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07/04/08 - 10/04/08

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Sez Feds: Lieberman Website Was NOT Hacked
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:00:00 PM

Filed under: Senate, Breaking News, Scandal, Investigations On the eve of the contentious 2006 primary battle between Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and his progressive rival and netroots fav, businessman Ned Lamont, a terrible thing happened joe2006.com and it's hosted email crashed and burned. Immediately, fingers started pointing at the Lamont campaign and it's supporters, accusing the same of taking down the site with denial of server attacks to interfere with last minute fund-raising and voter information. Slate recalls the incident: The senator's aides, not known for their cyber-savvy, reacted as though they were choking to death. Without the site, their email and much of their get-out-the-vote operation was kaput. They called it "a coordinated attack" and an "attempt to suppress voter participation and undermine the voting process." They contacted state and federal law enforcement officials to request a criminal investigation. State officials contacted the FBI. Reporters spent the day chasing the story. Lamont was forced to clarify that he knew nothing about the crash and that whoever caused it should desist. For much of the afternoon, there was talk of a challenge to the

election's validity. The Lamont team, ahead in the polls, tech savvy and coming off just raising a million dollars online reacted quickly to the angy calls for their heads. Lamont's people quickly denounced whoever did it under extreme pressure from the press, while campaign techs and supporters (full disclosure - I was one) tried to figure out, technically, what had happened to Lieberman's site - knowing full well they were not responsible for the crash: For Lieberman, the debate over what had caused the crash was often humiliating. Lamont supporters, journalists, and other skeptics asked whether the senator's team had paid its server bills and had devoted enough money, personnel, machines, and disk space to its Internet operation. They pointed out that Lamont's site was fine. There was an argument over whether Lieberman had reserved only 10 gigabytes per month, or, as his campaign insisted, 200. "Bandwidth" was the word of the day. Lamont aides, offering to send Lieberman a techie, suggested that the senator could rely temporarily on Google's cache of his site. Lieberman's tech consultant pleaded his case, explaining that the campaign had upgraded its traffic capacity to handle video circulation. Nearly 2 years later,the Stamford, CT Advocate announced today that FBI found the Lamont campaign harmless in this matter:

A federal investigation has concluded that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's 2006 reelection campaign was to blame for the crash of its Web site the day before Connecticut's heated Aug. 8 Democratic primary. The FBI office in New Haven found no evidence supporting the Lieberman campaign's allegations that supporters of primary challenger Ned Lamont of Greenwich were to blame for the Web site crash. Lieberman, who was fighting for his political life against the anti-Iraq war candidate Lamont, implied that

joe2006.com was hacked by Lamont supporters. "The server that hosted the joe2006.com Web site failed because it was overutilized and misconfigured. There was no evidence of (an) attack," according to the e-mail. A program that could have detected a legitimate attack was improperly configured, the e-mail states. "New Haven will be administratively closing this investigation," it concluded. Ned Lamont won that primary. As you'll remember Joe Lieberman became a member of the Lieberman for Lieberman party and was returned to the Senate after being supported by a not-too-shabbly plurality of the state's Repulicans. Henceforth, Joe had (I-CT) after his name, promised to caucus with the Dems and Harry Reid let him keep his ranking member status and committee chairmanships. What's Holy Joe doing today? Supporting the Iraq war more forcefully than ever, instigating for an invasion of Iran, supporting John McCain's campaign and propping the old man up by whispering the correct answers in his ear. Ned Lamont may not have won the Senate seat, but he won the war. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Option Update: Wal-Mart and Dupont raise outlook
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:56:00 AM

Filed under: Wal-Mart (WMT), duPont(E.I.)deNemours (DD), Options Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(NYSE: WMT) sees Q1 EPS 74 to 76 cents verses prior guidance of 70-74 cents. WMT over all option implied volatility of 24 is below its 26-week average of 26 according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional price risk. DuPont(NYSE: DD) raised its Q1 2008 earnings outlook reflecting strong agriculture and emerging markets growth. DD over all option implied volatility of 29 is near its 26-week average according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional risk. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Captured in Cheney's Sunglasses
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:09:00 AM

Filed under: Breaking News, Dick Cheney, Humor Here's question you're not asked everyday: What is that odd image

being reflected in Dick Cheney's sunglasses? The photo comes to us from the Cheney's Facebook page, er, from the White House website, and its caption reads: Vice President Dick Cheney spends an afternoon fly-fishing on the Snake River in


Conspiracy theorists are having a field day trying to figure out exactly how much clothing this figure may or may not have on. Lynne, is that you? Here's the image blown up a bit. In the interest of saving democracy as we know it, and given that it's a slow news

day, we've decided to conduct a Rorschach poll. Tell us what you see. View Poll Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments



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Graphing the Surge: Petraeus Testimony Slides
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 2:00:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Featured Stories, Iraq Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once famously wondered in a memo to his staff whether the Pentagon had a handle on the proper "metrics" with which to measure success or failure in the war on terror. He would have liked to have had the slides Gen. David Petraeus was armed with for his Congressional testimony this week. The package of graphs and charts paint a clear picture of the security improvements in Iraq over the past year and show that by every measure, the troop surge has been a success. This slide shows the downward trend in civilian deaths since the surge began in earnest in July of last year. There was no explanation for the difference between Iraqi figures and Coalition statistics; but it is clear that the surge, along with the Sunni insurgent groups siding with Iraqi and Coalition forces against al-Qaeda, has had the intended effect of reducing violence between sectarian groups and has made daily life safer for ordinary Iraqi citizens. This slide shows how violence between ethnic groups has been reduced in Baghdad. The Yellow, orange, and red areas are density plots of acts of violence between Sunnis and Shiites. Note that in December 2006, Baghdad was aflame in ethnic violence. Just four months later, as the first units of the surge made their way into Baghdad, violence level were beginning to subside. They have continued to decrease in frequency resulting in the relatively placid Baghdad map in the lower

right corner. Gen. Petraeus allowed that some of the reduction in violence and deaths in the city is due to "sectarian hardening of certain Baghdad neighborhoods," but said that U.S. and Iraqi troops have been concentrating on "fault lines" where ethnically different neighborhoods meet in order to give Baghdadis the space and security under which to mend their differences. This chart shows the result of improving relationships among Iraq's ethnic divides. High-profile attacks, meaning market bombings, attacks at mosques, and suicide attacks are down to less than 50% of their

total since last year at this time. The recent up tick in March is a result of increased alQaeda activity in March as the coalition and Iraqi forces squeeze the terrorist groups out of their last remaining hideouts. Al-Qaeda has been driven out of large areas of Iraq, most notably Anbar province, the northern suburbs of Baghdad, and the Sunni triangle south and west of the city as shown by the reduction in red areas in this slide. The terror group is now concentrated in and around Mosul and in the far northern reaches of Diyala Province, having recently been cleared out of Baqubah. The Iraqi government is

readying forces to fight al-Qaeda in Mosul in what should be the decisive battle that once and for all banishes the foreign led and manned terror group from the country. Iraq will have plenty of well trained troops to battle al-Qaeda in Mosul. Gen. Petraeus stressed that in addition to the U.S troop surge, there has been an Iraqi one as well. The Iraqi army now has 171 battalions, well over half of which are capable of leading operations. That number is up from 115 battalions when the surge was announced in January of last year. Part of that announcement was the commitment by the Iraqi government to provide the forces necessary to help secure the country. This slide shows that they have lived up to that promise. The result of all of this is that the Iraqi have been able to take primary security responsibility for more of their own territory. Six additional provinces have been handed over to Iraqi control since last year, with two more anticipated in the next two months. Another five provinces, including the capital, are slated to be turned over by the end of this year. It is no wonder that Gen. Petraeus's hearings on Capitol Hill yesterday and today were so uneventful. Faced with the evidence of the dramatic and quantifiable success of the troop surge, there is little for an Iraq skeptic to criticize. The war is going well thanks to the skilled leadership of Gen. Petraeus, and the patient diplomacy of Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Congress would do well to stay out of their way, and let the troops, their general , and their partners in the Iraqi government and security forces continue to win the war. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Streets of San Francisco
By Faye Anderson (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 4:34:00 PM

Et tu, YouTube?
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:23:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Featured Stories, Viral Video Ah, YouTube. Forever have you poisoned the political well. With your seemingly bottomless memory cup, you let no utterance, however fleeting, go gentle into that good night. Today's statesmen

must wrestle with a daunting reality: anybody with a camcorder can, like that, erect a stop sign on the road that leads to higher office. A little cutting and pasting on a laptop, maybe slap on some background music and titles, and who needs to pay a 527 to the dirty work? You thought you knew the true nature of your candidate? Well, YouTube thinks otherwise, and it has the video to prove it. Consider the latest hit on John McCain:

Or how about this regurgitated news report by ABC concerning Hillary Clinton's six years on Walmart's Board of Directors. And what round-up would be complete without a Barack Obama/Richard Wright highlight reel? My sense is that the more we are inundated with YouTube files, the less potent their effect will be. But try telling that to George Allen. He will forever go

down as the first death by the YouTube blade. Some viral video is just too powerful. Direct footage of the candidate in question, that does not require special effects, editing, or the addition of spooky music, is, of course, the most damning. For that reason alone Allen will forever be the gold standard of YouTube casualties. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Barack Obama, Scandal The hills of San Francisco were alive with the sounds of protests and demonstrations over China's human rights policy. As a former resident of the City by the Bay, it seemed a strange choice to host the Beijing Olympic torch relay. San Francisco has the second largest Chinese American population in the United States, and an engaged citizenry ready to join a demonstration at the slightest provocation. China's crackdown on Tibet and refusal to intervene in the crisis in Darfur provide ample provocation. Indeed, Hillary Clinton has called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies: The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for Presidential leadership. These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government. By contrast, Barack Obama wants to wait and see: As I have communicated in public and to the president, it is past time for China to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people ... a boycott of the opening ceremonies should be firmly on the table, but this decision should be made closer to the games. Let the political games begin. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Obama Reneges on Public Funding
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:17:00 AM

'Billy' - New Obama Ad
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 2:25:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, 2008 President, Fundraising Obama in September: "In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." Well, that's not fair to Obama. When he signed that, McCain was polling in the low teens and single digits, and never in a million years did anyone think he was actually going to win. Now we expect him to live up to that pledge? Ha! think again,

via Jake Tapper: Tonight at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of Women in the Arts -- at a $2,300-per-person event for 200 people held before a $1,000-perperson reception for 350 people -- Obama previewed his argument to justify this possible future discarding of a principle. "We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful," Obama said. He says this like it's a new thing, as if he just now discovered it. Which is hilarious, and it also is more than just a little self serving, since he's out raising John McCain by 3-1. In which case, there is no way that he was going to give that money up. Everyone knows that, the only amusing thing is the attempt to spin. I'd like some honesty, as in: Yeah when I made that pledge, I didn't think McCain would win and I didn't think I could raise as much money as I am, so I'm reneging on it, sue me. Of course McCain himself has already discovered Obama's true stripes, and wrote

him a letter to that effect: I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership's preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self -interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Barack Obama, Ads, 2008 President Adding to the 100,000 times an Obama for President ad has run (totaling over $60 million), Barack Obama has another spot airing in Pennsylvania. This :30 second spot is titled "Billy." The ad's script reads: "Barack Obama: The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies. And you know what the chairman of the committee, who pushed the law through went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making $2M a year. Imagine that. That's an example of the same old game playing in Washington.

You know I don't want to learn how to play the game better, I want to put an end to the game playing." The ad is referencing Bill Tauzin who was chairman of the committee and is now president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Also, the same group touring America providing free prescription drugs to meanstested applicants. And of course, everyone knows that Obama has taken gobs of campaign cash from lobbyists directly both in his U.S. Presidential campaign and throughout his career as a politician. Nonetheless, this ad strikes a cord and is an effective populist appeal. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Pre-market movers (VMED) (LOOK)
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:20:00 AM

Senators Flying the Byrd Coop?
By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:30:00 AM

Filed under: Senate, Democrats, Featured Stories There reportedly are mutterings around Congress that Sen. Robert Byrd cannot properly manage the upcoming wartime spending bill. But whoever is complaining about the 90-year-old senior Democratic senator from West Virginia isn't doing so publicly. Politico reports today that some Senate Democrats, specifically Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., are worried that Byrd, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, may not be up to the task of getting the spending bill done. He has been hospitalized twice so far this year, once for

a fall and the second time for a reaction to antibiotics he was taking for an infection. Spokesmen in both Durbin and Dorgan's offices emphatically deny they are part of any coup to oust Byrd from the committee. Most in the Senate speak of Byrd like they would a grandfather, with some being fiercely loyal to the longest-serving U.S. senator - publicly, at least. Roll Call ( subscribe) reports that Byrd is coming to his own defense and placing "strategically placed calls to influential lawmakers." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Wednesday downplayed speculation that the tough old Byrd would be replaced on the appropriations committee, The Hill reports, saying he would continue to head the powerful panel "until something else comes up." It wasn't long after Byrd's hospital stays

that reports were swirling about seniorlevel discussions among top aides over who would replace Byrd in the Senate and on the powerful appropriations committee.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, the 83-year-old Democratic senator from Hawaii and chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, could be a favorite. But CQ says Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., could be a backup should Byrd not be able to work the wartime bill through the appropriations process. Murray and others apparently have been taking on extra duties to help lessen Byrd's load. "We're all doing our job so that he can do his," Murray said, according to CQ. "The future role of Sen. Byrd will depend on Sen. Byrd." Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Before the bell, LookSmart Ltd (LOOK) Force Protection(NASDAQ: FRPT) gets sales for trucks in UK. Up almost 13% on the news. LookSmart(NASDAQ: LOOK) is up 10% on comments on a positive Q1. Millennium Pharmaceuticals(NASDAQ: MLNM) is up over 50% on a buy-out bid from Takeda Pharmaceutical. Virgin Media(NASDAQ:V MED) is off over 12% on news it is raising $1 billion. Stocks may trade differently in the premarket than they do in the regular session. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Bush Listens to General on Withdrawal 5 foreign stocks to love, highest paid CEOs & 6 best credit cards Pause
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:00:00 AM

Filed under: President Bush, Democrats, Breaking News, Iraq, Nancy Pelosi Now that Iraq Commander Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker have made their report to Congress, President Bush will announce in a speech at the White House today that he is accepting their advice and ordering a halt to U.S troop withdrawals this summer. Petraeus has counseled the pause in troop drawdowns for a 45-day assessment of Iraqi security forces ability to maintain security gains made by the troop surge. The president will announce that he will not order any additional troop withdrawals until mid-September at the earliest, depending on conditions on the ground. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the text of an angry letter she addressed to President Bush in anticipation of his remarks. "General Petraeus admitted on Tuesday that `we haven't turned any corners, we haven't seen any lights at the end of the tunnel' [in Iraq]. The American people are entitled to know when they will receive a more hopeful report than the one provided by General Petraeus, and what changes in policy you will make to achieve it before you leave office." But just last week, Pelosi warned Gen. Petraeus not to, "put a shine on recent events," in Iraq, particularly in Basra. Apparently, from the text and tone of her

letter, however, the Speaker wishes he had not heeded that warning. Petraeus's sober and convincing assessment of the condition in Iraq, he termed progress there as, "significant but uneven," and, "fragile and reversible," has won over the president and the civilian and military command inside the Pentagon. At the end of last year, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military advisers to the president, came out publicly against a pause in U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, fearing that further delays would result in additional strain on the Army and Marine Corps. The former commander of U.S. Central Command, Petraeus's commanding officer, Admiral William Fallon, was also reported to be against the idea. But

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced his support for the Petraeus plan in early January, ending any doubt that the president himself would not ultimately accept the general's advice. The president will also announce a reduction in the length of combat tours for units assigned to Iraq. Beginning with units deployed to Iraq after August 1, combat tours will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months, a move that should please those in the Pentagon that are concerned with the strain on the armed forces. Even with the shorter tours and the continuing troop withdrawals until July, there will still be 15 brigades, about 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for the November elections. Before the surge strategy was announced in early 2007, Democrats and war critics urged the president to "listen to the generals," and settle on a course of withdrawal from Iraq rather than surging troops into the middle of a violent civil war. Now, however, the brilliant leadership of Gen. Petraeus has turned the Iraq war from an unwinnable one, in the minds of those critics, to one in which the United States stands a very good likelihood of success. President Bush is listening to Petraeus, who has been proven to have been right about Iraq all along. Democrats and war critics should take their own advice and listen to him as well. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

- Today in Money 4/10
By Allan Halprin (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:07:00 AM

Lieberman's Misconfigured Server Took It Offline -- Not Opposition DoS Attacks
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 11:32:00 AM

You may recall back in 2006, that every time a politician's web server went down, they used it as an opportunity to blame the opposition for hacking their machine or sending a denial of service attack. Joe Lieberman got the most publicity for such a claim, with his staff very clearly claiming

it was an opposition attack, while many others pointed out that it looked like Lieberman's campaign was set up on a cheap hosting platform with very low bandwidth limits. Either way, the Lieberman campaign called in the Feds to see if they could track down the mysterious "attacker." And, now, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we know that the FBI quickly concluded there was

no attack. It was, as expected, a very poorly configured server. Even better, the same sysadmin who misconfigured the server then couldn't figure out why the server went down, and so it was he who originally blamed a malicious attack as an explanation to cover up his own bad job. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Filed under: Yahoo! (YHOO), Time Warner (TWX), Wal-Mart (WMT), Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Nokia Corp. (NOK), Money and Finance Today, American Express (AXP), Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY), CBS Corp 'B' (CBS), Merrill Lynch (MER), Goldman Sachs Group (GS), duPont(E.I.)deNemours (DD), Oracle Corp (ORCL), News Corp'B' (NWS), AMR Corp (AMR) In the News:· News Corp., AOL Eye Yahoo Deals· Yahoo's New Bedfellows: AOL and Google· Wal-Mart March Sales Soft, But Ups Profit Forecast· Retailers Post Sluggish March Sales· Wal-Mart Moments Never Meant for Display Are Released· American Airlines Cancels Flights for Third Day· Toyota Recalls Half Million Vehicles· DuPont Raises 1Q Estimates· Bed, Bath & Beyond Profit Drops· Katie Couric May Leave CBS News Early 5 Foreign Stocks to Love Concerned about your domestic investments in today's troubled economy? Consider these international companies, which can be easily purchased right here in the U.S. They include Finland's Nokia, China's CNOOC, Brazil's Embraer, U.K's InterContinental Hotels Group and Ireland's Allied Irish Banks. 5 foreign stocks we love - How we chose the stocks (1) - CNNMoney.com Highest Paid CEOs Stocks may have fallen in 2007, but executive pay sure didn't. And if the multimillion dollar paydays for CEOs doesn't raise eyebrows, the 'perks' that go along with the money certainly will. These include corporate jets, special security, private cars with drivers to country club dues and vacations. Among the top paid

CEOS including base pay, perks and other compensation are Merrill Lynch's new CEO John Thain, Oracle's Larry Ellison, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and American Express' Kenneth Chenault who each made over $50 million last year. List: Highest Paid CEOs Stocks may fall, but execs' pay doesn't - USATODAY.com CEO perks often include use of company jet, security - USATODAY.com Retirees Turn to Communes With living costs spiraling upward and empty-nesters feeling a need for a greater sense of community in their lives, some baby boomers are reconsidering the concept of group living. This time around, the idea holds appeal as a cost-efficient, socially engaging way to spend their golden years. Baby boomers go back to the commune Bankrate 12 Tips for Midnight Tax Filers These tips will help ensure that you get your return into Uncle Sam's hands on time while mailing at the last possible moment. Many happy, but last-minute, returns The Best Credit Cards Today From low fees to frequent-flyer miles: 6 cards that give you something back. The best credit cards - CNNMoney.com Secrets of Lawn Pros We reveal seven tips to get your yard looking great this year. Plus, how do lawn services compare? ConsumerReports.org - Lawn care: Steps to a great yard, Lawn care services Plus: Lawn Care Services: How Do They Stack Up? Review: Comparing Nationwide Lawncare Service Providers - Lawn Doctor, Naturalawn, Scotts & TruGreen Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Why Does Canada Hate John McCain?
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:32:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Republicans, John McCain, Featured Stories What, did he call them the " C-word," too? From CTV: When asked which of the three candidates they liked most, [Canadian] respondents preferred Obama over McCain by an almost five-to-one margin - 39 percent to eight percent. Even among selfdeclared Conservatives, Obama had almost double McCain's support. Hard to say how much our northern neighbors are paying attention to our

current race for the White House, but this survey matches up well with Gallup's latest findings in the contest between Clinton and Obama. Despite Obama's pledge to revisit

NAFTA if he's elected, Canada prefers Obama by a 9 point margin over the New York Senator. U.S. residents (the ones who may actually vote in November), on the other hand, give him a 10 point cushion. Now, if only there was some way the Obama camp could smuggle Canadian voters into the country and get their votes to count in the general election. Wait! I've got it. " The Nafta Superhighway" that Ron Paul and Lou Dobbs are so worked up about! That's perfect. Drive-thru voting. I wonder if Obama knows anybody at the passport office. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Cramer on BloggingStocks: The market's new patternmaking
By Jim Cramer (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:02:00 AM

Newspaper wrap-up: Yahoo talks with Time Warner, Google; Microsoft talks with News Corp.
By Laurie Pasternack (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:20:00 AM

Filed under: Newspapers, Magazines, Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo! (YHOO), Time Warner (TWX), IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), News Corp'B' (NWS), Lehman Br Holdings (LEH) MAJOR PAPERS: • To help stop Microsoft Corporation's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) $44.6 billion takeover offer, Yahoo! Inc . (NASDAQ: YHOO ) is in talks with Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX

) about combining internet operations. Meanwhile, Microsoft is talking with News Corporation (NYSE: NWS ) about a joint bid for Yahoo! And Yahoo! is is considering a possible advertising agreement with Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG ), the Wall Street Journal reported. • The Wall Street Journal also reported that IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI ) is planning to launch a number of new web sites, and hopes to capture a variety of audiences including African-Americans,

children and news followers. WEB SITES: • Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LEH ) said it liquidated three investment funds, with assets valued at $1 billion as of February 29, because of "market disruptions," Bloomberg reported. • Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Defense approved the sale of 157 armored trucks to Britain. The trucks are built by Force Protection Inc. (NASDAQ: FRPT ), and the deal is valued at $125 million if all options are exercised. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Wal-Mart (WMT), Columns, Target Corp. (TGT), Kohl's Corp (KSS) TheStreet.com's Jim Cramer says yesterday didn't deliver a giant down close, just profit-taking. It may signal a new bullish pattern to watch. You just want it to close down, get clocked, remove the water torture. But what's really happening is we are working off the overbought condition in a fine fashion. It's a natural thing in this market, after a big move, to give it all back and then some. However, that has not happened this time. We have had a series of small declines, nothing monumental and we may have to recognize that we are in a new pattern where we have profit-taking but no more. I was over at Stockpickr.com yesterday - I try to check in a couple of times a day -and was not surprised to see questions in the Answers section about what is wrong with the steel stocks. To me, the steels are exhibiting classic bullish behavior, a great run followed by a small pullback -- true bull market behavior. Now, here's the test: the comp sales. We had some bad numbers, especially from outfits like Target(NYSE: TGT) ( Cramer's Take) and Kohl's(NYSE: KSS) ( Cramer's Take), and I don't think it will matter! WalMart(NYSE: WMT) ( Cramer's Take) guided up, and I think it could power over $55. I have been negative on this market, but I

like the way it bounces off when it is down big. Have to recognize a new, more bullish pattern when you see one. RELATED LINKS: • Retail Sales Cool at Many Chains • Cramer: Why We Need a Pullback Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned. Permalink| Email this| Comments

The Decline And Fall of Western Civilization Part III: The Twitter Years
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 7:27:54 AM

Are you feeling Twitter overload, or just sick of hearing about it?

Blogger/Cartoonist/Ad Man Hugh McLeod feels the same way. He illustrated a post titled Why I Deleted My Twitter Account with the following cartoon: Kind of says it all.

Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile


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Soros sees credit crisis getting worse
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:43:00 AM

What will Boeing (BA) pay airlines for late planes?
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:40:00 AM

Target CEO sees pay drop on unmet expectations for 2007
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:00:00 AM

Filed under: Forecasts, Bad news, Merrill Lynch (MER), Morgan Stanley (MS), Economic data, Recession Now that a number of banks and brokerages have taken large write-offs after assessments of the falling value of mortgage-backed and LBO debt, things are supposed to get better. Auditors have looked at the extent of the damage and the Fed is putting cash into the system to improve balance sheets. But a lot of the smart money does not see it that way. The International Monetary Fund said that the total damage from the crisis will be $945 billion. That would mean that the housing market will get much worse along with defaults on corporate and consumer debt. Now, in rides George Soros, iconic hedge-fund manager and a billionaire many times over. He says the credit crisis is only in its early stages. In a conversation with Bloomberg, he said, "This is a manmade crisis and it's made by this false belief that markets correct their own excesses. It will take much longer for the full effect of the decline in the housing

market to be felt.'' In other words, hike up your pants and buy a boat. The flood waters are getting much higher. No one knows whether the IMF or Soros is right. Comments from management at Morgan Stanley(NYSE: MS) and Merrill Lynch(NYSE: MER) seem to indicate that they see things getting better in the second half of this year. Even so, we should pay attention to Soros's more pessimistic prediction. Those forecasting worse times are not idiots and need to be, at the very least, listened to carefully. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Deals, Bad news, Industry, Law, Boeing Co (BA) The Boeing(NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner has been delayed for a third time and deliveries to airlines may not begin in earnest for a year. The news is bad for Boeing, but it is worse for some of the airline partners who were counting on a fixed schedules for getting the new plane into service. The Dreamliner flies farther, saves more fuel, and carries more passengers than many aircraft in service now. Several airlines, including Qantas, New Zealand Air, Air India, and All Nippon will all ask for money because of the delays. According to Reuters, " More than 50 airlines are waiting for 892 Boeing 787s, worth a combined $145 billion at list prices." The news is very tricky for Boeing investors to assess. There is an excellent case that some of the airlines which expected the 787 this year and next have legitimate claims. Some might even argue

that they can cancel their orders and buy a competing product from Airbus. The costs to Boeing could stretch into the tens of billions of dollars. But none of the airlines has made public the value of its damage request. Boeing also might elect to counter these claims, perhaps in court. Of course, being involved in a lawsuit with your largest customers is rarely a good idea. One thing Boeing's shareholders can be sure of is that the mess is going to cost some money, and that usually moves a company's share price down. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Wal-Mart internal corporate videos up for sale
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:15:00 AM

Filed under: Management, Target Corp. (TGT) When the going gets tough, the CEO gets dropped. At least, that's what happened at retailing giant Target Corp.(NYSE: TGT) in 2007. Company CEO Bob Ulrich saw his salary and bonuses reduced by 42% last year as the discount retailer failed to meet sales expectations and saw its stock price decline. Like many CEOs, Ulrich's compensation is tied to its stock price and to the company's financial performance. Although he received $1.66 million in pay and non-stock compensation of $2.89 million (down from $6.13 million), Ulrich's total compensation dropped 67% in 2007 to $12.2 million. Sounds like quite a bit to many of us, yes? Target explained that some of Ulrich's stock awards for the year were actually made in previous years and expensed in 2007, which makes up for some of the amount. Target officials were pretty clear about saying, "Our financial results in 2007 fell well short of our goals . . . as a result, non-equity incentive payouts for executive officers were near the low end of the payout range, and long-term performance share award payouts were negatively impacted." Still, more than $12 million is not a bad payday. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Management, Wal-Mart (WMT) After Flagler Productions was dropped by longtime customer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.(NYSE: WMT) a few years ago, the small Kansas production company laid off most of its staff. It's the same story that many small business vendors have experienced from the world's largest retailer, and it's a lesson learned. In other words, don't put all your eggs in one basket. But Flagler is having a new day in the

sun, and this time it's at Wal-Mart's expense. The company is releasing almost three decades of internal Wal-Mart video footage to the public for a fee. Everything from Wal-Mart management dressed in drag to trash talk about unions. Of course, litigious law firms are probably going to line up outside Flagler's headquarters to buy this footage and incorporate it into any lawsuit that can be drummed up. In addition to some fairly candid moments by recent Wal-Mart executive management, there is a clip in the Flagler archive that depicts Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton telling his board of directors that

not enough women were in management way back in the 1980s. As many of you may know, Wal-Mart was involved in the largest gender discrimination class-action lawsuit in this decade for alleged discrimination towards female employees in management ranks. What is unknown is if Wal-Mart will pursue a case against Flagler for selling these internal videos to any interested party. Stay tuned for that decision, as invariably some of these videos will appear on YouTube shortly. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

South Park: Eek, A Penis!
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 5:35:00 PM

Filed under: South Park, Episode Reviews, Reality-Free(S12E05) It must be very tough for Trey Parker and Matt Stone to keep outdoing themselves. I don't know which image from tonight's episode was funnier: the mouse with the penis on its back running all over town (and, at one point, singing at the moon) or the photo of Mickey Mouse with a huge erection. It's a tough call.

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Bank of England cuts key, short-term interest rate to 5%
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:30:00 AM

A Songwriters' Bill of Rights
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:00:00 PM

Filed under: International markets, Recession The Bank of England cut its key, short-term interest by a quarter-point to 5% Thursday, according to a new release. It was the BOE's third interest rate cut since December 2007, as the central bank attempts to counteract the impact of tighter credit and the nation's worst housing slump in more than 10 years. The BOE said credit conditions have tightened and the availability of credit appears to be getting worse. Further, while the recent depreciation in sterling will

support net exports, the bank said, the prospects for output growth abroad have deteriorated, while domestic growth has started to moderate, necessitating the additional rate cut. Concerning inflation, the BOE said inflation rose at a 2.5% annualized rate in February 2008, above the 2% target rate. However, the bank said whether inflation will remain above or below the bank's 2% target for 2008 will depend on financial market conditions, spare capacity in the U.K. economy, and the direction of commodity prices, among other factors. Continue reading Bank of England cuts key, short-term interest rate to 5% Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

ASCAP's Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers: • We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate. • We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used. • We have the right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds. • We have the right to protect our creative

works to the fullest extent of the law from all forms of piracy, theft, and unauthorized use, which deprive us of our right to earn a living based on our creativity. • We have the right to choose when and where our creative works may be used for free. • We have the right to develop, document, and distribute our works through new media channels while retaining the right to a share in all associated profits. • We have the right to choose the organizations we want to represent us and to join our voices together to protect our rights and negotiate for the value of our music.

• We have the right to earn compensation from all types of "performances," including direct, live renditions as well as indirect recordings, broadcasts, digital streams, and more. • We have the right to decline participation in business models that require us to relinquish all or part of our creative rights—or which do not respect our right to be compensated for our work. • We have the right to advocate for strong laws protecting our creative works, and demand that our government vigorously uphold and protect our rights.

Spaced Out
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 10:30:00 AM

In the hypercompetitive world of commercial spaceflight, you need deep pockets just to stay in the game. That's why some customers and investors are losing confidence in Rocketplane, which spent 2007 getting outflanked by better-funded competitors and being buffeted by bad publicity -- instead of launching its first suborbital flight, as the company had promised just a few years earlier. In October 2004, when Reda Anderson plunked down her deposit and made the first reservation to be flown to the edge of space, she had a reasonable expectation that she'd be the first civilian "pioneer" (she dislikes the term "tourist") to take that ride. She signed up with the company that was then called Rocketplane Limited, which hoped to be the first to market with commercial spaceflights in 2007. Now Anderson is quietly checking out other companies that could get her off the ground sooner. "Rocketplane is plan A, absolutely," Anderson told Wired.com. "But there's always a plan B."

Rocketplane has suffered largely from the scope of its ambition: It tackled both the suborbital tourist market and the NASA-servicing orbital market at the same time, and tried to do it all without the benefit of a billionaire backer, like Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson. While all of the companies in the young commercial space industry have experienced delays and setbacks, Rocketplane's current position seems shakier than most. At the Space Access conference in Phoenix on the last weekend of March, panelists called the rush toward the first space tourism flight a "horse race" with two clear leaders: the well-financed Virgin and the scrappy but impressive Xcor Aerospace, which announced the design for its small suborbital vehicle two weeks ago. Almost as an afterthought, panelists mentioned the other companies in the pack: Rocketplane, Armadillo Aerospace and the secretive Blue Origin. The CEO of Rocketplane, George French, declined to comment on the challenges faced by his company, or on its progress in raising investment money to build its suborbital vehicle. The company has publicly stated that it still expects to start commercial flights in 2010 or 2011,

the same time frame now being quoted by Virgin and Xcor. But Joe Pistritto, one of the Space Access panelists, doesn't seem enthusiastic about Rocketplane's prospects. An angel investor who made his money in the early days of the dot-com boom, Pistritto has a large stake in Xcor, and also owns a small amount of stock in Rocketplane. He said that Virgin and Xcor are viewed as leaders because of two things: money and reputation. "I don't think anyone worries that Virgin is going to run out of money," Pistritto said. "And Xcor has built up a really good track record, partly because the company has a reputation for underpromising and overdelivering." While French has served as the company's angel investor, he isn't in the same financial league as Branson or Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com. French has instead turned to the market, vigorously promoting his company as a sound investment for angel or institutional investors. Commentators on the emerging commercial space industry, which is often dubbed "NewSpace," say that in contrast to Xcor, Rocketplane's reputation has been

hurt by ambitious pronouncements that don't come true. "In the past, they've been good at promoting the sizzle, and not so good at showing they have the steak," said Charles Lurio, a former aerospace engineer who writes a space newsletter, The Lurio Report. Like many other outside observers, Lurio said he respects French's fundraising abilities, and believes the company has a plausible design for its suborbital tourism vehicle, the XP. "But I would be very cautious if I was an investor," Lurio said. "I would have to see an awful lot of working hardware to be convinced." Chuck Lauer, Rocketplane's vice president of business development, told a Space Access audience that the XP's development was delayed by more than a year while the company focused on a NASA contract for an orbital vehicle to resupply the space station. Rocketplane lost its contract in September 2007 because it hadn't met milestones in private fundraising. Many NewSpace observers say the company can't be entirely faulted for that failure. They note that NASA never provided assurance that it would buy a certain number of flights from

Rocketplane, and also publicly announced its purchase of future flights on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz, essentially souring Rocketplane's pitch to investors at a crucial moment in May 2007. Rocketplane's suborbital program, too, has been slowed, as the company announced a new design for the vehicle in October 2007. The previous design would have used a commercially available Learjet as a base; now the company plans to build the airframe from scratch. Whether or not the company lost credibility in the marketplace because of these developments, the delays killed its momentum, and caused several key players to depart. The former astronaut John Herrington, who was expected to be the XP's pilot, resigned from Rocketplane in January 2008. "My plan was to be flying by 2007," Herrington said. "The reason it didn't happen was all due to funding. You can only put so much time and effort into something before you decide it's time to move on." Related Links Egos in Orbit G.M.'s Alternative Alternatives I Don't Want My Web TV


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Game Boy
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:00:00 PM

I n 1990, Bobby Kotick bought 25 percent of failing videogame maker Activision for $440,000, with financing from his mentor, casino king Steve Wynn. Since then, the company has been in nonstop-growth mode, through both internal expansion and acquisitions, and late last year, Kotick engineered his biggest deal yet—a nearly $19 billion merger with Vivendi’s game division. The prize for Activision: Blizzard Entertainment, maker of the online game World of Warcraft, which has about 10 million paying subscribers. Vivendi will own a majority stake in the merged company, to be renamed Activision Blizzard, and Kotick will run it. With megahits like Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and Tony Hawk’s skateboarding games, Kotick, 45, has become one of the most powerful figures in the $10 billion videogame industry (a number that counts sales of games only, not consoles). Longtime game-industry leader Electronic Arts currently has about $3.7 billion in annual sales. Once Activision closes the merger with Vivendi, the combined entity will have yearly revenue of nearly $4 billion as well. But E.A. recently made a hostile offer for Take-Two Interactive, creator of the Grand Theft Auto series, a move seen by industry observers as an attempt to stay ahead of Kotick. Moreover, some analysts question whether Activision can continue growing at such a rapid rate. Condé Nast Portfolio’s Kevin Maney met with Kotick at his Beverly Hills home, an airy, angular, modern structure with contemporary art—including a De Kooning—on every wall. (Kotick is a trustee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.) Wearing a sweatshirt from an Allen & Co. media conference, blue workout pants, and white socks with no shoes, he talked about his management style, Wynn, and the future of the videogame business. In 1999, Activision bought Neversoft Entertainment for $11.9 million in stock. The purchase, which included the popular Tony Hawk series, resulted in a worldwide

revenue of $100 million in 2007. I take it that in the Vivendi merger, you were most interested in Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. We started hearing the rumors of how profitable that was. My guys kept telling me about the business, and I didn’t believe it. But we realized that this is not just a game. It’s a social network with a lot of elements, and people rely on the game for a lot more than just entertainment. It wasn’t the kind of thing that something else would come along and displace. How did the deal happen? We made an offer. It was more than we’d ever offered for anything—billions, almost equal to our own market value. And Vivendi said, “We’d really like not just to sell you the business but actually to become your partner.” Were there any tensions during the negotiations? The price? The amount of influence Vivendi will have in management? There wasn’t any real tension. I had an extremely long history with Blizzard. The fact that we’re so philosophically well aligned made the deal easier to accomplish. Guitar Hero is huge—with more than $1 billion in sales since it was introduced in 2005. Essentially, it lets people play along on a fake guitar to real songs. Given that the Universal Music Group is part of Vivendi, will any special emphasis be given to its songs and artists? By 2006, Activision had scooped up RedOctane, the makers of Guitar Hero. The acquisition cost $100 million, but resulted in $820 million in revenue in 2007. One of the big benefits will be access to the Universal library. Guitar Hero takes an artist to a whole different place in the popular culture right now. Downloads on iTunes take off. The artist’s relevance and importance to 17-year-olds change in a way that you could never get in any other medium. Forty percent of its users are women. The age appeal is something we’ve never seen before—seven-year-olds who have no idea who Aerosmith is are playing the band’s music on Guitar Hero. So are 45-year-olds who spent a good portion of their lives following the band around.

Where do you take the idea next? It’s not just about guitars. We’ll include a lot of other instruments, vocals. It will help us expand internationally. It’s the first game we’ve had in which we can use local content and local bands. What else is in the works with other games? Let’s take Wii. There are opportunities to add to the physical experience, whether it’s guitars or the Star Wars game—in which you have a lightsaber—or fishing. Having that physical connection with what you see on the screen is bringing in audiences that never would have tried games. But we’re in the very, very earliest stage of physical interface. Okay, what’s coming that we haven’t seen yet? Games have not been a good storytelling medium. It’s because the characters on the screen don’t have good facial animation. Mouth movement is unrealistic, so it’s hard to deliver dialogue. Facial animation and mouth movement will become part of games. Let’s talk about you. Even as a kid, you were fascinated by business. I was pretty entrepreneurial. I ran a hotdog-and-soda stand at Little League, and I started a business planning parties in high school. In the early days of computing, you tried to create a graphic user interface for the Apple II? My dad had introduced me and a business partner to some venture capitalists in New York. They were going to put up the money for us to go into this business. It was a good amount—$2 million. But you didn’t end up taking it. Why not? At the time, I had been invited to a cancer fundraiser in Texas. I met this guy at the party who was 40 years old, a real dynamic person. I ran into him the next day at the hotel, and he said, “Are you going back to Michigan?” And I said, “No, I’m actually going to New York. I’m working on this company.” He said he was going to New York, and would I want to go with him? I said sure. He had a DC-9, and I figured, it can’t be that unappealing. It was Steve Wynn. On the plane, he told

me that when he was getting started, a mentor type had helped him out. So he wanted to do that for someone else. This was the start of a significant relationship. I ended up blowing the original deal I had and later flew down to Atlantic City to meet Steve. He said, “Okay, how much do you need for a prototype?” We said, “About $300,000.” He wrote out the check. And he’s been part of your life ever since then? Activision merged with Vivendi Games, maker of World of Warcraft and Crash Bandicoot, in 2007, at a price of $8.1 billion. The company, to be renamed Activision Blizzard, will become, at least temporarily, the biggest videogame maker in the world. Of all the things that could have happened to me in my life, meeting the Wynns was probably about the most fortunate. Not just in the way you get a second set of parents—my parents were divorced, so the Wynns came with none of the guilt—but watching what he accomplished. It set the bar so high. That drove me to be even more successful. What ended up happening with that software company? I met with Steve Jobs and spent time with then-C.E.O. John Sculley and a lot of the marketing folks. Steve, even then, had very definitive ideas about the interface. There were conventions that we used differently than Apple did. Steve, being the dogmatic guy that he is, said that we had to change. He took the mouse we had made and threw it on the floor. He said, “This is garbage.” It was great advice—demoralizing, but great advice. The company was an abysmal failure. Then what? I tried to buy Commodore, the computer maker, with the idea of actually turning it into a videogame company. That didn’t work out either, but I learned a lot. After that came Activision. What got your mind on videogames at all? In 1984, Steve Wynn took me out to dinner with then-Warner Bros. chief Steve Ross, who was having all sorts of problems with Atari, which Warner owned at the

time. Ross took me up and invited me to Atari. When it collapsed, I realized there was nobody filling that void. PCs did to some extent, but as multipurpose devices, not as something specialized. Is there a key to Activision’s growth? It’s about really being considerate of the culture in the game studios that Activision buys. That’s the biggest difference between us and any of our competitors. We built a model that celebrates entrepreneurial, opportunistic, independent values. It’s almost the opposite of Electronic Arts, which has commoditized development. It did a very good job of taking the soul out of a lot of the studios it acquired. Do you get involved in game concepts? I play the role of cheerleader and adviser. I don’t personally pick the game ideas or get too involved in that. What do you worry about? I’m a worrier, so that’s another hourlong discussion. But we have big and really well funded competitors—Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft. Our competitors have a natural advantage on their own platforms. How about E.A.’s $2 billion offer to buy Take-Two, which makes the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto games? I can’t comment on competitors’ deals. Activision’s growth has been phenomenal—over 80 percent in the past quarter. Is that sustainable? Analysts are expecting it to slow down. Historically, during the past 15 years, Activision has grown at rates greater than the market. I’m hopeful that our growth will continue to outpace market growth and that of our competitors. Anything else in Activision’s way? Figuring out how to make the game experience more fun than any one of a hundred Facebook applications is going to be a challenge. Related Links The Gamesman A Bigger Player in Videogames Activision: Driving EA Crazy; Upcoming CEO Interview

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Stop Whining, Start Winning
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:30:00 AM

Battle Hymn
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:00:00 PM

Microsoft may be a corporate behemoth with a 28 percent profit margin and a reputation for ruthlessly exploiting its virtual monopoly in desktop-computer operating systems, but all we've seen from the Redmond giant in its courting of Yahoo is two months of textbook pussyfooting. Maybe all those antitrust suits have left Microsoft too soft. Or maybe its lack of experience in hostile takeovers is showing: Since it was founded 32 years ago, Microsoft has never faced a major board battle. It might just be that Microsoft is not used to big, complex acquisitions. Before its proposed initial $45 billion takeover of Yahoo, the biggest deal it made was the$6 billion purchase of aQuantive, and those investors rolled over easily. There are, of course, reasons why Microsoft shouldn't come on too strong. In tech, hostile takeovers can trigger an exodus of talent, as I.B.M. found when it took over Lotus and Hewlett-Packard found when buying Compaq. At the same time, it doesn't want to revive its image as a bully as it tries to secure a foothold in Silicon Valley. "This is also a tremendous opportunity for Microsoft to send a message to the Valley that they're not the big, bad guys they're made out to be," said Saikat Chaudhuri, a business professor at Wharton. But the nice-guy act has its own perils. First there was that February 1 salvo that only served to awaken Yahoo. This week, Microsoft lashed out in a vindictive spasm of unrequited love, complaining that "there has been no meaningful negotiation" and that its "large premium" is more than "significant." Meanwhile, Yahoo fiercely defends its bachelorhood.

Coincidence or not, the latest letter came as hostile-takeover veteran Carl Icahn scored a major victory over Motorola. So there are some clear lessons from the corporate-raider playbook that can strengthen Microsoft's hand. 1. Talk to shareholders, and only shareholders. Your finger-wagging at Yahoo executives only gets the bloggers' tongues wagging. Your true constituency is the owners who bought Yahoo at $43 in January 2006 and have seen it drop 36 percent. Speak to them, forget the rest. "The shareholders and the employee base are not unequivocally and blindly devoted to Yang and Co.," says Chaudhuri. "At some point you do have to take it to shareholders." Oh, and don't threaten to lower your bid. Yahoo is, disingenuously or not, holding out for more than you originally offered. So you're going to give Yahoo shareholders less? Why not insist on Windows haircuts for shareholders? 2. Find impeccable board members. Smart and seasoned board members are scarce, but worth finding. Not only will those with low pedigrees embarrass the target company and its current board, Chaudhuri says, they will help pull the rug out from under any arguments that you aren't acting in the best interest of Yahoo shareholders. Let's take the people Icahn has put on Motorola's board as an example. One is Keith Meister, a key Icahn adviser and manager of his investment funds. Meister's past comments show he's a loyal pawn. So it helps to balance things out with a pillar of integrity like Bill Hambrecht. He's as gray as the éminence grises get in Silicon Valley. He took Apple, Genentech, and Amazon public. Then he founded another firm specializing in Dutch auctions and helped take Google public. A Hambrecht more than trumps a servile

Meister. 3. Know your opponent's playbook. Yahoo has largely reached for the Nancy Reagan approach—a bit of the old "just say no." It's not the strongest defense, but it's about all Yahoo has. Yahoo appealed to its white knight, and even its gray knight. It's contemplated a scorched-earth defense, but only as a last resort. Your trump card is cash—and you've got $21 billion of it. If you want Yahoo, spend some. 4. Let the numbers speak for themselves. Yahoo is scheduled to report its firstquarter earnings on April 22; you report two days later. Analysts expect Yahoo to be roughly even or above its profits compared with the year-ago profits. But they are looking for your profits to fall. This scenario will probably reverse later this year. Yahoo's profits will be down one year, and yours will be up. But the M&A headlines will be focusing on this quarter. Which means you'll need to explain why a company with declining earnings per share should buy a company with flat or rising E.P.S. You can always hope there will be earnings surprises in your favor. If there aren't, you will have to find some compelling numbers to show that Yahoo is better off in your arms. Otherwise, this idea that Yahoo is starting to become better off on its own will gather momentum. And at that point, you're better off posting your corporate love letters in the missed connections personal ads. Related Links Why Google Might Want a MicrosoftYahoo Merger Dangerous Liaison Yahoo to Reject Bid, Journal Says

ASCAP, the oldest organization representing songwriters and artists in the United States, is set unveil a "bill of rights" for songwriters and composers to ensure that musicians get paid for music distributed on the Web. The document, which ASCAP plans to unveil Thursday morning in Los Angeles at its annual conference, the ASCAP Expo, comes as the music industry is moving to dramatically reshape its future. [The full text of the bill of rights can be found here.] "Given the many issues surrounding the music industry today, it can be all to easy to overlook the source of it all—individual songwriters, lyricists, and composers," Phil Crosland, ASCAP’s executive vice president for marketing, told Portfolio.com. "Our goal is to support all music creators, reminding lawmakers, the general public, and music creators themselves of the rights inherent in their art." In the face of widespread music piracy and rapidly declining CD sales, the recording industry is facing its biggest crisis ever. ASCAP's artist bill of rights—part of a 32-page position paper—says bluntly: "The creative people who bring vital art forms like music to life have the right to share in the profits generated by their work and earn a living from uses of their work." It goes on to state that the "protection of copyright in the musical realm is vital to the creator who hopes to make a living from his or her passion to create. Without this protection, many who dream of focusing their talents and energies on music creation will be economically

unable to do so—which means artistic expression is lost both today and to future generations." ASCAP is a membership association of over 300,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and publishers of every kind of music. The organization will also launch a webpage "allowing ASCAP members and other music creators to sign on with their support of the bill of rights electronically," the group said, in a statement. "ASCAP will be collecting the physical signatures of many high-profile songwriters and composers attending the Expo over the next few days." The recording industry's wrenching transition into the digital age has been exposed during the last few weeks, as the major labels have made very public moves to show that they are willing to embrace new Web-based business models. Last week, three of the four major labels signed a deal with Rupert Murdoch's MySpace.com to offer free, ad-supported streaming music. EMI has hired former Google star Doug Merrill to run its business. And Warner Music Group has hired Jim Griffin, a longtime industry critic, to explore the possibility of bundling a monthly fee into consumers' internetservice bills for unlimited access to music. But independent musicians, such as the outspoken singer-songwriter Samantha Murphy, have expressed skepticism about the new digital business models, wondering if they will be left out in the cold. Related Links Paying the Piper Future Pop Bite of the Apple

YouTube Updates Layout, Now With Tabs And Statistics
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:41:41 PM

YouTube has quietly launch a new layout on video pages with a new tab focused layout and video statistics (pic above). The first change in the consolidation of

Share, Favorites, Playlists and Flag into a dedicated tab driven box. The share tab expands out to give a more extensive range of sharing options which includes social bookmarking and voting sites (notably including Mixx), the ability to post a video to a blog, and send to the friend via email.

Commentary (comments and video

responses) is now offered in a tab next to “Statistics and Info.” Statistics provided are video honors (YouTube awards) and video referrals. It would appear that users can hide site referral statistics but they are turned on by default, at least for existing videos hosted on YouTube.

(thanks to Rahul Kumar for the tip) CrunchBase Information YouTube Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.


