Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Scam Of Gay Marriage

A Social Experiment Without Science.

"There has only been one study using a large randomized sample, objective measures of well-being, and reports of grown children rather than parents." And it shows children suffer from gay parents.

Cyprus’s Imminent Collapse

Cyprus’s recent bailout won't save the country from collapse.

Joey Logano And His Enemies

As NASCAR enters its Easter bye week, the story that isn't going away is Joey Logano and the bad crash involving Denny Hamlin at Fontana. Hamlin's back injury has left him sidelined for perhaps six weeks, and has also touched off criticism (notably from Darrell Waltrip) that there was no SAFER barrier in the area near pit road where he hit. This criticism, though, ignores that Michael Annett at Daytona this year and Eric McClure at Talladega last year were both seriously injured in head-on crashes into SAFER barriers; we really shouldn't assume that having a SAFER barrier where Hamlin hit would have made much difference.

The sport has famously upgraded its safety efforts since 2001 yet it is flirting once again with something worse than what we're presently seeing.


The issue goes further into the fundamental fitness of Joey Logano to be involved in the sport. The Fontana melee included a brawl Tony Stewart and Logano over the last restart, and the verbiage between the two was unusually vicious between Stewart's rant about Logano's "spoiled" upbringing and Logano lashing at Hamlin for previous incidents - "He shouldn't have done what he did last week (at Bristol) so that's what he gets."

Given the history of Hamlin's career, one actually has to grudgingly agree. ATHLON SPORTS in its 2013 NASCAR preview noted that Hamlin has the most off-turning personality in the garage area, and his past scrapes in the sport further fuel his image as stuck up. Of course Logano's career in effect began with his 2009 Irwindale cheapshot and subsequent disqualification at Irwindale Speedway and it's never gotten better with frequent crashes, poor driving, and periodic fights with other drivers.

What it boils down to with Logano is that he is a combination of Ryan Leaf and Jack Tatum - he's the stuck-up talentless jerk that was Leaf and carries an intimation of malice befitting Tatum.   That he spoke of Hamlin's past scrapes and in effect said Hamlin got what he deserved is one of those radically mixed bags that leaves one uncomfortable - it bespeaks of a bloodthirsty character yet is also an appropriate retort to previous instigation, and given that the law of the jungle applies to sports it's commendable to a point for Logano to say it - the blunt truth is Hamlin did get what he deserved.

Even with that, what amounts to a broken back that could have been worse is scary and leaves one angry with both.   Yet it is typical of this generation of NASCAR racer, where unprofessional behavior on and off the track has long been the norm.   Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards to an even greater severity, and the Busch brothers are the archetypal punk racers of the sport.  For the entirety of their careers they have been reason not to watch.

For now the sport has a bye week, but it gets back to Martinsville and the "rubbing is racing" ethos is likely to see more of the ugliness this 2013 season has already seen.

Telling The Truth About Iraq

A representative tells the truth about Iraq. Also a look at six issues of the war by Victor Hanson.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ontario Motor Speedway Meets Bristol

For most of its life California Speedway was routinely dismissed by racefans because of the lack of ferocious racing there. A track like this was what NASCAR had in mind with its controversial Generation Six racecar, and entering Winston Cup's Easter bye weekend, something decidedly unexpected is happening here. 

A sign there was something about this weekend showed in the Nationwide 300 won by Kyle Busch, a spirited affair with several very good battles up front.   The Cal 400 then saw some decent racing before a late caution set off a shocking ten-lap shootout between cars on worn tires and cars on fresh tires. It began with seven-abreast into One and then it all got ugly on the final lap between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin and both crashed - but the worst came when Hamlin stabbed hard into the concrete and was hospitalized overnight with a compression fracture in his lower back.

Some criticized that the area he hit didn't have a SAFER barrier, but after Michael Annett and Eric McClure's bad injuries when they hit one it's not a particularly valid criticism anymore.    

The wreck renews questions about the fundamental fitness to be in this sport of Joey Logano. Racecaster Dave Moody likens the incident to Logano now standing his ground as a racer. Roger Penske defended Logano after the wreck but Logano was in a fight last week after a wreck and now was in the middle of this melee and then got into an actual punches-thrown brawl on pit road.   Logano's career in effect started by wiping out a group of cars in the Toyota All Star Race at Irwindale in 2009 and continued through a pathetic career with Joe Gibbs Racing - that career clearly has brought out a savagery in Hamlin as their feud since Logano went to Penske Racing has become perhaps THE story of the season so far.


