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07/04/08 - 16/04/08

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'The Boss' Endorses Obama
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:30:00 AM

Filed under: Endorsements, Democrats, Barack Obama, Featured Stories, 2008 President Rock and Roll icon, New Jersey favorite son, and American treasure Bruce Springsteen has endorsed Democratic Senator Barack Obama's Presidential bid. From Bruce's website: Dear Friends and Fans: Like most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest. He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone." Funny that I just got done joking to you that the candidates had split The Village People's endorsement. This will likely carry slightly more weight than that hypothetical endorsement. I never really "got" The Boss. I mean, I like him just fine, but he's like a God to

white people. He's known and respected for his socially conscious music, and even casual fans associate him with patriotism because of his anthemic hit, "Born in the USA,"so this is probably about the best Rock endorsement Obama could have hoped for. After the jump, the rest of Bruce's endorsement, including his comments on "BitterGate." View Poll

Here's the full text of the endorsement: Dear Friends and Fans: Like most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest. He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous

nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone." At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams of My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment. After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans. Over here on E Street, we're proud to support Obama for President. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

'Ignite' - New McCain Ad
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:54:00 AM

Filed under: Ads, John McCain, 2008 President John McCain's campaign launches a new :30 second spot titled "Ignite." It focuses on the McCain's plan to ignite America's economy and jobs. The ad's script reads: ANNCR: As President, John McCain will take the best ideas from both parties to spur innovation, invest in people and create jobs. Taxes -simpler, fairer. Energy -- cleaner, cheaper. Health care -- portable and affordable. Workers retrained, mortgage debt restructured, education transformed. Initiatives that will unite us and ignite our economy. Big ideas for serious problems. John McCain. JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message. This is (finally) a real kick-off to the General Election branding that McCain needs. When it comes to pitting the experience of either a Ivy League lawyer versus a war hero, the difference on the economy will be vision. This ad starts to draw that distinction. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

PA Poll Update
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 3:44:00 PM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, 2008 President, Polls Some polls I'm watching to judge the effect of Obama's small town gaffe on the upcoming Pennsylvania primary.

Yesterday's ARG poll had down by 20 points and stunned everyone, but ARG has been volatile. But other polling out today indicates that Clinton has bumped, but not by that much. Rasmussen: Clinton up by 9 with a +4 bump over the last poll. Extremely reliable. Survey USA: Clinton up by 14 but that's

down from 18 last week, but SUSA also has a history of volatile polling. LAT: Clinton +5 Strategic Vision: Clinton by 9 with a +4 bump over last week. Quinnipiac: Clinton up 6 unchanged from last time. So yes, we are certainly all over the

place, but average it all out and we have Clinton up by 6-14 points and a probable bump of around 3-4. That's a reasonable guess as to the real state of things. Which means that Clinton has arrested her downward slide in PA, something she desperately needed to do. Whether this is attributable to the Obama gaffe is open to

speculation, but I don't see anything else dominating the news cycles over the last few days to explain this. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments



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100 Pa Mayors Endorse Hillary, 19 Show Up
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:45:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Endorsements, Democrats, 2008 President The Clinton campaign sent out twin announcements regarding mayors yesterday, the first being the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by 100 Pennsylvania mayors. HARRISBURG, Pa. - Turnout at the "100 Mayors for Hillary" rally was a little under 20 percent. Nineteen mayors of Pennsylvania cities showed up for Tuesday's rally in the Rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol. Other mayors' names were listed on placards supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York for the Democratic presidential nomination. Oof! When I first read the Clinton camp's statement, I thought, "Really? 100 mayors? Isn't that a bit like me listing my kindergarten teacher as a job reference?" But, then, to only have 19 of them show up to a rally called "100 Mayors for Hillary?" What happened, did they take 81 of 'em down and pass 'em around on the bus ride over? There has been this annoying tendency on the part of both campaigns to trot out volume endorsements like these and shove them in front of the press like stacks of gleaming coins. Barack has 93 Generals, Hillary has 147 Admirals*, (*not actual figures) Barack has 3 of the original Charlie's Angels, Hillary has Shelley Hack and Tanya Robertson, they've split the Village People evenly. Who cares? If you got the 93 stupidest generals and your opponent got Sun Tzu, you're beat. Plus, why are there so many Generals? See the full text of the Clinton campaign's statement after the jump. 100 Keystone Mayors Endorse State Hillary Clinton for President Harrisburg, PA - Showing strength and momentum in the Keystone State, the Clinton campaign today announced 100 mayors who are endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Following Senator Obama's remarks dismissing small town America, mayors joined supporters today in Harrisburg to declare their support for Hillary because of her readiness to lead on day one, her plans to jumpstart the economy, and her Pennsylvania roots and

Senator Clinton said. "From small towns to big cities, these mayors work hard every day to improve the lives of the people they serve and they know they need a strong partner in Washington to help them bring affordable health care and revitalize their local economies." The 100 mayors endorsing Hillary today will work in the final week of the campaign to get out Hillary's message of change for Pennsylvania and the country. Hillary understands the economic pressures of families who have lost jobs, face foreclosures, and can't afford health insurance or college tuition. She understands what it's like to roll up your sleeve and work hard. As president, Hillary will fight for the issues that matter to all Americans starting on day one in the White House. Below is a list of the 100 Pennsylvania mayors endorsing Hillary Clinton: Ø Mayor Michele Avvisato, Old Forge, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor Norman Ball, Tunkhannock, Wyoming County Ø Mayor Anthony Battalini, Aliquippa, Beaver County Ø Mayor Sam Benyi ,Clarksville, Greene County Ø Mayor Ronald Besong, Bell Acres, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Louis Biacchi, Berwick, Columbia County Ø Mayor James V. Bitonti, Belle Vernon, Fayette County Ø Mayor Richard Bowen, Taylor, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor Thomas Brown, Bentleyville, Washington County Ø Mayor John B.Callahan, Bethlehem, Northampton County Ø Mayor Willard Canfield, Hallsted, Susquehana County Ø Mayor Gennaro Cantalupo, Northern Cambria, Cambria County Ø Mayor Robert P. Carpenter, Laporte, Sullivan County Ø Mayor Peter M.Casini, South Connellsville, Fayette County Ø Mayor Joseph J.Cisco, Ellport, Lawrence County Ø Mayor Anthony Colaizzo, Canonsburg, Washington County Ø Mayor Esther Cotner, commitment to Pennsylvania values. "I am proud to have such strong support from 100 of Pennsylvania's finest mayors," 100 page 3

