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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Record Lows 

As long time readers know, the Clarion Content is not a believer that global warming will destroy the world. Our initial frame of reference was the Club of Rome Report and Ehrlich & Ehrlich. We have pretty much passed the panic stage and moved on to a serene, well, these things happen over geological scales of time. We do believe to the extent global warming manifests itself in our lifetime it will be in the form of weather turbulence and extreme events. (These are real, with human and economic costs, and are not to be taken lightly.)

We are, indeed, fond of chronicling those extraordinary weather events here at the Clarion Content. The latest such moment in time we have read about took place in the San Francisco Bay Area last week. There was snow, at least in the Twin Peaks area of the city of San Francisco, where elevations are about 900 feet above sea level. It was only a dusting though, so it won't count as the first measurable snowfall in the city in thirty-five years.

There were record low temperatures recorded throughout the area. San Francisco got down to 37 degrees, which tied the previous cold weather record for the date set in 1962. Oakland got down to 34 degrees, breaking a record set in 1987 and San Jose tied a record low of 33 degrees, set way back in 1897. Read the whole story here.


15-501 Durham to Chapel Hill 

This piece was submitted by someone very close to the Clarion Content's editorial board. And you know how, dear readers, in our efforts to emulate dear old Uncle Ben we like some practical advice here at the Clarion Content.

The key to making good time driving from Durham to Chapel Hill on the 15-501 is put the hammer down, pedal to the metal. An old friend told me the deal a long ago time. How long ago you ask; so long ago that Darryl's was still open at 15-501 and Garrett Road, so long ago that there was isn't even a hint of Kroger's in Witherspoon Rose Culture's backyard, let alone the tower now out in front of it...

My buddy had a small, old, blue truck with a manual transmission. Some joker from the North Carolina Department of Transportation must of thought it a real funny to pace the lights from Durham to Chapel Hill so that if catch but one you have to slam on it to get back on pace. My buddy, he would pounce on it the little truck, leaping out of the blocks, up through the gears, taking off, shooting out of the area where the long since demolished Southsquare Mall used to be.

And, oh, it is possible to make every light, from the ugly "Blue Skyscraper," where 15-501 Business and 15-501 proper merge, rejoining to make the Jefferson Davis Highway run to Chapel Hill, at which point, Franklin Street cuts off to make the trek up the hill that gives the town the latter half of its name.

How many lights is that in all? Can't say I have ever counted, I have only driven it half a million times since then. What makes you think that even once in all those trips I was any less than Lomaned out, drifting over the scape unable to do anything as linear as count. However many lights there are, rest assured, the only way to make'em is to floor it. And if you get caught at any one of them, the only way you are making the next one is to really push it to the floor. It can be done. I have seen it done. In crappy cars, with terrible acceleration. But of course, the speed limit on 15-501 is only 45 miles-an-hour! MF-ing prankster at NCDOT, because you have to go at least 60mph, out of the chute, to make all the lights. If you get caught at one, say like at I-40, even at 5.30am on Sunday, unless you hit it, accelerating as fast as you can to on the plus side 60mph, you are bound to catch the next light, too.

You must come out of the blocks fast. Whether you are coming from Durham or Chapel Hill. Punch it. Make that first light. Slam on it further from there. If necessary, slide right. That third lane goes almost all the way through now. The right lane is the new fast lane these days anyway. No one will mind. You can make tracks.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Not sold on the new Knicks 

This was Knicks alpha dog. Now?

An expanded look to follow on the main page soon, but let it be heard that the Sports Editor is not sold on the new look New York Knicks. Sure Melo and Amare were both All-Star starters, but they play the same position and neither plays defense.

Anthony's first two games with the Knicks, twenty-five shots and twenty-two shots to score twenty-seven points each time, as the Knicks split games with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not exactly impressive.

There are those that will say Coach Mike D'Antoni style is the problem. The Clarion Content certainly agrees it is a problem, nobody has ever won playing Loyola Marymount ball in the NBA. Having Melo and Amare together couldn't solve that conundrum even if Dog Moe were running the offense.

The Knicks are no closer to a title today than they were a week ago and apparently they could have had Deron Williams for half the price.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

What they are watching...Episode XIX 

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].

A fourteen year old friend sent this our way. Apparently, teens can accept parodies of that which they love.

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Ahhh the 70's 

While reading a fascinating tale of about the excess, speculation and greed of the 1980's, the story of Jean-Michel Basquiat, we were struck by the way that it is possible to relate the decade to more recent experiences. There are a litany of parallels between the 1980's and 2000 aughts. The ethos of each decade had so much in common that Ollie felt compelled to remake Wall Street.

The 1970's feel much more distant and mysterious, harder to explain, not so easily pigeonholed.

For example, what the f*ck was this about?

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Look out 

The Duke Blue Devils backed into the #1 ranking in the land this weekend when the four teams ahead of them lost. However, last night Duke took a much more definite step forward when the Most Outstanding Player at last year's Final Four finally exploded. Much like the beginning of last season, Duke's Kyle Singler has battled to find his place in the offense. Singler has rotated over the course of his career between center, power forward and wing player, depending on the needs of the team.

This year, like last year, as the team has grown around him, Singler has been willing to sublimate his own game to let others develop theirs. About this time last year Brian Zubek's emergence as a defensive and rebounding presence helped clearly define Singler's role and led to Duke's run.

Last night, against a banged up Temple squad, Singler exploded for twenty-eight points without the benefit of a single three-point shot. Temple Coach Fran Dunphy said, "He was just not to be denied."

Singler humbly noted, "The bigs were actually passing the ball to me, so I got good post entries and ... just kept getting the ball and putting it back up."

Has the Duke offense turned a corner?

