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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Historical Day for Race Relations

The split between open wheel racing in the United States officially ended today with the final separate Indy Racing League (IRL) race at Twin-Ring Motegi and the final Champ Car World Series Race on the streets of Long Beach. Next week an integrated series will compete at the 1.5 mile ova at Kansas City, Kansas.

Since 1996 American open wheel racing has been split between the IRL and rival CART and later Champ Car factions. This better rivalry has badly damaged open wheel racing in North America. Both sides to the war maintained that their series was superior. This war was motived by deep cultural and philosophical divisions.

The IRL initially promoted what it called an All-American type of oval racing that would allow promising American drivers to graduate from USAC midget, sprint, and silver crown cars to Indy cars. The IRL attempted to hold down cost by employing a thick rule book of specifications cars must follow. Turbochargers were banned. Aerodynamic innovations by teams were banned. One result from trying to manage competition by prohibiting innovation is that the most advanced technology developed in rival open wheel series, CART and Formula One. Oval racing produces the closest competition and increases passing opportunities. The IRL has received much deserved praise for its development of SAFER barriers which reduce the force of impact with oval walls during crashes.

CART, which was later renamed as Champ Car prided itself on its turbochargers, development of traction control, variable manifold pressure (Push 2 Pass), and continuous innovation in engine development. CART had more foreign drivers. In fact for today's final Champ Car race only three of the drivers were Americans (Graham Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, and Alex Figge). CART and Champ Car focused on road racing. Relatively few races were held on ovals. Some road races were held on permanant road courses like Road America, Mid-Ohio, and Watkins Glen. Others were held on tempory street courses like Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Long Beach, and Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland.

Historically there were many great Midwestern American drivers in open wheel racing. Open wheel racing was the most popular and technologically advance form of motorsport in North America. The earliest Indy 500 races launched numerous technological innovations, like the first automotive rear-view mirror. NASCAR was a regional, Southern sport. Indy was synonymous with innovation and ever increasing speed. Historically NASCAR actually raced stock cars. Stock cars are cheap but obviously not on the cutting edge of technology. NASCAR engine builders continue to build the most innovative carburated 1950's normally aspirated V-8 engines in the world. But the contributions of NASCAR to technological progress are a joke. Today at your local car dealer you will find only fuel-injected engines.

The open wheel split helped NASCAR, which continued to offer unified stock car racing, explode in popularity. The decision by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to hold a NASCAR stock car race beginning in 1994 coupled with the split lead many fans to follow NASCAR more and open wheel racing less. The greatest Midwestern American open wheel midget and sprint car drives, NASCAR champions Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, and 2006 Indy 500 champion Sam Hornish are all racing in NASCAR and will miss this year's Indy 500. Even foreign-born Indy 500 champions, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Jacques Villeneuve are over in NASCAR.

American Danica Patrick won the last IRL race at Motegi and Australian Will Power won the last Champ Car race in Long Beach, California. While there were two open wheel series this would have been a typical result. An American wins the IRL race, while a foreigner wins the Champ Car race. Now that the two series are merging Danica Patrick from Illinois, Graham Rahal from Ohio, and Ed Carpenter from Indiana will be the only Midwestern Americans in American open wheel racing. Formula One has not had an American champion since Mario Andretti. No Americans run at the front of the pack in Formula One.

How should we view the current state of racing today?

1. Which is preferable: vigorous technical competition under broad rules specifications that allow room for innovation or a specification series that tries to reduce racing advantages gained through research and development?

2. Should anti-lock braking, traction control, electronic stability assist be prohibited by racing rules?

3. Should U.S, immigration policies ban work visas for foreign racers? Can restrictive immigration policies protect American workers (slower race car drivers) from the "unfair" competition of fast drivers like Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Dan Wheldon? Or should the IRL just ban the evil Chavez sponsored, dangerous and slow Milka Duno. She is a human moving chicane.

4. Is IndyCar promoting wasteful big government through its Ethanol sponsorship and technical specifications requiring all competitors to use 100% ethanol? Champ Car used methanol.

5. Should sanctioning bodies make it possible for drivers to compete in several different types of races? Should the Indy 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 coordinate the timing of there races so drivers can compete in both races? Would this be collusion or an attempt to build better race relations?

6. Are we more unified as a nation now that NASCAR is winning the battle for motorsports fans? NASCAR appears to have the best American drivers from all over the nation. Will unification increase the popularity of open wheel racing throughout the nation or just in its historical midwestern base?

7. Will a future President Obama or perhaps a future President Gore ban auto racing as a sacrifice to their Earth Goddess?

