10/07/2012 archive

America’s Cup 2012: San Francisco Regatta

The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest trophy dating back to 1851:

America's cup 1851In 1851 a radical looking schooner ghosted out of the afternoon mist and swiftly sailed past the Royal Yacht stationed in the Solent, between the Isle of Wight and the south coast of England, on an afternoon when Queen Victoria was watching a sailing race.

As the schooner, named America, passed the Royal Yacht in first position, and saluted by dipping its ensign three times, Queen Victoria asked one of her attendants to tell her who was in second place.

”Your Majesty, there is no second,” came the reply. That phrase, just four words, is still the best description of the America’s Cup, and how it represents the singular pursuit of excellence. [..]

Thus was born the America’s Cup, named after the winning schooner America, as opposed to the country.

The America’s Cup is without a doubt the most difficult trophy in sport to win. In the more than 150 years since that first race off England, only four nations have won what is often called the “oldest trophy in international sport.” For some perspective, consider that there had been nine contests for the America’s Cup before the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896.

Gone now are the stately yachts, replace by carbon fiber catamarans that cruise the race course at speeds exceeding 30 knots, unimagined in 1851.

The race format has been changed to three different stages:

  • The America’s Cup World Series at international venues, of which today’s race is part;
  • The Louis Vitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, is used as the selection series to determine who will race the Defender in the America’s Cup Finals;
  • The 34th America’s Cup which brings the competition back to the United States for the first time in 18 years.
  • Today’s race in San Francisco is the final of the regatta that began on October 2nd. Saturday’s race was a hair raising event that saw one of these giant catamarans capsize, righted by the crew and going on to win.

    Oracle Team USA Spithill took a lot of speed into the first mark when both bows went into the water. The boat stopped and nose dived into the San Francisco Bay. All crew were safe. The Oracle Team USA’s support team quickly pulled the boat back up and got it back ready to race.

    ‘We broke most of the frames in the top of the wing, so we’ll repair them tonight,’ Spithill said. ‘But, that’s the beauty of these boats – they’re very, very strong. You can continue racing even if you do have broken frames.’

    The final is being broadcast live on NBC but if you don’t have TV, you can watch it here at Stars Hollow, Live;

    The full replays of this week’s regatta can be viewed here.

    Rant of the Week: Bill Maher

    Bill Maher Asks if We Can Quit Pretending President Obama Destroyed the Economy

    2012 NL Division Series- Nats at Cardinals, Game 1

    Hmm… let’s see if I can explain that Infield Fly Rule to you.

    The infield fly rule is a rule in baseball intended to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping pop-ups in order to turn double plays (or triple plays). Without this rule, a defense could easily turn a pop fly into a double play when there are runners at first and second base.

    Back in the days when you sharpened your own spikes for a ‘friendly game’ what would happen a lot is the fielder would drop an easily catchable fly so they could get a force play on the lead runner and fire off a throw to the next base for additional outs they wouldn’t get if they had simply caught the ball and put only the hitter out.

    From the moment the call is made the hitter is out and runners are free to tag and advance and indeed should the batter be hit by a throw intended to double up a runner returning to tag it’s interference and an additional out can be called.

    Now it was always basically impossible for the Braves to win an appeal because the rule is by definition unappealable (“this call can not be reversed on appeal”) but they did so anyway based on the interpretations of easy and routine (the ball was dropped after all, and it was well into the Outfield though still being played by the Infielder) and timeliness (and no, it wasn’t at all timely).

    If, however, the call had not been made it still would have been a 4 – 2 game with the bases loaded and 2 out.  In other words the Braves would have been just as likely to lose so this was not a ‘game changing’ call.

    But die hard Braves fans are free to root for the Nationals because of the injustice of it all.  The sad fact for the Cardinals is that they hardly need your help.

    The Nats were the best team in the regular season this year and are the favorites in any matchup right through to the World Series.  I hate them because they play in the same League and Division as my Mets and they represent a town so shamelessly corrupt and stupid that it makes one long for the days of Lot and divine wrath.

