Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where do disaffected Republicans move to?

You always hear the liberals talk about moving to Canada or any other country if some right-wing guy wins an election. But where would Republicans go? They can't go to Canada or most any European country because they are all far more socialist than even the most distorted vision of an Obama presidency would be. Russia, no. The Middle East, no. South America -- well maybe some of the Neo-Nazi types would feel comfortable in Argentina.

But seriously, they won't go anywhere, just like the liberals who threatened to go to Canada didn't leave and were never serious about it. Why? Because there's no better place to be and if you really want to help make the country better, you can't do it from thousands of miles away. You have to be here, working shoulder to shoulder.

As both McCain and Obama stated last night (even Karl Rove said it on Fox News), today ESPECIALLY after a bruising election season, we are all Americans who love this country and we must all come together to fulfill the promise of America and restore our standing in the world. For all our warts, as Ronald Reagan's words still ring true: "America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pakistanis Decry US Air Strikes

In CentCom Chief David Petraeus' visit to Pakistan, several officials complained that the Predator attacks were resulting in a "loss of precious lives and property" and engendering "anti-American" sentiments.

All I can say is FU and who cares. The Al Qaeda operatives who are being targeted, as well as the people in area that have been harboring them, didn't like Americans in the first place, so nothing lost there. Besides, towns in South Waziristan don't have any real infrastructure to worry about being blown up anyway.

If the damn Pakistanis didn't cave (pun intended) into the tribal leaders who supported Al Qaeda in the first place and let them set up shop again after they were chased out of Afghanistan we wouldn't be having this discussion at all.

Go Vote!

The opportunity to vote is both a right and a privilege. Don't pass it up. But if you do, I don't want to hear any complaining for the next 4 years.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tyson Chandler Gets It

This has nothing to do with hoops. As many of you know, Tyson Chandler is the 7-foot starting center for the New Orleans Hornets. But he also seems to be one of the many young black Americans that the Obama campaign has gotten engaged in politics.

In his recent blog post, Chandler talks about attending an Obama rally with a few teammates where he got to meet Obama. A few of his comments towards the end shows that he understands the social responsibilities that he has now that he's become a multi-millionaire by playing in the NBA.

It's funny, because when Obama was giving his speech, he said he was gonna give a tax cut to 95 percent of the people. He says, "If you make under $250,000 a year, raise your hand." And everybody there raised their hand, except for this one small section of guys. That was our section. And everybody around us was laughing.

But you know what, it's a bigger cause. And the way I look at it is that I can afford to pay more in taxes. But my parents, my grandparents, my cousins ... with what they make, they can't afford to cut back in their household with what they're trying to survive with. I can afford to make cuts and still survive. They can't take that knock.

I think that's what's going on now and the reason why the middle class is struggling so much. The upper class, we can take that hit. Obviously, nobody wants to take it, but we still can. And we can afford to live nice lives.

I've lived in both situations. And not only that, I'm obviously the only one in my family that can say that I'm a millionaire. I've seen my entire family struggle. So, would I rather see my whole family struggle while I get a break, or have me not get a break while the rest of my family gets one? I'll take my entire family getting a break.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Israeli Generals Weigh in on Obama

In this short film, many of the most respected military and intelligence experts in Israel discuss the impact of the Bush/McCain foreign policy on Israel, the need for the United States to engage directly with Iran, and their personal feelings about Sen. Barack Obama.

Retired Generals of the Israeli Defense Forces and high-ranking Mossad officials on Barack Obama... from on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jayson Stark on the Mets Pitching

As the season winds down and I chew through my fingernails, I thought I'd share a couple of great articles by ESPN's Jayson Stark detailing Johan Santana's greatness and just how bad the Mets' bullpen has been and how the NL East race has been decided by relief pitching.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Merrill Hoge Calls VY a "Baby"

I thought that the writers at the Tennessean have been tough on Vince Young, but take a listen to Merrill Hoge's critique of Vince's future as an NFL quarterback.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Palin & McCain Blocking 'Troopergate' Investigation

So this is how the 'reform-minded' Palin operates? Palin who initially welcomed the investigation, saying "hold me accountable," is now trying to delay the investigation until after the election is over. The McCain campaign said on Monday that Palin, who was not subpoenaed, was unlikely to cooperate.

For someone who proclaims she has nothing to hide, she's acting as if there's an awful lot to hide. Yeah, she's just the person to clean up Washington.

The best line on the whole situation was from Democratic state Sen. Kim Elton who is chairperson of the Legislative Council that is overseeing the investigation. Contending the deal had been broken, Elton said, "Bluntly, I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucie moved the football."

Perhaps the McCain campaign should change their slogan "Election first, truth second".

Read more on Yahoo News

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A few more fibs from Palin Convention Speech

OK, I'm sure many of you have seen these, but just in case you didn't:

  • "I sold it [private jet] on eBay". Well not exactly. Give her credit, she had it listed on eBay for $2.7M. But when the Alaskan government didn't get a bid that met the minimum they were looking for, they went to a private broker who sold the plane for $2.1M. Now forgetting about how whether or not she lost money on the transaction, does she not know the difference between listing an item for sale and actually selling it? It made a great sound bite and made her look hip to technology, but it just flat isn't true.

  • Fiscal Disciplinarian. She wants you to think that she hews to fiscally conservative Republican principles, but she doesn't really score that well there either. As Governor she was able to deliver a surplus due to higher oil revenues resulting from record oil prices and levying her own version of 'windfall profits' taxes on the oil companies operating in Alaska. This is the same kind of 'windfall taxes' that she and the other Republicans consider anathema when proposed by Obama.

There's a good article on Palin's performance as Governor in the Boston Globe called "A forceful, but narrow agenda". Take a read.

Monday, September 8, 2008

VY Close to Losing Locker Room

It's been well chronicled over his first 2+ seasons that Vince Young has had issues with letting go of bad plays and accepting responsibility for his level of play. Most of these concerns have been aired by the media and fans. But Week 1 seemed to take these concerns to a different level. Now he may be losing confidence in the locker room, which is the death-knell of a starting QB in the NFL.

Mid-way through the 4th quarter, after throwing his second interception, it appeared that VY had opted out of the game. The official word was that VY experienced tightness in his hamstrings. Fisher all but ordered Vince out there and 4 plays later, he had to leave the game after taking a hit on his knee. But take a look at these quotes from teammates:

  • "I am under the assumption something happened and to him and he was hurt. I don't know what the situation is so I am not going to comment on it." -- Kevin Mawae, Center and President of NFLPA

  • "No one is going to quit on this side of the ball." -- Keith Bulluck, All-Pro OLB

  • “You can’t lose confidence as a quarterback. You have to have a short-term memory and handle adversity when it does come…You have to find a way to persevere no matter what the situation is." -- David Thornton, OLB

  • “Vince is an emotional guy. You never know what’s going through his head,’’ Hall said. “I’ve been with Vince a long time. I love him like a brother. I don’t know what he’s going through, all I can do is try to motivate him and get him going." -- Ahmad Hall, FB and former University of Texas teammate of Young

  • The Titans front office has been consistent, perhaps to a fault, it it's public support of Young during his evolution as a quarterback. But if Young doesn't get his head together soon, the front office won't be able to gloss over Young's deficiencies or risk fracturing the locker room or worse losing it alltogether.

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Politicians Never Learn: The Truth is Out There

    No, this has nothing to do with aliens (why in God's name are they making an X-Files movie now anyway?).

    I'm continuously amazed that politicians say things publically that aren't true. It's as if they think that nothing they ever say or do has been recorded or documented in someway. And have they not heard of Google? That's how reporters do their research today.

    Anyway, one of Sarah Palin's best lines Wednesday night had to do with the boondoggle called the Gravina Island Bridge -- more famously is known as the "Bridge to Nowhere", reviled as the worst example of pork-barrel politics. Let's not forget that this was pushed through Congress by Alaska's Republican delegation, led by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) who threatened to quit if the funding was pulled.

    In her speech Palin boasted that one of her great achievements as a reformer and fiscal leader was to kill of the ill-conceived project, proclaiming that she "...championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress...I told Congress, 'thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge-to-nowhere." Oh really.

    First of all, when running for Governor she was an advocate for the Bridge. And only when the funding was cut off by Congress did she abandon the project. According to a press release from her own office she stated:

    “Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer,” said Governor Palin. “Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island,” Governor Palin added.
    -- State of Alaska, Governor's Office, Press Archive
    September 21, 2007

    And what's worse, according to CBS News, Palin kept all $233M in federal funds that had already been appropriated for the project and had it allocated to other transportation projects in the state.

    So is this really the kind of change she's going to bring to Washington? For all those that think her to be naive, she seems to know all the ropes already.

    GOP Wants it Both Ways on Preggo Palin Teen

    Hands off Bristol Palin. Too bad that no one told that to Levi Johnston 5 months ago.

