Daily Archive: 07/22/2012

Jul 22 2012

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

The Word – On the Straight & Narrow-Minded

The minds of young people are being poisoned by knowledge, but thankfully Texas is the Large Hadron Collider of denying science.

Jul 22 2012

On This Day In History July 22

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 22 is the 203rd day of the year (204th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 162 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1933, Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

Like many pilots at the time, Post disliked the fact that the speed record for flying around the world was not held by a fixed-wing aircraft, but by the Graf Zeppelin, piloted by Hugo Eckener in 1929 with a time of 21 days. On June 23, 1931, Post and his navigator, Harold Gatty, left Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York in the Winnie Mae with a flight plan that would take them around the world, stopping at Harbour Grace, Flintshire, Hanover twice, Berlin, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Nome where his airscrew had to be repaired, Fairbanks where the airscrew was replaced, Edmonton, and Cleveland before returning to Roosevelt Field. They arrived back on July 1, after traveling 15,474 miles in the record time of 8 days and 15 hours and 51 minutes. The reception they received rivaled Lindbergh’s everywhere they went. They had lunch at the White House on July 6, rode in a ticker-tape parade the next day in New York City, and were honored at a banquet given by the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America at the Hotel Astor. After the flight, Post acquired the Winnie Mae from F.C. Hall, and he and Gatty published an account of their journey titled, Around the World in Eight Days, with an introduction by Will Rogers.

His Lockheed Vega aircraft, the Winnie Mae is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and his pressure suit is being prepared for display at the same location. On August 15, 1935, Post and American  humorist Will Rogers were killed when Post’s aircraft crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Point Barrow, in Alaska.

Jul 22 2012

F1 2012: Hockenheim

Local Boys Geared Up for German Grand Prix, but Not at Pole Position

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

July 21, 2012

(A) bit of bad German news has been all the talk of how the other track that hosts the German Grand Prix in alternating years, the Nurburgring, is in a complete state of financial ruin and its future in doubt, as the circuit is going bankrupt. In 2009, the local government backed and paid for a renovation of the circuit into both a circuit and a theme park, and it has turned into a fiasco.

Last March, the European Commission sent out a press release that began thus: “The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether a €524 million set of aid measures supporting the racetrack and leisure park at the Nurburgring in Germany is in line with EU state aid rules.”



And in a final bit of bad news, German media has found the race a good moment to report that prosecutors in Munich are preparing to investigate claims by a German banker that Bernie Ecclestone had attempted to bribe him, offering $44 million in exchange for selling Formula One to CVC Capital a few years ago. The banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, was recently sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in another matter, after admitting bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion.

F1 : No German arrest for corruption as Formula 1 supremo skips Hockenheim race

F1SA

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Formula 1 Chief Executive’s absence, unusual for a European race but not unheard of, heightened speculation he is afraid of being arrested.



“With Mercedes-Benz stalling on a new Concorde Agreement, and sponsors watching on anxiously, no one knows quite what will happen next,” Tom Cary wrote in the Telegraph.

If you build it, they will come? The Nürburgring folly

Mark Hallam, Deutsche Welle

7/21/12

How do you take the world’s most famous racetrack, with relatively small financial woes, and turn it into a half-billion-euro hole in less than a decade? The answer’s simple: renovate it with things it doesn’t need.



The idea behind revamping the Nürburgring was to turn it into a publicly-traded company at least partially owned by private investors.

Two businessmen, Kai Richter and Georg Lindner, combined with then-Nürburgring CEO Walter Kafitz to convince the state government that the project was viable. The pair pledged to contribute to Nürburgring GmbH, and said others would flock to the project once the foundations were laid.

No new investors emerged. Midway through the construction process, Richter and Lindner themselves withdrew, saying they were out of money.



“Well, firstly, Richter and Lindner obviously must go!” Hahne said. “Secondly, the racing and ‘event’ segments of the company must be divided. And thirdly – this is most important – the race tracks must remain in public possession, either at the regional or federal level.”

His suggestion, in short, is to do everything possible to turn the clock back on five disastrous years, at a great cost to the state and the German taxpayer.

