Team Astana has been laying back in the first two weeks of the Tour de France. They allowed other teams to take and try to defend the yellow jersey. But the race has now reached the Alps, and that's just what Astana has been waiting for. In stage 15, they took over both the individual and team leads in the race.
There was a breakaway, but Astana took the lead in the peloton and made sure the breakaway riders didn't get too far ahead. As the peloton started the last climb of the day, they had absorbed the breakaway and strung out the field. As three Astana riders took the group up the mountain, only a few riders were able to hang with them. But the yellow jersey holder (Nocentini) was not one of them, and he dropped behind the leaders.
With 3.5 miles to go to the finish at the summit, Alberto Contador (pictured) took off, and no one was able to stay with him. He finished the race 40 seconds ahead of the second place rider (Andy Schleck of Saxo Bank). Lance Armstrong and Andreas Kloden finished a little less than one and one/half minutes behind Contador, but that was enough to keep Armstrong in second overall and Kloden in fourth.
Anything can happen in the next few days, but it's going to be very hard to get the yellow jersey away from Contador. I believe we've probably seen the race winners in both the individual and team competitions -- Alberto Contador and Astana. Tomorrow is a rest day, and then they continue racing in the Alps on Tuesday. Here are the current standings:
YELLOW JERSEY (OVERALL LEADERS)
1. Alberto Contador (Astana)
2. Lance Armstrong (Astana)..........1.37
3. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin)..........1.46
4. Andreas Kloden (Astana)..........2.17
5. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)..........2.26
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R)..........2.30
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)..........2.51
8. Tony Martin (Columbia)..........3.07
9. Christophe Le Mevel (Francaise)..........3.09
10. Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank)..........3.25
GREEN JERSEY (SPRINTERS)
1. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo)..........218 pts
2. Mark Cavendish (Columbia)..........200 pts
3. Jose Rojas (Caisse)..........126 pts
4. Gerald Ciolek (Milram)..........122 pts
5. Tyler Farrar (Garmin)..........110 pts
POLKA DOT JERSEY (CLIMBERS)
1. Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)..........109 pts
2. Egoi Martinez (Euskadi)..........101 pts
3. Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouyges)..........65 pts
4. Brice Feillu (Agritubel)..........64 pts
5. Christophe Kern (Cofidis)..........63 pts
3. Saxo Bank..........2.14
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Political Cartoon is by Mike Lane at caglecartoons.com.
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Mr. Tudball Needs A Secretary - Mr. Tudball (Tim Conway) is looking for a secretary, but his wife (Vicki Lawrence) doesn't like any candidates until Wanda Wiggins (Carol Burnett) shows up. Video is raw footage of the sketch from The Carol Burnett[...]
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Tonight's Rescue Rangers are vcmvo2, mem from somerville, sunspark says, a synthetic cubist, ybruti,and srkp23 with vcmvo2 editing.
The diaries up for rescue are:
Education, Work & Discrimination
Songs of Life: Personal, Musical & Dinoriffic!
virgomusic brings Top Comments - Derby Dames Edition.
Enjoy and please recommend your own favorite diary in the past 24 hours in this Open Thread.
ExxonMobile faces up to $1B in fines for sabotaging oil wells In the 1950's, the O'Connor Family and ExxonMobile signed lease deals that both parties found agreeable and mutually beneficial for four decades. When the relationship dissolved in the 1990's, the parting was apparently ugly, and the O'Connor family is seeking redress through the governing body, the Texas Railroad Commission, asking them to investigate Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the state's land office, released a report earlier this week asking the Texas Railroad Commission to investigate intentional sabotage of oil wells in Refugio County, as well as fraudulent reports filed to cover up the damage. "Exxon committed irrefutable, intentional and flagrant violations of state rules regulating the oilfield," Patterson said in a statement. The family alleges that when the company capped the wells they didn't use the normal method, but instead sabotaged them by dumping debris, toxic sludge, waste and even explosives into the wells, plugging them up permanently and rendering them unusable for anyone else. Under Texas state rules, ExxonMobil could be fined as much as $10,000 per sabotaged oil well per day, or some $1 billion in all.
Remember how David Gregory got so righteously outraged and morally indignant when he thought the White House coordinated a question with Nico Pitney? That would be the same David Gregory who had been keeping himself busy for the previous few days by sending obsequious emails to Mark Sanford's office, looking to give the governor cover and a friendly outlet to tell his side of the story.