    Well that's at least what the GOP wants from the media, unless it suits their purposes.

    While Republicans continue to show outrage at teen pregnancies in the inner cities or in Hollywood, somehow little Bristol Palin gets a pass. Is it because he family is rich (or at least now famous) enough for her to not have to worry about ruining her life? Or is it just that it's a better story to talk about the courageous choice she is making in keeping the baby and getting married before her 18th birthday. Any other 17 year old girl, in almost any other family and she's trailer-trash and the poster child for irresponsibility. Now she's the poster child for the "Right-to-lifer's" and the un(sex)-educated. How's that position on teaching abstinence working for you now?

    Here's a link to a great article about the GOP's double-standard regarding the Palin familty situation by the Associated Press (that despicable tool of the liberal elite media) as it appeared in the NY Daily News.

    Was that Sarah Palin or Rob Schneider?

    Just catching up on a few thoughts.

    I love how even when trying to show how inclusive and progressive the GOP is by making the bold move of putting a woman on the ticket, they still can't shake their misogynistic roots. There were a number of signs saying "Coldest State, Hottest Governor" and a great shot caught by CNN showing an old guy wearing a button that read "Hoosiers for the Hot Chick".

    I mean I've heard of pandering to the base, but perhaps it was Palin's good looks, not her ultra-conservative values that were the biggest present to the GOP base.

    But I can envision a great SNL skit featuring Rob Schneider, reprising his role as "The Hot Chick", impersonating Palin.

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    Live Blogging from the McCain Acceptance Speech

    Here are my reactions as they came while watching McCain's speech:

  • Does McCain realize that the big spending, do nothing people in Washington have been the Republicans over the last 8 years? Federal spending have risen to the highest levels in history under the Bush administration -- and for the first 6 years did so under a Republican controlled Senate and House.

  • Gotta give props for his position on the surge. Good tactical decision that improved the situation. But the fact that he still thinks that in hindsight that attacking Iraq -- not pour resources to finish the job in Afghanistan, not Iraq, not Syria who both provide more support to terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah -- is just bad judgment.

  • Again, why is this both parties. The lost trust ALL happened under a Republican controlled White House and Congress. Can the "Straight Talk" guy keep it straight?

  • Red Meat Time: One thing that always bothers me about the "legislating from the bench" argument is that it presumes that conservatives don't do the same. It's really just that they just mean it's OK to "legislate" as long as it comports with conservative principles.

  • Education: Interesting comment on education. Does that mean that we can choose to send our kids to school that teach creationism over science? abstinence over sex education? Oh, wait, I guess by the video of Palin's pregnant 17 year old daughter that doesn't work very well ;)

  • I do like the message about reaching across party lines. I wish that more politicians thought this way. He's a good man. Probably in any other election, he'd have my vote. Certainly would have voted for him over Hillary.

  • He's got a really compelling story. If you haven't read his first book "Faith of my Fathers", pick it up. I really enjoyed it when I read it when it first came out.

  • Big finish: Great, great finish. Terrific cadence, terrific message. I feel like the real McCain finally came out.
  • Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Sarah Palin: A Bridge to Nowhere

    John McCain has really lost the right to proclaim himself a "maverick". I know he's saying that he didn't choose the safe pick when he announced Sarah Palin as his VP on the ticket ahead of Romney, Pawlenty and Ridge. He even went as far to say that this pick was made on his gut, not on the polls. But I've got to call "Bullshit" on this one. The political calculus here is so obvious.

    I'm sure that there are many good attributes in Mrs. Palin's favor, but this is the most obvious case of pandering to a number of constituencies, not least of all the disaffected Hillary voters who feel that the Hill-dog got mis-treated in the Democratic primaries. Palin is supposed to be the:

  • Bridge to Women Voters: The ultimate pander. In the wake of Obama's victory over Hillary, McCain did everything he could to court the 18 million people who voted for Hillary. Now he took the 'daring' step to bring a woman onto his ticket as VP. But once these female democratic voters start to see some of Palin's positions -- e.g. hard-core Pro-Life and lifetime NRA member -- I don't think the average 'soccer mom' will connect with this particular 'average hockey mom'.

  • Bridge to the Future: Yeah, McCain is the old guy. He doesn't come across as hip or knowledgeable about any technology invented after 1982. So while people like Bobby Jindal (R-GOV LA) and Tim Pawlenty (R-GOV MN) were in the mix, they had that extra Y chromasome that knocked them out of the running. But Palin's youth and inexperience (2 years as governor of the least populated state and 2 terms of Mayor of a town of 9,000 people; I realize I'm glossing over her run as sports reporter) will blunt McCain's position that Obama is too inexperienced to be President -- especially since at 72, being "one heartbeat away from the presidency" never felt so close

  • Bridge to Conservative Voters: This one he got right. I do not doubt that in the coming weeks you will hear a lot about the truly heart-wrenching story (no sarcasm intended) of her choice to continue with the pregnancy of her son Trig even though she knew he would be born with Down's Syndrome. It was no shocker that Dr. James Dobson was one of the first to praise her selection. And her other positions on gun control (or lack thereof) and offshore drilling will certainly thrill the conservative base.

  • But in the end, she will be a Bridge to Nowhere, much like Senator Ted Stevens' (R-AK) misguided project to build a $350M bridge to connect 4 seals to 3 polar bears.

    Now the upside from the selection for me is that I think the late night talk show hosts should have a lot of good material to work with. There is no doubt that Jon Stewart will comment on Palin's relative hot-ness in the political world. I mean this is the guy that made a joke about spying a Merkel camel toe in a picture at a G-8 meeting. A few other potential jokes I expect to hear (all of which are terrible. read at your own risk. please play mental rim shot in your head at the end):
  • Yes, Sarah Palin is immensely popular in Alaska. She has the caribou vote all wrapped up

  • Sarah Palin will be very comfortable in the White House. After all she grew up in one herself...but it was called an igloo.
  • Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Buster Olney on Mets Bullpen Woes

    In today's chat, Buster Olney of ESPN said what every Met fan has been trying not to admit.

    Let's face it: The Mets' bullpen will be as good, in the next six weeks, as Aaron Heilman is.

    It's painful, but it's true. Unless Wagner gets back soon, we're doomed.

    The Intersection of Sports and Politics

    I just got back from vacation, so this one is a little overdue.

    Unless you've been living under a rock or only get your news from US Weekly, you know about the Russian invasion of Georgia last week. I'm not going to talk about the timing of the invasion with the opening of the Beijing Olympics, although I have been rooting vociferously against the Russians. And it would be really cool if an American raised a Georgian flag while on the podium and proclaimed "We are all Georgians!". And perhaps "traitors" Becky Hammon, an WNBA standout, and JR Holden (Bucknell '98), who are playing for the respective Russian women's and men's basketball teams, should have withdrawn from the Olympics at the last minute in protest (I'm sure there would have been a line of rich Republicans -- is that redundant? -- who would have taken care of any economic harm that would have followed). But none of those things are going to happen.

    I want to talk about pro-sports here. Pro athletes, especially the highest profile athletes like Michael, Tiger and Kobe have gone out of their way to stay out of any political or social controversies for fear of harming their global brands. Despots and terrorists buy sneakers too, I guess.

    This position is in stark contrast to earlier stars like Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali and perhaps most famously, 1968 Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos' "black power salute", who used their celebrity to stand up for important issues of their day.

    But what seems worse is that even in light of the invasion of Georgia, athletes are still going to the highest bidder, regardless of recent events. Just days after Russia began the invation, Jannero Pargo, who despite the foreign sounding name is really from Arkansas, signed a 1-year deal to play for Dynamo Moscow of the Russian League. Frankly, I think it's despicable. Players should understand that their brand can be ruined just as easily by the actions they take, not the just stands they refuse to take. I'm going to be the first one boo Pargo should he ever return to the NBA. And if Kobe or LeBron goes to play for a Russian club for $50M of corrupt oil and gas money, they should be unanimously reviled as well.

    Now I don't want to limit this rant to the NBA. There are a heck of a lot more players leaving the NHL to cash in with the dollars being doled out by the Russian Continental Hockey League (KHL). Just this past year perennial All-Star Jaromir Jagr and goalie Ray Emery joined the Russian league. I hope you choke on your borscht.

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Two More Points on Favre

    • I thought it was pretty telling that during his press conference yesterday that he admitted that his primary motive over the past few weeks has been spite. "Maybe that was a little vindictive nature or whatever. But I realized that was not going to happen," Favre said. Ya think?

    • There was a lot of talk going on about Roger Goodell's involvement in the Favre saga. Of course it was all under the auspices of the "best interests of the game". But could there have been a better outcome for Goodell or the NFL but to have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time end up in the NFL's biggest market and play with a team that hasn't been really relevant in the 40 years since Broadway Joe led the Jets to victory in SB III? No doubt that Goodell took one out of the same book that David Stern used to push Isiah out of the Knicks job and usher in Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Thankfully the Favre Saga is Over

    But it's interesting to read all of the stories today. It's amazing how so many "experts" are completely at odds on this story. Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN just wrote one of the more "pro-Brett" stories while fellow ESPN writer Jeffry Chadiha just wrote a piece that puts the blame more on Favre than the Pack. Jay Glazer, who seems to have gotten this story more right than anyone else, appeared on PTI the other day and clearly laid out all of the retirement/un-retirements that Farve did over the last 3 months and felt that the Pack did the right thing in trying to deal with the situation from the beginning.

    One of the dumbest stands came from PTI's Michael Wilbon who kept screaming that the Pack should just release Brett, almost comparing holding a player to a contract, which pays a mere $12M a year, to slavery. Of course Brett's release potentially could have helped Wilbon's hometown team the Bears, so I'm sure that colored his judgment somewhat. But I'm sure if it was Carlos Zambrano screaming to get out of Chicago, Wilbon would have had a much different take on the subject.

    I guess it's pretty clear who Brett's friends in the media are. But while the story of Favre's future with the Jets will be covered heavily, the constant 24-hour news cycle that was "Favre Watch 2008" is finally over.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Kristic Crazy Talk

    Well another NBA player goes to Europe. No, it's not star, just someone who thinks he is. Nenad Kristic.

    OK, he was a decent player in the league and at one point looked like he could be a legit center. But on the Nets he was clearly the 4th option and I don't think that he was going to get a whole hell of a lot better, especially coming off 2 injury-plagued years where he played just 26 games in 06-07 and 45 in 08-08.

    Yet for some reason he feels he should have been paid like an elite player. Quoted in the Begen Record, Kristic said he plans to return to the NBA.

    "That's my plan," said Krstic, who signed a two-year deal with Triumph in Moscow on Monday. "I'm going to try to play really good in Russia and see what's going to happen."

    "I didn't want that," Krstic said of the Cleveland deal. "When you look at big guys in the NBA, they signed really big contracts. I know I am on that level. I know I'm healthy right now. I took that like disrespect. To accept that offer from an NBA team only because it's an NBA team, I didn't want to do that."
    What level does he really think he's on. I know you can't teach height, but height is at least supposed to allow you to do things like rebound and block shots. Never in his career has Kristic averaged 7 rebounds per game or one blocked shot per game. At 7 feet tall, Kristic's inability to put up any

    Yes, Kristic can score, but so can a lot of guys. At the $10M/year that Kristic was looking for, I'm much rather have a guy like Tyson Chandler, the Hatian Sensation or the Celtics' Kendrick Perkins, who at about $4M/year is a bargain. The truth is that the Nets will probably get just as good collective production from Josh Boone, Sean Williams and rookie Brook Lopez with a much improved defensive presence.

    Just because Isiah was dumb enough to give Eddy Curry $10M/year, doesn't mean that anyone else would give a similar contract to Kristic...even Kevin McHale.

    Statistical oddities

    In ESPN writer Buster Olney's blog, a few statistical oddities dug up by ESPN Research:

    • Mark Simon of ESPN Research did some thinking about the parallels between the '69 Mets and the '08 Rays:

    How are the 2008 Rays similar to the 1969 Mets?

      On the 1969 Mets, the ace starter was 24-year-old Tom Seaver.
      On the 2008 Rays, the ace starter is 24-year-old Scott Kazmir.
      The 1969 Mets had a 61-101 record in 1967, two years prior to winning the World Series.
      The 2008 Rays had a 61-101 record in 2006, two years ago.
      The 1969 Mets had a closer, Ron Taylor, who had won a World Series (1964).
      The 2008 Rays have a closer, Troy Percival, who has won a World Series (2002).
      The 1969 Mets were 53-39 at the All-Star break.
      The 2008 Rays were 55-39 at the All-Star break.
      The 1969 Mets manager had a three-letter first name (Gil) and a six-letter last name (Hodges).
      The 2008 Rays manager has a three-letter first name (Joe) and a six-letter last name (Maddon).
      The 1969 Mets had a rookie as their primary third baseman (Wayne Garrett).
      The 2008 Rays have a rookie as their primary third baseman (Evan Longoria).

    Speaking of weird similarities, we have this from Greg Dohmann of ESPN Research:

    Yankees and Mets
    Through 111 games of 2008
    Div. rank3rd3rd
    Since July 117-1118-11

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Clips Sign Ricky Davis -- Another Solid Move

    The LA Clippers continue to rebound nicely from the Boozerish departure of Elton Brand. In their latest signing they pick up 10-year vet Ricky Davis. While Davis isn't as good as Corey Maggette, he can play a very similar role. Even better, Davis has a much better handle allowing him to back up the 1, 2 or 3 spots and really lead the second unit.

    Additionally, Davis' arrival should help bring Cat Mobley's minutes down to about 30 per game which should improve his effectiveness and take pressure off Eric Gordon, the Clips first rounder, to contribute out of the gate.

    Dunleavy has a pretty good 8-man rotation to work with now with projected starteers Baron, Cat, Thornton, Camby and Kaman and Ricky Davis, Tim Thomas and Eric Gordon off the bench. Will it be enough to snag the 8th spot in the playoffs? Maybe. The Clips should be better than the Warriors and Nuggests. There's definitely a shoot out with the Mavs and Blazers brewing.

    Omar: We Need Bullpen Help

    Within a span of 4 days the Mets bullpen has blown 2 leads after the 8th inning. Putting Joe Smith in the game is now akin to pouring gasoline on a fire. I hope he is sent down to New Orleans (AAA/PCL) as soon as possible.

    With the high profile acquisitions for the Cubs (Harden) and Brewers (CC Sabathia), it's looking more and more like it's "NL East or Bust". The Mets have made tremendous progress in the post-Willie era and I'd hate to see it go down in flames because of a bad bullpen.

    Omar, please do something. Anything.

    Monday, July 28, 2008

    Knicks Send Balkman to Nuggets

    Well so much for Isiah's statement that the Suns would have drafted Balkman 2 picks later, after Isiah was laughed out of the Garden after taking Balkman with the 21st pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. If there was even a whiff of truth to that, do you think that D'Antoni's Knicks would cast him off before playing a game?

    Look for the Knicks to waive both Taureen Green and Bobby Jones, both of whom have non-guaranteed contracts. Given that the Knicks threw in money to the deal, effectively they paid to pick up a 2nd round pick in 2010.

    On the flip side, I think this is a good move for Denver. Balkman should be able to play the hustle/energy role that Eduardo Najera did before fleeing to New Jersey this summer. In that role, there should be no concerns about Balkman's lack of basketball IQ which apparently was one of the key drivers behind shipping him out of town.

    And there's even an outside possibility that they re-sign Green after he's waived by NY.

    Hawks looking pretty smart

    The Hawks have apparently signed G/F Maurice Evans to a 3-year/$7.5M deal. That's basically what Josh Childress wanted in one year. Yes, Childress is a little younger and a little longer, but I think the Hawks get most of Childress brought at a steep discount. When comparing resumes, Childress' numbers look better, but it's also indicative of the larger minutes Childress got on bad teams (2007 excepted).

    I also think that this signing bears out Hawks owner Michael Gearon, Jr.'s comments in Friday's Atlanta Journal Constitution:

    "I disagree completely," Michael Gearon Jr. said when asked about negative perceptions. "You're saying it doesn't look good that we weren't willing to pay Josh Childress $10 million a year. But if we did that, I'd expect you to write, 'What the hell are those guys doing?' If you give out bad contracts, you can't compete. Are pieces needed to make the team better? Yes. But [general manager] Rick [Sund] is working right now to make us a better team.

    "What's frustrating to me is the perception that we didn't offer more money than every NBA team to keep him. There's never been a European offer like this. Now there has been. Was Josh Childress worth $10 million to the Atlanta Hawks?"

    And then this: "No matter what we do, I think some people will look at us as the glass being half-empty."

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    'Genius Bar' is Terribly Misnamed

    I love my Mac, but the support, not so much. Recently I had a problem with my battery. So what did I do, I went down to the Apple Store to go to the Genius Bar. Now I didn't know that you had to make an appointment before I went. One may say, "why didn't you check the website first". To those people, and to the morons (not geniuses) that named it a 'Genius BAR', the word BAR implies that you walk up and get served. Just like every bar I've ever gone to for a drink. Apparently Apple's definition of a bar means an area with a 4-foot high table with bar stools and the support people on the other side.

    Of course I went down there and was told that no one could help me and I had to go back 10 days later. A major, major inconvenience. When I did go, I still had to wait 20 minutes past my appointment time (remember the Jerry Seinfeld quote about "HOLDING the reservation"), which didn't please my impatient 4-year old daughter.

    Any way, the geniuses over at Apple should rethink their naming convention.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Tyronn Lue Disappointed -- Poor Baby

    I'm so tired of this. Loser talent who think they should get paid. The latest entry in the category is Tyronn Lue who signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for 2 years/$5M last week.

    Lue was "disappointed" when the 2008 World Champion Celtics only offered him the veterans minimum of $1.2M annually. Lue complained that he was willing to take less to be a Celtic. Quoted in the Boston Globe Lue said "I'm disappointed. "We were trying to get it done there for so long. I don't know why an extra [$600,000] was a big deal. I would have taken less than I took with Milwaukee. But they didn't want to do it."

    Tyronn, they didn't want to do it because you're not worth it. And it's nice that you thought that it was "only" $600K, but you went for money over a chance to win a championship. I don't blame you for going for the money, but $600K is a lot of fact it's 50% higher than they thought you were worth. You may disagree, but it's not your money. I can't for the life of me think of what you've done in your career that makes you think you're worth it. Of course it only takes one team to give a stupid contract and this time it was the Bucks (so much for Tommy Hammonds being a genius rookie GM).

    But enjoy yourself in Milwaukee where you will probably be 3rd on the depth chart behind Mo Williams and Ramon Sessions.

    FIBA is not a threat to the NBA

    The latest over-reaction by NBA writers has been the impending collapse as a result of a devalued dollar and tax-free contracts in Europe sap the NBA of talent. What crap. First of all look who's leaving to Europe -- Juan Carlos Navarro and Bostjan Nachbar. Chicken Little, the sky is really falling! Both are eminently replaceable talents who don't merit the pay they're getting from the European clubs. JCN couldn't be a star on perhaps the worst team in the NBA and Nachbar was a 6th man on a bad Nets team. Put him on a team in the West or on the Celtics or Pistons and the guy doesn't get off the bench unless it's 'garbage time'. In fact they should take the money because they have no chance of being a star in the NBA. Two years from now and people will forget they were even in the league. And don't discount the fact that neither are American-born players.

    Now Adrian Wojnarowski, a normally respectable writer for Yahoo Sports writes that Josh Childress may flee to Europe too and this could spell the end for the NBA. Yes, this would be a move by an American, but come on Wojo, you're better than this. Childress is a nice player, but he'll never be a great player. With tax and euro implications 3 years/$20M is like 3/$40M. Put in NBA terms, this is like Max Contract money. And no one in their right mind -- even if Billy King was still calling the shots in Atlanta -- would ever fork over that kind of money for a player of Childress' stature...or lack thereof.

    So maybe Europe becomes a place where mediocre talent cashes big checks, but it's not where the best America players go, and it won't be. If LeBron signs with Belgrade instead of Brooklyn, call me. Otherwise, this is a complete non-story.

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Nolan Out as Isles Coach

    It just seems to be getting worse as an Islanders fan. Of all the things that they seemed to have done right in the past few years...and that's a very small list...the hiring of Ted Nolan seemed to have been the best. But today, Nolan is out and the Islanders seem to be falling further into the abyss.

    Garth Snow, who in his 2 whole years of experience as GM has become the NHL's version of Billy King-Elgin Baylor's love child, clearly orchestrated the move. Clearly, the environment Wang created where lackey-ship trumps leadership and competency is mostly to blame. Snow hasn't brought one free agent of consequence to the Island and the trades and draft choices he's made have been almost universally awful. Frankly the "philosophical difference" about building around young talent is not so much a strategy that Snow adopted, but simply the result of his ineptitude as GM.

    But the hockey cognoscenti has applauded the work that Nolan did over his 2 seasons as the Islanders coach, believing that he got much more out of a roster that most analysts believed to be at the bottom of the league, than anyone could have expected.

    However, as in most power plays (pun intended) between a GM and a Coach, the Coach loses.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    A Celtic Team for a New Generation

    Bob Ryan wrote a great piece on the cover of today's Boston Globe entitled "Greatest of the Green". He notes that since it's been 22 years since the last Celtics championship, there's literally a whole generation who don't lay claim to the rich history of Celtics lore. Ryan starts:

    This was a championship for a Lost Generation of Boston Celtics fans.

    These are people for whom Bill Russell, the greatest winner in American team sports, and Bob Cousy, the legendary "Houdini of the Hardwood," are like figures out of King Arthur's tales. These are people for whom John Havlicek, basketball's consummate 'sixth man," and Dave Cowens, the mercurial redheaded center, are as personally relevant as comic book characters. These are people for whom even the great Larry Bird is just some guy wearing short-shorts who pops up occasionally on ESPN Classic.

    These are the people who text instant observations to friends in Singapore. And these are the people who hungered for a Celtics championship they could call their own, one accomplished in their building with their heroes. Celtics championship No. 17 belongs to them.

    It's really a great point. Now I remember the Celtics of the 80's with Bird, McHale and Parrish. Of course I was living in New York and rooting for the Knicks, but I remember them well. But I didn't really have a real appreciation of the great Celtics teams that came before them.

    In Ryan's article he lists the Top 10 Celtics teams of all time and ranks this years' team #2. But in reading through the article, the write up on the '56-57 Celtics (ranked #8) blew my mind:
    "Red Auerbach's personal favorite title, simply because it was the first. Rookies Russell (25 points, 32 rebounds) and Tom Heinsohn (37 points, 23 rebounds) carried the team to an epic double-overtime seventh game victory over the St. Louis Hawks. Many old-timey Celtics fans went to their graves swearing this was the greatest game they'd ever seen."

    The combined 55 rebounds by Russell and Heinsohn (who I mostly know as the Celtics bumbling announcer and world-class homer) are more than the ENTIRE Celtics team had in any game in the playoffs...and that was just from 2 guys. It really goes to show how even current basketball junkies like me don't truly have the perspective of the rich history of the game. It's that same worship of today's players that skew our view of history. I mean even this week it looks like people finally put aside the myth that Kobe was the new Jordan and those guys played at the same time, ableit at different ends of their careers. But if you can't have perspective within a decade, it's no wonder that so many discount the accomplishments of those that played before we were even born. But it's wrong just the same.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008


    Congrats to Pierce, KG, Ray and Doc. Good guys can finish first.

    Mets Mess

    Wow, it's getting as hard to be a Mets fan as it was to be a Knicks fan under the Isiah regime. As many have said, perhaps most vociferously Buster Olney, the Bob Irsay-like firing of Randolph was handled so poorly that you don't even want to be associated with the team and, much like with Isiah, you feel like rooting against the Mets just to ensure that Omar Minaya gets fired too.

    But it really shows what a mess the whole team is. Not only is the team poorly constructed from a talent perspective, but the chemistry is beyond awful. Take a look at some of the comments from Newsday:

    • Wallace Matshews of Newsday makes Bush43 look like a Mensa-member compared to Minaya and the Wilpons. Jon Stewart, a huge Mets fan that ridicules the sitting President on a daily basis, would be turning in his grave if he was dead. Maybe today he wishes he was.
      "It took Manuel all of one batter -- Reyes -- to learn first-hand what Randolph had been dealing with for the past two years: a roster of prima donnas as ungovernable as downtown Baghdad and as unaccountable as the Bush White House."

    • Matthews also calls the Wilpons the "worst owners in town". When you consider that the list includes James Dolan, Hank "Maxi-me" Steinbrenner and Charles Wang, it's really a staggering critique. Unfortunately it may be accurate.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Celts Win in Incredible Comeback

    Wow. That was a great game...if you're not a Laker fan. There will be a lot of great stories written about the game, but I'm shocked. I really thought the game was over mid-way through the first quarter and pretty sure it was after they were down 18 at the half. But another great third quarter, and really a dominating second half (57-33) turned what was once a 24-point deficit into a 6 point win.

    But the really amazing part was listening to the post-game commentary. It's amazing to hear Michael Wilbon second-guess Phil Jackson's rotations and hear Jeff Van Gundy call Doc Rivers coaching "masterful". I wonder what "The Sports Guy" is thinking about Doc tonight. I'm sure he'll say that Doc Rivers was lucky that Perkins sprained his shoulder and he had no choice but to go to the small lineup. And in retrospect to hear people praise the Boston bench, the very same people who at the beginning ofthe season talked about how the Celtics may have the "Big 3", but had maybe the worst 4-12 roster in the league -- yes, I'm talking to you Mr. Wilbon.

    Most interesting was to listen to the players and coaches in the post-game intervie Doc looked like he's won multiple championships talking about how it's not about winning 4 games in a series, but having to win 4 individual games. Paul Pierce sounded supremely confident, talking about how the plan is to close out the series in LA on Father's Day, while acknowledging that the closeout game is always the hardest game to win.

