Sharks center Logan Couture was not selected by fans to be among the “Last Men In” at the NHL’s All-Star Weekend from Jan. 25-26 in San Jose.Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl was voted onto the Pacific Division team, the league announced Friday, joining Sharks defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson and forward Joe Pavelski on the 11-player roster.For complete Sharks coveragefollow us on Flipboard.Other players voted in were Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner (Atlantic Division), …
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JP LandmanThe mood in the country, certainly among white people, is quite depressed. An annual opinion poll on South Africans’ optimism found that in February 2008 60% of South Africans felt positive. That was down from an average of mid-60s in previous years. The real outliers were whites; only 31% were optimistic, down from the mid-40s in previous years.The poll reveals that Cape Town has the least positive residents (49%); the Vaal triangle has the most optimistic (74%); Pretoria and Johannesburg come in at 62% and 67% (interesting if one considers the crime in Gauteng); young people are more optimistic than their elders (66% versus 51%); and the inland areas of South Africa more optimistic than the coastal areas. This is probably explained by the fact that optimism among coloureds and Indians is fairly low (40% and 44% respectively) while blacks are very optimistic.Why such a bad mood? In the previous years this poll was conducted we also had crime and malfunctioning municipalities (think the murder of David Rattray and the whole furore at the beginning of last year). So it cannot be that. In my opinion three factors have contributed: politics, economics and Eskom.Politics, particularly the post-Polokwane reaction to African National Congress (ANC) elections and decisions about the media, the Scorpions and the judiciary;Economic headwinds, particularly rising petrol and food prices which also push up inflation and interest rates and depress general activity; andLastly and the most damaging, Eskom’s inability to supply sufficient power.Eskom is the straw that broke the camel’s back. It brought up all the subliminal fears that (whites) have about (black) governance. Never mind the fact that in the mid-1970s Eskom had a similar crisis when the whole country was without power for 18 hours and power tariffs rose by 75% to fix the problem. Somehow the current Eskom crisis is seen as the beginning of the end.EskomLet’s deal with Eskom first, because that also tells us something about economics and politics. The question is simple: can South Africa rise and respond to this crisis in a way that makes the country stronger? At the heart of the Eskom problem is a lack of investment and maintenance. Is that being fixed?Last year Eskom invested R17.7-billion, 67% more than the previous year. This year it will spend R46-billion and next year R80-billion. By 2012 it would have spent R360-billion.Sure, it will take time for these investments to work through; 2012 means another four years of pain and interruptions. But distinguish that from a situation where power cuts take place and no investment is taking place to improve matters (as in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe). So Eskom will turn, even if it takes four years.InvestmentThis investment story repeats itself all over the South Africa economy. Transnet is investing R78-billion over five years; about R12-billion a year are being spent on roads, and toll roads will add to that amount; municipalities are budgeted to spend R100-billion over three years on infrastructure. Then add airports, broadband telecommunications, hospital upgrading, electrification, school building … the list carries on and on. I do not even bother to mention the World Cup stadiums. It is noticeable in the media, but not really in total investment spend.By the way, comfortably more than 90% of these budgets are actually spent. Just take last year when total capex budgets came to R128-billion of which R124-billion was actually spent (97%). All the public attention fell on the R4-billion not spent (3%), very little on the R124-billion actually spent. When last have you built a house, renovated a kitchen or added a bathroom and all those came in 100% within the time you budgeted?All over the country there is a frantic search for skilled people. Engineers who were retrenched are being called back; the collapse in Zimbabwe helps South Africa construction companies fill their complements; labour brokers are bringing people in from foreign shores to work here. The country is booming beyond its ability to supply skills.Before it depresses you, consider the following statement from the Asian Development Bank about the skills shortage in Asia: “Although this brain drain [skilled workers leaving to work in the developed world] is hardly new to the region, it has added a new, more urgent dimension … [to the skills shortage].” It goes on to call the skills shortage “a symptom” of Asia’s economic success. Lovely problem to have.One hears a lot that