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With Friends Like These …

You don’t need enemies.

I first heard this on NPR, but here’s the CNN version: White House criticizes Egyptian government and vice president

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama’s spokesman criticized the Egyptian government on Tuesday for arresting and harassing journalists and rights activists, and called comments by Vice President Omar Suleiman that Egypt is not ready for democracy “particularly unhelpful.”

The remarks by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reflected a growing U.S. dissatisfaction with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Suleiman, the intelligence officer Mubarak chose as his deputy to bring about reforms demanded by protesters who have convulsed Cairo and the Egyptian economy for more than two weeks.

In another sign of U.S. frustration with the pace of reform in Egypt, Vice President Joe Biden, in a phone call Tuesday with Suleiman, pushed for more progress, according to a White House statement.

Biden urged “that the transition produce immediate, irreversible progress that responds to the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” according to the White House statement.

So Suleiman essentially tells the world that all of the elections held since Mubarak came to power haven’t been free and fair, something that Egypt has denied that entire time, and that you can’t trust the Egyptian people to rule themselves. This is the guy that the White House wanted to deal with the problems in Egypt.

Look, the situation is simple – the people in Tahrir Square have no intention of leaving while Mubarak is still in power. Now Suleiman says he doesn’t believe in democracy, so they aren’t likely to trust him, if they ever did.

In a situation like this, it is time to call in Jimmy Carter and have him set up some elections. He does this a lot and knows who to call to get this organized. First you elect a parliament in free and open elections, and then the Egyptians can decide what they want to do with their country. Before you call the elections, Mubarak has to go, or the demonstrations won’t stop. Everyone admits that today’s gathering was possibly the largest yet.

February 8, 2011   3 Comments

Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 4

Yukon Quest trail

Sled DogThe original “quest” in the Yukon was the search for deposits of placer gold in the waterways. Someone is going to “find” four ounces of placer gold if they are the first team into Dawson. Everyone “discovers” a 36-hour break from the trail to catch up on their sleep, personal hygiene, and laundry. They’ll need it because the toughest part of the trail is ahead with the worst climbs and normally coldest temperatures on the Quest.

All of the teams are on the trail between Pelly Crossing and Dawson, a stretch of over 200 miles, so position reports beyond yesterday’s are pretty meaningless until they starting coming into Dawson. The climb up Solomon’s Dome isn’t that bad, but the descent to Dawson can be tricky, and the temperatures really start to drop on the other side.

The Fairbanks Daily News Miner has a nice picture of the Aurora Borealis over Braeburn, which has been providing more light at night than the crescent moon.

Update at 4PM: Apparently there have been some computer problems and nothing is coming out of Scroggie Creek. Hugh Neff’s GPS tracker is out of whack and hasn’t been reporting his position for about 14 hours. The race is going through an area of hills and mountains, so communications, other than satellite phones, is fairly nonexistent. [I wonder if I could get Al Jazeera interested in sled dog racing? They seem to be able to deal with these kinds of problems.]

Ken Anderson made it to Dawson with two dogs riding in the sled. The vets are saying that they are seeing a lot of “wrist” injuries, probably from ice chunks on the rivers that have thawed and refrozen.

Finally –

At Dawson
1 Hugh Neff (8)
2 Hans Gatt (13) +3 hours 1 minute
3 Ken Anderson (18)
4 Brent Sass (22)

Beyond Pelly Crossing
5 Sebastian Schnuelle (11)
6 Wade Marrs (15)I
7 Dallas Seavey (3)I
8 Allen Moore (24)I
9 Dan Kaduce (10)
10 Kelley Griffin (1)
11 Joshua Cadzow (16)
12 Michelle Phillips (4)
13 Jodi Bailey (17)R
14 David Dalton (23)
15 Mike Ellis (5)
16 Johannes Rygh (6)R
17 Clint Warnke (25)I
18 Tamara Rose (12)I
19 Jerry Joinson (21)R
20 Didier Moggia (7)
21 Hank DeBruin (19)I
22 Kyla Durham (14)R
23 Christine Roalofs (9)R

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, the small “I” indicates a Quest rookie who has competed in the Iditarod, and the small “R” indicates a total rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 8, 2011   Comments Off on Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 4

Gerry Willomitzer Takes The YQ 300

At 9:23PM PST [11:23PM CST] Gerry Willomitzer finished the “Loop” and returned to Pelly Crossing to take the win at the Yukon Quest 300. He was followed just under two hours later by Ed Hopkins with Martin Beck coming in at 5:10AM PST. Gerry spent a total of 2 days, 4 hours, and 12 minutes from his start time [02/05/11 5:12PM] to the finish.

Three teams have scratched : Tom Schonberger at Carmacks, Eric Pourteau at McCabe Creek, and, alas, Genesee Keevil, who left Carmacks and then returned. No word yet as to why, but it was probably unhappy puppies.

Kathleen Frederick is the only one of the remaining mushers who isn’t at or beyond Pelly Crossing, which is a bit worrying because a number of people left Carmacks after she did, and have arrived. It is possible that someone forgot to enter her arrival into the computer, which has happened before with people coming and going at all hours and times arriving on handwritten notes. [Update: She scratched at McCabe Creek.]

Finishers as of Midnight CST:

1 Gerry Willomitzer (57)
2 Ed Hopkins (54)
3 Mathias Beck (70)
4 Aliy Zirkle (64)
5 Susie Rogan (58)
6 Paige Drobny (72)
7 Misha Pedersen (73)
8 Nathan McNee (67)
9 Brian Wilmshurst (60)
10 Jessie Royer (74)
11 Rolf Meili (65)
12 Yuka Honda (56)
13 Oyvind Jakobsen (55)
14 Ryne Olson (62)
15 Fabian Schmitz (59)
16 Megan Routley (63)
17 Jonathan Lucas (71)
18 Maren Bradley (66)
19 Dyan Bergen (52)

Jessie Royer and Rolf Meili were both dinged with 2-hour penalties for failing to properly check out at Pelly Crossing.

Dyan Bergen is the only musher who hasn’t reached the finish line. She has stopped to give her dogs extra rest and is bound and determined to finish. [Update: Dyan made it in.]

February 8, 2011   Comments Off on Gerry Willomitzer Takes The YQ 300