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Thursday, December 30, 2010

What they are watching...Episode XVII 

Our look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. We peer into their world through the lens of Youtube. You may have caught some of our earlier episodes, if not, follow this link and [scroll down].

The kids they still love the physical comedy and the slapstick humor. The message is in the action, not some highfalutin reference or irony. Check out the satirization of country singer Kenny Rogers below doing "Jackass", the eighth graders who sent this video our way had no idea who Kenny Rogers was, nor had they ever seen him. They still found this video utterly hilarious.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The faces have changed, but the game remains the same

Despite what the defenders of the Obama administration want to tell you, dear readers, the chilling post 9.11 security climate is still in effect. It is more than that Homeland Security is checking nutsacks at airport terminals this holiday season. Our quarrel is not only with the balance between safety and privacy, but with the attitude and atmosphere of the state. The mentality of the state's security apparatus has not noticeably changed under the ostensibly liberal Obama.

What the Clarion Content's small "c" conservative editorial board believes this reflects is that President Obama and his policy team do not come at the world from a less regulation where ever possible framework. Obviously. From their point of view, more is more. This means that, although the current administration does not believe in the invading one's privacy for the same draconian reasons as Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, their p.c. based paternalism yields essentially the same result. Guantanamo is still open. Black prison sites are still likely maintained. Alliances with strong men across Central Asia, irrespective of national and individual citizen's sovereignty, continue. The state makes unwarranted, and frequently undisclosed, compromises of individual American citizen's civil liberties.

Ultimately there is a government mindset, led by the security apparatus, that believes proper enforcement and public safety trump individual rights and the protect and serve mantra of policing. We ran across another story today that underlined this message recently.

A fifty year-old airline pilot has come under fire from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, after posting a behind the scenes tour of security flaws at San Francisco International Airport on YouTube. The pilot, who taped the clips with his cell phone, has been flying for the airlines for more than a decade. He alerted Sacramento's KXTV when he posted the videos saying he wanted the information to be made public.

According ABC7 in San Francisco, the video posting resulted in federal air marshals and sheriff's deputies showing up, menacingly unannounced at the pilot's house. This appearance that the pilot, a deputized federal air marshal, also recorded, was made to personally and aggressively confiscate his federally issued handgun. Rather than handle this paperwork detail administratively in an office environment, security descended on the pilot in his own home, to make a show of force and displeasure.

His attorney, Don Werno, says he believes the TSA was sending a message that "you've angered us by telling the truth and by showing America that there are major security problems despite the fact that we've spent billions of dollars allegedly to improve airline safety."

Once again, enforcement attacks the whistleblower. Obviously, this sort of individual incident is far below the Presidential radar, unless it involves Henry Louis Gates Jr. or another member of the elite with access.

Change? Only who is sitting at the table has changed, the game remains the same.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Theories of secrecy 

There is a fascinating article in this month's Playboy Magazine by John Richardson about the alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman.

In said article, Richardson, who's father was a CIA agent, makes a complicated and insightful point about the nature of spying and the self-defeating conceit that it can create, paraphrasing, 'an obsession with secrecy can turn the glaringly obvious into a secret...'

The knowns hold none of the fascination of the mysteries of espionage and secrecy. When a really fetching theory is afoot from the intelligence community, the obvious can feel irrelevant, unimportant. This parallels the type of reasoning that surfaces in conspiracy theories. The totally mundane and simple explanation is discarded in part for its blandness, whereas the extremely intricate and complicated explanation is venerated for its sophisticated and Byzantine twists.


Gillette letting Tiger go 

The Proctor and Gamble company, makers of the Gillette razor, have elected not to renew their advertising ties with Tiger Woods going forward. Gillette said Thursday it was phasing out "Gillette Champions" marketing campaign, which featured Tiger amongst other athletes. Despite ditching Tiger and the ad campaign, Gillette did elect to retain tennis player Roger Federer, international NHL star Alex Ovechkin and the Yankee captain Derek Jeter, for new local marketing campaigns.

