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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Interesting visual links 

We have two interesting links to cool visual stimuli for you, dear reader.

The first one came our way courtesy of our friends at the MEP report, a site you should be checking out regularly if you aren't already. It is a fascinating diagram, high school science book-style, on the eleven types of lightning that scientists have observed. Neato.

This picture link we discovered looking for an illustration to put with an earlier post. It didn't really work there or anywhere else, but it was a cool image.

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Ratings way up 

Lebron didn't win, but the networks sure did. TNT reported that a whopping 8.6 million viewers tuned in on average to the Eastern Conference Finals. As loyal readers know, the Clarion Content is a firm believer that the Nielsen ratings are bogus. Their number fails to account for anyone who watched this game in a public place (eg. a sports bar) or at a friend's house (counting 'households' skews their data). Regardless TNT had to be in a mood to celebrate. Viewership was up 37% over its 2008 conference finals coverage!

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Hope this movie gets made 

We had only just heard that there was a remake of the 1981 classic Heavy Metal in the works. Unfortunately, before we even able to post on it, there has apparently been a break-up between the producer David Fincher and Paramount Pictures. He is now looking for a new studio to make the movie.

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Sports links 

We offer for your perusal two interesting sports links that have crossed our path recently.

The first link [here] is from a Cincinnati reader. It is a Samuel Beckett-ized interpretation of Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings quarterback situation. It stars Sage Rosenfels and Tavaris Jackson as Estragon and Vladimir. It is such a creative idea and well-executed.

The second link [here] is a short New York Times video of their sports columnist, William C. Rhoden, discussing the natures of jazz and basketball with trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis. They muse on similarities and evolutions among other things in fascinating conversation (pathetically staged on a basketball court).

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Russians buying a car company 

Putin and Schroeder share an awkward hug

The German government announced yesterday that it had picked a partnership led by Magna International Inc., a Canadian auto-parts supplier, Russia’s biggest bank, OAO Sberbank, and Russian carmaker OAO GAZ as the buyer for Opel, the European division of GM. This augurs ever closer ties between Russia and Germany, which in turns stokes the fears of every Eastern European living between the two states.

The last premier of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder, was hired by Russian state gas export monopoly, Gazprom OAO, months after he left office in 2005 to spearhead the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline that will provide Russian gas to Germany (while circumventing Eastern Europe).

As the Polish opposition noted in a comment to Bloomberg news services, “Nothing’s ever purely economic with the Russians, there’s always political interest involved.” No doubt.

The Clarion Content finds the arguments in favor of Russian ownership specious. Firstly, there is no indication that the rule of law as yet reigns supreme in Russia. Nothing exists that would stop the Russian state from outright confiscation of the company and/or its assets. Secondly, as the Poles know well, Russia always has ulterior power projection motives in mind, take a look at their natural gas blackmail of the Ukraine! Which incidentally still simmers and could explode at any time, likely taking down the democratically elected government of the Ukraine with it. The Germans, always suckers for authoritarianism, probably secretly sympathize with the style and manner of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The laughable suggestion made by a German professor in the Bloomberg article that Russia is poised to become Europe's biggest car market ignores the reality of Russia's plummeting population decline and massive income inequality.

Fact is, if this is a legal acquisition, it is hard to oppose as a libertarian. The Clarion Content decried the ludicrous Senate maneuvering that blocked the Chinese state owned oil monopoly's purchase of Conoco, same for the jingoistic blocking of the sale of American ports to the state of Dubai. We do not actually oppose the Russians purchase of G.M.'s Opel. We just want to sound the horn of caution about what it says for erstwhile United States ally, Germany.

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Et tu, Indians? 

It doesn't look so bad...

On a night when the forty-five year long championship drought of the city of Cleveland was extended by the Orlando Magic, the Indians dropped another game to the Yankees. This one probably hurt a little bit more because it came with former Indian's ace, C.C. Sabathia on the mound pitching for the Yankees.

Sabathia made $89 million more this off-season than the Indians offered him in an extension last year. (Sabathia was traded to Milwaukee after refusing the Indians deal.) It had to be tough to swallow, Sabathia pitching for four and one-third no hit innings to start the game, while the Cavs were getting blown out.

What is the matter with Cleveland Coach Mike Brown? The Clarion Content has long contended that he is an idiot surfing the wave of Lebron James mad skills. How many times did the Cavaliers have to get beasted by the same plays in the same ways and he still didn't adjust!!! How many people, earning far less per annum, knew that the Cavs one chance at this point was to go small and play LeBron at the four? There are sloths that cover more ground than the Cavs centers Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace? Why are they chasing Rashard Lewis and Turkoglu around the perimeter? LeBron didn't stick around to discuss after Game 6.

Perhaps he was grabbing his Yankees cap and heading for the Jake where the Indians season appears all but over as well. The spectacular Victor Martinez is hobbling and poor Grady Sizemore can hardly swing with his hyper-extended elbow. How long before this generation of stars leaves Cleveland in the rear view mirror?

Sorry, Ohio.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009


Meet the new manager Jim Tracy

Clint Hurdle was fired as the manager of the Colorado Rockies yesterday. The Rockies are an abysmal 19 up and 28 down. The Denver Post in balanced but critical article says that Hurdle made his bed via his bad relationships with his players. The beat writer says that Hurdle was never all that good a manager. He was a good egg within the community and he never criticized the front office. This enabled him to become the first manager in major-league history to start a career with five consecutive losing seasons and not get fired. He received a two year extension before the 2007 season, and then had a remarkable run to the World Series. Things fell apart quickly from there.

The Rockies have some talent, but will they be able to turn things around under interim manager Jim Tracy?

Read the whole story here.

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Friday, May 29, 2009


The Chattahoochee National Forest

This was one of the changes the Clarion Content had in mind when we endorsed Barack Obama for President last fall. The Obama administration announced yesterday that no new timber-cutting or road project could begin in road-less areas of national forests without the permission of the secretary of agriculture. Hooray!

This is a major reversal of the environment gutting policies of King George the II. The directive applies to almost 58.5 million acres of road-less areas.

However, the 9th and 10th Circuit Appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on the policy and the issue could eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court, possibly as a states rights issue. Somehow, according to the New York Times, national forests in Idaho are exempt from yesterday's announcement. The Agriculture Department called it an interim measure meant to bring “consistency and clarity” to decisions on an ecological issue that has been subject to legal battles since the Clinton administration banned such projects in road-less areas in 2001.

Read more here in the New York Times.

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When does, "He had a triple-double," not say it all about a players performance?

Last night we saw an example. LeBron James was actually more dominant than his stunning 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists let on. At the critical juncture of the game the Cavs went to their patented "Okay everybody else standstill and clear out for LeBron" offense. James responded by winning the game 1 on 5. It was a phenomenal performance.

