sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Saturday, April 29, 2006

 
....Interesting N.Y. Times article on former President Clinton and his good buddy Ronald Burkle.

The headline over the jump in the print edition says it all:

"A Friend of Bill Helps Him Help the Poor and Make Money Besides."

"Mr. Clinton's arrangement with Mr. Burkle is an unusual one for a former president, giving him the potential to make tens of millions of dollars without great effort and at virtually no risk, according to Mr. Burkle and advisers to Mr. Clinton.......

"The funds Mr. Clinton advises invest in grocery stores, retail developments and real estate in poor areas, manufacturing and distribution, and minority-owned businesses. Yucaipa has found significant growth opportunities in such areas because of the low cost of land and the relative lack of competition."

OK, so who can be against that, especially when you can make a lot of money doing it?


 
..... RIP Steve Howe.

I remember reading a Sports Illustrated piece about Howe several years ago when he was still trying to beat cocaine and break back into the big leagues. He'd moved his family to Montana to get away from the white stuff, but he still found it. Some people just have a nose for the stuff, so to speak.

Howe told the story of how he scored and went into the family bathroom to get high when he turned and saw his wife staring straight at him. Though he knew right then and there that his marriage was on the line, Howe said the urge to bury his nose in the baggie was overwhelming.

He resisted, however, and was able to get his career back on track, spending five years with Yankees from '91 to '96. I can only assume he successfully fought his addiction over the past 10 years. Then he gets rolled in his pickup truck. That's how fragile life is.


Friday, April 28, 2006

 
......I read with interest yesterday's N&R article on air quality, or lack therof, in Guilford County.

A buddy of mine and I discussed it later. We generally agree on most issues except air quality. I just don't think the air's that bad here. He says the air's so bad he's thinking about leaving. Then he changed his mind and said he'd get a place elsewhere for red and orange ozone days.

So he'd be gone seven days out of the year. Twenty-two days between 2002-2004 is seven days a year, right? That was lower than the pervious study period, and there's no reason to believe the number will be even lower for the next study period.

But what I found interestinng was the unchallenged scare tactic thrown out by the American Lung Association's Janice Nolen, who said "a bad spike in particle pollution over a four-day period in London killed 150 people in 1952."

Nolen's talking about the Killer Fog of '52, and a hell of a lot more than 150 people died. Some estimate that as many as 4,000 people died, making it a very deadly environmental episode.

The cause was "...a mass of stagnant air had just clamped a lid over London, trapping the smoke from millions of residential coal fires at ground level."

A source told me that particulate levels were tens of times greater than peak levels in North Carolina today. Not only particulate levels were super-high. There was also lots of sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, and probably other pollutants as well.

So it was simply a matter of a society, seven years removed from world war, struggling to stay warm. That condition doesn't exist today due to advances in technology. Based on what I read, it's not unreasonable to assume that further advances in technology will foster air quality that was unimaginable during the Killer Fog of '52.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

 
......Keep knocking them down.......

Floodplain regulations in Charlotte make renovations in the Chantilly neighborhood cost prohibitive:

"Six years ago, Mecklenburg County created a 'future conditions floodplain' affecting about 1,200 homes across the county, including about 60 in Chantilly, off Seventh Street just southeast of uptown. That requires those property owners to raise their floor above the projected flood level if they renovate the home extensively, a requirement property owners say is expensive and likely unnecessary because their homes don't currently flood."

As it stands, the land in Chantilly is worth more than the houses:

"In many cases, the smaller Chantilly houses don't carry high assessed values, according to county records, and residents say that makes the rule easy to trigger. One home in the zone is valued at $89,500, according to county records, while the land is listed at $95,000. On another lot, a single-story home listed at just under 1,100 square feet is valued at $39,500 while the land is valued at $80,000."

So you knock down the houses, like they do in Myers Park. But here's the question: Would more people be priced out of the Chantilly neighborhood with new houses or renovated houses?


 
.....The other shoe drops.....Roy Carroll indeed will ask local government for $2.1 million in incentives to redevelop the Wachovia Tower.

But the N&R article leaves out an important detail: For what would the public money be used? Otherwise, it's hard for the average citizen to wonder how the lack of a $2 million investment by local government could break a $37 million deal.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 
.....Cone has Tony Snow's views on gun control circa 1980:

"....regulate the sales and distribution of firearms carefully and rigorously."

