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Out of the promoted news… 28 June 2009

Posted by marisacat in DC Politics, Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, South America.

A Palestinian demonstrator in a wheelchair reacts as he get caught in tear gas fired by Israeli troops, during a demonstration against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah [AP]

… away from the hyped news…


Elsewhere the beat goes on… Our much vaunted “pull back from the cities” in Iraq, due for Tuesday, is variously described in ways that, for headline readers or itinerant news consumers, could be misconstrued to be the announcement of a full withdrawal.   Hardly.  And, as scripted, the “violence rises”.  250 dead in recent days from car bombs…

First military coup, they tell us, in S America (Honduras) since the end of the Cold War.  We are said not to be involved.  That would be a first!

In other, different news… it sounds like, might be, could be, that the former pol who keeps on giving to the tabloids, made a sex tape with the inamorata.  And, what is more, an aggrieved party has the tape.

One would almost think the loons (which would be the whole crew) in this deal planned it this way.  Or, the hand of Gawd intervened to assist the mere mortals…  It is all too perfect!

Oh yes… Michael Jackson ”memorials”, in the press, continue.  I can’t wait for the will to be read, made public — and for the REAL battles to begin.



1. NYCO - 28 June 2009

The more I read about the colossal mess that is the Jackson family (and showbiz in general), I’m torn between feeling genuinely sorry for the guy, and feeling appalled at the permanent, hopeless, wall-to-wall venality of the situation.

Tohme accompanied Jackson to a meeting at a Las Vegas hotel with Randy Phillips, chief executive of the AEG Group, to finalise plans for Jackson’s return to the concert stage.

Jackson’s handlers had twice before said no to Phillips. This time, with Tohme acting as his confidant, Jackson left the room agreeing to perform ten concerts at the O2.

Before long, however, ten concerts had turned into 50 and the potential revenues had skyrocketed. ‘The vultures who were pulling his strings somehow managed to put this concert extravaganza together behind his back, then presented it to him as a fait accompli,’ said one aide.

‘The money was just unbelievable and all his financial people were telling him he was facing bankruptcy. But Michael still resisted. He didn’t think he could pull it off.’

Eventually, they wore him down, the aide explained, but not with the money argument.

‘They told him that this would be the greatest comeback the world had ever known. That’s what convinced him. He thought if he could emerge triumphantly from the success of these concerts, he could be the King again.’

The financial details of the O2 concerts are still murky, though various sources have revealed that Jackson was paid as much as £10million in advance, most of which went to the middlemen. But Jackson could have received as much as £100million had the concerts gone ahead.

It is worth noting that the O2 Arena has the most sophisticated lip synching technology in the world – a particular attraction for a singer who can no longer sing. Had, by some miracle, the concerts gone ahead, Jackson’s personal contribution could have been limited to just 13 minutes for each performance. The rest was to have been choreography and lights.

His aides weren’t the only ones who recognised that a 50-concert run was foolhardy. In May, Jackson himself reportedly addressed fans as he left his Burbank rehearsal studio.

‘Thank you for your love and support,’ he told them. ‘I want you guys to know I love you very much.

‘I don’t know how I’m going to do 50 shows. I’m not a big eater. I need to put some weight on. I’m really angry with them booking me up to do 50 shows. I only wanted to do ten.’

It gets sadder, much sadder.

Now there is supposedly going to be a custody fight over his kids – (or perhaps “his” kids) – between the mother/egg donor who sold away her parental rights for a mere $4 million, and between the Jackson family. It’s said that the kids may be raised by Uncle Jermaine, which sounds nice and normal until you realize one of Uncle J’s younger children is named “Jermajesty” and that he has to sleep with a light on because he sees “people from the 1800s” in his room at night.

