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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sports rants and takes 

ESPN, NASCAR and the INDY 500 among other rants and thoughts

How funny was the ESPN commercial airing last week referring to the Indianapolis 500 as, “the biggest IRL race of the year.” Hey ESPN buffoons, there are no other IRL races that ANYONE gives a rat’s ass about. You can’t give away tickets to the rest of the IRL season and even the biggest racing fans can’t name a single other IRL race. Even people who like the silly open wheel cars, they could still name five Formula One races well before they could think of any other IRL race.

Danica Patrick, as big of a boon as she has been for the Indy Racing League, has moved it from the level of Equestrian Horse jumping, e.g. competitive weaving has more fans, to the level of the Trotters, almost semi-matters exactly one day per year. (The Hambletonian) Quit kidding yourself, ESPN honchos. NASACAR rules the American auto racing universe. Heck, even on your sister network, where were king Regis Philbin and the delightful Kelly Ripa broadcasting from ? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t from the track where they were holding “the biggest IRL race of the year?!!?” Try again. They were at the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s tenth or twelfth biggest race of the year. I’d give you the link to the NASCAR schedule, but their website is atrocious, more pop-ups and annoying ads than a porn site.

On another note, Richard Petty is creep, who needs to quit embarrassing himself. Why do reporters even go to you for quotes, you old goat ? Duh. Because they know that you’ll say something so stupid and backward that it will be newsworthy, like last week when he went Bobby Riggs on the idea of female racecar drivers, when asked about Danica Patrick.

"I just don't think it's a sport for women," Petty said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And so far, it's proved out. It's really not. It's good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity, it gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it's kind of tough."

Brilliant Richard, crawl back into your hole and shut your yap. All one needs to know about Richard and his attitudes is, in a state where Jesse Helms was repeatedly elected, and NASCAR is the next most popular sport to ACC basketball, Richard Petty got trounced running for public office. Enough said. Richard Petty sexist old goat

Danica Patrick on the other hand has been nothing but gracious, composed and well-spoken in every interview I have seen with her. She deserves a ride in a real racing series, ASAP, at least, get her a Busch car. Persons calling her the new Anna Kournikova need to check themselves, Danica isn’t in this to become a model or date hockey players, she’s already married. Her focus is clearly on doing everything she can to become a first rate racecar driver. Heck she was “borrowing” her parents truck at age ten. Now that’s a driver in the NASCAR spirit.

Michelle Wie, who won’t even be bothered playing women’s events, now there’s a candidate for the next Anna Kournikova, all publicity seeking, no substance. Hey Michelle win something, anything, even on the Nationwide Tour, then give us a call, until then try to keep your PR people in check. Looks to me (albeit from afar) like Anika Sorenstam could kick your ass up and down the course on an off day.

Complicity in over-promoting Michelle Wie, just one more reason why SportsCenter has started to suck. Thank the powers that be that at least we don’t have to watch every single Barry Bonds at bat. At least until next year when he is DHing in the AL and chasing Hank.

One more NASCAR note, Michael Waltrip started 43rd and finished 41st at the Coca-Cola 600!! Any of you who know something about NASCAR are probably not surprised. Waltrip is one of all of sports, all-time overrated, gravy training athletes. He couldn’t carry Dick Trickle’s racing helmet to the track. Waltrip has made his career off his brother’s coattails, which have long since disappeared. He has made far more commercials than he has ever won races. His peers know Michael Waltrip isn’t good enough to be considered even an average Nextel Cup racer. Even when given a great team and the best equipment available, which is what it is all about in recent vintage NASCAR, Waltrip has still sucked ass. Now that he has his own team, look for him to get worse and worse before hopefully disappearing completely. Waltrip has made Kyle Petty and George Bush, the second, look like guys who made it on their own merits. Michael Waltrip’s career stats are so bad NASCAR.com hides them. They have their reasons, having wildly over promoted him, based on his alleged good looks. But the more resourceful can find that in 654 career races Waltrip has had more DID NOT Finishes (DNFs) than Top Tens, and never had a season where he averaged better than a 16th place finish. Michael Waltrip is a gravy training career loser

