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August 25th, 2012:

Saturday video break: My Back Pages

Song #55 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “My Back Pages”, originally by Bob Dylan and covered by The Byrds. For the first time in this series I can’t find a YouTube video of a song, in this case Dylan’s original, so all I have for you is the Byrds’ version:

This is another one of those songs where the title didn’t mean anything to me but I recognized the song as I heard it. I’m pretty sure the Dylan version isn’t really different, it just has that unique Dylan voice. Here’s a question to ponder: Do you think there are more Dylan songs that are better known as his or better known as someone else’s cover version? I’d like to see an expert on Dylanology do an accounting of that.

Armstrong gives up the fight against USADA

Wow.

Lance Armstrong

With stunning swiftness, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time.

Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, said Armstrong would also be hit with a lifetime ban on Friday. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, he could lose other awards, event titles and cash earnings while the International Olympic Committee might look at the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Games.

Armstrong, who retired last year, effectively dropped his fight by declining to enter USADA’s arbitration process — his last option — because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests he passed as proof of his innocence while piling up Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said. “The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense.”

USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.

“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes,” Tygart said. “It’s a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There’s no success in cheating to win.”

Tygart said the agency had the power to strip the Tour titles, though Armstrong disputed that.

You can read Armstrong’s statement here, and his lawyer’s letter to the USADA here. The funny thing about this is that if USADA does strip Armstrong of his titles, there may be no one else who can be awarded them.

The Tour has taken away titles from two riders: Floyd Landis in 2006 and Alberto Contador in 2010. Each tested positive for a banned substance while riding to his Tour victory.

Landis, a former teammate of Armstrong, iniataed USADA’s investigation of Armstrong.

If Armstrong’s titles are taken away it is unclear who would be declared the winner. Most of the cyclists behind Armstrong on the podium were suspended for using drugs including Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Alexander Vinokourov.

Here’s a radical idea: Why even bother testing? If they’re all doping anyway, then no one is really getting an advantage, and they playing field is sufficiently level. Well, it would have been level for everyone except Armstrong himself, who has passed every drug test given to him, and he managed to win anyway. I don’t really follow cycling, and I never paid that much attention to the Tour de France, even when Armstrong was dominating it. I have at best a surface-level knowledge of the history here. From that perspective, I have no idea why the USADA has been going after Armstrong so hard. I don’t get it. Be that as it may, it looks like the USADA will finally get what it’s been after for all these years. Mission accomplished, I guess.

Rick Perry is running for Governor again in 2014

He is until he specifically says he isn’t, anyway. I don’t see any reason to call what we’re seeing otherwise.

These corndogs don't pay for themselves ya know

Gov. Rick Perry has quietly replenished his depleted campaign war chest since he abandoned his presidential bid in January, fueling speculation that the longest-serving governor in Texas history will seek yet another term in 2014.

Perry raised $1.9 million from the start of the year through June — convincing donors to keep writing big checks even after a series of gaffes during his White House run left his political future looking murky.

His political committee, Texans for Rick Perry, now has about $3.3 million cash on-hand. This exceeds the $2.9 million he had midway through 2008, two years before he waged a nasty but successful battle during the Republican gubernatorial primary against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, then bested Democrat Bill White in the general election.

“He must be raising a lot of money for something,” said Scott Caven, a Houston banker who was finance director for Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns in 2002 and 2006 but later resigned because he didn’t agree with the governor’s decision to seek a third full term.

I admit that he could be raising money just for the hell of it. It is his core competency, after all. He could subsequently convert it into a PAC and continue playing in whatever races he wanted to. But it’s much more fun to do so as Governor, and why would he want to quit? It’s not like he’s being challenged for the post right now.

[AG GReg] Abbott raised $3 million during the first six months of the year, bringing his campaign funds to an impressive $14.5 million. He also has strong statewide name recognition, helping Texas sue the federal government 21 times since Obama took office.

But Eric Bearse, an Abbott spokesman and a former top Perry aide, said the attorney general isn’t worrying about his political future yet.

“The only thing that we’re focused on is maintaining a close, cordial relationship with the governor,” he said.

“They have been friends for a long time. They work closely together and will continue to do so

In the meantime, he won’t even stick his little toe in the water by endorsing his former Solicitor General Ted Cruz in the primary runoff for US Senate against Perry’s boy David Dewhurst. Does this sound like a man who is ready to fight for the right to run for Governor, or one who is waiting for it to be handed to him on a silver platter? Which, I admit, Perry could still do for him. I’m just not going to believe it till I hear it from his own mouth.

UPDATE: Burka suggests Abbott versus Dewhurst for Lite Guv, and George P. Bush to run against Perry; apparently there are some rumors to that effect. I can see the former, but the latter? Color me dubious.

Forget the Alamo

At least, forget about using it in a slogan.

Even if it’s possible to get too drunk to remember the Alamo, the state agency that oversees the shrine says that’s nothing to brag about on a T-shirt or frilly undergarment.

A word play on the slogan “Remember the Alamo” has set off a fight between a local businessman and the Texas General Land Office, which assumed custodianship of the shrine nearly a year ago.

Through his company, Qwercky Ltd., Christopher Erck, owner of Swig Martini Bar and The Worm Tequila and Mescal Bar downtown, is seeking a trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase, “I Can’t Remember the Alamo.”

The Land Office, in its first formal action to protect a state trademark on the phrase “The Alamo,” has argued the proposal is disparaging.

In a notice of opposition filed Wednesday, the Land Office argued the slogan dilutes the state’s trademark and denigrates the Alamo and men on both sides who died in the 1836 battle.

The “applicant’s mark disparages the deceased combatants of the Battle of the Alamo by communicating that their sacrifice was not worthy of memory or esteem,” the Land Office said in its opposition notice.

I don’t have a strong opinion on this. If we’re going to trademark “The Alamo”, it’s appropriate to protect that trademark. Seems a bit strange to me to have a trademark on “The Alamo”, but maybe that’s just my not-native-Texan-ness not understanding these things.