NYCO - 28 June 2009

PS – that “people from the 1800s” thing refers to Jermaine, not to Jermajesty…

marisacat - 28 June 2009

In the hyped news the kids have been assigned to everyone and no one. It is sort of Christina Onassis’ daughter, x 3 + however many mothers, surrogates and nannies… and on massive steroids.

catnip - 28 June 2009

I saw a clip of Joe Jackson interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon. What an odd man. Seems to have a bit of dementia (Jackson, that is).

2. marisacat - 28 June 2009

whoa… watching the Gay Pride parade here, the tape, from the top.. they lead off here with Dykes on Bikes (do they do that elsewhere too? I don’t know)… and wow it is over a THOUSAND I think this year. last year the estimate was 500 – 700…

The whole gamut… even a division of Dykes on Vespas… so many there is a bottleneck in the linear procession… what a hoot..

catnip - 28 June 2009

Gay rodeo in the heart of redneck country about 20 mins from here this weekend. 😀 Yeeha!

In other news, no love lost hearing that Billy Mays (incredibly ANNOYING commercial announcer guy whose yelling was set to drive me postal any day now) has died.

And now, the sports.

Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

The Dykes on Bikes contingent in Chicago was pretty big, and very loud.

3. catnip - 28 June 2009


*air kisses*

4. catnip - 28 June 2009


Obama Admin Working to Restore President of Honduras

by LithiumCola

331 comments (331 new)

marisacat - 28 June 2009

what next I wonder? If it’s not our coup!, we still take an interest! Never count us out!

catnip - 28 June 2009

But Obamalama never meddles…so he says…

Like he cares about a guy who was an ally of Chavez? Yeah – I don’t think so.

5. CSTAR - 28 June 2009

Talking of “Out of promoted news:”

Maria Chapur notwithstanding, Argentina just had a major election today. You don’t have to read an argentinian newspaper to find out
l’une du Monde but I didn’t see a word in our illustrious Times.

catnip - 28 June 2009

Maybe all of the US journalists are busy chasing down Sanford’s mistress down there and this whole “election” thing that you speak of hasn’t hit their radar screens yet.

marisacat - 28 June 2009

from the FP of Le Monde ( I had read recently in the UK press she was in trouble… ) Although from the quote that Le Monde attached to my cut and paste, the Kirchners claim La Victoire. Or something.

No majority in either house, however.

“Nous avons perdu pour un point et demi ou deux points et nous n’avons aucun problème pour reconnaître la victoire de nos adversaires”, a dit M. Kirchner à la presse et à ses partisans dans son QG.

Le parti de la présidente en passe de perdre les législatives en Argentine

Selon des résultats partiels, le parti de la présidente argentine, Cristina Kirchner, perdrait dans les cinq principales circonscriptions du pays et n’aurait plus la majorité dans les deux chambres.

catnip - 28 June 2009

Looks she she conceded rather easily.

catnip - 28 June 2009

*looks like

marisacat - 28 June 2009

Le Monde now phrases it:

“Heavy defeat for Kirchner”.

The more helium in the rise the harder the crash…………….

6. catnip - 28 June 2009

How old are they over there? 5?

* Will be fun to watch (3+ / 0-)

BTW, is there any guess as to who is behind the coup? My first thought was the CIA, but realized we now have a president who wouldn’t authorize it.

Is it Cheney’s shadow government?

Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff – Sen. Sherrod Brown

by Betty Pinson on Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 09:30:51 PM MDT

It must hurt to be that stupid. Seriously.

7. marisacat - 28 June 2009

hmm Don’t laugh too hard now:

June 28, 2009
Categories: Health care

Axelrod waffles on Obama no-middle-class-tax-hike vow

The White House seems to be retreating from President Barack Obama’s campaign promise that he would not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.

Under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declined to restate the vow and left open the possibility that the president might sign health care reform legislation that taxes high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans which some middle-class families currently receive tax free.

“The president had said in the past that he doesn’t believe taxing health care benefits at any level is necessarily the best way to go here. He still believes that, but there are a number of formulations and we’ll wait and see,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going. We’ve gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.”

