25 days until pitchers, catchers report!

The San Francisco 49ers have ended their almost glorious season at Starbucks.  So sad about Navarro Bowman, who deserved a better ending.  Otherwise, hard to believe that Stanford allowed Richard Sherman to have a diploma.  He seems to be more representative of a trucking trade school.

Anywho, let’s listen to the pitter patter of baseball season.

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About annapirhana

Writer, former KUSF DJ and fan of the SF Giants/SJ Sharks/Great America 49ers. Love quality films, though I don't take things too seriously.
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133 Responses to 25 days until pitchers, catchers report!

  1. xoot says:

    I won’t be disappointed if Peyton Manning adds another big win to his résumé.

    Meanwhile, the Giants have finished signing everyone they need to compete for next year. But do they have what they need to win? I don’t know. The bullpen isn’t really set. Hembree will be a great set up guy, but not a closer. Romo never was a classic closer. He gets worn out. Casilla could step up. But if he doesn’t, who’s there? Lopez is the best LOOGY in the business, and Affeldt, when he’s on, is a great late inning guy. But is that committee enough?

    Also–I wonder about Mike Morse’s steroid history. Can he play both clean and healthy? If so, he would be the steal of the off season.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Frank Gore vs Seahawks in yesterday’s game: 11 attempts for 14 yards ( 1.3 yds AVG). :(

      The unanswered G-q’s as ST looms: Affeldt’s health. A healthy Jeremy is late inning money in the bank. The same for Morse, of course. You’re right about Romo, xoot. Which is why I had still ‘secretly’ hoped the Giants might have somehow found a way to woo Wilson back (even so, whether Wilson is physically good to go for whole season will finally become known this year – LAD was willing to gamble while the Giants folded on Wilson without so much as a bluff). Casilla can be asked to close on occasion, but I don’t think he’s as mentally tough as Romo to close on a regular basis. But, without someone like Wilson, closer-by-committee may prove the more reliable, because flexible, regular season strategy.

      I still see the Giants coming up with another reliever … maybe Gaudin will return (after concluding his FA quest to become a regular starting pitcher has fallen on a league’s deaf ears). Or perhaps, Mike Kickham will prove me wrong and find his Giants destiny in the bullpen.

      And last but not least, fans will want to see not only what Sandoval looks like come ST, but whether he can stay off the non-productive DL in 2014. Lots more q’s, of course. But, I’m content to wait for now.

  2. datswhatsup says:

    Ouch Niner game still stings.

    The game was incredibly even.
    Defenses were fantastic
    Both teams had one big run
    Both teams scored on passes to well covered receivers
    Both teams got FGs off QB fumbles

    To me the differences were:
    the Seattle kickoff return
    Sf safeties both looking back at RW from 30 yards down field and getting beat deep
    Sea intercepting CKs worst throw on his first pick and Reid not intercepting RWs worst throw
    and calls vs SF that changed field position.

    SF was lucky when multiple fumbles were not recovered but it was no mirage that Sea started possessions much closer to mid field. This is obviously huge in a defensive game.

    One holding call vs Sherman was the only flag vs the grabby Sea CBs, even stretched jersey in the middle of the field were ignored

    The Whitner hit cost 15 yards for shoulder to shoulder, ok if that is the way to call the game fine, what about the subsequent James hit, Verson Davis hit, Crab Tree blow to the neck?

    The PF on Rogers? SF went form 15 yards to a long FG at end of half to 30 yards and taking a knee

    The missed PF on roughing the punter?. First down past the 30 vs Sea first down at the 45

    Lastly the NFL dodged a bullet with Lynch fumbling after the NB fumble recovery. That ends the game with another tuck rule fiasco

    I was pulling for Sea to win the SB, but Sherman added me to the list of people without a dog in the fight to pull for Denver. Trying to think of a more classless douche bad move after a game, still working on it.

    Go Giants, stay healthy and Pablo and Morse push for that contract with monster years!

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      49er’s D played well enough to win. Kaepernick played well enough for three quarters to win. But Gore / offensive line fell short. The game’s “13th man” – the referees – hindered a level playing field that was already weighted towards Seattle. And as a pre-game prognosticator, I suck! ;-)

      On the brighter side, I like the growing 49er – Seahawk rivalry. Like the Giants / Dodgers thing, it’s good for the game.

  3. unca_chuck says:

    Losing Iupati on the 4th down TD hurt bad. The sketchy run game went nowhere after he went down. No more scrambles after that, either.

    • datswhatsup says:

      Having no FB hurt too.

      Vance McDonald cannot block, I mean F- in that department.

      NB injury is doubly bad in that SF doesn’t seem nearly as deep at inside as they are outside LB

      If JH is the coach, I do not think they keep CK, they are built on running and D and both would suffer if CK gets stupid money

      I felt the OL was over rated this year, for the being in the convo for best line in the NFL they sure gave up some sacks and were stuffed on 3rd a short a lot.

      I would let Boldin go (he and Crab are too similar, AB had a great year but some of it was due to Crab being out. AB is very good, but 3 years at age 33 is not worth the cap $ IMO). Manningham & McCoy for sure go.

      I would keep Dawson, a kicker in the NFC West is more important than the other joke divisions. Osgood has to stay, that old man makes plays every friggin’ week.

      I think they need an RB in the worst way. The pounding Gore has taken seems to have robbed him and too many carries for <2 yards…wonder how Lattimore rehabbing is going?

      It would seem they need:
      speed at WR (unless Patton is fast enough)
      DB (like everyone else except Seattle)
      OL (like everyone else)
      RB (3-5 rounder)
      Inside LB (easier to find than OLB)

      So the question is, do they try and grab a QB with the 2nd Round pick in case CK becomes too expensive? Maybe SF treats QBs like some baseball teams treat closers (keep you until you get expensive then start again).

