Ain’t no ramblin’ Rambler today, friends. This is Race Weekend here in Indy, and a special one at that. This Memorial Day Sunday will mark the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500.
Your chaplain won’t be going anywhere near 16th and Georgetown tomorrow, however. Officials announced the first sellout in the history of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, which means that an estimated 350,000 people will crowd into the track on the west side of the city to watch the race and participate in the general revelry. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not release official attendance numbers, but it is said that the Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event on the planet. And this year, for the 100th race, all kinds of records are being set.
Let’s get a bit of historical perspective: when the first 500 Mile Race was run:
- A first-class stamp cost 2 cents
- A Hershey chocolate bar cost 2 cents
- A bottle of Coca-Cola cost 5 cents
- A gallon of gas cost 6 cents
- A box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes went for under 10 cents
- The average cost of a new car was $1,280, and a new home, $2,650
And, oh yeah, Wrigley Field would open in 2 years, and the Cubs hadn’t won a World Series for 3 years (I’m still waiting).
Should be wild around here for the next couple of days. Here are some links for those of you who would like to learn more about this racing institution, celebrating 100 years this weekend.
- This year’s field of racers
- Indy native David Letterman’s memories of the race
- IMS photo galleries
- Trip Down Victory Lane: Interviews with 18 race winners
- 8 Wild Ideas that Debuted at the Indy 500, from Seat Belts to Mirrors
- 100 Most Interesting Facts, Milestones, and People of the Indianapolis 500
It’s a great weekend to live in Indy! So, come on everybody, start your engines, and let’s ramble at 225 mph today!
Is Hillary in big trouble?
The former First Lady and current presidential candidate found the temperature rising with regard to her email controversy. CNN reports:
While an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server continues, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General has raised the stakes with the release of a remarkable report finding that Clinton’s actions violated State Department policies and were inconsistent with federal record-keeping laws.
…the inspector general directly contradicts Clinton’s repeated assertions that she complied both with federal law and State Department policies. “At a minimum,” the report finds, “Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
Clinton’s defense has basically been, “Others did it too!” which sounds kind of like my kids when they were seven years old. I didn’t buy it then — will the public buy it now? The report does point out that Colin Powell also used private email and failed to protect correspondence, but is that going to be enough to protect Ms. Clinton?
Despite the inspector general’s report, criminal charges against Clinton remain highly unlikely. While the report provides previously nonpublic information relevant to Clinton’s motivations, the available public evidence remains insufficient to illustrate two facts needed for a criminal charge — that she knew that emails on her private server were classified and that she intentionally mishandled classified information.
No doubt this will constitute a major theme of discussion for some time in the run-up to the election.
Have you ever wondered how the U.S. military decided that Hiroshima was the city on which to unleash the atomic bomb? A fascinating article by Paul Ham at The Atlantic tells us.
A group in Los Alamos, New Mexico gathered in May, 1945 to discuss options. They were known as the Target Group, and this was the question before them: Which of the preserved Japanese cities would best demonstrate the destructive power of the atomic bomb?
General Leslie Groves, the Army engineer in charge of the Manhattan Project, had been ruminating on targets since late 1944; at a preliminary meeting two weeks earlier, he had laid down his criteria. The target should: possess sentimental value to the Japanese so its destruction would “adversely affect” the will of the people to continue the war; have some military significance—munitions factories, troop concentrations, and so on; be mostly intact, to demonstrate the awesome destructive power of an atomic bomb; and be big enough for a weapon of the atomic bomb’s magnitude.
Tokyo, Ham reports, had been eliminated from consideration because it had already been devastated and was in a state of rubble. The group narrowed down their choices to four: Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura. As they considered Hiroshima, they observed that it
…was “an important army depot and port of embarkation,” …situated in the middle of an urban area “of such a size that a large part of the city could be extensively damaged.” Hiroshima, the biggest of the “unattacked” targets, was surrounded by hills that were “likely to produce a focusing effect which would considerably increase the blast damage.” On top of this, the Ota River made it “not a good” incendiary target, raising the likelihood of its preservation for the atomic bomb. Hiroshima met the criteria — “a large urban center, the psychological impact of which should be “spectacular” to ensure “international recognition” of the new weapon.”