    So yeah, I got squirrels in my pants, the Nats can’t go home soon enough to suit me even if they are really the Expos.

    Today’s pitching matchup is Adam Wainwright (14 – 13, 3.94) against the Nats Gio Gonzalez (21 – 8, 2.89 ERA).

    The Cards have a better hitting lineup by average, but the Nats have more Home Runs.  On the other hand the Cardinals have 5 players with over 20 Homers and tons of Playoff experience for whatever that’s worth.  They will be hurt most by the fact Lohse will only be available once.

    Opiate of the Masses

    Romney captures the God vote at first debate

    By Sally Quinn, Washington Post

    Published: October 4

    This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

    An atheist could never get elected dog catcher, much less president.

    Up until now, the idea of being American and believing in God were synonymous.

    The Republicans have claimed God as their own this entire campaign, each candidate trying to out-Christian the other. Even Obama, though 17 percent of registered voters think he is a Muslim, has talked about being a Christian as often as he can.

    If Obama wants to win the next debate, he needs to wear God, as much as it offends him to do so, the same way he captured the flag for this one.

    Pulpit Freedom Sunday

    Jim Garlow

    My God is better than yours!






    On This Day In History October 7

    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.

    October 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 85 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1955, Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg reads his poem “Howl” at a poetry reading at Six Gallery in San Francisco.

    Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet who vigorously opposed militarism, materialism and sexual repression. In the 1950s, Ginsberg was a leading figure of the Beat Generation, an anarchic group of young men and women who joined poetry, song, sex, wine and illicit drugs with passionate political ideas that championed personal freedoms. Ginsberg’s epic poem Howl, in which he celebrates his fellow “angel-headed hipsters” and excoriates what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States, is one of the classic poems of the Beat Generation  The poem, dedicated to writer Carl Solomon, has a memorable opening:

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by

    madness, starving hysterical naked,

    dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn

    looking for an angry fix…

    In October 1955, Ginsberg and five other unknown poets gave a free reading at an experimental art gallery in San Francisco. Ginsberg’s Howl electrified the audience. According to fellow poet Michael McClure, it was clear “that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America and its supporting armies and navies and academies and institutions and ownership systems and power support bases.” In 1957, Howl attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial in which a San Francisco prosecutor argued it contained “filthy, vulgar, obscene, and disgusting language.” The poem seemed especially outrageous in 1950s America because it depicted both heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when sodomy laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state. Howl reflected Ginsberg’s own bisexuality and his homosexual relationships with a number of men, including Peter Orlovsky, his lifelong partner. Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that Howl was not obscene, adding, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?”

    In Howl and in his other poetry, Ginsberg drew inspiration from the epic, free verse style of the 19th century American poet Walt Whitman. Both wrote passionately about the promise (and betrayal) of American democracy; the central importance of erotic experience; and the spiritual quest for the truth of everyday existence. J. D. McClatchy, editor of the Yale Review called Ginsberg “the best-known American poet of his generation, as much a social force as a literary phenomenon.” McClatchy added that Ginsberg, like Whitman, “was a bard in the old manner – outsized, darkly prophetic, part exuberance, part prayer, part rant. His work is finally a history of our era’s psyche, with all its contradictory urges.”

    Ginsberg was a practicing Buddhist who studied Eastern religious disciplines extensively. One of his most influential teachers was the Tibetan Buddhist, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa, founder of the Naropa Institute, now Naropa University at Boulder, Colorado. At Trungpa’s urging, Ginsberg and poet Anne Waldman started a poetry school there in 1974 which they called the “Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics”. In spite of his attraction to Eastern religions, the journalist Jane Kramer argues that Ginsberg, like Whitman, adhered to an “American brand of mysticism” that was, in her words, “rooted in humanism and in a romantic and visionary ideal of harmony among men.” Ginsberg’s political activism was consistent with his religious beliefs. He took part in decades of non-violent political protest against everything from the Vietnam War to the War on Drugs. The literary critic, Helen Vendler, described Ginsberg as “tirelessly persistent in protesting censorship, imperial politics, and persecution of the powerless.” His achievements as a writer as well as his notoriety as an activist gained him honors from established institutions. Ginsberg’s book of poems, The Fall of America, won the National Book Award for poetry in 1974. Other honors included the National Arts Club gold medal and his induction into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, both in 1979. In 1995, Ginsberg won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, Cosmopolitan Greetings: Poems 1986-1992.

