Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NBA Baby!

My favorite sport, NBA Basketball, kicks off tonight. My Chicago Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-91.

Other highlights:

The Celtics beat the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers their ring night.

I am expecting a minor playoff run for the Bulls and I think Derrick Rose will be the rookie of the year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

People Meters...Racist?

This is a story from AdAge.

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Arbitron's commercialization of its Portable People Meter system in New York and New Jersey radio markets this week triggered a flurry of conflict. The attorneys general of both states filed suit to block implementation of the system, which, they charge, undercounts African American and Hispanic audiences. Arbitron then counter sued. Meanwhile, the Hispanic Radio Association and the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters joined with regional minority radio stations on the steps of New York's City Hall to blast the Arbitron system as inaccurate. Arbitron defends the accuracy of its data gathering.

Here is the video of this report.

This is very important because radio stations base advertising rates on ratings. Remember when the music industry switched to electronic data gathering to measure record sales? Soundscan changed the landscape of the music industry forever. I remember Garth Brooks and Country Music really taking of then. With these portable people meters, the same will happened to radio ratings. The problem is the portable people meters don't appear to be spread over a true representation of the listening public. Newspapers, television,the Internet and mobile media are businesses that use advertising to drive revenue. The whole media upheaval going on now is based on how to measure audience for content. My new position at my employer will study this problem. I feel it is exciting times.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ron Howard: American Icon

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

This is a great, funny take about voting for Obama. Do you all realize the impact Ron Howard has had on American culture? Think about it.. Opie, Richie, Night Shift, Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and yes, Willow...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dolemite is Dead. Long Live Dolemite.

Rudy Ray Moore, comic trailblazer, died on Sunday, October 19. Dolemite is his best known persona. He was raw, unapologetic blackness. He was a black comic for black people in the days of the chitlin' circuit. Unlike his contemporary, Redd Foxx, he never really went mainstream. His larger than life, blacker than black, badder than bad image is the root of rap's braggadocios style. Farai Chideya of NPR's News and Notes had a great analysis of Rudy Ray Moore's impact on American culture here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Day of Voting in Texas

Today is the first day of early voting in Texas. The process was smooth. Texas is prepared for the record turn out. Here is what the electronic ballot looks like. Yes, I voted for Barack Obama.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Palin Funny.

Governor Palin is a good sport. She might hold some crazy opinions, but at least she can laugh at herself. Go to Hulu to catch the best clips from the show last night. This is my favorite one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

His Voice Ran Deep.

Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of the Four Tops passed away today. One of the greatest voices in the history of soul music. It must have ran in the family...his cousin was Jackie Wilson.

The urgency of his voice was so enticing. Listen for yourself..

RIP Soul Brother...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Did Barack Do in the Debate?

Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times:

Thinking About Obama


We’ve been watching Barack Obama for two years now, and in all that time there hasn’t been a moment in which he has publicly lost his self-control. This has been a period of tumult, combat, exhaustion and crisis. And yet there hasn’t been a moment when he has displayed rage, resentment, fear, anxiety, bitterness, tears, ecstasy, self-pity or impulsiveness.

Some candidates are motivated by something they lack. For L.B.J., it was respect. For Bill Clinton, it was adoration. These politicians are motivated to fill that void. Their challenge once in office is self-regulation. How will they control the demons, insecurities and longings that fired their ambitions?

But other candidates are propelled by what some psychologists call self-efficacy, the placid assumption that they can handle whatever the future throws at them. Candidates in this mold, most heroically F.D.R. and Ronald Reagan, are driven upward by a desire to realize some capacity in their nature. They rise with an unshakable serenity that is inexplicable to their critics and infuriating to their foes.

Obama has the biography of the first group but the personality of the second. He grew up with an absent father and a peripatetic mother. “I learned long ago to distrust my childhood,” he wrote in “Dreams From My Father.” This is supposed to produce a politician with gaping personal needs and hidden wounds.

But over the past two years, Obama has never shown evidence of that. Instead, he has shown the same untroubled self-confidence day after day.

There has never been a moment when, at least in public, he seems gripped by inner turmoil. It’s not willpower or self-discipline he shows as much as an organized unconscious. Through some deep, bottom-up process, he has developed strategies for equanimity, and now he’s become a homeostasis machine.

