Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wall Street Journal Agreement Expected This Evening

According to CNBC , the Bancrofts and News Corp are expected to reach an agreement for News Corp to own the Wall Street Journal.

S.I.'s Michael Silver On Bill Walsh's Genius - The Passing Of Bill Walsh

Early in his coaching tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, before he turned a long-suffering franchise into the greatest organization in professional sports, Bill Walsh once cut a player on the practice field.

Enraged by a cheap shot, Walsh fired the player -- who, to be fair, was not one of the team's major contributors -- right there on the spot, ordering a member of the security staff to escort him out of the building. To underscore his point, Walsh trailed behind as the two men trudged toward the locker room, screaming, "Don't even let him f----- shower!"

This was Walsh, who died today at 75 after a long bout with leukemia, at his most ruthless. Yet there was a calculated brilliance behind his brashness: After he took over in 1979, no Niner dared cross the new man in charge.

Nearly a decade later, as he was losing his grip after having completed the most impressive NFL coaching run since Vince Lombardi's in Green Bay, Walsh sometimes directed his enmity toward members of the local media. He was equal parts paranoid and condescending, and when he stepped down following his third Super Bowl title in January 1989, there wasn't a whole lot of sentimental sadness in either the press room or the locker room.

A few months later, I began covering the team as a beat writer for a Northern California paper, and the horror stories about Walsh's final days circulated with abandon. But he and I hit it off from the start, and over the next 17-plus years, whether I sought his opinion as a television analyst, as the progenitor of an offensive philosophy and unmatched tree of executive and coaching excellence, as a reinstalled Stanford mentor who'd just toyed with Joe Paterno, or a personnel guru who temporarily brought the 49ers back to prominence, he was invariably wise, witty and kind.

When people would ask about my relationship with the white-haired legend, I used to respond jokingly -- well, maybe half-jokingly -- that he and I bonded based on our shared belief of an unassailable tenet: Bill Walsh was a genius.

It wasn't that far from the truth. Growing up in L.A. as an oft-humiliated fan of the hometown Rams' chief rivals, I spent my high-school years watching in awe as Walsh transformed a 49ers team that went 2-14 his first year and 6-10 his second into a first-time champion in his third.

Because of Walsh, the franchise of a thousand choke jobs was now led by a cool, magical quarterback named Joe Montana, whose passes were as picturesque as the Golden Gate Bridge in heavy fog.

Because of Walsh, a group of young hellions led by Ronnie Lott took over a malleable defense that suddenly played with dash and defiance.

Because of Walsh and his innovative offensive schemes, receivers were five yards open, a 10th-round draft pick named Dwight Clark would become an All-Pro and Bay Area legend, and a washed-up running back named Lenvil Elliott would gain many of the key yards on the dramatic drive that produced The Catch.

On a more personal level, because of Walsh, I could wear my ratty, way-too-small 49ers jersey to school on Jan. 11, 1982, and for the first time in my life no one would dare laugh.

So, yes, after I started covering the Niners and thus stopped loving them like a gushy teenager, I was predisposed to think pretty highly of Walsh. But the more I learned of him -- and from him -- the greater my appreciation became.

In an era in which many head coaches callously prohibit their assistants from talking to the media (and, by extension, hurt their profiles and potential for attracting the interests of other employers), Walsh did the opposite, vigorously promoting the virtues of the coaches who worked under him through the press and back-channel diplomacy. This was especially true when it came to minority coaching candidates. Indeed, undoing racial injustices when it came to such hires remained one of Walsh's primary causes long after he stepped away.

Remember that in early January 1989, shortly before Walsh resigned as the Niners' coach, his receivers coach, Denny Green, got the Stanford job -- largely on the strength of his boss's recommendation. Walsh's reaction in the midst of a tense playoff drive? He essentially allowed Green to become the Cardinal's fulltime coach while filling in with the Niners whenever time allowed.

It's not surprising that, unlike Jimmy Johnson and other successful NFL head coaches whose assistants turned out to be substandard bosses, Walsh saw his legacy carried on directly (George Seifert, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Green) and indirectly (Mike Shanahan, Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden). It was Walsh, after all, who not only revolutionized football strategy with the West Coast Offense, but who also created the organizational blueprint for the modern franchise, from the down-to-the-precise-minute daily schedule to the filming of practices and play-installation meetings.

Give me an hour, and I can go on and on about the other areas in which Walsh made a lasting impact, including his insistence on cutting prominent players a year before their decline, rather than after it, all things being equal. Critics might call this another example of his ruthlessness, and some victims of the policy, such as Clark, would hold a longtime grudge.

But if you paid attention to the 49ers, you eventually understood that Walsh knew best, for he -- more than even Lott or Montana or Jerry Rice or owner Eddie DeBartolo -- was the man most responsible for the franchise's unprecedented run of excellence that included five Super Bowl championships in 14 years.

Manipulative as he might have been -- like all great coaches, really -- Walsh boldly strove for excellence and wasn't averse to risking everything while doing so. Every move he made was meant to create or sustain a dynasty, from the 1987 trade for Steve Young, that triggered a years-long quarterback controversy, to his persuading of Montana, Clark and other veterans not to cross the picket line during the '87 players' strike for fear of the damage to team chemistry it might cause (they nonetheless returned the following week).

As that strike reminded us, Walsh was a tactician whose brilliance shone behind-the-scenes and, most glaringly, on Sundays in front of a rapt, football-watching nation.

Playing his first game with replacement players against the Bill Parcells-coached Giants on Monday Night Football, Walsh, during interviews with the New York media, made a big deal about the presence on the roster of backup quarterback Mark Stevens, who'd run the option in college. Stevens, Walsh suggested, might be inserted in specific situations in which the Phony Niners could utilize his speed and running ability.

Sure enough, before a short-yardage play near midfield, Stevens came sprinting into the huddle, and everyone waited to see Walsh unveil his new toy. The bait successfully lowered, Stevens took the snap, faked a handoff, dropped back in the pocket and calmly delivered a touchdown pass to a wide-open receiver.

On one level, the whole thing was kind of coldblooded. It was also funny and sublime and, yes, genius. That was Bill Walsh, and those of us who got to observe him up close will remember him that way until we, too, are told to disappear without showering.

Something To Share About Coach Bill Walsh - Zennie Abraham

I only met Coach Walsh three times, and on every occasion he always referred to me as "Lenny" rather than "Zennie" but he never refused to take time to talk to me about his system, and I was into the details of it, like the "hitch step" for example, which is simply the extra step a QB takes just before throwing, and the concept of throwing without a hitch step, which is hard as hell to do -- try it yourself.

The point is that he would always share.

But what really rankled me -- and still does today -- is how many people, reporters, incorrectly describe "The Walsh System." It's always "short, ball control" and left at that.

That's so wrong.

Yes, that was a part of it. But man, that wasn't even the difference. It was the way of thinking.

To illustrate how different Coach Walsh's system was, let me compare it to the Dallas Cowboys passing game concept under Coach Tom Landry.

The Cowboys were known for passing plays that essentially "pulled" a defense into a particular direction and then took advantage of how the defense deployed itself as a result.

For example, one of the most successful plays the Cowboys ran in the 70s -- when Walsh was developing his ideas -- came out of split backs or "Red or Green Formation." The Flanker went in half motion toward the tight-end, and then
released at the snap of the ball.

The play started as a "sweep" running play, with both guards pulling, the fullback lead blocking and the halfback running. Then the QB would fake a handoff to the halfback, and then look down field.

The Flanker who went in motion toward the tight end then ran a crossing pattern 15 - 20 yards. Meanwhile the Split End ran a kind of "mirror" crossing pattern. The offensive play caused both safeties in a standard Cover Two -- which is what the Pittsburgh Steelers played at the time -- to essentially go deep and move wider apart, leaving the Flanker all alone on the crossing route.

That play worked in Super Bowl X, where Drew Pearson caught a 47-yard touchdown pass. But it failed to work later in the same game because Steelers safety Mike Wagner didn't move deep. When Split End Doug Donley ran his crossing pattern, Wagner stayed home rather than move deep or follow him.

The result was an interception, which surprised Dallas QB Roger Staubach -- "It was the first time it didn't work" Staubach remarked later.

Well, let's think about it. That play was designed to throw to one -- and only one -- receiver, the Flanker. The Split End was a decoy and the tight end wasn't even a factor in the play -- the running backs were strictly used for run fakes and then forgotten about.

