My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The BCS, or why not to watch college football 

bonus points if you can identify this helmet

Here at the Clarion Content we don't understand why they had Oklahoma play Oklahoma State on Saturday. Couldn't they just have gotten a few computers and a bunch of experts together and voted on who was better? After all according to the BCS (read: BS) isn't that the better way to decide which team is superior?

We have no love loss for Texas. Over the years we have come around to a point of view which would argue that college football is a useless joke. There is no reason to watch save for two things, rooting for a school one has personal loyalty to, and scouting who is going to be good in the NFL. (A league where the champion is decided on the field.)

That said, we are pulling for Missouri in the Big 12 championship game (strongly) and Florida in the SEC championship game (tepidly.) We are hoping for the maximum amount of chaos to expose the system for the fraud it is. Missouri and Florida victories would leave 8 teams with a legitimate claim to a spot in the national championship game.

in no particular order
1 loss Florida
1 loss USC
1 loss Texas Tech
1 loss Texas
1 loss Alabama
1 loss Penn State
undefeated Utah
undefeated Boise State

Excellent. In that scenario the voters and 'puters definitely take Florida and then it is the proverbial coin toss between Texas and USC. Incidentally, a coin toss seems an equally, or perhaps even more fair method to adjudicate things than the status quo. Rocheambeau anyone?

One other college football note, how's this for the difference between the Texas Tech Red Raiders two best players. Superb wideout Michael Crabtree sprained his ankle in the first quarter and returned to the sidelines of Tech's game against Baylor in his street clothes to watch. Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Graham Harrell, broke his left hand in nine places in the second quarter, at halftime he had the training staff "tape it up" and he returned to lead the second half comeback victory over the Baylor Bears. The next day Harrell had four hours of surgery and nine plates inserted in his hand. Crabtree took a couple of Tylenol (allegedly.)

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oregon State and the Rose Bowl 

Oregon State University is playing the University of Oregon today for the right to compete in this year's Rose Bowl against the Big Ten champion, Penn State. It is a game that has traditionally been called "The Civil War." Oregon State has played in the Rose Bowl twice since Pearl Harbor, once in 1965 and once in 1942. The 1942 game was the only Rose Bowl ever held outside of California. It was played in Durham, NC. Despite the obvious tie-in there to the Clarion Content, it was not that portion of the story that caught our attention.

The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Durham in part because of war-related concerns about holding the game in California. The Japanese government had declared war on the United States only months earlier. An article in the Los Angeles Times we spotted earlier this month told a tragically fascinating story about that 1942 Oregon State Rose Bowl team. Jack Yoshihara, a Japanese American was a sophomore reserve on Oregon State's football team, as well as a wrestler. According the story the LA Times recounts, one drizzly day during practice for the 1942 Rose Bowl, two FBI men in overcoats showed up at the Beavers practice field. They spoke with the coach and escorted Jack Yoshihara from the field.

Oregon State went on to upset Duke in the '42 Rose Bowl. Many of the players on both teams went on to serve in the war, Jack Yoshihara was denied the right to enlist in the Army and was sent to the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho. Oregon State awarded Yoshihara a Rose Bowl ring in 1985 and an honary degree last June. Yoshihara who lives in Edmonds, Washington after retiring from the refrigeration business he ran in Portland, Oregon is still a loyal Beavers supporter and fan. For years, he attended all their home games. According to the LA Times whatever the outcome of "The Civil War" this year, health concerns will prevent Yoshihara from attending the Rose Bowl. In 1942 Japanese-Americans were not permitted to travel more 35 miles from home, so he listed to that game on the radio, while German-American teammates were allowed to participate. He never played organized football again.

Amazingly, Jack Yoshihara's is not the only strange but true story from the 1942 Rose Bowl. The LA Times reports that, "During the Battle of the Bulge, Stan Czech, a tackle for that Beavers team, was sharing food and coffee with another soldier in a foxhole. After a few minutes of conversation, he realized it was Wallace Wade, the Duke coach. Charlie Haynes, Duke's backup quarterback, and Frank Parker, an Oregon State tackle, became platoon leaders in different companies. During the Arno Valley campaign in Italy, Parker came across a severely wounded Haynes and carried him to a farmhouse, where medics saved his life."

A reminder to all of us basking in the glow of Thanksgiving to be truly grateful. It is only a game, but the Clarion Content will be rooting for the Beavers from Oregon State to win and hopefully shine an even brighter light on Jack Yoshihara's story.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Music 

It is a little late for what feels like a Dia de los Muertos song, but this beautiful canción crossed our path and we had to share it.



Hillary ineligible? 

It will most likely end up being a paperwork snafu, but it appears that Senator Hillary Clinton is currently ineligible to become the Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Unlike the internet rumors that were flying around in the weeks before the general election that President Obama was somehow ineligible for the presidency because he was not a United States citizen, this issue is grounded in reality.

The issue at hand is Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution known as the Emoluments Clause. It basically states that a serving member Congress cannot accept a position that was newly created or received a raise during their term in office. Senator Clinton faces this problem because the Secretary of State received a raise while she was serving in the Senate (It was long overdue, the Sec. of State still makes less than $200k.)

The issue has come up before in modern American history. During the Nixon administration, President Nixon wanted to appoint Senator William Saxbe of Ohio as his Attorney General. He was ineligible because the office of Attorney General had received a raise during his time in the Senate. President Nixon, in what is now known as the "Saxbe fix," was able to get Congress to reduce the Attorney General's wage to the previous level making Saxbe appointable. President George H.W. Bush, just before leaving office, also approved a "Saxbe fix" so that Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen could move from the Senate to take that job in the Clinton administration.

The Daily Kos is urging President-elect Obama and Congress to do the same in this case to insure Senator Clinton is able to be appointed.

The Emoluments Clause reads, ""No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office."

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

See ya P.J. 

P.J. Carlesimo, coach of the NBA's Oklahoma City Franchise Thieves got canned today after a 1 win and 12 loss start to open the season. Sweet. The Clarion Content has disliked P.J. since his days at Seton Hall when some of our senior editorial staff was living in New Jersey. Carlesimo, who was a successful game coach at Seton Hall, was known far and wide as a sanctimonious jerk, who was despised by his players. As a fan of the young, dynamic Kevin Durant, the Clarion Content was dismayed when the Sonics brought Carlesimo on board. The NBA is tough enough; physical hard knocks, 82 games, money managing, road trips, et cetera, to have Durant start his career in the kind of hostile, negative atmosphere P.J. Carlesimo embodies, was the coup de grâce.

P.J. Carlesimo's style is braggadiccio and bombast. He was known for screaming at his players long before Latrell Sprewell decided to throttle him. This is the second time that Carlesimo, a Scranton, P.A. native, has been fired early in the season in his NBA career. He is not the guy you want around when things are going poorly, his attitude only makes it worse. His career record in the NBA now stands at 204-296 a .408 winning percentage.

Labels: ,

Watts-Hillandale in the Fall 

All of these photos were taken this Fall, in the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood of Durham, North Carolina. Before the Clarion Content hired a full-time photographer.