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah I say the same thing on my blog. What direction do they want to go? Harbaugh wanted Kaepernick, but doesn’t appear to want to use him how he should be used. The line was just OK, and they need a center more than anything, Goodwin got pushed around a lot.

    I also had a big problem with the play calling. When you pack the formation and run out of it, 90% of the time you get stuffed. Especially on the goal line. They ran a couple times out of 4 WR sets and it worked. They didn’t do enough of that. It was a problem all year.

    Yeah, McDonald looks like a complete waste of a draft pick. Reid was spot-on, and the rest are big ?s I really was hoping for Keenan Allen from Cal.

    Lattimore was apparently good to go, but they didn’t want to risk anything this late. He will take over for Gore as next year rolls along.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      In using Kaep the right way … might he prove a better fit to serve in the mold of say a “Roman Gabriel” (LA Rams) or Hadl / Fouts, who were straight drop back passers? The advantage of course is that Kaep is a dangerous scrambler – and yet he seems to get into more trouble when he has too much time to pass. I would like to see Harbaugh – use the short pass more often – which still serves to free up the unexpected deep pass. just my 2 cents, admittedly paid less attention this year to the NFL, but still found yesterday’s game sorta depressing.

      • unca_chuck says:

        Kappy made decisive runs in the 1st half, but he wan’t able to do that in the 2nd. Whether by design I don’t know. Maybe Harbaugh told him to wait for the pass plays to develop more. I don’t pretend to know, but I didn’t see Seattle doing things much differently. Still and all, our offense died after Iupati went down. At least the scrambling seemed to.

        I’ve been yelling for months how there is never an outlet for Kaepernick. They used it on the 4th and 2 to Gore in the 4th quarter. Not much before that. If they want to keep him from running, they need to give him an outlet like that. Which is why Miller was a big injury. They refuse to throw screens, and they rarely run slants. These are low-risk passes that should be in the offense more than they are. I’m no fucking football guru but this shit is pretty elementary,

        • xoot says:

          The complete lack of a slant play drove me crazy every time they fizzled (this week and last) inside the red zone. Maybe I just have those Montana-Taylor plays imprinted too deeply, but for chrissakes with three top flight receivers shouldn’t short crossing routes or something like that be the right call once in a while?

          • shoelessinbearvalley says:

            Exactly. That ‘penultimate’ quick pass play to Vernon Davis was terrific … and almost impossible to stop with good execution. I didn’t see enough of these kinds of quick stabs to the Seahawks zone / man-to-man.

        • shoelessinbearvalley says:

          I wonder if we are witnessing the limits of Harbaugh’s offensive wherewithal? I really like Kaepernick – so much seemingly untapped potential – and am wondering if in the hands of a Belichick or Carroll (or Chip Kelly), he would have progressed far more effectively in his second year.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    ANd yeah, losing Miller was tough. He is a great lead blocker and made some nice catches.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      I didn’t follow the reasoning, but why not keep or pick up Maricec after the injury?

      • unca_chuck says:

        They tried, and some weird shit happened. I can’t remember if Marecic bailed on the Niners, or if the Niners didn’t want him, but it was some shit like that.

        • sandy32koufax says:

          so, he was mentioned twice during the year, once they even picked him up but dumped him quickly. I’m thinking that two weeks ago, he told em to fuck off as a result of the prior treatment. I wonder what, precisely, that treatment was.

  6. sandy32koufax says:

    Seriously, why would this be deleted?

    “Content disabled
    Flag
    Bitter end: 49ers fall to Seahawks
    @capdragon

    Sounds like blame, there, cappy.”

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      “49ers fall to Seahawks” is a phrase that is now officially deemed verboten from now on? Seriously, I haven’t a clue. Which reminds me that after two emails and a week’s passing, “Bob” at SFGate never responded to my inquiry as to why / how he might think those two posts of yours back at the Giants forum / SFGate failed to pass forum ‘protocol’. I was hoping for a bit more cooperation than complete silence. or as Steve Buscemi put it,

      “Oh, fuck it, I don’t have to talk to you, either, man! See how you like it. Just total fuckin’ silence. Two can play at that game, smart guy. We’ll just see how you like it. Total silence.”

  7. shaman138 says:

    Well, uh, Go Seahawks!

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Gee, I don’t know. Although they should be the underdawg and as I tend to be a sucker for rooting for underdawgs … but, I like Payton Manning probably more than the entire Seahawks team put together. I guess I’m hoping more for a GOOD game right now.

    • mailorderwife says:

      Throwing garbage at Navarro Bowman while he was being carted away put me into the Broncos’ corner. I would have rooted for the Seahawks, west coast NFC and Pete Carroll (the criminal) is still a local boy. Not anymore.

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        One more incentive for Harbaugh and Niners to start reloading / retooling now to eviscerate the Seahawks and their classless fans next year. (Sometimes, it only takes a few bad apple to expose just how rotten the whole barrel is?)

  8. xoot says:

    Bouncing around looking for the dubs game a few minutes ago I happened to see Bill Romanowski on the bay area comcast show, commenting on Sherman. I can only imagine one excuse for such garbage: No one watches bay area comcast sports talk shows, so no one complains. What an asshole Romanowski is.

    Meanwhile, the start of the dubs / pacers game looks promising.

  9. mailorderwife says:

    BTW…I realize that figure skating is not a preferred sport here, but has anyone followed what happened to Mirai Nagasu? She finished 3rd in the USFS Championships, but was knocked off the team to make way for the 4th place finisher. It’s an unprecedented decision because it is the first time someone was let on the team like this *without* having an injury that prevented them from competing. They used “body of work” as an excuse, but what they neglected to tell everyone is that the 4th place finisher had tons of endorsements and was the face of US figure skating for big advertisers.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Have not followed the skating trials, but it does sound like Mirai got trumped (screwed) by what’s becoming more and more the exclusivity of “Whatever Money wants Money gets”. :(

  10. mailorderwife says:

    Also with all the A-Rod talk, why doesn’t Braun get penalized for getting someone fired over his PED thing?

