04/21/2012 archive

Random Japan



   Empress Michiko decided to forego the standard dress-and-heels ensemble in favor of traditional kimono and wooden sandals when she attended a memorial for victims of the March 11 quake/tsunami. It seems she was worried that she might have to spring into action if the Emperor, who had recently undergone heart bypass surgery, started to go down, and high heels just might not cut it under those circumstances.

   Speaking of ailing Emperor Akihito, it was reported that he twice had to have fluid drained from his chest after his heart surgery.

   In Iran, thousands of women have been training in the way of the ninja, but it’s more for fitness and protection, their instructor says, not to unleash an army of trained female assassins on an unsuspecting world, as some Western media have speculated.

   Maya Nakanishi, a 26-year-old paralympian who lost her right leg in a work accident five years ago, put out a calendar featuring semi-nude photos of herself to raise funds to get her to London for the Games this summer. You go girl!

   A 33-year-old train conductor was arrested for grabbing the boobs and nether regions of a 16-year-old high-school girl on an out-of-service Odakyu Romance Car. He is also accused of “committing sexual acts” with the same girl at a karaoke shop and in a hotel on two other occasions. Hold on… sounds he was just trying to add some romance to an ongoing relationship.

   Meanwhile, a 23-year-old art teacher at a junior high school in Kagawa Prefecture was canned after surreptitiously snapping photos of students’ snappers up their skirts while on the job.

   Ninety-two people wolfed down as many fermented beans as they could during a natto-eating contest in Ibaraki Prefecture. A 27-year-old from Nara was crowned king of the natto-eaters after downing 350 grams of the sticky stuff in 27.7 seconds.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Oils for Cooking and Drizzling


For home cooks with a sense of adventure, experimenting with aromatic and flavored oils can transform a dish. But deciding which type of oil to use isn’t always easy.

This week, Martha Rose Shulman explains all in a primer on the various oils that can be used in cooked dishes and baked goods and drizzled on salads, fish and vegetables. She also singles out a few new favorites, including rice bran and wasabi oils, as well as tried-and-true varieties, like canola and extra virgin olive oils. Here’s her report, followed by five new recipes using oils from walnuts, peanuts, rice bran, coconut, wasabi and sesame.

Oven-Roasted Salmon, Quinoa and Asparagus With Wasabi Oil

Seasoned oils like the wasabi oil I buy at my local specialty grocery can embellish a simply cooked piece of fish, a bowl of grains or steamed vegetables.

Radicchio or Asian Greens Salad With Golden Beets and Walnuts

A walnut-oil vinaigrette is a wonderful companion to bitter greens.

Rice Noodle Salad With Crispy Tofu and Lime-Peanut Dressing

Using unrefined peanut oil in the dressing complements the Asian flavors of this dish.

Whole-Wheat Ginger Scones

Coconut oil is the perfect nondairy fat to use for scones and other baked goods


Seared Red Rice With Spinach, Mushrooms, Carrot and Egg

This stir-fry uses rice bran oil, whose high smoking point helps impart a nice seared aroma.

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.

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

New York Times Editorial: The Global Economy at Risk

Anxieties about Europe dominated this week’s meetings in Washington of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Fund officials warned that the euro-zone crisis poses a grave danger to a weak global economy. Europe’s leaders, masters of denial, are still insisting on destructive austerity.

The danger was underscored by the latest Brookings Institution-Financial Times index of global economic recovery. The index, which measures economic and financial activity as well as confidence, shows that the world economy has deteriorated since last fall.

Olivier Guez: Voting for Yesterday in France

FROM the subject of halal meat to the matter of driver’s licenses, the French presidential campaign that culminates in voting on Sunday has been marked by peripheral squabbles and endless invective among the 10 candidates. But few things have been said about the gravity of the French economic crisis: the deficits in France’s public accounts and balance of payments; its drop in competitiveness; its decline in international commerce; its apathetic growth.

Nor have we heard much about the threat of increased unemployment and reduced purchasing power from the austerity measures that the markets expect any president to take – right after the election, of course. As for civil war in Syria, the perilous transitions in Arab countries, Al Qaeda’s progress in the Sahel, or Iran’s nuclear program, the candidates have behaved as if nothing were the matter – as if France were tacitly abandoning all influence abroad.

These omissions say a great deal about the state of a country that has rarely seemed so avid in its navel-gazing, so inward-looking. In short, France in 2012 is an old nation that increasingly cultivates the temptation to be an island unto itself.