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100 from page 2 continued
Washingtonville, Montour County Ø Mayor Carl Cott, Forksville, Sullivan County Ø Mayor Joan B. Derco, Youngwood, Westmoreland County Ø Mayor Christopher Doherty, Scranton, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor Bernard Dubaskas, Edwardsville, Luzerne County Ø Mayor Gary L. Durkin, Flemington, Clinton County Ø Mayor Greg Erosenko, Monroeville , Allegheny County Ø Mayor Emerson M. Fazekas, Versailles, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Philip Ferrizzi, Bally, Berks County Ø Mayor Ned C. Fink, Fountain Hill, Lehigh County Ø Mayor Richard T. Fluck, Hellertown, Northampton County Ø Mayor Jim France, East Lansdowne, Delaware County Ø Mayor Ralph Garzia, Brookhaven, Delaware County Ø Mayor Richard Gassman, Matamoras, Pike County Ø Mayor Gerald W. Gross, West Easton, Northampton County Ø Mayor Connie M. Guy, Mountville, Lancaster County Ø Mayor John Haberland, Coraopolis, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Loyce L. Harpster, Burnham, Mifflin County Ø Mayor David Haslett, Avalon, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Joseph Herbert, West Wyoming, Luzerne County Ø Mayor William Jenkins, Larksville, Luzerne County Ø Mayor Joseph Kazan, New Stanton, Westmoreland County Ø Mayor Joseph Keating, Pittston, Luzerne County Ø Mayor James F. Kinder, Mount Wolf Boro, York County Ø Mayor Donald L. Kinosz, Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County Ø Mayor Philip Krivacek, Duquesne, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Joseph Daniel Kudlac, Ellsworth, Washington County Ø Mayor Maxine J. Kuntz, East Prospect, York County Ø Mayor Michael M. Kutsek, Finleyville, Washington County Ø Mayor Leonard J. Larkin, Falls Creek, Jefferson County Ø Mayor Tom Leighton, Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County Ø Mayor Patrick Loughney, Dunmore, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor Thomas E. Loukota, Masontown, Fayette County Ø Mayor Robert J. Lucas, Sharon, Mercer County Ø Mayor Bernard M. Luketich, Cokeburg, Washington County Ø Mayor Edward Lyons, North Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County Ø Mayor Timothy Martin, Freeland, Luzerne County Ø Mayor Armand Martinelli, East Stroundsburg, Monroe County Ø Mayor George McCloskey, Norwood, Delaware County Ø Mayor Raymond McDonough, North Braddock, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Beverly Merkel, Jessup, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor John Milander, Jr., Coplay, Lehigh County Ø Mayor Christian P. Morrison, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County Ø Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County Ø Mayor Susan O'Connell, Crafton, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Raymond J. Osmolinski, Sr, Gallitzin, Cambria County Ø Mayor Salvatore J. Panto, Jr., Easton, Northampton County Ø Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Allentown, Lehigh County Ø Mayor Louis Payne, East Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Joyce Peccon, Carmichaels, Greene County Ø Mayor Connie Peck, Trappe, Montgomery County Ø Mayor David Perusso, Wilson, Northampton County Ø Mayor Delmar Phillips, Frackville, Schuylkill County Ø Mayor Dennis Pietrandrea, Koppel, Beaver County Ø Mayor Albert Pipik, Allenport, Washington County Ø Mayor Dominick Pomposelli, Wilmerding, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Judy Reed, Connellsville, Fayette County Ø Mayor Stephen R. Reed, Harrisburg, Dauphin County Ø Mayor John D. W. Reiley, Pottsville, Schuylkill County Ø Mayor Herb Riede, McSherrystown, Adams County Ø Mayor Joseph Saxton, Bristol, Bucks County Ø Mayor John Segilia, Moosic, Lackawanna County Ø Mayor Timothy Shoemaker, Everson, Fayette County Ø Mayor Matt Sinberg, Yardley, Bucks County Ø Mayor Joseph E. Sinnott, Erie, Erie County Ø Mayor Thomas Smith, Blawnox, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Rick Smith, New Brighton, Beaver County Ø Mayor Larry Sprowls, Calysville, Washington County Ø Mayor Jeff Steffler, Wampum, Lawrence County Ø Mayor Margaret Stock, Butler, Butler County Ø Mayor F. John Szatkiewicz, Ohioville, Beaver County Ø Mayor Nicki Todaro, Newell, Fayette County Ø Mayor Tom Trigona, Johnstown, Cambria County Ø Mayor TonyWalck, Nesquehoning, Carbon County Ø Mayor William L. Welch, State College, Centre County Ø Mayor Leslie Whitehill, Salladasburg, Lycoming County Ø Mayor Barbara Wilhelm, Dawson, Fayette County Ø Mayor James E. Wolfe, Tarentum, Allegheny County Ø Mayor John Yacura, Elizabeth, Allegheny County Ø Mayor Dorothy Yazurlo, Laflin, Luzerne County Ø Mayor Jayne Young, Lansdowne, Delaware County Ø Mayor Stanley Zamerowski, Pringle, Luzerne County Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Yep, Another Dem Debate
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 5:10:00 PM

Filed under: Democrats, Debates, Media It's almost over, gang. Just two more Democratic debates between Hillary and Barack before the convention. Wednesday night, ABC News is hosting a debate that will televised from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia at 8:00 pm EDT. Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolous will moderate. I'll be live-blogging from the spin room starting around 7:00 pm Wednesday. It will be a different kind of live-blog as I chase media types around the room trying to get them on record on anything for our readers. I don't expect I'll get anywhere near the candidates, but if you have any suggestions for questions that I can ask other media people or the candidate surrogates, leave them in the comments section and I'll give it my best shot! Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Clinton Wins PA, Loses Nomination to Obama
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:00:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Featured Stories According to Jonathan Singer's analysis at the pro-Clinton website MyDD.com, that may well be the story-line for what remains of the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The problem

for Clinton is that, according to every polling organization out there, the Pennsylvania race has tightened significantly. A small margin of victory-say 8 or 9 percentage points--while providing a morale boost, will not do much to cut into Obama's delegate advantage: ...with a 164 pledged delegate deficit and an overall 136 delegate deficit, merely netting even 20 or 30 delegates out of Pennsylvania--particularly when North

Carolina is beginning to look like a rout in favor of Obama (and thus another big

delegate pick up)--is just not going to be enough to get Clinton much closer to earning the nomination. Singer relies on numbers generated by a rather exhaustive article written by Greg Giroux and Jonathan Allen for CQ Politics, titled, "Clinton Rates Slim Edge Over Obama in PA District Delegate Race." Of course, we won't know Pennsylvania's final delegate allocation until after next week's primary, but those who are digging

into each and every district, are predicting that the overall delegate totals don't seem likely to change all that much after the Keystone State has had its say. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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Bush to Announce 'Realistic' Emissions Plan
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:45:00 AM

Filed under: President Bush, Bush Administration, Breaking News, Environment After receiving Pope Benedict XVI at the White House today, President Bush will get back to the business of state, announcing a new initiative on greenhouse gas emissions. The Administration will propose a new set of reduction targets for power plants to be met by 2025, in hopes of forestalling future regulatory action by Congress and the next Administration. Today's announcement seeks to begin a process of putting the nation on a path to regulating emissions in what the White House calls a "realistic" way. Whoever is elected president, Republican John McCain or Democrats Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, will be a greater advocate for more vigorous mandatory measures to combat global warming that President Bush. The Administration also fears that the courts will order the government to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under existing Federal laws, which would place an overwhelming

burden on industry. White House spokesman Dana Perino said that the courts have no place in deciding how the government should respond to climate concerns. "To us, having unelected bureaucrats regulating greenhouse gases at the direction of unelected judges is not the proper way to address the issue," she said. The Administration opposes a bill being considered in the Senate that would establish mandatory caps for greenhouse gas emissions and allow trading of pollution credits between companies. The so-called "cap and trade" approach is feared by industry groups but hailed by environmental activists as the only way to

effect real emissions reductions. Cap and trade is in effect in Europe, but the debate over its results remains unsettled. Still, the White House will not rule out the possibility that the president would eventually support such a program The Bush Administration's position on global warming has been evolving slowly since the president took office in 2001. Early on, the Administration's stated position was that more research needed to be done both to confirm and quantify the phenomenon before regulations could be enacted. Lately, the White House appears to be softening that stance. The president has acknowledged human beings' role in global warming, although he refuses to sign on to the Kyoto Protocols. On environmental matters, the president prefers to encourage voluntary efforts on the part of industry. But faced with the possibility of handing over the reigns of government to an environmentally less forgiving Administration, the president appears to have decided that small action now is preferable to more drastic actions in the future. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Obama Does Wear the Ribbon!
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 6:42:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, 2008 President, Humor After informing you of Obama's previous firm stand on principle to not wear an American flag, I feel it is also my duty to inform you that Obama has apparently changed his mind. Awesome catch via Moe Lane at Redstate. My guess is that finally, his campaign handlers got through to him. He won't drop

the middle name, or hold his hand over his heart, but I guess they finally convinced him he could, maybe, possibly, wear a tiny flag on his suit. Given that he is running for president of the country the flag represents, and all the other candidates are way ahead of him. I think they've got him doing the hand over heart thing now too, the middle name, though I think they're stuck with. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Michelle Obama on Colbert
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:41:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, Breaking News, Humor, Viral Video Stephen Colbert has moved his show to Philadelphia this week, and, as a result, has

made it that much easier for some of the heavy hitters in the Democratic race to come on as guests. Thursday, Hillary Clinton will appear. Last night, it was Michelle Obama. Here's the clip. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Option Update: Elan July volatility elevated into Phase 2 data
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:19:00 AM

