this N&O article about the push for a new state law allowing pre-emptive lawsuits against citizens, news organizations and private companies seeking access to public records.
Here's the real question, and somebody please weigh in: Why are lawyers for the University of North Carolina pushing this law? It seems to me there is a clear conflict between academic freedom and the citizens' right to public records.
In the middle of the all the great NCAA action going on, I’ve noticed something interesting going on in the NBA. Two teams, both fighting for playoff spots but slumping, have fired their coaches. Is this normal?
Just today, the Cavaliers fired
Paul Silas, a veteran NBA player who won rings with the Celtics and Sonics. As a coach, Silas hasn’t been overly successful, although he did briefly turn the Hornets around before they fired him. The Hornets may have done him a favor: They suck this year.
Last week, the Magic fired
its coach, Johnny Davis. The Magic had lost six straight and were in danger of falling out of playoff contention, while the Cavs were clinging to fifth place.
I know coaches get fired in professional sports. Most times, changes are made to get a team into playoff contention, but I can’t think of instances where coaches or managers are fired to keep a team from falling out of playoff contention.
Both Silas and Davis were fired because, in the eyes of their GMs, they had lost control of the players. As ESPN’s Chad Ford writes
, the Cavaliers’ future is wrapped around LeBron James, literally and figuratively, so it doesn’t matter who the coach is as long as James says he’ll play in Cleveland.
Cleveland general manager John Paxson made the statement that too many players were standing around watching James instead of moving, forcing James to take too many shots, and that was a major contributor to the Cavs’ struggles.
Davis had also lost control of his players, and two were disciplined by the league office last week, while star guard Steve Francis was ejected from a game with the Nets.
The two players disciplined by the league, Stacey Augmon and DeShawn Foster, were free agent signings brought in by general manager John Weisbrod, who rightfully is taking some heat, as other general manager should, for firing the coach when the problem is clearly the players.
to his players’ discipline problems:
“I guess all of those things are examples of things not being quite right.”
I find it amazing how we have two professional sports where on the field leadership is the key to success, while coaching has become practically dispensable in the other. A major part of the problem is the league bringing in younger and younger players at higher prices.
That said, are there some good coaches in the NBA? Larry Brown? Nate McMillan? Gregg Popovich?
I'm spending more of blogging time at ACC Hoops
. It's just more fun.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Friday, March 18, 2005
The Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock saw nothing positive
in yesterday's congressional hearings on steroids in baseball.
Whitlock is critical of just about everybody, including the parents of the kids who committed suicide after using steroids:
"Every family rocked by suicide should have a day when the coutry's most powerful leaders stop what they're doing and blame millionaire entertainers for a tragedy that is often so complex that it is impossible to explain."
But he doesn't spare Mark McGwire, either:
"McGwire refused to address his alleged steroid use. After a tearful opening statement, Big Mac answered flippantly and foolishly. He refused to talk about his past. He claimed he'd like to be an anti-steroid spokesman, but there was little substance to the message he said he'd give to kids.
"McGwire looked old. Just 41, McGwire's goatee was gray, he wore reading glasses, his hairline was receding, and he appeared to be at least 40 pounds lighter than his magical 70-home-run season."
Conspiracy theory: The reading glasses were dummies.
A disinterested third party informed me this morning that a guy I worked with five years ago, with whom I spoke maybe two words, says I owe him money. Interesting........
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Jay Ovittore finds the smoking gun
in recent incidents of violence: George W. Bush.
People have been killing themselves and each other for a long time, even during the wonderful Clinton administration. O.J. Simpson. Columbine. Overseas, there was the Dunblane massacre. Let's not forget Vince Foster. No, I'm not accusing the Clintons of murder. I actually think Foster committed suicide. But it still hasn't been fully explained why a high-level administration official, with seemingly everything to live for, blew his brains out.
Indoor training last night for Saturday's Beer Run, 35 laps around the track at the downtown YMCA. Every time I turned the far corner, the Hardee's sign across the street hit me right in the face.
So what did I dream last night? Digging into a Monster Thickburger.
It's not too late to whip up an Irish Whiskey Pie
for tonight's festivities.
Just remember: A shot for the pie, a shot for the cook.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
If you can follow the numbers in this N&O article
on funding for Wake County schools, you're a better man than I am.
Bottom line: They (need, want) a boatload of money.
Roger Maris is really rolling in his grave now:
The cartoon in this morning's editorial page portrays Maris as a right-handed hitter. Everybody knows he was a left-handed hitter.
Hell, I know I'm nitpicking.
Disappointing N&R coverage of last night's City Council meeting. The meeting went on for almost five hours, and all we get is this this story
, a short account of Skip Alston telling the council that he didn't mishandle $1 million in city loans for St. James Homes.
Perhaps the biggest story of the evening was the rezoning of the site at Old Battlerground Avenue and U.S. 220, which will allow for a major mixed -use project to proceed. If you remember, Granite Development withdrew plans for a retail project on the site because it did not follow the the city's comprehensive plan.
