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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

RIP Justice John Paul Stevens

In 2005, a year before his death, Ford wrote, in a tribute to Stevens, “For I am prepared to allow history’s judgment of my term in office to rest (if necessary, exclusively) on my nomination thirty years ago of John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Fair.

I took a break from reading his autobiography (he just got on the Court) and saw he died.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Public Sentiment & Yes, We Have Work To Do

The importance of changing public sentiment, which is not just a matter of votes (it helps but not being strongly anti-gay matters even for a Republican who helps support bad GLBTQ policies), is the focus here. This arose in debates over the strength of AOC and her allies. Public sentiment matters even without the votes. A majority, especially in our bottleneck fulled system, operates factoring in many pressures.

The discussion, from a progressive p.o.v., is right to warn that our society is greatly divided. I think it does exaggerate the 2016 election results though understand forgetting about Jill Stein. Clinton/Stein is not "right wing" and received 49.25% of the popular vote. A few fractions also came from the left. We also don't have run-off voting. Even factoring in Gary Johnson (who represented libertarians, who are not "far right" on various issues), all the "right" candidates received about one percent more (write-ins seem to provide the balance).

I think the protest conservative candidate led to a few more people voting and again gay rights/open borders etc. can be "libertarian." But, yes, the "majority" here is unclear. This also doesn't erase the problem with gerrymandering and other methods that artificially make things more conservative than truly is the case. We have work to do.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Christmas in Homestead


I also like this Christmas movie with a male lead who popped up in another one repeated recently and the female lead (Taylor Cole, who looks like a young Sela Ward) who pops up in many Hallmark movies. It's sweet and Cole repeatedly is fun in these films. Everyone is generally natural feeling and there is chemistry. Sometimes, this is a bit lacking. As usual, a key issue is pacing and things go well until an obligatory problem fairly late.

SCOTUS Watch: Orders etc.

During summer recess, the Supreme Court schedules three set days to release orders on various things, generally uncontroversial and not really notable matters. Order days during the regular term often are of the same caliber. For some reason, SCOTUSBlog does not put these summer days on the calendar provided on their website. I flagged this to them one year, noting the days are scheduled in each case. My opinion was duly noted as much as it usually is.  Anyway, first some general court news.

The citizenship question ruling in June was not the end of the line, leaving open a question not only in the future but possibly the present, though some thought practicably it was the end of the line there.  At first, it seems there was and ending -- an announcement that the new census forms would not have a question. But, Trump didn't like that.  Fake news!  So, the process to find a new method started, including replacing the current lawyers involved in defending the question. Two judges were "not so fast."

Finally, Trump basically admitted defeat though said (as was suggested originally) he will try to get the information some other way.  This whole thing poisoned the well and now census officials will try to run the 2020 census while many people are suspicious. This would include any other means used to collect data, including citizenship data.  The Republicans see the data as a means to apportion districts based on the number of citizens there, allowing a state's population as a whole to be based (per the Constitution) by persons, but districts drawn in a way that can favor one party.  This seems problematic, including on racial discrimination grounds, but it was left open as a possibility in a past case.

Meanwhile, yet again, the Trump Administration (as in the census case) wants to skip a level to rush things to the Supreme Court (border wall).  This is not common behavior and they have tried it more than the last two administrations (sixteen years) combined.  I'm sorry.  Almost 3x as much in less than three years. The census case suggests the limits of Trump's breach of the law, down to apparently some government lawyers perhaps being unwilling to defend a clearly specious argument.  Court orders have been followed and so forth.  But, this only goes so far, and their moves to use existing law in troubling ways remains clearly documented.

The partisan gerrymandering opinion has been subject to continual discussion.  I found New York's own rules, which blocks that sort of thing. How well this is applied is unclear.  Talking about blocking, the court of appeals held that Trump cannot block people on Twitter, noting various things make it clear his account (as compared to any account of a government official) is a public forum. For instance, it is covered by the presidential records law (though his status as a "president" to me is somewhat dubious).

Okay, so let's cover those orders. Nothing happened.  A request for bail was denied as were various petitions of lower court re-hearings being denied. For instance, following the docket number, Anson Chi's handwritten petition. There will be various actions on cases found only on docket pages and various stand-alone orders (various executions scheduled in August). But, these summer orders tend to be dull.  We are for completeness here.