The Clarion Content has long said LeBron James is an even better passer than he is a shooter. Last night he demonstrated not only that, but his fiercely competitive will to win. During that critical stretch when his coach, bereft of ideas, called no plays, LeBron scored or assisted on 32 straight points, including the first 28 of the 4th quarter. The signature moment came with 2.47 left on the clock and the Cavs clinging to a two possession lead. James drove the lane, again drew triple and then quadruple coverage, LeBron made a brilliant wrap around pass through heavy traffic to Sideshow Bob Varejao who missed an uncontested point-blank dunk careening it off the back of the rim. What did James do? Chased down the offensive board, made the putback and one!

Imagine if this man had a decent supporting cast and a good coach.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Unbelievably cool 

If you haven't seen or heard about this website you have to check out Wolfram Alpha. It is bad ass!

It's ambition is an astonishing long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone. They have gone a long way toward that goal already. It is the brainchild of one Stephen Wolfram. Type any number, any series, any equation, any calculation, type virtually anything you want into the search box of Wolfram Alpha and it will come back with amazing information.

For example we typed Durham, North Carolina into Wolfram Alpha and it told us among other things: the approximate elevation 404 feet above sea level, city population 204,845 people, metro area population 440,990 folks, location 35.99deg North, 78.91deg West, along with the local time, the local weather, other nearby large cities and so on.

Type pi in Wolfram Alpha, type a stock or any two stocks into Wolfram Alpha. Type a series of musical notes! The results will blow your mind.

Type your first name into Wolfram Alpha it will tell you how many people are estimated to be alive with that name right now, total and as a percentage of United States residents. It will tell you where your name ranked in popularity among names given to newborns from the 1880 to last year, and more.

Wolfram Alpha rubbing out the line between bad ass and unbelievably cool. Nerds everywhere rejoice!

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Pithy F*rging Sayings (11th ed.) 

Welcome to our 11th edition of Pithy F*rging Sayings gathered from the singularity.

As always the citation of these sayings does not necessarily imply endorsement, the goal is to provoke thought.

"Man plans, God laughs."---staff

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."---Proverbs 4:23

"The universe doesn't say, when is the most convenient time for you to do something charitable. It asks when there is need. Respond in kind."---staff

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."---Steven Wright (credit to our local fish wrap, the Independent Weekly as the source for this one.)

"Grammar is like politeness, there are few situations in which it will serve you poorly, and a great many in which it will serve you well."---staff

Follow this link to old P.F. Sayings posts. You will see this one again first. Scroll down for older ones.

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A shocking return 

Young Baker-Finch after his 1991 British Open triumph

This story was such a surprise to encounter this morning that the Clarion Content sports editor quite literally shouted out, "What?!?" causing heads to turn across the office. Ian Baker-Finch, the excellent CBS Sports golf commentator, and perhaps the single most famous case of the shanks EVER, is playing competitive golf this weekend. He has entered the PGA tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas this week.

We are rooting for Ian Baker-Finch, to at least play respectably, hopefully to even make the cut. Long before the world had heard of the rapidly disappearing David Duval, Baker-Finch had sketched the path: tremendous talent, a bevy of PGA tour and international wins, a victory in a major, the 1991 British Open at Royal Birkdale, then a complete collapse, swing and game mysteriously gone. Within in three years things had gone so far downhill that his season totals read fourteen missed cuts and four withdrawals in 18 events. Less than two years after that he was out of the game and behind the microphone at age thirty-seven. What might have been for the Aussie dubbed, "the Dark Shark," never was. He became a cautionary tale for all.

Yet he didn't run and hide. He took a very public job and succeeded tremendously. He has been by all accounts an excellent announcer. He has played competitively only once since 2001. But as the New York Times noted, he plays four times a week back home with his buddies. Sometimes he beats them. They are PGA tour professionals. So maybe, just maybe.

Let it be known the Clarion Content is rooting hard for the classy Ian Baker-Finch this week.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cleveland worried? 

Uh oh Cleveland...

Is the city of Cleveland worried? LeBron just got a lot closer to being a New York Knick last night as the Orlando Magic again defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Clarion Content believes that King James is not leaving Cleveland if he wins the championship for the city. If. If? If! At the start of his series we were predicting the Cavs in a sweep. After Game 1 we were predicting the Cavs 4-1. Even this morning, we would not rule out or even bet against a Cavs miracle comeback from 3 games to 1 behind.

Last night James had spectacular moments offensively, but little help from his teammates again. His coach, Mike Brown, an embarrassing Coach of the Year winner, let the team down, too. How can he have slow, old, Ben Wallace assigned to chase Rashard Lewis through screens on the biggest play of the game? Why were Wallace and Varejao both on the court? And subsequently, why didn't Cleveland double Dwight Howard who killed them in overtime? Coach Brown? We have seen repeatedly the Howard has no game if he catches the ball further than six feet from the basket. In OT he torched the Brazilian Sideshow Bob catching the ball repeatedly two feet from the rim, and Coach Brown gave him no help.

Cleveland, no help, is becoming a recurring theme. The Knicks have plenty of cap room for 2010, they can bring in LeBron and help (D-Wade, Nash, etc.) Cleveland are you getting worried?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Syracuse closes the deal 


It was no surprise, as one of our transplanted upstate New York readers noted, Syracuse has been there and done that. They showed no fear as they won an extremely tight and dramatic National Lacrosse Final. The Orange tied the score with just 4.5 seconds left and won it overtime against upstart Cornell. It was more heartbreak for the Big Red, who have been the national runner-up four times since their last title thirty-two years ago.

Read more here.


Monday, May 25, 2009

The Future Kings of Nowhere 

We highly recommend this band!

If Regina Spektor was the artist we had to tell everybody about in 2007, and the Avett Brothers were the shout it from the rooftops band of 2008...

We are far enough into 2009 to declare it the year of the Future Kings of Nowhere.

A MySpace reviewer hit it on the nose, "If pressed, this Durham group (Shayne O'Neill on vocals and guitar, Mike on drums, and Jon on bass) will tell you that they play "acousticore," music for people who are angrier than Peter, Paul or Mary, but nicer than Henry Rollins."

Sample below. Link to their record label here.

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Upstate NY reigns supreme in lacrosse 

Lacrosse Nation Final Set...

The Cornell Big Red..................vs.................The Syracuse Orange

The Clarion Content admittedly has no love loss for the Duke Men's Lacrosse program. We root against the University of Virgina's team on more of a sports level. So, as far as we were concerned from the editorial desk here in Durham, we could not have been more pleased with the Men's lacrosse national semifinals last week.

The New York Times covering the story said that Syracuse, "crushed" Duke. But the story in their eyes was Cornell's Big Red, a team they said compared to a "a family station wagon" next to the Virginia Cavaliers, "sleek and powerful sports car." However, as it turned out "Cornell, a team noted for its conservative play and methodical pace, raced out of the gate and did not stop until it had stunned and humiliated the high-flying Cavaliers, 15-6."

As the Times had it,
"The two teams from upstate New York solidified the region’s reputation as the sport’s stronghold. With Le Moyne in the Division II final, facing C.W. Post; with Cortland in the Division III final, against Gettysburg; and with Onondaga Community College having already won the junior college title, the land of Genesee beer, Wegmans supermarkets and the Finger Lakes could also have all four men’s major lacrosse national titles."