    • xoot says:

      First time around, Braun’s lawyers played by the rules, and exposed flaws in the system and in the agreements. (In essence, Braun’s people proved that mlb mishandled evidence–negligently. The lawyers will tell you that standing up for strict procedures protects everyone against false positives, etc., etc.) mlb negotiated some changes in the agreements afterward and also fired the main mediator, who tossed Braun’s suspension out. All of which highlights the precariousness of the testing regimen. Braun got popped the second time on non-test evidence (as did ARod), but Braun wisely made a deal. I think mlb came down as hard as they could on him in part because he skipped on a technicality the first time around. (At first, he threatened to challenge a new suspension.) He’s a cheater, and his mvp award means nothing. So mlb made an example of him, finally. But he’s a young cheater. He can still make mlb some money.

      ARod and his people, however, actively interfered with the mlb investigation and tried to destroy evidence themselves. And he’s an old cheater, doing nothing but bad things for mlb (and the flagship yankees).

      One change that ought to come, and someone on this blog mentioned it, I think: Teams should not reap PED windfalls. At a minimum, a suspended player’s salary should go into mlb’s coffers, not into the team’s pockets, and the salary should still count against the luxury tax. The yankess are going to be able to sign Tanaka now simply because mlb ran ARod to ground. That’s bs.

      • mailorderwife says:

        A friend of mine — a very very good person — has close ties to the owner of the Brewers. Needless to say, they are all very disappointed. I think for him, I’d like Braun to receive caning.

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        xoot, Excellent summary. MLB apparently ‘believes’ the A-Rod ruling should only penalize the player – not ownership. Which, alas, reveals again just how Corporate interests continue to trump all. I guess it’s not all that surprising that MLB is rigged to favor the richest just like what goes on daily in D.C.. You’re right it is bs, and yet it’s the ‘Law of a less free land’. I wish those who vote right wing / T-Party / whatever would see this is an American issue – neither left nor right.

  11. unca_chuck says:

    More to that point, Xoot, it wasn’t until the Carolina game that the Niners ever threw out of the jumbo formation (2 TEs, a FB and 1 WR). It was the TD to VD. I died every time they reached the 8 and sputterd with 3 yard outs, and runs up the middle. Just like the turnover that started the game last Sunday.

  12. xoot says:

    You see the story about mlb players demanding (ineffectually, of course) that their union expel ARod for suing it? The one I read mentioned that mlb players pay union dues of $65 — per day. That means the union’s pulling in about $50,000 grand per day, I guess. Now ARod’s draining a bunch of that money away in litigation costs. I guess I’d be pissed off, too; but what strange unions pro sports leagues have. They’re like regular unions, on steroids.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      Can’t blame the “membership” for trying. I’m no atty but I don’t see the court ruling in the players favor as long as Arod isn’t in arrears ;-)

      I laughed when I read that comment describing pro sports unions, xoot.

  13. xoot says:

    Tanaka to the Yankees, 7Y/155M for a guy who’s never pitched in mlb. He’s thrown a helluva lot of innings already, too. I enjoyed all of those suburban bloggers who predicted that his wife’s interest in an entertainment career would give the bums and angels an advantage in the bidding. Yeah, there’s nothing happening in NY. I’m also glad the Giants let him pass, at that price (plus the posting fee). Hell, they’re already paying Cain nearly that much . . . .

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Or to borrow from the SFGate style of sensationalized headline-making after the Tanaka signing:

      Yankees wisdom bodes ill for MLB’s luxury tax fix

    • mailorderwife says:

      I spent all yesterday tweeting Tanaka in Japanese, telling him (begging, really) not to sign with the Dodgers. I’d like to think that I contributed something useful to the SF Giants kingdom! Huzzah.

      Why don’t we ever get Japanese players?

  14. shaman138 says:

    Tanaka will be a New York Yankee…surprise, surprise.

    Regarding the Stupor Bowl, I’m not a big fan of the Seaddled Squawks, but I will NEVER root for the Broncos, even if this is Peyton Manning’s last hurrah.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Leaving all fan politics aside, the Seahawks are still one of the ‘new’ franchise teams without a SB trophy. I haven’t checked / heard the odds makers latest predictions, but as doubtless underdogs, it may prove harder as the game proceeds to actively root against Seattle’s chances. In this uncertain if tentative light, may the second best team win! And if not, may the third best team pull out a victory …. :)

    • sandy32koufax says:

      Yer a good man, shaman.

  15. sandy32koufax says:

    Yankees “win” the T-sweepstakes. I’m glad he’s in the AL and that NYY still has needs to address, so there’s another plus. As long as the D’Backs didn’t get him:)

    God point, MOW. Seems to me that SF used to have that Japanese connection from the 60′s into maybe mid-80′s with Japan and the Orions. Ish doesn’t count, so does that make Shinjo the last Japanese player the jints have had?

    Fuck the Broncs. I’ve like Manning since he kept losing all of those SEC championships and was happy he won a SB but he’s got a horse on his hat so DIE THE DEATH OF A THOUSAND DROPPED PASSES!

    • xoot says:

      Ha! You must’ve loved Elway’s SB performance vs. the 9ers.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Hey sfdf, do you have any idea how close LAD actually came to picking up /outbidding the Yanks / D-backs for la Tanaka (aka: “el Tanako”)? I noticed – besides LAD, that the Cubs, White Sox, D-backs, and Astros were all in on the failed bidding process. LAD and Houston – such fiscally incongruous bed, err, bid-fellows I would think.

