Trashed: Formula One No Longer Made In Japan

As you all might know, we here at Emptywheel are car people. And one annoying thread ran common as a persistent undercurrent through all of our auto and auto bailout coverage over the last year, and that was how pitiful and incompetent the American marques were, how much they deserved their fate and how awesome the Japanese brands, especially Toyota and Honda, were in comparison. This was incredibly disturbing because, as rudimentary as rolling iron seems on the surface, the automotive industry is incredibly complex and vertically integrated; it simply is not amenable to to simplisms and truisms that were bandied about in those tumultuous days.

Sadly, it is a meme that persists even today in spite of the fact that all manufacturers, very much including those in Japan, are sucking air and taking on water. And, no, their cars are not that much better either, they have quality and safety problems too.

For all of its ballyhooed efficiency, quality control and supposed relative superiority, the Japanese auto industry always was built on the shoulders and technology of the American manufacturers; they wanted the sales sector of the Americans and the aura of the Europeans. Since the Japanese marques first started their meteoric rise in prominence in the 70s, the holy grail for them was to compete and win on the highest stage in the world. Formula One. But the wake of the global financial meltdown has trashed their fortunes, and their goals, every bit as hard as it pounded the American car business. The pursuit of the holy grail is over, first for Honda last December, and now for Toyota:

Toyota announced Wednesday that it would give up its prized Formula One racing team in an effort to slash costs, refocus the company on green cars and turn a profit amid continued weakness in the auto sector.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, joins a growing exodus of Japanese auto companies from racing, highlighting the woes facing the country’s once cash-rich manufacturers. Honda pulled out of Formula One racing in December, while the tire-maker Bridgestone said this week that it would not renew its exclusive deal to supply tires to the series when its contract expires in 2010.

Subaru and Suzuki pulled out of the World Rally Championship before the season, citing concerns about the global crisis, while Kawasaki is quitting MotoGP, the top motorcycle competition.

“I hope you will understand that based on the current business environment we have no choice but to make this very painful decision,” Akio Toyoda, the Toyota president, said at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. “To all fans, I apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

Akido Toyoda literally cried as he made the announcement. Make no mistake, there was cause; he, Toyota and Japan had all lost face with the withdrawal from Formula One. The Japanese do not take loss of face lightly; their auto business is truly hurting just like the Americans.

The dream may be over for Toyota, Honda and the Japanese for now, but F1 will live on. In fact, it is not all that huge of a surprise; there has been speculation since before the season started in March that Toyota would pull out if they did not have a breakthrough season this year, and they did not, even though many things were lined up for them. Contrary to what Toyota said, it was not just the money, it was that they were not particularly competitive even in a year where they had their best equipment ever and the power teams Ferrari and McLaren were off their game and mediocre at best. In their eight years in the F1 Circus, Toyota never managed to win even one race. Still, it is a sad loss for motorsport, and F1 will be worse off for the wear. Here is hoping that Japanese, and American, auto manufacturing soon returns to form and profitability, and soon returns to the biggest sporting stage in the world, Formula One.

National Favre League: The Cardinals at Bears is an oddly interesting game. Both teams have been wildly inconsistent, one week world beaters, the next week goats. Kurt Warner was a huge goat last week with five interceptions; he had nothing. No Urlacher though, Warner will pick it up and the Cards get a close win. The Ravens visit the Bengals. Cincy won the first one this year, can they sweep Baltimore? You have to say no, but the Bengals have been pretty solid this year; I rate it a toss up. Houston at Indy could be a good tilt, but Peyton and Reggie Wayne are too much for the upstart Texans. The Fish at the Pats looks on paper like a game to watch, but Bill Bel is coming off a bye week, thus giving him two weeks to scheme revenge for what Miami did to the Pats last year in this game. Pats will obliterate the Fish this time. The Iggles host the ‘Boys and will remind Dallas that it is a mediocre team. The Monday Night game is Steelers at Broncos. Denver plays tough, but gets its second loss in a row.

NCAA Football: It is a horrid slate of games on tap this weekend; completely unacceptable this far into November. Bleech. The only two games of interest I see are Ohio State at Penn State and the Oregon Quackers waddling into the Stanford Trees. I have no idea why, but I smell an upset by the Buckeyes over the JoePas. Oregon should take care of Stanford. Here at home I have the once mighty Trojans of USC rolling into Sun Devil Stadium for a night game. USC may be down, but they will kill the Devils.

180 replies
  1. freepatriot says:

    I was a car people, then I became a “Bike” people instead

    jes to clear that up

    so what is the race series formerly known as F-1 down to now, F-.64

    and on a related subject, are the Japanese auto makers still racing in the Banjo racing league

    (on a personal note, I love to approach people watching auto racing and asking “What’s the score, dudes ???)

    final summation; combustion engines are a dying breed. Look for Segway racing to become popular in about 10 years (coming out of the third turn, phone booth #26 has taken the lead …)


    Carolina vs New Orleans

    I pick New Orleans

    (and for a really good time, find a person who plays water polo, then ask him how they get the horses into the pool)

    and then there’s Iowa (not the state, the football team)

    Iowa don’t get no respect (I’m not sure the state of Iowa deserves any respect) but the lack of respect for the Hawkeyes is a situation that demands action

    I suggest we all devote a few minutes a day to respecting Iowa, just to balance the karma and all. You could do it while you’re practicing yogo, or playing water polo, but not while watching NASCAR

    so lend Iowa some karma today, an tommorrow, and the next day (then you can have a day off) but the day after that, it’s back to the karmic salt mines …

    and in the “old Business” file; FOOKIN yanqis, only 148 more days till the season opener …

    did I forgit anything ???

    oh yeah


    thank a soldier this week, an a sailor too (Marines count as sailors)

    and now, ONWARD THRU THE FOG

    • dakine01 says:

      Freep, FWIW in Sports Illustrated this week the Ferentz stated that he didn’t think his team deserved any excess respect as they had shown they weren’t that good, even while winning those games.

      • freepatriot says:


        no respect at all

        even their coach says “meh”

        it’s like Rodney Dangerfield saying “I don’t deserve any respect”

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I will think kindly of Iowa in Kosmic Dancer pose; then, I’ll wail about the Cougs. It’s ‘that kind of year’ again; the best thing about football this season will be the junk food and the gossip at halftime.

      However, I’ve had many years of practice…

    • Peterr says:

      Iowa don’t get no respect (I’m not sure the state of Iowa deserves any respect) but the lack of respect for the Hawkeyes is a situation that demands action

      It’s going in the books with an L, freep.

      17-10 for my Wildcats.

      That’s not going to help your Hawkeyes with that lack of respect problem.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    US manufacturers blithely gave away or licensed at artificially low fees some of their best technology. They underestimated their joint venture partners and mishandled the relationships, both tactically and strategically. Technology leaked like a sieve. Engineers like W. Edwards Deming that Americans discarded because they didn’t think they needed their novel ideas were made demigods in Japan, to their mutual benefit.

    The Japanese prepared more intensely and fought harder and more ruthlessly, partly because their lives and fortunes depended on it. In contrast, post-Second World War managers were already at the top of their world. That helped make them blind to the cultural aspects of their businesses, from managing host governments to product marketing.