Ham’s article painstakingly describes the process as the discussion went through several committees. In one of his most troubling paragraphs, he writes
…not one of the committee men raised the ethical, moral, or religious case against the use of an atomic bomb without warning on an undefended city. The businesslike tone, the strict adherence to form, the cool pragmatism, did not admit humanitarian arguments, however vibrantly they lived in the minds and diaries of several of the men present.
The debate continued until it was finally decided that Hiroshima would be the site. Weather forecasts promised clear weather for August 6, 1945.
It is graduation season of course, and time for loads of boring speeches.
However, one of the better endings to a speech came from Hank Azaria, as he congratulated the students at Tufts University using his Simpsons’ voices.
…comes from Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famous evangelist Billy Graham.
Lotz, who has previously said that she believes the Rapture will occur during her lifetime, reasoned that the fact that her father is still alive might have something to do with the return of Christ.
“I thought it had to do with the Return of Jesus and I won’t go there right now, but I wonder also if [my father] is here … to be an encouragement to you — that there is a man that is still faithful, still has a heart for the Gospel, heart for God, heart for the lost and still prays,” she continued. “In fact, he prays in his preaching voice. He is still kicking. Maybe that will encourage you to be faithful through persevering in the ministry to which God has called you.”
In an interview with The Christian Post following her speech, Lotz clarified what she meant when she said her father’s aliveness could possibly have something to do with the coming of Christ.
“My father’s life is very unique. His life in ministry will never be equalled. The fact that he is still on this planet at 97 years of age, that is not an accident,” she explained. “God is not whimsical and he does everything intentionally. The fact that my father is still here, God is holding him for a reason.”
“One of the things that I thought possibly — only God would know — when my father goes to Heaven, one more time, the Gospel will be preached to the whole world,” Lotz continued.
She cited Matthew 24:14, which states: “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
“Every news outlet, I would think, they won’t be able to talk about Billy Graham without talking about the Gospel, I wouldn’t think unless they do contortions,” she stated. “So, maybe God is holding him for that particular moment in time, in timing for things that will happen at the very end of this age.”
In another prediction, Ms. Lotz said, “I believe America is in the last stage of this downward spiral into the abyss of God’s judgment.”
In a scintillating display of exegetical skill with Romans 1, she was somehow able to find how abandoning Creationism and embracing evolution leads to sexual immorality and ultimately judgment.
What is it with Billy Graham’s kids these days?
Reports are that there is a new Republican Super PAC that is focusing on getting a specific population of previously untapped voters to vote for Donald Trump.
You guessed it. Let me introduce you to “Amish PAC” — “the first Super PAC dedicated to getting plain voters to the polls.”
Amish PAC’s co-founder, Ben Walters, said his group’s goal is to mobilize a previously untapped bloc of conservative voters for a general election fight against Hillary Clinton. The group is focused on the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are each home to about 60,000 Amish people.
…Walters said in an interview that he and others started Amish PAC to reach out to this culturally isolated community, basically because no one else had tried it yet.
“It became clear that Republicans were doing a bad job of reaching out to probably one of the most deeply conservative pockets of potential voters in the country,” he said.
Word also has it that Bernie Sanders is making a last minute push to get out the Zoroastrian vote in his efforts to surpass Hillary Clinton.
Let’s not forget the real reason for Memorial Day.
Chris McGonigal, the photo editor at Huffington Post, has put together a remarkable and moving series of photos to remind us of those whose service and sacrifice we recall this weekend. I hope you’ll follow the link and spend some time reflecting on the toll war takes, not only on the fallen we remember on Memorial Day, but also on those they leave behind.
May these pictures be constant reminders for us all to pray and work for peace.
Finally, there’s only one song to play today. Two years ago, Jim Nabors sang his last rendition of “Back Home Again in Indiana” before joining with Mary Hulman George to say the iconic words, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”
Here it is, with wishes for a safe, happy, and reflective Memorial Day weekend.