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Dangerous Liaison
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 8:00:00 PM

Apollo Set for Liftoff
Manishin said the one exception would be if Yahoo stood before the Department of Justice and argued that it was a "failing company" and thus needed the deal to avoid "financial distress." In other words, Jerry Yang would have to convince the D.O.J.—and European regulators—that Yahoo needs a deal with Google in order to stave off bankruptcy. While Yahoo is getting slaughtered by Google in search, it is hardly in "financial distress." In fact, it earns over $1 billion per year, and was attractive enough for Microsoft to offer $45 billion for it. And given Google's attitude toward the Microsoft-Yahoo deal—warning that the tie-up would in effect create an internet monopoly—Microsoft would waste no time in pointing out, correctly, the anticompetitive implications of a YahooGoogle search pact. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said Wednesday the agreement "would consolidate over 90 percent of the searchadvertising market in Google's hands." "This would make the market far less competitive, in sharp contrast to our own proposal to acquire Yahoo," Smith said in a statement. "We will assess closely all of our options. Our proposal remains the only alternative put forward that offers Yahoo shareholders full and fair value for their shares, gives every shareholder a vote on the future of the company, and enhances choice for content creators, advertisers, and consumers." Related Links Dangerous Liaison Yahoo Takes the Offensive in Microsoft Battle Google Wins One

Rupert Murdoch must have felt left out. Reports Wednesday night pointed to Microsoft enlisting Murdoch's News Corp. to support its $45 billion bid to acquire Yahoo. It's unclear what News Corp., the owner of the New York Post and Fox News Channel, can offer Microsoft in its bid to buy Yahoo, but it's likely a strategic partner to offset dramatic moves made earlier in the day by the struggling internet company. The reports capped a tumultuous afternoon that saw Yahoo begin to take the wraps off plans to combine its Web business with AOL, share its ad business with Google, and undertake a massive stock buyback to thwart Microsoft's months-long takeover effort, which has recently started to veer toward a more hostile bid. The battle lines are now drawn—if not clearly because Murdoch's MySpace social networking site relies on Google to serve its Web advertising—for a protracted fight for a dominant internet presence involving Murdoch, Yahoo chieftain Jerry Yang, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, Google wunderkinds Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and newly minted Time Warner C.E.O. Jeff Bewkes. News of Murdoch's potential interest in a deal came at the end of a tumultuous day in the battle for Yahoo. Earlier, the beleaguered Web giant, scrambling to find an alternative to Microsoft's hostile takeover bid, announced that it had sealed a deal with Google allowing its archrival to serve ads on its network. In a statement issued late Wednesday,

Yahoo said it would "begin a limited test of Google's AdSense for Search service, which will deliver relevant Google ads alongside Yahoo's own search results." "The test will apply only to traffic from Yahoo.com in the U.S. and will not include Yahoo's extended network of affiliate or premium publisher partners," the company said. "The test is expected to last up to two weeks and will be limited to no more than 3 percent of Yahoo search queries." The pact between Yahoo and Google could lead to an escape hatch for Yahoo if the two companies determine that such an arrangement—on a much broader scale—could be profitable. Yahoo's decision to test-drive a searchadvertising partnership with Google is the surest indication yet of Yahoo C.E.O. Jerry Yang's desperation to find an alternative to Microsoft, which has been threatening a hostile takeover move. If Yahoo outsourced its search advertising to Google, the company would essentially be admitting defeat in the search-advertising wars that have been running for almost a decade. But it remains to be seen if the GoogleYahoo partnership will pass regulatory scrutiny, given Google's overwhelming dominance in the search-ad market. In February, Glenn Manishin, a top tech antitrust lawyer at Duane Morris, told a UBS conference call that a Yahoo-Google search tie-up would be "much more problematic" than the Microsoft-Yahoo merger itself. The reason is simple. Google commands nearly 70 percent of the search market, while Yahoo holds almost 20 percent. Combining the two companies' search engines would create a virtual monopoly in search.

(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 8:00:00 AM

It's easy to see how tempting it might be for Leon Black to take his private equity firm, Apollo Management, public right now. After all, if one group of investors has spurned your shares in one place, why not just try selling those same shares to a different investor group in another place? That's essentially what Apollo is trying to do with its planned initial public offering announced yesterday. Last summer, the private equity firm sold its shares on a private exchange for institutional investors for $24 per share, raising $716 million. On Monday, they traded for $14 per share. The plan, according to the firm's regulatory filing, is to sell those shares on the New York Stock Exchange for $14 each, raising $418 million. The hope is that, by opening up the offering to the broader investing public, the shares will regain some of their losses. It's hopeful. But we all know that hope is not a plan. Indeed, the timing of this filing is so peculiar that it's hard to find any good reason for doing it now. Let's start with the obvious: Other private equity firms that have ventured into the public markets in the past year have nothing but failure to report. Shares in the Blackstone Group reached $38 on their opening day last June, and today they swap for exactly half that. Shares of Fortress Investment Group are faring even worse: They trade for $13.34 today, down from a high of $34 last summer. Secondly, Apollo finds itself in the

headlines this week for another reason: Linens 'n Things, which Apollo took private in 2005 for $1.3 billion, is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy. And that's not the only Apollo holding that's in trouble. Last year, it took Realogy Corp., the parent of Coldwell Banker and Century 21, private for $6.6 billion. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that the debt used to finance the transaction had fallen so low that it rendered Apollo's equity investment in the deal essentially worthless. These are not exactly the type of news items to help an I.P.O. road show gain momentum. And thirdly, if Apollo needs capital, there should be plenty of places other than the public markets to find it. The firm has already raised money from selling stakes to Calpers, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Credit Suisse. Plenty of limited partners in private equity firms continue to show interest in becoming general partners. In fact, if Apollo needs permanent capital and can't find it anywhere but the public markets, that's an even more troubling selling point to potential new investors. Of course, Felix Salmon reminds us on his Market Movers blog that this is Leon Black we're talking about. Perhaps the only reason why he's taking Apollo public in this environment is simply because he can. Related Links Blackstone: The First of Many Private Equity IPOs Carlyle MD: The Blackstone IPO was "Highly Successful" A Private Equity Tsunami

Retailers Lay an Egg
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:30:00 AM

Wal-Mart Stores has set the tone for what is expected to be weak March sales reports from the nation's biggest retail chains. The world's biggest retailer says sales excluding gasoline at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 0.7 percent in March, less

than analysts' forecasts. Wal-Mart blamed cold weather, which hurt apparel sales, and an early Easter. But the company was more optimistic about April and raised its forecast for the first quarter. "Because of the Easter calendar change and its potential positive impact on the April sales period, we expect comparable

store sales without fuel for the April fourweek period in the United States to be between one and three percent," said Tom Schoewe, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "This guidance is slightly higher than our comparable sales guidance of the previous two months, which has been flat to two percent." Citing better management of its

inventory, Schoewe said Wal-Mart was raising its forecast for first-quarter earnings from continuing operations to 74 cents to 76 cents per share, up from an earlier forecast of 70 cents to 74 cents per share. As a Banc of America Securities analyst wrote this week, a "tough economy is WalMart's sweet spot.''

Related Links Who Regulates Wal-Mart's Bank in Mexico? Pricing Is Right for Wal-Mart Organic Cotton: A Blessing Or A Curse?

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Biz Buzz Tech* Gossip


(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:30:00 PM

These are dark days for fliers, and today was a particularly gloomy one. American Airlines said that it would cancel more than 1,000 flights for wiring inspections, inconveniencing 85,000 passengers and unnerving the rest of us. At a moment when new planes could not be more welcome, Boeing announced further delivery delays for its 787 Dreamliner. Deliveries for the hotly anticipated new plane are now running as much as 18 months behind schedule, which begs the question: How much should air travelers care about Boeing's delay at the gate? Of course, Boeing's new 787s would not be replacing the planes grounded by American on Wednesday. The 787 is a long-haul plane used for international flights, whereas the Federal Aviation Administration’s concerns are with Boeing's MD-80s, a short-haul plane no longer in production. There are only two U.S. airlines that have placed Dreamliner orders to date.

Northwest has a contract for 18, and Continental has 25 on order. In any case, industry analysts don't see any threat of old or unsafe planes staying in service as airlines wait for new equipment. The 787s have been purchased mainly as additions to relatively new fleets of long-haul aircraft, rather than as replacements for aging planes. "It's unlikely that you're going to have aircraft go past their 'expiration date,'" says Richard Aboulaffia, who covers airlines for the Teal Group. But while safety may not be an issue, are there additional costs from the delays that will be passed on in the form of ticket prices? Airlines awaiting 787s have three courses of action: They can live with a smaller fleet; keep planes in service for longer; or find comparable planes to bridge the gap—Boeing's 767 and 777 models are close to the Dreamliner in size, as is Airbus' A330. Continental ordered eight new 777s from Boeing in February, and Virgin Atlantic is in talks with Boeing to have 777s lent to them for the short term.

"Airlines will still do whatever they were planning to do, just with a different plane," says Michael Derchin, an analyst with FTN Midwest Securities. "And at some point, they will sit down with Boeing and go over what's a fair compensation." Both Derchin and Aboulaffia believe that it will be Boeing, rather than the airlines and their customers, that will end up footing many of the added equipment costs of the delay. But there's an extra cost component associated with delivery delays that Boeing's not likely to cover: The revolutionary element of the 787 is its outstanding fuel economy, as the plane is expected to use as much as 20 percent less fuel than comparable aircraft. Now airlines (and their passengers) will have to wait longer to start experiencing those fuel-cost savings. Related Links It's Boeing's Turn to Show Off Its Orders Boeing vs. Airbus, Round 37 Boeing Profits Take Flight

Yahoo Goes Scorched Earth
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:44:46 AM

Dreamliner Nightmare
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 5:30:00 AM

Boeing has again delayed delivery of the plane on which it has bet its future, the 787 Dreamliner. The first delivery of the plane, originally scheduled for next month, is now expected for the third quarter of next year. It is the third delay to the schedule. "While significant progress has been made assembling Airplane No. 1, the first flight is being rescheduled due to slowerthan-expected completion of work that traveled from supplier facilities into Boeing's final assembly line, unanticipated rework, and the addition of margin into the testing schedule," the company said in a statement. The 787, a sleek, fuel-efficient plane, made its public debut this summer to much

fanfare. It is competing against the longhaul, superjumbo A380 made by its European archrival, Airbus. There are now 817 orders for the plane. Not only is the delay a huge embarrassment to Boeing, but it means that airlines that have ordered the planes will seek billions of dollars in compensation. And Boeing has been spending to try to overhaul its supply chain in light of the problems getting the Dreamliner to production. In March, the company bought out a partner's half of an assembly plant in South Carolina. Related Links Takeoff Delay for 787 It's Boeing's Turn to Show Off Its Orders Oasis in the Desert: Airbus Lands a Jumbo Emirates Order

Fergie Performs with Heart on Idol Gives Back
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:40:25 AM

The legendary two-girl band Heart performed on Idol Gives Back with Fergie. To once again prove she is not pregnant, Fergie did two one-handed cart wheels. Josh likes Fergie because she’s flexible. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Fergie Says She is NOT Pregnant • Fergie is NOt Pregnant • Fergie Gets Paid $4 Million for Nothing • Fergie Once Talked To A Hamper For Eight Hours • Fergie Does Dolly with Charlotte Church

What a day. I can’t say neither side is throwing punches any longer in the epic fight over what’s left of Yahoo. Microsoft and Yahoo are done, for the most part, with sternly worded letters. Yesterday Yahoo made two announcements/leaks. First, that they were very close to agreeing to terms that would combine Yahoo and AOL as an alternative to the Microsoft deal. And second, that they will run, ahem, a two week test of Google Adsense on 3% of their Yahoo search results page, instead of their own ads. Microsoft responded that the Google deal is a precursor to handing over de facto monopoly power of the search advertising space. And they threw their own curve ball as well: News Corp. has switched teams and is now in Microsoft’s camp. The formal entry of AOL into the discussions suggests Time Warner wants to offload the asset soon. If a Microsoft/Yahoo deal goes through, the only realistic suitor for AOL is Google, and that gives them little negotiating leverage. The News Corp news is more interesting. In a move reminiscent of the Italians switching sides in World War II, they’ve abandoned their Yahoo soul mate for a more compliant Microsoft. They put in a bid for Yahoo in February ( more), which was reportedly countered just a couple of weeks ago. My guess is the counter offer wasn’t very interesting, so they switched sides. You gotta love News Corp., they’re always there for you when they need you. But by far the most interesting news is the Yahoo/Google alliance. Industry insiders still question whether regulators would allow the deal, but Yahoo’s been whispering around Silicon Valley that a business partnership with Google, as opposed to a merger, would stand a much higher likelihood of getting approved. What Is Yahoo’s Strategy - Scorched Earth, Or Knife To The Nose? Yahoo has put costly severance plans in place to both retain employees and make

themselves a less attractive acquisition candidate. But top talent has left anyway, and just about everyone at Yahoo seems to be looking for a job (even execs I’ve spoken with). Meanwhile, the Google deal shows they would rather give up the search marketing game, their biggest asset, than become part of Microsoft. Their actions, which appear to be based on destroying their market value as a counter to the Microsoft bid, benefit neither their stockholders nor their employees. And by setting up Google as the only real option in search marketing, they are disrupting what little market balance and competition exists in that space today. I can’t decide if nose knifing or scorched earth is the best way of describing what they’re doing, but I have to ask: If Yahoo “wins” this epic battle with Microsoft, will there be anything left at the end to celebrate over? It’s time to end this thing before Yahoo ends itself. I don’t care if they throw AOL, MySpace, and half the rest of the Internet into the deal along with Yahoo. But the health of the Internet demands a counter balance to Google. Yahoo-Microsoft, given the current state of things, is the only reasonable outcome. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0



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In Another Surprise Twist, AOL-Yahoo Deal Said to Be Close At Hand
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 6:53:11 PM

Why Should Newspapers Agree To MLB's Rules On How They Can Report On Baseball Online?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 12:14:00 AM

The Web Is Improving Consumer Software By Cutting Out Middlemen
By Timothy Lee (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:53:02 AM

Things are moving fast in the YahooMicrosoft drama. All the different forces are aligning for an endgame. The latest twist: The WSJ is reporting that Yahoo is close to signing a deal to combine with AOL. This at the same time that Yahoo is doing a limited test to place Google ads in its search results. Meanwhile, News Corp, which Yahoo once hoped would be its white knight, is said to be turning on Yahoo and talking to Microsoft about joining its bid. Obviously a lot of balls are up in the air right now, and anything is possible. Here is how the AOL-Yahoo combination is shaping up, according to the WSJ: Under the terms being discussed, Time Warner would fold its AOL unit into Yahoo and make a cash investment in return for about 20% of the combined entity, the people said. The deal, which wouldn’t include AOL’s dial-up access business, would value AOL at about $10 billion. As part of the deal, Yahoo would use the Time Warner cash and additional funds to buy back several billion dollars worth of its own stock at a price somewhere in the middle of the range between $30 and $40 a share Tellingly, that $10 billion valuation is half of what AOL’s business was pegged at when Google invested $1 billion for its 5 percent stake in AOL a little over two years ago. (But that does not include the dial-up business). What we are witnessing

is all sorts of contortions on both sides to make the numbers work. We’ve believed all along that Time Warner will put an offer on the table, but it will be difficult to make it pencil out, especially if an AOLYahoo combo is up against a three-way Microsoft-MySpace-Yahoo deal. Each of these potential deals would create integration nightmares, but a threeway tie between Microsoft, MySpace, and Yahoo would create an entity with so much traffic and advertising inventory that it might not matter. The chances of such a complicated deal going through, though, are small. The most likely outcome is still Microsoft buying Yahoo, and this is all just fodder for the negotiations. Which Would Be A Stronger Yahoo Entity? • Microsoft-MySpace-Yahoo • AOL-Yahoo View Results CrunchBase Information Yahoo! AOL Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Back in February, we noted that Major League Baseball (MLB) was following the NFL down the extremely slippery slope of putting in place restrictions concerning how reporters could report on baseball online. This included things like only very short video clips could be posted online, no more than 7 photos, and all non-text content had to be removed in 72-hours. If that all sounds like preventing reporters from doing their job, you'd be correct. As I suggested at the time, the answer should be for newspapers to simply ignore the rules and if MLB pulls their press passes to buy their reporters tickets to the games (rather than using press passes) or see how the teams feel without press coverage. While it appears that newspapers certainly were upset about these restrictions, rather than doing anything serious about it, they've apparently negotiated a "compromise." The compromise allows newspapers to now host more video and audio content than the original restrictions, but everything still needs to be removed within 72-hours unless there's a special exemption. This is, of course, absolutely ridiculous. While it's perfectly legal (reporters don't need to get press passes, so the team can restrict them), it sets a tremendously bad

precedent that journalists are allowing any outside control over how they can report on a game. This is all stemming from MLB's incorrect belief that it "owns" everything having to do with Major League Baseball -- and then wanting to artificially limit it so it can sell it to fans. Note that we're not just talking about actual game data here -- but interviews with the players that are conducted by the journalists. There's simply no legitimate reason why newspapers should allow MLB to dictate what it can do with that content or how it can report on it. All that this will do is serve to limit the kind of innovative reporting and community building that the MLB should be encouraging. It's as top down approach by an organization who thinks that only it can decide how people get access to news and info about the game. But it's going to stop newspapers from putting in place their own, perhaps more useful, services for fans, and that will only serve to limit the fanbase. It's upsetting that MLB would even try to do this and it's a travesty that newspapers acquiesced, even to the supposed "compromise" solution. It's opening the door to the MLB telling them what they can report on and any newspaper person should know better. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Now IBM Wants To Patent Responding To Chaos
By Mike Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 4:08:00 PM

theodp writes"Thanks to IBM, the next time a crisis of 9/11 or Katrina magnitude strikes, you may have to worry about patent infringement. Just-published

USPTO documents reveal that Big Blue has a patent application for Optimizing the Selection, Verification, and Deployment of Expert Resources in a Time of Chaos, which covers responding to 'episodes of profound chaos during hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, solar flares,

flooding, terrorism, war, and pandemics to name a few.' If anyone from Homeland Security is reading, it's apparently this easy." Yes, this is actually a patent application for a computerized process (not, as theodp suggests, just for responding), but it still seems rather

bizarre that you would patent such a thing. Does one firm really deserve to have a monopoly on a computerized system for responding to a chaotic event? Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

David Pogue quotes an interesting reader email about why high-tech consumer products are so often bloated and poorly designed. It points out that when large companies design a product, they tend to be overly focused on adding lots of complex features in order to put "more check marks in more boxes" on comparison charts and impress reviewers. That raises the price of the product and can often confuse novice users. But in the old days when software was sold in a box at Best Buy, it was hard to avoid this fate because the overhead of producing, distributing, and marketing the software required charging a high price and sucking up to reviewers. The web has eliminated a lot of overhead and allowed an entrepreneur to put his product directly in the hands of users without going through a lot of middlemen. That shifts the marketplace in favor of small, lightweight, easy-to-use software. Software that would never have been judged serious enough to put in a box and sell at Best Buy can now carve out a niche in the market by appealing directly to customers. And that's a good thing because comparison charts are often a lousy way to judge software. For example, the original Google search engine would have stacked up poorly in comparison charts against larger rivals like Yahoo! that were rapidly transforming themselves into "portals." But Google was a lot better at the one feature that really mattered: search quality. They had trouble convincing the titans of the web to buy their search technology, but luckily they could just put it on the web and let the customer try it. As more and more software migrates to the web, it's likely to result in more responsive and higher-quality software. Timothy Lee is an expert at the Techdirt Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Timothy Lee and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Dumb Sprint 'Security' Questions Make It Easier To Hijack Accounts
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 7:18:02 PM

Turns Out P2P Lending Might Run Afoul Of Securities Law As Well
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 7:13:04 AM

Yahoo So Desperate To Stay Away From Microsoft, It's Starting To Use Google Ads
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 8:31:00 AM

In the last year or so, there's been a disturbing trend of companies to start adding absolutely ridiculous and counterproductive "security" questions on various sites. Most of these do absolutely nothing good in terms of security. In fact, it seems the more ridiculous these features are, the less secure a site actually is. I've been collecting some examples of the more bizarre "security" features I've been seeing lately, with the really ridiculous "security questions" being quite popular. This is when the site gives you a bunch of questions to choose from -- but often those questions are not the sort that have a single answer, or an answer that's easily memorable. For example, I just saw one that asked "What's a place you'd like to visit someday?" Well, there are a few, but I doubt I could remember the one I picked. And what happens if I do visit that place before the next time I need to answer that question? I was recently discussing this with a colleague who told me that if I wanted to see the most ridiculous example, I should look at Sprint's system, as it had a bunch of security questions where it tried to pull information on you. Before I had a chance to check it out, it looks like the folks over

at Consumerist decided to take on Sprint, and discovered not just how ridiculous the questions are but noticed some patterns that make it quite easy to get control of any Sprint user's account. The way it works is Sprint asks you a series of "security" questions that it thinks only you would know the answer to. Things like "what type of car has been registered at your address?" and "which of the following people has lived at your address?" It sounds like some data collection company probably convinced Sprint to purchase access to their data to set up these questions in the name of "security." The problem is that if you know just a little about certain people, you can easily guess the answers. Even worse, a former Sprint employee notes that, mostly to avoid "accidentally" having two right answers, it's usually quite easy to figure out the actual answers. For example, on the automobile question, the incorrect answers are usually expensive luxury vehicles. This isn't "security." It's barely security theater. It's a huge security hole. Hopefully with a little attention Sprint gets rid of it and puts something more reasonable in place. I just hope it doesn't involve asking me where I hope to travel some day. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

First off, a quick disclaimer. Lending Club has offices in the same building as Techdirt, and we're actually right across the hall from them. I'm also pretty good friends with some folks who work there (since even before they worked there), but I have no additional insight into what's going on at the company, other than that everyone I know there is very smart and capable. A few months back, we got into a discussion about attempts to take the peerto-peer "lending" model and move it into venture funding. At the time, we pointed out that this would raise serious regulatory problems, as the public markets (regulated by the SEC) were already, effectively, a peer-to-peer venture capital system. However, at the time we didn't think too much about the regulatory implications of peer-to-peer lending itself -- and, unfortunately, it appears that Lending Club may not have either. Apparently, Lending Club has put all new lending activity on hold, as it needs to deal with certain regulatory matters. The company won't provide any additional information on what's going on (even, I assume, to those of us across the hall), but the speculation is that its lending

practices clearly fell on the wrong side of certain regulations, quite similar to the ones we discussed having to do with any attempt at a peer-to-peer venture offering. The Peer-Lend blog points to this analysis of the problem (though, that's for a competitor of Lending Club). Basically, the question is who owns the loan itself, and how is it transferred. Since the loan may be owned either by the company itself or by the lenders (the "peers") at some point the loan may be getting transferred around -- meaning that it's no longer a "loan" but a "security." And, as we know, securities are regulated. This could get even hairier as the government is suddenly quite concerned about "securtized" loans these days since (as you might have heard) some of the financial world's problems have something to do with such instruments. This certainly isn't a problem that just faces Lending Club. In fact, it's almost surprising that it happened to it first, rather than its larger competitors like Prosper and Zopa. In the meantime, though, it's a good reminder that while web 2.0 startups can enable a lot of neat things, the folks back in Washington DC still have plenty of power over what certain businesses can and cannot do. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Last summer there was speculation that a bold step for Yahoo to take to revive its sagging prospects would be to ditch its own ad system and outsource it to Google. Despite Yahoo trying to catch up for many years, Google's ad system just works much, much better. It would save Yahoo a ton of money and probably create better returns -- even if it would help fuel Google too. However, Yahoo pretty much laughed off the suggestion... until now. Being aggressively pursued by Microsoft can have that effect -- especially as white knight rescuers seem few and far between (i.e., they don't seem to exist at all). So, with that, the news is breaking that Yahoo is finally going to test running Google's ads. It's a "small scale" test, only running for a couple weeks and only on a small percentage (less than 3%) of Yahoo's inventory. But, assuming it goes well, it'll likely lead to a much bigger shift. Of course, Microsoft was quick to denounce the deal, claiming that the Justice Department would have a field day over the antitrust issues raised, but so far Microsoft doesn't have such a great track record in getting the DOJ to act on its antitrust complaints. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Virtual Smells Back Yet Again... And The Idea Still Stinks
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 5:44:00 AM

The idea of sending smells over the internet has been around for quite some time. In fact, one early web design shop created a "spoof" site for"RealAroma" as a play off of RealNetworks original product RealAudio. However, over the years we keep seeing real companies jump on the

iSmell bandwagon. Digiscents got a ton of press coverage during the dot com bubble only to flop. In 2004, we heard of a company trying to resurect the idea, followed by a different company trying the same thing in 2005. If you haven't heard much about these lately, it might be because the idea stinks (literally and figuratively). They're all based on the same basic concept. You have to have a special

device that has various "scents" that can be released via digital alerts to provide that right overall aroma. It appears that the idea is now being revived once again, this time in Japan. NTT, the huge telco in Japan, is trying to offer a similar technology, though it's being marketed slightly differently. Rather than just adding smells to your daily internet surfing experience, the idea is that

you can email or text message the scent machine from afar to set off a nice smell in your home, such that when you arrive, everything smells pretty. If you're already in the house, you can control the device via an infrared connection on your phone. Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't the "smell while your surf" option as well. The article describes how you could send someone virtual roses while also setting

their smell-o-nator to offer up a rose scent. I would suggest, by the way, that you never do anything to piss off whoever has access to your smell generator. That might get downright putrid. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story


Tech* Gossip

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Can Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, AOL And News Corp Sit Down And Just Divvy Up The Internet Already?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 1:17:00 PM

Ustream.TV Takes $11.1 Million Series A
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 6:00:11 AM

Robin Williams on Idol Gives Back
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:50:46 AM