Except there are other stories right now.   NASCAR's Generation Six racecar has been criticized because it came out of box poorly at Daytona and Phoenix.   Since then, though, there was some decent racing at Vegas and a spirited affair at Bristol, and now comes Fontana's wildest finish ever.   This thing may actually start making believers out of people.

There is also the worn out nature of Fontana's asphalt, a fact that earned rave reviews from just about everyone from the TV broadcasters (if Andy Petree uses the word "character" again I'll explode) to Dale Earnhardt Jr, though he did complain about the bumpiness at the end of the backstretch. The idea that tracks need worn asphalt to put on good racing, though, seems a stretch after seeing good racing on new pavement at Pocono and elsewhere.

A curious aspect of the race is also Logano's Ford, which was missing the left corner of its front splitter - yet seemed to run better without it than with it.  

Another angle is that in the frantic finish Kyle Busch and Logano among several others did not get tires under the late caution - Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Dale Junior, and Hamlin were drivers who got fresh tires and bolted through  the field yet once they got there had nothing for the leaders.   I wonder what those drivers were thinking when they found the cars on old tires held them off despite fresh tires. 

In any event the Easter bye gives the sport something to chew on and also gives it reason for optimism about where it's going after all.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Obama and Rand Paul's Cylon Wars

The always-thoughtful Charles Krauthammer authors another intelligent gem, this time discussing the rise of drone warfare and Rand Paul's famous filibuster effort. Krauthammer delivers the key to understanding Paul's objections when he notes that his filibuster was "theatrically brilliant and substantively irrelevant." Rand Paul's real issue is that the US is actually fighting back against an enemy, and it is an issue that has hurt libertarian thinking forever. Rand is sneakier than his father Ron Paul, who was maddeningly myopic on American power and America's enemies, but Rand Paul's real objection is to the US actually defending itself.

Krauthammer brilliantly notes the complete and utter hypocrisy of Democrats, who routinely object when Republicans are in power and fight back against America's enemies.   Barack Obama's pious opposition to victory over Saddam Hussein's Iraq illustrates Democratic hypocrisy as Obama uses attack drones for pinprick raids on Islamo-Arab terrorist nests - the only thing missing is the building of Cylon base stars from which to launch these attack drones - and the result has been over 4,000 dead terrorists - as a substitute for actually defeating Islamo-Arab terrorism.

The reality remains that terrorism is state-sanctioned war by proxy - Iraq was its largest sanction state and now Iran and Syria are the largest sanction states.  The myth of rogue terrorist groups - the Osama Bin Elvis ideology or what I call The Ernst Stavro Blofeld Myth of international terrorism - is what has driven US policy and it remains foolish because only the overthrow of the states that sanction  it will bring it to an end.   And the US has had that in Iraq yet is steadily throwing it away because of Obama's obsession with withdrawal from the Middle East.

Drone warfare remains a pathetic pinprick substitute, and no matter what Obama or Rand Paul do to wish it away, it won't leave until the US stops leaving and starts going for real victory.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Wreck It Ralph 500 Part II

The 2013 Southeastern 500 was an anticipated race given Bristol's history of crashes and also of driver/crew spats. And the Winston Cup Series will be talking about this one for awhile, but as has been seen before the discussion will be for reasons both good and bad. Start with the good of the weekend - the racing at Bristol after the track's change to the turns before last August's Volunteer 500 turned out to be interesting. The Nationwide 300-miler on Saturday saw several dices up front and a surprising finish as rookie Kyle Larson used lapped traffic and nearly got Kyle Busch at the line. The 500 turned out to be similar, though passing up front was noticeably harder and the leaders got strung out more. If anything the comparison shows anew justification for NASCAR to switch to smaller tapered engine spacers for the Cup cars, as the N'wide cars with 200 less HP saw some better racing. Regardless, Bristol has finally proven itself as a good racetrack, reverting to the form it had shown in its final four seasons before it was converted to concrete.

