The Washington Nationals Won the Most Memorable World Series in Years

The New Yorker – The Sporting Scene

The Washington Nationals Won the Most Memorable World Series in Years

This season’s Houston Astros were the best Major League Baseball team in years. Facing the Washington Nationals, they were the biggest World Series betting favorites since the second Bush Presidency. The team was put together by a front office that was aggressive, forward-looking, and—even before the franchise characterized a credible report of an ugly clubhouse incident as fake news—very easy to dislike. (The team later retracted its attack on the story.) The team’s owner, Jim Crane, previously ran a company that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “demoted women from managerial positions, maintained a hostile workplace, paid blacks, Hispanics and women less than male and white counterparts, and shredded important documents.” The company was also investigated for war profiteering, and settled the case with the Justice Department for seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. (Crane was not personally implicated in the profiteering charges.)

But the Astros’ players, it’s worth noting, were—one opportunistically acquired relief pitcher aside—equally easy to like. José Altuve, the team’s tiny thumb of a second baseman, has turned himself into a near-impossible out. Alex Bregman, the young star third baseman, was so excited about a home run that he hit in Game Six of the World Series, on Tuesday, that he toted his bat past first base. (He later apologized.) But my favorite member of the team was the pitcher Zack Greinke, who started Game Seven, on Wednesday night. Greinke may make the Hall of Fame someday, but he was a somewhat forgotten figure in the series, obscured by the brilliance of his teammates Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, and the Nationals’ pair of aces, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. Greinke is thirty-six, a sixteen-year veteran of the majors; at the beginning of his career, he had such crippling social-anxiety disorder that he briefly quit baseball. (He credits his return, and his relative comfort, to Zoloft.) He’s also smart, funny, and weird—when I was covering baseball for the Los Angeles Times, I always looked forward to talking to him.

On Wednesday night, Greinke couldn’t have pitched better through six innings. In the seventh, he made one very forgivable mistake, giving up a home run to Anthony Rendon. Then he walked Juan Soto. The Astros still led, 2–1, but Houston’s manager, A. J. Hinch, pulled Greinke, who’d thrown just eighty pitches, and brought in Will Harris to face the next batter, Howie Kendrick.

Kendrick, like Greinke, is thirty-six. He grew up in a double-wide trailer in the tiny town of Callahan, Florida, near the knob where the state meets Georgia. He learned to play baseball by swinging a broomstick at spiky sweetgum balls that fell from the trees. He played at St. Johns River State, a junior college in Palatka, where a single major-league scout came to see him. That scout told the Los Angeles Angels to draft him, and Kendrick became a big-league hitter—consistent, professional, a guy who put the ball in play. He had one outstanding season but has usually been closer to solid. By the time he arrived at the Nationals’ spring-training facility, this year, the team thought he had nothing left.

We are smack in the middle of baseball’s second analytics boom: teams track the number of times a fastball revolves on its way to the plate and confidently project players’ final stat lines. We’re better at prediction than ever, and—thank goodness—we still know next to nothing. When Kendrick came to the plate in the seventh, he swung at a curveball and missed. Then Harris threw a great cutter, low and away. Kendrick stuck his bat out—and sent the ball off the foul pole in Houston’s short right field: home run, Nationals in the lead. They never lost it; the final score was 6–2. After the game, Harris said, “It’s baseball: you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Fifty games into the regular season, the Nationals had nineteen wins and thirty-one losses. They were five and a half games back of the Mets. (The Mets!) They had two great arms, Strasburg and Scherzer, and a few stud bats, and then just some guys. But they started winning, and made the playoffs, and then kept threatening to bow out: the team faced five elimination games in the post-season, and trailed at some point in all five. Among the pitchers they faced in those games were Verlander, Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Josh Hader—hurlers, all. But, when it counted most, the Nationals never lost.

No team from Washington, D.C., had won the World Series since 1924, when the Senators did it. D.C. was also the setting for the series’ intersection with non-baseball history, when Nationals fans lustily booed President Donald Trump, who attended Game Five, and chanted “Lock him up!” It was one of those moments that fixes baseball in time, and insures that a set of games will be remembered even after many more have been played. But the series had more than enough drama on the field. Scherzer, who started Game Seven, was supposed to go in Game Five, on Sunday, but couldn’t get out of bed. His neck was spasming so badly that his wife had to dress him.  When he announced his scratched start, he looked as if he might cry. Suddenly, on Tuesday, the pain was gone. He lasted only five innings, but they were enough.

Throughout the playoffs, Juan Soto, the Nationals’ budding superstar, danced and preened and licked his chops in the batter’s box between pitches—and then hit baseballs to the moon. He turned twenty-one last week, just in time for the champagne celebration. “He had his first beer tonight, which is kind of nice,” his manager, Dave Martinez, said after the game. Cheers.

