Mar 15

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2018: Day 1, Round of 64, Evening

The winners of the 2 Play In games that took place Tuesday are appearing tonight. It’s hard to call any of the Play In games upsets because they’re between 2 identical seeds but normally teams that win in an upset are marked with an Asterisk (*). Teams are presented higher seed to the left, the winning score is Bold Faced or you could just read the numbers and figure it out.

Tuesday’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
16 LIU Brooklyn 18 – 17 61 16 Radford 23 – 12 71 East
11 St. Bonaventure 26 – 7 65 11 UCLA 21 – 12 58 East

Do we have favorites tonight? Sure. The Villanova Ballhogs because they appeared in Bored of the Rings, also Big East. Davidson because not Kentucky. San Diego State because not Texas. Texas v. Texas? Pick ’em.

Virginia Tech because not Alabama. Buffalo because New York. Michigan because… well, Michigan and Larry Kasdan. Bonnies because not ‘Gators.

You can certainly call my picks shallow, prejudiced, and ill-informed which is all true but it’s 100% as valid as basing it on uniform color, one of them is usually White and that’s boring.

Tonight’s Games

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:45 pm TNT 1 Villanova 30 – 4 16 Radford 23 – 12 East
7:10 pm CBS 5 Kentucky 14 – 3 12 Davidson 21 – 11 South
7:20 pm TBS 6 Houston 26 – 7 11 San Diego State 22 – 10 West
7:27 pm True 3 Texas Tech 24 – 9 14 SFA 28 – 6 East
9:20 pm TNT 8 Virginia Tech 21 – 11 9 Alabama 19 – 15 East
9:40 pm CBS 4 Arizona 27 – 7 13 Buffalo 26 – 8 South
9:50 pm TBS 3 Michigan 28 – 7 14 Montana 26 – 7 West
9:55 pm True 6 Florida 20 – 12 11 St. Bonaventure 26 – 7 East

Mar 15

CIA Torture Rears Its Ugly Head Again

Torture is back in the news with the nomination of the Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Gina Haspel, who ran the black site at which Abu Zubaydah was detained and interrogated, to head the agency. She personally supervised the torture of Zubaydah who was waterboarded 183 times over the course of one month and lost the sight in one eye.

At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. In a scene described in a book written by one of the interrogators, the chief of base came to his cell and “congratulated him on the fine quality of his acting.” According to the book, the chief of base, who was identified only by title, said: “Good job! I like the way you’re drooling; it adds realism. I’m almost buying it. You wouldn’t think a grown man would do that.”

Haspel was sent by the chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism section, Jose Rodriquez, the “handpicked warden of the first secret prison the CIA created to handle al-Qaida detainees,” according to a little-noticed recent article in Reader Supported News by John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer. In his memoir, “Hard Measures,” Rodriquez refers to a “female chief of base” in Thailand but does not name her.

Kirakou provided more details about her central role. “It was Haspel who oversaw the staff,” at the Thai prison, including James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists who “designed the torture techniques and who actually carried out torture on the prisoners,” he wrote.

Kiriakou pleaded guilty in 2012 to releasing classified information about waterboarding and the torture of detainees, and served 23 months in prison.

Zubaydah is currently incarcerated at Guantanamo. His lawyers filed a court action in 2008 seeking his release, but the federal judges overseeing the case have failed to issue any substantive rulings.

Haspel later participated in the destruction of the CIA’s videotapes of some of its torture sessions. The Trump administration is defending her saying she bears no responsibility for her actions during the Bush administration, she was just following orders. Former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, defended Haspel in an op-ed stating, “Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well.”

That sounds familiar because it is.

After World War II during the Nuremberg trials several Nazis claimed were not guilty of the charges because they had been acting at the directive of their superiors. This became known as the “Nuremberg defense” in which the defendant claims they were “only following orders.” The judges rejected this defense and a number of Nazi officers were hanged.

The United Nations International Law Commission later codified the underlying principle from Nuremberg as “the fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

This is likely the most famous declaration in the history of international law and is as settled as anything possibly can be. The US is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions.

