2012 Facts

Posted in US Politics on January 10th, 2012 by Ian Paregol

Well, what have we learned in the last 24 hours:  Tigers can lay eggs; Caroline Wozniacki is still a hot property; and Ron Paul is not dead yet.  Let’s start with LSU, shall we?  The LSU Tigers are still trying to score a point in New Orleans.  The beating that ’Bama put on the LSU in the BCS National Championship Game was epic.  LSU managed just five first downs and 92 total yards on a night that was dominated by Alabama’s defense.  But that’s not the whole story.  LSU’s 53 yards of passing was offset by four sacks and resulting in a net passing game of 27 yards and total offense production of Read more »

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Careful What You Wish For…

Posted in International Political Scene on November 20th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

November 20, 2011 – It has almost been a full year since Tunisia became the first country to undergo a regime change in what has been called the “Arab Spring.” The wave of change which has swept North Africa and the Middle East has been supported economically, diplomatically and in the instance of Libya, militarily, by the United States.  As is our want at The Bench Jockeys – and since the first missiles began to fly in Libya – we have wondered about the unintended consequences of supporting such a compressed series of governmental upheavals.

And this week, we got our first look at how all of this might suss out. Tunisia’s Hamadi Jebali of the Ennahda Party is  Read more »

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Shuffle at the Top

Posted in US Politics on November 20th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

November 20, 2011 – November continues to be a month for shakeups.  And we aren’t just talking about the insane BCS Rankings which will be released later today.  Although Romney appears to remain the number 1 seed with 10 months to go until the GOP Convention, the number 2 candidate has shifted.  The cagey Newt Gingrich – doing is best Lazarus impression after the mass exodus in June of his campaign teams in NH, SC and Iowa – has emerged as the chief rival to Mighty Mitt.

Unable to shake the sexual harassment allegations, Cain is slipping; unable to offer cogent debate on a national level, Perry is sliding; and unable to seem younger and a more plausible presidential option, Paul is plummeting.  Bachmann (who performed well in the recent South Carolina debate) let her campaign team get Read more »

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The Other Shuffle at the Top

Posted in College Sports on November 20th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

November 20, 2011 –  November continues to be a month for shakeups.  And we aren’t just talking about the insane horserace for the Republican nomination.  This afternoon, the BCS Rankings will be released for Week 13 and as the college football season wanes, one thing is quite clear:  the SEC continues to reign supreme.  LSU will retain its #1 ranking, Alabama will move back to #2 and Arkansas will find itself in the #3 slot.  Two weeks ago after the LSU-Bama field goal-fest, The Bench Jockeys projected that LSU would face the Crimson Tide again for the National Championship. With this weekend’s Top 10 bloodletting, only 1 team stands in the way of that rematch – Arkansas – which will LSU for the SEC Championship.  If Arkansas can pull off the upset, LSU, Bama and Arkansas will each have 1 loss (LSU to Ark; Ark to Alabama, and Alabama to LSU).  In that case, who gets the nod for the National Championship?  We know one thing: the talk of a Playoff System will be plentiful.  Also of interest, the only other undefeated college team, Houston, may finally crack the Top 10.

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Late Rounders

Posted in Sport/Pol Crossover, US Politics on October 20th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

You know that feeling you get around the 9th round of your Fantasy Football draft?  You’ve assembled your starting team, and may have even selected your Kicker and a back-up or two.  The pickings are getting slim.  You have your re-treads, guys you may never have heard of depending on your level of prep work, some big mouths trying to make a name for themselves, a whole host of back-ups, some injured guys who “could” start if a medical miracle happened, and of course, the long shot.

Reminds me of the current GOP Presidential candidates.  Newt Gingrich is the ultimate re-tread.  Nothing left on the tires except Read more »

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The Day of 7 Billion Scares Up Debate

Posted in International Political Scene on October 6th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

We are teeing this one up before it hits the mainstream media.