      • xoot says:

        Ha! Well, Houston’s new owners made huge profits last year, with a total payroll about the size of Kershaw’s single-season salary and $205M revenue. Well, almost. Now they have to pay back. I’ll bet Houston’s bid was made mandatory by Bud S. et al. They’ll be spending more, in general, soon, too. I think mlb put similar pressure on the A’s, and the Cespedes deal was the result. Just my guess.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2013-10-23/mlb-team-values.html

        • sandy32koufax says:

          It KILLED me to see Elway beat the Pack. The next one didn’t bug me too much, Atlanta and alla that. Nothing to do with the Ray-Duhs, though. My ex knew them, she dated the goober in HS, and I got to know Jack n John. MEGA DICKHEADS! THEN there’s my natural dislike for anything Broncosian :-)

          Those Stro’s and Cubbies were never that serious or they’d have landed the guy. They both have enough $$$ to be so much better than they show. Facking 105 yrs and counting for the Cubs and only the Stros could let a Chicago team win a WS title. We all read that LA pretty much bowed out of the bidding after prostrating themselves to Kersh.

          Selig seems comfortable doing some double dealing, imo. He owned a loser even with Cooper, Molitor and Yount. He should never have been named comish. Cannot wait for his departure from MLB. My only hope is that someone with balls and the juice to lead MLB takes his place. No more Sterns, Goodells and…Seligs, thenk yew verra mush.

          • xoot says:

            I think the current owners have learned how to game the game. They had a coup in 92 after Giamatti scared them shitless and Vincent threatened to pursue the same high road, and they installed Selig as their shill. Originally, he was a short termer, “interim commish” or somehting like that, but then, despite the strike in 94, he made all the owners a whole lot of money. Now the owners don’t care about the integrity of the game. They’ll never turn to another Giamatti type.

            • sandy32koufax says:

              Integrity. Great word. Over at the Flap they were talking about integrity, although I never saw the word used. That’s the “game” though. let me get “mine” at any cost and damn everything else.

              • shoelessinbearvalley says:

                “We all read that LA pretty much bowed out of the bidding after prostrating themselves to Kersh.” hmmm … I thought LAD ownership had ‘pledged’ to go after El Tanko. OTOH, a Kershaw in the hand may be worth two Tanakas on the mound.

                • sandy32koufax says:

                  I just went to your link and played with it, xoot. I’d seen that before but hadn’t clicked on the team icons before. Good info there. Dodgers outdrew SF yet SF gate receipts exceeded LA’s. Just looking at the values of all the teams though, the Astros should be fielding a better team by paying for better talent.

                  The morning Kershaw was re-signed, I saw two different stories that said “unidentified sources have revealed…” They still have some big needs to be filled.

                • xoot says:

                  I still believe Houston’s new owners have been raking in the profits recently in return for playing mlb’s game (buying the team in the first place, moving to the AL). But now that they’ve received their signing bonus, they’ll have to invest in the team itself going forward. That’s my theory.

  16. Chico says:

    ‘We will not be outbid’ – Dodgers.

  17. Chico says:

    How bout that Jerry Brown, eh?

    • mailorderwife says:

      Always loved him, even as a teenager.

      I was listening to the original California Uber Alles the other day, and thought it ironic that 30+ years after the fact, the lyrics needed no changing. hehe.

        • unca_chuck says:

          Funny, that was the 2nd concert I ever saw. BTO with Canned Heat, and Flash Cadillac and his Continental Kids at the Cow Palace.

          (first was Stevie Wonder)

          • shoelessinbearvalley says:

            Jerry Brown knows what every other effective politician over time comes to know: to bring down / erase state and federal deficits, cutting spending (fiscal austerity) plays only part of a working plan. The other requires strategic revenue increases – i.e., address the tax loop holes and grudgingly raise taxes. The Terminator, like all his conservative brethren of today, simply refuse to acknowledge the critical need to address revenue shortfalls – even if it means forever running a state or country in the red. Hence, the neo definition of what it means to be “A Red State?”

          • sandy32koufax says:

            I was at that concert! Flash Cad had all of us smokers taking deep drags and acting like the fools we were (are???). Good times and good memory, Chuck.

            • unca_chuck says:

              Too funny! Great show. Think I was in 7th grade.

              • sandy32koufax says:

                That puts me in the 11th, fackit! My buddy was too drunk/stoned/trippin to even stay awake so I drove his dad’s Cornet 500. No license yet and I got hit by another guy that was loaded. Cop saw the whole thing and the other guy’s insurance covered it but damn, we got in major trouble with our fathers behind that…

  18. Chico says:

    Trouble in Dodgertown! http://sportsnetla.reverge.com/

    Many of their fans are seriously fucked.

    • unca_chuck says:

      So Dodger games are now pay-per-view? Or some sort of pay for the right to watch deal?

      Ouch. More fuel for the have/have-not grist mill.

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        It looks as if from Chico’s link that the LAD Network currently lacks a broader base of providers. Hence, the need to ask / get fans to ‘lobby’ their provider(s). No way to tell at this early date just how this will ultimately shake out for the fledgling LAD network … stay tuned to your local News at 11 for further details. ;-)

    • sandy32koufax says:

      BAH. It’s the same BS we’ve seen here for dozens of stations the past five years. Dodgers fans will, per the past settlements, still see LAD games at no noticeable extra charge. DTV and Dish have done the same shit to me here and in Oakland which is why I’ve been buying an MLB script since ’09 or ’10. Greed runs the world or as our esteemed Xoot has said “capitalism is a brutal system…”

      (I can’t recall the actual quote but there’s the gist of it)

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        SK, so your MLB sub isn’t being blacked out for live games? I lived up in Oregon for 20 years and never could enjoy live MLB streaming of Giants games, because of the Direct TV / Comcast / Dish monopoly demanding all live games be blacked out … really consumer-unfriendly. So, instead I purchased an annual audio feed of the games.

