Daily Archive: 05/30/2011

May 30 2011

Lime Rock

Lime Rock Park is the only race I’ve actually been to, as opposed to watching it on TV.  It’s interesting in a couple of respects.

First of all Lime Rock really is a park.  Lakeville is the back end of beyond, many solid miles of 2 lane distant from the highway.  There are a few buildings and a bridge to the infield and that’s it.  Spectators bring a cooler and a blanket and sit on the ground under the trees, some even camp out for the weekend so there are little tents all over the place.  When my Dad and my brother and I went we hung out on ‘the hill’ where you can see the first 4 turns and most of the main straight.

The other thing you notice about it is it’s extremely narrow and it’s hard to imagine any passing goes on, although it happens all the time.

Which brings me to the second interesting thing about Lime Rock, these are Sports Cars and there are 4 different classes of them running on track at the same time with varying speeds (which can make it confusing to watch).

The exotic looking and fastest ones are ‘prototype’ cars and come in 2 flavors, enclosed and open cockpit.  They generally have a seat for a navigator/mechanic (though it’s mostly an anachronism).

Then there are 2 classes of ‘touring (production)’ cars, Corvettes and everyone else.  They look like Porsches and Audis and BMWs and Corvettes (surprise) but they’re not generally street legal.  The touring cars are 20 or 30 miles an hour slower than the prototypes so when I say passing all the time I mean ALL the time, they’re kind of like rolling road blocks.

Speaking of road, as much racing takes place off it as on it and the only penalty is tearing up your undercarriage.  There is also a tendency to spend a lot of time figuring out which direction you are pointing after your last spin.  While there are a lot of bumps and offs surprisingly few of them are race ending.

For a Sports Car race Lime Rock is mercifully short.  The name races- LeMans, Daytona, Sebring are endurance races with several driver changes, to say nothing of tires and fuel.  It’s not uncommon for a badly damaged car to spend several hours in the pits and come back to race competitively, victory margins are measured in hours and minutes rather than seconds.

They don’t race on Sunday because the neighbors complain, but when people talk about Memorial Day being the busiest weekend in motor sports they’re generally including Lime Rock whether they know it or not.

Coverage on Speed starts at 2 pm ET.

May 30 2011

In Memoriam: Freedom

Is this what our brave men and women fought and died for, a police state?  Bush had people arrested at his rallies for tee shirts and bumper stickers, now people are being arrested for dancing which the courts are ruling is a form of “protest”. What would Jefferson have thought about this and the way the Park Police behaved?

May 30 2011

Punting the Pundits

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”.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: My Family’s Fallen — and Yours — Deserve More Than Platitudes for Memorial Day

On Monday we’ll hear a lot of Memorial Day speeches about honoring our fallen soldiers and their disabled comrades. On Tuesday some of the politicians giving those speeches will try to cut benefits for them and their families.

In the words of Ben Franklin, “Well done is better than well said.” The nine million veterans who currently receive Social Security benefits would probably agree.

Cutting benefits is no way to honor the fallen or those who came home with their bodies permanently damaged. It would be an act of profound ingratitude to doom them or their families to a life of increased deprivation. Yet that’s exactly what these politicians are trying to do.

Paul Krugman: Against Learned Helplessness

Unemployment is a terrible scourge across much of the Western world. Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills. Some European countries have it even worse: 21 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed.

Nor is the situation showing rapid improvement. This is a continuing tragedy, and in a rational world bringing an end to this tragedy would be our top economic priority.

Yet a strange thing has happened to policy discussion: on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs. Instead of a determination to do something about the ongoing suffering and economic waste, one sees a proliferation of excuses for inaction, garbed in the language of wisdom and responsibility.

So someone needs to say the obvious: inventing reasons not to put the unemployed back to work is neither wise nor responsible. It is, instead, a grotesque abdication of responsibility.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: U.S. is being outpaced on dealing with deficits, climate

While the United States remains utterly frozen in a debate about budget deficits and all the things that government shouldn’t do, other countries are marrying public and private resources to make themselves stronger and more competitive.

