Kansas: Danica Violently Wrecked; Aric Almirola Hospitalized

Does NASCAR want this?

Absolutely! Otherwise it’s a boring race and the sponsors get itchy.

Just read the tags on the address links:

http://www.foxsports.com/nascar/story/danica-patrick-joey-logano-aric-almirola-violent-fiery-crash-kansas-speedway-nascar-051317

http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/19377982/danica-patrick-aric-almirola-joey-logano-fiery-crash-kansas-speedway

Makes you want to view it, huh?!

EVERYONE sent well wishes & concerns to Aric Almirola, who plowed into Joey Logano after his front-right ‘mechanical’ failure. Logano should have turned himself into the SAFER barrier, instead of right-rearing Danica Patrick into the wall at nearly full speed–  the most dangerous type of oval crash. It is a driver’s first responsibility when feeling the blowout, to not wreck (endanger) others; you deal with this wreck on your own as much as possible.

It is also up to other drivers to slow down when there is a fireball ahead. Almirola was going WAY too fast (completely out of control); he had time to veer from the wreck, but instead slammed into the pile. Since he’s so badly hurt (fractured T-5), no one mentions that.

The only driver who mentioned Danica Patrick in their ‘tweets of concern’ was 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson (above).

So the driver who made no mistake here (and was nearly killed) is ignored, and shouted down as “selfish” by the haters. My advice to Danica: skip the All-Star race (for which you have to run qualifiers!), and save yourself the headaches.

What Drivers Said after Kansas Cup race

Danica Patrick — Finished 36th: “We were having a really good race and having fun out there and had a lot of speed. I kinda felt like Wonder Woman for a little while. All I know is that I all of a sudden crashed. I definitely had a feeling it was the 22 and I am sure that the doctors in the medical center checking my neurological abilities are glad to know I was right that it was Joey. When he said he had a failure I can’t say it made me feel that much better in the moment. I am just frustrated for the lack of breaks I get. It seems like every time things are going better and something happens I get crashed or am in a crash. Especially a place like this, a brake rotor, when we are using 200-300 pounds of pressure seems odd. Unfortunately there were two of us that got collected and while I am okay, one of these times one of these really big accidents someone is not going to be okay. Aric (Almirola) is not okay and his car looked the best of everybody. You never know when it is going to be the wrong hit. I have a team that works hard and put another car on the track and I hope we are saving up for a really good run of good luck.”

This was Danica Patrick post-race last week, after getting caught up in the ‘Big One’ at Talladega (again):

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr (above) looks pretty happy with his girlfriend standing beside him– like she should.  That begs the question: what does Ricky have to say about his girlfriend getting violently wrecked more than any other driver in NASCAR?

      1. Haters, Step Aside - Ric Size

 

Last notes to NASCAR faithful: since Kansas is a boring oval, make it a road-coarse race.

Why do so many NASCAR die-hards hate Danica? The reason the haters go off (as best I can tell) is because they are ugly, and she would never look at them in real life. It’s a vitriolic cry for attention, which they rationalize with selective nonsense. Shout them down!

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Cheating in Sports

      1. Old Friends - Ric Size

 

ESPN/NASCAR 5-1-17: Joey Logano starts from the back and ends up front [1]

My posted comment: “I like Joey Logano, but I do have a question. What was the ‘unauthorized transmission adjustment’ that sent him to the back of the field to start? He went from last to race winner, so it definitely worked. Just seems unfair, at least until the fans know more.”
Like · Reply · May 1, 2017 11:21am

ESPN/NASCAR 5-4-17: Joey Logano’s win at Richmond won’t count toward playoffs [2]

NASCAR announces Logano’s car was ‘illegally modified’ and that his Richmond win is “encumbered,” meaning he doesn’t get the points or free pass in the Chase. Amazing that no one else in the media initially asked the question, huh?

Cheating is endemic and part of the fabric of NASCAR. Certain teams are allowed to cheat more, depending on their favor with Brian France. For the serious Chase competitors it’s about pushing this envelope, and keeping good political relations with Steve O’Donnell & France. Power owners like Roger Penske, Joe Gibbs & Rick Hendricks get decisive edges for their teams.

Some drivers are more strictly censured than others. There are some whose best interest is NOT to cheat. For instance, Danica Patrick never gets busted for illegal modifications, failing laser inspections, loose lug nuts, etc. It’s not in her interest to cheat, because of how she markets herself to her fanbase of women & kids– as beautiful & fair-minded. That’s how she attracts major sponsorship, and notice that Aspen Dental is now the “official dentist of NASCAR.”  [3]

She consistently runs ~25th, and can never win a race because she isn’t trying (cheating), but with Dale Jr. retiring, Danica will easily become their most valuable commodity. That is the paradox of NASCAR, and it’s the reason she’s so loved & hated [4].

The landscape of women’s tennis has undergone a seismic shift recently. Serena Williams announced her pregnancy (congratulations!), and very likely is leaving professional tennis as quietly as possible. I don’t see a comeback at her age, with all she’s already accomplished. Motherhood will likely motivate her more.

The other bombshell is Maria Sharapova returning, in top form it appears. She’s definitely among the early favorites at Roland Garros, with plenty of motivation & support. Her May 16th official announcement for the French Open is being promoted, so what does that tell you the decision to let her play will be?

Any Sharapova vs. the WTA scandal-mongering in the media is flak designed to distract people from the political & controversial nature of her suspension from the start. Player gossip covers these hidden interests. Maria Sharapova is double-edged, as the tour needs her star power, but she is personally disliked by most players. Rafa Nadal (below) welcomed Marin Cilic back by saying, “Only thing that I can say is I am happy to see Marin back on tour. He’s a good guy and a great player.”

But Nadal didn’t advocate for Sharapova’s return as a wild card under similar circumstances. Sober tennis fans see what’s important here. Cilic is accepted by the players, while Sharapova (an even greater player in the women’s game) is not, due to her unpopular status in the locker room.

Maria Sharapova has won the career grand slam and the French open– twice. Of course she deserves a wild card, and her current situation is why they have such a thing. This entire affair has been a political vendetta, with Sharapova’s Russian nationality being at the heart of it [5].

Serena & Venus Williams were/are allowed to compete with therapeutic-use exemptions (Serena TUE below) for schedule II narcotics & banned steroids, without even a hint of media scrutiny or sanction from the US-backed ITF or WADA. This hypocrisy is staggering, and the response from most of the players is disappointing in it’s selfishness.

Racialist (definition): 1) One who insists that all differences in society are based on race, instead of class. 2) A form a racism.

Genie Bouchard (above) also spoke against Sharapova even being allowed to return [6]. Bouchard’s current situation is beyond bizarre & messed-up, as she is suing the USTA, while her game has fallen apart [7].  Background: in October 2015, Genie Bouchard slipped in the locker room at he US Open In NY, when she couldn’t find a light switch after a late-evening match.  She claims a “serious head injury” with lingering concussion issues [8].

The USTA has destroyed evidence (locker room video) and is at least partially at fault; but this ultimately falls on Bouchard herself.  She would win more support from everyone by becoming an advocate for better locker room conditions for all the athletes.  When you speak selfishly about others, they won’t stand with you when you need them.

As we can see, there is much cheating going on everywhere in sports; men & women, white, black, and any other skin pigment.  It’s inherent ugliness is why it’s hidden, until someone eventually reveals it to the rest of us. It’s motive is to selfishly put oneself ahead of others. Cheating diminishes our souls because it values trophies over character, and that understanding is its best deterrent.

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What is meant by “fake economy?”

Over seven billion humans currently live on this planet. Human civilization has mostly operated (for several hundred years) under an economic system called capitalism, which is predicated on individual profit & loss. By 2017, in order to maintain extreme levels of social inequality, illusions have had to be constructed & sustained. This is where our fake economy comes in.