    2012 AL Division Series- As at Tigers, Game 2

    First of all, here are the links TheMomCat found for me so you can share the game if you don’t happen to get MLB Network.

    The live scoreboard is pretty interesting, we were playing around with it last night.  Among other things it updates almost in real time and lots of interesting information is available when you mouse over the bases.

    Lesson #1- Stay away from Verlander

    Bay area teams got bit yesterday but fans should not despair.  One of the reasons critics don’t like the 5 game short series is that there’s not enough time to do a full pitching rotation.  Now me?  I disagree because it means more thought goes into managing and pitcher’s duels are boring unless you’re following pitch by pitch which requires a lot of concentration.

    In any event you’ll only see Verlander once more.

    And that’s if the As hang in there.  It’s hard to call a Game 2 critically important, but if they don’t split at Comerica Park they’ll be put in the position of having to win out at the Coliseum.

    The Tigers on the other hand can take it easy if they want to, but what they should really do is put the screws on and give themselves 3 chances for victory.  They won’t play again at home unless they’re in the League Championship.  Today’s starting pitchers are Doug Fister (10 – 10, 3.45 ERA) who was much better after the All-Star break and As rookie Tommy Milone (13 – 10, 3.74 ERA).


    Big sports day today with 4 games running from noon to around midnight which is 12+ hours of tracking the pitches and writing the diaries.  Games start at roughly noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm.  In addition to that there were 2 hours of Suzuka this morning and will be 90 minutes of special America’s Cup yacht racing coverage from TheMomCat at around 4 pm (NBC).

    I’ll attempt to stay as alert as possible because America needs more Lerts.

    Thank goodness for Monday.  Only 2 games tomorrow.

    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: Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, who holds Vermont’s only House seat and serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic caucus; Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead), comedian and co-creator of “The Daily Show”; Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting), Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and founder of the Define American campaign; Rebecca Traister (@rtraister), contributor to to the New York Times Magazine and Salon.com. Author of “Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women“; Brooke Gladstone (@OTMbrooke), co-host and managing editor of WNYC’s “On the Media“; JJ Ramberg (@jjramberg), host of MSNBC’s “Your Business” and co-author of “It’s Your Business: 183 Essential Tips that Will Transform Your Small Business“; Ro Khanna, former deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce and author of “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future“; Chris Rabb,(@chrisrabb) adjunct professor for the Fox School of Business at Temple University and author of “Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity“; Maria Hinojosa (@maria_hinojosa) rotating anchor for PBS’ “Need to Know,” executive producer for “America by the Numbers with Maria HInajosa,” anchor and executive producer of NPR’s “Latino USA,” winner of 2012 John Chancellor award for Excellence in Journalism; and John McWhorter, professor of linguistics and American studies at Columbia University, contributing editor at the “New Republic” and “Daily News” columnist.

    This Week with George Stephanopolis: Sunday on “This Week,” Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs and Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie; and Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly.

    The political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin will join the powerhouse roundtable along with Nobel Prize-winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman; Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan; and ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.

    Week three with no George Will.

    Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod; The Washington Post‘s Michael Gerson, The American Spectator‘s John Fund, CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

    The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Joe Klein, TIME  Columnist; S. E. Cupp, MSNBC Host; Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent; and Sam Donaldson, ABC Reporter.

    Meet the Press with David Gregory: MTP guests are Senior Adviser to the Obama campaign, Robert Gibbs; former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen; Republican strategist Mike Murphy; and NBC’s Political Director Chuck Todd for an extended discussion of this week’s Vice Presidential debate.

