Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jenny McCarthy Wants To Taunt Paris Hilton in the Afterlife

This Hubba-Hubba moment was brought to you by hollywood_online@yahoo.com
Model/actress Jenny McCarthy would love to haunt socialite Paris Hilton if she becomes a spirit after death. The actress wants to offer the hotel heiress moral lessons and drive her mad with insults.

She says, "I'd try and give her (Hilton) some really good spiritual direction in her life. I'd also love to f**k with her, whispering in her ear things like, 'Your clothes are dirty! You're totally out of style! Eat something!'"

Meanwhile, McCarthy is amazed she's still alive and well because she's had numerous brushes with death. As a child the blonde beauty suffered a barrage of accidents including being hit by a car, and a near-fatal choking seizure.
She says, "I've had so many near-death experiences. When I was six I choked on a piece of candy and was in a room on my own but no one could hear me. In my head I was calling for my mom and then suddenly she appeared and did the Heimlich manoeuvre. Then, when I was seven, I was hit by a car, flew up in the air and landed on my feet. I have no idea why I am still here, actually. It really is unbelievable."

And she is convinced she is invincible: "I think when I do finally go, people will be saying, 'Thank god she's finally dead.'"

President Bush's Approval Rating Reaches New Low

According to several sources, President George W. Bush's approval rating is at a new low: 34 percent overall, 43 percent for his handling of the War on Irag, and 24 percent for his response to the Kartina matter. About 66 percent of those polled feel the country is on the wrong track.

And that's not alll, as Vice President Dick Cheney's approval rating is at a dramatically low 18 percent. "Lower than at Nixonian levels," to quote a line used by Dana Milbank, a guest on Keith Olbermann's show tonight.

At this point, and considering that his poll numbers have been sickly low after The Katrina Disaster and is taking a massive hit with the Dubai Port Scandal, it's hard to see how he can engineeer a dramatic improvement.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Vince Young and The Wonderlic Test: What Does the Test Really Prove? That America's Still Racist - Dan Marino Scored a 16

There has been much press about Texas QB Vince Young scoring only six of 50 questions correct on something called The Wonderlic Test, and that the test was incorrectly scored. Aside from the character assasination that has taken place against Young, and by some who don't want to see him succeed and are acting in a boarderline illegal and prosecutable fashion, I doubt the Wonderlic itself is being used properly. It's supposed to test an employees ability to solve problems related to a job.

I'm going to throw this bomb: The Wonderlic Test -- as it's applied -- has nothing to do with football and given the fact that the questions aren't directly related to the game, an athlete could sue an NFL team or the NFL itself for damages related to the improper use of the test.

I'm not kidding.

According to legal scholar Daniel L. Wong, the case of Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 considered and invalidated the use of the "Wonderlic Personnel Test," which purported to measure general intelligence, and the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test.

Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 431 (1975) also considered the Wonderlic test as well as the Beta Examination, which purported to test non-verbal intelligence. The key in these and subsequent federal decisions, is the extent to which employers are able to demonstrate that tests are truly related to job performance.

Jason Chung wrote an 18-page paper reporting in part how the Wonderlic is used as a way to block the assention of black college quarterbacks into the NFL. Chung writes:

The "Wonderlic" Argumentation

Another major barrier that African-American quarterbacks face stems from the increased use of the Wonderlic intelligence test through 1968 to 1999. Michael Callans, President of Wonderlic Consulting, advances the popular argument that:

[Quarterbacks] need to lead, think on their feet, evaluate all of their
options and understand the impact their actions will have on the
outcome of the game. Wonderlic helps team owners make the best
selections by identifying which players have the mental strength to
lead their team to victory.

This belief has been prevalent since at least the 1970s when Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL head coach to screen for players using a generic aptitude test - the Wonderlic Personnel Test.25 Landry was looking for a tool to quantify intelligence and draw a correlation between that and performance. In the subsequent 30 years upon its introduction the Wonderlic has become a key performance prognosticator for many NFL franchises. Though most prospective NFL players are put through the test, those players in strategic (read white) positions are scrutinized more closely. NFL scouts believe that the test will help them identify quarterbacks that will assimilate NFL playbooks quicker and identify quarterbacks that make better decisions.

Generally speaking, a score in the mid-twenties is considered acceptable for a prospective NFL quarterback. In 1994, the Cleveland Browns were looking for a quarterback that scored at least a 24 on the Wonderlic. These high expectations have acted as an imposing intellect barrier for African-American quarterbacks who, as an ethnic group, have historically had a tough time meeting this benchmark and thus were discounted from consideration by some NFL teams due to a deficiency of intellect. There were but few black quarterbacks, the argument went, that had the mental capacity to succeed on the test and therefore on the field. An examination of relatively reliable Wonderlic scores shows that black quarterbacks, more commonly than white quarterbacks, score lower than 20: Jeff Blake in 1992, Kordell Stewart in 1995 and Steve McNair in 1995 all scored 17 or lower.

The failure of African-American quarterbacks to meet the lofty mid-twenties standard has spawned criticism of the whole procedure. The traditional argument against the Wonderlic has been that it, like all aptitude tests, was culturally biased and therefore systemically set up to ensure that black athletes receive lower scores. This charge, until recently, was the primary accusation levelled against the Wonderlic.

However, more recent studies have exposed a more illuminating fact. A study by David Chan et al. noted that African-Americans adults in general have a lower regard in general for aptitude tests than their Caucasian counterparts which caused them to score lower on the tests. After motivation was given to black test-takers their scores improved until there was no
discernible difference between black test scores and white test scores.

Critics point to additional flaws with the Wonderlic system other than race-related lower test scores. It has been pointed out that there are some "Wonderlic smart" players that are "football dumb". Numerous NFL coaches, including Tony Dungy and Denny Green, note that good Wonderlic scores do not necessarily equate success in decision-making prowess on the

Indeed, the converse is also true, low Wonderlic scores do not necessarily signify weak quarterback play. For instance, Dan Marino, the NFL's all-time leading passer, only scored a 16 but by all accounts he was very intelligent football-wise.

Still, because it remains the only quantifiable method of measuring intelligence the Wonderlic continues to be used by NFL teams. As a consequence, because of the reasons stated above, it seems black quarterbacks will generally continue to score lower on the Wonderlic than their white counterparts. If the period from 1968 to 1999 is any indication, many black quarterbacks will be shunned due to a low score and "low intelligence".

That is what's happening today. But since it's true that the Wonderlic does not actually measure football related aptitude, then the NFL itself is wide open for a class action lawsuit if this problem is not cleared up -- a legal battle the league would surely lose.

It would lose on the very basis that its own coaches can't defend the claim that it tests "football intelligence" yet that's the image being communicated by much of the media and some NFL teams. If a player scores poorly on it, they, like Vince Young, are branded as not football smart, an observation anyone would have to be a total fool to accept in the case of Texas' National Champion QB.

And with that, someone must explain how Miami's NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Marino -- who scored a 16 on the Wonderlic -- became one of the league's best signal callers in its history? A 16 on the Wonderlic means that Marino had an IQ of less than 100. Do you believe that? I didn't think so.

Someone out there better appologize to Vince Young.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tom O'Neil: Is secret homophobia fueling a possible 'Crash' upset?

Tom O'Neil of the LA Times penned this column which I just read. It's not designed to be directly linked to, so here it is:

"I don't think he's right, but there's some of it. I think Brokeback will win because it's got too many mainstream A-List Hollywood people behind it. But we'll see.

Is secret homophobia fueling a possible 'Crash' upset?

Something weird is going on among Oscar voters — and it's also going unspoken. "Crash" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" have their passionate supporters who gush with their honest love of those best picture nominees, but most non-"Brokeback" votes I hear from Oscar voters are really anti-"Brokeback."

Scads of academy members fume to me when they tattle on how they're inking their ballots, "I'm not voting for 'Brokeback'!" Then they calm down a bit and add, "I'm voting for (fill in the blank)" and give a positive reason to justify their decision for picking an alternative. In most cases I hear contrary votes for "Crash," but there's also surprising strength for "Good Night, and Good Luck." So far I've heard equal numbers of votes for "Brokeback" as "Crash," with "Good Night" not far behind. The best picture race is really thisclose.

It's the fury that voters express when mentioning "Brokeback" that's so odd and suspicious. In some cases I believe they're people who think the film is overrated. Or they're just weary of gay cowboy jokes. But in the majority of cases I suspect it's something else and something bad that they feel they can't utter out loud, so they're holding it in. You can see it on their faces.

Could it be secret homophobia? Perhaps. The academy is comprised mostly of straight white guys with white hair who know it's intolerable to bash gays in lavender-friendly, liberal Hollywood. But I really don't think it's that in any large way. Instead, I think it's the same frustration non-Jews feel when there's a glut of Holocaust films leading the Oscar pack in Jewish-friendly Hollywood. They want to exclaim, "Enough already with the Holocaust films!" This time I suspect many straight Hollywooders — who are totally cool with gay people in general — are fighting the urge to shriek, "Enough already with the gay persecution films!"

This Oscar year there really is a glut of them and, if I'm right in my predictions, we'll see the all-gay Oscars on March 5 with victories in the top categories by "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote" and "Transamerica."

How widespread is this anti-"Brokeback" tide? It's hard to say because it's mostly unspoken, but it's very real and it makes predicting the best picture race a crapshoot. It's quite possible that we could see another one of those best picture/director splits that used to be so rare, but are now commonplace with "Chicago," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Gladiator" winning best picture while the director laurels went to, respectively, Roman Polanski ("The Pianist"), Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan") and Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic"). Whatever happens this year, it's clear that Ang Lee has the best director trophy in the bag.