        • sandy32koufax says:

          Of course some games are blacked out but I don’t miss any because locally blacked out games are accessible either on my uverse or mlb.com. Remember , I’m in the bay area. I do have trouble getting every Dodgers game sometimes, though.

    • mailorderwife says:

      I couldn’t find the news story from SFGate. SURPRISE! Anywho, been reading about this in the London Times. The EU isn’t perfect, but it’s a great deal better than kowtowing to Putin. Good luck, folks! Copying the latest story here:

      Protesters shot dead as police prepare to storm Kiev square

      Police shot dead at least two protesters in Kiev yesterday and an estimated 300 people were injured in the worst day of street violence in the Ukrainian capital since the Second World War.

      The first fatalities in more than two months of mass protests against President Yanukovych signalled a potential turning point in the crisis. Anti-government protesters, who said five of their number had been killed, took up ­positions behind home-made barricades last night as security forces prepared to storm their camp in Independence Square. All shops, cafés, hotels and restaurants in the centre of Kiev were ordered to close by 4pm.

      Protest leaders instructed women, children and the elderly to leave the government buildings they had been occupying close to the square, the hub of the demonstrations.

      Huge clouds of smoke hung over the centre of the snowbound city, rising from piles of tyres set on fire by protesters to stem the advance of hundreds of balaclava-clad police wielding guns, batons and riot shields and backed by at least one armoured personnel carrier. There were reports of many more of the vehicles heading to Kiev.

      During the day, protesters throwing stones and petrol bombs fought running battles with police near the Verkhovna Rada parliament.

      Igor, 43, a businessman who declined to give his surname, said he had taken the day off work to be there. “I am out here because we cannot allow this dictator, this monster, to run our country any more,” he said.

      As he spoke, a bullet whistled past and hit a man nearby in the leg.

      Against the combustible backdrop, Mr Yanukovych sat down for three hours of talks with the triumvirate of opposition politicians who have been attempting to control the protests. Vitali Klitschko, one of the leaders, told thousands of protesters afterwards that the President rejected demands for fresh elections.

      “Today they are preparing to clear us out of the Maidan [Independence Square],” the ex-boxer declared, urging people to stay and defend the square. “Tomorrow if the President does not respond then we will go on the offensive,” he said.

      Arseni Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader, told the crowd: “Tomorrow we will go forward together. And if it’s a bullet in the forehead, then it’s a bullet in the forehead,.”

      Mr Yanukovych addressed the ­nation twice; the first time to express sorrow at the two confirmed deaths — which he blamed on the protesters for radicalising their tactics — and the second time to celebrate National Unity Day in Ukraine.

      Yesterday, the US revoked the visas of some Ukrainian officials linked to attacks on protesters in recent weeks. The EU condemned the violence and said it was considering action against Mr Yanukovych’s Government.

      Mykola Azarov, the Prime Minister, denied that police were firing live rounds, but Ukraine’s general prosecutor opened a murder investigation after establishing that two men had died of gunshot wounds. Protesters claim to have spotted snipers.

      Oleg Musiy, the co-ordinator of the protesters’ medical team, said that the first man suffered multiple injuries overnight that could not have been inflicted by rubber bullets. A second protester was shot in the heart yesterday morning at the barricades.

      The Orange Revolution in 2004 triumphed without a shot being fired.

      Demonstrations against Mr Yanukovych began in November after he scuttled a political and economic agreement with the EU. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets demanding the resignation of the Government and snap elections.

      Mr Yanukovych has refused to concede to their demands and appears to have shored up his position by negotiating a $15 billion (£9 billion) aid package and gas discounts with the Kremlin in December.

      Frustration was exacerbated by the way the President’s Party of Regions rammed through parliament some of Europe’s most ­repressive anti-protest laws last week. It is now illegal to wear a mask at a demonstration, attend protests in central Kiev or drive in convoys of more than four cars.

      On Sunday night, hundreds of activists broke away from a peaceful protest and attacked police, shepherding in a new, more violent phase that mainstream demonstrators have blamed on a far-right group, the Right Sector.

      As dusk descended last night, the crowd in Independence Square swelled to 10,000. Fires burnt in the no-man’s land between them and police.

      Yuriy Sitnikov, 22, from a village in western Ukraine, said he was ready for war. “We will do what we must. I am prepared to be hurt, hit with a bullet. This will be my sacrifice for the revolution.”

    • mailorderwife says:

      From London Times:

      East Side Story

      If the Iron Curtain still existed, it would cut through the middle of Ukraine. Bordering the European Union states of Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, and Russia to the east, Ukraine finds itself uncomfortably tugged by the magnetism of both. Today it has a government that cleaves towards Moscow while a substantial part of its population looks longingly westwards.

      After making a diplomatic mistake in abandoning ties with the EU, the Government of Viktor Yanukovych has made a costly and dangerous domestic error in seeking to clamp down on the resultant protests. This week, as demonstrators have clashed, often brutally, with riot police, Viktor Yushchenko, his predecessor, has warned of the dangers of civil war. A civil conflict on the great remaining European faultline would not be Ukraine’s problem alone and the very threat of it should alarm Western capitals.

      Elected in 2010, having narrowly beaten his main challenger Yulyia Tymoshenko, President Yanukovych appeared to regard a relationship with the EU as his country’s destiny. In the previous year, the Ukrainian economy had contracted by almost 15 per cent. Inflation was surging and the former Government — effectively a partnership between Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko — had collapsed in chaos. Although far from an instinctive democrat (it was his rigging of an earlier election that had sparked the Orange Revolution of 2004 and he went on to jail the popular Ms Tymoshenko for corruption), Mr Yanukovych seemed bent on closer ties with Europe. By late last year, he was all but ready to sign an association agreement with the EU, opening up trade and beginning a process that could even have led to membership.

