07/08/2012 archive

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher

New Rules – Real Time With Bill Maher – 2012, May 11

What two grown men do behind closed doors is between them and airport security.

On This Day In History July 8

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 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 176 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1951, Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.


The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.

The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of “Paris” towards the end of the Roman occupation.

The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century. Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité; one of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.

F1 2012: Silverstone

Rolling in the mud

So one of the features of my “vacation” is working in large unpaved parking areas in the rain which comes down quite heavily at times.  I solve this problem by not worrying about it (Oh, what a world) and bringing a change.  I think I’ve told you about hip deep (no shit) Valet Parking but maybe not about the upper and lower lakes which are basically huge bowls that won’t drain until the water reaches the top of your door locks.

The sad fact is that when it gets dark they bring in the skip loaders and chains and yank them out any old way they can (hey, it was a total loss to begin with.  Call your insurance company.) and tape off any water still standing.

So I have some sympathy for the poor sods at Silverstone-

A Soggy Return to ‘The Home of Motor Sport.’ Why?

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

July 7, 2012, 12:27 am

Overnight things went from bad to worse at Silverstone as the track director decided to tell ticket holders not to show up on Saturday for the practice and qualifying session. The public parking lots on grass and soil were so badly flooded that they decided to prevent ticket holders from driving to the track, in order to allow the parking lots to be in better conditions for Sunday’s race.

But will anything improve? It rained massively on Saturday afternoon, causing a 1 hour and 30 minute pause during the qualifying session. Furthermore, the forecast is for one month’s worth of rain falling over Saturday and Sunday. In fact, some 60 areas of the country are under severe flood warnings.

Seriously, this is like the #1 topic, how sucky the parking and traffic situation is in the midst of this mid-summer English monsoon.

Silverstone invokes "Dunkirk spirit" after rain chaos

By Alan Baldwin, The Star

Sunday, July 08, 2012

“We had to make a difficult decision yesterday which was really upsetting but I have to say today has been a much better day,” he told reporters after another big turnout for a rain-delayed qualifying session.

“A remarkable number of people actually got here somehow, I’m not quite sure how…and we are very grateful to the people who did stay at home. At least it’s given us breathing space now and we are looking forward to tomorrow.

“The fans seem to be very supportive and there’s a bit of a Dunkirk spirit about this one,” added Phillips.

Never wear anything you’d be afraid to throw away.

British Grand Prix events are regrettable but the blame must be shared, says Damon Hill

By Damon Hill, The Telegraph

9:00 PM BST 07 Jul 2012

Damon Hill was, until last year, president of BRDC, the owners of Silverstone.

It’s a great shame what happened on Friday but finger-pointing does no one any good. Clearly the British Grand Prix is a big event of massive importance to the sport and what has happened is regrettable, but I think it’s important to point out that the efficient running of it is not just an issue for Silverstone, or Formula One, or Northamptonshire, but for everyone.

What happened here is not an isolated case this summer. So many events have been hit. Together we need to work out how to make this, a premier national event, work smoothly, so we’re not embarrassed and people don’t suffer.

We are going to have wet weather; we are going to have wet races. So there needs to be a sensible analysis of how to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

And it’s a good thing they have that to talk about too because everything you thought you learned in Practice and Qualifying you really didn’t because for the first time in 2 days we’re going to start dry.

Pretty tables below.

Rep. Barney Frank Marries Jim Ready

Rep. Barney Frank married his partner Jim Ready Saturday in Newton, MA. Mr. Frank met his husband at a fund raiser in 2005 and they started dating in 2007 after Mr. Ready’s longtime partner, Robert Palmer, passed away after a long illness. The modest ceremony took place in the Marriott hotel in Newton and was preformed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Guests included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer and other close friends and family of the grooms.

Mr. Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to volunteer that he was gay. He is now the first to be married to a partner of the same sex. Both bridegrooms said they recognized the historical significance of the ceremony, which lasted less than five minutes. Gov. Patrick told the guests that Mr. Frank had requested that the service “be short and to the point.”

And in vows written by the couple, Mr. Frank and Mr. Ready pledged to love each other “on MSNBC or on Fox” and “in Congress or in retirement,” a reference to Mr. Frank’s decision not to seek another term. [..]

They had long discussions about marriage; Mr. Frank wanted to be married while still serving in Washington. Mr. Ready was worried about the public scrutiny. But he remembered how he felt in high school in Tewksbury, Mass., when Mr. Frank came out publicly.

“The kids that are going to see us, and feel strong enough to be able to come out and be who they are. That gives me more encouragement that I’m doing the right thing,” he said.

Their wedding bands were made of black diamonds set in tungsten, a metal used in welding. Mr. Ready picked the material. “It helps keep me grounded, after going to lunch with the president,” he said.

The wedding took place at a no-frills Marriott hotel in Newton. (Mr. Frank said he chose the location for ease of access.) The bridegrooms planned to wear tuxedos by Joseph Abboud, which Mr. Frank noted is a union shop.

Ms. Pelosi said at the reception on Saturday that it was appropriate that a landmark same-sex wedding take place around the Fourth of July. “It’s about expanding freedom,” she said. “This opportunity was a long time coming.”

We extend our best wishes and congratulations to Barney and Jim. Mazel Tov

In some other positive news for the LGBT community, the Episcopal Church has moved closer to allowing transgender men and women to be ordained as ministers:

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – The U.S. Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church.

