05/10/2015 archive

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – Democalypse 2016 – Road Back to Your Own House & Chances, Ha

[Democalypse 2016 – Road Back to Your Own House & Chances, Ha]

On This Day In History May 10

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.

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May 10 is the 130th day of the year (131st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 235 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train, and the West would surely lose some of its wild charm with the new connection to the civilized East.

Since at least 1832, both Eastern and frontier statesmen realized a need to connect the two coasts. It was not until 1853, though, that Congress appropriated funds to survey several routes for the transcontinental railroad. The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer, as North-South tensions prevented Congress from reaching an agreement on where the line would begin.


The Union Pacific laid 1,087 miles (1,749 km) of track, starting in Council Bluffs, and continuing across the Missouri River and through Nebraska (Elkhorn, now Omaha, Grand Island, North Platte, Ogallala, Sidney, Nebraska), the Colorado Territory (Julesburg), the Wyoming Territory (Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River, Evanston), the Utah Territory (Ogden, Brigham City, Corinne), and connecting with the Central Pacific at Promontory Summit. The route did not pass through the two biggest cities in the Great American Desert — Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. Feeder lines were built to service the two cities.

The Central Pacific laid 690 miles (1,100 km) of track, starting in Sacramento, California, and continuing over the Sierra Nevada mountains into Nevada. It passed through Newcastle, California and Truckee, California, Reno, Nevada, Wadsworth, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko, and Wells, Nevada, before connecting with the Union Pacific line at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory. Later, the western part of the route was extended to the Alameda Terminal in Alameda, California, and shortly thereafter, to the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point in Oakland, California. When the eastern end of the CPRR was extended to Ogden, it ended the short period of a boom town for Promontory. Before the CPRR was completed, developers were building other railroads in Nevada and California to connect to it.

At first, the Union Pacific was not directly connected to the Eastern U.S. rail network. Instead, trains had to be ferried across the Missouri River. In 1873, the Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge opened and directly connected the East and West.

Modern-day Interstate 80 closely follows the path of the railroad, with one exception. Between Echo, Utah and Wells, Nevada, Interstate 80 passes through the larger Salt Lake City and passes along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake. The Railroad had blasted and tunneled its way down the Weber River canyon to Ogden and around the north shore of the Great Salt Lake (roughly paralleling modern Interstate 84 and State Route 30). While routing the railroad along the Weber River, Mormon workers signed the Thousand Mile Tree, to commemorate the milestone. A historic marker has been placed there. The portion of the railroad around the north shore of the lake is no longer intact. In 1904, the Lucin Cutoff, a causeway across the center of the Great Salt Lake, shortened the route by approximately 43 miles (69 km), traversing Promontory Point instead of Promontory Summit.

Happy Mother’s Day

A DocuDharma tradition now on The Stars Hollow Gazette

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

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:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on today’s “This Week” are: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for a little fear mongering; and  retired Navy Admiral William McRaven.

The roundtable guests are: Slate‘s Jamelle Bouie, PBS “NewsHour” co-host and managing editor Gwen Ifill; National Review editor Rich Lowry; and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s re-election; and Jarrett Bell, sports columnist for USA Today.

His panel guests are: Susan Page, USA Today; John Heileman, Bloomberg Politics; Mark Leibovich, The New York Times Magazine; and Ron Fournier, National Journal.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: Today’s guests on “MTP” are: Republican residential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Chuck Todd sits down with Deloitte‘s Cathy Engelbert; Maria Shriver and Kishanna Brown, a teacher from Waldorf, MD.

The rest is anyone’s guess, the web site and facebook pages are useless for information about programming.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy helping Obama counter ISIS abroad; Detroit Police Chief James Craig; former New York Police Chief and convicted felon Bernard Kerik; and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

CNN’s SotU web site no longer exists & the facebook page has not been updated in three weeks. Pathetic. The above information is from The Hill

Now go celebrate Mothers’ Day, or go back to bed.

Formula One 2015: Circuit de Catalunya

And they’re off.

Wait, that was last week.  Today we are back in Europe at Circuit de Catalunya on Hards and Hediums of which Sebastian Vettel says we cannot expect the same miracle of failure that led to a surprise second for Kimi Räikkönen at the last race in Sakhir even though he and Mercedes have saved a fresh set of Mediums.

Rosberg has gotten the pole which acually means very little unless you were betting on it.  McLaren shows signs of improvement, making it into Q2, which is good news for Honda, Jensen Button, and Fernando Alonso.

The movement to race what we got is raising some steam which goes to what I’ve been saying for years now which is that rule changes backed by testing limitations is a false economy that saves pennies now to cost pounds later.  Sure test time is expensive, but without it you can hardly expect to win or even to contend.

In more signs of failure and desperation Formula One is talking about “condensing it’s season” which pushes it comfortably out of March Madness for me but truly reflects the greed of Bernie Ecclestone and his determination to wring every last dime out of the teams and tracks for the priviledge of participating in his private circus.

Sigh.  I should stress less about sporting events that are the mere play things and status symbols of Billionaire Plutocrats.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

 Air strikes target ex-Yemen president Saleh’s residence

    Former leader and his family believed to be safe after fresh attacks as Houthi rebels hint at ceasefire.

10 May 2015 06:14 GMT

Warplanes from the coalition led by Saudi Arabia has bombed the residence of Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital, Sanaa, but Yemen’s former president is believed to be safe, witnesses have said.

Three air strikes hit Saleh’s residence early on Sunday morning, but the president and his family are “well”, Yemeni news agency Khabar said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the area in the latest strike in Sanaa following a night of intensive air raids against rebel positions after rebels shelled Saudi border town on Thursday.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Joko Widodo defends death penalty as ‘positive’ for Indonesia

Last great regions of pristine wilderness from Asia to Amazon under threat from massive road-building projects, scientist warns

Clear-Cutting Romania: Logging Threatens One of Europe’s Last Virgin Forests

Niger deports more Nigerians who fled Boko Haram

Japan, Philippines to hold first naval drill in South China Sea: sources

The Breakfast Club (Greensky Bluegrass)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: 17 Greensky Bluegrass 2013-03-09 Where The Streets Have No Name

Today in History

A golden spike completes America’s first transcontinental railroad; Nazis burn books in Germany; Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland; Nelson Mandela takes office in S. Africa; U2’s frontman Bono born. (May 10)

Breakfast News & Blogs Below