05/29/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow

Osama bin Laden is dead. Now after 10 years why are we still Afghanistan? What our diplomats fail to recognize about tribal customs of the Afghan people gets an explanation from Rachel Maddow. The reason for the military to be in Afghanistan is dead, of that I am certain. Are we now getting closer to bringing our troops home?

Rant of the Week: Keith Olberman

Cantor Puts Politics Over Missouri’s People

100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500

Have I shared my feelings about Turn Left Racing yet?  Richard, my Dad, will watch anything with an engine in it but I have no use at all for Turn Left.  There is nothing interesting about identical bumper cars screaming in circles for hours on end.

Except for the flaming chunks of twisted metal that type of racing is designed to produce.

If it’s your idea of a good time then you really are no better than a sadistic degenerate Roman howling for your bread and circuses.

Sadly open wheel racing in the U.S. has become more and more like it’s besotted moonshining counterpart with rigid specifications supposedly adopted to ‘showcase driver skills’ and ‘reduce team cost and enhance competitiveness’ but which are in fact crafted to produce more wrecks for the bloodthirsty crowds.  I blame Tony George, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500, the historic showcase of United States automotive technology for this revolting development.  As a side note, the last time an all U.S. engine and chassis won was in 1977.  Tony is just as greedy and amoral as Bernie Ecclestone but is not nearly as smart or well connected, he’s basically a failure who owns an expensive to maintain white elephant.

In this 100th anniversary edition (95th actual race because of some dark years) we are watching the end of the Cretaceous.  Turn Left’s Coca-Cola 600 (100 extra miles of slow motion boredom) has outdrawn Indy for 9 of the last 10 years (there was a rain out in 2009).  This will probably be pioneering Danica Patrick’s last race at Indianapolis as she is moving full time to Turn Left because that’s where the money is.  As David Newton of ESPN says, “Her absence will strip the 500 of one of the few remaining reasons to tune in to what once was the greatest show in motorsports.”

And don’t expect her to win in her finale, her ride is second rate and she qualified poorly.

There are 3 other women drivers today.  Pippa Mann is suffering severe burns on the back of her hands as the result of a crash in qualifying.  I suppose in the interests of full disclosure I should note that The Stars Hollow Gazette’s domain name was registered using Go Daddy.

I will also mention comb over expert, quitter, and birther conspiracist Donald Trump withdrew as pace car driver because he couldn’t spare the time for training.  He is replaced by 4 time winner A.J. Foyt.

Starting Grid below.

On This Day In History May 29

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.

May 29 is the 149th day of the year (150th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 216 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1913, Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps makes its infamous world premiere

Some of those in attendance to see the Ballets Russes at the Théâtre des Champs-élysées on May 29, 1913, would already have been familiar with the young Russian composer Igor Stravinsky through his 1910 ballet L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird). But if they expected his newest work to proceed in the same familiar and pleasing vein as his first, they were in for a surprise. From the moment the premiere performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring) began on this night in 1913, it was clear that even an audience of sophisticated Parisians was totally unprepared for something so avant-garde.


After undergoing revisions almost up until the very day of its first performance, it was premiered on Thursday, May 29, 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and was conducted by Pierre Monteux under the Ballets Russes.

The premiere involved one of the most famous classical music riots in history. The intensely rhythmic score and primitive scenario shocked audiences more accustomed to the demure conventions of classical ballet. Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography was a radical departure from classical ballet. Stravinsky would later write in his autobiography of the process of working with Nijinsky on the choreography, stating that “the poor boy knew nothing of music” and that Nijinsky “had been saddled with a task beyond his capacity.” While Stravinsky praised Nijinsky’s amazing dance talent, he was frustrated working with him on choreography.

This frustration was reciprocated by Nijinsky with regard to Stravinsky’s patronizing attitude: “…so much time is wasted as Stravinsky thinks he is the only one who knows anything about music. In working with me he explains the value of the black notes, the white notes, of quavers and semiquavers, as though I had never studied music at all… I wish he would talk more about his music for Sacre, and not give a lecture on the beginning theory of music.”

The complex music and violent dance steps depicting fertility rites first drew catcalls and whistles from the crowd. At the start, the audience began to boo loudly. There were loud arguments in the audience between supporters and opponents of the work. These were soon followed by shouts and fistfights in the aisles. The unrest in the audience eventually degenerated into a riot. The Paris police arrived by intermission, but they restored only limited order. Chaos reigned for the remainder of the performance. Fellow composer Camille Saint-Saëns famously stormed out of the premiére allegedly infuriated over the misuse of the bassoon in the ballet’s opening bars (though Stravinsky later said “I do not know who invented the story that he was present at, but soon walked out of, the premiere.”) .