Read the whole story here. We recommend it!

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Memorial Day 

These are people, families.

Amidst the barbecue and the flag waving, above the work-a-day Joe and Jane's joy over a Monday off, we must remember.

We must remember, whether we agree or disagree with the current war or any of the wars of America's past.

Today is the day to remember.

Countless servicemen and servicewomen have given their LIVES to preserve our freedom to agree or disagree as we so choose.

Click here for a thoughtful memorial
to those who have lost their lives in the second Iraq war.

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Loose Nukes 

Whether it was strictly a photo-op or something actually came of last month's meeting between President Obama and two former Secretaries of State, Republicans George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Democratic senator and defense wonk Sam Nunn, and William Perry, a former Secretary of Defense about the issue of the control and security of the world's existing supply of nuclear weapons, it was a Presidential bully pulpit moment and we were glad to see it happen. Even if all Obama is able to accomplish this early in his presidency is raising the volume on the subject, we are glad to see he is at least doing that. The Clarion Content believes loose nuclear weapons are probably the single greatest short-term threat to humanity.

Securing these existing nuclear weapons as tightly as possible is an extremely high priority, revitalizing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a far more specious and far less worthy goal.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Status report 

Allow us an analogy dear readers...

If the Clarion Content was a doctor, and we were checking the condition of a patient, and that patient was the world economy, we would be (still) quite concerned.

Mind you we are nowhere near as qualified as the doctor to be making a diagnosis. But in the root of diagnosis is gnosis, an ancient Greek word for knowledge, particularly of a visceral or spiritual kind. In the immortal words of Jay-Z, "I ain't passed the bar, but I know a little bit." Likewise, said the non-economist to the doctor about the world economy.

We still believe that in the big picture, the last six or eight weeks of relatively optimistic news will come to be seen as the dead cat bounce. Hence we are worried. On the one level we are loathe to even discuss it, because the vortex generated by bad news and pessimism is at the center of the vicious cycle deflation hawks fear. Bad news leads to pessimism, which leads companies and consumers to further slow spending, which generates more bad news. And deflation hawks remain, two of our best placed financial sources; one CFO and one fund manager, both see tons still to be worked out of the financial system, especially on bank balance sheets. This unresolved and tangled web of debt will and is exerting a massive drag on the economy.

Our view sees the sweep of history as a tapestry, a tableau always in motion, always being created. Actors from all different planes influence elements of scenes dynamically, everywhere, ala the butterfly effect. As Alvin Toffler put it, "The power system in any society is subdivided into smaller and smaller power subsystems nested within one another. Feedback links these subsystems to one another, and to the larger systems of which they are part. Individuals are embedded in many different, though related, power subsystems." We especially like the tapestry because it encompasses a sense of the fourth dimension, it comes into being over time. As the Clarion Content remains sour about the state of the economy, inevitably then our worries about the world economy bleed into concerns about world political stability. Times of great economic stress bring times of social stress.

Two thoughts about the stitches that are being sewn in the tapestry even now. In unintended homage to Don DeLillo who in the inspired novel Underworld recognized the deep links between sports and politics in America: 1) the industry of professional sports in America is about to get its comeuppance, and 2) President Obama is being presented stark choices: pragmatism, progressive policies, or the old line left. Each conjuncture, sport and presidential course setting, presents opportunities and challenges. The point of departure, in history and tapestry, is where things have come thus far. The biggest stress points, as Obama has recognized, are enablers of tremendous opportunities for change. Great (and terrible) things can be done in an age of flux. Things can and do happen that are not possible in more stable times. Hopefully the czars of sport and the athletes realize this in time. Hopefully, President Obama plots the right course. The tapestry is being woven daily.

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Monday, May 18, 2009


Ji Young Oh

Neither Clarion Content whipping post Michelle Wie, nor the Pink Panther, Paula Creamer made a charge finishing tied for third at 8-under at the Sybase Classic at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey. Ji Young Oh, according to the AP a 20-year-old, straight-hitting South Korean shot 2-under 70 on a raw, cold, windy day to win her second LPGA tournament.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Interesting Pop Culture links 

The Clarion Content always hopes to be a purveyor of interesting links. We regularly post an interesting links column on the main page, you can find them here. Today we have a new batch of pop culture links.

The first link is to an article about a Clarion Content favorite, In-N-Out. With apologies to Cookout, In-N-Out is bar none the single best fast food chain in America. It is only in California, Nevada and Arizona. They have done just the opposite of most American companies hewing closely to the founder Harry Synder's principles of of controlled growth, limited menu, fresh food and regional focus. However, now both the founder and his widow, Esther, have passed. The Los Angeles Times does a fabulous review of a new book on the future of In-N-Out by BusinessWeek writer Stacy Perman. Read it here.

The next one is a tricky situation. A sixteen-year old at Sickles High School in Tampa, Florida has gotten herself in an embarrassing predicament. The young lady decide not to wear any underwear on the day of the high school yearbook photos. In subsequent interviews she told a local television network it was because she didn't want her panty lines to show. (Ever heard of a thong?) Well the situation went from bad to worse when the young lady failed to cross her legs for a photo of the school's pottery club. More than 2,500 copies of the yearbook were distributed with a photo of the young lady's private parts on display. She has been unwilling to return to school. Her mother wants to sue the district which is refusing to recall the yearbooks while claiming the photo only shows a shadow. Oy gevalt, read more here.

For the final link it is back to the Los Angeles Times and a fascinating article about the changing place of the piano in the American home. Once a staple, pianos have become marginal in this day and age. What does that reflect at about the speed of culture and its allocation of time? What does it say about American dreams of upward mobility and middle class life? Interestingly at the same as piano sales have dropped from 105,000/yr to 54,000/yr, acoustic guitar sales grew to 1,348,000 from 611,000; and electric guitar sales from 543,000 to 1,520,000 per year. Maybe the piano industry needs to sponsor a piano-based video game, ala "Guitar Hero?" Read the full article here.

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Party Poopers 

The fun police were out in force yesterday at Maryland's Pimlico Racetrack. The greedy ownership was already facing bankruptcy and a threat by the Governor of Maryland to seize the track through eminent domain. (perhaps the single most fascist concept to come out of America's slide towards becoming the new Soviet Union.) So these geniuses thought it would be a good idea to ban the spectators from bringing their own beverages, including beer, onto the infield.


Their greed cost them. Fans were not impressed with 16-ounce plastic cups of Budweiser for $3.50 a pop. Attendance dropped a staggering 31.6% or by more than 30,000 paying customers. When will these idiots learn? Sports is going get a massive slap in the face in the next few years. Call it well deserved comeuppance.

Read more here in the Washington Post

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another chance 

Michelle Wie has another chance to win her first career LPGA tournament. Hopefully, the media hype machine hasn't deceived you, dear readers, into thinking she has already won one. Wie, to this point, is actually less athletically accomplished than the model née tennis player Anna Kournikova. Wie, however, is only nineteen, and is playing a sport with a much, much longer athletic window than tennis.