When Stephanopoulos asked why Obama hadn’t drawn a “line in the sand” over his tax pledge, Axelrod suggested that kind of ultimatum is at odds with the president’s effort to being a new tone to politics. [he’s silly putty! — Mcat]

“One of the problems we’ve had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don’t get anything done. That’s not the way the president approaches this,” the White House adviser said.

By Josh Gerstein 10:22 AM

“One of the problems we’ve had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other.

Other people just SELL OUT. 😆 Or worse, never did sell out, they caved so long ago.

catnip - 28 June 2009

the president’s effort to being a new tone to politics.

Yes. And that new tone would be Monty Python’s “Run away! Run away!”

ms_xeno - 29 June 2009

Hiya’, catnip.

Wait, the Python Policy is NEW for these people?!

I hadn’t noticed. :/

8. CSTAR - 28 June 2009

“Keep people at the table. ” I wonder what shape it has.

9. marisacat - 28 June 2009


No more speeches, no more “special” summer series hours on NBC and ABC… NO nononononononono.

Spare us.

POLITICO44: The Whiteboard

Obama announces health care town hall

“America, tell me what you want to know about health care reform and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.”

catnip - 28 June 2009

Oh FFS. I wonder if he’ll actually include Sebelius this time. He’s like the Billy Mays of the WH – pitchman for everything.

His huge ego is going to do him in. Just watch.

marisacat - 28 June 2009

I agree.. his face is slapped all over everything. They/handlers rely on some vague bonhomie that they think people will extend to him forever.

catnip - 28 June 2009

I was going to write a post about “Obama, The Magician”, since he’s managed to make Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and all of his cabinet secretaries disappear.

marisacat - 28 June 2009

yes coverage of Hillary has officially faded… well I say let him spin alone in the spot light. Rahm can lend him a tutu.

catnip - 28 June 2009

Don’t give them ideas. lol

10. marisacat - 29 June 2009


Non-kosher (or, did the rabbinical panels bless the endeavor? who knows!) drahma tomorrow…

Madoff gets sentenced.

11. lucid - 29 June 2009

I had both some negronis and limoncellos for you mcat! Will catch up more later.


marisacat - 29 June 2009

ooo grazie mille!

catnip - 29 June 2009

lucid! (You lucky dog, you!)

Say hi to His Popeyness for me. haha

Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

watch out for the Illuminati while you’re over there! I hear they’re lurking in every dark corner, plotting the end of the world or the latest version of New Coke … something like that.

12. marisacat - 29 June 2009

HAHAHAHAHAHA… not that it matters as “public option” is not single payer… but really, what a laugh.


MR. AXELROD: I’m confident that we’re going to get a healthcare reform bill. I think a public choice will be part of it. I think the public wants to have that option and wants to see that kind of competition, and I think we will, we will have that.

MR. GREGORY: Well, let’s be clear what we’re talking about as well. You’re talking about a public sponsored, a government sponsored healthcare plan that can exist side by side with private insurance plans, and that allows Americans without insurance to make a choice between a private and a public plan.

It’s interesting. In the press conference this week, the president said any opposition to that is illogical. But at the same time, he won’t draw a line in the sand, nor will you in your previous answer. And yet supporters of that public plan, including Howard Dean, doctor, former governor, former head of the Democratic Party, said it’s got to be in there. This is what he said as reported by The Hill newspaper on Friday: “We are here;” he said at a rally, “we’re not going away. We voted for change a few months ago. We expect change. And if we don’t get it, there’s going to be more change.” That’s what Howard Dean said. “`Success on healthcare reform is a must for Democrats,’ Dean told The Hill. `I think it’s going to be a catastrophic problem for the Democratic Party if they can’t get this bill out.'” And what he means is with a public plan.