Hey, I was right there with Tony. Gun control all the way. I even gave a pro-choice speech in my sophomore communications class. But I'm most ashamed of the fact that I believed we shouldn't change leaders during a time of crisis, kind of like FDR during WW II. Thank God I wasn't old enough to vote.

But look at me now. Shit happens. What will be interesting about Snow's appointment is how a member of the media handles the media, especially such a hostile group such as the White House press corps. I would think Snow would know going in that, as one of their own, being less than forthcoming won't work.

But as one who has been critical of President Bush, is there reason to believe Snow would be less than forthcoming? Or is there just too much Fox there for everyone's liking?


 
......Saturday's hike was at Birkhead Mountain Wilderness, not Burkhardt.......


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

 
.....Heading into Saturday's NFL Draft, USC quarterback Matt Leinart is drawing comparisons to Broadway Joe.

With Mario Williams' stock rising, Leinart could be available when the Jets pick fourth.

USC coach Pete Carroll:

"If Matt ends up in New York, he'll be as well prepared as anybody at this stage."

Except Namath.

Carroll:

"I don't know that anybody will ever do it better than Joe did it."

I just finished reading the chapter in Namath that details the Jets' Super Bowl victory over the Colts. I noted that, while the win was seen as the legitimization of pass-crazy AFL football, the Jets won by playing NFL-style smashmouth.

Both Namath and his favorite receiver, Don Maynard, were slowed by injuries. So the Jets resorted to a control game on offense while the defense keyed on Colts QB Earl Morrall, causing him to miss open receivers throughout the game.

So while Namath finished with 206 yards on 17 for 28 passing and no interceptions, he

"remains the only quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP without throwing a touchdown. The best passer in the sport, a master of angles, did not even attempt a pass in the fourth quarter."

I did not know that. So while Namath certainly mink coat style, he knew how run a solid game plan.


Monday, April 24, 2006

 
....If it doesn't kill mice.....

Air quality expert Joel Schwartz discusses lab studies with particulate matter:

".....An embarrassment for proponents of today's historically low air pollution levels as a cause of death is that the evidence is almost solely circumstantial, being based on statistical studies reporting small correlations between air pollution levels and risk of premature death.......

"However, researchers have been unable to kill animals with air pollution at levels anywhere near as low as the levels found in ambient air......

"It is no secret that environmentalists and regulators exaggerate environmental risks. But scientific authority is what imbues these risk claims with their public credibility. Unfortunately, public and journalistic trust in scientific authority is often misplaced."


 
......Blogger was messing with me this morning. I also had another busy weekend, the highlight being a hike in the Burkhardt Mountain Wilderness, off NC 49 near Asheboro. (I'll link when I find one.) Rained like hell on the last leg, with water pouring down elevated sections of the trial.

We also saw a timber rattler lying in the middle of the trail. He had just eaten a squirrel (or so said the hikers who told us to watch out) and was fat, happy and hanging out. Needless to say, we gave him a wide Walk

That was the second time I'd seen a rattlesnake in his element. The first time was going up a mountain bike trail in Colorado. We came to a cattle guard, and my buddy shouldered his bike and went on over. He didn't act like anthing was unusual, and I didn't hear what said as I was going over.

Watch it, there's a rattler, he said. There he was, coiled and shaking just as I was bounding over the cattle guard.

But he took off when my feet hit the ground. He wanted less of me than I did of him, which isn't saying much. I haven't been afraid of snakes since. I just give them their space.


 
.....Legacy Foundation. Bad idea.

Here's my concern, other than the tax hike. Look to our neighbors in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, where school operating budgets and construction costs are already in the $1 billion range. If construction costs are rising as much as school officials in Guilford County say they are, then just how far will $1 billion go in 20 years?


Friday, April 21, 2006

 
.....Shot of oxygen?

"...Oxia, a new company in Vancouver, British Columbia, that sells personal-sized oxygen canisters for everyday use, says consumers are still yearning for concentrated shots of the gas, which makes up about 21 percent of the air we breathe......."

So why buy it when you can just take deep breaths? Oxia CEO Bryce Margetts puts it this way:

"Twenty years ago, who would have thought bottled water would be successful?"