Under feudalism (and before that, slavery in antiquity) illusions also had to be maintained, as all human societies have been ruled by class forces. The Romans gave their plebeian class “bread & circuses,” until they were overrun by barbaric hordes. Medieval royalty ruled their domain with their knighted class, and the mysticism of organized religion in the Catholic Church. The Crusades were about conquest & power, but peddled as a “Holy War” against Islam. We can therefore see that ‘fake news’ and manipulation of public opinion are not new phenomena. Only the tools & techniques change, as their purpose & interest always remain the same, which is to railroad public opinion towards war.

Fake jobs & industries under capitalism include: sales, business, investing, consulting, management & politics. Education is a crucial area for ideology, as corrupt ivory tower academia provide ‘proofs’ for every absurd irrationally of the profit system and all its malignancies.  It’s easier to manipulate fake people, as zombies don’t know how to think for themselves. Here in the United States, children are taught how to think & act at a very young age, with a consistent propaganda message. That message is to consume things that give instant pleasure. Sugar is the most addicting substance to man, and children are bombarded with targeted advertising in all media programming for unhealthy food from infancy onward.

Now people have fake bodies which aren’t healthy, so they need fake cures. “Selling sickness” is a nefarious industry secret in medicine, dentistry & pharmaceuticals. People are susceptible to this pressure because they have become so insecure about themselves. Any salesperson recognizing this can target weaknesses and close in. When a body is ugly with fat, one has a hard time socializing. One smells bad, so one needs more deodorant, and so on…

      1. Money Bug - Ric Size

 

After a while, many obese people give up on themselves and don’t go out anymore. Luckily there is the Internet and social media, when one can project whatever one pleases. While the Internet & social media are real technology, there is a large element of distortion and inherent falseness in most social media posting over time. We tend to project what we want other people to see, and filter out the rest. It’s much harder to do that in real life, with real people.

The news on the Internet is virtually all fake, outside of the WSWS.org. Capitalism runs every publication, which employs Madison Avenue advertisers to tell everyday people what’s important. This includes the entertainment industry (music, film & TV), sports & fashion. All of these are fake economies, endlessly generating useless content 24/7 for mindless consumers who must be kept entertained in order to distract them from world-significant events happening all around them.

The lure of PED’s in athletics is a form of ‘fake health.’ It plays on competitors’ deepest doubts & insecurities, leading into a chemical morass. Eventually male users need Cialis to get an erection, which begs the question: if you’re so hard, why do you need help there? Steroid use makes no sense when thought out rationally, but our society has taught people to ignore consequences for perceived short-term gains. The problem is the gains aren’t real, and they are more than offset by the detrimental side effects.

The healthiest way to interact is to listen & learn from others, while being influential (in a positive way) where appropriate. Don’t go for popularity because:

1) It’s shallow and accomplishes nothing for anyone else
2) Everyone else is doing it, which means it’s old already

The only way humans can be truly happy is when they are allowed to express themselves freely, without repercussions & without hurting others. That is impossible under our current fake economy. We need to starting getting real with everything, in order to replace these illusions with something real, as nothing else works.

      2. Problem Solved - Ric Size

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Celebrity: To Be or Not To Be

Everyone wants to be famous, right? Then you are well-known and everyone listens to what you have to say, so you can make a difference! That’s what most people believe. Celebrity reality (an oxymoron) is much different.

People naively believe that if you work hard and are amazing at what you do, then you will (somehow?) become a celebrity. Wrong!  You become a ‘star’ when the ruling class selects you to be one of their representatives. That’s where the big money comes from to pay these superstar contracts. Celebrities are spokespersons for capitalism, whether they are movie stars, rock stars or famous athletes– they are all sponsored by finance capital. These are the circuses which decadent capitalists enjoy, but primarily serve as a distraction (fake economy) for the underprivileged working masses.

The deal you make when you become a celebrity is that you NEVER speak badly about the sponsors, ie. capitalism. Since they are paying for your enhanced status, they expect full cooperation across the board. This definitely reaches into celebrities’ private lives, as they are simply no longer allowed to mingle with non-celebrities, unless there is complete control of the setting. This celebrity insecurity is a lonely disease. That fact that nearly every Hollywood/celebrity marriage ends in divorce substantiates this thesis. This leads to the ever-constant celebrity fascination with sex, probably because they aren’t getting any, or if they are it is of poor quality.

The fact that the vicarious public knows every detail of these figures & figurines demonstrates that they are allowed no privacy themselves; as famous lives are endlessly analyzed, dissected and discussed everywhere in the corporate news & social media. Any slip of the tongue on a bad day can be ruin.  This is the tightrope the glamorous & famous must gracefully walk every day.  If that sounds like an impossible amount of work, that’s because it is. Eventually every celebrity is wrecked or quietly taken down, and this entire fake economy lurches forward with new ‘stars.’ The bankers & corporate heads that control everything remain the same, and stay hidden.

As a celebrity, what you get to say for yourself hardly matters. Big capital owns the important parts of your brain which determine ethics & character. The rest is basic functions, fluff & bragging backed by lots of money.  Working people aren’t stupid, they’re just overworked– so they are a little slower in seeing all this. Many have already ‘cut the cord’ and that trend will accelerate as working people can no longer afford these spectacles, which are increasingly being recognized as fake.

The cult of celebrity is a major hurdle for the working class to clear on its way to a successful socialist revolution. The role of modern finance capital in creating a privileged ‘buffer layer’ to insulate the ruling 1% from the working masses has been an effective innovation. This ~10%  buffer includes celebrities, who mesmerize many working people.

      1. RIDICULOUS - Ric Size

 

This is because workers are trained to believe their own lives don’t matter, because it’s only money & fame that count. This is not only wrong, it is exactly the opposite of the truth– a Big Lie technique. It is the workers who are real, as they are the ones who produce the material value for society. Celebrities are part of this vast fake economy which is crumbling all around us– daily. In spite of this reality, these charlatans must continue to dance to the music, no matter how banal & vapid it is.

It is correct to say that artists should be rewarded no more than any other worker, under socialism. Under capitalism things are unequal, and therefore artists hold the highest rank of importance in bourgeois society. Without Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles, Mile Davis, Stanley Kubrick, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, etc., there is no culture and no beacon for truth. True artists are of precious value, because they can be taken away in one act of violence by a ruling class that will stop at nothing to preserve its privilege and avoid being exposed.

Marxism uses the dialectical method to analyze society historically & materially. Dialectics means that everything is always moving & changing, so it is critical to understand the process in order to project the future. At one point most celebrities had noble aspirations. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is attributed with the proverb, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Even this noble saint had progressive thoughts, but when it lacks Marxist discipline & critical dialectical thinking, it inevitably becomes an idealist morass, which always funnels back to god & bourgeois capitalism in the dead-end form of the Democratic party in the US.

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What is NASCAR?

That’s a complex question, and this article can only be considered the “Cliff’s Notes” version.  What needs to be understood from the outset is that NASCAR controls everything you see and hear about them, so this is one of the few subjective analyses of this particular sport & its business model.

The best online tool for following a race is NASCAR Live Leaderboard, which tracks each driver’s position continuously. If your favorite driver isn’t being discussed (or when they go to commercial), simply mute the broadcast and watch the drivers juggle around on the leaderboard, it’s actually more fascinating and tells the story much better than MRN or Fox1.

Also download this form on race day from Foxsports/NASCAR, which has what you need to know about the cars in the field:

For most people, NASCAR is about the teams & drivers, so here’s a quick look at every significant 2017 team (large & small) and their drivers.  The primary sponsor is important because it tells you how each driver is branding themselves, along with their ability to bring in money.  Note that some drivers don’t have sponsors, which means they won’t be around very long.  The column formatting is: car number–driver–sponsor, with each team listed alphabetically downwards until the end. A photo (or two) is included for each team, along with a few notes for context. (R) stands for rookie.

No.                       Driver                         Primary Sponsor

Chip Ganassi Racing

1                   Jamie McMurray              McDonald’s
42                 Kyle Larson                       Target

This is probably the best second-tier team in NASCAR, with the best young driver in Kyle Larsen.

Circle Sport/MSG

33                   Jeffrey Earnhardt                    Little Joes Autos/ Curtis Key Plumbing

Jeffrey Earnhardt is the nephew of Dale, Jr.