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grisly tale 

From the files of the truth trumps fiction every time: a fifty-one year old woman died in her cubicle last Friday in Los Angeles County while working for Department of Internal Services and was not discovered until the following afternoon. This the ultimate modern office automons nightmare.

The woman in question was an auditor who was not working at her normal office. In the course of conducting the audit, she was using a cubicle on a largely vacant floor of the office she was auditing. She called a family member and mentioned she was working late. She was not discovered until the following afternoon, when she was found slumped over a desk. Read the whole story here.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun Chart 

What day of the month is your birthday? 1 thru 31... Check out this fun numerological analysis here of what the number of your birthday means. Don't take it too seriously. From Tarot.com.

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What happened in Egypt... 

The Clarion Content is not a fan of seeing United States foreign policy conducted on a strictly pragmatic calculus. We do, however, support a pragmatic understanding of how events on the world stage play out. That is to say, sometimes foreign policy's motives have to be idealist, but interpretations of outcomes and results must be realist.

It is through this lens that we want to note that we strongly agree with George Friedman and Strafor's analysis of events in Egypt in recent weeks.
The week began with an old soldier running Egypt. It ended with different old soldiers running Egypt with even more formal power than Mubarak had. This has caused worldwide shock and awe...We do not want to be killjoys now, since everyone is so excited and happy. But we should point out that, in spite of the crowds, nothing much has really happened yet in Egypt. It doesn’t mean that it won’t, but it hasn’t yet.

An 82-year-old man has been thrown out of office, and his son will not be president. The constitution and parliament are gone and a military junta is in charge. The rest is speculation.

The great majority of the Western media is running around foolishly asserting that there has been a revolution. This wild overclaim only shows the distortion between their hype-skewed lens and events on the ground. The Wikipedia entry on these events, for example, is hyperbolically headed, "Egyptian Revolution of 2011."

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The Wood Brothers ride again 

The last time the Wood Brothers team won the Daytona 500 was in this legendary, 1976, David Pearson driven Lincoln-Mercury.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Regina Spektor 

The music of Regina Spektor shatters the glass cage that is want to drop round my soul.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hooray for the Tea Party 

A ringing endorsement for the right of privacy was heard from an unexpected quarter today. Freshman Republican Congressman and emboldened veterans provided a shocking Tea Party tumult during a presumably routine vote to extend portions of the Patriot Act.

Specifically twenty-six Republicans bucked their leadership, eight of them freshman lawmakers, and voted against the extension of the Federal Government's abusive invasions of privacy. Today's vote would have: 1) extended the newly granted authority of the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets, 2) allowed the government to continue gaining warrantless access to "any tangible items," such as library records, in the course of surveillance, and 3) allowed the government to continue surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

In the Clarion Content's view none of this authority should have ever been bestowed on the government to begin with, it was in clear violation of the Constitution and it was a dangerous breach of the Social Contract.

Unfortunately, this is all so much theater as the provisions will likely be extended next week. The Washington Post reports that Republican leadership will be able to jigger the rules and hold a new vote.
The bill to reauthorize key parts of the counter-terrorism surveillance law, which expire at the end of the month, required a super-majority to pass under special rules reserved for non-controversial measures... the final tally was 277 members in favor of extension, and 148 opposed. The Republicans who control the House made plans to bring the measure back for a quick vote later this month under normal rules, requiring only a simple majority for passage.
Not surprisingly the tone-deaf, clueless, Nancy Pelosi had nothing of substance to say about the bill's blatant attack on the rights of Americans or how little has been gained after ten years of stepped up surveillance. Instead, her office focused on mocking the Republicans, "Disarray."

Why think about what she and House Democrats might be able to accomplish with these upstart, rebellious Tea Party Republicans? You didn't think she was actually listening to the State of the Union last week, did you, dear readers?

It was left to the lonely voice in the wilderness, Ohio's Don Quixote, Dennis Kucinich, to remind his fellow members of Congress, "The Patriot Act represents the undermining of civil liberties."

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NFL Labor strife 

Why are the NFL owners aggressively going on the warpath against the players?

In the post King George the II economy, there are a bunch of franchises struggling with cash flow (in some cases needed to service their debt). Struggling to sell out the stadium, no new luxury boxes, no new PSLs and no new naming rights money on the horizon in: Buffalo, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Nashville, San Diego...

No doubt these greedy old white men (billionaires) are wealthy beyond belief already, but the reason they want a cash grab back from the players (millionaires) is that they don't have as many new revenue streams as they did in the 1990s. (Much like the rest of the America...)

The increase in value of their franchise is only realized when they sell. And 97% of these guys are going to own their team for the rest of their lives.

This year is the perfect time for the owners to attack because they have secured a deal with their television contracts where they get paid-in-full even if there is a labor stoppage.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Another view, Obama 

One of the Clarion Content's favorite local readers weighs-in here with a brief perspective on the State of the Union and the future of the Obama Presidency. Excerpted with permission from an email sent from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"In Tuscon he [Obama] helped catalyze a shift in perception and heart. Last night [State of the Union] he furthered his claim on defining the national debate based on reason and results and began the process of allowing the far right to marginalize it's shrill hating self, thus helping the Republicans avoid being hijacked by their conservative fringe. Let's hope he continues to remain highly visible, engaged and able to tell a compelling story.


If he continues to blend heart and mind with toughness, if he continues to use his gifts as an orator and story teller (which is the real power of the Presidency), if he continues as a healer, if the economy continues to improve, if he articulates that while Congress has deeply held differences they MUST produce results - gridlock is political suicide and continues to deeply wound the nation...

...then he has an excellent chance to be reelected and given the times a chance for greatness..."

Thanks for the opinion! Dear readers, you're thoughts?

Check out other old guest columns here. Click the link and scroll down past this column.

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