of news from the report: Obamacare has lowered the number of uninsured people, mainly younger folks who can stay on their parent's plan.

Compare and contrast policy now - what has been the Republican campaign response to poverty? Attack the poor! Mother Jones shines the light on the man behind Romney's welfare attacks, and while you may not know the name, you've probably heard his sentiment. You know how poor people aren't really poor because the have a TV? Yeah, that's him. Robert Rector, Heritage Foundation shill, who has fueled Republican attacks on the least-fortunate fellow Americans for decades. Meet your future Romney cabinet.

Michael Bloomberg commits GOP message heresy in his remarks to a room full of bankers and DC elties: Businesses don't much care about their tax rates. "You show me a business person who cares about his federal tax rate more than his customers, and I’ll show you Darwin at work,” he added. The audience laughed even louder." Jokes on you, America. Bloomberg is pushing for the "grand bargain" - only problem with that is, any sort of cuts right now would harm our recovery. People understand that yet?

Remember how all that gubbermint spending caused House Republicans to gnash their teeth and rend their garments and repeatedly threaten to shut-down the government unless they got more cuts cuts cuts, right now now now? Yeah, well, when their jobs are on the line and you get to pull the lever on them pretty soon, suddenly it's not an issue anymore. "The House is expected to easily pass a short-term spending plan Thursday to keep government operations funded through March, a move that would signal that the chamber has at least temporarily jettisoned the brinkmanship of last year." Funny how that happens.

John Kasich, old-school sexist pig. War on women? Things would be fine if they'd just get back in the kitchen where they belong, right?

GM, number one in automotive manufacturing solar power use. A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative shows that retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco and IKEA are leading the way in installation. "The top 10 companies by capacity have individually deployed more solar energy than most electric utilities in the US, the report says. And the amount of solar installed by the Top 20 solar-powered companies could power more than 46,500 average American homes. Altogether, US commercial solar installations could power more than 390,000 American homes, the report said." Hmmm. If all these major corporations are so hot on renewable energy use, why are the Republicans against it?

Thursday awaits.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Oakland Remembers


The scene at the FD across the street from my apartment, just a few moments ago...

Catnip 9/11/12: Convention Bounce Bigger Than Romney's Lies


The stairs that lead to the lighthouse at Point Reyes. My advice? Be in shape. It's the equivalent of three stories down or so they say, and I swear it's longer. But once you get there? Well worth it.

Big picture here.

Wacky schedule changes and demands on my time means this post may be sporadic for a bit, but I'm doing my damnedest to stay on the horse. Onward.....

Convention bouncey-bounce continues. While this will probably subside a bit in the coming days, all signs are pointing in the right direction. My man Greg Sargent has a breakdown on the new ABC/WaPo poll concerning the economy - and if Obama wins that sentiment, it's hard to see how he loses the election.

Don't underestimate the public's dislike of Republican policy in all of this. Maybe they don't really want candidates who are moving backwards on not only the economy, but on social issues as well. It's the entire package we vote on.

Paul Ryan loves him some government spending. Turns out that Ryan not only asked for stimulus money for renewable energy companies, he wanted some of the sweet DOE money for green cars too. "Years before becoming famous as an advocate of fiscal restraint, Paul Ryan supported a now-controversial Energy Department loan program aimed at developing greener cars — and even called for DOE to hand out lump-sum payments to companies." Add all that to the fact that he requested money from Obamacare for a health care center, and you've practically got yourself a Democrat. Who knew?

But what did you expect from a dude that lies about everything. His Face the Nation appearance was pure condescending arrogance as he tried to backtrack on his own voting record. Watch as he smugly smiles as he lies through his teeth and talks down to O'Donnell. The pathology is rather chilling, actually.

He has years to go until he catches up with Mitt when it comes to lying though. Practice, young man!

Same goes for government spending. The people that know Mitt best say that he loves him some government too, and probably won't repeal all of Obamacare - just replace it with... whatever makes his rich friends happy. You listening, tea baggers? That's the sound of you getting thrown right under the bus.

Another economist runs the Romney numbers, and yes, his tax plan does work - if you raise taxes on anyone making more than $100,000. Key words here: "It’s not possible to make the numbers add up if you refuse to raise taxes on people making less than $200,000."

Are we better off than four years ago? It's getting better all the time, says the public to Gallup. Economic confidence surged 11 pts last week, even after the supposedly horrible jobs report. Good to know.

Funny how the Republican Congresscritters are backing off the threat of a government shutdown now, isn't it? All those pricipled stands against "spending" go right out the door when they think their ass is on the line. Real knee-slapper there.

