Tag: Canada

Don’t blame Canada for Wisconsin’s dairy crisis

The Canadian news program The National, which airs on Canada’s public broadcaster CBC in Canada, recently did a feature story about the dairy crisis in Wisconsin, which President Donald Trump is trying to falsely blame on Canada and their policies regarding trade of ultra-filtered milk from the United States to Canada.

The CBC featured a pair of Wisconsin dairy farm families, the Sauer family of the Waterloo, Wisconsin area and the family of Sarah Lloyd and Nels Nelson of Columbia County. Having watched the video on the CBC website more than once, it’s inherently clear to me that overproduction, not international trade policies, are responsible for Wisconsin’s dairy crisis. Despite the real problems facing Wisconsin dairy, Trump has tried to blame Canada for the struggles that Wisconsin dairy farmers have faced, and it’s clear to me that Trump has no real understanding of how the dairy industry works.

Additionally, as farmer and Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) regional director Chris Holman stated on the WFU website, state government policies in Wisconsin have only made the overproduction problem in the Wisconsin dairy industry even worse, and have also led to fewer dairy farms producing more of Wisconsin’s milk:

Here in Wisconsin, state programs like the Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30×20 Initiative have made the situation even worse. Beyond pushing Wisconsin dairy farmers to reach 30 billion pounds of milk production by 2020, the initiative—with no sense of irony—provides grants “to improve the long-term viability of Wisconsin’s Dairy Industry.” If you dive into data from USDA and the Wisconsin Agricultural Statistic Service, we’ve lost 2,411 dairy farms since March 2012 when the 30 x 20 initiative was announced. That’s an average of almost 500 dairy farms per year. We are growing our production but it is being done by fewer and fewer, larger farms.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union is an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of family farmers and rural communities in Wisconsin.

Trump can blame Canada and sing the Green Acres theme song all he wants, but it’s not going to change the fact that he doesn’t understand the real problems facing Wisconsin’s dairy farm families.

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Canadian YouTube roadgeek subtly criticizes Donald Trump over border walls

From Canada, the land where curling is the national pastime and ice hockey is the unofficial national religion, comes a YouTube user who goes under the screen name Trans Canada Phil (hereafter referred to in this blog post as TCP), and, judging by one of TCP’s captions on a recent roadgeek video he produced, I’m guessing that TCP no fan of Donald Trump:

Near the end of the video (I’ve set the embed to show the section of the video in question), TCP noted in the video that TCP was driving in the direction of the border between the Canadian province of Manitoba and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and that there were “no fences, no walls” along the actual U.S.-Canadian border in that area of the North American continent. TCP also noted that there were “certainly” no walls that Canadians are “going to pay for”. While TCP didn’t mention Trump by name, I’m nearly 100% certain that TCP was referring to Donald Trump. As a political figure here in the United States, Trump is best-known for stirring up virtually every kind of bigotry and resentment that one can think of, and some of his ideas that he’s campaigned on as a U.S. presidential candidate are deeply rooted in bigotry, such as his proposal to get Mexico to pay for a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While TCP is not a Canadian government official that I’m aware of, I’m guessing that most Canadians don’t want a U.S.-Canada border wall. It’s also worth noting that the last American politician to propose such an idea, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who was briefly a Republican Party candidate for U.S. president, ended up dropping out of the presidential race altogether not long after he proposed such a ridiculous idea.

San Jose Mercury News can’t say the name Simone Manuel

Make no mistake about it, Simone Manuel became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in the sport of swimming when she won the women’s 100 meter (109.3613 yard) freestyle swimming event at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were actually two gold medalists in the event, as Manuel tied Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal position. In Olympic swimming, a tie occurs when two or more swimmers post the same time, measured to hundredths of a second. When a tie occurs in Olympic swimming for a medal position, all tied competitors receive a medal of the same color (gold for a tie for first, silver for a tie for second, and bronze for a tie for third).

However, The Mercury News, a newspaper covering the San Jose, California area, used this headline to document Manuel’s historic victory:

Not only is that headline factually incorrect, it’s racist and sexist. First off, Manuel and Michael Phelps never shared an Olympic podium, as men and women compete in swimming events. In fact, the only Olympic sport (summer or winter) in which there are not separate competitions for men and women is equestrian (although a few Olympic sports, such as tennis (summer) and curling (winter, starting in 2018) have events featuring mixed-gender teams competing against each other, and modern pentathlon, of which equestrian is one of the five component sports, has separate men’s and women’s competitions). Secondly, The Mercury News was unwilling to use the name of a black woman who won the event in its headline, but had no problem using the name of a white man who wasn’t eligible to compete in the event in its headline.