Stravinsky ran backstage, where Diaghilev was turning the lights on and off in an attempt to try to calm the audience. Nijinsky stood on a chair, leaned out (far enough that Stravinsky had to grab his coat-tail), and shouted counts to the dancers, who were unable to hear the orchestra (this was challenging because Russian numbers above ten are polysyllabic, such as eighteen: vosemnadsat vs. seventeen: semnadsat).

After the premiere, Diaghilev is reported to have commented to Nijinsky and Stravinsky at dinner that the scandal was “exactly what I wanted.”


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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels talk exclusively to Ms. Amanpour.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), chairwoman of the DNC discuss jobs, Medicare and the 2012 campaign.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests  are Joe Klein, TIME Columnist. Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times Pentagon Correspondent, Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast Editor, The Dish. They will discuss: The three republicans with a real shot to beat Obama and how close is President Obama to the troops?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Republican Leader Sen. Mitch “The Human Hybrid Turtle” McConnell (R-KY) join Gregory to discuss the budget, debt ceiling and the 2012 elections.

The roundtable guests Fmr. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN); GOP Strategist Alex Castellanos; Washington Post Columnist Ruth Marcus and New York Times Columnist David Brooks will give their take.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army; Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Tim Tetz, legislative director for The American Legion; Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee; and Dale Beatty, co-founder of Purple Heart Homes will join in discussing the troops.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will update on the very latest in Joplin, MO.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Zakaria’s guest are Tom Friedman of the New York Times, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed and President of the Central Bank of Kansas, Thomas Hoenig.

Paul Krugman: For Emerging Economies, a Dilemma Becomes a “Trilemma”

Vladimir Putin says we’re hooligans; Brazil accuses the United States of engaging in “currency wars”; and the Chinese are, well, being their usual charming selves.

But what’s going on in the international currency scene?

I don’t know why I didn’t think to put it this way before – and I don’t know if anyone else is saying this – but what we have here is a classic example of the Mundellian impossible trinity, also known as “the trilemma,” which says that you can’t simultaneously have free movement of capital, a stable exchange rate and independent monetary policy. So, how does this apply to current issues?

Advanced countries, very much including the United States, are weighed down by the aftereffects of the 2008 financial crisis; this has led to low investment returns.

Meanwhile, emerging markets are in much better shape, so capital wants to go there.

Anthony S. Fauci: After 30 years of HIV/AIDS, real progress and much left to do

Three decades ago, the June 5, 1981, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reported on five previously healthy young gay men in Los Angeles diagnosed with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), an infectious disease usually seen only in people with profoundly impaired immune function. As a specialist in infectious diseases and immunology, I had cared for several people with PCP whose immune systems had been weakened by cancer chemotherapy. I was puzzled about why otherwise healthy young men would acquire this infection. And why gay men? I was concerned, but mentally filed away the report as a curiosity.

One month later, the MMWR wrote about 26 cases in previously healthy gay men from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, who had developed PCP as well as an unusual form of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma. Their immune systems were severely compromised. This mysterious syndrome was acting like an infectious disease that probably was sexually transmitted. My colleagues and I never had seen anything like it. The idea that we could be dealing with a brand-new infectious microbe seemed like something for science fiction movies.

Little did we know what lay ahead.

Peter B. Bach and Robert Kocher: Why Medical School Should Be Free

Doctors are among the most richly rewarded professionals in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that of the 15 highest-paid professions in the United States, all but two are in medicine or dentistry.

Why, then, are we proposing to make medical school free?

Huge medical school debts – doctors now graduate owing more than $155,000 on average, and 86 percent have some debt – are why so many doctors shun primary care in favor of highly paid specialties, where there are incentives to give expensive treatments and order expensive tests, an important driver of rising health care costs.

Fixing our health care system will be impossible without a larger pool of competent primary care doctors who can make sure specialists work together in the treatment of their patients – not in isolation, as they often do today – and keep track of patients as they move among settings like private residences, hospitals and nursing homes. Moreover, our population is growing and aging; the American Academy of Family Physicians has estimated a shortfall of 40,000 primary care doctors by 2020. Given the years it takes to train a doctor, we need to start now.