    It was the early to mid-1990’s, after the 1992 recession, before auto and component manufacturers began to treat their Japanese competitors with more open eyes, and to use the talents they readily used in competing domestically, but which they often left at the airports in Detroit or Chicago.

    By then, the “new world” was shifting to Thailand (which Japanese manufacturers designated as their global node for small truck production) and China (which had the advantage of learning from and modifying the Japanese playbook). In Thailand, US companies were competing with Thai and Japanese interests. In China, they were competing with Chinese, Japanese and German competitors.

    Unfortunately, US companies often failed to retain the lessons learned in competing with the Japanese in the US and had to learn them over again on the fly in much tougher competitive environments. Initial mega-investments made without benefit of that relearning put their competitive framework on less than an ideal foundation. GM’s recent reneging on its expensively and elaborately negotiated mega-deal to sell its European operations to Magna of Canada suggests how much disarray and second guessing continues to plague American auto makers, with negative consequences rolling downhill to their global suppliers.

    • freepatriot says:


      never thought I’d see Deming in a trash talk thread

      I once had a class with a professor who preached Deming’s methods

      found out I got a tendency for over-applying the principles

      I’m not sure if I’m a perfectionist or a utopian, but I’m not very good at it

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        With bmaz’s intro, he was inviting comments about both the world’s most watched sport and F-1 racing. The world’s most watched sport is the slow demise of America, its values and its top companies. GM’s reneging on the much-ballyhooed Opel divestiture is a case in point. It makes GM persona non grata in Europe just now, especially Germany.

        I can’t decide among the alternatives:

        a) GM’s board did an Obama; it got cold feet at the thought of substantive change.

        b) They just flubbed it.

        c) They realized that having sold their European operations, they would no longer be a global player.

        d) The Chinese told them no, they couldn’t expect financial backing or preferred access to markets and raw materials in China if they no longer brought with them access to Europe and Opel’s technology.

        e) The Chinese nixed the sale to Magna so that it had more time to overcome US objections to its acquisition of all of GM. That GM might totter again into bankruptcy trying to fund a reorg in Europe and the US could only please buyers who want its technology and the cream of its property, plant and equipment.

        f) Goldman Scratch decided it could multiply its earnings by nixing this deal. Having confirmed suspicions that GM is an unreliable party with whom to negotiate, Goldman could charge double for cobbling together the next deal, plus making even more to hold the hands of GM’s board and its deal makers until they do so.

        I tend to favor (a) through (f) above. Selling off Europe was never the right move, if GM wanted to avoid a break-up and remain a global competitor. But having gone so far down the road on the Opel deal that they were a case of champagne away from closing it, walking away will prove to cost much more than money.

        As for bmaz’s main objection, I agree that US auto makers, like the Japanese, have pockets of excellence, but that the US ones are often lost in the corporate shuffle rather than allowed to mature and bear fruit. To the extent the Japanese are less capable and more vulnerable than their English language marketing suggests, doesn’t that suggest their marketing is rather better than their US competitors?

        • bmaz says:

          Actually, the last time I really checked, maybe a year or two ago, soccer is the most watched sport in the world, as far as a whole sport. The most watched (both television and live) sports league in the world is ….. Formula One.

        • Peterr says:

          Soccer (or as it is known everywhere *except* the US, Football) is indeed the most watched sport in the world.

          As for F1 being the most watched league, that’s because you’ve only got one “league”: F1, while “the beautiful game” has many, many top-flight professional leagues.

          I’ll throw it down now: lighting the cauldron at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil will be Pele.

        • bmaz says:

          Comparing soccer to F1 is like comparing a moldy cardboard cutout of Michelle Bachmann to a beautiful woman. It just should not be done. Soccer is BORING!

        • Peterr says:

          Boring? Hardly.

          Soccer has deft passing, the leaps to head the ball, the partnership with teammates, the singing in the stands, the combination of slow fakes and flashes of speed to throw a defender off, the mix of set plays (corner kicks, free kicks, etc.) and free-flowing action that does not stop for commercials . . .

          The only reason is isn’t bigger in the US is that television can’t figure out when to cut away for commercials.

          And it doesn’t take a bajillion dollars to play the game. For most of us, we can only imagine being an F1 driver, but we can get a ball and a bunch of friends and actually be soccer players.

          Don’t get me wrong. I like F1, and it’s a fine sport. But I love soccer, because it’s mine and not something only the rich guys get to play.

        • dakine01 says:

          Of course, the simple need for a ball and some flat land is the essence of sports like Basketball as well (and baseball too altho having a few gloves and bats also helped)

  3. Jim White says:

    Speaking of good trash talk, “the dark side” takes it in the shorts in “The Men Who Stare at Goats”. Don’t miss it! Best entertainment I’ve had in a long time.

  4. Skilly says:

    I think this may not be a well received comment, but… the travails of F-1 circuit may be a symbolic of the Auto Industry as a whole. Any one who wants to enter must bring big cash to the table. Competition is limited to assure results. Don’t even get me started about tires.
    I am a car person too, but having traveled throughout the world, and having seen poverty, home and abroad, it does seem hard to advocate for a brutally expensive racing program when you are laying off long term workers.

  5. sundog says:


    With the new rules changes, mainly, no refueling allowed anymore, the next season should prove as interesting as the last minus pit lane flaming streaks.

    As for how other countries are able to “beat” our industries, don’t forget that many of the people in those countries are educated at American schools, an education paid for by their government. When I was an undergrad studying Aero engineering, at least 50% of the grad students were Chinese, all paid for by their government. This was back in the late 80’s. As many here know, if you don’t invest in your population… well, you can keep wages low and ship the high paying jobs over seas. You can also get tax credits from the government for doing so! Hey, why is the economy so bad all of the sudden? It really isn’t rocket science.

    I wish I could afford a new car.

    btw, “Hi!” Longtime lurker, I had to post when I saw someone talking F1. I would talk Indycar, too, but it hasn’t been the same since Tony George threw his hissy fit and took his track and went home to make open wheel NASCAR.

    • bmaz says:

      Welcome! You are absolutely right about the nature of the foreign competition posed to US automakers. Whether it was national healthcare that gave a different benefit to the workforce in Japan, to low wage workers in Korea; a lot of inequities have been exploited to become competitive and a market force. But once their industries mature, things balance out and a lot of the same problems set in that the US makers experience.

      As to F1, yeah, next year should be another really interesting one. Pretty exciting that USF1 will be joining the fray; Peter Windsor is a nice name for them to have on board, but I do not see the ability to do much other than be a novelty for quite a while. Question is, can they hold on enough years to be competitive? The only real American team that amounted to squat was Dan Gurney’s, and that was because of, well, Dan Gurney. I don’t know, we shall see I guess; but I am skeptical.

  6. freepatriot says:

    the crystal bong says “The Al Gore 500” will soon replace auto racing

    the 1800s were the railroad century

    the 1900s worshiped the combustion engine

    in the new century, people will celebrate the speed records of personal electric vehicles (the segway phone booth thingys)

    wash, rinse, repeat,

    learn from the past

      • freepatriot says:

        I didn’t say anything about history

        I’m talkin bout the past

        the past an history are two different things

        and that dude left something out. those of us who are smart enough to learn from the past are doomed to watch others repeat it

        I ain’t really that smart, I just pay attention …

  7. sundog says:

    I never understood GM’s sell off of Opel. Most of GM’s best built American cars were/are Opels!