While the United States is not even sure we should have gone halfway toward providing health insurance to all of our citizens, other democratic countries long ago began using government to cover all their citizens – and have health costs far lower than ours.

While Americans pay less in taxes than the citizens of other rich countries – and currently pay the smallest share of their incomes for taxes since 1958 – one house of Congress thinks the only thing that can be done to help the country is to cut taxes even more.

New York Times Editorial: Inching Closer to States’ Rights

Chief Justice John Roberts is one vote short of moving the Supreme Court to a position so conservative on states’ rights that it would be to the right of the Tea Party’s idea of limited government. That chilling possibility was evident in the court’s recent ruling in the case of Virginia v. Stewart.

The principle at stake dates back to a 1908 case, Ex parte Young, in which the Supreme Court held that federal courts have a paramount role in stopping a state from violating federal law. Despite the 11th Amendment’s protection of a state from being sued in federal court, all state officials must comply with federal law, which the Constitution calls “the supreme Law of the Land.”

States’ rights has been a politically charged concept for even longer. It was a basis for secession and then for years of Southern defiance on segregation. Now it is used as an excuse for rejecting national immigration policy.

Jim Hightower A Little Less Corporate Political Corruption

Obama is thinking about issuing an executive order that would mitigate some of the damage done to our democracy by the Supreme Court’s dastardly Citizens United edict.

Come on, Obama, do it. Stand up, stand tall, stand firm. Yes, you can!

President Barack Obama is thinking about issuing an executive order that would mitigate some of the damage done to our democracy by the Supreme Court’s dastardly Citizens United edict, which unleashes unlimited amounts of secret corporate cash to pervert America’s elections.

Obama’s idea is simply to require that those corporations trying to get federal contracts disclose all of their campaign donations for the previous two years, including money they launder through such front groups as the Chamber of Commerce.

Peter Rothberg: Remembering Gil Scott-Heron

I first saw Gil Scott-Heron perform in 1985 at the Brazilian club SOB’s in Manhattan, which during that period functioned as his home-base. His unique musical fusion of jazz, blues, rap, funk, and soul was captivating and his radical political vision was transformative, not just for me, but for a generation of musicians and activists especially in the hip-hop community.

The pioneering poet and musician is often credited as one of the progenitors of hip-hop with Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Aesop Rock, Talib Kweli, Kanye West and Common all citing the poet/songwriter as a chief influence.

Tragically, Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York at the tender age of 62.

Best known for the song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” which firmly entered the cultural lexicon after appearing on his 1971 album Pieces of a Man, Scott-Heron later battled drug problems and was incarcerated for a period during the 2000s, but he never stopped touring, and in 2010 he released the well-received I’m New Here.

May 30 2011

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Business

1 Germany to close all nuclear plants by 2022

by Deborah Cole, AFP

57 mins ago

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany on Monday became the first major industrialised power to agree an end to nuclear power in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be completed by 2022.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said the decision, hammered out by her centre-right coalition overnight, marked the start of a “fundamental” rethink of energy policy in the world’s number four economy.

“We want the electricity of the future to be safer and at the same time reliable and affordable,” Merkel told reporters as she accepted the findings of an expert commission on nuclear power she appointed in March in response to the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant.

May 30 2011

On This Day In History May 30

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 image to enlarge

May 30 is the 150th day of the year (151st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 215 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1922, Former President William Howard Taft dedicates the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall on this day in 1922. At the time, Taft was serving as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Taft remains the only former president ever to hold a seat on the Supreme Court. He served from 1921 to 1930. He recalled his time on the court as his most rewarding career, later saying in his memoirs, I don’t remember that I was ever president.

History

The Lincoln Memorial, designed after the temples of ancient Greece, is significant as America’s foremost memorial to their 16th president, as a totally original example of neoclassical architecture, and as the formal terminus to the extended National Mall in accordance with the McMillan Plan for the monumental core of Washington.