In the end, I believe "Brokeback" will win because there's a clear voting pattern in the top category recently: academy members want to be on the winning team. Front-runners tend to win even when there's a growing surge against them. Backlash against "The English Patient" was so widespread that "Seinfeld" did a whole episode about it, but it still won. Even though "A Beautiful Mind" was under attack on all fronts a few years ago, it nonetheless prevailed. "Chicago" pulled off its best picture victory even though late-breaking momentum for "The Pianist" was so strong that it won the top prizes for director, actor and screenplay. That bodes well for the gay cowboys remaining tall in the saddle on Oscar night.

Arkansas Governor Huckabee Refers to Legislators as "Puppets." - Live on C-SPAN Today

I just heard Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gain a problem of running off at the mouth when at the National Governors Association and after a skit with Sesame Street puppets, he said "I never thought in my time as Governor I'd spend part of it talking to puppets. Kind of reminds you of the legislature." To which the crowd said "Ooo," as if to say "He just blew that one."

Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger at the National Governors Association Conference live on C-SPAN - Now

Arnold is the talking about health care and physical fitness -- "Communicating Heath Messages" -- to the nations governors right now. I'm listening for any news. Right now he's poking fun at Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's much-reported fitness habits.

(By the way, Arnold's once swollen lip is just fine.)

The California Governor says that lack of excersize has a terrible impact on kids, including depression. He also stresses that the Department of Heath Human Services was not (and still it not) communicating with the Department of Education. There's no coordination. "On the one side, they're giving them fast foods, and on the other, they're taking physical fitness away," he said.

What's interesting is he's talking to the group of our countries governors, and C-SPAN gets this crowd shot full of -- overweight double-chinned people.

Arnold said he signed into law a bill that prohibits junk food in the schools. "We want to make sure that we're giving kids the chance to excersize 45 minutes." He's not trying to make athletes -- they turn to a shot of Maria wearing a nice leather jacket -- he said. Just healthy people.

Arnold ended his speach with his famous line: "I'll be back," and was followed by Sesame Street's Elmo and Rosita.

Secret Service agents say Cheney was drunk when he shot lawyer

I got this item from my friend Richard Liberman, who got it from....You'll see. If it's true -- and it bears no image of being false -- it was a classic case of irresponsibility that the VP should thank god didn't end in Mr. Whittington's death.

The Rant
Secret Service agents say Cheney was drunk when he shot lawyer

Feb 22, 2006, 07:35

Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago say Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

Agents observed several members of the hunting party, including the Vice President, consuming alcohol before and during the hunting expedition, the report notes, and Cheney exhibited "visible signs" of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions.

According to those who have talked with the agents and others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up.

We talked with a number of administration officials who are privy to inside information on the Vice President's shooting "accident" and all admit Secret Service agents and others say they saw Cheney consume far more than the "one beer' he claimed he drank at lunch earlier that day.

"This was a South Texas hunt," says one White House aide. "Of course there was drinking. There's always drinking. Lots of it."

One agent at the scene has been placed on administrative leave and another requested reassignment this week. A memo reportedly written by one agent has been destroyed, sources said Wednesday afternoon.

Cheney has a long history of alcohol abuse, including two convictions of driving under the influence when he was younger. Doctors tell me that someone like Cheney, who is taking blood thinners because of his history of heart attacks, could get legally drunk now after consuming just one drink.

If Cheney was legally drunk at the time of the shooting, he could be guilty of a felony under Texas law and the shooting, ruled an accident by a compliant Kenedy County Sheriff, would be a prosecutable offense.

But we will never know for sure because the owners of the Armstrong Ranch, where the shooting occurred, barred the sheriff's department from the property on the day of the shooting and Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas III agreed to wait until the next day to send deputies in to talk to those involved.

Sheriff's Captain Charles Kirk says he went to the Armstrong Ranch immediately after the shooting was reported on Saturday, February 11 but both he and a game warden were not allowed on the 50,000-acre property. He called Salinas who told him to forget about it and return to the station.

"I told him don't worry about it. I'll make a call," Salinas said. The sheriff claims he called another deputy who moonlights at the Armstrong ranch, said he was told it was "just an accident" and made the decision to wait until Sunday to investigate.

"We've known these people for years. They are honest and wouldn't call us, telling us a lie," Salinas said.

Like all elected officials in Kenedy County, Salinas owes his job to the backing and financial support of Katherine Armstrong, owner of the ranch and the county's largest employer.

"The Armstrongs rule Kenedy County like a fiefdom," says a former employee.

Secret Service officials also took possession of all tests on Whittington's blood at the hospitals where he was treated for his wounds. When asked if a blood alcohol test had been performed on Whittington, the doctors who treated him at Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial in Corpus Christi or the hospital in Kingsville refused to answer. One admits privately he was ordered by the Secret Service to "never discuss the case with the press."

It's a sure bet that is a private doctor who treated the victim of Cheney's reckless and drunken actions can't talk to the public then any evidence that shows the Vice President drunk as a skunk will never see the light of day.

A follow up to "Misunderstandings, Race, and Ass Holes in San Francisco"

The next day, Friday, after my Aqua horror, I went to a nice place called Americano to enjoy the Friday sun and a glass of wine in a place crowded with nice-looking women, and where I always see people I know. In this case, the person was Kevin Shannon.

Kevin's a friendly bespectacled real estate lawyer of Irish decent who lives and practices in San Francisco. Over the years, we've always had great -- and some times heated -- conversations about politics, race, and society.

See, I've noticed from talking with people I know that I'm one of the few African Americans who openly talks about a race-based problem with anyone who may be the cause of it, or with someone white. Most blacks I have talked with and observed don't do this. It's a total shame, but a pattern. I contend that you can't know if someone's your true friend if you can't be yourself around them. Plus, they can't say they really know you.

Anyway, I told Kevin about the Aqua horror, as I will call it, and he said that though I may have been correct, sometimes it's not necessary to counsel the person. He used the example of our mutual friend, Bill Patton, who passed away two years ago. Bill was a very energetic African American man who had a smile and a kind word for everyone. He always went to the bars in SF, but only drank water.

With all of the people Bill knew, you'd think that there would be thousands of people at his funeral. There were about 50. I was really hurt by that. It opened my eyes.

Kevin said that Bill had a great way of dealing with ass holes and apparently racist people. He used a humble approach. For example, some woman -- white -- bumped into him and spilled her drink and his too. But instead of appologizing, she blamed him and started yelling. He said "I'm just a poor black man from the South" and that disarmed her.

At one point a long time ago, I was a little like that, but it was before my heart problem in 1991, where I thought I had a heart attack. After medication, and seeing a therapist on the advice of the doctors, the psychologist realized that many of the encounters I had in society bothered me, and yet I could have changed things by mentioning my hurt or desire on the spot.

That observation opeened me up. It caused me to write, and shortly after that became a columnist for The Motclarion, and generally far more expressive. Plus, I felt better.

Now, Bill passed of a heart attack at 70 years old. I think Kevin's right about Bill's approach and my need to "pull back" a little bit. But the other side of the coin is that loosing two parents and buring them, as I did last year, has an impact on how you view life. I don't want to waste my time on earth not expressing what I see, for better or worse.

As much as I love Bill Patton, I have to be myself. I have a fear of being subordinated by the society around me. I'll never let that happen. Perhaps that's the wrong way to look at things. But Kevin's point is that I should take a look at a situation before I point an accusatory finger.

I try to. But in the retrospect of the Aqua Horror, I really did do that.

Bill had a formula that did work for him. But what got me was that only 50 people came to his funeral. That was insulting, and when I think about what Kevin said, I keep coming back to the thought that maybe his heart couldn't take all of the pounding of society with no real outlet, and so after a time it just gave up. That almost happened to me and I'm fearful of another episode.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Misunderstandings, Race, and Ass Holes in San Francisco.

See it centers around a little outing that I planned with Chrissy, who I always run into at sports industry related fuctions. The latest was The Leigh Steinberg Party at the Super Bowl. ( A great party, but more about that later.) She is perhaps the only person other than my best friend Beth Schnitzer, who actually recognizes me and says hello.

So, I thought getting together and talking would be fun, as she's been quite nice for a while now. I didn't have any date idea in mind; frankly it was the business of finding out what a person -- her in this case -- was doing that may be such that we could work together in the future.

Anyway, Chrissy has the idea of inviting both Beth and Gary. I thought that as a good idea as Gary's a friend who helped me on the Super Bowl: Oakland campaign and who sat next to me at Super Bowl XL (I got his ticket for him).

Well, I was informed by Beth that Gary and Chrissy had dated. I feared another drama scenario ahead, and started at one point to back out of it. Then I asked my friend Sarah to come as Beth could not make it, but Sarah had a mid-term. So, I was stuck. And still my gut was saying it wasn't going to go well.

I was right.

We planned to meet at Aqua, which is one of my favorite San Francisco places to visit. I go on Thursdays as Kathy's the bar tender there and I've known her for about 16 years.

Anyway, I arrived at Aqua at about 6:49 PM and seated right just as I walked in was JT and Mary. JT is someone I met six years ago, while I was working to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland. At any rate, he was trying to gain the NFL as a client to a company called Dream - something or other. I said I could help him do that. At any rate, the conference call with the CEO of Dream - something or other - was annoying. The guy said to me "Why do I need you to get into the NFL." And I felt he was being nasty for no good reason, so I told him he should try it on his own, and essentially ended the conversation. I had no time for rude ass holes, and that's what he was being.