Filed under: Options Elan(NYSE: ELN) is recently trading at $23.38, above its close of $21.83. Goldman Sachs says, "Adding to Buy list on Tysabri and Bapineuzumab outlook." ELN's & Wyeth(NYSE: WYE) Bapineuzumab (Alzheimer's treatment)

Phase 2 trail results are expected in Q2. ELN May option implied volatility is at 77; July is at 84, above its 26-week average of 63 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Options Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com. Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Polls, Polls, Polls
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:16:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Barack Obama, Breaking News, Polls Read, interpret, and invest in these numbers at your own peril. My take is that the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton remains ever-fluid, and that, at best, the aggregate polls represent two-or-three-day-old trends. In other words, they show something that may or may not be accurate by the time you actually see them. That said, they're the only booze in the liquor cabinet, so, like the incurable lushes we are, we drink them up just the same. The first batch of numbers comes to us from the latest LA Times/Bloomberg findings: Pennsylvania Clinton 46 Obama 41 North Carolina Obama 47 Clinton 34

Indiana Obama 40 Clinton 35 Sticking with the state of Pennsylvania for a moment, here's what Rasmussen's tea leaves say: Clinton 50 Obama 41 Survey USA, a polling institution badly

in need of a new web designer, sees: Cinton 54 Obama 40 Strategic Vision, winner of the coolest name for a P.R. firm, has the Keystone State leaning: Clinton 49 Obama 40 And Quinnipiac puts the race a bit more

in line with the LA Times: Clinton 50 Obama 44 Now, on to the less meaningful national snap shots. Gallup's latest shows: Obama 51 Clinton 40 Rasmussen: Obama 50 Clinton 41 ABC/WaPo: Obama 51 Clinton 41 The ever unreliable Zogby (with Reuters providing cover): Obama 51 Clinton 38 Alright, now that you have all this information, crumple it up and throw it in the bin. Today's mood should be ready for viewing in, say, two or three days. By then it will be stale, and available at half-price. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

JPMorgan and Wells earnings fall, shares rise
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:00:00 AM

March U.S. housing starts drop to 17-year low
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:20:00 AM

Filed under: Bad news, Economic data, Housing, Recession U.S. housing starts plunged in March as builders continued to cut back construction in the face of the nation's worst housing slump in more than a decade. Housing starts totaled a 947,000 annual rate, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Wednesday ( pdf) - - the lowest annualized rate since March 1991. The February housing start statistic was revised to a 1.075-million-unit annual rate. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg

News had expected housing starts to total a 1.02 million annualized rate. Meanwhile, building permits, a measure of future construction, fell to a 927,000 annualized rate in March from 984,000 in February. Single-family home permits dropped 5.7% to a 680,000 pace. Construction of multifamily homes, which includes townhouses and apartment buildings, plummeted 25% to an annual rate of 247,000 in March 2008. Economist Glen Langan told BloggingStocks Wednesday many potential homebuyers are doing what you'd expect them to do in a sluggish housing sector, and builders are responding

accordingly. "Potential home buyers are simply delaying their home purchase, if they aren't putting it off entirely, until the market stabilizes," Langan said. "And

builders are following that signal. They're cutting back construction in the face of these large home inventories." Langan added that he expects the nation's supply of unsold homes, currently about a 9.5- to 10-month supply at present sales rates, to increase to about an 11-month supply by the summer 2008, before inventories start to work-off. A healthy home sale market typically has a 3-4 month supply of homes on the market. Continue reading March U.S. housing starts drop to 17-year low Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Option Update: Intuitive Surgical options indicate movement into EPS
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Options Intuitive Surgical(NASDAQ: ISRG), a

developer of technology for doctors to robotically perform surgery, is up over $6 (1%) to $346 after closing yesterday at $339.80. ISRG is scheduled to report Q1 EPS on

April 17. ISRG April 340 straddle is priced at $42.90, May 340 straddle is priced at $58.90 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Options Update is provided by Stock

Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Earnings reports, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Housing, Recession T here's nothing quite like the earnings game on Wall Street. And two big banks -JPMorgan Chase & Co.(NYSE: JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co.(NYSE: WFC) both played it very well. Despite falling earnings, investors are celebrating. And that's because JPMorgan and Wells both beat analysts' expectations. Bloomberg News reports that Wells earned 11% less than last year -- $2 billion, or 60 cents per share -- 5.3% more than the 57 cents that analysts had expected. Wells took in $334 million from its stake in Visa Inc.(NYSE: V) IPO, but it also benefited from a tight credit culture and an aggressive sales force. Nevertheless, its charge-offs for bad credit card and automobile loans were up 26% -- a sign of trouble in consumer loan land. Meanwhile, AP reports that JPMorgan beat analysts' expectations by 6.3% despite a 50% decline in its net income. Specifically, JPMorgan profit fell in the first quarter to $2.37 billion after it took a provision of $5.1 billion to strengthen its reserves by $2.5 billion and account for $2.6 billion in losses in its loan portfolio. JPMorgan made 68 cents per share compared with $4.79 billion, or $1.34 per share, a year earlier. That was 4 cents more than the 64 cents that analysts expected. Continue reading JPMorgan and Wells earnings fall, shares rise Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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New Apple clone: A Mac IBM earnings preview: Can they beat the analysts for $400? again?
By Michael Rainey (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:25:00 AM

Filed under: Products and services, Apple Inc (AAPL) A company called Psystar has announced that it is selling a $400 computer that can run Apple's Leopard operating system. Psystar is referring to the machine as the Open Computer (a change from the original name, Open Mac) and claiming that it is "The Smart Alternative to an Apple." I doubt that Apple is very happy with this development, and I suspect that Psystar probably has a few messages from Apple's lawyers on its answering machine. As Wired's blog points out, Apple's end user agreement states that its software can be used only on Apple hardware. Apple has a long and rocky history with clone hardware producers, and has aggressively sought to maintain its monopoly on both its excellent software and the sleek machines it builds to run it. And that's a shame, because a lot of people would like to buy a Mac but are put off by the price. The most basic Mac Mini is 50% more than the Open Computer, despite being slower and having less memory. Of course, I can't say for sure that the Open Computer works as well as a real

By Gary E. Sattler (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:50:00 AM

Mac. But I hope that Apple will get the message that there is demand for cheaper computers that can run its software. It needs to either produce its own cheaper machines -- such as the eMac that I'm using to type this post but that is no longer available -- or allow clone manufacturers to produce on their own. In the long run, it can only help Apple increase its market share. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Earnings reports, International Business Machines (IBM) In its previous two earnings reports, analysts have been pleasantly surprised by International Business Machines(NYSE: IBM). Two quarters ago, IBM squeaked past analysts' earnings predictions by a mere penny, but last quarter IBM dusted those dudes by nearly 12 cents. What will it be this time around? Can Big Blue pull it off once again? Analysts are posting a consensus average of $1.44 per share. The company gives an optimistic picture of itself, which is nothing unusual for IBM. It's in the process of an aggressive share buy-back program and expects to spend approximately $12 billion on that this year. Launch of the company's System

z10 mainframe has been received as well as expected, and in January the company issued $3.5 billion of 18 month floating rate notes, allowing reclassification of a significant amount of debt. The Associated Press reports a selected analysts review that depicts global strength coupled with conservative optimism. No points of particular concern are mentioned. The company withheld making it's own quarterly forecast, but analysts and the company are aligned with predictions of $8.25 EPS for the year. I found nothing that persuaded me to question the analyst's average consensus. I'll say $1.44 it is. Gary Sattler is a freelance blogger. He does not knowingly hold interest in the companies mentioned in this blog post. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Inflation protection: Tips on TIPS
By Steven Halpern (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:07:00 AM