South Africa spends on social welfare but not on investment. This fiscal year the country will invest 7% of GDP … and spend 4.6% of GDP on social security, including the Road Accident Fund, Unemployment Insurance Fund and of course the 12.4-million social allowances paid out every 30 days. Whilst the state probably spends 80% of what is spent on social security (churches, NGOs and individual do the rest), its investment spend is only about 30% of what the country invests. The private sector does the rest.Can we now please bin this nonsense that we spend more on social welfare than investment?PoliticsSo how will politics change this investment outlook? The Polokwane decision on investment is relevant: “The ANC will also continue to roll out a massive state led infrastructure investment programme that will significantly improve the country’s logistics, energy and communications capacity. It will also promote strategic investments in productive activities, aimed at diversifying the economy and improving the ratio of investment to GDP.” (My italics.)There are some rather questionable decisions from Polokwane, notably on the media, judiciary and the Scorpions, but not on economics and welfare policies. There are budgets and business plans around capex, political decisions backing it and a rising number of people benefiting from it. I think the investment programme is sustainable.EconomicsEven if we accept lower economic growth over the next few years, say 4% rather than the 5% we enjoyed the last few years, the beauty of South Africa is that per capita incomes will still rise and at an accelerating rate. In the 14 years since democracy, per capita incomes have increased by 26%. At 4% growth for the next seven years to 2014, per capita incomes can again increase by … 26%! Consider what has happened in the last 14 years, it can happen again over the next seven.Yes, consumption expenditure will fall and all sectors exposed to that will feel the pain: retail, advertising, car sales and so on. Huge squeals to come from there. But that growth is being replaced with investment that creates jobs, which will in turn stimulate consumption spending. In a year or two interest rates will ease, there will be scope to do tax cuts and per capita incomes will continue to increase.Back to basicsThe basics have not changed. For me the most important precondition of progress is sustained rising per capita incomes. I have punted this view for years. Thus, an article in a recent Economist that we should measure per capita income growth, rather than just economic (or GDP) growth, was music to my ears.The music became more beautiful when a brilliant analysis on Ugandan population growth drew the following comparison: “… from 1993 to 2003, GDP growth rates across Asia managed to outstrip the growth in the labour force, in China comfortably so. By contrast, average GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa in the same period was 2.9%, all but cancelled out by a growth in the labour force of 2.8%.”This statement probably tells us more about the reasons for sub-Saharan Africa’s failures than any other explanation. If a country cannot grow its economy quicker than its population, it is going absolutely no where. South Africa is clearly not in that league.It is instructive to note that per capita incomes have been declining in Zimbabwe in every single year since 1999 (Hanke, 2008). Fitting then that precisely 10 years after the decline started, even Mugabe could not rig the election. Also instructive to note that per capita incomes in South Africa stared to decline in 1977. Thirteen years later FW de Klerk unbanned the ANC and released Nelson Mandela. Declining per capita incomes have political consequences.MessinessThe latest pin-up in financial writing (justifiably so in my view) is Nassim Taleb (The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness). He offers this simple but highly relevant insight: “That things in the real world are far messier than in recorded history or in memory.” Things were not as clean as some whites’ memories tell them. I have a dear friend who knows and experienced Afrikaner politics quite intimately. In the 1990s he always said that we must go back to 1948 before we can get to 2000. The liberals freak out when they hear this. Those who understand tradition recognise that messiness is part of progress. Gosh, look at China today and the UK in the 1800s – hardly examples of messy free progress.For a long time there was nothing messy in Zimbabwe – good education and health that they could not afford but never debated, little crime, a clean country and little civil society and debate. Not messy at all. Did they progress?Challenge and responseArnold Toynbee taught us that the ability to respond to crises is the critical difference between societies that succeed and those that fail. Progress does not come from having no challenges; rather it comes from responding successfully to challenges.In the 1980s and 1990s South Africa responded most successfully to its political and constitutional crises. Remember when whites were to be killed, black ethnic violence to erupt, the rightwing to lead an armed resistance and so on and so on? Nothing of the sort happened – the country responded successfully to its constitutional crises.In the late 1990s South Africa had a low growth crisis; a 1% economy that looked as if it could not break through a 3% growth ceiling. And now growth is sufficient to lift per capita incomes quicker than Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, the UK and US. The country responded successfully to the challenge of low growth.So what?Rising incomes mean resources to tackle problems, create jobs, fight poverty and build infrastructure. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it is about per capita incomes, stupid.Over the next seven years per capita incomes can rise as much as during the last 14 years. This will trump the negative fallout from politics. The economist Prof De Kiewiet wrote several decades ago that South Africa progresses through “political disasters and economic windfalls.” Between rising incomes and post-Polokwane political uncertainty, it will happen again.South Africa is responding to its infrastructure crisis (which will be around for a while, make no mistake) with a massive investment programme.All that remains now is to put one foot in front of the other, carry on and expect a lot of messiness. Sometimes I think it is our inability to live with messiness that paralyses us. If whites can make this paradigm shift their mood might not be so bleak. More importantly, they can capitalise on the opportunities.JP Landman is a self-employed political and trend analyst. He consults to SA largest private wealth business, BoE Private Clients, and works with several SA corporates on future scenario trends. His focus areas are trends in politics, economics and social capital.Among some of the unique research projects his consultancy has undertaken was the role of public institutions in battling corruption (quoted by the UN in a report on corruption), the interplay of demographics and economic growth, and an overview of trends around poverty alleviation in SA. Whilst working as an analyst on the JSE in the 1990s he was voted the top analyst in political trends.He is also a popular speaker who has addressed diverse audiences locally and internationally and enjoys consistently good ratings.He has a BA and LLB degrees from Stellenbosch (1978), studied Economics and Development Economics at Unisa (1979 and 1980) and later at Harvard (1998 and 2005), and obtained an MPhil in Future Studies (cum laude) from Stellenbosch (2003).
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dr. Charles Hatcher, the Tennessee State Veterinarian, was at the center of the recent flurry of activity with avian influenza when the H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was discovered in a commercial facility in the state.“The state of Tennessee benefitted from the previous states going through the outbreak in 2015. The lessons learned there were critical for what we did,” Hatcher said at yesterday’s National Institute for Animal Agriculture meeting in Columbus. “We knew there was a possibility of this happening because the Mississippi Flyway and the Atlantic Coastal Flyway touch Tennessee. Since 2015 we have been planning. The bombshell hit us and once we determined it was HPAI, our pre-determined plans went into place. We had the incident command structure just like you would have going into war. It is like fighting a war because you have all of these battles.”The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced the discovery of HPAI in early March. A few days later, another Tennessee poultry farm tested positive for a different low pathogenic strain of avian influenza through routine testing. Soon after, Alabama and Kentucky found low path cases as well.The first key with the HPAI is to contain the area and depopulate.“We acted quickly. The key with HPAI is to depopulate the birds as quickly as you can. We had it done in less than 24 hours. We established a control zone and we only had one other commercial location that broke with it and it was relatively close,” Hatcher said. “In our situation we think it was a showering of the virus from migratory waterfowl and we had multifocal introductions. In a matter of 10 days we had two high path cases and one low path. The two high path locations were the only ones that spread laterally. All of the others locations had no connections.”Biosecurity is the best defense and is particularly important in Ohio during migratory season in the Eastern Mississippi Flyway from early March through late May or early June.“Nothing can really prepare you for this but we were reasonably ready. We are nearing the end of this, I hope. The weather is warming up and we have gone through all of our procedures. After another week or 10 days we hope to be wrapping up the hard part of it,” Hatcher said. “The No. 1 thing you need to think about is biosecurity. The months they are at risk are when migratory waterfowl are moving. You need to sit down and have a plan. You want to separate poultry from exposure to migratory waterfowl.”