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Follow up to Baseball Predictions 

Follow up to Baseball Predictions (Detroit Tigers)

Much as I respect Jim Leyland as a manager, I still don’t believe that the Tigers will see the post-season, except on TV. I know if Detroit can play .500 baseball from here on out, they will win 90 games. (Note: which would not have gotten them in last year.) They’ve thrown nine shutouts already, and everybody is raving about their pitchers. Nine shutouts at this point is like shooting 80% from the 3-point line, you just don’t do it for a full season. Mike Maroth is a well under .500 career pitcher (45 up and 60 down.) Kenny Rogers always gets smaller as the games get bigger. He’s had many a hot start in his career only to wilt in July and August, and has always had his best seasons for non-contenders. see Kenny Rogers stats While this kid Verlander, looks unbelievable, and I must admit I knew nothing about him when the season started, he is a rookie. Closer Todd Jones is 38. So no Detroiters don’t give up on the Pistons, they’re only down 1-0, and don’t start reserving your Tigers playoff tickets just yet.

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American ports 

Follow up on the Dubai based DP World's attempted American ports purchase

A quick note in follow up to the xenophobic, fear mongering reactions that forced Dubai Ports World to restructure a deal with British firm P&O that would have included the purchase of some American ports operations. One might recall the hysteria of a few weeks back. Today's note came out of an article in The Economist of May 6th, 2006. The Economist quotes MIT economist Kristin Forbes saying the sense from many in Congress is that they over-reacted. The Clarion's response is obviously, but then, the obvious rarely moves an American Congressperson or Senator. However, post the ports deal, recognizing their overreaction, neither House of the Congress opposed Dubai International Capital acquiring Doncasters Group, quoting The Economist, “a maker of precision-engineered parts, for American tanks and military aircraft.”

Ironic? Having never supported the scuppering of the Dubai Ports deal, the Clarion certainly wasn’t wishing for Congress to get involved in this one. We just wanted to wave the signal flag and point out the lunacy, the hypocrisy, the power of hype and the media around the respective moments. The reasons why one was blocked, and not the other, abound. Don’t know them all, but just wanted to holler, “Lookee hear.”

Our thanks to the phenomenal staff writers at The Economist who made the Clarion aware of this issue.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006


America, the erstwhile Quartet of the non-committed, and virtually the entire Western policy making establishment, don’t get it. Hamas, is not going to and cannot legitimately be asked to, renounce violence. Their obvious and instinctive response will be that Israel is not going to renounce violence. No modern states, other than the losers of wars that ended in unconditional surrender, have completely foresworn violence. That is the discourse the Palestinians see underlying renouncing violence as an option, an unconditional surrender to the Israelis.

It is much more important to Israel and to all peace loving, peace supporting people and states of the world, that Hamas and the Palestinians accept Israel’s right to exist. This is the basis from which all discussion must proceed. It should be evident to all the actors involved that accepting Israel’s viability and with it the inevitability of two states, implicitly changes Hamas’s positions on an array of other issues.

The agreements made by previous Palestinian and Israel governments are irrelevant and bankrupt for they have failed.

What is unique about Hamas is the opportunity for a blank slate that they represent.

Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist. But Israel and her Western brokers must recognize the Palestinians cannot be expected to unconditionally surrender just to get a seat at the table.

To extend this point further, one must recognize, the aid cuts and more importantly the freezing of all banking transactions to Palestine under American guidance is imploding the Palestinian government. This policy is actively hurting Palestinian citizens. Beyond that, democratically elected Hamas is being forced into coalition with corrupt and co-opted Fatah against their will. Rather than attempt to bring Hamas to the table, however difficult and repugnant it might be, America is giving Hamas cover to break the status quo cease fire and ignore future agreements negotiated by, what Hamas views as a beholden Fatah.