      At the last moment, however, he chose not to, almost certainly as a result of Russian pressure. Ukraine’s industrial heartlands rely heavily on exports across the border and on Russian gas. In the past Moscow has proved brutally willing to cut off both. On its own, Mr Yanukovych’s abandoning of EU negotiations could have been regarded as a mere hiatus. Yet he has followed it with moves towards Moscow, securing cheap gas and, it is thought, giving Russia extensive stakes in Ukrainian assets. Worse, he has followed this with measures designed to outlaw the protests it has inspired. Free speech and free assembly have both been sharply curtailed.

      It would be a mistake to regard Mr Yanukovych as a Russian-backed tyrant. He has been elected and there is scant sympathy among Ukraine’s substantial provincial populations for the demonstrators. In the east, particularly, he has strong support. Yet the demands of protesters — essentially for reform of a sclerotic, corrupt state, for economic liberalisation, which would allow for Western investment and for a halt in Ukraine’s slide towards becoming a Russian vassal state — are completely sensible.

      The emergence of Vitali Klitschko, a former boxer, as the opposition’s most prominent leader is a welcome sign. He has accused the Government of orchestrating unrest in a bid to introduce a state of emergency, and is calling for restraint, even to the extent of negotiating with masked protesters on the barricades. Mr Yanukovych should value this approach, and not seek to undermine it. Promised talks must happen, and soon.

      A presidential election is due next year and there is a strong case for bringing it forward. The promise of elections alone, however, will not solve Ukraine’s problems. Mr Yanukovych should reverse his recent oppressive laws and recognise that the danger of opposition leaders being unable to rein in popular fury is a real one. The Orange Revolution, which swept him from power in 2004, was remarkable for its bloodlessness. Next time, he and his country may not be so lucky.

      • sandy32koufax says:

        Brave people. Ukraine has been under some other country’s thumb for hundreds of years but the people refuse to accept Socialist Ruskia again. Good on em. Yanukovych is going to ultimately fail but I wonder if that brings Putin into this directly…

  19. unca_chuck says:

    You could say the same thing about Iran and the nuclear talks. Obama said if you come to the table to talk, we’ll lift the economic sanctions. Of course Congress is now voting to impose new sanctions now that they are coming to the table. Brilliant.

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Somewhat like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein’s catch 22, manufactured by the Bush administration, corporate Repubs and a handful of Dems too see Iran as “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. These same a-holes never saw a fermentation towards War they couldn’t resist.

    • unca_chuck says:

      The overarching point here is these clowns in Congress and the Senate pretty much do whatever they want, the public be damned. Vote themselves raises? Done. Vote themselves their own health plan? Done. Vote themselves the right to insider-trade? Done and doner. Vote themselves huge salaraies in perpetuity? Dundee.

      Term limits, muthafuckahs. Get the lobbyists out. No more corporate people. Otherwise there will be an armed occupation of DC soon. The million maniac march. Hmmmmm. I like the sound of that.

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        Alas, all too true. When Congress talks “War,” they vote to put at risk not only the economy they are unwilling to support with commensurate revenue, but they dare to put at mortal risk every volunteer male and female soldier to further their higher calling: Big Oil / Bigger Money.

        • Chico says:

          Meanwhile, Jamie Dimon pulled in 20 mil this year.. *facepalm*

          • sandy32koufax says:

            Like that smirk he was wearing in the pix? IDK what’s become of the Southern District going after Wall St crimes dating from ’02 but it seems to have ended. Can’t recall the US Asst Atty that sounded so promising but I’ve heard nothing lately to indicate any of the banksters will ever face the music. No surprises there, I guess.

  20. sandy32koufax says:

    Extra credit if anyone can name the TV station that used this song as it’s late night sign-off…

  21. mailorderwife says:

    Awesome stuff:

    • sandy32koufax says:

      You remember the football riots during the World Cup in the 80′s-90′s that led to new UK laws banning Hooligans for life and trying to disband their clubs? Nationalism in that case, racism in this one…and yes, racism is alive and well along with too many other hatreds worldwide.

      • mailorderwife says:

        I was caught in a soccer riot at Victoria Station during my first trip to England. We only escaped because two German guys were pulling us out of the station. Two days later there was another riot, this one of the trampling variety, as waves of hooligans ran down the block towards us. My friend and I ran into a store and hid. Never could stomach British football after that.

        I recommend the book “Among the Thugs” by Bill Buford, an American professor who immersed himself into British football culture to find out what what makes them tick. His description of various riots are horrifying, especially since these thugs liked to export their violence to mainland Europe. The author also slowly takes on characteristics of the hooligans, which makes things very interesting.

        • sandy32koufax says:

          Scary being around drunk/drugged anarchists that thrive on hate. You’re fortunate to have escaped these guys twice. They probably would have run you down either way if you two had stayed on the street but you not being white would have merited some special attention, I’m glad you didn’t receive it.

          Interesting synopsis on the book. I will read it, thanks for the heads up. I grew up with guys like the ones described in the book as finding euphoric release in fighting, something I’ve never experienced and don’t care to “sample” at this stage of my life. Curious that Danzig says: “one of the best books I’ve read on terrorism in recent years is not about terrorism at all. [Buford] describes the most appalling examples of soccer violence by fans against fans. But he describes with relentless honesty how he finds sickening things attractive. He says violence lets the adrenaline flow; it’s like sex, you live in the moment.”

          And how about those Blues :-) ?