(The bail request is a doozy.  First it was submitted to Gorsuch, he denied it, and then it was re-submitted to Sotomayor.  The request has a bunch of exhibits, totaling over one hundred pages.  Skimming, one is a handwritten petition.  The person's address is "Federal Prison," so she does have a lot of time on her hands.  It seems notable she posts her email at one point using an AOL email address.  [Hey, one of mine still is.]  A news article.)  

Christmas at the Palace (aka Generic Title Alert)


It's Christmas in July on Hallmark with a marathon of Christmas movie with some favorites mixed in. This one is charming, helped by leads that fit their parts well. The daughter really has that "sorta European" accent that works well for these stamp sized kingdom type films. The two women are cute and widower suitably ill at ease but pining for the heroine. The daughter (who has a limited IMDB) also plays her scenes very well. Generally well paced.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Year of Biblical Womanhood

After the tragic early death of the author, blunt words of the raw pain of her husband and a video of the funeral is available, I'm reading her books and checked out some video. After her latest on the bible, I'm reading this. Her progressive, humane, snarky and questioning style is appealing. She comes at this as a believer, which particularly matters for lots of women. (A reference to the woman who cooked the recipes in the Julia Child cookbook led me to see ... well, she became a bit of a slut.) This book was written before she had kids and so on; knowing what happened is a bit creepy at times. The whole thing is not TOO profound really or THAT deep of a dive but good for the soul. This time with pictures.

ETA: She noted during her "year" that she got around a barrier to speaking in church by considering it "prophecy" and she has been called a prophet. The power of her work might be somewhat lessened by those looking from the outside.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

I'm Team AOC

ETA: To get a sense of what is at stake, a discussion of a means used to push refugees on Guatemala, which is not exactly best able to handle them, being a place people flee from already. Meanwhile, a mother from there testifies about her daughter dying, after poor treatment in a camp. Clearly, the problem is AOC and "the squad."
The agitating that the freshmen are doing about the camps, in order to keep the issue in the news and try to force action on it, is something Dems failed to do on behalf of DREAMers in 2017 or on behalf of Garland in 2016. This is what advocacy looks like.
-- Brian Fallon (profile: "Executive Director, We Demand Justice. Former aide to Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer")
Last nite, on a day to honor a young pitcher/leader who recently died, the Angels had a hit parade and combined no-hitter (one walk), on the first home game after the death and the day before his birthday. His mom threw an excellent first pitch (know where he got his talent from!). The Seattle Mariners provided the thankless opponent role (the Angels used an "opener" and then someone whose recent outings were far from no-hit stuff for the next seven), down to a lackluster run out of the box to help make up for a possible hiccup on fielding the final out.

The Mets lost to the Marlins, a highlight six toss-overs to keep a pitcher close at first base with the at bat ending with Granderson hitting a two run homer, followed by another one. Somewhat different first games back. The first game was Thursday with the Rangers giving the Astros a run for their money again.  So, you know, the expected as well a bit of baseball magic. I like to snark about the Mets on Twitter, in part since on some level baseball doesn't matter. Sports do matter, but they still aren't life or death (most of the time).  It feeling good was shown by the women's soccer team (now just known as "the team" as compared to "men's soccer") winning the World cup.

[The Mets then won the next two games, the second one via two runs in the eighth -- scoring in that inning an ongoing theme in winning games -- the second basically by DeGrom pitching well (NS did too) while the Mets offense actually showed up some.  My general sentiment here is BFD. Will they do a 2018 and suddenly have a good run?  And, then the team won't really do anything different since you know this year was just a quirk.]

Okay.  Yes, the opening quote.  After Pelosi publicly asked Democrats to stop sniping at each other in public, the House Dems Twitter feed (without deigning to suggest they even knew who he was) reached back a few weeks to find a tweet to call out AOC's chief of staff. Talking Points Memo summarizes things, an appropriate citation since the head of that blog last night also tweeted about the dust-up.  People, including myself, can be too concerned with Twitter, but let's say the tweet got a lot of attention. The basic sentiment of many was "what the fuck are you doing?"  Of course, some had to take the other side, and call out AOC and others.  Some with stupid .gifs or pictures.

