Seems probative to me. Do not understand the court’s decision to exclude reference to this evidence in opening statements.
Seems probative to me. Do not understand the court’s decision to exclude reference to this evidence in opening statements.
I think we’re all agreed the president is fading — failing to lead, to break through, to show he’s not at the mercy of events but, to some degree at least, in command of them. He couldn’t get a win on gun control with 90% public support. When he speaks on immigration reform you get the sense he’s setting it back. He’s floundering on Syria…. Mr. Obama’s brilliant sequester strategy — scare the American public into supporting me—flopped.
Wesley Warren Jr. of Las Vegas suffers from a condition called scrotal lymphedema, which has left him with gigantic testicles he’s forced to carry around with a pillow and stool on which to rest his ballsack. Seriously.
Much like Victorian England’s Joseph Merrick, whose life with severe deformities became the subject of both the play and movie, “The Elephant Man,” Wesley Warren has concluded that to escape his present life he must allow himself to be exhibited. In hopes of getting the money for a possible corrective procedure that physicians have told him can cost about $1 million, Warren swallowed his pride by outing himself recently on shock jock Howard Stern’s national satellite radio and cable TV freak segment.
Sympathizers can direct donations to the email address email@example.com.
What a backwards industry. Consumers save them money at point-of-sale, receive no interest, and now must pay a fee for reducing the banks’ costs. Fail!!
The nation’s beleaguered banking industry, which has been raising fees and doing away with free services, has a new target: debit-card users.
Bank of America Corp. is laying plans to charge millions of customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, and other big banks are expected to follow suit. The industry says it needs the fees to recoup revenue it will lose because of new government regulations that cap what they can charge merchants for debit-card transactions.
Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, disclosed the plan on Thursday in a memo to its senior staff. It intends to begin collecting the fees nationwide early next year. BoiA plans to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for making debit card purchases starting next year. Andrew R. Johnson joins the PM Hub to explain.
New federal limits on debit-card “swipe fees” are expected to cost U.S. banks an estimated $6.6 billion a year in lost revenue. To offset that lost revenue, many banks have eliminated or scaled back debit-rewards programs, added monthly fees for checking accounts and raised minimum balance requirements for customers to avoid certain fees.
The limits on debit-card swipe fees—one of the most contentious regulations to arise from the financial crisis—were finalized by the Federal Reserve Board in June and take effect on Saturday. The new rules will cap at 24 cents the fee merchants pay banks each time a customer buys something with a debit card, down from the current average of 44 cents. The rules apply to banks with $10 billion and more in assets.
I haven’t launched a good rant in awhile and it seems this is an appropriate point in our nation’s political history to do so. If you actually believe that American politics is worthwhile, or that there’s a serious difference between the major parties, you probably won’t agree with any of this and should just move on.
Those still left — at least some of you readers, I hope — will recognize that the shrill and polarized debate in Washington over increasing the United States’ debt ceiling is dominating the news. Liberals call it a “faux crisis” because the borrowing limit is something no other major Western nation requires and because it has routinely been raised in the past. Conservatives want to use their leverage to extract concessions from President Obama and his White House on spending without increasing taxes. They’re achieved that result (poignantly noted when the president said Monday night that Republicans did not know how to “take yes as an answer”) and are holding out essentially for the Boehner plan’s promise of a deficit commission that would recommend further spending cuts down the road. Democrats like Harry Reid then respond that the House of Representatives is undertaking a “charade” vote because such a plan would not pass the Senate.
So, here’s the question of the moment. Why is Speaker of the House Boehner unable to bring his Republican colleagues into line and get his plan enacted? The answer is the slew of new, Tea Party members of Congress — which venerable, former maverick Sen. John McCain called “Hobbits” the other day — like freshman Republican Joe Walsh of Illinois.
In two separate closed door meetings, Speaker Boehner told Tea Party Republicans it was time to close ranks around his bill to raise the debt limit even though it doesn’t cut spending as much as they’d like. Boehner lashed out at the conservatives, telling them to “Get your ass in line.”