MR. AXELROD: Well, first of all, I think that if we don’t pass healthcare reform it’s going to be a catastrophic problem for the country, not just the Democratic Party; for families, businesses and the country itself. Look, we believe strongly in, in a public choice; not one that’s subsidized by the government, but one that will embrace the best practices, that will reduce healthcare costs and give people the best quality care. What the president said was illogical were the same people who say that the government is incompetent, the government can’t run anything, the government shouldn’t be involved in, in anything say, but we can’t let that be one of the choices because it’ll be an unfair advantage against the, against the insurance companies.

MR. GREGORY: When it comes to a public plan, though, no ultimatums from the president?

MR. AXELROD: Well, the president believes strongly in a, in, in a public choice, and he’s made that very, very clear. He’s made that clear privately, he’s made that clear publicly, and we’re going to continue to do so.

MR. GREGORY: Well, but why not say, “This is what it has to have or I won’t sign it”?

MR. AXELROD: Look, we have gotten a long way down the road by not drawing bright lines in the sand, other than on the major points, which is that we can’t add to the deficit with this healthcare reform, so it has to be paid fore, it has to reduce costs, and we want to make sure that all Americans have a quality, affordable health care. Those are the, those are the things that have to be accomplished. People have different ideas. We’re willing to listen to those ideas. But that’s where we’re–that–those are the imperatives that we have to sell.

MR. GREGORY: But the president’s not going to ram this through, he’s not going to ram his priorities through.

MR. AXELROD: Well, I just told you what the president’s priorities were, and he won’t sign a bill that doesn’t, that does not meet those priorities.

MR. GREGORY: Well, all right, but let’s be clear then. Can there be a successful outcome, in the president’s mind, without a healthcare reform plan that includes a public plan?

MR. AXELROD: I think the president wants a robust public option to compete against these private plans.

MR. GREGORY: He wants it, but he’s not demanding it.

MR. AXELROD: Well, look, as I said, we’re–we’ve not gotten as far as we’ve gotten by drawing bright lines in the sand. He’s going to fight hard for that.<i.snip

Oh tell me… how far have we gotten? hmmm? Where are we? You mean SOMEBODY knows where the fuck we are?

What news.

catnip - 29 June 2009

David Gregory is Satan. Obvously.

13. marisacat - 29 June 2009

I am sure we will shake a big fat white finger… and never never hear the echo of …. OURSELVES… 😆

Mr Chavez went on state television later in the day claiming that the coup leaders had taken away the Cuban ambassador to Honduras and left the Venezuelan ambassador by the road in the capital, Tegucigalpa, after beating him. He said that if troops enter his embassy “that military junta would be entering a de facto state of war,” and “we would have to act militarily”. snip

I feel very positive vibes (we live by vibes!) the junta plans to soon have a nuclear bomb… don’t you? Surely we have intercepted emails they have sent to No Korea asking to buy… and how much is the shipping…


marisacat - 29 June 2009

the thread at the Independent is pretty interesting…

14. marisacat - 29 June 2009


High court determines Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut were unfairly denied promotions because of their race.

Reverses decision that Obama’s SCOTUS nominee endorsed as an appeals court judge.

marisacat - 29 June 2009

ABC – full text of AP – on the ruling: 5/4… what else is new.

The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.

New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.

The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide, potentially limiting the circumstances in which employers can be held liable for decisions when there is no evidence of intentional discrimination against minorities.

15. catnip - 29 June 2009

Madoff sentenced to 150 years. Buh bye.

marisacat - 29 June 2009

…and no possibility of parole. Whammo!

His “contrition” sounded so insincere. So Sorry he hurt his family… and oh yes all you gullibles out there… right, you too.

16. catnip - 29 June 2009

Obama’s war:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai accused Afghan guards working for U.S. coalition forces of killing a provincial police chief and at least four other security officers during a gunbattle outside a government office Monday.

In a harshly worded statement that revealed the often testy relations between Karzai and American officials, the Afghan leader demanded that coalition forces hand over the private security guards involved. But the governor of Kandahar later said 41 guards connected to the incident had been disarmed and arrested by Afghan authorities.