Can she pull it off tomorrow in the Sybase Classic at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey? Wie and fellow American, Paula Creamer, trail the leaders entering the final round by three strokes. Wie has consistently choked at the biggest moments of her young career. Creamer, who is affectionately known to her fans as the Pink Panther, on the other hand, has already won eight LPGA tournaments at the tender age of 23. Perhaps it is because she came through the junior ranks, playing against women her own age, learning to win tournaments. This was quite unlike Michelle Wie who was pushed by her parents and her sponsors to become a sideshow freak, attempting to compete against men twice her age.

It has cost her dearly. Tomorrow Wie has another chance to redeem her reputation as a loser. The LPGA tour desperately needs her celebrity. The LPGA has lost five tournaments this year because of hard economic times.

Read more here in the New York Times.

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Now stay away from my daughter 

The San Jose Mercury News reports a thirty-year old woman from Anderson, California was arrested and faces eleven felony counts after allegedly having sex with two local boys, ages fifteen and sixteen. In a 48-page report released this week, she reportedly told the cops that she was protecting her teenage daughter by diverting the boys' attention to herself. The woman pled not guilty during an appearance Wednesday in Shasta County Superior Court and remains jailed, with a bond set at $250,000.


Friday, May 15, 2009

It almost uses a curse word 

Ahhh, Alabama, it has a special place in United States' lore. Not only is it in the bottom third of the country in adult literacy, child poverty, and educational attainment but things happen Alabama that rarely happen outside the Deep South. Take this for example...

McDonald's is pulling the Kidz Bop 8 CD that is being given away with McDonald's Happy Meals in Boaz, Alabama. On the Kidz Bop cover version of Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want To Be," some parents are hearing the F Bomb. The hilarious part, the part that makes it just so Alabama, is that there are no curse words in the song.

The lyric in question goes, "I'm tired of looking 'round rooms wondering what I gotta do." Some Alabama parents are hearing, "I'm tired of f**king 'round rooms wondering what I gotta do."

Bam, it is into the pile with the rest of the books to burned.



Baseball season is long, unfurling like a tapestry, the tale begins in Spring and unfolds throughout the Summer and meanders on into the Fall. This is one reason baseball people, especially managers and front office types, like to use the worn cliche, "It's early." This is usually an attempt to restrain anger or panic in the fan base if the team starts slow or slumps at the beginning of the season.

This year, two Nation League teams that started out red hot are in major tailspins, and their leadership is desperately deploying the tired, "It's early. It's early." The San Diego Padres started out a season that many thought might see 100 losses a surprising 10 up and 6 down after an extra inning win over the Pirates on April 24th. Since that time they have only won three games, while losing sixteen! Crash.

The other, near as bad wreck of a promising start, has been perpetrated by the Florida Marlins. The Marlins started out a scorching 11 and 1. Nobody believed they were that good. But since then they have been an abysmal 6 wins and 17 losses. They can't be that bad can they? Crash.

Of the two squads the Marlins probably have a better chance at righting themselves. Although they play in a far tougher division than the Pads, nobody has run away with the N.L. East while the defending champion Phillies tread water. The Padres, on the other hand, already find themselves ten and 1/2 games back of LA, all but buried. Oh well San Diego, at least you can enjoy the weather. Stay classy.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't run on the field 

Citi Field

They make the announcement before every major sporting event in America. "Don't run on to the field of play. You will be thrown out and arrested."

Some, likely drunk, idiot at the New York Mets new stadium, Citi Field, did not get the message or had a major malfunction because the New York Times reported, "A man who jumped naked onto the field of the Mets game on Tuesday faces up to a year in jail and civil penalties of up to $5,000, the Queens district attorney said. The man, Craig Coakley, 38, of Whitestone, Queens, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of third-degree criminal trespass and interference with a professional sporting event."

Smooth move, Ex-lax.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Diamond sets a record 

A flawless, vivid blue, diamond weighing 7.03 carats sold for almost ten million dollars this week...

not the Blue Diamond in question.

Reuters reports that the price paid, a stunning $9.49 million, was a new record for a fancy vivid blue diamond. The auction was held by Sotheby's jewelry department, Europe and the Middle East, and conducted by chairman David Bennett. The final two bidders apparently battled back and forth in hectic fifteen minutes by phone before the diamond was sold.

Sotheby's noted that the rectangular-shaped blue stone set a record for price per carat of any gemstone ever sold at auction, $1,349,752/carat. Blue diamonds are the rarest members of the diamond family after reds. According to Reuters the new owner will have the right to name the stone, which is mounted in a platinum ring. It was put up for sale by London-listed Petra Diamonds, which extracted it last year from the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa.

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Two fun football links 

We know it is the off-season for the NFL and even with the NBA playoffs, some terrific early season baseball, golf, hockey, NASCAR, etc. John Q. Public is jonesing for some football. Well here at the Clarion Content, we feel ya, and we have two cool football links for you.

Link one is seventy-four amazing photographs from the Florida Sun-Sentinel
. Monday the Miami Caliente, South Florida's team in the Lingerie Football League, held its first minicamp. Brilliant. The action shots of these ladies catching passes and hitting tackling dummies are unbelievable.

The next one, in an effort to keep real, is from the opposite side, another perspective. It was forwarded our way by one of our Ohio readers. The site is called Women Against Fantasy Sports. It features tips for surviving football season with a fantasy obsessed spouse. It also has a glossary of terms for the uninitiated. And it has an apparel section featuring such gems as the panties that say, "Closed for fantasy season." Brutal.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Zach Greinke is a some pitcher... 

but Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball.


The phenomenal Doc Halladay dominated the Yankees tonight, facing the bare minimum through six innings, pitching a five hit, one run complete game to move to 7 and 1 on the year. The guy is an MLB best 100 up and 43 down since 2003. And perhaps, just perhaps the Blue Jays are for real. The Toronto crowd was surely into the game, cheering the victorious Halladay and vociferously booing the former Blue Jay who started for the Yanks, A.J. Burnett.

The Clarion Content had been listening to Mike Francesa on the Fan noting over and over that the Jays had yet to play the Yanks, Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, rather feasting on the little sister of the poor, also known as the A.L. Central and the A.L. West while compiling the best record in the American League. In fact, the one hot team the Jays played, the Kansas City Royals, took three out of four from them at the end of April. Which brings us full circle to Zack Greinke is some pitcher.

The young Royal, Greinke, lost his first game of the season the other night, despite throwing an eight-inning complete game. He allowed one run and four hits, but lost 1-0 to the Angels and Joe Saunders. He is 6 and 1 with four complete games, a 0.51 ERA and opponents are hitting an anemic .184 against him. Wow! So while Doc Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball, Greinke might be starting the All-Star game for the American League this year.