The Tea Party’ers say that $25B in discretionary spending cuts starting in 2012 — and even a claimed $6 trillion over 10 years — is a drop in the bucket for what is today already a $14 trillion and growing national debt. They’re right. They say that a “clean” debt ceiling increase is out of the question because spending in Washington, DC, under both parties, has climbed for 20 years, and jeopardizes America’s economic future if not solved. They’re right about that, too. They say that pushing spending cuts into the future will not work because every deficit commission, including a bipartisan one (Simpson-Boles) earlier this year. has gone nowhere, and because the deficit problem is a structural one due to entitlements (Medicare, Social Security), unfunded wars (Afghanistan, Libya) and non-discretionary, non-defense spending, like interest. They’re right. And they say, finally, that the only way to get anyone’s attention in Washington over these long-term issues — which are otherwise and always ignored by politicians concerned with short-run re-election — is by preciptitating an even more immediate crisis.
Playing off the title of this post, what if they’re right about that, too? With the almost equal split between voters (and traditional politicians) who want taxes left alone (or cut) in favor of spending reductions and those who want revenue “enhancements” and tax increases to reduce the deficit, there’s little hope of rational fiscal budgeting decisions in Washington any time soon. Yet after August 2 or 9 or whenever the U.S. Treasury can no longer issue bonds, there will be little or no possibility that serious and long-term deficit reduction can occur. Tea Party Founder Judson Phillips Blasts John Boehner | Politico.com. Washington will just go on, divided, spending money on the structurally fixed stuff while eking out small cuts from the infinitesimally tiny bit of discretionary spending left at the federal level. In short, are the Tea Party’ers right that a deficit commission and plan are about as worthless as the 9/11 Commission and DHS’ homeland security plan?
You betcha, as one oft-parodied Alaskan former governor likes to say. There is just no way that the Obama White House agrees to any fundamental changes in social safety net spending. After all, health care reform increased costs for Medicare and Medicaid and added millions to the programs. (I have not forgotten that George W. Bush’s prescription drug plan did the same thing, BTW.) Nor is there any chance that conservatives will scale back defense spending and, with it, America’s ability to project military power globally. So the only way out of the stalemate is to force both sides to do something, in a crisis, they would otherwise always and to their core oppose as a matter of principle. Put their feet to the fire and watch them jump.
America was founded by revolutionaries. They dumped tea into Boston harbor because of taxes spent on stuff the citizens did not care about and for which they had no influence. The Tea Party congressional members say they were voted into Washington to shake things up and that, unless they oppose the short-run bandaid offered up for the debt ceiling increase, it will still be business as usual in DC. Getting to “yes” gets them nothing. They may be a bit demented, perhaps a tad shrill, but they sure seem correct!
Formula One is called “exciting” today, at long last for some, but not in a way that is recognizable.
Once again in 2011, FIA has engaged in a series of major, off-season rule changes for F1, designed in part, as has been the case since the late 1980s, to end so-called “processional racing” — a general lack of overtaking. The result has been a wild first part of the 2011 season, with a tremendous number of passes, tires that go off after just a handful of laps and qualifying results that have left some of the best cars and drivers at the back of the grid (like Mark Webber at Shanghai). Yet in doing so, FIA president Jean Todt has fallen into the same ill-advised trap as his predecessor, Max Moseley, one that threatens the very soul of this grand sport.
Exciting racing is not typified by the absolute number of passes, but rather by compelling themes or rivalry — both technology and driving skill — that combine to create fan enthusiasm. Increasingly standardized cars are transforming F1 into a series that looks, sounds and acts just about like any other, not the pinnacle of automotive engineering innovation and excellence. Once a proving ground for fundamental developments in the world of motor sports, from downforce to ground effects to carbon fiber to aerodynamics, Formula One is steadily becoming an engineering afterthought in which street cars today enjoy more sophisticated components than do their F1 racing counterparts.
The roots of this change are attributable to FIA’s long-running penchant for outlawing technical innovations in a vain effort to level the playing field for less well-financed Grand Prix racing teams. Last year’s big development was the F-duct, first introduced by McLaren and promptly banned for 2011, which represented a classic case of race engineers finding ways around the sport’s technical regulations to gain an advantage. Also termed a “blown rear wing,” F-ducts funneled air under the wing in order to reduce downforce — known as “stalling” the rear wing — and increase speed. F-ducts did produce ugly car designs featuring high spines running all the way from the air intake to the rear wing, but they were banned not due to aesthetics, rather as a simple power play, replaced by new gimmick, the Drag Reduction System or “DRS.”