Coach Walsh's offense didn't have so many decoys. And in his offense, there was always another receiver to go to. It was flexible, which was new at the time. It was so new that Paul Hackett, who was Coach Walsh's QB coach and passing game student, was hired as Offensive Coordinator by the Cowboys under Landry in '83 I believe. It didn't work out because Hackett's learned idea of flexibility conflicted with the "fixed" philosophy Landry held. So Landry was an example of many
coaches who didn't "get" what Bill was doing at the time.

How would Coach Walsh have changed that play? Ha. The fullback that is the lead blocker would have ran an "up" pattern off the run block fake. The Halfback would have ran a swing pattern after the sweep fake.

The Flanker's crossing pattern would remain. The Split End would have ran a fly pattern. So the order of recever progression would have been 1) Split End, 2) Flanker, 3) Fullback, 4) Halfback (hot receiver). The key read would have been the weak (free) safety. The Split End was essentially clearing out for the Flanker, who was clearing out for the fullback.


That's not just an example of how Coach Walsh would have done it, it's an example of how his way is so basic and logical that it can be shown to a guy like me, and I can repeat it with confidence.

That's a pure tribute to the man.

But what I will most miss, Ray, is Coach Walsh as a member of the Bay Area sports community -- don't forget the impact he had on the Big Game rivalry.

You know, we're blessed to be around so many great people in one area of America. What a sad day. I was at JFK Airport in New York when I got the news Monday. The plane ride home -- from CNN -- was hard, so very hard. Reading Coach Dungy's book "Quiet Strength" helped some -- a good book by a great man who -- as one might expect -- was touched
by Coach Walsh.

49ers and Stanford Coach Bill Walsh Passes Away - NFL.com

Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh dies
NFL.com wire reports

SAN FRANCISCO (July 30, 2007) -- Bill Walsh, the groundbreaking football coach who won three Super Bowls and perfected the ingenious schemes that became known as the West Coast offense during a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 75.

Walsh died at his Woodside home following a long battle with leukemia, according to Stanford University, where he served as coach and athletic director.

"This is just a tremendous loss for all of us, especially to the Bay Area because of what he meant to the 49ers," said Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, the player most closely linked to Walsh's tenure with the team. "For me personally, outside of my dad he was probably the most influential person in my life. I am going to miss him."

Walsh didn't become an NFL head coach until 47, and he spent just 10 seasons on the San Francisco sideline. But he left an indelible mark on the United States' most popular sport, building the once-woebegone 49ers into the most successful team of the 1980s with his innovative offensive strategies and teaching techniques.

The soft-spoken native Californian also produced a legion of coaching disciples that's still growing today. Many of his former assistants went on to lead their own teams, handing down Walsh's methods and schemes to dozens more coaches in a tree with innumerable branches.

Walsh went 102-63-1 with the 49ers, winning 10 of his 14 postseason games along with six division titles. He was named the NFL's coach of the year in 1981 and 1984.

Few men did more to shape the look of football into the 21st century. His cerebral nature and often-brilliant stratagems earned him the nickname "The Genius" well before his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

Walsh twice served as the 49ers' general manager, and George Seifert led San Francisco to two more Super Bowl titles after Walsh left the sideline. Walsh also coached Stanford during two terms over five seasons.

Bill Walsh turned the struggling 49ers into the Team of the '80s.
Even a short list of Walsh's adherents is stunning. Seifert, Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green, Sam Wyche, Ray Rhodes and Bruce Coslet all became NFL head coaches after serving on Walsh's San Francisco staffs, and Tony Dungy played for him. Most of his former assistants passed on Walsh's structures and strategies to a new generation of coaches, including Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Andy Reid, Pete Carroll, Gary Kubiak, Steve Mariucci and Jeff Fisher.

Walsh created the Minority Coaching Fellowship program in 1987, helping minority coaches to get a foothold in a previously lily-white profession. Marvin Lewis and Tyrone Willingham are among the coaches who went through the program, later adopted as a league-wide initiative.

He also helped to establish the World League of American Football -- what was NFL Europe -- in 1994, taking the sport around the globe as a development ground for the NFL.

Walsh was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004 and underwent months of treatment and blood transfusions. He publicly disclosed his illness in November 2006, but appeared at a tribute for retired receiver Jerry Rice two weeks later.

While Walsh recuperated from a round of chemotherapy in late 2006, he received visits from former players and assistant coaches, as well as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Born William Ernest Walsh on Nov. 30, 1931 in Los Angeles, he was a self-described "average" end and a sometime boxer at San Jose State in 1952-53.

Walsh, whose family moved to the Bay Area when he was a teen-ager, married his college sweetheart, Geri Nardini, in 1954 and started his coaching career at Washington High School in Fremont, leading the football and swim teams.

Walsh was coaching in Fremont when he interviewed for an assistant coaching position with Levy, who had just been hired as the head coach at California.

"I was very impressed, individually, by his knowledge, by his intelligence, by his personality and hired him," Levy said.

After Cal, he did a stint at Stanford before beginning his pro coaching career as an assistant with the AFL's Oakland Raiders in 1966, forging a friendship with Al Davis that endured through decades of rivalry. Walsh joined the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 to work for legendary coach Paul Brown, who gradually gave complete control of the Bengals' offense to his assistant.

Walsh built a scheme based on the teachings of Davis, Brown and Sid Gillman -- and Walsh's own innovations, which included everything from short dropbacks and novel receiving routes to constant repetition of every play in practice.

Though it originated in Cincinnati, it became known many years later as the West Coast offense -- a name Walsh never liked or repeated, but which eventually grew to encompass his offensive philosophy and the many tweaks added by Holmgren, Shanahan and other coaches.

Much of the NFL eventually ran a version of the West Coast in the 1990s, with its fundamental belief that the passing game can set up an effective running attack, rather than the opposite conventional wisdom.

Walsh also is widely credited with inventing or popularizing many of the modern basics of coaching, from the laminated sheets of plays held by coaches on almost every sideline, to the practice of scripting the first 15 offensive plays of a game.

After a bitter falling-out with Brown in 1976, Walsh left for stints with the San Diego Chargers and Stanford before the 49ers chose him to rebuild the franchise in 1979.

The long-suffering 49ers went 2-14 before Walsh's arrival. They repeated the record in his first season. Walsh doubted his abilities to turn around such a miserable situation -- but earlier in 1979, the 49ers drafted quarterback Joe Montana from Notre Dame.

Walsh turned over the starting job to Montana in 1980, when the 49ers improved to 6-10 -- and improbably, San Francisco won its first championship in 1981, only two years after winning two games.

Championships followed in the postseasons of 1984 and 1988 as Walsh built a consistent winner and became an icon with his inventive offense and thinking-man's approach to the game. He also showed considerable acumen in personnel, adding Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, Roger Craig and Rice to his rosters after he was named the 49ers' general manager in 1982 and the president in 1985.

Walsh left the 49ers with a profound case of burnout after his third Super Bowl victory in January 1989, though he later regretted not coaching longer.

He spent three years as a broadcaster with NBC before returning to Stanford for three seasons. He then took charge of the 49ers' front office in 1999, helping to rebuild the roster over three seasons. But Walsh gradually cut ties with the 49ers after his hand-picked successor as GM, Terry Donahue, took over in 2001.

He is survived by his wife, Geri, and two children, Craig and Elizabeth.

Walsh's son, Steve, an ABC News reporter, died of leukemia at age 46 in 2002.

1-18-08 - Monster Movie Not Godzilla: J.J. Abrams' Cloverfield

In this video taken at the San Diego Comic-Con, J.J. Abrams, the producer of the upcoming " Cloverfield " movie does say that the movie is not a Godzilla remake. He explains that he was in Japan with his son and in buying toys considered that America really doens't have its own terrible giant monster, with the exception of King Kong.

This movie's going to change that.

He also gives some updates -- real good updates -- about Star Trek XI

Monday, July 30, 2007

New York Jets Training Camp Video - Jets Confidential

It's the start of training camp and the first football games of preseason are not far away. While in New York for my CNN appearance, I went to New York Jets Training Camp with my good friend and business buddy Bill Chachkes. In this video we get a glimpse of the Jets passing offense, Chad Pennington, and an interview with Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential

Study: Young Americans Have "Warmest" Feelings Toward Barack Obama

The Democracy Corps study on young people and politics that reveals Republicans to be alienated from America's youth (18 to 31) also shows that Senator Barack Obama has earned the "warmest" feelings of America's young voters.