    BTW, has anyone figured out why Buicks sell so well in China?

    • emptywheel says:

      When GM got into China, it had the luck of getting assigned SAIC as a partner, which meant 1) they were HQed in Shanghai and 2) they had a sound business partner (ChangAn Ford, Ford’s partner sucks major weinie and is in Chongqing).

      Shanghai was important bc in those years it was one of the few to have ready advanced tech, but more importantly, it had markets, and China’s auto market remained regional for quite some time (for example, VW got the taxi contract in Shanghai bc it was local–the same SAIC partner as GM had).

      So GM was in the booming city.

      Once you’re there consider who the first round of car buyers were: businessmen with drivers. Buicks of that era may have driven like boats (they’ve improved), but they also had lux back seats perfect for your average Chinese businessman. Had Ford been in teh same situation with teh ability to sell Lincolns, they’d have gotten the business (though that was their own fault for waiting).

      Now, a lot of the improvements made on Buicks have come at the request of teh Chinese and with the cooperation of the SAIC engineers and designers.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        State planning and local lobbying may have had more to do with it than luck, both with regard to the strengths, talents and resources (technology, financial wherewithal) of GM and Ford as their possible lack of them (perceived differences in management, cultural or business acuity). The latter would affect Chinese perceptions of how competitive a partner Ford or GM would be, as well as how tough or gullible or desperate.

        Needless to say, SAIC’s status, and its perceptions and wishes would have had much to do with the ultimate decision that it partner with GM and Ford be “relegated” to Chongqing, though the final decision would have emerged after considerable politicking in Beijing. I don’t suspect that luck had much to do with it.

        The improvements in the Buick were also a function of the joint SAIC/GM technology and design center, also based in Shanghai.

        • emptywheel says:

          Let me restate. GM got in at a time when SAIC was available. By the time Ford got in, CHina wanted a jobs program in the interior so that’s what they got. Ford has to pay a premium to even its Chinese employees to live in Chongqing.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s also a function of how China prioritized its queue, who was allowed in at all, who was allowed one of the car slots, the truck slot, etc. I think your comment about timing, while accurate, understates the amount of state control involved in the process.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In addition to EW’s comments, there’s also the matter of what locally-made competitors there are. Tariffs and other import restrictions remain high, as does nationalism and such collateral issues as whether the purchase is all-cash or financed. There’s also the issue of who in China can afford such a car and where they tend to be concentrated. Shanghai is the top market for both, followed by Beijing and Guangzhou.

      As is often said, including by EW and by James Fallows, there is no single, national China market. There are more localized Chinese markets. These include Beijing, China’s major coastal cities, and large, inland provincial capitals and their surrounding metropolitan or rural areas.

      The point is that locally-made cars are cheaper and more desirable. GM’s Shanghai-manufactured Buick does well against its local competition and, increasingly, its international competition, which is essential if Shanghai-designed and produced cars are to be exported.

  8. person1597 says:

    Are there any Chinese teams in F1 nowadays? Sorry for the dumb question, I’m still harboring memories of the first Long Beach F5000 way back when gas was cheap and engines were loud and powerful.

    But if the answer is yes than it means the Chinese will likely repeat the Japanese rise to power ala the 1980’s. If not, it may be because they aren’t as business savvy as we think. So to me, the question is meaningful apart from the fact that I just don’t know. The Google shows a Chinese Grand Prix in April of 2009, but the question is whether they have indigenous cars and drivers. I suppose they could just buy Honda or Toyota’s team(s).

    • bmaz says:

      No, no significant chinese involvement I am aware of other than hosting of the Chinese GP race.

      By the way, I was at the F5000 test run for the inaugural Long Beach race. A friend of mine and Gurney actually were the ones who designed the course. I strangely had as much or more fun at that race as any of the actual GPs there (went to all except 1980). Still have a poster somewhere of Brian Redman in his Lola from that race.

      • person1597 says:

        Interesting! Thanks!

        I remember seeing the drivers let their cars get ooh so close to the big concrete wall at one of the inside turns. Only inches between the big black tires and the menacing white-grey of newly poured concrete. And only chain link to keep the pieces from spraying the on-lookers. Pretty exciting stuff for a kid who could barely drive! I don’t think there were any big crashes that year. It was spectacular… but (amazingly) safe.

        What a great course — every vantage point a revelation…

        • bmaz says:

          I had incredible fun; those races were some of the best times of my life. I was 18 for the first one, had a room on the Queen Mary, where most all the teams and drivers stayed, and had a full course access pass (knowing the promoters sure came in handy). I was king of the world for a week every year. And the course was absolutely wonderful; I have never been to another GP course where you see anywhere near the overall action you could at Long Beach.

        • person1597 says:

          Well that does beat all! Although, I had a grandma who had a beachfront apt on Ocean Blvd. That was certainly amazing. Not much surf there though. (Except for the occasional tidal surge, Long Beach was pretty sedentary.)

          The Queen Mary has certainly had its share of notable visitors!!

          As for cost/energy efficient sports, let me offer the various forms of surfing as both highly competitive, amazingly daring, and visually stunning… and cheap (except for the helicopter).

        • bmaz says:

          It was an incredible scene during GP week in Long Beach. Like it turned into the South of France or something cultured for one week a year. I worked every summer back then restoring antique autos in Santa Monica and was in the LB vicinity often enough as I had friends in Seal Beach. Long Beach itself was pretty mundane other that GP week.

        • person1597 says:

          A guy could do pretty well for himself in those heady days of fun and frolic.

          Ahh, the So. Cal memories… and then they dumped all that DDT into the LA river.

          Here’s an HD version of the big wave surfer

          I’d think dakine would have something to say about the waves…

        • PJEvans says:

          The LA river is doing much better these days, but you want to avoid a lot of the beaches around Malibu. (I understand there’s a small colony of sea turtles that have taken up residence around the Edison plant between Long beach and Seal Beach.)

        • thatvisionthing says:

          How do you clean up DDT? That’s my question about all the toxic sites, how do you unpoison poison? Is cleanup just another word for relocating?

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Ah, you cover it up.

          In August 2000, EPA initiated a pilot capping project in which they placed clean sediment over a small area (1%) of the contaminated ocean floor.


        • person1597 says:

          I can’t escape this metaphor…

          “in the struggle for existence, the advantage must go to those organisms whose energy-capturing devices are most efficient in directing available energies into channels favorable to the preservation of the species.”

          This tidbit extrapolates nicely into today’s mind-war scenario where the rabid right seeks to deflect the national dialog into a battle of sheer will (as opposed to logic or reasoning).

          With the internet providing the “playing field”, the players seek to move the onus of discourse (the “ball”) into territory they control. Bloggers are the front linemen of this contest.

          In a game-changing assault on the political hegemony held by the right, Lefty blogs (especially FDL) intercepted the narrative in the elections of ’06 and ’08 through combative rhetoric and aggressive push back against the hubris and flagrancy of BushCo’s inbred Machiavellian devilment.