When Bob Schieffer asked him tough questions during the debate Wednesday night, he would step back and describe the broader situation. When John McCain would hit him with some critique — even about fetuses being left to die on a table — he would smile in amusement at the political game they were playing. At every challenging moment, his instinct was to self-remove and establish an observer’s perspective.

Through the debate, he was reassuring and self-composed. McCain, an experienced old hand, would blink furiously over the tension of the moment, but Obama didn’t reveal even unconscious signs of nervousness. There was no hint of an unwanted feeling.

They say we are products of our environments, but Obama, the sojourner, seems to go through various situations without being overly touched by them. Over the past two years, he has been the subject of nearly unparalleled public worship, but far from getting drunk on it, he has become less grandiloquent as the campaign has gone along.

When Bill Clinton campaigned, he tried to seduce his audiences. But at Obama rallies, the candidate is the wooed not the wooer. He doesn’t seem to need the audience’s love. But they need his. The audiences hunger for his affection, while he is calm, appreciative and didactic.

He doesn’t have F.D.R.’s joyful nature or Reagan’s happy outlook, but he is analytical. That’s why this William Ayers business doesn’t stick. He may be liberal, but he is never wild. His family is bourgeois. His instinct is to flee the revolutionary gesture in favor of the six-point plan.

This was not evident back in the “fierce urgency of now” days, but it is now. And it is easy to sketch out a scenario in which he could be a great president. He would be untroubled by self-destructive demons or indiscipline. With that cool manner, he would see reality unfiltered. He could gather — already has gathered — some of the smartest minds in public policy, and, untroubled by intellectual insecurity, he could give them free rein. Though he is young, it is easy to imagine him at the cabinet table, leading a subtle discussion of some long-term problem.

Of course, it’s also easy to imagine a scenario in which he is not an island of rationality in a sea of tumult, but simply an island. New presidents are often amazed by how much they are disobeyed, by how often passive-aggressiveness frustrates their plans.

It could be that Obama will be an observer, not a leader. Rather than throwing himself passionately into his causes, he will stand back. Congressional leaders, put off by his supposed intellectual superiority, will just go their own way. Lost in his own nuance, he will be passive and ineffectual. Lack of passion will produce lack of courage. The Obama greatness will give way to the Obama anti-climax.

We can each guess how the story ends. But over the past two years, Obama has clearly worn well with voters. Far from a celebrity fad, he is self-contained, self-controlled and maybe even a little dull.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Prep for Tonight's Debate

My great employer, the Austin American-Statesman, created interactive bingo cards for the debate. You can also print them out.

This is McCain's and this is Obama's

Bonus prep:
This is Palin's bingo card.

And as a special bonus, an interactive image of Palin as President.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brownington Post

The new Tina Brown news portal is The Daily Beast. I am not quite sure what to make of it. It's kinda clunky, but very smart. Almost too smart for it's own good. Ms. Brown surrounds herself with talented, opinionated commentators sure to rise up the ire of liberals, conservatives, trendsetters and the intellectual elite.

The 1st scoop the site got was the splendid commentary by Christopher Buckley and his reasons for voting Obama in November. What did he get for his intellectual honesty? The door hitting him in the ass as he leaves the magazine his father founded. (By the way, I know I am slow, but I didn't know that Christopher Buckley wrote the book Thank You for Smoking. I enjoyed the movie so I have to read the book.)

Ms. Brown wrote her own piece about Obama. I think she engages in the subtle racial digs that sports commentators fall into when describing black athletes. There is a tendency to describe the black athlete as natural or raw talent, while using smart, intellectual and hard-working to describing white athletes. Better lucky than smart Tina? Really? A commentator on Tina's post wrote this and I agree:


"Sure, Tina. The black guy couldn't possibly be running the must
economically successful campaign in American history. He couldn't have the
best ground game of any democrat in recent history. He couldn't have
defeated Hillary Clinton and the most powerful democratic machine of the
late 20th century because voters actually supported him. No, he's not
smart, gifted, organized, or presidential. He's just lucky. Can you
imagine anybody describing a white politician who has accomplished as much
as Obama in this way?..."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Congratulations Mr Krugman.

