Thursday, July 3, 2008

The More They Talk About Change....

....the more they stay the same. The buzzword of this election season is "change" - and from the looks of it, someone is going to be swept into the highest office in the land riding the wings of that elusive bird. Unfortunately for those who are buying into this idea of change I have some bad news: hypocrisy. Barack Obama's plan was to be a man of the people and run his election using federal dollars; but, an endorsement from Oprah and a few hundred million dollars later, he is changing his plans. McCain, the champion of fair election funding, is finding ways to circumvent the FEC - how convenient.

If a candidate can't be trusted to keep their word during a campaign, why should we believe that they will be any different in office? Both options for '08 appear to be opportunists purely interested in advancing their respective political careers. This is especially true for Barack Obama who has done nothing to-date that speaks otherwise. At least McCain put in work at the Senate level and helped author important legislation. Unfortunately, it just so happens that he may undo some of his most important political work with his bid for the presidency. Sadly, I doubt these actions will have any impact whatsoever on the campaign. It seems to me that actions are far less important than sound bytes and web sites.

Bloomberg 2012!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Maybe next time.....

When I tune into NBA broadcasts on ESPN, I never expect to learn anything significant from the studio show. The most insightful information is primarily provided by the dot com crew. Henry Abbott, Chad Forde, John Hollinger and Ric Bucher do the yeoman's work of analyzing the inner workings of front office and team dynamics. So, when something like the NBA Draft comes along I know it promises to be more sizzle than steak. I have no idea why this is the case. ESPN's NFL coverage offers draft gurus such as Todd McShay and the grand poobah of all gurus, Mel Kiper, Jr. Meanwhile, NBA fans are left with the lead color commentators for NBA broadcasts (Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson), who incidentally do fantastic work calling games, but seem slightly unprepared for this particular role. In addition, viewers get to listen to the dulcet tones of Stephen A. Smith interview the draftees in attendance. I'm not entirely convinced that he watches any more NCAA basketball than Angela Merkel (Germany's PM, so not too much if you're scoring at home). What chaps me off more than anything is the complete and utter lack of common sense on display. This was never more evident than the severe tongue lashing that Dick Vitale gave to the Knicks upon their selection of The Big Rooster, Danilo Gallinari, from Italy. The "experts" were quick to get in line to agree with the Bald Wonder. Vitale alleged that the Knicks organization and Knick fans need a player who can produce right away. There is no interest in developing a talent that might take a year or two to blossom. Excuse me while I lustily boo these morons. That line of thinking is precisely why the Knick organization is one of the top 3 worst run franchises in the sport. That is why the Knicks haven't had a first round pick in a few years, why Jared Jeffries makes $6 million a year, why they traded for Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis. They are an absolute laughing stock. When a team starts making moves to appease its fans it is a sure sign of an organization that has lost its way. The only time you mortgage your future for the sake of the present is if you have a REALISTIC shot at making the finals. I’m still not convinced that Dick Vitale watches more than 10 NBA regular season games a year. He’s become a parody of himself and not worth listening to unless he’s calling college games involving the best teams in the country.

So, to wrap this up, we've got one guy, Dick Vitale, who might not watch any NBA games and another guy, Stephen A. Smith, who might not watch any college games providing the viewer with expert analysis. To quote the Geico Caveman, "Maybe next time do a little research".


I have one thought on what actually happened in the draft. I think the Celtics missed a golden opportunity to draft a player with untapped potential in DeAndre Jordan. This is a guy with a million dollar body and a ten cent head. Motivation and experience are two factors working against him. The Celtics represent the perfect opportunity to remedy both of those characteristics and the risk at taking him on at pick 30 is minimal. The team already has their top eight rotation guys returning from a 66 win team that went on to win the Championship. Essentially Jordan would serve an apprenticeship position under Kevin Garnett for the next few years. If ever there was a guy in the league who could motivate a young big it is the newly certified Kevin Garnett. This is a guy whose cylinders are always firing on full bore even to the point that some reporters question the results of such an attitude. I think Giddens selection is similar, but the ceiling isn’t as nearly as high

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


As the long, arduous primary race has finally concluded on the left it is time to turn our attention to the candidates' first official act as leaders of their respective parties. Oftentimes the selection of a running mate serves as balancing of skills. Young paired with experienced (old just doesn't inspire as much confidence as experienced), domestic with international expertise, geographic considerations also come into play. It's all about making as many people as possible feel confident that a voice similar to their own will have the ear of the person sitting in the oval office.

Traditional campaign tactics would have John McCain select a running mate with a consistent conservative background in order to quell the fears of the base and ensure that he would win the votes of the religious right. I've heard on a number of news programs and read articles promoting this line of thinking. I think this is a horrible idea. This election can not be won using the Karl Rove playbook of 2000. Apathy will not reign supreme and invigorating your base will not be sufficient to win the Presidency. Gas is fast approaching $5, unemployment took an enormous leap, confidence in the banking industry is low and the war continues. Needless to say, people are looking for something different. Barack Obama modeled his entire campaign around one word: change. Whether or not he truly represents it is neither here nor there. He has been succesful by beating the drum of change for months. I would encourage John McCain to challenge Obama by actually representing change. I think he should select Sen. Joseph Lieberman from CT as his running mate. Lieberman is suffiently hawkish to fit in with the fundamental ideals of the McCain camp. This old running mate of Al Gore's from the 2000 election would signal an important change in the Republican party and would speak to the voters. The siren call of bipartisanship would speak to the undecideds and independents that may swing this election.