He's got that right. Don't get me wrong, I grab a bottle when it's offered free. But bottled water is the one consumer item that makes me think overabundance is not everything it's cracked up to be. For me, there's also something unsanitary about swigging water from a clear plastic bottle. Too much backwash. And we know where the empties end up.

Personally, I have a water softening system that cost more than I care to print here. But I just draw from the tap and it's gooood. One less thing I have to worry about.


 
....Dr. Sanity, Christopher Hitchens, Hugh Hewitt, Wilentz, Cone.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

 
......Sportswriters are so much better than everyone else at pointing out the obvious....

Charlotte Observer's Tom Sorenson on the Charlotte Bobcats, who just wrapped up another season:

"What the Bobcats lack is the quality that makes a city think about a team and talk about a team, the quality that makes buying tickets feel like a privilege and going to games feel like an opportunity.

"How do the Bobcats acquire the quality?

"They have to win."

No shit.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 
.....Via N&R print edition.......

N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman says ESPN is soft on Bonds:

"And yet, you must pay homage to the professors at Bristol Clown Community College. Not only are they solidly behind "Bonds On Bonds," they have expanded the scope of the "documentary" to include ESPN's 'Sunday Night Baseball.'

"Anyone watching Sunday's Giants-Dodgers telecast knows where this is going. ESPN did everything but follow Bonds to the clubhouse toilet. Or as play-by-play man Jon Miller said: No matter how you see Barry Bonds, the point is that you are looking at him.'

"Miller, along with Peter Gammons, who served as a 'reporter' on Sunday's Giants-Dodgers telecast, also played prominent roles in the first two installments of "Bonds on Bonds." ESPN suits are always inclined to say 'Bonds On Bonds' is a production of its entertainment arm (ESPN Original Entertainment), and separate from its news-gathering operation, so how do they explain Gammons' and Miller's roles in the documentary?"

More disappointing, in my view, is Joe Morgan's reluctance to criticize Bonds. I watched with interest as ESPN broadcast two early-season Giants games with Miller and Morgan in the booth. Twice, Miller opened it up for Morgan to comment on the Bonds situation and Morgan declined, offering only a neutral assessment.

The way I see it, Miller's the play-by-play man and thus should remain objective. But as the color analyst, it's Morgan's job to offer up opinions on the state of the sport.

As a player who, needless to say, made the most of his 5-foot-7, 165-pound frame, I would expect Morgan to speak out against the likes of Bonds. I guess my expectations were too high. Or maybe Morgan thinks Bonds is innocent. Or maybe he's been advised not to speak out.


 
.....OK, this does it......The real reason to hate Rumsfeld.....

From the N.Y. Times review of "Sweet and Low," Rich Cohen's dirty laundry account of the Sweet and Low empire:

"Into family history (Cohen) weaves the history of sugar since 8000 B.C., and of slavery, packaging, dieting, Jews in New York, dangerous drugs and artificial sweeteners (with a cameo by Donald Rumsfeld, hired in 1977 by G. D. Searle & Company in part to get aspartame approved by the Food and Drug Administration)."


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 
........N&O editorial endorses $50 million for a statewide housing trust fund.

Of course, it's for the kids:

"....The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $603 a month nowadays, exceeding the 30 percent-of-income mark for 40 percent of Tar Heel renters.

"The hard choices available to those renters include spending less for food or accepting substandard housing. When families make such choices, children often go to school hungry and sleepy. Learning can't help but suffer, diminishing the future for these young people with every day there is no relief."

But the editorial doesn't address the root cause of the shortage in affordable housing. Fortunately, both the Reason Foundation and the Thoreau Institute do.

TI concludes "that housing costs in California and numerous other parts of the country have been steadily driven up by a housing supply crunch caused by urban planning and land use regulations aimed at controlling growth. These regulations take a variety of forms, such as urban growth boundaries that restrict development on land outside cities, limitations on building permits, cumbersome development approval processes, and numerous environmental and open space preservation rules."

Does this apply to North Carolina? I'd say so. So does Randal O'Toole:

“If North Carolina is not careful, it will soon find itself in the same position as Florida, whose rapidly growing housing prices threaten to devastate that state’s economy.”

O'Toole recommends "that North Carolina cities review their planning rules to insure that they do not prevent homebuilders from meeting the demand for new housing."