Germain Racing 

13                   Ty Dillon (R)                           Twisted Tea

Ty Dillon is the younger brother of fellow NASCAR driver Austin Dillon (discussed below). He is the son of former driver Mike Dillon and grandson of Richard Childress (discussed below). Germain Racing is in technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

Hendrick Motorsports

5                   Kasey Kahne                     Farmers Insurance
24                  Chase Elliott                      NAPA
48                  Jimmie Johnson               Lowes
88                  Dale Earnhardt Jr.            Axalta (DuPont rebranded)

This is NASCAR’s (Brian France’s) favorite team, because Dale Jr. is it’s biggest hero, and Jimmie Johnson it’s greatest champion.  Dale Jr. is the most influential driver in NASCAR, and I believe he should use that power to speak up (even more) on issues that affect the teams & drivers. Steve O’Donnell will listen to no one else.

JTG Daugherty Racing

37                  Chris Buescher                Bush’s Beans
47                  A. J. Allmendinger            Kroger

JTG Daugherty Racing is a lower-tier team owned by advertising executive Tad Geschickter and his wife Jodi, along with former NBA star Brad Daugherty.

Kroger’s ClickList is killing Whole Foods [1]. Kroger is a regional discount grocer that now carries organic products and offers home delivery.  Many upper-middle class snoots wouldn’t be caught dead in a Kroger’s, but they will have them home deliver at 15-20% savings over Whole Foods’ organics. This may put Whole Foods out of business, and it proves that smart advertising in racing pays off.

Leavine Family Racing

95                 Michael McDowell           K-Love

According to Wikipedia, “K-Love is a contemporary Christian music radio programming service in the United States operated by the Educational Media Foundation. As of March 2013, the network’s programming is simulcast on over 440 FM stations and translators in 47 states.”   I’ve said all I need to say about Michael McDowell as a driver– here.

Richard Childress Racing

3                   Austin Dillon                      DOW
27                 Paul Menard                     Menards
31                 Ryan Newman                 Caterpillar

IMO, this team is the most mid-range team in NASCAR. None of these drivers are considered elite, but none are consider poor either. One of these drivers may make the Chase in a given season (16 drivers do in the current format), but none are considered to be potential Chase finalists when NASCAR reaches Homestead. Admittedly, I kinda like Austin Dillon’s cowboy shtick (below).

Rick Ware Racing

51                 Timmy Hill                         Bubba Burger/Go-Parts.com

Not much sponsorship here.  It’s like when Scotty beams Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the other guy down; and there are only three transports back to the USS Enterprise. Take a wild guess on who won’t be around very long, unless he finds some money in a hurry?

Front Row Motorsports

34                 Landon Cassill            Love’s Travel Stops
38                 David Ragan               Camping World

Landon Cassill (above) on how drivers get paid: “You probably see drivers bring in anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the team’s revenue, depending on the prize money and sponsorship they get. Honestly, every deal is different. There’s drivers in the Cup Series that make anywhere from five percent to 50 percent of the prize money. But the drivers who make 50 percent probably don’t have any type of salary. There are drivers who make five percent who have some sort of salary. It just depends on the deal.”

Go Fas Racing

32                Matt DiBenedetto                    Can-Am/Kappa

Matt DiBenedetto #32 (pictured below) made the switch from BK Racing to Go FAS for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. Can-Am/Kappa, Keen Parts, Visone RV, Really Cheap Floors & Cosmo Motors are all smallish sponsors, but DiBenedetto keeps picking up more & more, which proves he’s respected by racing fans & the business world. Switching to a better team really helps, as BK Racing is considered to be near or at the bottom of the NASCAR barrel.

Richard Petty Motorsports

43                     Aric Almirola                      Smithfield

In 2010, Medallion Financial Corp., a Wall Street investment group led by NYC taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein (with Petty above), became majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). Before the acquisition, RPM reportedly had debts of $90+ million and was on the brink of bankruptcy. Medallion purchased RPM for $12 million, after previous owner George Gillett spent $120 million in 2007.  Today Richard Petty Motorsports fields only the #43 car, driven by Aric Almerola. They own two NASCAR charters (explained below), but are leasing one out in 2017.  RPM remains in the lower-tier of competitive teams–  in terms of driver skill, speed under the hood, and ability to attract new sponsors.

Roush Fenway Racing

6                 Trevor Bayne                     Advocare
17               Ricky Stenhouse Jr.          Fastenal

John W. Henry (above) is one of three owners of this team, as well as primary owner of Boston Red Sox since 2003. Trevor Bayne (below) has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  His primary sponsor is Advocare– a pyramid scheme [2].

Stewart-Haas Racing

4                  Kevin Harvick                    Jimmy John’s
10                Danica Patrick                   Aspen Dental
14                Clint Bowyer                       N/A
41                Kurt Busch                         Monster Energy

Gene Haas (above) went to prison for tax evasion. This team let Nature’s Bakery slide on unpaid bills for too long, and now they are trying to collect in court. We all know how that goes. Currently half of the SHR drivers (#41 Kurt Busch– who won the Daytona 500, and #14 Clint Bowyer) don’t have consistent sponsorship.

The #10 car always has a sponsor. With all the empty seats and declining ratings for NASCAR, that’s what counts most.

Here is the average NASCAR attendance from 2007-2012, and as you can see it has steadily declined every year. Beginning in 2013, NASCAR stopped releasing its attendance figures.

Year     Average Attendance       Compared to Prior
2012             99051                        -0.55%
2011             99602                        -2.49%
2010            102149                       -9.50%
2009             112877                      -8.25%
2008             123029                      -5.58%
2007             130305                        N/A

Team Penske

2                  Brad Keselowski                Miller Lite
22                Joey Logano                      Shell-Pennzoil

Roger Penske (above) is one of the biggest names in racing & NASCAR. This is a tight outfit, and the best-run team in my opinion.  They have fast cars every year, with two elite drivers who work together and know how to win without wrecking others. Sponsorship is not an issue, as these are two of the most recognized & respected drivers in NASCAR.

Wood Brothers Racing

21                 Ryan Blaney                     Motorcraft

This is the oldest active team in NASCAR, having fielded cars since 1950, always Ford.

BK Racing

23                 Joey Gase/Gray Gaulding (R)     SunFrog.com
83                 Corey LaJoie                                 RMC Events

SunFrog is online t-shirt printing operation, established ~3 years ago. It looks similar to another famous .com giant, but is missing a few elements: like a global vision & an iconic spokesperson. RMC Events was established in 1999, and is an event staffing firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, with two additional regional offices in Charlottesville.

In 2013, Corey LaJoie (above) was placed on indefinite probation and instructed to attend sensitivity training by NASCAR, after tweeting that the TSA should perform a body cavity search on a man wearing a turban.  Apparently it didn’t help as LaJoie got into Reed Sorenson’s # 55 car, spinning him into the inside wall during qualifying for the Daytona 500 this past February.  LaJoie was unapologetic. “If that had been my mom, I probably would spin her out, too, to make the Daytona 500,” [3]

Furniture Row Racing

77                 Erik Jones (R)                    5-Hour Energy
78                 Martin Truex Jr.                  Bass Pro

Barney Visser (above w/ Martin Truex, Jr) is the owner, and this is the only NASCAR team based west of the Mississippi. They are in Denver, CO; where most others are based somewhere in North Carolina. They are in alliance with JGR, and are leasing a charter to accommodate rookie driver Erik Jones.

Joe Gibbs Racing

11                 Denny Hamlin                     Fed Ex
18                 Kyle Busch                          M&M’s
19                 Daniel Suárez (R)                Arris
20                 Matt Kenseth                       Dewalt

I respect Joe Gibbs who coached the Washington R-words to 3 Super Bowl titles with three different quarterbacks in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  He is a genius at organizing a winning team. The problem is he goes too far in pushing the rules concerning the safety of his athletes and the other competitors around them. JGR was a major violator in the lug nut controversy that raged during the 2016 season, as only 3 or 4 were being screwed onto each tire to speed up pit stops.  In general this team has the most speed because their manufacturer (Toyota) and its engineers do the best job. As for these drivers, several are too aggressive, much too often; and always blame others (or deny responsibility) when they cause wrecks (Hamlin below).