Well, JT was upset that I didn't try harder. But the stakes were not that high because the person I was talking to didn't sell me on the idea of working with him; it's a two way street, and they needed me much more than I needed them.

Well, I had not talked with JT for some time after that. Meanwhile, Beth had developed a friendship with him, and so he started showing up to her parties -- but he'd never say anything to me. Wouldn't even look at me for a time. But after a while he came to so many events that I got rather annoyed with his unnecessary behavior, and so complained about it to Beth on several occasions. Whatever the connection, he at least speaks now. But we've only had one coversation of meaning since the "warming" period.

Well, JT was sitting with M Condy, who's husband Charles owns Aqua and three other restaurants. M is also a friend of Beth's. M's OK, but at times she's more than a bit weird toward me. That happens only when she's not with Beth and I see her in public. For example, I was recently at The Balboa Cafe and standing at the far corner of the bar. Where I stand is such that if you order a drink at any place at the bar, and look toward the back of the place, you can't miss me. But that's not why I stand there.

I do so because it gets me away from the crowd, and frankly a few of the white males who walk in there can be a little "stupid" in what they say to a person of color after they've had a few drinks -- this even happened once when Beth and I met for a drink about a year ago. Since I'm totally tired of anything that smacks of racism, I stand away from the crowd to avoid the desire to smack someone upside the head who might say something stupid. Now that written, it doesn't happen often at all. I like The Balboa Cafe especially when the regulars walk in, but that's another story for another time.

At any rate on the day I'm thinking of, M was there but when I looked over at her, would not allow her eyes to meet mine. Now, I'm the only black person there, and given where I stood impossible to miss. So, I resolved that I would treat her just like she treated me; I said nothing. I did this until a really nice and lovely Irish woman came over and said "We were debating whether you played Rugby or Cricket." I laughed. That woman turned out to be with a group of friends, which included Mary. So, I was pulled over, and then Mary talked to me. At that point, I was concerned that she had too much to drink, and so got her some water. She was fine later.

So, back to the present. M said hi, but there was no place to sit over there. I wanted to find a stool and order food. So, I went down to the other end of the bar and found the only place to sit. As I did, Aqua's great host Jean Pierre came up to say hello. A nice person. Consistently gracious.

I ordered wine and the Aqua Classic Appetizer, which is a great dish of chopped Steak Tar Tar and other seasonings. Then Chrissy arrived and Gary showed up about 25 minutes later. We were fine, until two things happened: first she and Gary had broke up, and then were acting like, well, kind of cheezy, feeding each other food and acting like they're on a date rather than hanging with a friend -- me. Gary seemed more like he was concerned that he was competing with me for her, which wasn't the case. It was all bothersome to me. But the kicker was this weird ass hole who JT and Mary were talking to and who came over to where we were. He shook Gary's hand and Chrissy's, but basically ignored me even though Gary introduced is -- until I called him on it. He then walked over, but had nothing of value to say -- I can't even remember his name. All I got from his words -- to Gary, not me, even as he was standing next to me -- was that his dad owned some resort and that he knew some woman in Chicago who was a "Wrigley" as in the chewing gum and baseball stadium.

Big deal.

But Gary and Chrissy never made an effort to stop the guy from being an ass hole, and so I was out of the conversation they all were having. I was pissed. For one thing, I never got to talk with either one of them about NFL stuff, or anything else. And Gary and I had unfinihed business that was for him, not me. And it was a friendly gesture on my part, this deal I was trying to craft for him.

As Gary was talking to the ass hole, I told Chrissy about his behavior and how from my perspective the guy may have a race issue spinning in his head. I mean he walked up and saw me, a black guy sitting with a blond woman, so he could be racist, given his response toward me. But she said "I don't understand this because I don't see color." I tried to explain to her a black person's point of view, but she wasn't listening and didn't try to, which irked me.

So, we continued to talk and M walked over. After a point she complained that Beth wasn't there and "always says she's going to be somewhere and doesn't show up," to which I quickly corrected her that her statement wasn't true and she should not even say that to Beth, explaining that I would come after her -- I was playing -- if she accused Beth of that. The reason I came off so hard was that Gary and Chrissy were nodding there head in approval of what Mary was saying, and so I got pissed. I don't like "two-faced" behavior. Beth's a friend, and so they should honor her as a good friend, not talk about her behind her back.

Mary walked back to the other side of the bar and we started talking with a gentleman named Wally, I believe. After we told jokes somehow Chrissy started talking about USC QB Matt Leinart and how she thought he was cute. I listened to her talk and then asked about Vince Young. She said "I'm not attracted to him, and I don't date athletes." So I asked if she really just preferred white athletes since Matt Leinart's also a football player. "No," she and Gary and Wally -- all of whom are white -- said.


At that point, I'd had enough. They got their bill; I paid mine. On the way out, Gary and Chrissy -- she was his ride home or whatever -- stopped to talk to Mary and JT and the other people. D Blackford, who also worked with me on the Super Bowl and stopped to talk earlier -- a good bright spot in an other wise dark evening -- asked where I was going.

"I'm leaving," I said. And that was that.

I didn't hear from Gary or Chrissy, and I didn't contact them. And it was Gary who wanted NFL business -- and I was trying to help him -- gratis. Now, I don't care one way or the other.

Earlier in the encounter Chrissy said "I don't see color." I really hate when people say that -- It's not true. No. I've never heard anyone black, Asian, or Latino or Jewish say that -- only whites who are Irish or English, but not Italian.

Those same people who say that are the first to mark "white" when stating a dating preference in a personals ad. I think Chrissy meant well and she's certainly not mean sprited, but just isn't sensitive to how what she says may impact people of color. So, in a way she's right -- she doesn't see color.

And that's the problem.

I need to blog more!

Wow, I didn't realize I had not written a single post since Wednesday. I've got to change that one. We've got over 20 blogs now, and I suppose I should establish the one-post-per-blog-per-day minimum. Sounds like a plan.

Colts GM Bill Pollian on NFL Network Now

NFL Network's Rich Eisen is talking to Indianpolis Colts President GM Bill Polian at the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine, so I thought I'd try to type what he says. The quotes are close to exact, but not right on.

On the Scouting Combine:

"First combine was in 1984 and with about 150. Now it's grown into a major event.

On Reggie Wayne's new contract and not franchising RB Edgerin James:

"Hopefully, we will be able to get him back. That may happen if there's no CBA. Reggie's been an important part of our team...We wanted to get him signed." Poliann said it would have made no sense to "tag" Edgerin as the number was "untenable."

On the 2006 draft:

We have three or four people contribute from the draft each year: Cato June, and others. The way our model is set we have to have contributions from younger players.

On the CBA:

We're wating to see what happens. All of the good things we have had come from labor peace. We've got Peyton (Manning) and Tony (Dungy) and have been to the playoffs six out of the eight years. How did we get there as a team in the smallest stadium in the league? The salary cap.

On the Competition Commiteee and Mike Holgren leaving it:

Rich Eisen asked if the Super Bowl Officiating problem had to do with it: "Absolutely not. He wants to spend more time with his family..,.He may change his mind in Florida.

Polian says that the committee is not going to look at just the officiating problem but the whole game.

That was it. Polian's off to other matters.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Colts WR Reggie Wayne Signs New Contract - RB Edgerin James' Future with Team in Doubt

Colts re-sign Wayne but probably won't keep James

By Mike Chappell, The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS -- Reggie Wayne won't be designated the Indianapolis Colts' "franchise player," but his value to the franchise has been confirmed with a lucrative six-year contract. However, it's doubtful that development increases the possibility of running back Edgerrin James returning for the 2006 season.

In line to be slapped with the franchise tag before Thursday's deadline, Wayne agreed on Wednesday to a six-year deal, according to his agent, David Dunn. Dunn would not disclose financial parameters of the contract, but it's believed to be worth approximately $40 million with bonuses of nearly $13.5 million.

Team president Bill Polian could not be reached for comment.

The contract ties Wayne to the Colts through the 2011 season and keeps intact an elite receiving corps that includes seven-time Pro Bowl selection Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley.

It also keeps the franchise designation available to the Colts for one of their other players who will become an unrestricted free agent on March 3. The tag must be used by 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

However, there's a strong possibility the team will not use the tag because of the steep financial commitment required to place it on linebacker David Thornton ($7.169 million) or defensive end Raheem Brock ($8.332 million).

And the Colts almost certainly will not use the tag on James as they did following last season.

Polian reiterated last week that it would be virtually impossible from a financial standpoint to use the tag once again on James. The cost of a one-year contract for James in 2006 would be nearly $11 million, which is a 20% increase over his '05 salary cap number ($9.081 million).

Polian described the $11 million franchise number for James as "untenable."

To retain both James and Wayne, he added, would require significant changes in the current roster. That probably would entail "drawing a line through" the names of several players, cutting them to make room for Wayne and James under the projected salary cap of roughly $95 million.

"And I don't know if you can draw enough lines, even if you wanted to," Polian said. "And you may not want to because it would weaken the team so much in other capacities."

Wayne was one of 13 Colts eligible for unrestricted free agency, but there never was a possibility of him hitting the open market. When asked during the '05 season about Wayne's future with the Colts, Polian replied, "Reggie Wayne isn't going anywhere."