WebFeed technology is growing in popularity and has the potential to dramatically change that way that users interact with their Enterprise systems.What are WebFeeds? They are (usually) XML documents that describe frequently updated data. WebFeed readers can efficiently check many WebFeed data sources and alert users when content changes and identify what content has updated. Most blogs, like this one, provide WebFeeds available via subscription. WebFeed readers scan for and quickly find which of your subscribed feeds/blogs have changed so that you don’t need to manually visit each site and check for updated entries.Webfeeds are enabled by two popular protocols: Really Simple Syndication (RSS), Atom, and sometimes even by raw XML.How can WebFeeds be useful in an enterprise environment? WebFeeds deliver content-specific streams of data directly to subscribers. Once subscribed, the user is quickly notified to updates that occur on the WebFeed. WebFeed technology is attractive because it: – is very simple to set up – provides each feed as a targeted non-polluted channel of data, and – can be set to display and update at frequent intervals.Within the enterprise, WebFeeds can be used to provide very targeted sources for publishing information. WebFeeds can act as a substitute to emails, providing a stream of topic-specific clean non-spammed discussion and information.In the world of BPM/Workflow and ECM, WebFeeds have great potential as a method to disseminate workflow notifications and task assignments to users. Some users may not spend extended periods of time within the Workflow system, and when they do need to access the system, the user usually needs to bring up the Workflow system, log into it and then locate a particular task or work item, usually after having received an email notification.Either via a standard WebFeed Reader or else a specialized web-aware widget, workflow users can get frequent updates on workflow assignments. Yahoo! widgets or Google gadgets are perfect technology tool candidates for creating small desktop widgets that can act as nonobtrusive agents that are always within view and keep users up to date on workflow activities.As an example, this CIO Insight article describes how a legal office adopted RSS feed technology with great success. Using RSS in combination with their Document Management system, attorneys at Goldman and Carr were able to create targeted document feeds for the lawyers to scan. In the past when someone had found a pertinent document, they would send an email blast to everyone — using RSS eliminated that practice and helped them clean up their email inboxes.In the Goldman and Carr study, they found that items were often missed when people had been alerted via emails or when items were simply posted somewhere on their company portal. They also found that once they started using RSS that their lawyers could tie into RSS feeds coming directly from government agencies — a information source very relevant to their business.WebFeeds have great potential for use in the Enterprise. They’re not new, but their application within the business environment has been under-utilized. As a trend, I expect to see more and more business applications picking up on their use as important components of enterprise systems.
OTTAWA – Canada is shooting back at American criticism that it is being inflexible and unconstructive at the North American Free Trade renegotiation that has resumed this week in Montreal.Canadian officials are taking direct aim at the narrative that its negotiators are being inflexible — or even obstinate — when it comes to discussing the controversial U.S. proposals to raise continental content on automobiles, scrap the dispute resolution mechanism, and institute a five-year sunset clause.They say Canada has tabled complete chapter proposals on more than half of NAFTA’s 30 sections, and has put forward substantive proposals and text on every part of the entire agreement already.Senior officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations discussed the Canadian approach with The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing negotiations.With written Canadian proposals sitting on all tables, the sixth round in Montreal is about returning in earnest to the bargaining to find a creative space that works for everyone, officials say.Canada put most of its text on the tables by the end of the second round, and all of it by the third, officials said.The so-called American poison pills on autos, dispute resolution and the sunset clause were tabled after that. That makes them counter-proposals as far as Canada is concerned, they added.Because of that, Canadian officials are perplexed by reports the Trump administration is annoyed at Canada’s unwillingness to engage, as well as its insistence on including so-called progressive trade elementsAll four tenets of Canada’s progressive agenda — gender, labour, environment and Indigenous issues — are on the agenda for talks this week, officials said.