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That's what's up 

Voltaire, he knew what was up.
"I shall never cease...to preach tolerance from the housetops...until persecution is no more. The progress of reason is slow, the roots of prejudice lie deep."
Of course, he would have had to cut it down a little to make it a tweet.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

What are they watching... Episode XVI 

Our look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. You may have caught some of our earlier episodes, if not, follow this link and [scroll down].

The kids they love the Auto-tune, Christina Aguilera's opinion not withstanding. Likely, we are witnessing the first Auto-tune generation, people who do not remember before it was possible to bend pitch to the nearest true tone. Of course, those are not the only fun and games that you can play with Auto-tune, see the witness below for evidence.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ACC expansion, fantastic? 

The Clarion Content has long been a vocal opponent of ACC expansion. We do not believe in diluting one's core brand, in this case outstanding basketball, for the vain hope of improvement in something that has never been a core competency, football. The ACC has been a classic case for our point of view. The new schools (Va Tech excepted) have not made the ACC any better at football. In fact, the ACC has dragged Florida State and Miami, once perennial college football powers, down to its level of mediocrity.

Now the second stage is kicking in, loss of focus has gradually damaged ACC basketball. The last two years of ACC basketball, save at the very top of the conference, have been some of the weakest ACC basketball in its history. More than once, a .500 record in league play has not been good enough to qualify an ACC team for the Big Dance. In the league's heyday, as the nation's premier basketball conference, that never would have happened. This year, the ACC is even worse.

For the first time since the poll's inception, the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll this week has not only just one ranked ACC team, #1 Duke, but beyond that, not a single other ACC team so much as received votes. None. That had never happened before; Duke stands alone. How the mighty have fallen!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dumas to come to the screen 

The works of Alexandre Dumas, particularly the Three Musketeers, have been favorites of the silver screen. Now the renowed French actor, Gerard Depardieu, wants to bring the life of Dumas, himself, to the cinema. Depardieu hopes to develop a joint film project with Azerbaijan. Dumas traveled throughout the Karabakh in the 19th century and stayed with a poet, who was a daughter of the last Khan of Karabakh Natavan.

In the modern era this area has been a flashpoint of tension between Armenians, Azerbaijanis and an imperialistic Russia.

Depardieu will have to work very carefully around the literal and proverbial minefields, if he is to bring Dumas's life to the screen.

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Think your office is getting smaller? 

It is probably because it is.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in the 1970s, American companies typically believed that they needed 500 to 700 square feet per employee to build an effectively functioning office. Today, the average is barely more than 200 square feet per person, and the space allocated could hit a mere 50 square feet per by the year 2015. The Times cites several long-term trends that are converging to crunch office space. Technologies like laptops over desktop computers, cellphones over landlines and outsourced data back-up over in-house servers are finally beginning to affect the way offices are laid out. Younger employees are more used to working in communal spaces and as part of a team. Part of the reason too is economic, cubicles have shrunk from an average of 64 sq.ft. to 49 sq.ft. in recent years, and companies continue to look for more ways to stretch their real estate dollar.

Imagine what the office will look like when the Facebook generation arrives.

The LA Times predicts a revolution in the commercial real estate market quoting Peter Miscovich, who studies workplace trends as a managing director at brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle, "We're at a very interesting inflection point in real estate history. The next 10 years will be very different than the last 30."

Read the whole article here.

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Climate of Fear reigns supreme 

Despite little evidence of the need for it, the climate of fear continues to reign worldwide. In America, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arrests tens of thousands of Latin American laborers, guilty of nothing more than wanting a better life for their family, for every terrorist they even hear about it. But the Democrats feed at the same trough as the Republicans, so nary a word comes out of Barry Obama about cutting the DHS budget or coming up with a realistic immigration policy. Why worry that the vast majority of engineering graduates and hard science graduate students now leave America to return to their native countries when a generation ago they would have stayed and raised their children here?

No, no, the authorities have far more important things with which to concern themselves.