Hell’s Kitchen is Too Cold and Too Hot
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:35:04 AM

Southwest Airlines and Pfizer Q1 profits expected to fall
By Trey Thoelcke (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:37:00 AM

Filed under: Earnings reports, Forecasts, Pfizer (PFE), Southwest Airlines (LUV) Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expect Southwest Airlines Co.(NYSE: LUV) and Pfizer Inc.(NYSE: PFE) to post smaller profits in the first quarter. Both companies are scheduled to report results on Wednesday. Southwest is expected to essentially break even as far as earnings are concerned, which is down from the same period in 2007 when it earned four cents

per share. The company has beat quarterly estimates recently. It only just beat the consensus third-quarter 2007 estimate, but beat the fourth-quarter estimate by 21.2%. Dallas-based Southwest's low-cost, nofrills approach has made it one of the leading U.S. airlines. In the past year, the

company's revenues were $9.8 billion and its net income totaled $645 million. Its EPS growth forecast for the year is 28.7%, worse than the industry average but better than that of rival JetBlue Airways(NASDAQ: JBLU). The consensus recommendation of analysts remains to buy Southwest. The stock has fallen 18.5% in the past year and trades at a P/E of 14.7. Shares closed Tuesday at $12.35. Continue reading Southwest Airlines and Pfizer Q1 profits expected to fall Permalink| Email this| Comments

Gordon Ramsay is right to be upset after his assistants left his meat rare, then scorched his meat, which is probably how he likes it when the cameras aren’t rolling, but his customers won’t stand for anything less than perfection. A five year old can cook better than Ramsay’s assistants. Where did he find these people in a welding class? © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Diane Neal is Leaving Law and Order • Emma Watson is 18 Today • Who’s Your Daddy • Jason Beghe Says Scientology is Dangerous • Dwarf Soccer Team

Filed under: Newsletters, Mutual funds, Personal finance, Stocks to Buy "In a new paradigm where risk will become a paranoid obsession with investors, a few TIPS make sense for income," says long-standing advisory industry expert Curtis Hesler. In his The Professional Timing Service, he highlights the role of Treasury InflationProtected Securities within a long-term portfolio and reviews two ways for investors to purchases these issues. "You can buy them in your Treasury Direct account. If you don't have a Treasury Direct account, you can open one at www.treasurydirect.gov. The problem is that so far, you can't open a retirement account - only an individual account. Go to the Treasury Direct Web site and bone up on all the details, especially if you are going to buy them online. "TIPS work this way. They are U.S. government bonds issued by the Treasury. They are marketable in that you can sell them in the 'after' market. They come in terms of 5, 10, and 20 years. The interest rate on an issue is determined at auction, and they are sold in increments of $1,000. Continue reading Inflation protection: Tips on TIPS Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Business* Biz Buzz Tech*
Blue Jean Cable Shows One Way To Respond To Overly Broad Patent Threats
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 9:56:00 AM


Dollar concerns lead to another March U.S. consumer prices rise 0.3%, in-line with estimates record high for oil
By Michael Fowlkes (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:12:00 AM

By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:42:00 AM

Filed under: Before the bell, International markets, Consumer experience, Middle East, Commodities, Oil Another strong start to the day for oil prices, as the weak dollar has led traders to push oil up to another new high today of $114.53, though it has moved a bit lower in early morning trading. As we noted last night, there were several factors at work yesterday, but today's move is being attributed mostly to investor fears over the weak U.S. dollar. The euro has been moving strongly lately, and continuing to trade at record levels against the dollar, currently trading at $1.5966. It is strange writing about oil's recent run up because typically we would be talking about supply and demand, but that is just not what is pushing prices higher. Traders are moving into oil (and all commodities) mainly because they are just flat out out-

performing the stock market, and with the dollar continuing to fall, the procession into commodities still has a way to go before traders get tired. Continue reading Dollar concerns lead to another record high for oil Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Economic data, Federal Reserve U.S. inflation at the retail level rose 0.3% in March, after almost no increase in February, the US Department of Labor reported. Meanwhile, the core CPI rate, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.2%. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected the CPI and CPI core rates to increase by 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively in March 2008. In March, energy prices increased 1.9%, medical care rose 0.4%, food prices rose 0.2%, clothing increased 0.2%, and education and communications costs increased 0.2%. For the 12 months from March 2007 to March 2008, prices have increased 4.0%,

compared with a year-over-year gain of 4.0% from February 2007 to February 2008. The core rate increased 2.4% from March 2007 to March 2008, after a 2.3 percent year- over-year gain from February 2007-February 2008. Continue reading March U.S. consumer prices rise 0.3%, in-line with estimates Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

A few folks have been submitting the response letter sent by Blue Jean Cable's President to Monster Cable after Monster sent a threatening letter claiming that Blue Jean violated various Monster design patents and trademarks. While the response is a bit over the top, Blue Jean's Kurt Denke makes it clear that Monster's threat letter appears to be nothing more than a fishing expedition/bullying tactic and he won't take it. He responds to each claim, noting that Blue Jean doesn't appear to infringe at all, and asking for much greater detail in response, rather than simply being bullied into submission. Design patents are rather limited, but it looks like Monster is acting as if they're utility patents in an effort to scare off Blue Jean Cable, not expecting that the company's execs might understand the difference between the two. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Real Housewives of Where???
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 12:00:00 PM

T hey're back.... The Real Housewives franchise, one of growing importance to Bravo, will play an even greater role in the coming programming season, Bravo officials announced at the channel's annual up-front advertising-sales press breakfast this morning. The Real Housewives of New York City, which has its seventh episode and season finale tonight, will return for a second season on Bravo, and the original Real Housewives of Orange County series will return for a fourth, Bravo Media general manager Frances Berwick said at the breakfast. In addition, the franchise will expand to a third locale—not Dubai, as Portfolio.com speculated yesterday, but an as-yetundisclosed city in New Jersey. The mood at the breakfast was earnest, to use the word that Bravo Media and

Oxygen Media president Lauren Zalaznick employed to describe herself to the reporters and Bravo officials assembled at Craft, the restaurant owned by Tom Colicchio, head judge of Bravo's popular series Top Chef. Zalaznick kicked off the morning with a reference to the legal fight over Project Runway, a Bravo ratings winner and the subject of a lawsuit between NBC Universal, Bravo's parent company, and the Weinstein Company, the show's owner. Since litigation is under way, Zalaznick said there wasn't much for her to say, and her comment on the show "starts and ends here." But then she cracked a joke at Weinstein's expense, saying "Harvey was going to come but may not make it," due to his busy schedule of dropping his kids off at school and washing his windows. Things quickly returned to business with a brief sales presentation, highlighting Bravo's transformation during the past several years from an obscure arts broadcast channel to a powerhouse of

original reality programming. Advertisers have responded: In 2007, the channel brought in 30 percent more revenue than the year before and snagged 110 new advertisers. The first quarter of 2008 saw a 60 percent jump in revenue over the same period last year; a 38 percent increase in the 18- to 40-year-old age group; and a 30 percent jump in total viewers, making it Bravo's biggest quarter ever. The network hopes to reach 90 million homes this year. Bravo sought to emphasize its popularity among "affluencers," a consumer hybrid of affluent and influencer, a young demographic of adults, ages 18 to 49, who are engaged and educated, according to the network. Berwick, speaking second, reiterated Bravo's progress from 2006, when the channel had one show and one night of original programming, to today, with 21 original series, 12 of which have audiences of more than one million and three with audiences of more than two million.