Tim Karr: AT&T Wants to Give You an 80s Makeover

f you were around in the 80s, you might be experiencing a horrible flashback right about now.

No, it’s not because legwarmers and spandex are in style again. It’s because AT&T, that monopoly that once lorded over your rotary phone, has resurfaced with a scheme to rule your mobile phone as well.

Back in the 80s, AT&T’s power was near absolute. That’s why antitrust authorities stepped in to break up the monopoly and protect the American people against abuse.

Now, with AT&T’s planned $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, we’re reaching the danger point again. And this time control over one of the most vital forms of communication is at stake.

If regulators allow AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile, we would be left with a wireless market that is far more consolidated than the markets for oil, banking, automobiles and air travel.

Eugene Robinson A Matter of Conscience

Washington – Let’s suppose the new doping allegations against cyclist Lance Armstrong are true. Should his seven Tour de France victories be marked with an asterisk, or even erased? If so, then the unofficial title of greatest-in-history would revert to Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx, who won the Tour five times — oh, and who tested positive for banned stimulants on at least three occasions.

Plus ca change. (That’s French for “same old, same old.”)

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that trying to police the use of performance-enhancing substances by professional athletes is pure, Sisyphean folly. I’m even more convinced that threatening to throw the accused in jail — as might happen with Armstrong, slugger Barry Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens, and did happen with sprinter Marion Jones — is a gross misuse of criminal statutes intended to sanction actual crimes.

Six In The Morning

The unstoppable march of the tobacco giants

How the industry ruthlessly exploits the developing world – its young, poor and uneducated

By Emily Dugan Sunday, 29 May 2011

More than half a century after scientists uncovered the link between smoking and cancer – triggering a war between health campaigners and the cigarette industry – big tobacco is thriving.

Despite the known catastrophic effects on health of smoking, profits from tobacco continue to soar and sales of cigarettes have increased: they have risen from 5,000 billion sticks a year in the 1990s to 5,900 billion a year in 2009. They now kill more people annually than alcohol, Aids, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Honduran police turn a blind eye to soaring number of ‘femicides’

Kung Fu Panda 2: Hollywood works harder to win Chinese audiences

Industry wobbles in Zimbabwe’s second city

India may approach NY court to prove ISI as terror group

F1: Monaco

Surprise!  Hispania Racing Team will start Monaco.  The refs have given them a pass despite Karthikeyan’s suspension problems and Liuzzi’s hard park which prevented them from setting a qualifying time.  The update on Perez is that he has a concussion and a sprained thigh.  The concussion means he can’t race and unlike IndyCar it’s the driver, not the car, that qualifies.

Hamilton got pretty screwed by Perez’s crash since he was saving tires in the pits and was only able to qualify 7th after half an hour of Red Flag while they reset the track.  Then he was penalized down to 9th for blowing off a chicane.

Speaking of tires, when asked why there was so little ‘clag’ or scrubbed off rubber on the track a Pirelli representative laughed and pointed out the dramatically lower speeds at Monaco.  This is significant because the projections are that even the Super Softs are good for 23 laps and it’s only a 78 lap race.  Likewise non-competitive teams like Scuderia Marlboro UPC should suffer less from their lack of downforce and horsepower.

But they will suffer from grid position, it’s practically impossible to pass and anyone looking to make up positions will have to do it in the pits or by avoiding the mistakes of those ahead.  I stand by yesterday’s prediction, “Yet another snooze fest made exciting by flaming chunks of twisted metal which will be made more numerous by the frequent appearance of the safety car.”

Speed’s coverage starts with GP2 at 6 am, pre-race at 7:30, and roll off at 8.  I’ll also be covering the Indianapolis 500 today which starts on ABC at 11 am and tomorrow I might have a word or two about Lime Rock.

Pretty tables below.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for May 28, 2011-


Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide bomber kills Afghan police chief, German troops

by Gul Rahim, AFP

48 mins ago

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (AFP) – The police commander for Northern Afghanistan and two German soldiers were among six people killed Saturday in a suicide bombing at a provincial governor’s office, officials said.

The attacker struck shortly after a meeting at the office regarding security in Taloqan, the capital of Takhar province, had finished. The Taliban claimed responsibility in what was its latest example of high-profile target selection.

The police chief, General Mohammed Daoud Daoud, was a key figure in Afghanistan’s recent history. A former military commander of Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Northern Alliance, he oversaw the siege of Kunduz, the final major battle of the US-led invasion that followed the September 11 attacks in 2001.