Demands for a fitting memorial had been voiced since the time of Lincoln’s death. In 1867, Congress heeded these demands and passed the first of many bills incorporating a commission to erect a monument for the sixteenth president. An American, Clark Mills, was chosen to design the monument. His plans reflected the bombastic nationalistic spirit of the age. His design called for a 70-foot (21 m) structure adorned with six equestrian and 31 pedestrian statues of colossal proportions, crowned by a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Abraham Lincoln. However, subscriptions for the project were insufficient and its future fell into doubt.

The matter lay dormant until the turn of the century, when, under the leadership of Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, six separate bills were introduced to Congress for the incorporation of a new memorial commission. The first five bills, proposed in the years 1901, 1902, and 1908, met with defeat; however, the final bill (Senate Bill 9449), introduced on December 13, 1910, passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting the following year and President William H. Taft was chosen as president. Progress continued at a steady pace and by 1913 Congress had approved of the Commission’s choice of design and location. However, this approval was far from unanimous. Many thought that architect Henry Bacon’s Greek temple design was far too ostentatious for a man of Lincoln’s humble character. Instead they proposed a simple log cabin shrine. The site too did not go unopposed. The recently reclaimed land in West Potomac Park was seen by many to be either too swampy or too inaccessible. Other sites, such as Union Station, were put forth. The Commission stood firm in its recommendation though, feeling that the Potomac Park location, situated on the Washington MonumentCapitol axis, overlooking the Potomac River and surrounded by open land, was an ideal site. Furthermore, the Potomac Park site had already been designated in the McMillan Plan of 1901 to be the location of a future monument comparable to that of the Washington Monument.

With Congressional approval and a $300,000 allocation, the project got underway. On February 12, 1914, an inauspicious dedication ceremony was conducted and following month the actual construction began. Work progressed steadily according to schedule. However a few changes did have to be made. The statue of Lincoln, originally designed to be 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, was later enlarged to 19 feet (5.8 m) to prevent it from being dwarfed by its huge chamber. As late as 1920, the decision was made to substitute an open portal for the bronze and glass grille which was to have guarded the entrance. Despite these changes, the Memorial was finished on schedule. In a (May 30) celebration in 1922, Commission president William H. Taft dedicated the Memorial and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it for the American people. Lincoln’s only remaining son, 79 year old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.

May 30 2011

Six In The Morning

Yemeni forces storm protest camp, killing 20

A medical volunteer says troops fired indiscriminately into a crowd.

By Iona Craig

Special to The Times

May 30, 2011, 1:08 a.m.


Reporting from Sana, Yemen- Yemeni security forces stormed a protest camp in a southern city early Monday morning, shooting indiscriminately, setting fire to the camp and killing at least 20 people, a medical volunteer said.

The city of Taiz has seen large anti-government protests calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster since early February.

Sadek Shugaa, a volunteer medic at the field hospital at the protest camp in Taiz, said he watched as snipers took up positions around the camp while other Yemeni forces used water cannons to clear the area early Monday.




Monday’s Headlines:

Germany pledges nuclear shutdown by 2022

Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says?

Japan PM to face confidence vote

Preaching peace, Zuma heads to Libya

Pump failure nearly brings No. 5 to a boil

May 30 2011

Protecting The Constitution & Our Internet Rights

In the November elections, one of the greatest losses that the left suffered was Russ Feingold. What we didn’t notice until this past week during the rush to please the right wing and President Obama by renewing the unaltered (un)Patriot Act for four more years was that there were others who had picked up the cause of the left, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM).

Amendment Requires Government to End Practice of Secretly Interpreting Law

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. – As the Senate prepares to approve a four-year extension of the Patriot Act without public debate about how the executive branch actually interprets controversial provisions in the ten-year-old surveillance law, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Co.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced an amendment to the Patriot Act reauthorization legislation to require the U.S. Attorney General to make the U.S. Government’s official interpretation of the law public.