The true believers must negotiate the peace. If the so called weak negotiate the peace, than the self proclaimed strong will have prima facie reason to disobey.

It appears the conflagration on the ground is close to reigniting. Economic collapse is always dangerous kindling. A unilaterally imposed solution behind a wall is tinder. In this atmosphere, sparks abound. How can the lessons of Berlin not have been learned. No Wall is complete enough to keep “them” all out, not when the economic conditions, namely the availability of jobs and their pay rates, are wildly disparate on the two sides of said Wall. (America’s mortifying immigration policy makers need to learn this, too, but that’s another article.)

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Baseball thoughts and themes 

Baseball Thoughts and Themes

Hideki Matsui’s 1768 consecutive games played streak ended tonight. Technically it ended last night even though he started for the Yankees in left field. Because he broke his wrist diving for a ball in the top of the 1st inning, and if one plays less than a half inning of a game, one does not get credit for a game played. Matsui, or Godzilla as he is affectionately known, is a consummate pro, a hard worker, an effort player who did yeoman’s work without showmanship or braggadocio. Matsui today issued an statement to his teammates apologizing for letting them down by getting hurt and vowing to return to help them. See… Matsui's statement

Matsui’s consecutive game streak, recognized and admired by his teammates and manager Joe Torre, raises an interesting point because the first 1250 game of it were compiled outside of American Major League baseball in the Japanese professional league. I would tell you that Matsui’s streak should be considered among the greatest consecutive games played streaks of all time. Surpassed by Ripken and Gehrig to be sure, but in their class.

This is a theme the Content will come back to, the undervaluing of records and statistics achieved in Japanese baseball, especially in the light of what Japanese players have shown the can accomplish in American Major League Baseball.

Matsui’s injury created a unfortunate hole in the Yankee line-up. Three consecutive hundred RBI seasons disappeared with him. This is likely to be on of those situations that verify what Yankees haters everywhere despise, and all those who love the game know is undermining baseball’s integrity. The Yankees, already with highest payroll in baseball by $70 million or by 35%, are likely to go out and fill this spot with another high salary player. Matsui is out for months, if not the entire season. Additionally, wrist injuries are a slow rehab route normally, simply because wrists are so important to baseball players swings. The speculation has already started in the New York and the national media, the names being bandied about range from Bobby Abreu of the Phils to Torii Hunter of the Twins, Alphonso Soriano the reluctant left fielder of Frank Robinson’s Nationals and even the mythic Ichiro. Seattle couldn’t let him go ? Just because he doesn’t get along with Mike Hargrove, one would think they’d sooner see Grover go. All of those players listed are investments of well over $5 million in additional payroll. One of these trades will probably not happen for a few weeks because when it is consummated, which ever one of these small market teams has their star Hoovered up by the Yankee juggernaut will be immediately declaring to their fan base that this season is essentially over, even if though they bring back some top prospects from the Yankees.

The longest currently active consecutive games played streak now belongs to Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles with 942.

The Yankees won tonight night without Matsui behind the tremendous pitching of Chien-Ming Wang, and solo homers from Bernie Williams and Alex Rodriguez. I would still like to see the Yanks move Posada and especially Robinson Cano in front of Bernie in the order. An excellent defensive performance by the Yankees with five double plays, the highlight reel play tonight was Robinson Cano’s leaping throw from behind second base in the eighth inning after a sweet backhand stab of a grounder up the middle. Cano is the real deal, offensively and defensively. Long-term he might truly be a three hole hitter. Right now that would make the line-up read: Damon, Jeter, Cano, A-Rod, Giambi, Posada, Bernie, etc. This would be my preference until a trade is made or Sheffield returns. The only question would be the pressure of hitting three. I’d like to see Joe slide Cano up a little higher in the order, to at least fifth or sixth, more at-bats with men on base, not quite so much pressure as hitting third. Traditionally, third is the home of a teams best all around hitter. However, the Yanks line-up has as many political intrigues as the Nixon White House or an Oscar Awards ceremony.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

FYI...I am not only a novice blogger, but an idiot.