Carolina Avenue: looking North

Wilson Street: looking West

Albany Street: looking North

Sprunt Avenue: looking East

Sprunt Avenue: again looking East

Maryland Avenue: looking South

Sprunt Avenue:further down the block, looking East

Sprunt Avenue: again looking East


Myron Rolle has a busy day 

Don't typecast me

Florida State junior safety Myron Rolle is one of 15 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, given each year to college football’s Defensive Player of the Year. He also happens to be a finalist for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

The accomplished and impressive Rolle, priorities in order, will miss the first half of Florida State’s game with Maryland today to interview for the Rhodes Scholarship in Alabama. The university and head coach Bobby Bowden are having Rolle flown to Maryland after the interview.

"I thought about the fact this may come up a while ago," Rolle said of the scheduling conflict. "It didn’t crystallize in my mind until weeks ago when I learned I could be a finalist. It really hit me recently, but this is a priority for me and very special for my family."

His role model is Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Medical Institution. Carson who grew up poor in a tough Detroit neighborhood, in a single parent home, is the author of The Big Picture.

Labels: ,

Madonna in LA 

Madonna played to rave reviews in Los Angeles last week. The Clarion Content has long been a fan so that does not surprise us. What was interesting about the show was the special guests Madonna had invited.

Her Sticky & Sweet Tour was playing in the beautiful Chavez Ravine stadium of the Dodgers. The star studded crowd included such luminaries as Drew Barrymore, Rick Rubin, Ryan Seacrest, Heidi Klum, Kate Moss and Fergie. The highly culturally attuned Madonna's visual showcase included many images of Obama, whose election she recognized as cause to celebrate. She is also keenly aware of issues of sexual politics as the LA Times noted, Madonna and her rainbow-coalition dance crew, "enacted that struggle (Proposition 8) on-stage, both figuratively and literally." She was quoted from the stage, "There is one little disappointment, though. I'm sorry to hear that Proposition 8 passed. But we will not give up the fight -- never."

So what about those guests!?! Megastar Justin Timberlake sang "4 Minutes" from Madonna's newest release "Hard Candy." Much more interestingly, long time Madonna fave Britney Spears performed. The Clarion Content, full disclosure, is a huge Spears fan and Spears defender. Britney, noting, she's nobody's f*cking victim joined the divorcing Madonna on stage for the ending chorus of a well received version of "Human Nature." It is our thinking that Madonna hopes to mentor the troubled Spears; the patriarchy has a love/hate relationship with strong women who refuse to deny their sexuality.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 21, 2008

The University of Buffalo Bulls 

The Buffalo Bulls have not exactly been a football powerhouse in recent years. They came to the Clarion Content's attention recently because they are leading the Mid-American Conference's Eastern Division. The Bulls rise to prominence deserves special mention because they have been playing Division I-A football for less than ten years. As newcomers to the top division they have had to face scheduling difficulties and go on the road to play doormat to the powerhouses. Yet that hasn't deterred them, and this year the sweet smell of success is in the air. The Clarion Content originally wrote about U Buff football in effort to recognize their tremendous young head coach, Turner Gill, and to promote Coach Gill for the nearby and now open Syracuse University football coaching job.

This week the University of Buffalo Bulls have come to our attention for another, better reason. ESPN's show Outside the Lines is doing a program on the 1958 football team. This squad was the only team in 102 years of the Bulls program to be invited to a bowl game, the 13th annual Tangerine Bowl. The Bulls refused the bid, and therein as Paul Harvey would say lies the rest of the story. The Bulls of 1958 were a racial integrated squad in a still segregated America. The Tangerine Bowl was to be played in Orlando, Florida. The Orlando High School Athletic Association was at the time the Tangerine Bowl stadium's leaseholder. It strictly prohibited blacks and whites from playing together. The Bulls were told they would be allowed to participate only if their athletes of color, starting halfback Willie Evans and reserve defensive end Mike Wilson, did not play. Asked by their coach to vote on whether or not to participate the college kids who made up the 1958 University of Buffalo Bulls football team unanimously rejected the bowl bid.

Here is hoping they get their first chance since this year!!! From the Bull City we support the Bulls, read the full ESPN story here.

Labels: , , ,

Waxman takes over 

The Clarion Content has long considered Representative Henry Waxman the kind of self-aggrandizing, self-promoting, a-hole Congressperson that makes us loathe the institution. The guy never met a hearing or a publicity opportunity that he didn't like, and didn't attempt to exploit to the fullest. (steroids, tobacco, the NFL Network...) He has long been in bed with the trial lawyers and promoters of the exploitation of tort law and the lawsuit. Waxman first came to our notice when he sided with the wealthy homeowners in his district helping squash the expansion of the Los Angeles city subway system. His efforts were ground in ugly racial politics rooted in his constituents' fear that expanding the subway might allow minorities easier access to their neighborhoods.

But while Congressman Waxman has been an awful grandstander, he has been on the right side of several big issues in the last few decades. (He has served in Congress for 33 years.) He was on the right side of defending and expanding the Clean Air Act more than once. He was one of the first to press evil Vice-President Dick Cheney to name the names of those advising him privately on energy policy. Waxman was also behind the official condemnation of the Bush II administration for the prejudicing and politicization of governmental science it sponsored. Congressman Waxman also help lead the push for the expansion of the availability of cheap generic drugs in America.

He is in the news, and the Clarion Content is forced to celebrate his triumph as the lesser of two evils. In a rare break from the seniority rules method of selecting Congressional Committee Chairpersons, Congressman Waxman wrested the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee from Michigan Representative John D. Dingell this week. Congressman Dingell, an a-hole of the first order, is literally married to a General Motors senior executive and former lobbyist, who is descended from the founding family of G.M. No surprise then, Dingell has been a total shill for the automakers for his whole career. He has on more than one occasion helped them fight off environmental regulation. He supported them strongly in their fight to stop gas mileage standards from being raised and to keep SUVs considered as trucks instead of cars. (Again, in an effort to ward off being forced to accept higher fuel efficiency standards.) He has also fought against demands that Detroit raise vehicle safety standards.

The Clarion Content is happy to see Dingell's head roll. He should retire. He has been in Congress far too long, like so many of these octogenarian power mongers. Dingell is as bad as any, having inherited his seat when his father died in office in 1955.

The Clarion's hope as that as the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Chairperson, Congressman Waxman, presses United States automakers to join the 21st century environmentally.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pygmy Tarsiers 

One of the smallest primates known to humans was recently rediscovered after 85 years without a sighting. Previously thought to be extinct, these little shubbas, pygmy tarsiers, were recently uncovered in the cloud forests of Indonesia. They weigh about 2 ounces and can turn their heads 180 degrees.

They are also the spitting image of Gremlins. Seriously!


Labels: ,

Trust the police? 

The Clarion Content has long been wary of the police. It is our great worry that rather than 'protect and serve', the attitudes of the American police forces, local and national, are now shaped by a mentality of 'enforce.' This get the bad guys before they get you, while seemingly a logical response to what is seen as the adversarial nature of police work, catches far too many innocents in the line of fire. It is rooted in the dog eat dog capitalist mentality of zero sum thinking, 'Your loss is my gain.' Police work does not have to be adversarial or a zero sum game. That mantra runs in contravention to the communitarian nature of 'Broken Windows,' style of policing. Broken Windows theory argues that the police are far more successful in preventing crime when the community perceives that they and the cops are working together.