Another positive from the race was the stellar finish of Kurt Busch and the underfunded Furniture Row team, hustling to fourth place.   One should add also a respectable 13th for AJ Allmendinger.  


In the bad section, the crashes that are always a part of Bristol racing were out in force again, and this time there was also a tire issue - this following Phoenix's tire problems - with multiple blowouts and several hard crashes, notably the crash that wiped out race leaders Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.   Goodyear stated there were issues of melting sealing beads caused by brake heat - which is another bad sign for this Generation Six car, which is noticeably faster and is handling poorly, which tends to lead to more braking.   It's also worth noting a crew chief who offered an alternate take on the race's tire issues.
Then there is Joey Logano, punted hard by Denny Hamlin on a restart, this following a set-to at Daytona.   If you remember his bad wreck at Irwindale in 2009 where he plowed sideways into the field, you saw right away a driver long on hype and short on talent as well as short on accountability and that this combination would mean a subpar at best Cup career.   It's now becoming more obvious how in over his head he is in Winston Cup and one can also suspect what kind of negative dynamic went into his stay at Joe Gibbs Racing given the nastiness between him and ex-teammate Denny Hamlin - though it's no endorsement of Hamlin, either, who has been described in ATHLON SPORTS as having the worst personality in the garage area.  

Speaking of negative dynamics, Stewart Haas Racing isn't exactly cleaning up, either, and given the presence of a certain Cup rookie on their roster, one need remember how two powerhouse Indycar teams - Rahal Letterman and Andretti Racing - suffered in the 2005-12 period during that rookie's tenure.

The lackluster crowd at the track has led to criticism of the track's mid-March date as opposed to the early-April date of the past, but this is a laughable criticism - March Bristol races have been fairly common in its history.

So the Southeastern 500 goes into the books and the 2013 begins building steam.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More On The Generation Six


The Generation Six racecar continues to generate controversy as NASCAR's heavy-handed punishments of Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski for speaking out continue to generate debate amid the car's poor competition performance and burgeoning support for Hamlin. Largely lost amid the controversy is another story circulating under the radar that may be a major change in the sport - the striking level of cooperation between manufacturers in the sport.

It's a major change given the bitterness that permeated manufacturer rivalries in the past. If it is real, it can help the sport in multiple ways. Right now, though, the Gen-6 car is not producing what was promised of it, and the talking point of "give it time" sounds as Mike Mulhern puts it - "'come back next year and we'll have it all sorted out for you.'"

"That is unacceptable," as Mulhern succinctly puts it, and it is given the project began in mid-2010 but which was obviously working where no one seemed to know what they were doing.    Testing showed almost right away the car was not going to make anything better - one of the most notable changes was at the splitter; it was advocated that removing the splitter would help alleviate aeropush; when NASCAR did just that for tests at Texas and Kansas, the change produced failure.

The story of the Gen-6 racecar is evolving into one of the more graphic fiascos in recent NASCAR history and a further indictment of the sanction body's leadership from Brian France to John Darby.

UPDATE: Hamlin chose not to appeal NASCAR's fine, but the fine has left a sullen atmosphere in the garage area which brought about this thoughtful piece by Nate Ryan about NASCAR's inability to lead.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Wreck It Ralph 500

The 2013 Winston Cup season plods along and enters Bristol, TN for the first of NASCAR's two annual Cup weekends at Bristol International Raceway - I know, the official name is Bristol Motor Speedway, and that doesn't matter - and NASCAR's Generation Six racecar debuts at the high banked bowl. This is the second weekend since Bristol's progressive banking was ground down to try and increase "action" - aka the crashes - and the last time out the racing produced another epidemic of crashes (13 yellows totalling 87 laps) and a helmet-throw by Tony Stewart on Matt Kenseth, yet curiously produced racing where cars still ran the high groove (notably Kasey Kahne).

The race is the fourth for the Gen-6 car after NASCAR made a point of saying that the Vegas 400 saw 31 lead changes official and otherwise. While that number is certainly a step up from Phoenix, it's just a start as far as vindicating NASCAR's efforts go. And Bristol really isn't a great venue to test how racy the Gen-6 really is because of all the crashes the joint usually produces.

