May 17, 2014 archive

Triple Crown: The Middle Child

I once again have to try and find something interesting to say about Pimlico.

Preakness Trivia

  • Actually 2 years older than the Kentucky Derby.
  • Shortest in distance (1/16th shorter than the Derby).
  • Only the Derby has a larger attendance.
  • No Black Eyed Susan has ever been used, currently it’s painted Chysthanthemums.

There have been 34 winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes including the 11 Triple Crown winners.

Preakness Traditions

Winners don’t get the real Woodlawn Cup to keep, but a half size replica (oh, and the Woodlawn Racing Club is defunct).  Black Eyed Susans don’t bloom until 2 months after the Preakness.  The Old Clubhouse was destroyed in a fire in 1966.  They paint the winner’s racing silks on the weathervane.  No one on the internet knows why it’s called the Alibi Breakfast.

Official Website

I need a drink-

Black Eyed Susan Recipe

(Official, but without the brand names)


  • 1 1/4 oz. Bourbon (20% of Early Times is aged in used barrels)
  • 3/4 oz. Vodka
  • 3 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice


Fill a highball glass with shaved ice, add the liquors first, then top off with orange juice and sweet and sour mix. Stir and garnish with an orange slice, cherry, and stirrer.

Post time 6:18 pm ET, coverage starts at 4:30 pm on NBC.

I once saw a future Miss America almost eaten by a horse.

Ok, so she wasn’t a Miss America, but she was one of the 10 finalists.

We were on this band trip (she played French Horn, was the practice Piano player for Choir, and sang- rather badly as I recall which is why she got stuck playing Piano) and we went to this ski resort in Pennsylvania where I and my room mates mostly amused ourselves by doing a lot of superficial “damage” like draping our underwear over the lamps and taking the mattresses off the beds (they wouldn’t let us on the bus for the trip home until we “fixed” it which took like a whole 5 minutes).

For me it was notable for this big scar I got while skiing (I’m quite good by the way) when this football player plowed into me at full tilt and opened up a remarkably large wound on my shin with his edge through a teeny tiny little hole in my jeans.  Hardly even noticed it until my boot started filling up with blood.

So one of the other things you could do was horse riding which was a big thrill for me since I went to the boy’s camp with the lake and not the girl’s camp with the horses and the only other time I’d been on the back of one was this sad nag at the fair who was chained to a not very Merry-go-round and even though we didn’t get much past a stately amble at least we were going somewhere.

Future Miss America was two horses in front so I saw it all.  It had started to snow a little, the path was getting slippery and her horse’s hoof went out and kicked the horse behind.

Who got a little ticked, climbed up on the back of her horse and started biting her.

Well, she went the emergency room, I got the aid station at the slope where the patrol person took a look and said- “That’s nothing, just a scratch.  Are you sure you want a band aid?”

I dunno, does it have Spongebob on it?

Top Horse, From a Place Winners Aren’t Made

By JOE DRAPE, The New York Times

MAY 16, 2014

There is no bluegrass here or limestone fences framing postcard-ready landscapes. A drought has drained the San Joaquin Valley of any color other than beige. There is no mistaking the smell in the air, either: It is cow manure from the feedlot of California’s largest beef producer.

This is a working ranch, after all, where cows graze, almonds and pistachios grow on trees, and asparagus sprouts from the arid ground. The horses here are a sidelight, not sheikh-owned stallions that command $100,000 in the breeding shed. There is no harem of impeccably bred mares owned by the Wertheimers of the House of Chanel or any other of the sport’s boldface names.

Instead of relying on multigenerational horse families like the Phippses, owners of the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, and deep-pocketed commercial breeders with their large band of broodmares, farms here use breeders like Coburn and Martin, who are equipped with one or two mares and the dream of creating a home-run horse. At first blush, California Chrome’s parents did not seem like champion stock. A time-honored racing maxim says, “breed the best to the best and hope for the best.” In this case, Coburn and Martin, with their limited budget, settled for “best available.”

Coburn is employed by a Nevada company that makes magnetic tape for items like credit cards and hotel keys; Martin owns a California laboratory that tests safety equipment.

Derby Victor a Heavy, and Heavier, Preakness Favorite

By JOE DRAPE, The New York Times

MAY 14, 2014

California Chrome will break from the No. 3 post, well inside his two most formidable challengers. Bayern (10-1) is in the No. 5 hole and Social Inclusion (5-1) the No. 8. Both rely on early bursts and are likely to dictate the pace.

“He likes to run in the pocket; I don’t think you’ll see him far off the pace,” Sherman said of his colt. “If he can come out of there and be fourth going around the turn and fourth down the backside and have a clear path, you’re going to see old Chrome perform.”