October 5, 2011 – According to the United Nations and barring some unforeseen catastrophe, the world’s population is projected to cross the 7,000,000,000 threshold this Halloween, October 31, 2011.  That seems rather appropriate since “The Day of 7 Billion,” as it is known, absolutely horrifies me.  Each day – we are talking each day, folks – the number of humans on the earth grows by more than 221,000.  This is not just births; this is births less deaths.  And because the population grows at an exponential rate, the per day growth rate edges up each day. 

In 1960, the world population was estimated at 3 billion.  We hit the 6 billion mark in 1999.  Let’s break that down a bit:  from all of antiquity up to 1960 to attain a population of 3 billion and then just another 39 years to double it.  In 1999, the United Nations estimated that we would reach the 7 billion mark in 2013.  Humans, being the overachievers that we are, will meet this troublesome milestone two years early. 

And here is the scary part.  Since the turn of the new millennium, we have been told that we are much more aware of the impact of unchecked population growth and we are much more proactive with respect to woman’s health needs; we have been told how fertility rates are declining and how the use of contraception has reached the developing world.  I don’t see it.  We went from 6 billion to 7 billion in 12 years.  That’s a growth rate of 1.3%.  It’s lower than it was in the 60’s, but it’s still too high.  In the UN’s 1999 Report, “The World at Six Billion,” the United Nations Population Division suggested that we would hit the

  • 7 billion mark in 2013              (14 years from the 6B threshold);
  • 8 billion in 2028                       (15 years from the 7B threshold);
  • 9 billion in 2054                       (26 years from the 8B threshold);
  • 10 billion in 2183                     (129 years from the 9B threshold). 

The United Nations Population Division surely can see that the data plots an ever-decreasing interval for each successive billion in growth up to 1999.  What possible factor could they have considered to account for a sudden reversal in the trend line?  For the UN’s numbers to work, as the population reaches 8 and 9 billion, the growth rate will need to be less than 1% – a rate we have not even sniffed.  And the UN projection of reaching 10 billion in 2183 is ludicrous.  That would require a growth rate of a mere .082% (not .82%, .082%) over that 129 years.  Who reviewed this document?  Assuming that there are no cataclysmic events, The Bench Jockeys will bet every collective cent they own that the 10 billion mark will be attained by 2050 – that would still require 38 years of less than a 1% growth rate, a ratio we have well-exceeded for the last 4 billion souls.

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2012 GOP Nomination Odds 3.0

Posted in The Horseshoe, US Politics on October 5th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

October 4, 2011 – It’s been another 2 months and time is running out on the wallflowers waiting for an invitation to join the other Republican hopefuls who are looking to be crowned Prom King (or Queen) in Tampa.  With five states holding primaries in January (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and now Florida), it would appear that everyone who is interested in pursuing the GOP Nomination for the 2012 election has announced his or her candidacy (or better announce soon). 

Although The Bench Jockeys would have enjoyed seeing what Chris Christie brought to the table or listening to Sarah Palin wrangle with Michele Bachmann (meow) during the next round of debates, it appears that we will have to settle for one of these 12 declared candidates.  In version 3.0 of The Bench Jockeys “Odds to Win the GOP Nomination” we have grouped the dirty dozen into quartets.  Unless something absolutely stunning happens, those in the 2nd Tier (and the bottom half of the 1st Tier) have some serious work to do in order to get into contention into what is essentially a two horse race.

Tier 1

Candidate Background Open Current
Mitt Romney Former Gov – MA 7:2 3:2
Rick Perry Current Gov – TX 50:1 8:1
Ron Paul Current US Rep – TX 9:1 15:1
Herman Cain Former Fed Reserve 25:1 24:1

Tier 2

Candidate Background Open Current
Michele Bachmann Current US Rep – MN 25:1 30:1
Newt Gingrich Former Spkr of House 12:1 37:1
Jon Huntsman Former Gov – UT 40:1 40:1
Rick Santorum Former US Sen – PA 1000:1 100:1

Tier 3 – Announced candidates with zippy chance of winning. Three of them can’t even get invited to the debate circuit.  Bravo Gary Johnson in leading this rat pack.

