February 19, 2008

The first winner this year is....

Blu-Ray DVD players!! With Warner and NetFlix both pledging their respective allegiance to Blu-Ray, it's over in a landslide. Toshiba has pulled the plug on HD DVD (just too many letters for a good name anyway), and you can go out and spend that impending economic stimulus check from the government on Blu-Ray -- safe in the knowledge that there won't be any new formats for the foreseeable future (likely a minor victory, since, in my limited understanding of technobabble these days, the foreseeable future amounts to just over 1.3 years). Don't think Toshiba -- along with everyone else -- isn't behind the scenes funding an even higher high definition DVD platform. I'm holding out until they can do 3D without the glasses.

February 15, 2008

Why Congress has to be involved in the steroid controversy

I think Congress has to be in on the steroids issue, because all major sports operate under the good graces of Congress, which has given them anti-trust exemptions. Anti-trust exemption is all but unheard of as a general rule; it's like a Willie Wonka ticket -- if whatever business gets this anti-trust exemption executes their trade correctly, it's like your own monetary printing press. It guarantees you rights that have been essentially outlawed in the U.S to protect against monopolies and the graft that can ensue. When a sport - in these cases businesses that has been given a green light to run their businesses unchecked by any competition in their category - looks to be unable to self-rule, it falls upon Congress to slap them around.

All pro sports could learn a lesson from Stan 'the Man' Lee's Spider-man -- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

February 14, 2008

Camelot? Maybe... and then some....

It's great to see not everyone falls in line with what Obama is doing & saying. A buddy of mine said everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid.

Truth is, I feel like I poured and stirred the Kool-Aid. I've been making the call for him as the Dem candidate since our first threads went out (when Hillary was the presumptive favorite). Methinks Republicans prefer the Hill for two resaons: 1. As I've mentioned, she will galvinize Republicans to get out the vote against her,... 2. She voted for the Iraq invasion (and I'm not here to quibble/debate that one, just my guess). Besides those two points the two are Platform-wise almost identical. Except for two things... 1. Hill wants Universal health care, while Obama wants to make it affordable enough that anyone can do it 2. Say what you want for how he'll do it, but if your gut doesn't tell you that given the exact same agenda, Barack won't get things done faster, than that's a genuine surprise.

I do not think experience counts for much in the presidency... I just don't. I think that fallacy is perpetrated by the man behind the curtain. Reagan was a governor (no nat'l office), Clinton was a governor (no nat'l office); Barack is a one-term Senator. Those congressmen in yesterday's Clemens fun only supported that idea. I wouldn't trust some of them to mow my lawn. I think it takes hard work, common sense, and the ability to build a consensus from a divergent audience to get 85% of the presidency done well. That last 15% is what makes stars or makes Nixons (although, even that is not totally fair, given his excellent foreign policy abilities that will forever be overshadowed by his later exploits).

Some have said that Barack is formulating the new Camelot. This is potentially better - and more real - than any Arthurian legend. I think Barack is bigger than Camelot, because there was no way near the amount of scrutiny then that there is now -- to that point, something could come to light eventually that dispels some of the O Myth, but even that is unlikely. JFK overcame being Catholic... oh, and his dad Joe may have bought him the nomination at the Dem Convention. Barack is where he is, despite the following obstacles:

- He's biracial
- His name sounds similar to the worst terrorist known in the U.S.
- His dad was Muslim - see above
- He has three years in nat'l office
- He is pitted against a modern political family dynasty - the Clintons
- If nominated, he'll face a war hero, (who he's currently polling better than)
- He has admitted not only to smoking pot... but inhaling
- What he's hoping to do has never been done

To most other candidates any one of those points would make it tough to win in states from every corner of the country -- he has 'em all and he's won in everywhere.

Crazy point? If you were 20 years old today, you've been voting for two years and the only last name for any president in your lifetime has been either Clinton or Bush. And whether that's happenstance or true laziness within each party, I'm happy rebooting the electoral process.

