Daily Archive: 07/20/2010

Jul 20 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP floats new bid to seal well with cement

AFP

Tue Jul 20, 11:49 am ET

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP crafted a new plan Tuesday hoping to seal for good a blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well, with the disaster set to cloud a White House summit between Britain and the United States.

The US government allowed the British energy giant to keep in place a cap stemming the flow from the ruptured wellhead for another 24 hours, as engineers floated a new plan to kill the well.

BP said the aim would be to send down heavy drilling mud through the blowout preventer valve system that sits on top of the well and then inject cement into the wellhead to seal it.

Jul 20 2010

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Peter Daou: Resolving the “Obama Paradox” (The Most Successful Failed Presidency in a Generation)

The intense dispute over President Obama’s personality, principles and policies is a proxy for the larger debate over the history, values, ideological composition and direction of America. The focus is on the person, but the battle is over the nation.

In that context, a number of progressive activists and observers (this writer included) have spent the past 18 months repeatedly making the case that the Obama administration’s unwillingness to stake out a strong, principled, progressive position on key issues is detrimental to Obama’s political fortunes, to the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects and most importantly, to the country. Looking at polls, trends, midterm projections, the economy, the environment, the war in Afghanistan, etc., the facts on the ground appear to have borne out that view.

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Further, the definitions of success and failure that undergird the “Obama Paradox” are exceedingly amorphous. Is it about legislative wins, no matter the underlying substance? Is it public opinion as reflected in polls? Is it pundit consensus and conventional wisdom?

And who defines success or judges which issue or question is the most important? Is it jobs? The Gulf disaster? Health care? Is Obama a progressive, a centrist, a corporatist, a socialist? Are we winning or losing Afghanistan? Is Obama the next FDR, Bush-lite, the anti-Bush, or the un-Reagan?

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So how do we resolve the present contradictions surrounding President Obama and how do we make a fair assessment of his tenure? To the extent that we can, we do so by clarifying our approach in advance of our judgment. A reporter looking at facts and data should first choose the metric(s). It might be the number of campaign promises kept, or legislation passed, or public opinion polls and trends, or economic stats, or a weighted combination of several factors.

For activists and opinion-makers, the process is somewhat different: it’s about fundamental ideals and values against which the president’s actions are measured.

For the general public, it’s a mix of personal circumstances (how the administration’s policies affect them and their families), their values, what the media tells them, what their friends and family think, and so on.

Whatever the parameters and methods, there are several ways to reach an informed, albeit incomplete, view of Obama’s presidency. Naturally, some of these views will be contradictory. From certain perspectives Obama is successful, from others he’s not – there’s nothing paradoxical about that.

What’s far more interesting is that there is one thing Obama can do that transcends the ebb and flow of events, the endless swirl of opinion, the daily wins and losses, the progress and setbacks that constitute governing. It is the one thing with lasting appeal and enduring value and a prerequisite for unqualified success in any endeavor: standing for something worthwhile, for a set of well-articulated principles, and fighting for those principles tooth and nail.

The real Obama paradox is why that hasn’t happened when it’s good policy and good politics.

 

Jul 20 2010

Alan Grayson: “May God Have Mercy on Your Souls”: Up Date

They have “souls”?

“The Republicans are thinking, why don’t they just sell some of their stock? If they’re in really dire straits maybe they can take some of their art collection and send it to the auctioneer. And if they’re in deep deep trouble maybe the unemployed can sell one of their yachts. That’s what the Republicans are thinking right now. But that’s not the life of ordinary people…”

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“I will say to the Republicans who have blocked this bill for months, to those who have kept food out of the mouths of children, I will say to them now, may God have mercy on your souls”

h/t Blue Texan @ FDL and digby

Jul 20 2010

Le Tour: Recovery Day

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

The reason they call it a recovery day is you get to rest.

So what happened?

If you’re looking at the General Classification, not much.  Contador still 8 seconds ahead of Schleck.  Sanchez and Menchov about 2 minutes behind that.  11 other people you’ve never heard of (except for Leipheimer) within 10 minutes which is not an impossible margin to make up.

But time is running out.

If you’re a big Armstrong fan he made a charge.  He threatens the same tomorrow on the last mountain stage, but I don’t believe it.  Lance was racing hard from the get and he had about as much support from Team Radio Shack as you can expect.

He wasn’t able to break away from the break away and got outsprinted at the line.  They might try that again but I’m not sure why the results would be different.  If you must get your jingoism on, Radio Shack is leading the team standings by 4 and a half minutes and that’s unlikely to change for the same reasons that the other standings are- no more time.

Tomorrow is the last mountain stage, 108 miles from Pau to Col du Tourmalet.  Two category 1s and then straight up.  This is not as good a scenario for making up time as yesterday when you could magnify the margin over the peak on the finishing downhill.