Candidate Background Open Current
Gary Johnson Former Gov – NM 500:1 1000:1
Thad McCotter Current US Rep – MI none 2500:1
Buddy Roemer Former Gov – LA 5000:1 5000:1
Fred Karger Political Consultant a trillion:1 a bazillion:1

We are also of the strong opinion – as we stated in version 2.0 – that Marco Rubio is the natural VP selection.  However, Herman Cain’s straw poll victory in Florida clouds that picture a bit.  That being said, we bet that Florida would have selected Rubio in a mano-a-mano match-up between Marco and Herman.

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Apparently, it isn’t Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Posted in Professional Sports on October 3rd, 2011 by Brittany Lynn

October 2, 2011… It should have been an amazing day in Philadelphia:  two major sporting events where Phans had the chance to revel in the excitement of their sports teams.  In the afternoon, the “Dream Team” Eagles dominated the Niners for the majority of their game.  Up 23-3 midway through the 3rd quarter, they imploded, losing 24-23.  Same scenario later that evening in the NLDS as the Phils held a 4-zip in the 4th only to lose 5-4 to the Cards.  The first pitch of the game was hit into right field for a triple.   Amazingly, Cliff Lee got out of the inning unscathed, but perhaps the Phaithful should have realized at that moment that they might not be smiling when the clock struck midnight.

Two things that irritated me: 1) Tony LaRussa (who I respect for his years of baseball experience and knowledge) took a shot at the umpire’s strike zone disparities. Strike Zones for both teams were questionable all game, but it’s low to go on national television and whine about it.  Charlie Manuel in his post-game interview said, “I’m not blaming the umpire, they outplayed us on the field.” EXACTLY.  If the umpire gives you a smaller strike zone, then you have to play better defense and also actually hit the ball.  2) Swinging at the first pitch:  Did the Phils not learn from the prior night’s experience (an 11-run rout) that swinging at the first pitch (and causing an inevitable out) yielded nothing?  Swinging at the first pitch rarely gets you a hit and especially in the Playoffs when adrenaline might be running a little higher than usual causing you to hit a quick pop-up or ground out to second base.  

Weather forecast for St. Louis on Tuesday for Game 3….a sunny 77 degrees with no chance of rain.  We’ll see…

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King James Curse or Just Coincidence

Posted in The Quick Hook on September 29th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Could the epic collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox be yet another manifestation of the “King James Curse” as conjectured by The Bench Jockeys back in April http://thebenchjockeys.com/2011/04/09/a-cursedly-simple-answer-for-red-sox-slow-start/ and May http://thebenchjockeys.com/2011/05/11/the-king-james-curse-just-like-we-told-ya/ ?

It wasn’t the “shot heard ’round the world” or Kirk Gibson’s remarkable one-handed home run off of the Eck in the 1988 World Series, but last night was most definitely one of the most memorable nights in baseball history as the fate of four teams trudging through the marathon of a 162-game season weathered the perfect storm of rain delays, improbable comebacks, momentum shifting plays and managerial “stick it to yas.”   The Rays down a hockey stick in the 8th comeback to force extra innings and beat the Yanks who opted not to trot out their closer Mo Rivera, while Red Sox in control of their game against the O’s with the taste of victory one out away give up three consecutive base hits in the bottom of the 9th and lose 4-3.  The Cards pound the hapless Astros 8-0 and wait through extra innings for the results in Atlanta where the Braves jump to a 2-0 lead only to lose at home in 13 against Philly.  The Divisional races long settled, baseball needed last night’s drama to kick start the Playoffs.