German Federal Public Prosecutor, the foremost law enforcement authority in the Federal Republic of Germany, are now reviewing a request from June, 2017 by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (“ECCHR”) to initiate legal action against Haspel.

ECCHR’s legal intervention was made by way of a 6-page document titled, “CIA Torture: Submission on Gina Haspel to German Federal Prosecutor.” Immediately after ECCHR submitted their request, Frank’s office confirmed that this request was received and was being formally reviewed.

According to Deutsche Welle, the German equivalent of PBS, the investigation into Haspel is presently ongoing and Frank’s office has yet to rule on ECCHR’s request. ECCHR previewed their formal request in April 2017–after Haspel was named deputy director of the CIA. ECCHR’s request was reiterated on Tuesday–after news broke regarding Haspel’s potential promotion.

ECCHR’s request is based on an alleged violation of the European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 3. This article prohibits torture and “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” There are no recognized exceptions or limitations on the right not to be subject to torture under this section.

Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, spoke with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou personally knew CIA director nominee Gina Haspel when he worked at the CIA. But their careers have taken very different paths over the past decade. Haspel, who was directly involved in torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, has been promoted to head the agency. Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the torture program, ended up being jailed for 23 months. He said that Haspel “tortured just for the sake of torture.”

Investigative journalist and co-founder of The Intercept,, Jeremy Scahill also told said that “Haspel should be answering for her torture crimes not heading the CIA.”


Torture is illegal under various international pacts and treaties to which the U.S. is bound as a state party. Torture is also illegal under U.S. domestic law. On April 16, 2009, then-president Barack Obama announced blanket immunity for any and all U.S. officials engaged in the Bush administration’s torture program.

Once again the war crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration rears its ugly head. We would not be having this discussion if Barack Obama had not turned his back on the law and the crimes committed by his predecessor and his minions.

Mar 15

2018 Elections: PA – 18 Goes Blue

In Pennsylvania congressional district that was so strongly Republicans in 2016, Democrats didn’t even bother to field a candidate. PA-18 went for Donald Trump 20 points over Hillary Clinton and incumbent Representative Tim Murphy (R) ran unopposed. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rated the district R+11 due to partisan gerrymandering. Then Murphy had to resign last year, when it was revealed that the eight term pro-life Republican had an extramarital affair and asked his pregnant girl friend to have an abortion.

In a special election to fill the vacancy, the Republican hold on the district ended last night when the Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine and former federal prosecutor, won a razor thin victory of the Trump backed Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone. That was a 21 point shift from November 2016. Mind you, this district will not exist in the November 2018 election under the new redistricting map drawn up by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court so Rep.-elect Lamb will only serve until December 31 but his win has made the GOP very nervous.

The Democrats only now need to take 23 seats in order to end Republican control of the House. In a post a week before the PA-18 election, Democratic strategist Larry Sabato, at his blog Sabato’s Crystal Ball, had moved the district from Leans Republican to Toss-up. That wasn’t all, according to Sabato:

In addition to that (PA-18) ratings change, we are making 25 other changes in the House, all in favor of Democrats.

No Democratic incumbent is now rated worse than Likely Democratic, a nod to the reality that in a Democratic-leaning environment it will be difficult for Republicans to dislodge many or perhaps even any Democratic incumbents, though there are a handful of Democratic open seats that are more viable Republican targets.

— After these ratings changes, for the first time this cycle we have fewer than 218 seats (the number needed for a majority) at least leaning to the Republicans.

— Making his debut in our competitive House ratings is the chamber’s most powerful member, Speaker Paul Ryan (R, WI-1). While his district is competitive but clearly Republican-leaning on paper, this shift mostly reflects uncertainty surrounding his future.

While Sabato conservatively thinks that there is 50-50 chance of the Democrats taking the House (he said he was being kind to Republicans), he doesn’t think they will win much more that the 23 they need. There are others who are more optimistic, like, amazingly, CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza, who looked at the Cook’s Political Report’s partisan voting index (PVI) and surmised this:

So, in the case of PA-18, it has a PVI of R+11, meaning that in the last two presidential elections it has performed 11 points more Republican than the nation as a whole.