Amy Goodman: Obama’s Policies: The Real Scandal in Cartagena

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign launched its first Spanish-language ads this week, just after he returned from the Summit of the Americas. He spent three days in Colombia, longer than any president in U.S. history. The trip was marred, however, by a prostitution scandal involving the U.S. military and Secret Service. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “We let the boss down, because nobody’s talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident.” Dempsey is right. It also served as a metaphor for the U.S. government’s ongoing treatment of Latin America.

The scandal reportedly involves 11 members of the U.S. Secret Service and five members of the U.S. Army Special Forces, who allegedly met prostitutes at one or more bars in Cartagena and took up to 20 of the women back to their hotel, some of whom may have been minors. This all deserves thorough investig

Eugene Robinson: The Right-Wing Bully Machine

Not all overheated political rhetoric is alike. Delusional right-wing crazy talk-the kind of ranting we’ve heard recently from washed-up rock star Ted Nugent and tea party-backed Rep. Allen West-is a special kind of poison that cannot be safely ignored.

Let me be clear: I’m saying that the extreme language we hear from the far right is qualitatively different from the extreme language we hear from the far left-and far more damaging to the ties that bind us as a nation. Tut-tutting that both sides should tone it down is meaningless. For all intents and purposes, one side is the problem.

David Sirota: Contradiction Where Religion and American Politics Meet

Here’s a newspaper headline that might induce a disbelieving double take: “Christians ‘More Likely to Be Leftwing’ And Have Liberal Views on Immigration and Equality.” Sounds too hard to believe, right? Well, it’s true-only not here in America, but in the United Kingdom.

That headline, from London’s Daily Mail, summed up the two-tiered conclusion of a new report from the British think tank Demos, which found that in England 1) “religious people are more active citizens (who) volunteer more, donate more to charity and are more likely to campaign on political issues” and 2) “religious people are more likely to be politically progressive (people who) put a greater value on equality than the non-religious, are more likely to be welcoming of immigrants as neighbours (and) more likely to put themselves on the left of the political spectrum.”

Joe Conason: What Mitt Romney Seems to Believe (and Why He’s So Disliked)

With the Republican primary contest over and the general election under way, Mitt Romney faces a voting public whose disdain for him has reached levels that pollsters describe as “historic.” From his embittered opponents as well as from Romney and his campaign, Americans have learned that the former Massachusetts governor simply won’t uphold any political position, issue or achievement he thinks might cost him votes. He doesn’t seem to understand that his inconstancy forfeits more respect than any disagreeable opinion would.

No matter how carefully the former Massachusetts governor parses and prevaricates, many voters, including more than a few conservatives, evidently feel they’ve detected the inner Mitt: a man with utmost regard for himself and people like him-and a profound disregard for people like most of them. They’ve observed him straining to express concern for the unemployed, the poor and the powerless, while sounding sincerely resentful whenever the privileged are held accountable. They’ve perceived an attitude of entitlement, whether he is withholding tax returns, defending tax breaks for billionaires or spending vast amounts to defame opponents. And they don’t like it, no matter what they may feel about Barack Obama.

On This Day In History April 21

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.)

April 21 is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack the town of Danbury, Connecticut, and begin destroying everything in sight. Facing little, if any, opposition from Patriot forces, the British went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouse, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.

The British destruction continued for nearly a week before word of it reached Continental Army leaders, including General Benedict Arnold, who was stationed in nearby New Haven. Along with General David Wooster and General Gold Silliman, Arnold led a contingent of more than 500 American troops in a surprise attack on the British forces as they began withdrawing from Danbury.

Sybil Ludington (April 16, 1761- February 26, 1839), daughter of Col. Henry Ludington, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of enemy troops.

The Ride

Ludington’s ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. This is especially remarkable because modern day endurance horse riders using lightweight saddles can barely ride such distances in daylight over well marked courses (see endurance riding). She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with her father’s musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.

The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,

Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.

The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.

Formula One 2012: Bahrain Qualifying

Bahrain is a collection of 33 islands half way up the Saudi side of the Persian Gulf between the Straights of Hormuz and Kuwait/Basra just to the west of the Qatar Peninsula.  It has a certain amount of oil and it is famous for its pearls but a lot of the modern economy is based on tourism because it’s one of the few Arabian countries where you can legally drink.  It’s also a center for International Banking, go figure.

It’s a playground for Petro-Billionaires, a Vice City ruled by the Sunni Bedouin Al Khalifa tribe originally from Kuwait.  The colonialist British established them as the ruling family in the early 1800s and Bahrain is considered a major center of British influence in Arabia, but in fact they frequently rebelled against this role and habitually sought the protection of the Shia Shahs of Iran against them and their other numerous enemies including the Turks, Saudis, and Omanis.