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Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

As to 7) a federal ban on racing, ya, they could. This was why enumerated powers in the Constitution were a cool idea. You didn't get so much crap. But sure, you can have a federal Dept of Edu, ban certain lightbulbs and racing, and whatever suits the current Congress' fancy. If you're not going to complain about a nationalized police force, why would you complain about a little ban on racing?

9:44 PM, April 22, 2008  

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sick Hoax

Yale Art Student Claims She Used Blood Samples, Video of Self-Induced Abortions for Senior Project

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"A Yale student who claims she artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" and then took drugs to induce miscarriages for her senior art project says she will showcase the stomach-turning display next week — complete with her own blood samples and videos from the terminated possible pregnancies.

The story of art major Aliza Shvarts' upcoming exhibit, which the Yale Daily News broke Thursday, has sparked widespread disgust and outrage.

"It’s clearly depraved. I think the poor woman has got some major mental problems," said National Right to Life Committee President Wanda Franz. "She’s a serial killer. This is just a horrible thought."

Critics on campus have said the display sounds like a shock-and-awe look at the highly sensitive issue of abortion and called it a sick stunt to get attention.

But Shvarts said the goal of the project is to encourage debate and discussion about the connection between art and the human body.

"I hope it inspires some sort of discourse," Shvarts, whose age was withheld, told Yale's newspaper. "Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it's not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone."

Shvarts' campus phone has been disconnected, and she did not respond to e-mailed requests for an interview. Yale University and the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America also did not return calls seeking comment. Shvarts told the school paper that her sperm donors, whom she declined to identify, were not paid for their participation but added that she did require them to be screened for STDs.

Sources: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351608,00.html


Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

This is a hoax. Someone at The Corner (among others) caught it pretty early since it just ain't that easy to artificially inseminate yourself. Yale has come out with an official statement that this didn't happen.

So it's just art! It made us think!

(Well, yes, it made me think what a sorry, sorry state the art world is in.)

6:46 AM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Jameson said...

It is revolting that a person would commit such a hoax.

5:16 PM, April 18, 2008  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I didn't get why the artificial insemination was necessary. Too many snickering comments come to mind that might not be appropriate for our conservative little corner of the blogosphere.

7:17 PM, April 19, 2008  

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Debate Wednesday April 16:
Resolved: The Fed Has Screwed Up Again

By allowing persistent declines in the money supply and in the price level, the Federal Reserve of the late 1920s and 1930s greatly destabilized the U.S. economy and, through the workings of the gold standard, the economies of many other nations as well.” -Ben Bernanke

With the exception of perhaps Congress’s authority to tax, few institutions of the United States government can negatively affect the economy of our country more so than the Federal Reserve. Empowered to provide a safety net for the banking industry, this quasi-governmental organization interjects artificial controls on the price and availability of money. Consequently, as with any attempt to bypass pure market forces, the “Fed”, more often than not, creates problems rather than averts them. Since its inception in 1913, major declines in the US economy can, in some part, be attributed to policy decisions made by the Fed.

The Federal Reserve’s capability of altering economic conditions is so great that mere mumblings from the Fed Chairman, hinting that they may take some significant action, can send the stock market into a freefall. Anyone remember “irrational exuberance?” In recent years, policy decisions by the Fed to provide ‘cheap money’ has resulted in the current ‘mortgage meltdown’, and a dollar whose value is one of the lowest in history. Rather than biting the bullet and letting the market unravel this mess, the Fed continues to pump funds into the system. If that isn’t enough, they are now in the business of bailing out private investment firms whose financial shenanigans have decimated the pension funds from the Kansas City Teachers Union to small Norwegian villages.

On the other hand, in the post WWII era, the Fed’s control on the money faucet has kept the United States economy on a steady uphill path, albeit with a few bumps. Through its policy decisions and actions, the Fed has smoothed out the wild economic swings that historically lead to long term economic crisis. On recent events, the sub-prime mortgage debacle is nothing more than a good news story on private high-risk investments gone bad, which has been overplayed by the warm-hearted media because it deals with peoples’ homes. The ‘bail out’, as it is termed, of Bear-Sterns may be a stretch on the role of the Fed, but again, this action has prevented what could have been a domino effect on the major financial firms – which would have been a real crisis. And the falling value of the dollar only really affects those (i.e. the Chinese) who have gobs of greenbacks lying around. As an added benefit, a declining dollar makes American goods more affordable, which in turn creates jobs and lowers the trade deficit.

The Chairman, whose opinion of the Fed is exemplified by her collection of Krugerrands stashed under the mattress, has called for a debate to settle the question:

Resolved: The Fed has Screwed Up Again

The Debate will be held on Wednesday April 16th, 2008 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (952) 470-8090 or the Secretary at (952) 210-2448.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Long Live the Bubble Man

(and his helicoptor friend)