Caps Fans Can be a Sensitive Lot, Time to Think Brave Thoughts

The Capitals have a chance to do something special today, they have a chance to take this series by the throat, with their screaming faithful there to root them on.

They will be back in the friendly confines of the Verizon Center, in an even series, holding home ice advantage. They are yet to play a complete game and have not gotten their offense or their power play going. And here they are, tied and ready to drop the puck in front of their own fans. If they can finally come out with urgency, and put a few goals on the board, they have a chance to push the New York Islanders to the brink.

I have rarely written about the Boys in Red because I am weary of writing like a homer and to be certain, there have been glaring weaknesses and there are obvious possibilities for things to go wrong.

The Islanders have come out stronger every game so far, attacking with energy and speed that Washington has not yet been able to match early. In the last game, one in which we scored first and won, Holtby still had to stop five shots in the first five minutes, and watching it felt worse than that.

They race to kill icing calls when we should have the angle, they fight harder for 50/50 pucks with a desperation we have not seemed to possess, they have made clearing the defensive zone a helacious endeavor and they have applied more pressure more often to start each contest.

Can we match that speed and intensity? Can we bring the desperation to match their hustle without giving up risky chances the other way, it’s not like we’ve done a stellar job of preventing their opportunities off the rush as is.

But Capitals fans know all that. I know that I can envision things going to crap as they have in the past, I think most Caps fans have every bit the cynicism and fear of a terrible reality to balance any optimistic hopes. Capital’s fans are well aware of the ways this could all end poorly, but this could be different and yesterday’s defeats do not dictate today’s outcome any more than hopeful star gazing. Some of us need to remember that one day things can end differently, as they do for only 1 of 30 NHL teams every year.

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Washington Capitals Need to Clean Up Their Play or it’s Game Over For D.C.

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The Boys from Chinatown have played a lot of poor hockey so far this postseason, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
The New York Islanders came out Sunday morning with the same kind of fire the Capitals used to even the series on Friday, and they left the ice with similar results.
This is not unusual in strong playoff match ups, and fans rocking the red will be well accustomed to these nauseating roller coasters after no less than three straight seven game entanglements as their immediate playoff history. Game after game sees the previous tilt’s loser hit the ice with focus and desperation their opponent just cannot match.
The Caps certainly could not meet the intensity of the rebounding Islanders Sunday morning, instead they were complacent, as if waiting for the match to slow down and become manageable.
But manage it they did, finishing the second period down only a goal, no larger a deficit than that which stood before them with 20 minutes remaining in Game 2.

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The Greatest STAR TREK Film of All Time

The greatest Star Trek movie of all time has got to be “The Wrath of Khan,” it is not only the most famous Star Trek film, it is one of the definitive films of the genre, with one of the most singular villains in all of film.Star Trek expendability

Khan is a bad dude who, on his own, brings the brass of the Enterprise to their knees.It is not a coincidence that the most recent installment, “Into Darkness,” reached to Ricardo Montalban for inspiration, they know that to raise the stakes, they needed a villain who could threaten Kirk and Spock with something more interesting than an armada, something more Machiavellian than mere mass murder.

That being said, maybe the 2009 reboot is actually the best Star Trek we’ve yet seen. Star Trek has seen film after film, and series after series, grab the hearts of sci-fi fans, but never has the Enterprise grabbed the public zeitgeist by the groin the way the Millennium Falcon and lightsabers have for almost forty straight years. The original series only lasted three seasons and, though later itinerations and the films have been ever present, it has never been on the same blockbuster level. It’s possible that the focus on statesmanship and intergalactic politics, while casting aside the high adrenaline dog fights and duels, was not only Star Trek’s most unique characteristic, but also its greatest weakness. Continue reading

The Las Vegas Cyclery Saves Money the Old Fashioned Way: Innovation

Las Vegas has more green buildings per capita than any city in the United States, with the only close competitor being Washington, D.C., where sustainability minded laws and regulations are more prevalent than anywhere else in the country.LV Cyclery LEED 2013 2

Las Vegas has taken the lead in the realm of private innovation, with the Strip’s Casinos and the all new Downtown taking center stage. Yet, in the face of billion dollar projects and world renowned enterprises, according to LVC tour guide Aaron Barborka, the first net-zero-energy and LEED Platinum Certified building in the country, is the Las Vegas Cyclery (LVC).

No other property in the city, and apparently in the country, has so adhered to the “Triple Bottom Line” philosophy of “People, Planet, Profits,” perhaps even prioritizing profits below the “people and places” aspects.