While the plan drew opposition from many because the site is on a watershed-critical area, the project passed by an 8-0 vote, with council member Robbie Perkins abstaining due to business conflicts.
The other big event of the night was the presentation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As reported by The Inside Scoop
, the discussion was not on the agenda, so technically speaking, no formal action could take place. Commission members were expecting an endorsement from the council, but Mayor Keith Holliday held the line, although he was open to motions from other council members. But the only action that was taken was a motion to put the issue on a future council agenda.
Holliday's biggest concern seemed to be what the local media would report should the council vote not to endorse the project. Why? Does anybody think there would be serious political repercussions for council members who voted not to endorse the project?
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
NY Times article
on Mark McGwire's legacy under the cloud of steroids in baseball:
"Of the seven current and former players subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Government Reform on Thursday, McGwire is easily the most recognizable and arguably the most vulnerable. Even though he retired three years ago, his legacy is still in play."
McGwire's former manager, Tony LaRussa, continues to defend him:
"I saw a guy for years and years have that fierce dedication and devotion to working and improving. That's why I'm so positive when I talk about Mark."
But Dr. Benjamin Leder, who completed a study on McGwire's known drug of choice, androstenedione, doubts that McGwire's power came from andro alone:
"I'm not surprised to hear McGwire linked with steroids. As someone who has no knowledge of about what these people do, but has watched them get bigger, it seemed unlikely that all of that growth was due to training or even to androstenedione."
Is Roger Maris rolling in his grave? Or, like a good North Dakotan, is he just not that worked up about it ?
Monday, March 14, 2005
Fox's Mike DeCourcy explains
Wake Forest's No. 2 seed and Syracuse's No. 4 seed. But he doesn't touch Kansas' No. 3 seed.
Charlotte Observer article
on possible link between Dr. James Shortt and unnamed Panthers players.
Current Panthers reacted with surprise to the report, saying the NFL's drug-testing policy works.
"Nothing like that is going on, not to my knowledge. And the reason I said that is you're tested so much. I was tested a couple of weeks ago out of the blue, so you don't know....I can honestly say I haven't seen anyone do it or even talk about it in the locker room."
"You never really even hear guys talking about them in the locker room."
"We're monitored down to cold medicine, so it would be pretty tough to get anything past those tests."
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Busy with ACC Hoops, among other things. I still care.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Busy with ACC Hoops
. And getting my driver's license renewed. A bit late.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
editor Jeri Rowe on the Red Bull Word Clash:
"President Bush wasn't a popular guy with this crowd, and a few statements from the stage caused some folks in the audience to grumble and twitch. Still, the event showed the power of language and the anger of young America, who feel ignored and persecuted
by a country run by dough-faced white guys fueled by greed rather than compassion."
At least the young are a better able to handle persecution, as opposed to the elderly. Or is President Bush persecuting them, too?
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Dan Rather's post-broadcast routine: Go home, pour two fingers of Wild Turkey and watch video tapes of this competitors' broadcasts.
Ah, what the hell. Cheers, Dan.
More hot air....
Dr. Deborah Fields doesn't think much
of President Bush's Clear skies inititative.
Neither does Dr. Kay Jones, but for different reasons
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Carolina Journal's Paul Chesser goes on the offensive
against Environmental Defense
Here's the social autopsy
of the 1995 Chicago heat wave.
in The State
on Quincy Allen, who murdered two people up the road in Dobson, among others.
I'm fairly neutral on the death penalty. Being locked up in prison for the rest of your life is no hotel, but I wouldn't lose sleep if Quincy ceased to consume oxygen.
School superintendent Terry Grier is taking
from citizens over his plan to shuffle $1 million in federal money from Dudley, Smith, Andrews and Central.
Jeff Peeler of High Point pulls no punches:
"To allow these schools to continue to receive federal funds requires Dr. Grier to be held responsible for his failures as a superintendent; he will not allow that to happen."
But what many of the critics haven't pointed out, and what the N&R has dutifully reported
is two of the principals, Sam Misher of Smith and Phyllis Martin of Dudley, have said they would rather not have federal funding than be held accountable by NCLB.
Grier is responsible for taking for taking many different points of view into account. This is the interesting part: At two high schools, he has the principals speaking out, yet the parents are quiet; at two other high schools, the parents are speaking out but the principals are quiet. It would be nice if everyone would speak up.
Mind you, I'm basing this on media accounts I've read. If someone knows something different, don't let me stay in the dark.
Monday, March 07, 2005
is by far my favorite Rush-guest-host.
Monday mornings just get away from me so quickly........
Sunday, March 06, 2005
I took yesterday off to train for what I consider the best road race around, Old Town's Five-Mile Beer Run
. It's at a most reasonable hour and there's a great party afterward. I'm taking a good bit of today off because my basement looks like Wharton's
, and I'm finally tired of it.