For example, in Newark airport, they found a computer monitor that shut down a terminal for half a day. Computer monitors are scary. Thank goodness we have all those Homeland Security folks out there feeling up airline passengers.

Maybe America is trying to head down the road of sclerotic Europe. Europe is gripped by irrational fears. Europe has lots of latent racism that represents itself in European immigration policy and the Europeans' treatment of immigrants. Heck, the Rome subway just had the same kind of b.s. bomb scare that Newark Airport did.

America hegemony is in rapid decline. Thanks, King George II. The question now is, does America have a gradual slide ala Britain or fall of the edge of the proverbial cliff ala Spain and Italy. Will America's citizens do something to intervene or stand idle by while leadership crash lands?

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Obama's National Security advisor 

This guy, Thomas E. Donilon is replacing this guy, General James L. Jones, Jr.

One of the most influential people briefing President Obama is his incoming National Security Advisor, Thomas E. Donilon. Donilon is an old political hand, for fifty-five. He has been in politics since the Carter administration. As a twenty-something he led Carter's 1980 Democratic convention efforts to fend off a nomination challenge from the recently deceased Teddy Kennedy. (Incidentally, for all the fits and the false starts, that was the only time that Ted Kennedy ever ran for President.)

Donilon, a native Rhode Islander and former adviser to Vice-President Joe Biden, switched his brief sometime shortly after the Carter's defeat in the 1980 general election from political campaigning to foreign policy, parting directions with his former roomie, Terry McAuliffe. Warren Christopher, later Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, suggested Donilon read Dean Acheson's memoir Present at the Creation and consider another course.

The long and winding road has him succeeding General James L. Jones, Jr. of the Marines as President Obama's second National Security Advisor and the 24th in the positions long and unsavory history at the heart of anti-democratic politics in America.

The Washington Post has a fascinating in-depth profile of Tom Donilon, a must read for foreign policy wonks. The Post's Jason Horowitz reports, amongst many other delectable nuggets, that Donilon is the most Asian(India/China) focused of all of Obama's top-level advisors.

Read the whole article here.

Many thanks to long time Clarion Content fave, Information Dissemination for pointing the way.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Barry Obama, just another politician 

Once again, President Obama continues and extends the polices of King George II. This is not the change we were hoping for here at the Clarion Content when we endorsed Obama. What say those of you who mocked voting for Ralph Nader in 2000 now?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mets a little worried about Phils paper 

On paper, it sounds like Cliff Lee could be a problem for the New York Mets N.L. East hopes and dreams.

"You can go to Philly and, probably, on paper they look great. But we don’t know how it’s going to work out. We’re all speculating that it’s going to work out great. If you ask Philly fans, they’ll say it’s going to be great. If you ask me, I say I don’t know."---Carlos Beltran

"They look like a tremendous team on paper. But you play the games for a reason."---David Wright

"I’m a little bit surprised it was the Phillies. We knew there was a third club involved and thought it might be the Phillies. But I’m a little bit surprised he [Lee] ended back there. It’s an excellent signing for them. It makes our division a little tougher on paper."---Sandy Alderson, Mets G.M.

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The best take we have heard on the Wikileaks disclosures so far came from the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who said, "You should hear what we say about you."

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The Clippers are amazing 

Has somebody been yelling at these guys? We think so.

That's right, the Los Angeles Clippers are amazing! They have transcended dumpster fire status, dumpster fires don't last twenty-five years. They are moving toward a nuclear waste site designation, which their fans are hoping only has a half-life of a couple of more generations of Sterling children and grandchildren.

Donald Sterling's ownership reign in Clipperland has been anything but Sterling. He recently displaced long-time Raiders owner Al Davis as the single most dysfunctional owner in sports, while simultaneously holding off the challenge of Washington Redskins young gun owner, Daniel Snyder. To continue to hang on to his title, Sterling must constantly raise his game. Creativity and franchise-immolation are his hallmarks, no one can make them go hand and hand like the Sterling man can.