The Las Vegas Cyclery has tied their success tighter with the environmental mindset than most could imagine. The designers covered their alternative transportation concerns by selecting a location adjacent to a bus stop, prioritizing parking for carpoolers, and sustainable vehicles, even installing an electric-car charging station.

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The U.S. and China, Saving the World with Super Powers

Obama1Washington, D.C. – President Barack Obama and Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping announced, on Wednesday, an unprecedented agreement between the world’s leading carbon emitters, promising tighter regulations on waste and emissions, as well as investments in renewable energy.

According to the White House, Mr. Obama promised that the United States will cut carbon emissions down to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, twice the pace of current plans aimed through 2020. The new goals fall in line with the long term plans to reduce carbon deduction by 80% for the year 2050.

Mr. Jinping pledged that China would reach its peak carbon emissions in the year 2030, with the intention of peaking early, and thereafter keeping its levels at or below that ceiling. The Chinese also agreed to increase the country’s capacity of renewable energy by 800 to 1,000 gigawatts, more than double current levels and increasing non-fossil fuel share of energy production up to 20% of the total.

The White House has stated that the agreement between the world foremost two polluters lays the groundwork for real progress to be made next year at the 2015 Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, the 21st such conference revisiting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (U.N. FCCC) Change, which was adopted in 1992.

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The EPA and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Finally in the Game

In the United States’ recent history, republican administrations have not been the best friends of the environment, but that was not always the case. Decades ago the quality of the ecosystem was much less of a partisan issue, recognized as a necessity for all citizens, and it was actually President Richard Nixon that proposed the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was established shortly thereafter on December 2, 1970, yet. Since its inception the agency has done a lot to protect many aspects of our environment from waste and pollution, including the air we breathe, under the Clean Air Act, signed into law the same year. But it wasn’t until January 2, 2011, that the EPA first began regulating Greenhouse Gasses (GHG).

The road to our new protections was a long and hard fought one, at first fought against the EPA itself. On October 20, 1999 the International Center for Technology Assessment petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by new motor vehicles in order to reduce the effects of global warming. The agency, however initially declined to take action on the petition, claiming not to have the authority to act on climate change, as the issue did not fall under its traditional powers to regulate emissions directly harmful to humans.

Furthermore the agency went on to explain that even if it were within their power to act on the petition they would not do so, for two reasons: the first being that to do so would not be effective in combatting global warming. The second, and more troubling reason, was that such action would go against the Bush administration’s policies, which aimed at further investigation into the legitimacy of the climate change issue and its causes, as well as encouraging efforts by private parties such as voluntary reductions and technological advances. EPA Logo

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court found, in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), that GHGs, are air pollutants covered by the CAA. The Court found that the “EPA was required to determine whether or not emissions of GHGs from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” So under pressure from the courts the agency began the investigative process they had been putting off for nearly a decade.

Almost exactly two years later, in April 2009 under the new democratic presidential administration, the EPA proposed a finding that greenhouse gasses do in fact contribute to air pollution that may threaten public health. In early December of that year the Administrator signed two findings on GHG, under section 202 of the CAA: Continue reading

If You Can’t Turn a Profit, You Must be in Div. I College Sports

CollegeSportsIn December of 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education produced a series of articles entitled “What the Hell Has Happened to College Sports?” The publication gathered eight experts, a collection of former athletes, educators and sports writers, and asked them the title question about the state of major athletics in higher education and what they would suggest to fix the problems that currently stain the reputation of the NCAA and its members.

In his contribution “Bust the Amateur Myth,” Frank Deford, a sports journalist who has written for Sports Illustrated and other notable sports news outlets, contends that the amateur model is an “indefensible, antiquated system,” that cannot succeed. His solution is to end it and move towards a professional way of doing things that sees the players paid for their efforts.  C Thomas McMillen, a former college and professional basketball player who has also served in Congress and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, does not feel the ideals of the amateur system need to be abandoned so recklessly. In his piece, “Eliminate the Profit Motive,” McMillen admits the NCAA is facing a tough road, but sees the possibility of saving college athletics not by giving more money to the students, but by seeing less of it in the hands of a few powerful schools and individuals.

Deford states that college football and basketball players are the only premier athletes in the world “denied payment for their services in sports where significant sums of money are involved.” He points out that the inevitable corruption of a system wherein large sums of “money is mixed with forced pro-bono performing,” has been recognized by organizations across the world, from tennis to rugby to the Olympics. Nowhere else has it been condoned and allowed to survive. He points out that while the student athletes work for free, coaches are paid multi-million dollar contracts and scores of others, from journalists to apparel companies, make plenty of money off the work of these young adults.

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