 Indeed, the one word to describe Bristol is Overrated. Debuting in 1961, Bristol saw some good racing in its first decade, notably the 1968 Southeastern 500 as several hard battles erupted for the lead between Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Leeroy Yarbrough, and Richard Petty. In 1969 the track was banked from 18 degrees to 36 for greater speeds; crashes escalated, then became less numerous (even seeing 1971's caution-free Volunteer 500) before wavering up and down over the 1970s and first half of the 1980s. The crashes escalated in a big way in the late 1980s with four consecutive Southeastern 500s (1988-91) erupting to 64 cautions; the upshot of it all was that the racing was also the best the track had ever seen - there were an eye-popping 34 official lead changes in 1989 before a bizarre one-race pitstop and restart rule that doubled up the field produced a still-standing-short-track-record 41 lead changes in 1991. In between, 1990's Southeastern 500 saw numerous battles for the lead and a wild four-car finish.

Struggle to keep the asphalt surface in raceable shape led in 1992 to paving of the track with concrete; suddenly passing became absurdly difficult and the crashes, like the hits, just kept on coming - so much so that the track redid the corners in 2007 with progressive banking before switching back in 2012. The irony is the progressive banking actually made Bristol a competitive race, with memorable side by side battles for the lead in 2010 and 2012 and a noticeable reduction in yellows. 1

The track is hyped as producing the best racing, yet though it's certainly had some good races over the years it really isn't that much. It's the highest banking in the sport yet the actual racing generally has left something to be desired. It's also not the best test bed for the Gen-6 racecar given its small size and lack of racing room. NASCAR's sensitivity to the Gen-6's struggles explains their hype of Vegas' 31 lead changes. Certainly we all want the sport to be more competitive, and 31 lead changes is a start - if we start seeing races other than the plate races where 50 lead changes is broken, that will be the truest sign the project is working. For now, though, I'm expecting at least thirteen crashes at Bristol; I'll be surprised if there is as much passing as a Winston Cup race ought to have.  


1 - Racing Reference Bristol Raceway page

‘Not One Dime’: Health Care Law's $6.2 Trillion Price Tag

Obama's health care scam, again.

Rand Paul's Sound and Fury

Rand Paul's filibuster against Obama struck a chord among people because of Obama's hatred of the rule of law, but it also exposed his own limits in attacking the Republican Party.

Friday, March 08, 2013

NASCAR Credibility And The Gen-Six Racecar

NASCAR's Generation Six racecar after just two races seems already to have set a new standard for controversy as NASCAR fined Denny Hamlin some $25,000 for public criticism of the car's lack of passing at Phoenix, this after the disappointing Daytona 500 (and the spectacle of Brian France's bullying dinner date with Brad Keselowski after Keselowski's USA Today interview critical of the sanctioning body). The fine has led drivers to refrain from criticism of the car, and racecaster Dave Moody comments taking both NASCAR and Hamlin to task. Moody takes hamlin to task for saying passing was harder now than before, noting Hamlin started 43rd and finished second at Phoenix. Moody has been a strong defender of the Gen-6 racecar and made valid points noting the car's hurried deployment and lack of parts at Daytona as contributory issues to the car's lack of passing.

But while there were such factors involved, the defenses of the Gen-6 racecar do not overall come across as valid, because the car's promises are familiar from the days of the unmourned Car Of Tomorrow, a vehicle that (much like the Gen-6) was advertised as a design that would reduce or even eliminate aeropush - and failed entirely. NASCAR's inability to deal with the sport's chronic lack of passing has been a running issue from the 2000 season onward. In the John Darby era, which spans the bulk of the last ten to twelve seasons, the sport has mandated multiple changes to tires, swar bars, the cutting of downforce, and now the COT and the Gen-6 - and outside of Daytona and Talladega the racing has been subpar - only in spots at races such as Pocono in 2009-10, at Charlotte's 600-miler in 2011 (also noteworthy were Charlotte's 2005 races with an epidemic of yellows), at Fontana on a hot September night in 2007, and at Dover in 2006 has the sport seen battles up front that live up to the sport's competitive promise.

Discussion within the sport certainly continues, with the softness of the tires a running controversy and also the splitter used on the cars, with advocacy that it be removed to allow air under the car, only to see that idea backfire in preseason testing with exacerbated inability to pass.