The team's 2001 first-round draft pick has elevated his game every season. Wayne, 27, led the Colts with a career-high 83 receptions in '05, ending Harrison's six-year run as their leading receiver.

"Reggie's thrilled to stay with the Colts," Dunn said. "He could not respect the organization or Bill Polian or (coach) Tony Dungy any more than he does. And he has the maturity to understand the importance of winning."

In five seasons, Wayne has registered 304 receptions for 4,164 yards and 28 touchdowns. He topped the 1,000-yard mark in 2004 and 2005 when he established himself as one of Peyton Manning's top targets. He caught a then-career-high 77 passes for 1,210 yards and 12 TDs in 2004 when he became part of the NFL's first receiving trio to top 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. He followed that with last year's 83-catch, 1,055-yard season as his role continued to expand.

The move makes Wayne one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers. But Wayne wanted more than money out of his contract.

"He thinks in terms of enjoying the situation with the team and the offense he's familiar with," Dunn told The Associated Press. "And having Peyton (Manning) throwing you the ball and Coach Dungy doesn't hurt. He thinks it's a good situation."

While Wayne could have left the Colts for another team, where he could have avoided being overshadowed by Harrison, the Colts' career receiving leader, he opted to stay with a team that has won three straight AFC South titles and been to one conference title game.

"Over the last month, I became acutely aware of how much he wanted to win," Dunn said.

Wayne's signing means the Colts will keep their passing attack intact long-term.

Harrison signed a six-year, $66 million deal in December 2004. Manning, a two-time NFL MVP, signed a seven-year, $98 million deal in March 2004. The Colts' No. 3 receiver, Stokley, agreed to a lucrative five-year deal late in the 2004 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

President Bush's Is Right; CNN's Lou Dobbs and Others Wrong About Port Deal

I see no concreate reason why the US can't suddenly partner with this organization of long standing. They're not new.
To block the deal for essentially racist reasons is not American.

Moreover, the matter of Terrorism is more complicated than many of us chose to understand. You can complain, bitch, and moan, but like it or not, this deal is actually best for the US and the World. I'd rather have an Arab firm -- with the great attention it gains -- run some cargo transactions, than a British firm I know nothing about. Oh, except that they're white.

NFL Revenue Sharing with Players - I Say Scale The Percentage

The impass between NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw seems to be over the size of the percent of revenue the league will share with the players. I say, rather than have a fixed percentage, scale it with repect to overall increase or decrease in annual league revenues. Simply, if there's an increase, the percentage is somewhat greater; if there's a decrease, it reduces.

Now, the measure should be gross revenues, not net revenues. Or perhaps a better measure is revenues minus player playroll for that year. This way, if there's a year where, for a combination of reasons, overall player payroll is higher than the previous year (incentives, etc.), but overall NFL gross revenue is lower, the percentage would be lower than the year before.

Just an idea.

NFL is headed toward a labor showdown by the end of this week - Washington Post

Deadline Looms For NFL, Players
Attorney: Deal 'Seems Doubtful'
By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 19, 2006; Page E01

The NFL is headed toward a labor showdown by the end of this week barring an unlikely last-minute breakthrough in negotiations, Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw said, signaling that the labor peace that for 13 years has been a key reason for the league's success is on the verge of dissipating.

A written message sent Friday from a union attorney to NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said it "seems doubtful" that team owners and players will be able to settle on an extension of their collective bargaining agreement beyond next season. Upshaw, who has worked closely with Tagliabue for years to avoid the sort of labor strife that has affected other professional sports leagues, said in a telephone interview that the union now is ready for a fight.

"The closer we get to the deadline the more pessimistic I am that anything will happen," Upshaw said. The owners "don't seem to believe we're willing to take it all the way. . . . But we are."

Upshaw said he regards the end of this week as the deadline for a labor deal and he has little hope that scheduled bargaining sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday will produce movement toward a settlement. He plans to address players' agents in two groups this week in Indianapolis, the site of the NFL scouting combine.

The current labor deal leaves the NFL's 13-year-old salary cap system in place through the 2006 season. A failure to agree to an extension of the deal would leave the sport without a salary cap in 2007 -- and perhaps beyond. Upshaw has said the players will not allow a salary cap to return if they play a season without one.

The salary cap sets an annual ceiling on the amount each team can spend on players. Next season's cap is projected to be between $92 million and $95 million per team. Without one, wealthier teams such as the Washington Redskins could spend whatever they wished on players, but people on the management side maintain that certain changes that would come with a season without a salary cap -- such as players needing six seasons of experience, instead of four, to be eligible for unrestricted free agency -- might keep it from being the bonanza for players' salaries that Upshaw and the players envision.

The labor impasse already is wreaking havoc on teams' planning for the March 3 opening of the free agent market, since it is effectively leaving teams with less wiggle room under the 2006 salary cap.

With league revenues burgeoning after the completion of a new set of national television contracts worth almost $4 billion per season, Upshaw has been seeking to expand the pool of revenues from which the players are paid. But the two sides remain unable to agree on what percentage of the expanded revenue pool the players should receive.

In a related issue that is complicating talks with the union, the 32 owners have been unable to agree to a system to increase the amount of locally generated revenues that they would share. Several teams, including the Redskins, in recent years have expanded the revenues they generate on their own, outside the shared revenue stream each team receives collectively, primarily through network television contracts and leaguewide marketing deals. The owners' deliberations have become so combative, Upshaw said, that he has been told nine of the wealthiest teams have banded together and are threatening to sue if the clubs have a revised revenue-sharing system forced upon them. The Redskins, who generate the highest revenues in the league, would be among that group of nine.

Owners of lower-revenue teams say that if no plan for bolstered revenue-sharing is put in place, football will become, like baseball, a sport of have and have-not clubs in which only a handful of wealthier franchises will have realistic championship aspirations.

The labor stalemate also impacts planned stadium construction. Upshaw said the players will stop participating in a stadium-loan program that they fund in cooperation with the league if there are no labor and revenue-sharing deals. The teams planning new stadiums include the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets and Giants.

Upshaw previously has said he would, if there's no deal, recommend to the players at a March 9 executive board meeting that they begin the process of decertifying the union, a tactic that would seek to eliminate the possibility of a lockout by the owners. It also could lead to the players going to antitrust court to challenge any new system imposed by the owners.

Upshaw and Tagliabue skipped the Pro Bowl in Hawaii last week to return to the East Coast after the Super Bowl and resume the labor deliberations, but Upshaw said there has been no progress.

A letter written by union attorney James Quinn, delivered by e-mail Friday to Tagliabue and Harold Henderson, the league's chief labor executive, said that "we are rapidly approaching the next league year and our ability to get a deal done in this short time frame seems doubtful. Gene, Jeff [Kessler, another union attorney] and I are particularly concerned that so little progress has been made on the core economic issues that we have been discussing for nearly two years."

In the e-mail, Quinn identified the "three bedrock issues" in the negotiations as the salary cap, revenue sharing and the stadium loan program. He wrote that "in order for us to continue any form of salary cap, the players must obtain a significant increase (both in dollars and percentage) in our overall share of total league revenues." On the revenue-sharing issue, Quinn said that the union has "repeatedly made clear that we will not agree to any form of salary cap that does not deal with the 'free-rider effect' which unfairly benefits a handful of high-revenue clubs."

Upshaw has said that some owners of the league's wealthiest franchises aren't devoting a fair portion of their revenues to players' salaries. He has exempted the Redskins' Daniel Snyder, whose team generates the league's highest revenues but also usually has one of the NFL's heftiest player payrolls.

The teams share their national revenues equally, but the success of the Redskins and some other clubs in increasing streams of unshared local revenues has led to a fractious internal debate in which the less-prosperous franchises are seeking to have more of those revenues shared.

"There's a lot of infighting on their side," Upshaw said. "They don't believe they're going to have to do this, but that's the only way the low-revenue clubs can afford their commitment to us. My understanding is that there's a group of nine [wealthy teams] that's saying, 'If you force us into more revenue sharing, we'll sue you.' "

Of the stadium loan program, Quinn wrote that "the players are prepared to continue the . . . program in a form that makes sense to both sides" but it must come within the context of a bolstered revenue-sharing deal. Upshaw said the union will not contribute to any future stadium projects if there aren't labor and revenue-sharing deals in place. An NFL spokesman said yesterday the league had no response.

All of the uncertainty is creating extra work and additional worries for those people in charge of running teams.

"Right now we're operating with a Plan A and a Plan B," Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "We have both of them ready to go. That's all you can do. We've never faced a year like this since I've been on this side of the fence. We've never been where it went down to the 11th hour like this not knowing what the system is going to be."

Ravens Ray Lewis to Oakland in exchange for Kerry Collins?

That's the rumor around the message boards. Where it came from is not clear, but it's taken on a life of its own. On face, it's a great trade, with Lewis coming back to play in a defense he's familar with, assuming Art Shell keeps Rex Ryan as defensive coordinator.

We'll see what happens. The question is will it be a straight-up trade, or with draft picks? Who would give up what? It seems a simple trade would make all sides happy. But here's the Ravens rub: does this mean giving up on Kyle Boller, or just having an experienced backup that could push for the starting job. Collins knows and played for Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Fassel, so the trade seems logical from a relationship standpoint.