There are some promising horses among California Chrome’s nine challengers, but none of them have shown talent similar to that of Chrome. Only two horses that ran in the Derby are back for more: Ride on Curlin was a well-beaten seventh, and General a Rod finished 11th.

The new faces on the Triple Crown trail are far more interesting. Social Inclusion was unraced as a 2-year-old but won twice in Florida spectacularly, smashing the track record at Gulfstream for a mile-and-a-sixteenth in a 10-length rout of Honor Code, a graded stakes winner. In April, he finished third in the Wood Memorial.

The Bob Baffert-trained Bayern is still learning the racing game. He has won two of his four races but did not have enough qualifying points to make the Derby.

“He has a lot of speed and is going to be up close,” Baffert said. “He’s ready for it now, and I feel good about him going in. If he’s good enough, he’s good enough.”

The Preakness Dartboard


MAY 16, 2014

Post time: 6:18 p.m. Eastern Television: NBC

Joe Drape’s picks (win, place, show): California Chrome, Ring Weekend, Kid Cruz

Melissa Hoppert’s picks (win, place, show): California Chrome, Social Inclusion, Bayern

Concerns Fade Over Weather and the Favorite’s Health

By JOE DRAPE, The New York Times

MAY 16, 2014

California Chrome galloped in the rain, took his medicine – a glycerin rinse for a small blister in his throat – and was declared fit, fast and ready for Saturday’s 139th running of the Preakness Stakes by his father-son training team.

Just as the commotion surrounding California Chrome’s cough blew over, so did the stormy weather that made for a dreary Friday morning. By late afternoon, the track was dry at Pimlico Race Course, and it was expected to be in fine condition for Saturday’s race.

No Stop at the Preakness for Two California Chrome Owners

By MELISSA HOPPERT, The New York Times

MAY 17, 2014

The Martins had booked their trip to Baltimore but canceled at the last minute to stay home in Yuba City, Calif. They own a laboratory in Sacramento that tests safety equipment like air bags and landing gear, and, the Coburns said, the Martins have fallen behind in their work because of California Chrome’s success.

Carolyn Coburn also said their co-owners did not have a pleasant experience with the organizers at Churchill Downs. The Martins picked up Perry’s 83-year-old mother, Katherine, from a nursing facility in Michigan and drove her to Louisville for the Derby.

“Churchill did not go out of their way to get her to where she needed to be and to assist us,” Carolyn Coburn said of Katherine Martin, who was in a wheelchair. “Steve and Perry did everything, got her in her seat, then we had to get her to the rail so she could watch the race, then get her to the winner’s circle.”

A Long-Shared Love of Racing and a Champion

By MELISSA HOPPERT, The New York Times

MAY 17, 2014

The Coburns and the Martins owned shares of California Chrome’s mother, Love the Chase, through a syndicate and then bought her outright. They raced her two more times, but it was clear that she was not a runner after she won only once in six tries, and retired her so she could become a broodmare. She was bred to Lucky Pulpit for $2,000, and the rest is racing history.

“Our first check that we got with her, she ran fourth, her first race, was $46, and we had invested $4,000, plus the monthly fees,” Carolyn said. “But Steve said, ‘No she’s going to do something.’ And being a mother was what she did.”

The Coburns spoil their horses – Love the Chase, California Chrome, a yearling and a suckling, both full sisters to Chrome – as much as they do their eight grandchildren. When Love the Chase was racing, she refused to eat carrots. So they scoured livestock stores for a treat she might eat. They found Mrs. Pastures cookies for horses, and she ate them up. Now her offspring cannot get enough, especially California Chrome.

“He runs for those cookies,” Steve said. “We buy those things by the buckets full, and we take them over to Harris Ranch, got every horse over there hooked on them.”

The Breakfast Club (Black-eyed Susans)

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.pngThe obligatory-

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.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

So today, in honor of the Preakness at Pimlico, we have a special video selection That I’ll discuss more thoroughly below the fold.

While it’s called ‘The Race for the Black-Eyed Susans’ they’re never ever used because they don’t bloom until June or July (of course Climate Change will change all that).  What they are really is Viking Poms, a chrysanthemum relative.  They do still paint the Jockey’s colors on the weather vane and award the Woodlawn Vase, reputedly the most valuable trophy in sports (over $4 Million).

No they don’t get to keep it, they get a half size replica while the original remains under guard at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

This Day in History

On This Day In History May 17

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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 17 is the 137th day of the year (138th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 228 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1954, in a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court’s unanimous (9-0) decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.

Supreme Court Review

The case of Brown v. Board of Education as heard before the Supreme Court combined five cases: Brown itself, Briggs v. Elliott (filed in South Carolina), Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (filed in Virginia), Gebhart v. Belton (filed in Delaware), and Bolling v. Sharpe (filed in Washington D.C.).