Last addressed were Bravo's digital and new media initiatives, with a focus on the channel's multiple branded websites. A new initiative, the "L Bar," will shrink the TV screen to 80 percent of its size and introduce content along the left-hand and bottom edges of the viewing area. That content will allow for online and mobile initiatives tied into Bravo content, including live polling, voting, and quizzes. The L Bar will be available to advertisers who want to offer coupons or conduct polls during their commercials, as well. Overall, the network announced 12 returning series, including the fifth season of Project Runway, which debuts in July, and three new series, plus a Bravo A-List Awards special. The new shows include The Rachel Zoe Project, featuring the celebrity stylist as she runs her business and juggles her marriage and work; Date My Ex, a reality show starring Jo De La Rosa, a former Orange County real housewife, as she looks for love in L.A.; and Real

Housewives of New Jersey, of which the audience was shown a brief clip. One of the housewives, Danielle, showed off her cavernous mansion, which contains her Fabergé egg, French chandelier, and lapdog named Paradise. The video tour provided much-needed reassurance that the recession won't put a damper on the series. But could the Real Housewives series expand internationally? "We are looking at the franchise," hedged Andy Cohen, Bravo's senior vice president of programming and production. We're still rooting for Dubai. Related Links Hearst Cooking Up Magazine for Food Network Flavor Flav to the Rescue! Globes Downgrade--Now What Of The Oscars?


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Citi at a Crossroads
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 6:30:00 AM

Turning around Citigroup has been compared to steering a huge ocean liner away from danger. In his four months as Citi's new captain, Vikram Pandit, has moved quickly to stabilize the company and shore up its balance sheet. The question—as Citigroup prepares to report first-quarter results on Friday—is whether a steady hand on the helm will be enough. While some investors have been hoping for a radical shake-up at Citi, there is a growing realization that a recovery will take years and that Pandit has taken the right—if not very splashy—steps so far. William Smith, president of New Yorkbased S.A.M. Advisors, said he had hoped that "a cost cutter" would have come in to lead Citi and "start breaking furniture," ultimately splitting up the financial supermarket that Sandy Weill built. Still, he has a confidence that Pandit will succeed. "My turnaround and his might look a little different, but I think he will pull the turnaround off," Smith says. On Friday, Citi is expected to announce an additional huge write-down for the first quarter, estimated to be as much as $18 billion. Yet investors will be focusing less on the subprime past than on the future direction of the bank as articulated by Pandit. In recent weeks, the grumblings of some of the bank's long-standing skeptics has grown quieter. Deutsche Bank’s banking analysts, Michael Mayo and Christopher Spahr, who were critical of Pandit's predecessor, say that Pandit has "made logical changes." And Smith now says he backs Pandit "100 percent," after being initially "extremely skeptical" of Pandit’s

ability to fix Citi’s sprawling and dysfunctional empire because of his lack of operational experience. Known for his cautious analytical approach to managing risk, Pandit spent much of his time on Wall Street at Morgan Stanley, dealing with institutional securities, before starting his own hedge fund, Old Lane Partners. He only joined Citi last April, when the company purchased his hedge fund for $800 million, and he has never run a Wall Street firm. His lack of experience running a company, along with his all-too-apparent discomfort in his first public appearances as Citi C.E.O., left many scratching their heads. The widely followed banking analyst, Meredith Whitney, then with CIBC World Markets, gave Pandit poor marks for his first conference call in December, calling the details "scant" and the tone "defensive." Since taking charge, Citi watchers say Pandit has worked quickly to change the bank’s course. Among the moves: Pandit slashed the company’s high-paying dividend by 41 percent to bolster reserves and removed the guesswork from about $49 billion in possibly shaky assets in Citibacked investment vehicles by taking them onto Citi's balance sheet. Citi is also negotiating to sell off at a loss $12 billion worth of leveraged loans to private equity groups. Organizationally, he has moved to simplify the corporate structure, dividing it into four regional units. He has brought in new blood to run the various arms and has moved to further reduce Citi’s workforce. The company is also in the process of separating its credit card business from the company and shoring up its 900 U.S.based consumer branches, moves that could portend a spin-off or sale of these assets.

Smith, who publicly tangled with Pandit’s predecessor, Chuck Prince, notes that "a lot of things that were on the plate before Pandit arrived have now been reversed, which I think is positive." Citi began to struggle several years after Sandy Weill created the behemoth in the merger of Citicorp and Travelers in 1998. No amount of tinkering so far—be it reshuffling of personnel, restructuring of units, or tweaks in the game plan—has been able to fix Citi's problems. Last month, on the eve of the combined company's 10-year anniversary, one of the merger's architects, former Citibank chief John Reed, called it a mistake. "The stockholders have not benefited, the employees certainly have not benefited, and I don't think the customers have benefited because our franchises are weaker than they have been," said Reed in an interview with the Financial Times. Weill shot back that it was not that Citi was too big, just that management had not been strong enough. But for many investors, these problems seem to be intertwined. They note that Prince consistently snubbed calls to consider a breakup of the company even as he failed to gain control over it and discounted worries over the credit markets—saying Citi should continue the derivatives dance until the music stopped—even as the band was packing up. Prince resigned in November, as Citi was disclosing it had $55 billion in direct exposure to the American subprime market. Citi’s chairman, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, has scoffed at any insinuation that he should have been more watchful of the risk the company was taking, even while he has shown a striking lack of understanding about that danger. Pandit may not be the most sociable

C.E.O. to take over Citi. But investors can now at least take comfort that the man who told analysts he would "undertake an objective, dispassionate view" of Citi's parts knows deeply which mess he oversees. While a student, Pandit tackled the question of "asset pricing with heterogeneous agents" in his dissertation at Columbia University. It was very complex problem, says Rajnish Mehra, a finance professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who served on Pandit’s dissertation committee. It is also a very relevant one considering the difficulty banks such as Citi are now having placing a value on their diverse portfolios of asset-backed securities. "He has a very strong analytical background and, looking back, I was really impressed how much he had done early on in the game," said Mehra, noting that he went back over Pandit’s work shortly after he learned his former student would take charge of the bank. "He can think through complex situations pretty thoroughly and has a clarity of thoughts. So, if that is any indication, then I think Citi is in safe hands.” Richard X. Bove, an analyst with Punk Ziegel & Company, notes that one of the smartest moves Pandit has made since taking over has been to ignore the analysts and the rest of the chattering class. "He’s got to turn his back on investors and on the analysts and he’s got to run the business," Bove says. "This company has gone through mismanagement for something like 13 years and nobody steps in for two months and turns it around." Related Links Phibro: Beneficiary of Citi's Benign Neglect Citi's New Chief Wall Street Euphemism Watch

ExitReality Turns Social Network Profiles Into 3D Spaces
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:47:22 AM

Exit Reality from Duncan Riley on Vimeo. ExitReality promises to transform the social networking experience by offering virtual versions of every social network site profile. I caught up with CTO Danny Stefanic and CEO Dean Jones today for a walkthrough, video above. The London, UK headquartered (the dev team, founder and CEO are in Australia) startup is pitching its product as an interactive value add for any social networking site. Each space is created on the fly so that every social networking profile has a 3D Space in ExitReality, even if the profiles owner doesn’t have an account there. When the service launches later this year users will be free to visit any virtual representation of a social networking profile without the need to register, but registration will be required for things like chat and customizing a personal space. ExitReality gives social networking sites the ability to advertise to their users with the 3D space, with CEO Dean Jones telling me that they see the service as a value add for social networks. They didn’t mention any deals in place with social networking sites, but did admit to being in discussions with some sites, although they declined to name them. CrunchBase Information ExitReality Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Next Up On Movie Theaters' List To Remain Relevant: 3D Movies
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 6:52:04 PM

It is beginning to look like movie theater owners are finally (finally!) coming to terms with the fact that they can't just sit back and whine about home theaters.