The corporate media isn’t willing to say any part of her name, but I am more than willing to say the full name of my favorite Olympic champion of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad so far: Simone Ashley Manuel.

Donald Trump violates U.S. federal election laws by sending fundraising emails to foreign politicians

Current and/or former elected officials in no fewer than six foreign countries have received campaign fundraising emails from the campaign of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States. The countries in which current and/or former elected officials have received fundraising solicitations from Trump include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. In at least one case, a former head of government of a foreign country received a fundraising solicitation from Trump.

Trump has only recently started using emails to solicit campaign donations, and it first became clear that the Trump campaign’s email list had serious flaws when Katherine Clark, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party, received a Trump email, despite the fact that Clark is a known supporter of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. However, no laws were violated by Trump when his campaign sent an fundraising solicitation to Clark, because Clark is a United States citizen.

However, numerous current and former members of parliament in at least six foreign countries have clearly indicated that the Trump campaign has sent fundraising solicitations to individuals who are not United States citizens. Under the federal election laws of the United States, it is illegal for an American presidential candidate to solicit campaign donations from individuals who are not United States citizens.

At least two members of the Australian House of Representatives, Tim Watts and Joanne Ryan, reported via Twitter that they had received emails from the Trump campaign asking for campaign donations:

Both Watts and Ryan are members of the Australian Labour Party.

In case you are wondering who the former head of government who received a Trump campaign fundraising email is, it is former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who was the last member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, which is now defunct, to serve as prime minister:

The fact that the Trump campaign tried to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, which is not owned by Trump, to Campbell for a big discount proves that the Trump campaign is completely incompetent.

Ida Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament, also received a fundraising email from Trump:

Auken is a member of the Danish Social Liberal Party.

Anders Adlercreutz, a member of the Parliament of Finland, confirmed to Josh Marshall of the American political website Talking Points Memo that members of the Finnish Parliament have received Trump fundraising emails:

Adlercreutz is a member of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

The Iceland Monitor has reported that Katrín Jakobsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic Parliament, was one of at least three members of the Icelandic Parliament to receive campaign fundraising emails from Trump. Jakobsdóttir is the leader of the Icelandic Left-Green Alliance.

However, the strongest critic of the Trump fundraising emails to foreign politicians is Natalie McGarry, a member of the British House of Commons from the Glasgow area in Scotland. After receiving a fundraising email from Donald Trump, Jr., who was acting on behalf of his dad’s presidential campaign, McGarry wrote a response to the younger Trump in which she strongly criticized the elder Trump’s hateful, bigoted rhetoric and told the younger Trump that she hoped that American voters “reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box”. McGarry is not a member of any political party, although she was a member of the Scottish National Party until 2015. An online friend of mine posted to her social media page McGarry’s letter to the younger Trump, and it has been shared online over 1,700 times:

None of the foreign elected officials donated any money to Trump, to the best of my knowledge.

Donald Trump has proven that his presidential campaign is absolutely incompetent when it comes to operating an email list, and he has broken the law by attempting to solicit campaign donations from foreign politicians.

Donald Trump’s new anti-immigration policy would ban Canadians from the U.S.

While Republican party bosses and the corporate media want to convince you that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is softening his hard-line Islamophobic rhetoric, the reality is that Trump’s new Islamophobic proposals are, in some ways, even more absurd than the Islamophobic proposals that Trump ran on while campaigning for the Republican nomination:

Donald Trump may be finally gearing up to do what many Republican leaders have hoped: soften his rhetoric and pivot to the center.

He hasn’t done that yet. But there are growing signs that the presumptive Republican nominee is aiming to make his campaign more palatable to a general election audience.

His campaign is putting the finishing touches on a policy memo that would change his proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States. Instead of focusing the ban on Muslims, Trump would ban immigrants coming from countries with known terrorism links, training and equipment.

(emphasis mine)

“Countries with known terrorism links, training, and equipment” is a very broad characterization of countries. By that standard, people from first-world countries with mostly non-violent, law-abiding people, but have a small minority of people that engage in terrorism of either the Islamic fundamentalist variety or any other variety, would be subject to Trump’s immigration bans. Even the Republic of Ireland and Canada, both of which have a relatively recent history of terrorism not associated in any way with an Islamic fundamentalist ideology (in the Republic of Ireland’s case, Irish republican terrorism, and, in Canada’s case, Quebec seperatist terrorism), would qualify as a “country with known terrorism links, training, and equipment”.