All were NAACP-sponsored cases. The Davis case, the only case of the five originating from a student protest, began when sixteen-year-old Barbara Rose Johns organized and led a 450-student walkout of Moton High School.

The Kansas case was unique among the group in that there was no contention of gross inferiority of the segregated schools’ physical plant, curriculum, or staff. The district court found substantial equality as to all such factors. The Delaware case was unique in that the District Court judge in Gebhart ordered that the black students be admitted to the white high school due to the substantial harm of segregation and the differences that made the schools separate but not equal. The NAACP’s chief counsel, Thurgood Marshall, who was later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, argued the case before the Supreme Court for the plaintiffs. Assistant attorney general Paul Wilson, later distinguished emeritus professor of law at the University of Kansas, conducted the state’s ambivalent defense in his first appellate trial.

Unanimous Opinion and Key Holding

In spring 1953 the Court heard the case but was unable to decide the issue and asked to rehear the case in fall 1953, with special attention to whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause prohibited the operation of separate public schools for whites and blacks.

The case was being reargued at the behest of Associate Justice Felix Frankfurter, who used re-argument as a stalling tactic, to allow the Court to gather a unanimous consensus around a Brown opinion that would outlaw segregation. Chief Justice Vinson had been a key stumbling block. The justices in support of desegregation spent much effort convincing those who initially dissented to join a unanimous opinion. Even though the legal effect would be same for a majority versus unanimous decision, it was felt that it was vital to not have a dissent which could be relied upon by opponents of desegregation as a legitimizing counterargument.

Conference notes and draft decisions illustrate the division of opinions before the decision was issued. Justices Douglas, Black, Burton, and Minton were predisposed to overturn Plessy. Fred M. Vinson noted that Congress had not issued desegregation legislation; Stanley F. Reed discussed incomplete cultural assimilation and states’ rights and was inclined to the view that segregation worked to the benefit of the African-American community; Tom C. Clark wrote that “we had led the states on to think segregation is OK and we should let them work it out.” Felix Frankfurter and Robert H. Jackson disapproved of segregation, but were also opposed to judicial activism and expressed concerns about the proposed decision’s enforceability. After Vinson died in September 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as Chief Justice. Warren had supported the integration of Mexican-American students in California school systems following Mendez v. Westminster.

While all but one justice personally rejected segregation, the self-restraint faction questioned whether the Constitution gave the Court the power to order its end. The activist faction believed the Fourteenth Amendment did give the necessary authority and were pushing to go ahead. Warren, who held only a recess appointment, held his tongue until the Senate, dominated by southerners, confirmed his appointment.

Warren convened a meeting of the justices, and presented to them the simple argument that the only reason to sustain segregation was an honest belief in the inferiority of Negroes. Warren further submitted that the Court must overrule Plessy to maintain its legitimacy as an institution of liberty, and it must do so unanimously to avoid massive Southern resistance. He began to build a unanimous opinion.

Although most justices were immediately convinced, Warren spent some time after this famous speech convincing everyone to sign onto the opinion. Justices Robert Jackson and Stanley Reed finally decided to drop their dissent to what was by then an opinion backed by all the others. The final decision was unanimous. Warren drafted the basic opinion and kept circulating and revising it until he had an opinion endorsed by all the members of the Court.


The key holding of the Court was that, even if segregated black and white schools were of equal quality in facilities and teachers, segregation by itself was harmful to black students and unconstitutional. They found that a significant psychological and social disadvantage was given to black children from the nature of segregation itself, drawing on research conducted by Kenneth Clark assisted by June Shagaloff. This aspect was vital because the question was not whether the schools were “equal”, which under Plessy they nominally should have been, but whether the doctrine of separate was constitutional. The justices answered with a strong “no”:

   Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does… Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system… We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Late Night Karaoke

The DOJ Hates the Fourth Amendment

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This administration, especially the Department of Justice really hates your Fourth Amendment rights and is doing everything in its power to narrow your right to privacy as much as it can.

DOJ Says Americans Have No 4th Amendment Protections At All When They Communicate With Foreigners

by Make Masnick, Techdirt

We’ve already questioned if it’s really true that the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply to foreigners (the Amendment refers to “people” not “citizens”). But in some new filings by the DOJ, the US government appears to take its “no 4th Amendment protections for foreigners” to absurd new levels. It says, quite clearly, that because foreigners have no 4th Amendment protections it means that any Americans lose their 4th Amendment protections when communicating with foreigners. They’re using a very twisted understanding of the (already troubling) third party doctrine to do this. As you may recall, after lying to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that it would start informing defendants if warrantless collection of information under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) was used in the investigation against them.

Last October, it finally started alerting some defendants, leading courts to halt proceedings and re-evaluate. As two of those cases have moved forward, the DOJ is trying to defend those cases, and one way it’s doing so is to flat out say that Americans have no 4th Amendment protections when talking to foreigners.