The U.S. military said it was not involved in the shooting, calling it an “Afghan-on-Afghan incident.” However, Karzai’s statement suggested that the security guards sought refuge at a U.S. coalition base after the killings, and he “demanded that coalition forces prevent such incidents, which weaken the government.”

17. AlanSmithee - 29 June 2009

File this one under ‘WTF?’

Obama issues signing statement on $106B war bill

The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Wrote a bit about it over at my place…

marisacat - 29 June 2009

He is such an unmitigated shit. Really.


18. catnip - 29 June 2009

Oh yeah – now there’s a good idea. Hand over Michael Jackson’s kids to his parents who abused him.

NYCO - 29 June 2009

If they’re really his kids, of course. Which would add a whole new layer to that particular legal onion…

In other news, some websites are reporting that at least a dozen Jackson fans worldwide have committed suicide. Not sure where they’re getting that information, but I clicked on a link to a large online fan community which was full of info on suicide hotlines and support threads.

Personally, I can’t imagine what the inner life of someone must be like if they feel the need to kill themselves over Michael Jackson… but who am I to judge. I suppose we are all attached to impermanent things we only assume we understand, whether it is a “real” person in our lives or some far-off celebrity.

On the other hand, the only people in this whole sorry mess who come off as sincere and human at all, seem to be the fans. If they believe Jackson was a saintly, innocent bringer of peace, racial harmony and world unity, and feel moved to do charitable things in his memory, (shrug) so be it. At least they’re not likely to become a church, or a political movement… thank God.

catnip - 29 June 2009

In other news, some websites are reporting that at least a dozen Jackson fans worldwide have committed suicide.

I expect that will happen if Obama isn’t re-elected to a second term. Some of his fans are downright scary.

19. catnip - 29 June 2009
20. catnip - 29 June 2009

Monica Conyers Resigns:

Detroit (WWJ) — Effective July 6, Monica Conyers will resign her seat on the Detroit City Council. The 44-year-old Conyers, the wife of Democratic congressman John Conyers, admitted Friday in federal court to taking cash from a Houston company in exchange for her vote on a $47 million sludge treatment contract.

21. marisacat - 29 June 2009

Yes if you just live by headlines… why… we have ”left Iraq”.

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

U.S. Combat Troops Withdraw as Iraqi Forces Assume Control of Security in Cities [5:25 PM EST]

For more on this and other breaking news go to ABCNews.com: http://abcnews.go.com?nwltr=bn

A mere week ago I read the confusion is extreme, as the current Status of Forces Agreement mandates “no unilateral patrols”.

😆 …. of course that is laughing at the abattoir. Not really recommended.

22. marisacat - 29 June 2009

So… obviously we do not feel our internal presence in the country is threatened. hmmm Had he/Zelaya indicated he might follow the Ecuadorean model? Of putting an end to the base?

Miami Herald

No American forces were called back from the Soto Cano air base in Honduras, 60 miles from the capital of Tegucigalpa, where the U.S. has leased space and maintains a runway with helicopters and about 600 U.S. military, including mechanics.

”There are no changes there,” reported Jose Ruiz, spokesman for the Pentagon’s Southern Command in Miami, which directs the U.S. military in Latin America and the Caribbean. “We see no indication of a security threat at Joint Task Force Bravo.”

Likewise, Ruiz said, Southcom has kept its contingent of U.S. military officers at the U.S. Embassy in the capital, with no reinforcements nor plans to decrease their presence in response to the military ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

23. marisacat - 29 June 2009

Comment from Americablog… LOVE the duck noises. perfect!

One Butch 1 minute ago

It was so nauseating when he said the part about “there are still fellow citizens … who fail to see your families like their families and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted.” Uhhh…like YOU Mr. President? YOU who do not “believe” in marriage equality????

And all the creepy intonations of “this story”, this “story”of Stonewall, and how “this story, this struggle” continues today. He must have invoked “this story” about ten times. That was really weird. Obviously he is a total bigot completely out of touch with reality. He NEVER EVEN MENTIONED DOMA. My goodness. Unbelievable.