TriStar Motorsports

72                 Cole Whitt                         Bad Boy Mowers

TriStar Motorsports is a lower-tier team that competes full time.  You would never know this by listening to MRN (photo below) or watching Fox1.  Anytime a Cole Whitt is being talked about in a good way, a nebulous NASCAR Black Hand throws static into the broadcast (which has a 7-second delay– minimum), and the commentary becomes inaudible to the listener. NASCAR wants money, before it talks any team up.

TriStar Motorsports owner is Mark Smith– no Wikipedia bio available.  Fun fact: Cole Whitt calls himself the Ginger Lion (photo below).  Unfortunately, the last Cole Whitt website update (as of this publication) was May 6, 2016 @ Talladega.

Premium Motorsports

15                 Michael Waltrip                                            N/A
55                 Reed Sorenson/Derrike Cope                     N/A

Premium Motorsports was formerly called (photoed above) Jay Robinson Racing.  This was their controversial sponsor last summer at Texas Motor Speedway:

Jay Robinson said, “We’ve got advertising space to sell. Our revenue stream is our NASCAR purse money and sponsorship money. (A couple sponsors) wanted to do it and we weren’t against it.”

The ‘couple sponsors’ were none other than Jay Robinson and co-owner of Premium Motorsports–Michael Osbon .  No Wikipedia bio available for either, which again is typical for these murky NASCAR-affialited officials.

Reed Sorenson #55 runs weekly with no sponsor.

NASCAR was founded and owned entirely by “Big Bill” France, with his son Brian (above) inheriting it in 2003.  Brian France NASCAR CEO spoke at a Donald Trump campaign rally last summer, stating: “I’m here to tell you he wins with his family. Any of his children, you’d be proud to have them as part of your family. That’s how I judge a winner, how somebody manages their family, raises their family.”

NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Chase Elliott, and retired driver (father) Bill Elliott also appeared at the same rally to endorse Trump.  This is the deep reactionary underbelly of NASCAR, which is seldom discussed in mass media.

Today NASCAR is Brian France and a band of good ‘ol boys who have struck it rich, and are being devoured by capitalism. The staged-race format, which was rolled out at Daytona for its annual crown jewel event, has proven a disaster from a driver & fan popularity standpoint, but it stays in effect because it’s what the sponsors are demanding. More TV timeouts are what the sponsors have called for, and the drivers & teams are compelled to keep quiet, or they face heavy NASCAR sanctions. NASCAR writers on Fox & ESPN.com are nothing more than well-greased promoters.

The drivers have been grumbling during their stage win interviews. They don’t like having to work their way up through the field again, since everyone pits on a caution flag which jumbles the field. That takes much of the shine off an early-stage win. The fact remains: the only win that matters is stage 3– traditionally known to racing fans as the checkered flag.

Forbes on NASCAR’s new staged-race format: “The new format will break races into segments, with points awarded to the top finishers of each stage in addition to the race winners. More opportunities to win points should certainly generate more aggressive racing. And if that means more crashes and subsequent driver feuds, then all the better, since that could turn some of the sport’s young up-and-comers into the sort of household names needed to fill the shoes left behind by retiring stars.”  [4]

Brian France has shown he is a Donald Trump admirer, and that fits because he’s much like the current president of the US in that he’s ignorant, racist, and can’t focus on anything serious.  Therefore he relies on key advisors to guide him clear of the rocks. Brian France’s consiglieres are Steve O’Donnell & Steve Phelps (above), who  were handed the keys to NASCAR back in 2014, and have since taken control [5].

Racing is a team sport, as engineers, mechanics, crew chief, spotter & pit crew all have to work together for a driver. It’s around $500,000 to $1+ million per week to field an elite car in it’s top Cup Series.  NASCAR’s longtime premiere series sponsor Sprint bailed, and in 2017 it’s now Monster Energy drink.

This is a major step down in money and prestige for NASCAR, as Sprint paid $50 million/season over 12 years, and Monster Energy is paying $20 million/season on a 2-year deal. This goes along with the empty stands and declining television ratings which have hit this sport hard since the Great Recession began in 2007-08. Merchandise sales in NASCAR fell from more than $2 billion in 2008 to $1 billion in 2010.

The Daytona & Talladega infield is working class, and they can’t afford to go to these spectacles as often anymore. They are also starting to care less, which is even more problematic.  Commentary from hardcore NASCAR fans on ESPN.com is illuminating, and often richer in content than their published articles, because you hear these realities in their posts.  NASCAR’s legion of apologists keep trying to paper all this over, but facts are stubborn..

NASCAR’s grid has been trimmed to 40, leaving only a four non-guaranteed starting positions open for non-charter teams at each race. This new charter system is the only ticket for gaining access to the tens-of-millions of dollars in NASCAR prize money. This has forced these 19 teams into partnership with NASCAR, and the specific terms aren’t to be made public.

Charters can be sold, and here are NASCAR’s 2017 charter teams. Team charters haven’t blown up in value like NASCAR expected, trading in the $2-$4 million range. NASCAR was hoping for $10+ million per charter.

International Speedway Corporation (ISC) is an entity whose business is the ownership and management of NASCAR and IndyCar race tracks. Founded by ‘Big Bill’ France, Sr. in 1953 for the construction of Daytona International Speedway (below), and in 1999 merged with Penske Motorsports.  Basically:  ISC = NASCAR = Brian France.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) owns and manages racing facilities that host NASCAR & IndyCar Series. Bruton Smith (photo below) began building SMI in the 1950s. The company’s headquarters are located at Charlotte Motor Speedway. SMI owns nine racing facilities and Performance Racing Network (PRN).

NASCAR has a ten-year, $8.2 billion TV package with Fox & NBC that runs through 2024. NASCAR distributes 65% of their television earnings to the tracks, over half of which Brian France directly owns.  Around 25% of the TV money is disbursed to the teams through purses, and 10% goes directly to NASCAR.  What this means is the drivers and their teams are having to split 25% of the total revenues (which they create) in order to pay themselves, while the owner(s) take 75%.

NASCAR continues to operate under the same 65-25-10 formula it developed when it consolidated TV rights in 1999.  The track split of 65% of the TV revenue is unequally tiered, based on the whims of (who else?) Brian France. The twelve tracks he owns under International Speedway Corporation get the largest cut of NASCAR television money.  Speedway Motorsports Inc. (Bruton Smith & son) owns nine tracks, but gets lower-tiered payments from NASCAR, which has become a bone of contention within the industry.

For teams & drivers to have any negotiating leverage against NASCAR, they need to form a labor union.  As illustrated already, the level of political consciousness among NASCAR participants is very low, and as far as NASCAR media goes– it’s a gaggle of idiots talking about nothing.  NASCAR regards its competitors as independent contractors and the drivers have no collective bargaining rights.  A point of history: in 1961, “Big Bill” France blacklisted Curtis Turner and Tim Flock (both cars below). These two drivers led a rank-and-file attempt to unionize NASCAR. [6].

2016 Top NASCAR driver incomes: includes salary, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing:

Jimmie Johnson   $21.8 million
Dale Earnhardt, Jr   $21.1 million
Denny Hamlin   $15.2 million
Kyle Busch   $15.0 million
Kevin Harvick   $13.9 million
Carl Edwards   $12.3 million
Danica Patrick   $12.2 million
Tony Stewart   $12.0 million

Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Danica Patrick have the highest endorsement incomes in NASCAR. The top twelve drivers in the sport made $168 million in 2016. NASCAR’s top-12 earners all came from the four power teams (JGR, SHR, Hendrick & Penske) which have captured 12 straight Cup titles.

In conclusion, the future for NASCAR looks bleak, which only means it’s an accurate reflection of the U.S. & global economy as a whole. Income is down from its traditional source, as it’s fanbase can no longer afford it.  Therefore television becomes the predominant revenue stream, with all the corporate interest it brings.  Racing fans aren’t interested in mid-race driver & crew chief interviews, they simply want a fair race with traditional continuity.