Capitalism has other insidious effects on the cops, like teachers, most law enforcement officials are poorly paid relative to the society around them. Dentists, veterinarians, athletes and actors routinely make more than the police, to cite but a few examples. Worse, dealers of illegal narcotics also tend to make more money than them, leaving the cops very vulnerable to temptation.

Here are links to just a few of the negative policing stories the Clarion Content has come across in the last few weeks.

Here is a link to a story about a highly decorated Homeland Security officer, who was recently arrested in connection with possession and intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine.

Here is a link to a story in the LA Times describing years of corruption and incompetence in the LAPD's fingerprint lab. This diabolical and slipshod work has resulted in numerous convictions of the wrongly accused, as well as the inability to prosecute cases where the evidence has disappeared or been mishandled.

This is a link to a very sad story, where an Anaheim police officer in hot pursuit of four burglars shot and killed an innocent bystander at his own front door. The man killed was a twenty year-old newlywed who was roused by the possible intrusion into his home. The cops have admitted their tragic mistake.

This is a link to NPR story, passed to us by one of our local Durham readers, detailing the potential corruption that flows from seizing the property and possessions of dealers of illegal narcotics.

This is a link to a snippet which describes two seeming unconnected northern California police officers arrested in Tijuana, Mexico. Reading between the lines surely makes one think something larger might have been afoot.

This is a link to another story from Tijuana, Mexico, which is on the front lines of the drug war. More than 300 people have been killed in the city since September as part of the on-going violent struggle. The Mexican authorities have dismissed 500 cops as part of an investigation into police corruption. However, before you going looking down your nose at Mexico, dear reader, please note that a veteran police official and U.S. favorite was arrested as well, Javier Cardenas, the Mexican liaison to U.S. federal and local law enforcement agencies. Also arrested was the leading international cop in the area, Interpol's Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas.

Yet for all the populist criticism and questioning the police face, the Clarion Content is by no means certain that the world is ready for a police-less state. The very nature of capitalism makes it untenable. This is a link to a story about eleven different likely gang related homicides that have occurred in LA County in the last four days. Things may be screwed up for the cops, but do they mirror what is fucked up in modern society? Maybe the blame lies with us and the self-contradictory system we try jam them into?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Couldn't be happier for Ted Stevens 

Here at the Clarion Content we couldn't be happier than to see the door of the Senate hit Ted Stevens on his octogenarian butt. Former Senator Stevens was recently convicted of seven felonies. The Clarion Content has no idea whether Senator Stevens was actually guilty of the bribery he was accused of committing. The trial turned on a he said vs. he said thing. However, the Clarion Content has no doubt Senator Stevens stank to high heaven. He was the man behind the Bridge to Nowhere. The biggest accomplishment that news organs can find to tout about him in defeat is, "he is esteemed for his ability to secure billions of dollars in federal aid for transportation and military projects... more than $9 billion in 2006 alone," according to the Associated Press.

The Clarion Content would love to say, "So long you pork barrel loving, opponent of democracy!"

Unfortunately, we know almost nada about Sen. Stevens opponent, former Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. We can only hope that he is not a pork barrel loving weasel.


Michigan Mess 

This just in, Rich Rodriguez is a jerk! All season the Clarion Content has been resisting the urge to mock Michigan football as they struggle to the worst year in their program's history. But no more, as Coach Rich Rodriguez gave loyal Michigan fans the metaphorical bird today for having the temerity to complain up the historical lows their program has sunk to under his leadership. Coach Rodriguez said that Michigan fans needed to, "Get a life," and worry about bigger things like the economy. Clarion Content to Coach Rodriguez, "A, hey there coach, news flash, people watch sports to take their minds off distressing, uncontrollable news, like the economy..."

What Michigan fans? You're surprised that a guy who did West Virgina like that, his home state school and his alma mater, would treat you like crap? Duh! Enjoy 3-8 and staying home for bowl season. At least the basketball coach you swiped from West Virginia might be able to get the crummy Wolverines to .500, but here at the Clarion Content we hope not.

Labels: , ,

Brad Lidge got jobbed 

Albert Pujols please! The Philadelphia Phillies Brad Lidge got jobbed out of the National League Most Valuable Player Award yesterday. St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols had an excellent season. However, as is clearly written into the title of the award, it is for the Most Valuable Player!!! It is not for the "best offensive season," which Pujols may have had.

Problem is Pujols played for the fourth place St. Louis Cardinals, who finished 11.5 games out of first and only got there by surging to win their final six games of the season after they had been eliminated. Pujols did not lead the N.L. in runs batted in or home runs. Not since Andre Dawson in 1987 has a slugger or any player for such a non-contender won the M.V.P. The only way a player is supposed to win M.V.P. for a non-contending team is if his season is so sublime, so superior, it is impossible to ignore. When Dawson hit 49 homers for the mediocre 1987 Cubs, nobody had hit that many in the National League in ten years. We repeat Pujols didn't even lead the league this year. He was picked because voters wanted to reject the Phillies first baseman, Ryan Howard for striking out too much and hitting for too low a batting average. Reasonable objections to the Clarion Content. Furthermore, Howard had already won the award once. The Clarion Content is not lobbying for Howard from the World Champion Phillies, but rather his teammate Brad Lidge whose candidacy did not receive the serious consideration it deserved.

The reason Lidge did not get a fair hearing is because he is a pitcher. There is a certain faction of the folks who vote for baseball's post-season awards who prima facie refuse to consider pitchers for Most Valuable Player because, "they have their own award." This is a ridiculous argument. Yes, the Cy Young honors the best pitcher in the league each year, but that should have no bearing on whether or not a pitcher is the most valuable player in any given baseball season. Lidge who was 41 for 41 in save opportunities this year clearly was the most valuable player. If he alone had switched franchises and worked for the New York Metropolitans instead of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets would have won the N.L. East. The Phillies might have missed the playoffs instead of being the world champs. If the L.A. Dodgers had Lidge, they likely would have beaten the Phils in the N.L. playoffs.

Furthermore there is precedent for a relief pitcher winning the M.V.P., Willie Hernandez won for overpowering 1984 Tigers. Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers won three years earlier for the beer makers and Dennis Eckersley nearly ten years later for the Oakland A's "Bash Brothers' team. The 1984 Tigers who bolted out of the gate 35 wins and 5 losses and cruised to a World Series win, had Alan Trammel, Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson, but rather than pick the best slugger, the voters picked the most valuable player, the lower profile Hernandez. This year's Phillies were set up perfectly to follow the same scenario. Ace reliever Lidge was the essential difference between this year and last year's Phillies. The same Phillies who despite having three hitters in a row who had won the M.V.P., Howard, second sacker Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, couldn't get over the top until they got the closer, Brad Lidge. Brade Lidge got jobbed, he was the N.L. MVP this year.

The Red Sox diminutive second baseman Dustin Pedroia was a deserving, though not clear cut, winner in the American League.

