Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Change in NFL Draft: Draft moves to Three Day format with first round on Thursday Night in Primetime.

Change in NFL Draft: Draft moves to Three Day format with first round on Thursday Night in Primetime.

The NFL might have done the smartest thing ever in the eyes of real draft fans when they announced a change ton the format of the draft broadcast a short time ago. By moving the draft's first round to thursday night's prime time slot you draw even more viewers and even more of the "casual" football fans then ever before. you also cut a few days of late hype off of the week leading up to the start of the draft because you have the actual first round selections taking place on a weeknight. Then Rounds 2-4 on Friday and 5-7 on Saturday.

What this does for the fan is to also involve them more in the broadcast. For the People working for the teams and the media this gives them(us) an extra Day off/travel day in Sunday, so that people can file their monday stories sooner and grab some relaxation before returning to the grind. In fact, anyone looking for the draft to be shortened should be happy with the reduction in time per pick on 2008 and the format change for 2010. Even if it means one more day of coverage, it's less time on each day.

The big winners here are ESPN and NFLNetwork, because they get to add an extra day of broadcasting to their schedules. So we get an extra Day of Mel Kiper proclaiming that some other front office doesn't know how to handle their business or another chance to hear some more drivel about what some player is going to do with his bonus money instead of real football journalism like "Why did that team pass on that Runningback and take the guy who looks like he'll be packing bags at walmart next month" or how horrible that owner really is, instead of what we really want to know.

President Obama it's your birthday; mine too!

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President Obama, it's August 4th, the day you were born in 1961 in Hawaii. Happy Birthday. It's also my birthday and I'm one year behind you. I didn't know that when we met at the Mark Hopkins on St. Patrick's Day of 2007, but when I realized we had that in common it made me reevaluate a lot of events in my life. On my birthday, I wish to share my thoughts with you and everyone.

For a long time I told people that because I was that one year behind you, I was always one year away from greatness. But I don't think that anymore. I'm great, just in a different way. You see, that you are president makes it ok for me to be who I've fought to be for most of my life: smart, confident, arrogant, caring, intellectual, nerdy, caring, a trekker, a vlogger, a blogger, and other adjectives - positive ones.

I fought to be me because I never wanted to be a stereotype. I have known black men who said they had two languages: "Black English" and English". One way of talking for us, the other way for everyone else. Me? I just had one way: standard English. And I worked to be articulate because I wanted to be arrogant - no it's not a good thing but it was a weapon. It was my shield from anyone regardless of color who would dare try and put me in a "box". I made sure they knew I didn't fit, even if I had to be intellectually intimidating. But around my friends, a group that formed because of our love for "Star Trek: The Original Series", even to the point of forming a Star Trek Club, I wasn't that way.

Well, one reason was because they were just like me, so I didn't have to use myself as a weapon, I could be me and be liked. It's no wonder they're still my friends to this day, and yes, all white or Asian save for two people. Didn't matter. They were and are my touchstone. If anyone wonders what good Star Trek TOS did for America here's my answer: it gave folks like me a "place to be".

But my "place to be" expanded far beyond Star Trek a long time ago. It did for a number of reasons, but most of all, the growth of our generation. As we, you and I, came of age, there were black men like us who were fighting the same fight but we didn't know each other until we reached adulthood. I could name a lot of names, but you know who they are and so do I. Our collective growth and the overall mainstreaming of elements of black culture, specifically "Hip Hop", really made it ok for me to be me and for you to become president.

Now, Hip Hop drew in teenage whites and with so many non-white girls enjoying the music, set the stage for interracial dating and for meeting black men who while they liked the music, didn't fit the black male stereotype. In fact, with both black and white men enjoying the music, all of us realized that we had not just the music in common but other activities as well. This really rapid social integration, something seldom talked about, is Hip Hop's gift to America.

America has melded, grown, and changed because of Hip Hop, and because of people like Bernard Shaw, CNN's amazing former anchor and someone many called "The Black Walter Cronkite". Your speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention marked the first time people of every stripe realized that we could have a black man as president. It was the first time people saw one of us on a national stage and accepted that person as something that person wanted to be - leader of the free world - and not a stereotype.

And now you're POTUS, and a good one at that.

So I say, Happy Birthday, Barack.

And thanks.