This week saw reports in the Los Angeles Times of a brilliant new stratagem Sterling is employing this season. Sterling has been taunting and heckling his own players from his courtside seat at the Staples Center. Clippers Center Chris Kaman confirmed these rumors and also told the LA Times, "He's an interesting guy...He likes to watch us play. He's very into it...He's frustrated like anybody...He owns the team. What do you want me to say? He's my boss. He signs the check. He owns me."

As one might expect, Kaman sounds highly motivated by this tactic.

Apparently, Sterling has been extra hard on point guard Baron Davis who reported overweight and out-of-shape this year. Sterling has hollered at Davis from courtside reportedly telling him, "You're terrible. You can't shoot threes. Why do you shoot threes?"

Accurate and brilliant. Surely Sterling must know at this point that Davis will do anything to piss him off, the reverse psychology then to convince Davis to sabotage the team good by indiscriminately firing up threes, why it borders on ingenious. Davis is 4 for 27 from three this year. The Clippers are 5 up and 20 down, the worst record in the league. And the beat goes on...

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The last 200 years, health and wealth 

The amazing video plots over 130,000 points of data graphically to look at trends in health and wealth over the last 200 years. Quite worthwhile.

Credit to our friends over at the MEP Report where we discovered this video.

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Sampras robbed 

Poor Pete Sampras has had his trophy collection stolen according to reports in the LA Times. They said that thieves made off with most of his trophies from his sixty-four tour wins, his two Davis Cups, his Olympic ring and six trophies from his world number one rankings from 1993 to 1998. Ouch.

Luckily, Sampras does not keep all of his hardware in one place. The lost trophies were robbed from a Los Angeles warehouse. The most valuable trophies to him, he had on the mantle at home. He still has thirteen of his fourteen Grand Slam trophies.

Look for this stuff to surface on the blackmarket in the years to come. Here is hoping the thieves get busted.

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Can they play the next one in Minnesota? 

This guy is going to need help...and maybe a hat

We have, by now, likely all seen the amazing video highlights of the roof's collapse at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. This collapse led the Vikings and the Giants to reschedule their Sunday game for Monday night in Detroit. The NFL did the fans of the beleaguered city a solid and let them attend the game for free. Good job NFL.

NFL execs also pointed out the amazing job done by the Lions franchise in preparing the facility for an unscheduled game only 24 hours after a Lions home game. Vikings officials are facing an equally difficult challenge. Can the roof of the Metrodome be repaired in time to host a Monday game against the Bears this week? The speculation in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is no.

The quest for a home field would then turn to other sites. The smaller TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota's Golden Gophers, is being considered. It is an outdoor stadium. The Gophers season is over so it has been winterized, shut down. It will need the water turned back on, facilities heated and tested, and all by Monday night. Odds are the Vikings will have to be carpetbaggers again.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Sound familiar 

"Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror..."---Alexis de Tocqueville

Sound familiar and/or prescient?

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European banking worries 

The Clarion Content has to admit we are woefully ill-informed about the banking crisis that is sweeping Europe. Oh sure, we get the fundamentals, European welfare states have borrowed unsustainably because folks retire too early and work too little to support the modern capitalist pyramid and all its goodies (eg. cradle to grave health care and cheap university education). What we do not understand is the particulars. Why is this all coming to a head now? And what does it mean for America and the global economy in this era of depression not yet averted.

We saw Greece implode. We are hearing more of the same about Ireland. From our perception it would seem Italy and Spain are in even more unsustainable models than the Irish, at least as ill-conceived as the Greeks. What is most troubling is the thought of contagion. Although the domino theory has not been shown to work with nationalist insurrections, they do not become pandemic, just the opposite might prove true with nationalist banking crises. The financiers are more interconnected transnationally than the revolutionaries. It goes to figure that elite institutions would be more likely to have international webs weaved than the proletariat.

