August 19, 2012 archive


(T)he greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.

Orson Welles

Buster KeatonThe General (1926) (1:44)

On This Day In History August 19

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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.

August 19 is the 231st day of the year (232nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 134 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Support Grows in Germany for Vote on Giving Up Power to European Bloc



It has become the buzzword of the summer in Berlin: referendum. The foreign and finance ministers as well as opposition leaders have all come out in favor of allowing Germans to have a direct say in whether to give up more power to European Union institutions.

Although the idea of a referendum is for the moment more notional than concrete, it is gaining currency in Germany’s political debate. Approving it would amount to the exceptional step of a national vote to change the Constitution to allow Germans to relinquish some executive authority to Brussels.

Proponents say that if such a referendum were approved, it would send a strong signal of Germany’s commitment to the euro. It would also streamline the steps needed to save the common European currency, they argue, and appease mounting complaints by Germans that even as they are being asked to pay more to bolster or bail out their troubled euro zone partners, they have no say in where their taxes are flowing or how they are being spent.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Japanese activists land on disputed islands

How £11bn pledged for water sanitation aid never arrived

Are drones any more immoral than other weapons of war?

Terrorism trumps military taboos in Germany

CNN inside Syria: Nobody imagined it would turn into this

I Am You and You Are Me

It’s hard to say where it went wrong,

Decades before me and this song,

Through the banksters and the wars,

I just can’t take it anymore . . .


What We Now Know

Chris Hayes, the host of  MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes, share week’s news with guests: Richard Belzer (@MRBelzer), comedian, actor, talk show host and author; Michael Hastings (@mmhastings), BuzzFeed correspondent, Rolling Stone contributing editor, and author of “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan“; Heather McGhee (@hmcghee), vice president of policy and research at the progressive think tank Demos; Josh Barro (@jbarro), writes “The Ticker” for Bloomberg View; and Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn), senior contributing writer for Newsweek/Daily Beast, author of “Kingdom Coming: The rise of Christian Nationalism.

34 South African miners killed in clash with police

Some miners vowed to fight to the death yesterday  as police announced a shocking casualty toll from the previous day’s shooting by officers of striking miners with 34 dead and 78 wounded.

Wives of miners at the Lonmin Platinum Mine, northwest of Johannesburg took the place of dead and wounded husbands yesterday  in staging a protest. But this time, instead of asking for higher wages as the miners had done, the women demanded to know why police had opened fire Thursday with automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns on the strikers, many of whom had been armed with spears, machetes and clubs, as they rushed toward the officers.

Russia Sentences Pussy Riot Members to Two Years in Jail

A Russian court jailed three female punk performers for two years for inciting religious hatred and hooliganism, prompting international condemnation of the case that’s become a symbol of President Vladimir Putin’s intolerance for dissent.

Prosecutors had sought three-year prison terms for the Pussy Riot band members, who performed a “punk prayer” in the country’s main Christian Orthodox place of worship in February urging Putin’s removal.

Rage Against the Machine Isn’t Returning Ryan’s Love

Representative Paul D. Ryan may love Rage Against the Machine, but the feeling isn’t mutual.

“Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades,” Mr. Morello said.

Share with us what you now know.