By Travis Waldron. 12-06-13
The draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil completed this morning, and on first glance, it couldn’t have gone much worse for the United States Men’s National Team. The U.S. was drawn into Group G with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, the first of which is among the favorites to win the entire tournament and the third of which has eliminated the United States from the previous two World Cups.
With all four teams ranked, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, in the top 24 in the world (Germany is 4th, Portugal 16th, the U.S. 17th, and Ghana 24th), this isn’t quite the Group of Death, since the absurdly-drawn Group B, which features Spain (3), Chile (5), and the Netherlands (9) (along with No. 53 Australia), and Group D’s meshing of Uruguay (9), England (10), and Italy (13) are both tougher at the top. But it won’t be easy.
On top of that, because of its position in the draw, the U.S. has to travel to Manaus, a city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, for the second game of the tournament against Portugal on June 22. American coach Jurgen Klinsmann this week said that Manaus was theone place he wanted to avoid, given that it is in a separate time zone from the rest of the tournament sites, boasts a muggy, tropical climate that could wear down players, and also requires longer travel than any other site.
SAT & SUN
By Ned Resnikoff
A top House Democrat is going after one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative justices and trying to enlist the Chief Justice in her cause.
On Wednesday, New York Rep. Louise Slaughter wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts asking that heformally reprimand his colleague Justice Clarence Thomas for participating in the conservative Federalist Society’s annual fundraiser. Thomas’ appearance at the event, writes Slaughter, is a “clear violation of the ethical standards embodied in the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges.”
Her letter was co-signed by representatives from two progressive advocacy groups: Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, and Arn H. Pearson, vice president for policy and litigation for Common Cause.
Canon 4(c) of the Code of Conduct forbids judges from personally participating in fundraising events. Although it is not legally binding upon Supreme Court justices, Roberts has previously written that it provides “a current and uniform source of guidance” for the members of the Court.
“Justice Thomas is among several members of the high court who’ve made a habit of flouting judicial ethics by headlining Federalist Society fundraisers,” said Pearson in a statement. “He gets away with it because the Court has exempted itself from the Code, but that doesn’t make it right.”
THE DAILY SHOW
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“Storied franchises sporting baseball’s best records give World Series a throwback feel”
By Anthony Castrovince | Archive10/20/2013 1:51 A.M. ET
The St. Louis Cardinals won 97 games this season, surviving a division battle that included two other postseason teams. They were, according to the raw records resulting from the 162-game grind, the best team in the National League.
The Boston Red Sox won 97 games, surviving a division battle that included one other postseason team and two additional clubs with winning records. They were, according to the raw math of 162, the best team in the American League.
This sort of thing never seems to happen anymore.
In fact, in the Wild Card era, dating back to 1995, there have been only been two times in which the teams with each league’s best record met in October — 1995 (Braves and Indians) and ’99 (Yankees and Braves). In that sense, what we’re about to witness, beginning Wednesday night at Fenway Park (8:07 p.m. ET first pitch, 7:30 air time on FOX), is something of a throwback, and the fact that it involves two storied franchises with such extensive October history makes it all the better.
But because unbalanced schedules will always lend themselves to varying interpretations of “best,” perhaps we ought to just view this World Series for what it really is: a celebration of two of the most expertly operated organizations in baseball.