Staffing in record time President Obama is getting his appointments through the Senate and on the job at a faster clip than any president at least since Reagan.
Ensign's approval rating falling like a stone Since admitting he had an extra-marital affair, John Ensign's approval rating has dropped to 31%, down a full 22% from where it was before the scandal broke. Apparently it isn't done falling yet, because it tumbled an additional eight percent, last month - before it came out that his rich parents paid just shy of a hundred grand to the man Ensign cuckolded.
Some people really need to lighten up! Like the lone motorist who was offended and called to complain about a high-school wrestling team wearing bikini tops as a joke when they did their fundraiser carwash. They started doing it because the humor leveled the playing field with the cheerleaders across the street who were wearing bikini's too, and apparently not offending the delicate sensibilities of the humorless wretch who called to complain.
TARP Watchdog says Treasury lacks relevant bank data In a report that will be released on Monday, Special Inspector General over the Troubled Asset Relief Program Neil Barofsky lambastes the program that was put in place last October to prop up the ailing financial services sector. The report says that Treasury is rejecting "common sense" by not requiring banks receiving billions of dollars in government money to say how they are using the money. "The fact that there may be some limitations on the precision of the data that could be collected," Barofsky said in the report, "does not mean that such reporting could not generate meaningful information."
Cue the vultures Michael Jackson has been in the ground for nearly two weeks, I'm actually surprised it took this long for AEG Live to start shopping the footage of his pre-tour preparations and rehearsals as a documentary about the last days of his life.
Upward mobility comes to a screeching halt During the good times, Vegas offered what few other cities did - a chance for the working class to get ahead. Now that the bubble has burst on the larger economy, however, Vegas' working class are feeling it. Like other job-creating cities in the Sunbelt, Las Vegas saw its population, income levels and housing prices surge over the past decade. And like those cities -- including Phoenix, Orlando and San Diego -- it's been battered in the bust, and by many measures, Vegas's rise and fall has been more dramatic than most. Last year, Clark County's population declined for the first time in more than two decades as more than 10,000 people left Las Vegas between July 2007 and July 2008, according to researchers at UNLV. People are packing up and leaving as the unemployment rate has tripled - during the boom years it was an optimal four percent, now it exceeds the national average, pegging at 12.3%.
If you go through the Airport in Bangkok, avoid the duty free shops - In what is described as a 'classic Thai zig-zag scam' people are being accused of shoplifting and held by the police until they pay huge sums of money for their freedom.
Honduran crisis talks break down The interim government in Honduras has rejected a proposal to bring a close to the political crisis the country is facing, and in so doing, effectively terminated talks with the ousted president, saying his return as leader of a unity government was "absolutely unacceptable."
Sixteen dead after helicopter crash in Afghanistan A civilian-contracted helicopter crashed on take-off from the Kandahar airfield today, killing all 16 on board. NATO has ruled out insurgent action.
The Mark Sanford Apology Tour continues and still he hasn't broke into the top ten with a hit.
Another whoremonger governor? That is what the hooker who knocked Eliot Spitzer's socks off while he was leaving them on says he was not her only chief executive client, that there was another governor she had a series of trysts with, but she isn't naming names. Not yet, anyway.
Long overdue, reform is slowly coming to Bagram A review conducted by the Pentagon calls for a top-to-bottom overhaul of not just the American-run prison, but on the Afghan judicial and detention system as well. Quite simply - because torture, deprivation and mistreatment have been used routinely, the prisons serve not as rehabilitation facilities but as recruiting centers for the Taliban. In a further sign that there is deep concern at the very top over detention practices, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dispatched a confidential message to all of the military service chiefs and senior field commanders last week, reminding them to redouble their efforts to alert troops to the importance of treating detainees properly and with a respect for basic human dignity.
Jim Robinson thinks he's Thomas Jefferson He's writing a whole new Declaration of...something. Anyway, basically it boils down to this: His team has been losing, and losing badly for the last two election cycles, so he wants to abolish our current government and start over. In his fantasy, we fire 'em all tomorrow, replacements are appointed, and elections in 2010 would then elect an entirely new slate of federal office holders - including the President. In the meantime...wait for it...The Secretary of State shall immediately assume the office of interim Chief Executive. It's official - Obama Derangement Syndrome is to Clinton Derangement Syndrome as a pit bull is to a purse dog.