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List of the Emoticons of Texting 

Full List of the Emoticons of Texting
we do not endorse all of these interpretations


:-) smiling; agreeing

:-D laughing

|-) hee hee

|-D ho ho

:-> hey hey

;-) so happy, I'm crying

:'-) crying with joy

\~/ full glass; my glass is full


;-) winking; just kidding

'-) winking; just kidding

;-> devilish wink

:*) clowning, kidding

:-T keeping a straight face


:^D "Great! I like it!"

8-] "Wow, maaan"

:-o "Wow!"

^5 high five

^ thumbs up

:] Gleep, a friendly midget who wants
to befriend you

(::()::) bandaid; offering help or support


:-( frowning; boo hoo

:( sad

:-< really sad

:-c really unhappy

:-C really bummed

&-| tearful

:' crying

:'-( crying and really sad

:-| grim

:[ really down

:-[ pouting

\_/ "my glass is empty"


>:-< angry

:-|| angry

:-@ screaming

:-V shouting

:-r sticking tongue out

>:-< absolutely livid!!

:-, smirk

:-P nyahhhh! sthmmmup! (with spit)

:-> bitingly sarcastic


:-& tongue-tied

:-S incoherent

:-\ undecided

:- I "hmmm..."

:-, "hmmm "

:-# "My lips are sealed"

:-X "My lips are sealed"

:-Y a quiet aside

:-" pursing lips

:-W speaking with forked tongue

:( ) can't stop talking


:~/ mixed up

%-) braindead

(:I egghead

<:-I dunce

=:-) hosehead

:-] smiling blockhead

:-[ un-smiling blockhead

|-O yawning

|-I asleep

:-6 exhausted; wiped-out


:> What?

:@ What?

:Q What?

:-o "uh, oh!" or surprised

;-) mischievous approval

:O shocked

8-| eyes wide with surprise

:-/ skeptical

8-O "Oh my goodness!!"

:-C just totally unbelieving

|-{ "Good Grief!" (ala Charlie Brown)


: * kisses

:-X a big wet kiss!

:-x kiss kiss

:-{} blowing a kiss

[] hugs

(( )):** hugs and kisses

((((name)))) big hug to name


:-* Oops!

:-I indifferent

\-o bored

:-P tongue hanging out in anticipation

O :-) angel; being an angelic

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Stop Texting 

The Boston Transit Authority plans to ban their public transit operators from having cell phones on their person after a twenty four year old trolley operator caused injuries to 49 people when he rammed another trolley. Reports say he was texting his girlfriend at the time of the accident.

The ban will go into effect as early as next week.

Employees are currently prohibited from talking or texting on their cell phones while working, but they are permitted to carry them.

The New York Times quoted
James A. Aloisi, Jr., the Massachusetts secretary of transportation, "We have to be really firm and say ‘you can’t have them’ because for some people the risk and temptation of using them is too great."

The also talked to Daniel A. Grabauskas, the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. He said of the operator, “He was looking down at his phone. He noticed red lights, looked up, attempted to apply the brake, and it was too late. He struck a train that was stopped at a red signal."

The aftermath of Friday night’s collision sent 49 of the 124 passengers of the two trains to local hospitals. The trolley operator who had only been on the job 22 months sustained the worst injuries with a broken wrist

The Times reported that in Boston, transit officials have been criticized over safety concerns, especially regarding the Green Line of the M.B.T.A. (known as the “T”), which is the oldest line in its service.

In May of 2008, the operator of a Green Line train rear-ended another train in Newton, and the operator, Terrese Edmonds, 24, was killed. Initial reports focused on the possibility that Ms. Edmonds was using her cell phone, but federal transportation authorities determined that while she had been speeding, they could not confirm that she was using her cell phone at the time.

Reportedly, Boston officials are not releasing the name of the trolley operator in Friday’s accident, though Mr. Grabauskas said that he was from Attleboro, and that he had been disciplined in the past for absenteeism.

The issue is a hot button one with New York and New Jersey both debating whether or not to ban train and bus operators from texting. Duh! No doubt they and the rest of the country should! Anyone who has ever sent a text knows it obviously should be against the law for bus, truck, train and plane operators to text while operating their respective mode of transportation.

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Winehouse fizzles live 

Young Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse's performance at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival ended abruptly Friday. It was the first live performance she had given in months and fans were none too pleased.

Her publicist blamed torrential rains over the island for flooding the wings of the main stage for causing technical difficulties that the crew were unable to overcome. These issues climaxed with a light rigging failing for two songs.

It is unclear who made the decision to cut the show short, but concert goers were reported to have said the Winehouse sounded "pained" in her singing during the performance. She also seemed to have forgotten lyrics and was quoted as saying, "Sorry, I'm bored" during the show on the island she views as second home.

Read more here in the BBC.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't miss 

Referee Mark Wunderlich

Much of the hoopla surrounding Game 3 of the Western Conference NBA semifinals between the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks will be about what the league office has now admited was a blown call. Dallas attempted to give a foul on Carmelo Anthony with seconds left in the fourth quarter. Despite an obvious shove by Antoine Wright, veteran official Mark Wunderlich didn't make the call. Anthony kept playing as Wright appeared to hesitate, and drained a game winning three pointer for a 3-0 series lead.

The league office about two hours later said, "At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony's 3-point basket." The Nuggets still would have had the ball, they would have been down by two needing a shot to tie.

But Dallas should be kicking themselves. The officials always take heat if they don't let the players make the plays down the stretch. One hears the phrase the officials are trying to decide the game, so they swallow the whistle. Dallas was called for just three team fouls in the fourth quarter. They missed four late fourth quarter free throws. And the ever overrated Dirk Nowitzki was 0-4 from the field in the final 2.38 of the fourth quarter, 0-5, if one counts his desperation heave at the buzzer.

(Thanks to ESPN's Mark Stein for some of those handy numbers.)

Just for fun, don't miss either that the ref in question, Mark Wunderlich is from West Chester, PA, a Philly suburb all but adjacent to the hometown, Springfield, PA, of disgraced erstwhile fixer and NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

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David Feherty on the divide 

Who gets it first?

It is easy to forget in these days of Obama-mania that ex-dictator George Bush II still has many ardent supporters. Golf analyst David Feherty writing for D Magazine provided a sharp reminder. Feherty, an Irishman by birth, has been living in the Dallas area for twelve years. He has been a big supporter of American troops, visiting Iraq to entertain as well as, working with the "Troops First Foundation," which is raising $15 million for soldiers who return wounded, many of them without limbs. He created his own division -- "F Troop" -- and last year took eight soldiers to South Dakota for pheasant hunting.

The 43rd and worst president ever is moving to the Dallas area. Feherty was writing for D Magazine about the return of the bumbler. King George the II received 62 million votes in 2004. In 2008 more than 61 million people voted for a candidate other than Barack Obama. Many of those folks were vitriolically opposed to Obama or any Democratic candidate. Feherty offered a semi-kidding commentary about how, in his view, most American troops feel about Democratic politicians today,
"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this though. Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

The Clarion Content is quite cognizant that America is still a 50-50 country, starkly divided on many issues, despite the papering over supported by many in the mainstream media. The Clarion Content reads comments like Feherty's and fears the huge backlash that is likely coming if President Obama isn't a massive, and all but immediate, success.

Read more here.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009


...as South Carolina's Attorney General hates on Craigslist

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster said May 6th that Craigslist must remove its Erotic Services from the South Carolina portions of its Web site in ten days or face prosecution for allowing the solicitation of prostitution and the dissemination and posting of graphic pornographic material.

Fortunately Craiglist isn't intimidated by the blustering threats of the censors. From their blog,
"...we see no legal basis whatsoever for filing a lawsuit against Craigslist or its principals and hope that the Attorney General will realize this upon further reflection.

Craigslist has been working closely with law enforcement on these very issues, and by all objective measures has decreased misuse dramatically (approximately 90%) since Craigslist and 43 attorneys general entered into a joint statement less than 6 months ago."

Craigslist's very defensible position in a nut shell is... they tell people that they cannot use their site to engage in illegal activities, when people flag them for doing so they take their ads down, they can't be held responsible for the fact that they can't stop them completely. People use the phone to arrange prostitution engagements but the South Carolina AG isn't suing the cellphone carriers to stop them.

We will keep you posted on the way things play out.

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Head honcho's of Hype 

The WHO has a dangerously bad habit

The head honcho of hype at the World Health Organization (WHO) has hardly been humbled by its highly inflated claims of pandemic surrounding the swine flu. Despite being forced to admit worldwide there were only 950 cases! And 25 fatalities! Talk about much ado about nothing.

Have these people ever heard of Aesop's The Boy Who Cried Wolf? Heck the name of their organization is right in the title, one might think they at least must have stumbled on to it Google searching at some point.

Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the 193-nation World Health Organization, told the Financial Times that, given the potential scale of the possible threat, the World Health Organization did not overreact to the swine flu threat.

The Clarion Content's response, "Ha!" Ask Mexico about the devastating effect on their economy in a time of massive slowdown already. The WHO which has a long history of overclaim did it again. It is an innate downside risk of establishing this sort of singularly mission focused organization, they feel compelled to make these kind of claims of significance to justify their budget. The United Nations feeding trough is home to many piggish, bloated, pseudo-governmental entities whose budgets are rife with waste and corruption.

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What? No seriously what? 

Auburn football, all class all the time, ha ha. The tradition continues. Currently it is a NCAA mandated quiet period where college football coaches cannot talk to high school students. So what did Auburn recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper do?

He got a hold of limo, tricked it out with Auburn flags and the "AU" logo, sent seven assistant coaches, the maximum allowed by the NCAA on recruiting trips on the road. They are going to be visiting the parking lots of as many high schools in the state as possible. The admitted purpose of the trip is to attract high school players attention. No kidding. Auburn can't talk to them (officially) so they thought of another even better way to distract them from their studies?!?

"We can't talk to the players, so we're talking to coaches and principals and counselors," Luper said. Allegedly, they are not greasing any palms. But where Auburn's concerned, who knows?

Read more here in the Birmingham News

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Once a ho... 

Always a ho.

Where's my pimp, errr, agent?

And therein lies the reason institutions get what they deserve when they hire the likes of Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Larry Brown or Rich Rodriguez. The case in point this week is Rick Pitino. Pitino, who despite a run of success at Louisville University that includes a 200-72 record and lots of success in the NCAA tournament, is floating trial balloons about returning to the NBA (where he failed with the Knicks and the Celtics.)

Yahoo Sports has reported that there is interest on behalf of the Sacramento Kings who recently dismissed coach Reggie Theus. They are owned by the deep-pocketed, Vegas connected, Maloof brothers. Pitino is reportedly a big fan of Vegas and is dying to get away from the fishbowl of Louisville where his extra-marital affairs have become the centerpiece of local gossip.

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The return of the Lightning Rod 

Alex Rodriguez makes his return to the Yankees tonight. He returns to an aging, underachieving team, with a manager who is wound tighter than a steel coil. No pressure. And we all know how A-Fraud thrives under the pressure. Like in the playoffs? Like when he was about to hit is 500 hundredth homer and had to go hitless for a week first as his "you know what" clenched up.

So he should be perfect to come back into a situation that one New York sports writer recently called 162 Super Bowl season in an attempt to emphasis the microcosmic study of every Yankee game that occurs. And they are indeed under the magnifying glass every night. They have lost five in a row coming into A-Rod's return game. They already had another four game losing streak this season. They are two games under .500 and winless against the Red Sox. Dark times for the Evil Empire, the $400 million in off-season acquisitions await the return of the $300 million man to save them.

The Clarion Content was already going to predict struggles for Alex Rodriguez coming off of hip surgery. Rather than have the complete tendon reconstruction the Clarion Content's impression is that the Yankees doctors didn't go the full route on surgery, they opted for patching and did the halfway procedure. Further look at the year long struggles of guys who had similar hip problems, Chase Utley and Mike Lowell last year. They were never 100% the remainder of the season. It feels like a lock that A-Fraud will not be 100% healthy this year either. Also as he himself pointed out to the media today, he has only had about 30 at-bats in extended Spring Training, normally a starting position player will get more than double that many at-bats in regular spring training. He is bound to be rusty. He is likely to be sore. He is surely under the gun to produce. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The Clarion Content is willing to predict it could end up as bad as 4th place and under .500 for the Yankees this year. And they will do it while surrounded with empty seats to boot. Wow! How the mighty have fallen, we warned about the curse of the A-Rod and how it was a huge mistake to dismiss Joe Torre, (who has the Dodgers running away with the N.L. West). The Yankees are getting their comeuppance.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Google profiler 

A face with a name?

Has Google decided to enter the arena of social networking? After a poor showing with "Lively" (Google's attempt at a 3D virtual world), Google is now offering the opportunity to create a profile to accompany vanity/ego searches. That is to say, when one searches for one's name on Google, or more likely one's ex, a person now has the opportunity to post a profile that can found at the bottom of the "name-query" page searched. Google may be vying to take on, rather than buy, MySpace and Facebook.

Google claims, "when searching for yourself to see what others would find, results can be varied and aren't always what you want people to see. We want to make that better and give you more of a voice." The profile service is a way to influence the information displayed when one's name is queried. However, it is also widely suspected that Google can use information connected to profiles to mine for more connected relationships and searches likely of value to advertisers and marketers.

Google could personalize advertisements and search suggestions for profilers and those who search for and look at their profile. And if in creating the profile one gives personal info to Google (links to friend networks, interests, etc.) its pipes will not only become the precursor to finding those one is searching for, but could potential interlink one's entire social network.

As usual with the internet, user be wary.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Problem Saturation 

Swine flew indeed.

You may have wondered why the Clarion Content hasn't spent any time covering the swine flu. This contributor to Urban Dictionary is on point. We could not have said it any better ourselves. We do not want to contribute to the unnecessary, overboard, needlessly sensationalist coverage of the issue.

Too bad Veep Joe Biden can't say the same
. What, nobody told him we already have a happy national consensus that Dan Quayle was the dumbest Vice President ever? He has got to try to move in on that role? Avoid closed spaces, Joe? Thanks, brilliant. Obama needs to ship him on a three month tour of the back country of New Zealand or somewhere equally out of the way.

Governments all over the world are reacting with a bludgeon to a problem that requires a scalpel. Hong Kong has quarantined a hotel full of people based on the probable case of one Mexican tourist. Egypt is attempting to kill all the pigs in the country (not coincidental primarily owned by a discriminated against minority, Coptic Christians.) This despite not having a single confirmed case of the so-called swine flu.

The hue and cry of the media
is outrageous. The Clarion Content is coming to believe that their distortions and complicity in government and other power brokers behavior is almost as big a systemic problem as any. Michael Moore has been on this theme for a while, underlining in Bowling for Columbine the climate created and maintained by the media that serves America so poorly. In this case, the media by blowing the story way out of proportion is pressuring governments into unwarranted action. This kind of government action and overreaction fills our little 'c' conservative bellies here at the Clarion Content's offices with dread.

As for the swine flu, all we can say is here we go again.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Bring on the goats 

Google's newest subcontractors

In a move typical of Google's adaptability and demonstrative of their commitment to responsible environmental behavior, the company has ditched gas guzzling, CO2 emitting lawnmowers for goats at their Mountain View, California headquarters.

In California, the high rate of brush fires makes it a legal requirement that landowners remove excess brush from their land. Google has hired a company called California Grazing, 200 goats and a border collie to do what they do best: eat brush.

According to Google's own blog the goats and a herder spend roughly a week with Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time. The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. And best of it costs them about the same as mowing.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Facebookers beware 

Here is one more reason to be wary on social networking sites, this is especially for our younger readers. The Los Angeles Times cites a new report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which says that about a quarter of U.S. colleges reported doing some research about applicants on social networking sites or through Internet search engines.

The LA Times quotes David Hawkins, the director of public policy and research for the group, "Don't post anything that you don't want your mother or father or college admission officer to see."

Food for thought.

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The more things change 

The more they stay the same, or so the old expression goes. Our northern most New Jersey reader related a sad story that underlined there is still a kernel of this old saw holding true even under the Obama administration.

According to the website Gadling.com, "An Air France flight from Paris to Mexico had to make an unscheduled stop in Martinique when US air traffic controllers notified the jet that it would not be receiving permission to fly over US airspace...on board the plane was Colombian Journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina."

Uh, oh, a scary journalist!

After all, "Ospina has written articles about the United States involvement in Latin America, and is currently writing a book about the CIA."

Reason enough to divert a plane from flying over American airspace. Who knows he might have been throwing anti-CIA fliers out the window!

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

BCS gets raked over the coals 

The Congressional Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection had a hearing in the Washington, D.C. this week to examine issues of competitive fairness and the extent to which public colleges and universities are adversely impacted by the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system.

Noted monopolist, coordinator of the BCS and commissioner of the ACC, John Swofford was lambasted by Texas Congressman Joe Barton. Congressman Barton has introduced the College Football Playoff Act of 2009, legislation that would prohibit the marketing, promotion, and advertising of a postseason game as a "national championship" game, unless it is the result of a playoff system. Brilliant!

The Seattle Post Intelligencer quoted Barton, "This system is patently unfair. Before the first game, half the teams in the country don't have a prayer at winning or even playing for a national championship. You could have a playoff system that makes just as much money, but has the added benefit of determining the championship on the field."

The Seattle PI went on to note, "There are eleven Division I conferences within football and under the BCS format six of those - the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big 12, Big 10, and Pac-10 - are guaranteed $18 million each to distribute among their schools. Rush's contention was that the other five conferences - the Sun Belt, WAC, MAC, Conference USA, and Mountain West - only get $9.5 million combined whereas Notre Dame, an independent, receives $1.3 million."

As Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) pointed out, "Colleges and universities are funded by taxpayer money, and we have to ask whether or not the big, dominant conferences are engaged in uncompetitive behavior and negotiating contracts at the expense of smaller conferences and their schools. In other words, are the big guys getting together and shutting out the little guys?"

Sounds like anti-competitive, illegal, predatory, monopolistic practice to the Clarion Content's ears.

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Queda Prohibido 

This magnificent image was sent to us by a reader in Buenos Aires accompanied by the poem, "Queda Prohibido" or "It is now Forbidden" written Pablo Neruda. [Ed. note: one of our brilliant readers alerted us to the controversy over the authorship of this delightful poem. It is quite likely not by Neruda, but rather Alfredo Cuervo Barrero.] It is the promotional poster for Bogota’s 2009 Book Fair.

"Queda Prohibido"

authorship disputed

Queda prohibido llorar sin aprender,
levantarte un dia sin saber que hacer,
tener miedo a tus recuerdos.

Queda prohibido no sonreir a los problemas,
no luchar por lo que quieres,
abandonarlo todo por miedo,
no convertir en realidad tus sueños.

Queda prohibido no demostrar tu amor,
hacer que alguien pague tus deudas y mal humor.

Queda prohibido dejar a tus amigos,
no intentar comprender lo que vivieron juntos,
llamarles solo cuando los necesitas.

Queda prohibido no ser tú ante la gente,
fingir ante las personas que no te importan,
hacerte el gracioso con tal de que te recuerden,
olvidar a toda la gente que te quiere.

Queda prohibido no hacer las cosas por ti mismo,
no creer en Dios y hacer tu destino,
tener miedo a la vida y a sus compromisos,
no vivir cada dia como si fuera un ultimo suspiro.

Queda prohibido echar a alguien de menos sin alegrarte,
olvidar sus ojos, su risa, todo,
porque sus caminos han dejado de abrazarse,
olvidar su padado y pagarlo con su presente.

Queda prohibido no intentar comprender a las personas,
pensar que sus vidas valen mas que la tuya,
no saber que cada uno tiene su camino y su dicha.

Queda prohibido no crear tu historia,
dejar de dar las gracias a Dios por tu vida,
no tener un momento para la gente que te necesita,
no comprender que lo que la vida te da, tambien te lo quita.

Queda prohibido no buscar tu felicidad,
no vivir tu vida con una actitud positiva,
no pensar en que podemos ser mejores,
no sentir que sin ti este mundo no sería igual.

"It is now Forbidden"

(loosely translated by a Crazy Colombian)

It is now forbidden
to cry without learning;
to wake up one day
and no longer have dreams;
to become afraid
of your own memories…

It is now forbidden
to not smile
in the face of adversity;
to stop fighting
for those who you love;
to abandon it all
because of your fears;
or to give up in making
your own dreams come true.

It is now forbidden
to pretend we don’t need
understanding each other;
to place less value
in the lives of others;
to ignore each of us
has a unique path to joy…
It is now forbidden
to give up on happiness,
to abandon optimism,
to quit improving ourselves;
to believe the world
will be a better place without you.

Read another translation here.

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Taurus in Spring... 