Iran first intervened against Portuguese colonial influence in 1602 and over the next 2 centuries built a solid Shia majority that persists until this day.  In the 1860s Iran was unable to defend Bahrain against British aggression and by 1892 it was a vassal state and broke off all relations with Iran.  In 1911 a sustained rebellion against the British eventually resulted in deposition of Sheikh Issa bin Ali Al Khalifa who changed his mind and had come to support Iranian territorial claims in the face of continued British domination.  The state became a virtual Vice Royalty of Charles Belgrave for 30 years until 1957.

Part of Belgrave’s policy was to encourage sectarian and class divisions between Shia and Sunni, after he was booted Britain “set out to change the demographics of Bahrain.  The policy of ‘deiranisation’ consisted of importing a large number of different Arabs and others from British colonies as labourers.”

Fun place huh?  Can’t wait to party with these guys.

In February 2011 the ‘Pearl Revolution’ was part of the wave of ‘Arab Spring’ revolts.  It was peaceful for exactly 3 days before the police started shooting protesters and when the locals proved insufficient to the task King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain defence force and, as chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports the chief architect the of initiative to bring Formula One racing to Bahrain and build the Bahrain International Circuit, invited Saudi mercenaries in to assist.

Human rights organizations reported that, in the 8 months following the outbreak of protests on 14 February, more than 1,600 peaceful political protesters, medical professionals, journalists, human rights defenders and innocent bystanders had been arrested, and more than 100 people convicted by a special military court established by the government.

On 23 November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry released its report on human rights violations during the February and March 2011 protests, finding that the government "systematically" tortured prisoners, summarily fired Shi’ite employees and university students, and committed other gross human rights violations.

In 2011 the Formula One race was cancelled due to civil unrest as the medical staff was deployed to treat casualties.  Charitable minds attribute the willingness of the Monarchy to negotiate to the desire to hold the race, but I have no doubt that it also precipitated the initial police violence and the quick resort to foriegn mercenaries.

Things are now no better.  Among the tortured and convicted is Abdulhadi al-Khawaja on a hunger strike since February 8, over 70 days, who is now refusing both IV fluids and water and is likely to die before his next court date this Monday.

Did I mention he’s a Danish citizen?

Thousands of people are in the streets and there are daily and nightly battles between Molotov Cocktail throwing protesters and shotgun and teargas wielding riot police.

On Thursday a van carrying members of the Force India racing team was nearly struck and and another with Sauber crew members witnessed it from a few cars behind.  Force India skipped the 2nd Friday Practice in order to transport its team during daylight.

The theme this year is- “Unif1ed – One Nation in Celebration“.  “I genuinely believe this race is a force for good, it unites many people from many different religious backgrounds, sects and ethnicities,” says Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.  “For those of us trying to navigate a way out of this political problem, having the race allows us … to celebrate our nation as an idea that is positive, not one that is divisive.”

Bahrain braces for wave of F1 protests

Paul Weaver in Manama and Ian Black, Middle East editor, The Guardian

Thursday 19 April 2012 14.05 EDT

A government PR agency distributed comments by a former Wefaq MP, Jasim Husain, who said: “I can tell you that most people in Bahrain are happy and pleased that F1 is back in Bahrain, given its effects on the economy and the social aspects of it. Many are happy and pleased. I see this as a sporting and economic event, rather than a political event. Security has never been a big issue in Bahrain. The protests are very much peaceful; largely people are having political issues which have to be addressed one way or another.”

Unease Surrounds Bahrain Grand Prix

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: April 19, 2012

The government is attempting to use the Grand Prix to show that life is back to normal in Bahrain, after the race was canceled last year because of unrest. An estimated 40 to 70 people have been killed in Bahrain since the Arab Spring uprisings began in February 2011.

“I am not angry with the government; it’s their future at stake,” said Khadija al-Mousawi, the hunger striker’s wife, one of whose daughters was at a protest in Manama on Wednesday. “What makes me angry is people like Ecclestone who decides to come to Bahrain because he thinks everyone is happy.”

“To what extent did commercial and political interests cloud their judgment?”

Bahrain Grand Prix 2012: city burns but Bernie Ecclestone insists the show must go on

By Tom Cary, F1 Correspondent, The Telegraph

Manama 10:00PM BST 20 Apr 2012

Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s chief executive, and Jean Todt, the president of the governing body, have a lot on the line. Ecclestone, in particular, after 81 years of scrapping his way to a fortune, is used to tough questions but should things go wrong very tough questions will be asked. To what extent did commercial and political interests cloud their judgment?