Well, well, well. So, apparently, the earlier news about Yahoo using Google ads was just the appetizer to the more meaty story, which is apparently... well... that just about all the big name internet players are going to do a bit of horse trading to figure out who owns who in the end. There seems to be a lot of speculating in the WSJ article, but apparently step one is that Yahoo and AOL might merge their internet properties (something that's been rumored before). That pairing would likely lead to Google taking over the ads (it already handles the ads for AOL and owns a stake of AOL). At the same time, the article reports that News Corp., once rumored to be a suitor of Yahoo until it vehemently denied the story, may actually be teaming up with Microsoft to make a

joint bid for Yahoo. Who else did we leave out? Nobody? Anyway, I stand my by original assessment of a potential AOL-Yahoo merger ("like trying to keep a wild animal from eating you by covering yourself with feces"), but honestly, this gathering of the big players should actually be seen as a huge opportunity for everyone else. Basically, the big boys are about to make a big mess, and there will be tremendous opportunities that spill out while they try to figure out what went wrong. People are just starting to realize that you don't innovate by building up huge megacorporations -- you do it by being small and nimble. These megamergers are going in the wrong direction and will open up huge opportunities for small, quick firms that think big. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Ustream.TV has taken $11.1 million Series A in a round that included Doll Capital Management and existing investor The Band of Angels. Ustream.TV was in the first wave of live broadcast sites that launched in 2007 along with Justin.TV, BlogTV and Mogulus. Ustream.TV took $2 million in angel funding in December and appointed General Wesley Clark to the board. Rumors surface in January that the company was in takeover talks with Microsoft with a $50 million price tag. Ustream.TV has grown from its original launch to become a broadcast hub for Presidential hopefuls, popular entertainers and musicians, technology industry gurus and business executives. The live broadcasting service has been complemented with a depth of tools that

allows people like Chris Pirillo to build a video empire. Ustream.TV offers video conversion and download in .FLV, .WMV, .MP4 and .MOV, and users can syndicate videos created from live shows on video sites such as Blip.tv. According to Ustream.TV, their traffic has grown 325% over the last 6 months. Ustream.TV said the funding would be used to accelerate product development and “meet market demand for a live online video broadcasting platform that allows people all over the world to engage in realtime.” CrunchBase Information Ustream Justin.TV Mogulus blogTV Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Robin Williams did a comedy routine as a fake Russian Idol winner Ivan Poppinoff on Idol Gives Back. Robin and Ryan did a great routine together. The amazing talent Robin has is to spontaneously improvise his material right off the top of his head. Robin is a legend. Hey, he even got Simon Cowell to crack a smile. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Robin Williams Wife Files for Divorce • Robin Williams is out of Rehab • Robin Williams Does Rehab

WorldTV partners with Qik for live video
By Mike Butcher (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 12:55:12 AM

WorldTV, an online TV startup which lets users mix clips from video sharing sites and their webcam, is adding interoperability with mobile video broadcast service Qik, which itself just raised a $3 million Series B round. Qik users will be able to stream live video to WorldTV channels and WorldTV users can now broadcast live video from their mobile phones simultaneously on Qik and their WorldTV channel. A longer review is on TechCrunch UK. Suffice it to say live video is clearly a hot sector right now. With “under $1M” in private funding, WorldTV ’s Flash-based interface allows

users add clips from YouTube, Metacafe, Yahoo, Google Video, Blip.tv and others. It then puts these into a playlist which plays them automatically, effectively creating a full-screen TV channel. You can

also watch channels created by other people. A number of other sites allow users to create personalised internet video channels including Vpod.tv, Cozmo, Kyte, me.tv, Mogulus, Magnify and SplashCast, but WorldTV has a simple, consumerfriendly feel to it. The revenue model is based on a subscription-based prosumer version for additional scheduling features and an enterprise version for broadcasters with logo overlays. CrunchBase Information WorldTV Qik Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Qik Raises $3M for Live Mobile Streaming
By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 5:53:52 PM

As rumored earlier this week, live mobile video streaming service Qik has raised $3 million in Series B funding from Marc Benioff, Arjun Gupta, and George Garrick. Qik allows users to stream video from their camera-enabled phones to a number of platforms including TV, gaming consoles, and the web itself. Currently only a subset of Nokia phones work with Qik,

although the company has plans to support all smart and Java-enabled phones. Competitors include Mogulus and Kyte. Qik has raised a total of $4M to date. The company recently joined up with Justin.tv to provide that lifecasting service with mobile capabilities. CrunchBase Information Qik Mogulus Kyte Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Stolen Data So Plentiful, The Market For It Has Collapsed
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 10:01:05 PM

There are so many data leaks these days that it's hardly even newsworthy every time some company reveals your social

security number and credit card. However, would you believe that it's also impacting the economics for fraudsters? Matt Bennett alerts us to the news that the price of fraudulently obtained data is falling through the floor thanks to the glut of it on

the market. There are so many collections of credit cards or bank account numbers that the crooks who are buying them are buying them in bigger batches at greatly deflated prices. By the way, the falling dollar has impacted this as well: European

identity data is worth a lot more than American identity data. So, I guess there's that to be thankful for. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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News Corp Talking To Meebo Can’t Get Their Price, Goes For Fundraising Microsoft About Joining Yahoo Bid Instead Of Sale
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 6:44:14 PM

By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 6:38:19 PM

Web chat startup Meebo has been working with investment bank Montgomery & Co. for the last few months to either find a buyer or raise a big new round of financing. The rumor was they were looking for a $250 million valuation. A couple of sources have told us that eBay, Fox/MySpace and AOL all took a long look at the company, but ultimately passed based on the price and the fact that the company has done aggregate revenues since launching of only $1 million or so. So instead of selling, Meebo is closing a financing round valuing the company at $175 - $200 million. The company wants strategic investors as well as the inevitable private equity funds that would be willing to pay this kind of valuation (traditional VCs won’t touch a deal like this). The rumor is that Fox and/or AOL may be investing in the round.

Meebo’s big selling point is the success of Meebo Rooms, which essentially turns chat rooms into a web service. Also, Facebook just jumped into the chat space; other social networks can quickly add the feature via a partnership with Meebo. The deal has not yet closed, according to our sources, although we hear Meebo has a big announcement scheduled for Thursday morning, Our guess is that it isn’t the financing, but we’ll see. CrunchBase Information Meebo Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

News Corp is said to be in talks with Microsoft about joining its bid for Yahoo, according to sources quoted by the New York Times. News Corp entering the mix may allow Microsoft to raise its bid, putting even more pressure on Yahoo to accept it. It would also remove News Corp as a possible alternate bidder for Yahoo. A combined Microsoft/ News Corp/ Yahoo would marry Fox Interactive Media and most notably MySpace with Yahoo’s web properties and Microsoft Live and MSN services, creating an even bigger challenger to Google. According to the Times, the talks between Microsoft and News Corporation are at a sensitive stage, with their source stating that “there’s a long way to go before anything is definite.” The news comes after another colorful day in the Microsoft/ Yahoo standoff with

ASUS' BD-equipped Essentio CS5110 mini PC gets official
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:31:00 AM

Yahoo announcing a trial of Google ads against its search results, and Microsoft responding by saying that any Yahoo/ Google tie-up lessened competition. Update: The WSJ is reporting that Yahoo is close to signing a deal to combine with AOL. CrunchBase Information News Corporation Yahoo! Microsoft Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

AOL Regroups Blogs, Launches AOL Tech Network
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 11:48:09 PM

AOL launched what they’re calling the AOL Tech Network this evening. It’s a grouping of existing blogs - the Engadget sites, Switched, TUAW and Download Squad, under a new tech content group. Unike AOL Games, AOL Entertainment and other sub brands, AOL Tech is being

branded without “AOL.” A new link on the AOL home page links to Switched, which will now syndicate in content from the other blogs in the network. This is partly a streamlining of the organization, but it’s also a way for AOL’s sales team to pitch a tech brand to advertisers that has a big footprint. The combined blogs bring in nearly 5 million combined monthly visitors, making it

Of course, 100% of the Switched content is coming from blogs, unlike those other sites. Engadget has more, and talks about a new design as well. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0 about twice the size of Wired and in the same ballpark as Yahoo Tech.

Filed under: Desktops If you've been courting the idea of picking up a mini PC resembling an overstuffed history book with a glossy black finish, ASUS' got just the thing. Housing an Intel processor, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, slot-loading DVD / Blu-ray (optional) drive, up to 1TB of hard drive space, a 256MB GeForce 8600M and 7.1channel audio out, this thing is an ATSC tuner away from being a pretty potent little HTPC. You'll also find gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an integrated IR receiver, FireWire, 10-in-1 multicard reader, HDMI / VGA out (DVI via bundled adapter) and a multimedia keyboard / mouse combo to go along with that MCE remote. ASUS also promised that it's newest 3.4-kilogram (7.5-pound) desktop keeps ultra-quiet, but sadly, it failed to mention a price or release date. [Via DailyTech] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Carrie Underwood on Idol Gives Back
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:01:40 AM

Sony's Bravia E4000 series is pretty as a picture
By Thomas Ricker (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 10:16:00 PM

Filed under: HDTV See it? No there, the one that looks like a flat screen TV hanging on the wall. Right, that's Sony's new E4000 TV series. Sony's pushing its new Picture Frame Mode and four "blend in frame colours" hard as its looks to differentiate the 32- and 40-inch

Full HD LCDs (and a wee 26 inch of unspecified, sub-1080p resolution) from the competition. As such, the TVs will display one of six, pre-installed images like Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Cypresses. Really though, why bother preloading content when it'll display any image you stuff into a connected USB drive. Oh right, copyright law. Anyway, the top-o-the-line 40-inch model features

SCART for you European old-schoolers. No price or release date but you can play along with Sony's hide the 26-incher after the break. [Via Tech Digest] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments x.v.Color on a 10-bit panel, Bravia Engine 2 processing, 3x HDMI inputs and even

Carrie Underwood performed on Idol Gives Back. She’s as beautiful as she is talented. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Carrie Underwood Does Umbrella • Tony Romo Teammates Want Jessica Simpson Banned from Games • Jessica Simpson is Dating Tony Romo • American Music Awards 2007 Winners



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World's first 46-inch stereoscopic 3D TV from Hyundai on sale in Japan
By Thomas Ricker (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 12:03:00 AM

Zune Guy's name change endeavor is back on
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:08:00 AM

Micro SD Card Projector blows up portable media
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:11:00 AM

Filed under: Displays Mini-projectors are a dime a dozen these days, but the Micro SD Card Projector is whizzing right around all those serious competitors and aiming instead for the carefree crowd. Essentially, the image quality you'll get from this thing is likely to be lackluster -- after all, the manufacturer doesn't even bother to pass along a contrast ratio, let alone a native resolution. Still, the ability to shove an SD

card into the rear and instantly watch your portable media clips on the big(ish) screen is a boon to travel junkies and kids of all ages. Heck, there's even a set of composite inputs if you're looking to give your DVD player (or similar) some work. No word on exactly what file types the unit understands, but those willing to take a chance can expect it to ship later this week for £99.99 ($196). [Via ShinyShiny] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Displays, HDTV 3D baby, that's what we've wanted from home television for 50 years. Now it's yours... if you live in Japan anyway. Introducing the world's first 46-inch 3D stereoscopic television. Built by Hyundai, the 1,920 x 1,080 set is capable of grabbing BS11 3D broadcasts pumped by Nippon BS in Japan for the last few months. The ¥498,000 (about $4,857) LCD brings 2x HDMI and 3x composite inputs

(to name a few) and apparently works fine for traditional 2D broadcasts. Unfortunately, you'll have to wear what appear to be 3-foot wide, 3D glasses judging by the image provided above. Perhaps they're meant as a radiation shield since the set is also the world's first TV with built-in "nuclear reactor" according to the machine translated text. Be careful out there kids, it's just television. [Via Impress] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video We can't say we'd follow in this guy's footsteps for any amount of money, but boy, does it make for fantastic drama. Shortly after the famed Zune Guy (you know, that cat with a trio of Zune-inspired tattoos?) decided to legally change his name to "Microsoft Zune," the plan was put on hiatus after hearing that it cost a whopping $500 to get a name swap. After getting curious, investigating and discovering that he only needed $150 to have it done, he put the mission squarely back on the front burner. Unfortunately, there still stands a chance of the aforesaid name being denied, so he's posted up a poll in order to let the general public give him a list of backups. Personally, we're feelin' McZunin. [Thanks, Brian] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Kohjinsha's SR8KPO6S UMPC makes room for optical drive
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:52:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops, Tablet PCs Kohjinsha's UMPCs have remained largely unchanged over the years -- an SSD here, Intel CPU boost here -- but the firm's latest has managed to accomplish something few UMPCs would even dream of. That's right, this 7-incher includes a full-fledged duallayer DVD writer, which tags along nicely with the 1,024 x 600 resolution LEDbacklit panel, 1.3-megapixel camera, 60GB hard drive, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth and 800MHz A110 processor. It's also filled with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, Ethernet, a duo of USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, audio in / out, 3-in-1 multicard reader and a pair of battery options promising 3.5 / 7.2 hours of life. The 2.4-

pound machine looks to be available at the end of this month (albeit rebadged as a Vye Mini-V S37) for around $1,500. [Via Ubergizmo] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Rock Band guitar hack enables stompbox to activate Overdrive
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:29:00 AM

Blockbuster announcing streaming settop box this month?
By Thomas Ricker (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:08:00 AM

Filed under: Home Entertainment The Hollywood Reporter is stating in no uncertain terms that Blockbuster is developing a set-top box to stream video into the home. Now the real bombshell: it should be announced "sometime this month." The device is expected to make the most of Blockbuster's access to Movielink's 6,000 strong Movie catalog just as soon as the content is migrated to Blockbuster.com (sometime before June). While delivering movies into the home electronically certainly challenges Blockbuster's brick and mortar business,

Video: Thingamagoop alarm clock mod haunts your dreams, wakes you to its nightmare
By Thomas Ricker (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:47:00 AM

really, what choice do they have in the relentless face of progress. Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets, Household Remember Thingamagoop, the little synth monster controlled by light thanks to the photocell governing the main oscillator? Well, this alarm clock mod requires a 9-volt DC jack and adapter, switch SPDT, and some audio cable and wire to bring it all together. A few snips

and solder burns later and voila, the monster Moog alarm clock is born. Man, robots... synthesizers... it's like the ultimate nerd sub-cult. Video after the break, detailed hacking instructions on the other side of that read link. P.S. Yes, he has throw-switch nipples and a uh, knob. Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Gaming Not even 24 hours after catching a whiff of those sick Mushroom-headed Rock Band drum pads comes yet another mod that oozes awesomeness. The Rock Band Stompbox tackles an issue any digital rocker has faced -- accidental (and often unwanted) activation of Overdrive / Star Power. Put simply, this engineering fellow ripped his axe apart, ganked a spare effects pedal and put his superb wiring skills to good use. Hit up the read link for a pictorial step-by-step, or jump on past the break for a video demonstration. [Thanks, Brad] Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Canon's new XL H1S and XL H1A prosumer HD camcorders
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:32:00 AM

Filed under: Digital Cameras Canon's building on its well-received XL H1 prosumer, interchangeable-lens video camera with the new XL H1S and XL

H1A. The primary addition shared by the new cameras is the updated 20x HD Video Lens III, but there are also improvements to the image and color settings, audio input capabilities and an external LCD monitor output plug. The XL H1S bests the H1A with uncompressed HD-SD1 output, but

landing mid-July for $6,000. Read| Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments will run you a full three grand more when it hits in June for $9,000, with the H1A


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The Big Four Fight; Everyone Else Wins
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:09:41 AM

ClipSyndicate Proves Canada Loves Mashable
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:37:32 PM

Here’s a very short recap of the internet love rectangle story so far. Microsoft bids for Yahoo; Yahoo wants more money; Google doesn’t want the deal to happen; Microsoft reiterates their bid; Yahoo still wants more money; Yahoo considers closing an advertising deal with Google; AOL and Yahoo consider merging. Following all this from a distance, it seems to me that this is a lose-lose situation for everyone (with the possible exception of Google). Yahoo is basically defending from the Microsoft bid by doing all the things they never ever wanted or planned to do, and Microsoft is trying to spend all their cash reserves to acquire a tired giant. And another tired giant, AOL, is trying to get in on the action although it’s not entirely clear how the hell could an AOL-Yahoo merger ever be a good thing. Google might be a winner here simply because they don’t really offer anything to anyone, they’re merely picking up the pieces from Yahoo’s trainwreck. However, why all this is happening in the first place is somewhat hard to

understand. Huge corporations like Time Warner, Microsoft and Yahoo are still buried deep in the good old-fashioned running-a-business mindset. The problem is, they’re not in this mess because Google - who is one of the root causes of these events - was better at it than them; it’s because Google was doing it differently. How can these giants - which are all mildly -to-severely dysfunctional to begin with merge and create something better than they already have is beyond me. They would do better if they broke up into even smaller pieces. Thus, while bigcos have their ROE and

EPS and shareholders and quarterly reports to think about, some small player - perhaps two guys in the basement - will emerge and they’re going to disrupt their business again. And it’s going to keep happening because this is how internet works. The big four are making a mess, and wasting time here, nothing more - although I’m sure it seems like a lot more to them. By the time Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft figure out who owns what, chances are that many of their online properties will be worthless. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: The Daily Poll: Is Microsoft-Yahoo Inevitable? Developing: Microsoft Reconsidering Yahoo Offer The Daily Poll: Should Yahoo Accept Microsoft’s Offer? MASSIVE: Microsoft May Acquire Yahoo for $50 Billion CNET: Microsoft and Yahoo in “Informal Talks” Is Yahoo Worth $4 Billion More Than It Was On Feb. 1st? Microsoft Considers Raising Yahoo Bid

ClipSyndicate is the consumer branch of a news video aggregation service (called Critical Mention ) that collects video content and enables the search and redistribution of that content for publishers and content owners across the world. At the Video Search Summit yesterday, I had a chance to sit down at ClipSyndicate’s booth and see a demo of the Clip Syndicate and Critical Mention services. For the demo, Jim Pavoldi of the company did a video search for Mashable, which turned up a nice plug from a program that airs in Canada. I’m so happy to hear that our neighbors to the North love Mashable! I also got to hear a bit about how ClipSyndicate is looking to build out its consumer-end products for web publishers that would like to take advantage of ClipSyndicate’s archiving and search services. ClipSyndicate is built on the Critical Mention infrastructure, and layers in some advertising opportunities as well.

See additional coverage of ClipSyndicate’s API towards the consumer end here. Check out the video: ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: ClipSyndicate Launches Video Search API for Social Networks Truveo’s Election Video Site is Sooo Late. 10 Online Video Ad Competitors Compared Social Networking at DEMO - Standards Higher than Usual? Magnify.net Funded Share2Me - From Photobucket to MySpace and Facebook in a Click Startups Going Live: Mixpo, Eyejot, Yodio, Vringo, My-Currency, Nexo, ClipSyndicate, Magnify.net, More

AdBrite Opens Platform, So You Can Play with Targeting Ads
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 5:05:10 AM

With AOL having launched PubAccess and a number of other advertising networks exploring the multiple ways in which the industry could better deliver targeted ads, there’s a noticeable occurrence that’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid: the developments in the marketplace are moving pretty fast. From video ads to widget ads, a lot of brands, advertising networks, content owners and publishers are still feeling out the best way in which to monetize sites and audiences. While most ad networks offer one way or another to target ads across websites, what would you think about having several

methods available within a single ad network? AdBrite is becoming that single ad network, with the revelation of its Open Targeting Exchange (OTX). It’s an open platform approach that other advertising technologies can build upon. That means that a starting ad network can use AdBrite’s OTX in order to use one or many of the targeting methods it already can deploy, and building a company from there. Targeting options include geographic, demographic, retargeting, contextual and behavioral. And as this OTX is providing access to AdBrite’s platform, other companies can leverage AdBrite’s existing network of publishers and advertisers as well. Is this the best of both worlds?

AdBrite is hoping to compete, on some level, with the larger ad networks like Google and Yahoo–at least by putting on the pressure with its open platform strategy. AdBrite expects that the ability to build on its existing tools will help spur some innovation in attempts to discover the best approach to targeted ads. Any developers or web publishers out there, I’m rather curious to hear your take on AdBrite’s platform approach: would this be a potentially good idea for startups or other ad networks, and is it worth it to you for AdBrite to get some deeper insight to the targeted ad market, which could be used for its own benefit later on down the line? Can the platform strategy be applied to every industry?

ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: AdBrite Now Offers Full Page Ads Big Money for AdBrite: $23 Million from Sequoia and Others AdBrite Serves Ads For Facebook Apps FuckedCompany, For Sale ContextWeb Launches ADSDAQ for Ad Trading DIY Ad Network Partners with Technorati Japan Major San Francisco Power Outage Takes Down Web 2.0 Sites

Local Motors, Crowdsourcing the American Dream
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 7:39:57 PM

We’ve seen crowdsourcing used for just about everything, from novels to mining. We’ve even seen crowdsourcing, combined with social networking, used for marketing purposes when brands launch competitions for new Coke machines in Second Life, or things of the sort. What we don’t typically see is a combination of most of these factors, for the creation of actual products that are released to the market, with the social aspects coming by way of networking and related contests. LOCAL page 19

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Meebo Brings Warner $11.1 Million Broadcast Executive to Land Fortune Live into UStream’s Bank 500 Ad Deals Account
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 6:06:12 AM

By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 6:08:17 AM

Meebo has been heavily involved with finding branding opportunities for marketing campaigns that work within the realm of its web-based IM tool, so it’s no shocker that it’s brought on an industry veteran to run its direct sales team. Carter Brokaw is the newest executive team member for Meebo, and he will be acting as the Chief Revenue Officer, in charge of sales, advertising sales and monetization strategies. Hailing from Warner Music Group, where Brokaw was a part of the company’s direct-to-consumer sector, Brokaw also has more than ten years of experience form CNET Networks under his belt, where he worked in several sales management positions. So what’s it mean for Meebo? The IM service will be looking to land more deals with Fortune 500 companies, and provide an integrated solution for brand marketing and a touch of market research. In the words of Brokaw himself, he’s “looking forward to helping leverage Meebo’s core strength by bringing brands into the conversation in ways that are engaging, integrated and measurable.” With the introduction of affiliate programs and a platform on which third parties can create chat-inclusive applications, Meebo has branched off quite

a bit from its initial web-based tool. From what I’ve heard from various members of the Meebo team, this is the exact direction in which Meebo wants to go, and as the company has always been pretty careful about the advertising methods and companies that it runs campaigns with, having someone with the extensive knowledge that Brokaw brings to the table is necessary for continued growth. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Meebo Rooms Launches API and an Ad Network to Monetize It Meebo Firefox Extension Now Live Meebo Plugin Now Available for Facebook Meebo’s Breakthrough: File Transfer Between IM Networks Meebo’s Chinese Clone Causing Too Much Trouble Meebo’s Custom Chat Rooms for New Advertising Options Meebo Signs Yahoo Messenger’s Chris Szeto as New Product Exec

Most of the folks I know over at UStream have been bursting at the seams to tell me about some sort of ‘major big-time good news’ that has been on the cusp of announcement for the last few weeks. Given the open conversations I’m lucky enough to have with most of them, they’ve been remarkably tight-lipped as to what the nature of the announcement was going to be, so I naturally assumed the most sensational rumor I’d heard to date, that Microsoft was about to announce the purchase of UStream. Turns out that isn’t the case, but this announcement involves a windfall of money none-the-less. The live embedded video broadcasting company has secured $11.1 million in Series A funding from DCM as well as returning investors Labrador Ventures and Band of Angels. UStream has been growing quick, both in terms of maturity within the company as well as profile and userbase, and this money infusion is meant to further fuel that growth. Over the last several months, they’ve hosted a number of high profile streams, like the Digg Townhalls, James Blunt, Hannah Montanna, and just about every presidential candidate. They’ve almost become the de facto standard for

embedded live video. By that token, they’ve had a number of improvements to their platform rolled out recently, including the stealth release of their programmer API. UStream’s previous bit of funding came in December of 2007, and was in the amount of $2 million, and came with a U.S. General Wesley Clark to sit on the board. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Ustream’s Live Coverage of ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money” Premiere uStream.tv Beta 2 Launches Tomorrow (Screenshots) UStream: Blogworld and the Plain White T’s Rumor: Microsoft Wants To Buy Ustream.TV UStream Coverage of World Cyber Games Finals UStream Presents Mary Higgins and James Blunt this Weekend Ustream’s Live Drama Webisode: If the “Real World” Were Contrived…

Lost season four might be one hour longer
By Erin Martell (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:02:00 AM

LOCAL 18 continued from page
Local Motors is a new American car company looking to combine all of these factors for regional cars. Weekly contests are held, with rewards for the participants with the best design. This open-source car design company is both collaborative and a social network, connecting car designers with car lovers. Everyone can vote for the best designs, which will then be built and made available for purchase. With this approach, Local Motors has some pretty lofty goals for its company, in its hope to use a web-based networking and collaborative platform for the purpose of stimulating economic growth in various regions throughout the US. There’s also a green initiative aligned with Local Motors, so th company is being environmentally conscience of the necessity to create a more efficient vehicle that’s good for the earth. I’m actually pretty interested to see how Local Motors will play out, gain traction, and spur innovation across the world. Google has several initiatives that have similar underlying concepts, that look to leverage the global population for the achievement of a single goal. We’re sure to see more networks such as this, on various scales across several product types. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Yahoo Pens Deal with R.H. Donnelley for Ad Distribution Across Local & Maps Search Grayboxx Launches Local Search in 100 More Cities Google News Goes Local Yahoo Hack Day “Mashup” Launched for Testing Yahoo Local Relaunches, Adds Flickr and Upcoming.org iBegin - Local Search Goes Social WebVisible Gets $12 Million in Second Round of Funding

Filed under: Programming, Lost, RealityFree There could be an upside to the Lost hiatus after all. On Wednesday afternoon, TV Guide's Michael Ausiello reported that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are in "advanced talks" with ABC about adding another hour-long chapter to Lost Season Four. The arrangement is by no means set in stone, but it is encouraging news. No word yet on how this extra hour might be added to the season's remaining five episodes. We could get another episode, or the finale could be an additional hour. Would a three-hour season finale be too much, even for Lost viewers? How will this affect the scheduling of the two-hour season finale? Currently, the season's last episode is split into two installments that will air one week apart. Will there be room for this bonus episode now that Lost is sharing Thursday nights with Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty? Continue reading Lost season four might be one hour longer Permalink| Email this| | Comments


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WorldTV Smartly Adds Qik Support for Live, Mobilecasts
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 6:06:52 AM

Wizzard Releases Video Using Adobe Media Player
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 10:56:31 PM