Boston, which held a 9 game lead in the wild card race on September 3rd, limped to a 7 -19 record over the ensuing 26 days, losing to the AL East doormat, Baltimore Orioles, 5 times in 7 games.  The “2011 Fold” as it will come to be known by the Red Sox sets the new standard for “failing to close” as Boston became the first MLB team to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering September.  In the yin/yang of baseball, Atlanta proceeded to cough up the second largest September lead – 8.5 games – as the Cardinals passed them for the NL Wild Card.   Is it also possible that the unholy alliance between LeBron James and the Fenway Sports Group has so skewed the balance of Boston lore that karmic forces also impacted the 2011 Atlanta Braves (formerly of Boston)?  Could be….

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Arctic Build-up is Chilling

Posted in International Political Scene, The Quick Hook on September 24th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

In mid-July, The Bench Jockeys wrote about the Northern countries “no-limits” race for the Arctic’s prize resources as climate-induced accessibility to the polar ice cap takes shape.  That provocative piece was entitled, “The Artic Melt Heats Tensions.”  Click here to read the article: http://thebenchjockeys.com/2011/07/14/arctic-melt-heats-tensions/

More than two months after we published our findings, The Huffington Post is now starting to report on the growing military build-up in Russia, Canada and Norway that the Bench Jockeys told you was developing into a flashpoint.  We may not be able to cover every newsworthy event on the planet, but we do strive to bring our readers valuable content about the issues that the mainstream media may assume the general population is too unsophisticated to grasp.  If you are interested in why military conflict in the Arctic Circle is a stone-cold lock, read The World in 2050:  Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s North Future by Laurence Smith.  I picked up that gem after researching the material for the piece on the Arctic Melt as I became more and more convinced that the Middle East is not the world’s only tinderbox.  Folks, it may be cold in the Arctic Circle, but sparks are going to fly. 

The link for the Huffington Post story follows:


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GOP Fantasy Draft Kit

Posted in Sport/Pol Crossover, US Politics on September 8th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Sept 8, 2011 – What did we learn from last night’s GOP gab-fest in Simi Valley, Cali?  As far as potential presidential candidates, Mitt Romney looks to be losing his grip on the #1 slot, Rick Perry is gaining ground, Michele Bachmann’s numbers are slipping, Ron Paul is getting older, and no matter how smart Jon Huntsman is, no one is picking him – possibly because of the team he played for last year.  In fact, the whole ranking of GOP hopefuls is not unlike the Fantasy Football draft which 3 of the 4 Bench Jockeys have participated in for the last 20 years and which took place at the exact same time as the Republican debate.  Not a coincidence.

Last night, while DVRing the debate, the stars aligned to allow yours truly to snake Ray Rice as the 6th pick of the draft.  6th!  Although I had to change draft strategies on the fly, I am thrilled with the opportunity to own Ray-Ray through the 2012 election.   Interestingly, four game-tested QBs were selected in the first 13 picks, as a significant percentage of the owners did not want to be saddled with an inexperienced leader at the reigns.  Does that perhaps portend the proclivities of the populace?

However, the more intriguing development was the way Jamaal Charles (touted by the media as a top five selection) plummeted all the way to pick #11.  He was the fantasy equivalent of Newt Gingrich – chock full of spin and promise but ultimately dropping off of the radar when the doubts started to surface.  The media can try to establish the market, but a discerning and involved public understands far more than the pabulum that it is fed.   As I watched the post-mortem on the debate, I was positively disgusted at the manner in which a purportedly unbiased media portrayed each candidate as hero or villain depending on the particular leanings of each pundit.  Make no mistake, the media control the message far better and far more effectively than any campaign manager.  The media has the forum and the capacity to bombard the airways with any sound bite, whether favorable or devastating to a candidate, relative to any subject matter.  The only way that a voter can make a truly informed decision is through an individualized analysis, and honestly, who has the time to rifle through the interwebs to fact-check every candidate?  No one.  And that’s exactly what the media counts on.