2006 NFL Draft: Will Vince Young Fall to the Oakland Raiders?

This post on the Oakland Raiders Yahoo! Message Board reveals a possible outcome worth monitoring:

Message: 1
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 03:31:33 -0000
From: "Andre"
Subject: Just A Little Note To Ponder

In a recent article by Chris Gargano, someone stated that Vince Young
could fall directly in the Raiders lap whether we win the coin toss
for #6 or not. Knowing that we need youth, talent, and a deep ball
thrower...not to mention a good scrambler in case for some God aweful
Reason Moss, Porter, Curry, Gabriel cannot get open, why in the hell
would you not draft Vince Young. Also there is a possible trade for
Ray Lewis in order to get rid of Collins. Does this sound like the
making of a team you can respect......now this is not freaking fantasy
football....these are facts that could very well develop... and free
agency will be Christmas for the raiders because there are some good
lineman D and O available.....any comments from Intelligent raider
fans who can feel the energy of this team increasing by the numbers?

Blogging Better Than Mainstream Media: Ted Rall's Rant - Check it Out

The Bland Leading The Blind
The nanny press and the cartoon controversy


LAS VEGAS--Of course it was a provocation. In September, the editor of a right-wing Danish newspaper decided "to test cartoonists to see if they were self-censoring their work, out of fear of violence from Islamic radicals." Though some declined, 12 artists accepted the editor's invitation to make light of the Prophet Mohammed, and submitted work equating Islam with terrorism and the oppression of women, among other things.

Five months later, editor Fleming Rose has learned that cartoonists have good reason to watch what they draw. Thousands of demonstrators, furious at the publication's violation of an Islamic stricture banning graphic depictions of the Prophet, marched through the streets of Cairo, Karachi, Istanbul, Teheran and Mehtarlam, Afghanistan, where at least five were killed by police. Gunmen took over the European Union office in Gaza. Mobs burned Danish flags and called for a Muslim boycott of Danish goods. Iran withdrew its ambassador from Copenhagen. Danes were ordered to flee Lebanon after mobs burned the Danish consulates in Damascus and Beirut, where they also trashed a Christian neighborhood. The Danish cartoonists, having been threatened with beheading, are presumably catching up on their Salman Rushdie while they weather the storm.

Adding fuel to the fire, said the Times, were "a group of Denmark's fundamentalist Muslim clerics ... [who] took their show on the road" last fall, traveling around the Middle East showing a package that included cartoons that had never actually appeared in any newspaper, "some depicting Mohammed as a pedophile, a pig or engaged in bestiality." Newspapers in France, Germany and elsewhere further fanned the flames by reprinting the Danish drawings.

Being provoked, as I tell myself when I'm sitting next to Sean Hannity, doesn't justify reacting with violence. And as Kuwaiti oil executive Samia al-Duaij pointed out to Time, there are better reasons to torch embassies than over cartoons: "America kills thousands of Muslims, and you lose your head and withdraw ambassadors over a bunch of cartoons printed in a second-rate paper in a Nordic country with a population of five million? That's the true outrage."

As the only syndicated political cartoonist who also writes a syndicated column, my living depends on freedom of the press. I can't decide who's a bigger threat: the deluded Islamists who hope to impose Sharia law on Western democracies, or the right-wing clash-of-civilization crusaders waving the banner of "free speech"--the same folks who call for the censorship and even murder of anti-Bush cartoonists here--as an excuse to join the post-9/11 Muslims-suck media pile-on. Most reasonable people reject both--but neither is as dangerous to liberty as America's self-censoring newspaper editors and broadcast producers.

"CNN has chosen not to show the [Danish Mohammed] cartoons out of respect for Islam," said the news channel.

"We always weigh the value of the journalistic impact against the impact that publication might have as far as insulting or hurting certain groups," said an editor at The San Francisco Chronicle.

"The cartoons didn't meet our long-held standards for not moving offensive content," said the Associated Press.


If these cowards were worried about offending the faithful, they wouldn't cover or quote such Muslim-bashers as Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens or George W. Bush. The truth is, our national nanny media is managed by cowards so terrified by the prospect of their offices being firebombed that they wallow in self-censorship.

Precisely because they subvert free speech from within with their oh-so-reasonable odes for "moderation" and against "sensationalism," the gatekeepers of our national nanny media are more dangerous to Western values than distant mullahs and clueless neocons combined. Editors and producers decide not only what's fit to print but also what's not: flag-draped coffins and body bags arriving from Iraq, photographs of Afghan civilians, their bodies reduced to blobs of blood and protoplasm, all purged from our national consciousness. You might think it's news when the vice president tells a senator to "go f--- yourself" on the Senate floor, but you'd be wrong--only tortured roundabout descriptions (like "f---") make newsprint. "This is a family newspaper," any editor will say, arguing for self-censorship--as if kids couldn't fill in those three letters in "f---."

As if kids read the paper.

The nanny media, even more prudish since 9/11, covers our millions of eyes to protect us from our own icky deeds. In Afghanistan in 2001, while covering a war that had officially killed 12 civilians, I watched a colleague from a major television network collate footage of a B-52 bombing indiscriminately obliterating a civilian neighborhood. "If people saw what bombing looks like here on the ground," he observed as body parts and burning houses and screaming children filled the screen, "they would demand an end to it. Which is why this will never air on American television." But other countries don't have our nanny media. Europeans and Arabs see the horror wreaked in our name on their airwaves, assume that we see the same imagery and hate us for not giving a damn. America's self-censors make anti-Americanism worse.

Ugly truths come out one way or the other. While the Muslim world was raging over the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles received a chilling letter from the Joints Chief of Staff in reaction to his single-panel rendition of a quadriplegic veteran; if not for the nanny media's slavish refusal to run photos of the real thing, would that abstract image have shocked anyone? While we're at it, using prose to describe graphic images--as editors and anchormen are doing about the Mohammed imagery--makes as much sense as talking about the Rodney King police brutality video. "[Describing the cartoons without showing them] seems a reasonable choice," editorialized The New York Times, a paper whose readers' right to know apparently includes classified surveillance programs--but not cartoons.

Toles "crossed the line" from appropriate commentary into outright tastelessness, complained the Joint Chiefs. Similarly, many Muslims say the 12 Danish cartoonists "crossed the line" when they indulged in blasphemy of one of the world's major religions. U.S. State Department spokesman and honorary mullah Sean McCormack helpfully tells us where The Line is drawn: "Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images," he said. But who can distinguish "anti-Muslim images" from "acceptable" satire? Taste is subjective. Right-wing Time columnist Andrew Sullivan, who has repeatedly called for censoring my work because it's critical of Bush, calls the Danish cartoons "not arbitrarily offensive" and thus acceptable free speech. Lefties, on the other hand, rallied to get Rush Limbaugh fired from his gig as a football commentator.

Hypocrisy abounds: Everyone supports the free speech they agree with.

Which is why, in a nation with a truly free media, there is no line. To hell with the nanny media. Free speech is like a Ferrari: What good is it if you don't use it or if you barely use it, only driving it in town, in stop-and-go traffic? It's useless until you can head out to the Arizona desert and push it past 150 mph. Short of libel, slander and impersonation, anything goes--that is, if you believe in the First Amendment.

What if millions of people take offense? What if some of them turn violent, even murderous? So what? No one can make you angry. You decide whether or not to become angry. If journalistic gatekeepers worry about the mere possibility of prompting outrage, they'll validate mob rule and undermine our right to a free press, one that covers the controversial along with the bland.

While deciding what goes into the paper and the evening news, good journalists ought to be guided by only one consideration: Is it news? If the answer is yes, send it out. Even if it's tasteless as all f---.

Postscript: A European Muslim Web site has posted a cartoon depicting Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler. "If it is the time to break taboos and cross all the red lines," the site explains, "we certainly do not want to fall behind." It's an idiotic cartoon. Breaking taboos, on the other hand, is something our nanny media ought to try.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New York Names Street After Peter Jennings

I just saw it on CNN's "Live From." W. 66th Street is now called "Peter Jennings Way." What a way to honor one of the best television anchors in American history.

It Could Be That, With AJ Freeley, The Chargers Feel They Can Get Along Without Brees

I think it was a calculated action, but in retrospect a very smart one by San Diego Chargers AJ Smith: signing quarterback AJ Freeley to a contract that runs through 2007.

I think this move was done to place San Diego in a perfect quarterback bargaining position they feel they can't lose in. With Brees, Phil Rivers, and AJ Freeley in place, the Bolts have two QBs' that other teams would want to deal for and one that's a proven backup.

And that's the other side of the problem.

Too much of this dealing and wheeling could place the Chargers with a team lacking in the righ chemistry to win a championship, let alone get into the playoffs.

Last year, the Chargers were one step from the postseason and arguably the best team not to make it. AJ Smith's actions could keep them in a position where they're on the outside looking in for a long time.

The best move was to place a franchise tag on Brees and go from there. It would have been a great move to insure the team's future chemistry. But it's too late now; they could lose Brees and Rivers and be stuck with Freeley.

Now Oceanside? San Diego Chargers Still Without A New Stadium Under Construction

After years, plans, environmental impact reports, and millions of dollars, the San Diego Chargers are still without a new stadium, let alone one under construction.

The latest proposal is to build a new stadium in suburban Oceanside. The San Diego Times Union report is below.

Councilmember suggests studying golf course as football stadium site

By Ronald W. Powell
February 21, 2006

The Chargers want a new stadium, and Oceanside Councilwoman Esther Sanchez believes Oceanside may have a solution.
Sanchez said the city-owned Center City Golf Course, which is commonly called “goat hill” because it is so hilly, should be considered.

She is asking the Oceanside City Council tomorrow to consider holding a workshop on the future of the 71.7-acre golf course and wants a Chargers stadium to be among the options.