Also, the whole “is there a duck in the room” thing was surreal and hilarious- Whoever set off the duck noise was protesting, in their own way, and that was the best part of the whole thing. I think duck noises should be set off at his every appearance!!!

Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

that performance really was appalling.

24. catnip - 29 June 2009

Did leak from a laboratory cause swine flu pandemic? Same strain of influenza was released by accident three decades ago

marisacat - 29 June 2009

well somebody will b flipping out… we have 5 early third term pregnant women in ICU in the “inner Bay Area”, counties not named, from swine flu… and i htink last week we hit the recorded – so they tell us – 5th death in the BA.

Whatever it is, whereever it came from… whatever the illness… a mess.

catnip - 29 June 2009

We had the first confirmed case in town here last week in the middle school. I also saw a news blurb today about possibly having to get 3 flu shots this fall. Great. I get shots just to be safe.

And I certainly don’t believe that these strains are leaked “by accident”.

25. Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

Candidate to confront deputies over raid

ENCINITAS — Francine Busby says she will demand an explanation from the Sheriff’s Department about deputies breaking up a fundraising party held for her in Cardiff and arresting the host.

The party was Friday night in the 1300 block of Rubenstein Avenue, the home of Shari Barman, a Busby supporter.

It ended with Barman, 60, being arrested and jailed on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, and resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.

Pam Morgan, 62, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and one of the guests, also was arrested and taken to the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station, where she was cited for resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.

Other partygoers were doused with pepper spray, and seven deputies, a sergeant and a helicopter were dispatched to the neighborhood of expensive homes.

Busby, Barman, guests at the party and a Sheriff’s Department spokesman provided varying accounts of what happened.

Busby, 58, a Democrat seeking the 50th Congressional District seat in 2010, said she will meet with Sheriff Department officials today to find out who made what she called a “phony” noise complaint.

The Sheriff’s Department received the complaint at 9:33 p.m. from a man who said someone was talking on a loudspeaker and a crowd was cheering, keeping him awake.

From about 8 to 8:30 p.m., Busby said, she used an amplified microphone to talk to guests, whom she described as middle-aged supporters.

During Busby’s speech, Barman said in a statement yesterday, a man on the property behind her house shouted “disparaging remarks” about Busby and gay people. Barman lives in the house with her partner, Jane Stratton, 55.

After her talk, Busby said, people chatted.

“It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby said.

Neighbors on three sides of the house said yesterday there wasn’t much noise from the party. One man said he slept through it.

“We didn’t hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter,” said Natasha Cortina, 43, who said she and her two children were home with the windows open.

Hugh Elliott, 53, who lives closest to the house, said he heard a deputy’s radio, then arguing, coughing, crying and finally everyone spilling outside as the smell of pepper spray drifted over his back fence.

Deputy Marshall Abbott, who has worked for the department for about two years, was sent in response to the noise complaint, said Sgt. Thomas Yancey of the Encinitas station, which serves Cardiff. A member of the department’s psychiatric emergency response team, who was riding with Abbott that day, went with him. Abbott could not be reached for comment.

While trying to deal with the complaint, guests at the party surrounded Abbott and he felt threatened, Yancey said.

“We don’t like people standing behind us – we have Tasers, guns, clubs,” he said.

Big tough cop …

marisacat - 29 June 2009

what a mess… it certainly sounds liek the party was targeted and the police possibly happy to respond. In SF “noise” calls before 10 PM get no response.

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

Ever wonder if that soda cup you through out of a car window could cause real damage? There was a case in TX, and a reporter called up a physics professor to get the scoop:

It all started Wednesday, when I got an email from Brandon Webb, who handles PR for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UT Dallas. He wanted to know if I could talk to a reporter who wanted to know whether a Styrofoam cup could break a windshield. (That’s an advantage to being officially mediagenic – I don’t get contacted directly now – they go through my ‘people’ a.k.a Brandon.)