It is why everyone tried so hard to pass the buck last week, with Ecclestone saying it was up to the teams, the teams saying it was up to the FIA and the FIA saying nothing at all.

Ultimately, however, those two carry the responsibility for Formula One being here. Sure, the teams and drivers and sponsors could have boycotted the race but they, too, rely to a certain extent on the information they receive from above.

Ecclestone was his usual flippant self when asked for his thoughts on events this week. “It’s a lot of nonsense,” he said. “I think you guys want a story, and it’s a good story, and if there isn’t a story you make it up as usual, so what difference?”

The sad thing is this crisis was entirely predictable. Formula One journalists have copped a certain amount of criticism this week for venturing into areas of conflict to ask for people’s thoughts about the race, to try to report on what is happening. For deigning to be reporters, in other words.

What did the Bahraini and Formula One authorities think? That they would sit in their hotels all week, only venturing to the track to talk about rear wings and F-ducts?

In Bahrain, Business Is Not as Usual

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: April 20, 2012

For the monarchy – and for Formula One – there are also overriding economic concerns. The Grand Prix is the kingdom’s biggest sports event, drawing a worldwide television audience of roughly 100 million in nearly 200 countries, bringing in half a billion dollars in revenue and attracting thousands of visitors. When the race was canceled last year, Bahrain still had to pay Formula One a $40 million “hosting fee.”

So with the world watching and big money at stake, the government has hoped to use the race to demonstrate that life has returned to normal in Bahrain. But the media spotlight on the race in recent weeks has to some extent resulted in the opposite: a closer look at the political situation and the protesters and their claims of human rights abuses.

The humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières stopped sending doctors to Bahrain and said that the kingdom’s hospitals were considered so dangerous for the Shiite majority that many injured in protests would not use them.

Amnesty International said in a report that Bahrain was falling deeper into human rights abuses and that if the race was run, it would feed what it called the monarchy’s propaganda aims.

“With the world’s eyes on Bahrain as it prepares to host the Grand Prix, no one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director. “The authorities are trying to portray the country as being on the road to reform, but we continue to receive reports of torture and use of unnecessary and excessive force against protests.”

“The regime was isolated because of the crimes it committed and the Bahrain Grand Prix is giving a way out for the government, especially the royal family,” said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. “We need this regime to be punished for the crimes it has committed in the past year and half.”

Shell, a Ferrari sponsor, will not entertain clients and partners.

Bahrain Grand Prix to Go Ahead as Protests Flare


Published: April 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM ET

Manama is under tight security, with dozens of armored vehicles stationed around the capital and the road to the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Activists say barbed wire has been installed near some parts of the main highway.

Two of the 12 teams were left rattled after witnessing protesters throwing petrol bombs. Two members of the Force India team went home to Britain although the other team, Sauber, continued with race preparations.

Ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix, Incidents Put Formula One Teams on Edge


April 20, 2012, 1:47 pm

On Wednesday night, a vehicle carrying personnel from the Force India team passed through an area where Molotov cocktails and debris were thrown. According to the BBC, a tear-gas canister fired by the police entered the vehicle. Two Force India employees elected to leave Bahrain ahead of Sunday’s race. Speaking afterward about the incident, the team driver Nico Hulkenberg questioned the decision of Formula One authorities to race in such a volatile climate, saying that teams “shouldn’t have been put in this position.”

Speaking of the earlier incident involving Force India, the crown prince deflected the notion that Formula One teams were being targeted. “I absolutely can guarantee that any problems that may or may not happen are not directed at F1,” he said. “It goes to show that there are people who are out to cause chaos.”

“It is why everyone tried so hard to pass the buck last week, with Ecclestone saying it was up to the teams, the teams saying it was up to the FIA and the FIA saying nothing at all.”

Bernie Ecclestone: ‘not in my power to call off Bahrain Grand Prix’

The Guardian

Friday 20 April 2012 09.29 EDT

With Sauber now also confirming that some of their personnel witnessed an incident involving masked protesters on Thursday night as they returned to Manama, Ecclestone said it was not in his power to cancel the race.

“I can’t call this race off. It is nothing to do with us, the race,” he said according to a report on the Autosport website. “We are here, we have an agreement to be here and we are here. The national sporting authority in this country can ask the FIA if they want to call the race off.”

Ecclestone said he did not understand why Force India was so worried about safety – and that he had personally offered to drive with the team from the circuit if they wanted reassurance.

“They have asked and been told they can have security if they want it,” he said. “I don’t know if people are targeting them for some reason, I don’t know – I hope not because none of the other teams seem to have a problem.

“So maybe they have had a message and are being targeted for something – it may be nothing to do with being in this country, maybe it is something else.”