That PVI score makes Pennsylvania’s 18th district the 124th-most Republican district in the country. (The most Republican district in the country is Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry’s 13th, with a PVI rating of R+33.)
Here’s where things get very, very scary for Republicans: According to the latest edition of the Cook PVI ratings, which are based on the 115th Congress, there are 119 seats currently held by Republicans that have PVI scores of R+11 or lower.
One hundred nineteen! That’s exactly half of the 238 seats Republicans currently hold — HALF. It’s far beyond the 23 seats that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that are currently represented by a Republican. It’s roughly five times as many seats as Democrats would need to pick up — 23 assuming Lamb wins — to retake the House majority come November. And it’s well more than the 74 seats that the Cook Report ranks as marginally competitive as of today.

Currently the Democrats hold 193 seat. There are 119 vulnerable Republicans seats. Winning even half of that would give Democrats an overwhelming 251 seats. No wonder they are nervous. This of course is speculative depending on a number of factors

– an enthusiastic Democratic turnout

– a depressed Republican turnout

– Trump’s continuing antics, which is pretty much a given.

As Charlie Pierce said, Conor Lamb’s victory does matter and Speaker Paul Ryan should be scared

Republicans had the money. They had the gerrymandering. They still couldn’t do it.

This was the last gasp of 10 years of successful electoral chicanery in Pennsylvania, and the Republicans couldn’t boot their candidate home even with $10 million pumped into the district from the national party and from its vast reservoir of PACs and dark money. They couldn’t organize it. They couldn’t buy it. And they couldn’t steal it. That pretty much eliminates all possible ways Republicans generally win elections these days, and bringing in the president* for a last-ditch manic episode didn’t work, either. Not even the crazy was enough.



Mar 15

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2018: Day 1, Round of 64, Afternoon


Ok, this installment is complete. It takes you through 6:45 pm. None of the winning teams that played Tuesday night are appearing until the evening so the results are not relevant.

Do I have some favorites? Sure. Rhode Island because they’re Rhode Island and I live in Connecticut, plus Oklahoma. Wright State because they’re not Tennessee. Gonzaga because TMC thinks they have a cool name (ok, it is a cool name). Penn because Kansas (they actually match up well, this could be an upset).

Iona because they’re not Duke. Loyola because they’re not the ‘Canes. South Dakota State because everyone from Michigan hates the Buckeyes with the deep burning passion of 1,000 Suns. Seaton Hall- Go Big East.

With any luck at all when you read this I will be unconscious, but I’ll be up soon enough because it’s March Madness and getting it right the first pass is key to maintaining it which will just get easier.

Two Hundred Fifty Eight games in about 3 weeks! One Hundred Thirty Two teams!

Call me Crazy Eddie because I am insaaaaaane!

Today’s Games

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
12:15 pm CBS 7 Rhode Island 27 – 5 10 Oklahoma 18 – 13 Mid West
12:40 pm True 3 Tennessee 25 – 5 14 Wright State 25 – 9 South
1:30 pm TNT 4 Gonzaga 30 – 4 13 UNCG 27 – 7 West
2:00 pm TBS 1 Kansas 27 – 7 16 Penn 24 – 8 Mid West
2:45 pm CBS 2 Duke 26 – 7 15 Iona 20 – 13 Mid West
3:10 pm True 6 Miami (Fla.) 22 – 9 11 Loyola Chicago 28 – 5 South
4:00 pm TNT 5 Ohio St. 24 – 8 12 South Dakota St. 28 – 6 West
4:30 pm TBS 8 Seton Hall 21 – 11 9 NC State 21 – 11 Mid West

Mar 15


Alas it is time for what is probably our final installment of Zack Morris Is Trash unless I can find another cache on YouTube.

You know, the 90’s was not such a bad time for TV. You could have been watching Babylon 5 or Buffy or Golden Girls or Wings or The Simpsons instead.

Ok, so Babylon 5 gets kind of murky after season 3, but before that it’s great. Season 7 of Buffy wasn’t all that either.