Labels: ,

Auto industry bailout follow up 

If you read the Clarion Content's screed earlier this week about the auto industry bailout then you will know where we stand. If you didn't, in brief, we are opposed to any further money heading to Detroit's big three automakers, absent it being expressly tied to conversion of their existing product line to hybrid, flex fuel or natural gas vehicles. At the suggestion of one of our local Durhamanian readers, we proposed that the federal government could offer Detroit a subsidy project of converting all the vehicles owned by the federal government to run as hybrids, or on flex fuel and/or natural gas.

This would have the knock-on benefits of vastly reduced oil consumption by the American government, as well as setting up Detroit to head this same direction with consumer vehicles posthaste.

In a New York Times Op-Ed piece contributor Robert Goodman hearkens back to the brilliant Stuart Udall, Kennedy's Interior Secretary and a visionary ecological thinker. Udall, ahead of his time, pressed for the federal government to invest in high speed trains and other forms of public transit. The Clarion Content certainly considers this a far more worthy way to go with the federal bailout money than to hand it over to a backward thinking Detroit that has spent the last twenty years pushing SUVs and pick-up trucks on the American consumer, while fighting tooth and nail against raising gas mileage standards.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pithy F*rging Sayings (8th ed.) 

Welcome to our 8th edition of Pithy F*rging Sayings gathered from the singularity.

Our use of these saying does not necessarily always imply endorsement, they are food for thought, our goal is to provoke.

"Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint, or sing, or write, for only in such response do we find the truth." ---Madeleine L'Engle

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.” ---James Madison

"Why cannot human being give up their ruthless ambition of harnessing and controlling nature and choose instead to live in harmony with it?" ---Ma Jun

Link to old Pithy F*rging sayings posts here.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Finally, a decent bagel 

The Clarion Content has long sought after decent bagels in North Carolina, until recently it had been a trying and ultimately dissatisfying quest. Having northeast genetic stock on our editorial staff, standards were high. You don't bring Bruegger's bagels to the Clarion offices, lest you want to me mocked and derided until you run away cowering and crying. Bruegger's bagels are no more than one tiny half step removed from a frozen Lender's bagel (aka hockey pucks.) Lender's bagels are to bagels what Yugos are to cars, golf pencils are to writing implements, what dial-up internet is to a T1 line. Sure they are vaguely members of the same class, but they are craptastic. A Yugo hardly begins to make one understand the powerful possibilities of the automobile. A golf pencil can be used to scratch something down, but need to erase? Fugit about it. And if you grew up on MontBlanc's, you are never going to believe that someone else considers a golf pencil satisfactory. Really? Really? You are willing to accept that?

So one can only imagine how excited we were after ten long years of searching to finally encounter, not only a decent bagel in the Carolina's, but an excellent one. Previously we had not met a bagel in the state of North Carolina that we would have rated over a 4 out of 10. New York Bagel & Deli of Cary, NC is the diggity. Of course, made from scratch! Their bagels are old school, huge and just the right texture. Not to mention, they are not so blinded by blueberries and other fruits, as to neglect the traditional flavors; garlic, onion, poppy, seasame, pumpernickel and so on. Their staff is top notch, most days owners Tom and Josephine Nurrito* are behind the counter. Even when they're not, the service is always impeccable. And if it is not always delivered with a smile, the gruffness hides some genuine caring about the people and the product. Your happiness is assured, they won't let you leave less than satisfied. Maybe it is just all that experience, they have been a family business for over 75 years. (Most of it elsewhere, as 75 years ago Cary was a field.)

* Josephine always has a delightful smile.

Labels: , ,

Text Google 

google 466453

Did you know that you can text Google at 466-453, or "Google"---it is sweet!

Among the things Google can tell you:

But a few examples:
sports scores, text "NY Rangers score"

weather, text "w Durham"

movies, text "m 27707"

stocks, text "the stock symbol"

local stuff, text "Harris Teeter Durham" (a local grocery store, Google replied with their address and phone number)

define words, text "d tonsure" (the shaping of evergreens by clipping, or a bald spot resembling the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics.)

flights, text "ua 440"

...and we saved our favorite for last, calculator, text "144*18"

Rest assured there are even more applications depending on just what your cellular device can handle. Follow this link.

The reply is almost instantaneous. The Clarion Content is lobbying the good folks over at Google to support the Google, "I feel lucky" feature via text. It would be such an argument solver to be able to text Google, "23rd President" or "Robin Williams real age"...

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

from the Hunchback of Notre Dame 

Word is Victor Hugo wanted to name The Hunchback of Notre Dame, simply Notre Dame. Upon review that makes perfect sense because ostensibly Hugo saw the cathedral itself as the central character of the story, a very modern angle for his time. One can see how the cast of other characters is an ensemble not a lead and supporting roles, nor simply a hero and a villian. Rather than spoil the story for you, and if you have only seen the movie you haven't gotten the half of it, we will instead offer...

Word pearls from Victor Hugo's masterpiece

"Pride always has ruin and shame close at its heels."

"'And love?' proceeded Gringoire.
'Oh! love!' said she, and her voice trembled, and her eye sparkled. 'It is to be two and yet be one- it is a man and a woman blending into an angel-it is heaven itself.'"

"It was the abuse of impunity going hand in hand with the abuse of punishment-two bad things, which strove for one another."

"The King never grants any boon but what is wrung from him by the people."

"In order to live one must get a livelihood."

"Life without love is but a dry wheel, creaking and grating as it revolves."

"Memory is the tormentor of the jealous."

"which imparted to her profile that ideal sweetness which Raphael subsequently found at the mystic point of intersection of virginity, maternity, and divinity."

"Oh, how hollow science sounds when you dash against it in despair [against] a head filled with passions."

"the blinder that passion the more tenacious it is. Never is it stronger than when it is most unreasonable."

"Montmarte, which had then almost as many churches as windmills, but has retained the mills only; for the material bread is nowadays more in request than the spiritual."

Labels: ,

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't mess with Her Majesty's Navy 

Royal Navy Type 22 frigate

Don't mess with Her Majesty's Navy. You'd think pirates worldwide might have learned this lesson a couple hundred years ago. Perhaps they have forgotten since? Yesterday the Brits on the Royal Navy Type 22 frigate, HMS Cumberland issued a reminder to a group of Somali based pirates attempting to hijack a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden 60 miles south of the Yemeni coast. The pirates seeing the Brits approaching in two Royal Navy assault craft made the mistake of opening fire instead of turning tail and running. Whoops! Bad idea. In the ensuing firefight three pirates were killed, no British Marines were even wounded, and the remainder of the pirates lost the will to fight quickly and surrendered quietly. The Royal Navy described the boarding of the Yemeni flagged fishing dhow as "compliant".

Labels: ,

Now for the consternation 

The Clarion Content knew it was coming. When we endorsed President-elect Obama we outlined for you the array of policy disagreements we had with the Democratic Party establishment. Here we are a mere week on from the election and already, we are suffering ajada (but not remorse.)

