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    The Daily Troll: JBLM Sgt. faces death penalty. Mariners trade Vargas. A 98-year-old 'Mrs. Judo'

    The Army seeks capital punishment for the deaths of 16 Afghan villagers. A setback for anti-polio crusaders. The M's acquire an Angels slugger.
    Patrick Kruger made it look like someone brought home a tree too big for the house.

    Patrick Kruger made it look like someone brought home a tree too big for the house. Photo by Patrick Kruger

    Mariners trade pitcher

    The Mariners' quest for hitting might finally be producing a sign of promise for next year. This afternoon, they traded pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

    The Seattle Times' top-notch beat writer, Geoff Baker, likes the move

    The Mariners needed another bat and Morales is potentially an upgrade over everybody they have if he resumes the form he had prior to seriously breaking his leg in a game against the Mariners a few years ago.

    OK, we may be over trusting that anything the M's do to get hitting will work out (more because of the history and the weather than a lack of faith in the general manager, Jack Zduriencik). But please let us be right to trust in Baker's first impression.

    Death penalty sought

    The U.S. Army said today that it will seek the death penalty in Joint Base Lewis-McChord court martial proceedings accusing Staff Sgt. John Bales of the murder of 16 Afghan civilians in March. 

    The News Tribune has a good Associated Press rundown on today's announcement, noting that the court martial jury would have to find him guilty of premeditated murder and find at least one aggravating circumstance. Those could include the murder of children, which heartbreakingly account for nine of the dead.

    AP reporter Gene Johnson's story recounts powerful testimony from Afghan witnesses at a pretrial hearing and notes that prosecutors have cited statements by Bales that, in their views, demonstrated "a clear memory of what he had done and consciousness of wrongdoing."

    Defense attorney John Henry Browne of Seattle pointed to the fact that Bales was serving his fourth tour of war-zone duty. Browne told AP: "The Army is not taking responsibility for Sgt. Bales and other soldiers that the Army knowingly sends into combat situations with diagnosed PTSD, concussive head injuries and other injuries."

    Also faraway and near

    In Pakistan, as the AP also reports, the U.N. has suspended its polio vaccination drive after eight people were murdered, likely by Islamist militants. The local angle is that Rotary groups, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, have been a big — and generous — part of the drive to rid the world of polio. There are only three countries that have not eradicated polio, but AP calls the suspension a "grave blow" to the international efforts.

    Christmas tree bursts through roof!

    OK, OK, it's fake. But as KOMO radio's Linda Thomas explains well on MyNorthwest.com, Seattle resident Patrick Kruger did a heck of a job of making it look like a 14-foot tree went through the roof of his house.

    Thomas writes:

    He created the illusion of a tree crashing through the roof with a 14-foot tree cut into two pieces. The top six-foot section is attached to a piece of plywood that's bolted to the roof.

    Kruger, who is an architect for the Eastside firm Mulvanny G2, studied the physics of an object breaking through a roof then added sheathing and typical roof construction materials to create the effect. 

    The Big Blog at seattlepi.com says the home is in lower Magnolia.

    Steinbrueck announces

    No surprise, but Peter Steinbrueck made his announcement for mayor of Seattle. You can get the full text of the former Seattle City Council member’s statement here. Check back tomorrow for a look at Steinbrueck’s career by Crosscut’s Eric Scigliano.

    98, female and ready to throw you

    The Seattle Asian American Film Festival just posted a two-minute trailer for a judo movie with universal appeal. Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful will play during the festival in late January.

    Wikipedia has a good entry about the film's subject, Keiko Fukuda. She apparently still teaches three times a week.

    Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!


    Posted Thu, Dec 20, 9:35 a.m. Inappropriate

    Sorry, but Geoff Baker is not a "top-notch" beat writer.

    He is always "behind the curve" because he spends so much time on shrill conspiracy theories about how the team is for sale, those who run it care only about the bottom line and have no desire to win, their claims of trying to go after high-priced free agents are simply pr stunts, etc., that he has apparently alienated everyone he's "trying" to cover. You rarely see evidence of any interviews, any well done profiles of players, any in-depth reporting on actual baseball, but mostly blather about baseball economics, etc.

    It's fine to criticize once in a while and when deserved, and the M's have certainly earned a fair share based on moves that didn't pan out and other issues. Read Larry Stone to get a glimpse of a real top-notch beat writer who is not afraid to take shots when warranted but also to offer a more complete, interesting and engaging perspective (and do some real research). In the jargon, Geoff Baker couldn't carry Stone's jock.

    Posted Thu, Dec 20, 9:59 a.m. Inappropriate

    Thanks, Arthur. Glad to see I'm not alone.


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