The Time Zack Morris Lost His Teacher’s Car Investing In Potatoes

The Time Zack Morris Disgraced His Native American Ancestors

The Time Zack Morris Got Jessie Hooked On Caffeine Pills

The Time Zack Morris Gave Himself A Homeless Girl For Christmas

Mar 15

The Breakfast Club (Adapt)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Julias Caesar assassinated; President Johnson urges passage of Voting Rights Bill; Former WorldCom Chief Bernard Ebbers is convicted in corporate fraud case; Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton; “My Fair Lady” opens.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018)

Continue reading

Mar 14

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2018: Day 2 Play Ins

As it turns out I have a rooting interest today, though I don’t expect much will come of it. I’m a pretty fair fan of Syracuse because I spent several years working there as a Life Guard and Water Safety Instructor. Never went to see a game live either at Manley or the Dome (or Archibold Gymnasium for that matter) but I listened to the Radio call and watched on TV with some enthusiasm.

They have a tendency to be contenders, not Champions and part of that is they can always be counted on to blow the big Free Throw. They practically invented the 3 – 2 Zone and use it on Defense and Offense almost to the complete exclusion of any other scheme. This can make them seem dull if you like a high scoring run and gun Transition game, but it’s actually served them quite well for the most part.

The Sun Devils will probably thump them like a drum, they usually do.

Tonight’s Games

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:40 pm True 16 N.C. Central 19 – 15 16 Texas Southern 15 – 19 West
9:10 pm True 11 Arizona St. 20 – 11 11 Syracuse 20 – 13 Mid West

Mar 14

Happy π Day

Pi mathematical constant photo 200px-Pi-unrolled-720_zpsc86fcb4a.gif π (Pi), how could we live without it. So let’s celebrate π on it’s day 3.14.

As you remember from grammar school math, π is the mathematical constant consisting of the main numbers 3, 1 and 4. According to the Wikipedia of π, “it is the the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159.”

It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes written as pi. π is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of two integers (such as 22/7 or other fractions that are commonly used to approximate π); consequently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern. The digits appear to be randomly distributed, although no proof of this has yet been discovered. π is a transcendental number – a number that is not the root of any nonzero polynomial having rational coefficients. The transcendence of π implies that it is impossible to solve the ancient challenge of squaring the circle with a compass and straight-edge.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab only uses 15 digits to calculate interplanetary travel, while mathematician James Grime argues that just 39 digits of pi is enough to calculate the circumference of the known universe.

OK, enough of that. Let’s get on to the fun stuff.

 photo Pi_Pie_zpse0c8fb1d.jpg It’s earliest known celebration was in California where in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium physicist Larry Shaw along with the staff and the public marched around one of its circular spaces eating fruit pies. In 2009. The US House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution declaring 3.14 π (Pi) Day. And in 2010, a French computer scientist claimed to have calculated pi to almost 2.7 trillion digits. This year is no different. The party starts at 10 AM PT and all are invited and it’s FREE!!

Coincidentally, it is also the birthday of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. So at Princeton University in New Jersey there are numerous celebrations around both events that also include an Albert Einstein look alike contest.

Besides the partying at Princeton, here’s what is going on elsewhere to celebrate this mathematical necessity that drives mathematicians nuts.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology releases its undergraduate admissions decisions on Pi Day, and starting in 2012, it began sending the verdicts at 6:28 pm, or “Tau time,” for the mathematical equation 2π.

Today is the 30th anniversary of Pi Day. In its honor Google has a new doodle, although not as cool as the one at the top of this post but it may taste better. The doodle is based on a pi-inspired dish, salted caramel apple pie, courtesy of Cronut creator and pastry pioneer Dominique Ansel.


NASA is inviting math whizzes to compete in its “Pi in the Sky” challenge to solve a series of interplanetary math problems.

Check your local news and on line for specials on everything from pizza to deserts to geeky tee shirts, gadgets and memorabilia.

In 2010’s “Moment of Geek”, Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” featured a math student teacher, Teresa Miller, from the University of New Mexico with a hula hoop and a Rubic’s Cube that was quite amazing.

Now for your moment of Zen.

So, whatever you do today, every time you see a circle or a pie of any kind remember π. Happy Pi Day.

Mar 14


What If Donald Trump Is Just An Elaborate Prank?