Famed German Tracks Leave Their Mark on Series

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: July 20, 2012

With the advent of the Schumacher era, Formula One became so popular in Germany that for many years the country hosted both the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim and another race – either the European Grand Prix or the Luxembourg Grand Prix – at the Nürburgring. Since 2008, the German Grand Prix has rotated between the Nürburgring and Hockenheim, while the European Grand Prix has moved to Valencia, Spain.

But many of the most memorable races of the German Grand Prix took place at the old Nürburgring track, the Nordschleife, or north loop, which was a track 20.81 kilometers, or 12.93 miles, long, winding through the forests of the Eiffel hills. It was a roller coaster of a track and on it only the greatest drivers could prove their mettle.



The Hockenheimring was redesigned in 2002, with a vast portion of long straights through the forest cut off in favor of a small track with a large, tight hairpin to facilitate overtaking.



The distinctive, winding track in the stadium area has remained, however, and is a favorite for fans to see the cars and for the drivers to see the fans.

3 drivers were penalized for gearbox changes, Rosberg, Grosjean, and Webber (at Silverstone).  Perez was penalized for impeding in Q2.  Red Bull is in violation of Engine Torque mapping rules.  No penalty imposed.

Forecast is for a dry track. Coverage is at noon on Faux

Pretty tables below.

Jul 22 2012

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Joining Chris at the table will be: Gary Gensler (@cftc), chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since May 2009. Gensler previously served as the under-secretary of domestic finance at the Treasury Department; Bryn Bird, second-generation farmer in Granville, Ohio at Bird’s Haven Farms.  She is also a field outreach coordinator for Rural Coalition; Akil Hashem (@AkilHashem), retired brigadier general who served in the Syrian army for 27 years (1962-1989); Col. Jack Jacobs (@ColJackJacobs), Medal of Honor recipient, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and military analyst for MSNBC; Stacy-Marie Ishmael (@s_m_i), adjunct professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, former editor of “FT Tilt;” Josh Barro (@jbarro), contributor to Forbes.com with “The Barrometer;” Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” and syndicated columnist for King Features; and Sarab Al-Jijakli, member of the Syrian Expatriates Organization and co-founder of the National Alliance for Syria.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper joins George Stephanopoulos to discuss the latest information on the shooting, and how his state and the Aurora community are coping with the tragedy.

The roundtable examines the violence in Aurora, with former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, author of the new book “A Nation of Wusses,” ABC News’ George Will, ABC News’ Cokie Roberts, TIME Magazine political columnist Joe Klein, and The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Aurora mayor Steve Hogan; Rep. Earl Perlmutter; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Dan Rather, HDNet Global Correspondent; David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist; Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst; and Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Columnist.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This Sunday’s MTP guests are Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D); former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former chief of police for the Los Angeles Police Department William Bratton, and gun-control advocate Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

The roundtable guests are New York Times columnist David Brooks, former DC public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, former senior adviser to the 2004 Kerry presidential campaign, Bob Shrum, and former senior strategist to the 2008 McCain presidential campaign, Steve Schmidt.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D);  Senator John McCain (R-AZ); Virginia Senate Candidates Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine.

Jul 22 2012

2012 Le Tour – Stage 20

Rambouillet / Paris Champs-Élysées (74.6 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

I ♥ a parade, as a matter of fact I dare say you’ll find The Stars Hollow Gazette is your leader among left blogs in Parade coverage.

Not to mention professional bicycle racing, Formula One, NCAA Tournament Basketball, Playoff Baseball, and Dog Shows.

Have I mentioned there’s a lot of data in the tables?  I’m having some trouble processing them and so you will have to wait until some late night between now and the Olympics (only Wednesday folks) for me to update the stage diaries and publish comprehensive lists.

I generally skip the Award Ceremonies and today most of my attention is going to be on collecting lap positions at Hockenheim, however that doesn’t start until tape delayed at noon.