   The Supreme Court has long held that when one person voluntarily discloses information to another, the first person loses any cognizable interest under the Fourth Amendment in what the second person does with the information. . . . For Fourth Amendment purposes, the same principle applies whether the recipient intentionally makes the information public or stores it in a place subject to a government search. Thus, once a non-U.S. person located outside the United States receives information, the sender loses any cognizable Fourth Amendment rights with respect to that information. That is true even if the sender is a U.S. person protected by the Fourth Amendment, because he assumes the risk that the foreign recipient will give the information to others, leave the information freely accessible to others, or that the U.S. government (or a foreign government) will obtain the information.

This argument is questionable on so many levels. First, it’s already relying on the questionable third party doctrine, but it seems to go much further, by then arguing that merely providing information to a foreign person means that it’s okay for the US government to snoop on it without a warrant.

The official US position on the NSA is still unlimited eavesdropping power

by Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU at The Guardian

One year after Snowden, the government is defending – in not-so-plain sight – the ‘paramount’ power to spy on every call and email between you and your friends abroad

The government’s argument is not simply that the NSA has broad authority to monitor Americans’ international communications. The US government is arguing that the NSA’s authority is unlimited in this respect. If the government is right, nothing in the Constitution bars the NSA from monitoring a phone call between a journalist in New York City and his source in London. For that matter, nothing bars the NSA from monitoring every call and email between Americans in the United States and their non-American friends, relatives, and colleagues overseas.

In the government’s view, there is no need to ask whether the 2008 law violates Americans’ privacy rights, because in this context Americans have no rights to be violated.

Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel points out that former Sen Russ Feingold warned us back in 2008 about the abuses that could occur under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA).

The War On Words

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Journalist Chris Hedges spoke with RT news host Sophia about the information difference in the news that is reported. Citing the uprising in the Ukraine as an example, he talks about how the US government uses fake facts and dubious evidence to push its propaganda on the public using an ever compliant American media.

The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using?

There are two sides to every story, then there is the truth.

Random Japan

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Elephant nose ice cream: The treat with a trunk

   Michelle Lynn Dinh

If you’re looking for a fun way to eat your dessert, look no further than Zou-No-Hana Cafe in Yokohama, Japan. The house specialty, the zou no hana (elephant nose) ice cream has been enticing regular visitors and tourists alike with its cute, albeit strange, face and oversized waffle cone ears.

Elephant nose ice cream is ridiculously cute – who knew plain old soft serve, or “soft cream” as it’s called in Japan, could take on so much whimsy. And as you can probably tell, Zou-No-Hana Cafe has perfected the art of the nose lift:

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Dishes for Digestive Health

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I’ve long been aware of the term “probiotics” (is there anybody who watches television who hasn’t seen Jamie Lee Curtis touting them in those old ads for Activia yogurt?), the beneficial microbes in our guts, and also in fermented foods like miso and kimchi, that some experts believe play a significant role in gut health and in keeping our immune system robust. But I’d never heard the word “prebiotics” until I attended a talk by the Stanford nutritionist Jo Ann Hattner, who has written (with Susan Anderes) an interesting guide called “Gut Insight: Probiotics and Prebiotics for Digestive Health and Well-Being.”

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Chard Stalk, Chickpea, Tahini and Yogurt Dip

An economical dip that is a cross between hummus and the classic Middle Eastern dip called silq bil tahina


Spring Vegetable Stew With Artichokes and Fennel

The inspiration for this dish is a Sicilian stew called fritteda that can be served with pasta or other grains as a main course.

Baked Frittata With Yogurt, Chard and Green Garlic

A spin on the Proven├žal chard omelet called truccha, good to eat hot, warm or cold.

Quinoa Bowl With Roasted Artichokes, Spring Onions, Peas and Garlic Yogurt This dish in a bowl mixes sweet and bitter edges.

This dish in a bowl mixes sweet and bitter edges.

Stir-Fried Baby Turnips With Spring Onions, Green Garlic and Tofu

Juicy springtime ginger, onions and green garlic elevate this stir-fry featuring baby turnips and their bitter greens.

IDAHOT: 102 and counting

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Saturday is IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.  It’s a little annoying that there is only one day for this…rather than it being a year-round concern.

To kick off the event, I’ve got some data for you.  The Transgender Violence Tracking Portal is a new project, started in March of this year…so their data is a bit limited by the fact that only 14 countries have submitted data to them so far.

the TVTP project was created to allow public access and grassroots reporting of incidents of violence, and any registered user to easily query the TVTP database at any time to see the anti-transgender violence that has been reported.  Researchers will be drawing from standard sources (news media, law enforcement, GLBT groups and many other sources) for additional and corroborative data.