“It would be a great honor to have the Chargers,” Sanchez said yesterday.

The site has an adjoining four acres of city-owned property, providing a potential development footprint of more than 75 acres. But Sanchez, who wants the workshop scheduled within 60 days, said she isn't sure the site is big enough to accommodate a stadium and parking.

Why this site might work
The Oceanside-owned Center City Golf Course has several features that Chargers officials have said they would want for a new football stadium.

A minimum of 20 to 25 acres would be needed for a stadium and parking. The golf course is 71.7 acres, with four adjoining city-owned acres.

Access to freeways and mass transit would be needed. The golf course is east of Interstate 5, with highways 76 and 78 feeding into it. The Coaster train line and the Sprinter train project, which is under construction between Oceanside and Escondido, could serve the stadium.

Some council colleagues burst out laughing when told of the idea, citing everything from traffic congestion to a shortage of parkland to environmental issues to the adverse effect on nearby neighborhoods as reasons why a stadium is not the right fit.

“I'm ready to discuss anything,” said Oceanside Councilman Rocky Chavez. “But this seems to me to be a bridge too far.”

Last month, the Chargers abandoned an effort to put a stadium proposal on the November ballot for San Diego voters. The plan would have called for the team to build a stadium at the 166-acre Qualcomm Stadium site and demolish the existing stadium.

In exchange, the Chargers wanted the city to deed over 60 acres at Qualcomm for free so the team and a development partner could build housing, a hotel, offices and retail outlets to pay for the stadium and other improvements.

The Chargers can begin talks with other cities Jan. 1 about relocating. San Diego Councilman Jim Madaffer has asked that the council vote to amend the Chargers' lease before then so the team can talk with other cities in the county about stadium possibilities. Madaffer said the amendment would increase the chances that the team would stay in the county.

But that plan is on hold until San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and a city negotiating group has an opportunity to try to work out a solution with Chargers executives.

Sanders' spokesman, Fred Sainz, said yesterday that the idea of a stadium in Oceanside is “too speculative and premature” to comment on. He said the city's Chargers negotiators met last Thursday and are planning to meet soon with team executives, although a meeting has not been scheduled.

Mark Fabiani, who is the Chargers' lawyer on stadium issues, said he could not comment on the Oceanside site because of restrictions in the team's lease with the city.

Fabiani said he first heard about the golf course at a Feb. 8 breakfast in the University Towne Centre area.

He was speaking about the stadium issue to an audience mostly of real estate brokers. During the question-and-answer period, Jane McVey, Oceanside's director of development and redevelopment, asked Fabiani if he knew about the golf course site. Fabiani said he told her he could not discuss the property and sent a letter to her that day further explaining why the team cannot talk with cities outside of San Diego.

McVey said in an interview that she was not talking to Fabiani at the behest of the City Council and just wanted him to be aware of the site.

The golf course is east of Interstate 5 at 1 Country Club Lane. It is bounded by homes on the north and east, a shopping center to the south and nonprofit youth services organizations on the west.

Sports marketing experts say a stadium in the North County could draw football fans from Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, in addition to the team's San Diego base.

It would meet some requirements Fabiani previously outlined for a stadium site because it is more than 25 acres, is owned by the city and has freeway access, as well as the potential for rail access.

But other requirements, including accommodating neighbors and financing for a stadium that could cost $450 million or more, are question marks.

An Oceanside ordinance also requires that a change in use of parkland, including the city's golf courses, must be approved by voters.

Oceanside Councilwoman Shari Mackin chuckled when told about the idea. Then she said the city has a serious shortage of parkland that development of the golf course would worsen.

“This has come out of left field. I just about fell out of my chair,” Mackin said. “I'm a big Chargers fan, but I don't know about putting a stadium in that little corner behind the grocery store.”

The golf course is under lease to Judy Keehn until the end of 2012. She said her late husband, Ludwig Keehn, obtained the lease in 1982 with the idea of providing an affordable place for residents to play.

The 18-hole course is known for its two-for-one deals that cost golfers $38.50 during the week and $43.50 on weekends – rates far below most other courses in the region.

Keehn said she had planned to operate the course until the lease expires but would consider a buy-out.

“If a deal came up, I'd look at it,” she said.

Tampa Bay Bucs' Defense Gets Quality Control Coach

TAMPA TRIBUNE - The Bucs took another step toward completing their staff by hiring North Dakota State defensive coordinator Casey Bradley as a quality-control coach for the NFL's top-rated defense. Bradley, a former free safety and punter for the Bisons, has been with North Dakota State's coaching staff for the past nine seasons.

In 2005, the Bisons led the Great West Football Conference in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense while using a variation of the Cover 2 scheme the Bucs have utilized so successfully in the past decade under Monte Kiffin.

Tampa Bay is expected to announce its revamped coaching staff this week at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Ira Kaufman

Tampa Bay Bucs' Defense Gets Quality Control Coach

TAMPA TRIBUNE - The Bucs took another step toward completing their staff by hiring North Dakota State defensive coordinator Casey Bradley as a quality-control coach for the NFL's top-rated defense. Bradley, a former free safety and punter for the Bisons, has been with North Dakota State's coaching staff for the past nine seasons.

In 2005, the Bisons led the Great West Football Conference in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense while using a variation of the Cover 2 scheme the Bucs have utilized so successfully in the past decade under Monte Kiffin.

Tampa Bay is expected to announce its revamped coaching staff this week at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Ira Kaufman

Dante Culpepper shopped to Baltimore - Minn Star

The Vikings contacted the Ravens, and...Well, read for yourself. At any rate, it's clear that the Vikings don't really want to keep Dante at all. Perhaps he will wind up with the Oakland Raiders.

Kevin Seifert, Star Tribune
Last update: February 21, 2006 – 12:56 AM

The Baltimore Ravens apparently were among the teams the Vikings contacted last week in an effort to gauge the trade value of quarterback Daunte Culpepper, but no deal with the Ravens or any other team appears imminent.

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome told the [Baltimore] Sun on Monday that "we're interested in any matter that will make our football team better." Newsome said there have been no negotiations "officially" but did not rule out the possibility that the issue could be revisited.

Along with the Ravens, other teams expected to shop for quarterbacks this offseason include Oakland, Miami and the N.Y. Jets.

The Miami Herald reported Monday night that the Dolphins have spoken to the Vikings and are interested in him.

No trade can be finalized until the new NFL year begins March 3, but negotiations and a verbal agreement could occur any time. The Vikings presumably would like to resolve the issue before their scheduled $6 million bonus payout to Culpepper next month.

A person with knowledge of the situation said last week the Vikings had begun shopping Culpepper, who is recovering from three torn ligaments in his right knee. The website www.profootballtalk.com has reported that the Vikings were seeking a second-round draft pick, but indications are that they are pushing for additional compensation.

Meanwhile, the Vikings haven't tipped their hand on several key issues to be resolved before free agency starts. They're not believed to have held substantive discussions with either of their key free agents, receiver Koren Robinson and cornerback Brian Williams, and it is unclear whether they will use their franchise or transition tags on either player.

The deadline to designate franchise or transition players is Thursday. They probably can avoid the issue with Robinson, with whom they hold a contractual right of first refusal, but it's not out of the question that they could use it on Williams.

The franchise tag for cornerbacks is $5.893 million, while the transition figure is $4.774 million.

Colts sign 16 free agents; 6 headed for NFL Europe - Indy Star

The Indianapolis Colts announced Wednesday the signing of 16 free agents since the end of the 2005 season and have allocated six of those players to NFL Europe.

Those players assigned overseas are defensive end Justin Brown, wide receiver Roscoe Crosby, linebacker Nick Hannah, tight end Joey Hawkins, defensive back Eric Hill and center Mike Johnson.
The other additions are former Purdue wide receiver John Standeford, kicker Dave Rayner, kicker Shane Andrus, wide receiver Montiese Culton, offensive lineman Bo Lacy, defensive back Chris Laskowski, defensive back Brandon Lynch, defensive end Gabe Nyenhuis, running back Vashon Pearson and wide receiver Dan Sheldon.

In the Light of The Super Bowl, Detroit May Close Its Zoo

Money shortfalls and a less-than-resourceful state legislature spell doom for the Detroit Zoo. But considering that this problem was in extense as the Super Bowl was being planned, why didn't someone think to make a plan to help save it using the NFL's marque game as a backdrop?

This is a signal of how far The Motor City has to go to regain its past glory. It's got to find a way to solve this problem.

No zoo? Fans roar back in disbelief

Fighting back: Lawmaker working to reinstate state aid

February 21, 2006

The fight to keep the Detroit Zoo open became, well, a zoo on Monday as the Detroit City Council defended itself against a firestorm of angry complaints from city and suburban residents who don't want to see the more than 75-year-old institution closed.
At the same time, other city and zoo officials scrambled to come up with a compromise to keep the zoo open even as they moved ahead with plans to shutter it by late spring.
An Oakland County state legislator whose district includes the zoo in Royal Oak, said Monday that she was planning to plead the zoo's case in Lansing today in an effort to save $4 million in state aid to fund it.
State Sen. Shirley Johnson, R-Royal Oak, who proposed the aid, said she planned to call the governor's office and the state's budget director this morning to find a way to reinstate the aid, which had hinged on the city turning over daily operations of the facility to the nonprofit Detroit Zoological Society by Saturday.

San Diego Chargers QB Drew Brees Pushed to Free Agency

The Oakland Raiders should make a run at this guy just to teach the Chargers a lesson.