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland hosted Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo in Toronto on Monday in attempt to compare notes on the upcoming NAFTA round.“The two agreed that all parties must show goodwill and that negotiators must continue to focus on issues that will promote economic prosperity in North America. Both ministers committed to achieving real progress during this round of NAFTA negotiations in Montreal,” Freeland’s office said in a statement that appeared aimed directly at U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.Lighthizer is to be in Montreal next Monday to close the sixth round with Freeland and Guajardo. Freeland and Lighthizer are working on a meeting Thursday or Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.The Montreal talks are unfolding under the ever-present threat that President Donald Trump will trigger NAFTA’s six-month withdrawal clause. Freeland, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other cabinet ministers say they are prepared for anything but are emphasizing their hope for a deal.Mexico has been pushing a vigorous Plan B agenda, to compensate for a possible U.S. withdrawal and is communicating that to the Trump administration, according to sources familiar with that country’s negotiating position, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of sensitivity of the talks.Mexico is finishing up its free trade agreement with the European Union, which is happy to provide dairy products to replace American products. The EU “is keen to get that part of the market,” one source said.Mexico has spent 10 months talking to Argentina and Brazil to find new sources of corn and wheat. “We are already looking for places to buy — in case — and the Americans know that.”International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne rejected the U.S. administration’s grumbling about Canada’s recent sweeping complaint with the World Trade Organization about U.S. trade practices, as well as Canada’s insistence on a progressive trade.Champagne told reporters in Montreal on Monday that from Canada’s perspective, those aren’t the toughest part of the talks.Rather, it’s the same issues that “were difficult at the time of Brian Mulroney, so we’re talking about Chapter 19 (dispute mechanism). There are things about procurement, there are things about the sunset clause (which requires unanimous approval every five years for the agreement to continue).”As for the trade complaint overshadowing discussions, Champagne brushed off its impact and said Canadians expect their government to be firm in its response to U.S. trade complaints.“Canadians want us to be constructive … Canadians expect us to be creative, but at the same time, Canadians expect us to be firm when it is about key sectors like supply management,” he said.“I think it’s quite appropriate to be firm and to stand our position and to say that we can engage constructively. And between friends you can also be clear when things don’t work out.”— with files from Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal
Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (13,347.16 , up 24.30 points).Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX). Gold. Down 62 cents, or 3.36 per cent, to $17.81 on 46.9 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Up 31 cents, or 4.57 per cent, to $7.09 on 9.8 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up 10 cents, or 4.93 per cent to $2.13 on 8.9 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA). Health care. Up 30 cents, or 3.82 per cent, to $8.15 on 8.2 million shares.Prometic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX:PLI). Health care. Up 9.5 cents, or 37.25 per cent, to 35 cents on 6.8 million shares.Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up four cents, or 1.66 per cent, to $2.45 on 5.6 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Stingray Group Inc. (TSX:RAY.A). Down 21 cents, or 3.11 per cent to $6.54. Stingray Group has dropped its takeover attempt of Music Choice. The Montreal-based company, which provides music and in-store media, had made the unsolicited bid for the U.S. company in August last year. The offer was worth US$120 million. Music Choice produces music programming and music-related content for digital cable television, mobile phone and cable modem users. Stingray announced Monday a distribution agreement with Altice USA, which will bring 50 Stingray music audio channels and hundreds of music videos from its on-demand catalogue to Altice USA’s subscribers.The Canadian Press