Why Trump’s Presidency Would Make A Fantastic TV Series

Recapping The Administration Like A TV Show

The One Where Michael Flynn Gets Fired

The GOP’s Town Hall Meetings are the Funniest Things on TV

Why Donald Trump Vs The Press Is Must Watch TV

Mar 14

The Breakfast Club (Wipe Out)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Albert Einstein born; Eli Whitney receives patent for cotton gin; First US Astronaut in space on Russian rocket; Michael Caine and Quincy Jones born.

Breakfast Tunes

Nokie Edwards (May 9, 1935 – March 12, 2018)

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

Albert Einstein

Continue reading

Mar 13

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2018: Day 1 Play Ins

March Madness as in I must be insane to attempt this. It’s an unbelievable amount of work.

Clicking through on the team’s name brings you to their school basketball home page. Clicking through on their record brings you to their game results in case you’re foolish enough to try and handicap and are involved in a bracket pool. Good luck if you have an alumni interest, my Men’s favorite is Michigan State and my Ladies favorite is UConn.

There are also teams I hate more than others.

I can already tell you that until the Regional Semi Finals (Round of 16) I’ll be scrambling. From March 22 until the #MarchForOurLives on the 24th I’ll be on the road and I may extend my stay in D.C. to catch the Cherry Blossoms which I have never seen. We only liveblog games of interest to us.

We cover both the Ladies and Men’s sides, in the early rounds (64 and Regional Quarterfinals) this means afternoon and evening editions. Results of the previous round are generally published before the next game, not the day after the game.

Tonight’s Games

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:40 pm True 16 LIU Brooklyn 18 – 16 16 Radford 22 – 12 East
9:10 pm True 11 St. Bonaventure 25 – 7 11 UCLA 21 – 11 East

Mar 13

What’s Cooking : Pie for Pi Day

I now know how MSNBC host Rachel Maddow feels when she has to scrap a well prepared program for the latest insanity coming from the madhouse in our nation’s capitol. However, I am determined to get to some lighter postings. Tonight starts the beginning of March Madness, also know as the NCAA College Basketball Championships, with the first two f four “wildcard” games. ek hornbeck will be doing his usual do diligence on the games.

It is also the eve of Pi Day, 3.14, the Greek symbol representing the mathematical constant used to calculate the area and circumference of circles. To celebrate the ancient symbol, let’s bake a pie.

What’s your favorite? Mine is Lemon Meringue quickly followed by pumpkin, summer berries and apple, also quiche which can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So here are my favorite recipes.

Lemon Meringue Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust

When I was a little girl, a family friend who was an executive chef, let me watch him make this pie. Every time I grate lemon peel, I’m that little girl again sitting on a stool in his kitchen.

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie

There is no better recipe for pumpkin pie than the on on the side of the Libby’s canned pumpkin. The recipe dates back to 1950. Although you can use a pastry crust, I sometimes use the graham cracker crust used in the lemon meringue pie recipe. Nummmy

Calvados Tarte Tatin

This is the French version of an apple pie. Calvados is an apple brandy from Normandy, France. The pie does use a pie plate and the circular buttery crust folds over the filling. Serve with creme fraiche or Calvados laced whipped cream, it is a treat and well worth the time to make it.

Jumbleberry Pie (Summer Berry Pie)

Even though this is a “Summer pie” with the availability of berries year round in supermarkets, it can be a treat even during the cold months of the year. I serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Classic Quiche Lorraine

An Alsatian Quiche is a rich egg pie with bacon and hails from the mountainous region of Lorraine in northern France and is better known as a Quiche Lorraine.

Quiche Lorraine has been adapted over the years from a humble custard and bacon pie to the substantial cheese, bacon, and egg creation that it is known for today.

The quiche is more than enough for a filling meal in itself especially with a side salad, and simple enough for a quick lunch, snack or even for parties and picnics.

Although this recipe calls for four eggs, I use six. Some recipes also add a dash of cayenne for an little zip.

I’ll be making a quiche for breakfast and lunch. For dinner it’s Pizza from my favorite pizzeria and for desert a lemon meringue pie.

These are just a few of my favorites, I’m sure you have yours. So bake a pie for pie day or, if you prefer, pick one up from your favorite bake shop and enjoy it on Pie Day.

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