From the New York Times...

Krugman Wins Economics Nobel

Paul Krugman, a professor at Princeton and an Op-Ed page columnist for The New York Times, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday.

The prize committee cited Mr. Krugman for his “analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity.”

Mr. Krugman, 55, is probably more widely known for his Op-Ed columns in which he has been a perpetual thorn in President Bush’s (and now John McCain’s) side. His columns have won him both strong supporters and ardent critics.

The prize, however, was awarded for the academic — and less political — research that he conducted primarily before he began writing regularly for The Times.

“To be absolutely, totally honest, I thought this day might come some day, but I was absolutely convinced it wasn’t going to be this day,” Mr. Krugman said in an interview on Monday. “I know people who live their lives waiting for this call, and it’s not good for the soul. So I put it out of my mind and stopped thinking about it.”

Mr. Krugman won the prize for his research, beginning in 1979, that explained patterns of trade among countries, as well as what goods are produced where and why.

Traditional trade theory assumes that countries are different and will exchange only the kinds of goods that they are comparatively better at producing — wine from France, for example, and rice from China.

This model, however, dating from David Ricardo’s writings of the early 19th century, was not reflected in the flow of goods and services that Mr. Krugman saw in the world around him. He set out to explain why worldwide trade was dominated by a few countries that were similar to one another, and why a country might import the same kinds of goods it exported.

In his model, many companies sell similar goods with slight variations. These companies become more efficient at producing their goods as they sell more, and so they grow. Consumers like variety, and pick and choose goods from among these producers in different countries, enabling countries to continue exchanging similar products. So some Americans buy Volkswagens and some Germans buy Fords.

He developed this work further to explain the effect of transportation costs on why people live where they live. His model explained under what conditions trade would lead people or companies to move to a particular region or to move away.

Mr. Krugman’s work has been praised for its simplicity and practicality — features economists are often criticized for ignoring.

“Some people think that something deep only comes out of great complexity,” said Maurice Obstfeld, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who wrote a textbook on international economics with Mr. Krugman. “Paul’s great strength is to take something very simple and make something new and very profound.”

Mr. Krugman applied his skill at translating complex ideas into clear, entertaining prose to his Times columns, which he began writing in 2000. In recent years, in his column and a related blog on nytimes.com, nearly everything about the Bush administration — from health care policy to Iraq to “general incompetence” — has been the object of his scorn.

Along the way, Mr. Krugman has come in for criticism himself from both economists and lay readers.

“Much of his popular work is disgraceful,” said Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, who this year wrote a comprehensive review of Mr. Krugman’s body of Times columns. “He totally omits all these major issues where the economics conclusion goes against the feel-good Democratic Party ethos, which I think he’s really tended to pander to especially since writing for The New York Times.”

But he has equally fervent fans of his popular work.

“I praise today’s prize as being deserving and even overdue, but more than that I reproach the Pulitzer committee, which owed him at least a couple of prizes in the past,” said Paul A. Samuelson, a previous winner of the Nobel in economic science. “Paul Krugman is the only columnist in the United States who has had it right on almost every count from the beginning.”

Mr. Krugman said he did not expect his award to have much effect on how colleagues and his popular readership — whether they be friends or foes — regard him.

“For economists, this is a validation but not news,” he said. “We know what each other has been up to.”

“For readers of the column,” he added, “maybe they will read a little more carefully when I’m being economistic, or maybe have a little more tolerance when I’m being boring.”

He said he did not expect the prize to silence his critics, given the treatment of another outspoken laureate, the 2001 winner Joseph E. Stiglitz. Mr. Stiglitz has been both praised and criticized for his writings on whether globalization in its current form has been beneficial.

“I haven’t noticed him getting an easy time,” Mr. Krugman said. “People just say, ‘Sure, he’s a great Nobel laureate and he’s very smart, but he still doesn’t know what he’s talking about in this situation.’ I’m sure I’ll get the same thing.”

Mr. Krugman first gained a popular following while writing about economics for Slate magazine and Forbes in the 1990s. He frequently weighed in on contemporary free trade debates related to his research.