    State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guestt are  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine; and former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland.

    Her panel guests are  Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, The New York Times‘ White House Correspondent Jackie Calmes and CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin.

    Six In The Morning

    On Sunday

    Philippines in peace deal with Muslim rebels

    President Benigno Aquino says the “framework agreement” between government and MILF separatists will be signed shortly.

    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2012 06:12

    The Philippine government and Muslim rebels have agreed to a preliminary peace deal for the country’s troubled south, President Benigno Aquino has announced, signalling an end to a 40-year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and crippled the region’s economy.

    The deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), announced on Sunday, sets in train a roadmap to create a new autonomous region in the Muslim-majority areas in the south of the mainly Catholic country before the end of Aquino’s term in 2016.

    Aquino described the deal in a nationally televised announcement as a “framework agreement”. It follows marathon negotiations between the government and the MILF in Malaysia, which is brokering the talks.

    The agreement is expected to be signed in a few days in the capital, Manila, officials said. It spells out the general principles on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory of the Muslim region.

    If all goes well, a final peace deal can be reached by 2016, when Aquino’s six-year term ends, according to the officials.

    Sunday’s Headlines:

    The forgotten girls: By 2020, there will be 50m child brides under the age of 15

    An election in Bosnia shadowed by the past

    Indonesia’s jihad factories: uncovering nurseries of terrorism’s next generation

    Congo’s M23 rebels aim for Ugandan border town

    Venezuela on edge as election arrives

    What We Now Know

    Saturday on Up with Chris Hayes, Up host Chris Hayes (@chrishayes) followed up on the”contentious exchange” he had with former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani during this week’s presidential debate. After he joins panels Alexis Goldstein, (@alexisgoldstein) a former vice president at Merill Lynch and now an Occupy Wall Street activist; Dedrick Muhammad,Senior Economic Director at the NAACP; Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist, a professor at Columbia University, and author of the book “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future;” and Avik Roy, (@aviksaroy) a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group, Senior Fellow at The Manhattan Institute and author of “The Apothecary”, the Forbes blog on health care and social insurance reform; discussing what they have learned this week.

    Tweet along with Up with Chris (@upwithchris) during the show by following #Uppers

    Tell us what you have learned this week.

    F1 2012: Suzuka

    When last we chatted about Hamilton’s prospects I was convinced he’d stay at McLaren and Mercedes wasn’t even on the chart.  Why?  Because they have a slow car, arguably 5th slowest out of 12 and some of the Sauber and Force India fans would contend lower than that.

    What Mercedes does have is Ross Brawn (who also snagged Schumacher) and Nico Rosberg (Carting team mate) who are both very good friends.

    I still don’t think this was a wise decision from a competitive standpoint, but the heart want’s what it wants and it’s not irrational at all for Hamilton to feel that McLaren’s track management mistakes were holding him back.

    Schumacher was done anyway, he’s been driving like a man who just doesn’t care for the last two years.  This leaves an opening at McLaren with no obvious (or rather- too many) contenders.

    Well we finally have an explanation of why Scuderia Marlboro UPC sucked so bad these past few seasons, their wind tunnel is a piece of crap.  Lotus is not going to get a chance to use their new wing, probably for the season, because there is just not enough track test time.

    Hards and Softs, no Mediums.  What this means is there will be a very distinct performance/durability gap between them.  Pirelli is predicting a 3 stop race, but some teams may try for 2.

    Schumacher penalized 20 positions for the collision at Marina Bay, Button and Hulkenberg lose 5 positions for a gearbox change.  Vettel escapes with a mere reprimand for blocking Alonso.  Hamilton qualified exceptionally poorly because he was behind the last lap crash of Raikkonen.

    Suzuka is very fast, but doesn’t have a lot of passing opportunities.  This race will likely be won or lost on tire strategy and pit stops unless there are mechanical failures or accidents.

    Interactive Track


    Official Sites

    Pretty tables below.

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