There is now always a feeling that we have to fear anyone making strong comments that come off as divisive are really "trolls" or don't reflect any real sentiment as a whole.  "It's only Twitter."  This can be taken too far.  First, Twitter is a thing and like Facebook and other social media has real effects and reflects real sentiments, if all having some means to exaggerate and all that bad stuff. The same can be said about cable news, traditional media and most anything of this caliber.  Second, the divisions expressed here were made elsewhere. Pelosi and others have shown their feelings in other contexts and even a resolution that was at least partially a subtweet against one of the four new POC* House members referenced by some as "the squad."  This isn't just their supporter's imagination. #Gaslighting Noting the importance of perspective.

Josh Marshall (TPM) as noted tweeted, noting Pelosi and the House Dems were wrong ... well, let me get the exact language.  Marshall started his blog during the Bush v. Gore fight (11/12/00 in fact) and his voice here is worth singling out since he's an important expression of a long term political commentator.  My concern reflects this as compared to you know a random Twitter person.  Anyway, later on he spoke of the "courage" (his scare quotes) of a Democrat in a safe distict though also retweeted the Fallon's comment. But, like comments sympathetic to Biden if concerned about him being the candidate, his tweets aired out his sentiments.

First tweet:
Democrats are talking about some dumb shit tonight. Pelosi has done herself/her caucus no favors with her dismissive comments. It’s also mind boggling that AOC and crew can try to upend their caucus at every turn and then be shocked they’re “singled out”.
Second:
2/ The four of them have every right to be rebels/insurgents. They’re elected reps. But who expects to be insurgents and also think you’re going to get achievement ribbons from the people you’re surging agst? Regardless they all need to figure out how to put this shit to bed.
This "both sides" business is a bit much and not evenly handled, showing his sentiments some.  It is "Pelosi" (the leader of the caucus with decades of practice at this) on one side and "AOC and crew" on the other.  They are "at every turn"  (#hyperbole) trying to upend their caucus. Uh huh. Like the "problem solving caucus" voting against the leadership position or even against Pelosi herself?  AOC et. al. voted for Pelosi.  They didn't try to find someone to challenge her as speaker. Likewise, the dismissive "achievement ribbons" comment.  This all pissed me off as unbalanced this even beyond her being my representative and liking she is (rather skillfully though I remember she just got there, so is still a bit raw) strongly speaking out.  The times warrant it.
A reply (again, one really can spend too much time with these**) argued he was being a "technocrat" and not seeing how AOC is being a "visionary."  He replied: "don’t lecture me about politics and causes."  As the person noted, "get off my lawn" is implied.  See also, Rick Hasen (Election Law Blog) worried about speaking of "stolen elections" and when people call him out, he gives his bona fides as a voting rights warrior. Sure is and great. But, you can be wrong about something. And, Pelosi has been too.

I know who the true enemy is here.  I saw 1776  (movie reference), but  the tweet (without providing the context, as the COS tweeted in a reply he supported the choice of the person he criticized running and considers her a friend ... using her first name, therefore, was not some grave act of disrespect on his part) reflects a problem in knowing how to battle them.  it was particularly asinine when the original tweet was an in the moment raw reply to the emergency funding border bill dispute.  In the news yesterday was Pence and company visiting the concentration camps and even after the Democrats supported the funding bill (with no real teeth), calling out Democrats for not providing means to support them.  AOC and the others taking a hardline here comes off rather well in the fact of that shit.

Over at another blog, the second of two somewhat related discussions (with lots of comments) on basically what "republican government" means (including the true meaning of "one person, one vote") in part discuss strategy.  Movements as well as legislative caucuses need to keep this in mind.  AOC and others provide a valuable function.  We can debate how far she should go (including challenging long term incumbents in safe seats, shades of Republican conservative efforts), but overall, her fire is both helpful and not just a chaotic force.  As the lead tweet notes, something like this would have been helpful with Garland (not sure about the Dreamers -- seems there was some voices there).  This is not just from me or "Twitter liberals" but also from aides to leadership, including Harry Reid.

I think an impeachment inquiry is warranted and not only is just but pragmatically helpful.  Looking it up on Wikipedia, the formal process for Nixon started in October 1973 with the end game starting in May (still active when he resigned in August 1974). Before then, there were Watergate hearings.  Now, we have scattered hearings with no overall umbrella with various ongoing lawsuits to get documents or people to testify.  Pelosi seems not to want that personally and this influences the state of the caucus as a whole of which only a fraction publicly are on board.  Think her comments on it have been bad either way.

Overall, glad my representative is pushing and screw the haters.

