May 7, 2011 archive

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Join us in the at 7:30 AM tomorrow for the Live Blog of the Turkey Grand Prix. You can read about the qualifiers in this article-

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More Racing News

What?  You weren’t up at 7 am to join me liveblogging Formula One Qualifying?  I suppose I can hardly count on you for the 6 am Sunday GP 2 then (though you might join me later today for The Longest 2 Minutes In Sports).

Still, I hear rumours that this is a political site and you might be interested in this racing development related to potential Republican candidate Bankrupt Billionaire Combover.

Seems like ‘The Donald’ can’t spare a moment from firing people, after all he already blew off the First Republican Presidential Debate and it’s hardly fair to ask him to spend a whole month practicing to drive.

He has ‘people’ who do that.

So it will be A.J. at the Brickyard for the 100th Anniversary instead.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Foyt’s first Indianapolis victory, in 1961, and his 54th consecutive Indianapolis 500 as a driver or team owner.

“Since I won my first Indy 500 50 years ago, I had hoped to still be racing in it, but driving the pace car is the next best thing,” Foyt said in a statement.

GOP Strategy: Give Oil Companies More Tax Cuts

Cross Posted  from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Americans are struggling to make ends meet, can’t find jobs and are making less money than they did in 1997. What is the House GOP solution? Tax cuts and subsidies for drilling to oil companies that are the most profitable.

Today, the Republicans in the House of Representatives celebrated this massive redistribution of wealth from American families to oil executives. With the support of 7 oil-patch Democrats, 234 Republicans voted to block a bill to eliminate a $1.8 billion annual subsidy that treats oil drilling as “domestic manufacturing”:

   House Republicans rejected an effort by Democrats Thursday to use a procedural maneuver to force a vote on a bill to repeal a key oil industry tax break.

As they did in March, House Republicans voted unanimously to defend these wasteful, unaffordable and unfair oil subsidies, even though several members told their constituents they want to end them.

GOP Really Hates Women

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The GOP really hates women so much that they have been barely able to focus on little else at times. They managed to stop the District of Columbia from using its own money to assist poor women in obtaining the procedure by attaching a rider to the continuing resolution to fund the government throwing Democrats the bone of removing the rider that would have defunded Planned Parenthood.

Tonight Think Progress reports the House passed H.R. 3 which proposes some of the most radical and draconian restrictions on women’s rights:

– Redefinition Of Rape:

The bill sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) faced serious backlash after he tried to narrow the definition rape to “forcible rape.” By narrowing the rape and incest exception in the Hyde Amendment, Smith sought to prevent the following situations from consideration: Women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults.

Smith promised to remove the language and while it is not technically in the bill, Mother Jones reports that House Republicans used “a sly legislative maneuver” to insert a “backdoor reintroduction” of redefinition language. Essentially, if the bill is challenged in court, judges will look at the congressional committee report to determine intent. The committee report for H.R. 3 says the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape” – thus excluding statutory rape-related abortions from Medicaid coverage.

Tax Increase On Women And Small Businesses:

H.R. 3 prevents women from using “itemized medical deductions, certain tax-advantaged health care accounts or tax credits included in last year’s health care law to pay for abortions or for health insurance plans that cover abortion.” In doing so, the bill forces women and small businesses that provide health insurance that covers abortion to pay more in taxes than they would otherwise.

– Rape Audits:

Because H.R. 3 bans using tax credits or deductions to pay for abortions or insurance, a woman who used such a benefit would have to prove, if audited, that her abortion “fell under the rape/incest/life-of-the-mother exception, or that the health insurance she had purchased did not cover abortions.” Essentially, the bill turns Internal Revenue Service agents into “abortion cops” who would force women to give “contemporaneous written documentation” that it was “incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger” that compelled an abortion.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called this bill the “most comprehensive and radical assault on women’s health in our lifetime” and the president has already said that he would veto this bill if it made it to his desk which is doubtful since the Senate would never pass it. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to attach it to the Debt Limit Compromise. As David Dayen reports Rep. Trent Franks R-AZ) has already proposed just that with the blessing of House Speaker John Boehner:

   The decision to put the measure on the floor is giving new hope to some social conservatives who want their issues swept up into the debt limit debate.