Statewide, North Carolina has an aggressive land conservation agenda. It goes all the way to the top, as evidenced by Gov. Easley's recent statement that the state is trying to acquire even more land "at every opportunity."

Here's the interesting part: the $50 million, according to the N&O, would be "enough to house 6,000 families." That sounds like a lot of housing to me. So where are we going to find the land?


 
......Go get a last look at the old North State Chevrolet.......D.H. Griffin is on site......


Monday, April 17, 2006

 
...I had to do a bit of research regarding the previous post, so I'll have to wait until later to connect the dots, so to speak.

In the meantime, I was going to post about Mike Nifong's trip to the restroom, but Floyd Stuart beat me to it.

While I get a kick out of the media's shamelessness, I'd say Nifong's got it coming.


 
....Two views of affordable housing, or the lack thereof, in North Carolina and in California.

More later, maybe......


Sunday, April 16, 2006

 
......Kissinger defends Rumsfeld on Late Edition, describing the secretary as a distinguished public servant and saying, in his opinion, that the problems with the war in Iraq do not reflect poor planning on the part of the Pentagon.

That's good enough for me, but not for Wolf Blitzer. OK, it's Blitzer's job to push guys like Kissinger. It's hard enough for Kissinger to convey his thoughts through the thick German accent. It didn't help matter any that Blitzer kept interrupting him with different versions of the same question, each one containing the phrase "war on the cheap."

Kissinger's bottom line on Iran: It was tough enough conducting foreign policy with just one other nuclear power. If there's going to be a proliferation of nuclear power, the U.S. best be ready.


 
.....N.Y. Times article on celebrities' kids' names:

"If celebrities are the new American aristocracy, the exotic baby name can sometimes function as the equivalent of a royal title, a way for a privileged caste to bestow the power of its legacy on future generations."

Jenn Berman, Beverly Hills shrink:

"There's a sense of 'I'm special, I'm different, and therefore my child is special and different,' " It's unconscious, but they think, 'We're a creative family, you have the potential to be creative, so here, I bestow you with the name 'Joaquin.'"

The bottom line:

"Some therapists said the celebrity impulse to foist odd names on their children amounts to simple narcissism by the parents, and the resulting status comes at the child's expense. The children, after all, are the ones who will have to raise their hands every time a teacher calls out 'Coco' or 'Eulala.'"

I didn't like being plain old 'Sam' while growing up. At that time, it seemed like only dogs and old men were named Sam. But it seems to have made a comeback. I can't turn on the TV without seeing a character named Sam or go to any function involving kids without constantly turning to see who's calling my name.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

 
.....While scanning the obituaries in this mornng's N&R, I was struck by this bit of information on the life of Y-Yon Nie:

"From 1970 to 1973 he attended and graduated from The School of Government Administration and from 1973 to 1975 he served as Director of Ethnic Minority in Quang Duc Provence as well as Deputy Chief of the Montagnard in Khanh Ho Provence. Following the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, he was placed in prison by the communists, where he was badly mistreated, remaining there until 1980."

I'd be interested to hear Mr. Nie's views on the U.S. presence in South Vietnam.


Friday, April 14, 2006

 
....While doing research for an upcoming article, I came across this interesting bit of information from Anaheim mayor Kurt Pringle, regarding the possibility of an pro football franchise in his city. Apparently, the NFL wants more than just a team in Anaheim:

"The NFL came to us a few weeks ago explaining that they are committed to having a football team in the Los Angeles media market by 2008. I think they’re looking at all the opportunities and locations that may present themselves. But one thing that was important to hear from them is that they want to build a state-of-the-art stadium, they want to own it, and they also suggested, specifically, that they want to create a destination. So, they are looking for a facility to be not just a football stadium where you play a dozen games a year, but in fact a facility with other elements and complementary uses—such as hotels, an NFL experience and a component of the Hall of Fame.

"So, when they talk about creating a destination at a football stadium, I believe there’s no better place than Anaheim. With all of the visitors—nearly 20 million people—coming to Anaheim a year already to visit different venues and activities within the city, and with the largest convention facility on the West Coast in our city, Anaheim would be a great fit for the type of football stadium the NFL envisions for Southern California."

Still hard to believe the L.A. market doesn't have pro football.