“He was appalled by the monster he created,” said Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate, who hired Mr. Krugman. “He’d come up with this theory about why sometimes free trade wasn’t the best policy, and suddenly everyone was citing it as an argument against free trade, while he thinks it applies once in a blue moon.”

While Mr. Krugman’s popular writing is now more focused on politics and his research more concentrated on international finance, he has occasionally returned to his interest in trade. In the last year he has written several times about the negative results of free trade, both in his column and in a paper he wrote for the Brookings Institution about whether trade with poor countries increases inequality in developed nations like the United States.

In 1991 Mr. Krugman received the John Bates Clark medal, a prize given every two years to an economist under 40 who has made a significant contribution to economic knowledge. He follows a long list of Clark medal recipients who have gone on to win Nobels in economic science, including Mr. Stiglitz and Mr. Samuelson.

Mr. Krugman, who grew up on Long Island and has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a doctorate from M.I.T., has been teaching at Princeton since 2000. This semester, he is teaching a graduate-level course in international monetary theory and policy. He often teaches all-freshman seminars on issues related to economics.

Mr. Krugman joins another Princeton economist, albeit one of different ideological leanings, who has been in the news recently: Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve who, coincidentally, offered Mr. Krugman his Princeton post. Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Krugman were fellow graduate students at M.I.T. in the 1970s.

Their era at M.I.T. produced several other economists who went on to prestigious careers in public policy, including Olivier Blanchard and Kenneth Rogoff, the current and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Monday’s award, the last of the six prizes, is not one of the original Nobels. It was created in 1968 by the Swedish central bank in Alfred Nobel’s memory. Mr. Krugman was the sole winner of the award this year, which includes a prize of about $1.4 million.

Still, his collaborators and mentors in his international trade research — some of whom were considered competing candidates for the prize — extended their praise.

“Lots of people are saying to me, ‘Why didn’t you get it?’” said Jagdish Bhagwati, an economics professor at Columbia who helped Mr. Krugman publish one of his seminal papers when other academics thought it was too simple to be true. “Given the fact that I didn’t get it, this is the next best thing.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back to the Grill Again

I made a conscience decision to stay away from the blog and my media fixes. It felt good to unplug a little. To catch up, I went to Jason Linkins' TV SoundOff on the Huffington Post. It is a must read on Sunday as a catch-all for the political commentary. This video was on the site. It is funny as hell.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Are McCain Rallies Becoming Lynching Parties?

This stuff is getting out of hand.

Respectful disagreement is part of democratic discourse. What is going at McCain rallies is really disappointing.

is one story about it. Here is another.

Now, McCain has to defend Obama as a "descent man". Rock, please meet Mr. Hardplace...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy makin' other plans." Happy Birthday to Father and Son.

John Lennon would have be 68 today. It is still strange that he has been gone for almost 28 years. His youngest son, Sean shares a birthday with his father. He is 33 today.

It is amazing how much he looks like his father. Actually, John had some strong genes because Julian has a strong resemblance to his father also.

In 1997, I was living on Sullivan Street in the Soho section of Greenwich Village. As I was walking to my apartment, a dude roller blading with his girlfriend bump into me. No harm no foul. He was so nice and apologetic, I didn't notice that it was Sean Lennon with his girlfriend at the time, Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Viagra for My LapTop

I finally bought the Leopard upgrade for my MacBook Pro. I am looking forward to improved performance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That One is Going to Be President

Questions from the debate:

How will conservatives like a new government program that looks to spend another $300 Billion dollars on buying bad mortgages? By the way Senator McCain, the bailout plan already has money available for this.

Why can't John McCain say middle class?

Why did John McCain have to question the knowledge of the black man on his knowledge of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

If McCain has the foreign policy experience, why did he say that Barack was right on Afghanistan? Plus, why did he get General Petraeus's title wrong?

Why can't Senator McCain call Barack Obama like Senator, or Barack or Obama or homey, or bro? "That One?" C'mon man!

"Green behind the ears"?

What does McCain have against Tom Brokaw? And by the way, doesn't Tom Brokaw know that people want to hear the candidates and not him yap about time limits?