Banning Canadians from entering the U.S. is just plain ridiculous policy. In the past two centuries, we’ve had very few problems with Canada (and its predecessor, British North America) being a neighbor of the United States. In fact, in Vermont, there are some places where streets and buildings are partially in Vermont (and, therefore, partially in the United States) and partially in Quebec (and, therefor, partially in Canada). Trump’s policy would result in entire communities being walled off. On a related note, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was the first high-profile Republican presidential candidate who was forced to end his campaign after he publicly supported building a wall on the U.S.-Canada border.

Donald Trump isn’t pivoting to the political center. Instead, he’s finding even more bizarre ways to embarrass America.

The First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

For the first time ever, this blog will be awarding end-of-the-year awards to several individuals who I consider to be effective at advancing progressive causes during the year, regardless of whether or not one meets the typical criteria of being politically progressive or not. This is the first annual awarding of the Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015. All ProgMid Award winners for this year and years in the future are automatically inducted into the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner.

The award categories for the first ProgMid Awards are as follows:

  • Person of the Year
  • Man of the Year
  • Woman of the Year
  • American of the Year
  • International Person of the Year
  • Group of the Year
  • Athlete of the Year
  • Blogger of the Year
  • Activist of the Year
  • Elected Official of the Year
  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year

There are two important notes regarding the awards:

  • Many award recipients will receive multiple awards. For example, if the Person of the Year in a given year is a female athlete from Canada, she would win Person of the Year, Woman of the Year, International Person of the Year, and Athlete of the Year.
  • Should multiple people or a group of people win award(s) other than Group of the Year, the plural form of the name(s) of the other award(s) will be used (People, Men, Women, Americans, International People, Athletes, Bloggers, Activists, Elected Officials, Entertainers, and/or Young People).

With that said, I hereby present the First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015!

Person of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Person of the Year is the only open ProgMid Award category.

No person has made a bigger impact on advancing progressive causes in the year 2015 than Bernie Sanders. Bernie, the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont, is currently seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, and he has made improving America’s economy a key part of his campaign. Bernie has publicly championed raising the U.S. minimum wage to $15/hour, guaranteeing paid family leave, making college in America truly affordable, breaking up large financial institutions, and many other progressive ideals. Bernie is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2015.

Man of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Men are eligible for the Man of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is male, Bernie is also the ProgMid Man of the Year for 2015.

Woman of the Year – Rachel Notley

Women are eligible for the Woman of the Year Award.

In Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, Rachel Notley led the Alberta New Democratic Party to a landslide victory in the Alberta legislative general election in May of 2015, and, as a result of the election, Notley became Premier of Alberta. Notley and her party ran on a progressive platform that championed good government, Alberta’s environment, economic justice, and common sense, and they won in a very conservative part of Canada. Notley is the ProgMid Woman of the Year for 2015.

American of the Year – Bernie Sanders

In order for one to be eligible for the American of the Year Award, one must be a United States citizen, United States national, resident of the United States, or some combination thereof.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an American, Bernie is also the ProgMid American of the Year for 2015.

International Person of the Year – Rachel Notley

Those who are not eligible for the American of the Year Award are eligible for the International Person of the Year Award.

Since the Woman of the Year, Rachel Notley, is a Canadian, Notley is also the ProgMid International Person of the Year for 2015.

Group of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

The Group of the Year Award is the only ProgMid Award that is required to be awarded to a group of people.

In response to racism, police brutality, and police shootings of black people in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of progressive activists seeking reform of the criminal justice system and increased accountability of law enforcement in America, has brought the issues of criminal justice reform and law enforcement accountability to the forefront of American politics. Black Lives Matter is the ProgMid Group of the Year for 2015.

Athlete of the Year – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Professional athletes and individuals primarily known for being amateur athletes (including, but not limited to, collegiate athletes and amateur Olympic athletes) are eligible for the Athlete of the Year Award.

Although one would usually not think of a NASCAR driver as advancing a progressive cause, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. played an important role in building public support for taking down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When asked about his thoughts about the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. called the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race” and said that the Confederate flag “belongs in the history books, and that’s about it”. For his condemnation of the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2015.

Blogger of the Year – Kelly Wilz

Those who are an administrator of, editor of, author of, and/or contributor to a blog are eligible for the Blogger of the Year Award.