 
....Hello Pete Rose, goodbye Abraham Lincoln.


 
......As if answering Rosemary Roberts' call for more von Stauffenbergs, five retired generals call for Sec. Rumsfeld's resignation. Seems to me like dissent is indeed alive and well in this country. Fair enough.

But retired Army Maj. Gen John Batiste's call for Rumsfeld's resignation comes as a particular surprise:

"Gen. Batiste commanded the 1st Infantry Division, responsible in Iraq for the hot spots of Tikrit and Samarra, north of Baghdad. On a chilly December night in 2004, he introduced Mr. Rumsfeld to his soldiers thus: "This is a man with the courage and the conviction to win the war on terrorism.'
  
"A Rumsfeld aide said that when the two talked privately, the general voiced no complaints on how Washington, or Mr. Rumsfeld, was waging war.
    
"Of the Iraqi people, he told CNN, 'Iraqis, frankly, in my experience, do not understand democracy. Nor do they understand their responsibility for a free society.'

"But in Iraq last year, Gen. Batiste said: "The Iraqi 4th Division represents what is and what is meant to be in Iraq. The soldiers of the division not only reflect the rich ethnic/religious diversity of Iraq, but they also imbue with the energy, courage and determination which the vast majority of the Iraqi people have for freedom and representative government.'"

I guess things change during the course of a year. Fair enough.
    


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 
...Hello David Letterman, good bye FDR.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 
....The way I read it, the N&R is cautiously optimistic about HOT:

"Will everyone be pleased with the outcome? Probably not.
But the process thus far appears transparent and collaborative, and it will need to remain so to stay viable and credible .

"An open Heart is a healthier Heart."

If they say so.

Seriously, if growth and development is indeed going cross borders, it's a good idea for all government entities to be on the same page. Last year, Guilford and Alamance counties had a real problem communicating about building permits for a couple of houses built on the county line.

Development in HOT could get quite complicated:

"In addition, all four of the plans presented last week were thoughtful and forward-thinking. Each envisions a mixed-use concept that preserves wetlands as well as open spaces for parks, recreation and farming. And each is primarily self-contained, with 'town centers,' employment centers, shopping, entertainment and high-density housing close enough to one another that nearly half of the car commutes by residents and workers would remain within the Heart of the Triad."

But is this not a classic example of urban sprawl? The kind that will cause our children to die before we do? Is this not what Adams Farm and The Cardinal (out by the airport) are right now, minus business?

I realize that the planning behind HOT will help avoid some of the uglier aspects of urban sprawl. There will be more green space and parks, more sidewalks, and the kids probably won't be as fat. The intent is also to avoid the I-40-RTP hassle with shorter car commutes.

But it's still drawing people further from the center city limits and providing little incentive to head downtown. That looks like urban sprawl to me.


 
.....Fisher Park residents bitch about First Horizon Park, again......

I live one mile directly down Eugene form the park, and I'm with Jim Jeffries, who

"....said he enjoys the noises and atmosphere of being close to downtown.
What he hears from the stadium, he said, 'I don't consider it a problem.'"

Noise doesn't bother me. It lets me know something's happening.


Monday, April 10, 2006

 
Alternative transportation, Part II:

"Elijah Wald has spent part of his life walking backward just to get American consciousness moving forward.

"Drivers who see Wald standing on a lonely stretch of highway are universally familiar with his revolutionary tool of change: his thumb.

"A lifetime hitchhiker, musician and writer, Wald, 47, says he believes that the citizens of the United States have become prisoners of an unwarranted wave of fear and paranoia.....

"Wald maintains that hitchhiking is the "perfect antidote" for society's alienation because the intimate encounters with random strangers who welcome you to their space will bring about growth and openness."

My friends know the story well: During spring break of my junior year, I thumbed home from Fort Lauderdale after a week of pretty hard partying. It was definitely a wide crossection of society that helped deliver me safely back to Strong Dorm. A lead singer for a rock band on her way to a gig; a preacher who tried to convert me while he had me in the car; a Viet Nam veteran who liked to party and talk about how we could have won the war; two truckers; and yeah, two guys who wanted to, uh, pick me up in more than the literal sense.

But the key ride was a businessman who had just picked his brans new BMW up at the port in Jacksonville. The only problem was the steering wheel was slightly screwed up.