  • Zach Helfand is a member of The New Yorker’s editorial staff.

Keystone oil pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons in North Dakota

Associated Press

James MacPherson, Associated Press               October 31, 2019
A pumping station along the Keystone pipeline outside Cogswell, N.D. Built in 2011, this week's major oil spill in North Dakota isn't the pipeline's first.
A pumping station along the Keystone pipeline outside Cogswell, N.D. Built in 2011, this week’s major oil spill in North Dakota isn’t the pipeline’s first. UCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR/GETTY IMAGES

A US Marine who suffered a brain injury and PTSD from serving in Iraq was just deported

Business Insider

He suffered a brain injury and PTSD from serving in Iraq as a US Marine. The US just deported him.

Ellen Ioanes        October 25, 2019

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Jose Segovia-Benitez, a US Marine veteran who served in Iraq, was deployed Wednesday to El Salvador, a country he hadn’t lived in since he was a toddler.

  • Jose Segovia-Benitez, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, was deported to El Salvador on Wednesday, his attorney told the Phoenix New Times.
  • Segovia-Benitez suffered from a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which wasn’t treated for seven years after he was discharged in 2004. This, his family says, caused him to engage in criminal behavior, including narcotics possession and injuring a spouse, for which he received an eight-year prison sentence.
  • “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] kept his deportation a secret. They kept it a secret from him, me, his other attorney, and they kept it a secret from his mother,” Segovia-Benitez’s attorney said.

Jose Segovia-Benitez, a US Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, was unexpectedly deported to El Salvador Wednesday, his attorney told the Phoenix New Times.

Segovia-Benitez, 38, came to the US as a toddler and grew up in California. He joined the Marines right out of high school, NBC News reports. He was honorably discharged in 2004, a year after he suffered a brain injury that left him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)

“He is a soldier who put his life on the line to defend his country,” his mother, Martha Garcia, told NBC News. “But when he returned from the war, he came back with problems.”

Segovia-Benitez wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD until 2011, accoding to Brandee Dudzic, the executive director of Repatriate our Patriots. In the interim, his family said, he turned to alcohol and committed a series of crimes including injuring a spouse, for which he served an eight-year jail sentence, and narcotics possession.

Segovia-Benitez was initially scheduled for deportation on October 16, The Phoenix New Times reported. Segovia-Benitez had boarded a plane bound for El Salvador, but was pulled off and sent to Arizona’s Florence Correctional Center to await a potential pardon from California Governor Gavin Newsom.

But when Segovia-Benitez’s attorney Roy Petty arrived at the facility on Wednesday for a scheduled visit to fill out paperwork so he could re-open his deportation case, his client was gone.

“Certainly, this is a surprise,” Petty told the Phoenix New Times. “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] kept his deportation a secret. They kept it a secret from him, me, his other attorney, and they kept it a secret from his mother,” he said.

While it’s not illegal for ICE to proceed with the deportation, “It’s not common practice. Generally, what ICE will do is they will notify the person so the person can make arrangements. They woke him up and put him on a plane,” Petty said.

After serving his jail sentence, Segovia-Benitez was held in an ICE detention facility for nearly two years. He and 14 others filed a lawsuit in August alleging they were subjected to horrific and “inhumane” conditions during their detention, NBC News reports.

Segovia-Benitez is currently in a jail in El Salvador as part of his deportation proceedings. In El Salvador, a notoriously violent country, Segovia-Benitez’s attorney worries that his veteran status might make him a target for gangs.

“Gangs target former U.S. military,” Petty told the Phoenix New Times. “They’ll kidnap a person, they may hold a person for ransom, they may torture an individual.”

Segovia-Benitez, who previously had legal status, filed an appeal of his deportation and two stays after a judge ordered that he should be deported in October 2018, all of which were denied, a spokesperson for ICE told The Hill.

The conservatism of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The conservatism of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Right-wing socialism panic paints progressives as pinkos run amok. But these beliefs aren’t really that radical
David Masciotra            October 26, 2019
Democratic Presidential Candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty Images/Salon)
Everyone to the left of Attila the Hun is now a socialist radical, apparently. According to the increasingly debased and perverted language of contemporary American discourse, the “far left” includes people ranging from anarchist street protesters to the executive board members of multinational corporations that express support for LGBT rights or announce “Happy Holidays” in December.

The latest bromide — boring and obfuscating as always — is that mainstream American political figures, most especially presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the four young women in Congress known as “The Squad,” are fringe lunatics arguing on behalf of ideas that they cribbed from the diary of Vladimir Lenin.