One of the newest members of the progressive blogosphere is Kelly Wilz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. Wilz is also the author of the progressive political blog Dissent and Cookies, which launched in May of 2015. As a blogger, Wilz has primarily focused on ending rape culture in America and supporting tenure protections for college professors, both of which are very important causes. Wilz is the 2015 ProgMid Blogger of the Year.

Activists of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

Those who are largely or primarily known for being a political activist are eligible for the Activist of the Year Award.

Since the Group of the Year, the Black Lives Matter movement, is a group of political activists, members of the Black Lives Matter movement are also the 2015 ProgMid Activists of the Year.

Elected Official of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Those who were a public official elected either directly by the people or elected by a body elected by the people (such as the U.S. Electoral College) at any point in the year in which the award is given are eligible for the Elected Official of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an incumbent elected official, Bernie is also the 2015 ProgMid Elected Official of the Year.

Entertainer of the Year – Jon Stewart

Those who are entertainers (actors/actresses, comedians/comediennes, musicians, sports announcers, radio show hosts, television show hosts, etc.) are eligible for the Entertainer of the Year Award.

While Jon Stewart left the anchor desk of the Comedy Central news satire program The Daily Show in August of this year, Stewart has not abandoned the first responders who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stewart passionately advocated for, and won, renewal of federally-funded health care for 9/11 first responders. Stewart is the 2015 ProgMid Entertainer of the Year.

Young Person of the Year – Keanan Sargent

In order to be eligible for the Young Person of the Year Award, one must be less than 18 years of age on December 31 of the year in which the award is given.

At an August 2015 LGBT pride parade and rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Keanan Sargent, the then-nine-year-old son of Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent, did something incredibly creative when confronted by homophobia. Keanan used balloons to obscure a sign that anti-LGBT protesters were displaying at the pride parade and rally. For his creativity and progressive values, Keanan Sargent is the 2015 ProgMid Young Person of the Year.

The CBC features one of my tweets about Scott Walker’s ridiculous Canadian border fence idea on their website

For the second time that I’m aware of, the Canadian media has picked up on something that I’ve published online. This time, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canada’s national public broadcaster, featured this tweet, which I made a couple of days ago, on their website:

https://twitter.com/AaronApolloCamp/status/638121254470459396

My tweet referenced the unbelievably idiotic idea of building a giant fence along the international border between the United States and Canada, which was proposed by Wisconsin Governor and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Scott Walker. Walker suggested that idea in a desperate attempt to pander to supporters of Donald Trump, an anti-immigration zealot who is one of many Republicans running for that party’s presidential nomination.

The reason I apologized to Canadians over Walker’s remarks is because not all Americans are right-wing crazies like the Republicans running for president are. Many Americans are rational people who believe in common-sense, progressive values like supporting human rights, strengthening the American middle class, and diplomacy to prevent war…many of them are, like me, supporting the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Scott Walker panders to anti-immigrant extremists, wants to waste taxpayer money on a Canadian border fence

Just like Phil Mickelson literally did, Scott Walker metaphorically fell on his ass on immigration.
Just like Phil Mickelson literally did while playing golf, Scott Walker metaphorically fell on his ass on immigration.

Scott Walker, in a desperate attempt to pander to the far-right, anti-immigrant extremists fueling the Donald Trump presidential campaign, has suggested erecting a fence along the border between the United States and Canada at the expense of American taxpayers:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is putting a new twist on the topic of securing the border, a staple among the GOP candidates running for president, by pointing north.

Walker said in an interview that aired Sunday that building a wall along the country’s norther border with Canada is a legitimate issue that merits further review.

Republican candidates for president have often taken a get-tough approach on deterring illegal immigration, but they usually focus on the border with Mexico. Walker was asked Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he wanted to build a wall on the northern border, too. Walker said some people in New Hampshire have asked the campaign about the topic.

While Republicans have long been high on anti-immigrant bigotry and lunacy, this is one of the most absurd ideas I’ve ever heard from a presidential candidate. Canada poses extremely little risk to U.S. national security, and erecting a border fence along our border with Canada would be nothing more than a giant waste of taxpayer money.

This is what desperation looks like.

My 2015 Rugby World Cup predictions

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup (RWC), the premier international tournament in the sport of rugby union, scheduled for next month, I’m going to make predictions for every game of the entire tournament. Since this is a two-stage tournament, with a four-pool, 20-team round robin segment called the pool stage, followed by an eight-team elimination segment called the knockout stage, with a somewhat complex point system being used to determine standings for the pool stage, predicting the entire tournament correctly is extremely difficult, if not virtually impossible.

