Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hitec Products Team Still a Force in Ladies Peloton

Ultra-consistent GC specialist Emma Johansson may have moved over to Orica-Green Edge but the Norwegian-based Hitec Products women's team should be able to survive her departure during the 2013 cycling campaign.  With two of the top three finishers in the 2012 UCI road championships, the team, sponsored by a firm that supplies the offshore oil industry and other energy sectors, is well-positioned for a successful run.

Aussie sprinter Chloe Hosking, currently GC leader of the Tour of Qatar, moved over from Specialized-Lululemon.

Emilia Fahlin, Swedish Olympian and another transfer from Specialized-Lululemon.

Italian Elisa Longo Borghini returns for her second season at Hitec Products after finishing third in the 2012 world championships and winning the best young rider title at the Giro Donne in her home country.

Rachel Neylan, silver medalist in the 2012 world championships

Rossella Ratto, a dominant rider on the Italian junior scene is only 19.


Norwegian Emilie Moberg, a 2012 Olympian.

Norwegian champion Lise Nostvold.

Siri Minge, another young Norwegian rider.

Thea Thorsen, three time Norwegian junior champion.

Veteran Tone Hatteland Lima, 2010 Norwegian Criterium champ.

Cecilie G. Johnsen, Phd. in chemical engineering and former women's soccer star.

Miriam Bjornsrud, 2010 Norwegian junior road champion.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Obama Doesn't Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

The NYT opined this in November, 2012:

 On his second full day in office in 2009, President Obama signed an executive order that was a declaration of American renewal and decency hailed around the globe. It called for the closure, in no more than a year, of the detention camp at the United States Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the grim emblem of President George W. Bush’s lawless policies of torture and detention. Accompanied by other executive orders signaling a break from the Bush era of justice delayed and denied, it was a bold beginning. What followed was not always as uplifting. The new administration decided to adopt the Bush team’s extravagant claims of state secrets and executive power, blocking any accountability for the detention and brutalization of hundreds of men at Guantánamo and secret prisons, and denying torture victims their day in court.

 Today the NYT says this:

 The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues aimed at repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the Guantánamo Bay prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so. Mr. Fried will become the department’s coordinator for sanctions policy and will work on issues including Iran and Syria. . . . Mr. Fried’s special envoy position was created by the Obama administration in early 2009, shortly after Mr. Obama took office and promised to close the military prison in his first year. Mr. Fried spent several years traveling the world overseeing the repatriation of low-level detainees and persuading other countries to resettle detainees who had been cleared for release but who could not be sent home. But the flow of detainees out of Guantánamo has slowed almost to a halt as Congress has imposed a series of restrictions on transfers, leaving Mr. Fried with less to do. He was eventually assigned to work on resettling a group of Iranian exiles who were members of a group known as the M.E.K. in a refugee camp in Iraq, in addition to his Guantánamo duties.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kirsten Wild & Charlotte Becker Riding for Team Argos-Shimano

Spanish-based cycling team Argos-Shimano has announced its riders for the forthcoming season. The women hauling the freight for the team include 30 year-old veteran Dutch power sprinter Kirsten Wild, GC victor in the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Tour of Qatar, a member of the 2012 Dutch Olympic team and one of top track cyclists in the world.

Kirsten Wild
Kirsten Wild

Charlotte Becker
Charlotte Becker

German Charlotte Becker, also an effective track cyclist, has won the GC at the Holland Ladies Tour, the GP Ciudad Valladolid, the German National Road Racing Championship and was a member of the victorious Specialized Lululemon team trialers at the 2012 road world championships.

Lucy Garner

Two-time world junior road racing champion Lucy Garner is only 19 years old and eligible for the best young rider award at races for years to come.  The native of Leicester, UK has become one of the most famous of British cyclists.

German all-rounder Elke Gebhardt

Dutch Olympian Amy Pieters

Janneke Busser

Janneke Busser, who'll be leading out her Dutch compatriot Wild in the sprint for the finish line.

Marlen Johrend, German sprinter.

Esra Tromp, Dutch all-rounder.

Kelly Markus, a budding star.