I didn't realize until just this week that I had to enable commenting for people to be able to comment on the Content.

Silly me, I thought by definition (fiat) that all blogs were open to comment.

Well I finally turned commenting on this week, when I realized. I had wanted to make some comments on the Predictions on myself and couldn't. Duh.

Stay tuned for Issue 2 in June.

Monday, May 01, 2006

How to: The Clarion Content 

Hello there, dear visitor!

We imagine that if you have followed this link you are looking for a little more information about the Clarion Content.

The Clarion Content is a Durham, North Carolina based internet journal. We have drawn inspiration from, among many, many, other sources, Ben Franklin's, Poor Richard's Almanac. We aspire to be a clarion call to action on important political issues, but also we hope to inform and entertain across a wide array of topics, from food to sports to practical advice to things that need to be invented.

Please note, in effort to keep the main Clarion Content page clean and readable, yet still handle the massive information flows of the 21st century, we have recently broken the Clarion Content into subsections; Politics and Policy, Pop Culture, and Sports. These subsections will sometimes have articles that are also on the main Clarion Content page. They will also have other shorter pieces and more topic specific links.

Incidentally on the matter of links, possibly you already know, but for those who don't: anything you roll the mouse over that comes up underlined is link. They are in a different color font, too. These links will transport you to fabulous and outlandish places. Please be aware that a link implies neither endorsement by the Clarion Content of said destination, nor that the destination endorses the Clarion Content. They are just grist for the mill, food for thought. They don't work for or with us, and we don't necessarily even agree with them. (It's a big scary internet out there, don't believe everything you read.)

We welcome your comments and do our best to respond to them. Comments can be made with a free Google ID (if you have Gmail, you already have one,) or anonymously.

We also encourage reader submitted material. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, important? Have a great cause or website? Send us the link.

Our community building is only as good as our collective contributions.

We are also always actively soliciting guest columnists. We are open to all points of view, especially those that challenge and therefore stimulate our own. Civilized argument is the crucible of great ideas.

If you are interested in being a guest columnist or have any other questions, thoughts or concerns that you prefer we address directly, please do not hesitate to email us at: clarioncontent@gmail.com

Please also email us if any of the links are inoperable. (though do be aware that some links will eventually age away...)

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A thought about why you should read and comment on old posts. ---(And read other people’s comments.)

The reason why you should read old posts and comments, and comment on them further, is because: There is inherent value in the agglomeration of thoughtful information, ala the principle that informed Wikipedia, but without its dead weight of the claim to fact. Reading and posting adds to the storehouse of information, all of which may have value some day. Your contribution automatically has some value now, simply by furthering the discussion, you know not what you might provoke, catalyze.

On the distinction of facts versus opinions, see Jim Peacock, “A fact is a precept seen thru a particular lens.”

Says here, the agglomeration of thoughts and ideas, facts and opinions, the aggregate of our human intelligence is the hope for our advancement.

Please even when you disagree, be it with the Clarion Content or another thinker, do it with respect and civility whenever possible.


Sections Banner pictures 

As you may or may not be aware, dear reader, the Clarion Content's editorial staff changes the banner pictures over each section in our, "New Posts in the Sections" feature only when there is new content. A new picture is supposed to signal that there has been new material posted.

The pictures may or may not relate in anyway to the content. The photos accompanying the actual articles tend to relate more topically. These shots are for visual entertainment. They are stretched horizontally to approximately 300 by 50. We always come up with these images through the Google Image search page.

We thought it might be a fun game, read: time waster, for you to get to guess at what words we used to search. Hence this post...

You will always be able to come here and find the answers to what phrase was searched to generate a picture, as well as an original link back to where we found the image.

Happy guessing! We hope that you enjoy.

scroll down


words searched=style baloney

picture originated here

Politics and Policy

words searched=tilted earth

picture originated here

Pop Culture

words searched=fear the wall

picture originated here

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