          The righties, dislodged from their high station and political complacency were fraught with dispair and greatly aggrieved by their loss of political continuity. The old Clinton era mixture of bombast and self-righteousness was all they had to fall back on since they were sorely lacking any rationale, reasonable or otherwise.

          Our current dilemma is made worse by the focus on cry-baby histrionics from an inconsolable faction of displaced ego-maniacs which serves only to deflect attention from the very real problems facing the world today. While there have been some changes in the national discourse with regards to international issues, the whiny ass titty-babies (love that term) still throw tantrums for one and only one reason — to be seen and heard.

          The cacophony of fervor is the objective of the right’s media strategy — to co-opt the body-politic’s mind set into channels favorable for the preservation of their point of view. That is almost all they need to do to survive this period of electoral pause. The real contest is next year because Election2010 is a real opportunity to regain some semblance of political power.

          The Democratic majority doesn’t want to come off like BushCo’s mini dictatorship by employing the full potential of the political dominance they now hold. This could be a big problem if the opportunity slips away because the electorate failed to get concrete results from the calculation that change would come under a Democratic administration.

          Inaction now becomes reaction later when the score is tallied and the new hand dealt. I’m quite concerned that the extremists won’t bother to wait for the election to attempt their reassertion of dominance.

          Only after this scenario plays out (and the ensuing devolution of the petroleum economy) will we be able to re-order our priorities towards real reform.

          Then we can address the concerns that thatvisionthing posed.

          Hopefully, we’ll have the wherewithall to do it before 2013, but I doubt it.

          I hope PJEvans is right about the bacteria. Humans may not be up to the task.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Assaults, meh…

          Ok, forgive me, but I’m going back to a David Brooks column from earlier this year:

          … in recent years there’s an increasing appreciation that evolution isn’t just about competition. It’s also about cooperation within groups. Like bees, humans have long lived or died based on their ability to divide labor, help each other and stand together in the face of common threats. Many of our moral emotions and intuitions reflect that history. We don’t just care about our individual rights, or even the rights of other individuals. We also care about loyalty, respect, traditions, religions. We are all the descendents of successful cooperators.

          …it entails a warmer view of human nature. Evolution is always about competition, but for humans, as Darwin speculated, competition among groups has turned us into pretty cooperative, empathetic and altruistic creatures — at least within our families, groups and sometimes nations.

          ok, Ruskin:

          The power which causes the several portions of the plant to help each other, we call life. Much more is this so in an animal. We may take away the branch of a tree without much harm to it; but not the animal’s limb. Thus, intensity of life is also intensity of helpfulness — completeness of depending of each part on all the rest. The ceasing of this help is what we call corruption; and in proportion to the perfectness of the help, is the dreadfulness of the loss. The more intense the life has been, the more terrible is its corruption.

          maybe some Jefferson:

          First Inaugural Address, after very bitter and close election:

          Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

          Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government.

          Just saying, vive la difference. Make love not war. Play ball!


        • person1597 says:

          Thanks for the Jefferson…

          I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern.

          Dare I say this is why we hammer our keyboards to the neglect of all else?

          As for the Bobo…

          We don’t just care about our individual rights, or even the rights of other individuals.

          I say that’s baloney on stale bread. Our individual points of view are inviolable… even if they aren’t rational or altruistic.

          As for Ruskin — how do you suppose he would view the conservatives nowadays in context with this…

          The ceasing of this help is what we call corruption; and in proportion to the perfectness of the help, is the dreadfulness of the loss.

          I think he’d be mortified.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Dare I say this is why we hammer our keyboards to the neglect of all else?

          what is this ‘else’ of which you type?
          There’s something else…?

          I don’t believe it.

        • bmaz says:

          I should note I was a passenger, not the driver. Unfortunately. Or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the driver was a pro.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I think Obama’s best moment, the one that I wish like hell he could find with both hands now, is from his 2004 Democratic convention speech:

          John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it’s not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people.

          If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.


          If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.


          If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.


          It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work.


          OBAMA: It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.

          Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

          Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.


          There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.


          The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.

          We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.


          There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

          We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.


          In short, all this fight-to-the-death between Republicans and Democrats, taking your eye off of and losing sight of America, is really killing America, the idea of a united people of Americans, e pluribus unum. Which is a fucking dreadful loss.

          The last poll I saw showed there were more independents than Democrats or Republicans. And I don’t even know what that means anymore. I haven’t changed, though I have changed my voter registration affiliation several times. Once (briefly) I was a Republican. More times I was a Democrat. Now I’m an independent. But I was always, always, always an American, and I think the same can be said about just about all of us. I absolutely think Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice, Yoo, Bybee, Cheney, Cheney, Cheney are criminals and corrupt and should be prosecuted, should have been impeached, and their crimes should be widely published, acknowledged, prosecuted and convicted. What they did should be widely discredited. Their official portraits in our hallowed halls should be mug shots in orange jumpsuits covered with black hoods. Maybe attach some electrodes to their genitals, I think that’s a fair photo to take. Very check-and-balancey, what goes round comes round in equality and brotherhood. Their names and crimes should be written in subterranean fonts with asterisks. That’s how they should go down in history. As Obama continues what they started, including the terrorism of war and predator drones, I think he deserves the same trial. Maybe a jury would find extenuating circumstances, maybe not, but the crimes are there for all to see. I think refusing to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution relegates us all to compassless political parties and loses America. Parties aren’t even in the Constitution! I think all those throngs and masses of people rallying around Obama and hope and change in 2008, here and abroad, were not Republicans, not Democrats, but people longing to get back to loving thy neighbor and living together fairly without fear and bullying. I think I just wrote a lot of words that may have confuscated my point. Just don’t equate Republicans — as in the people who identify themselves that way — with war criminals like Bush and Cheney. Defend the Constitution. Act like it still matters to all of us.

          We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.

        • PJEvans says:

          I suspect there are critters (bacteria, most likely) evolving to eat DDT residues right now. Ingenious little things: they fill niches wherever they find them empty.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I wonder if eating DDT would be a transmutable ability? The algae eats the bacteria, the little fish eat the algae, the big fish eat the little fish, everybody eats the fish… do we all then become able to digest DDT and live happily ever forward? God bless the meek bacteria for they shall save the earth.

  9. freepatriot says:

    my vision is based on past examples where technical advances captured the popular imagination

    railroad speed records were once part of “pop culture” (before there was such a thing as Pop Culture)

    steam ship records were a popular advertising feature at one time

    and not long ago, the Indy 500 was the most popular sporting event on the planet

    they were all at the peak of their technological progress at the time

    today, nobody cares about railroad speed records. steam ships ??? they’re in a whole new technological realm now

    auto racing, and the automobile as we know it, are at the peak of their technological development

    cars are on their way out

    pollution and petro-wars are making cars obsolete

    Americans are stubborn, so we ain’t gonna be at the front of the revolution

    change will come suddenly

    them segway phone booth thingys, or something close to them, are the future

    and the future is in China and Europe

    the Al Gore-Segway 500 series is only one possibility

    so, in that vein, maybe GM was wise to hold their Opels


    the crystal bong has spoken, pay no attention to that dfh behind the curtain …

  10. emptywheel says:


    I’m a little concerned that your restraint from invoking Drew Fookin Brees is bad juju. Yeah, it’s only the Panthers. But the Panthers know how to party in NOLA.