So open up wide, America.  CNN, NBC and FOX will keep feeding you their agendas and you can just keep swallowing or, maybe, just maybe, you will come to the voting booths on November 6, 2012 with a well-researched portfolio of facts, data and trend analysis where you can formulate your own decisions about the leadership of this great country.

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NFL SB XLVI Predictions

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on September 8th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The crack staff at The Bench Jockeys are throwing their two cents in with the array of other soothsayers as the NFL season begins tonight on hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field.  Three of us think the game tonight will feature at least one of the teams who will be raising the Lombardi Trophy in February.  Go on record and send us a message with your predictions.

Brittany Eagles over Patriots
Spounder Patriots over Packers
Zuckerman Saints over Chargers
Paregol Packers over Ravens
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Lost Treasure

Posted in The Quick Hook, US Politics on September 7th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

Growing up, what little boy didn’t want to be a pirate?  Life on the high seas, wearing whatever you wanted, pillaging, and doing as you pleased.  And the best part, hunting for lost treasure.

In today’s ever-perilous economic times, fortunes are spent every day, some for good cause, some for fun, and some a complete waste of money.  Take for example the Gang of 12 “Super Committee”. In theory, a solid idea. With Washington being more dysfunctional than ever before (is that even possible?) 6 Blues and 6 Reds hashing out a plan to get us out of the Grand Canyon of debt and deficit spending sounds like a good idea, right?  But wait, I know my memory is a tad weak, but didn’t we just undertake the very same process with the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Committee last November?  Hmmm – 3 Donkeys, 3 Elephants reaching consensus on how to get us out of debt and deficit spending?  Sound familar?  Now where could that confounded report be?  I picture it in the same secret giant warehouse where the Ark of the Lost Covenant was stored in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I bet we could also find the Knights of Templar Treasure there, a few Roswell alien bodies, maybe the real Dead Sea Scrolls.

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The Greatest Show on Court: US Open Tennis Championships

Posted in Professional Sports on September 3rd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

While I am not a New Yorker and therefore do not have the usual parochial slant which favors all things that originate in the Big Apple, I can confidently state that the US Open Tennis Championship is without question the most well-run sporting event on the planet.  In attending courtside action on Day 3 and Day 4, I viewed the dominating power demonstrated by an array of the world’s best players as well as inspired play by up and coming professionals during first two rounds of the tournament.  Among the dozens of exceptional matches I watched in part or en toto, I was able to see:

  • A gritty, 19 year-old American, Christina McHale (daughter of Celts legend, Kevin) outhustle French jumping-bean, Marion Bartoli (ranked #9 in the world);
  • Prohibitive underdog,  #455 Madison Keys jump all over 26th ranked Lucie Safarova in a first set filled with jaw dropping passing shots only to succumb to experience 6-3  5-7 4-6;
  • An outstanding 1st Round match-up between power-serving American, John Isner, and international fan-favorite Marcos Baghdatis of Cypress battle through four sets, two of which resulted in tiebreakers; and
  • Super-giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic crush world-ranked #13 & single-handed back-hand expert, Richard Gasquet “like bug.”

I was also treated to the dominant play of Sharapova, Roddick, Federer and Williams, however the most entertaining match of the Open thus far has been Read more »

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Hurricanes Become the New Eye of the College Football Storm

Posted in College Sports, Sport/Pol Crossover on August 28th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