The high cost of budget cuts As California struggles to balance the budget and honor the IOUs the state has been issuing for the last couple of weeks in lieu of checks, one of the things that is being slashed from the budget is the funding for home health aides who assist elderly and disabled Californians, allowing them to stay in their own homes. This, over the long run, saves million of dollars - probably billions since it's inception. Yet the state is poised to strike it from the budget, even though without that help many elderly and disabled people will be forced to give up their independence and forcing them into nursing homes. "I couldn't possibly afford a nursing home," said one 85 year old Parkinson's patient who stays in her home with the help of visits by a home health aid. Since she can't stay in her home without the help of an aide, and she can't afford a nursing home, the state would be saddled with a Medi-Cal tab that is triple the cost of her home care worker, who receives $10.40 an hour five days a week.
Barbour jockeys for position Newt Gingrich might get the credit/blame for the 1994 republican takeover of congress, but Newt would not have pulled it off without Haley Barbour, then the head of the RNC. Now Barbour is 61 years old and he is the governor of Mississippi, but the fact he already has a job is not stopping some in the GOP from looking toward him to lead them out of the wilderness once more as the Wunderkinds crash and burn all over the place.
Frank McCourt, 78 The former New York public school teacher who took his miserable childhood in Limerick, Ireland and crafted it into the phenomenally popular and Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Angela's Ashes died Sunday after a battle with metastatic melanoma. He was 78 years old.
Sorry to be a pest about it, but it is that time of year again - time to pass the hat to get my fanny to Netroots Nation. ?We know that Markos' kids aren't college age, or he wouldn't schedule this damned thing so close to the time tuition checks must be written! ?Because of the generosity of two very special and appreciated women - J & L, you know who you are - a lot of the pressure is off. ?I am still asking for donations, but smaller ones of between $10 and $25, and asking folks who might be inclined to toss a little more into the kitty to instead share it with another blogger or progressive organization whose work you ?appreciate. ? I don't want to hoard it all for myself - I just want to get to Pittsburgh, eat while I'm there and have a few bucks to buy a t-shirt to commemorate the trip. ?
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Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time, knows what's[...]
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The lobbying organization that has the most to lose if real healthcre reform is enacted, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) have been pretending to play nice on reform, but their real agenda has now been made clear with a seven-figure advertising campaign for "bipartisan reform."
"We have serious concerns with that legislation, particularly having to do with a government-run insurance plan that's going to use Medicare rates," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for AHIP, in an interview with the Huffington Post.
Instead, AHIP favors a bipartisan solution, which, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), necessitates that Democrats eliminate the public option.
When asked point-blank whether AHIP opposes a public health option, Zirkelbach said, "That's very correct. A government-run plan in any form is simply not necessary." A public option, he claimed, would "bankrupt hospitals all over California" and force "as many as 120 million people" off the private system.
And we all know what "bipartisan" means by now--Bill Kristol made it perfectly clear--kill reform and, particularly, kill the public option. If there were actually any Republicans committed to real healthcare reform, they'd actually have introduced some real legislation. No, they don't want reform, they want to kill it. And they've got the whole right-wing media behind them, using Kristol's "Kitchen Sink" approach:
But it's more complicated than that. Steve Benen has more on the complications:
Now, as a tactical matter, this makes sense. DeMint, Steele, Castellanos, and Kristol are Republicans, who a) don't support health care reform; and b) are committed to undermining the majority party and the president. Opposition parties are supposed to oppose, so these characters are playing their appropriate role. (The real-world consequences for Americans and their families would be devastating, of course, if the GOP approach successful, but I'm speaking only to the political strategy.)
I just like to point out, from time to time, that these folks can't succeed on their own. They simply don't have the votes. They can call for delays, changes, watered down bills, obstructionism, etc., but Democrats are in a position to finally reform health care anyway.
The only way for this Republican strategy to succeed -- literally, the only way -- is for Democrats to help them. The GOP has its plan, but no way to execute it effectively. They've already been turned out by the electorate.
This is just basic. Regular Americans want healthcare reform. Private insurers and Republicans don't. Now, the latter might provide a lot more money to members of Congress than the rest of us, but we're the ones who vote. Democrats who are working at cross purposes with the White House and Congressional leadership--i.e., the Blue Dogs, would do well to keep that in mind.