While WorldTV has been a long time in the making, the self-broadcasting Internet television service still had a bit of catching up to do, when looked at comparatively against services like Mogulus. However, WorldTV announces today that it now supports Qik, one of the more popular live mobile streaming services that’s being used for the inclusion of live broadcasting from mobile devices. The support of Qik means that the playing field is getting more level for WorldTV, as it begins to build out its feature set. The integration of Qik is twofold: WorldTV users can have live broadcasts through their channel by using a compatible mobile phone, or they can access other WorldTV users’ Qik content in order to layer it into their own channels. You’ll see the Qik options under the new ‘Phone’ tab on your WorldTV account dashboard. When you stream live through Qik, your WorldTV channel will immediately switch from its current programming to your live broadcast, so it truely is live. Although, there is an option to archive Qik content on WorldTV if you’d rather take a look at it before sharing it with your audience. What’s more, is WorldTV will help you get the word out by sending an automatic Twitter update, alerting your followers to

your live broadcast. What’s good about WorldTV’s approach in regards to the new Qik support is the number of options a user has in the distribution of live content, along with the republishing and automatic alert capabilities that have been included in the service, making the overall process easier for end users. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Windows Live Writer Launches Beta 2 Create Custom Channels with World.TV [The Startup Review] Plaxo Adds OpenID to Version 3.0 Mozilla Adds Live Chat Support: Eroding Microsoft’s Stronghold? Windows Live Offers Web ID Authentication: Will this Hurt OpenID? Wikispaces Adds OpenID Suport CoComment Adds CoCoCrawler, YouTube Support

Paul reviewed the Adobe Media Player this morning, which was released this morning with it’s version 1.0, and said it that essentially was great, but definitely needed more content associated with it. Several places have started to add that content at Paul’s request, and one of them is podcast giant Wizzard Media. Elisabeth Lewin at Podcasting News is reporting today that a number of highprofile shows in the Wizzard Media network are going to be utilizing the play platform: The first installment of video podcasts from the Wizzard Media Network will include The Hilary Duff Video Podcast, Tiki Bar TV, Hot for Words, Average Betty, Hawaii Surf Session Report, Midwest Teen Sex Show, Lynchland, and Underbelly, with more programming being made available soon. This will be a boon to both sides of the deal, as Wizzard has a fairly high profile stable of content producers, as well as no native embeddable player previous to the adopation of the Adobe Media Player. They’ll recieve the ability to more easily and widely distribute their content, and

Adobe Media Player gains a foothold with an already established and loyal audience in the folks that view those podcasts. [disclosure: Wizzard Media hosts the Mashable Conversations podcast] ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Adobe Launches Updated Flash Player 9: Moviestar Adobe to Acquire Makers of Web-Based Word Processor Buzzword Wizzard Media Joins the Navy Wizzard Media Publicly Traded on AMEX Microsoft vs Adobe Smackdown Silverlight and Adobe Media Player Adobe’s New Media Player Launches with Several Partners Podcast: A Conversation with Wizzard’s Rob Walch

Nielsen ratings for the week ending April 6
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:19:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Programming, Ratings, Reality-Free Here are the weekly TV ratings, by number of viewers. Even though the picture is from Two and a Half Men(for a change), American Idol got the first two slots this week again. Dancing with the Stars got the third and fifth slots, sandwiching a new CSI. It's really amazing how many shows that CBS has in the top 20 every single week. This week they have 12 shows, and that's not counting the basketball specials. That's wild. 1. American Idol- Tues (FOX) 2. American Idol- Weds (FOX) Continue reading Nielsen ratings for the week ending April 6 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Web 2.0 Expo Ticket Giveaway
By Tamar Weinberg (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 9:30:37 PM

The Web 2.0 Expo is coming on April 22 -25, 2008 to San Francisco. Startups will launch, news will break, and exhibitors and schwag will be aplenty. Web 2.0 Expo is for the builders of the web for the next generation; attendees have a desire to share and a passion for learning–the hot new thing, lessons from failures, innovations

and inspirations, and the practical applications of all of the above. You can be a part of it. While you can still sign up for the event with discount code “websf08ob16, we’re giving away two tickets to the event for the most creative answer to the following question: Out of the 10,000+ people at Web 2.0 Expo SF, this is who I want to meet… Please enter your answers in the comments!

Also, be sure to sign up for Mashable and Chi.mp’s Web 2.0 Afterparty: Evolve

on April 23rd to party with Pete Cashmore and Kristen Nicole ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Social Networking Conference Miami: Discount & Ticket Winner Virgin America Ticket Raffle - 2 Free Roundtrip Tickets Virgin America Ticket Raffle - Two

Winners Announced Social Networking Conferece Miami: Ticket Raffle and Discount Viagogo Launches in the US, Partners with the Cleveland Browns IAC Acquires TicketsNow to Bolster StubHub Competitor Evolve

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Funding Doctors Prescribe $9.6 Million for Medical Social Network
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 12:05:12 AM

American Idol: Idol Gives Back 2008
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:45:00 PM

This particular funding story is a sign of the times - social networks are becoming ubiquitous. TargetRX, it was reported today at Venture Capital Update, landed a $9.6 million additional funding round from Quaker BioVentures, New Enterprise Associates and Comain Associates. It clearly isn’t a Web 2.0 looking site, and when I checked it out to do a cursory overview of it, in reading the descriptions it almost started to sound like one of those sites that calls itself a social network to get a certain kind of press, when it’s actually a catalog or a thinly veiled site shilling a product. The first line in their description is what threw me: “TargetRx offers member physicians an online forum to share their attitudes and beliefs with pharmaceutical companies through surveys and other market research activities.” Typically, when I hear the words “pharmaceutical companies,” the words conjured in my mind aren’t attitudes and beliefs - so it smelled a bit like marketing at first.

It would appear, though, that this is a legitimate social network, one that while is a business model that benefits the pharmaceutical companies with opinion research data, is more about connecting doctors with one another and fostering legitimate medical research into treatment methods with new and existing medications. I use the qualifier ‘appear’ in that sentence, though, since I’m not a doctor with a DEA number, and there’s a strict identity screening process to become a member of the site. Still, overall, it’s interesting to see social networking concepts taking over in other industries as the norm, rather than the just a plaything for the kids. ShareThis

Filed under: American Idol, Reviewcaps, Contestants, Alumni, Performances, News and Gossip, Celebrity Commentary, Episode Reviews(S07E29) Well, this is what you've all been waiting for, right? What's that? Finale? Yeah, I guess that'll be cool, too. But if you've listened to Ryan all season then you know TONIGHT is really what it's all about! If you're looking to find out who got eliminated by vote last night you're going to have to wait until tomorrow. But if you're looking for twoand-a-half hours of entertainment chock full of celebrities and song and charity, then you're looking for " Idol Gives Back." Last year's inaugural edition was very good, and Kristin's report of the Idol Gives Back taping from this past Sunday was also very positive. We don't have any pesky (non) eliminations to deal with like last year, so just kick back, donate and enjoy. And, if you want, join us online and chat about it in real-time with other giving Idol fans.

Lost producer goes to the Fringe
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:43:00 AM

You can join the chat starting just before 7:30/6:30pm CDT by following this link. Look for the full episode review right here later tonight. Continue reading American Idol: Idol Gives Back 2008 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Coming soon on How I Met Your Mother: More Robin Sparkles! - VIDEO
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:24:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Lost, Pickups and Renewals, Reality-Free It looks like one of the executive producers of Lost is moving to another network. Fox has tapped Jeff Pinker to run Fringe, their new high profile sci-fi police drama from J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Fringe will be produced by Warner Brothers with Pinkner serving as executive producers and showrunner. Pinkner and J.J. Abrams have a history of working together since Abrams' previous ABC show Alias. The new project centers on an FBI agent who teams up with a guy and his scientist father to confront unexplained phenomena. I can see why Fox went for this show. It's the J.J. Abrams version of The X-Files. Continue reading Lost producer goes to the Fringe Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Video, How I Met Your Mother, Casting, Reality-Free Have you been missing those references to Scherbatsky's Canadian life? If you know what I'm talking about then you'll be overjoyed to know that on April 21, How I Met Your Mother will be all about Robin Sparkles, Robin Scherbatsky's alter-ego teen singing star. The entire episode is

planned as a flashback to the 1980s when Robin became a one-hit wonder with the song "Let's Go to the Mall." Well, it turns

out that wasn't her only song. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, How I Met Your Mother's co-creators, composed a ballad. "Sandcastles in the Sand" was the flip-side of "Let's Go to the Mall." It's supposedly in the style of a power break-up ballad, like "Foolish Beat" and "Toy Soldiers." Continue reading Coming soon on How I Met Your Mother: More Robin Sparkles! VIDEO Permalink| Email this| | Comments


TV* Movies*

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Big Brother 9: Eviction #8 and HOH #9
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:22:00 AM

The Daily Show: April 9, 2008 VIDEOS
By Annie Wu (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:42:00 AM

A Few Scraps of 'Wolverine' News -- New Cast Member Added
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US), Episode Reviews(S09E28) So Ryan has won the power of veto and rectified Adam's stupid nominations. That means, this girl to the right and Team Christ (ridiculous name) is still in power. Now, I don't like James. But I don't like Team Christ either. Does that make me a bad Christian? What would that zealot Natalie say? I'm just so sick of TC thinking that they are the "chosen" houseguests and when things go their way, it's the work of God. Okay, on to the review. Find out tonight's drama, who got evicted, and what

happened in the HOH competition after the jump... Continue reading Big Brother 9: Eviction #8 and HOH #9 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: OpEd, The Daily Show, Episode Reviews, Reality-Free Following the Daily Show's report on the FAA, American Airlines canceled one thousand flights for inspection. Coincidence? Yeah, actually, probably. "Iraq Me Dave Petraeus Part 2": Ahh, the intro this segment will never get old. Thank goodness Commanding General Dave Petraeus is still talking crazy, because I love me some faux-Falco. Anyway, Petraeus pulled out his best graphs to testify in front of Congress. He even managed to squeeze in an "ethnosectarian competition". No "civil war"?

That is one sweet thesaurus, Petraeus. Continue reading The Daily Show: April 9, 2008 - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Big Brother 9: Glasses Houses HOH endurance report
By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:00:00 AM

Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - April 9
By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:25:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US) Anyone following Big Brother 9 knows the live eviction show ended with a Head of Household endurance competition which won't be seen on the show until Sunday night. Now, of course, these silly hamsters won't last until Sunday night. The competition is over as I write this. It played out on the live feeds and I'm here to share the whole thing with you, the loyal TV Squad Big Brother fans! Beware, the image gallery below contains major spoilers for Sunday's show. Read on past the jump to find out who the new HOH is this week.

%Gallery-20219% Continue reading Big Brother 9: Glasses Houses HOH endurance report Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US) Welp, tonight is it -- another live eviction show for the Big Brother 9 houseguests. Yet another hamster will leave the Habitrail. Last night's show aired the power of veto competition which actually happened last Friday in the house. It's now James and Sharon on the block and one will definitely leave ... and not come back until it's time for the jury to vote on a winner. We all know the atmosphere in the house towards James. Will he have any support tonight? Will he squeak by? For the latest news from inside the

house, read on past the jump. Continue reading Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - April 9 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Action, Casting, 20th Century Fox, Newsstand, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels It's been quiet on the X-Men Origins: Wolverine front -- too quiet. I demand a new publicity still! But since Hugh Jackman doesn't listen to me (and why should he?), this is all I've got for you. There's been a new casting addition. According to his personal website, British actor Scott Adkins has landed the role of Weapon 11. What a hodgepodge of comics this is going to be! Weapon 11 first showed up in Grant Morrison's New XMen series, which turned the whole Weapon X story inside out. Turns out, Logan wasn't just Weapon X because it sounded cool -- he was the tenth in a long line of Weapon Plus experimental super soldiers. It caused a bit of controversy and still does, especially as various Marvel characters are revealed to be Weapon Gazillion in every other issue. The odd thing is, no one knows who Weapon 11 actually is. We just know he is a badass who has managed to beat Sabretooth senseless, which is no small feat. But now we know it was a guy named Scott Adkins. Mystery solved! Continue reading A Few Scraps of 'Wolverine' News -- New Cast Member Added Permalink| Email this| Comments

Oddest Trailer of the Week: 'Who's Your Monkey?'
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Trailers and Clips Apple, which is usually pretty selective about what it features on its trailer page, has posted this very puzzling spot for a movie called Who's Your Monkey?(The working title was apparently Throwing Stars.) I wanted to share it simply because I'm so confused. Is the weirdly monotonous

trailer supposed to be funny? I gather the movie is about a group of buddies who kill a guy and have to dump the body, and I also see that at some point a monkey shows up, but I do not understand why. What is this movie? How did its distributor convince Apple to post this trailer? Wayne Knight is apparently involved. I think I may have a new obsession. I see that the distributor is Screen Media Films. A visit to their website reveals that

Who's Your Monkey? opened on March 28th in three multiplexes in Jacksonville,

Madison, and Burlington, Vermont. You may or may not be surprised to learn that it is no longer playing at any of those theaters. But if you live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then you are in luck, because Who's Your Monkey? opened at the Fresh Pond 10 on April 4th, and is still showing! I tried to find reviews, but could only locate this cryptic one from Agent DVD (the disc apparently hits in early May). Has anyone seen this movie? And

will some intrepid Cambridge-based reader make the ultimate sacrifice in order to tell the world about Who's Your Monkey? I will do a follow-up post if people get back to me. And I feel an eventual DVD review coming on... This is the most fascinating thing I've found in weeks. Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Sundance Takes a Road Trip to Brooklyn
By Eric D. Snider (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:32:00 PM

Barack Obama Spiritual Adviser James Meeks is a Racist
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:49:29 AM

AFI Dallas Review: Frag
By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 1:02:00 PM

Filed under: Documentary, Independent, Theatrical Reviews, Games and Game Movies, Cinematical Indie, AFI Dallas Are you ready for Gamers Gone Wild? The opening minutes of Frag play like a scandal-mongering TV news program, featuring surveillance-cam footage of angry public arguments and wet bikini girls cavorting in a hot tub, complete with a stern-voiced narrator asking probing questions. Is this a cautionary morality tale? No. After that attention-grabbing preamble, the documentary quickly settles down into a more serious groove, delving deeply into a subject that has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media -- but not by filmmakers. Seth Gordon found a deeply emotional human interest story among devoted video gamers in last year's superb The King of Kong: A Fistful of

Quarters. Lincoln Ruchti focused on a group of 80s gamers in Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Archive, also from last year. Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza chose to reinforce many of the worst stereotypes about gamers in his zippy, colorful doc Second Skin, which premiered at South by Southwest last month. At the control of debut doc director Mike Pasley, Frag explores a wider spectrum of issues, digging into racism, corporate sponsorship, jealousy, competition and ambition. The investigative aspects are balanced by a healthy appreciation and respect for the people involved. There's no sense that the film is looking down its nose at an incomprehensible phenomenon, nor is there an excessive amount of hero worship, even though the best known gamers have their own devoted following. Continue reading AFI Dallas Review: Frag Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Independent, Sundance, Cinematical Indie For the third year in a row, Sundance is partnering up with the Brooklyn Academy of Music to present the "Sundance Institute at BAM" series, where flicks from this year's film festival will play for New York audiences May 29-June 8. It's just like going to Sundance, only without the snow and ice. Oh, and Brooklyn is actually big enough to handle large crowds. So maybe it's nothing like going to Sundance, except for the movies. The movies -- 22 features and 36 shorts - include several must-see titles, some of which have not played anywhere yet except for Sundance. Hot-buzz documentary American Teen(pictured) is on the schedule (complete with a promthemed BAM party!), as is the soldier drama American Son. Anvil! The Story of Anvil was one of the most popular films at this year's fest, and the heavy metal band featured in it will perform live at BAM. There's the Chuck Palahniuk adaptation Choke, Stacy Peralta's L.A. gang doc Made in America, the South American cannibalism doc Stranded, and awardwinning documentaries Trouble the Water

and Man on Wire. If you've been paying attention to the indie/film-fest scene this year, you've probably heard of some of these, so it's pretty cool that the Sundance/BAM partnership will give wider audiences a chance to see them. Tickets for the "Sundance Institute at BAM" series go on sale to BAM members on April 21, and the general public on April 26. Neither Sundance nor BAM has the complete info on its website yet, but here's the BAM page to keep your eye on. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Another Barack Obama spiritual adviser, James Meeks, is openly racist against whites, and even against other blacks with whom he disagrees. Meeks called blacks who worked for the Mayor of his city “house niggers,” but claims the term “nigger” is a term of endearment. When the interviewer pointed out it didn’t sound like he was using the word “nigger” in a positive way, Meeks admitted the word applied to some blacks in a negative way. It’s shameful how some blacks use race to turns races against each other just to build themselves a career. Any money these scam artists make is blood money. With all the shady people Obama has been found to associate himself with, it’s hard to see Obama getting elected president, even if the democrats choose him as their candidate. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Carla Bruni May be Pregnant • Eliot Spitzer Busted Again • Chelsea Clinton asked about Monica Lewinsky • Pitt and Jolie Related to Clinton and Obama • Hillary Clinton Caught Lying Again

Tobey Maguire Buys 'Mr Good Enough'
By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 12:02:00 PM

Filed under: Romance, Thrillers, Deals, Warner Independent Pictures, Scripts Let me just say right up front that I hope Tobey Maguire and company will be making some changes to the feature version of Lori Gottlieb's infamous Atlantic Monthly article, Marry Him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough. Variety reports that Maguire's shingle, Maguire Entertainment, along with Warner Independent, have purchased the rights to the NPR's host advice on love and marriage. First, Gottlieb will adapt the story into a book for the publishing arm of Warners and then Maguire will adapt that

book into a big-screen romantic comedy. Having read the article, I'll just say that I hope I never run into Gottlieb in person because it would probably end with me

being slapped with a restraining order. Some highlights from Gottlieb's article include: "Don't worry about passion or intense connection. Don't nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling 'Bravo!' in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go" and "...in reality, we aren't fish who can do without a bicycle, we're women who want a traditional family." In other words, keep your mouths shut ladies because you don't want to end up an old maid. Continue reading Tobey Maguire Buys 'Mr Good Enough' Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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More 'Tropic Thunder' Posters
By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 1:32:00 PM

Filed under: Action, Comedy, Dreamworks, Movie Marketing, Posters I really think that if Tropic Thunder lives up to our expectations, this may very well be the "Summer of Downey." For starters, I'm already sold on Iron Man, and believe me, it has nothing to do with a love of men in big metal suits. Paramount Pictures has released three new character posters for the action comedy and there is just something about Downey's whacked out expression that brings a smile to my face. Although to be fair, I'm steering clear of the whole 'black face' debate until I actually see the movie. Especially since it seems a little early in the game to start crying "racist" when no one has even seen Downey's performance yet. Thunder was written and directed by Ben Stiller, who also stars as a spoiled action star cast in a big budget war flick that is spiraling out of control. Tired of dealing with spoiled stars and unruly locations, the director (played by Steve Coogan) decides to drop his actors in the middle of a real armed conflict in hopes of adding some

Sean Penn and Robin Wright Call Off Divorce
'verité' to the film. Of course, the actors are all clueless of the fact they are no longer in the cozy confines of a movie set and wackiness ensues. So place your bets: Do you think Tropic Thunder is going to be this summer's big comedy? We'll find out if Stiller can live up to the hype when the film opens in theaters on August 15th. Check out larger versions of all three posters, plus additional photos from the film in the gallery below. Gallery: Tropic Thunder Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:13:16 AM

Film Clips: Where are the Movies Where Unattractive Women Score Hot Guys?
By Kim Voynar (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 2:32:00 PM

Agnes Bruckner Joins the 'Vacancy' Prequel
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 2:32:00 AM

Filed under: Horror, Thrillers, Sony, Remakes and Sequels I kinda liked the straightforward and no-nonsense approach to Nimrod Antal's thriller Vacancy(and it does hold up to repeat viewings), so consider me sufficiently intrigued regarding the news of another a follow-up. But recent word indicates that the next Vacancy will be A) direct-to-video (of course), and B) a prequel instead of a sequel. Although they're sticking with screenwriter Mark L. Smith, the new director will be Eric Bross, a named recognizable to only the most serious fans of rotten cinema. (Bross directed that Joey

Filed under: Celebrities and Controversy, Columns, Film Clips One of my favorite bloggers, Jim Emerson, gives Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells a virtual bitchslap for a recent post Wells made on his favorite topic: how he doesn't believe guys who look "normal" (i.e., to him, fat and ugly) really score with beautiful women. In a post last month titled " Eclipse of the Hunk," Wells starts off by talking about the opening of the Judd Apatow-produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, then goes on to mourn the loss of sexy, buff leading men and the success of Judd Apatow's films, in which dorky guys like Seth Rogen and Jason Segel get the

hot chicks. Emerson excerpts my favorite quote from Wells piece: "Taking their place are guys who look like real guys, which means almost never slender or buffed, and frequently chunky, overweight or obese. And usually with roundish faces with half-hearted beard growth, hair on their backs, man-boobs with tit hairs, blemishes, and always horribly dressed -- open-collared plaid dress shirts, low-thread-count T-shirts with lame-ass slogans or promotions on the chest, long shorts and sandals (or flipflops), monkey feet, unpedicured toenails." Continue reading Film Clips: Where are the Movies Where Unattractive Women Score Hot Guys? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Sean Penn and Robin Wright asked in court to have their divorce proceedings dismissed yesterday, and their request was granted. The reconciliation came only hours after the couple attended an Eddie Vedder concert last night in San Francisco, where Sean got on stage to dedicate a song to Robin in honor of her birthday. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Sienna Miller Helped End Sean Penn Marriage • Sean Penn Alleged Threesome Brokeup Marriage • Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn Cheating Scandal • Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn Split • Paris Hilton is Dating Tyler Atkins and Making Another Album

AGNES page 25

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'The Leisure Seekers' Hit the Highway
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 1:02:00 AM

Bai Ling and Talia Shire Order 'Dim Sum'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Drama, Deals Not being a senior myself, I never really noticed the void in older programming until I talked with a coordinator for a film festival that focused on aging and an audience often forgotten in the world of film. After that, I noticed it everywhere. I like to think that in some respects, we're getting better. I was overjoyed when Helen Mirren was recently described by many as sexy and beautiful without it being qualified with any sort of "for an older woman," addendum. Within films, progress is slow, but steady. In the wake of projects like Venus and The Bucket List, The Hollywood Reporter posts that Harper Collins' Sharp Independent has grabbed the rights to an upcoming dramedy by Michael Zadoorian called The Leisure Seekers. The upcoming novel focuses on "an elderly couple who, to the chagrin of their children, head off on an impromptu RV trip down Route 66, determined to enter their twilight years on their own terms."

I imagine it will be a while before we see more on this feature. The book itself isn't even going to get released until a year from now, and they've got to get writing and sculpting the story for big-screen treatment. That being said, it could make for a fun and quirky trip, although not nearly as quirky as The Straight Story. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Drama, Independent, Casting, Cinematical Indie Ah, Dim Sum - the Chinese smorgasbord of tasty dishes where tray upon tray of steamer baskets filled with food swims around you until you're stuffed and satiated. Unfortunately, I don't get to order to my heart's content ( translation) weekly, since my friend's Dim Sum group is too lazy to coordinate my appearance outside of Facebook. (It's a cult, cult I tell you!) Nevertheless, we're all going to get a taste of the Chinese treat through a new Canadian film that has just gone into production in Vancouver. Variety reports that Anna Chi is directing a new film called Dim Sum Funeral, and both Bai Ling( Southland Tales) and Talia Shire( I Heart Huckabees) have been added to a cast that already includes Russell Wong( The Mummy 3), Kelly Hu( The Air I Breathe), Steph Song( jPod), Lisa Lu( The Joy Luck Club), Julia Nickson( HalfLife), Francoise Yip( AVPR), and Chang Tseng( Everything's Gone Green).