That being said then, it is all the more urgent that this banking crisis be contained. Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Political Science at the UC, Berkeley argues just the opposite is happening,
"The Irish “rescue package” finalized over the weekend is a disaster...The Irish “program” solves exactly nothing – it simply kicks the can down the road. A public debt that will now top out at around 130 per cent of GDP has not been reduced by a single cent...Ireland will be transferring nearly 10 per cent of its national income as reparations to the bondholders, year after painful year. This is not politically sustainable, as anyone who remembers Germany’s own experience with World War I reparations should know. A populist backlash is inevitable...Nor is the situation economically sustainable. Ireland is told to reduce wages and costs...[this is] the phenomenon of “debt deflation” about which the Yale economist Irving Fisher wrote in a famous article at the nadir of the Great Depression.

One can interpret the intransigence of the [EU] in two ways. First, they understand neither economics nor politics. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, “They have learned nothing, and they have forgotten nothing.”

Alternatively, policy makers in Germany – and in France and Britain – are scared to death over what Ireland restructuring its bank debt would do to their own banking systems. If so, the appropriate response is not to lend to Ireland – to pile yet more debt on the country’s existing debt – but to properly capitalize their own banking systems so that the latter can withstand the inevitable Irish restructuring.

But European officials are scared to death not just by their banks but by their publics, who don’t want to hear that public money is required for bank recapitalization. It’s safer, in their view, to kick the can down the road in the hope that something good will turn up – to rely on “the luck of the Irish.”

As John Maynard Keynes – who knew about matters like reparations – once said, leadership involves “ruthless truth telling..."
Well dang, if that doesn't just sound a little scary. Read the whole piece here.

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Favre streak over 

An unfathomable streak of one era, a streak that stood for generations ended here...

A mind-boggling streak of another era ended here, will it stand for generations?

Peter King, the hall of fame quality NFL columnist for Sports Illustrated, had a fascinating note about Brett Favre's consecutive game streak in his column this morning. It will be no doubt picked up all over the place, since Favre was unable to play tonight with numbness in his hand, bringing to an end his record 297 straight started streak. King pointed out in his "Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me,
"One of my best friends in the business, longtime Lions beat guy Mike O'Hara, sent me a great note last night regarding Brett Favre's consecutive-game streak perhaps ending tonight in Detroit. Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games played ended in the same city seventy-one years ago. "He left old Briggs Stadium, had a cup of coffee at a diner, and walked to the team hotel,'' O'Hara messaged.

I looked it up, and O'Hara was spot on. Gehrig's streak ended on May 3, 1939, when a weakened Iron Horse bowed out of the lineup for the first time in 14 years. Incredibly, the man he replaced 14 years earlier, Wally Pipp, was in the small crowd of 11,000 that day at Briggs Stadium, looking on as Gehrig brought the lineup card to home plate. Gehrig then sat in the dugout for the rest of the game. Gehrig would never play another game. Six weeks later, he was diagnosed with ALS, the disease that now bears his name.

If Favre doesn't play tonight, his streak of 297 straight starts (321 including postseason games) will end at Ford Field, 1.3 miles from where Gehrig sat in the dugout at Briggs (later Tiger) Stadium."

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New Wal-Mart coming to Durham 

More of Wal-Mart in Durham

Have you have ever wondered why the parking lot for the Lowe's hardware store at Martin Luther King and Fayetteville Road always seemed too big? After all, Durham is filled with ridiculous parking lots with spots jammed in at the most illogical of angles, just to meet code.

Of course, there is a reason. It had long been rumored that there would be a Wal-Mart on that site. Today the Triangle Business Journal is reporting it will indeed happen,
"The retailer will begin construction soon on a new Wal-Mart store on land it purchased in 2006 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Durham... The new Durham store, which will be at 1010 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will not carry the supercenter title, but the 109,180-square-foot building will be a full-service store with extended grocery selections, a deli section, a meats department and a pharmacy."

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jackie Robinson 

How's about this one for a story we had never heard previously...

Social reformer and legendary baseball great, Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the color-line in what were, until then, the all-white Major Leagues, was once court-martialed for refusing to move to the back of an Army bus at Fort Hood, Texas. What!?! He was acquitted on all charges, but that was surely a story the Clarion Content had never heard about Robinson.

He had also been turned away when he tried to play for the Army base baseball team at Ft. Riley, Kansas. He was told to report instead to "the colored team," which, of course, did not exist, a Jim Crow joke.

Ugly, but a story that bears repeating, as it only happened sixty years or so ago.

Found on Foreign Policy.com.


Friday, December 10, 2010

There is probably an interesting debate 

Auto-tune is a fascinating ethical conundrum.

But it is hard to argue with Ms. Aguilera's position...

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Much ado... 

about very little. The media is trying to stoke the perception that the Red Sox have massively closed the gap on the Yankees and that therefore the Yankees must sign Cliff Lee at any cost. To this, the Clarion Content says, "Hah! Pu-leeze."

More valuable to the Yanks than Cliff Lee...

The Red Sox acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez certainly help the team, but measured in light of losing Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez from their line-up, they barely represent a net gain in offense.

Gonzalez .298 AVG, .393 OBP, 31 HRs, 101 RBIs

Beltre .321 AVG, .365 OBP, 28 HRs, 102 RBIs

Victor Martinez .302 AVG, .351 OBP, 20 HRs, 79 RBIs

Carl Crawford .307 AVG, .356 OBP, 19 HRs, 90 RBIs

Remember too, Gonzalez compiled his statistics playing in the AAAA National League, whereas Beltre was playing big boy baseball in the toughest of divisions. Recall too, that Crawford's 19 dingers and 90 RBIs were career highs. Still, Crawford represents a slight step up from Martinez, who was atrocious defensively at catcher. Crawford is a plus defensive outfielder.

The other thing the Red Sox are touting about Crawford is his speed and stolen bases. This is a Trojan Horse. Last year demonstrated the foolishness of trying to play UZR based Moneyball in Fenway Park. Yankees fans can only hope they try it again. The net Moneyball World Series titles won to date, zero. As the old saying goes, "Stats are for losers."

Crawford will turn thirty next year, just about the point where stolen bases start to rapidly decline for most players. A useful analogy might be Carlos Beltran, whom the Mets overpaid almost as badly as the Sox overpaid for Crawford. Beltran had five consecutive thirty plus SB seasons before signing with the Mets. Not counting his injury decimated 2010, Beltran has averaged a meager nineteen SBs a year as a Met. Crawford is unlikely to top that number by much over the duration of his Red Sox contract.

Player-for-player, after signing nearly $300 million in bats this offseason, the Red Sox line-up still does not measure up to the Yankees. Let's go around the horn to underline the veracity of that statement.
1B Mark Teixeira vs. Adrian Gonzalez

At very worst a push, we rate it, slight edge Yankees.

2B Robinson Cano vs. Dustin Pedroia

Edge Yankees.

SS Derek Jeter vs. Marco Scutaro

Edge Yankees.

3B A-Rod vs. Kevin Youkilis


RF Nick Swisher vs. J.D. Drew

Edge Yankees.

CF Curtis Granderson vs. Jacoby Ellsbury

Edge Yankees.

LF Brett Gardner vs. Carl Crawford

Edge Red Sox.

Catcher Jesus Montero vs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia


DH Jorge Posada vs. David Ortiz

The tote board reads then, five spots advantage Yankees, one spot advantage Red Sox and three pushes. Doesn't exactly sound like much to worry about really. The Yankees bigger threat will likely once again come from the Tampa Bay Rays. The only thing that could make a Cliff Lee signing urgent would be if Andy Pettitte elected to retire. The Yanks would then need another starting pitcher. Otherwise, it is much ado about nothing, manufactured media hype.

The Yankees would actually be worse off by tying their hands with a seven year contract to an aging lefty who was 26 up and 22 down the last two years, a guy who has won more than fifteen games only twice, a guy who is already thirty-two. Cliff Lee reminds our sports editor of the Mike Mussina signing, a good player, but not worth the money.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010


Dogs Playing Poker is a classic piece of American Pop Art.