The cause of said ajada is the talk amongst Democrats from Obama's newly appointed Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of a bailout for the auto industry. Ridiculous! The Clarion Content is strenuously opposed! This is just the dangerous sort of French model of state sponsored capitalism that we railed against before the election. When an industry screws the pooch as egregiously as the self-serving morons in Detroit have, there is absolutely no way the Federal Government should bail them out. It creates an absurd moral hazard. The sense that some companies are too big to fail, allows their executives to say, "No matter how badly we screw this up, you know we ultimately have the taxpayers to fall back on." This sort of moral hazard is precisely what led to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disaster; where the country and the budget got reamed and the fat cats got to keep much of their ill-gotten gains.

The Clarion Content is not opposed to the $25 billion already authorized by Congress for the auto industry that is specifically targeted to help the auto industry begin producing more fuel efficient cars. However, to hand over billions more just because General Motors, Ford and Chrysler say they are cashed strapped is blatantly wrong headed. It sends a signal to the country and the world that America intends to go backward rather than forward. While we are all for job retraining and extended unemployment benefits for the workers who got trapped in the middle, we believe the auto companies as entities deserve to survive or fail on their own merits. Just as we believed the airline industry should have been made to after September 11th, 2001, when the government lavished billions on an industry that had managed itself atrociously, it was a move straight out of the old Italy-Al Italia playbook, horrible for efficiency and backward looking.

We have read numerous good suggestions. The folks over at OurFuture.org have done a wonderful job of aggregating some of the things that have been written about how the next bailout should force Detroit's hand on the hybrids. Not only do we wholeheartedly agree, but one of the Clarion Content's local Durham readers has proposed to go them one better. This brilliant fellow has proposed that Federal Government use the massive auto subsidy Detroit wants to pay them to convert the entire existing federal fleet of vehicles to run on either hybrid engines, flex fuel or natural gas. (There could be highway bill incentives for the states to follow suit.) Now this might not save all of the big three automakers, they are designed to do something entirely different. But, it would be a huge boon to employment in the wider auto and manufacturing industries, especially if existing facilities can be converted to become assembly lines to work on vehicle fuel intake changes. These assembly lines could then be the basis for whole new fleets of consumer vehicles manufactured to run on the same fuels. Just as government investment in new technology has led the way, from radar to the internet, so it could be for alternative fuels.

For the Democrats to advocate simply handing piles of cash to the auto industry the way Bush the II did for the airline industry would be fabulously irresponsible and a defamation of the progressive "change" argument of President-elect Obama.

Labels: , , , ,

Enough already! 

Can we finally dispense with all this ridiculousness about Roger Federer being the greatest tennis player of all-time? Surely, this year has debunked that ludicrousness. It is only the hype-filled era that we live in that ever elevated Federer to that spot on the pantheon. It is the same media outlets who wanted to tell us that Marion Jones was the greatest female sprinter ever and that Michelle Wie was on her way to golf superstardom. The same self-promoting, fiscally incentivized folks who say things like, 'Roy Jones Jr. is greatest pound for pound fighter of all-time.' Pshaw! Don't believe the hype.

Roger Federer is the Ivan Lendl of his era, surely amongst the all-time greats, but with a fatal flaw. He was never able to win on clay because his game, though more than one dimensional, was built primarily around his huge serves. Federer has played in era which was a modern nadir for tennis. It has never been less popular or less highly regarded by youths entering sport. In the 1960's or 1980's Federer would have been a top five player who won a couple grand slam tournaments.

Labels: ,

It was an epic game 

Or so we hear anyway... Last night's classic AFC East battle between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots highlighted two of the NFL's biggest problems. For a league that is at least tied for the best operated professional sports league in North America, this may sound like nitpicking, but they were kind of major issues.

Issue one, we didn't see the game. The Durham, NC based Clarion Content offices do not get Direct TV. Our cable system Time Warner isn't getting on with the NFL Network folks who had the exclusive broadcast rights to last night's humdinger. Hence, we were left to listen to it on the radio. Long time Clarion fave Ian Eagle did a bang up job, admirably assisted by the just gruff enough, Denny Green. It was a delight to listen to, but for a game that big, it might have been nice to be able to see it, too.

Issue two, the game was decided by a coin flip! A freaking coin flip! How ludicrous. The NFL overtime rules have long been derided as based on luck. Unlike the college football overtime, there is no guarantee that both teams will see the ball. The Jets won the coin flip, went down the field and won the game with a field goal. Had the Patriots won the coin toss, odds are they win the game. They had just gone down the field at the end of regulation and scored a touchdown with one second left, in OT they would have only needed a field goal. Both teams were scoring at will. It was disappointing to have a game this good decided that arbitrarily.

For those of you who also did not see the game, NFL.com has the highlights here.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Going the other way 

If you read our post earlier this week about the difficulties the Yankees are having selling luxury boxes and the highest priced of their exorbitant season tickets then the title of this post will make perfect sense. The Yankees who are moving into their new stadium next Spring are jacking the prices and screwing the little guy. Two franchises are going the other way in different manners.

The Boston Red Sox are holding the line on their ticket prices, albeit for the first time in 14 years. Still, the Red Sox chief sales and marketing officer, Sam Kennedy, sounds like he gets it. Here he is quoted in the Boston Globe, "We do not want to be the ballpark of the rich and famous." The Red Sox took this position despite 469 consecutive sellouts and a waiting list of over 7,000 for season tickets.

The other franchise, the hapless New Jersey Nets did them one better. In a plan that we could hardly like better if we had thought of it ourselves, the New Jersey Nets basketball team will give unemployed fans who submit their resumes to the Nets Job Bank up to four free tickets, plus access to a Nov. 22 career fair at their home arena and distribute applicants' resumes to the team's corporate sponsors. Brilliant! Now all they need to do is find Vince Carter a job. (Up to 1,500 total tickets will be available.) Fans that are seeking jobs can sign-up at www.njnets.com and should email their résumé, former employer, contact information, and career field of interest to the Nets Job Bank at jobbank@njnets.com.

Labels: , ,

One last chance to screw the Earth 

Mountain top coal mining (note the huge swath of
gray, dead area in the middle of otherwise green forest lands

One last chance to do something bad to the Earth or its inhabitants, and well you know the George the II is going to dive in head first. The lame duck and widely loathed Bush the II administration moved this week to destroy the environment any way it can before it leaves office.

Bush II officials are going to relax environmental-protection rules on power plants near national parks and on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. Once again Bush-Cheney will put the interest of big energy companies ahead of our (collective) ecology. Once again, sustainability is pushed to the rear in a greedy rush for profits. This is only further underlined by the limited time the President has remaining in office and the near certainty that an Obama administration will reverse these rules. The evil Bush the II cares not that the rules will be reversed as soon as he leaves office. "Mine now!" "Degrade the environment as fast as you can," is his administration's mantra.

How long before he and Dick "Friend of Satan" Cheney are collecting fat fees for serving on the boards of multi-national energy companies? Weeks after leaving office? Days?

Bush the II also plans to make it easier to wreak environmental havoc in the Appalachians by removing limits on mountaintop-removal coal mining.

He is also moving to relax limits placed on development by the Endangered Species Act.

There is warm cell in hell waiting for this demon! The sooner he is inhabiting it, the better.

Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, in addition to scarring one of America's most beautiful national landmarks, raises the risk of uranium leaching into the Colorado River, a source of drinking water and crop irrigation supply for several western states.

Mountain top removal coal mining devastates whole ecosystems. It has been called mountain top strip mining. The Bush the II administration wants to relax rules that prohibit mining companies from dumping mining waste over the top of streams, because ruining the top of the mountain isn't enough when you can kill that what lives in the valleys, too.

Special thanks to one of our Los Angeles area readers for being the first to bring this issue to the Clarion Content's attention.

Labels: , ,

Fun Politics links 

The Clarion Content has a couple of quick, fun politics links for you.

The first one is to a quiz about the Secret Services codenames for various presidents, presidential spouses and children. It starts with President-elect Obama's newly assigned codename and gets trickier from there. Anybody who scores over 11 out of 16 questions, feel free to let us know with a comment. It is a toughie!

The second link is to a fascinating photo essay in the New York Daily News. These photos are from President-elect Obama's youth, many of them the Clarion Content had not seen before now. Intriguing, beguiling stuff.

Labels: , ,

One last chance to screw the Earth 

Mountain top coal mining (note the huge swath of
gray, dead area in the middle of otherwise green forest lands

One last chance to do something bad to the Earth or its inhabitants, and well you know the George the II is going to dive in head first. The lame duck and widely loathed Bush the II administration moved this week to destroy the environment any way it can before it leaves office.

Bush II officials are going to relax environmental-protection rules on power plants near national parks and on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. Once again Bush-Cheney will put the interest of big energy companies ahead of our (collective) ecology. Once again, sustainability is pushed to the rear in a greedy rush for profits. This is only further underlined by the limited time the President has remaining in office and the near certainty that an Obama administration will reverse these rules. The evil Bush the II cares not that the rules will be reversed as soon as he leaves office. "Mine now!" "Degrade the environment as fast as you can," is his administration's mantra.

How long before he and Dick "Friend of Satan" Cheney are collecting fat fees for serving on the boards of multi-national energy companies? Weeks after leaving office? Days?

Bush the II also plans to make it easier to wreak environmental havoc in the Appalachians by removing limits on mountaintop-removal coal mining.

He is also moving to relax limits placed on development by the Endangered Species Act.

There is warm cell in hell waiting for this demon! The sooner he is inhabiting it, the better.

Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, in addition to scarring one of America's most beautiful national landmarks, raises the risk of uranium leaching into the Colorado River, a source of drinking water and crop irrigation supply for several western states.

Mountain top removal coal mining devastates whole ecosystems. It has been called mountain top strip mining. The Bush the II administration wants to relax rules that prohibit mining companies from dumping mining waste over the top of streams, because ruining the top of the mountain isn't enough when you can kill that what lives in the valleys, too.

Special thanks to one of our Los Angeles area readers for being the first to bring this issue to the Clarion Content's attention.

Labels: , , ,

Country Music Awards 

Carrie Underwood

Reese Witherspoon

When two of the five most beautiful women in the world are at the same party, you know it is a good one. Congratulations to the 42nd annual Country Music Awards held last night in Nashville, Tennessee. They had Carrie Underwood and Reese Witherspoon in attendance. It doesn't get much better than that, and don't let the people from Cannes tell you any different. A couple of big CMA red carpet surprises last night, at least to the Clarion Content's editorial staff. One, Miley Cyrus? What is Disney mega-pop star Miley Cyrus doing at the CMA's? Just accompanying daddy, Billy Ray? Or is she about to do a country album? Hmmm, something that bears watching. Surprise two, Kid Rock walked the red carpet alone! We don't think we have ever seen that before. Follow this link to 334 red carpet pictures from last night's Country Music Awards. Incidentally, inside the big winners were Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts. George Strait broke the record for most CMA awards lifetime when he won his 22nd for album of the year, Troubadour.

Labels: , ,

Third biggest Salmon in CA history 

hint...way bigger than this guy!

If you have ever fished for salmon you are not going to believe the pictures at this link in the LA Times. The third biggest Chinook salmon in California history was discovered yesterday in Battle Creek in Tehama County, CA. This fish is positively huge! Even better it lived out its natural life and was not killed by a fishermen. As the biologist who found him, Doug Killam, said in the LA Times, "Hopefully, this fish was entirely successful in passing on its superior genetic potential."


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama perspective 

Local NC free sheet the Independent Weekly featured a couple of Obama election reaction quotes that reiterated why the Clarion Content endorsed Obama.

The first is from a North Carolina delegate to the Democratic National Convention. His name is John Verdejo. He is a twenty-nine year-old, Raleigh native, from a single parent family. He was raised in the South Bronx until he was fourteen. Reacting to Obama's election Verdejo said, "[it] is going to force us to look at ourselves. We can no longer use the excuse of "because of my skin color, I can't be anything I want to be.""

The second is from a local mother of two girls, one only eight months old. The mom's name is Stacy Scott. She was quoted at a Durham, NC Obama victory rally that she attended with both kids as saying, "If he [Obama] wins tonight, if he can do this, then I can tell my kids tomorrow that anything is possible."

Labels: , , ,

Ha, ha 

The greedy people operating the Yankees and abusing the public trust by moving to a publicly financed stadium, right across the street, which was built over a Bronx park, are getting a little bit of comeuppance. Word is the they are struggling to sell some of their luxury boxes and outrageously priced tickets during this tough economic climate. The New York Times reports, "Seven luxury boxes down the foul lines priced at $600,000 remain available for the 2009 season...the team still had seven available in August, too." A similar story is playing out for the $500 to $2,500 per game tickets in the first nine rows of the twenty-five sections closest home plate. Nearly 20% of those extortion rate tickets remain unsold. In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz, we can only say, "Ha, Ha!"

The Yankees held a presser today with news they would rather you concentrated on, they have wired the whole stadium with Cisco products. That's right the wealthiest will be able to use a customized Cisco system in their luxury box to order food or surf the internet. Also noted, 1,100 flat-panel, high-definition TV monitors will be installed in concession stands, the luxury suites, around the restaurants and bars, and in restrooms.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Secret order overblown? 

The New York Times has gotten a passel of current and former military and intelligence officials, as well as senior Bush administration policymakers, to admit to the existence of a classified 2004 order that gave the military new authority to attack what it viewed as Al-Qaeda resources anywhere in the world. The Times called this a, "sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States."

True, but newsworthy? The Clarion Content does not quite get the NY Times hysteria. Didn't we already know this was King George the II's policy and procedure? The hyperbole seems even more overblown when one reads later in the article that the authorization did not include Iran. These types of operations have been the CIA's bailiwick for years, they certainly felt no need to notify Congress or the local United States ambassador in advance. This is the logical extension of what happens when Congress extra-constitutionally cedes the power to declare war. The President then feels whole comfortable to use the military when and where he pleases. The Times notes this was especially true of the vile, dictatorial, Bush the II administration, "Bush administration officials have shown a determination to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provides a legal rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent."