Instead, they need to actually compete and offer a better experience, not easily replicated at home. In the last month, we've seen a few different stories suggesting that theater owners at least understand part of this. As we've noted, they're investing in IMAX screens and

building luxury theaters. The latest is that they're trying to do a lot more 3D movies where the overall experience is enhanced by seeing it in a big theater. These are all steps in the right direction, and things that need to be done, but it would be nice if they fixed the core problems first: making

the theaters comfortable, clean and mostly free from distraction. Also, it appears that all of these stories focus on how the theater owners are looking to increase prices for these "new" types of movie experiences. Considering how overpriced some folks already think movies are, theater owners

might want to be careful about how much extra they're charging, or no one will come check out these innovations in the first place. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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You 2.0: Comparison Shopping for Your Future
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 9:00:00 PM

Comcast's Compromise
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 2:30:00 PM

I was comparison shopping in New York's Soho neighborhood last week. The product? My DNA—and what it can tell me about when, or if, I might have a heart attack and keel over one day. Or if I have a high risk factor for acquiring exfoliate glaucoma or Alzheimer's disease. Better news would be that I have genetic markers protecting me from certain dreaded maladies. In a few minutes I'll know my results for 17 gene-influenced diseases, delivered in a most unlikely place: A posh storefront that looks like an art gallery, with bare-brick walls and hardwood floors. It's opening day for Navigenics, a company selling what may be a first for on-site retail: genetic testing for the healthy, with tests ordered and results delivered online. Piled on a countertop are boxed kits containing small vials that a customer will fill with DNA-rich saliva and mail in to be tested on a gene array—a chip that locates and identifies more than 1 million genetic markers, including those which scientists have connected with certain diseases. Navigenics, based in Redwood Shores, California, is the latest company pushing us into the new world of direct-toconsumer genetic testing. I already have results from the two other major online genetic-testing companies that opened last fall: 23andme in Mountain View, California, and deCodeme in Reykjavik, Iceland. The three companies do what the Web loves to do: push the edges of technology and commerce to see if they can launch new revolutions—and make money. The issue is whether the science in the fledgling field of genetic forecasting is ready to be peddled to healthy individuals like an iPod. As Harvard geneticist David Altshuler asked me: "Just because you can do something, should you?" As we hear almost daily reports about

scientists discovering genes for this or that trait, a vacuum has formed in what this information means for individuals. So far, the medical community has largely abrogated its role to help us make sense of all this research. This has allowed commerce to step in and use new, cheaper gene-testing technologies to bring DNA directly to the people. "We believe this is a fundamental right, for people to have access to their own DNA," Navigenics chief executive Mari Baker says. At the moment, however, Navigenics is charging $2,500 for its service—beyond the reach of the masses; 23andme and deCodeme each charges close to $1,000. That's $4,500 for all three, which collectively offer information on genetic risk factors for some 37 diseases. The companies expect prices to come down with volume and improvements in technology. Baker acknowledges the price is high, though she points out that the first wave of any new technology is pricey—think about cell phones and personal computers. But, she adds, value is relative. "How much would it be worth to you to find out you have a risk of a disease that you can do something about?" she asks. Each site proffers tests they consider scientifically valid, with Navigenics offering assessments of 17 diseases, deCodme 19 diseases, and 23andme 30 diseases. Some tests overlap. For instance, all three look for markers associated with heart attack, glaucoma, and type 2 diabetes. The sites diverge on several diseases. Only Navigenics tests for lupus, and only deCodeme tests for asthma and psoriasis. 23andme's larger cache includes several maladies reported in studies that the other companies consider less scientifically valid. I'll include much more detail on the tests and how they are chosen, and their validity and usefulness, in future columns in this

series. I also will report on my own results as a typical consumer. Two of the sites, 23andme and deCodeme, offer tests for ancestral DNA. Both also offer lists of "recreational genomics"—genes that some people consider fun, such as whether or not one has wet or dry earwax, or is more inclined to be a sprinter, an endurance athlete, or neither. Navigenics differentiates itself from those companies by featuring only medical information and by creating a look that is more like a serious medical site, with smiling patients and doctors that echoes pharmaceutical sites and WebMD. 23andme's investors include Google; deCodeme's parent is publicly traded deCode Genetics, a pharmaceutical and gene-hunting company; Navigenics is funded in part by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. When Navigenics opened its retail store in New York, Kleiner Perkins chief John Doerr—whose venture successes include Google and Amazon—dropped by to tell a gathering of scientists, journalists, marketers, and investors that he has been tested on the Navigenics site. Doerr was mum about his results, however. Also attending was former Vice President Al Gore, a new partner at Kleiner. He said he hadn't been tested but was considering it. But can the products be trusted? Do they deliver? Can we yet determine which gene site is better? This series is going to offer up one consumer's thoughts and observations about being tested on the three sites. It's not exactly Consumer Reports, but it aims to offer a review of sorts. Next week: Am I going to have a heart attack? Related Links Gene-Sequencing Warrior Genes 'R' Us: The New Dot-Coms? Welcome to the Future

Two days before a second public hearing over its controversial "network management" practices, Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, said it was developing a"Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for file-sharing services. Critics blasted the idea as an attempt to deflect criticism of Comcast for having blocked and deliberately slowed the delivery of on-demand video services and other peer-to-peer services offered by competitors. Comcast's move today follows the company's about-face in March, when it said that by the end of 2008 its networkmanagement policy will be "protocol agnostic"—meaning it will not favor one type of traffic over another—and will instead focus on users who consume the most bandwidth. Federal regulators are looking into complaints by rivals and consumers that Comcast unfairly throttles some types of internet traffic, particularly videos from companies, like Vuze, that compete with Comcast's video-on-demand service. The Federal Communications Commission scheduled this Thursday's hearing at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, after Comcast was discovered to have paid people off the street to take up space at an earlier hearing at Harvard. File-sharing company Pando said it was teaming up with Comcast on the Bill of Rights, becoming the second peer-to-peer firm to strike a pact with the cable giant. In March, BitTorrent said it would work with Comcast to devise the best way to manage peer-to-peer traffic. Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said the company's "rights" document is "another example of how we can work

with the industry to solve these issues rather than getting the government involved." The company's critics dismissed the plan as "ludicrous." "This so-called agreement is simply another way for Comcast to try to evade punishment for its blocking and degrading of peer-to-peer services for its customers," said Gigi Sohn, president of consumer rights group Public Knowledge. "The fact that Comcast is trying to come up with a Bill of Rights for customers is ludicrous." "This is the company that not only lied for a year about the workings of its internet service," Sohn added, "but also created such ill will among its cable subscribers that one elderly woman busted up a customer-service office with a hammer because she and her husband were kept waiting for hours in the heat." Sohn was referring to an incident last year when 75-year-old Mona Shaw, frustrated by what she felt was Comcast's subpar customer service, smashed up a Comcast office in Manassas, Virginia, with a hammer. Public Knowledge said Comcast did not ask it for any input regarding the Bill of Rights. When asked by the blog Ars Technica why Public Knowledge—along with other consumer groups including Free Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation—were not consulted about the Bill of Rights, Comcast spokesman Douglas said, "I don't know." But, he added, the company hasn't ruled anything out. Related Links Piling On Comcast Backs Down Comcast Has Plenty of Room for Video — Its Own


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Peeling Bear Stearns Onion
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 8:00:00 AM

Dimon in the Rough
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:00:00 AM

Just what exactly is J.P. Morgan Chase getting for its $10 per share acquisition of Bear Stearns? It turns out that things weren't so bad, financially speaking, at the bank before February 29. Bear reported its first-quarter numbers in an S.E.C. filing yesterday, and, although income fell nearly 80 percent from the prior year, it still managed to eek out a profit of $115 million for the threemonth period. As for what happened during the days between February 29 and March 16, when J.P. Morgan announced its surprisingly low offer to save Bear Stearns from bankruptcy, we still don't know just how desperate things became. The filing gives few details: "The company experienced a significant liquidity crisis during the end of the week of March 10, 2008, that seriously jeopardized its financial viability." Also on Portfolio.com: The Rescue of Bear Full coverage of the takeover. We may find out a bit more tomorrow, as J.P. Morgan is scheduled to report its

quarterly numbers before the market opens. While J.P. Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon may not have much detail to report, it's all but certain he'll be asked about what Bear Stearns will bring to its balance sheet. One question that's on many minds now is whether or not J.P. Morgan will acquire Alan Schwartz with the deal. Schwartz, who was known as a preeminent dealmaker before he took the reins at Bear Stearns just 11 weeks before its fire sale, has not made his plans known yet. But sources told Reuters that Schwartz will likely remain at J.P. Morgan as a "nonexecutive rainmaker" with the title of vice chairman. He would be responsible for bringing in high-level clients—such as Microsoft, which Schwartz is currently advising in its attempt to acquire Yahoo. Schwartz wants to hold off on making a formal commitment to J.P. Morgan until after more of Bear's 14,000 employees learn their own fate, Reuters reports. J.P. Morgan already made it known that it will only invite five of Bear's top-26 investment bankers to join its ranks. One thing we do know that J.P. Morgan will acquire with Bear is a growing legal

mess. Bear announced in its filing that it has received a notice from the S.E.C. that it may be charged for its potentially anticompetitive practices in municipalbond bids. The filing also disclosed that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether or not Bear's mortgage-servicing unit violated consumer-protection laws. And, of course, there's the slew of class actions and other suits related to Bear's credit problems and the events that led to its shotgun wedding with J.P. Morgan last month. As for J.P. Morgan, analysts expect it to report a profit of 66 cents per share, and it will likely report more write-downs from troubled loans. Compared with many of its competitors on Wall Street, however, the expectations for loan losses are quite moderate. Related Links Behind Bear's Sale Whoo Hoo, WaMu Bear Funds Being Liquidated: Who Wants to Buy?

J.P. Morgan Chase, with its "fortress balance sheet" and its takeover of Bear Stearns, may be the hero of the financial world, but that doesn't mean it is immune to the effects of the credit crunch. The bank said that first-quarter earnings fell by half as it took a $5.1 billion hit on credit losses and markdowns on mortgages, leveraged loans, and collateralized debt obligations. For the banking industry overall, the first quarter was ugly, with tight, still-fearful credit markets and a weak economy. Even in a slump, J.P. Morgan still impressed by reporting results that exceeded analysts' forecasts. Yet many have said the rest of the year will be equally difficult for banks, and Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of J.P. Morgan, gave weight to that view with an uncharacteristically downbeat forecast. "Our expectation is for the economic environment to continue to be weak and for the capital markets to remain under stress," Dimon said. "These factors have affected, and are likely to continue to

negatively impact, our firm's credit losses, overall business volumes, and earnings—possibly through the remainder of the year or longer." He emphasized, however, that J.P. Morgan was prepared to ride through the storm. "We are prepared to manage through this down part of the economic cycle, given the strength of our liquidity, credit reserves, capital, and operating margins, and to successfully position our company well for the future." J.P. Morgan earned $2.37 billion, or 68 cents per share, compared with $4.79 billion, or $1.34 per share in the quarter a year earlier. Net revenue, or revenue minus interest expenses, fell 11 percent, to $16.9 billion. The bank set aside $2.5 billion for credit losses. It marked down $1.2 billion on mortgages and $1.1 billion on leveraged loans. Related Links Peeling Bear Stearns Onion Whoo Hoo, WaMu Why JP Morgan Asked for a Fed Exemption

(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:30:00 AM

All's Well at Intel
crisis may be much worse than previously thought, with borrowers receiving loans tied to the index getting a cheaper rate than they should. Yves Smith on the Naked Capitalism blog points to another serious implication: "As more and more statistics and benchmarks come into doubt, it creates uncertainty and undermines planning, which in turn is a deterrent to investment." The Journal says there is no evidence that banks are providing false data, but bankers have expressed concerns that the Libor does not reflect true credit costs. The Cash and Burn blog says the underreporting phenomenon "might just be a blip (and it probably is), but it is having real effects on commercial lending." "Amongst other things, it is driving up investment-grade syndicated-loan pricing." The British Bankers Association in London, which gathers the rate information from its member banks, says that it will ban anyone who provides false rate information, Bloomberg News reports. "It's very important to us that we preserve the integrity of the figures,'' an association spokeswoman told Bloomberg News. "It's something we have been looking at. If we find that people have been putting in figures which don't reflect accurately their financial figures, the ultimate sanction is to throw them out of the pond.'' Related Links The Barriers to Bottom Fishing Suprime Collateral Damage: Homes in Chelsea (London) The Crowning Touch

(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 2:00:00 PM

One of the arcane financial acronyms that has gained much prominence over the course of the credit crisis is Libor—the London interbank offered rate. It is the average interest rate when banks make short-term loans to one another. It is one of the most important credit benchmarks, used by banks and financial institutions around the world. Carrick Mollenkamp of the Wall Street Journal reports that there are growing suspicions that some banks may be underreporting the rates they are paying for short-term loans, undermining the accuracy of the Libor. His report is a startling revelation. If the Libor is viewed as unreliable, the credit

Any slowdown in the semiconductor industry due to a weak economic climate appears to be isolated to Advanced Micro Devices so far. Intel, the biggest chipmaker, reported first-quarter results that were largely in line with analysts' expectations, and it offered a strong outlook for the second quarter as well. It earned $1.4 billion, or 25 cents per share, on revenue of $9.7 billion. Sales were up 9 percent, while net income dropped by 12 percent due to restructuring charges. "Our first-quarter results demonstrate a strengthening core business and a solid global market environment," said Intel chief executive Paul Otellini in a statement. "We saw healthy demand for our leading-edge processors and chipsets across all segments."

Plenty of technology analysts were worried that current recessionary pressure would hurt computer sales and orders for new chips. Those concerns were underscored last week, when the No. 2 chipmaker, A.M.D., said that its firstquarter sales would fall short of expectations. "People might now say maybe it's safe to put your feet in the water here,'' Raymond James equity analyst Hans Mosesmann told Bloomberg of Intel. "They have a super product lineup, and A.M.D. is in a death spiral.'' Investors were certainly pleased with the news. Shares of Intel jumped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Related Links Tech Firms Yield Mixed Results One Billion Laptops The Chips Fall to Abu Dhabi

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Activists Claim a Scalp
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 2:30:00 PM

That Inflation Thing
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 6:00:00 AM

Shareholder activists have made a lot of noise but have not been able to point to many changes this proxy season—until today. Mary Pugh, a member of the board of Washington Mutual for nine years, has resigned. Because she was chairwoman of the board's finance committee for the last three years, Pugh had been the target of several shareholder groups who held her accountable for what they said was WaMu's shift toward subprime and other riskier mortgages. "Shareholders at Washington Mutual sent an unequivocal message today that they are ready for more independent and accountable directors," said CtW Investment Group, which advises union pension funds. "We commend Washington Mutual's board for promptly accepting Ms. Pugh's resignation and urge them to also demand the resignation of any other directors who fail to win majority

shareholder support." Glass Lewis and other advisory shareholder groups had questioned the relationship of Pugh's investment firm with the savings and loan, "which might have affected her objectivity and oversight of the company's risk management." She is a founder and chief executive of Pugh Capital Management, a 17-year-old fixed-income money management firm that has received more than $1.1 million in investment management fees from WaMu, according to Glass Lewis. WaMu, however, did not say in its statement why Pugh had stepped down. WaMu also announced a first-quarter loss of $1.14 billion, and it had closed on its sale of $7 billion of common shares and convertible securities to investors led by private-equity titan TPG. Related Links Spotlight on Mortgage Giants WaMu Gets Its Deal Stocks and Dollar Down; Oil and Gold Up