Friday is 124 miles from Salies-de-Béarn to Bordeaux.  No climbs worth mentioning, so likely our final ‘Sprinter’ finish.

Saturday is the big 33 mile Time Trial where Contador buries Schleck.  Sunday is Champs day and see you next year.

So whomever you like time to get in your last licks, it will all be over soon.

Jul 20 2010

Le Tour: Stage 16

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Well, let’s chat a little about what happened.

Just as Schleck was about to put a move on Contador at the top of yesterday’s big climb (gaining perhaps as much as a minute and maybe more in the downhill) his chain slipped and by the time he was able to continue he was almost 2 minutes behind on the stage.

After resuming the race Schleck made up practically all of that deficit, but he did slip to 2nd in the General Classification and is now 8 seconds behind Contador with 2 mountain stages to go and with Contador presumed to have as much as a 2 minute advantage in Saturday’s penultimate sprint.

I think I’ll give a pass on Contador’s sportsmanship.  Frankly I’m not all that comfortable with ‘unwritten rules’ and I think they move your sport’s credibility from the ‘Olympian Ideal’ side of the scale to ‘Professional Wrestling’/’Figure Skating Political Kabuki’ just as surely as steroids.

As an athelete your duty is to try as hard as you can to win within the rules all the time, every time.

Anything else is cheating yourself and your fans.

I don’t think things are as grim for Schleck as they might be.  It’s only 8 seconds.  There are 2 more mountain stages including today.  There is a recovery day tomorrow.  I don’t think Contador is really 2 minutes faster over 34 miles (that’s actually quite a bit of time given the distance).

But there certainly isn’t much margin for error and none at all for slacking and what we have seen so far in the mountains is that Saxo Bank (Schleck) is not the team Astana (Contador) is.

Today’s 124 mile stage from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Pau has 2 category 1 and 2 Kute Kuddly Kitty Kat Klimbs and a long high speed descent into the finish.  It should be possible to generate huge deltas off the last peak depending on conditions and competition.

We’ll see what happens.

Jul 20 2010

On This Day in History: July 20

While many of us remember the “giant leap” that mankind made as Neil Armstrong planted his boots in the thick dust of the lunar surface thus beginning one of the great CT’s of all time, there were other events that happened on this day that were just as significant, if not for the world but for some small spot on this great “Blue Marble”.

In 1888, just 5 years after the massacre at Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull surrenders to the US Army

Five years after General George A. Custer’s infamous defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army, which promises amnesty for him and his followers. Sitting Bull had been a major leader in the 1876 Sioux uprising that resulted in the death of Custer and 264 of his men at Little Bighorn. Pursued by the U.S. Army after the Indian victory, he escaped to Canada with his followers.

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n 1873, in what would serve as a preview of the Battle of Little Bighorn three years later, an Indian military coalition featuring the leadership of Sitting Bull skirmished briefly with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. In 1876, Sitting Bull was not a strategic leader in the U.S. defeat at Little Bighorn, but his spiritual influence inspired Crazy Horse and the other victorious Indian military leaders. He subsequently fled to Canada, but in 1881, with his people starving, he returned to the United States and surrendered.

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He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall in South Dakota territory for two years and then was permitted to live on Standing Rock Reservation straddling North and South Dakota territory. In 1885, he traveled for a season with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show and then returned to Standing Rock. In 1889, the spiritual proclamations of Sitting Bull influenced the rise of the “Ghost Dance,” an Indian religious movement that proclaimed that the whites would disappear and the dead Indians and buffalo would return.

On December 15, 1890, Sitting Bull was shot and killed during a raid on his house. There are varied accounts of the incident but it was generally believed that it was his support of he “Ghost Dancers” was what precipitated the raid. Until 1953, Sitting Bull’s remains were buried at Fort Yates when they were re-interred Mobridge, South Dakota, where a granite shaft marks his resting place.

Jul 20 2010

Prime Time

No Keith.  No Jon.  No Stephen.

Ultimate Car Build Off looks like fun, last week (repeated @ 8) they built cars out of the front half of front wheel drive cars.

What I think I’m going to watch is Hornblower.  It’s part of Gregory Peck night on Turner Classic, but the attraction to me is I’m a huge C. S. Forester fan.  The 1951 film is an adaptation of Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, and Flying Colors.

Since it’s a Hollywood film it concentrates a lot on his courtship of his second and better connected trophy wife Lady Barbara (sister of Arthur Wellesley) and not his more realistic and problematic first wife Maria.

Later-

Dave has Sylvester Stallone, Rob Corddry, and Robyn.  I wonder if Corddry is going to talk about Children’s Hospital.

Alton does tomatos.  The Venture Brothers has The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay.