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Friday, July 31, 2009

It is happening 

The Clarion Content published a post a while back in the Politics section, titled "Juxtaposition." If you didn't get a chance to read it, the idea was about the juxtaposition of two news items, the positive press releases out of a meeting of the Finance Ministers of the G8 and the massive bankruptcy of the United States theme park operator Six Flags. The reality of what has gone on in the world economy has been hard to see. The phrase the "worst economic times since the Great Depression" has been bandied about in the media. Are the optimistic comments of the state correct or merely meant to assuage fears stoked by the media? What is really happening?

When asking about the economy, the story that the Clarion Content's staffers hear most commonly in anecdotal citations is the local car dealership. Ask any American from almost any region of the country and they know of some car dealerships that have closed in their area. They don't yet know what to make of it. They usually also say that they personally know folks whose savings and home values have taken a hit, maybe even a big hit. It is less likely that they know someone who has been laid off.

It is our view that the underlying dislocations of the massive wobble in the world economy are still working their way through the globally connected supply chain. If it is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, then there will be regions and areas that are hit extremely hard. The Clarion Content ran into perhaps one such example in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day. Mendota is a town in Fresno County, California.

The unemployment rate in Mendota is 38.5%. 42% of residents live below poverty level. According to the Chronicle it is, "a desperate place where mothers wash disposable diapers for reuse, children are sleeping in cars, and the unemployed trudge door to door to beg for food."

Mendota was first hit by the ending of the new construction boom. The resulting local joblessness combined with farming water shortages to deal the town a series of cascading blows that have snowballed. Again according to the Chronicle, "More than 2,000 people moved out of town in the past two years, and the loss of both residents and workers able to buy goods sent sales of everything from chain saws to groceries plummeting." The Spreckles sugar plant on the edge of town closed. A furniture store and several restaurants shut down. The main bank has announced that it will close soon.

Read the whole article here, it could have been cut directly from the pages of the the Grapes of Wrath.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just Desserts 

Sometimes folks get their just desserts. The Clarion Content felt like today was just such a day. It was the used car salesman Bud Selig's 75th birthday. And lo and behold if the New York Times didn't deliver him a heck of a birthday present. Dropping the news that Boston Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs back in 2003.

The news came as no surprise. The timing could not have been more appropriate. Commissioner Selig was the authority figure most culpable for baseball casual endorsement of steroids in the 1990's. Selig was the leader who glorified the ridiculously tainted 1998 demolishing of Roger Maris's single-season home run record. He was the commissioner who oversaw Barry Bonds blatantly obvious transformation. While there were many who shared in the guilt of turning a blind eye to what was if not cheating by the letter of the rules, was certainly illegal under United States law, Selig was the head honcho.

Selig, who epitomizes the sleaze associated with used car salesmen, got a healthy dose of you reap what you sow. Happy Birthday, Bud!

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Have a good day 

We go around saying "Have a good day" a lot, all the time as a matter of fact. But, it is a wish, not a command. We are not trying to force our positive attitude on you.

Sometimes we see a grimace and we can just hear the George Carlin-esque response. "Have a good day! Have a good day? Who the hell is this guy? I'll have a crappy day if I feel like it. And there is nuthin' you can do about it!"

Hey feel free, people. Have a good day, have a crummy day, no imperatives here. We wish for you to have a good day, we are sending our best vibes, our karmic emanations in your direction, but by all means, have whatever kind of day you prefer. Just know that we hope that it's a good one.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Posthumous changes 

The Clarion Content's Pop Culture editor has not yet read Ernest Hemingway's, A Moveable Feast, though ironically a painter we know had just been encouraging us to do so. The book was first published in 1964. It is a memoir of the times Hemingway spent in Paris in the 1920s, eating, drinking and living. He was part of a group of well known American expatriate writers. Among the prominent people who make an appearance in the book are Aleister Crowley, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Hilaire Belloc, Pascin, John Dos Passos, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein.

Now, according to Hemingway's good friend A.E. Hotchner writing in the New York Times, Scribner's publishing has conspired with Hemingway's grandson to create a sanitized, bastardized, disnified version of the book. Hotchner says in a Times opinion piece,
"The grandson has removed several sections of the book’s final chapter and replaced them with other writing of Hemingway’s that the grandson feels paints his grandma in a more sympathetic light. Ten other chapters that roused the grandson’s displeasure have been relegated to an appendix...[apparently] he doesn’t like what the original said about his grandmother, Hemingway’s second wife."

Hotchner, an author and playwright himself, strenuously objects to the new truncated version and Scribner's willingness to conspire in such deceptive editing. As he so eloquently puts it,
"I am concerned by Scribner’s involvement in this “restored edition.” With this reworking as a precedent, what will Scribner do, for instance, if a descendant of F. Scott Fitzgerald demands the removal of the chapter in A Moveable Feast about the size of Fitzgerald’s penis, or if Ford Madox Ford’s grandson wants to delete references to his ancestor’s body odor.

All publishers, Scribner included, are guardians of the books that authors entrust to them. Someone who inherits an author’s copyright is not entitled to amend his work."

The Clarion Content heartily agrees. It was bad enough to authorize a sequel to Gone with the Wind long after Margaret Mitchell and worse yet to speculate on how Dune would have ended when Frank Herbert died in the middle of the series, but to change something that was patently published as non-fiction is far worse. Scribner should be ashamed!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

No health care for Texas 

In another act of Republican genius, Texas Governor Rick Perry said Thursday that he would consider invoking states’ rights protections under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution to resist a federal health care plan. Like the Republican Governors that the Clarion Content told you were resisting the stimulus plan, Governor Perry's stance is pretty vile, prima facie. Unless he is willing to give up the generous taxpayer funded health care he enjoys, denying others who have no insurance government health care is awfully cruel without a viable alternative.

Governor Perry was quoted on the conservative Dallas talk radio show hosted by Mark Davis. The governor predicted that Texas and a "number" of states might resist the federal health mandate. According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Governor Perry refused $555 million in federal unemployment stimulus money earlier this year. He also, "heartily backed an unsuccessful resolution in this year’s legislative session that would have affirmed the belief that Texas has sovereignty under the 10th Amendment over all powers not otherwise granted to the federal government."

Texas has a higher percentage of uninsured people than any other state, with one in four Texans lacking health coverage.

Read the whole article here.

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Seasonal Migration 

Probably, dear readers, you have heard of the huge yearly biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. This is after all the 69th annual rally, and it has drawn much media interest recently. Attendance in some years has been estimated as high as 500,000 people. Have you ever considered how the bikers get there? The answer is of course, they ride.

This annual migration impacts, among other things, the economies of many small towns along the way. Consider the case of Carlton, Minnesota, population 810 as of the 2000 Census. It is at the intersection of Minnesota State Highways 45 and 210. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Cops have been bracing for months. Business people are crossing their fingers." They quote a local bar owner, "It's good news, I'm excited that they're coming and look forward to seeing them." Tim Rogentine owns the Lost Isle Bar on Hwy. 210 in Carlton.

The Star-Tribune reports, "His establishment will be closed for a private function from Wednesday to Sunday." When they asked him to confirm that the Hells Angels had rented out his bar, Mr. Rogentine said: "Um, I can't say. I've signed a contract that says I can't give any interviews."

Good times. The Carlton County Sheriff, Kelly Lake, has only nineteen field officers in her Sheriff's department.



DeWayne Wise, a catch for the ages

Mark Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game all-time earlier this week. The Chicago White Sox hurler had already thrown a no-hitter in 2007 against the Texas Rangers. He narrowly missed perfection in that game, walking a single batter, only to pick him off two pitches later.

Beyond Buehrle, the only active pitcher with two no-hitters is future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. In fact, in the history of the game only twenty-six pitchers have pitched multiple no-hitters. Buehrle commented afterward that he, "bought everyone watches after the last one," he then noted wryly that this one might be more expensive.

The most dramatic element in Buehrle's perfect afternoon was authored by a little known, late inning, defensive replacement named DeWayne Wise. Wise who had just entered the game in the ninth inning made spectacular catch in left-centerfield. He leaped at the eight foot fence, extended his arm into the crowd, just snagging the ball in the webbing of his glove, then as he toppled back onto the warning track he bobbled it briefly, before he grabbed it again, barehanded, and held it aloft for the crowd to see. It was a terrific catch at the biggest moment of the game.

Congratulations to Buehrle and Wise on their highlight for the ages.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another day in Iraq 

While the American media megalith has turned its eyes elsewhere: domestic health care, the world economy, the demise of the American automaker, Iraq has continued to simmer. Much less has changed in Iraq's day-to-day levels of violence, than has changed in America's interest in the reporting of said violence. The state George Bush the II rebirthed with great shock and furious awe continues to spasm with bloody contractions.

Yesterday in an article by the Associated Press which largely concentrated on the elections in the Kurdish north, this level of violence was noted with barely a comment or a reflection.
"a roadside bombing targeting a police patrol in southern Kirkuk wounded five people, including four Iraqi police officers...

Elsewhere in Iraq, two bombs exploded in Fallujah near the area headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party...Four people were killed and 25 wounded and a building partially collapsed destroying 12 shops...In northern Baghdad, a bomb attached to a car exploded in Azamiyah, killing the driver and wounding a bystander..."

This is the norm, not exceptional. And one day ere too long, the American media will turn its lens back to Iraq, likely it will try to create new fears and expectations, perhaps directing the blame at President Obama's policies. The situation will have remained much the same the whole time, only the reporting of it will have changed.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Drinking and dementia 

Sots everywhere rejoice! A new study conducted by Wake Forest University and presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease found that moderate drinkers have a 37% lower risk of dementia amongst those who were cognitively normal at the start of the study.

Drink more, think more, is not quite the conclusion though. The study also found that if you are over the age of seventy-five and still consuming more than 14 drinks a week you are at twice the normal risk of developing dementia.

The BBC reports that, "lead researcher Dr. Kaycee Sink said: "There are several possible ways in which moderate drinking might be associated with reduced risk of dementia.

"One is the same as the way we think moderate alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease, by beneficial effects on HDL cholesterol and blocking platelets.

"Additionally, animal studies have shown that low amounts of alcohol stimulate the release of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is important in memory."

Read the whole story here.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

In America? 

We found this story hard to believe, that this happened in America. Because we know very little about the history and facts of this case, it is difficult to analyze the whys. It was just our astonishment at the outcome that meant we had to post about it.

Our thanks to the Philadelphia Inquirer for their full story.

H. Beatty Chadwick, seventy-three years old, has been imprisoned for fourteen long years for contempt of court - a U.S. record for that charge. According to the Inquirer, "a Delaware County judge had issued the order to jail Chadwick for failing to deposit $2.5 million in a court-controlled account to be used to pay alimony to his ex-wife, Barbara "Bobbie" Applegate [in 1995]." Mr. Chadwick contended that he didn't have the dough. He said he lost it in overseas investments. The judge didn't believe him. A series of investigations have turned up no hidden money.

Ten days ago Judge Joseph P. Cronin said after fourteen years the contempt order had lost its coercive effect and become punitive. According the Inquirer, "when Chadwick's attorney, Michael J. Malloy, arrived to pick him up, about 50 people - prison staff as well as inmates - gathered inside and out to see him off... People were crying and hugging Chadwick and shaking his hand."

The moral of the story as we see it, don't go ostrich America. Things of this nature demonstrate that bizarre, unusual and even extraordinary detention can and does happen to people here.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Ocean Current path 

Research led by oceanographers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Duke University have added to the complicated model of the North Atlantic Ocean currents. This new evaluation may have substantial impact on scientists' understanding of climate change.

Using field observations and computer models, their study shows that much of the southward flow of cold water from the Labrador Sea moves not along the deep western boundary current, but along a previously unknown path in the interior of the North Atlantic.

The study by Amy Bower, a senior scientist in the WHOI Department of Physical Oceanography, and Susan Lozier, a professor of physical oceanography at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, was published in the May 14 issue of the research journal Nature.

The bearing this study has on climate change analysis is as follows according to Dr. Lozier, "This finding means it is going to be more difficult to measure climate signals in the deep ocean. We thought we could just measure them in the Deep Western Boundary Current, but we really can't." The cold southward-flowing water is thought to influence and perhaps moderate human-caused climate change.

Read more here at Terra Daily.com.

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Only one of these men has won the Open in Turnberry, Scotland.

The British Open this week will be played on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland at Turnberry. Turnberry, although not as famous as the legendary St. Andrews, was the site of the best British Open ever, and quite possibly the single best major golf tournament of the modern era. The year was 1977.

It was a duel between a twenty-seven year old Tom Watson and a thirty-seven year old Jack Nicklaus. Watson, a gap-toothed kid from Kansas City, had already won the 1975 British Open at Carnoustie and then beat the Golden Bear head-to-head in the 1977 Masters, three months before the British Open. Nicklaus was in his prime, having already won 14 of his eventual 18 major titles. Watson was hot coming in, according to Dave Anderson of the New York Times. He had just won the Western Open and a tune-up tournament in Barcelona where he shot a 61 in the final round. He would go on to win six tournaments that year and five British Open titles in his career, equaling the all-time record.

Watson and Nicklaus went mano-a-mano like great boxers for four rounds. The both opened 68-70 and pulled three strokes clear of the field. Then came the third round Saturday, booming driving, arrow like irons, long putts and when the day ended both had shot majestic 65s. They would be again alone in the final group on Sunday. The final round was the stuff legends are made of.

The winner broke the British Open scoring record by eight strokes. Watson and Nicklaus finished a full ten strokes clear of third place Hubert Green. As Sunday drew to a close, Watson was down by one stroke heading to the par three 15th hole. He answered the bell. He nailed a 60 foot birdie putt from the hardened grass a full 10 feet off of the green, dinging it off the flagstick and dropping it into the jar. They were tied with three holes to go. Both players parred the 16th hole. The 17th was a par five, Watson made the the green in two. He was facing a mere twenty foot two-putt for birdie. Nicklaus, off the green in two, finessed a tricky chip to within five feet, but he couldn't nail the birdie putt. Watson two putted for birdie and held the lead for the first time all day. But, the Golden Bear wasn't done yet.

18 was a par four and the tournament looked all but over when Nicklaus hit his drive into the deep British Open rough. Somehow he slashed through it, and put his second on to the edge of the green, forty feet from the pin. Meanwhile Watson, offering no opportunities to the consensus best player ever (pre-Tiger) hit a one-iron down the middle of the fairway, and then a seven-iron to two feet. But he knew better than most, it still was not over. According the Times veteran columnist Dave Anderson, moments before Nicklaus putted Watson whispered to his caddie that Nicklaus would make that 40-footer for birdie. And he did. Facing all the pressure in the golfing world, with greatest player in the game watching over his shoulder, Watson drilled the two footer and won the tournament. As Nicklaus told him later, "I gave you my best shot but it wasn’t enough. Congratulations."

We would be lucky to see half as much drama this week as the British Open returns to Turnberry for the first time since 1994 when Nick Price was the winner.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hate to see it 

Antoine Walker, stylin'

We hate to see it, but we can't say that we are entirely shocked to read that a former 1st round draft pick from Kentucky, Antoine Walker, is in a bit of trouble. Walker, thirty-two, played for among other teams the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat and most recently the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008. He is currently facing court on three felony counts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The charges in question stem from Walker writing bad checks for gambling debts. He allegedly wrote bad checks totaling $822,500 to three casinos, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and Red Rock Resort. Walker's NBA salary peaked at $12,375,000 pre-taxes in the 2002-03 season. As it stands now, Walker is also facing an additional $82,000 fine from the District Attorney's office stemming from the bad checks charges.


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The Clarion Content approves of the walk softly path the President Barack Obama is treading with Iran. That Iran's most recent elections were dirty is hardly in doubt, the ability of the United States to do something effective about it is much more nebulous. We are glad that President recognized that massive overreach by the last United States' President destabilized democracies and pseudo-democracies the world over from Thailand to Pakistan.

The statistical analysis from one of the most fascinating political bloggers, the FiveThirtyEight, is why we are convinced Iran's elections were fraudulent. The will of the people is the most important lever to the control of a society, far more relevant than external actions.

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How to put out a grease fire 

This excellent video came our way from a New York City reader. It is a very dramatic demonstration of how to deal with and how not deal with a grease fire. Do NOT throw water on a grease fire ever, it will explode. The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup of either creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

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Texts from last night 

One of our mostly newly minted Durhamanians passed along a hilarious link last night. As you may already know, we are avid fans of the "Best of Craig's List." It complies the most insightful, amusing and interesting of all the posts made on Craig's List. "Texts from Last Night" is something similar. Relying on user submissions, it collects the most insightful, amusing and interesting texts it can get. Some may be apocryphal. While silent and safe for work, it is not exactly PG.

Check out, "Texts from Last Night" here.

It is amazing!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

One man's trash 

Of course you have heard the old saw, dear readers, one man's trash is another man's treasure. But in Boston, maybe, not so fast, hombre, the standard cliches do not always apply.

Sixty-one year old Dennis Paiva thought he had found some sweet scrap metal that he could cash in on behind the luxury condo of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. Flip Brady's trash into treasure as it were. Unfortunately, as it turned out Paiva obviously didn't have the same eye and tastes as Tom and supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen, because that wasn't scrap metal he picked up, but $4 grand worth of designer flower boxes.

Luckily for Mr. Dennis Paiva, who is unemployed after recent surgery, local Boston businessman Dan Greenwald read about the case and the court order and made the appropriate restitution.

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This story is from the you can't touch this files. As in, you can't make this stuff up!

Dateline Torrington, Connecticut, a teenager hears her Mom screaming through the bedroom door. Apparently she does not listen closely to the screams, and assumes her mother is being assaulted. She rushes off to round up four of her friends. They grab a baseball bat, throw open the door, and proceed to beat the snot out of the mother's boyfriend, a twenty-five year old named, Roger Swanson. Turns out Mom wasn't screaming because they were fighting, it was an "f" word, but not fighting. However, the incensed teens did not give Swanson time to state his case.

He was sent to the hospital with a black eye among other minor injuries. The woman's daughter, whose name is not being released, along with two other seventeen year-old locals and a nineteen year-old friend, were arrested and charged with assault and conspiracy by Torrington police.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The poor get poorer 

The Clarion Content read this morning of yet another new way the system lurches against the poor and in favor of the big banks and speculators. Perhaps, dear readers, you have heard that the state of California in the middle of a massive budget crunch has decided to issue IOUs in lieu of tax refunds to its citizens and many small businesses. The state is expected to issue about $3 billion worth of IOUs this month alone. The IOUs bear a tax free interest rate of 3.75%. Craziness, that this is where America has come to, but all well and good so far.

Now here is the bad news for those living paycheck to paycheck or businesses with short term cash flow issues. Bank of America and many other large financial institutions (including Wells Fargo) have announced that they will stop accepting the IOUs as of today. This means the poorest recipients of these IOU, those most in need of immediate cash, may have to turn to speculators and secondary markets to redeem their IOUs, likely at less than face value. The SEC is trying to clamp down on speculators by treating the IOUs as securities and saying that only licensed traders can purchase them, but already a wellspring of such vultures has sprung up on the internet according to the Los Angeles Times.

Like so many other systems in America this one takes the poorest and weakest among us and grinds them down. Saying in so many words, here is your tax refund, poor citizen, but you cannot cash it at our states biggest banks, in fact, you may have to redeem it for only 75% or 80% of its value because you desperately need the money.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Too rich 

Some stories just write themselves. The tale of Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign is one such beauty. The Associated Press reported today that Senator Ensign's parents gave the Nevada Republican's mistress and her family nearly $100,000 "out of concern for the well being of longtime family friends during a difficult time," according to the Senator's attorney.

The married Senator Ensign had already paid the married with two kids, Cindy Hampton, $25,000 in hush money, errr, severance, when she quit as the treasurer of two of his campaign committees. Senator Ensign is a born-again Christian and a member of the Promise Keepers. What the Clarion Content finds really amazing is the lack of shame from the party that tried to impeach a President for Oval Office fellatio. Senator Ensign, like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, continues to insist he has no plans to resign.

Hampton's husband was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun, "The actions of Senator Ensign have ruined our lives and careers and left my family in shambles."

Resign? Why?

Nice guy, Senator John Ensign. It hardly looks like America is in the Nero stages of the Roman Empire.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Hermione on the cover of Elle 

Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter flicks, is on the cover of the British version of Elle this month. Ms. Watson has clearly grown up over the years the Potter kids have been in the limelight. Once hilariously spoofed by fellow child star Lindsay Lohan on Saturday Night Live for the adolescent sex appeal of Hermione to teen and tween boys, Ms. Watson seems comfortable in her own skin.

She will be attending Columbia University in the Fall. Watson told Elle how one of her role models, Natalie Portman had done the same by stepping back from the limelight to attend Harvard. Ms. Watson is secure in her image and self, but like the feminist icon Madonna, Ms. Watson wants to maintain control of them, rather than have them dictated to her. In her own words, "I don't want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself. I want to avoid becoming too styled and too 'done' and too generic. You see people as they go through their career and they just become more and more like everyone else. They start out with something individual about them but it gets lost. Natalie Portman is an exception. I'm in awe of how she's handled herself."

Watson who looks stunning in Elle UK's August issue appears to be headed down the right path.

Read the article here.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A gleam 

Right now this budding star is just a gleam in the mind's eye, but listen to that voice.

Raina Gray and Alienation of Affection

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tim Wakefield and Satchel Paige? 

Tim Wakefield and Satchel Paige indeed have something in common. The aging Boston Red Sox knuckleballer joined the former Negro League star as the two oldest first time All-Star selections in baseball history. The forty-two year old Wakefield was selected to his first game today. Paige was a first time All-Star at the age of forty-six in 1952. Wakefield, 10-3, heads a brigade of six All-Stars for the A.L. East leading Red Sox.

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Deep in Kew 

Deep in Kew, England, hidden in an overlooked file in the British National Archives, a rare 250 year old copy of the United States Declaration of Independence has been found. The last such copy of the Declaration of Independence, known as a Dunlap print publicly available at auction went for $8.14 million in 2000. The Associated Press quoted a Nation Archives Colonial Specialist, "it is likely that only around 200 of these were ever printed, so uncovering a new one nearly 250 years later is extremely rare, especially one in such good condition." Only twenty-six prints of the Dunlap Broadside have ever been found.

No surprise, the researcher that found the document was looking through late 18th Century files for something entirely unrelated.


Get me an apiarist, stat! 

The San Diego Padres versus the Houston Astros game was delayed for fifty-two minutes in the top of the ninth inning. The game was in San Diego, so no surprise, it wasn't a rain delay! It was insect related. And unlike the midge meltdown Joba Chamberlain suffered in the A.L. playoffs, the game was stopped by the umps.

The Associated Press quoted Padres president Tom Garfinkel, "A few thousand bees attached themselves to a queen bee." They surrounded a ball girl's chair and jacket down the left field line. "The umpires made the right call to stop the game," Garfinkel said. "There's a couple thousand bees there. If they decide to swarm on a person, whether that's a player, an employer or obviously a fan, we could have a real situation."

Fortunately, no kidding, head groundskeeper Luke Yoder has an apiarist on his speed dial. The AP captured a photo of San Diego Padres left fielder Kyle Blanks standing in a swarm of bees just before the game was stopped.

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Cheater's appeal denied 

The NCAA denied the final appeal of former Indiana University and Oklahoma University basketball coach, Kelvin Scam-scum, err, Sampson. The sleazy ex-college coach was hit with five years of personal penalties for repeating at Indiana recruiting violations he had been previously punished for at Oklahoma. Sampson also lied to investigators about his misdeeds according the NCAA. Sampson is banned from coaching in the college ranks until at least 2013. Unfortunately, Sampson has slithered off to the NBA working on the coaching staff of the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.

Read more here.

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Facebook a spy? 

Not Mr. Sawyers

Regular readers know that the Clarion Content's editors love to tweak Facebook for its privacy threatening forays. We know, and hope that you do too, that the company is not entirely to blame. Users are complicit. We refer you to the fascinating Esquire essay by Tom Junod about the consumer's complicity forged by agreeing to terms of service.

Here is the latest bemusing Facebook story. John Sawers, currently Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, is about to become the head of Great Britain's legendary MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service. His wife Lady Shelley Sawers had a Facebook page. On this Facebook page she posted family photos, information about the couple's children, their apartment and their high profile-friendships. There was nothing more scandalous than the fact that the man wears Speedo's when he swims. There was some concern that revealing the location that they vacation and where they lived posed limited security risks. The AFP reports that the page has since been taken down according to the British Foreign Office.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009


It struck the Clarion Content as quite the juxtaposition when we popped open Google the News last month. Context, there is no morning paper delivered to the office. The old timey ritual of looking at the front page of the daily fishwrap has disappeared, probably forever. Frequently then the equivalent is the first time of the day we head to Google the News which encapsulates the stories of the day with links. It is a brilliant idea. It has sections: World, US, Business, Sci/Tech, Entertainment, Sports, Health and Most Popular (other). However, unlike the traditional newspaper, columns or leads in one section or one part of the page pay no mind to the other. There is no central orienting by a single editor or designer.

Thus it came to be last month that right next to a series of articles about the meeting of the heads of the G-8 economies were a series of articles about the impending bankruptcy of the amusement park chain Six Flags. In article after article, the wonkish economists of the state offered bland reassurance that the world economy was indeed doing better. Things had stabilized. Heck, the Germans even advocated that not as much stimulus as once thought would be needed. Starkly juxtaposed with those articles was the massive bankruptcy of the huge amusement park operator. It is billions of dollars in debt, despite 25 millions visits to its parks last year and record revenues.

In the staid conference rooms of Lecce, Italy it may look like the world is getting better. But back here on the front lines of the midway, not so much. Fiscal worry still hangs heavy.

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A steal 

The New York Knicks got a steal at the bottom of the first round of the NBA draft. Toney Douglas from Florida State, the Clarion Content loves him! We watched him four times a year against Duke and the University of North Carolina teams. He is a tough as nails defender, ACC Defensive Player of the Year his senior season. He is an effort player. He is a consistent scorer, and was the leading man, the primary guy other teams focused on when playing Florida State and he still got his twenty a night.

He knows his own game. He says the NBA'er he modeled his game after is former Detroit Pistons six time All-Star guard, Joe Dumars (currently the Pistons head honcho of player personnel). Douglas sees his game as like Dumars because Dumars was also a terrific defender. Like Douglas, he was a guard who could play the one or the two. He could shoot, he could find other ways to score and always got his points. He could submit to the team concept and make those around him play better. He was a quiet presence on a team with a lot of alpha dogs. Toney Douglas is aiming high.

We are quite happy the Knicks got him. We hope he isn't about to be shipped off to Minnesota in some ridiculous Ricky Rubio package.

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