The study question goes like this:

"Now, I'd like to rate your feelings toward some people and organizations, with one hundred meaning a VERY WARM, FAVORABLE feeling; zero meaning a VERY COLD, UNFAVORABLE feeling; and fifty meaning not particularly warm or cold."

Here's the resulting graph results:

Study: Republicans Alienate Youth; Will Lose Presidential Race To Democrats

A new study, which you can get a copy of by just clicking on the title of this post, reveals that the Republican Party is so out of touch with America's young people that the party will lose the 2008 Presidential race for that reason alone. Here's more directly from the study...

"A major, multi-mode survey of America’s young people recently conducted by Democracy Corps shows young people profoundly alienated from the Republican Party and poised to deliver a significant majority to the Democratic nominee for President in 2008.1 The political stakes with this generation could not be higher.

In 2008, young people (ages 18-31) will number 50 million, bigger than the baby boom generation.

By 2015 they will likely comprise one-third of the U.S. electorate. While participation among young people still lags well behind other generations, turnout increased two election cycles in a row and, in 2004, jumped nine points (to 49 percent).2 In 2004, younger voters were the only generational cohort outside of the World War II generation to support John Kerry (56 percent). In 2006, younger voters supported Democrats by a 60 – 38 percent margin, the highest of any generation.3
The looming disaster Republicans face among younger voters represents a setback that could haunt them for many generations to come. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lead Rudy Giuliani—the most acceptable of the Republican offerings among youth—by significant margins, assembling a diverse coalition of support and leading the vote among independents.

Exploring attitudes toward the parties themselves, young voters’ reaction to fundamental issues and their perceptions of the GOP suggest a fundamental alienation from the Republican Party, a crisis that will not leave with the Bush administration.

Young people react with hostility to the Republicans on almost every measure and Republicans and younger voters disagree on almost every major issue of the day. The range of the issue disagreements range from the most prominent issues of the day (Iraq, immigration) to burning social issues (gay marriage, abortion) to fundamental ideological disagreements over
the size and scope of government. This leaves both potential Democratic nominees with substantial leads over Rudy Giuliani, but importantly, both Democrats still have room to grow their support among younger voters. The current problems with the Republican brand are not fully reflected in young people’s preferences in for President."

Barack Obama's Call For A Change In Diplomacy - AP News

This article refers to the fact that Senator Clinton's shifted her position on this topic.

Obama Calls for Shift in Diplomacy - AP
By MIKE GLOVER 07.28.07, 1:25 PM ET

Democrat Barack Obama cast himself Saturday as the leader the United States needs for it to stand up to and engage renegade nations such as North Korea.

'We need a president who'll have the strength and courage to go toe to toe with the leaders of rogue nations, because that's what it takes to protect our security," the Illinois senator told Democrats at a rally. "That's what I'll do as your next commander in chief."

Obama and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton have had a running argument since clashing in last week's debate over how far the United States should be willing to go in its diplomacy with countries such as Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

After a viewer asked the candidates if they would be willing to meet with those nations' leaders, Obama said it was a disgrace that the U.S. won't hold talks with them. For role models, he invoked late presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan for their Cold War diplomacy.

Clinton, who has criticized the Bush administration for not engaging Iran and Syria directly, said she would not meet in the first year of her presidency with the leaders of those five nations, before knowing what their intentions were. After the debate, Clinton called Obama naive.

On Saturday, Obama said he would be willing to meet - without conditions - in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of those nations, contrary to "the chattering class" in the nation's capital who "want to focus, like they always do, on who's up and who's down."

Defending his position, Obama cited Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address saying that the nation must never negotiate out of fear, but also never fear to negotiate.

"I was called irresponsible and naive because I believe that there is nobody we can't talk to," said Obama, drawing loud cheers. "We've got nothing to fear as long as know who we are and what we stand for and our values."

Obama said his campaign was about "turning the page on a failed foreign policy and having the strength to engage our adversaries and protect American interests around the globe."

When dealing with renegade nations, Obama said, the Bush administration has mistakenly been led by a "guiding diplomatic principle" that it can punish a nation by refusing to talk.

"I am confident we can go before the world and talk to the worst dictators and tell them we don't believe in your values, we don't believe in your human rights violations, we don't believe in you exporting terrorism, but if you are willing to work with us in a better direction then we're willing to talk," Obama said. "We shouldn't be afraid."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Iron Man Movie Debut At San Diego Comic-Con

Wow. This is a movie that can only be done using today's CGI technology. Plus, in casting Robert Downey, Jr. as the modern Tony Stark, they may have just got him right. Check this out:

The CNN Roland Martin Debates Show in NYC - Zennie's Transcript

CNN's just posted the transcript from the CNN Roland Martin Debates Show which was shown on Friday, July 27, 2007. Here's the text below. But some information, first my name is spelled Zennie, not Zenni. That's about it; here it is:

MARTIN: Joining me now, the four people you just saw asking those YouTube questions. Kim Friedrich, a working mom who's battling breast cancer; Lucas Brown Eyes, and award winning film student; Zenni Abraham, CEO of Sports Business Simulations, and Lori Harfenist, a TV producer from New York.

Now Kim, I got to start with you. You got lots of attention worldwide as a result of your question.

FRIEDRICH: Yes, I did.

MARTIN: And a lot of people were shocked when you took your wig off. What led you to say: I need to do this, to get this point across?

FRIEDRICH: Actually it was anger at Senator Edwards and his wife. The day that Mrs. Edwards, that they had that press conference that she had cancer again, I heard one thing out of it. In 48 hours, she went from thinking she had an unrelated problem to cancer, to finding out that she might have cancer to having tests, to having biopsy, to having treatment all in 48 hours. I was home having -- recovering from my biopsy at the time and what took me four months, that's what they did in 48 hours, because I didn't have health insurance.

MARTIN: You know what? We got a lot of questions in this debate dealing with healthcare, and that's really personal to me, because like a lot of folks, in 2000, covered the Democratic National Convention, my appendix ruptured, in the hospital five days, $70,000 and frankly, I ended up having to file for bankruptcy because the healthcare bills were absolutely phenomenal.

Kim, you talked about the anger. Lucas, talk about that, because a lot of folks were angry.


MARTIN: In the questions, they were really upset.

BROWN EYES: Well, that's because the people who feel like they're not heard are angry. If you don't feel like you're being heard, you're going to be angry. And YouTube allowed them to speak. So naturally, you're going to get a lot of anger. Like my generation, I'm going to college and a lot of my friends are angry because they can't afford to go to college, so they're going to a college that isn't their first choice, they're going to a community when they can't afford it and they're angry about it, which prompted me to make my video.

ABRAHAM: His anger came out as humor.


MARTIN: Now, that was good, that was good. Now Laura, talk about that. This whole issue of this YouTube debate. Has it really advanced the political process? Do you think it really changed anything?

HARFENIST: I think it did because I think it got people really thinking that they can actually make a difference for a change. I know, for myself, before I even voted I felt completely apathetic because politics seems over here, everyone seems the same. This forum really allowed people to, you know, come into more -- all the candidates in a more natural vernacular, they lost the finger pointing a lot, which I really appreciated. Unfortunately it's back, right now.

But, I was happy to see that it made it feel approachable. I think young people are going to start voting a lot more because they feel like, wow, you know what? I can actually make a difference.

MARTIN: And we saw a large spike in terms of the 18-49 demo, really watching, now.

Zenni, let's talk about this debate, took place four days ago.

ABRAHAM: That's right.

MARTIN: People are still talking about it.

ABRAHAM: That's right.

MARTIN: I mean, it's amazing.

ABRAHAM: But you know what's interesting about the debate, it's not just that people are still talking about it, but it's the first that we have had a television debate and an Internet presentation of the debate inform the national conversation. For example, you know about the Senator Obama, Senator Clinton spat.

MARTIN: Yeah, and it's still going on.

ABRAHAM: But something else, though, there have been five different videos that have presented different views that Senator Clinton has given on the same subject and accused her of flip-flopping and so now it's starting to change in a way, such that by next week we're going to have a different conversation and that's because of YouTube and it's fascinating what's happening.

MARTIN: So many folks are logging on and people are really talking about it and that's what's important to me, the fact that we're getting people involved in this campaign, because I'm sick of the media, frankly, folks, my colleagues keep saying, oh, this is so long, you think, like that. This is for the presidency, the commander in chief.


MARTIN: I mean, give me a break. We spend more time picking a car than we do for the president.


HARFENIST: I thing that's the country's really sick of the way that everything is. Everyone wants to feel proud of being an American again, and our foreign policy and you know, rally behind the presidency and this is our opportunity to do it, so we should definitely start now.

FRIEDRICH: Yeah well, people are tired of the president just being an automaton, too. Just saying the same things over and over again and it just seems like they don't even mean it anymore. I want to see the real people. I want to see what they really think and what they really believe.

ABRAHAM: You know what's interesting, and this has to be brought out, is that next debate, the Republican debate, you're only going to see two of them. So, I think the Republicans are afraid -- they didn't come to the NAACP convention...

FRIEDRICH: I hope not.

Yeah. I mean, but Kim, how do you feel about that? I mean, you have 10 Republican candidates, only two have said, yeah, I'll be happy to show up. In fact, Mitt Romney even criticized the debate saying, well, he didn't want to get asked a question about a snowman. I mean, as if your question was simply about -- a snowman. As if the other questions were considered to be meaningless. How does that make you feel?

FRIEDRICH: Well, actually, I think it's funny. I think it's funny that a rival network that's a minion of the Republican party, if you can beg that phrase, they accuse the Democrats of being scared because they wouldn't be on their channel. And it seems like the Republicans are running scared of people -- actual, real people. And that's what we are.

ABRAHAM: Especially African-Americans.


HARFENIST: Absolutely, it speaks for itself. You know? If you don't want answer questions that real people are putting out there -- you know -- it speaks volumes for...

MARTIN: Would that affect your decision to vote for a Republican candidate if they chose not to show up for the September 17 CNN/YouTube debate?

BROWN EYES: Extremely because YouTube, this whole debate got me into politics. I registered to vote because of this.

MARTIN: I mean, this is your first election? Your first time you vote?

BROWN EYES: This is my first time to vote. I just turned 18. Now, this has got so many of my friends to actually start watching the debates. You know? Everyone's talking about it and if the Republicans don't show up, that's going to be a big, like, what?

ABRAHAM: And you won't vote for them.

BROWN EYES: I won't. I'll be like, what are you so afraid of? Why are you afraid of hearing what we have to say?

MARTIN: I'll tell you what. I certainly appreciate the fact that all of you stepped out there, put your questions out there, and hopefully more people will get engaged, because again, this is the commander in chief and there, frankly, is no more important decision that we can make, than we choose a president of the United States.

I thank all of you. Kim Friedrich, Lori Harfenist, Lucas Brown Eyes, and Zenni Abraham. Thanks a lot.

ABRAHAM: I have the brown eyes.

MARTIN: I appreciate that. Folks, you can catch the CNN/YouTube debate again this weekend Saturday and Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Oakland Raiders Broke? JaMarcus Russell Deal May Be Five Years Due To Revenue Problems - Profootballtalk.com

I figured the Oakland Raiders may have problems signing a quaterback on time, even with the new CBA. They're still playing in the Oakland Coliseum, which needs to be re-designed to generate more revenue.

RUSSELL DEAL COULD BE FOR FIVE YEARS - Rumor from Profootballtalk.com

A league source tells us that the negotiation of a contract between the Raiders and No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell has been and will continue to be a difficult process, and that the Raiders might end up signing Russell a five-year deal.

Per the source, there are whispers of cash issues in Oakland that could prevent the team from funding a six-year package. Though we don't know whether that's a certainty, there's definitely some wisdom in scaling the contract back by a year, since no one knows at this point whether Russell will be a Peyton Manning or a Ryan Leaf. If it's the latter, the team has less money at risk.

Russell is represented by the firm of Metz, Lock, and Malinovic. They also represent receiver Dwayne Bowe. The No. 23 overall selection is a holdout in Kansas City. Said the source about the situation in Oakland, "It will be a long holdout unless the agents take a bad deal."

CNN / YouTube Debates - Send The Republican Presidential Candidates A Message

Many in the YouTube community are very upset that several Republican candidates -- Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney, and Tom Tancredo as of this writing -- have refused to participate in the Republican CNN / YouTube Presidential Debates. My idea is to simply send each one a video message. For more information, click on the video!

1-18-08 -New Cloverfield Photo / Clue - J.J. Abrams' Slusho Movie

Ok. Here's yet another clue for the upcoming but still officially untitled "Cloverfield" monster movie due for release 1-18-08. It's the fifth photo in the moving set of what's becoming a mess over at the 1-18-08.com website. It's more cryptic than the fourth Cloverfield clue , which had a military guy holding a gun, indicating something big was -- litterally -- up.

Everyone Likes CNN's Paula Zahn - Even The Limo Drivers!

I'm still in New York City, having appeared on CNN's Roland Martin Debates to talk about the CNN / YouTube Debates program and its impact on society. But during this trip, what impressed me was the impact CNN's now departed Paula Zahn had on everyone around her.

People love her.

This was made clear to me by the limo driver who picked me up at JFK. He said "Paula, she was great. Most people (CNN anchors and contributors) just get in (the car) and don't say much. Paula, she asks you about your family, and how you're doing."

This view was echoed by yet another driver with the firm that holds the CNN livery account. And it speaks to the character of the person that will be replaced by Cambell Brown. She's a truly good person, and the best way to know that is when other people say so.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Can The Supreme Court Be Impeached? Too Political For Many Americans

This recent Huf Post blog entry has it that many Americans think the Supreme Court is too conservative and it is. But is it possible to impeach an entire court? Are we and do we really have to be stuck with unreasonable judges placed by a president after that person' impeached?

Well this article doesn't deal with that question.

It should.

Zennie Abraham's Trip To The CNN Roland Martin Debates Show in NYC

This is a video of my great adventure of a trip to New York City and to be a guest on CNN's "Roland Martin Debates" Show on Friday July 27th 2007. My question submitted for the CNN / YouTube debates opened up a whole new set of doors and emboldened me to use video more effectively to communicate ideas and messages as well as to give others a voice. But that's not what this video's about.

This movie's about my trip.

The video takes the first two days of my trip, from plane ride to after the show itself. It also features the wonderful people I met along the way, from the awesome Zana at the Jumeria Essex Hotel on Central Park South, to Shira and Alexis with CNN and the great CNN Contributors, especially Julie Roginsky, Bill Donohue, and the terrific Irshad Manji.

It also features the CNN / YouTube debate stars, Kim Fredrick, Lucas "Brown Eyes", and Lori Harfenist aka "The Resident." This video's for anyone who wonders how a person comes to be on a TV program and how they're taken care of by a network. It was a great experience. I have a lot of people to thank which I do in the video. Take a look and share it with others.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cal's Marshawn Lynch Signed By Buffalo - $18.9 million - Profootballtalk.com


A league source tells us that the Bills have reached an agreement with running back Marshawn Lynch, the No. 12 selection in the 2007 draft. (Adam Schefter of NFL Network was the first to report this.)

Lynch will receive $10,285,000 in guaranteed money, and the total value of the package is $18,935,000 on a five-year deal. (Technically, it's a six-year deal that voids to five if Lynch meets a minimum playing time threshold.)

The key is the duration; Lynch is the fourth player taken in the top 16 who could have been required to sign a six-year deal, but who got in the end a five-year contract.

The former California tailback is expected to step in immediately as the starter, given the offseason trade of Willis McGahee.

Hillary's Flip Flop - Video Evidence By YouTuber "lovingj1"

New York Times Kit Seelye Responds To Zennie's Post

Last night, New York Times online writer Kit Seelye responded to my post on her error in failing to recognize that I was the same person who's video she linked to twice in her article on the CNN / YouTube debates.

I referred to the action as an example of institutional racism, which, while it's generally unintentional has terrible results of stereotyping or exclusion -- both of which happened in this case. In Ms. Seeyle's partial defense, she responded as if she was tired, but still, she's a professional journalist.

The comment exchange is in the blog post here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CNN / YouTube Debates - Senator Joe Biden Answers My "In God We Trust" Question

This was my question number 36 in the list of videos presented at the CNN / YouTube Debates:

The cathedral behind me is the perfect backdrop for this question. This quarter reads "United States of America." And when I turn it over, you find that it reads "liberty, in God we trust." What do those words mean to you? Thank you.

Falcons News Conference On The Michael Vick Issue

I'm watching Atlanta Falcons' Owner Arthur Blank, General Managr Rich McKay, and Head Coach Bobby Petrino talk to the media about the Michael Vick issue.

If you've not followed this, Vick's indicted for being involved in felony dogfighting. This press conference is for the Falcons; heads to explain to the public how they're dealing with this.

To me, it seems as if Arthur Blank's forced to walk a tightrope between supporting Vick and not upsetting the activitist animal rights organizations that have been crawling all over them.

More soon..

Hillary's Flip Flop - Senator Clinton Backs Off On Promise Of New Leadership

At Monday's CNN / YouTube Debate, Senator Hillary Clinton stopped short of saying she would talk to Third World leaders like Hugo Chavez, explaining in a complex way that she would send diplomatic envoys to do this. By contrast, Senator Obama expained that he would send a message that he was willing to have dialog with leaders we don't currently have a great relationship with.

After the debate, some have tried to paint Senator Obama as less experienced than Senator Clinton because of the debate. While that's inaccurate, another story has emerged that paints Senator Clinton in the position of flip-flopping. In the article below, she says President Bush should talk to leaders like Hugo Chavez! Morover, she said this on April 22nd of this year.


Clinton Blasts President Bush's Foreign Policy

(CBS/AP) DECORAH, Iowa Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday criticized President Bush's foreign policy, and said if she were president she would do things differently, including beginning diplomatic talks with supposed enemies and sending envoys throughout the world.

"I would begin diplomatic discussions with those countries with whom we have differences, to try to figure out what is the depth of those differences," said Clinton, who spoke to about 1,000 people at Luther College in Decorah in northeastern Iowa.

"I think it is a terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people. You don't make peace with your friends -- you have to do the hard work of dealing with people you don't agree with," said Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Opening talks with other countries doesn't mean the U.S. won't defend its interests whenever necessary, she said, "but what it means is that we should discuss other routes before we decide we're going to pursue military options.

"We cannot provide the leadership we need unless we are willing to try engage the other countries," she said,

She dished out plenty of criticism about the war in Iraq, and said when it comes to Iran, the U.S. needs to engage those with the real power -- the clerics.

Of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad she said: "He's like their front man, he's like their puppet. He goes out and gets people agitated and says things that everybody responds to, but he's not making the decisions. The decisions are being made within the alternative government of these clerics.

"We have no idea of how these people think, we have no contact with them," Clinton said, arguing that she's advocated for years to have a process of diplomacy with Iran.

"If we ever have to use force against any country, it should be seen as an action of last resort, not first resort," she said.

YouTube's Nathaniel Krefman On Barack Obama and "A Call For Change"

Mitt Romney Either Forgot He Supports "Age Appropriate" Sex Education Or Figured No One Would Research A Fib

At last night's CNN / YouTube Debates Senator Barack Obama said in response to CNN;s Anderson Cooper's question about his views on teaching age-approrpriate sex education to children and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney's criticism of Obama on the matter, "Well, Mitt Romney supported age-appropriate sex education, so I don't know what the problem is."

Well, I do. Romney either forgot he did in 2002, or figured that no one would catch him telling a fib. That's a big mistake in an Internet society.

According to Jonathan Martin over at Politico.com, Romney "himself once indicated support for the same sort of sex-ed approach -- "age-appropriate" -- that Obama backs."

Martin reports that, "In a Planned Parenthood questionnaire he filled out during his 2002 gubernatorial run, Romney checked 'yes' to a question asking, "Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?"

Wow. It's also not the first time Romney was caught with his hand in the cookie jar on this subject, as Martin writes that Romney's support for age-appropriate sex education was caught by a rival campaign. But in the case of Obama, Romney's apparent fib didn't stop him from broadcasting it on his YouTube page. But now that the cat's out of the bag, Romney should appologize and come clean.

Shame on you Mitt. Not a good start toward the White House.

Esther and Anderson Cooper At CNN YouTube Debates

Esther and Anderson Cooper
Originally uploaded by breathinglife
Well I wasn't there, but the next best thing is having your question shown and these Flickr photos.

Esther and Anderson Cooper At CNN YouTube Debates

Esther and Anderson Cooper
Originally uploaded by breathinglife
Well I wasn't there, but the next best thing is having your question shown and these Flickr photos.

Here's my take on the event:


..And my question:


Monday, July 23, 2007

Zennie's Video Take On The CNN / YouTube Debate - Score The Debate For Barack Obama

New York Times' Kit Seelye Can't Get Her Black Guys Straight - I'm Referenced and Linked Twice In The Same Article!

Katharine Seelye a reporter for The New York Times wrote an article about tommorrow's CNN / YouTube Debates where she links to two of my videos twice in paragraphs close to each other, but fails to identify me as the same person!

This is both sad and funny. But it's mostly sad and not that funny. Here's the part of the article I'm writing about:

" Another asks the candidates if they would put their friends in important government jobs. “Or are you going to hire the best and the brightest?” he asks. “Or are you prepared to tell us that your friends are the best and the brightest?”

A black man standing in front of a check-cashing store asks the candidates how they would stop predatory lending in low-income neighborhoods. A college student wants to know if the candidates would lower the legal drinking age to 18 from 21.

Now if you click on each link, you'll discover that both lead to videos of me asking questions. In other words, she sourced the same person for two different points of information, but to the lazy eye and finger that would not bother to click on the links -- yeah, right, -- it looks like she's writing about two different people.

Nope. She's not.

Katharine, what's the deal? I've just got to ask why you would reference me twice in this way, one paragraph after the other? And why "A black man standing in front" of a check cashing center, when I wasn't even STANDING IN FRONT OF A CHECK CASHING CENTER. THAT'S A BANK OF AMERICA ATM!"

It just goes to show you how stupid racism is, in this case, institutional racism, where the person thinks they're doing no harm at all in reaching for a stereotype, even if the stereotype tells the story incorrectly.

Wow, this is terrible!

Now, you might be saying "Hey at least she noticed your videos." But that's not the point. It's the principal of the way "Kit" Seelye (as she's called) did it. The best way -- the most direct way -- would have been to write something like "And Zennie Abraham, a YouTube vlogger, has two provacative questions, ..."

Think about it. Read the story. She wrote the article as if I were two different people, rather than the same person. I can't help but wonder what was rolling around in her head.


Mitt Romney Stands Next To Sign Mocking Obama / Clinton - Anyone Think He's Courting David Duke?

Former Mass Gov. Republican Mitt Romney's just stooped to an all time low for a politician in a Presidential campaign and it makes me wonder if he's watched George Allen Jr.'s "maccaca" speech one too many times.

Whatever the case, he looks pretty much not smart in the photo and the fallout from this isn't going away anytime soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

CNN/YouTube Debates Current Statistical Breakdown As Of 10 AM Sunday

As you know, the CNN / YouTube debates is set to air tommorrow night and give the American public a window into, well, what American's thinking about. I'm a video presenter, having submitted seven clips, including the one that is part of the example video at youtube.com/debates I thought it would be fun to analyze the range of videos.

read more | digg story

CNN/YouTube Debates Current Statistical Breakdown As Of 10 AM Sunday July 22

As you know, the CNN / YouTube debates is set to air tommorrow night and give the American public a window into, well, what America's thinking about. I'm a video presenter, having submitted seven clips, including the one that is part of the example video at youtube.com/debates

I thought it would be fun and informative to cull through as many of the submissions as possible and find patterns.

Here's what I've learned.

First, CNN and YouTube have strict guidelines. They are as follows from the debates website:

Be original -- choose your own approach.
Be personal -- your perspective is important.
Choose your focus -- you can address one or all of the candidates.
Keep it quick -- your question should be less than 30 seconds (and, in the language of your choice).
Make it look good -- speak loudly and keep that camera steady.
Provide context -- in your question or video description, include your name & home town.
Please note -- all videos are subject to the YouTube Terms of Use.

The guidelines are rather subjective, save for one: "your question should be less than 30 seconds"

They're pretty serious about that one and to the degree one can pair down a video to get under this, it stands a better chance to be picked for the debate itself. I wondered just how many videos were over 30 seconds in length, so I counted them one by one. I came up with 631 submissions that were over the limit, and some were way over, like 3 to 5 minutes -- ok, just two of them. But that comes to 26.7 percent of the total and dropped the number of eligible videos to 1,649 as of this writing.

I next wondered how many of the submissions were by women, or had women in them as part of a group or couple. The number was about where I thought it would be. There were 551 videos that featured women or had women in them. That comes to 23.7 percent of the total, and that does include the videos that are over the time limit. That means about 1 of every four submissions was female. Ideally, since women are about 50 percent of the population, you'd like to see a video submission spread that reflects the culture. We're 25 percent off here.

Now the other question is how many people of color are represented in the CNN / YouTube Debates? Well if you really stop and think about it, that's a hard question to give a perfect answer to without surveying the people themselves. CNN / YouTube did not do this, so I had to use an "eye count" and that's a hard one because taking away someone like myself who's obviously black, how can you tell if someone's a mix of, say, Latino and Black, or any combination?

Well, you can't.

But it's important to try and gain some handle on this question of racial / ethnic representation, so you know what I did? I counted all of the obviously black and African American faces like mine. I came up with 157 people, or 6.6 percent, or to put it another way, almost 7 percent of the total number of submissions. I was also careful not to include people -- like myself -- who made more than one entry. There's one guy called "antmoe" that must have installed 15 videos -- I think he holds the record number so far.

So the 157 count is a good one -- no double counting.

According to the 2002 U.S. Census update, 13 percent of the U.S population was black -- and that includes children. This is 2007, of course, but we've got to go with the best data, and that's the best the country can do right now. But that comes to just over 1 of every ten people. We're at 7 percent -- almost -- here. But I'm going to give a different take on this, because again, according to the U.S. Census, 79. percent of the population lives in urban areas.

My point is that the real number that is of importance is the one that shows the racial composition of the 80 percent of the population that's in urban areas. It's really hard to get a good number which reports this for the whole country and not city - by - city -- WEIRD -- but I can tell you that the ranks of blacks and other minorities is greater and the city is also the place most likely to contain people who will make and upload videos.

What I'm getting at is there's not enough black and African Americans in the video submissions to really represent the population in my view. But it's getting better and I think it will improve and in a short time. What I do take from this spread of videos is that on the whole the population of them is closer to than the American makeup than I thought they would be. I'm really happy about that. Moreover, as racial and ethnic integration improves -- in other words, more people realize that racism is a mental illness and will not be racist -- the improving condition will be further reflected in the video program.

But that written, if we consider that about 50 percent of the U.S Black Population consists of kids, then the number of adult blacks roughly matches the percentage of participants in the debate - just over 6 percent. That's good, I think.

See, acts like the making and submission of videos for this contest are a cultural development. But if, say, only one part of the culture's doing it, that fact points to segregation of behavior and ideas. That's bad. The CNN / YouTube debates reveal that even though we still have a long way to go, we get better with each passing generation. But I think one short-term solution is in the "team videos" that are present in the contest.

"Team Videos" are where the username -- say DailyYonder is actually a collection of video questions by different people under one YouTube name. These group efforts present different people asking questions and the range is racially, sexually, and age diverse. It's really the one practice that has contributed to what diversity exists in the debate effort.

But what it says more importantly is the desire of a group of Americans to help level the field for everyone else. That's the beauty of this country.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

1-18-08 -New Cloverfield Clues - J.J. Abrams' Slusho Movie

Or whatever the heck it's called. I just know that there's a new photo up at the 1-18-08 website. It's time is noted as 1:24 AM. So there's a pattern -- a story pattern developing here.

More info here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

CNN / YouTube Debate Question - The U.S and Hugo Chavez

This CNN YouTube Presidential Debate question stems from comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last year. The video of President Chavez was a rare find and appears in this question clip.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

CNN/YouTube Debates - Godzilla and Terrorism

The title of this question is dramatic, but give a listen and look and you'll understand. Also visit http://www.communitycounts.us and vote for this question when it appears.


TED SORENSEN - President Kennedy's Aide Compares JFK To Barack Obama - From New Republic Online

Is Barack Obama the next JFK?

Heir Time

by Ted Sorensen
Post date: 07.19.07
Issue date: 07.23.07

t first glance, the Democratic nominee for president in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy--the millionaire Caucasian war hero for whom I worked for eleven golden years--seems notably different from the most interesting candidate for next year's nomination, Senator Barack Obama. But when does a difference make a difference? Different times, issues, and electors make any meaningful comparison unlikely. But the parallels in their candidacies are striking.

Fifty years ago, Kennedy and I embarked on a period in which we traveled to all 50 states in his long, uphill quest for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination. He was, like Obama, a first-term U.S. senator. But he was not yet 40 years old, making Obama, already 45, a geezer by comparison.

At the time, Washington pundits assumed Kennedy had at least two insurmountable obstacles. The first was his lack of experience, especially compared with the senior statesmen also seeking that nomination-- Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson, and Stuart Symington. Kennedy acknowledged that his age and inexperience would turn away some voters. Obama, though older than Kennedy, is similarly dismissed by some today. But Kennedy noted in one speech that "experience is like tail-lights on a boat which illuminate where we have been when we should be focusing on where we should be going."


Kennedy's second major obstacle was his heritage. Some said he had lost his chance to be president of the United States the day he was born--or, at least, the day he was baptized as a Roman Catholic. No Catholic had ever been elected president of the United States, and the overwhelming defeat suffered by the only Catholic nominated for that position, Governor Al Smith of New York in 1928, had persuaded subsequent Democratic leaders that it would be hopeless ever to risk that route again.

The conviction that no Catholic could win was greater, in that less enlightened era 50 years ago, than the widespread assumption today that a black presidential candidate cannot win. The subtly bigoted phrase most often repeated in that election year--by former President Harry Truman, among others--was that 1960 was "too early" for a Catholic president, that the country was "not ready," and that Kennedy should be a "good sport" by settling for the vice presidency. No doubt Obama will hear--or has already heard--similar sentiments about the color of his skin.

Even some Catholic religious leaders--who thought Kennedy was not Catholic enough, having attended secular schools and expressed disagreement with the Catholic hierarchy on church-state separation--opposed his candidacy. So did some Catholic political leaders who thought his candidacy might raise unwanted controversies or produce an unwanted rival to their own positions (much as Al Sharpton and Vernon Jordan may not initially welcome an Obama candidacy). But, in time, Kennedy's speeches and interviews strongly favoring traditional church-state separation reassured all but the most bigoted anti-Catholics. In the end, despite his ethnic handicap, Kennedy proved to be less divisive than his major opponent, fellow senator Hubert Humphrey. Obama may prove the same.

In addition to their similar handicaps, Kennedy and Obama share an extraordinary number of parallels. Both men were Harvard-educated. Both rose to national attention almost overnight as the result of starring roles at the nationally televised Democratic convention preceding their respective candidacies: Kennedy in 1956, when he delivered the speech nominating Stevenson and subsequently came close to winning an open-floor struggle for the vice presidential nomination with Estes Kefauver; Obama in 2004, by virtue of his brilliant speech to the convention that year in Boston.

Both also gained national acclaim through their best-selling inspirational books--Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, published in 1956, and Obama's The Audacity of Hope, published in 2006. Both men immediately stood out as young, handsome, and eloquent new faces who attracted and excited ever larger and younger crowds at the grassroots level, a phenomenon that initially went almost unnoticed by Washington leaders and experts too busy interviewing themselves.

Kennedy's speeches in early 1960 and even earlier, like Obama's in early 2007, were not notable for their five-point legislative plans. Rather, they focused on several common themes: hope, a determination to succeed despite the odds, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and confidence in the judgment of the American people. In sprinkling their remarks with allusions to history and poetry, neither talked down to the American people. JFK was so frank about his disagreements with the leadership of his Catholic "base" that one Catholic journal editorialized against him; Obama was equally frank and courageous with the Democrats' organized labor base in assessing the competitive prospects of the American auto industry in Detroit. Both were unsparing in their references to the "revolving door" culture in Washington.

On foreign policy, both emphasized the importance of multilateral demo- cracy, national strength as a guardian of peace, and the need to restore America's global standing, moral authority, and leadership. Both warned of the dangers of war: Kennedy motivated by his own harsh experience in World War II, Obama by his familiarity with suffering in all parts of the world. Both were cerebral rather than emotional speakers, relying on the communication of values and hope rather than cheap applause lines.