Colombo: Over 130 suspects linked to the Islamic State (IS) terror group have been operating in Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena said Friday, days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings that claimed the lives of 253 people. The president said that several suspects have already been arrested following the Easter Sunday attacks, and the terror network will be completely eliminated from Sri Lanka. Information is that around 130-140 ISIS suspects linked to the terror network are in Sri Lanka. Around 70 are arrested, we will arrest them all very soon ending this (terror),” Sirisena said. Speaking further, the president said the Defence Secretary and Inspector General of Police had failed in their duties and that is why he called for their resignation. He said that they had failed to share prior information obtained by them over a possible terror attack in the country. The president added that he and the entire Government will also take the full responsibility for the attacks. Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara and defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando have resigned from their posts over the security establishment’s alleged failures which led to the attacks on three hotels and three churches on Sunday. “The IGP has resigned. He has sent his resignation to the acting defense secretary. I’ll nominate a new IGP soon,” the president said. The police chief’s resignation came a day after the country’s defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando handed over his resignation letter to the president. Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government has blamed a local Islamist extremist group National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) for the attacks. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan police which wrongly identified an American Muslim woman as a suspect in the deadly bombings on Easter Sunday has apologised for the goof-up, according to media reports on Friday. The police on Thursday issued a flyer with the names and photos of six persons — three men and three women — wanted in connection with the attacks that killed 253 people. On the flyer, a photograph of Amara Majeed was put wrongly by Sri Lankan authorities, identifying her as a suspect linked to the bloodshed. The name attached to the picture was Abdul Cader Fathima Khadiya — but the picture was of Baltimore-born Majeed, whose parents are from Sri Lanka. “I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the ISIS Easter attackers in Sri Lanka,” she tweeted. “What a thing to wake up to!” Around 253 people died and hundreds were injured in the Sri Lanka attacks, where suicide bombers struck three hotels and three churches. “This is obviously completely false and frankly, considering that our communities are already greatly afflicted with issues of surveillance, I don’t need more false accusations and scrutiny,” Majeed wrote on Twitter. “Please stop implicating and associating me with these horrific attacks,” Majeed urged. “And next time, be more diligent about releasing such information that has the potential to deeply violate someone’s family and community.” Sri Lankan police confirmed the error in a statement, saying “the individual pictured is not wanted for questioning”. Nine persons are suspected of carrying out the deadly attacks, and dozens have been arrested. The authorities blamed a local Islamist extremist group, National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), soon after the blasts but said the bombers must have had outside help.
In 15 tries since the NBA adopted its modern playoff structure in 1984, only one team has gotten out of an 0-2 Finals hole: the 2006 Miami Heat. That team clawed its way back when Dwyane Wade put on maybe the greatest individual performance in Finals history, the kind of thing LeBron James is also capable of doing. But those Heat hadn’t played anywhere near as poorly as the Cavs have through two Finals games.It gets worse: If we expand our view to include all best-of-seven series since 1984, we find that 6 percent of teams with an 0-2 deficit have gone on to win the series, none of which were dominated as thoroughly as the Cavs. The smart money says it probably isn’t happening. Elo gives Cleveland a mere 11 percent chance of winning now, and it doesn’t even know that Kevin Love’s Game 3 status is up in the air after suffering a concussion in Game 2. But talk of a sweep might be premature. The same historical data that underscored the grim state of Cleveland’s title chances also shows that there’s little to no relationship between an 0-2 team’s margin of defeat in games 1-2 and the eventual length of the series. First and foremost among the exceptions: the 1995 Houston Rockets. Despite being defending champs, the Rockets went into their second-round series against the Phoenix Suns as underdogs, and were beaten by 46 combined points in games 1 and 2. Back in Houston for Game 3, they rolled over the Suns by 33. But they lost Game 4 at home and had to gut out three consecutive victories, the last of which was sealed with Mario Elie’s “Kiss of Death”: Never underestimate the heart of a champion, indeed.Cleveland needn’t go back so far in the history books for the other team to bounce back from a remotely comparable hole. This year’s Portland Trail Blazers were beaten by 41 combined by the Los Angeles Clippers in games 1 and 2 of their first-round series before storming back to win four straight. But it’s worth mentioning that the Clippers lost point god Chris Paul to a season-ending injury late in Game 4, significantly lowering the difficulty of a Portland comeback. By contrast, the Cavs would have to perform a revival the hard way — unless there’s another Steph Curry injury. Listen to the latest episode of our sports podcast Hot Takedown. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code By Neil Paine Before the NBA Finals tipped off last Thursday, I and others thought the Cleveland Cavaliers might give the Golden State Warriors a better fight this year than last. Unfortunately for Cleveland — as usual — that notion is quickly vanishing. Fresh off an easy 15-point victory in Game 1, the Warriors crushed the Cavs by 33 in Game 2 on Sunday night, burying the Cavs in the most demoralizing 0-2 hole in championship history. Before this year, no team had ever beaten an opponent by 48 combined points in the first two games of the Finals.If we account for the fact that the first two Finals games this year were played on the Warriors’ home court — meaning we subtract from the home team’s margin its built-in advantage of about 3.6 points per game, in accordance with our Elo ratings — the Cavs have been running about 20 points per game behind the Warriors in the series so far. Even among teams sporting 0-2 Finals deficits, that’s just embarrassing: Although no team that was dominated as utterly as the Cavs has gone on to win a series from an 0-2 deficit, just as many forced a sixth game as were swept. In fact, of the 30 teams in our 0-2 sample to be beaten by an average location-adjusted margin of at least 15 points in games 1-2, only a third were swept; 30 percent lost in five games, 23 percent lost in six, 7 percent bowed out in seven — and 7 percent went on to win the series.And if they’re looking for inspiration to avoid the brooms, the Cavs should look at themselves, but in reverse. Early in the Eastern Conference finals, Cleveland built a 2-0 lead, whipping the Toronto Raptors by an adjusted average of 21.4 points per contest. That was a start so dominant that it had us speculating on the Cavs’ place in history, and it made the idea of the Raptors winning even a single game feel remote. But the Raptors promptly won two straight to tie the series (before eventually being closed out in six games). Faint consolation for Cleveland, but in dire times, it may have to serve.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
3Kansas City4487719468.8 Distance from team’s stadium to St. Louis, in miles0.94 Top teams by Blythe’s most heavily weighted criteria More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Suspensions of players since 2007; extra weight to crimes against women1.98 Not all of these are perfect — for instance, the NFL suspends players for all manner of benign behavior — but imperfections like that should wash out somewhat in the aggregate. When the dust settled on the data analysis, my 2016 team was unveiled: the Green Bay Packers. OK, I could deal with that. My football memory didn’t include a lot of anger toward the team or its fans (which always helps), and I don’t mind having the chance to cheer for a winner. Their appearance at the top wasn’t altogether surprising, partly because of their unique ownership structure. They also scored high in player likability, future wins and team tradition, with above-average marks in off-field behavior as well.Green Bay was followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. In dead last? The Tennessee Titans.5Oh, hey, former Oilers. (Check out our 2016 NFL predictions for every team.) Here were my top 10 rankings, along with each team’s score in the four categories I gave the most weight: Stylishness of uniform, according to Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas0.12 Players’ effort on the field and likability off it1.74 Projected wins over next five seasons1.62 Wins per fan dollars spent1.16 10Baltimore690904256.8 Courtesy toward fans; how well a team uses technology to reach them1.02 Thanks a lot, Kroenke, you’ve put my niece fully in the Packers’ camp. 7Seattle299410010062.8 Are the team’s next five years likely to be better than their previous five?1.28 Size of market in terms of population, where bigger is better0.04 Strength of on-field leadership0.42 Quality of venue; fan-friendliness; frequency of promotions0.46 By Blythe Terrell Blythe’s criteria for a perfect team Overall includes rankings from all criteria, not just those listed here. What do you do when your pro sports team goes away? It’s a question fans have had to ask again and again, when a Colts or an Oilers or a SuperSonics or an Expos team closes up shop and hits the road. This year, it was a question I had to ask myself.I’ve been a St. Louis Rams fan since they rolled into my hometown in 