   Rep. Trent Franks, an anti-abortion advocate, said that House Republicans “have some leverage” to get the Democratically controlled Senate to take up the legislation, similar to the way House Republicans forced an amendment onto the continuing resolution that would defund federal funding for Planned Parenthood. As part of a larger agreement on the final CR, Senate leaders agreed to hold a separate vote on the Planned Parenthood amendment […]

   While Franks, a two-term lawmaker from Arizona, acknowledged that a balanced budget amendment may be better suited to be part of a compromise debt limit vote, he still has hope for a Senate vote on an anti-abortion bill.

   Franks isn’t alone in hoping that H.R. 3 is part of the discussion on the debt ceiling extension.

   “What we use the debt limit to leverage is really up to the leaders, [but] I would think this would be one of the bills that we could be asking for,” said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), an ardent anti-abortion supporter.

I really despise these people.


Sylvester and Tweety MysteriesDouble Take, Episode 3, Part 1

Flash Crash Addendum

Oil crash pits floor veterans versus computer algorithms

By David Sheppard, Emma Farge and Jonathan Spicer, Reuters

Fri May 6, 2011 6:31pm EDT

The way prices move has changed with trading practices. Lightening-fast, algorithmic traders, known as “black box” players, have multiplied in recent years. Many used to trade open-outcry, yet they are viewed as the antithesis of the old-fashioned pit trader.

Manoj Narang, CEO and chief investment strategist of Tradeworx, a hedge fund that also runs a high-frequency unit, called Thursday a “great day” for his fund, which trades commodity-linked Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and stocks.

Narang said that unlike Wall Street’s “flash crash” last May, automated trading was not behind oil’s plunge. Instead, he cited traders who had gone long-commodities and short the dollar, but were caught out when the U.S. currency bounced up.

Lawsuit by the Unborn Bankrupts Democrats and Republicans


Both major parties in the United States suffered a probably fatal setback with their plans to buy the next election when a class action lawsuit on behalf of the unborn of all future generations awarded more than $50 trillion to establish a fund for preserving the biosphere.

Democrats immediately whined that they are “better than Republicans,” and UAFG spokesman Jacob Freeze replied…

“You worthless clowns should be happy that you got away with nothing worse than bankruptcy in civil court, because you didn’t even have enough real conviction about anything to prove mens rea, but Republicans are also charged with crimes against humanity and the unborn, and all of them will be hanged, including anyone who even so much as registered as a Republican!”

“So Obama gets a free pass?”

“What are you talking about? Obama will hang with the rest of the Republicans!”  

Six In The Morning

US tells Pakistan to name agents who aided bin Laden

Suspicion grows that someone knew al-Qaida leader’s location, shielded him


Pakistani officials say the Obama administration has demanded the identities of some of their top intelligence operatives as the United States tries to determine whether any of them had contact with Osama bin Laden or his agents in the years before the raid that led to his death early Monday morning in Pakistan.

The officials provided new details of a tense discussion between Pakistani officials and an American envoy who traveled to Pakistan on Monday, as well as the growing suspicion among United States intelligence and diplomatic officials that someone in Pakistan’s secret intelligence agency knew of Bin Laden’s location, and helped shield him.

Late Night Karaoke

This Week In The Dream Antilles

OMG!  OMG!! Has a week already elapsed?  Is today almost  Saturday?  Again? Is it time for that weekly digest?  Inquiring minds, including your Bloguero’s, want to know whether there was anything posted this week at the Dream Antilles for which your Bloguero is willing to take public responsibility.  

It was a complicated week, one beyond facile description.  Perhaps beyond comprehension.  And the writing?  What writing?  The writing at The Dream Antilles? That is best described by this rising and then descending sound: “Harrrrrrrrrrgh.”  Yes, your Bloguero confirms, as you may already have guessed, that to his dismay, your Bloguero’s muse apparently went fishing.  Again. This time for brown trout.  Her present whereabouts are undetermined.  And your Bloguero hasn’t heard from her.  She was last seen wading thigh deep in a rushing stream during a rain storm.  She was wearing a hat that looked like Indiana Jones’s and rain was dripping off the brim.  Your Bloguero briefly contemplated putting an ad up for her return (with a generous reward) on Craigslist, rejected that idea and then more characteristically began to sulk.  And mope.  Whining will probably be next.  These unattractive behaviors threaten to abound.  Until she returns.  And your Bloguero elects now to veil these unattractive behaviors from your view with an imaginary curtain.  There.  On with the task at hand.