Archie Bland: Why won’t Bernie Ecclestone lead by example in Bahrain?

Archie Bland, Deputy Editor, The Independent

Wednesday 18 April 2012

What Ecclestone and Co apparently fail to appreciate is that doing nothing can be just as meaningful an act as making a fuss. In Bahrain, as in South Africa during the apartheid years, the options aren’t a powerful political statement vs a position of strict neutrality; instead, the two options are equally forceful.

By pulling Formula One out of Bahrain for a second year, Mr Ecclestone and his colleagues would be sending a signal that the country is still in crisis. That’s a position strongly reinforced by an Amnesty International report earlier this week. Doing nothing, by extension, makes the opposite statement.

Since last year Formula One deemed a race in Bahrain would be a bad idea, the decision to go ahead this time implies that things are getting better. Max Mosley, a former Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile president, gets it: the Bahraini authorities, he wrote in The Daily Telegraph, “hope to show the world that the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty… By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what happened.”

“What did the Bahraini and Formula One authorities think? That they would sit in their hotels all week, only venturing to the track to talk about rear wings and F-ducts?”

Bahrain Grand Prix revs up polarisation of Gulf state

Ian Black, Middle East editor, The Guardian

Friday 20 April 2012 09.15 EDT

For the government in Manama, the message was one of business as usual as the engines revved up: “The long wait is over,” announced an excited statement from its information affairs authority. “The region’s biggest sporting and social spectacle is finally here!” Not, however, for the foreign journalists – not motor racing correspondents – who were turned away at the airport or denied visas to enter the country.

Manama has been able to count on the acquiescence of governments and the active support of others. US and British PR companies are working overtime to get across the official point of view. “Imagine if a British police chief was in Damascus dumping on the protest movement in Syria,” said the Labour MP Denis MacShane of the security role of former Metropolitan police assistant commissioner John Yates. “There is a complete double standard when it comes to Bahrain.”

Protesters are seeking democracy, but there is an unavoidable sectarian aspect to the conflict in a small country where the ruling dynasty is Sunni and the majority of its subjects are Shia Muslims who are under-represented and face discrimination in all walks of life. In recent days regime thugs have been caught on camera trashing Shia-owned shops while policemen stood by.

F1 grand prix: Bahrain denies entry to journalists

Mark Sweney, The Guardian

Friday 20 April 2012 12.29 EDT

Journalists who have been refused entry include Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent at Sky News, who is being forced to file coverage from Dubai.

He has been prevented from entering Bahrain despite Sky Sports, like Sky News owned by BSkyB, providing exclusive live TV coverage of Sunday’s controversial Grand Prix to UK viewers. Sky Sports signed a seven-year deal to broadcast live TV coverage of every Formula One race from this season.

Bahrain Grand Prix 2012: authorities refusal to allow news media into the kingdom causes uproar

By Tom Cary, The Telegraph

Manama 12:26AM BST 20 Apr 2012

Ramsey’s struggles are ironic given the fact that Sky Sports has just started a seven-year deal channel-sharing deal with the BBC to cover Formula One in the UK.

It is understood that neither BBC Sport nor Sky Sports will address the off-track issues in Bahrain in their coverage this weekend, with BBC News and Sky News to cover that angle. Assuming they can get in, of course.

Some other links I found

The actual race is a 7:30 am start tomorrow on Speed with a repeat at 1:30 pm.  GP2 starts at 6 am.

The cars will run on Mediums and Softs with Mediums favored because the track is coarse and it is hot and dusty.  Visibility can be a problem.  Red Bull will make an exhaust decision and not run 2 setups.  Some teams are scrambling to reverse engineer the Mercedes front wing DRS, but others are uninterested.  Silverstone may get approved as a testing track, McLaren will use its Test Drivers, not Hamilton or Button.  Massa is under pressure from Scuderia Marlboro.

Other competition links-

Popular Culture (Music) 20120420: Jim Croce

James Joseph Croce (aka “Jim”), was born on 19430110 in South Philadelphia.  If a tragedy had not intervened, he likely would still be with us.  Unfortunately, he was killed in an aeroplane crash on 19730920, not yet 31 years old.

Croce had the unusual ability to write both comedic and serious material with aplomb (I always wanted to work that word into a piece).  Only a few writers have been able to do this, and for the most part he wrote his own material.  He did record some material written by others, but what artist has not?

He also had the ability to attract a very diverse listenership.  My father was about as opposed to popular music as could draw breath, but love “You Don’t Mess around with Jim”!  Let us take a few minutes to look at the way too short life and listen to some of the work of this talented writer and performer.