According to Imagination-LLC, the feature centers on four estranged siblings who are called together by their childhood nanny (Shire) when their mother (Lu) passes away. Continue reading Bai Ling and Talia Shire Order 'Dim Sum' Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Welcome to the Daily Fix’s 2008 Seasonlong Baseball Contest
(WSJ.com: here.)Daily Fix) column, it’s The

(If you’re looking for today’s Daily Fix

AGNES 24 continued from page
Fatone movie a few years back.) According to Shock, the prequel will involve "a couple, Jessica and Caleb, and their pal Tanner who check into the Meadow View Inn where the employees are making snuff films." OK, that's a workable concept, but if you've seen the first movie, you kinda know what happened to those kids. (Sounds a lot like the main problem in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.) Our source also gives us a bunch of new cast members, namely Agnes Bruckner, Lola Davidson, Angel Oquendo, David Moscow, Nelson Lee, Brian Klugman and Gwendoline Yeo. No word yet on if we'll get to see (slightly) younger versions of Ethan Embry and Frank Whaley. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Katie Couric May Leave CBS News Early
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:41:55 AM

CBS has been losing so much money since Dan Rather had to resign over his fake news, they have recently announced they will be outsourcing their news gathering to CNN. That’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. When CBS gave Katie Couric a $15 million a year contract for the next five years, they had hoped she’d revive their news broadcast by attracting a larger female audience, but the plan backfired. CBS has been consistently in last place in the ratings since she joined the CBS evening news. Now for the good news. Katie may leave

CBS as soon as January 2009, when the new U.S. President is inaugurated. There’s talk that Katie could go on to ruin Larry King Live by taking Larry’s place when he leaves CNN next year. Larry is 74, and he

is not expected to renew his contract when it expires next year. Katie just needs to go on a long vacation, then come back with something fresh. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Katie Couric Assaults Editor Over a Word • Katie Couric Tries to Boost Ratings • Katie Couric Slims Down via Photoshop • Joy Behar French Kisses Meredith Vieira on The View • Katie Couric to Wear Howard Stern Pants


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The Detroit Tigers are Fix readers’ consensus pick to win the World Series, for the first time since 1984. Of course, the Tigers promptly started the season by losing their first seven games, so the 134 readers who entered the Daily Fix seasonlong baseball contest can take solace in the fact that the World Series winner is just one of 20 questions. Predicting Barry Bonds’s home run total (most think he won’t have any); the first player to be released or traded (so long, Richie Sexson); and the most-improved team (break up the Rays!) is just as important in this test of forecasting skills. This roundup of reader picks may come late, but the first week of the baseball season generally doesn’t mean much, as New York Sun columnist Tim Marchman pointed out this week. Unfortunately for Mr. Marchman, one early return that does seem to matter is the Tigers’ early woes — he’s a guest entrant in the Fix contest, along with eight of our other favorite baseball writers, and he picked the Tigers. Marchman, Joe Posnanski and Jeff Passan are newcomers to the contest this year, joining veterans Deadspin’s Will Leitch, Jon Bois and Nick Dallamora from the Dugout, Larry Borowsky, Alex Belth and Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus (here are the returning sextet’s 2007 picks). Below they share their predictions for the season, along with some commentary. If you didn’t think the eephus pitch, Minnie Minoso, a young, sullen Nick Markakis, Leavenworth, Jimi Hendrix, Residence Inn, Sunday school, “Michael Clayton” and a bronzed llama could all make it into one MLB column, you haven’t read these guys enough. Also returning from last year are the winner and runner-up among our readers. The winner, Matt Viereck, expects the Tigers to beat the Cubs in a World Series with lower ratings than last year. Also, he thinks the Giants will finish with the majors’ worst record. Runner-up Steve Saeger likes the Mets to beat the Tigers in October. He thinks Barry Bonds will hit 12 home runs. Meanwhile, the first prize of the 2008 contest goes to Elie Mischel, for getting in the first entry. On to the picks. Answers may not add up to 135 because some readers omitted some answers. Readers picks come first. Last year’s right answer in bold, where applicable. Want to weigh in on how the season, and this contest, will play out? Please sound off in the comments. THE BASICS(point value in parentheses) 1. Which six teams will be division winners? (5 each) AL East: Red Sox 105; Yankees 27; Blue Jays 2. AL Central: Tigers 95; Indians 39. AL West: Angels 98; Mariners 33; A’s 3. NL East: Mets 101; Phillies 22; Braves 11. NL Central: Cubs 86; Brewers 37; Reds 6; Cardinals 4; Astros 1. NL West: Diamondbacks 60; Dodgers 40; Padres 18; Rockies 16. More than 43% of readers picked identical division winners in the AL: the Red Sox, the Tigers and the Angels. And there were just five picks, total, for teams that didn’t finish first or second last year. There was far less unanimity in the NL, where all but five teams got at least four votes. Alex Belth: Red Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Mets, Cubs, Rockies. I’ve actually found myself avoiding reading too much about the coming season this spring. Not an easy trick when you maintain a daily blog. This is now the sixth Opening Day I’ve blogged on Bronx Banter. When I started, there were only a handful of Yankees-related sites. Now, there seems to be dozens, including professional blogs by journalists like Pete Abraham, Joel Sherman, Kat O’Brien and Tyler Kepner. The constant stream of information and analysis helps make this something of a golden age for baseball fans. At the same time, I find it all to be overwhelming at times. So, in the interest of having a fresh perspective going into the year, I’ve tried to read as little as possible, only keeping myself familiar with what is happening, not intimately so. This general feeling of needing a break also has been heightened by the departure of Joe Torre, the decline of George Steinbrenner and the beginning of the final year of Yankee Stadium. That said, it should be another compelling year for the game in both leagues. The NL West is exciting and it’ll be interesting to see how the Mets perform after their regrettable finish in ‘07. If Pedro and Johan remain healthy, each home start will be an event, kind of like the old Doc Gooden days. I think the Yankees may have trouble relying on so much young pitching; still, they still have a formidable team with a lot of players I find easy to pull for. The defending champion Red Sox, once again, look to be tough. The Indians should regroup from their disappointing playoff exit and be strong too, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the Tigers are the team I’m most interested in watching — their offense is just staggering. Jon Bois: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers. The American League’s division winners are slam dunks compared to the National League’s. Why? The designated-hitter rule, naturally. The AL is a real-world computer program comprised of flesh, wood, leather and dirt. It’s an algorithm, played out with simple dice-roll probability. When NL teams send pitchers to bat, they’re putting baseball’s primary mathematical unknown into play. Sure, you know the pitcher is probably going to suck at the plate, but you don’t know how or how badly he’s going to suck. The NL wild card is truly a wild card, as is nearly everything else that happens in this wretched league. Take the 2007 Diamondbacks. There’s no way a team with a negative-20 run differential could win an American League division. Madness. I also blame the designated hitter whenever I stub my toe or spill my beer. Larry Borowsky: Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Mets, Brewers, Diamondbacks. A lot fewer gimmes than usual — the Mets are the only no-brainer pick (although the D-Backs pick required only the brain stem). The Braves, Cubs and Yankees would not look out of place on this list; the Mariners have two Cy Young candidates (Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard), and the Phillies have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels. I don’t like the Tigers’ pitching at all, so I’m picking against them. Nick Dallamora: Red Sox, Tigers, Mariners, Mets, Brewers, Rockies. Will Leitch: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Diamondbacks. Tim Marchman: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Diamondbacks. Jeff Passan: Red Sox, Indians, Mariners, Mets, Brewers, Dodgers. Red Sox are a no-brainer. Indians benefit from Detroit’s bullpen and Seattle from the Kelvim Escobar injury. The Mets and Brewers are too talented, and I rolled a four-sided die to get the Dodgers. Joe Posnanski: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs and Diamondbacks. I feel good about none of these. Maybe Arizona. Joe Sheehan: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Diamondbacks Carl Bialik: Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Mets, Reds, Rockies. Jason Fry: Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Cubs, Padres. 2. Which two teams will win the wild cards? (5 each) AL Yankees 51 Indians 33 Red Sox 19 Tigers 15 Blue Jays 7 Angels, Mariners 4 NL Phillies 24 Braves 19 Mets 16 Rockies 15 Diamondbacks 14 Cubs 11 Padres 10 Brewers 9 Dodgers 8 Reds 4 Astros, Cardinals 1 Just 11 readers choose their AL wildcard pick to win the league crown, and just three expect the wild-card team to go on to win the World Series. Those numbers are a similarly paltry 17 and five, respectively, in the NL. Yet a wild-card team has made each of the last six World Series. Meanwhile, more than 57% of readers expect the AL wild card to come from the East, which makes sense given that the Red Sox or Yankees have taken the extra playoff spot in four of the last five seasons. Belth: Angels and Phillies. Bois: Yankees and Braves. Their lineups are strong enough to reach the playoffs, but their pitching rotations hold too many unknowns for them to win a division race. Borowsky: Tigers and Reds. I don’t really think the Reds will go, but they’re a fun novelty pick. They vaguely remind me of the D-Backs from last year — young talent out the wazoo. Not even Dusty Baker can ruin this much potential. Dallamora: Yankees and Dodgers. Leitch: Yankees and Brewers. Marchman: Yankees and Braves. Bronx partisans will continue to stay curiously silent about the corrupting effects of allowing second-place teams into the playoffs. Passan: Tigers and Cubs. Solace for Cubs fans: A wild card has made each of the last six World Series. Posnanski: Yankees and Phillies. I want to say Cleveland, but I suspect the Yankees will find a way. Sheehan: Yankees and Braves. Bialik: Yankees and Braves. The Tigers can’t pitch. Fry: Indians and Braves. Watch out, Met faithful, the Braves are alive again. Oh yeah: Eat it, Steinbrenners! 3. Which two teams will go to the World Series? (15 each) AL Tigers 49 Red Sox 38 Indians 17 Yankees 14 Angels 12 Mariners 3 Blue Jays 1 NL Mets 62 Cubs 17 Diamondbacks, Dodgers 13 Phillies 11 Braves 6 Brewers 5 Rockies 3 Cardinals, Padres 2 Some 22 readers predicted the Tigers would face the Mets, and another 20 predicted a rematch of the Mets-Red Sox series in 1986. One of these, Samuel Sanchez, writes, “Mets in seven, only this time it will be Ortiz at Shea with the boot.” Belth: Tigers and Mets. Bois: Tigers and Braves. The Tigers possess the playoff experience they lacked during their 2006 run to the Series, both from holdovers from that team and from the newly-arrived Edgar Renteria. Aside from being an excellent player, Renteria has played in two Series and is a clubhouse leader. I think Dontrelle Willis will find his throw again, and the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera will make the Tigers’ lineup the scariest in baseball. I’m picking the Braves because I always pick the Braves. If for some reason Mike Hampton stays healthy WELCOME page 27

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enough to pitch 150 innings, Atlanta will possess one of the best rotations around. During off-days they should store him in that vat of fluid that they kept Luke Skywalker in while he recovered from his encounter with the ice monster. I have a lot of other great ideas. Borowsky: Red Sox and Diamondbacks. The D-Backs’ rotation is the best in the NL. They’ve got good defense, a good pen, and I like their manager. They could use another hitter, but they’ve got the trade chips to land one (and they could always pick up Barry Bonds, who played his college ball in Tempe). As for the Red Sox, they’re a near-perfect balance of inprime stars and breakthrough youngsters. Dallamora: Tigers and Brewers. This is starting to become a little too cliché, but the real World Series is going to be the ALCS. I’m seeing the Red Sox taking it to seven games again, but it’s the Tigers’ year to bring it home. Leitch: Red Sox and Mets. Marchman: Red Sox and Cubs. Boston and Chicago will win the pennants, inciting unprecedented levels of sepia-toned columnizing by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. Passan: Indians and Mets. Sorry, Cubs fans: No wild card this year. The Indians’ pitching is deep and hitting will return to form, and the Mets have the best pitcher in baseball, a talented offense and superb up-the-middle defense. Posnanski: Red Sox and Mets. Sheehan: Red Sox and Mets. Bialik: Yankees and Mets. This may be wishful thinking: I want to be in New York for a Subway Series, having missed by 90 miles last time around. Fry: Indians and Mets. 4. Which team will win the World Series? (30) Tigers 29 Mets 27 Red Sox 23 Yankees 12 Indians 10 Angels 8 Cubs 7 Braves 4 Dodgers, Phillies 3 Brewers, Diamondbacks 2 Cardinals, Mariners, Padres, Rockies 1 Just 51 readers expect the NL to win the World Series. Two sweeps in three years will do that to a team’s repuation. Thanks to the addition of Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers are readers’ favorite pick to win it all — but they started the season winless. (Associated Press Photo) Belth: Tigers. Bois: Braves. I’m picking the Braves again because I always pick the Braves again, and also because it gives me the opportunity to talk about them some more. I believe Matt Diaz is one of the most underappreciated hitters in baseball. He hit .338 last year, and his splits (.318 vs. lefties, .356 vs. righties) more than justify a full-time slot in left field. Yunel Escobar, who hit .327 last year, wasn’t the best infielder, but should improve defensively now that he doesn’t have to play three different positions. Borowsky: Red Sox. I can’t pick the Sox to repeat — it’s boring. There hasn’t been a repeat champ in almost a decade, and that was the Yanks so it doesn’t count (the last team other than the Yankees to repeat was the Blue Jays, in 1993). But am I really picking the Diamondbacks? Ah, screw it: the Sawx win again. Dallamora: Tigers. Leitch: Red Sox. Marchman: Red Sox. Boston will win in the 19th inning of Game Seven at Wrigley Field, having come back from at least two sizable deficits. One also naturally supposes that this game will involve a Cubs pitcher walking the bases loaded and then giving up a grand slam on an eephus pitch, Alfonso Soriano tossing a live ball into the stands on account of having forgotten how many outs there are, or something else of the sort. Passan: Mets. Santana at least twice, Pedro and Maine filling the other slots, Wright and Reyes in the swing of their primes. The only thing that could screw this up is Willie Randolph and, well, come September, if this looks foolish because of him, at least I’ll have been prescient in one respect. Posnanski: Red Sox. They won’t be able to talk about curses in Boston for a long, long time. Sheehan: Red Sox. Predicting who will win short series in October is hard enough in October, so consider this just a vote for the best team. No playoff team has better than a 1-in-5 shot in October, and, most years, worse than that. Bialik: Mets. Fry: Mets. I write this every year it’s even plausible. Is it a jinx? Possibly. But since I want it to happen, wouldn’t NOT writing it when it’s plausible just be an attempt to trick the baseball gods, and therefore an even bigger jinx? Some people pore over VORP and advanced stats; I ponder the butterfly effect of my wishes on the baseball cosmos. 5. Which team will have the best regularseason record? (10) Red Sox, Tigers 33 Mets 29 Angels 14 Yankees 12 Diamondbacks 5 Indians 4 Mariners 3 Cubs 1 Just 35% of readers think that the team with the best record will win the World Series. And barely a quarter of readers expect an NL team to have the best record — all but 6 picking the Mets. Belth: Mets. Bois: Red Sox. Their mix of veteran leadership and young talent is tuned perfectly to rack up 105 wins. As an aside: I’m now 25 years old, which makes me older than a decent number of players. I can actually say “young talent” and mean it. It’s unsettling. Borowsky: Red Sox. Dallamora: Red Sox. Leitch: Red Sox. Marchman: Red Sox and Mets, in a tie. Passan: Mets. I remember the Mets of April and May 2007 (34-18), not the ones from June through September (54-56). Posnanski: Tigers. Sheehan: Red Sox. Bialik: Red Sox. The last three teams in their division will provide lots of easy games. Fry: Tigers. 6. Which team will have the worst regular-season record? (10) Orioles 48 Giants 23 Marlins 17 Royals 15 Pirates 14 Nationals 11 Rays 3 A’s, Astros, Rangers 1 See the answers to No. 11 for one reason why the Orioles are such a popular pick for this one. Belth: Orioles. Bois: Orioles. The Orioles have two good players: Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. MSNBC’s Tony DeMarco seems to think that Roberts could be out the door soon, which would leave them with one good player. And Markakis? As kids, Nick and I were in the same Cub Scout den in suburban Atlanta. He and I raced our cars against each other in the Pinewood Derby. My car won. I offered to shake his hand, but he responded with, “Whatever, you don’t want me to win, you don’t care,” and angrily stomped off. He grew up to be a star baseball player, and I grew up to blog about him on the Internet. But as far as I’m concerned, that fateful day makes me the winner. Borowsky: Giants. Dallamora: Orioles. Finally, an easy one. Leitch: Giants. Marchman: Giants. San Francisco will have a season so bad that the Dolan family will charter planes full of basketball writers and enraged fans to the Bay Area just to make themselves look good by the contrast. Isiah Thomas will be seen munching a hot dog in the stands, pointing and laughing at Giants management, and loudly boasting that even he wouldn’t field a team whose average age was 37. Passan: Orioles. Especially after they trade Brian Roberts. Posnanski: Orioles. It’ll be Baltimore or Pittsburgh. Does it matter? Two proud 1970s organizations. Sheehan: Orioles. Just barely behind the Giants. It’s a necessary part of the process, but the Orioles are going to be almost unwatchable this year. Bialik: Nationals. They won’t get a new-ballpark bounce. Fry: Giants. 7. Who will win the AL and NL Cy Young awards? (10 each) American League Justin Verlander (Tigers) 42 Josh Beckett (Red Sox) 24 C.C. Sabathia(Indians) 20 Erik Bedard (Mariners) 14 Roy Halladay (Blue Jays) 8 Felix Hernandez (Mariners) 5 John Lackey (Angels), Chien-Ming Wang (Yankees) 4 Rich Harden (A’s) 3 Fausto Carmona (Indians) 2 Jeremy Bonderman (Tigers), Mark Buehrle (White Sox), R.A. Dickey (Mariners), Scott Kazmir (Rays), Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox), Gil Meche (Mariners), Johan Santana (in a trade from the Mets?), Dontrelle Willis (Tigers) 1 National League Johan Santana (Mets) 77 Brandon Webb (Diamondbacks) 18 Jake Peavy(Padres) 16 Cole Hamels (Phillies), Dan Haren (Diamondbacks) 5 Roy Oswalt (Astros), Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) 3 Aaron Harang (Reds), Chris Young (Padres) 2 John Maine (Mets), Brad Penny (Dodgers), Ben Sheets (Brewers) 1 Belth: Verlander and Santana. Bois: Halladay and Santana. Halladay has already won a Cy, and finished third and fifth in voting the last two years. My process for determining my prediction went exactly like this: “Johan Santana. Oh wait, he’s in the NL. Uh, Pat Hentgen.” Then I pulled up the Blue Jays’ Baseball Reference page. “Did Pat Hentgen change his name to Roy Halladay? I can’t imagine why he would, but then, I haven’t watched a Blue Jays game in years. Halladay it is.” Cy Young voters tend to get excited about wins, and I think Santana will rack up 22 of them. He’s moving to a pitcher’s league and will enjoy plenty of run support. Borowsky: Felix Hernandez and Santana. Dallamora: Verlander and Santana. Leitch: Verlander and Santana. Marchman: Sabathia and Santana. These are admittedly incredibly unimaginative picks. I would pick Josh Beckett, as one almost expects that his back problems will recur in perfect proportion to the number of 18-hour flights he’s asked to take, but taking him at his word one has to slate him behind Sabathia and his marvelous array of hat angles. Passan: Felix Hernandez and Santana. If you asked me two years ago, I would have thought Felix Hernandez would gain 30 pounds instead of lose them. When I WELCOME page 28


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walked into Seattle’s clubhouse, I didn’t recognize him. His arm is the same, and with his slider unleashed by the Mariners and his conditioning likelier to keep him deep into games, there’s no reason he shouldn’t break out. Santana with Shea is like Jimi with a Strat. Posnanski: Verlander and Santana. Verlander becomes the first AL pitcher in three years to win more than 20. Santana has a monster year for Mets. Sheehan: Felix Hernandez and Santana. Bialik: Carmona and Santana. Fry: Felix Hernandez and Johan Santana. 8. Who will win the AL and NL MVP awards? (10 each) American League Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 46 Alex Rodriguez(Yankees) 43 Manny Ramirez (Red Sox) 14 Grady Sizemore (Indians) 9 Magglio Ordonez (Tigers) 7 Vladimir Guerrero (Angels) 5 Victor Martinez (Indians) 2 Travis Hafner (Indians), Torii Hunter (Angels), Derek Jeter (Yankees), Justin Morneau (Twins), David Ortiz (Red Sox), Placido Polanco (Tigers), Jorge Posada (Yankees), Dontrelle Willis (Tigers) 1 National League David Wright (Mets) 43 Matt Holliday (Rockies), Ryan Howard (Phillies) 14 Prince Fielder (Brewers), Jose Reyes (Mets) 10 Alfonso Soriano (Cubs), Chase Utley (Phillies) 8 Mark Teixera (Braves) 5 Albert Pujols (Cardinals) 4 Chipper Jones (Braves), Jimmy Rollins(Phillies) 3 Carlos Beltran (Mets), Derreck Lee (Cubs) 2 Jeff Francoeur (Braves), Alex Gonzalez (Reds), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Aramis Ramirez (Cubs), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), Johan Santana (Mets), Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) 1 Belth: Cabrera and Utley. Bois: Cabrera and Chipper Jones. If I’m supposing that the Braves will make an improbable run to the World Series, I need to be consistent with my improbable prediction and suppose that their injury-prone clubhouse leader will lead them there. At age 35, Chipper is a better player than he’s ever been. Borowsky: Sizemore and Pujols. I picked the same two guys last year; Pujols pert near snuck off with the award (and he might have won it if us sabermetric types ran the voting). Dallamora: Manny Ramirez and Prince Fielder. I picked Manny last year and he had his worst season in 10 years. By my logic I should learn that he’s an aging All-Star and pick Alex Rodriguez. This, of course, results in him going bonkers in a contract year, leaving me to kick my own behind when he picks up the award. I’m outsmarting you this time, baseball god. Leitch: Alex Rodriguez and Wright. Marchman: Cabrera and Teixeira. Cabrera will not deserve it, but his 150 runs driven in will trump the 25 that bounce off of and drop past his outstretched glove. Teixeira will deserve it, and the team that signs him for $25 million a year coming off his peak season will deserve what they get most of all. Passan: Alex Rodriguez and Utley. Sorry, but A-Rod was so much better than anyone last season, it would be foolish to pick against him. Utley, not Jimmy Rollins, would have won NL MVP had he played a full season last year, and, at age 29, he’s about as good as he’s going to get. Posnanski: Jeter and Beltran. I have this weird feeling that this will finally be the year Jeter wins it. I always pick Beltran to win in the NL. Sheehan: Cabrera and Wright. Note: will win. “Should” is an entirely different matter, especially in the AL. Cabrera’s RBIs and new-car-smell will carry the day, but his defense will trim his true value down. Bialik: Rodriguez and Beltran. Fry: Cabrera and Wright. 9. Who will win the AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards? (10 each) American League Jacoby Ellsbury (Red Sox) 42 Evan Longoria (Rays) 39 Clay Buchholz (Red Sox) 18 Joba Chamberlain (Yankees) 10 Daric Barton (A’s) 8 Carlos Gomez* (Twins), Adam Jones* (Orioles) 3 Ian Kennedy (Yankees) (2) Erick Aybar* (Angels), Carlos Gonzalez (A’s), Phil Hughes* (Yankees), Dustin Pedroia* (Red Sox), Jonathan Van Every (Red Sox) 1 The Cubs’ Kosuke Fukudom, who had played 1,074 games for Japan’s Chunichi but none in the majors before this season, is the favorite for the NL’s Rookie of the Year award. National League Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs) 38 Geovany Soto (Cubs) 17 Joey Votto (Reds) 13 Jay Bruce (Reds) 11 Cameron Maybin (Marlins) 10 Johnny Cueto (Reds) 7 Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Andy LaRoche (Dodgers) 4 Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers), Jayson Nix (Rockies), Colby Rasmus (Cardinals), Justin Upton* (Diamondbacks) 3 Chase Headley (Padres), J.R. Towles (Astros) 2 Homer Bailey (Reds), Yunel Escobar* (Braves), Evan Longoria (traded from Rays?), Lastings Milledge* (Nationals), Alexei Ramirez (traded from White Sox?), Troy Tulowitzki* (Rockies), Edinson Volquez* (Reds), Delwyn Young (Dodgers) 1 *No longer eligible for the award (see eligibility rules here) Cueto made a strong first impression, striking out 10 batters with no walks — and by one analysis compiling one of the best major-league debuts in history. Belth: Buchholz and Fukudome. Bois: Buchholz and Homer Bailey. Bailey had an awful Spring and was sent to Louisville, but I believe he’ll be called back up before too long. Reds manager Dusty Baker has already proven his ability to get the most out of young pitchers, and he can do the same with Bailey. Granted, he’ll probably trot him out to throw 340 innings, run him into the ground, and sacrifice the rest of his career, but what’s a vase if you don’t break it? Borowsky: Barton and Bruce. Dallamora: Buchholz and Fukudome. Leitch: Longoria and Soto. Marchman: Buchholz and Soto. Clay Buchholz’s award will, along with continued great pitching from Justin Verlander and Scott Kazmir, help provoke a scouting bias toward beanpole pitchers, an entirely welcome development. Geovany Soto’s award will prove an inadequate salve for the above-mentioned Game Seven. Passan: Longoria and Cueto. Posnanski: Longoria and Fukudome. Fukudome becomes the latest Japanese star to win the inappropriately named “Rookie of the Year” award. Sheehan: Longoria and Fukudome. Bialik: Buchholz and Fukudome. Fry: Longoria and Fukudome. TEAMS(all remaining questions 10 points each. All questions include regularseason games only.) 10. Which NL team will score the most runs? And which AL team? (5 points each) NL Phillies 58 Rockies 26 Mets 17 Cubs 14 Brewers 10 Braves 5 Astros, Diamondbacks 2 AL Tigers 77 Yankees 37 Red Sox 16 Angels, Indians 2 Belth: Phillies and Yankees. Bois: Phillies and Tigers. Unfortunately for them, the Phillies lack the pitching to win more than 85 games. I wonder whether Ryan Howard would hit so many home runs if someone let him know they were all going to waste. Borowsky: Phillies and Yankees. Dallamora: Brewers and Red Sox. Leitch: Phillies and Tigers. Marchman: Rockies and Yankees. In the NL, Chicago will score the most among teams that don’t play in a pinball machine. ( Humidor or no, Coors Field still has freak-show tendencies.) The Yankees will bludgeon people to death as usual. Passan: Phillies and Tigers. The Yankees are getting too old, and even though the Tigers have some rings on their tree, I’ll take them by 15 runs. Phillies ahead of the Braves simply because of their ballpark. Posnanski: Phillies and Tigers. Philadelphia, because the Phillies ballpark is roughly the size of a Residence Inn Suite. Sheehan: Braves and Tigers. Bialik: Phillies and Tigers. Fry: Cubs and Indians. 11. Which NL team will give up the most runs? And which AL team? (5 points each) NL Marlins 38 Pirates 20 Nationals 19 Astros 13 Rockies 12 Giants 11 Reds 8 Phillies 5 Brewers 4 Cardinals 3 George Sherrill and his fellow Orioles hurlers are expected to lead the AL in the dubious stat of yielding the most runs. (Associated Press Photo) AL Orioles 65 Royals 25 Rangers 24 Rays 13 White Sox 2 Mariners, Tigers, Twins 1 Belth: Marlins and Orioles. Bois: Marlins and Orioles. See my Markakis anecdote above. He can pitch a fit, but unfortunately for the Orioles, he cannot pitch a baseball. Borowsky: Astros and Orioles. Dallamora: Marlins and Orioles. Leitch: Reds and Rangers. Marchman: Rockies and Rangers. Colorado will allow the most, but Florida’s runner-up performance will be far more impressive in context. Texas will continue to labor under whatever curse it is that they suffer from. Passan: Nationals and Orioles. Sucks to be a Beltway baseball fan. Posnanski: Marlins and Orioles. Sheehan: Marlins and Orioles. Bialik: Nationals and Rangers. Fry: Phillies and Rangers. 12. Which team will have the mostimproved record, measured in increase in total regular-season victories? Rays 49 Reds 20 White Sox 12 Royals 10 Dodgers, Tigers, Mariners 5 A’s, Marlins 4 Cubs, Giants 3 Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Pirates 2 Astros, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Rangers, Twins 1 Belth: Blue Jays. Bois: Braves. Braves, naturally. They’ll win 98 games, which won’t be enough to catch the Mets, WELCOME page 29