DRS wings are known officially as “adjustable bodywork” in the technical regulations:
3.18.2 The adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed a minimum of two laps after the race start or following a safety car period. The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics (see Article 8.2) that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled by the control electronics the first time the driver uses the brakes after he has activated the system. The FIA may, after consulting all competitors, adjust the above time proximity in order to ensure the stated purpose of the adjustable bodywork is met.
Technical Regulations: 2011 Changes | F1.com. Along with KERS (tried unsuccessfully in 2009 but now back once again), DRS operates in a single zone on the track and only for a car following another by less than 1s, producing a temporary 15-horsepower gain and overtaking moves that the leading driver is all but incapable of resisting.
Some have said it is more the quickly degrading Pirelli tires, also new for 2011, and the huge number of pit stops — some 80+ in the Turkish GP alone, for instance — that have created a new “excitement” in Formula One. The BBC’s Martin Brundle, for instance, believes:
In a normal year, everybody would be complaining that F1 was so boring and predictable, and switching off. Instead, TV audiences are significantly increasing, media coverage is stronger than ever, and the F1 paddock is buzzing ages after the race has finished. This excitement carries to the airport lounges, and in tweets and blogs the following day.
There is an excitement around F1 that I have not experienced except for championship showdowns or major political dramas. The combination of the degrading tyres, Kers (kinetic energy recovery system) and DRS (drag reduction system) rear wing overtaking aid has created much more wheel-to-wheel action, which people have craved for years.
Meanwhile, Ferrari boss Luca Di Montezemolo counters he is not happy with some of Formula One’s latest rule changes and has made yet another lame threat of breaking off to form his own GP racing series.
“We have gone too far with artificial elements,” he said. “It’s like, if I push footballers to wear tennis shoes in the rain. To have so many pit stops — listen, I want to see competition, I want to see cars on the track. I don’t want to see competition in the pits,” he explained. “In the last race there were 80 pit stops. Come on, it’s too much. And the people don’t understand any more because when you come out of the pits you don’t know what position you’re in.
“I think we have gone too far with the machines, too many buttons. The driver is focusing on the buttons, when you have the authorization to overtake. We have gone too far.”
On the other hand, some F1 drivers (below former Minardi driver Alex Yoong) defend the new rules as a way to counter the dirty air syndrome that penalizes following cars in an era of sophisticated aerodynamics:
In motorsport, whether on two wheels or four, there has always been an advantage for the following competitor due to the slipstream effect. Meaning there is less drag when you follow a vehicle as it cuts through the air, affording an advantage to the chasing car. Since wings became more efficient around 20 years ago, this started to change as cars following now had a disadvantage as they did not receive clean air, which allowed their wings to work properly.
So in a way since wings became attached to race cars, the racing has been made artificial as it allows the car in front to stay in front despite being a second or two a lap slower than the car trying to overtake him. That is why we have had processional racing for all these years, until this year that is. The DRS is a device that tries to get rid of the advantage the leading car always had.
Bottom line, Formula One has stepped into the void with DRS, KERS and all the new 2011 technical rules. It’s F1, just not as we’ve ever known it.
Jacques Villeneuve’s former team manager Craig Pollock is geared up to launch a new, efficient engine for Formula 1 in line with the the revised FIA rules mandating 4-cylinder turbos scheduled to take effect in the 2013 season. Pollock, who was the team principal of British American Racing (BAR) for its first two seasons in the sport, is to head up PURE — Propulsion Universelle et Recuperation d’Energie.
“There are only four suppliers to date for 12 teams, and there is no guarantee there [are still] going to be four suppliers in 2013,” said Pollock. “Our design and development is already way down the road and we are now ready to approach the teams. We’re going to come in with a very cost-effective, high quality engine, and we believe there are many teams out there who will be looking for a change of supplier going forward.”