1995. I was 12 years old and knew next to nothing about football, but my mom, who loves the sport almost as much as she loves college basketball, was more than ready to board the Rams bus. My parents shelled out the cash for the personal seat licenses and then the tickets, and my siblings and I took turns eating nachos and learning the game in domed comfort1I was extremely jealous of all the teams with open-air stadiums. over the ensuing two decades. I was introduced to football by Jerome Bettis and Isaac Bruce, and was fully immersed by the time Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and the Greatest Show on Turf rolled through town. After the boom times, we stuck it out through seasons of weak, sometimes atrocious, football (what’s up, 2009?). And we had a next-generation fan in the making: My toddler niece went to her first — and last — St. Louis Rams game last season.2My brother-in-law is a Packers fan, so don’t worry, she has a backup.So when hometown villain Stan Kroenke3Did you know his first name is Enos, and he was named after Cardinals baseball legends Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial? Fun fact that is in no way infuriating to St. Louisans. pulled the plug and hauled the Rams back to California — leaving behind some choice words that left fans fuming — my fellow fans and I were left to puzzle out what’s next. The way I saw it, these were my options:Support the Los Angeles Rams (nope).Give up the NFL, or, the lite version, be the person who watches solely to cheer for the dudes on her fantasy team but has no real loyalty.Back my husband’s team, the cross-state Kansas City Chiefs — the NFL equivalent of the nice Midwestern boy I knew as a kid but who went to a different high school.Pick the more appealing New York team, since I live in the city, and even bars with, like, two TVs would probably be showing the game.Turn it into a math problem.Since I’m an editor at FiveThirtyEight, the choice was clear.In search of the analysis, I went hat in hand to my colleague Neil Paine. Could we figure out the ideal team for me to support? A team with less terrible ownership that was unlikely to leave me (and a city full of supporters) feeling like a fool? And could I pick a team based also on other factors that matter to me, such as whether a team’s players are publicly known or suspected to have committed violent crimes against women?It was all possible, and Neil was on board. I pledged to support the team dictated by the data for at least one full season, even if it was the Seahawks or — deep breath — the Patriots.Neil’s analysis graded each team in 16 categories — some of which were taken from ESPN the Magazine’s long-running “ultimate standings” (which use surveys conducted by opinion research firms in a similar attempt to quantify the benefits of rooting for each pro franchise in the U.S. and Canada), and some we calculated ourselves. Each reflected a component of a team’s identity, including ownership, uniforms, the club’s fan-friendliness and winning tradition. Plugging those factors into the website All Our Ideas, he created a form that would be able to weight each category by its importance to my own fandom. 2Pittsburgh6997848172.9 6Carolina4474779064.0 Ownership honesty and loyalty to core players and the community1.92 Then it was my turn. I went through randomly generated head-to-head matchups among those 16, selecting the factor that mattered more to me in each case. For example, I might have to choose between player behavior and fan relations, and then uniforms versus ownership. I repeated this exercise with different randomly selected permutations until I had voted 3,352 times,4This took me most of six hours. There’s no significance to this number; we just wanted a big sample. at which point I had personalized rankings of — and weights for — each of the 16 factors. Here they are, sorted by the amount of influence each had on the team-picking process; you can find a sample version here. 8Indianapolis1648872660.1 1Green Bay69100977779.7 Price of tickets, parking and concessions0.62 Podcast: Listen to Blythe discuss how she discovered her new team. Size of market in terms of population, where smaller is better0.52 TEAM RATING CRITERIAWEIGHT Distance from team’s stadium to New York, in miles1.00 TEAMPLAYER SUSPENSIONSOWNERSHIPPLAYER EFFORT AND LIKABILITYPROJECTED WINSOVERALL Championships/division titles/wins in team’s entire history1.20 4New England7765948768.4 9Arizona5671818459.8 5Buffalo6977586866.5 (If you’d like to run this exercise yourself, you can find a list of every team’s rating in every category on GitHub.)So the data has spoken: I’m trading in the blue and gold for the green and gold. As for the fans in L.A., congratulations. I hope your experience with the Rams is a good one, and I’m sure many of you are excited to have them back. I’m just sorry they came attached to this guy.Neil Paine contributed data analysis.[VIDEO: How one spurned Rams fan found a new team