As for labor, the drivers and their teammates need to come together and collectively bargain a better revenue sharing agreement, by making it a labor issue.  Most leagues are around a 50/50 split with ownership. NASCAR insists on secrecy, so it can bluff & blow-hard it’s way through every negotiation with the drivers. The team owners are all France family.  These caporegimes keep the drivers & crew in line, with most drivers (even stars) very content to just be racing in NASCAR, even while knowing they’re being ripped off [7].

As we can see, capitalism has ruined ‘stock car racing,’ and honestly this hasn’t been anything close to stock parts for a long time.  No, this is high-tech, corporate-controlled propaganda in-your-face for 36 weekends of the year.  NASCAR fans were once mesmerized by what they saw, because it was of their own.  Now they watch at home in frustration & anger, trying to figure all this out.  Better not tell them; it might start a revolution.

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Hard Lessons from the Other Side

When I published “Undiagnosed Hip Injuries & Stubborn Fat Loss” on 9-8-16, I was in the middle of my program. It was theoretical at the time, although I was sure I was correct. Now that I have achieved my goal of total rehabilitation & nearly all the stubborn fat loss, I can declare everything I outlined in that piece, and “Hip & Back Rehabilitation Protocol” to be valid. I will now add my concluding thoughts. Photo below by TomP on 3-2-17.

Actual full rehabilitation takes nearly a year. I have mentioned the importance of rehabbing at climate already, meaning no heat or A/C use. What I didn’t know is the body needs to go through the full cycle of seasons to completely re-adapt. Bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons & skin behave very differently in summer versus winter, no matter where you live. That means be patient, and adapt your workout regime accordingly. This is about the long haul.

A second discovery is that I had a lot more fat than I thought, which means you probably do too. Many times I thought I was near the end, when more seemed to appear on my belly. I originally estimated ~12 pounds of stubborn fat as typical, now that I’m at the end I can say it’s more like 15-18 pounds of fat loss, and only ~3 pounds of muscle gain. There’s just a lot more fat than you realize, and as it comes off you begin to understand that every pizza, beer, burger, soda, candy bar or other junk food item that you ever consumed, will be accounted for. If you don’t, then it just stays there until you die, perhaps even contributing to the cause-of-death. Your choice.

How much fat do you actually need to lose? The easy test is to put yourself in the plank position, completely extended out. Then look towards your feet and notice everything that’s hanging off. That’s how much fat you need to lose.

The belly is where fat is first stored, and last shed. Every time you think you’re about to lose that gut, more fat flows in from other areas of your body. The fat will melt away around the rest of your body, while a pooch gut remains. This is the REALLY stubborn fat, which requires a series of disciplined fasts to break down. The belly fat contains the major ‘fat plugs’ which are protecting the deepest injuries, and to repeat; this fat will not disappear until the corresponding muscle tears are healed & re-strengthened. This means the injury victim has to work out their deepest injuries while fasting, in order to lose their stubborn fat. There’s no other way.

At most only 2-3 pounds can be permanently cut per fast, as energy depletion finally sets in to the point where there are no more gains to be had,  you then have to eat. Note that this will also wipe you out for a day-or-two afterwards, depending on the length & severity of the fast. This means that having the actual time to go through all this, is another major factor considering the realities of our modern world.

My advice is to prepare yourself for these fasts, as they will get to the point where you are delusional & lightheaded. You will actually feel the fat being consumed, in an on-and-off stream of ‘tummy rumbling’ sounds from every part of your body. Burping becomes more frequent (even though you haven’t eaten), as the development and ripping of abdominal & back muscles squeezes the innards. Air is pushed out of the entire digestive tract. Some flatulence will also occur. This is disgusting stuff which overweight people need to get out. The actual fat is metabolized through your lungs.

Fat is full of toxins. As it is being rapidly burned off, these toxins will be released into your system– for you to enjoy one last time. There were points during a particularly cruel fast, where I was dry-heaving due to this, as their release during fat burn-off caused violent reactions in my body. I was very glad I didn’t have any food in my stomach, and I’m even happier those nasty chemicals now are all gone.

Another point to fasting is hydration. As you fast saliva flow becomes a problem, because the body sends signals it wants carbohydrates. This reflexively starts salivation. A spit cup become necessary at a certain point, as you don’t want this goopy fluid in your stomach, especially if you are about to go into the heaves. Spit frequently, and hydrate with sips of water as needed.

Here are a few final workout notes:

1) Always maintain a ‘Flex-T’ shoulder posture. This was discussed in “Pitching Motion Analysis,” but it applies to everyone. The Flex-T position protects the shoulder capsule, safely linking the arms to the torso.

2) Whenever upright, use a phasic knee-bent stance, with the knees always tracking the feet. Keep your core tight.

3) Switch eyes. This is an advanced concept I came up with, that directly relates to ambidexterity. The eyes are controlled by a group of muscles that run from the back and shoulder, up around the head. The eyes themselves are muscles too. This means they can (and should) be strengthened like any other muscle. There are major benefits to this including: A) These muscles are extremities, meaning head-to-toe really means eyes-to-toe. Switching eyes will improve strength & coordination from the head to every extremity. B) Switching eyes improves vision & depth perception. Everyone has a dominant eye. To determine eye dominance, point your finger at a distant object. Close one eye. Open it. Close the other eye. Evaluate when the finger moves, the eye you closed is dominant. The idea is to reduce dependence on the dominant eye, which is best-achieved by strengthening the non-dominant eye. C) Switching eyes improves mental focus. Use this tool for everything [!], and you’ll quickly understand these benefits. Simply close one eye and explore its full singular range-of-vision, then switch to the other.  Doing this constantly will also help with your breathing.

That’s it.  Now get to work, and see you on the other side!!

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The Celebrity-Fan Relationship

A strange event happened during the 2017 Oscar ceremony on Sunday evening (2-26), as a bus full of Hollywood tourists were allowed to briefly mingle with A-list celebrities, live on camera [1]. It was taken by most as a gag by host Jimmy Kimmel, but in all seriousness this spontaneity needs to happen more often– and from both sides.

The best actors/directors are artists who want to connect with their audiences, but are separated by an ultra-wealthy Hollywood milieu, which insists on idolizing & isolating its ‘stars,’ so they can be bought-off to serve as ruling class propaganda. The only way consistently better films will made, is when these artists reach into the working class and truly understand modern realities.

Why is this important? Because we now have a celebrity who became President of the United States. Donald Trump has been handed the keys to the White House by liberalism, and has installed fascists Stephen Bannon & Sean Spicer as his chief policy architect & spokesman. Joseph Goebbels was once quoted that when he heard the word “Art,” he always reached for his revolver. What this means is, there are no longer any US political institutions which will protect free speech or tolerate dissent from the working class. To these points, the push for fans & celebrities to reach a better mutual understanding becomes a critical task. The strength of the working class (which produces everything), needs a voice; and the best revolutionary possibility is from athletes/celebrities connecting with their fans. In turn, celebrities need their fans, and if they don’t unite with them, there won’t be any culture in the future to discuss.

A special subset in the discussion of celebrities, are professional athletes. This is because athletes (unlike Hollywood actors) often come from poverty, and most of the rest from middle-class means. When athletes become high-profile & well-paid professionals, they often reach back into their communities of origin.

With that said, most professional athletes today need to listen better, and step outside themselves more. That can be difficult for a young man/woman who suddenly is thrown into the celebrity spotlight, with ‘instant’ money & fame. They’re often told they’re now too cool for their old friends (by industry flatterers), and that they can do whatever they want– because they deserve it. They usually do so for awhile, only because it’s natural at that young age. The problem comes when spending (or whatever other addictive habit) gets out-of-control, and the career crisis hits; and there’s no back-up plan.