For more than a decade, Formula 1 has been dominated by automobile manufacturer “factory” teams, and we’ve seen a dramatic decline of independent F1 racing organizations. In fact, Williams is the only team that exists solely to race in Formula 1, with its recent lack of success illuminating. Red Bull, for instance, sells energy drinks and the boss of Force India has many other business enterprises. All of that has made customer engines a rarity. While some of the big teams (like Red Bull Racing) technically “buy” their engines, in that case from Renault, the relationship between F1 constructor and engine supplier is very close, more of a partnership than that of vendor-customer.
An F1 engine available to everyone on roughly equivalent financial and technical terms — as was the case for more than 20 years with the famed Ford Cosworth DFV from 1968 on — would represent a transformative event, harkening back to the days of trailblazing “privateer” Grand Prix racing teams like those of Rob Walker and, later, Ken Tyrrell.
One of the questions raised by the [modern] engine deals is whether customers are getting the same engine as the works team. If Ferrari supply Toro Rosso with their top of the range engine, is it not slightly embarrassing that they were completely outclassed in Italy, with Vettel winning?
Eliminating this uncertainty and making top-notch powerplants available to all teams for purchase is a great development. There is hardly a realistic chance even this would allow one-off private teams to get back into the sport, given the tremendous financial demands of modern F1 chassis and aerodynamic design, it still would be a welcome break for the smaller teams and backmarkers. Good luck, Craig!
You are welcome to read more and explore further at my Formula One Art & Genius site.
Nearly 10 years ago, days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I drove home to the Washington, DC suburbs from Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a long, long trip, some 28 hours of driving over two and 1/2 days, but an experience like no other. There was a special sense of community, of shared loss, of egalitarianism and of fraternity that pervaded the highways. Flags and signs hung from overpasses. Everyone listened to the same news alerts. People made eye contact at rest stops and restaurants, nodding knowingly about the inner rage, and determination, affecting the United States. In many ways, it was a highly spiritual experience and a unique time in this country.
Sunday’s special ops killing in Pakistan of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — mastermind, symbol and financial underwriter of the Al Qaeda network — produced much of the same feelings. Twitter and social media were overwhelmed. Young people, who have never known a United States without its current national security state apparatus, celebrated in front of the White House. CNN and the other television news networks served as a place of gathering for Americans of all races, backgrounds and socio-economic status.
Bin Laden’s theory was that Western democracies are weak and thus that direct terrorist attacks would splinter the citizenry and end Western involvement in the Middle East. He got it entirely backwards. The reality is that 9/11 united the United States. We debate and fight about tactics, long-term strategy and effectiveness, but since that day no American can look at the massive hole of ground zero in Manhattan’s financial district, or the new granite walls of the Pentagon, without recalling where they were and how they felt on 9/11. That’s a legacy that has already outlasted bin Laden.
There’s another way in which bin Laden’s death has once again transformed this country from a nation of strangers to a shared community. This president, whose policies on healthcare, deficit reduction and the like are attacked from all sides, risked everything to get America’s most well-known terrorist enemy. If the operation had failed Obama would have been a crippled leader, like Jimmy Carter after the 1980 Iranian hostage rescue operation faltered in the desert sands, with re-election impossible. His was a balls-out call. For a Democrat, especially, to maintain secret, unilateral “black” intelligence operations in foreign countries has been all but anathema. Obama acted more like Ronald Reagan than either W. or Bush 41 ever did.
John Ullyot, a former Marine intelligence officer who served as a Republican spokesman on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the operation was “a gutsy call because so much could have gone wrong. The fact that Obama approved this mission instead of the safer option of bombing the compound was the right call militarily, but also a real roll of the dice politically because of how quickly it could have unraveled.”
No one is criticizing the decision to assassinate bin Laden. That in itself is simply amazing, another sign of the feelings of community pervading this country. They will not last, of course. But today we are once again all Americans.