C’mon – a Stryofoam cup break a windshield? Not likely. Then the reporter emailed me the photos. The windshield looks like a rock went through it just above the inspection sticker. For you non-Texans, that’s a few inches from the bottom left side of the windshield.

Marilyn Mackey, the driver of the car with the broken windshield, was traveling about 65 mph down a highway. As a car passed her in the opposite direction, its driver threw a cup out his or her window. We know it was a cup of soda because, in addition to poor Marilyn getting wet, there is sticky dried cola-colored liquid all over the inside of the car. The police pulled part of the cup out of the windshield (which is how we know it came from Sonic) and found a shredded straw inside the car.

This called for a little research and one of Oullette’s rules of mediagenicity is to take the call when it comes and appreciate that reporters work on hard deadlines, so it had to be quick. The Sonic website has a nutrition calculator, complete with masses. A small Coke is about 3/4 of a pound, while a Route 44 (the giant size) is about 2 lbs. A regulation baseball is about 1/3 of a pound, and the ginormous sode weighs about as much as a bag of sugar, just to put things in perspective. A gallon of water weighs 8.3 lbs. The weight of the cup is negligible compared to the soda. Yes, I did check: A Diet Coke weighs only very slightly less.

The two cars were coming at each other and we’ll approximate that they were both going about 65 mph, which means that the speed of the cup relative to the car it hit was about 130 mph. (You never thought you’d need to use relative speed when you learned it in high school, did you?) If the driver of the oncoming car threw the cup instead of just releasing it, the cup would have an even greater speed when it hit the other car.

This is where the physicist side of me started to get fidgety. I get uncomfortable with numbers, because there’s a lot we don’t know.As you can see from the diagram,
if we really wanted to do this right, we’d need to know how close the cars got to each other before the cup was thrown, how hard the cup was thrown, the angle the cup was thrown, the drag on the cup, how much of the drink was left in the cup…

Some interesting details on how she approached the problem, as well as how the explanation needs to be tailored to the time a tv reporter has, then:

The reporter for Channel 8 asked me what the force actually meant. The best way to describe it would be that a scale placed on the windshield would register between 20 and 120 lbs when the cup hit. That quick calculation convinced me that it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility that a drink cup could actually break a windshield. If the cup were thrown, even a pretty bad arm could give it an additional 30-40 mph, so the force could have been much larger.

When we taped my interview for Channel 8, the reporter asked if it mattered how the cup was oriented when it hit. It does. Brandon – who is just a joy to work with – had pitched them the idea of taping the segment in front of a car using a Sonic cup as a prop, so I had the cup right there. This was a question that just came up, so I
hadn’t had a lot of time to think about it. That always makes me nervous because the last think you want is to be captured on tape saying something wrong.

It does make a difference. Compare what happens when a cup hits bottom first or side first, as I’ve tried to illustrate to the right. The bottom of the cup is really rigid, so there isn’t going to be a lot of give. If it hits side first, the cup is going to give. If you’ve ever grabbed a flimsy drink cup and it squished and the lid came off, that’s exactly what would happen. This is the exact same principle the SAFER barriers use for racetracks. Deforming the wall increases the time it takes for a car to come to a stop, and that decreases the force the driver feels. If the cup hit side first, it wouldn’t create as much force as if it hit end first.

And, of course, I wasn’t mentally or numerically agile enough to think to calculate the kinetic energy during the taping. A 2 lb cup of soda going 130 mph would have the same kinetic energy as a baseball thrown at … [snip … equation showing work] 320 mph.

Thought it was neat and I had to share. Too bad physics isn’t taught with interesting situations like this to catch people’s attention more often.

Madman in the Marketplace - 29 June 2009

bad homonym madman! “through” should be “threw”.

marisacat - 29 June 2009

moving this forward to the new thread madman… 😉

27. marisacat - 29 June 2009

gnu post…


……………… 🙄 ……………..

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