To say it has been a tumultuous offseason for college football would be an understatement.  Former booster Nevin Shapiro’s allegations of impropriety at the University of Miami make Jim Tressel’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” transgressions at Ohio State – which came to light earlier this spring – look rather pedestrian.  The Ponzi-scheming jail-bird, Shapiro, maintains that he has provided millions of dollars’ worth of financial benefits to at least 72 University of Miami student-athletes for nine years beginning in 2002.  The accusations against the Hurricanes come just one year after the University of Southern California Trojans were required to forfeit an entire year’s games, lost 30 football scholarships beginning in 2010, were forced to vacate its 2005 BCS National Championship and sustained a two year post season ban (2010 & 2010) as a consequence of illegal benefits lavished upon star tailback, Reggie Bush back in 2004.  If even 10% of what Shapiro says is true, Miami is in line to face stiffer penalties than USC.   However, the bottom line for the “Canes Nation is: will the NCAA Committee on Infractions determine that the actions of the university rise to the level of a willful violation and justify the recommendation the “death penalty” for The U?  It surely does not appear that University President, Donna Shalala can dodge exposure in light of the bowling alley photo that has surfaced of her, Shapiro and a check, so perhaps she needs to take one for the team so Miami’s football program can avoid being the new poster child for rules’ violations. Read more »

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Status Quo wins 2011 Bench Ryder Cup

Posted in The Quick Hook on August 15th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Courtesy of a monster year from David Toms, Team Status Quo has won the Bench Ryder Cup Championship, besting second place finisher Club Gophers by $430K.  Status Quo took control at the TPC in May and did not relinquish the top spot.  The 21 week tournament ran from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March and concluded this weekend with the fourth Major – the PGA Championship.  Memorializing this momentous inaugural victory, Craig Johnson, owner of Status Quo, will receive a handsome t-shirt fr his efforts.  Photos of the trophy to come.

To view the final tallies for each team and running weekly updates, click below:


Thanksto those who participated on short notice.  Start doing your prep work now for the 2012 tourney.

Powers Shift in Iowa; Gophers Make News in Hawkeye State

Posted in The Quick Hook, US Politics on August 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Although we need to get back to blogging about some sports here at The Bench Jockeys, baseball has not started its pennant run, the NFL is still in pre-season mode and tennis’ US Open is not for two weeks.  What has heated up, however, is the race for GOP Presidential Nomination.  The first measuring stick for the candidates, the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, concluded voting last nite.  Michele Bachmann snakes a win in the poll, with Ron Paul finishing second and T-Paw taking show.  But just like kissing your sister, 3rd place is not what Pawlenty was setting his sights on.   Apparently with Tim Pawlenty’s coffers beginning to run dry and his loss to fellow Minnesotian Bachmann, coupled with the entry of Rick Perry into the fray, Tim is pulling up stakes and calling it a campaign.  As a result of this stunner, we have adjusted our top two tiers.  Paul’s second place finish in Iowa, does not move his dial, but Bachmann gets a big uptick and Perry becomes the new #2 to Romney.  For those of you asking, “Where is Mitt?” Ronmey did not compete.

Tier 1

Candidate Background Status Open Current
Mitt Romney Former Gov – MA A 7:2 3:1
Rick Perry Current Gov – TX A 50:1 7:1
Michele Bachmann Current US Rep – MN  A 25:1 14:1
Ron Paul Current US Rep – TX  A 9:1 15:1

Tier 2

Candidate Background Status Open Current
Jim DeMint Current US Sen – SC 14:1 25:1
Herman Cain Former Fed Reserve A 25:1 25:1
Chris Christie Current Gov – NJ 18:1 25:1
Marco Rubio Current US Sen – FL 20:1 25:1
Bobby Jindal Current Gov – LA 30:1 30:1
Sarah Palin Former Gov – AK 25:1 35:1
Jon Huntsman Former Gov – UT A 40:1 35:1

To view Tiers 3 and 4 click here: http://thebenchjockeys.com/2012-gop-nomination-odds-2-0/

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2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Odds 2.0

Posted in The Horseshoe, US Politics on August 9th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The GOP hopefuls will be back at it again in Iowa on August 11th.   As the candidates size up one another under the watchful eye of FOX News, the Bench Jockeys thought it was time to separate the contenders from the pretenders and develop a tiered chart for easy review.  On this chart, we have maintained our original opening odds from April 12, 2011 along with each candidate’s current odds to win the nomination (as we see it).  A separate designation (A) has been added for those candidate who have officially entered the fracas.