One difference is that although worldwide support for America spiked after 9/11, it seems even Arabs and other Muslims have now largely abandoned the anti-Western Jihad mentality that bin Laden fostered. The revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya re not being driven by radical Shi’ite imams, rather by middle class tech executives and students. This year’s Arab Spring movement is secular and largely non-violent. American flags are not being burned and our government — massively out of character historically, and at long last — actually stood on the side of the protesters and against entrenched, repressive Arab governments. That’s another arrow in Al Qaeda’s coffin, and another way in which, in the instantly connected global community of today’s Earth, we really are all Americans.
Bin Laden was adept at convincing smaller, regional terrorist groups that allying with Al Qaeda and focusing on America were the best ways to topple corrupt regimes at home. But many of his supporters grew increasingly distressed by Al Qaeda’s attacks in the last few years — which have killed mostly Muslims — and came to realize that bin Laden had no long-term political program aside from nihilism and death.
The Arab Spring, during which ordinary people in countries like Tunisia and Egypt overthrew their governments, proved that contrary to Al Qaeda’s narrative, hated rulers could be toppled peacefully without attacking America. Indeed, protesters in many cases saw Washington supporting their efforts, further undermining Al Qaeda’s claims.
The display of outright blocking by Lewis Hailton at the Malaysian GP was unsporting. That’s a term not much used these days, and it doesn’t translate well to the world of today’s F1.
Let’s look first at the rules. They’re in the FIA’s Sporting Regulations for Formula One. Now, you could ask why regulations are needed for defining racing moves. That’s a far larger question for another time. Today’s F1 sporting regulations essentially allow a driver to make one racing move before entering a corner. That is, you can move once (even to block), but more than one maneuver — weaving -—will draw a drive-through penalty as an “incident” involving “illegitimately preventing a legitimate overtaking maneuver by a driver” (Reg. 16.1).
Under that standard, what Hamilton did to Vitaly Petrov, the novice Russian driving for Renault, was a clear violation. More importantly, I think, it was unnecessary. There have been many World Championships decided by accidents, some intentional, with plenty of blocking too. (In 1997, for instance, Michael Schumacher shunted into eventual world champion Jacques Villeneuve in the final GP at Jerez. He kept his season points, but was stripped of 2nd place in the World Championship by the FIA, and subsequently apologized for a lack of sportsmanship.) There’s a difference between a decisive race for the title, though, and an early season, mid-pack scuffle for a non-podium position.
Watch the video. Hamilton weaves all over the track. Not two moves, not three moves, but four, to the edge of the tarmac, all to protect a perfectly racy pass earlier at the head of the straight. This man is a World Champion! The etiquette of racing — not the FIA rules — demands that a driver defend a position but with performance. Part of the art of racing is making the car wide without overtly blocking, like Aryton Senna did to Nigel Mansell in the closing laps of the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix . All that came from the episode, even after Hamilton’s pit-lane contretemps two weeks later with Vettel, in China, was a reprimand.
You could not exactly call this crime ‘hooning’, the charge with which the McLaren driver was hit by police for wheel-skidding like a boy racer on a public road in Melbourne three weeks ago. In fact, many people were of the opinion that Hamilton had committed no crime at all — beyond that of actually racing. But those who counted, his fellow drivers here in China, were pretty much unanimous in agreeing that he had acted improperly when he weaved down the home straight in Malaysia a fortnight ago.
The GP Drivers Association met and recommended to FIA’s race director Charlie Whiting that they wanted to see future miscreants given a drive-through penalty. And as Ruebens Barichello remarked, “It was Formula Ford stuff,” adding that if it had been him instead of Petrov he would have handed the 2008 world champion a “———-”. Now that I can agree with!
Well this bites. I’m a Washington Redskins season ticket holder (although really a New York Giants fan), and have put up with several years of watching the almost-inept Jason Campbell pretend to be a NFL-caliber quarterback. Now we’ll have to sit there as Donovan McNabb tries his hand as the most unstable position in all of sports, Redskins QB. Redskins Acquire Quarterback Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia Eagles [washingtonpost.com].
Another bonehead move from Redskins owned Daniel Snyder. Bring in aging stars, give them millions of dollars and hope they ferment. But losers are losers. Donovan is no superman for sure. All that booing in Philly over the last decade is moving 100 miles down I95 to Washington this fall.