Saturday, April 26, 2008

Must read

John Cole comments on this Eleanor Clift piece. I certainly sympathize, but fear he might be wrong, if May 6 goes badly. Of course, giving it to Hillary will tear the party (Hopefully, not the country) to shreds, but the new media narrative is gaining traction: ZOMG! HE CAN'T WIN! Save us Hillary.

Of course, that's bullshit, but enough superdels. might fall for all this.

Another component Clift mentions is this weird, downright Shakespearean afffection some on the right are showing Clinton. Camp Clinton & the VRWC: Together at last. Hell, 'ole Bill Shakespeare would laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Kansas Thud, Pt. II

Qualifying went about as I would have thought for the former Champ Car guys. Though, after the 1st row, that's a weird top 10. I mean, Maddog Marty Roth in P7?!

Jack Arute, Please Go Away

Jack Arute's latest is embarrassing. For one, what young Mr. Rahal said is in no way offensive. I got a hunch even Danica would agree with it, in part. It did NOT diminish the accomplishment one bit.

As for Arute's assertion that Rahal won St. Pete in similar fashion, teh stupid, it burns. For one, Graham pulled away from a fueled up Helio (with newer tires) and was very quick all day long. Only a brainfart by Will Power sent him to the back. Danica had decent speed in Motegi, but not to Rahal's degree.

He's correct about Helio, but really, dude, let it go. Anyone with a brain knows that Helio was being a whiny idiot, so why dwell on it?

Kansas- Back to reality

Following a week of breathless DanicaMania*, the IndyCar series decided to actually race this weekend in Kansas. Snark aside, it is back to cruel reality for the former Champ Car teams, as the first practice shows:

(C)hassis: D=Dallara, P=Panoz (E)ngine: H=Honda (T)ire: F=Firestone
Kansas Speedway - 1.52 mile(s)
Results of Session (Practice 1) - IndyCar Series
April 26, 2008
Road Runner Turbo Indy 300
18 34 Camara, Jaime D/H/F 00:26.0790 209.824 24 52
19 24 Howard, Jay D/H/F 00:26.0815 209.804 81 86
20 8 Power, Will D/H/F 00:26.0851 209.775 16 58
17 15 Rice, Buddy D/H/F 00:26.0276 210.238 12 46
14 02 Wilson, Justin D/H/F 00:25.9841 210.590 61 64
15 14 Manning, Darren D/H/F 00:25.9934 210.515 38 53
16 2 Foyt IV, AJ D/H/F 00:26.0033 210.435 18 57
25 06 Rahal, Graham D/H/F 00:26.1945 208.899 46 66
26 18 Junqueira, Bruno D/H/F 00:26.2471 208.480 59 64
27 19 Moraes, Mario D/H/F 00:26.7638 204.455 11 13
24 23 Duno, Milka D/H/F 00:26.1925 208.915 38 73
21 36 Bernoldi, Enrique D/H/F 00:26.0933 209.709 35 51
22 5 Servia, Oriol D/H/F 00:26.1189 209.503 30 51
23 26 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 00:26.1879 208.951 14 20
4 4 Meira, Vitor D/H/F 00:25.7882 212.190 19 58
5 7 Patrick, Danica D/H/F 00:25.8159 211.962 18 42
6 6 Briscoe, Ryan D/H/F 00:25.8450 211.724 57 66
1 10 Wheldon, Dan D/H/F 00:25.5989 213.759 8 64
2 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F 00:25.6180 213.600 47 57
3 27 Mutoh, Hideki D/H/F 00:25.7126 212.814 42 45
7 11 Kanaan, Tony D/H/F 00:25.8638 211.570 8 10
11 17 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 00:25.9255 211.066 54 56
12 25 Roth, Marty D/H/F 00:25.9257 211.065 51 55
13 33 Viso, Ernesto D/H/F 00:25.9433 210.922 51 57
8 12 Scheckter, Tomas D/H/F 00:25.8660 211.552 27 54
9 3 Castroneves, Helio D/H/F 00:25.8918 211.341 23 53
10 20 Carpenter, Ed D/H/F 00:25.8966 211.302 39 83

Yes, somehow the order got screwed up. Here's the full PDF. As you see, EJ Viso is the closest CC competitor, a full 3 MPH off Wheldon, in 13th. Mario Moraes suffered a crash as well, and might not see the green flag tomorrow (due to a lack of parts).