One easy (low cost) athletic retirement plan, is to be gracious & nice to the fans during your career. They will always love you for that, and find ways to take care of you. It’s the ‘star jerks’ who suffer most in retirement, because no one needs their used-up talent anymore. There’s a saying in Show Business that goes, “Be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll be seeing them on the way down.” The very best athletes understand that sports are an entertainment business, and are prepared for this. The way to maximize marketability during & after a sports career, is to: 1) win; and 2) be as attractive & pleasant as possible. I’m not sure in which order, but that’s what people want to watch and that’s what sells product.

Getting back to the athlete-fan relationship, with a ‘star’ career under control an athlete wields enormous clout. This power can be used to pile-up ever more money, but also it can be used to create real relationships with fans, who are part of the society we all live in. This happens when athletes and their fans make an honest attempt to better understand one another.

That’s why I’m a huge fan of the Players Tribune, launched‎ ‎October 1, 2014. This is an online venue for athletes only, to speak their minds. It is long overdue, as for too long ESPN & mass-media outlets have had 100% control over every sports narrative. I’ve been told the Internet has changed everything, and here it is again; with athletes finally representing themselves. Honestly, I don’t ever need to hear from Stephen A Smith, Buster Olney, Mike Lupica… and the rest– ever again. They don’t have anything positive or intelligent to say, so why bother with them?

The deeper issue here is: what’s causing all this hate? In the final analysis, it is the class separation between athletes/celebrities and their fans that is fueling this anger. It is erupting on the social media feeds of every celebrity, no matter how popular, every day. Why? It is because valid & rational concerns aren’t being listened to by their political representatives, and therefore celebrities often become the surrogate recipient of these frustrations. This is because high-profile athletes/celebrities have a level of wealth & access to power, which working people can only dream of. Sports, like money & politics, are very emotional subjects.

Celebrities are also widely seen by the public as the source of the problem, or at least strongly associated with it. The celebrity-fan relationship is not the same as the voter-politician relationship. Politicians really don’t care whether they’re liked, they just want votes when it counts, and most people today understand that. If they have an image problem, they usually prefer to throw money at it. The notable exception is Donald Trump, who prefers Twitter, which only proves he considers himself a celebrity first.

Celebrities NEED their popularity, and it has to come from them, because that’s all being a celebrity is. This hooks artists, athletes & entertainment professionals who achieve star-level status. They become ‘married’ to their fans, in a way that if the fans leave (divorce), their careers’ are often finished. This makes them more accountable to working people who vote, and it is actually a qualitative difference in terms of revolutionary potential.

Wrapping all this up where we began (at the Oscars), film goers can aid this revolutionary process by rejecting Hollywood trash (and the rest), with their criticisms & wallets. The truth is, famous artists (along with athletes & other celebrities) care intensely about their fans, and are subject to their influence– especially via social media. There are many serious artists who desire to make better films, but have been locked into commercialization. The problem is, these artists too often view their fans as some vague entity, and not enough as individuals with intelligent human concerns.

This is where Marxist art criticism plays a crucial role in revolutionary strategy. Building a foundation with more fan-celebrity interaction, provides the building blocks for a socialist cinema of the future. It will be one that represents the world more fairly, and lets artists express their creativity more freely. This is an all-important battleground, as control of the mass media (in the end) will be of decisive revolutionary importance.

As far as what socialism will mean politically, it means we tell everybody everything.  No more secrets & lies.  No more war & inequality. Criminals are humanely punished, and rehabilitated– if possible.  Everybody gets a home, food, education, medical, a career, retirement, etc… as the resources are now in place, they just don’t get fairly distributed under capitalism.  Celebrities & their fans everywhere would easily adapt to all this, but it requires leadership & action. The question becomes, who wants to lead?

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NASCAR Wrecks Daytona 500

The carnage, madness, metal & humanity are all back, and NASCAR decided to tinker with its race format– starting with it’s Super Bowl. Bad idea. I’m writing this piece as the race concludes. I don’t care who wins, and neither to most racing fans at this point.  When the race is still going, and many of the superstar drivers are personally feeding their social media, that ain’t good.

Facebook posted February 19 at 11:56am

NASCAR 2017 Monster Energy Cup Predictions:
1) The new staged-race format will not last into April, stupid idea.
2) The new rules on not being able to go into the garage and then back out on the track, etc… are great rules changes that will stick and lead to more safety improvements.
3) Danica Patrick will find another primary sponsor to compliment Aspen Dental/replace Nature’s Bakery, and she’ll get wrecked…

Kyle Busch #18 didn’t win the Daytona 500, after crashing out due to a Goodyear tire blowout. (Always mention the sponsors).  But he did win the first ‘stage’ and play-off point– so congratulations, I suppose? I wonder if he’ll take pride in it?

Nature’s Bakery bailed as Danica’s Patrick’s primary sponsor for the #10 car a few weeks before Daytona, and is now trying to stiff her team (SHR) in court for $32M owed. Turns out, NB’s food isn’t so healthy, and neither are their business practices. The most popular driver in NASCAR had to hustle for a new primary, and proved she is still fast on her feet, by getting Aspen Dental to extend their commitment to “double digit” races.

There are 36 races in the season, and Tax Act sponsors three for her. That leaves her with a sponsorship gap, which will need to be filled during the season. Her car looked faster at Daytona today, until she was caught up in the huge stage-3 wreck pictured above. I had wondered if actually paying the bills would put more speed in her car, and I think it might. Imagine that?

My final fan comments on NASCAR’s 3-stage race format is that I only care who wins the third stage, and same goes for everyone else. Too many re-starts leads to too many multi-car crashes, like the one that obliterated stage 3.  A race is supposed to have a rhythm to it, and this gimmick destroys it. NASCAR has mangled their Super Bowl.

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Top Post-Race Driver Comments [1]:

Kyle Busch (38th): “I don’t know if it was a left rear that went down or the right that went down but man, tore up three JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars in one hit and also Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Jr.). So I feel bad, horrible, for those guys, but man, nothing that we did wrong. You know obviously Goodyear tires just aren’t very good at holding air. It’s very frustrating when we have that down here every single year we’ve been here. Last year we had it as well too. … Thankfully we have I guess a segment point you know out of this day. That’s a positive. But man, you’re trying to win the Daytona 500 here you know. It’s just so disappointing.”

Joey Logano (6th): “I just couldn’t get anyone to go for it at the end. Everyone was so conservative and I don’t understand why. We kept trying to go to the bottom and make a run down there and no one would go with us. We had three cars that kind of wanted to do it, but it’s a matter of getting the right run and getting the right cars behind us and we didn’t have enough of them and couldn’t get up to the lead pack. I don’t know why everyone was so conservative today. … It was crazy to say the least. Right after the last segment it was like everyone turned up the wick a little bit and at the end it was like it burned out.”

Kevin Harvick (22nd): “We just got some cars up there that didn’t need to be up there and wound up doing more than their car could do. … We had, I felt, the fastest car in the field and right in contention for both segments and then it’s all tore up and it came to an end. What do you do? … I think that’s the fastest car I’ve ever had here, so it’s kind of disappointing.”

Jimmie Johnson (34th): “That could have been avoided and it wasn’t called for. From the minute, I got off of Turn 2 on the entire back straightaway, I kept getting hit and the rear tires are off the ground. I know there is a lot of energy behind me in the pack, but I didn’t have a chance. I fought it the whole straightaway and finally got turned going into (Turn) 3. It’s very unfortunate. I hate it for Lowe’s. I hate it for Chevrolet. We’ll go to Atlanta next week and see what we can do there.”

Danica Patrick (33rd): “I don’t really know. I just know we were all three-wide and it looks like the 6 (Trevor Bayne) and 48 (Jimmie Johnson) had something happen. There was nowhere to go. They just kept coming and hitting me. … It was the funnest 500 I’ve ever had. Well, probably not 500, more like 300 or 250. It is a real shame. I feel like we could have been a contender at the end, for sure we could have been an influencer.”

