February 24, 2013 archive

Speaking of boring-

No one man can be more corrupt than soccer can be boring.


Danica Patrick’s Love Life: The Daytona 500

Faithful readers already know what I think about Turn Left.

In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. These teams became the focus of intense support among spectators, and occasional disturbances broke out between followers of different factions. The conflicts sometimes became politicized, as the sport began to transcend the races themselves and started to affect society overall.

Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss.  Purple makes a fine winding sheet.

It’s hard to blame the technology, the cars and tracks can hardly be safer than they are.  It’s high speed bumper cars and the rules that create an environment where you can take out 12 of them at a time; and though 33 were injured, some critically, nobody died… yet.

To me the sport’s biggest sin is that it’s boring.  BORING!

Yup, that’s right, more boring than having Vettel dive into the front and drive off into the distance with Mark Webber in tow.

And that’s because nothing matters until the last 5 laps except for the accidents.

You know, like the whole track falling apart.

So let’s talk instead about Danica Patrick’s love life.

Patrick Was Leading Way Even Before Winning Pole

By VIV BERNSTEIN, The New York Times

Published: February 18, 2013

On the first day that drivers arrived at Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks, the Daytona 500 and the celebrated start of Nascar’s 2013 Sprint Cup season, the story making headlines was Danica Patrick’s romantic relationship with the driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Her relationship with Stenhouse, an up-and-coming driver who will also be a rookie in the Sprint Cup this season, has only served to intensify the interest in everything she does on and off the track.

“I don’t mind answering questions about the other stuff,” she added. “But I get that it’s not about racing. It’s nice to change the tone of the questions because of what’s going on, on the track. That is a really good sign, and I like that.”

Either way, it’s all good for Nascar. Patrick made the rounds of many of the major television talk shows Monday morning, giving the sport some much needed publicity. Nascar has had a drop in attendance and television ratings in recent years. The marketing game plan is to focus on drivers, and nobody does a better job of self-marketing than the 30-year-old Patrick.

“Driver star power is something we’re going to bang on from a marketing perspective in ’13 and in ’14, ’15, ’16,” said Steve Phelps, Nascar’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “It will all be about the drivers.

“Listen, she is a marketing phenomenon,” Phelps said. “I think putting her on the biggest stage that we have, the Sprint Cup, and have her run a full season, will only help her.”

He asked rhetorically: “Do I believe that she needs to win in order to continue that momentum that she has seen so far? I don’t. Would it add to it? Would it kind of plus-up the whole thing? I do.”

To be continued, as Patrick moves through the week and heads to the pole Sunday, with 500 miles in front of her and the remaining skeptics in the rear.

ek, are you implying that we’re living in the decadent final days of empire with bread and circuses to placate the proletariat?

Ahem, let me clear my throat.


Enjoy the race, I’ll be back for the last 5 laps to see how things turned out.

On This Day In History February 24

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.

February 24 is the 55th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 310 days remaining until the end of the year (311 in leap years).

On this day in 1803, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, decides the landmark case of William Marbury versus James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States and confirms the legal principle of judicial review–the ability of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional power by declaring legislation unconstitutional–in the new nation.

Marbury v. Madison is a landmark case in United States law and in the history of law worldwide. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. It was also the first time in the world that a court invalidated a law by declaring it “unconstitutional.”

This case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents, but the court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, denied Marbury’s petition, holding that the part of the statute upon which he based his claim, the Judiciary Act of 1789, was unconstitutional.

Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something “unconstitutional,” and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the “checks and balances” of the American form of government.

The Issue

There are three ways a case can be heard in the Supreme Court: (1) filing directly in the Supreme Court; (2) filing in a lower federal court, such as a district court, and appealing all the way up to the Supreme Court; (3) filing in a state court, appealing all the way up through the state’s highest courts, and then appealing to the Supreme Court on an issue of federal law. The first is an exercise of the Court’s original jurisdiction; the second and third are exercises of the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction.

Because Marbury filed his petition for the writ of mandamus directly in the Supreme Court, the Court needed to be able to exercise original jurisdiction over the case in order to have the power to hear it.

Marbury’s argument is that in the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction over petitions for writs of mandamus. This raises several issues that the Supreme Court had to address:

  • Does Article III of the Constitution create a “floor” for original jurisdiction, which Congress can add to, or does it create an exhaustive list that Congress can’t modify at all?
  • If Article III’s original jurisdiction is an exhaustive list, but Congress tries to modify it anyway, who wins that conflict, Congress or the Constitution?
  • And, more importantly, who is supposed to decide who wins?
  • In its answer to this last question, the Supreme Court formalizes the notion of judicial review. In short, the constitutional issue on which Marbury v. Madison was decided was whether Congress could expand the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

    Six In The Morning

    On Sunday

     France’s military operation in Mali in ‘final phase’

    BBC 24 February 2013 Last updated at 00:02 GMT

    French President Francois Hollande has said his country’s forces are engaged in the “final phase” of the fight against militants in northern Mali.

    He said there had been heavy fighting in the Ifoghas mountains, where members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were thought to be hiding.

    Mr Hollande also praised Chadian troops for their efforts in the same area.

    Thirteen Chadian soldiers and some 65 militants were killed in clashes on Friday, according to the Chadian army.

    Chad’s government has promised to deploy 2,000 troops as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (Afisma).

    US drones

    Speaking in Paris on Saturday, President Hollande said “heavy fighting” was taking place in the far north of Mali, near the Algerian border

    Sunday’s Headlines:

    Rescuers fear India will drop new law banning child labour

    War on terror is the West’s new religion

    ElBaradei calls for Egypt vote boycott, poll date moved

    ‘Second Generation Red’ fall in behind Xi Jinping

    Israeli Oscar contenders force citizens to confront uncomfortable questions

    Late Night Karaoke

    Your Invite to the 85th Academy Awards

    I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from all the yammering about sequester, austerity, cliff and whatever the topic du jour is, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

    Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 85th Academy Awards starting at 6:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities into the Dolby Theatre begins. Unlike past years, I have actually been inside a movie theater and watched four movies that have been nominated for awards, Best Movie nominee Les Miserables; Best Animated Feature nominee Brave; Best Costume Design nominee Mirror Mirror; and Best Visual Effects nominee The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

    This year’s show will be hosted by actor, comedian, producer, etc, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame so be prepared for a lot of bleeping.

    Once again I will be ensconced on the couch in my comfy sweats and sequined blue suede pumps with a pitcher of my favorite libation (vodka martinis and lots of olives) and plenty of popcorn sprinkled liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you prefer something more exotic to drink or an appetizer a bit more sophisticated than popcorn, you can check out my previous entries here and here (yes, I am being lazy but I’ve been busy).

    These are this year’s winner predictions over the The New York Times Carpetbagger:

    Best Picture: “Argo”

    Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

    Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

    Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

    Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

    Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les MiseĢrables”

    Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”

    Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

    Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-it Ralph,” Rich Moore

    Best Documentary: “Searching For Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

    Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour,” Austria

    Get ready for the party and live blog with us tomorrow night.

    Oh, and the nominees are below the fold.