The simple fact is this: The CC teams are well behind on the ovals. For one, the teams haven't run on many ovals in quite some time. Two, with the exception of Oriol Servia, there is virtually NO oval experience among the CC regulars (this will be Rahal's first). Finally, the ICS regulars have worked with these machines since '03. They know every engineering trick available to optimize the car's performance on the high-speed 1.5 mi. ovals. Teams like NHL, KV, etc. have had their cars for about 50 days.

Given time, this will work out. Now, though, its ugly.

*Speaking of DanicaMania, THIS from Jayski:

Danica Patrick talked to Roush Fenway recently: Officials from Roush Fenway Racing "had a conversation" with IndyCar driver Danica Patrick as recently as two weeks ago when the Sprint Cup Series was in Phoenix for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. And while Jack Roush, the founder and co-owner of the organization, said that he was not part of the conversation, he also said Friday from Talladega Superspeedway that he believes Patrick has an interest in eventually pursuing a future that would include at least some stock-car racing. He even offered to lay out a program for her indoctrination into NASCAR. "I think Danica, from what I understand, has got an interest in stock-car racing," Roush said. "Any sponsor, any team owner that felt the need to have more of a diverse situation in their driving lineup would look at Danica very favorably."
Ok, Danica (can I call you Dani? Kidding), can I give you some advice? Have you paid attention to the career arcs of Sam Hornish, Dario Franchitti, and even Juan Montoya? Outside of modest success from JPM, there's a whole bunch of futility goin' on there. And I won't even mention A.J. Allmendinger (though as I type, he's on the front row at Talladega). Going from one discipline to the other, in either direction, is no easy task.

Furthermore, you'd simply be a small fish (of the Freak Show variety- not meant as an insult, just reality) in a large ocean in NASCAR. Staying in IndyCar, improving your craft, and maybe even competing for wins at Indianapolis would have the potential to cement a legacy and being one part of bringing the sport back to respectability.

Most of all, win a bunch in ICS, win a title, and maybe a 500 before you seriously think its time to jump.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Generation O

Yes, yet another link from Sullivan. Good points, and yes, we need to realize this was never going to be easy.

I'd add more. Look, part of the problem, politically, that our generation has with the older gens. is being told what we must accept. You want a slightly better politics? Tough luck, we're told, it won't get better, so stop trying. Just work with it.

That's what's called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hey, were not dumb. We can't change everything, but if you think this Rovian style of politics (at the current levels, anyhow) is acceptable...

Of course, that's what HRC is counting on, that "change" is either impossible or suspicious. It plays on the Boomer skepticism, born out of the turmoil of JFK and '68. My generation is unburdened by these things. We're just asking to be given a chance.

Race in America and Barack Obama

Yesterday, Andrew posted a letter regarding the racial mess this campaign has shown us. As they say, read the whole thing.

I'd say a couple things though. One problem is Obama's admitted closeness with Jeremiah Wright. If he were just his pastor (former), I'm not sure of the resonance this all has. But we know he has called Wright his "spiritual adviser." I suppose folks cannot be blamed for wondering about this.

Is race playing a role? I think so, but it is hard to quantify, since people can, rightfully, claim concern over his closeness to the man.

Where, in my view, race plays a role is with folks who believe that Obama really believes in the nutty statements of Wright. There is NOTHING in his life or legislative experience to suggest ANY of this. Ah, but he's a Manchurian Candidate, who will just screw whitey once in office!! Quite the actor he is, for decades that is.

But the resonance of this view likely goes back, I suspect, to forced busing, affirmative action, the rise of urban crime, welfare, etc., all situations where white Americans feel that they were/are being taken advantage of/pushed aside by black Americans. It is a sense that many black Americans just want everything to themselves.

Putting a value judgment on that sentiment is counterproductive. I would suggest that being black is still, in most cases, a disadvantage (though much, much better than 50 yrs. ago), but a view like this is a very emotional view. Furthermore, there are legitimate, verifiable grievances involved too. So, you can't just tell someone they're wrong here.