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but will be enough to clinch a wild card by mid-September. Borowsky: Brewers. The very quiet addition of Mike Cameron is huge: The resulting defensive shuffle (Bill Hall to third base, Ryan Braun to left field) will improve the Brewers by at least half a dozen games. They’ll have Yovanni Gallardo around all year, Dave Bush will probably pitch better, and for once Ben Sheets had a healthy spring; maybe this’ll be the year he finally makes all 32 starts. Dallamora: Rays. Leitch: Rays. Marchman: Rays. Tampa Bay would have to botch things pretty badly not to win out here. Passan: Rays. When they finish the season at .500, it will be the best moment for the franchise since Vince Naimoli’s wife got popped for running a red and he asked the cop: “Do you know who I am?” Posnanski: Rays. Sheehan: Rays. There won’t be that many great leaps forward this season, in part because not that many teams were all that bad last year. Bialik: Royals. They should have won five more games than they did last year, based on run differential. Fry: Rays. 13. Which team will suffer the biggest decline, measured in decrease in total regular-season victories? Rockies 26 Twins 16 Indians 13 Angels 12 Cardinals 10 A’s 8 Red Sox, Yankees 6 Brewers, Giants 5 Astros, Mariners, Padres 4 Orioles, Phillies 3 Braves, Diamondbacks, Marlins 2 Blue Jays, Mets, Rangers 1 Belth: Yankees. Bois: Twins. In addition to losing the best pitcher of his generation, they also dumped Torii Hunter, an underappreciated Carlos Silva, and future star Matt Garza. You know what you do when you want to mail in a season? You get rid of your talent and sign Livan Hernandez. Borowsky: Rockies. They were a .500 team until midSeptember last year, and they look like a .500 team to me again. I’m counting on them not repeating the 14-1 finishing kick. Dallamora: Twins. Leitch: Rockies. I don’t think my Cardinals are going to be as terrible as everyone thinks, but maybe I’m just saying that to avoid the fact that Todd freaking Wellemeyer is in our rotation. Marchman: Mariners. A great number of people will express disbelief at the huge decline from an 88win team that added Erik Bedard, and will continue to scoff at the idea that there are stable, predictable relationships between runs scored and allowed and win totals. Passan: Cardinals. By June, Pujols will be begging for surgery to get away from this mess. Posnanski: Rockies. Maybe the Rockies. Maybe Seattle. I’ll go with the Rockies, but I don’t feel good about it. Sheehan: Orioles. The Giants will be right here as well, as will the Phillies. Bialik: Diamondbacks. They should have won 11 fewer games than they did last year. Fry: Cardinals. Let’s see Tony La Russa’s annoying micromanaging and paranoid fantasies get them out of this fix. I’ll feel for St. Louis fans, but not for him. 14. Rank these teams in order of regularseason wins, most to fewest: Nationals, Pirates, Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals. Nearly 60% of readers –77, to be exact — think the Rays will do best of these teams. Just seven picked the Orioles, who were the pick of 73 readers to have the worst record of the five. The most popular ranking: Rays, Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Orioles. In all, 53 of the 120 possible rankings were selected. Incidentally, they’re now the Rays, not the Devil Rays, as the Fixers erroneously called them in this contest. Reader William Backer deducted points from us for this gaffe; at least he didn’t fine us. Belth: Rays, Nationals, Pirates, Royals, Orioles. Bois: Royals, Rays, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles. I’m choosing to believe what I read about new Royals manager Trey Hillman. He seems like a Joe Girardi type, which is exactly what that team needs. Borowsky: Rays, Royals, Pirates, Nationals, Orioles. Dallamora: Orioles, Nationals, Pirates, Royals, Rays. Leitch: Rays, Royals, Pirates, Nationals, Orioles. Marchman: Rays, Nationals, and Pirates, with the Orioles and Royals tied. (Note the high correlation, also on display in San Francisco, between being terrible and having a really great ballpark.) Passan: Rays, Royals, Pirates, Nationals, Orioles. Posnanski: Rays, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles. I think this question is just plain mean. That’s all. Mean. I should refuse to answer it on principle. But since I have no prinicples… Sheehan: Rays, Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Orioles. Carl, you owe the Rays a dollar. Bialik: Royals, Rays, Pirates, Orioles, Nationals. Fry: Rays, Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Orioles. Still, all of those teams can plausibly think better days are coming. INDIVIDUALS(Asterisk denotes partial credit will be given.) 15. Which manager will be first to no longer be managing his team (whether fired, retired, resigned or otherwise not managing) in 2008? White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, shown arguing on Opening Day, isn’t expected to last in his job much longer by dozens of Fix readers. (Getty Images) Ozzie Guillen (White Sox) 26 John Gibbons (Blue Jays) 17 Dave Trembley (Orioles) 14 Ron Washington (Rangers) 11 Bruce Bochy ( Padres Giants), Ned Yost (Brewers) 9 Tony La Russa (Cardinals) 7 Charlie Manuel (Phillies) 6 John McLaren (Mariners) 5 Manny Acta (Nationals), Willie Randolph (Mets), John Russell (Pirates) 4 Joe Girardi (Yankees), Lou Piniella (Cubs) 3 Cecil Cooper (Astros), Bob Geren (A’s) 2 Dusty Baker (Reds), Bud Black (Padres), Bobby Cox (Braves), Ron Gardenhire (Twins), Mike Scioscia (Angels), Eric Wedge (Indians) 1 The only immune managers, in the view of our readers, are those who manage teams with very low or very high expectations: Red Sox, Rays, Royals, Tigers, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Rockies Giants. Amid this paranoia, one reader even predicted Phil Garner’s repeat departure would come first. Incidentally, Guillen is also the most likely pick according to a betting Web site. Belth: La Russa. Bois: Fredi Gonzalez. …because Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria tends to fire managers for no good reason. Borowsky: Gibbons. Dallamora: La Russa. Leitch: Yost. Marchman: Guillen. Guillen threatened to run for mayor of Chicago a while ago, so once he’s fired he should look into maneuvering his way into the Illinois Senate seat I expect will open this year. Alan Keyes got 27%, and he has no world championships as far as I’m aware. Passan: Guillen. Or: Likeliest to have a Tom Wilkinson-in -”Michael Clayton” meltdown. Posnanski: Guillen. I’ll go with my old friend Ozzie Guillen. That curtain seems about read to close on that act. Who is managing Pittsburgh now? Oh, John Russell — he just started. He’ll be fine. Dave Trembley in Baltimore seems like a good guess too, but he’s probably also too new. Sheehan: McLaren. Bialik: Trembley. Fry: Gibbons. 16. Who will be the highest-salaried player (based on 2008 salary) released or traded? All dollar figures are 2008 salaries, in units of $1 million rounded to the nearest $100,000, and are based on USA Today’s salary database. Richie Sexson (Mariners: $15.5) 10 Jason Giambi (Yankees: $23.4) 9 Miguel Tejada (Astros: $14.8) 7 Carlos Delgado (Mets: $16), Todd Helton (Rockies: $16.6), Juan Pierre (Dodgers: $8) 5 A.J. Burnett (Blue Jays: $13.2), Joe Nathan (Twins: $6) 4 Jason Bay (Pirates: $6), Coco Crisp (Red Sox: $5.1), Mike Hampton (Braves: $16), Andruw Jones (Dodgers: $14.7), Melvin Mora (Orioles: $7.8), Alex Rodriguez (Yankees: $28), Barry Zito (Giants: $14.5) 3 Bobby Abreu (Yankees: $16), Beltre (Mariners: $13.4), Lance Berkman (Astros: $14.5), Pat Burrell (Phillies: $14.3), Jose Contreras (White Sox: $10), J.D. Drew (Red Sox: $14), Adam Dunn (Reds: $13), Jim Edmonds (Padres: $8), Nomar Garciaparra (Dodgers: $9.5), Ken Griffey, Jr. (Reds: $8.3), Brandon Inge (Tigers: $6.2), Jeff Kent (Dodgers: $9), Carlos Lee (Astros: $12.5), Hideki Matsui (Yankees: $13), Andy Pettitte (Yankees: $16), Brian Roberts (Orioles: $6.3), C.C. Sabathia (Indians: $11), Jim Thome (White Sox: $15.7), Javier Vazquez (White Sox: $11.5) 2 Daric Barton (A’s: $0.4), Joe Borowski (Indians: $4), Milton Bradley (Rangers: $5.3), Bartolo Colon (Angels: $16), Joe Crede (White Sox: $5.1), Kyle Farnsworth (Yankees: $5.9), Eric Gagne (Brewers: $10), Jay Gibbons (Orioles: $5), Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks: $6.3), Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks: $15.1), Kyle Lohse (Cardinals: $4.3), Daisuke Matsuzaka (Red Sox: $8.3), Kevin Millwood (Rangers: $10.4), Mike Mussina (Yankees: $11.1), Carl Pavano (Yankees: $11), Manny Ramirez (Red Sox: $18.9), Ivan Rodriguez (Tigers: $12.4), Curt Schilling (Red Sox: $8), Jason Schmidt (Dodgers: $15.2), Ben Sheets (Brewers: $12.1), Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners: $17.1), Mike Sweeney (A’s: $0.5), Mark Teixeira (Braves: $12.5), Woody Williams (Astros: $6), Dmitri Young (Nationals: $5), Michael Young (Rangers: $6.2) 1 According to 10 readers, Richie Sexson won’t be with the Mariners by the end of the season. (Associated Press Photo) Multiple readers selected Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia, the defending MVP and Cy Young Award winner, respectively of the AL. Gibbons and Williams, both released before their teams’ openers, make less money than dozens of players on this list, so the Fix has some time to defer the decision as to whether they count. Belth: Giambi. Bois: Nathan. When I was a little kid, one of my favorite storybooks was titled, “As Right WELCOME page 31



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Parker, Lady Vols Claim Title
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 11:41:00 AM

Tennessee joined Kansas as NCAA tournament champions Tuesday night, as Candace Parker scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Lady Vols to a 64-48 rout of Stanford, marking the end of Candice Wiggins’ stellar career with the Cardinal. But reducing the title game to Ace and Ice is too simple, John Smallwood writes in the Philadelphia Daily News. The tale of a title-game defeat: Lady Vols everywhere. (Associated Press Photo) ” ‘Ace’ got the support that both she and ‘Ice’ agreed would be the difference,” he writes, noting that Ms. Parker (Ace) and Ms. Wiggins (Ice) had said the championship game “was going to about the best team, not the best player. It was going to swing on which supporting players would make Tennessee or Stanford the better team. With Parker struggling due to an injured shoulder, her teammates — Alberta Auguste, Nicky Anosike, Shannon Bobbitt and Alexis Hornbuckle — did what you would expect of four senior starters who already had won a national championship. With Wiggins just struggling, her teammates — Kayla Pedersen, Jayne Appel, JJ Hones and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude — played the way you might expect three sophomores and a freshman to play in their first championship game.” Ms. Parker is projected as the top pick in Wednesday’s WNBA draft, to be joined within a few picks by Ms. Wiggins. (And will they both go to Russia in the offseason?) But first, Scott Ostler ponders the final thud of Ms. Wiggins’s collegiate career in the San Francisco Chronicle. BASEBALL CONTEST See how Fix readers, the Fixers and some of our baseball writers see the season playing out, in a roundup of the Fix’s seasonlong baseball contest. MARCH MADNESS Wondering who won the Fix’s March Madness contest, and

how? Wonder no more: Carl has the results, and commentary from the winners. “Stanford, which had been picking up momentum like a Cardinal-colored avalanche, was stopped cold by a quicker, tougher, fiercer foe,” he writes. “The Vols forced 25 turnovers. Twenty-five! Stanford couldn’t even inbound the ball at times. It was a valuable life lesson for the Stanford women. Never get into a wrestling match with an octopus. The Vols were all arms and legs and double-team traps and tripleteams. … The Vols are a team, much more than simply Parker, backed by the legendary Death Stare of their coach, Pat Summitt. They were a swarming, hungry, mature (five seniors), well-oiled machine. They smothered Stanford and the Wiggins mystique.” *** Who’ll win the Masters? Tiger Woods, obviously. Next! *** Wait a minute! Not so obviously! That’s what Fix golf guru Tim Carroll says in his Masters preview: “Please calm down and remember the boys have yet to put a tee in the ground, have yet to hole a single putt, have yet to wipe a sweat-stained brow after a power lip-out leaves a putt longer than the original.” His pick for the green jacket? It’s not Eldrick. *** The Boston Red Sox — who started the 2008 season on the other side of the world what seems like a very long time ago — finally made it to Fenway Park for their home opener, complete with handing out World Series rings, welcoming back a redeemed man, and thrashing the suddenly pathetic Detroit Tigers. The feel-good story of the day was 1986 World Series goat Bill Buckner, who threw out the first pitch. “The pause lasted a full 13 seconds,” Amalie Benjamin writes in the Boston Globe. “Bill Buckner sat at a table in the Fenway Park interview room, a microphone in front of him, and pondered

the question. Had he had second thoughts about throwing out the first pitch at yesterday’s home opener and celebration of the 2007 World Series win? … His eyes grew wet and red. Dwight Evans, seated next to him, reached out and put his arm around Buckner.” Bah, says Sean Crowe on Bleacher Report, arguing that’s just more Red Sox mythologizing. “Every time his name is brought up, history is completely re-written to make Red Sox fans look bad,” he writes. “Boston hates Buckner. Boston never forgave Buckner. Boston blames Buckner for the curse. Its all crap. Garbage. Hogwash. In 1990, Bill Buckner made his triumphant return to the Boston Red Sox. This was four short years after the 1986 World Series, when old wounds were still fresh on Red Sox fans minds. So, given the way things have been portrayed, we must have booed him off the field, destroyed his confidence, eaten his first born and banished him to Canada. After all, were the awful Red Sox fans who blamed our cursed baseball team on his bad fielding, right? As a matter of fact, he received a five minute long standing ovation on opening day.” *** The homecoming was a lot less sweet for the New York Mets, taking the field at Shea Stadium for the first time since they completed their epic gag job by getting pummeled by the Florida Marlins on the final day of the 2007 season and missing

the playoffs. Fans cheered new ace Johan Santana and gawked at Citi Field, now looming behind the outfield wall — but in the late innings they wound up booing luckless reliever Scott Schoeneweis and first baseman Carlos Delgado, who erased a good day at the plate by firing a doubleplay ball into the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley. The Phils won, 5-2; the Mets are in last place. (And in New York, it’s never too early for it to be getting late.) “This was supposed to be a day of pleasant nostalgia,” writes Joel Sherman in the New York Post. “But by the end of yet another Mets loss to the Phillies, their ninth in a row, all that was rekindled for the Shea Stadium fans was how much they disliked this team the last time they saw it together. The regrouped Mets made just as bad an initial impression at the last-ever Shea opener. The largest first-game crowd in the closing stadium’s history booed Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman and ultimately the whole team more lustily than they booed Jimmy Rollins.” *** The horror show that is the New York Knicks has been well-chronicled, but the Fix has never seen the mess plumbed quite so deeply and pitilessly as Jeff Coplon does in New York magazine. Virtually every sentence stings, so it’s hard to pick a representative few, but here’s a taste: “Theyve been called the worst team in the history of pro basketball, but theyre really much worse than that. These Knicks are worse than the fire-sale 41 Phillies or the expansion 62 Mets or the 76 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were perfect in their winlessness. Theyre the worst of the worst because of how theyve lost, in petulance and complacencyand with management that bulldozed any critic it could not ignore. … Now that the [Isiah] Thomas era is dead, the obituary can be written. The temptation in these moments is to gloss over the faults of the deceasedto remember through a lens, brightly. But Isiahs tenure was so contemptibleso bereft of redeeming value, on court or offthat such tenderness

is hard to muster. In the Knicks me-first self-regard, theyve blasphemed the most gorgeously collaborative of games.” *** This year the ever-flowing ink of sportswriter elegy is bathing Yankee Stadium, in its final year before the Yankees open the new version of the House That Ruth Built. Not much ink is flowing the way of a place that’s seen more than 2,000 spring-training games: Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Jason went to Met spring-training games there in the mid-80s, and remembers being astonished to find he was about the same height as the Mets’ Wally Backman, who also stepped on the future Fixer’s foot while hurrying to the bus.) Al Lang’s long tradition seems to be at an end: The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating to Port Charlotte next spring, and eyeing the site for an open-air stadium. If this is the end for Al Lang, it couldn’t ask for a better farewell than the column ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote a couple of weeks back. “Lou Gehrig trained here,” he writes. “Stan Musial trained here. Grover Cleveland Alexander and Tom Seaver trained here. Joe DiMaggio got four hits in his first spring training game as a Yankee here. Don Zimmer hit the first Grapefruit League triple in the history of the Mets here. Babe Ruth once launched home runs here that traveled across First Avenue into the balconies of the now-defunct West Coast Inn. Mickey Mantle once smoked a mammoth, game-winning, opposite-field home run here that high-hopped off the asphalt beyond the left-field fence and plunked into the turquoise waters of Tampa Bay.” – Tip of the Fix cap to reader Don Hartline. Found a good column from the world of sports? Don’t keep it to yourself — write to us at dailyfix@wsj.com and we’ll consider your find for inclusion in the Daily Fix.

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WELCOME continued from page 29
As Right Can Be.” It was about a poor man who bought some sharp new shoelaces. The shoelaces only served to highlight the dullness of the rest of his possessions, so he bought new shoes, then a new jacket, then a new house. The story ended with his property being repossessed by the bank. It’s a good read. Anyway, the Twins are currently in the process of telling this story in reverse. Johan Santana was the new mansion; Torii Hunter was the horse and cart, and Joe Nathan is the snappy new vest. The shoelaces are Kevin Slowey. Borowsky: Burrell. Dallamora: Buerhle. Leitch: Thome. Marchman: Pujols. Passan: Jose Vidro. Only redeeming quality is that he doesn’t strike out in a lineup full of guys who do. But with Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien waiting, why are the Mariners sticking with a sub-.400 SLG DH? Runner -up: Nomar Garciaparra, making the $8.5 million Vidro is, and probably just as likely a designate-for-assignment. Posnanski: Eric Chavez. Sheehan: Contreras. I never, ever, ever get this right. Bialik: Giambi. Fry: Delgado. 17. Which starting pitcher who’s changed teams (a group that includes Johan Santana and Dontrelle Willis) will earn the most wins? Johan Santana (Twins to Mets) 111 Dan Haren (A’s to Diamondbacks) 8 Erik Bedard (Orioles to Mariners) 6 Dontrelle Willis (Marlins to Tigers) 4 Livan Hernandez (Diamondbacks to Twins) 2 Shawn Chacon (Pirates to Astros), R.A. Dickey (Rangers to Mariners), Brett Tomko (Padres to Royals) 1 Among top picks, last year Santana and Haren had 15 wins apiece, Bedard had 13 and Willis had 10. Belth: Santana. Bois: Santana. “Your search for ‘johan santana good baseball fellow’ returned about 38,300 results (0.24 seconds).” Borowsky: Santana. Dallamora: Santana. Leitch: Santana. Marchman: Santana. Santana will win more games than he pitches. Some guy somewhere in Ozone Park will remain really angry that the Mets gave up Carlos Gomez in the deal, and will repeatedly call Joe Benigno to express his views on the use of leverage in negotiations. Passan: Santana. I’m nothing if not consistent. Posnanski: Santana. But I think Willis has a good year too. Sheehan: Santana. He could have an obnoxious record, 26-3 or something. Bialik: Santana. Fry: Santana. 18. Will anyone reach the 20-20-20-20 threshold (in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases) that Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins reached last year? If yes, who? No one 76 Jimmy Rollins (Phillies) 21 Jose Reyes (Mets) 13 Curtis Granderson (Tigers) 11 Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) 7 Carl Crawford (Rays), Grady Sizemore (Indians) 2 Ryan Braun (Brewers), Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) 1 Belth: Jeter. Except instead of 20 triples he’ll be hit by 20+ pitches. Bois: Ramirez. These days, answering “Hanley Ramirez” when asked “who will do good in baseball” is like answering “God” in Sunday school. Borowsky: No. Dallamora: No. Honestly, I’m thinking Hanley Ramirez, but saying “no” is a lot easier than picking the player correctly. Leitch: No. Marchman: No. Absolutely not. Eight guys have hit 20 triples in a season since integration. Passan: No. The closest will be Grady Sizemore. Posnanski: No. Rollins could do it again if he gets 800 plate appearances or whatever crazy number he got last year. Sheehan: No. It’s kind of a fluke thing. You need a million plate appearances, not that many walks, the right park… Bialik: No. Fry: Reyes. 19. How many home runs will Barry Bonds hit?* Barry Bonds won’t get much of a chance to add to his record home-run total while attending basketball games such as this Lakers-Kings matchup. (Associated Press Photo) The mean was four, while the median and mode were zero (98 readers thought Bonds would remain stuck at 762). The highest guess was 24. In a season with more than 42 at bats, Bonds hasn’t hit as few as 24 homers since 1989. Since this is a Major League Baseball contest, incidentally, we’re only counting homers Bonds hits in the majors — though several readers wondered if we’d be including homers in Japan — or a federal penitentiary. Belth: 0. Bois: 0. It’s starting to look as though Bonds’ legal problems won’t prevent him from playing this year. What will prevent him from playing is the truth that no team with any measure of ego or self-respect will want him. I suppose that narrows the candidates to San Francisco and Baltimore, and even those two strike me as very unlikely. On the legitimacy scale, his role as a pinch-hitter in San Francisco would be more of a joke than his role last year, and less of a joke than Minnie Minoso’s return to the White Sox at age 54. We can only regard the teams’ refusal to sign Bonds as an act of collusion if we view the Coates family’s decision to shoot Old Yeller as an act of collusion. I’m not saying Bonds is a dog; I guess I’m just saying that he contracted rabies defending his family from a prairie wolf. Borowsky: 0. And 74, for the Cell Block 6 Raiders in the California Institution for Men. Dallamora: 10. Prison ball counts, right? Leitch: 0. If Bonds were on the Opening Day roster of, say, the Mariners, they could win their division. Teams ignore him at their own peril. Marchman: 19. 13,429 if we’re counting home runs he hits while bitterly playing MLB 2k8 on his Xbox, 19 if we’re counting the ones he hits for the Yankees after he’s signs for a prorated $30 million, a bronzed llama, and a framed letter of general apology. Passan: 0. Let the dying die, would you? Posnanski: 0. Don’t know how we would count the balls hit out of Leavenworth. Sheehan: 18. If I say “zero,” the best I can do is tie. Bialik: 11. Fry: 0. 20. Will average television ratings for the World Series go up or down from last year’s 10.6? Up 87, Down 47 Belth: Down. Bois: Up. Just barely. Not sure if I’ll be contributing, though. I’m volunteering my apartment as a Nielsen household, purchasing 25 televisions, and tuning them all to re-runs of “The Wire” in an effort to convince HBO to order a sixth season. I want to find out whether Bubbles helps with the dishes. Borowsky: Down. Ya can’t go wrong betting on baseball TV ratings to go down. Dallamora: Up. Leitch: Up. Marchman: Up. Way up, as the prospect of a BostonChicago World Series hints at the possible creation of a pocket universe right there on the field. Passan: Down. Under 10.0. Baseball’s greatest trick: Nearly quintupling its revenue over the last 15 years in spite of plummeting TV ratings, something that would kill the NFL. Posnanski: Up. If it’s Red Sox-Mets as I predict, then yes, way up from last year. CincinnatiTampa Bay would draw quite a bit fewer, I fear. Sheehan: Up. … courtesy a longer, more competitive Series. Bialik: Up. Though New Yorkers will have to watch in droves to make up for apathy elsewhere. Fry: Up. Seeing the Red Sox annihilate the Rockies was fun if you lived in Massachusetts. Otherwise, not so much. – Tip of the Fix cap to Thomas Sperber, Patrick Houston, Nick Dallamora, Alex Belth, Richard E. Peck and Tim Marchman for suggesting contest questions.