          • mailorderwife says:

            I think two soccer riots in a lifetime means that I should win the Lotto, no? The only other remarkable thing I remember about this trip was being introduced to an “English Rose” at a bar, and she was a woman with mottled skin that blushed scattered dots of bursting red blood cells across her cheeks that seemed to highlight her two teeth missing.

            I’m more of a France type of person. Which means the only “Blues” I like are LES BLEUS.

            • sandy32koufax says:

              No, you’d need to be a poverty stricken immigrant or an already wealthy elderly retiree ;-)

              My friend’s wife wrote an awful parody in the vein of le Carre’ about KGB ops in UK. She had two ERoses as Soviet operatives. Dreadful book that I don’t remember the name of…

              EPL Blues, not Le LA Blues, they beat Man U over the wknd, appropriately enough. Arsenal or Liverpool losing to Swansea or Cardiff would have been perfect though.

              • mailorderwife says:

                LES BLEUS! I bought tons of World Cup stuff when they played in France, but I guess lots of other people did too as it’s not worth much right now. As for Man U and British soccer, NO THANK YOU. I do like Ashley Cole, but I’m a Thierry Henri loyalist. I guess he’s long gone now :<

                • sandy32koufax says:

                  I like it all, even MLS. It’s football, MOWa

                • mailorderwife says:

                  Meh. I liked USF soccer. They were great back in the day when I was a student, and some time before that. I think my interest in FIFA events waned when they decided that penalizing players and teams for banana throwing — despite their promise to do so — was sort of bullshit. Mario Ballotelli may be arrogant, but does he have to have bananas hurled at him whenever he’s on the pitch? Could you imagine someone throwing bananas at Matt Kemp?

                • sandy32koufax says:

                  Cole is a Blue that I like too but never had much love for Henri. Balotelli is an asshole and has earned his shit. WWKD?

                • mailorderwife says:

                  How on earth can you say that Balotelli earned his shit? Yeah…he is arrogant, as are many other players. But if you want to get at him for that, then don’t buy his shirts. But people have been going after his race since he was a teenager for no other reason than to feed their racism. He’s an Italian born player who has had to endure racist taunts and bananas. That’s just wrong.

                • sandy32koufax says:

                  Not supporting the racism at all, you know better than that. My buddy’s wife, AA woman, is a huge football nut, gets up early Saturday and Sunday to watch games live. She abhors him based on his attitude and arrogance. I’m referring to that side of him too. NOT the bananas, et al, ok?

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      oops … must scroll down a ‘page’ to see video link.

      • sandy32koufax says:

        You have to write “Spoiler alert!” when you post these :( I haven’t seen this episode yet!

        • shoelessinbearvalley says:

          I don’t believe this was his latest ‘episode’. (The spoiler alert thing never even crossed my mind … sorry).

          Perhaps, the only way around this is to post a “Spoiler Alert” to every link in the future. For What it’s Worth – (Spoiler Alert: Buffalo Springfield, c. 1967)! ;-)

          • shoelessinbearvalley says:

            I just reviewed the link. There was plenty of text (hence, time) before scrolling down to either agree or not to agree to watching the video. Not sure how you let temptation over ride your desire to see Bill’s “New Rules” on one’s own terms … and time. But, in any case, I suppose it would have made all the difference if I had posted Spoiler Alert to what the Daily Kos, too, likely took for granted from its readers. (We seem to be slightly out of sync these days, sfdf. Best way to fix this is for me to stay away for longer spells, I suppose. se la vie.)

            • sandy32koufax says:

              I scrolled to see the vid before reading anything, it’s on me. Dude, every since my birthday I seem to be out of sync with the world-again, that’s on me. Don’t stay away. I will.

  22. mailorderwife says:

    ‘Judgment day’ as Ukraine teeters on brink of chaos

    Ben Hoyle Kiev

    The jailed heroine of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution last night urged anti-government protesters to reject the President’s “humiliating” peace offer before what her party’s acting head has called “judgment day” for the country today.

    Soon after Yulia Tymoshenko’s battle cry from captivity was posted on her website, it emerged that President Yanukovych was again locked in talks with the three main opposition political leaders as all sides prepared for an extraordinary session of parliament that could determine whether the anti-government protests now raging across the country end peacefully or in civil war.

    President Yanukovych spoke by telephone to Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, who stressed the importance of finding a peaceful solution.

    No agenda has been published for the parliamentary meeting this morning and speculation about what will be debated ranges from the Government driving through martial law to, at the other end of the spectrum, the opposition securing constitutional changes that significantly weaken the President, or even an agreement to early elections.

    The key to the voting may lie in a secret meeting of Ukraine’s powerful oligarchs, said to have taken place on Saturday, to which the President was not invited.

    Those present included Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, Dmitry Firtash, Vadim Novinsky and representatives of Ihor Kolomoisky and Henadiy Boholyubov, five billionaires with interests in steel, gas, banking, coal and the media who between them are believed to control more than 100 of the 447 MPs in the Verkhovna Rada, said Serhii Shcherbyna, editor in chief of The Insider news site.

    Most but not all of those MPs are at present aligned behind the governing Party of Regions, who defeated an attempted confidence vote in December by a margin of 40 votes in the previous parliamentary test of strength.

    It is not known what the men discussed, Mr Shcherbyna said, but they met soon after Mr Akhmetov’s company, System Capital Management, put out a statement condemning the use of force by those involved in both “street riots and attempts to curb them”. That evening Mr Yanukovych made his first concessions since the crisis began in November, when he pulled out of an economic deal with Europe in favour of building closer ties with Russia.

    The split in the country between pro-Moscow and pro-Western factions has escalated rapidly since violent clashes began in Kiev last week, leaving at least three people dead.