From the really-cool-news-that-points-out-how-much-Congress-really-SUCKS comes this: Wind power could meet the world's energy needs: "A new study published this week in Nature Climate Change finds that there’s enough wind potential both on the Earth’s surface and up in the atmosphere to power human civilization 100 times over. Right now, humans use about 18 terawatts of power worldwide. And, technically, the study found, we could extract about 400 terawatts of wind power from the Earth’s surface and 1,800 terawatts of power from the upper atmosphere." Too bad we are busy laying off wind energy workers because Congress refuses to act.

Remembering 9-11. National Geo has 25 pictures. Must see.

Off to the day....

Friday, September 07, 2012

"I Accept Your Nomination for President of the United States"

Overall, it was a very good speech. President had some serious competition this week. :-)

Be sure and watch this though - very important to listen to what the man is saying. The choice IS clear, but the media noise is going to do its best to muddy it up....

... starting with this. Jobs report got you down? That, too, will pass - and know that this is happening: America’s Hidden Austerity Program. "Without this hidden austerity program, the economy would look very different. If state and local governments had followed the pattern of the previous two recessions, they would have added 1.4 million to 1.9 million jobs and overall unemployment would be 7.0 to 7.3 percent instead of 8.2 percent... the United States has also seen unprecedented austerity at the level of state and local governments, and this austerity has slowed the job recovery."

This has been pointed out more than a few times before, and it's going to get lost in the din today. Republicans have done their best to thwart this recovery, and remember the Tea Party red states of 2010 are leading the parade. Re-read this great article from Bryce Covert at The Nation to understand some of what is going on out there. And as Steve Benen points out, it was one year ago tomorrow that the American Jobs Act was introduced - and that could have meant 2 million more jobs for America. Republicans have blocked that too.

"You will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation."

Choose wisely.

It's a new day, and the fight continues.

That's My Governor

I'll let her speak for herself. She does it so well. Watch.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

On A Foggy San Francisco Night


1000 px here. It's a lot prettier than pictures can do it justice. There's a certain warmth in the chilly wind and fog...

ICYMI: A Tribute to Senator Kennedy

Beauty. If you haven't seen this, you need to watch it. The Republicans immediately starting whining - and that's how you know it was a success. A stirring tribute combined with campaign ad, very artfully done.

I'm guessing that Teddy would approve, and somewhere today he's got a big smile on his face. RIP Senator, the dream lives on...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Inside the Ferry Building


Been super busy, but here's a shot I've been meaning to publish...

Monday, September 03, 2012

Better Off? Obviously.

The delightful Steve Benen has more.

Off to the great outdoors. Happy Labor Day everyone, and remember the reason for the season.

Sunday, September 02, 2012



I didn't bring my long telephoto to the game last night because it was a twilight/night game, and I wasn't planning on buying a ticket close to the field. Just wanted to hang out and watch some smokin' hot A's kick some Boston ass (and they did) and relax a bit.

Brandon Inge had been on the disabled list, and this was the day he was coming back after rehab. Started at 3rd. After an early inning, can't remember which, he walked off the field very slowly. I mentally noted it, and continued my walk around the Coliseum. Stopped to watch the A's bat some time later; I knew I was shooting at the net and that doesn't make for the greatest pictures, but I didn't much care. Just firing away.

Little did I know that I would capture what would be Brandon's last hit for 2012 - he had dislocated his shoulder. And he hit a two-run double.

He knew he was probably done for the year. He stayed in the game anyway. Knowing his season was likely over, Brandon Inge stepped to the plate one last time in the the third inning of Saturday's 7-1 win over the Red Sox and cracked a two-run double off the right field wall. The term "gamer" is often thrown around loosely, not in this case.

What Inge did was downright legendary.

"I can be at peace with myself, literally knowing I gave everything I have to offer to this team," Inge said after discussing his future with A's manager Bob Melvin. "I wanted to make sure that in a year like this I didn't leave anything on the table."

Inge was only batting .226 (and that's after picking it up from .200) - but he was third on the team in RBI's. Clutch. His presence in the clubhouse has been essential to this team's surprising success, and he plans to keep it that way.

"I was telling him when I get the surgery I want to come back right away, dress with the team, travel with the team," Inge said. "Because I feel in this clubhouse I can still make an impact."

He even hopes he can stick around and maybe serve some purposes for the team as a pinch hitter or DH before going under the knife, a wish he understands may not be granted.

I was always neutral on Inge when he was with the Tigers. Low average was balanced out by spectacular D and clutch hitting for me. But since he has been out here with the A's, I've really grown fond of him. Going to miss him on the field.

Will he be back next year? Will I? Hard to tell right now, so let's enjoy whatever season we have left.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Always Something There To Remind Me

RIP Hal David, co-writer of this and many, many other hits from the 60s and the 70s.

"Always Something There To Remind Me" was a monster hit my senior year in high school, peaking around graduation in June of '83. Heavy rotation on MTV, probably played it at prom but I don't remember... anyway, one of my favorites from that time.