SAN DIEGO (From the Seattle Post Intelligencer) -- The Chargers are primed to let quarterback Drew Brees test free agency.

San Diego general manager A. J. Smith said Monday the team has declined to designate Brees as its franchise or transition player. The deadline for designating a player with either tag is Thursday.

If the Chargers had slapped either of the tags on Brees, he would be guaranteed nearly $10 million in a one-year salary next season. That's too rich for the Chargers, considering Brees was injured in the team's season finale, tearing the labrum in his throwing shoulder while trying to recover a fumble.

Brees underwent surgery last month and is expected to begin throwing in May. But whether he is at full strength by the Chargers' July training camp isn't known.

Brees and the Chargers are talking about a multiyear pact. But so far, no agreement has been reached and on March 3, Brees can negotiate with any team.

"Our proposals have not been acceptable at this point and time, but we will continue to talk," Smith said. "Drew Brees wants to be here, we want him to be here. Drew wants a long-term contract, we want him to have a long-term contract. We are working on that and continue to work on it."

But the Chargers are confident they have enough depth to reach the playoffs even if Brees walks, according to Smith. Behind Brees is Philip Rivers, the 2004 draft's fourth overall pick, and veteran A.J. Feeley.
Brees, who's entering his sixth season, resurrected his career in 2004. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl after throwing for 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He was also the NFL Comeback Player of the Year while directing the Chargers to the AFC West title and their first playoff appearance since 1995.

Last year, Brees had another solid season, throwing for a career-high 3,576 yards, the sixth-most in team history. He had 24 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

San Diego's initial proposal for a long-term deal was shot down by Brees and his representative, Tom Condon.

Brees or Condon weren't available for comment.

Smith said a deal could still be struck, but only if the other party accepts the club's value it has placed on Brees.

The sticking point appears to be the guaranteed money in the pact's first year, with the remainder of the compensation being tied to incentives reached by Brees, if his shoulder is right. Smith said once Brees hits the open market - if he does - the price the Chargers are willing to pay will not fluctuate.

"We already have a value set in our mind; that is not a factor at all," said Smith, who is 25-24 in his three years as general manager. "We know exactly what we do and we have a way of doing our business."

And while Smith said he wants Brees back, it was evident in his remarks that he's cautiously optimistic Rivers can do the job.

Rivers was a standout at North Carolina State where his 13,484 passing yards were second at the time in NCAA history. Rivers has thrown just 30 passes in the NFL.

"I really like Philip Rivers very much, except he has never played in the National Football League, except to dabble in it and that is always a concern for all of us," Smith said. "Anytime a collegiate player enters the National Football League, it starts all over again. There are first-round busts and seventh-rounders that go to (the Pro Bowl) every year."

Ricky Williams' Character Lynch Mob Strikes Again

They can't just leave Miami Dolphins Running Back Ricky Williams alone. Last year it was his use of pot, followed by jokes about it. Now, someone has leaked information that he may have failed a drug test. All of this while Williams is away in India. It may cause him to be suspended for one year from the NFL and in violation of its substance abuse policy.

The question I have is who leaked the information, and why. Also, the report is that he didn't take pot this time; so what was it? Where was he?

The NFL should take steps to suspend anyone who was found to leak the information. The Ricky Williams Lynch Mob should give this a rest and get better jobs.

I hope this turns out to be nothing at all. I think a bit too much of this is being made just to tear down someone. It's not funny at all.

But Ricky and his agent Leigh Steinberg should file an appeal.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Craigslist Earns $20 Million Annually and Worth About $874 Million As An Acquisition - I Guess That Makes Craig Nemark A Philanthropist

I ran accross this story which explains that Craiglist earns about $20 million annually according to CEO Jim Buckmaster.

I've also read that Craiglist receives about 23 million unique visitors a month. So, according to a recent Business 2.0 article on the "return of web eyeballs_ and one that valued one unique visitor at $38 from the perspectives of the average value of unique visitors of those web firms that had been purchased. This would place CL at about $874 million in value.

For all of those who are still under the impression that Craiglist is a poor nonprofit organization, this should serve as a wake up call.

I remember having just such a conversation with a woman about two years ago. She tried to convince me that CL was this poor little activist firm. "Why do you insist on this view?" I asked. "Well, it's a Dot.org for starters," was the answer I got.

Ooo Boy. Meanwhile, the staff of 18 continues to run the most efficient machine on the Web.

Curt Gowdy Passes - Another Signpost of The Zeitgeist

A voice that I grew up with and came to associate with some of the most legendary sports events in history passed today. Curt Gowdy. He passed at the age of 86, and although he battled leukimia, lived a good long life.

It didn't matter what game it was, NFL or MLB, he gave a kind of magic to the game that let you know what you were watching was special. Subconciously I came to associate his voice with a special moment.

Gowdy is especially remembered as the "Voice of The Boston Red Sox" and so will be very much missed.

Gowdy covered eight Super Bowls, 13 World Series, 16 Baseball All-Star Games, and Seven Olympics Games, as well as a number of NCAA Final Four games, and countless NFL and MLB games of note. He is a legendary broadcaster that NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol said once carried NBC Sports.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Exhale.org - It's Funny Who You Meet at The Gym

I just got back from working out at the gym. As the facility is smack in the middle of the Lake Merritt Neighborhood of Oakland, everyone comes there. But few really know each other because, well, some folks don't talk much. Now, I'll have to say the African Americans there talk to everyone and each other, so we pretty much know who the other black person is.

But I digress.. I met this cool lady who I joke with once and awhile, as our conversations started when we were in the same room as this guy who, in trying to park his car, almost ran into me. So I called him on it in a very friendly way, and she and I started talking, but I never knew what she did.

Well, today, I found out that she runs a company called "Exhale" and they have a talk line for women who have abortions. It's a really novel idea that frankly I never considered personally but is very logical. It's been in existence since 2000 and has this website at www.4exhale.org where you can learn more about them and contribute online.

Go do it!

NFL-Bound Texas QB Vince Young Already Making Critical Business Mistakes

Not even days before the NFL Draft and Vince Young's making critical business errors that could negatively impact both the position where he's selected in the draft and his overall endorsement income.

While Matt Leinart, Young's NCAA Football National Championship Game counterpart, makes his meetings and shows up at events like Leigh Steinberg's A-List Party, shaking hands and chatting with everyone including this author, Young misses meetings.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Young hired a family attorney to be his agent and his uncle to handle his business matters. Neither have NFL experience, and according to the article...

"several companies have expressed interest in talking to Mr. Young about endorsement deals, including MasterCard, American Express, Nike, Reebok and the urban clothier Rocco Wear.
Former Dallas Cowboys scouting director Gil Brandt knows that Reebok is one of the companies, because Mr. Brandt helped set up a meeting between Mr. Young's team and Reebok officials in Detroit on the Saturday before Super Bowl XL.
According to Mr. Brandt, Mr. Young and his management team never showed for the meeting, and it had to be rescheduled.
"Promise and responsibility are big things," said Mr. Brandt, who talks to Texas juniors in Austin every year about their NFL options at coach Mack Brown's request. "And if you have a business meeting set up, you've got to make sure you're at the meeting because people are anxious at spending large amounts of money."
Mr. Brandt also gave Mr. Young, Mr. Adams and Keith Young tickets to a party thrown by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue before the Super Bowl. Mr. Brandt did the same for USC quarterback Matt Leinart.
"Leinart was there, dressed nicely and making a big impression on everyone he met," Mr. Brandt said. "I didn't see Vince there. Everybody who's anybody is at the commissioner's party. When you impress somebody, it opens a lot of doors. All these things, Vince has kind of missed the boat on."
Keith Young and Mr. Adams didn't respond to calls seeking comment on Mr. Brandt's statements. Last week, they said they're simply taking their time and working at their own pace. They said they don't want to rush into any deals."

This is a remarkable error. First, if anyone gives you a ticket to the NFL Commissioners Party, you take it and go. Every heavy hitter in sports and its related industries is there. What Vince's family fails to understand is that the part of the sports business they're in rests on relationships. If I were them, I'd call Gil Brandt and do some fence mending.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Krugle - I just joined "Krugle" So I Guess I'm A Developer

I just learned about Krugle, the self-described search engine for developers, and went to the website. I've got to admit, the intent of the product aside, it looks great. They've got a flair for simplistic design.

Now, as to the product itself, I wonder how they plan to make money as I've not seen the actual search engine. But that written, it's a good idea to have a device that allows me to look up code quickly. I'm still a novice in my book, even though I've managed to learn quite a bit -- HTML, FML, some Java -- over the last three years. It's also good to have a specialized search engine rather than walking around Google in frustration.

Well, let's see how Krugle comes along.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ernie Stautner Passes at 80 - I met him at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters in 1979

I am watching NFL Network -- or more accurately, it's playing in the background as I work -- and just learned of the passing of Ernie Stautner. To some, he was the great defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. To others, he was Defensive Coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. To me, he was the person who first introduced me to technical football.

In 1979 I was a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. This started because my Mother knew Oakland Raiders Defensive Tackle Otis Sistrunk. At the time, I had nothing in common with him, so I figured I'd better read about pro football. In the process of carrying out that objective, I found a book called "The NFL's Encyclopedic History of Pro Football." At the back of this dense tome was a chapter on the evolution of football strategy. One of the pages there was devoted to the Dallas Cowboys and Tom Landry's innovations: The Flex Defense and the Multiple Offense. I was attracted to what the book reported as Landry's use of engineering principals in the development of his plays and philosophy. Landry's technical approach to the game made it OK for a geek like me to get interested in football.