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* It is notable that the four vocal women representatives at times singled out (though "Justice Democrats" make up a wider number) are POC and people find it offensive that they personally seem to be targeted. Others say it is outrageous to suggest Pelosi et. al. are somehow racist, but our party generally seems to understand the complexities of racism, including disparate impact.  Taking care to avoid feelings of disrespect isn't too hard and is something taken into consideration back to the days of dueling.

** A few weeks ago, though I still read and favor some tweets, I started a policy of not tweeting on weekends.  I admit to a Twitter addiction in part since I enjoy giving my .02 and it is a means to vent. Plus, it's fun and informative.  You engage with some great people. Monica Lewinsky, e.g., "liking" a tweet ... come on.

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China


The author's second book covers a lot of the same ground but is more about feminist activism [building off the last chapter] in China so this book (written a few years before) was helpful as well. "Leftover women" is a term used in China to label women who don't marry (by around 27) and it reflects and advances gender inequality there. Of special note: home ownership.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Scared Topless [Showtime After Hours]

I'm amused this trailer found enough non-explicit content to fill over a minute of playing time. Other than what to me is an annoyingly artificial "facing the viewer" toss-in (a sort of breaking the fourth wall), the first ten or so minutes of the film is pretty good. Putting aside the use of color in "found footage" from c. 1940 or so (first it sounds like the 1930s, then he is sent on some military mission), the opening is good. A touch of humor too. A lot of boring big breast sex action soon kicks in. Two of the "students" (a bit long in tooth) are familiar faces.

Mueller Report

I read the version put out by the Washington Post (not the one with an intro by Alan Dershowitz; looking, doesn't seem that version adds more commentary) and it is mainly the report itself other than various additional documents (e.g., indictments and Michael Cohen sentencing transcript; these have helpful brief intros). The volume intro and Mueller/Trump article are both a tad thin though latter interesting. Some notes ala some editions of classics regarding the report proper would have been helpful. The legal glossary was helpful; the list of people cited found in the report itself is very helpful. The redactions were not too bad though made a few things (including involving Manafort) unclear. 

There are two parts though the "speaking indictments" provide important helpful details too: Russian trolls/hacking (with Trump campaign involvement) and Trump obstruction of justice (live performance version very good; overall that section is easier to read too). I really don't expect the average person to plow thru hundreds of pages; parts of the first volume particularly hard going. Summaries that bring things together and Mueller testifying (next week) etc. are therefore very important.  Again, the indictments provide some good material (shades of the Libby one) and the sentencing hearing transcript is interesting as well. 

There is clearly enough there to show obstruction, especially his interference (recall his actual position as chief executive) of ongoing investigations and prosecutions. This beyond somewhat closer calls involving the Comey firing and so on.  As to some sort of conspiracy with the Russian "government" (notable qualifier) to interfere with the election, "coordination" might not be provable (notable qualifier*) in a court of law. But, numerous engagements (some of which Trump on down blatantly lied about) with Russians and Russian operatives are shown.  Clearly wrong and impeachment worthy.  (Note, e.g., Kushner, now a chief member of the Administration, was involved.)

And, the in depth look at use of trolls to get involved in electoral politics (how much did this change the result?) and hack (plus use Wikipedia as a funnel device) the Democrats (though unclear how much this mattered in the end) was striking.  Roger Stone's role, including reference in his indictment of various unnamed major Trump campaign personnel, is notable here. Briefly touched upon: hacking actual state election databases.  Trump blatantly bs-ing about Russian not being involved (who knows?) and afterwards still saying getting information in this fashion would be okay is notable. Finally, after his "sarcastic" invite to get Clinton emails, huh, right away the Russians started to try to get them.

It is to be recalled this investigation was overseen by the former FBI head, picked by George Bush Jr.  The limits of a criminal investigation (see note) as well should be kept in mind.  All the same, there is an in depth examination of whether there was evidence Trump might be guilty of obstruction.  The report proper ends with a legal analysis on why he could be, a sort of rejoinder to AG Barr. In his public statement later on, after Barr's spin job, Mueller underlined Trump's guilt was purposely left open. (Note too he said he was open to providing parts of the report earlier but the "AG" rejected that approach.)   And, more.

I won't try to analyze things further. See, e.g., these articles.