    On the other hand, the Lakers sounded defeated. Phil Jackson started out his post-game interview stating that the series is not over, but his voice and his demeanor didn't make it look like he believed it at all.

    Kobe had the funniest comments though:

    • When asked how the team will respond to such a debilitating loss after having such a large lead: "A lot of wine, a lot of beer. A couple of shots, maybe 20."

    • When asked 'what happened' to blow such a big lead: "We just wet the bed,. "A nice big one, too. One of the ones you can't put a towel over. It was terrible.."

    Pure comedy.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    McCain v. Obama on the Economy

    It's almost funny, if it weren't so sad and predictable, how both sides are trying to cast the other as the continuation of another failed President's policies. Obama calls McCain "Bush's Third Term" and McCain retorts that Barak's tax plan will take us "...back to the policies of the '60s and '70s that failed", invoking Jimmy Carter.

    From my view, McCain's linking of Obama to Carter is well off the rails from an economic perspective, but may have some other interesting overtones.

    From an economics POV, Barak's policies are more about getting back to the winning policies of the 90's under the Clinton administration, not Carter's. And strangely enough, much of the characteristics of the Carter years (high inflation, rising unemployment, rising gas prices and growing budget and trade deficits) resemble the current economy under Bush 43. And McCain is looking to extend much of the same economic policies that Bush promulgated, most notably the Bush tax cuts...which McCain voted against in 2001 and 2003, but now supports wholeheartedly. Kind of like "I voted against them until I voted for them", perhaps a weird homage paid to Senator Kerry who is seen as the anti-McCain from a Vietnam War perspective.

    Now the other thought I've had on McCain's Carter-Obama linkage, is whether there is an ulterior motive of also trying to link them from an Israel policy point of view. Many Jewish voters are already concerned about Barak's support of Israel, partially because Hillary questioned it, on top of the fairly blatant lies about Barak's "Muslim upbringing" while living in Indonesia. While Carter was probably best known for delivering peace between Israel and Egypt in the Camp David Accords, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Carter has recently acted as if he is a founding member of Hamas, pounding Israel at every opportunity. Perhaps the most inflammatory statement being about the existence of more than 150 nuclear warheads in Israel's arsenal (which I think they should use one of to nuke Plains, GA...if the warheads do truly exist). It was a truly idiotic statement by Carter which could accomplish nothing other than to weaken Israel and prop up both Hamas and Iran's push towards becoming a nuclear nation. I can't fathom the upside in pushing for either of those objectives. I think someone should give Carter a CAT-scan as he has clearly suffered some sort of head injury.

    Mets Blowing it Again

    It's just ridiculous. The Mets come off of a horrific road trip, falling below .500 again. I can't take it. Today is not helping. After almost blowing a terrific start by Mike Pelfrey yesterday, only to be saved by Carlos Beltran's 13th inning heroics, they blew another awesome outing by a starting pitchter -- this time Johann Santana -- giving up a 4-run lead after 7 innings and look like they will lose.

    Mark Hermann wrote a nice piece in Newsday on how the team is feeling pain of the losses as much as their fans do. But this is just killing me. The worst part is my brother-in-law is a big Phillies fan. There's just no avoiding the fact that despite all the renewed hope resulting from the acquisition of Santana, this is a deeply flawed team. There is no timely hitting or pitching and apparently very little heart.

    This just in. It's official. The Mets lost 5-4 in 10. Ugh :(

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Harvey Korman -- We'll Miss You

    It was very sad for me to read that Harvey Korman died last week at the age of 81. Growing up he was one of my favorite actors and my memories of him are vivid. Probably my favorite movie of all time was Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles". Korman famously portrayed the conniving Attorney General "Hedley Lamarr", trying to force the residents of Rock Ridge from their town.

    And Korman also starred in one of my favorite TV shows, "The Carol Burnett Show", one of the last taped-live vaudvillean comedy sketch shows and was the perfect foil to Carol Burnett and co-star Tim Conway. The best moments of course were those when Korman began to lose it during one of the sketches. Watching him and the rest of the cast try to make it through the sketch without completely breaking up was often much funnier than the actual content of the sketch itself.

    One of his most memorable roles was one that few even know he played...the voice of the Great Gazoo, the little green alien who tormented Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, referring to them with the famously derogatory term "dum-dums".

    He was a funny guy and will be missed, and remembered, by me.

    Dunkin Donuts Hash Browns

    This morning I had the new Dunkin Donuts "oven toasted" hash browns. They were really good. They remind me a lot of potato latkes that I have during Passover (although not near as good as the ones my wife makes). It made me really wish that DD also served applesauce or sour cream as a side.

    I just hope that they keep them around or at least bring them back for Passover. There's never anything to eat for breakfast (how many days in a row can you really eat matzah). At least then I can have something with my coffee.

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Bangalore's New Airport is Awesome

    Well anything would have been an improvement over the HAL airport which probably should have been condemned a few years back. But other than the fact that it is 50km outside of the city center, I've got no complaints. At 3am, it only took me 1 hour to get to the airport, but they say during rush hour it can take upwards of 2 hours, so domestic flights will definitely be a real bitch.

    I flew out of the new Bengaluru International Airport on the second day of operation. It's about 100 times larger than the old airport and really a beautiful mix of glass and marble. It seems to be a modern airport in just about every facet. Didn't even have to walk out onto the tarmac this time. Real gates and everything.

    The only thing I can't comment on yet is the luggage process. For those that flew into HAL in the past, you're all familiar with the 1-hour+ waits to get your luggage. But so far so good.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    India as an Innovation Hub

    I was reading Navi Radjou's recent blog post on the HBR site on entitled "Is India an Innovation Giant... or Pygmy?". Given that I just got back from India last week, I had some thoughts that I wanted to share.

    My company, Symphony Services, provides product engineering services for software, telecom and web-based companies, so innovation is critical. As expected, we have a significant segment of our delivery operations in India, so India's ability to act as an innovation partner is key to our success. That being said, I see a few issues that can impact India's ability to continue filling the cup: Hubris and Infrastructure.

    1. Hubris: India, Inc. has to stop reading it's own press clippings. I've heard predictions that by 2025 India will own ALL product R&D and that US personnel at software companies will simply be sales and marketing functions. This has 2 implications for me. First that there is a discounting of the importance of contact with the end customer in creating innovation products and services. It's the same kind of "we know better than the market" that is the battle cry of most engineering organizations. I saw it when at Kyocera and the paraphrase Chip Heath of 'Make it Stick' fame, that's why your remote control has 53 buttons. Secondly, it presumes that the rest of the world is either standing still or will just 'get dumb' at the same time. Not happening. Lastly, it seems as if no one realizes that this kind of message will play very poorly with the same people that they want to sell to.

    2. Infrastructure. Anyone who's been to India knows what I'm talking about. A 2 hour commute to go 10km is insane. And the prospect of adding thousands of more $2500 cars to the current state of affairs is just a bad idea. Look at the impact that the creation of the national highway system had on the US economy in the 60's. It allowed the population to spread out, create jobs through the construction and the resulting housing boom that followed as people could commute to city centers. And the ability to facilitate interstate commerce was a boon to all sectors of the economy. With a similar investment, the potential for the majority of the population to begin to reap some of the benefits of the ITO/BPO boom would create dramatic change in the economy and create more options for entrepreneurs to thrive, not just in the tech sector, but in all aspects of the economy. Infrastructure would grease the skids for the Indian economy and spur the creation of new companies and fortunes to battle the existing oligopoly that exists today.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Arrival in Bangalore

    Sometimes you just get that expectation that things will improve. India is projecting a world-class economy, but it looks like no one has yet to tell the airports. As usual, I arrived in Bangalore airport and had to wait almost an hour and a half to get my baggage. It's seems incredible that it can take that long until you see the guy "driving up" with the luggage trolleys...on a bicycle. The only thing different from all my other trips to Bangalore airport is that I didn't have to walk through the mosquito killing fog on the way outside.

    I understand that I'll be traveling back to the US through the new Bangalore airport which opens on Friday. I think it was built by Lufthansa, so the Germans probably know how to build a modern airport, so my hopes are high. The only downside is that instead of 20 minutes to the hotel, it will now take up to 2 hours. Mind boggling since the trip is only 50 kilometers or 30 miles for those of you slow with math. But that's Bangalore traffic for you.

    Good News/Bad News

    Well shortly after decrying the fact that I couldn't get into the BA Lounge, I went to go check in for the flight to Bangalore. When I showed up, I found to my surprise that I did in fact get upgraded to Club World. That made for a much nicer flight, but I sure wish I found out earlier so that I could have gotten that massage. The good news is that a massage in my hotel is only about $15, so I'll be teeing one of those up.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Barney Frank and the Miss America Pageant?

    One of the things I look forward to in the Saturday Boston Globe is the political cartoons and quotes of the week on the Op-Ed page. I usually get a couple of good chuckles out of it and this week was no exception.

    "People aren't good at doing things they dislike. Like asking me to judge the Miss America contest -- if your heart's not in it, you don't do a very good job."

    Representative BARNEY FRANK of Massachusettes, on persuading Republicans to bail out the economy.

    It's a funny quote considering that Rep. Frank is a well known homosexual.

    But it's also disappointing that this is reality. It's amazing to me that the only time Republicans are behind a bailout is when the company is big enough to line their pockets for a re-election bid -- the Chrysler bailout under Reagan, tax breaks to oil companies and the Fed's recent actions for Bear Stearns. But when a bill is proposed to provide $500M in funds to keep people in their houses during the current mortgage credit collapse Republicans don't want to help. They don't want to "reward" banks for making bad credit decisions, sidestepping the fact that the real beneficiaries are the people who are currently living in those houses. What's worse is that the opponents of the bill suffer from amnesia when they make their arguments. The bill clearly states that the benefits only accrue to people who are already living in the houses, preventing others from literally cashing in on others' misfortunes for their own gain.

    $1200 tax rebates are nice, but in a situation where we spend $4B a day to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, $500M during the course of a year to help keep people in their homes and steady a precipitously declining housing market seems like a more than reasonable way to spend our taxpayers' money. Perhaps the people who get the rebates will then use them to keep their mortgages current and fill up their gas tanks instead of blowing the money on rent and moving expenses.

    On the way to Bangalore

    It's been about a year since I've been to India and I'm on the way. I know it's something that I need to do...and I pushed to take the trip, but I don't really enjoy the trip. It's 9 days away from my family who I will miss terribly. I also leave with the fear of wondering what will happen when I'm away. I don't expect anything terrible, but it just seems that whenever I travel, especially on an extended trip, either my wife or my daughter...or both...gets sick. And with no family around, I know that it's a lot of stress on my wife, especially now as she's super busy with 3 clients and not enough babysitting time.

    And in addition, I have a jammed-packed week in Bangalore and Pune. I've got my day almost completely booked. But more than that, I'm sure, as usual, that I will be dining alone each night. For some reason, no one ever seems to volunteer to go out even one night. That's one thing that I miss about working for the Japanese. There you were never alone and rarely sober after work. I will always remember that while I worked at Kyocera, that every time I visited Japan they worked it out that one person would go to dinner with me, if not a group. And on my first trip to Tokyo, one of my colleagues (Mishima-san) spent the entire day with me on the weekend...with his wife...showing me around Tokyo. Well above the call of duty. But I believe it is the cultural importance of developing personal relationships in Japan that drives that. India is a much different vibe. Nice people all the same, but not near as collegial an environment.

    Well here I am waiting at Heathrow for my connection here at the KLM Holideck lounge using free Wifi, drinks and snacks. But as soon as I found out that the BA Lounge had a spa, I was bummed that I can't get in there. Unfortunately, the BA Lounge is only for Club World and above. You'd think in an international airport like this there would at least be one of those quick massage places where you sit in the chairs like they have at rinky-dink airports in the US and even malls. With 16 hours of flights and a 5 hour layover, that would have felt nice.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Office for Mac Sets Sales Records

    In what amounts to a "easy to show big percentage increases when your prior results are so poor" news item, Microsoft announced that it's sales for Office for Mac 2008 are the highest in 19 years and 3 times higher than Office for Mac 2004.

    Of course these new sales records are due only to the Mac's success and not the quality of the new Microsoft suite. Can you imagine how many more would be sold if Office for Mac 2008 was any good? It is still a poor step-child to Office 2007. In particular, Entourage is still lacking true Exchange & Blackberry integration and many of the basic features that make Outlook superior. In fact, I've had to switch back to using Outlook in Parallels. It's "great" that it's native Mac for Intel code, but criminal that Microsoft delivers such a poor version compared to what they make available for Windows users.

    It's hard not to presume that delivering sub-standard products for the Mac is part of an intentional strategy to drive business users back to the Windows platform even though Vista's stability and overall performance is so disappointing.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    2009 NFL Draft Talk

    Well we're only 3 days removed from the 2008 Draft so of course ESPN & Scout's Inc. didn't waste much time to focus on next year with their first 2009 NFL Mock Draft.

    After this year's draft I am not confident about the fortunes of the Titans in 2009. But I was surprised that Todd McShay projects the Titans with the 11th pick. I think they're going to miss the playoffs for sure...and I've been a Titans fan for 30 years...but I don't see them falling that far.

    The only thing that I know is wrong about McShay's prediction is that he has them drafting a receiver. Won't happen. I just pray to God that they don't draft another RB. The Titans are now to RBs as the Lions are to WRs. And the guy McShay has projected to them doesn't come from a small enough school. Surely there's a WR from East Idaho State who runs a 4.29 that they will become infatuated with.

    Now DE, DT or ILB Laurinaitis would be interesting to me.

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Larry Brown to Coach Bobcats

    It warms my heart to see Larry Brown back in coaching again. After being thrown out of town by Isiah ("revenge is a dish best served cold") and Dummy Dolan it's great that LB will get a chance to reclaim his coaching legacy.

    Brown, who was inducted into the BBHOF in 2002 is only 1 of 5 coaches with more than 1,000 wins (LB has 1,010). Four of the Five (Lenny Wilkins - 1,332 wins; Don Nelson - 1,280, Pat Riley - 1,210 and Brown) have coached the Knicks since 1991. And Isiah fired 2 of them (Wilkins and Brown) in his tumultuous tenure. Only Jerry Sloan (1,089 wins) has not coached the Knicks,

    Making Peace with the Titans Draft

    It's been 2 days since the draft ended and I think I'm beginning to calm down. I'm not going to lie, Reinfeldt and Fisher ruined my weekend.

    I still can't agree with taking a RB in the first round. If Chris Johnson isn't Marshall Faulk or Brian Westbrook this was a mistake. I think that if they really wanted Johnson, they should have tried to trade down a few slots. It seems like not only did they over-react to the mini-run on RB's (Jones and Mendenhall went the picks previous to the Titans), but they reached for a player who has eerily similar measurables to Chris Henry who the Titans reached for as a 2nd-rounder last year, who they have apparently conceded is a bust.

    And Jeff Fisher's comment that they almost selected WR Devin Harris, but then "moved on" to other positions when all the top flight WRs were off the board at their second pick is just galling. Didn't they see the run happening? They couldn't figure out a way to move up 2 slots for Limas Sweed? They certainly figured out how to move up 21 slots to draft a DE from Winston-Salem State who nobody ever heard of.

    The only saving grace was that they got Lavelle Hawkins from Cal in the 4th. Very productive receiver opposite DeSean Jackson and he should help a lot. Mel Kiper thinks this was one of the value picks of the draft, so I'm feeling a little better.

    But all in all, I just don't see that the Titans got better this weekend while many other teams did. The playoffs seem much further away.

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Fire Mike Reinfeldt

    I'm sitting here watching this year's NFL Draft. The Draft is one of my favorite days of the year. I read up on prospects, check out just about every mock draft from ESPN, SI, But I'm ready to throw up.

    I almost started screaming when I watched the Titans draft RB Chris Johnson from East Carolina. But I was watching with my 3 year old daughter, so I swallowed it. But I'm steaming. He's probably not a bad player, but the Titans had a Top 10 rushing offense, but LAST in the NFL in passing touchdowns. And they have spent the last 2 2nd round picks on RB's in LenDale White and Chris Henry. Not that there couldn't be an upgrade over either, but it basically admits that the last 2 drafts were mistakes, especially Henry. Johnson's stats sound very similar to Henry. But Johnson or similar backs could have been available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. Especially for a position that was at most their 5th position of need behind WR, DE, DT and CB.

    Jeremy Green of Scout's Inc. seems to agree.

    Personally, I would have taken either Devin Thomas who was supposed to be the best WR in the draft or Kentwan Ballmer who would have been excellent alongside Albert Haynesworth on the DL.

    Then the second round was even worse. All of the top WR's were sliding. None were taken in the first round and a series of picks of lower rated WRs left the cream of the crop. But the Titans didn't trade up and waiting around at #54 saw WR's Malcolm Kelly from Oklahoma taken at #51 and Limas Sweed of Texas taken at #53, one pick before them. And in between the 2 WRs was Quentin Groves of Auburn who would have been great on the DL. They did end up with Jason Jones of Eastern Michigan who was rising up draft boards, but it's terribly disappointing to me...and I'm sure more so to QB Vince Young that they still don't have a WR thorough 2 rounds. I can only hope that they can get Mario Manningham or Andre Caldwell. This is depressing.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Knicks Crushed by Grizz

    Only a few hours after Knick fans saw their hopes raised with the hiring of Donnie Walsh as team President, the team on the floor brought them right back down to reality. The Knicks, now 20-55 were crushed by the Memphis Grizzlies 130-114.

