Posts

World Cup 2018

Who is going to win?

Show me the numbers!

The stat heads over at 538 say Brazil, Spain, and Germany are the favorites.

The FIFA world rankings have Germany, Brazil, and Belgium as the top three.

If the Bovada odd's makers know anything, they have Brazil, Germany, and Spain listed 1-2-3.

If history is any guide:
2014 winner Germany (no one has defended a title since Brazil won 1958 and 1962)
2010 winner Spain (won 1 time so far)
2006 winner Italy (they didn't qualify this year)
2002 winner Brazil (won 5 times so far)
1998 winner France (won 1 time so far)

Looking further back into history, the only other nations to ever win a World Cup:
Argentina (1986, 1978)
England (1966)
Uruguay (1950, 1930)

From listening to sports people, Brazil, Spain, and Germany are the clear favorites. But in breaking news today, the manager of Spain has just been sacked.

Getting some mention are Belgium and France for having a collection of solid top level players.

Also mentioned are Portugal and Argentin…

California June 2018 Elections, part I: State Wide Elective Offices

In the California governor's race, it is shaping up to be a North vs. South race of the Democrats.

Newson, former SF mayor holds a slim lead in the polls over Villaraigosa, former LA mayor.

Not surprisingly, the SF Chronicle has endorsed Newson while the LA Times has endorsed Villaraigosa.

The two Republicans, Cox and Allen are behind in the Top Two primary system.

UPDATE (6/5): When I posted this originally (5/22), Cox and Allen were somewhat behind but Cox has picked up some ground and Villaraigosa has lost ground while Newson seems to be holding steady. 

UPDATE (6/8): Newsom (D) 34% Cox (R) 26% Villaraigosa (D) 13%

The respective state parties did not offer any endorsements for governor.

For Lt. Governor, SF Chronicle has backed Jeff Bleich. I didn't see an endorsement in the LA Times as of yet. The California Democratic party did not endorse while the Cal GOP endorsed Cole Harris.

UPDATE (6/8): Kounalakis (D) 24% Hernandez (D) 21% Harris (R) 18%

In the Secretary of State race…

California June 2018 Elections, part II: Ballot Measures

Image
Relatively sparse on the ballot measures this election.

Here is a chart of the positions taken by the two major parties (Republican and Democratic) and two of the better known minor parties (Greens and Libertarian) and two newspapers (Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle).


For a quick summary of the propositions see this item from Southern California Public Radio.

If you are curious, the latest party registration details can be found here.

In brief:
Democrats 44.58%
Republicans 25.27%
No Party Preference 25.11%
Libertarian 0.74%
Green 0.48%

It should be noted that "independents" or "no party preference" in this survey do lean Democratic (43%) compared to Republican (29%) while 28% claim no leaning either way.

UPDATE (6/8)
Prop 68 passing with 56%
Prop 69 passing with 80%
Prop 70 trailing with 36%
Prop 71 passing with 77%
Prop 72 passing with 83%

California Elections June 2018, part III: local judges

Voting on the judges in the county is an unusual exercise in that there is relatively little advertising and news coverage compared to other positions. Unless you know people in the legal profession, it is hard to get any input on who to vote for.

One can go to the internet to find some sources and here are some I have checked: the Los Angeles Times (LAT), the LA County Bar Association (Bar), LA County Democratic Party (Dem), and Judge Voter Guide (VG). Suffice to say, each entity has its own approach so take it for whatever you will.

UPDATE (6/8): County Judge elections posted at LA County Registrar web page scroll down to find results.

Office No. 4:
Alfred A. Coletta (LAT, VG3star, Bar-Qualified) 42%
Veronica Sauceda (Dem, Bar-Well Qualified) 46%
Matthew Schondrun (Bar-Qualified) 12%

Office No. 16:
Sydne Jane Michel (LAT, VG4star, Bar-Qualified) 38%
Patricia “Patti” Hunter (Dem, Bar-Qualified) 39%
Hubert Yun (VG5star, Bar-Qualified) 23%

Office No. 20:
Wendy Segall (LAT, Dem, VG2star…

LA Galaxy: How the mighty have fallen

Call me spoiled.

Started following the LA Galaxy in earnest after the 2010 World Cup when Donovan scored that last last gasp goal for team USA to advance past the group stage. So it was easy enough to follow him and the LA Galaxy when the World Cup ended and the MLS season continued to its conclusion.

2010: Lost in Conference Finals
2011: Won MLS Cup
2012: Won MLS Cup
2013: Lost in Conference Semi-Finals
2014: Won MLS Cup

Thus, in the first 5 years of my following the team regularly, they won THREE MLS Cups!

Under GM and Coach Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy were the mighty ones astride the MLS landscape.

However, with MLS salary rules and improvements across many clubs in the league, the final two years of Bruce Arena were more modest. Nonetheless, they made the playoffs.

2015: Lost in knockout round
2016: Lost in Conference Semi-Finals

The USMNT collapsed and Klinsmann was fired and Arena was hired to rescue the World Cup qualification campaign and thus, left the LA Galaxy. Ultimately, team …

Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1

It was a good run for the Reds. My feeling was that Liverpool would only have a chance if they could smash and grab an early lead and hang on for dear life.

When Mo Salah went out in the middle of the first half, the air was out of the balloon. But the team hung tough and got to halftime 0-0. However, you just had the feeling that Real Madrid would eventually breakthrough.

Sadly, the break came off an error from Liverpool goalkeeper Karius. Yet, Liverpool had one last gasp left as they gamely got the equalizer. However, goal number two for Real Madrid was a top 10 all-time highlight goal from Bale. Goal number three was icing for Real Madrid and sadly came off another error from Karius.

As a Los Angeles Dodger fan, the 2017 World Series was lost for a variety of reasons but the most public face of the defeat was the pitching collapses of Darvish (game 3 and 7),  Kershaw (game 5), and Jansen (game 2, 5). Pitchers get the outs or give up the runs and are easily defined as heroes or scap…

Liverpool back in the Champions League

Today, Real Madrid v Liverpool, in the Champions League Final in Kiev!

Check out the wonderful promo video from Liverpool FC recapping the entire campaign through Europe.

Part of following sports is the scores and stats but its pleasure is the narrative. In this case, as a Los Angelino on the west coast of America, I'm rooting for the team from the northwest of England, a place I've never been and likely will never visit (it is a bucket list trip though!). Liverpool's story of past glories and mostly middling results in recent memory now trying to reach one of the high mountains of the soccer world is a compelling one. The team is composed of players who are almost exclusively outside the realm of the A-listers but a passionate and capable coach has helped them play as a team. Combined with the on field work with a fanatical home fan base and international following, this is the stuff of great screenwriting and novelistic storytelling. Win or lose it has been a great ride …