Winners, losers, losers, and losers

Focus should be on president, but it still is -- for good or bad, we're a multi-tasking society that places as much emphasis on our advocations as our vocations. All the sports with all the examples they place out there to kids - warranted or not - should answer to a higher authority. However, we do need a Kenesaw Mountain Landis in baseball (granted, I think he screwed Shoeless Joe, but there is not enough fear within the players right now). Selig is a toothless Paper Tiger for the owners -- word is starting to spread that he knew about steroids well before he has said he did; if Massachusetts' Dan Lynch stepped into that role tomorrow, he'd be more up to date and carry a heavier hand within a fortnight.

Biggest winners - Dan Lynch, John Tierney, Waxman, & Cummings - they brought new things to the table (Lynch's MRI or Clems butt), were diligent in questioning both men; tierney broke thru the Clem stonewall on never talking to Mac about HGH; Waxman was impartial and reverent to both men, and Cummings thought on his feet - asking relevant Follow Up questions, upon Roger's answers.

Biggest loser yesterday was Clemens; baseball will go on as it always has through ups and downs, there will be other spectacles and bumps in the road. Eevryone knew at this point of Mac's crappy rep -- if anything, he practically redeemed himself through his admissions of guilt throughout (I did say practically).

Seond biggest loser (or tie for first) was the American public, but not because of anything that has to do with Clemens or the 'roids, but because a majority (thank God, not all) of congressmen and women yesterday were shining examples of the dumbest people pretending to do what they are paid to do by their constituents. This wasn't a hearing that just popped up on them, this was something they could have had their pages and interns prepare them for. The lack or preparedness - or even impartiality - scared the living crap out of me that these are the same people who represent this country every day as they work on our domestic and foreign policies, programs, and law-making. Lobbyists must laugh their ass to the bank everyday they meet with some of these pudding-like mental midgets. We always joke about politicians, but then to actually see person after person either ask the same irrelevant question, or make comments/questions like "What uniform are you going to wear in the HOF?" blew me away. there are way too many gaffs and misreads to detail, but how about Clemens always saying how hard he works out, and some of the congresspeople taking that as proof he didn't cheat? PEOPLE! After taking steroids, you have to work out to realize its benefits. The lack of preparedness on the knowledge associated with what was at hand in this hearing underlined, italicized, and put in great big bold letters that these people - that share the driver's seat of our very country - are the dumbest people on earth.

Third biggest losers - The scores of people Roger blamed beside himself for his predicament:
Pettitte - 'misremembered'
Mrs. Pettitte - also... misremembered
Hendricks Agents - never told him what the Report said
Selig - should have tracked him down re: the Report (which he couldn't, in fact, do - he had to go thru the Player's Union)
The Players Union/Gene Orza - didn't tell him what the Mitchell Report said
McNamee - told the truth on everyone else but him, somehow
Debbie Clemens - never even talked to him prior to having McNamee inject her derriere

News flash - Osama bin Laden was supposedly caught & brought behind a closed door U.S. Congressional hearing recently, but unfortunately, while the entire room stood slack-jawed/open mouthed during the time Dan Burton was praising bin Laden for being a 'Titan of the Middle East', Osama was able to slip away.

February 13, 2008

Rolling, rolling, rolling down the river

Obama rolling along -- in a strategic move, Hillary didn't push too hard in the MD, VA, D.C., Primary trifecta, pushing harder in TX & OH, where she holds leads (and which have high delegate counts. The catch with that is that the 'O' Man has now won 20 states to her 8 (his catch of course, is that the states she has won had many delegates), and has won the last seven consecutive states. (Other catch is that TX has both a primary & a caucus format, which could still funnel many delegates to Obama, whether he wins outright or not.)

Does no one find it telling that the Obama/Clinton race is the close, yet, it was Obama who annihilated his opponent, while Huckabee gave McCain a run for his money?

Small or not, Hill's traction in every voter base is becoming less & less by the day. With numerous geographically diverse wins in ME, CT, WA, NE, & MO, & MT, among others, showing a nationwide push for the Barack, Hillary is no longer even looking for a geographic mandate to lead. She's just trying to cobble together the largest states as is possible for a delegate win.

My prediction is that Clinton will lose Ohio and not win enough of Texas to take away Obama's lead, or his eventual nomination.

February 11, 2008

More and more, it's going Blu-ray way

Blu-Ray is the VHS to HD DVD's Betamax - it may not be fair, but it is what it is and someone has to lose this format fight. From today's Boston Globe...

Netflix opts for Blu-ray high-def DVDs

February 11, 2008

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Netflix Inc., the online movie rental company, said Monday it is switching exclusively to the Blu-ray format for high-definition DVDs, following four major movie studios in selecting the Sony technology over one pushed by Toshiba Corp.

Toshiba and Sony have been vying to set the standard for high-definition DVDs for several years. The stakes are high because the winner will also get a boost in sales of DVD players needed to read the new format.

The Walt Disney Co., Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have endorsed Blu-ray. Paramount and Universal Studios publish their high-definition DVDs in Toshiba's HD DVD format.

Netflix has stocked both formats since they became available in 2006, but said the decision of four of the six major studios to issue films only in Blu-ray format made it likely that the Sony format will prevail.

"From the Netflix perspective, focusing on one format will enable us to create the best experience for subscribers," the company said, adding that not many customers order high-def DVDs.

Many consumers have held off on buying a high-def DVD player until the dominant format is decided.
(I think it may be decided at this point)

Two Cents on Ten Topics

- Koby's the next one on the docket - About three months ago, I heard Felger on ESPN radio (Boston-local guy) only half-kiddingly throw out Mrs. Rocket for HGH ideas - given her magazine spread with Roger... everything about this dark comedy is becoming prophecy
- He keeps going, and going, and going... - Pro Bowl (didn't watch, but heard talking points on the radio drive this AM) - with the no Blitz rule in eefect, the Giants lineman was still getting to the QB with semi-regularity.
- Yoooooooooouuuuuk - Youk is signed on for a 1 yr, 3 million dollar season. That's Goooooooood.
- "'...and Toto too?' 'And Toto too.'" - Huckabee won the Dorothy vote by taking the Kansas primary.
- I like the Condy for VP idea, but - whether perceived or real - with no elected office on her resume, she won't help.
- It's been dismissed, but Romney should be the VP guy; to reel in the Right side of the Republican party (even though he cultivated and has carefully projected that image, more than he embodies it); besides with McCain's age, Romney should be happy to be in the very-close-to-the-plate on deck circle.
- FYI - In Vietnam, McCain ejected from his plane, breaking both arms and one leg -- his captor approached him and stabbed him with a bayonet, once in the leg & once in the groin. He has a limited diet due to the stones he was forced to eat in captivity. Love him or hate him, he is a tough guy.
- The Big Mo' Part I - Clinton fired her campaign manager - that instills confidence.
- Dems would do better with Obama as the candidate, because Hillary would galvenize Repubs to actually get out the vote.
- The Big Mo' Part II - Obama beat Hill and Bill: his spoken album won a Grammy over Bill's and he beat Hillary in the Maine Democratic caucases.

February 7, 2008

LA Times endorses Barack Obama, followed by my take

Barack Obama for Democratic nominee
Endorsements for president 2008
February 3, 2008

Democrats preparing to vote in Tuesday's California primary can mark their ballots with confidence, knowing that either candidate would make a strong nominee and, if elected, a groundbreaking leader and capable president. But just because the ballot features two strong candidates does not mean that it is difficult to choose between them. We urge voters to make the most of this historic moment by choosing the Democrat most focused on steering the nation toward constructive change: We strongly endorse Barack Obama.The U.S. senator from Illinois distinguishes himself as an inspiring leader who cuts through typical internecine campaign bickering and appeals to Americans long weary of divisive and destructive politics. He electrifies young voters, not because he is young but because he embodies the desire to move to the next chapter of the American story. He brings with him deep knowledge of foreign relations and of this nation's particular struggles with identity and opportunity. His flair for expression, both in print and on the stump, too easily leads observers to forget that Obama is a man not just of style but of substance. He's a thoughtful student of the Constitution and an experienced lawmaker in his home state and, for the last three years, in the Senate.

On policy, Obama and his rival Democratic candidate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, are a hairsbreadth apart. Both vow to pull troops from Iraq. Both are committed to healthcare reform. Both offer candid critiques of the failed George W. Bush presidency, its blustering adventurism, its alienating stance toward other countries and its cavalier disregard for sacred American values such as individual liberty and due process of law.

With two candidates so closely aligned on the issues, we look to their abilities and potential as leaders, and their record of action in service of their stated ideals. Clinton is an accomplished public servant whose election would provide familiarity and, most important, competence in the White House, when for seven years it has been lacking. But experience has value only if it is accompanied by courage and leads to judgment.

