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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What the heck? 

Regular unleaded gas for the car costs $4.00 a gallon!!! This is the single biggest factor for Obama's re-election prospects. Gas over $3.50/gallon, there is no way Obama wins again.

But, how about this for a crazy factoid? Jet fuel, the kind they fly commercial airliners on, averaged $3.03/gallon last month (May 2011).

Say what?

Jet fuel is cheaper than gasoline? Somebody needs to tell the oil cartel, they are f*cking us over...

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Confidence declining 

From the America is going to H-E-double hockey sticks in a handbasket files, as seen in the USA Today: the percentage of middle-income American families that think it is possible to save for a secure retirement 37% in 2007, only 28% in 2011. Only 28% of American families think it is even possible to save for a secure retirement? The tiderbox is primed.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Facebook is sleazy, no way! 

We imagine, dear readers, that most of you had the same reaction we did when this story broke a couple of weeks back. What Facebook? One can hardly believe it! (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

The story is that Facebook was hiring a sleazy P.R. firm to dig up and/or plant dirt on Google. The Public Relations firm in question, Burson-Marsteller, has admitted as much, "Now that Facebook has come forward, we can confirm that we undertook an assignment for that client...Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined."

Nice of the P.R. firm to bury the Facebook creeps alongside themselves. Play with dirty, get dirty.

Read more here at TechCrunch.com


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thoughts on Peace 

"Peace is the deliberate adjustment of one's life to the will of God."---Unknown

"Each one has to find his peace from within."---Gandhi

"Let us forgive each other- only then will we live in peace."---Tolstoy

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Rocking our world 

This is the song that has been rocking our offices for the last week.

F*cking commercials.

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Get gas when you're not late.

Get your suit dry-cleaned right after you wear it. Leave it hanging in the closet cleaned and pressed in case of emergencies.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another World Series 

Ruth as a Red Sox

The Clarion Content and the Sports Editor are familiar with the story of the Chicago Black Sox and the fixed 1919 World Series. We imagine many of our readers are as well. But had you heard the tale about the 1918 World Series between Babe Ruth's Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs? We hadn't either.

The New York Times had a fascinating article
in its sports pages over the weekend (and fortunately we are not over our article allotment yet). The Times, relying heavily on a book by Sean Deveney called "The Original Curse," detailed the case that the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series. It centers around Cubs rightfielder Max Flack, the only man ever to get picked off-base twice in a single World Series game. In the same game, Flack also misplayed a Babe Ruth flyball into a triple by playing excessively shallow. In the final World Series game, Flack dropped a routine, two-out, can of corn, to right field in the fourth inning; his error allowed both Boston runs to score in the clinching 2-1 victory, a four games to one Sox triumph.

The NY Times reports there was strangely no celebration on the field. America's entry World War I was the big story, the following baseball season had been put on hold and most players assumed they would be drafted. Attendance was down. The economy was wobbly. World Series payout shares were going to be less than half of what had been anticipated. Conditions for a fix were ripe.

Anecdotal evidence from convicted Chicago Black Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, indicated that several of his co-conspirators discussed the Cubs having been offered $10,000 per man to fix the 1918 Series.

All the principals are long dead and there is no more than Cicotte's words and the circumstantial evidence of Flack's failures. It is still an interesting story. Read more here.

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Baseball Attendance 

Word is Major League baseball attendance is lagging yet again. The moribund economy has done the game no favors. This, in combination with the struggles of a couple of major market teams, has pushed figures downward. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that through their first eighteen home games, the Dodgers averaged 36,672 spectators, which is a 16.5% drop from the same point in the season last year. The New York Mets, playing poorly and embroiled in the Madoff scandal, are also way down in attendance. Fannies coming through the turnstiles are even lower than the paid attendance figures that the Mets are reporting.

There are also a couple of smaller market teams who doing well whose public has yet to buy into their success, most notably Cleveland, but also Florida and Kansas City. Expectations are low and attendance has been still lower.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Devastating Floods 

Damage already upriver

Is it one more sign of the turbulent weather that has accompanied global warming? The United States Army Corps of Engineers opened the floodgates on the Morganza spillway, for only the second time since its construction in 1954, releasing pressure on the swollen Mississippi River. The deliberate flooding is supposed to help spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans downstream.

Up to 3,000 square miles may be inundated. Local news stations were reporting that land that was farms just last week was 15 feet underwater less than three hours after the spillway opened. This was after only a single one of the 125 bays on the spillway was opened. For local wildlife, it is an epic disaster. The Associated Press reported that, within 30 minutes, 100 acres of land were under a foot of water. The area where the flood waters will drain is home to some of the best wading bird rookeries in the United States, normally from late February to late July, this part of Louisiana is suffused with little blue herons, barred and great horned owls, night-herons, roseate spoonbills, white ibis, egrets along with plenty of alligators.

One of the reasons engineers have only opened one gate, for now, is to give wildlife more time to flee for higher ground.

The human consequences are expected to be severe as well. The BBC is reporting that 25,000 people and 11,000 buildings could be affected by the roiling waters. Estimates are the damages could top $1 billion. The BBC says that residents of Butte La Rose, LA, a community directly in the path of the water, had been told to pack for a long absence. "They told us to move as though we were moving - period - not coming back, not to so much as leave a toothpick behind," said one woman. Farmers in the region are expecting to lose their entire crops in a year of high prices for farm produce.

Brutal. Times are tough.

The Mississippi River is not supposed to crest in Louisiana until the last week of May.

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Avoiding the worst 

Yahoo Finance had an interesting article this week about some of the metropolitan areas that have suffered less in the Great Recession. The Clarion Content has read about the low unemployment in parts of the depopulated Great Plains, the Dakotas and Nebraska, but this is less about regional commonality and more demographic commonality.

Yahoo says that university centered towns and cities have been more recession proof. There are still 112 metro areas in the United States with 10% unemployment or greater. It is not the places with big universities. Among the cities Yahoo cites, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colorado and Madison, Wisconsin---all have unemployment rates well below the national average. Of course, double winner, big university town, in a depopulated natural resource heavy state, Lincoln, Nebraska, checks in with a miniscule unemployment rate of 4.1%.

Another factor not noted by the Yahoo folks, but likely just as important as the universities in shielding these areas from recession, all saw significant population growth in the last ten years.

Austin, TX Population change 2000-10: 20.4%

Madison, WI Population change 2000-10: 11.6%

Boulder, CO Population change 2000-10: 5.8%

Lincoln, NE Population change 2000-10: 14.5%

If one buys into the Simon-Steinmann Economic Growth Model, that may simply be that. Simon would seem to be especially likely to be relevant in metro areas with big universities because his assumptions about population growth and economic growth moving in concert are underpinned/fueled by technological developments and advances.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fixed, Part II 

Wait a minute! There were insiders who made billions off of gaming the system before the financial house of cards collapsed?

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, is fighting systemic corruption.

The New York Times reports hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who's Galleon Group hedge fund managed more than $7 billion in assets, was found guilty on yesterday of fourteen counts of fraud and conspiracy by a federal jury in Manhattan. Evidence showed that Mr. Rajaratnam allegedly used a corrupt network of tipsters to personally make over $63 million from insider trading trading in stocks. Apparently, that was merely the tip of the iceberg.

Rajaratnam and his firm paid out roughly $300 million in trading commissions annually to brokerage firms. As one of the prosecutors noted, "Cheating became part of his business model." Rajaratnam was taped saying, among many other incriminating statements, "I heard yesterday from somebody who’s on the board of Goldman Sachs that they are going to lose $2 per share," in advance of the bank’s earnings announcement.

Unfortunately, the uber-wealthy Rajaratnam's lawyers will appeal the verdict and will likely keep him out of jail long enough to flee the country. He will probably be sipping cocktails and proffering advice at Davos next year.

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During the 2008 campaign, this guy vowed to "close the revolving door" and "clean up both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue" with "the most sweeping ethics reform in history." He must have just meant that as a rhetorical flourish, rather than an active policy making effort.

Need one more instance, one more reminder of just how fixed the game is Washington, D.C.?

One of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) members, who mere weeks ago voted to approved the controversial merger of the Comcast cable monopoly and NBC television network, is leaving the FCC to become a senior vice president for the merged firm.

Can you say conflict of interest? Can you say bribery? Can you say, boy, the political environment sure has changed under President Obama?

Allegedly, yes, yes, no.

The media watchdog organization, Free Press, called the move, "just the latest, though perhaps most blatant, example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating."

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Durham Graffiti 

One of our photogs spotted this graffiti in Durham...

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Central Park District rolling 

The Clarion Content has been most excited to read about the opening of the Geer Street Beer Garden in Durham's Central Park District. Andy Magowan has been doing good things on the Durham restaurant scene for a long time. He cut his teeth at a Durham institution, Foster's Market. He was also the first chef, and allegedly the guy who wrote the menu, at the place with the most consistently high quality bar food in Durham, The Federal.

One of our correspondents attended the Future Kings of Nowhere and Hammer No More the Fingers double billing at MotorCo the other night. The Geer Street Garden was hopping when he arrived and still going long and strong into the late evening.

By the by, Durham's Hammer No More the Fingers was tremendous. The polished wall of sound they produced damn near blew the doors off of the MotorCo. It was clear evidence of the band's prowess on the heels of a recent extended tour, first of the northeastern United States and then jolly old England. These guys stepped their game up to even another level!

Check out a couple of pics of the Geer Street Garden on the last days before opening. Read about what the situation was for this old gas station property as little as two years ago here.

Go, Durham!

On the corner of Foster and Geer Streets catty-corner from the also wonderfully resurrected King's Sandwich shop.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Pithy F*rging Sayings (18th edit.) 

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

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

"Perhaps then the old trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply the dressed-up, worn-out formula we thought… If the crowns of these three trees meet, and if the too obvious, too straight sprouts of Truth and Goodness have been knocked down, cut off, not let grow, perhaps the whimsical, unpredictable, unexpected branches of Beauty will work their way through, rise up to that very place, and thus complete the work of all three?"---Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"The plural of anecdote is not data."---The MEP Report

"Resist the urge to use capitalization as emphasis."---Staff

"Do not accept what you cannot change. Change what you cannot accept."---source disputed

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers from the Dog 

We spotted this wonderful piece on the blog, "Seens from the Backs of my Eyelids.

Dear God...Its the Dog

Dear God: Is it on purpose our names are the same, only reversed?

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same story as down here?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a Dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We love a nice car ride! Would it be so hard for someone to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?

Dear God: If a Dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad Dog?

Dear God: We Dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What language do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, do we have to apologize?

Dear God:

Let's discuss the list of just some of the rules I must remember to be a good Dog. Do all Dogs go to heaven? Are some of these commandments more important than others?

1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. The litter box is not a cookie jar.

4. The sofa is not a 'face towel.'

5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

6. I musn't suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.

7. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.

8. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

9. Shoes are not food.


Tweet of the Night 

From our buddies Petros and Money on the radio... Matt "Money" Smith got off the Tweet of the Night as the Lakers were going down in flames to fall behind the Mavs 3-0.
Think Peja is getting texted up by J-Will, Vlade, Doug Christie, C-Webb and Rick Adlemann right about now?
We are betting, yes, definitely yes.

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Friday, May 06, 2011

A wild ride seen... 

This hot rod was photographed in Durham...




Thursday, May 05, 2011

Bin-Laden Raid 

An interesting note in the Chicago Sun-Times points out that the U.S. Navy Seals conducting the raid on the house Osama bin-Laden was living in needed extra time on the ground. As you have probably read, one of their helicopters broke down and had to be destroyed. The Seals used this extra time to gather what may turn out to be valuable intelligence.

The interesting part of the story...despite the helicopters, the explosions, the firefight at a compound in a Pakistan city, all taking place supposedly down the street from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, no Pakistani authorities, police, military or otherwise rushed to the scene.

Hmmmm. This registers as somewhat more than simply coincidental. Could the United States government be denying the complicity of the Pakistani government in the raid on bin-Laden to give its partners in the regime political cover?

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011


We have been hearing a bunch of jive from Washington, D.C. about how the recession is over. This in no way matches up with what we are observing on the ground. In fact, to our eyes the recession is deepening, consumer confidence is weakening further, soaring gas prices and food prices are trimming consumer spending, and there is no end in sight.

Of course, the fat cats in Washington, D.C. who not only never pay for gasoline, but have their own drivers that come out of the taxpayers nickel, can hardly tell. When they want to know how bad the recession is, they have a secretary/aide/staffer, bring them a report. If the lobbyists and campaign contributors aren't worried, why should the politicians care?

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Youthful Patriots 

Spotted this on Texts from Last Night, ahhh, American youth culture.
"Went from writing my paper to watching obamas speech to crushing beers and singing springsteen in a crowd of 100 within 20 minutes. I love this country!" ---from New Hampshire.

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Baseball, its punchless 

While we at the Clarion Content love the new pitching heavy, post-steroids era of baseball, we have to acknowledge it sure is different. No more Punch and Judy second basemen hitting twenty-five homers in a season, same goes for the seventh place hitter in the line-up, no mas de 100 RBI seasons for a hack hitting that low in the order.

Just how much has the balance of power swung back to the pitchers? Last night's game between the White Sox and the Twins featured seven starters with batting averages under .200, three for the White Sox and four for the Twins.

Against this fierce line-up, the Twins Francisco Liriano pitched the first no-hitter of the season and according to the Elias Sports Bureau the first no-no ever by someone named Francisco.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Cool car spotted in Durham 

What a beauty...

Sweet ride...

From behind...

Nice dash...

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More of the same 

We saw another signal that Osama bin Laden's apparent assassination is not going to change much of anything this morning. Both ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today show, neither of which we watch frequently, went directly from stories about bin Laden's death to commercials featuring the chairman of Exxon Mobil.

Aren't those two on the same side, trying to bleed America to death?

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Boycott HarperCollins books! 

This should be America's next target for regime change...

Time for a boycott, people! The same fascist a-holes who own Fox News run Harper Collins books. And boy do they have a brilliant idea for eBooks!

They are trying to force America's libraries to buy eBooks that automatically self-destruct after twenty-six views. The idea is to create a constant revenue stream where the libraries are forced to buy the same books over and over again.


Change.org and librarian Andy Woodworth are organizing a boycott of Harper Collins books. We urge you to participate, dear readers. Follow the link under the word "boycott" to sign the petition.

How long until Rupert Murdoch gets the Osama bin-Laden treatment? Sure would like to be there when they string him up...

Trying hard to remember that the first moment of violence despoils the Revolution, but it is damn difficult when things are this far off the tracks.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Patron saints of PC strike again 

The dark forces of political correctness have struck again, once more trumpeting morality over truth. As smarter political commentators than the Clarion Content have noted, these paragons of political correctness set the stage for King George the II and his lackey, the Dick, Cheney. Their willingness to put a moral code above the truth gave King George solid firmament to stand on as he blithely lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, like the PCers he knew what was best for the country, the facts be damned.

Unfortunately, those cardinals of political correctness still haven't learned their lesson. We read this week, in the Huffington Post, where they bludgeoned the President-elect of the American College of Surgeons into resigning, a man who invented the Greenfield Filter, a device that has saved countless lives as a means of preventing blood clots during surgery, a professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Michigan, who has written more than 360 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, 128 book chapters and two textbooks and served on the editorial board of fifteen scientific journals.

His crime? Citing a peer-reviewed scientific study that suggested semen had health and psychological benefits for women.

The sentence in question, "So there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolates."

His intention as he told the Detroit Free Press, "The editorial was a review of what I thought was some fascinating new findings related to semen, and the way in which nature is trying to promote a stronger bond between men and women. It impressed me. It seemed as though it was a gift from nature. And so that was the reason for my lighthearted comments..."

The response from the Inquisition on behalf of Political Correctness? You're fired.

What a country!

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One more Shuttle snafu 

It was just the other day that the Clarion Content was lamenting the money pit that is NASA Space Shuttle program in all $200 billion has been poured down the drain. As if we needed one final demonstration, one more reminder of what it means to throw good money after bad, as gas creeps over $4 a gallon and more and more American children have to go hungry, NASA scrubbed the shuttle Endeavour's launch this weekend. Cost to scrub and reschedule $500,000 minimum for fuel alone!

They should have just cancelled. (the program twenty years ago...)

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This is what we hope the reaction to Osama bin Laden's death is across all of America. Let us support peace.

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It is not that there is no accounting for taste, it is that there is no holding anyone to account for their taste.

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Funny ha, ha 

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End this War 

Is it over? Is it enough? Has America gotten the eye for an eye it wanted?

Peace. Joy. Love.

President Obama should seize the moment to declare that the United States will now swear off the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war.

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