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* Other than things like protected communication of counsel (e.g., attempts to influence witnesses via Trump's personal counsel likely was not on the person's own but involved Trump), the report noted various things hindered the investigation. This includes destruction of evidence, the limits of obtaining certain information given lack of hard evidence, lying to investigators and Trump himself trying to obstruct (which the report says only "mostly" failed).  There are also legal rules that might have been applied too strictly, such as regarding Donald Trump Jr. Anyway, the amount of smoke here requires gas masks.

[Redactions might hide something, but I also am unclear how Manafort passing internal campaign poll data, including for swing states, to a Russian operative is not itself illegal.  Unlike Donald Trump Jr., he is well aware of the rules and poll data was cited at one point as covered by campaign finance rules.  Manafort at one point is said to deny knowing the guy involved has a connection to the Russian government, but that's hard to believe, and Manafort's deputy agreed the connection was apparent. Finally, this seems a form of actual "coordination" in some fashion.]  

One telling bit that received a lot of attention was when Trump himself was annoyed that someone was taking notes. The person retorted that as a "real lawyer," that is what one does. It might not even been his notes, but that of an aide.  But, it reflects Trump's mob mentality and it is another problem with proving things in a court of law.  Finally, he never was convinced to agree to a face to face meeting.  His replies to written inquiry was a bit of a joke: almost half of it was repeating questions, another quarter or more "I don't recall."  Full cooperation though. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Stop it, Please (Pelosi Edition)

Smart Twitter person says non-smart things: "The people insisting that impeachment would magically get Trump to go away sound just like the people who say “you should report that!!” every time I talk about my experiences with discrimination." No one actually says that. Meanwhile, Pelosi being reported badmouthing AOC as some outlier with no support. At some point, might we say she has a problem with a sizable group [note vote] in the caucus? She's starting to be tiring. Is she upset the kids are stealing the thunder from her left?

July ... Same Old Mets?

ETA: After reports the GM threw a chair and badmouthed Callaway after yesterday's game and a lot of drama in this one (ejections included), the Mets survived four innings of pen including .2 by Matz. The Philly starter was bad, NS only went five but the pen just hung on. A good defensive play helped.  Diaz with a clean ninth. It is a game you have win sometimes.

After the Mets won two straight, both times via strong eighth innings by the bats (the second vs. the Yanks was 4-2, so pitching helped), they went back to losing. The second Subway Series game was okay; but tied 2-2, after DeGrom went seven/two runs (the second questionable but they ran out of challenges), Lugo did the eighth but Diaz/Famalia gave up five in the ninth. Avila got the final out. The challenge is one of those cases where Callaway can be blamed. Will all scoring plays be automatically reviewed? At least close ones.  Four game sweep plus one more loss vs. Phils.

DeGrom did his job here but overall has came down to earth. After struggling in April, he has been fairly consistent, but especially with this pen, a bunch of 6-7 inning games isn't enough for your putative ace. "Quality" starts not enough. The Mets playoff odds are under 1% though they are marginally in it being seven games back in the Wild Card. Too many teams in front of them. Ending hope on some level is less stressful, but the result be limited trading deadline moves and dubious (if splashy) post-season ones? If the manager is fired, will it matter?  A true game changer might but the GM and ownership is often the real problem, Callaway's statements sounding like official lines.

Nimmo being out hurts, including symbolically, though at this point I think he is largely forgotten. Injuries again hurt them but your alleged ace closer being totally off is a killer too. Finally, the offense (a few standouts) has been inconsistent. Again, the bats were key to those two wins. Defense is suspect and the minors limited. Might pay to give up a bit more to build it up. And, I still wonder what trading Wheeler a year earlier would have brought. Still can win the series. But, losses like this killed the season.
I don’t care how much you hated the Cano deal. NO ONE could’ve predicted this level of regression from Diaz/Cano, let alone guys like Familia, Ramos, and Syndergaard. Regression, sure. But this significant? Had even just a few of them worked out, this would be a different season.
So argues a leading Mets Twitter account.  The problem being that there always seems to be something with this team -- speak as a fan since the late 1990s (basically the Bobby Valentine years), this all seems unsurprising. The Mets had an unofficial rebuild in the Terry Collins years and had an exciting run probably a year earlier than expected. Ended in depressing fashion, helped by breaking a better defender's leg (mattered defensively in the World Series).  Seemingly by spit and bailing wire, they got a Wild Card spot in 2016 but Famalia blew it after the other two went mano-o-mano against Mr. Baseball.