Nowhere was that judgment more needed than in 2003, when Congress was called upon to accept or reject the disastrous Iraq invasion. Clinton faced a test and failed, joining the stampede as Congress voted to authorize war. At last week's debate and in previous such sessions, Clinton blamed Bush for abusing the authority she helped to give him, and she has made much of the fact that Obama was not yet in the Senate and didn't face the same test. But Obama was in public life, saw the danger of the invasion and the consequences of occupation, and he said so. He was right.

Obama demonstrates as well that he is open-eyed about the terrorist threat posed to the nation, and would not shrink from military action where it is warranted. He does not oppose all wars, he has famously stated, but rather "dumb wars." He also has the edge in economic policy, less because of particular planks in his platform than because of his understanding that some liberal orthodoxies developed during the last 40 years have been overtaken by history. He offers leadership on education, technology policy and environmental protection unfettered by the positions of previous administrations.

By contrast, Clinton's return to the White House that she occupied for eight years as first lady would resurrect some of the triumph and argument of that era. Yes, Bill Clinton's presidency was a period of growth and opportunity, and Democrats are justly nostalgic for it. But it also was a time of withering political fire, as the former president's recent comments on the campaign trail reminded the nation. Hillary Clinton's election also would drag into a third decade the post-Reagan political duel between two families, the Bushes and the Clintons. Obama is correct: It is time to turn the page.

An Obama presidency would present, as a distinctly American face, a man of African descent, born in the nation's youngest state, with a childhood spent partly in Asia, among Muslims. No public relations campaign could do more than Obama's mere presence in the White House to defuse anti-American passion around the world, nor could any political experience surpass Obama's life story in preparing a president to understand the American character. His candidacy offers Democrats the best hope of leading America into the future, and gives Californians the opportunity to cast their most exciting and consequential ballot in a generation.

In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long -- a sense of aspiration.
T.H. take

Nice op-ed - not too thrilled with the poem metaphor (sounds kind of frilly), but the prose speaks well to the differences that have led to Barack's rise. His message - whether people believe in it or not - has been unwaveringly unchanged throughout. Clinton's spinmeisters have been shifting and adjusting to try to adjust to waht is seen as the publics' desires. It's about her experience, it's about her insider knowledge to effect change, throw Bill into the campaign, take Bill out...

The difference in Super Tuesday is telling, even though it was basically a draw, numbers-wise... with a few exceptions, Hillary won states that - in the General election - will likely go Dem this year, whether its Obama or Clinton (Mass, California, NY, NJ). Barack won states that would often go to a conservative Republican (bible belt,... ). In a contest against McCain, the Barack Movement will likely carry the states that would've gone to a true Reagan Republican -- I'm not so sure that's true of the Hillster.

Voters are stepping forward & are funding Obama to the tune of $30 mill a month right now; Hillary Clinton just loaned her campaign $5 million. Too early to call any momentum an unstoppable force, but the snowball is definitely still growing and gaining speed.

As the article mentioned, there are only nuanced differences between Hill & Barack, but what difference there is, tips in his favor. And, as scarily untangible as it is - he has an X factor that portends well. Not counting the Iraq Platform (a big issue that I'm not trying to belittle), McCain is probably farther left than some very right wing democrats.

But that's politics, the country swings back and forth around the middle.

February 4, 2008

Pats can't close the deal as the Giants are giants

Well, we had a very good sports-run from '01 to now - mentally skipping over the Grady Little-ism of '03. Brady has been the Pats best piece of attack and live by the sword, die by the sword. Giants played a great game too.

Moving on, not that this is top of mind at this point, but I'm not gonna dwell on the rear-view mirror after I just passed a bloody mess on the road (possibly the biggest upset ever - for what was on the line - constitutes my thinking of bloody...).

The Petty playlist
Petty - Four songs...
- American Girl
- I Won't Back Down
- Free Fallin'
- Running Down a Dream
Seems like the last three were prophetic for the Giants

No really outstanding ads, but I think I liked the cars.com concepts & executions the best -- that ring of fire & shrunken head guy were pretty darn funny.

Pitchers and catchers coming up soon...