In this iteration of our odds-making, we have winnowed the field and have scratched Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels to reflect their current intentions to remain on the sidelines.  However, if the citizenry truly begins to seek to limit Obama to one term, Read more »

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Arctic Melt Heats Tensions

Posted in International Political Scene on July 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

A very quiet but steadily growing international military presence has begun to develop in the world in a region other than the Middle East or Northern Africa, but thus far, it has gone virtually noticed.  In this looming conflict, Russia, Canada and Norway have already deployed troops and constructed command centers.  The US and Denmark will also be involved in this battle, but both countries are playing close to the vest so as not to shift popular attention to this emerging ‘hotspot.’

Global warming (or some other polar climate changing condition for those of you who do not buy into the whole global warming argument) is creating a shipping lane along the northern coasts of Norway and Russia during the summer months, something that has not existed since the Ice Age.  The Eurasian portion of the route, called the Northeast Passage (or the Northern Sea Route) is the polar equivalent of the Holy Grail for oceanic transport companies.  Transit along this passageway reduces the sailing distance between Rotterdam and Yokohama (two of the world’s most well-developed ports) from 11,200 nautical miles to 6,500 nautical miles and cuts 40% off of the shipping costs.  Historically, goods flowing from Rotterdam to Yokohama were shipped via the Atlantic, into the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, past the Somalian pirates, around India and through Indonesia.  With the potential Northern Sea Route, the geo-political landscape greatly changes.

According to United Nations data, over the past three decades, temperatures above the Arctic Circle have risen at about twice the rate of the global average, and Arctic sea ice contracted to its smallest area on record in 2009, covering 22 percent less than the previous low in September 2005.  To the West, Canada and the US are already partial beneficiaries of a melting Arctic as the Northwest Passage from Seattle to Rotterdam saves shipping companies equipped to tackle the icy waters of Canada 2000 nautical miles and allows them to avoid the Panama Canal.  The fly in this ointment:  Canada is already claiming control of the entirety of the Northwest Passage.

But control of the sea passage is not the only high stakes angle in play along the Arctic waters.  According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic accounts for 1/10th of the world’s known conventional oil reserves and 25% of the undiscovered reserves.  According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China is well-aware of the resource upside of global warming and has designated significant resources in constructing an Arctic research laboratory and conducting polar studies.  Russia’s NATO ambassador has stated that it would “not be defeated” in the “fight for resources” in the Arctic region  Folks, notice the word choice?  Those are military terms.

The US supported a revolution in Panama and spent more on the Panama Canal than it had on any construction project the Nation’s history.  Egypt actually enslaved its own people to construct the Suez Canal.  The Northwest and Northeast Passages are critically important to global transportation and the energy resource fronts and there will be conflict over control and access.  A new oil rush is coming,… and if 25% of the world’s reserves are in the Arctic, you can bet the US will be there,… providing some humanitarian support.

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All-Star Game or Selig’s Folly

Posted in Professional Sports on July 3rd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

On Sunday July 3rd, roster selections were announced for the Major League All-Star Game which will be played in Phoenix on June 12th. The Process:  Fan Balloting establishes the 8 positional starters for both the American League and the National League teams, including the DH on the AL squad.  Player voting accounts for an additional 16 players on each team (5 starting pitchers, 3 relievers and 8 positional back-ups).  World Series Managers, Ron Washington and Bruce Bochy, fill out their respective 34-man rosters with an additional 8 position players ensuring that each team in the league has at least one representative on the All-Star Team.  Finally, the fans vote on one additional player, the 34th, from a list of five nominations from each league.

Until 2002, the All-Star Game had no impact on the MLB post-season.  It was purely an exhibition game where fans could simply enjoy a game that featured the league’s best players all on the same field, but in 2003 current baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, mutated the Mid-summer Classic from Read more »

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