Prince to Perform at Coachella Music Festival
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 4:39:57 AM

Prince is rumored to be getting paid $4 million to perform at the Coachella Music Festival. According to a source the promoters were having a tough time selling enough tickets, so they added Prince, but it cost them a lot. Prince is worth every penny, about 4 million dollars worth of pennies to be exact. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Prince to Get Hip Surgery • Prince to Fans - PFUnk You • Prince vs the Dancing Baby • Maybe Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook Really Are Dating Again • Prince Plays Until Police Shut Him Down



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Memphis, Kansas Ride Free-Flowing Style to Title Game
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/7/2008 12:29:00 PM

If the men’s Final Four, with its unprecedented four No. 1 seeds, really featured the nation’s four best teams, then Monday night’s championship game in San Antonio features the two mostdeserving teams, by far. Less than five minutes into the early game Saturday night, Memphis took the lead over UCLA and never trailed again en route to a comfortable 78-63 victory. Kansas did better, never trailing in 40 minutes against top-ranked North Carolina. The Jayhawks ran out to a 40-12 lead, then withstood a North Carolina comeback bid and won, 8466 (to the great relief of CBS analyst Billy Packer). The surprisingly easy wins extended to eight games the streak of Final Four games without a thriller, with none since Illinois lost for the second time all season to North Carolina in the 2005 final more than three years ago. Suddenly cautious columnists aren’t guaranteeing that Kansas-Memphis will be a nailbiter, but they do expect an entertaining game. “If you watched the way Memphis roared and Kansas soared, you understand one thing with perfect clarity: you can’t expect a photo finish today,” Mike Vaccaro writes in the New York Post. “But you can expect a hell of a lot of fun.” Left to improvise, Chris Douglas-Roberts devised a baseline drive and emphatic dunk in the second half of Memphis’s victory over Kevin Love and UCLA. (Associated Press Photo) Coaches Bill Self, of Kansas, and John Calipari, of Memphis, deserve much of the credit for authorizing their players to lead themselves and design plays. Lexington Herald-Leader columnist John Clay traces that back to their common mentor, Larry Brown, who while power-walking with Mr. Calipari was offering tips Sunday morning. “In a profession known for exorbitant salaries and overcoaching, Calipari and Self are much more inclined to let their guys, well, just play — to the

point where after his team rolled to a 40-12 lead over North Carolina on Saturday, Self proclaimed, ‘There were times when I didn’t have much control over what was going on out there,’ ” Mr. Clay writes. Letting great players freelance results in beautiful improvisation, notably a surfeit of lobs for dunks. “Sure, it takes discipline to run it right, to set the screens, to make the right cuts, to deliver the precise pass,” Joe Posnanski writes in the Kansas City Star. “But, in the end, it’s also about letting players enjoy the games. It’s about getting players to think on their own. It’s about getting out of the way and remembering the game isn’t about coaches; the game is about players. That’s how Self and Memphis’ John Calipari coach basketball. That’s why there will be some alley-oops tonight.” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander says Messrs. Self and Calipari and their brethren get too much credit this time of year, but it’s understandable because their familiar faces contrast with the exiting underclassmen. “What does allegiance to a university mean to a gifted, often poor athlete who sees no grandeur in being an ‘amateur’ — whatever that means beyond very, very low-paid — and the possibility of professional league wealth?” Mr. Telander writes. Memphis junior Chris Douglas-Roberts has stuck around long enough to suffer Elite Eight disappointments each of the last two seasons, and to surpass that round this year. He’s almost surely done with college hoops after tonight. The San Diego UnionTribune’s Tim Sullivan re-creates the moment when college coach first met future star: “The body language was lousy. The effort was erratic. The shooting style was unorthodox and the jump shot was flat. But the results were remarkable. John Calipari’s first impression of Chris Douglas-Roberts conjured a twisted wreckage on the side of the road. The Memphis coach was repelled and yet riveted, simultaneously bewildered and bewitched.” In the Louisville Courier-Journal, Eric

Crawford flashes back to the NBA prospect’s family history. “Chris DouglasRoberts grew up in a 110-year-old house in Detroit, the one his grandparents moved into when they moved from Louisville,” Mr. Crawford writes. “The one where Laura Roberts raised eight children after her husband died, half of whom went to college, all of whom became successful in their lines of work.” Mr. Douglas-Roberts is constantly reminded of his family by a tattoo bearing the name of his mother, Judy. Another tattoo quotes Psalm 37. His teammate Chance McGrady “permanently wears a quotation from Nobel Peace Prize winner Bernard Lown, developer of the defibrillator, that tells the world: Men capable of seeing the invisible can achieve the impossible,” Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla writes, in urging fans not to jump to steroetypical conclusions about this ink-decorated squad. As for Kansas, several columnists write that tragedy helped forge the close bond between Jayhawks evident at their best

moments, such as in their furious start against North Carolina. “This Kansas team that will play Memphis in tonight’s national championship game was forged of many things,” Richard Justice writes in the Houston Chronicle. “It has a terrific coach in Bill Self, a wonderful tradition, and some of the bluest of the blue-chip recruits. Kansas has something else, something that’s hard to measure and harder still to understand. Kansas has a toughness and closeness born of pain and tragedy.” Darnell Jackson left the team briefly last year to care for his injured mother, and teammates still drop in on him to make sure he’s OK. His teammate, Sasha Kaun, lost his father as a teenager in Russia, and his mother, Olga, still suspects foul play. When Sasha first arrived in the U.S., he wasn’t a basketball prospect but a beanpole. Then he developed an appetite and a sterling academic record, and colleges came calling. “Kansas appealed most to him,” David Whitley writes in the Orlando Sentinel. “Maybe the winters reminded him of Siberia, where Olga remained. Kaun was no longer homesick, but he sure missed his mother. She would have had a hard time comprehending her son’s development. He became a computer whiz like his father. It’s probably safe to say Kaun will be the only player tonight who has constructed a robot for a class project.” *** Seven times this season UConn’s women’s basketball team had faced a fellow top 10 team, and five times it won by at least 10 points, including a 12-point defeat of Stanford in November. But in the rematch Sunday night in Tampa, the Cardinal stunned the Huskies, 82-73, to advance to the championship game Tuesday night. Notable Stanford alumnae were on hand, Ann Killion writes in the San Jose Mercury News: “The women who began and sustained the magic at Stanford bore witness Sunday night to perhaps the most magical run by any Cardinal team.” LSU almost pulled off Sunday’s second

upset when senior Erica White sunk two free throws to put the Lady Tigers ahead of Tennessee, 46-45, with 7.1 seconds left. But a last-second put-back by Alexis Hornbuckle gave Tennessee another titlegame berth and sealed LSU’s fifth national semifinal defeat in five years. LSU’s accomplishment remains impressive, Carter Gaddis writes in the Tampa Tribune: “They overcame the death of a beloved coach, the scandal-ridden resignation of another coach and the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. For five consecutive seasons, under four different coaches, nothing kept the Louisiana State Tigers out of the Women’s Final Four.” A packed Forum in Tampa obscures a big challenge for the women’s game. “In its attempt to make the women’s tourney mirror the men’s, the women’s basketball committee stepped on the gas, expanding the tournament field way too quickly and going to neutral sites before there was enough evidence that people would actually show up,” Andrea Adelson writes in the Orlando Sentinel. “Take an early round game in Los Angeles last year, which drew 878 people.” *** Gib Shanley, longtime radio broadcaster for the Cleveland Browns, died Sunday at age 76. He was there for the Browns’ last championship — and for their moreplentiful disappointments. “In Shanley’s voice a measured amount of emotion could be heard, depending on the situation,” George M. Thomas writes in the Akron Beacon Journal. “The moment his voice dropped on the radio during the infamous Jan. 4, 1981, playoff game against the Oakland Raiders in an arctic Municipal Stadium as the Browns were driving to take the lead, it was apparent what had happened.” Found a good column from the world of sports? Don’t keep it to yourself — write to us at dailyfix@wsj.com and we’ll consider your find for inclusion in the Daily Fix.

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March Madness Contest Results
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/8/2008 10:55:00 AM

(If you’re looking for today’s Daily Fix column, it’s here.) Congratulations to Greg Martinek and David Hudson, the only Daily Fix readers among the 86 entering our March Madness contest who picked all Final Four teams correctly and chose Kansas to win it all. Mr. Martinek won the contest by a wide margin. He’ll be joined in the Daily Fix Skybox of Champions (which by now resembles a Titanic lifeboat, but anyway) by Mr. Hudson, who finished second, as well as by Chris DeLotell and Stephen M. Schleicher, who tied for third. Dr. Schleicher managed to edge into the top four despite picking UCLA to win it all, thanks to his perfect Final Four picks and piling up points on the earlier questions. It was clear to Mr. Martinek, president of an electronics-manufacturing company, that the four top seeds were the four best teams. In the semifinals, the 50-year-old from Brookfield, Wisc., reasoned that UCLA couldn’t match “the toughness, strength, and length of Memphis.” As for Kansas-North Carolina, “A game played at such a fast pace was going to be determined by the team with superior depth, and it was.” His comments about the final, emailed to me ahead of time, proved prescient: “This type of game would favor Kansas due to their being a much better free-throw- and three-pointshooting team than Memphis.” It took the runner-up, Mr. Hudson, about 10 minutes to put together his contest entry, he estimates. The 28-year-old Oklahoma City fixed-income broker and Oklahoma State graduate based his champion pick on school ties: “My mind said UNC, but luckily my heart said Kansas (Big 12 ties, OSU alum Bill Self),” Mr. Hudson writes. “Rock Chalk Jayhawk. Now let’s go talk to Bill Self about that vacant OSU head coaching position.” Mr. DeLotell, a 21-year-old from Mason, Ohio, says he chose Kansas “because I simply thought it was the best combination

of talent and coaching in the tournament.” The senior at the University of Kentucky nonetheless was rooting for Memphis on behalf of his nine-year-old brother, who stood to win $60 in his pool if the Tigers won the title. “Luckily, he fell asleep at half-me and missed Memphis’s late-game choke at the foul-line and in the strategy department,” Mr. DeLotell writes. “Always foul with a three-point lead in the last 10 seconds!” Read on for how the contest played out, with correct answers bolded. 1. Which will be the team with the highest seed number (16 is higher than 1) to win in the first round?(Winners in italics.) Winthrop (seed 13) 12; Georgia (14) 10; Temple (12) 9; Siena(13) 8; Villanova(12) 6; St. Joseph’s (11) 5; Baylor (11), Cornell (14), Davidson(10), St. Mary’s (10) 4; Kansas State(11), San Diego(13) 3; Boise State (14), George Mason (12), Oral Roberts (13), Western Kentucky(12) 2; American (15), Cal State-Fullerton (14), Kentucky (11) 1. Siena and San Diego both went on to lose to No. 12 seeds in the second round. Most readers erred on the conservative side, with 15 correctly picking first-round upset winners but choosing one with too low a seed. 2. Which No. 1 seed will win by the fewest points in the first round? UCLA 30; Kansas 29; Memphis 17; North Carolina 8. None of the games was close; Kansas and Memphis both won by 24 points, while North Carolina won by 39 and UCLA by 41. These blowouts presaged the relatively easy path for all four teams — particularly North Carolina’s — to the Final Four. But they were poor indicators of the results of the national semifinals. 3. How many teams outside the power six conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC) will make the Sweet 16? 2.6 was the average answer, 3 was the median and the range was 0 to 6. Four broke through, as predicted by 11

readers. Only two of these Sweet 16 teams are surprises: No. 12 seed Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt and No. 10 Davidson (Southern Conference). Top seed Memphis from Conference USA and No. 3 seed Xavier (Atlantic 10) also advanced. Three of them advanced to the Elite Eight, and Memphis made the championship game. 4. Which conference will see the highest number of its representatives reach the Sweet 16? Big East 61; Pac-10 13; ACC 6; Big 12 5; SEC 1. The Big East and Pac-10 have three teams each. For this question, Stanford’s last-second leaner to beat Marquette in overtime was critical. The Big 12 led in the Elite Eight, with Texas and Kansas — and, most importantly, led all conferences with one national champion. 5. Which of the following bubble teams will advance the farthest in the tournament: Oregon, Kentucky, Baylor, Kansas State, Villanova or Arizona? Kansas State 25; Arizona 16; Baylor, Oregon 12; Villanova 10; Kentucky 7; none (all lose in first round) 4. Only Kansas State and Villanova won, and Villanova advanced to the Sweet 16. 6. Which player will score the most points (total points, not points per game) in the tournament? Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) 63; Kevin Love (UCLA) 9; Darren Collison (UCLA) 3; Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Brandon Rush (Kansas) 2; Joe Alexander (West Virginia), Darrell Arthur (Kansas), Chris DouglasRoberts(Memphis), Roy Hibbert (Georgetown), Chris Lofton (Tennessee), O.J. Mayo (USC), Derrick Rose (Memphis) 1. Chris Douglas-Roberts finished with 140 points, though he’ll lament three that got away — his only missed free throws, all in the final minutes of regulation in the title game. Only reader Bob Trost got this one right. Davidson’s Stephen Curry, despite playing two fewer games, finished a close second with 128 points. Derrick Rose

finished with 125 points for Memphis. 7. Which freshman will score the most points (total points, not points per game) in the tournament? Kevin Love (UCLA) 49; Michael Beasley (Kansas State) 12; Derrick Rose(Memphis) 11; O.J. Mayo (USC) 7; DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh), Austin Freeman (Georgetown) 2; Gary Johnson (Texas) 1. Rose finished with 125 points, well ahead of Love’s 99. 8. Who will be named Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four? Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) 42; Kevin Love (UCLA) 21; Darren Collison (UCLA) 6; Brandon Rush (Kansas) 5; Darrell Arthur (Kansas), Chris Lofton (Tennessee) 2; Antonio Anderson (Memphis), Michael Beasley (Kansas State), Mario Chalmers(Kansas), Roy Hibbert (Georgetown), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Brook Lopez (Stanford), Derrick Rose (Memphis), Jessie Sapp (Georgetown) 1. Chalmers finished the Final Four with six assists, seven rebounds, seven steals and 29 points — three of them tying the title game with a couple of seconds left in regulation. He was chosen only by contest winner Greg Martinek. 9. Which teams will make the Final Four (10 points each)? East: North Carolina 79; Tennessee 4; Louisville 2. South: Texas 39; Memphis 22; Pittsburgh 12; Stanford 8; Marquette, Michigan State, Kentucky 1. West: UCLA 76; Duke 4; Drake, Xavier 2. Midwest: Kansas 49; Georgetown 21; Wisconsin 7; Clemson 5; Kansas State, USC, Vanderbilt 1. 10. Which team will win the championship (30 points)? North Carolina 36; UCLA 32; Kansas 9; Memphis 3; Georgetown 2; Stanford, Tennessee, Texas 1. The two reader favorites were overmatched and outplayed in the semis.

Stacey Dash Has Still Got it
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:30:08 AM

Stacey Dash is 42 years-old, and she’s still sizzling hot. You might remember her from Clueless, or maybe from her Playboy pictorial. Stacey just posed for the new cover of King, which is featuring hot girls over 40 years-old. 40 is the new 30. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Model Mysteriously Disappears • When the Owner is Away the Kitty will Play • Band on a Budget • Peep Show • Hot Pu$$y



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Jayhawks Are Champs After Chalmers Caps Furious Comeback
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/8/2008 11:02:00 AM

Kansas’s comeback from nine points down with two minutes left in Monday night’s national championship game required several missteps by Memphis. But the Jayhawks also had to play nearly flawless basketball for those two minutes, and the subsequent five minutes of overtime. And so they did, capping a closely matched and thrilling title game with a 24-8 run that featured 8 of 10 shooting from the field, including the first seven shots, and 6 for 6 from the freethrow line. Kansas wasn’t the most-consistent team in college basketball this season, but in its peak moments, and at the very end, it was indisputably the best. To get to the final, Kansas used a 40-12 run at the start of its game against North Carolina, then finished on a 30-16 tear to defeat the No. 1 team in the country. Mario Chalmers celebrates his already legendary three-pointer to force overtime. (Associated Press Photo by Eric Gay) Neither run had to be executed under as much duress as the championshipclinching finish. To force overtime, Sherron Collins had just a handful of seconds to drive the length of the floor, dodge Memphis’s attempts to foul him (he said later he thought he was fouled), and get the ball to Mario Chalmers. Mr. Chalmers then discovered a narrow space between defenders draped over him, rose and hit a three-pointer. (And probably made CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz regret his declaration a few minutes earlier that a Derrick Rose jumper for Memphis was “the shot of the tournament.”) That shot will be forever celebrated by Kansas basketball fans, Joe Posnanski writes in the Kansas City Star. “Kids 50 years from now will be shooting the Chalmers shot in driveways from Pittsburg

to St. Francis, from Liberal to Hiawatha, from Cuba to Dodge City to Chanute,” Mr. Posnanski writes. “Grandparents in Wichita will call their grandchildren in Olathe to talk about what they were feeling when Chalmers took that shot, the way the ball arced, the way it fell. Farmers in Cuba and teachers in Salina and doctors in Garden City will talk about the shot forever. There were precisely 43,257 fans in the Alamodome on Monday night to watch Kansas win its first championship in 20 years, but as time goes by there will be 100,000, then 200,000, then a million who will say they were here.” Danny Manning, hero of that last Kansas championship, was among those 43,257. “Not even Danny and the Miracles, the last Jayhawks to cut down the nets (as a No. 6 seed) needed a shot like Chalmers’ in their finale,” Luke Winn writes on Sports Illustrated. “Twenty years later, Danny Manning had a prime view of the Mario Miracle, as the assistant coach who had prepared the team’s scouting report of Memphis for the title game. Ed Hightower, one of the refs from ‘88, was working the floor the floor again in ‘08, and while Manning said he was thinking ‘deja vu’ when Chalmers launched it, the reason was not Hightower. Chalmers had hit the exact same shot — on the same play — to take Texas to overtime in last season’s Big 12 tournament.” Mr. Chalmers practiced that shot with his father, Ronnie, as a child in Alaska — he follows recent Alaska basketball stars Trajan Langdon and Carlos Boozer, who both played for Duke. Ronnie went on to coach his son at Bartlett High in Anchorage, then followed Mario to Lawrence to serve as Bill Self’s director of basketball operations, a hiring that displaced Mr. Manning and seemed fishy to some at the time. But its significance last night was in keeping father and son close together for the shining moment.

“Mario Chalmers hugged his dad tightly after the game,” Jill Painter writes in the Los Angeles Daily News. “Ronnie cried, and he was pretty sure Mario had tears in his eyes, too. It was a wonderful moment between father and son, one that’s been difficult to navigate for Ronnie, since he’s part-time assistant, too.” While Mr. Chalmers justly won Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four, it should have been a close vote. The Jayhawks followed the blueprint of recent champs by spreading the scoring load evenly. They are the fourth-straight champion with at least four players

averaging in double figures, and the third straight without a 15-points-per-game scorer. Half a dozen Jayhawks have NBA prospects, but none were named to the first, second or third All-America teams. Mr. Collins, for one, came off the bench last night but played 34 minutes and won bragging rights over his erstwhile Chicago high-school rival, Mr. Rose. “In June, Rose most likely will have the ultimate bragging rights when some NBA team turns him into an instant multimillionaire,” Dana O’Neil writes on ESPN. “For now, though, Collins is the toast of Chicago.” MARCH MADNESS Wondering who won the Fix’s March Madness contest, and how? Wonder no more: Carl has the results, and commentary from the winners. BASEBALL CONTEST See how Fix readers, the Fixers and some of our baseball writers see the season playing out, in a roundup of the Fix’s seasonlong baseball contest. Mr. Rose could have ended his college career in triumph, but instead he missed one of two free throws with 10 seconds left, paving the way for Mr. Chalmers’ date with history. Seconds earlier, his backcourt mate, Chris Douglas-Roberts, missed a pair of free throws. Those misses were chalked up by most columnists today to Memphis’s Achilles Heel — free-throw shooting. The Tigers may have ranked 339th out of 341 NCAA schools from the stripe, but until that unfortunate dry spell, they had hit 80% of their free throws over the prior four games. And Messrs. Rose and Douglas-Roberts were both a respectable 71% from the line this season. Nonetheless, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises is right to call the end of regulation “the greatest marketing campaign for free-throw shooting videos ever conceived.” Bricked free throws have been good to Kansas late in recent NCAA finals. In

2003, Syracuse missed three of four free throws in the final 24 seconds, and five of its last six overall, to leave Kansas with another last-second three-point attempt to force regulation. That one was blocked. “History tells us, it should be pointed out, that the free throw was not a part of the original basketball rules,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Gil LeBreton writes. “The free throw rule was soon added, however, shortly after 1892, by Dr. James Naismith, the first coach at the University of Kansas. That’s a long time to wait for a payoff, but the Jayhawks will take it.” *** One tournament ends just as another begins. The NHL playoffs start Wednesday, and, stunningly, they will include the team from Washington, D.C. “A Capitals story that shamed most hockey fairy tales, a dream that seemed almost too silly to speak for months, came true in the pandemonium of Verizon Center last night,” Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote Sunday. “A team that was the worst in the NHL on Thanksgiving day, but climbed and clawed for months, finally reached the playoffs on the last day of the season with a 3-1 victory over Florida.” The Caps clinched with a win before a sold-out crowd, which supports Kevin Greenstein’s thesis that the NHL is heading in the right direction. Mr. Greenstein tallies the positive indicators and has an interview with league commissioner Gary Bettman in the New York Sun. – Tip of the Fix cap to reader Garey G. Ris. Found a good column from the world of sports? Don’t keep it to yourself — write to us at dailyfix@wsj.com and we’ll consider your find for inclusion in the Daily Fix.

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Let the Tiger Coronation Wait
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/9/2008 10:59:00 AM

(If you’re looking for today’s Daily Fix column, it’s here.) Tim Carroll offers his Masters pick: Now that the media has handed out the major tournament trophies for 2008, let’s review: Tiger Woods won the Masters because ESPN said so, the U.S. Open in June because NBC wanted him to, the British Open in July because it made for really great ratings for ABC, and CBS had Tiger finishing up the Grand Slam in a runaway because it was a wonderful lead-in to the fall programming. Tiger even went 5-0 in the Ryder Cup in September simply because, well, he’s Tiger and it makes for great TV. And the U.S. romped 27.5-0.5 in the Ryder Cup, missing out on the clean sweep only to give Johnny Miller something to talk about on the final day of the match. Don’t hand Tiger the green jacket yet. (Getty Images) OK, not really, but equally not really are the ads that ESPN is running to announce it is broadcasting the par-three contest on Wednesday and the first two rounds of the Masters this year. The ads talk of how Tiger is going for history this year. History? His 14th professional major and fifth green jacket? Nah, Jack Nicklaus did both. It’s an allusion to Woods winning the Grand Slam this year. And it’s likely an

illusion. Memo to everyone: Please calm down and remember the boys have yet to put a tee in the ground, have yet to hole a single putt, have yet to wipe a sweat-stained brow after a power lip-out leaves a putt longer than the original. And we all know how well the media is at predictions, don’t we, President Giuliani? Certainly, Woods is a prohibitive favorite. Las Vegas lists him as even odds in a sport where if someone — other than Tiger, of course — has a winning percentage near 10%, it’s a monster, monster year. Woods won five PGA Tour events in a row, and then his streak ended when he plummeted all the way to fifth in his last event. Check out the stats pages on PGATour.com and you don’t need a workout for your scrolling finger to come across Woods’s name in scoring, money, putting, greens in regulation, etc. And, yes, in last year’s four majors he finished

second, second, all the way down to 12th, and first. And, yes, this year’s majors — or at least the middle two of the U.S. and British Opens — set up very well for Woods. But let’s all calm down: From now until August is a long time to hyperventilate. So if not Woods, who does win the green jacket? Chad Campbell does all the things that a Masters champion needs to do — he hits it long enough and well enough, but more importantly he putts well enough — and his second-place showing on Tour this past week portends well. Phil Mickelson has shown he can win here. And his short-game coach Dave Pelz told me in a conversation about a month ago that Mr. Mickelson’s wrist was hurt worse than people thought last year, but now is completely healed. Mr. Mickelson has already won once on Tour this year. A third jacket for him is not farfetched. But the Fix Pick is K.J. Choi. He is second in greens in regulation this year, sixth in scoring average, has won once this year, and, after getting off to an awful start last week, rallied to finish 11th. And, who knows: If my prediction is right, maybe I’ll run for president! Mr. Carroll, a news editor at the print Journal, always wanted his Dad to be president so the family could bowl in the White House. He can be reached at tim.carroll@wsj.com.

Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson Are Getting Married
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:03:51 AM

Miley Cyrus on Idol Gives Back
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/10/2008 3:57:05 AM

Pete Wentz got down on one knee and asked the girl of his dreams, Ashlee Simpson, to marry him, and she said yes. Pete even got her a ring to seal the deal. papa Joe even approved the deal, so the couple released the following statement: "We know there has been a lot of speculation recently about Pete and I and we wanted our fans to be the first to know, because you guys are the best. Yes, we are thrilled to share that we are happily

engaged. Thank you for all of your support and well wishes - it means the world to us. We consider this to be a very private matter, but we wanted you to hear it

straight from us. - Ashlee and Pete" What’s the rush? Is Ashlee pregnant? © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Jay-Z and Beyonce are Getting Married • Ashlee Simpson Bittersweet Album • Ashlee Simpson Denies Being Drunk on Radio Show • Ashlee Simpson Sounds Drunk in the Morning • Ashlee Simpson and Kim Kardashian Deny Being Engaged

Billy Crystal introduced Miley Cyrus for her first appearance on Idol Gives Back, but Miley came back for a second performance. One of these young girls will be the next Britney, and it could be Miley. In fact Miley has proven she can also make a number one movie. Hannah Montana in 3 -D made it to the top at the box office, and may have proven that 3-D movies can sell a lot of tickets, plus they can’t be filmed by movie pirates at the theater. Disney has even announced its new animation studio Pixar will release all of their coming

movies in 3-D. Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Universal Pictures will invest $700 million to equip 10,000 new 3D screens in the U.S and Canada over the next three years. This will take movies to a whole new level. With Blu-ray DVDs you might even get a free set of 3-D glasses. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Miley Cyrus Got Her Teeth Fixed • Miley Cyrus Goes Green • Miley Cyrus Hearts Jesus - Video • Hannah Montana Products Contain Lead • Miley Cyrus is Lonely