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Final Day-After Commentary:

I actually believe I have understated how much NASCAR has de-valued their product & alienated their fanbase.  A MLB rules-change equivalent would be: instead of playing a nine-inning game for the win, they ‘improve’ it by making three-games-in-one: innings 1-3, 4-6, then the big finale 7-9.  Each segment would award ‘win shares’ and ‘play-off points.’  It would be SO interesting and surely embraced by fans everywhere.  Just watch this idea catch on, like ‘new’ Coke in the mid-1980’s.

Final NASCAR Notes 2-28-17:
NASCAR must fix this list to stop the hemorrhaging, and take advantage of the sport’s current growth potential. 1) Dump the segmented format, and go back to racin’. 2) Reduce the grid size to 30 maximum. There are simply too many drivers who aren’t good enough to be out there, trying to compete with top professionals. These minor-leaguers clog up the track, and create the majority of wrecks because they are in-over-their-heads, and at ~200 MPH– that’s some serious bleep. On a short-track such as Bristol, it’s impossible to have a decent race, because there’s just no room with only one good groove on the track and 40 cars jammed within 1/2 mile of each other at full speed. It reminisces your favorite interstate traffic jam at rush hour. 3) More road course races. This tests a broader range of driving skills and gives different teams competitive advantages, which is good for any sport. 4) Severe punishment for intentional wreckers. This means penalties that start with driver/team suspensions, up to banishment from the sport. Driver safety must be the priory, so NASCAR never has another Dale Earnhardt tragedy.

NASCAR is a private enterprise owned by the “Big Bill” France family. They take all revenue from NASCAR ticket sales, merchandising, concessions, television and other media. The drivers are paid purses & prize money from NASCAR, which doesn’t come close to paying the bills on a race car & its team. When it comes to the problems of NASCAR, the common denominator is always ownership. Until the fans & drivers unite against this monopoly of stupid self-interest, this sport will continue to wreck itself.

3-7-17: Atlanta Motor Speedway Wrap-up: The Monster Cup series points leader after two races is Kevin Harvick, who finished 22nd at Daytona and 9th at Atlanta. This points debacle is because of the new staged-race format. Racing fans are not intrigued by those battles for 8th, 9th & 10th at the end of stages 1 & 2, which now (too much) determine cup points. Adding false drama to a sport doesn’t make it better. Racing is about one winner, and then rewarding those who finished 2nd-on-down appropriately. The point is, you wait until the race is over to do it. So, where does the handing out a trophy for winning stage 1 (during the race!), rank in the all-time most-embarrassing NASCAR moments?

Final Danica Update: NASCAR is about being competitive on the 1.5-mile tracks, so Atlanta is the first true test of the season. Danica Patrick would have gotten lapped at the end of stage 1, if the race leader hadn’t been teammate Kevin Harvick, who eased off the gas and still cruised to the stage win. If a car doesn’t have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap on a 1.5 mile track, then it has no chance in ~30 of the 36 races. The only places a slower car can hang with the leaders are the super speedways (Daytona & Talladega– restrictor plate), and the two road-course races (Sonoma & Watkins Glen). This only means competing for a top-10, forget about winning.

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has four teams. Kurt Busch’s #41 won the Daytona 500. Kevin Harvick’s #4 should have won in Atlanta. Clint Boyer’s #14 (replacing retired Tony Stewart) started 6th at Daytona (but was wrecked), and finished 11th at Atlanta. Three of the 4 SHR cars have speed to win. The fourth doesn’t even have the horsepower to stay on the lead lap. This is (again) the problem for the driver of the #10 car, who possesses one of the best overall skill-sets in NASCAR.

Over & Out

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Carpe Diem: LF Ryan Braun to the Padres?

There are 5 years/$85M (through 2021) remaining on Brewers LF Ryan Braun contract. LF Alex Dickerson (or RF Hunter Renfroe), and a few middling prospects would likely make a deal– if Padres ownership is willing to take on the payroll. Prospect/MLB player value would be comparable to the C Jonathan Lucroy to Texas deal last summer, which wouldn’t hamper AJP’s rebuild. PED-stigma aside, Braun is a HOF-production bat as long as his back is healthy.

The Angels, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins and Padres are the 6 teams the Brewers can deal him to, without asking him to waive his no-trade clause. This gives AJP tremendous leverage in possibly acquiring one of the best right-handed hitters of this era. HOF-ers (and ace pitching) are what win WS.
The best fit of those 6 teams is the Padres. In terms of prospects available to make the deal the Snakes, Halos & Fish are all discounted due to poor farm systems. They simply don’t have the prospects to make a deal.
Positional availability & payroll limitations take effect too, as the Dodgers have an outfield log-jam– with unloading Yasiel Puig as their current priority.
The Giants have out-of-options Jarrett Parker who is left-handed & cheap– which is what they need in LF.  Their bullpen set-up situation is their priority and GM Brian Sabean won’t waste money on something he doesn’t need, unless it falls to replacement level. That’s how you win 3 WS in 5 seasons.

Anyways, the point is: the Padres are the most-logical fit for Ryan Braun. I believe AJP is taking these few weeks in ST to evaluate all his rookie & minor-league talent, in order to determine who is untouchable and whom he is willing to package. Owner Ron Fowler may be “biting his lip for now,” but the headline a few days back read “We’re going to have some fun,” and the article quoted him saying Opening Day payroll would be ~$75M. Right now it’s just under $57M [1]. I forecast the Padres/Brewers are going to make this surprise blockbuster very soon. Shhh!!

Why? 1) Brewers need to move Braun, and the time has come. He’ll be the last piece to be sold off. 2) Braun is undervalued & talented, and AJP covets that. 3) AJP has leverage and Braun fits with SD. Really only the D-backs & Giants could conceivably compete for his services among the 6 listed teams, and they aren’t likely to do so, due to payroll restrictions. 4) Padres owner Ron Fowler has money, and he wants to spend it.

This is a think-outside-the-box situation, an incredible opportunity to move the Padres franchise forward in it’s winning curve. It’s too good for AJP and Fowler to resist, IMO. I know it sounds like I’m out in left-field here [!], but consider this not only as a possibility but as a distinct probability, and watch for any more signs.

More Signs

Yesterday’s Padres headlines [2]:

Padres set with current crop of players
GM Preller doesn’t expect any adds before start of regular season
AJP is quoted, “Then again, never say never.”

Trades aren’t adds.

If Ryan Braun is acquired by the Padres, then this is my piece. If not, then Play Ball!!!

Acquiring LF Ryan Braun solidifies this lineup as competitive with the Giants & Dodgers. Padres lineup: 1) Manny Margot/Travis Jankowski (platoon) CF, 2) switch-hitter 3B Yangervis Solarte, 3) LF righty-masher Ryan Braun, 4) righty franchise player 1B Wil Myers (or reverse 3-4), 5) lefty pop & OBP 2B Ryan Schimpf, 6) power with excellent defense RF Hunter Renfroe, 7) Elite defense, hopefully-he-hits-enough C Austin Hedges, 8) SS will be the last position to be filled, proving the curse of Ozzie Smith as the hardest for the Padres to exorcise; I like the Luis Sardinas & Allen Cordoba mix.

That’s turning over a lineup from Gyorko, Norris, Upton, Upton, Amarista & Kemp!!! Padres team base-running was tops in MLB last season, and it will likely stay there or near. Their defense improved vastly, and will get even better everywhere except LF, with BJ Upton being clearly better defensively than Braun. Braun if healthy is average-to-slightly-below in LF. What he brings to the plate is all the difference in winning by transforming a lineup.

The 2017 Padres starting pitching has been filled out with low-cost, high bounce-back-potential free agents, but is still two notches (at least) below the NL West elite. They need Luis Perdomo to become their #2 starter, then find/develop an ace. The Padres bullpen should be a strength with the Carter Capps fixing his delivery to become the closer, and Ryan Buchter & Brad Hand as dominant lefty set-up men. The bullpen question marks come in with the righty relief corps, and that’s what the AJP-pitcher-round-up this winter was partly about. The dugout brains is there in manager Andy Green, ace pitching coach Darren Balsley and the rest, so most fans are confident they’ll figure it out. There’s tons of pitching talent, deep in their minor-league system.