This noxious policy must go. The Clarion Content was dismayed to hear President-elect Obama say back in the debates that he supported unilateral strikes into Pakistan. The Bush the II doctrine of justifiable preemptive strikes into countries America is not at war with must go. It is in contravention of the very notions that America was founded on, the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Every time America chalks another innocent civilian death up to collateral damage we spit up on those principles.

Labels: , , ,


It looks like our guy, Tom Perriello squeaked out a win in the 5th Congressional District of Virginia by a nose over the distasteful incumbent Virgil Goode. When we say squeaked, we are not exaggerating, the race took several days to be called and still likely faces a recount as Congressman Perriello won by a slim 745 vote margin out of the over 360,000 votes cast. (Another reminder every vote counts!)

Congressman Perriello will attend freshman orientation for new members of Congress next week in Washington. The Clarion Content is confident we will hear of this man again, we expect great things.


Giant handbags 

Ladies, one more reason to defend your giant handbags and purses. The Clarion Content has quite a few female friends who feel compelled to sport a large purse or bag to lug all their necessaries around in. Many of these females take shit from folks about just how big their purses are. Little do the critics recall how handy it is to know someone who always has a tissue, an umbrella, a band-aid, an aspirin and a stick of gum, not too mention, their own stuff.

Well carriers of the large bag, there is one more reason to defend it today, from Kristen Seymour of StyleList Blog. In a post titled, "Giant Purses Save Lives," she reports, "Twenty-two year-old college student, Elizabeth Pittenger, was carrying half her life in her bag when a man stopped her, demanding her laptop, purse, and cell phone. She refused and fought him off, but before she could get away, he fired a shot."

It was stopped by the purse. She was unharmed and "nearby police heard the gunshot and were able to apprehend the shooter almost immediately."

You think a handbag with just her id, credit card, and cash, stops that shot? Yeah, not so much...


Monday, November 10, 2008

Korean golfers 

Despite the xenophobic mindset of the LPGA, and their deplorable leadership, the women golfers of Korean origin on the Ladies Professional Golf Tour do not fit into one neat stereotypical box. Their personalities, backgrounds and even their English language skills run a wide gamut. Here is a link to an excellent article in the New York Times by Karen Crouse covering the range of differences and similarities. Here is a link to a somewhat older article in the Bay Area rag, Metroactive covering one Korean golfer, a multiple tournament winning, less than categorizeable, self described "hip-hop goth," Christina Kim. The Clarion Content was most heartened when the hue and cry of the public and the media helped force the LPGA to withdraw its draconian "English only" policy.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, November 09, 2008

iPhone at 1,000,000 mph 

As the statistics filter in, word is that the iPhone is on the move.

Adoption is high in the consumer market. Some sources cite figures that say as many as 17.3% of the cellphones being sold today are iPhones. In other places, we are reading that despite Blackberry's huge embedded lead in the corporate or "enterprise" market, an increasing number of companies are providing tech support for their employees personally purchased iPhones. Reuters cites Cowen & Co. analyst Matthew Hoffman, "IT managers rarely make top-down decisions on new technologies, which often enter from the side or the bottom, and the iPhone will probably come along those same routes." Big names like Nike Inc. and Walt Disney Company have announced they would support the iPhone.

The iPhone is coming on! Full speed ahead.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Don't typecast me 

Florida State junior safety Myron Rolle is one of 15 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, given each year to college football’s Defensive Player of the Year. He also happens to be a finalist for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

The accomplished and impressive Rolle, priorities in order, will miss FSU’s game with Maryland on November 22 to interview for the Rhodes Scholarship in Alabama that day.

"I thought about the fact this may come up a while ago," Rolle said of the scheduling conflict. "It didn’t crystallize in my mind until weeks ago when I learned I could be a finalist. It really hit me recently, but this is a priority for me and very special for my family."

His role model is Dr. Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins Medical Institution. Carson who grew up poor in a tough Detroit neighborhood, in a single parent home, is the author of The Big Picture.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 07, 2008

Fantasy Football has peaked 

Like Starbuck's circa 2003, fantasy football has peaked. The Clarion Content's editorial board was first introduced to the game in New Jersey in 1986. There were no on-line sites to look up stats. Heck, the manual was a printed copy which had to be shared amongst participants. Drafts were conducted in person. When the Mile Square FFL league created Excel spreadsheets to assist in scoring, it was considered a tremendous advance. Even then, stats still had to be laboriously transcribed from the USA Today sports page into said spreadsheets.

The game has come light years from there. Drafts can be held virtually, on-line. There are not only numerous fantasy football magazines, but endless player rating websites. All scoring and even transactions can be processed for free by an outside service provider like ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sportsline and their ilk. The central themes remain the same, a love of sports and competition with friends. But unfortunately, as with so many things, technology is squeezing the joy out of it. There is so much information on every game and every player available to everyone at this point, fantasy football has become overwhelming. Hours and hours can be wasted perusing not only box scores and injury reports, but scouting sites featuring minutia like average yards per carry, home and away, on turf and on grass, night and day, in cold or warm weather, ad infinitum, ad naseaum.

A brilliant description of the state of fantasy football now from Clarion fave, Bill Simmons, "Really, the fantasy football season isn't fun. Winning is OK; losing is agonizing. You constantly feel awful about your choices and your bad luck; it's the only exercise that causes arguments with friends you normally never would argue with; and you spend roughly a kazillion hours managing your team for the 10 percent chance that you might win your league. There's just not a ton of upside. It's almost like smoking cigarettes -- it started out with good intentions, and it's something to do, and it can be fun in the right moments, but ultimately, there are an inordinate amount of moments when you find yourself leaning out a window in 20-degree weather to puff out a quick cig as your nose gets frostbitten, or bumming a cig from a group of horrible girls and then feeling obligated to talk to them, or waking up in the morning and coughing up your right lung. Really, it's more harm than fun. And yet, we continue to do it. And love it. This entire paragraph made me want to smoke."

Labels: , , ,

Ever offensive 

Ever offensive, Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, patronizingly referred to President-elect Obama as "young, handsome and even tanned." He probably thought he could get away with it because he was in Russia after meeting with Vladimir Putin. Berlusconi has a long checkered history of inappropriate remarks, usually more likely to be sexist than racist, but prejudice is as prejudice does. Sadly, Obama will probably have to face down this kind of discrimination more than once in an anti-African American Europe. Italy and its Prime Minister may be an extreme example, but surely they are not alone. In addition to his morally questionable mindset, Berlusconi has a long history of shady financial deals (and possible organized crime links) in his past.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Latest LeBron speculation 

Read ESPN basketball writer Mark Stein's latest analysis about how LeBron James's impending free agency is going to play out here. The Clarion Content has long said and continues to believe that there is no chance of LeBron being a Net. As veteran New York politics watchers, we knew Nets owner Bruce Ratner was never going to be able to get the development deal done in Brooklyn that he was claiming he could. Even before the global economic credit crunch, there was no chance. (Recall the NYC Olympic bid and the Jets West Side football stadium follies.)

This inability to move to Brooklyn means that the Jay-Z being a minority owner of the Nets shtick is cool, but not necessarily a game changer for LeBron's free agency decision. The Clarion Content would say now that Isaiah is no longer running the team, the Knicks have to be at least co-favorites for the LeBron free agency sweepstakes. The other favorite, has the opportunity to offer him the one thing the Knicks can't between now and then, a championship. If LeBron wins that title, he just might stay in Cleveland.