"If you want to risk your life and ride with me, hop in. I'm heading as far as Charlotte."

I'll take that risk, I told him. I was wondering how I was going to make it through South Carolina.


 
....I read with interest the N&R's lead story and accompanying editorial on efforts to make Greensboro more hikeable and bikeable.

As someone who's been walking and riding his bicycle and Greensboro for 20 years, I disagree that our city unfriendly toward bikers and urban hikers. I'm constantly amazed at how far you can get on a bicycle. Sure, you have to use side streets, but why would one want to pedal down Battleground, even in a bike lane, if you have to endure what Peter Lewis does every day on his way to work — massive tractor trailers" and the foul, choking odor of spent diesel fuel?

That said, I'm willing to listen to the argument that we need more sidewalks and greenways in Greensboro. What kind of nut could possibly be against them? But why can't the N&R make the case without buying into the apocalyptic imagery of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, who says

"....Americans' extreme love affair with their automobiles is a disaster on many fronts: economic, cultural, architectural and in terms of public health."

Of course, it's all for the children, never mind the fact that there are more free-market incentives for kids to exercise today than ever before:

"There will be long-ranging health consequences for children brought up in America's sedentary, drive-everywhere suburban environment. Activity among kids -- walking, biking -- is down. Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are up."

NCBW's Mark Chauncey:

"We may be the first generation in America who lives longer than their children, and our children may live longer than their children," Chauncey said.

A little melodrama never hurts, either:

"The question overlooks why few people walk or ride bicycles: It isn't safe.

"Fixing that will encourage more people to get out of their cars and generate enormous benefits. Imagine if kids could ride their bikes to the park instead of being chauffeured by Mom. If senior citizens could stroll along a shaded greenway. If college students could walk to class from off-campus apartments. If family outings didn't require everyone to pile into an SUV. All that healthy activity, combined with less driving, just might produce a significant gain in quality of life."

Please, help us achieve a significant gain in quality of life. Build more sidewalks.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

 
...Very busy weekend and early Monday.......


Friday, April 07, 2006

 
President Bush at CPCC:

"President Bush isn't used to tongue-lashings, but he got a scolding Thursday from a North Carolina man who told the president that he should be ashamed of himself.

"'While I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water," real estate broker Harry Taylor told Bush at a town hall meeting. "I have never felt more ashamed of nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington.'

"A few minutes later, two men in uniform appeared and dragged Taylor, kicking and screaming, from the auditorium as other members of the audience sat and watched in stunned silence. A gunshot was heard a few minutes later. The president concluded his speech, every sentence greeted by muted applause."

OK, I made up the last part. But that's evidently the world in which Rosemary Roberts lives, as evidenced by her wish for a modern-day Claus von Stauffenberg, who "refused to sit on the sidelines and remain silent."

Yeah, I'd describe exploding a bomb in a conference room as active dissent. And no one in their right mind would argue that the world would have been spared further trauma had von Stauffenberg succeeded in taking out Hitler.

But by using von Stauffenberg as an example in an opinion piece bemoaning the supposed lack of modern-day dissent, is Roberts not suggesting his tactic be used against our president?


Thursday, April 06, 2006

 
......Dr.Sanity provides an update on Sandy Berger, the Clintonite with the major league paper fetish.

Bottom line:

"It is totally amazing to me how incurious the media are about this entire story, since they give lip service to trying to 'connect the dots' of 9/11. Yet, somehow, if those "dots" don't lead to G.W. Bush and friends, the story is of no interest to them."

Stuffing paper down one's pants is indicative of a much larger problem. We know what the problem is; we're just waiting for the media to verify it, for some reason.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 
.....Interesting that I'm reading a football biography just as baseball season is starting.....

'Namath' is a very blog-like book, though. Mark Kriegel writes with a bit of attitude, and the short chapters consist of even shorter passages. You can read as much or as little as you want in one sitting and still come away satisfied.

I just finished the section about the bidding war for Namath's services coming out of Alabama. The NFL Cardinals were making overtures, but they were only feeling him out on behalf of the Giants, who did not wish to openly compete with the crosstown Jets, who made their intentions to draft Joe Willie quite public.