This now is a 3rd-place team in the NL West, vaulting past the Diamondbacks & Rockies, with an outside shot at being a wild card contender. The Padres competitive window which appeared to be opening around 2019 or so, is now here in 2017. Note that this doesn’t interfere with their organizational rebuild, as the talent pool has been well-stocked and the Preller pipeline is already bearing fruit with Margot, and the last of the Josh Byrnes prospects. There’s plenty more to come, with prospect depth and payroll commitment/flexibility to get the player(s) they’ll need– whenever they’re ready.

This is a hungry organization with a huge chip on its shoulder, because it has never won a WS since its inception in 1969, and has too often been a joke. The conventional baseball wisdom this winter was the teams that improved themselves the most were CWS, SEA, BOS, blah, blah… Now these MLB experts are going to have to rethink and (gasp!) rewrite their narratives & predictions because this changes many things.

To all those I say: find me another GM who can dominate the Rule 5 draft, sign the best low-cost free agent starting pitchers (4 for <$10M), lock up your two best young players in Myers & Solarte with team-friendly deals, then grab the best right-handed hitter in the NL who has 5 years of affordable team control, without blowing your budget? The Padres OD payroll is now ~ $75M. AJP is the best GM in MLB because he works most completely with his organization, from ownership all the way down to his scouts, coaches & players. He even listens to his fans. He sees the big picture (in English & Spanish) better than the rest, and therefore anticipates a situation in which the Padres are going to have maximum leverage to improve themselves, and then he seizes the day.

The Crafty Spider

A crafty spider had very little, so he began spinning a web. He took great care in spinning, making his ties strong and using only the best silk. His web was meager to start, only able to trap smaller prey, but it worked well and consistently nourished the crafty spider. As the crafty spider began to grow in size, it kept spinning more web. Other spiders would look on and remark, “Why do you need such a big fancy web, you’ll never catch anything that large!” The crafty spider ignored all this and quietly and went on spinning. Night & day; day & night. Spinning, spinning, spinning. All kinds of webs were spun; webs that hooked & snared, webs that linked & held stuff together, webs that were shiny & beautiful. Eventually these links not only provided structure & support for the crafty spider, but also became webs of enchantment & deception for others– filled with pitfalls, persuasions & slippery slopes.

Within this larger house, was another spider who possessed one of the juiciest specimens [!] in the entire domain. This delightful morsel contained enough nutritive value to satisfy even the most ravenous appetite, but it came with a limited no-trade clause. This selected against the fiercest competitors within the species, including the dreaded Yankee spider and the hated Red Sox spider– most-toxic & desperately in search of a new Papi. These predators could only watch through the window with snapping jaws, as hunger pangs gnawed at their bellies, as only six lucky spiders would have the opportunity to wrap their legs around this bountiful feast.

The day came when the possessing spider realized that much of his web needed rebuilding. The section of his web with Ryan Braun was strong, but too much of the remaining structure was incomplete & weak. It had also become a luxury which was too costly to maintain. This spider needed fresh raw materials to build a better web, but where would he find them? He visited the webs of five available spiders, but found them to be in a state of disrepair and mostly barren. Some even looked pitifully worse that his own, while the remaining webs simply didn’t have enough space available for such a catch. Until the day finally came when the possessing spider had to bring his prize into the crafty spider’s web, at which point they were immediately caught.

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Dialectical Processes

A website is always evolving– an indisputable fact of the Internet. Even if a site immediately goes stale, forgotten by its creator (like most), it’s even decaying beyond that– at a rate the Internet is advancing. Therefore, any website is either evolving or devolving.

When I began this site (with all technical assistance from friend/webmaster TomP), I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going? What this site has become is a guide-to-better-living, with much of what-you-need-to-know for understanding this crazy world we all inhabit, contained and/or linked here. This site is about taking care of yourself, while always thinking of others. That means a global scope, with respect for everything in it & beyond.

This site is dialectically materialist in philosophy, rejecting any notion of god as a universal creator (as a failed hypothesis), relying instead on actual data & rational science. This has allowed a transformative creativity in some particularly reactionary fields of modern journalism, the best example here being the sports writings. Starting from a sound political & philosophical foundation makes this possible, and it’s the only way to remove the emotional element from sportswriting, which is a major issue, even (especially) in the professional ranks.

Sports bring out the passion (good & bad) in people, which makes them a volatile subject. Most writers can’t separate their fanhood from their responsibility as journalists. These schleps love sports so much, they will say & do anything to maintain their precious access to their heroes. This is the condition of the modern American sportswriter. The amount of hackwork they collectively produce in covering the NFL, NBA & MLB is staggering. What is perhaps even more astounding, is how little of it holds up over time; as it’s mostly speculation, rumor mongering, hidden agendas, etc… with very little research, much less hard analysis.

All these people do is watch sports, so how can they be so obtuse?  In the end, it’s always a matter of perspective and class forces. Whether it’s an individual team or league in trouble, notice how it’s problems are always pinned on an individual– usually the head coach or a star player. Scapegoats are useful in all fields, and the business of sports is no different. When rabid sports fans are whipped into a lather regarding a lackluster performance, a scapegoat is singled out and moved in front of the cameras to answer impossible questions for irate fans. No one ever questions the fairness or rationality of this media browbeating, it’s just how business is conducted.

For example, why don’t these writers discuss why the Orlando Magic fail year-after-year? The reason is because if they did, eventually they would come to the root of the problem, which is failed ownership & incompetent management. That makes powerful people look bad, which is not allowed under capitalism. At least not until the Internet and a Marxist (with time & love for the game), actually does the work [1]. The result becomes their franchise history, which still holds up better than anything anyone has ever written (or filmed) on the Orlando Magic, because it speaks the truth from top to bottom.

The point has been reached in these writings where less becomes more, and further commentary becomes redundant. Therefore, the stream of new content will henceforth be less frequent, and mostly confined to pressing world political events and Marxist revolutionary theory. As for the social, cultural & artistic spheres; I believe I’ve already adequately & articulately spoken on music, film, art, sports, health, beauty, fashion, and the rest. I hope these writings will inspire others to take these ideas further.

As for health, fitness & art pieces posted here in the future, it will be mostly my own going forward. At a certain juncture, these fields become more personal in their importance; as surviving and maintaining a healthy body & mind into & through adulthood are more important than becoming a celebrity or professional athlete. I’ve already spoken enough on its power to inspire, as well as the hypocrisy & corruption.

What homo sapiens must do is come together as a species and problem-solve– in the interests of everybody & everything on Earth. If you aren’t acting, thinking, and living the way I’m describing, then you need to connect with this site and re-humanize yourself. Physical & mental health are one, they can’t be separated. If you think rudely, with hostility & ignorance, then you can’t be healthy in body. At some point this bad mind, which is full of short-cuts, justifications and excuses will undermine any attempt at physical health. Whether it’s cancer, senility, arthritis, heart disease or stroke; whatever your greatest risk exposure is, it will become the crux of your undoing if you don’t live correctly with respect for others.

This site will remain online for as long as the Internet is allowed to be globally shared. Today the Internet is a battleground. This site has been jammed, and even hacked a few times over the years. I expect it to get worse, before it gets better for people like us. RS.com is an essential tool in fighting fascism. Today’s revolutionaries need to understand Trotskyist Marxism, as well as being physically healthy, in order to command. Leaders will need this mental & physical fitness, and will be asked to prove themselves in the heat-of-battle over & over, in order to win the support of the masses.

This is what actually impresses & influences people, much more than money or any other trappings of power. Why? Because it’s on an instinctive level that people are trusting. That cuts through the hype, in a way capitalism can never do, due to its worship of money at the expense of everything else. The truth is, the best leaders are not the richest individuals. The wealthiest portfolios are actually the sickest people, and therefore need to be removed from power and any other important decision-making, due to mental illness. This is only possible in a society transformed by revolutionary socialism.

Discover & use the knowledge here to better yourself, while enjoying & sharing the music!!

If I Could Be Reincarnated

As an animal:

As a plant:

As an organism:  a virus

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