Stein's Daily Dime also has a list of the highest salaried NBA players this year, including such genius contracts as tied for the second highest paid player in the league at $21 million plus per annum Jason "Zero Titles" Kidd and Jermaine "North of the Border" O'Neal. Of course, no one really tops the non-playing, sixth highest paid player overall, Knicks bench warmer, Stephon Marbury.

Labels: , ,

Change over time 

We haven't been able to source this quote yet, but we have been seeing it around, special thanks to one of our loyal, local Durham readers for forwarding it our way.

A brilliant line...

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack ran so our children can fly."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Internet warning 

Beware a spam email message trumpeting President-elect Barack Obama's victory last night. The email will have a link to what is supposedly a website with election results. However, when you arrive there you will be asked install an update to Adobe's Flash Player before viewing a video. Don't do it!

Computerworld magazine explains. What's actually downloaded is a Trojan horse that compromises your PC then floods the machine with more malware. Another good reason to own a Mac, but if you don't be careful. According to Dan Hubbard, Websense Inc. VP of Security Research in Computerworld, "This is very coordinated, with evidence that they planned this, then waited for the election results."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Motive is the hardest part 

Why Obama? Some folks, after reading The Clarion Content's endorsement of Obama, they felt that we were advocating a vote for Obama because he is a black person. This is not the case it all. We would be similarly impressed with the American electorate's selection of Barack Obama were he a Jew, an Inuit, a female, a gay person or a member of any religious, racial, gender or sexual orientation that America has not yet elected. But that still misses the point, we are not advocating Barack Obama as the fulfillment of some sort of affirmative action program, some sort of country sized balancing act that says all members of all races, creeds, religions, genders and sexual orientations must do some time in power, that could hardly be further from our libertarian hearts. What we are saying is that Obama's achievement, even getting this far, verifies the notion of the American meritocracy, and that in and of itself is extremely important.

How and why?

How first. Obama's candidacy, and hopefully, his election verifies the American meritocracy because of what he has achieved; Harvard Law Review Editor, Professor, Senator, United States Presidential candidate. As we said in our endorsement of Obama, Larry Page and Sergey Brin say a lot about American meritocracy. In their own way, they verify that nearly anything is possible here. However because their triumphs are outside the unique world of politics, they are not quite the same. There is still at least one realm in America that may or may not be open to all. Obama's background is far different than those of the outgoing president (son of a president) or that of his opponent (son of a USN Admiral.) Obama's background includes his race, though it is but one element. It also includes his family's modest financial circumstances, a single parent home, a first generation immigrant father, an enlisted grandfather, a goat herder grandfather... and all the elements that make up his story. He is, as he says, "unlikely to be standing before you." But in America, it is possible. It is the good face of American exceptionalism.

Why is that important? It is because motive and motivation are the hardest parts. Motive refers to the external, motivation to the internal. We are going to work inside out. Motivation. How does Obama's verification of the American meritocracy play out in terms of motivation? The Clarion Content believes extremely well. Already Obama has been a motivating force for millions of people who don't usually or had not previously engaged in the political process to get involved. He has inspired, but that is only the tip of the iceberg of the good that can come from it. If Obama can get elected that will provide motivation to millions more disenchanted Americans. Obama shows that you don't have to be rich, you don't have to belong to a certain race, you don't have to go to a certain church. Success is possible for anyone in America. The Clarion Content believes simply by being a living example Obama motivates and will motivate many young Americans to work harder. He is the embodiment of the old "See Johnny, you can grow up to be president. That's why you have to study hard now," kind of parental logic. He is the proof in the pudding. His Daddy didn't get him into the National Guard or for that matter into the Naval Academy. Obama is a self-made man and that will provide untold motivation to the American people from students to entrepreneurs to aspiring politicians. That is the internal component of the benefit to the verification of the American meritocracy of Obama's election.

The external component we referred to as motive. Motive is far different than motivation. Motive is about the open ended and hopefully not endless war on terrorism. (The Clarion refuses to dignify such a vile construction with capital letters. It is farcical.) The Clarion Content does not believe it is possible to win such a conflict through force alone, without including unacceptable options, such as genocide. It is simply not possible to kill every Muslim or separatist who disagrees with some element of American policy. Of course, that is not quite what the war on terror implies. In practice its disturbing ability to find and even create non-existent connections between conflicts as far flung as Mindanao and Chechnya has built a worldwide perception of America the enforcer. America on the offense was the Bush doctrine. America will attack before being attacked. Obama's election will change some of that from a policy direction, (though not enough to suit the CC's taste.) More importantly though, America's naysayers from the radical madrasses of Saudi Arabia to the halls of the Venezuelan capital have less capacity to attack the American dream and the American project. Obama the person erodes that ability, Obama the person denies the validity of their claims. Obama gives hope because he de facto proves (via background) that what America claims about itself, "the land of opportunity" is indeed true. It is not simply that he is well liked in Europe and the Middle East (outside of Israel,) it is that he is living proof of the story that America is trying to sell and living denial of the story despots offer about America. America's system finds these individuals and allows them to succeed. This incentivizes precisely the best of what America is trying to promote, the meritocracy, the conviction that ability is rewarded on a playing field leveled by the rule of law. This soft sell of the American way is, of course, far more powerful than moving another carrier group to the Persian Gulf or another division of troops to the mountains of Afghanistan. Obama the individual says America is not only a 'can do' country it is an 'anyone can do' country.

It is not, as we said at the opening of this piece, about electing Obama because of his race, though it would be foolish to cast that aside entirely for it is surely an integral element of who he is, and who the American electorate sees him as, rather it is about the verification of the American dream, the American claim to exceptionalism. His campaign proves it already. It is one of the biggest reasons why the Clarion Content long preferred Obama's candidacy to that of Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton, at this point in time, represented an elitist continuity with the past in contravention of the American dream. Her spouse had been president, for her to subsequently become president felt viscerally like something that occurs in Sri Lanka or Argentina, not America. It would have been bad for America's face to the world to have been dynastic, Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton for twenty four years.

Barack Obama represents a watershed in American history. He represents a distinct change from America's past, from the massacre of the Indians to the 3/5ths compromise America has not flung its doors this wide open ever. Our own people, the world, all are watching. America, yes we can.

Labels: ,


Julie Louise Gerberding, CDC Director

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control, the CDC in the shorthand parlance of the health community, is really the CDCP? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Neither did the Clarion Content. The name change occurred all the way back in October of 1992. In the intervening sixteen years have you ever heard anyone call it by the full name or use the initials CDCP? Us either. Heck even their website is cdc.gov not cdcp.gov, which incidentally doesn't even a redirect back to their website!

Obviously they are doing a less than stellar job publicizing the prevention portion of their mission. It seems to follow that America has chronic health problems that have worsened to do the persistent lack of a prevention ethos in this country; among them obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and their ilk.

What kind of prevention are Americans doing? Getting a flu shot at Walmart along with their bag of potato chips and corn syrup based soft drink!


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?