    • bmaz says:

      By the way, Iowa is down 4 to Northwestern near the end of the 3rd quarter and the Hawk’s QB, Ricky Stanzi, is OUT with an injury.

    • freepatriot says:

      good point;


      an I think Iowa has Northwestern right where they want em

      (the poor bastards have us surrounded)

      this ain’t a football season, it’s a fricken Hallmark sunday night movie script

      • emptywheel says:

        Thank you. The ‘Aints really are one of the only interesting stories in the NFC (particularly if you’re tired of the Old Man in purple, though admittedly he had a kickass game last week), and I don’t want you to jinx it by altering the routine.

  11. emptywheel says:

    And here’s what Dan Neil had to say about the Lacrosse:

    But no fair appraisal of this car can conclude anything but that the Buick is as good as or better than the Lexus in every way: It’s as dead quiet, as thoughtfully designed, as this-minute in its technology. My top-ofthe-line CXS had a 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 under the scalloped hood, a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, continuously variable suspension damping with Sport mode, Harman/Kardon sound system, touch-screen navigation and adaptive headlamps. Out the door at $39,195.

    And yet with all of the semiconductor circuitry, servos, gadgets and displays, the LaCrosse feels deeply, foundationally sound. All is hushed and serene. Everything is damped. The whole car feels packed in ermine. It is an American Lexus.

  12. bmaz says:

    I am surprised Mary has not been by to talk about the big lady, Zenyatta, and the potential for a female to win the Breeder’s Cup Classic for the first time. You go girl!

      • dakine01 says:

        As a native of the Bluegrass living away, I think most folks care about the Breeder’s Cup stuff when it’s held at Churchill Downs. Otherwise, not near as much.

        Of course, the folks on the farms around Lexington would look at the bragging rights aspect as it can probably pump up the breeding fees occasionally (though not like having the Derby winner standing at their farm)

      • bmaz says:

        Well it ain’t the Derby, but the Breeder’s Cup Classic is pretty big, and Zenyatta is one hell of a story. A huge mare that has never lost a race, going against the big boys in the final big race of the year. With Horse Of The Year honors hanging in the balance. Pretty heady stuff for a mare.

  13. perris says:

    As you all might know, we here at Emptywheel are car people. And one annoying thread ran common as a persistent undercurrent through all of our auto and auto bailout coverage over the last year, and that was how pitiful and incompetent the American marques were, how much they deserved their fate and how awesome the Japanese brands, especially Toyota and Honda, were in comparison.

    one of the reasons our car manufacturers had a tough time keeping up with japan for quality (in the past, not today), is for the same reason health care by government is less expensive then health care by private industry,

    thom hartmann;

    In fact, Japan subsidized Toyota not only in its development but even after if failed terribly in the American markets in the late 1950’s. In addition, early in Toyota’s development, Japan kicked out foreign competitors like GM.

    Thus, because the Japanese government financed Toyota at a loss (for roughly 20 years), built high tariff and other barriers to competitive imports, and initially subsidized exports, auto manufacturing was able to get a strong foothold and we now think of Japanese exports being synonymous with automobiles.

    Read more at:

  14. dakine01 says:

    While recognizing that it is early yet (not half way through the 2nd period) but c’mon? Navy up 14-0 over Notre Dame who had a first and goal and couldn’t score?

    It might be time for Charlie to give ol’ Bill a call and see if he can get his old job back.

  15. chetnolian says:

    You know I have to come in on this one BMAZ.

    You guys always manage to talk about open wheel racing as if much of it wasn’t in Britain. The UK and Italy are where its heart has been, certainly since 1955. Even thoroughly American-sounding teams like Penske ran cars designed and built down the road from me in Poole.

    Toyota didn’t build a good F1 car, perhaps because they tried to do it in Germany. Honda almost built a good car, and, when released from the effects of stultifying management, and on a shoe string, they became Brawn and won the F1 constructors and drivers championship.

    Mind you the runners up were Red Bull, who are Austrian, so what do I know?

    And yes I know Brawn use Mercedes engines but then Mercedes F1 engines are built in Britain.

    On GM’s retention of Opel, yes I think they realised they were losing European smaller car knowhow. It is not true to say they are unpopular in Europe, just Germany. In the UK, which, when last I looked was still in Europe, just, the decision was welcomed, especially by the labour union, which believed Germany and Magna had stitched up Vauxhall, which has, at Ellesmere Port, the most efficient GM European plant.

    And one other thing, then I’m done. Half a century of motoring in Europe and the US has taught me that until very recently, all US family cars were poor (I exclude the likes of the Camaro and Corvette). The Chevrolet Corsica and Citation were two of the absolutely worst cars I ever drove, anywhere. The bigger cars relied entirely on brute power and gas consumption which even in the heady days of the 70s we Brits thought stupidly extravagent. They had few real advances, exccept perhaps the early auto gearboxes which were so advanced even Rolls-Royce licensed them from GM in the late 60s.(I know I was there). In many areas US technology has been world-beating through my lifetime. Not sadly automotive.

    • person1597 says:

      Why, I do believe it is time to get out the Colemans’ and bake up a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, whilst the lady of the house takes to the road…

    • person1597 says:

      In many areas US technology has been world-beating through my lifetime. Not sadly automotive.

      Sadly, financial innovation from the US is not helping either

      U.K.: Bank of England Warns of “Doom Loop”

      As Haldane says, no reform equals a “doom loop”.

      Coming soon to an economy near you…

      [Cornish pasties for us undergrounders…]

      • chetnolian says:


        I suspect the term “financial engineering” was invented in the US. When I first heard these words I complained that it couldn’t be because engineering was affected by the laws of physics. No wait….

        • person1597 says:

          When I first heard these words I complained that it couldn’t be because engineering was affected by the laws of physics.

          Well, the blinders are coming off, albeit slowly.

          Biophysical economics, while misunderstood, cleaves to the notion that energy lies at the root of all economic activity and that the return on the investment of energy (EROI) will determine the viability of the economy.

          Basically, as the cost efficiency of using oil rapidly diminishes, the economic vitality of the petroleum based economy goes down the tubes too.

          Thus, the context of this thread is rooted in the diminishing marginal returns of a petroleum-fueled enterprise. Not that gasoline isn’t super-powerful. It is just increasingly more expensive to produce and distribute.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    GM’s decision was bittersweet for the UK, in that it temporarily staves off several thousand job losses. That GM has no obvious resources to follow through on a European reorganization, and that it has severely depleted its credibility with European governments, lenders, its unions, suppliers and customers, tempers the UK’s relief in temporarily avoiding those job losses and the loss of manufacturing capability.

    The real question is what will GM do? Attempt to implement the plan Opel negotiated with Magna, with far less cooperation from its unions and local governments and lenders? Bring in the Chinese or a Goldman negotiated white knight to help replace those lost resources? Fumble? Succeed by bringing in unknown resources or revitalized old ones?

    I wish GM hadn’t chose to sell Opel; it brought a lot of credibility to its global presence. But having done so and then embarrassingly changed its mind on the wedding night, it’s magnified its problems in turning itself around.