    The Knicks have 7 more games to go, 5 of them near mortal locks to be losses (Hornets, Magic, Pistons, Celtics and Hawks) with the other two (Bobcats and Pacers) at least even money that they will lose as well. The likely ending record is 21-61, two games worse than the Larry Brown era and setting the franchise record for most losses in a season. "Evident progress" indeed.

    Rays of Hope at the Garden

    I am probably the 1,376,498th person to write about Donnie Walsh taking over Basketball Operations for the Knicks. Surprisingly, it looks like Walsh was able to negotiate all the things that I thought were critical for success, but that I never thought Crazy Jimmy would ever agree to. So perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Knick fans. Yet the team is still fatally flawed with a mix of expensive, non-complimentary players. But the truth is that unless Isiah becomes the GM of another team, I have no idea how Walsh will be able to trade some of the terrible contracts to completely restructure the team.

    But the most surprising thing of all was my reaction. Virtually nobody wished that Isiah would be fired more than me. For god sakes, the whole Isiah-Dolan regime created such a poisonous, life-sucking (not to mention team sucking) atmosphere, that I not only dropped my lifelong allegiance to the team out of protest, but I actively rooted for them to fail. Oh how I relished the Isiah death watch that started in November, enjoying each day that Isiah twisted in the wind and "Fire Isiah" chants fell from the rafters at the Garden. Good times.

    But now that it seems Isiah's fate is sealed, watching his interview on ESPN after the hiring of Walsh was made official, I actually felt bad for the guy. To the very end he's toeing the company line and staying positive in his public statements (see video below). The trademark Isiah smile is still there, but you can see the resignation in his eyes.

    Perhaps now he knows what it felt like to be Larry Brown for those 40 days and 40 nights.

    Don't get me wrong. He can't be fired fast enough, but I'm not dancing on his grave like I thought I'd be.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Reflux, Endoscopy and My Fears

    I've always had a bad stomach. But I have really bad heartburn. At times I feel like I'm having a heart attack. The pain in my chest is so bad that sometimes I'm virtually incapacitated. I've taken Nexium which really helped. Then United Healthcare didn't support Nexium (bastards), so now I'm on Prilosec, which isn't doing as good of a job.

    For years, Doctors have suggested I see a GI doctor. So has my wife. But every time the discussion has come down to getting an endoscopy and that's where the conversation stops every time. I have a terrible gag reflex. I haven't even gotten a throat culture in 20 years because I don't want to strangle the doctor. So the thought of having a scope being put down my throat paralyzes me with fear and anxiety.

    Now I know that it's the right thing to do. I've heard about the possibility that the reflux could lead to esophageal cancer and other ailments. I've had several friends and colleagues tell me I should and they have stories about other people who have done it. I have not lost sight of the fact that none of them have had the procedure done themselves, but it is all good counsel.

    So yesterday I finally broke down and went to a GI...just to talk. I was hoping he would have said the barium milkshake test was enough, but damn him to hell, he said I need the scope (even worse he suggested that in addition to having cut caffeine out of my diet, that I should cut out chocolate!! Heresy I say.). He told me about all of the sedation choices...all of which are conscious sedation options. I was hoping to get general anesthesia and not have to worry. I just don't know if even hopped up on Valium I can even deal with seeing them put the scope down my throat, even if I don't feel it.

    So now I have to make a choice. Any thoughts from my legions of loyal readers (besides my wife)?

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Isiah's Anniversary

    There are plenty of articles out there talking about the recent passing of the one year anniversary of Isiah Thomas' 4 year contract extension with the Knicks. In one of the articles by Alan Hahn in Newsday, it noted that the Knicks are 23-61 since the extension. That's actually 2 games worse than the Knicks' record under Larry Brown for which he was fired. Evident progress? Methinks not.

    The "Fire Isiah" watch continues, but nothing will change as long as "Crazy Jimmy" Dolan is still running the circus...including Isiah's tenure.

    Should Your Company Blog - A Conversation with AMR

    Yesterday I had an analyst briefing with Dana Stiffler and Phil Fersht at AMR Research, along with my company's CEO, talking about the latest trends with "captive R&D centers" in India, China and around the world. Happily, the meeting went very well (at least from my perspective).

    After the briefing was over, Dana and I were talking about a few other subjects and blogging came up. Apparently, AMR is contemplating a corporate blog, but there's a lot of concerns internally about the appropriateness of a blog from an analyst firm. Dana asked my advice and I thought I'd share it with everyone.

    For almost any company a blog can be a great tool to disseminate thought leadership and market your company. But of course it requires that you have something smart to say and people who can write well. AMR clearly has both. Their analysts are smart and articulate or they wouldn't have a very long shelf life. I mentioned that they much more advantaged than most companies, and certainly my own, where even with almost 3500 people, there are relatively who have an interesting and engaging point of view and even fewer who also have the writing skills to make the posts something that people would want to read and come back for more.

    I told Dana that from a marketing perspective I thought the blog could be great -- getting a glimpse of what AMR analysts have to say would make people who aren't customers intrigued about becoming one. Bruce Richardson's "First Thing Monday" column exactly that. Lord knows at least once a week there is "locked" article referenced in FTM that I'd like to read. And now I'm talking to them about signing up for the service.

    Secondly, the blog format would allow them to respond to news far more rapidly than having to write a more lengthly, formal report that has to go through AMR's approval process for published content. Interestingly, it seems that the lack of the formal approval process is the key reason behind the resistance to the blog at AMR. Frankly, I think the ability for an analyst to post a 'dissenting opinion' or at least an alternate view from the official AMR pronouncements would be awesome. It would enrich the dialogue and provide additional information and context for readers to assess the impact of the issue in question. I think that if it works for the Supreme Court, it would work for AMR.

    So if you're deciding whether to create a blog for your company, the common sense advice is yes -- providing that you will have something engaging to say and that you can keep it up. You need multiple contributors to ensure you're posting at least twice a week. But if you have enough people and can spread out the responsibility, it's pretty easy to sustain.

    At the last ITSMA event I had a chance to talk with Larry Weber, founder of W2 Group and Weber PR (pick up Larry's latest book "Marketing to the Social Web"). Given my situation of 3500 engineers in India, I asked what his advice was about who should be allowed to blog. He said to open up the floodgates because you never know who has something smart to say. It may be good advice, but I'm not sure that I'm going to heed it. At least not right out of the box. But depending on your situation, it might be the right move.

    There are a million other people who are more qualified than me to give advice on this. Talk to your PR agency, colleagues and peers. Get involved in local groups like the Social Media Club or PRSA.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    West Wing and the 2008 Democratic Nomination

    Is it just me or is it ironic that the brilliant TV show "The West Wing" which many saw as a homage to the Clinton Administration is coming back to bite Hillary in the ass?

    The parallels between the Jimmy Smits character, Matt Santos, and Barack Obama are stunningly similar, just swap black for hispanic. His ability to stick with his convictions, stay above the political fray and provide a hopeful message for the future of the country is exactly the same storyline that Obama is playing out. With any luck for the country, the ending to the 2008 Presidential campaign will end the same way as the series did.

    Pope Benedict Keeps Turning the Clocks Backward

    Maybe I'm the only one who does this, but often there are articles or Op-Ed's in the paper that I don't get a chance to read, so I rip them out and save them for later. Well I just read an Op-Ed from James Carroll who is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. I love his stuff.

    The piece entitled "Reviving an old insult to the Jews" was published on Feb 18th and is a great read. In it Carroll talks about the Vatican's recent decision to reauthorize the "so-called Tiedentine Mass. This "what was old is new again" Latin mass again portrays Christianity as superceding Judaism and calls for Jews to convert. The original text that the Vatican approved "resuscitated the conversion insult, praying on Good Friday that God 'lift the veil' from 'Jewish Blindness'. Catholics and Jews objected and the language was modestly scaled back to say that Catholics should still pray that God may "enlighten" the heart of the Jews "so that they may recognize Jesus Christ, Saviour of all Mankind". Yeah, that's a lot better.

    It's amazing to me that in today's day and age where Catholicism is on the decline and multi-culturalism is flourishing, that Pope Benedict XVI is trying to return to the 1600's to try to keep Catholicism relevant, as if by repudiating the legitimacy of other religions will strengthen his own. I think that many will have the opposite response. Carroll finishes the article nicely stating:

    "Something is wrong with that development [Vatican II's Nostra Aetate condemning the idea that jews could be blemed for the murder of Jesus, and affirmed the permanence of God's Covenant with Israel], now say Vatican reactionaries. To which the people reply, "No, What's wrong is you'."