I became such a fan that I subscribed to the Dallas Cowboys Weekly, and -- thanks to Mom -- attended a preseason Dallas Cowboys / Pittsburgh Steelers game in 1979. But earlier that year I wrote a letter to the Cowboys and Mr. Stautner which asked what the "keys" were that Middle Linebacker Bob Breunig looked at to determine where a play may be going. In response to my contact, Mr. Stautner wrote back, inviting me to visit the Cowboys offices.

I could not believe it! A 17-year-old kid. Me.

It was easy to get to Dallas, as Mom worked for United Airlines, so travel was free at the time -- well, $20. The real concern was if the Cowboys were serious. Well, I called, and asked them about this letter -- they were. So, I made plans to go down there by myself for one day.

I arrived at 10 AM at the Cowboys offices, dressed in a dark blue suit. It was a hot August day. I got off the elevator of the 11th Floor at 6116 North Central Expressway, walked about 10 feet to the long hallway and turned left. The office I was to be at was at the end of the hallway.

Man, I was nervous. I thought I was dreaming.

I finally got there, introduced myself, and sat down in front of the secretary's desk -- a nice lady named Marge. There was a defensive backfield meeting, and as it ended, some of my favorite players at the time came out into the office area: Mike Hegman, Cliff Harris, Charlie Watters, and some others I didn't recognize. I just looked and sat there -- frozen. I didn't dare ask for an autograph, as that was not what I was there for and I didn't want to get kicked out of the office. At least that was what was going through my head.

Finally, Mr. Stautner came up to meet me. He said he would be with me in a moment, as I recall. The secretary escorted me into a large conference room, with a long dark wood table -- about 25 feet long. I was placed in front of a projector and with six reels of film: Dallas Defense vs. the I formation - One, Dallas Defense versus the I formation - Two, Flex Strong - Quality Control, Flex Weak Quality Control, Dallas Defense Reel One, Dallas Defense Reel Two.

I was also presented with a copy of the defensive playbook -- no, not for me to keep. What surprised me at the time was how thin the book was -- about 60 pages. (Well that's small to me.)

So, I set up the film and got started. I would run the film and go back and forth watching plays unfold. It was fun -- until the film spliced and I thought that was it. I was scared. So, after sitting in the dark for a good five minutes, I decided to tell the truth and called Marge. She sent a guy named "Gus" -- a fatherly African American man who assured me there was no problem at all. He came back just five minutes later with the reel fixed.


I resumed my work of analysis until finally Mr. Stautner walked into the room. He asked I had any questions, so I inquired about how the Flex Defense worked. He diagrammed the defense and showed how each defender had responsibility not just for an area, but really for a gap, and also what stance they were to be in. He asked me what I saw on the film.

I told him that it seemed an offensive lineman who was really quick off the ball could block a defensive lineman before that person moved to there gap, thus causing a hole for the running back. I saw this in breaking down a play where the Cowboys were in Flex Strong and the New England Patriots were in a "Brown Formation" with the fullback -- Sam Cunningham -- behind the quarterback and the halfback behind the weakside tackle.

Pats' QB Steve Grogan handed off to Cunningham and as he headed for the weakside center / guard gap, Offensive Guard Charlie Hannah hit Defensive Tackle Randy White so hard he litterally froze him. Meanwhille the other defenders moved into their gaps, making a large gaping hole that "Sam-Bam' ran through on the way to a 56-yard touchdown.

I showed this to Stautner, who gave me praise for discovering that. We talked more technical football, and then he thanked me for coming.

That was the begining of my intense interest in football strategy.

I will never forget how this famous player and coach took time with this nerdy kid. It was a dream come true. May he rest in peace and enjoy Heaven.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dr. Mark Dean - Computer Scientist & Pioneer

This was sent to me via my friend Ronald Salaam

You may not have heard of Dr. Mark Dean. And you aren't alone. But almost everything in your life has been affected by his work. See, Dr.Mark Dean is a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is in the National Hall of Inventors. He has more than 30 patents pending. He is a vice president with IBM. Oh, yeah. And he is also the architect of the modern-day personal computer. Dr. Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer that all PCs are based upon. And, Dr. Mark Dean is an African American.

So how is it that we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IBM personal computer without reading or hearing a single word about him? Given all of the pressure mass media are under about negative portrayals of African Americans on television and in print, you would think it would be a slam dunk to highlight someone like Dr. Dean.

Somehow, though, we have managed to miss the shot. History is cruel when it comes to telling the stories of African Americans. Dr. Dean isn't the first Black inventor to be overlooked. Consider John Stanard, inventor of the refrigerator, George Sampson, creator of the clothes dryer, Alexander Miles and his elevator, Lewis Latimer and the electric lamp.

All of these inventors share two things: One, they changed the landscape of our society; and, two, society relegated them to the footnotes of history. Hopefully, Dr. Mark Dean won't go away as quietly as they did. He certainly shouldn't. Dr.Dean helped start a Digital Revolution that created people like Microsoft's Bill Gates and Dell Computer's Michael Dell. Millions of jobs in information technology can be traced back directly to Dr. Dean. More important, stories like Dr. Mark Dean's should serve as inspiration for African children. Already victims of the "Digital Divide" and failing school systems, young, Black kids might embrace technology with more enthusiasm if they knew someone like Dr. Dean already was leading the way.

Although technically Dr. Dean can't be credited with creating the computer -- that is left to Alan Turing, a pioneering 20th-century English mathematician, widely considered to be the father of modern computer science -- Dr. Dean rightly deserves to take a bow for the machine we use today. The computer really wasn't practical for home or small business use until he came along, leading a team that developed the interior architecture (ISA systems bus) that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal computers. In other words, because of Dr. Dean, the PC became a part of our daily lives. For most of us, changing the face of society would have been enough. But not for Dr. Dean. Still in his early forties, he has a lot of inventing left in him.

He recently made history again by leading the design team responsible for creating the first 1-gigahertz processor chip. It's just another huge step in making computers faster and smaller. As the world congratulates itself for the new Digital Age brought on by the personal computer, we need to guarantee that the African-American story is part of the hoopla surrounding the most stunning technological advance the world has ever seen.

We cannot afford to let Dr. Mark Dean become a footnote in history. He is well worth his own history book.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

C-SPAN Gets The Weirdest Calls

I'm working on adding content today, and C-SPAN's on in the background. Rep. Frank Pallone's D-New Jersey's being interviewed and someone just called in from New Jersey, and said "Hi, how are you?" When the Rep. said "Fine," the voice, which sounded like a male playing a female, said "Are you stroking your....."

The Representative kept a straight face, thanks in part to C-SPAN's quick trigger on the "delete call" button. I gotta admit, it gave some spice to an otherwise mundane conversation.

Video: Oakland Raiders Re-Hire Art Shell as Head Coach!

I had the pleasure of attending the press conference to annouce the hiring of Art Shell as the 15th Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. Only on this occasion, I took my new camcorder to record the event and produce the "podcast" you're about to see. By the end of this week, you will be able to download the video into your IPod for viewing as well.

The link is:
Art Shell Press Conference

....Just scroll down and you will see the text link for the QuickTime movie itself. (Make sure to download QuickTime if you don't have it.) If you don't want to listen to 48 minutes of talk, you can just read the web page.

This is my first official use of the camcorder for this purpose. It marks a new direction in my personal "Internet Technology learning process" where I apply what I learn to the SBS site. In this case, one thing I will remember in the future is to take a tripod -- holding a camera for a long time hurts, regardless of how much I work out. The idea is to continue to make the site "sticky."

The next Podcast will be of the Fox Sports Baseball Luncheon and the speech given by MLB Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr. I think it marks the first time a Fox Baseball luncheon has been filmed in this way.

Your feedback is appreciated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Crash Cost $6.5 Million to Make; It's Oscar Campaign Was $4 Million - A Look at The High Cost of Gaining an Oscar

Oscar Economics 101
Lions Gate opens the books on 'Crash's' academy campaign.
James Bates - LA Times
February 12, 2006

It's appropriate that Oscars are gold, since winning one can make a fortune for talent or a studio. This column will look at the business of Hollywood's awards season, and what all that money being spent really buys. Send your ideas, comments, criticisms, tips and pontifications to James.Bates@latimes.com


Thanks to Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and federal laws requiring companies to disclose meaningful developments to investors, we can all get a "Crash" course in Oscar economics.

Last week, Lions Gate (which recently decided to save space by referring to itself as Lionsgate) publicly disclosed to Wall Street that its profits will be crimped in 2006. One reason: the company is spending "an additional $2 million" to promote director Paul Haggis' "Crash" during the stretch run of the best picture race, which ends March 5 with the Academy Awards.

The operative word here is "additional." That's because it's double what the company had already spent to promote the movie for various awards. All told, Lions Gate is expected to spend $4 million to campaign for a film that only cost $6.5 million to make.

What's interesting about last week's corporate disclosure is that it may be the only time anyone has had to publicly own up to how much cash is being thrown around to buy Oscar votes.

Ang Lee Runaway Favorite for "Best Director" Oscar for Brokeback Mountain

This I saw result at an LA Times poll. Lee scored 61 percent over his competitors, including Steven Speilberg for "Munich." Lee -- who takes chances with daring work like "The Hulk" and the current "Brokeback Mountain" -- is certainly deserving of the Oscar.