Jets owner Sonny Werblin had the cash to ward off the Giants' Wellington Mara, who was much more conservative with his money. Namath signed for $400,000 and a Jet green Lincoln Continental.

Cleveland quarterback Frank Ryan, who threw a league-leading who threw a league-leading 25 touchdown while leading the Browns to the 1964 NFL championship, made this observation:

"I guess I'll have to ask for a raise of about $980,000. If a fellow who hasn't even pulled on his cleats in pro ball is worth $400,000, then I must be worth a million dollars."

Fair enough, from a man qualified to make such a statement.

Just for fun: Ryan's stats vs. Namath's stats.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 
.......HOT charette begins.

What the hell's a charette?

Professor Debbage explains:

A charette is "an intensive, collaborative design workshop...Charettes have mostly been used by architects to develop design specifications for a single building. In recent years, regional planners have used charettes to gain public support for contentious and substantive planning projects."

A major challenge:

...."developing zoning policies that preserve large land holdings for FedEx-related development (such as warehousing and distribution facilities) while encouraging high-density, mixed-use, transit-friendly residential development. Such development is going to be considered because the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation is the agency that received the matching grant for the HOT study and that type of development is something it would be interested in promoting especially if the HOT study recommends the development of light rail."

So what are the chances the HOT study won't recommend the development of light rail? I'd say slim and none.


Monday, April 03, 2006

 
.....Hope springs eternal.....

The way I see it, one of two things will happen with the Reds this season:

Either the new ownership's spring training moves will provide some competitive momentum, or the team will fall out of contention early and Jerry Narron will be fired.

If the latter happens — and I hope it doesn't — then an outsider will be brought in to turn things around. Lou Piniella's still out there, isn't he? This would be his second run with the Reds, but with one major difference — no more Marge Schott.


 
.....If fight songs matter, I'm pulling for UCLA tonight. Sons of Westwood is one of the best:

We are Sons of Westwood,
And we hail the Blue and Gold;
True to thee our hearts will be,
Our love will not grow old.

Bruins roam the hills of Westwood,
By the blue Pacific shore;
And when they chance to see a man from USC,
Ev’ry Bruin starts to roar.

U! (3 claps)
C! (3 claps)
L! (3 claps)
A! (3 claps)

U-C-L-A! Fight! Fight! Fight!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

 
Cone gets to John Young's piece in this morning's N&R before I can.

I questioned the need for governmental endorsement of the T&R project, not the process itself. That's because I was confident Young's perspective would emerge along with the others.

We just don't realize how close our country was to an implosion in 1979. The enemy was very much within.


 
......The (dying) art of stealing home:

"It helps to have two outs and a weak hitter at the plate, so a manager is more willing to take a chance. It helps to have a left-handed pitcher on the mound, so his back is turned to third base. It helps to have an inkling that a breaking ball is coming, so the pitch is slower to the plate. And it helps to have some signal to send to the batter, so he does not swing and wrap his bat around your head."

Look closely at the photo of Jackie Robinson. Safe or out?


Saturday, April 01, 2006

 
....Reason's Cathy Young follows up on this N.Y. Times article about the rights of unwed fathers.

Young:

"You would think that, unlike men who seek to avoid their paternal responsibilities, fathers who want to be responsible for raising their own children would at least encounter societal sympathy and support. Sadly, that has not generally been the case....In recent decades, thanks to both technology and social change, we have made strides to alleviate the inequality for women, helping them avoid unwanted childbearing. But we have lagged far behind in equalizing the situation for men. We cannot ask men to be equal parents while giving virtually all the power in reproductive decisions to women."

Biological fathers indeed have rights. But the unanswered issue is how single fathers can provide a more stable home than single mothers. My guess is they can't, which is why adoption into two-parent families is the most reasonable solution.

If the states want to set up registries on their own, that's fine. But a federal registry that ultimately would discourage adoption is a bad idea.


 
.....Last night I participated in a spoken word even for nonfiction writers at The Green Bean. The event was organized by my neighbor Jill Yesko and emceed by Cone.

I didn't talk up the event too much because I was insecure about getting behind a microphone and reading my work in front of a (small) audience. But I felt great afterwards, and I felt even better after the other writers present the excellent work. Jill hopes to make this a regular event, and I'll do everything I can to help bring out the large pool of nonfiction writers in our fair city.


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