All of which is a long way of saying that Wright triggered, for some, the fear of a liberal black man taking more from them. How do you confront this? Specifically, I dunno, other than to say "head on." Fears, from all sides, don't go away by ignoring them. Only by working through them can we move forward.

Finally, it is a matter of degree. Were it just Wright, then I'd have no problem. But the other racial stuff, along with fears that Obama hates America, prove conservatives wrong: Race STILL matters. To act like we are all colorblind is the height of foolishness.


A 20-something white guy.

And now, the dark side of IndyCar racing

Franck Perera is a young, talented driver. Naturally, then, he's now without a ride.

In the post-'96 world of open-wheel racing, this is not too uncommon. Perera deserves a ride, but talent is not the only currency needed. He lost out to a ridebuyer.

To be fair, former Champ Car fans gloating about this need to remove their heads from their, err, behinds. Look, we all knew that unification would NEVER fix everything right away. If we are still in this spot in 7-10 yrs., then we'll be in real trouble.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

PCM in; one last %^*(% you to Forsythe

Pacific Coast Motorsports announced on Wednesday that, starting with Indianapolis, they will be joining the IndyCar Series full-time with driver Mario Dominguez. PCM, recall, is a team coming over from Champ Car. They're a small team with limited funds, relying, yes, on money from Dominguez. They finished 3rd in Long Beach.

Which brings me to crazy old man Gerry Forsythe. In February, Forsythe announced that his team would NOT be joining ICS, with, IMHO, a disingenuous press release. Let's see, PCM can make a go of it, but Gerald just can't pull it off? Right, I'm sure his sponsorship search was really exhaustive.

Thanks to Gerra's stubbornness, PT has no ride in ICS, which would be fine if the old man wasn't, according to TeeVee and interweb reports exploring the idea of running... ALMS. 'Cuz we all know how inexpensive ALMS is :rolleyes:.

Just admit it, Ger. You're doing this to stuff it to Tony George. We'll ignore the fact that you and your boy Paulie Poledance (Gentilozzi) aren't fit to run a lemonade stand, let alone a major OW series. You can, rightly, blame the larger mess of the sport on TG. What you CAN'T do is blame him for Champ Car's failure from '04-'08. That's on you, Poledance, and Kalkhoven.

So, kudos to PCM and good luck to them. One final F&%@ You to Forsythe.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McCain, OTOH

I think Andrew makes a good point here, and it goes to a problem (beyond my liberalism) I have with Sen. McCain. In 2000, I loved the guy. Back then, he was a reforming moderate trying to change the GOP.

This cycle, he sucked up to the Religious Right, flipped on the tax cuts, and sounds more like a modern conservative than I ever thought he would. To be sure, he still has integrity and character, but part of me wonders if he hasn't, in part, sold a bit of his political soul for power. Or maybe this is the true John McCain. I dunno.

In (qualified) defense of Megan McArdle

Sullivan gets a bit peeved at Megan McArdle. He seems to think THIS post argues that the Administration's authorization or implicit knowledge of torture, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, etc. is fine b/c it is inevitable.

Now, I could be wrong, but I believe Megan is making more of an uber-academic point here. Look, in any war or "military conflict" war crimes, mostly on the battlefield, ARE inevitable. No matter what safeguards are in place, it is inevitable that a few rogues will commit atrocities. So, yes, when one chooses or is forced into war, you are, in a way, choosing war crimes.

I don't think she's excusing THIS, which is far outside the scope of "normal" crimes. That said, she's not exactly crystal clear on this, but that's my interpretation.

Good on him

John McCain shows more class than the Clintons ever will. Shame on the NC GOP for airing it anyhow.

Called it

Clinton wins by 9.5-10%. At best, she'll gain 12-15 delegates. Not exactly impressive, but, as Sully notes, this was the worst possible result for the party. She has enough justification to stay, with virtually NO CHANCE of winning. Thus, the only thing accomplished is to kneecap the nominee for November. Well done, Billary.

Unless, of course, the Clintons start making a racial electability argument, like SOME in the GOP will do. But, the Clintons would NEVER do that, right?.

The argument will, essentially, boil down to this: A black man, who sorta sounds Muslim, has the Wright thing, etc. can't win enough white working-class voters in key states, like OH & PA, to win in Nov. It isn't outright racist, but it sure uses racism to justify why Hillary is our savior. In short, white folks are more important.