    Mr Yanukovych offered to make Arseniy Yatsenyuk — the acting leader of Ms Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party — Prime Minister and proposed that Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight boxing champion who is seen as the President’s strongest likely challenger in next year’s elections, Deputy Prime Minister. Many protesters saw the offer as a trap to divide them. The Opposition rejected the offer but agreed to keep negotiating, to the disapproval of many radicals on the protest front line who will accept only the President’s resignation.

    Ms Tymoshenko’s intervention is unlikely to help build the case for continued dialogue. The former Prime Minister, who the EU considers a political prisoner, was widely seen as a faded force three months ago by Ukrainians who blame her for the disillusionment that set in after the optimism of the peaceful 2004 Orange Revolution.

    Now a giant portrait of her overlooks Independence Square at the heart of the protests in Kiev and misty-eyed activists at the barricades trumpet her charisma and clarity as a revolutionary commander. “If Yulia was here, this would all be over already,” one said.

    Mr Yatsenyuk, Mr Klitschko and the third member of the leadership triumvirate, the far-right politician Oleh Tyahnybok, are struggling to maintain a semblance of control over the protests. Meanwhile, the limits of the protest leaders’ authority were exposed on Sunday when activists from one civic group stormed a building of the Justice Ministry in Kiev despite entreaties by Mr Klitschko, who rushed to the scene. They eventually left yesterday.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      Since the richest people in Ukraine are involved I could see this ending with Yanukovych resigning. Then I think about Vlad the Poet and that will never happen. Someone may kill their president, though. I just don’t see another peaceful resolution coming…

      • sandy32koufax says:

        Interesting turn of events in Ukraine. Since the deal with Ruskia is still in place one wonders what concessions are being made to maintain veering from the EU towards Ruskia for the money/gas/influence…

  23. shoelessinbearvalley says:

    Off topic, but it’s getting more and more like “Minority Report” ala the Web these days. As you browse on the net, isn’t it just a wee bit creepy to see “Levi” or “Land’s Ends” ads – advertising precisely the same items you just finished reviewing an hour / day ago? It doesn’t seem to matter that, as habit, I block every cookie coming my way – prepared to manually unblock a cookie only as needed later – or which browser you use. Not only the NSA, but retailers everywhere are keeping a very close eye on everything / everywhere we go. Kinda creepy.

    • sandy32koufax says:

      They’re really in all of our machines, not just computers or phones. Anything with a semi-advanced chip and communication device (smart meters?) can be used to e-eavesdrop on us. IDRemember what show I saw that on but it presented as fact about many devices, even new refrigerators. UBER creepy

    • mailorderwife says:

      Yeah…that bugs. However, I also get a crap ton of ads on sites for Thai brides. I wonder if my shopping for Flatout Bread products inspired that?

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        Flatout Bread and Thai Brides … yes … perhaps, there is a connection between a female Thai’s upbringing to ‘love’ to cook, and the latest Euro-American fad / craze, demanding flatter, healthier, thinner pizza crusts. I guess it could be worse (except for trying – often unsuccessfully – to ignore the constant flickering, sliding, zooming of the latest version of Adobe Flash). I wonder if it’s actually possible to effectively use the web without our Adobe Flash Player 11 Active X and it’s equally ‘innocuous’ ally, Adobe Flash Player 12 Plugin??

        • sandy32koufax says:

          I did a search for classic auto parts last night and all of the ads that were on sfgate were somehow related-even clearjng cookies didn’t end the intrusion. I guess it’s time for a software purchase to delete or disallow supercookies…

    • xoot says:

      I remember watching the famous show when it aired–16 year old, draft registration coming at me like a rising tide. I’d say Pete’s performance had an impact on my politics. I also used to watch his weekly show on PBS. And I met a couple of guys who worked and sailed with him on the Clearwater for a while. He’d build a crew full of people interested in learning and playing music and absorbing left-wing politics. Then he’d send them out into the world to be activists.

      Anyway, on the famous tv show: http://www.peteseeger.net/givepeacechance.htm

      • sandy32koufax says:

        We had some neighbors down the street that had three sons that were all drafted for ‘Nam. They were Hippies that didn’t want to go but couldn’t get deferred for various reasons. Two died in Khe Sanh and the third was an emotional wreck for years after returning. Ya, Seeger was many things at different points in American history…where is the new Pete Seeger? Cool link, btw. I didn’t know he had a show cuz my USAF dad wouldn’t allow shows like that and was slow to change his politics until RFK at the Biltmore.

  24. sandy32koufax says:

    It’s Super Friday! The Northwestern football team has unionized and, despite my “purity of sport” outlook on paid college jocks, I agree it’s about time to be up front and honest about college athletes and their worth to their respective schools revenues. IDK that making a quarterback from the university of nowhere a paid player is going to create a more level playing fieeld per recruiting or competition but it should end the hypocrisy of most athletic depts. There has to be a cap on pay though and what is that cap tied to, school enrollment? $$$ a school generates annually? By position?

  25. xoot says:

    Great fall away final shot from Cobbs tonight. Great win. We do have some Cal fans here, don’t we? ;)

  26. shoelessinbearvalley says:

    A First Half Nachtmare for Payton and the Broncos. Seahawks are playing like a team possessed – especially the D.

    • xoot says:

      Broncos are playing like a team dispossessed. When the first play of the game is a snap soaring back into the EZ, who scores? The center?

      • shoelessinbearvalley says:

        Too bad The REAL Super Bowl was played two weeks back with the 49er’s clearly putting up the best post season contest – and in the Seahawk’s backyard. The Broncos are proving to be a happy embarrassment to Oakland Raider fans who never could stand Elway. :)

  27. mailorderwife says:

    IS IT BASEBALL SEASON YET?

    • shoelessinbearvalley says:

      Gawd, for Rocky fans it likely can’t come soon enough … hopefully, by the time Seattle is on the way back home to the spaced needle.

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