It was originally a series of sixteen oil paintings by C. M. Coolidge.

Commissioned in 1903 to advertise cigars...

It has spawned numerous beguiling imitators. Check out a few here.

These dogs inspired this piece.

They like they just won a poker game...


More Gaian evidence 

The Clarion Content is an unabashed support of the Gaia theory. We read several years back about work being done on parasitic worms, the human digestive tract and autoimmune disorders. The basic premise being that when human's used to spend a lot less time and energy sanitizing our food, we were a lot less susceptible to autoimmune disorders.

Naturally, this struck our Gaian heart as a likely candidate for a symbiotic relationship. Research has increasing born this theory out, although it is still highly controversial in the United States. Parasitic worms (likely worms in general) carry connotations far beyond the more common archetypes of natural healing; we are not talking wheat grass shots, yoga or even acupuncture here. We are talking extracting roundworm eggs from the stool of an eleven year-old infected girl, cleaning them and eating them. Or putting hookworm larva on a patient's arm so they burrow through the skin enter the bloodstream and make their way into one's intestines.

Yet the results have been compelling. Many of the Man's pigeons pooh-pooh evidence found on blogs. Read then an amazing tale on CNN backing the theories originally popularized by Dr. Joel Weinstock, chief of gastroenterology at Tufts University Medical School.

Humans lived with worms in our intestines for thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years. Is it really so odd that our bodies and theirs learned to work together?

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Cloud dweller benefits 

The Clarion Content has long extolled the virtues of the cloud. A new era of computing has dawned around us. Its benefits when used are myriad. The cloud is a force-multiplier that allows the individual computer user to be much more powerful than the machine, the hardware, in front of them.

There are other benefits to the cloud beyond exponentially increased computing power. One of the big ones is storage. Cloud users reap the benefits. A friend of the Clarion Content's editor works for an international NGO, in the last year his job has taken him to Haiti, Nicauragua, Honduras, Rwanda and Kenya. On a recent return trip after several exhausting weeks of fieldwork, our friend was flying from Nairobi to Amsterdam and on to New York City before returning to Durham. While clearing customs in the Netherlands and making his connection on to the States, he suddenly realized he did not have his laptop. He had left it in the terminal in Nairobi.

Of course, despite the best efforts of airline officials, it never turned up. But because our young friend is a savvy cloud dweller, almost none of his work was lost. His fieldwork data had been backed up on to servers in North Carolina. His pictures had been uploaded, too. His music likewise was co-resident elsewhere. Ditto his email. In sum, almost nothing, other than the machine, the hardware, the laptop itself, was lost.

This is an enormous benefit and a paradigm shift. Ten years ago this was not possible. Now even the independent individual, a non-corporate automaton, can make use of Google Docs, Photobucket/Snapfish/Picasa, Blogger/Wordpress/LiveJournal, Youtube, and virtually any email service, and for free have reliable back-up of any and all work they do. From spreadsheets and documents, to photos and videos, to thoughts and emails, all of one's data can be backed-up outside of one's unreliable little personal box.

Welcome to the cloud, my friends. Paradigm shifted.

And we have even started talking NetApp yet...

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What's Oregon about? 

Curious what Oregon football is about? They will be playing in the National Championship game versus the cheaters from Auburn. Michael Sokolove wrote a fascinating profile in the New York Times Magazine last month.

Oregon's Coach Chip Kelly told Sokolove, "If someone says to me, 'What do you stand for? I should be able to invite them to practice and in five minutes, they’d say: 'I see it. I get it.' They stand for playing hard and playing fast."

Sokolove notes John Wooden, the legendary U.C.L.A. basketball coach, was known for fast-paced practices that reduced the need for aerobic training. Kelly has taken a page from Wooden's playbook. Oregon may ride that vision all the national championship.

Read the whole article here.

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Halliburton bribery 

In Nigeria, earlier this week, authorities detained ten Nigerian and expatriate Halliburton staff for questioning after raiding its Lagos office. The Houston based engineering firm KBR, a former Halliburton subsidiary, pleaded guilty last year to charges in U.S. court that it paid $180 million in bribes between 1994 and 2004 to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts for the Bonny Island liquefied natural gas project in the Niger Delta.