Many conservatives, like my Limbaugh-listening uncle ;), have long argued that the Democratic Party is a "plantation" that uses black voters w/o doing anything for them. If the superdelegates fall for the Clinton argument, they'll be right.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania prediction

My guess:

Clinton 54.75%
Obama 45.25%

If anyone is reading this, consider it an open thread.

8:12: Exits don't look promising. Hillary solidly winning demographics, except African-American and youth vote.

Wally redeems himself

Wizards continue their meltdown. Best performance in awhile. On to D.C.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More thoughts on the weekend

Previously, I rather casually linked to this Robin Miller piece, but it deserves some more attention. From Robin:

Between Graham Rahal’s and Patrick’s recent victories, Indy-car racing finally has some storylines to rival NASCAR. If Marco Andretti, Rahal and Patrick remain in the IRL, win races and contend for championships, open wheel can get back on this country’s sports pages with the mainstream media.

Indeed, the word here is relevance. I'll never be a huge Danica fan, but even those of us who feel that way realize that along with Graham and Marco, she could HELP, for a time, bring relevance to the sport. That's no small thing.

I don’t want to hear the anti-Danica faction moaning that she won a fuel mileage race. Ryan Newman did it about eight times a few years back, Jimmie Johnson a couple weeks ago and Tony Kanaan a year ago at Motegi,

True. Again, was it somewhat flukey? Sure, but some wins are. That does NOT make them any less legitimate. This post by Miles Nelson at TF is pretty solid.

Look, I'm going to get sick of DanicaMania 2.0. But to deny the short-term positive it is giving to the sport is to deny reality. And positives have been hard to come by for IndyCar racing. I only hope that the series doesn't just promote Danica.

Bill Kristol and Michael Moore

For once, Michael Moore sounds halfway sensible. Sullivan's bottom-line thought is a good one.

As usual, Bill Kristol embarrasses himself and the NYT with one of the dumbest columns ever. I lost IQ points for having read it. (h/t John Cole)

Moore will go back to his deceitful, demagogic ways, doing no one, esp. most liberals who, whatever some say, DON'T hate America, any good. H=ll, I wish he wouldn't have bothered with this letter, as it only hurts Obama, albeit marginally so. He does Dems. no favors.

Kristol, well, he'll keep on writing embarrassing columns. Some things never change.

Long Beach

Overlooked in DanicaMania v. 2.0 was Will Power's stellar win in the Champ Car finale on Sunday. He nailed the start, and after Wilson bowed out, he was only challenged by Alex Tagliani, whose 7th place finish belies how good he was.

Despite Power's domination, it was a compelling event, moreso, in truth, than the Motegi event. The Panoz chassis really puts the Dallara to shame, in my view. Yet, we may never see it again.

I agree with Robin Miller's take on the weekend. Graham Rahal remains the best thing to happen to the sport in...., oh h=ll, I'm not THAT old, so my lifetime. He'll try things others won't. That makes it fun for us to watch.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

DeShawn Stevenson

Nice call. Cavs up 1-0.

I need to see something out of Szczerbiak though. 2-10 from the floor will NOT cut it. Period.

You don't need a memorable performance...

in order to have a memorable moment.

Having watched the re-air* of the race on ESPN2, it was a fairly typical race for Danica. At best, she had a 5th place car. She badly botched the last restart (around lap 150 of a very clean event), though she did well on the previous restart. And she remains too timid in traffic. As she admitted, luck (for the most part) got her the win. Furthermore, due to the odd circumstances of the weekend, it was only an 18-car field. Next weekend, 27 (IIRC) in Kansas.

Still, it is unfair to apply even a mental asterisk to this. Anyone who has watched the sport knows that fuel mileage wins are a part of it. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of the sport is that the best car does not always win. Whatever the circumstances, they all count as wins. So, while DanicaMania grew tiresome (ugh, we'll be treated to a bunch of it come May), and I think she's basically a competent mid-packer, she won a race. For that, I congratulate her.

*Yeah, I'm sure they would have re-aired it if Dixon had won. /snark ESPN kept hawking this like this was teh. greatest. thing. evar. Even a mention on the Sports Reporters. So much for my theory that the ICS would slow down its Danica marketing. Nice call, huh?