Perhaps most tellingly, both preached (and personified) the politics of hope in contrast to the politics of fear, which characterized Republican speeches during their respective eras. In 1960 and earlier, cynics and pessimists accepted the ultimate inevitability of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, much as today they assume a fruitless and unending war against terrorism. Hope trumped fear in 1960, and I have no doubt that it will again in 2008.

lthough President Kennedy became the breakthrough president on civil rights, health care, and other liberal issues, he was not the most liberal candidate for the nomination in 1960. His emphasis on the importance of ethics, moral courage, and a multilateral foreign policy made him--like Obama--hard to pigeonhole with a single ideological label. His insistence that the United States "must do better" in every sphere of activity, including its cold war competition with the Soviet Union, caused some historians to mistakenly recall that he "ran to the right" of Richard Nixon on national security issues, forgetting his emphasis on negotiations and peaceful solutions.

JFK's establishment opponents-- probably not unlike Obama's--did not understand Kennedy's appeal. "Find out his secret," LBJ instructed one of his aides sent to spy on the Kennedy camp, "his strategy, his weaknesses, his comings and goings." Ultimately, Kennedy was both nominated and elected, not by secretly outspending or out-gimmicking his opponents but by outworking and out-thinking them, especially by attracting young volunteers and first-time voters. Most of Kennedy's opponents, like Obama's, were fellow senators--Johnson, Humphrey, and Symington--who initially dismissed him as neither a powerhouse on the Senate floor nor a member of their inner circle. That mattered not to the voters; nor does it today.

Above all, after eight years out of power and two bitter defeats, Democrats in 1960, like today, wanted a winner--and Kennedy, despite his supposed handicaps, was a winner. On civil rights, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the race to the moon, and other issues, President Kennedy succeeded by demonstrating the same courage, imagination, compassion, judgment, and ability to lead and unite a troubled country that he had shown during his presidential campaign. I believe Obama will do the same.

Ted Sorensen worked with John F. Kennedy for eleven years, first as his senatorial assistant and then in the White House as his special counsel and adviser. He is presently working on his memoirs, to be published in 2008.

Barack Obama's Right - AGE APPROPRIATE (!) Sex Discussions Are Needed


Are you awake? Can you read? Yes? Good.

ABC News used a very inappropriate headline that misquoted Senator Barack Obama. In a conversation with Planned Parenthood on Tuesday of this week, Senator Obama more than once said that "age appropriate" sex education and science-based education was "the right thing to do."

BUT even with this detailed comment, ABC tried to sandbag the Senator with a headline that amounts to a complete lie.

This is the article in full below. Please read it carefully. ABC did not listen, obviously.

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Lindsey Ellerson Report: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do."

"I remember Alan Keyes . . . I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama said in reference to the conservative firebrand who ran against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Sex education for kindergarteners had become an issue in his race against Keyes because of Obama’s work on the issue as chairman of the health committee in the Illinois state Senate.

"'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners,'" said Obama mimicking Keyes' distinctive style of speech. "Which -- I didn’t know what to tell him (laughter)."

"But it’s the right thing to do," Obama continued, "to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools."

Speaking to a young woman who asked a question about sex education, Obama said, "You, as a peer, can have enormous power over your age cohort but you’ve got to have some support from the schools. You certainly should not have to be fighting each and every instance by providing accurate information outside of the classroom because inside the classroom the only thing that can be talked about is abstinence."

"Keep in mind: I honor and respect young people who choose to delay sexual activity," Obama continued. "I’ve got two daughters, and I want them to understand that sex is not something casual. That's something that we definitely want to communicate and should be part of any curriculum. But we also know that when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15 to 19 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death."

When Obama's campaign was asked by ABC News to explain what kind of sex education Obama considers "age appropriate" for kindergarteners, the Obama campaign pointed to an Oct. 6, 2004 story from the Daily Herald in which Obama had "moved to clarify" in his Senate campaign that he "does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten. . . The legislation in question was a state Senate measure last year that aimed to update Illinois' sex education standards with 'medically accurate' information . . . 'Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,' Obama said. 'If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'"

In addition to local schools informing kindergarteners that babies do not come from the stork, the state legislation Obama supported in Illinois, which contained an "opt out" provision for parents, also envisioned teaching kindergarteners about "inappropriate touching," according to Obama's presidential campaign. Despite Obama's support, the legislation was not enacted.

Michael Vick's In Big Trouble But Not Convicted

As you may know, Michael Vick's been convicted of running a dogfighting ring, a felony offense. I'll write more about this soon, but here's the details from George Dormann of Sports Illustrated:

Shocking charges
Indictment against Vick describes unfathomable acts
Posted: Tuesday July 17, 2007 11:42PM; Updated: Wednesday July 18, 2007 2:39PM

During an April raid of Vick's property in Virginia, authorities seized 66 dogs and equipment commonly used in dog fighting.

By George Dohrmann, SI.com
The indictment handed down Tuesday against Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three others describes in detail how they procured a property in Virginia for the purpose of staging dogfights, bought dogs and then fought them there, and in several other states, over a 6-year period. With at least three cooperating witnesses providing the details, federal authorities compiled a detailed case that traces the birth and rise of Bad Newz Kennels.

But not a single line in the 18-page indictment will generate more rage toward Vick and the others charged -- Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips and Tony Taylor -- than a sentence near the end. It reads: "In or about April of 2007, Peace, Phillips and Vick executed approximately eight dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."

In interviews I conducted for an earlier story on the subculture of dogfighting and Vick's involvement, several experts described to me the process of "rolling" dogs. Owners take young dogs, usually puppies, and put them in an enclosed area and see how they react. They prod the dogs and urge them to get angry. If a dog shows aggression toward another dog, that's a positive. If a dog is timid, it is useless. Some fighters give away puppies that don't show the required "gameness." Other owners don't bother with the trouble of finding them a home and simply kill them.

Vick and his three associates, according to the indictment, fall in the latter category. Federal investigators allege Vick is a murderer of dogs who weren't willing to fight for his enjoyment. Even worse, his actions appear more sinister than most professional dogfighters.

"If you want to kill a dog, why exert the energy to slam him into the ground or drown him? Why not just shoot him, which is the most common method?" says John Goodwin, dogfighting expert for the Humane Society of the United States. "That is insane. These guys, if they did that, have serious problems."

Vick's problems would seem to be plentiful now that he has gone from a person of interest in local and federal investigations to one of four men charged in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., with conspiracy to commit interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture. On the Travel Act portion of the conspiracy charges, he faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The dogfighting charges carry a possible sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

Still, even with the gravity of the crimes alleged, Vick's most serious problem would seem to be one of perception. If one believes the allegations against him, Vick is neither a novice dogfighter nor or a hobbyist who dipped his toe into the sport briefly. The indictment alleges Vick is a professional dogfighter who"sponsored" more than two dozen dogfights. He is not, as he previously said, someone who merely trusted the wrong people. Rather, he is the face of a bloodsport that the majority of NFL fans probably didn't know existed until the property he owned on Moonlight Road was raided in late April. And, now, he becomes the ultimate test for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his new discipline policy.

Read the rest at S.I.:

Barack Obama Has 1,900 Donors - DesMoines Register

Obama campaign touts 1,900 Iowa donors

July 18, 2007

Nearly 1,900 Iowans have donated to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, according to information from the Federal Election Commission and the campaign.

The majority of Iowa’s donations were small. Of the 1,864 Iowa donors, 1,737 were less than $200.

In total, Obama, a Democrat, has raised at least $58.4 million in the first six months of this year, more than any other presidential candidate of either party.

The number of total donors to Obama’s campaign exceeds 258,000, which is more than twice that of any other presidential candidate, Obama campaign officials say.

“Each donation to this movement is a show of commitment to the idea that we can change our politics …” said Josh Earnest, Obama’s Iowa spokesman.

The second quarter financial reports of presidential candidates were released this week. In the past three months, Obama raised $32.5 million while national Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, raised $26 million. In total, Clinton has raised $52.1 million.

Former North Carolina senator John Edwards, also one of the Democratic frontrunners, raised more than $9 million in the second quarter, raising roughly $23 million so far.

Obama’s campaign sells presidential merchandise like T-shirts, key chains and hats and each one is counted as a donation.