No way!

The rich were illegally getting richer under the reign of King George the II?!?

Say it isn't so...

KBR and Halliburton reached a $579 million settlement with the United States, but Nigeria, France and Switzerland are conducting their own investigations. Albert "Jack" Stanley, the former KBR chief executive officer who worked under the Dick Cheney when he headed Halliburton, pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges stemming from a scheme to bribe Nigerian officials for work on the Bonny Island plant.

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Elizabeth Edwards 

"...there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."---Elizabeth Edwards

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Buffett advice 

Warren Buffett last Sunday on "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour, "The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll all go out and spend more, and then it will trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on."

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

NCAA demise 

We said it over on our Twitter feed, but it bears repeating. The NCAA drove another nail into the coffin of its demise with the capricious, arbitrary ruling it issued yesterday on the eligibility of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.

For those of you not familiar with the story, in brief: Newton's father, a minister, solicited $200,000 from Mississippi State University in an effort to influence his son's decision about where he might play college football. (Oh and theoretically attend classes.) Mississippi State balked. The scam was outed in recent weeks. The NCAA, despite rules explicitly stating the opposite, said yesterday that because it had no evidence that the younger Newton and Auburn knew about the attempted racketeering of father, Cam Newton would be eligible to play.

This is all relevant because Newton's latest (he also attended Univ. of Fl., and a junior college in his illustrious academic career) school, Auburn, is vying for the BCS National Championship of college football. The whole enterprise could hardly be more corrupt. But that is not the issue today, the issue today that has folks up in arms, especially USC and UNC supporters is the utter hypocrisy of the NCAA. The NCAA previously severely punished USC despite the university's lack of knowledge about its star recruit's parents' extortion. UNC withheld football players from participating in games for much smaller offenses, to its own detriment.

The NCAA's ruling on Auburn not only kicks sand in their faces, but costs them money. Lots of money.

Their supporters are livid, as is every college football fan who is not an Auburn undergrad or alum.

The NCAA was already going to be dissolved in the next not so many years because the big football schools did not want to divide the football revenue pie so many ways. The Clarion Content noted this during the college football preseason when conference expansion and realignment was all the talk. Yesterday's ruling on Cam Newton just pushed forward the date this epic realignment and finally a college football playoff arrive.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Smoking gun 

The internet digs some stuff up, and there is no surer check on power than freedom of information. In this case, something we had not seen before surfaced on the internet (via Twitter) and made us feel compelled to admit we may have gotten it wrong.

The Clarion Content has long defended Latrell Spreewell when it came to the choking of Coach P.J. Carlesimo. There were three primary reasons for this, one legitimate, the other two emotional. First the reasonable one; one of our editors spent significant time in Newark while and shortly after P.J. was coaching at Seton Hall. His reputation as a dick was widespread in the community, especially in the local service industry. He was said to be impolite and a poor tipper. Word was he screamed and cursed at his players; and if he was a jerk to the servers, well it was believable.

The second reason is that same editor attended Indiana University during the Bobby Knight era. Our editor has always believed and continues to believe that the Neil Reed, "Coach Knight Choked Me" incident was a bunch of bullshit. All the video evidence suggests Knight hardly touched the kid, who both later transferred and picked the most self-serving moment to make his much delayed complaint.

Third, that same editor was and is a Knicks fan, who delighted in Spreewell's play on the court.

Reason number three is ridiculous. Reason number two is irrelevant.

What surfaced on the internet to change our mind about the incident in general was a photograph of Carlesimo's neck after the incident. Knight barely touched crybaby Neil Reed, but this photo of Carlesimo's neck tells a much different story, about a much different level of violence, a level of violence that is unsupportable in response to verbal abuse.

If the photo is not a fake, there is no justification for the level of violence Spreewell obviously used. We always thought it was nowhere near this malevolent.

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