But I have some thoughts with regard to Hoggard's take
on this morning's N&R article
on unpaid public housing loans.
I know I got fired up about St. James Homes a couple of weeks ago, but this morning's article didn't fire me up I did some independent research on the matter and have concluded that the public housing system is in need of serious reform, just like many aspects of government. It's reality.
Hoggard asks, "With such a high level of need in Greensboro for low-income housing, why are those apartments vacant?" Good question. I'll take it a step further: What exactly is the demand for public housing in Greensboro? Could it be that, with the obvious abundance of government money available for public housing, that the "market" is flooded? Could it be that, during the ongoing building boom, the free market is providing competition for public housing? Could it be that initial reforms such as vouchers are sparking that competition? Could it be that, in spite of the recent recession, there are fewer people with the need for public housing than ever before?
What also makes me think that the "market" for public housing is down is the fact that Greensboro does not have a horrific problem with homelessness. I remember Lorraine Ahearn's column that stated there were 228 known homeless people in Greensboro. That's certainly a bad situation for those 228 individuals, and I have confidence that programs are in place to help them. I also realize that's 228 "known" homeless people. But somehow I doubt that the number of uncounted homeless people would be exponentially higher than the "known" number.
Either way, that's not a huge percentage in a city of roughly 230,000 people. So it's my belief that most people in Greensboro are able to find affordable housing. That's the thing about Greenboro: While the job market or wages might not be as great as Raleigh or Charlotte, it's a lot cheaper to live here.
Help me out if I'm missing it.
Friday, March 04, 2005
I've thought about hockey probably twice this winter. I haven't missed it. Still, I realize a lot of people wouldn't think much of a summer without baseball, while I would be severly depressed. But this N.Y. Times article
on the bid to buy all 30 NHL franchises caught my eye.
On the face of it, such a transaction would be next to impossible to pull off. Many acknowledged this, among them an investment banker who described the bid as "creative, bold and aggressive," but still had "so many hurdles to overcome."
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs simply said his team wasn't for sale.
But Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos expressed "passing interest and morbid curiosity."
As for leverage in negotiating with the players' union, "even under the unlikely prospect of wholesale new ownership, the NHL would not be able to disregard the union or impose a new collective bargaining agreement with the same difficulty current ownership faces."
But what does the whole thing mean, given the situation in which the NHL finds itself? Was the league listening because it hoped more than a few owners would express serious interest? How many owners in warm-weather climates (such as North Carolina) want to get out while they can possibly can?
Brett Favre's loss is Jake Delhomme's gain
Thursday, March 03, 2005
I was saddened to see where former Braves pitcher Rick Mahler
died of a heart attack
Though Mahler spent most of his career with the Braves, he joined the Reds in 1990 and provided solid starting pitching during their World Series title run.
Revolving door at the ladies' big house:
Marth Stewart out
; Manlin Chee in
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Are we really paving the forests?
Though speed, and possibly alcohol, were contributing factors in the tragic wreck that killed two teenagers over the weekend, this sentence can't be ignored in this morning's N&R article
"The only passenger to walk away with minor injuries was Lauren Marion, 16, who was wearing her seat belt...."
Those who ride with me know that I'm fanantical about wearing a seat belt, even on the shortest trips. It's a five-second procedure that could save your life. Very cost-effective, in my book.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
"A man reported to be a member of the entourage
of 50 Cent was shot in the leg on Monday night at a New York City radio station where the rapper was being interviewed, police said on Tuesday."
I thought the proper term was "posse".
I admit I'm fascinated with St. James Homes. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what the process was on a business level that led to the complex's demise. So I spent about an hour reading the N&R's 2001 coverage
. I give credit where credit is due: they did a great job.
Which makes the current situation all the more depressing. Based on the N&R's reporting back in '01, anyone could have seen that the Grahams were not the people to right the ship. After the commissioners voted
to recommend that Grahams receive a $140,000 federal grant (with Wade, Yow and Arnold voting against), it was revealed that the Grahams had serious financial problems
. The county was surprised
, and everyone wondered why a background check wasn't done on the Grahams.
That's probably because the Grahams really did have good intentions, and came recommended by other housing groups. But the public record showed a history of unpaid bills and taxes as well as foreclosure proceedings.
HUD later got involved
, not because of the Grahams' financial history but because of the project's troubled history, which was outlined by Andy Scott, director of Greensboro's housing authority. HUD was concerned about having to bail out the project, plus there was a technicality which stated one group could not receive two grants from the HOME program.
Here's the interesting part: The N&R's last article in 2001 was a staff report
listing the Greensboro housing groups receiving HUD grants. The Christian Counseling and Wellness Group, the nonprofit run by the Grahams, received a $588,000 grant. That's also the last article on St. James Homes until January of this year.
It's time to move on, but perhaps some lessons will be learned from this experience.