2018 is following in the footsteps of 2017 though it seems like it started with more safeguards. (June was more horrible last season but be it more one note, relief pitching standing out, the late June losing streak got the team about the same place).  Take the quote. Okay. Starting pitching. Problem was that the team didn't get a safety there really.  Guys like "Thor" had troubles in the past.  Again, I think DeGrom is somewhat more notable though him pitching well lately made him seem not the problem. If Vargas suddenly didn't become the latest version of Big Sexy in reliability, the team would be in even worse shape.  Starting pitching was no lock even id dreams of a great bunch were possible.

Famalia. When he was the closer, he was pretty reliable. This season he has not been in the set-up role and then he was out on the "IR" -- was he hurt before and they didn't say?  The problem there was that he was not so clearly clutch that they should have signed him for a three year deal (which upon looking, is back-ended, so he costs less this season).  His struggles are somewhat surprising.  But, again, they aren't shocking really.  Plus, this is a theme, there always seems to be SOME issue with this team.

Diaz/Cano. This was a controversial move since you had to pick up multiple years of Cano (though some of the money was addressed), who already old in baseball years. The hope was that he could give you something now.  He provided something but repeatedly was injured and his defense/baseball behavior has been repeatedly dubious.  Coming off a steroids punishment and given his history, this is not really shocking.  See a theme?  The rolling snowball effect might be somewhat surprising, but the pieces yet again are not really too surprising. Too many question marks.

You needed something to balance this out. Diaz was a key possibility but there was some risk because there was some concern he was injury prone, we are talking about two years as a full time closer and the relievers are fickle (Blevins struggled after two good years). And, you gave up some prospects plus have to deal with Cano (another expensive player who they have for multiple years with limited value; old news).  Closers are key and if he had even an okay May/June, the Mets would be hanging around the Phils/Nats for the WC.  This was the biggest surprise though there might be various reasons, down to changes in the ball.*

The other balance was a better "B" team and maybe Ramos. Ramos has had an injury history and reliance on him probably is questionable though it was somewhat reasonable to think him an upgrade.  The pen didn't pick you up either -- early on Diaz was reliable if repeatedly not lights out. Lugo and to a lesser extent Gsellman were too.  Then, they weren't (or Lugo was hurt; Lugo had blips lately).  Wilson and Avilan (a "B" type really anyhow) were hurt. A key super-utility guy never played. Nimmo got hurt and Cespedes is just out for the season.  J.D. Davis turns out to be the only one of those promising off-season pick-ups that have consistently contributed. And, though some bats like Smith provided some offense, lately it hasn't been enough to balance the poor or average pitching.  The Phils aren't really this good. 

Long term, the Mets outperformed expectations in one year (helped by some deadline acquisitions and the Nats struggling) and fought through adversity to get a respectable wild card berth.  Other than that, losing baseball. And, even in the mix there was some bad baseball (pitching carried them in the first half of 2015).  At some point, repeats are not too surprising, though the specifics might be somewhat novel.

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* The Mets last month fired the pitching coach that helped various pitchers and the bullpen coach. An old vet came on to replace one and someone returned to replace the other.  Rather unclear what value this brought in the last two weeks, the pitching situation if anything worse right after. Is this the team's idea of a big move to shock the system?  Perhaps, try to make the team more professional overall. For instance, that thing with Callaway and Vargas against a reporter was handled badly. Public statements to me often come off as 'bs' and a reporter complained the GM is AWOL. And, the team does not seem to be crisply run.

There is some question of what to do with Diaz. Should he shift down and deal with his problems?  But, who would close?!  Well, after Famalia left last season, they figured out the closing situation (Gsellman often closed and Lugo had a few).  So, figure we can figure something out now too, if they wanted to try that.  Using Matz (who stepped in as a LOOGY in a game this week) as a closer, was floated, which seems silly -- he often struggles in his first inning plus has injury issues and suddenly you will try to make a starter into a closer, especially one who is something of a mental case?  I rather not.  He's basically a fifth starter now.

On some level, it doesn't matter and maybe he will snap into gear somehow. After all, he started okay, if a bit iffy. But, the pen repeatedly blowing it has to affect the rest of the team, including a starter who is gun shy about making any mistakes.  Anyway, another possibility is they pick a good reliever in a trade and that might work as a spot closer when necessary.  Wilson also is a maybe. It is less important for a losing team.