Tommy Vietor, the Iowa press secretary for Obama’s Iowa campaign, acknowledged that no other presidential candidate has listed individual sales but said that is likely because other companies process and sell the merchandise.

Obama’s campaign sells the merchandise on its own and are, therefore, required to report it, he said. He said “it’s a tiny, tiny piece” of the total amount raised. Almost all of the merchandise is sold online. In total, less than one-half of 1 percent of the total raised has come from merchandise purchased online, Vietor said.

“There is no trick involved. It’s a way you can show support for the campaign,” Vietor said, later adding: “This gives average Americans a way to support the campaign and show their enthusiasm, and the fact that we've sold so many items is a testament to the excitement we've generated.”

CNN/YouTube Debates - CNN Not Community Should Pick Videos

Read the latest update on the debate process from CNN!

I listen to NPR and heard CNN Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman talk about the upcoming CNN / YouTube Debates on Wedneday of this week of this post.

The anchor paired him -- for a moment -- with Joshua Levy from TechPresident.com, and Josh made a statement which caused me to shudder: that the community should select the questions online.

Absolutely not.

The reason I state this is that as one who works online, has been a YouTube contributor, and make simulations online for students in the classroom, I can tell you that people send to vote with their libido.

In other words, if the question's posed by a lovely white woman, it's more likely to be selected over a question by someone -- like myself-- who's black and male, and this even if the former's question was not in compliance with rules!

YouTube seems to attract a segment of society that not only is racist, but expresses it in different ways. This is not the majority, but it's a group that's disproportionately young and very misguided. But that group aside, the habit of clicking on a cute female face is the number one YouTube habit.

Thus, it's good for CNN to be "the leveler" if you will. I've never favored "mob rule" and I certainly advise against it here. If you look at the range of questions asked thus far, the vast majority concern education, as well as -- I count -- at least 25 on Darfur!

People use this event as a medium to communicate their personal concerns and not so much questions that we can use to determine who the best presidential candidate is.

At any rate, keep up the great work on this, CNN and YouTube (Steve Grove, specifically). Also I must add that the number of submissions is about the max you're going to get for this. It may be at about 2,000 by the time the deadline's reached. Given that there are four barriers to entry: time, equipment, knoweldge, and software -- and the marketing effort, which is great -- the number of respondents dwindles to about that number we see.

Also, I'll bet $$ that about 50 percent of the questions were made with Apple Computers, as it's easier to make a video because Macs come equipped to cause that. I have two Mac Books, for example. I can tell when a submitter used a MacBook by where their head's placed in relation to the camera.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NFL Statement On Michael Vick - NFLMedia.com

NFL Statement on Michael Vick - NFL Media.com

We are disappointed that Michael Vick has put himself in a position where a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against him. We will continue to closely monitor developments in this case, and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities. The activities alleged are cruel, degrading and illegal. Michael Vick’s guilt has not yet been proven, and we believe that all concerned should allow the legal process to determine the facts. The matter will be reviewed under the League’s Personal Conduct Policy.


It's that time of year again! Training camps open up this week! Here's more info

“It’s time to get to work!”

So says SCOTT LINEHAN, head coach of the St. Louis Rams, about that summertime NFL staple that signals only one thing – the season is fast approaching!

NFL training camps are here. They start this Thursday, with the New York Jets (rookies) the first to report. By July 30, every club will be in camp.

“Training camp is a crucial time for a team to come together and prepare for the upcoming season,” says New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/general manager MICKEY LOOMIS.

The Saints are one of the teams that “come together” away from home (they train at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi). More and more, though, NFL clubs are training at their regular-season headquarters. The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans this summer join the trend of “stay-at-homes” (the Titans split their 2006 camp between home and a college).

Ten years ago, only 13 percent (four of 30) of NFL clubs trained at home. This year, more than half will (53 percent, 17 of 32).

But there are holdouts to the trend. And they just may know something.


Two teams -- the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks -- will encamp at new training sites this year. While some clubs have changed their training bases during the past decade, others return to familiar venues where they have spent their summer months for years.

The NFL training camp longevity king? The Green Bay Packers, who return on July 27 for their 49th consecutive summer at St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin.

The longest active NFL training camp tenures:

Training Camp
Green Bay Packers
St. Norbert College
DePere, Wisconsin
Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota State, Mankato
Mankato, Minnesota
Pittsburgh Steelers
Saint Vincent College
Latrobe, Pennsylvania
New York Jets
Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York


Indeed, the last two Super Bowl champions trained away at small colleges – the Pittsburgh Steelers (SB XL) at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and the Indianapolis Colts (SB XLI) at Rose-Hulman Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana. They will do so again at those locations this year.

The Kansas City Chiefs are another of the believers in going away to camp. They’ve trained at the University of Wisconsin in River Falls for the past 16 seasons.

“And we’ve had 12 winning seasons out of the 16 we’ve been there,” says Chiefs President CARL PETERSON.

That preparation for winning starts in camp and in the preseason schedule that will kick off on August 5. Coaches and players know the importance of these games. The past 10 Super Bowl champions prove that. Combined, they compiled almost a .700 preseason winning percentage (27-14, .659).

Once it’s kicked off, preseason is like regular season to the players. Last August 11, for instance, quarterback STEVE MC NAIR, in his first game with the Baltimore Ravens, took off on a third-and-goal and carried two defenders on his back into the end zone for a score.

“I play to win, regardless of whether it’s a preseason or regular-season game,” says McNair, speaking for all NFL players. “Once the blood gets flowing, you can’t shut it off.”

Fans this summer will be able to see what it’s like for teams to prepare for a season on NFL Network as it covers eight clubs in camp, and on HBO as it follows the Chiefs in its “Hard Knocks” reality show for five weeks of camp.

Two weeks after camps open, it’s “Hall of Fame Weekend” – a salute to football’s past, present and future – in Canton, Ohio on August 3-5.

On Saturday, August 4, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct its class of 2007 – GENE HICKERSON, MICHAEL IRVIN, BRUCE MATTHEWS, CHARLIE SANDERS, THURMAN THOMAS and ROGER WEHRLI. The enshrinement ceremonies will take place for the first time in primetime (6:00 PM ET) and will be broadcast live by NFL Network.

The following night, it’s the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game (8:00 PM ET) featuring the 2006 NFC Championship runner-up New Orleans Saints against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with MIKE TOMLIN directing his first game as an NFL head coach.

The game will be carried for the first time by NFL Network, with a two-hour pregame show starting at 6:00 PM ET.

The future of the game also will be nurtured during Hall of Fame weekend as the annual NFL Youth Football Summit takes place.

A group of more than 170 youth and high school football coaches and administrators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will convene to discuss topics vital to their programs with football experts and NFL greats.

The Hall of Fame Game will be the first of 15 nationally televised contests this summer. Add to those the “wall-to-wall-ball” schedule of NFL Network – 52 games in 29 days (including two of the national TV broadcasts) – and NFL fans will be able to see first-hand the intensity of preseason competition…and the approach of the season.

The 2007 NFL training camp sites and reporting dates:


McDaniel College
Westminster, MD
St. John Fisher College
Pittsford, NY
Georgetown College
Georgetown, KY
Cleveland Browns Training Facility
Berea, OH
Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Centre
Englewood, CO
Methodist Training Center
Houston, TX
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Terre Haute, IN
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Jacksonville, FL
Kansas City
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
River Falls, WI
Dolphins Training Center
Davie, FL
New England
Gillette Stadium
Foxboro, MA
NY Jets
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY
Napa Valley Marriott
Napa Valley, CA
Saint Vincent College
Latrobe, PA
San Diego
Chargers Park
San Diego, CA
Baptist Sports Park
Nashville, TN


Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ
Atlanta Falcons Training Facility
Flowery Branch, GA
Wofford College
Spartanburg, SC
Olivet Nazarene University
Bourbonnais, IL
San Antonio, TX
Detroit Lions Training Facility
Allen Park, MI
Green Bay
St. Norbert College
De Pere, WI
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN
New Orleans
Millsaps College
Jackson, MS
NY Giants
University at Albany
Albany, NY
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA
St. Louis
Russell Training Center
St. Louis, MO
San Francisco
San Francisco 49ers Complex
Santa Clara, CA
Seahawks Headquarters
Kirkland, WA
Tampa Bay
Disney’s Wide World of Sports
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Redskins Park
Ashburn, VA