As for Barack Obama, I think that he should pull a page out of the land of Lincoln playbook and select his rival, Hillary Clinton, as his running mate. Most people don't fully appreciate the greatness of Lincoln. Sure he helped end slavery and was a tremendous orator, but what people don't realize is that he held the country and his administration together by including individuals who ran against him. Why? Because they were the best people for the job. His Sec. of Treasury, Salmon Chase, even ran against Lincoln in his election for a second term. This kind of behavior would immediately be met with a pink slip in today's world. Lincoln calmly held his position and refused to accept Chase's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury. That kind of equanimity is the change that this country craves. The fact that Obama and Clinton don't get along is not a concern to the American public. What is a concern is that Barack Obama is ambitious in his goals of alleviating the ills of the nation and surely could use the help. Whilst he is dealing with the poor economy and our poor foreign relations, how exactly does he intend on instituting a national health care plan that doesn't bankrupt the nation and actually works? Perhaps he should look to the person who spent the majority of her professional career working towards that very goal. Someone who already has a working relationship with the Senate (which is where the VP's office is located) and would be fully equipped to push the legislation. By pushing aside their differences they would represent change. I think Americans are looking for a change. They are looking for the end of cronyism. They are looking for qualified people to fill important positions in government. This certainly would count as change on that front.

If anything, this would make for terrific political theater. Just imagine Clinton and Obama standing shoulder to shoulder on stage smiling for the camera. Just imagine after the last eight years and think about a Republican and a Democrat sharing the spot light and the work load, fighting for a common goal. It would certainly make the TV studios happy. And after all, in this day and age, isn't that most important thing?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A New Fad Diet

I think it's safe to say that no person in the world weighing 400lbs, for those of you not down with the metric system or the British stone, is a healthy human being. All that weight, regardless of height is putting undue stress on the joints and organs of the individual. To think that this man lost 100lbs from his monstrous frame and had the gall to complain about it is absurd. Losing that weight probably added years to his life. Not that he has much to look forward to from the looks of it. I imagine that the evidence is stacked heavily against him if he has been in prison awaiting trial for a full eight months. Also, I find it patently absurd for him to be complaining about the lack of physical excercise opportunities. Who is he trying to kid?

Perhaps there should be a bullshit clause in civil litigation. I'd like to see people who submit claims of this ilk publicly humiliated. Perhaps the mere specter of being tarred and feathered would clear the courts of time wasting suits.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Its A Mugatu Thing

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! Has the whole world gone mad? At first, I thought I stumbled unknowingly onto a website with satirical stories like this one. Unfortunately, the link leading you to the children's book "My Pretty Mommy" is all too real. Now, I completely understand that there are difficulties present for youngsters with mothers who alter their physical appearance. I'm sure it can be a jarring experience. And, I would never begrudge anyone the opportunity to make that change. What I don't support is that this book irresponsibly promotes values that aren't appropriate for youngsters. They should not be exposed to what amounts to a marketing campaign extolling the virtues (read superficial values) of plastic surgery. That book cover is all wrong. The "pretty mommy" is standing there with her midriffed bared (Warning: I'm starting to sound like an old codger) surrounded by magical sparkles while her child looks up her in adoration. Its as if Tinker Bell descended from the heavens, waved her magic wand and made mommy pretty. In the immortal words of Jack Black in Anchorman, "What the hell, bra?"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dudley Debate

Last night the two remaining candidates duked it out debate style to win the hearts and minds of the voters in PA and beyond. I'll tell who wasn't the big winner last night....the viewers. I made it through approximately one hour of the shenanigans on ABC before I wished I was watching Robocop 2 again. That Officer Murphy played by Peter Weller really knows a thing or two about street justice. I would have liked to see him asking the questions of the two candidates rather than the 45 minute inquisition about past mistakes. Good grief. I'm shocked we haven't learned whether or not Sens. Clinton and Obama would like to take back that second snickers bar they ate after lunch in the second grade. Anyway, I thought the most important thing to happen during the debate was that Barack Obama looked and sounded exhausted. Hillary, too, sounded tired, but less so than her opponent. This effect was probably aided by the maniacal smile plastered on her face as questions were lobbed Obama's way regarding Clinton's Bosnia stance in the nineties. Overall, I give this debate four thumbs down. 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Might Want to Rethink That

I haven't written in quite some time. No reason for the hiatus. However, I felt inspired to write a little today.

As I watched the Kansas Jayhawks mount an improbable comeback against the Memphis Tigers in the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. The first was that this game was wildly entertaining. I haven't enjoyed a final game like that in quite some time. The second was that even though it was a fun game, it wasn't terribly well played. And, I had this thought way before the missed free throws. Looking at the shot chart at half time it was revealed that KU had scored exactly one basket that wasn't a layup or a dunk. How could that be? How could one of the best teams in the country make one jump shot in an entire half? The trend continued. Before Mario Chalmers of KU hit that memorable 3-pointer to tie the game in the waning seconds, Kansas had hit just a handful of jumpers. It seemed like both teams were comfortable driving blindly to the rim with the hopes of a defensive miscue or a put back. Anyway, I won't harp much more because it truly was a fun game to watch and because I was left with one feeling above all the rest. As Chris Douglas Roberts and Derek Rose were both bricking free throws that could have iced the game, I couldn't help but think of an interview John Calipari gave earlier in the year. He was talking about the new offense that he implemented this year. The image that is indelibly burned into my brain is of Calipari telling his interviewer his recruiting strategy. He mentioned that if you think that you're a nice player who can set picks and rebound that he has no use for you. He wants players that can dribble, shoot and above all, attack. The next question dealt with the free throw shooting woes of his team. A loose rendition of the quote with which he responds is that, "If I'm judging a recruit based on 25 different things, I put free throw shooting at 26." Well, do you think Coach Calipari might want to rethink that strategy?