    • prostratedragon says:

      At least, should make it hard to pretend it’s better than ’tis.

      (Though with a $190M stadium renovation debt that’s supposed to be funded mainly by subscriptions to the new lux boxes, you can be sure that there’s a vocal cognitive dissonance faction.)

    • person1597 says:

      The guys on the team weren’t always that spectacular…

      On the other hand, I kinda liked the Dollies!

      Talent comes in all shapes and sizes…

  17. person1597 says:

    Hey, I’m a cherry pickin’ fool… Here’s a Nobel Chemist’s view of the economy (from the Biophysical Economics link).

    Soddy argued that the fatal flaw of economics was a confusion of wealth, which has a distinct physical dimension, with debt, a purely imaginary mathematical quantity with no physical dimension. Unlike wealth, debts can be created by a ’wave of the hand’ or ’a will of the mind’ because “debts are subject to the laws of mathematics rather than physics. Unlike wealth, which is subject to the laws of thermodynamics, debts do not rot with old age. On the contrary, they grow at so much per annum, by the well known mathematical laws of simple and compound interest.”

    Soddy believed this confusion led to the development of financial institutions that were divorced from the physical principles underlying the production of wealth. Banks create money arbitrarily through the fractional reserve requirement system, and then loan the ’fictitious’ money at interest. Wealth, the physical quantity represented by money, cannot grow forever at a compound interest rate as the laws of thermodynamics clearly imply. Soddy postulated that at some point debts would outstrip wealth, causing the banking system to collapse. Citing the economic malaise of the Depression as evidence, Soddy proposed as remedies a 100 percent reserve requirement and a statue requiring a constant price level.

    Oh, btw, Soddy was from the UK.

      • person1597 says:

        Few can claim to be Soddy’s peer. Intuiting atomic transmutation is no small accomplishment. But since this is a sports thread, how about a more frolicsome view..

        Writing at about the same time as Soddy was Alfred Lotka, a mathematical biologist who argued that the mechanisms of natural selection could be explained in energy terms. Lotka did not specifically apply his biophysical principles to economics, but his theories were subsequently used by other analysts to emphasize the relation between energy quality and living systems. Lotka proposed that the evolutionary process, combined with the laws of thermodynamics, formed a natural ’law’ that underlay all human behavior. Lotka proposed that the battle of organic evolution was a “general scrimmage for available energy” in which all players were energy transformers – plants as energy accumulators animals as engines which burned the solar energy in plants. For Lotka (1922), survival was [a] game governed by the laws of thermodynamics: “in the struggle for existence, the advantage must go to those organisms whose energy-capturing devices are most efficient in directing available energies into channels favorable to the preservation of the species.”

    • thatvisionthing says:

      What’s a constant price level? I’m having a delightful time imagining the statue requiring it, whatever it is. Pigeons, you know… make anything beautiful.

      • person1597 says:

        I didn’t understand that “constant price level” reference either… It seems inconsistent with Soddy’s understanding of a naturally dynamic equilibrium.

  18. thatvisionthing says:

    Hey, Saturn! If we were all sitting around chips in the living room and it was a bad commercial, I’d ask you all what about Saturn? Last I heard Roger Penske is NOT going to buy it after all, so it’s back to the GM pot of dregs that US taxpayers may or may not have a claim to. I know nothing. Except I see Saturn as a fabulous opportunity going to waste and I’d like some non-autocorporatethink entity to grab it and make something of it. I’m thinking whiz kids or whoever it is that’s thinking of new ways to build green cars and green companies and better ways of organizing and valuing resources. GM failed but it had a bright child.

    Speaking as the still proud owner of a 1995 Saturn station wagon that has 270,000 miles on it and gets 37 real-world mpg (beat that Detroit!) (three words, coast coast coast) I must be one of the few people on earth who recalls with affection their experience of buying their new car, 14 years on. Bob Snyder of Saturn of Vancouver, you were an angel. It really was a different kind of company then and it’s such a shame that GM took it down. During the auto bailout debate last November, I read one son’s story/letter to his Saturn company man dad: The son is now involved in green energy concerns, the father was at the helm of Saturn from its bright beginning through its deterioration. The son is proud of what his father achieved and angry at GM:

    You took us from Freeland, Michigan to Middle Tennessee in 1988 when “Saturn” was nothing but 3,000 acres of corn field, some office trailers, and a rock quarry. We watched as the grassroots company grew from a trailer park in Spring Hill to an innovative, case-studied, globally known and tremendously respected brand that was actually different.

    And it really really was different. Those weren’t just commercials. I was there with you. Remember showing me around the facility for the first time? Remember the first Saturn Homecoming? Remember when they installed the pollution scrubbers and I was extra interested?

    When the first Saturns rolled off the line in 1991, I don’t know of another community of employees and local families in the United States that has ever been so proud. I remember you and mom popping in the video tape – the one of all of the Spring Hill employees and Skip LeFauve – and us watching together on the old brown couch.

    It was a different kind of company. It was a different kind of car. It was innovative. And remember a few years later when Saturn became the brand through which the EV1 electric car was leased? The EV1 program put GM far ahead of the curve in the electric car field and promised to usher in a new era of American ingenuity. And remember, Dad, when you brought home an EV1 pre-launch model just as I was learning to drive?

    I knew I was experiencing the future. For a teen with car and baseball magazines strewn across his bedroom floor, I beamed and bragged about you and about GM to everyone in town (and in that town it really was everyone) – though I would never admit it to you at the time. But of course as this story goes, the promise of that future ended with lobbyists in California and executives in Houston and Detroit. “Different” died. Those grassroots died.

    …for a company with three million dependents, not innovating is not just wrong for business, it borders on moral corruption.

    I know we’re talking about Formula 1 here, but I don’t care squat about it… but I would LOVE to see an Al Gore 500 with solar-powered cars or soapbox-powered cars or rubber-band powered cars, something not based on oil. I almost said oil and plastic but caught myself because my treasured SW2 is a pretty little plastic car. Sung to the tune of Angel Eyes, I’ve done it many times. Can I have some harmony here? I commented here ( when EW was going to the economic conference that someone needs to come up with a business recycling the plastic from the Texas-sized trash gyre in the Pacific. Beyond that, a new business paradigm for getting the work done that needs to be done, profits be damned, and employing people doing that kind of work instead of doing doom-loop corporate failswag. I’m just saying, can’t someone save Saturn as the public works R&D company for what the world needs now? Read the son’s letter to his dad on HuffPost–it seems to me those two, father and son, could so much be part of the solution instead of the debris of the problem. The wrong people have their hands on the wheel! And we bought the damn wheel anyway, can’t we take a turn?

    Over to you.

    P.S. One of the interesting links in the HuffPo piece is this one, PBS’s timeline history of the electric car: . The work goes on, the dream hasn’t died…

  19. bmaz says:

    And Zenyatta makes an incredible charge down the stretch and wins the Breeders Cup Classic!!! Holy shit, what an awesome run! Wow, the lady is now 14-0 and will cap her career undefeated and with a victory over the best of the big boys.

        • bobschacht says:

          Yeah, I guess with a mare like that, at some point you get more for breeding rights than you would for second-rate races. After all, there’s a limit to the number of colts she can give birth to, and those will be valuable properties.