The House of Bishops voted at the church’s General Convention to include “gender identity and expression” in its “non-discrimination canons,” meaning sexual orientation, including that of people who have undergone sex-change operations, cannot be used to exclude candidates to ministry. [..]

The Episcopal Church, which has about 2 million members mostly in the United States, now allows gay men and lesbians to join the ordained ministry.

The resolutions on gender would allow transgender individuals access to enter the Episcopal lay or ordained ministries, and extend the overall non-discrimination policy to church members.

The resolutions must now be approved by the church’s House of Deputies.

Great news, indeed!


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 8 AM ET will be: Bill McKibben (@billmckibben), author of “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” and founder of 350.org, a global grassroots environmental movement to solve the climate crisis; Eric Klinenberg (@EricKlinenberg), professor of sociology at New York University and author of “Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago“; Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, authors of “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.” Mann is senior fellow for governance studies and the W. Averell Harriman Chair at the Brookings Institution. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh), MSNBC political analyst and Salon’s editor-at-large; Esther Armah (@estherarmah), playwright and author, host of “Wake Up Call” on WBAI-FM; and Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal editorial board senior economics writer, and the former president of the Club for Growth.

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show: Guest list was not announced at this time.

This Week with George Stephanopolis:”Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran hosts “This Week” Sunday, as Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal face off in a “This Week” debate on the economy and the 2012 election.

The roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with ABC News’ George Will; Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, author of the new book “Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent;” PBS’ “Washington Week” moderator and managing editor Gwen Ifill; former Counselor to the Treasury Secretary and Obama administration Lead Auto Adviser Steven Rattner; and Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guest are Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Chairman of the RNC; Historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sports Illustrated‘s Frank Deford, MLB TV’s Harold Reynolds and ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

The political roundtable guests are CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford, Chief White House Correspondent Norah O’Donnell and Political Director John Dickerson.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Joe Klein, TIME Columnist: S. E. Cupp, NY Daily News Columnist; Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent; and Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post Senior Political Editor.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Meet the Press will not air Sunday, July 8 due to NBC Sports coverage of the Tour de France. Instead, join ek hornbeck and I for the Live Blog of Le Tour Stage 8 here at The Stars Hollow Gazette

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowleys guest this Sunday are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-SC); Obama Campaign Senior Adviser Robert Gibbs; former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody’s Analytics; and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.

2012 Le Tour – Stage 8

Belfort / Porrentruy (98 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Yay!  We defeat the evil David Gregory and Meet the Press.  That almost makes up for tape delayed Silverstone.

Or as Scarecrow puts it-

NBC implicitly concedes that the people it typically invites as guests on Meet the Press are less important to it’s viewers than the 8th stage or so of a French bicycle race.

The carnage from Friday’s crash was much larger than originally reported.  Local hospitals said as many as 23 riders were treated (not including those under the care of trainers and Team Doctors) and in addition to the withdrawals I reported yesterday there were 8 non-starters- José Ivan Gutierez, Imanol Erviti, Maarten Wynants, Oscar Freire, Hubert Dupont, Robert Hunter, Amets Txurruka, and Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal.

Hesjedal was a dark horse contender and the leader of the Garmin team which has been pretty much devastated and now has ‘Tipsy’ Tyler Ferrar as the top prospect.  Other hard hit teams are Rabobank and Movistar.  Anthony Delaplace was unable to complete the stage..

In the GC there’s quite a bit of shake up, but the principal details are that Wiggins, Evans, Nibali,  Taarame, and Froome duked it out at the finish with Froome taking the stage win.  This group put a big move on the field and same timed between them so net win in the first Mountain stage to Wiggins.  Among the bigs who lost time were Menchov, Schleck, Sanchez, Scarponi, and Valverde.

Gone are the poseurs in the Climbing category too.

Today’s stage is going to be the first big Mountain stage with 4 category 2s and a 4, 3, and 1.  The Awards point is at about the only semi flat place after 5 climbs and the finish is at the end of a long, high speed downhill which should amplify any final climbing lead.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
8 ROCHE Nicolas AG2R LA MONDIALE +01:22
9 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING +01:32

Today live coverage will be on NBC proper at 8 am.  Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon, 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-

Pretty tables-

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Afghanistan aid: Donors pledge $16bn at Tokyo meeting

 Donors at a conference on Afghanistan have pledged to give it $16bn (£10.3bn) in civilian aid over four years, in an attempt to safeguard its future after foreign forces leave in 2014.

The BBC   8 July 2012

The biggest donors, the US, Japan, Germany and the UK, led the way at the Tokyo meeting in offering funds.

The pledge came as Afghanistan agreed to new conditions to deal with endemic corruption.

There are fears Afghanistan may relapse into chaos after the Nato pullout.

The Afghan economy relies heavily on international development and military assistance. The World Bank says aid makes up more than 95% of Afghanistan’s GDP.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan itself two roadside bombs killed 14 civilians and injured another three in the southern Kandahar province, regional police chief Gen Abdul Raziq said.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Libya elections: Polling station raids mar vote

French WWI artworks preserved in caves

Cultural Exchange: Pablo Escobar’s allure persists

Australia laid on silver service for Bin Laden’s protector

Seeds of aid bear fruit in Kenya