Guest poetry for your pleasure.

"Taurus in Spring..."

the post office is sunday quiet and closed
and this hot june sun in april,
is a suitor coming on
too early and hot for the season;
And finding sanctuary this lover comes
as a pilgrim into the commons,
this high-ceilinged foyer
of hushed walls with rows
of chaste communicants;
but for this one here
her secrets are meant for me
and fingering the key
that finds and fits, slides and turns
she offers her missives from Spain,
wishing we had walked the karst,
Torcal de Antequera; Andalusia's
olive and orange plantations spread
below the snows of Sierra Nevada.
And as lovers watching the bulls
of Ronda's Plaza de Toros.
But these are just footprints from then
and there the scent is fresh
and I am snorting dust,
thick-necked, horned and hot on your trail...

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Darwin Awards, new nominee 

And we wonder why people poke fun of Alabama? A 24-year-old Northport, Alabama man who was sleeping with his gun was wounded after police said his 40-caliber pistol discharged and hit him in the shoulder. Brilliant! The Atlanta Constitution Journal reported that, "The shooting at his apartment complex was ruled an accident."

Perhaps sleeping with the gun under the pillow wasn't such a good idea after all.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Sad update, Iraq 

In a sad update to our recent note on rising violence in Iraq the Associated Press points out that, "three U.S. troops have been killed in fighting west of Baghdad, the military said Friday, making April the deadliest month for American forces in Iraq since September."

The steady drip of bad news continues. What is really eerie is the mismatch of the headline of the AP's article and the accompanying pictures. The headline reads, "US military says 3 American troops killed in Iraq." The accompanying photo is captioned, "Clerics lead as thousands attend open air Friday prayers in Baghdad's Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, Iraq, Friday, May 1, 2009." And that is indeed what it appears to be a picture of. What is the implied connection there? What message is the AP attempting to convey? U-G-L-Y.

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Conservation: it is on us 

The Clarion Content is proud to introduce our newest guest columnist, Cliff Phillips. We are very grateful to those that sent him in our direction. His piece touches on a timely theme, one that has been percolating in American culture, personal responsibility. The Clarion Content recently read and circulated a commentary in Esquire around the Bush II-Obama transfer of power that ruminated on America's cultural complicity in our predicament. Here Mr. Phillips offers a methodology of improvement, a thought on how to act rather than complain. Be the example you wish to see in the world. This piece was originally penned prior to Obama's election, but based on the President's call to action in his inauguration speech, "greatness is never given, it is earned," it is even more relevant now.

Conservation is an Energy Source

Cliff Phillips

Every crisis conceals an opportunity. Every problem contains its own solution. We can see the answer through an effort of imagination or, failing that, hindsight. Our ever-escalating consumption of energy and resources has brought us to a volatile point in our history. Does the looming crisis of scarcity and pollution offer an opportunity we don’t see? Can our imagination illuminate the situation, or will hindsight teach us -too late- what could have been done to salvage our future?

The fact is, we have ample energy and answers are within reach. We can continue the blind, destructive search for new energy, or we can recognize that our energy problems mask enormous opportunities, beginning with a wealth of readily available conservation energy.

Our energy policy has to be an inclusive, public decision if it is to be sustainable. Experts have useful contributions to make, but they sorely lack the imagination (or breadth of experience) to deal comprehensively with this all-encompassing issue. The last energy expert to chart our long-term policy was Dick Cheney. The public was kept out of the process and the decisions were made in secret by a skilled but unimaginative few. Rolling blackouts immediately followed, as “market mechanisms” were put to work, threatening power grid supply and economic stability.

Since that time, the United States has embarked on an ongoing occupation of an oil-rich country, dragged its feet on implementing new energy technologies and efficiencies, and proposed only belatedly the further development of dwindling carbon energy fuels, coupled with dangerous and ludicrously expensive nuclear energy. These initiatives, especially the nuclear one, are to be funded by giant open-ended taxpayer subsidies resembling advance bailouts. They also impose incalculable additional costs on the public in terms of public health, pollution, and military expenditure, to name just a few. They guarantee a future of tight supplies and escalating prices, along with global political instability and environmental collapse. The single greatest stakeholder in this energy policy is the American public (who after all pays for it), and it is poorly served by this expertly engineered, but very unimaginative way forward.

What would the American public envision as its own “energy future,“ if it were not imposed from some secret industry committee in the Vice President’s office? A resolution of the worst failures of our energy policy would:

*Add 25-35 percent to available electric power

*be faster, easier and cheaper to develop than our existing resources

*generate an immediate boost to the national energy supply, to jobs, and to the economy , making American business more competitive and efficient while saving it billions of dollars each year

*quickly reduce our carbon and other emissions below 1990 levels, enabling the United States to participate in good faith and with leadership in international treaties intended to control carbon releases and limit climate change

*give the country sufficient time to develop renewable energy technologies which are non-polluting, safe and affordable

*and ease global political instability which already threatens security everywhere...

Of course this scenario is in many ways opposite to what we know from experience. Yet every item on the list is achievable through a responsible use of energy and resources.

Conservation is an energy source. It is real. Its potential is equal to the sum total of our society’s waste and inefficiency, which is on a scale not seen in human history. Our energy problem is a crisis of consumption and not a crisis of supply, and the sources of waste are far easier to identify and ‘tap’ than new sources of energy.

The American people have the moral obligation and the practical necessity to eliminate waste and inefficiency everywhere we can. When we do this, we will increase our autonomy as individuals and as a nation. We will eliminate many of our dependencies, which have stifled our initiative and smothered our democratic institutions. As must be the case if we are to transform a major crisis, we will have devised a solution from the problem itself.

Consider that a third or more of our household energy consumption can currently be chalked up to waste and inefficiency. Generating and distributing electricity for the grid wastes an even larger proportion before we get to turn the lights on at home. Likewise, we waste a large percentage of our transportation fuels as well as raw and finished materials in manufacturing, packaging, construction, etc (stuff is energy). As many have pointed out, our economy is predicated on the waste of energy and resources. Yet there is reason to be glad for the depth and breadth of our prodigal waste. There is more energy currently available through conservation and efficiency than from any single energy source. It does not require decades to develop at enormous taxpayer expense. And conservation sources save money while new energy sources cost money.

Every kilowatt/hour of conserved energy represents a savings to consumers and an increase in money circulating in the economy. Every kilowatt/hour saved is a reduction in pollution. Every kilowatt/hour of conservation and efficiency is a gift of time to our children, who face a future horror it we don’t begin to treat conservation as an energy source now.

The time is over when a President of the United States can claim that energy is a major national security issue yet fail to have a national energy conservation program. The time is over when we as individuals can bemoan a future of scarcity and pollution caused by some inadequate, abstract policy. It is caused by us, and we can do something about it.

The sad legacy of waste and pollution we have built into our economy in the past sixty years can be turned to our advantage now. The crisis conceals an opportunity. The problem contains the solution.

Conservation is an energy source.

This piece originally ran in the The Greenfield Recorder.

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