Willeke Knol

Willeke Knol, Dutch attack specialist.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kraut Anarchists Destroy Surveillance Cameras

and record their activities with their own cameras.

Sarah Hammer Wins Again

The only US woman competing in the UCI Track World Cup at the new velodrome in Auguascalientes, Mexico, Sarah Hammer, winner of two silver medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, was the winner of the women's omnium.  The world record holder in the 3000m individual pursuit and a four-time world champion in the individual pursuit, Hammer finished first in both the points race and the elimination race, second in the individual pursuit, third in the flying lap and scratch race, and fourth in the 500m time trial to easily take the win in the ominium.  A native of Temecula, CA, the 5'7", 135 lb. track specialist  is acknowledged to be the best of her generation in American track cyclilng.

Monday, January 21, 2013

These Tribes, They're Evil

Libyan militiamen stand watch atop the crumbling remains of an Italian colonial-era tower near the town of Bani Walid, home to loyalists of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the site of recent tensions between rival sets of militias. Though the country recently held successful elections, its politics are still dogged by long-standing tribal and regional enmities that too often spark into violence.

This photo and quote come from the July 30,2012 edition of Time magazine, typical commentary from statist apologists.  We've really no idea of the context of the photograph, it could easily be hunters looking for antelope or herdsmen scouring the neighborhood for missing sheep, perhaps in Morocco or even Egypt.  When Time says that "the country recently held successful elections", what do they mean?  That people showed up to vote?  What would an unsuccessful election look like?  Does a successful election, whatever that is, mean that the citizenry is buying into the whole "state" scheme of things?  They had a state before the election.

"Long-standing tribal and regional enmities"still dog the country's politics.  There probably are groups made up of common ancestry or affinities that are reluctant to forfeit their sovereignty to even elected plutocrats that owe them no allegiance.  The much maligned "tribes" have been able to successfully handle the interpersonal and external affairs of their members for thousands of years without ever dropping an atomic bomb on anybody, operating industrial crematoriums,  or sending their eccentrics to re-education camps.  This isn't to say that there isn't an occasional violent episode in tribal society.  But there's significantly more violence in hyper-civilized venues like Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans.  In fact, you might be able to make the case that the two major political parties in the US have many of the characteristics of tribes themselves.    

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong, The Witch Hunt Has It's Witch

Sunday Times Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey Ad [P] Sunday Times

David Walsh's obsession with Lance Armstrong has been a career, resulting in his book, Seven Deadly Sins, My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong, reviewed here by Tim Black of Spiked.  As might be expected, however, Black's review doesn't just examine Walsh's book, but also presents some other ideas about cycling and sports in general.

Black says:   "Yet can the casting out of Lance the alleged sociopath, burdened as he is with the sins of a culture of doping, cleanse what is seen as the most sullied of sports? It seems unlikely. And why? Because the desire to get ahead using banned substances is not anathema to the spirit of sport - it is inherent to sport’s competitive essence. It’s why athletes train at high altitude, it’s why they seek out the latest dietary supplements, it’s why they employ the most sophisticated of trainers. And it’s the determination to win that marks out the great from the merely good, which separates the supreme competitor from the mere participant."

Let's add some things to that list, surgery for instance.  Advances in orthopedic surgery have resulted in not only the extension of athletic careers that would have been abbreviated by injuries in the recent past but actually have improved the physical talents of the injured.  The celebrated "Tommy John" surgery so common now in baseball, involving the rebuilding of throwing arms by transplanting tissue form one part of the body to another certainly has no relation to any natural process and often results in an improvement in performance.  Baseball batters also have elective surgery to improve their vision.

Training and medical techniques have dramatically extended the careers of successful athletes far beyond what was once considered normal.  Is this legitimate?  In cycling, for instance French lady Jeannie Longo has been a 59-time national champion, won a world championship 13 times and has competed in seven Olympic games, winning a gold medal.  In the 2012 London Olympics she finished 4th in the women's time trial, 2 seconds from a bronze medal at age 54.  She, too, has been dogged by accusations of PEDs use, like every dominating athlete.  Ultimately, we take sports just too seriously, game results really don't matter all that much.