The course has two category 4 climbs which will not be enough to change any positions.  They will ride up and down the Champs Élysées 8 times before a sprint which is meaningful mostly in terms of a spectacular stage victory, but should have very little effect on Points.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
1 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING 84:26:31
2 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING +03:21
3 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE +06:19
4 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM +10:15
5 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM +11:04
6 ZUBELDIA Haimar RADIOSHACK-NISSAN +15:43
7 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM +15:51
8 ROLLAND Pierre TEAM EUROPCAR +16:31
9 BRAJKOVIC Janez ASTANA PRO TEAM +16:38
10 PINOT Thibaut FDJ-BIGMAT +17:17

Points

Place Rider Team Points
1 SAGAN Peter LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 386
2 GREIPEL André LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM 264
3 GOSS Matthew Harley ORICA GREENEDGE 238
4 CAVENDISH Mark SKY PROCYCLING 175
5 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald SKY PROCYCLING 146
6 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING 144
7 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 125
8 SANCHEZ Luis-Leon RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 104
9 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM 100
10 IMPEY Daryl ORICA GREENEDGE 98

Team

Place Team Time/Delta
1 RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 253:47:28
2 SKY PROCYCLING +06:02
3 BMC RACING TEAM +36:36
4 ASTANA PRO TEAM +43:39
5 LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE +01:05:02
6 MOVISTAR TEAM +01:08:19
7 TEAM EUROPCAR +01:08:58
8 KATUSHA TEAM +01:12:53
9 FDJ-BIGMAT +01:19:28
10 AG2R LA MONDIALE +01:41:22
11 LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM +02:15:16
12 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP +02:17:23
13 RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM +02:54:09
14 SAUR-SOJASUN +02:54:56
15 EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI +03:11:11
16 TEAM SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK +03:21:35
17 LAMPRE – ISD +03:56:28
18 VACANSOLEIL-DCM +04:33:00
19 COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE +04:39:51
20 GARMIN-SHARP +04:58:01
21 ORICA GREENEDGE +05:39:36
22 TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO +07:41:53

Hill Climb

Place Rider Team Points
1 VOECKLER Thomas TEAM EUROPCAR 134
2 KESSIAKOFF Fredrik ASTANA PRO TEAM 123
3 SORENSEN Chris Anker TEAM SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK 77
4 ROLLAND Pierre TEAM EUROPCAR 63
5 VALVERDE Alejandro MOVISTAR TEAM 51
6 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 48
7 MARTINEZ Egoi EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI 43
8 PINOT Thibaut FDJ-BIGMAT 40
9 FEILLU Brice SAUR-SOJASUN 38

Youth

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
1 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM 84:37:35
2 PINOT Thibaut FDJ-BIGMAT +06:13
3 KRUIJSWIJK Steven RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM +01:05:48
4 TAARAMAE Rein COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE +01:16:32
5 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI +01:20:40
6 VALLS FERRI Rafael VACANSOLEIL-DCM +01:26:37
7 SAGAN Peter LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE +01:27:42
8 NERZ Dominik LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE +01:31:08
9 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald SKY PROCYCLING +01:41:39

Coverage is on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon (on NBC), 2:30 pm, 8 pm, and midnight.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Sites of Interest-

The Stars Hollow Gazette Tags-

Jul 22 2012

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. Drug War Expands to Africa, a Newer Hub for Cartels

 

 By CHARLIE SAVAGE and THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON – In a significant expansion of the war on drugs, the United States has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya as part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to smuggle cocaine into Europe.

The growing American involvement in Africa follows an earlier escalation of antidrug efforts in Central America, according to documents, Congressional testimony and interviews with a range of officials at the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pentagon.

In both regions, American officials are responding to fears that crackdowns in more direct staging points for smuggling – like Mexico and Spain – have prompted traffickers to move into smaller and weakly governed states, further corrupting and destabilizing them.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Robert Fisk: Sectarianism bites into Syria’s rebels

Cars clog Zimbabwe’s streets as economy sputters back to life

Venezuela’s ‘Thomas Crown Affair?’ Stolen Matisse discovered in Miami.

Norway massacre survivor tries to revive pre-attack memories

Chariots of Fire’s Eric Liddell is Chinese ‘hero’

Jul 22 2012

“Corn sex is complicated”

crossposted at Voices on the Square

Elizabeth Kolbert addresses the effect the current drought is having on crops in The Big Heat.

It is now corn-sex season across the Midwest, and everything is not going well. High commodity prices spurred farmers to sow more acres this year, and unseasonable warmth in March prompted many to plant corn early. Just a few months ago, the United States Department of Agriculture was projecting a record corn crop of 14.79 billion bushels. But then, in June and July, came broilingly high temperatures, combined with a persistent drought across much of the midsection of the country.