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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Closer than Ever

The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, by a vote of 259-163. I had intended to post something about the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment before the House of Representatives voted on it, but the action alert from the Marijuana Policy Project stated that a vote was expected in July, so I thought I had more time.

The amendment, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca.), would have blocked funding of federal marijuana enforcement against medical marijuana patients in the 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana. The defeat of the amendment was disappointing, but this press release from the MPP points out that the margin of defeat for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment keeps getting narrower.

You can find out how your representative voted here. Libertarians who view Republicans as the lesser evil and left-wing independents who see no significant difference between the major parties should take note of the partisan breakdown of the vote:



Friday, June 23, 2006

Races of the Week

Last week, one of my selections finally hit the board. Nothing But Fun finished second in last Saturday's Ogden Phipps Handicap. I'm still chasing that elusive first win, however. I'll try to find it in the Daily Racing Form's races of the week. This week's races are the New York Breeders Cup Handicap, to be run Saturday at Belmont Park, and the Queen's Plate Stakes, to be run Sunday at Woodbine.

In the New York Handicap, I'll bet Asi Siempre. Asi Siempre is undefeated at a mile and a quarter. Her only graded stakes victory was on yielding turf, and it looks like New York will have a rainy weekend. Past performances for the New York Breeders Cup Handicap are available here.

The Queen's Plate is a tough race to handicap, with a full field of three-year-olds who have never run a mile and a quarter before. I think I'll go with Malakoff. Malakoff won the Marine Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths last month, and has two bullet works since then. Malakoff appears to be bred for the distance, and has always run well at Woodbine. The Form provides past performances for the Queen's Plate here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Races of the Week

Well, I was 0 for 3 in the Triple Crown. That might deter others from public handicapping, but I just can't resist the urge to chase my losses. At the risk of further embarrassment, I'll continue to try to pick the winners of the Daily Racing Form's races of the week.

The races this week are the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park and the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Both races are scheduled for late this afternoon. In the Phipps, I'll go with Nothing But Fun. The lightly raced filly is 3 for 4 at Belmont Park, and her only graded stakes victory was at today's distance of a mile and a sixteenth. I think the pace will set up well for her, with Spun Sugar and Take D'Tour dueling early. The Daily Racing Form provides past performances for the Ogden Phipps Handicap here.

In the Foster, I'll take Brass Hat. Brass Hat won three races in a row this winter before finishing second in the Dubai World Cup. He's 4 for 5 at a mile and an eighth, and ran fairly well in his only other start on the main track at Churchill. The Form provides past performances for the Stephen Foster Handicap here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Me

I started this blog one year ago today. Hard to believe I've been churning out this crap for a full year, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Act Now to Protect the Constitution

Senate Joint Resolution 12 is currently in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. S.J. Res. 12 would desecrate the Constitution by allowing Congress to prohibit flag desecration. Andrea Stone of USA Today reports that the Senate is set to take up the amendment the week after next, and it is dangerously close to passing:
The Senate is one vote away from passing a constitutional amendment that would ban desecration of the U.S. flag, the closest that amendment supporters have been to passage.

The American Legion, which supports the amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes it, both say there are 66 votes to pass it.

Whether advocates can find the 67th vote to send the flag amendment to the states for ratification remains unclear. A Senate vote is set for the week of June 26.
At Hit & Run, Julian Sanchez makes a good point about the amendment:
What do people in the rest of the world think of when they see an American flag being burned? Maybe they just see opposition to American policy or military power. But maybe - —if we're lucky - they also see opposition to American values: Freedom, democracy, reality television. In the wake of a constitutional amendment, though, I can guarantee what a lot of them will think instead is: "This act of political dissent would be a crime in the United States." And in the shadow of that tought, every hateful claim the people burning those flags make about the hollowness of America's commitment to the high-sounding principles it proclaims will seem a little more plausible.
The ACLU makes it easy to contact your U.S. senators, and provides a sample letter. Please urge your senators to vote no on S.J. Res. 12.

"Or Some Other Candidate?"

Those four words in recent poll questions asked of likely Ohio voters by Survey USA are the main reason why I believe the results of these polls should be taken with a grain of salt. "Some other candidate" will not appear on the general election ballot in November, as the filing deadline for independent candidates passed over a month ago.

Still, the polls are good news for Ohio Democrats. Even if all of the voters who chose "some other candidate" would have gone for Republicans, the polls still indicate that Ted Strickland has a substantial lead and Sherrod Brown is competitive.

One other quibble with the poll questions: In the gubernatorial poll, Bill Peirce and Bob Fitrakis are identified, respectively, as a Libertarian and a Green. Assuming both of them are certified for the ballot, Dr. Peirce and Mr. Fitrakis will appear on the ballot as independents. It's a minor point, but it seems to me that the poll questions should track the actual ballot language as closely as possible.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Belmont Selection, Barbaro Update

Bob and John ran badly in the Kentucky Derby, but since then has been training impressively at Santa Anita since then. He's bred for the distance, and it looks like he'll be close to the lead with a soft pace. Bob and John is the morning-line fourth choice at 5 to 1. The Daily Racing Form provides free past performances for the Belmont here.

Barbaro appears to be recovering well. Alex provides frequent updates on Barbaro's condition at the Tim Woolley Racing site.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Happy Dean Martin Day!

89 years ago today, Dino Crocetti, better known as Dean Martin, was born in Steubenville, Ohio. Steubenville's Dean Martin Committee has a great website, which includes a trivia challenge and information on the upcoming Dean Martin Festival.