          Bob in AZ

      • freepatriot says:

        the TREE


        the Tall Tree, to be specific

        el Palo Alto

        the Trees, plural, is an metaphorical rock anthem by Rush, positing a forest society that experiences social problems similar to humanity

        I guess ya gotta be a californian or canadian to be so serious about trees

        (duckin & runnin) even though the trees here are so tall ya don’t really gotta duck

        anything under 30 feet is just a bush out here

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          You talking about Parcells?

          Shaugnessey on the Tuna…

          “…Mike Dee, CEO of the Dolphins, came to Miami in May after holding the position of CEO of the two-time world champion Red Sox.“I’ve spent limited time with him,’’ says Dee. “But in the time I have known him, I have found him to be everything you would expect – smart, experienced, with great insight. An iconic figure. He’s a very tall tree in a forest of tall trees.”

        • bmaz says:

          Good grief, finally some football talk. Games just started; for the early pair I get a fine choice of Cards/Bears or Pats/Fish. That is pretty good, but then there is only one late game, Titans/49ers. Not so exciting. Oh well, at least the Sunday and Monday Night games are good.

        • LabDancer says:

          Boldin-less Cards already up 14. Looking ahead at their schedule, it’s not hard to see how they could easily end up 10-6 and ‘win’ the West by lapping that hapless line-up of intradivisional patsies.

          Which allows for a segue to asking how much of an influence on National Farvelet’s courtship & eventual choice to move to the mauve derived from that gloriously fortuitous schedule. Over the first 8 eight games, the Vikes have met only 2 teams even arguably stronger on any measure, with one of those accounting for 2 games for which their ‘new’ qb brought some distinct advantages. Of the remaining 8, 5 are at home, and not a single one of their opponents is currently measurably stronger–not even the Gi’nts, in a game which, given the Vikes are very likely to be somewhere in the range of 14-1 to 12-3, is very UNlikely to carry much if any meaning for the Purps’ playoff status.

          So: one can reasonably foresee, not merely the possibility, but the probability, that 2 of the 3 divisional champions [and therefore first-playoff-round exempt squads] will enter the playoffs with a win potential rating that somewhere in the vast mediocre middle–and outside the Top Ten toughies. And–as I would expect you would not be greatly inclined to argue against given last year’s experience–that alone gives each of them a pretty fair shot at being in the Super Bowl.

  20. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    In a game-changing assault on the political hegemony held by the right, Lefty blogs (especially FDL) intercepted the narrative in the elections of ‘06 and ‘08 through combative rhetoric and aggressive push back against the hubris and flagrancy of BushCo’s inbred Machiavellian devilment.

    Silly me.
    I thought FDL did it with snark and smarts and incredibly detailed, phenomenally documented details…

    Totally with Lotka on that whole ‘all players are energy transformers’ concept.

    I don’t know enough about the structure of DDT, but a subfield of engineering — Environmental Engineering — means different things to different people, but at its best it focuses on questions like how to develop DDT eating bacteria and rid the Pacific of plastics. One of the more ‘interdisciplinary’ fields of engineering, for reasons easy to guess at.

    But my, oh, my — freep has dropped an egg here: freep, who tends to imply that s/he’d never stepped inside a classroom mentions having had ‘a professor‘. Heh.

    • person1597 says:

      The tricky thing with snark is that its potency is compromised in today’s milieu of irrational sophistry. That requires sharper snark and (more) highly evolved invective. The market for political satire has matured and will likely undergo consolidation. Kinda like technology or motorsports.

      Long live Snarkopolis! Rally the Snarkopolitans!
      (I’m glad FDL excels at that.)

    • person1597 says:

      It used to be the “Indians”. That was changed in deference to indigenous people in 1972. Cardinal is their primary color, so that became the name.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, they used to be the Indians. Cardinal refers to the color, not the bird. From Wiki:

      The Stanford Tree is the un-official mascot of Stanford University. Stanford’s team name is “The Cardinal,” referring to the vivid red color (not the common song bird as at several other schools), and the University has never been able to come up with an official mascot which adequately conveys the fierceness and sporting prowess it had hoped to symbolize with that particular shade of sanguine. This fact creates a void not typically found at schools with less-abstract symbols for their sports teams, and into this unfulfilled void the Stanford Band has insistently thrust what is one of the United States’ most bizarre and controversial college mascots. The Tree.

      • Peterr says:

        OK, so the earlier mascot was . . . problematic.

        That still doesn’t explain how you get from Cardinal to Redwood.

        Even if you buy Cardinal = fierce, in terms of color, that doesn’t get you to Redwood.

        Maybe what they really need is to switch to the Fighting Paint Swabs!

        • person1597 says:

          Trees are symbolic of burgeoning natural essence.

          At Stanford, folks didn’t see the rigors of competition in rivalistic terms so much as terms of self-actualization (except with Cal).

          For students of that era, the animism of the natural world was more tenable than the vulgar, hyper-competitiveness and barbaric militarism exemplified by the Vietnam war.

          While there was a flirtation with the self-abnegating “Robber Barons” as a mascot (satirizing Leland Stanford’s role in early California history), the stadium of conflict was generally perceived as an intellectual or philosophical domain where concepts vied for acclaim based on merit, not physique.

          Nonetheless, “Indians” had to give way to something not so demeaning to native American students, and unlike UC Santa Cruz whose brilliant solution, “the Banana Slugs” served as a poignant denunciation of collegial rivalry, Stanford students were a mixed demographic, some more gung-ho than others. Through lack of a coherent student-body-wide self-identity, replacing the former mascot remained enigmatic.

          By default, choosing the color “Cardinal” embodied the unwillingness of the students to create an inappropriately vengeful mascot and actually pleased those who believed that physical rivalry tarnished the priority of intellectual pursuits, arguably, the pursuit of higher learning.

          As far as “Trees” are concerned, the ever clever LSJr Marching Band devised a mascot which could be embraced by the Stanford community as both a point of humor and a representation of the growth of intellect.

        • person1597 says:

          The intensity of social conflict was never stronger than at Berkeley. From the early days of the Free Speech movement in the 60’s, through the “Out Now” and Peoples’ Park rebellions and into the seventies, the People’s Republic of Berkeley was ground zero for push-back against the Man.

          They also were bound and determined to crush Stanford at each and every Big Game.

          One could debate who had higher quality mushrooms and who’s Dead concerts were more liberating, (Berkeley wins again) but on the whole, Stanford students were less combative. They tended to gravitate to the inward-looking pursuits having committed to the expense of a considerably higher tuition.

          The luminous visionaries at Stanford tended to avoid the temporal concerns of mundane reality even if it impinged on their ideals. Consequently the conflicts that did arise were less antagonistic and more arcane.

          Trees were generally a protected member of the community and since the land was privately held, the most threatening thing was a golf course.

          Other than that, the surrounding community of Palo Alto was pretty tolerant of the students for economic reasons. By contrast, the influence of the Board of Regents on life at Cal was much more authoritarian in that they answered to the state, not the student body.

  21. rosalind says:

    has anyone else seen those photos of sammy sosa on huffpo? uhm, wtf? his skin has lightened to almost michael jacksonian proportions. possible steroid side-effect.