Tom Hayes - Let's talk about euthanasia and abortion

Abortion is a proven "wedge" issue, in the finest tradition of Karl Rove's masterful divisive politics, and it's arguably being used that way again right now in the health-care insurance reform debate. The mainstream media is commercial, so they're far from immune from the effects of the money being spent to spin, shape, frame, and control this debate.

Most of us, frankly, have "good enough" insurance, and we all get to make the choice to keep our current system. In fact, of the 5 out of 6 covered Americans, fully 3 out of 4 of them say they're mostly satisfied. So let's be clear: this isn't about the majority, this is about the 1 in 6 Americans who aren't covered. 1 in 6 - that's not quite 50 million Americans.

Now, nobody's proposed socialized medicine - if they had the doctors wouldn't be mostly in favor of reform. But it's a tested sound bite that shaves off a few votes. Did you know they need more billing clerks at Duke Medical Center than they have nurses? Does that get through to the opponents of reform at all? No, apparently they're happier with it spun by lobbyists and CEOs than sticking with reality.

They dragged in euthanasia (which then echoed through the media) because "socialized medicine" didn't make as big a dent as they had hoped. So, too, with abortion. It's being dragged into the debate for the express purpose of derailing the whole package - undermining an honest debate about our values, and shaving off a few votes here and there. It's classic Rove/GOP/special interest "divide and conquer" in the face of Obama's attempts to make real improvements.

They hope we'll ignore that the leading cause of personal bankruptcy filings is medical expenses. Never mind that the number of uninsured Americans grows by over 10,000 people each and every day. No, no, don't fret about your neighbors who aren't as well off as you, that's not your problem - just keeping listening to the $pecial interests as they spend millions of dollars per day, raised by bureaucrats at companies who decide your premiums and what they'll cover or not cover, all to influence congress and public opinion. The bureaucrats who control our access to health care right now live rich, lavish lifestyles with no incentive to change the system, let alone to cover those who need it most.

More than half of personal bankruptcy filings are triggered by medical costs. Really.

Do you think this is about somebody else? Do you think everybody you know is really covered? Do you mind that most of the raises in the last three decades for low and middle-income earners have gone right into the pockets of health insurance profiteers, because premiums have been rising at triple the rate of inflation?

Lots of special interest money is being thrown at this debate, and it's up to us to keep the truth out there, because when people hear things like abortion, socialized medicine, or alleged euthanasia for senior citizens, many have a visceral reaction and stop thinking, let alone listening. Obviously, profits are at stake or the insurance companies wouldn't be spending all that money that might otherwise be going to control costs.

Are you still thinking?

Twitter should partner with YouTube

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This just in, according to TechCrunch, Twitter now has almost as many monthly unique visitors as Craigslist.

Well, TechCrunch didn't include Craigslist's visitor statistics in its blog report, I did, but the point is at 44 million unique visitors, Twitter is just shy of Craigslist's 50 million as of May 2009. If there was any question how large Twitter has become, or how important, that stat should answer it.

But with all of this traffic, where's the revenue model? Is it just burning venture capital cash or is there a plan? (Spark Capital's Todd Dagres says there's a money-making plan and his firm has pumped $35 million into Twitter with the confidence the approach will work.) As of this writing, Twitter is free of charge and is devoid of ads. While different approaches have been discussed, here's one I've not seen before.

Partner with YouTube.

In the model I envision, Twitter would allow its users to embed videos by YouTube Partners directly on their profiles. In turn, YouTube would pay Twitter a percentage revenue fee from the traffic generated by Twitter-based YouTube videos. It's a way of allowing Twitter users to "jazz up" their profiles with videos, much as they do with photos, which in some cases are corporate logos anyway.

My point is, Twitter's already becoming commercialized because businesses are establishing pages on it. Having a provision to add video isn't really pushing Twitter in a direction it should not go. I think this provision would be a massive hit, especially in cases where the YouTuber has breaking news on video that then goes viral on Twitter. Moreover popular YouTubers are also in demand on Twitter, like iJustine, one of LA's Top Twitterers, so Twitter become a way to expand the YouTube Partner reach.

I don't know what the overall revenue impact would be on the Twitter, but its certainly a win-win: Twitter doesn't have to worry about additional traffic weight to its servers, and YouTube makes more money from the additional traffic from Twitter that it then shares with Twitter.

So, if you notice Twitter pages having YouTube videos embeded, you know where the idea came from.