The Elephant. (Parenthetical Note to reader: Quite a transition wasn’t that? (Parenthetical Note to reader to the previous Parenthetical Note: Your Bloguero misses the writing of David Foster Wallace.))  A short piece inspired in some fashion by writing by Macedonio in Museo de la Novela de Eterna, and with a must see video of a swimming elephant.  One reader (perhaps, in candor, this should read, “the reader”) inquired if the elephant was happy when, after swimming, she returned to land.  Your Bloguero noted with great comfort that the guy in the red hat in the video is Jacques Cousteau, and that, therefore, no animals’ feelings were hurt in any way in the making of this video.  (Parenthetical Note to reader: This is a professional elephant.  Do not try this at home with amateur elephants.  Or faux oceans.)

Death Of A Mass Murderer notes the killing of OBL and your Bloguero’s disappointment at the chanting, the partying, the cheering, the celebration of death.  Your Bloguero quotes extensively from a piece written by Rabbi Arthur Waskow that captures your Bloguero’s feelings.  The Bible, your Bloguero notes, is really useful here because among other things it is a repository for the Mythic.  The rejoicing of the Israelites at the death of their Pharaoh seemed to fit this event.

One other comment about the death of OBL.  Your Bloguero is alarmed at the repeated euphemistic use of the verb “got” to describe this event.  As in “we got him.”  This is not “got milk?”  This is not, as GWB uttered about Sadam H, “We got him,” meaning that he had been captured by troops and imprisoned.  This is a different “got.”  It’s now apparently a euphemistic synonym for killed.  It resembles in some ways that age old junior high school taunt, “I’m going to get you for that!”  Other verbs for the salient part of the event, which are probably more descriptive and at least as accurate as “got,” might be “shot” or “killed” or “executed” or even “murdered.”  If killing OBL was such a wonderful event, and evidently it is claimed to have been one, doesn’t it deserve to be called by its real name?  Not just by Obama, but also by the Trad Media?  Or is the use of “got” as the operable verb in this case chosen because it most resembles what imaginary TV cowboys might say and prolongs one’s feelings of justifiable revenge?

Finally, your Bloguero notes the passing of Ernesto Sabato a giant of Argentinian writing.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature.  Your Bloguero tries to post this Digest on Saturday morning early.  He almost never succeeds in that.  But this week, to his utter amazement, he almost did.  Your bloguero will be back next week, hopefully on Saturday morning early if his Muse returns.

Popular Culture (Music) 20110506: Todd Rundgren

For those of you who read my pieces (here, and my other two regular series, Pique the Geek and My Little Town), you know that I appreciate multitalented individuals.  This artist certainly fulfills that criterion.  Not only a talented musician himself, he is also a studio wizard, outstanding technician, and excellent music producer.

I am not his biggest fan, but I do appreciate his talent and like very much several of his original works.  Please do not take this statement as holding him in some sort of dislike:  I like him very much but there are others that I like better.  This is not to detract from his contributions, but rather to describe my musical tastes.

He has been around for a long, long time with no apparent sign of quitting.  Please come with us to examine the career and some of the better (in my opinion) work of this creative genius.

Avoiding becoming part of Gen Silent

On Thursday I went to a retirement party for the woman with whom I have been co-coordinating the Bloomfield College Gay/Non-Gay Alliance since I started working full-time here in 2001.  It got me thinking about my own impending retirement and what will happen as I grow older.

Together with that, there was a news item about a film festival in Canada, called the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival in Calgary, which is showing, among many other films, Gen Silent, a film about elderly GLBT people who fear they will have to go back in the closet in their last years to be treated as they wish to be.  Below is the trailer for this documentary.