The amendment also states that it is the “Sense of the Congress” that government officials “should not secretly reinterpret public laws and statutes in a manner that is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of these laws and should not describe the execution of these laws in ways that misinforms or misleads the public.”

Now, Sen. Wyden takes a stand for our internet rights and against the sell out Democrats by placing a hold on the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” (pdf) or as is euphemistically known the “Protect IP Act” which is the second try at getting Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass the last session thanks to Wyden.

The “Protect IP Act” is a revamping of COICA making it just as bad if not worse:

This version changes the “interactive computer services” language mentioned in our post below to “information location tools,” a term that points back to section 512(d) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In that context it’s been generally understood to refer to search engines, though there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t see efforts to expand the definition in actions under this bill. But in any case, requiring search engines to remove links to an entire website raises serious First Amendment concerns considering the lawful expression that may be hosted on the same domain.

In other words, “the proposed laws could be used to shut down websites that link to other websites that authorities claim to be carrying out infringing activities.”

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog points out that Homeland Security already has shut down sites:

As evidence, I offer channelsurfing.net and atdhe.net. These domains created no content, as near as I could tell. But they linked to sites that offered sports television over the Internet, and those links were on a game-by-game basis. So, for example, if you didn’t want to subscribe to cable, but wanted to watch ESPN games, you could go to one of these sites, peruse the list of links, choose your game and source, click and watch. Sometimes several sources offered the same game, and you had several links to choose from.

Again, neither of these sites generated the video. They merely offered links to other sites that did. Those other sites perhaps violated intellectual property rights; these sites certainly did not.

Now go ahead and click the links for those sites, and see what happened to them. Yep, that’s the Homeland Security logo.

hree guesses when both of these seizures occurred. If you said “Right before the Super Bowl,” America’s ad and money feast with a football game inside, you wouldn’t be wrong. Homeland Security, the counter-terrorism arm of our national security state, is helping to seize small-people’s property (those sites were property) in order to protect the profits and property of billionaire sports owners and the advertisers who love them.

Not that I wasn’t certain that Obama and friends weren’t in the pockets of billionaires and corporation but it is becoming even more evident that most of the Democratic leadership is no better than the Republicans.

We need more people in Congress like Ron Wyden who are willing to stand for the people who elected them. Like Gaius Publius, I’m making lists of those who are willing.

May 30 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for May 29, 2011-

DocuDharma

May 30 2011

Pique the Geek 20110529: Curing Meat for Preservation

The process of curing meat (including fish, shellfish, and poultry) is an ancient process, the origins of it lost in antiquity.  The origin of our verb to cure comes from the Latin verb curare, meaning “to take care of”.  The word passed into Middle French as curer, and after the Norman conquest in 1066 into what became Middle English as curen.  Thus is shares its roots and ultimate meaning as the medical use, “to take care of”.

Real curing requires salt, but for several reasons salt alone is not the ideal curing agent.  In a truly cured meat (I shall continue to use that term to include the items in the first sentence), the salt content is high and the moisture level is low.  Remember, the primary purpose of curing is to prevent bacterial and fungal attack on the meat, but there are other factors at play as well.

May 30 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 42 Top Stories

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Karzai gives US ‘last warning’ over civilian deaths

by Sardar Ahmad, AFP

Sun May 29, 10:18 am ET

KABUL (AFP) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the US military on Sunday to avoid operations that kill civilians, saying it was his “last warning” to Washington after 14 people allegedly died in an air strike.

Reacting to the alleged deaths of 10 children, two women and two men in an air strike on Saturday in the southern province of Helmand, Karzai said such incidents were “murdering of Afghanistan’s children and women.”

“The president called this incident a great mistake and the murdering of Afghanistan’s children and women, and on behalf of the Afghan people gives his last warning to the US troops and US officials in this regard,” his office said, adding that he “strongly condemned” the killings.