      • rosalind says:

        nah, jackson was rumored to have vitiligo, which causes skin blotches and lightening of skin. the sosa article says steroids can also trigger vitiligo.

        • PJEvans says:

          I’ve seen people with vitiligo. It’s odd-looking, but not necessarily so bad that you’d want to cover all the exposed skin.

    • person1597 says:

      You won’t find this Jefferson on the Gators anytime soon…

      “Florida put it on us last year, and we’re holding a grudge,” Jefferson said. “They were disrespecting us, doing stuff like punting the ball in the stands

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that looked nasty. Heck of a running back too; really hate to see that. Hope Best is okay. Saw an interview with him a couple of weeks ago; great kid, very bright, polite, nice – just all around was very impressive.

    • bobschacht says:

      He was able to move all his limbs. But the brain can take only so many concussions. If he’s smart, he may look for a less violent profession.

      My nephew quit his position as linebacker for Cornell when he discovered he was in the game for plays he could not remember. He’s a smart guy.

      Bob in AZ

  22. orionATL says:


    but then there are the ents who helped destroy the power of sauruman and sauron –

    or so it has been said.

  23. bobschacht says:

    I wish I had been able to see the Purdue-Michigan game: both teams got 30+ points, and Michigan lost by only 2 points.

    Michigan’s defense ain’t what it used to be.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Um, that would be Arizona State. We have a great defense, but incredibly pedestrian offense. Should have been playing the freshman QB Osweiler all year; the senior they been playing, Danny Sullivan just sucks.

  24. YYSyd says:

    I think you’re reading much too much into the F1 business. For Honda it’s their second exit from F1, and while it has a motor-head or petro-head culture,it is not as though they’re pulling out of MotoGP which would really be a man bites dog story. Being in or out of F1 has no bearing on any promotional success of an auto manufacturer. It is just an indication of ability to indulge in flushing money down the toilet, while it is a very pretty and exciting toilet, it is not otherwise all that useful. Toyota, what can you say? They need to save money when they have to cut back world production by 6 digit units. It’s a case where they can not afford to appear as though they are flushing millions down the toilet, though in fact F1 participation is neither here nor there. And that’s why they’ve never been successful in motor sport. These are cultural aspects of the company organizations and while every now and then they can indulge in fantasies, their core characters will show through at times when seriousness prevails. The only manufacturers that remain and have consistently stayed in F1 are Renault (who can fathom why…. because they’re French?) and the prancing horse division of Fiat. F1 is basically not all that different from racing horses in the relation to the business of selling glue or dog food.

  25. randiego says:

    Fox just went away from the Arizona blowout. Wow, who knew Chicago was this bad? Go Durty Birdz!!

    In other news, the Big 12 conference only has two teams in the top 25, been a while since that happened.

      • Jim White says:

        Actually, they just missed. The AP article says they are in, but the actual poll I’ve seen in at least two places put them second in the list of “others receiving votes”, or in 27th. Auburn is 25th.

        • Jim White says:

          Okay,I take that back now. I see that Rivals-Yahoo and CNN-SI duplicated the USA Today poll as the AP poll. I should have known something was cockeyed when I noticed the number of first place votes was identical in the two listings, even though the number of voters in the polls differs. ESPN has the proper AP poll with Stanford 25th. Auburn is 25th in the USA Today poll.

  26. BayStateLibrul says:

    Bring on the Saints…

    “Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 40-yard field goal in the final two minutes, his fourth of the day, to help the Patriots defeat the Dolphins, 27-17, at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots improve to 6-2 and drop the Dolphins to 3-5.”

  27. LabDancer says:

    Thanks to bmaz’ Redbirds & those Florida Creamsicles, the Norke are now overwhelming Favrites to win the North in a stroll.

  28. Jim White says:

    Where’s surfer dude? I had to drop my wife off at the airport so I put the satellite radio on the Bolts broadcast while on the road. One of their Bolt network advertisers is…a bail bondsman! Is that why single game tix are still available? Bolts fans in the clink? I would have expected that for the Raiders network instead.

    • randiego says:

      One of their Bolt network advertisers is…a bail bondsman!

      That would be King Stahlman, a local icon. Was a regular at the golf course bar when I was a bartender, always had an ‘Old Fashioned’. Just passed away this year, his sons are continuing his business.

        • randiego says:

          King was a really great guy. He always said to me, every time I saw him, “R, if you ever get in trouble, you’ve got to call me – I can’t help you if you don’t call me”.

          The place I worked at was really old-school, its heyday was back in the 60’s. There was an older cocktail waitress that taught me how to make King’s old fashioned the exact way he liked it.

        • bmaz says:

          Bail bondsmen are characters, especially the old school guys. Kind of always reminded me of car salesmen, that is why I asked about the slogan – they all had slogans.

  29. freepatriot says:

    according to the update on CBS, Drew Fookin Brees threw the pass that beat the GNTS

    seriously, it happened during the Tennessee-niners game

    in a studio update, the guy giving the update said Drew Brees

    the guy’s AMAZIN …

    an on a related topic; since San Diego is a Navy town, and it’s Fleet Week, we should honor our sailors, and their bail bondsmen too …

    WHAT ???

    Bail bonds persons ???

    (duckin & runnin)

  30. bmaz says:

    Knock knock. Anybody here?

    Hey, ESPN has got old timers pre-game going: Mussberger, Phyllis George and Irv Cross. Wow, I must go to Trash Talk now….

    How bout them Donkos??

  31. person1597 says:

    Hi bmaz,

    Thanks for putting up with us rabble this weekend. The discussion was, shall we say, fervent, and you hosted it extremely well as always. There is an underlying reticence to dig too deeply into the hard questions but the topic of motorsports speaks to the entire “petroleum fueled enterprise” of the global economy. Though I’m a car-a-holic and have driven to the moon and back (figuratively), I worry about the effects on our planet and ourselves.

    Here is a related article on the future of our oil dependency.

    ‘We have already entered peak oil,’ IEA source reportedly claims

    However, if the allegations by The Guardian’s whistleblowers are indeed true and peak oil has been reached, dark days loom for the global economy.

    People aren’t cognizant of the risks inherent in our lifestyles. This internet we’ve built is helping us cope, but it won’t magically solve our problems. Plus, it runs on power that comes from our energy infrastructure — one that defines our success as a society and thus, as a species.

    I’m glad we can share some laughs and tears over fond rivalries, but the real issues continue to confront the inquiring mind. Hopefully I’m not too much of a troll to bring that point to bear in the discussion.

    I really appreciate the opportunity to hang out here on emptywheel and the other brilliant FDL blogs and I support them to the extent I feel comfortable. If I’m a nuisance at all, call me on it! I try not to go overboard, but when Jane equips the rabble with fired o’glakes, shit happens. Thanks to you guys, it is our battle to fight… and win!

  32. randiego says:

    It seemed everyone I talked to said the stillers would blow out the broncos in this game. Ain’t happenin’.
    Broncos are playing well, as I expected them to. I hate them with a passion, but they are well coached – the play-action fakes they are using on offense are working, and the defense Mike Nolan is running is getting pressure on Rothlisberger.

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