In the RWC, wins in the pool stage are worth four points, draws are worth two points (if two teams are tied after regulation in the pool stage, the game is declared a draw), and losses are worth zero points. Additionally, one bonus point is awarded for scoring four or more tries (in rugby, a try is scored by grounding the ball behind the opposing team’s goal line) in a game, and one bonus point is awarded for losing by seven points or fewer. I’ve listed games according to pool and in the order within the pool that they are scheduled to be played. I’m using the (winning team) (winning score)-(losing score) (losing team) format to display projections, with teams scoring bonus points (BP) being noted in parenthesis. For standings, if at least one game in a particular pool ends in a draw, I’ll use the win-draw-loss format for team records, and, if no games in a particular pool end in a draw, I’ll use the win-loss format for team records. Points are displayed as the following mathematical formula: (win and draw points)+(bonus points)=(total points)

Here are my predictions for the pool stage of the 2015 RWC:

POOL A (Australia, England, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay)

England 21-17 Fiji (Fiji BP)
Wales 32-6 Uruguay (Wales BP)
Australia 25-19 Fiji (Fiji BP)
England 17-17 Wales
Australia 49-9 Uruguay (Australia BP)
Fiji 20-19 Wales (Wales BP)
Australia 34-30 England (Australia and England BP)
Fiji 31-11 Uruguay (Fiji BP)
Australia 25-13 Wales (Australia BP)
England 71-3 Uruguay (England BP)

Australia – 4-0-0 – 16+3=19
England – 3-1-0 – 14+1=15
Fiji – 2-0-2 – 8+3=11
Wales – 1-1-2 – 6+2=8
Uruguay – 0-0-4 – 0+0=0

POOL B (Japan, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, United States)

Japan 22-21 South Africa (South Africa BP)
Samoa 29-22 United States (Samoa and United States BP)
Scotland 11-10 Japan (Japan BP)
South Africa 57-24 Samoa (South Africa BP)
United States 22-20 Scotland (Scotland BP)
Samoa 31-12 Japan (Samoa BP)
South Africa 37-20 Scotland (South Africa BP)
South Africa 30-24 United States (South Africa and United States BP)
Samoa 27-15 Scotland (Samoa BP)
United States 22-21 Japan (Japan BP)

South Africa – 3-1 – 12+4=16
Samoa – 3-1 – 12+3=15
United States – 2-2 – 8+2=10
Japan – 1-3 – 4+2=6
Scotland – 1-3 – 4+1=5

POOL C (Argentina, Georgia Republic, Namibia, New Zealand, Tonga)

Tonga 40-15 Georgia Republic (Tonga BP)
New Zealand 19-18 Argentina (Argentina BP)
New Zealand 102-6 Namibia (New Zealand BP)
Argentina 38-10 Georgia Republic (Argentina BP)
Tonga 35-14 Namibia (Tonga BP)
New Zealand 49-18 Georgia Republic (New Zealand BP)
Tonga 22-9 Argentina
Namibia 24-19 Georgia Republic (Namibia and Georgia Republic BP)
New Zealand 32-20 Tonga (New Zealand BP)
Argentina 49-3 Namibia (Argentina BP)

New Zealand – 4-0 – 16+3=19
Tonga – 3-1 – 12+2=14
Argentina – 2-2 – 8+3=11
Namibia – 1-3 – 4+1=5
Georgia Republic – 0-4 – 0+1=1

POOL D (Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Romania)

Ireland 36-11 Canada (Ireland BP)
France 40-36 Italy (France BP, Italy 2 BPs)
France 39-12 Romania (France BP)
Italy 29-16 Canada
Ireland 41-3 Romania (Ireland BP)
France 41-20 Canada (France BP)
Italy 33-29 Ireland (Italy BP, Ireland 2 BPs)
Canada 44-30 Romania (Canada and Romania BP)
Italy 55-12 Romania (Italy BP)
France 19-19 Ireland

France – 3-1-0 – 14+3=17
Italy – 3-0-1 – 12+4=16
Ireland – 2-1-1 – 10+4=14
Canada – 1-0-3 – 4+1=5
Romania – 0-0-4 – 0+1=1

In rugby union, tries are worth five points in a game, conversions after tries are worth two points in a game, and goals (which can be scored on either penalty kicks or drop kicks) are worth three points in a game. If I’ve predicted a team to win a game and earn a bonus point in the standings, lose a game by more than seven points and earn a bonus point in the standings, or lose a game and earn two bonus points in the standings, then I’m predicting that the team will score at least four tries in the game in question.