Reality is consistently stubborn and subversive toward right wing propaganda. A cursory study of history, or a functional memory, indicates that Senators Sanders and Warren, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), along with her House colleagues Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), are merely trying to restore balance to the American experience — a balance that existed in such radical eras of the 1940’s and ‘50’s. The proposals of Warren and Sanders would make them moderates in most Western European countries, but they also reveal a streak of conservatism, if one of the ways to understand conservatism is the emphasis on the preservation of order in society, the imposition of limits and the respect for tradition in complicated, evolving societies.

Although the United States is slow to progress to the status of civilization that residents of counties like Canada, Japan and Australia take for granted, even among conservative circles, the social welfare state is not entirely foreign to American life. Similarly, ideas like Medicare for All, public universities with minimal or no tuition, and high tax rates on the wealthy are entirely faithful to the “good old days” that President Trump and his supporters seemingly long to resurrect.

After the creation of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965, the rate of uninsured Americans plummeted below 15 percent. Unsatisfied with the existence of any American without access to quality health care, President Richard Nixon — not exactly Eugene Debs — proposed a universal health care program that would have functioned as a federal policy offering a buy-in rate closely connected to personal income. The poor would pay no premiums, whereas working class families might pay a marginal fee. Decades before Nixon beautified the Oval Office with his presence, President Truman — another militant leftist — proposed a national health care program accessible to all citizens at no cost. In the 1990’s, Senator Ted Kennedy cosponsored the legislation to create the State Children Health Insurance Program — not with a Democratic Socialist, but with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

Fox News viewers currently collapsing into convulsions over discussion of the “Green New Deal” and enraged over environmental regulations might want to also contemplate that Richard Nixon signed the Environmental Protection Agency into law.  He also signed the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

No one bothered asking Nixon the predictable and unimaginative question, “How will you pay for it?” The top marginal tax rate during his presidency was 70 percent. When he was vice president to President Dwight Eisenhower, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. By some sacred intervention, the rich were able to survive this dark period of history. John Galt never went anywhere. Ayn Rand, unfortunately, wrote many books, and, despite progressive taxation, collected hefty royalty checks on the sales.

Advocates of debt free higher education face accusations of liberal delusion. Rather than the administrators of a hippie commune, Sanders, Warren, and others are as extreme in their ideology as every Republican governor who presided over their respective states and commonwealths, along with their public university systems, in the 1950’s, ‘60’s, and ‘70’s. It was not until the 1980s that college tuition began its upward trajectory toward rates of highway robbery. Many state colleges in the middle of the 20th century charged no tuition, while many others had fees so low that students could pay semester-by-semester with the wages they earned in part time employment. The overwhelming majority of white male college students after the conclusion of World War II funded their studies with the GI bill, while white veterans who did not attend college used the government subsidy to buy their first homes.

For most of the postwar era, robust labor unions ensured that large amounts of full time workers received adequate pay for their work, using the power of collective bargaining and the threat of the strike to create conditions favorable to blue collar laborers, most of whom were low skilled and without advanced degrees. Organized labor barely exists in the private sector in 2019, leaving the debate on living wages in the hands of politicians, including those more concerned with maximizing executive compensation than fighting to guarantee that someone working 40 hours a week can afford to live in a single bedroom apartment.

The right wing, most especially Donald Trump, blusters about how illegal immigration — not corporate greed or the destruction of labor unions — is to blame for the stagnation of wages. They have convinced millions of voters that comprehensive immigration plans that include a “path to citizenship” are treasonous in theory and practice. Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of American conservatism, granted amnesty to three million undocumented immigrants while president of the United States.

Lazy journalists, milquetoast Democratic strategists, and citizens of curiosity and conscience should take note that the illuminative story of domestic politics is not how the prominence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or the popularity of Warren and Sanders, is proof that the Democratic Party has drifted off the edge of the “far left,” but that the far right has so thoroughly succeeded in moving the country’s political culture away from the center that the moderate policies of the 1970’s now apparently resemble Fidel Castro’s revolutionary agenda.

A more helpful and truthful framework would instruct the electorate that the braver and more creative Democrats are making a valiant effort to return the United States to the more balanced and equitable policies of the past — policies that created the largest middle class in the history of the world. In other words, they are conservatives.

David Masciotra is the author of “Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015) and the forthcoming “I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters” (Bloomsbury Publishing).

Still Fighting for Universal Healthcare !

Occupy Democrats

October 27, 2019

How sad that we are STILL fighting for this 60 years later!

JFK's brilliant argument for universal healthcare has to be heard 👏

How sad that we are STILL fighting for this 60 years later!Follow Occupy Democrats for more.