Is it me or did McCain seem really old stalking the stage like a grandfather chasing imaginary grandchildren? Or worse, like the death scene of Don Vito Corleone in the garden?

Putin on the Hits.

I am in a good mood. I got the position I wanted at my employer. I enjoyed a very entertaining Monday Night Football game. Even the markets are starting on an mild upswing today. I really believe Obama is going to do very well in tonight's debate and I think I am going to have to plan someway and somehow to go to a historic inauguration.

So as I am checking my email, I see this headline:

Judo Black Belt Putin shows off moves in DVD.

Putin cracks me up. When Bush talked about looking into the soul of Putin, maybe it was because Putin put a nasty judo chop to his neck and Bush was dizzy. Putin is the guy that heisted Robert Kraft's SuperBowl Ring.

Vladimir Putin is 56 years old today. I am wishing him a happy birthday, so he doesn't put a smackdown on my ass or steal any of my stuff.

I think we need a showdown between Vladimir Putin and Chick Norris.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Position

After 4 months of aggravation, I am changing positions at my employer. I am moving from the accounting department to the marketing department.

My new position is the Competitive Media Analyst. I will gather, prepare and present media information to help our clients make effective media buys. That's sounds pretty good. I will essentially be a professional information junkie. Pretty cool.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Overtime Baseball

I don't know what it is about extra-inning playoff baseball that always pulls me in. It is currently top of the 12th inning of a 4-4 game between the Red Sox and the Angels.

Each pitch can be ecstasy or agony. I love how the crowd ohhs and moans and cheers with every play.

Who needs sleep when you have playoff baseball?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It was 13 years ago today, That Mr. Simpson Barely Got Away

But not today O.J.!

OJ was found guilty
of 12 counts of robbery and kidnapping in Nevada yesterday. It was 13 years to the day that he was acquitted of killing his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I felt sadness and I wondered how it leave race relations in America. It also highlighted the class warfare that at times transcends racial issues. Now 13 years later, we have a black man in great position to become the next president and our government has signed a new rescue (bailout) plan for $840 billion dollars. I believe race is still an issue, but class might be surpassing it. The bailout, to me, is about wall street bankers taking stupid risks, mortgage companies taking stupid risks, consumers taking stupid risks, house flippers taking stupid risks. Why? The American need for more. More house, more money. Keeping with the Britneys, Sex in the City shoes, the Entourage lifestyle, everyone wanting to be the playa or big baller. Most of us want to be in the exclusive, VIP, high-end part of life. I am guilty as anyone. I believe this is such a chance in history to re-evaluate who we are as Americans and what the purposes of capitalism and government. I just feel this is a great opportunity for America the lead and be revolutionary again. I have no reason for it, it is sometime I just really believe.

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Thoughts on the Debate.

After reading the reviews and listening to the pundits, I have some questions.

If Sarah Palin doesn't want to answer any questions except the ones she hears in her head, how can she be accountable?

Why is the country full of Joe Six Packs? What about Jane Six Pack? What about soccer dads?

Why do we need more of Wasilla, Alaska in Washington D.C.? Doesn't D.C. have enough of a drug problem?

I think my problem with McCain/Palin is their idea of main street America. That smells kinda exclusive to me. I think it is a subtle version of fear mongering. Let's face it, the country is changing. Nixon's silent majority includes people of color, gay people, people of different or no religious faith.

The debate was good. Biden and Palin are professionals. People will have to make the choice between substance and style. I must admit, I love when Joe Biden goes third person and when he held his hand up to his ear.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thoughts of the Vice Presidential Debate

I love Gwen Ifill. Radiant in the green jacket. What great command.

Gov. Palin ask if she can call Senator Biden, Joe. Trying to disarm him.

Question #1 about the financial crisis.

Joe Biden gets the first question and hits it out of the park.

Palin is staying away from the direct question with platitudes. How does watching a kid's soccer game say anything about the economy?

Will she every answer a question?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't F*ck with Grandpa Al

Some people are bigger than their own legend. Al Davis just might be one of them. He is the roaring lion in winter.

Al Davis on firing Kiffin
Al Davis on firing Kiffin

He looks at a junior science teacher scolding his students. How many press conferences have a desk lamp and an overhead projection? This guy is a maverick.