The recent catchphrase used is "give it time."   While the point on its own is valid, the history of the sport's consistent Darby-era failures in improving the ability to race weighs against everything revolving around this Gen-6 racecar.   And NASCAR's draconian reaction to driver criticisms adds more credibility issues because all it is doing is making more graphic that seemingly no one knows what they are doing.

And that is the greatest shame of all - it certainly is true that not every race can see 60 lead changes or anything close to that, but it's also true that 60 lead changes can - and absolutely should - not be the exception for the sport, whether it be the restrictor plate tracks, or the unfairly maligned "cookie cutter" intermediates, or the sport's low-banked superovals like Pocono and Indianapolis.    

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Death Of Peak Oil

The market once again adapts for the better.

Obama As Electoral Gamer

By now it has been manifest that Barack Obama is incompetent at governing. An insightful look at why is shown in this piece on Obama's paralysis on the Keystone Pipeline that shows that Obama's problems are structural (though I disagree with the writer's assertion that it isn't ideological, since the leftism permeating Obama has been a consistent failure then and now) in that he's all about winning elections - and doing so by "gaming" the system as opposed to winning on his own merits; this showed in his consistent debating losses and also how he actually won the 2008 election. He is the ultimate narcissist.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The President Who Cried ‘Sequester!’

Obama's credibility gets pummeled, notably with Head Start. The President applies the old Democratic tactic of "baseline budgeting," where unspent increases are treated as cuts, in claiming the sequester would eliminate 70,000 children from the program when its previous budgets indicate it merely doesn't take in 3,000 more. Obama's serial economic illiteracy continues as he and liberals falsify economic growth in the past generation.

Debunking Tax The Rich

The Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center has found the "rich" pay by far the most taxes both in hard cash and in percentages, while the bottom 20% of earners pay no taxes.

Phoenix Early Bad News For Gen-6

Phoenix has been run and NASCAR's Generation Six racecar got its first test on a track a mile or less, and Carl Edwards grabbed his first win since March 2011,  but the result for NASCAR's ballyhooed new racecar was decisively poor.

The Gen-6 was in development for some three years, yet passing was as rare with this car as it was with the COT, and there was literally no sign that this new car has solved any of the sport's competition issues. "Clean air is probably more important than ever," said Brad Keselowski; "It did not race as good as our generation-five cars" (aka the COT, which raced poorly) said Denny Hamlin; Jimmie Johnson half-jokingly recommended leaving the cars alone for 20 years.

Making it worse was another chapter in tire trouble with Goodyear, which brought a harder compound (particularly on left sides) yet saw multiple tire failures, notably right fronts.

 It begs the question that has plagued the sport for now over a decade - why can NASCAR not get these racecars to where they WANT to race in dirty air, where passing and repassing are NOT the exception, to where racing like in the Daytona 300 is the norm?

And it begs the question - is John Darby the problem?   It has been painfully clear from the start that Darby has grossly misread the sport's competition issues  and continues to do so; an ardent supporter of the COT, Darby has been in charge of the garage area yet has curiously gone without criticism from the racing media. 

Certainly the high-ups at Daytona have failed again and Darby warrants criticism of his role in NASCAR's continuing failure to redress the sport's competition woes.    Phoenix may be one race, but the Gen-6 was unimpressive at Daytona and was even less impressive at Phoenix, with no evidence to believe it can make things better at Vegas or down the line.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Myths of American ‘Cowboy Capitalism’

A factual analysis shows the US economy is not what it's criticized as being.

Obama Flirts With Sort-Of Armageddon

Barack Obama has been praying for Armageddon from the sequester's overrated budget cuts, he becomes a fool should the fear fizzle. And given how miniscule the budget cuts are under the sequester - a sequester that was Obama's idea to start with as he sought a deal to raise the debt ceiling - he's destined to become a fool.

Except he has been a fool throughout his life. And like all fools he is a bully, and his bullying personality is getting worse as he fights harder to bully and control what has been a sickeningly pliant Mainstream Media.  

And while he's bullying the media and anyone else he can find, he remains a coward against America's enemies.

He may have won the election, but he did so by losing the argument on facts - and his manipulative skill with social media won't change facts.