    Experience and the Democratic Nomination

    I was talking with my colleague Jerry Smith today about the latest turn of the Democratic presidential race. Jerry is a conservative Republican, so he's really enjoying all of this...and like many GOP faithful are praying for Hillary to win the nomination.

    One of the subjects we discussed was all of the hullabaloo about Clinton's claims that she has the experience to take the 3am phone call and Obama doesn't. It's all crap. It's not as if Obama, or any President for that matter, will live in seclusion and make all the decisions by themselves. There will be advisors everywhere: NSC, Pentagon, Secratary of State, etc. It's the quality of the team that you can build that makes any enterprise successful. Great CEO's don't know the ins and outs of every element of their businesses and neither do great Presidents. Was Reagan an expert on any issue? Probably not. But he was a great leader and surrounded himself with experts.

    Hillary touts her 8 years in the White House. Jerry quipped that he heard someone in the media (undoubtedly Fox News because he doesn't accept that any other media exists) that using that logic, a chef who served in the White House can make the same claim. Now I do not doubt that she was far more involved in the Clinton White House than the chef, let's not confuse lunch with Tony Blair's wife with foreign policy experience either. Hyperbole works both ways.

    Now Bill Clinton is widely lauded as a great President. Interestingly he was the same age as Obama when he ran for President and did just fine. Jerry noted that he's usually go with someone with gubernatorial experience over a Senator. He thinks the executive experience goes a long way (editor's note: Jerry was a Mitt supporter. We all know how that turned out).

    Let's look at Bill's experience prior to entering the White House (we will skip the extramarital encounters segment, but clearly that experience didn't help either when you consider that as the most powerful man in the world he hooked up with Monica). So what was Bill's great accomplishments at Governor of Arkansas -- finishing 49th out of 50 states in education? Did dealing with the backwaters of Arkansas provide any special insight into dealing with third-world countries.

    And finally, I think that all Democrats can agree that experience doesn't necessarily lead to good results or good judgment. Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld served in government for years. So did our friend "Brownie". 'Nuff said.

    She Ain't Getting My Vote

    As are many Obama supporters around the country, I was disheartened by the results from Tuesday. I was shocked at the outright drubbing Clinton gave Obama in Ohio.

    But as McCain sealed the GOP nomination on the same day, I came back to what Obama said a few weeks ago: "I'm confident that I'll get all her votes, but I don't think that she'll get all of mine". I realize that I'm a sample size of n=1, but I think he's right. She's certainly not getting my vote if she gets to the general election.

    Thoughts from Forrester B2B Marketing Workshop

    A couple of weeks back I attended Forrester Research's B2B Marketing Workshop at their headquarters in Cambridge, MA. Overall it was a good review of some of their recent research, but very little in terms of helping make actionable improvements in how I do my day job. The folks at Forrester said that the details come at other events, but when someone puts the word "workshop" in the title of an event, I expect a little more. Maybe that's just me.

    But it's not to say that the day wasn't without value. There was a few good exercises and examples of successful integrated marketing campaigns and SEO that was helpful and good ideas of what we could be doing.

    A few days after the workshop, I had a meeting with Mike Gauthier of E-Tractions, a Boston area integrated marketing firm that also appeared on a panel at the Forrester event. As we were talking he asked me if I felt inspired by any of the ideas from the conference. I responded that I was torn between inspiration and depression. There were a lot of great ideas, but the realization that we're not doing near as many of them as we should was really depressing. Some of it was stuff that we didn't even contemplate doing, but a lot came down to not having the budget or internal resources to pull it off.

    In any case, I'm going to do what we can, try to experiment and see what happens. Hopefully if we can show some good progress, we can "find" some more budget down the road.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Big Mo' in Barack's Corner

    After a convincing sweep (if not a trouncing) of the mid-Atlantic primaries (VA, MD and DC) Obama has assumed the delegate lead for the Democratic nomination for the first time since Iowa. That's 8 states in a row and momentum is building. All the while Clinton seems to be stumbling and spinning, not winning.

    Texas and Ohio are next and there are huge delegate stakes up for grabs. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks go. Both Texas and Ohio look to be strongly in the Clinton camp with a high proportion of Latino and middle income voters respectively. Both of these groups have been solidly behind Clinton so far. However, Obama is reaching out to both of these groups. The proof will be in the pudding, but anything short of a convincing (10 point margin) victory by Clinton will be tough to spin if Hillary wants to recapture the mantle of presumtive nominee.

    If by chance Obama wins either of these two states it's game over and the only President Clinton will be Bill. But buck up Hillary, being a Senator from New York is still a pretty good gig.

    The General's Return to Indiana?

    The latest recruiting violations against Indiana coach Kelvin Thompson open a very interesting door. Already warned by IU brass to run a clean ship amidst reports of recruiting violations from his days at Oklahoma, it is not outside the realm of possibility that IU will relieve Thompson of his coaching duties.

    What makes this all interesting is last week's resignation of former IU coaching legend Bobby Knight from Texas Tech after notching his 902nd career victory. Surprisingly, Knight resigned in the middle of the season, turning the team over to his son Pat.

    While many thought that Coach Knight might remove himself from the coaching scene to hunt and fish, what a delicious thought that he would return to the place that made him an American icon and one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. It certainly makes for a much better story than taking over the coaching reigns at LSU.

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Santana a Met!!

    Is there a way not to be excited about this (that is unless you're a Phillies or Braves fan)? Of course they have to work out the dollars, but it's just money, right? $140M or so for 6 years? Why not. It's a helluva better deal than Zito got ($126M/7 years).

    When I saw the deal on the scroll on ESPN, I was shocked. Carlos Gomez + 3 minor league pitchers? Pretty good deal. Sure it's 4 of the Mets' top 7 prospects, but that speaks more to the dearth of talent in the Mets farm system than anything. Humber didn't look like anything better than a #3 or #4 starter. Mulvey also looks like a middle of the rotation guy. Guerra probably has the highest ceiling, but he's 18. You can project all you want, but you never know.

    See the Peter Gammons analysis

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    Bedard a better deal than Santanna?

    I'm hoping that Omar Minaya isn't so fixated on Johann Santanna that he missed out on the conversations with the Orioles for Eric Bedard. No doubt that Santanna is the better pitcher, but the cost in prospects and salary is greater than the difference in talent.

    According to a report on, Seattle is about to acquire Bedard for 4 players, mostly prospects:
    * Adam Jones (Seattle's #3 prospect)
    * reliever George Sherrill (great numbers in relief)
    * minor league pitcher Chris Tillman
    * and a fourth undisclosed prospect

    Now that seems to be much less talent than the Mets are offering up for Santanna (both Gomez and Martinez + 2 of the Met's top starting pitching prospects) and his salary demands for 08 and beyond will be lower too. I love Santanna, but if I could deal one of Gomez or Martinez, plus Aaron Heilmann and one of our starter prospects for Bedard, I'd feel better about that deal. What do you say?

    Kennedy Backs Barack

    The announcement expected today that senior senator and liberal standard bearer Ted Kennedy will endorse Sen. Barack Obama will have a huge impact leading up to Super Tuesday on Feb 5th. This is a big blow to Clinton and sure just about wrap up Massachusetts for Obama (along with support from Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick). But more importantly, it should provide Obama with greater support from the Democratic base across the other states voting on Super Tuesday and Florida. This piece of good news for Obama comes right on the heels of Barack's impressive, one would say landslide, victory over Clinton in South Carolina where he more than doubled Hillary's tally.

    The support from Kennedy also comes on the heels of the endorsement from Rep Mel Martinez of Florida. Martinez' endorsement could help prop up support for Obama from Latinos, where Clinton has been strong. Clinton's strength with Latinos was most notable in the recent Nevada primary where Clinton produced a 6 point victory in a race where Obama won the endorsement of the largest union in the state, yet Clinton peeled off enough of the union's Latino membership to pull off the victory.

    You can also read between the lines that this is a rebuke of the more active and aggressive role that former President Bill Clinton has taken in the race. Bill came under intense rebukes from Democratic leaders like Kerry, Pat Leahy and Tom Daschle in the past few days for distorting Obama's positions much like former Republican strategist Lee Atwater used to do (most famously with the Willie Horton attach against Gov. Mike Dukakis is the 1998 election).

    Johann Santana Countdown

    I just read that Santana could be a Met within 10 days. It's so hard not to get my hopes up. But the thought is absolutely tantalizing. Santana was dominant in the AL, but on the Senior Circuit he'd put up numbers that we haven't seen since Doc Gooden in
    '84. They may even make them lower the mound again a la Gibson.

    From a rag-tag rotation that virtually had a new 5th starter every time through the rotation and had John Maine as it's "ace" to:

    Oliver Perez
    El Duque

    All of a sudden that's a rotation that should win the NL. Maybe not The Series, but the NL.

    Now if only Carlos Delgado could learn to hit again or if the Mets had any corner outfielders, that would be good too.