Posted by Occupy Democrats on Sunday, October 27, 2019

Someday, They’ll Be Amazed We Didn’t Impeach Trump Over the Climate Crisis


Someday, They’ll Be Amazed We Didn’t Impeach Trump Over the Climate Crisis

Jack Holmes             October 25, 2019
Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON - Getty Images
JOSH EDELSON – Getty Images


Right now, out in sunny California, 50,o00 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. That’s just in Los Angeles, where at least four wildfires are currently ravaging the nation’s second-largest city. The largest is the Tick fire, which is burning through the canyons north of town and scything towards heavily residential areas at pace, The New York Times tells us. All schools in the San Fernando Valley have been closed due to “air-quality and safety concerns.” An entirely separate blaze, known as the Kincade fire, has burned 16,000 acres of Sonoma County. 13,000 firefighters are battling it, but it’s so far only 5 percent contained.

The 2019 fire season has actually been a let-off from previous years, particularly the one just past. Only 300 structures have been destroyed so far, compared to 23,000 in 2018. 163,000 acres have burned, compared to 1.6 million (!) last year, though the 2019 season is far from over.

In fact, as David Wallace-Wells detailed this year for New York magazine, the fire season never really ends anymore. Both scientists and firefighters have suggested dropping the “season” term. It is always fire season, and fire season is always getting worse, because it is always getting hotter and drier. About half of the 88 cities in Los Angeles county are classified as “Very High Fire-Hazard Severity Zones,” raising the prospect that in the future, the gleaming jewel of the West—our great American dream factory—will come to resemble a very particular kind of hell. After all, as Wallace-Wells tells us, some of these fires grow an acre a second. Some grow three times faster still. You cannot outrun fire traveling 60 miles per hour on the Santa Ana winds.

Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON - Getty Images
Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON – Getty Images


All this, of course, is just one spasm of our almighty planet’s sprawling reaction to the great disturbance we have caused in it. Someday, we will appreciate that if you put the 4 billion-year history of Earth on a 24-hour clock, human history is the equivalent of one second. We are ants crawling about on a particularly fancy rock in a galactic backwater, one that is determined to maintain an equilibrium we have disrupted. If need be, it will sweep us off like the ants we are, with increasingly powerful storms and incredible rain events and oppressive heatwaves and rising seas and epidemic diseases and failing crops and yes, raging wildfires. In the meantime, we will likely tear each other apart to escape the near-term consequences. But like those fires traveling on the Santa Ana winds, there will be no outrunning them in the end.

And all the while, we squabble over taxes and The National Debt and whether the president should be impeached for selling out the national interest in favor of his own when dealing with foreign countries like Ukraine. He should be, of course: he violated his oath of office and abused his power. But someday, assuming we make it that far, future generations will surely wonder why we did not remove him from the world’s most powerful office simply because he denied the existence of a fundamental threat to human civilization as we know it. The president has not just said the climate crisis is a Chinese hoax, or suggested he has some different opinion on whether it’s a problem compared to the scientists—you know, people who have devoted their lives to studying this phenomenon. He has actively rolled back our efforts in pretty much every department, to combat a crisis that will upend not just our children’s lives, but our own.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla – Getty Images


Surely, this constitutes a high crime against humanity. His apparatchiks will laugh at the suggestion now, and call it liberal delusion. But soon enough, they won’t be laughing. The people who actually know a goddamn thing about this say we have 12 years to change course in order to avoid this onrushing doom. The president wants to dig more crap out of the ground. He’d like to force New York State to do it, to abandon its commitment to future generations so some energy executives—who perhaps have some sort of relationship with the president—can make a buck.

Donald Trump, for his part, likely figures he’ll be dead and it won’t matter. This is also his view on The National Debt, but at least that’s an overblown problem. His radical solipsism permits him to dismiss small concerns like the future of the human species, not to mention all the other species, which are currently dying off at a prodigious pace in what scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction event. Meanwhile, his rich cronies probably believe they can make enough money to outrun whatever the consequences may be if they’re still around when the time comes. That will require covering an acre a second. Better get your track spikes on.

A song to honor Elijah Cummings

A Song to Honor–Elijah…a Man of Great Honor..!, this Song was First Sung on national T.V. at a Time of Great loss and Sorrow, with every Americans Eyes were filled with Tears , -Yes Judy,.. Gave America Hope ,-just as Elijah ..Still Gives us All HOPE !

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Judge orders DOJ to turn over Mueller grand jury evidence

NBC News

Judge orders DOJ to turn over Mueller grand jury evidence

The judge also determined, despite arguments to the contrary from the White House, that the House had launched “an official impeachment inquiry”
By Dareh Gregorian and Tom Winter       October 25, 2019

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill on July 24, 2019.Andrew Harnik / AP file