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Thursday, September 30, 2010

More corruption 

Sometimes here at the Clarion Content we like to highlight stories of corruption and graft within the system simply to preempt those naysayers who wish to tell us, "That could never happen." Having spent years living close to ground level, we firmly believe truth trumps fiction, vigilance trumps cynicism, verification trumps skepticism. There is a brisk black market for human kidneys.

Today we ran across a story of shocking corruption on CNN's website. The Vice-President and Dean of St. John's University in Queens, NY, Cecilia Chang, used her position to indenture students on scholarship. Turning them quite literally into her personal servants, she demanded students take out the garbage, shovel snow, do laundry, chauffeur her and cook food at her home in Queens, New York or face the loss of their scholarships. She also allegedly embezzled university funds for casino expenses, meals at restaurants, shopping trips at Victoria's Secret and her son's law school tuition.

She was suspended by St. John's in January according to an FBI affidavit unsealed by federal prosecutors yesterday. She was indicted on charges that she stole more than $1 million from the university.

Read the whole story here.


Wrongful imprisoned man freed 

Long time readers of the Clarion Content know how we love to publish stories of the cops screwing over the people. It runs to the core of our small "c" conservatism. Don't give the Man too much power for you maybe the next one it is exercised on.

We have got another story for you.

A deaf man, Stephen Brodie, was exonerated in Texas for the rape of a five year-old suburban Dallas girl. He was released Tuesday after serving about ten years in prison.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Brodie has been deaf since childhood, but police questioned him for hours without an interpreter. He eventually confessed, but later told The Associated Press he felt scared and pressured. Unfortunately, the judge ruled the confession admissible at trial. After that Mr. Brodie and his attorney figured a guilty verdict, which was punishable by up to 99 years in prison, was all but certain. So they cut a deal, Brodie plead guilty to assaulting the girl in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Turns out that even when Brodie was arrested and convicted, the cops knew that a fingerprint, found on the window through which the perpetrator entered the victim's home, did not match their suspect or anyone living there. Even worse, prosecutors failed to notify Brodie's trial attorney that testing showed that a hair found at the crime scene and presumed to be the assailants excluded Brodie as the source.

Brodie received an apology from Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, whose office had reopened the case and whose investigation ultimately led to Brodie's exoneration.

Sorry about those ten years, pal.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Science fiction predictions... 

that came true. There is a lot of debate about whether or not the majority of science fiction predictions come true. Of course, the easy answer is no. Hundreds, even thousands, of science fiction books are published every year. Most sink like silent stones in the vast cultural pond.

The Clarion Content's editor attended a lecture this week at Duke University, by the great science fiction writer, William Gibson. Gibson made this very point, most science fiction predictions do not come true. He further noted that despite being visions of the future, years on, science fiction books are viewed as a commentary on their times. So while he wrote Neuromancer about the year 2025, it will be viewed by history as a book about 1984 which is when it was published.

It was interesting then, only days after this lecture and absorbing this point, to see a list of eleven science fiction predictions that according to Sarah Kessler of Mashable came true.

Check it out here, from the tank to the i-pod, from the cubicle to the escalator. Kessler includes the excerpts from the texts of the original authors to make her point. It is a fun read.

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Baseball contenders not selling tickets 

Yesterday saw a highly publicized flap, Tampa Bay Rays stars David Price and Evan Longoria criticized fans of the team for not showing up to big games. The blowback was intense. Although the team is in first place and near clinching a division title, the Rays turnstiles have seen barely more than a trickle.

Tampa-St. Pete is a terrible baseball market. Transplants to Florida have loyalties to their original teams. The stadium is awful. But the real multiplier effect has been the great economic malaise, which has hit the area with a gut punch. While we hope the Rays move to Durham soon, we recognize that this season, the Rays are not alone.

The New York Times notes several contenders are playing to 4/5ths empty parks; besides the Rays, the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds have been playing in front of far less than packed houses down the stretch. Overall baseball attendance is down for a third straight season. As America stumbles into what may be a lost decade, attendance may never again reach its previous heights.

Among the clubs with the most notable attendance declines the New York Mets, who cannot draw despite billions of dollars poured into a new stadium. Also seeing major sales decreases Chicago and Los Angeles, where the Cubs and the Dodgers have had disappointing seasons. Part of the more permanent structural adjustment can be seen in cities like Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto, where attendance has been slipping for several years. Once home to new marquis parks, those stadiums are now more than ten years old and baseball's revenue model assures these lower income teams endless second-tier status. Rather than try to revive their moribund clubs, these franchises (and the Rays) may opt to follow the model pioneered by Kansas City and Pittsburgh. The model, as Deadspin revealed last month, is permanently putrid franchises whose owners see more profit in losing than attempting to win through increased payroll expenditure on player salary.

The Clarion Content has been arguing that sports' comeuppance will be one of the biggest effects of the collapse of the American economy. The tremors are starting. The richest owners and teams will not want to continue subdividing their profits with those who do not even make a serious effort to compete. We would predict that baseball contraction will see four to six less Major League franchises by the end of this decade.

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Moving downmarket 

Despite foolish claims from those safely ensconced in the ivory towers, the recession is in evidence everywhere. One of the ways the Clarion Content sees the impact of the widespread economic slump is the relentless moves downmarket by the American public. Sales of expensive tickets to sporting events are way down, cheaper movie ticket sales are up. Fancy, far flung tourists destinations are suffering, while it is less so for more humble, local places that folks can roadtrip to with the family.

This morning the Nation's Restaurant News pointed out another area where this downmarket shifting can be seen, convenience store food sales. Because what is even cheaper than fast food breakfast? The convenience store. The NRN reports that convenience store traffic rose 8% and sales jumped 11% in the second quarter of 2010.

Read more here in the Nation's Restaurant News.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World Beer Festival 

Although we are not certain that the editorial staff of the Clarion Content will be able to attend this year, we highly recommend that you make it out to the World Beer Festival, Saturday October 9th. We try to attend every year, and surely at least some of the staff will be there this year. [The editor has the wedding of a dear friend.]

The event has two sessions, one afternoon and one evening. It has gotten a little pricier recently, up from $25 to $35 to $45 over the last six years, but it is still worth every penny. Featuring the beers of over 180 breweries from all over the United States and the globe, it is a rollicking good time. Our advices is as follows. Pick one session or the other, even the strongest livers should not be asked to handle both. Go slow, there is plenty of beer for everyone. Make sure you ask if the beer is high alcohol content, ever since the Pop the Cap initiative succeeded in North Carolina, quite a few of them are, sip gently these beers will rock you. Eat some of the food, there are plenty of delicious options. This year's beer festival will feature the music of Big Daddy Love and Children of the Horn for the afternoon session; Brushfire Stankgrass and Big Something are playing at the evening portion.

Tickets are available at their website here. And at the Carolina Ale House locations in the Raleigh Durham area.

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Hottest day ever 

No joke. The city of Los Angeles California recorded the hottest temperatures in the history of its record keeping yesterday when the mercury hit 113 degrees. Wow. In late September, no less? Insert global warming joke here?

Read how locals reacted in the Los Angeles Times.


Streaming hockey 

Our local Carolina Hurricanes are leading the N.H.L. into a new 21st century era and model of sports broadcasting delivery. The New York Times reports that the Canes are live-streaming all of their preseason games on broadband this month; by using their in-house video feed and the play-by-play from their radio broadcasts. The NHL has seen the light, the groundswell of positive response from the fanbase, and plans to follow suit. The Canes home market is the technologically savvy triangle between Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, N.C. The N.H.L.'s chief operating officer, John Collins, says the league is close to an agreement under which many of its 24 U.S. based teams would provide broadband and wireless live-streaming of games in local markets.

Read more here in the Triangle Business Journal.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Katy Perry and Elmo 

Not sure if you have been following the Katy Perry-Elmo saga, dear readers. The lovely and talented Katy was supposed to have a playdate with the Sesame Street star, furry, red Elmo. However, at the last minute under fire from the patron saints of Political Correctness, Sesame Street decided not to air Katy's pre-taped appearance. She and Elmo sing a version of Perry's hit Hot and Cold together. Apparently, there was too much cleavage for some folks, even though Perry was wearing a flesh-colored body stocking. Both Katy and Elmo have since appeared to talk about the non-event.

Elmo here on Good Morning America.

Katy here on Saturday Night Live.

Gotta like the self-deprecating sense of humor that Perry shows...

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Brilliant mash-up 

Thanks to the MEP report, which is where we found this terrific mash-up.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Transformation Newark? 

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." ---Goethe

This from the Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker's Twitter account, this morning shortly before New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Booker announced the launching of the Partnership for Education in Newark, an unprecedented commitment to improve public education. Zuckerburg made his commitment to the tune of $100 million dollars. The announcement came on Oprah. Where else?

Mayor Booker (on the left), a man who is doing great things already...

Now not all of that money will be heading to Newark, rather Newark will be a national model for the foundation Zuckerberg is creating with his gift, Startup: Education. Its first project will be Newark. It criterion is "to measurably improve academic achievement for Newark students and based on clear standards and metrics reward excellence in teaching, school leadership and student achievement."

Mayor Booker, a Democrat was authorized by the Governor, a Republican, to work with Zuckerberg to transform the status quo. The Newark Public School District, with a student population of more than 40,000, is the largest school system in New Jersey, in 2008-2009, only 54 percent of high school students graduated and just 38 percent enrolled in college.

America can and should do better.

Read more here.

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Clear Airplanes?!? 

You read that correctly, dear readers. Airbus engineers have come up with a design for a passenger plane that could be made completely see-through. In theory it would work like this: in flight, the plane's captain would give a warning and then push a button that would send electrical currents through the plane's futuristic high-tech ceramic skin. The skin would peel back to reveal glass all the way around.

Straight out of science fiction! We think they would need a lot of doctors and defibrillators to deal with the heart attacks. Unfortunately for those who think they could hang, the date for the concept plane to hit the runways is 2050. Read more here.

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Two political thoughts 

We ran across these two political thoughts in very different places, but we wonder about their connection. Are there implications for the upcoming Congressional elections and the 2012 Presidential elections? We believe so.

The country, America, is an odd mood. America is both angry and disconcerted.

From the the 5th Edition of the book, Presidential Elections, Strategies of American Electoral Politics...
"As the tendency grows stronger for activists to grow further away, not only from each other, but from the bulk of citizens who identify with the party label, it is worth considering whether parties reflect or in fact exacerbate differences. Purists, who care mostly about programmatic and ideological correctness, are replacing politicians, who care mostly about political cohesion and winning elections..." ---N.W. Polsby and A. Wildavsky.

From South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint,
"Following Christine O'Donnell's historic win on Tuesday, the Washington establishment launched an all out assault against me for supporting this principled candidate. They say she can't win and that by supporting her, I've helped lose the seat for Republicans. Well, I've been in the majority with Republicans who didn't have principles, and we embarrassed ourselves and lost credibility in front of the country. Frankly, I'm at a point where I'd rather lose fighting for the right cause than win fighting for the wrong cause."

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dancing with the Stars, epic 

The season premier of Dancing with Stars this week was EPIC! Check out some of the highlights here... Bristol Palin and the Situation kept it as real as it is possible for people who came to prominence via faux achievement. Jennifer Grey, the favorite, had an emotional performance.


Wild Kingdom, in the yard 

A beautiful butterfly meets a spider, witness, even in suburbia we live amongst the wild. We just notice it less.

This butterfly was at least triple the spider's size. It took the spider five minutes to drag it across the web. Another ten to fifteen minutes to swathe it, and it was gone from the web by morning.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

NFL Ticket follow-up 

The Clarion Content, long believers that American sport is in the process of getting its economic comeuppance as part of a larger national economic shudder, saw this note today.

The San Diego Chargers home opener, against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, will not be shown on local television after they failed to sell out a home game for the first time since 2004.

Even the NFL is not immune to economic malaise.

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GOP establishment worried? 

The Clarion Content has been telling you, dear readers, for the past several weeks that the momentum being garnered by Tea Party candidates in the Republican primaries is not actually good for the GOP's general election prospects. These radical candiates that enthuse the base are not going to win in November, despite substantial electoral disaffection with the establishment.

The mainstream media has started to pick up this theme.

CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer

...on "The Early Show" this morning, Schieffer said the fervor of voters who want to throw out incumbents in favor of candidates more right- or left-leaning is worrying the Republican Party establishment, who have long memories.

"What is really bothering the establishment Republicans right now is what happened to Republicans back in 1964," Schieffer told anchor Harry Smith. "You know, they had almost won in 1960 when Nixon ran against Kennedy. The next time around, 1964, Republicans threw out all the establishment people, all the leaders of their party and nominated Barry Goldwater - as I've said many times, a very good man but someone far to the right of the mainstream of the Republican Party. They lost in a landslide.

"Same thing happened to Democrats in 1972: They threw out all the establishment people, leaders in their party, big city mayors like Dick Daley, and nominated - again, a very good man - George McGovern, but someone far left of the mainstream of their party, and they lost in a landslide.

"That's what's bothering the establishment Republicans now: They're worried, are they headed to something like that in 2012?"

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Driving hazard 

Ladies, just a warning, but...many men maybe just as shallow as you suspect1. Or so say British roadway authorities who are expressing concern over the driving hazards posed by a racy new Reebok billboard featuring actress Kelly Brook in her birthday suit. Britain's Institute of Advanced Motorists warns that it is a "deadly distraction" for drivers. Reebok has Brook naked in the sexy 40-foot billboard, lying on her stomach and wearing just a pair of Reebok EasyTone sneakers.

Institute of Advanced Motorists official Peter Rodger told the Daily Mail that studies showed that dozens of road accidents were linked to the famous Eva Herzigova Wonderbra ad. (Pictured above.)

Ahhh, Reebok. Asked for their response, they said that most drivers were "cautious enough" to keep their eyes on the wheel.

1Men are visually stimulated.


Don't support dependency 

The Clarion Content has always been a big believer in helping folks to help themselves. Teach someone how to, provide them the resources to...the old saw is, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." We ran across a terrific new quote today from this point of view.

"The risk of pity is that it kills with kindness; the promise of passion is that it builds on the hope that the poor are fully capable of helping themselves if given the chance." ---Nancy Gibbs

We ran across this quote here at a worthy charitable organization called Casa de Los Angeles.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Democrats picking some radicals, too 

The Clarion Content has been closely following the selection of some radical Tea Party candidates in the Republican primaries. As it turns out, the Democrats aren't exactly moving to the center either. They are also pushing some fringe candidates of their own with much the same mindset as the Republicans, to punish dissenters from the "cause" as they see it.

Case in point in the New Hampshire Democratic primary for Congress.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee , a group founded to promote the candidacies of Democrats from the left side of the party's soul celebrated a victory yesterday.

PCCC-backed candidate Ann Kuster defeated longtime Democratic activist Katrina Swett in a race to pick a nominee for one of New Hampshire's House seats which is being vacated by Representative Paul Hodes. Swett supported Senator Joe Lieberman's 2004 presidential campaign. Lieberman in turn supported the surge and King George the II follies and foibles in Iraq and Afghanistan to the very hilt. The PCCC cited this as one of the reasons the organization targeted Ms. Swett.

Read more here in the USA Today.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The ACC blows, again 

Early leader for ACC player of the year? Duke's Sean Renfree

Once again the ACC football programs started the season highly regarded, five teams ranked in the top 25. There is exactly one left, Miami at #17. The Clarion Content has beat this drum for ages, but expansion not only hurt the existing ACC football programs, it dragged perennial national football powerhouses Florida State and Miami down to the ACC's level: craptastic.

This week saw a plethora of losses for the ACC. Miami, formerly known as the "U", lost on the road to #2, Ohio State. Back in the day, this would have been a speed match-up, and Miami would have blown by Ohio State. Recruiting in Miami is not the same since they joined the ACC.

Florida State got spanked at #10 Oklahoma. We guess classlessly running Bobby Bowden out of town did not do them any good.

Georgia Tech helped Kansas break an eight game losing streak. The week previous Kansas and Clarion Content fave, Turner Gill, could not beat North Dakota State, managing only three points. Georgia Tech was the cure they needed.

Virginia Tech coming off a thrilling game, but last minute loss, to BCS pretender Boise State, got beat by Division I-AA James Madison. AT HOME!

League doormat Virginia actually had a good showing, losing a close game to a down USC program. North Carolina State won at Central Florida.

Not very impressive as a league. Why do people keep buying into ACC Football? It is far and away the worst BCS conference.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tea Party candidates 

As the Clarion Content noted earlier in the week, by allowing the Tea Party to hijack their primaries, the Republican Party has grievously damaged its chances in what should be a lay-up election cycle. Most Americans are in despair, the economy is in shambles, joblessness is at a twenty year high. It should be simple for the Republicans, the party out of power, to make mid-term election hay.

And they will. However, it is our contention that they will fall just short of winning a majority in either House of Congress. Candidates like Christine O'Donnell for Senate in Delaware are the reason why. This Tea Party backed extremist was a consultant on Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. She was recently caught in a lie on her resume saying she had graduated Farleigh Dickinson University back in 1993, when it was recently revealed that she actually finished up her degree only this past year. Her campaign pays half the rent on her townhouse, which she says is okay because she lives at "undisclosed location."1

You remember that phrase, right, dear readers?

Tea Party activists say it is all right and all right, because after all the mainstream Republican candidate, Mike Castle, voted with President Obama on occasion. He also stood up to a nut job activist plant in a town hall meeting earlier this year, Representative Castle declared President Obama was a citizen. Them's fightin' words to Tea Party fruitloops.

Castle's opponent Christine O'Donnell received a $250,000 campaign contribution from Tea Party Express. And she received the coveted Sarah Palin Facebook post endorsement.

As the NY Times put it, Delaware Democrats did their happy dance.

1She told the Weekly Standard that she fears that her opponents may be hiding in the bushes, so she does not want to reveal her "real" residence.

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NFL Preview, 2010, the AFC 

The AFC is far superior to the NFC this year...

Indy over 11
Tennessee over 8.5 (Wild Card)
Houston under 8
Jacksonville under 7

Baltimore over 10
Cincinnati over 7.5 (Wild Card)
Pittsburgh under 9
Cleveland over 5.5

San Diego over 11
Denver over 7.5
Oakland over 6
Kansas City under 6.5

New England over 9.5
Miami over 8.5
NY Jets under 9.5
Buffalo over 5.5

New England over Tennessee in the AFC Title Game

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NFL Preview, 2010, the NFC 

See you in the NFC Championship Game...

NFC South
Home of the defending champs.

New Orleans Saints over 10.5 wins

They have only the faintest suggestion of a running game. But Drew Brees is damn good, and he has a whole lot of receivers. His number three guy, Robert Meachum caught nine touchdowns!!! The Saints defense pairs well with Brees because they are at their best when they can pin their ears back and rush the passer.

Atlanta Falcons over 9 wins (Wild Card)

We like Michael Turner coming back off injury. We think that the Falcons will get four relatively easy wins out of the Panthers and Bucs. The Clarion Content is not as high on Matt Ryan as a lot of other folks, but we think he can be a steady, if not spectacular contributor.

Carolina Panthers under 7.5

The Panthers season starts and ends with the quarterback. Matt Moore does not inspire any confidence here in Durham simply because he beat up a few teams after the Panthers seasons was over last year. Losing Julius Peppers was addition by subtraction and the Panthers D-line is better than people realize. They still don't have a number two receiver. We like the one, two punch at running back. They have a good coach in John Fox, but he is a lame duck. Ultimately, it comes back to the QB, and there is no way Matt Moore leads them to a .500 record.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers under 5.5

This team is going nowhere. Head Coach Raheem Morris is in waaaaaay over his head. Starting Quarterback Josh Freeman looks lost and overwhelmed as well. Cadillac Williams coming off of about six knee surgeries does not inspire confidence. This could be a 2 and 14 season. Enjoy the Rays post-season, Tampa, you fair-weather fans, you!

NFC North
Four high profile quarterbacks.

The Green Bay Packers over 9.5

They are prohibitive favorites in this division. Aaron Rodgers is getting very close to entering the top tier of quarterbacks. There defense has shown flashes, it reminds us of the Saints, opportunistic sacks and turnovers when their offense gets them ahead.

The Minnesota Vikings under 9.5

The Sidney Rice injury hurts them badly. Percy Harvin is a knucklehead who is not prepared to be Favre's number one wide receiver. Luckily they have Adrian Peterson, as well as stout offensive and defensive lines. Unfortunately, they also have the horrifyingly bad Brad Childress. Will Favre be back next year?

The Detroit Lions over 5

They have got a tough defensive line, led by Kyle Vanden Bosch and Ndamukong Suh. Matt Stafford should improve at least slightly. They have some weapons for him, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. Javod Best will be decent. They will thrill their fans early and fade toward the end.

The Chicago Bears under 8

Jay Cutler blows and is getting worse. He is approaching the Jeff George depths for least effective big arm quarterback ever. Million dollar arm, ten cent brain, if the cliche fits... Mike Martz, who is a riverboat gambler, is the worst possible offensive coordinator for him, takes lots and lots risks, requires lots and lots of good reads. The Bears cannot count on Matt Forte to dominate. Their defense has aged and gotten very brittle. This is Lovie Smith's last year in Chicago. Could be a 3 and 13 season.

NFC West
Not a good division.

San Francisco 49ers over 8.5

Mike Singletary has worked wonders by the Bay. If they had any kind of quarterback at all, they might be a Super Bowl threat. Unfortunately, Alex Smith could not throw a ball through a plate glass window. Frank Gore is a very solid running back. Patrick Willis is in the conversation for the best defensive player in the league.

Arizona Cardinals over 7.5

They are going to miss Kurt Warner and Carlos Dansby, not mention the toughest wide receiver in the league, Anaquan Boldin. Larry Fitzgerald is much less of a weapon without Warner throwing to him and Boldin helping to draw defenders to the other side of the field. We think Beanie Wells will be much improved, though he starts the year banged up. The bottom of the division is awful, but the Cards won't sneak into the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks under 7.5

How can the Matt Hasselback era not be over yet? Really? Why trade for Charlie Whitehurst then? No matter, Pete Carrol will likely have growing pains adjusting to the NFL from USC. The offensive line is in disarray. They are bringing back Lions' bust Mike Williams who has been out of football for the last two years. Why? Their defense... we like linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry, but there are nowhere near enough playmakers and ball hawks on this team.

St. Louis Rams under 5

They are definitely in the running for the worst team in the league. Sam Bradford is overrated and has no targets. Seriously, name a Rams wideout. Steven Jackson has got to be getting tired of people beating the heck out of him. The offensive line is a sieve. Defensive end Chris Long is heading towards first round bust status, meaning there is only one above average player on this defense, safety, Oshiomogho Atogwe.

NFC East
Not as a good a division as you might think...Parity doesn't equality quality.

Dallas Cowboys over 9.5

The Cowboys biggest question mark, before the playoffs start, is their offensive line. They have no dominant offensive lineman. This was one of their cornerstones in their Super Bowl era. They do have two solid running backs and an excellent regular season quarterback in Tony Romo. Can they get enough pass rush to cover for their mediocre corners? As a squad, they are just barely better than a declining NFC East. Their coach and QB have a history of early playoff exits.

New York Giants over 8.5 (Wild Card)

They will suffer from the aging of their offensive line and the injury decline of Brandon Jacobs. Ahmad Bradshaw is not strong enough to carry the load. Eli Manning is good and has a passel of talented young receivers. He is much better when he is paired with dominant running game. (Who isn't?) Their defensive line looks great, but their linebackers and corners have some question marks. Everyone is acting like safety Kenny Phillips is 100% back. Will he be? We are waiting to see it on the field. Not a team you want to face in a first round playoff game.

Washington Redskins under 7.5

Hey Philly fans, we still love Donovan McNabb! He is injury prone, but will appreciate playing with Santana Moss. Unfortunately, he has no other wideouts. (Still that's one more than they used to give him in Philly.) How old is Joey Galloway? 40? 50? The Redskins also have a running backs with tons of mileage Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson. The defense is the same story, aging, big name guys. Can they be productive? Does future Hall of Famer London Fletcher have anything left? Can they get anything out of Albert Hanesworth? 7, 8, 9 wins would be a success for start for Shannahan.

Philadelphia Eagles under 8.5

It is all about the quarterback in Philadelphia. Did they make the right call selecting Kevin Kolb over Donovan? We are not sold. The Eagles have had a habit of getting rid of their vets a year or two too early. That said, it was probably time to let Brian Westbrook go after a great career. However, they did not find a replacement that we are impressed with, LeSean McCoy averaged only 4.1 yards a carry while rushing for 650 yards total last season. Blech! Yes, DeSean Jackson has breakaway speed, but the rest of their wideouts are very average. Andy Reid is an awful game manager. The Eagles look vulnerable to a big fall to the Clarion Content. Say about 6 and 10...

We will take the Saints over the Packers in a shootout of an NFC Championship Game.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

KD Crushes in the World's Semis 

Kevin Durant had a monstrous semifinal game as Coach Mike Krzyzewski's Team USA cruised past Lithuania, 89-74. Durant had 38, while shooting over 50% from the field. They played him one-on-one and zone, didn't matter. Fox Sports Charley Rosen reported, "[His] iso-game was irresistible—combining to score 18 points in 15 one-on-one forays. Even against zones, KD was able to fake, dance, spin and pull to create highly makeable shots. Against man-to-man defenses, Durant was even more of a dreadnaught point-maker."

Sounds pretty good. Real Rosen's whole story here.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Republican Young Guns 

The Clarion Content believes that the projected Republican gains in the House of Representatives are overblown. The main stream media has the Republicans recapturing the House and getting nearly even in the Senate. The Clarion Content thinks they will come up just short in both houses of Congress.1

It is our conviction that the Tea Party has pushed the Republicans too far toward the lunatic fringe. Too many of their insurgent candidates that have captured primaries will not win the general election. From Mark Rubio in Florida to Joe Miller in Alaska, it is our sense that the disaffection is not from the middle of the body politic, it is from the edge. The heart of the American public is more discouraged and disheartened than incensed.2

The Republicans will start posing a real electoral threat to President Obama and the Democrats when they start listening to their new Young Guns. The so-called Young Guns, who with a book due out next week have been receiving gobs of publicity, are Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy. Their book, shiny and platitude filled, has an Amazon ad that reads in part, "Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)...This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican party..." It is not their fresh ideas that makes the Clarion Content think the Young Guns are an electoral winner, just the opposite. It is their utter lack of new and inventive policies coupled with their pretty packing. They are just the non-threatening change that the vacuous American Idol watching and Jersey Shore loving public is looking for at this moment.

Perhaps after one more go, the nation will be ready for some real change? And hopefully, not the backward looking bromides of the Tea Party goons.

1Says here the Republicans come within 5-7 seats of a majority in the House of Representatives and within 1-3 seats of capturing the Senate. This virtual tie will be a rebuke to Obama. It will be a difficult challenge for either side to get anything done in this partisan climate. However, with the right powerbrokers it would not shock us to see Obama make like Clinton in 1994-5.

2Turn out will be low. Low enough for the Republican fringe to make huge gains? We think not quite. Significant yes, huge no.

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Republican Young Guns 

The Clarion Content believes that the projected Republican gains in the House of Representatives are overblown. The main stream media has the Republicans recapturing the House and getting nearly even in the Senate. The Clarion Content thinks they will come up just short in both houses of Congress.1

It is our conviction that the Tea Party has pushed the Republicans too far toward the lunatic fringe. Too many of their insurgent candidates that have captured primaries will not win the general election. From Mark Rubio in Florida to Joe Miller in Alaska, it is our sense that the disaffection is not from the middle of the body politic, it is from the edge. The heart of the American public is more discouraged and disheartened than incensed.2

The Republicans will start posing a real electoral threat to President Obama and the Democrats when they start listening to their new Young Guns. The so-called Young Guns, who with a book due out next week have been receiving gobs of publicity, are Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy. Their new book's Amazon ad reads in part, "Cantor (the leader), Ryan (the thinker), and McCarthy (the strategist)...This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican party..." It is not their fresh ideas that makes the Clarion Content think they are electoral winner, just the opposite. It is their utter lack of new and inventive policies coupled with their pretty packaging. They are just the non-threatening change that the vacuous American Idol watching and Jersey Shore loving public is looking for at this moment.

Perhaps after one more go, the nation will be ready for some real change? And hopefully, not the backward looking bromides of the Tea Party goons.

1Says here the Republicans come within 5-7 seats of a majority in the House of Representatives and within 1-3 seats of capturing the Senate. This virtual tie will be a rebuke to Obama. It will be a difficult challenge for either side to get anything done in this partisan climate. However, with the right powerbrokers it would not shock us to see Obama make like Clinton in 1994-5.

2Turn out will be low. Low enough for the Republican fringe to make huge gains? We think not quite. Significant yes, huge no.

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New textual punctuation 

Never before seen grammar*...Have you noted, dear readers, one of the new textual punctuation techniques that the kids of today are using?

It is to place a period after each word in a given sentence. This full stop functions as a hammer to bang home the seriousness, gravitas, power of the utterance.

Check out this example from the infamous website, Texts from Last night...

"Best. Roommate. Ever."

Which in modern textual grammar is bigger ups than "Best roommate ever!!!"

*Save for possibly in a telegrams.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Even the NFL 

The National Football League has been considered impregnable in recent years. The one goose that would continue laying golden eggs no matter what happened to the world around it. The Clarion Content has been warning of sports comeuppance for sometime now, and in our view, even the NFL will not be immune.

We saw this note in the New York Times today, that lends further credence to this belief.

"The N.F.L.’s season ticket sales have declined for the third year in a row. Depending on final numbers, season ticket sales will be down between 1 percent and 2 percent, said Eric Grubman, the league’s executive vice president for business ventures.

He said overall attendance declined to 16.6 million last year from 17 million in 2008."

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Shrooms help cancer patients cope 

A new study reports a controlled dose of the main ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, psilocybin, appears to help reduce anxiety and lift spirits in people battling advanced cancer. The study, by Dr. Charles Grob, will be published in the January 2011 print issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The government, suffering from bad vibes dating back to the 60's, when its foundations actually shook, is still incredibly reluctant to fund this kind of research. Health Day reports that it took four years to get the funding and necessary approvals for this trial, even though it only involved a dozen patients (all with advanced cancer). It has been over thirty years since a similar study was conducted.

In the study, patients reported feeling calmer and happier, and that they felt closer connections to friends and family. They were better able to address end-of-life issues. This is very important according to Dr. Amy Abernethy, director of the Duke University Cancer Care Research Program in Durham, N.C. She told Health Day, "We know that with some people with advanced life-threatening illness, there is very truly a substantial existential component and importance and need for meaning-making in life, and that until people start making that transition they can be very, very distressed. It can be hard to get back to the business-of-life closures and other things you need to do at the end of life. This kind of intervention [may] allow people time and space and extended cognitive ability to reflect on life and see it in a different way, make that transition and then get back into a more relaxed space and get back to the business of living.

"Being in the business of living is about doing what is important and meaningful to you every day even if you don't have many days left, focusing on things like saying goodbye to loved ones, which can be hard to do if you're distressed."

Read the whole story here.

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Film a bedroom scene with Pam Anderson 

That sounds almost too good to be true... And you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true, they probably are.

In this case Nokia is sponsoring a contest, in which the winner will film a 'bedroom scene' with former Kid Rock and Tommy Lee squeeze, Pam Anderson. The film will be shot entirely on the Nokia N8 handset, to show off the upcoming phone's HD video capabilities. No guarantees that just because it is in the bedroom, that the winner will actually get to use the boudoir with Pam. Will she be the maid? The consort? The telephone operator? Nokia is keeping mum.

It is to be written and directed by the British directors, the McHenry Brothers. For those less inclined towards Pam's charms, Nokia is also offering a parallel competition to star with Gossip Girl heartthrob Ed Westwick. This scene, for the even more adventurous, takes place in an elevator.

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More good news from Afghanistan 

Ron Paul could not have done any worse...or two sides of the same coin

Despite the lies and bullshit that King George the II's successor, Barry Obama, is spewing from the Oval Office, the reality is America continues to finance its own fucking over in Afghanistan. News yesterday and today have once again highlighted this reality.

As reported in the New York Times, The Financial Times and elsewhere, on Wednesday, the last business day before a national holiday, Afghan state security forces attacked, punched, pushed, and pummeled back hundreds of its own governments' employees. These workers were attempting to storm the central branch of the embattled Kabul Bank to claim their monthly wages. You see, dear readers, there has been a run on the bank.

Why, you ask?

Well, the King George II and Dick's stoolie in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has been up to his elbows in corruption. President Barry, in his attempt to play the hard man, has looked the other way. In the meantime the Kabul bank has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to allies of President Hamid Karzai and poured money into risky real estate investments in Dubai. The Afghan president’s brother, Mahmoud Karzai,is the bank’s third largest shareholder. He lives in a beachfront villa in Dubai bought for him by the chairman of Kabul Bank. Coincidence, he says, "Every issue is twisted to use against the Karzai family."

The bank is a key pillar in the new American sponsored financial system in Afghanistan. Too bad, because it is one more way the American taxpayer is paying to extort ourselves.

Now the security of its deposits are in question. Maybe Goldman Sachs could lend them some of our money? Or AIG?

The Financial Times reports Karzai's brother was better known for running Afghan restaurants in the United States until his Karzai was put on the golden throne by Bush II, Dick and their billionaire corporate partners Haliburton and Blackwater. Today Karzai's brother has considerable financial interests not only in the Kabul Bank, but also an Afghan cement producer, a Toyota dealership in Afghanistan, mining and real estate.

Might have been smarter to invest those billions in America...

Or is that thought unpatriotic?

*fyi America has spent $105 billion of Afghanistan so far in 2010. Good thing we don't need that money at home.

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The War in Iraq, reflections 

John McCain could not have done any worse...or two sides of the same coin

The Clarion Content is not usually a big fan of Frank Rich of the New York Times Op-Ed page. While well meaning, we feel like, on occasion, Rich overclaims his case to the detriment of the point he is trying to make. Since we are often guilty of the same, perhaps we are more troubled by this habit than most of his audience.

This past week, however, in light of President Barry Obama disgusting and shameful speech given shortly after United States troop strength in Iraq was cut to only 50,000, Rich penned a gem. He quoted Boston University professor of history and international relations Andrew Bacevich, who as a West Point-trained officer served in Vietnam and the first gulf war and whose son, also an Army officer, was killed in Iraq in 2007. The Pentagon under Obama is rebranding Operation Iraqi Freedom as Operation New Dawn — a “name suggesting a skin cream or dishwashing liquid." But despite Obama's, Cheney's and Bush II's attempts to whitewash history, the reality is far different.

Bacevich continues, "common decency demands that we reflect on all that has occurred in bringing us to this moment...The surge, now remembered as an epic feat of arms, functions chiefly as a smokescreen, obscuring a vast panorama of recklessness, miscalculation and waste that politicians, generals, and sundry warmongers are keen to forget."

Rich reminds us of the obvious fabrication, even at the time, of Rummy's pet attack dog, Paul Wolfowitz. Iraq's oil revenue was going to pay for the costs of the war to the American taxpayer. After over 100,000 deaths, over a trillion dollars of American tax dollars and one global crash later, dear readers, you should read the whole Rich article.

Find it here.

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