Since the top two in each pool advance to the knockout stage of the RWC, that means that I predict that Australia, England, South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand, Argentina, France, and Italy will advance to the knockout stage. In addition, I’m also predicting that, in addition to the eight teams that I’ve predicted to advance to the knockout phase, Fiji, the United States, Tonga, and Ireland will qualify for the 2019 RWC based on their performance in the 2015 RWC.

The quarterfinal pairings for the knockout stage are 1B (first-place from Group B) vs. 2A (second-place from Group A), 1C vs. 2D, 1D vs. 2C, and 1A vs. 2B, with the winners of the first two quarterfinal pairings facing each other in the first semifinal, and the winners of the last two quarterfinal pairings facing each other in the second semifinal. The winners of the semifinal matches advance to the final to play for the Webb Ellis Cup that is presented to the winner of the RWC, whereas the losers of the semi-final matches advance to the bronze final to play for third-place.

Should any knockout stage game end in a tie after regulation, two ten-minute extra time periods would be played, with both periods being played in their entirety regardless of whether or not scoring occurs and/or one team is ahead after the first extra time period. Should extra time end in a tie, a ten-minute sudden death extra time period, in which the first team to score wins, would be played. Should neither team score in the sudden death extra time period, a kicking competition, in which both teams will get five place-kicks at goal, would be played, and whoever kicks the most goals in the kicking competition wins. Should the kicking competition end in a tie after each team has taken five kicks, then a sudden death kicking competition, in which the kicking competition is continued until one team kicks a goal and the other team misses, would be played.

QUARTERFINALS

England 25-22 South Africa (Sudden Death Extra Time)
New Zealand 41-19 Italy
France 45-18 Tonga
Australia 36-15 Samoa

SEMIFINALS

England 26-23 New Zealand
Australia 24-21 France

BRONZE FINAL

New Zealand 33-27 France

FINAL

England 19-19 Australia (England wins in Sudden Death Kicking Competition 12-11)

I’m predicting that England, the primary host country of the tournament (Wales will host several games, although most of the games will be held in England), will win the 2015 Rugby World Cup and claim the Webb Ellis Cup.

I care about women in sports, thanks in no small part to the U.S. women’s soccer team

Last night, the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) defeated Japan by a score of 5 to 2 to claim the third Women’s World Cup for the United States and the first one for the U.S. in 16 years.

While an estimate of how many people watched the FOX telecast of the Women’s World Cup final, which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is not yet available, I was among the people who watched the Women’s World Cup final live, although I originally didn’t intend to. The start of the broadcast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Daytona International Speedway in Florida, which was televised by NBC, was scheduled at roughly the same time as the opening kickoff of the Women’s World Cup final, and, as a big NASCAR fan, I originally intended to watch the NASCAR race live and watch the soccer game late at night via DVR. However, because rain delayed the start of the NASCAR race by over three hours, I ended up tuning into the soccer game live a couple of minutes after the start, right before Carli Lloyd scored the first of her three goals for the USWNT, and I ended up being able to watch the rest of the game live because the NASCAR race ended up starting well after the soccer game was over. I was not disappointed one bit by the soccer game, in fact, I’m absolutely excited that our nation’s women’s soccer team are, once again, the world champions of women’s soccer.

I hope that the incredible success of the USWNT in this year’s Women’s World Cup leads to a greater public acceptance, and a greater level of respect, for female athletes in all sports.

Usually, the only instances where female athletes get any significant level media attention in this country is when the Olympic Games are taking place, when the major tennis championships are taking place, when Danica Patrick runs in automobile races, and…you guessed it…when the Women’s World Cup of soccer is taking place. This is one of a number of reasons why women’s sports have not been accepted by as much of the American public as men’s sports have. I’m fortunate to have an expensive enough satellite television package where I can, during the winter months in non-Winter Olympic years, find women’s bobsled, skeleton, and curling on television. When female athletes do get a significant level of media attention in this country, it’s often in a sexist manner. When the sports media covers female athletes, they often talk about subjects like the athletes’ love/sex lives or whether or not they have kids, subjects that have nothing to do with an athlete’s performance and the sports media rarely talks about in regards to male athletes.

I hope the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup victory leads to less misogyny towards, and more acceptance of, female athletes in all sports.