Everything in this economy seems to slowing—except the prices for energy and food. The latest sign that inflation is very much on the boil came as the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the prices paid to manufacturers and other producers climbed 1.1 percent in March, more than double forecasts and up from a 0.3 percent gain in February. Energy prices gained 2.9 percent, while food prices rose 1.2 percent. Rice surged 8.7 percent. Excluding food and energy costs, the Producer Price Index rose just 0.2 percent. The Federal Reserve has repeatedly noted that it is concerned about the mounting threat of inflation, but feels that

the need to stabilize the markets and promote growth outweigh those concerns. The Fed is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate by another quarter point this month. Higher food and fuel costs will further sap consumer spending and will cut into companies' profits. "Cost pressures are building and will continue to build for a few quarters before they recede,'' Michael Gregory, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, told Bloomberg News before the P.P.I. data were released. Perhaps it is time to start thinking seriously about stagflation? Related Links Damaged Goods House Poor Steady as It Goes

Ecocho Means Well, I’m Sure
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:21:52 AM

PluggedIn Wants to be Hulu For Music Videos
By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:35:02 AM

At first glance, music might seem to be a saturated market on the web. Sites like Last.fm have music suggestions, artists profile, and communities covered, the iTunes and Amazon music stores make purchasing a breeze, and music videos can be found littered across Youtube and many other sites. It’s time to make room for one more, and it has the potential to be big. Pluggedin, a music video and community site that sees itself as a Hulu for music, has just launched in public beta. The site’s biggest selling point is its high quality video content, featuring music videos from labels including EMI, Sony BMG, and Universal Music Group, along with a number of independent labels. Pluggedin is hoping to add the last of the ‘big four’ labels, Warner Music, in the near future. The Hulu comparison is an apt one. The site is very clean, video quality is generally much better than what’s found on

Youtube, and the amount of content is impressive, though there are some noticeable gaps. At launch the site features over 10,000 available videos, but most of them are not available in true HD quality (largely because existing footage is not hidef). Pluggedin hopes that as the site gains popularity, content providers will have a greater incentive to film music videos in HD. Pluggedin does a good job integrating with other sites on the web. Users are provided with direct links to Amazon and iTunes if they’d like to purchase a video or song they’ve just listened to. And the site has formed a number of partnerships with merchandisers, including Hot Topic for clothing and Thumbplay for mobile ringtones. All of this is presented in unobtrusive menus that don’t detract from the experience at all. The site also features profiles for over a million musicians, including those that don’t have any videos on the site. Profiles are dynamically generated using content from a number of sources, including All

Music Guide, Last.FM, and Wikipedia. And while these pages don’t feature any ‘HD-quality’ material, they do provide a list of each artist’s music videos found elsewhere on the internet, all of which play seamlessly in the page. Despite all of these features, the site still has a few issues. Searching for specific

videos can be tricky - it seems that users can only search by artist name, not song title. And for a site that promotes its video quality, there are surprisingly few videos available in HD at launch (though this is mostly a fault of content providers). And videos cannot be embedded into other sites, a major obstacle standing in the way of viral growth. And the biggest issue of all: Videos are not viewable outside of the U.S. and Canada. The social networking aspect is minimal, but sufficient for sharing music between friends. It’s a great timewaster - clicking through random music has never been this fun. And the playlist feature be will great for impromptu parties. As long as PluggedIn continues to add content and doesn’t go overboard with their ads, this site will be one to watch. CrunchBase Information PluggedIn Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Ecocho is a new search engine wrapper for Google and Yahoo that calls itself the first “green” search engine. They get to that claim by using some of the revenue they generate to buy carbon offsets. They’re a bit unclear on the exact payoff, saying only that “up to two trees” will be sponsored for every 1,000 searches on the site. The cynical side of me notes that zero trees is within the definition of “up to two,” but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Plus they do say they aim to donate 70% of revenues to carbon offsets. And even though the carbon offset system is flawed in many ways, I’m supportive of it in general and we tend to offset our events through Zero Footprint. In general, though, I don’t like for profit startups that try to leverage the green movement to get attention. I make fun of people who add email signatures pleading with me not to print it. I noted that Google’s attempt to draw attention to Earth Hour actually used more electricity than doing nothing would have. And the endless debates about which giant Internet company is most green are annoying. If you want to really help the world, get ridiculously rich doing something that you love and that doesn’t hurt anyone else, and then donate that money to people who know what the hell they are doing. We’re on the verge of actually getting Malaria under control, for example. Now that would be something. In the meantime, do all your searches on Yahoo. They need the revenue. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.



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AdRoll Emerges From Private Beta With Co-Op Economics For Blog Advertising
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 9:44:37 PM

Amid Fears of an Internet Downturn, Gawker Sells Properties
By Tom Lee (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 8:35:02 AM

When it comes to advertising for blogs, there is Federated Media for the biggest ones, and for everyone else there is AdSense (or some other low-paying ad network). Jared Kopf thinks there is room for a better alternative in between the two. His startup, AdRoll, (see our earlier coverage) brings together niche publishers into self-selecting communities that, when rolled up, are big enough to attract brand advertisers. Today, AdRoll is coming out of private beta and introducing new economics for bloggers who join. Blogs who join AdRoll can set their own bare minimum price that acts like a private reserve on eBay. Advertisers bid for that ad inventory, and whenever the AdRoll price is higher than what the blog can get from AdSense, AdRoll swaps in one of its ads in the same spot normally occupied by AdSense (or Glam or Pubmatic or whatever ad network the blog uses). But AdRoll only gets to show its ads if it can beat the price that the blog is getting from AdSense (after AdRoll takes its 30 percent cut). And the pricing decays with time as ad inventory gets closer to expiring, so that

an ad for tomorrow is cheaper than an ad for next month. But where AdRoll becomes interesting is when blogs join communities of likeminded blogs. For instance, there is a community for surfing blogs, car blogs, sports blogs, and book blogs. By joining forces, 6 to 12 blogs with similar readerships can offer half a million to a million readers a month that share a common interest. During the private beta, about 600 publishers created 140 different communities. In order to motivate blogs to join a community, AdRoll only takes a 20 percent cut from ads that run across these groups, leaving more ad dollars on the table for the blogs. Says Kopf: It is really about designing the right compensation structures and incentives to encourage sites to work together and sell more. This is co-op economics at work. The idea is that small blogs should be able to band together to command a higher price

for ads than they would be able to on their own. The effective CPM (cost per thousand impressions) that blogs are getting on AdRoll is about $1.50 (which is much less than the $10-plus that Federated Media is getting for the blogs in its network, but it is better than AdSense). Anyone can create a blog community. That person becomes the leader of that particular community, and he or she can set the minimum price for ads on that community. The leader can also set a commission rate for participating blogs who bring in their own advertising to the group. That way, the bloggers themselves can sell ads for their network. (More details on Adroll’s economics here). Kopf hopes all of these incentives will be enough for community leaders to assemble the best audiences possible. This is a classic Long Tail business. Roll up the niches and sell targeted advertising. Repeat 10,000 times. CrunchBase Information Jared Kopf Adroll (Semantic Sugar, Inc.) AdBrite Federated Media PubMatic Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Did DirecTV Hire Satellite Hackers To Leak Dish TV Smart Cards?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 9:31:05 PM

I had missed this story when it came out last week, but thanks to a reader (who prefers to remain anonymous) for sending it in. Apparently, Dish Network is suing DirecTV, claiming that DirecTV (and its parent News Corp) hired notorious satellite TV hackers to break Dish's encryption and "flood the market" with hacked smart

cards. That's quite a claim, and it will be interesting to see what evidence the company has to back it up. After all, reverse engineering a product is perfectly legal -- and, indeed, DirecTV claims that's all it did. Furthermore, it seems doubly strange that DirecTV would go down this route after so thoroughly pissing off smart card hackers of all kinds a few years ago by accusing them all of stealing DirecTV signals with almost no evidence, and then

pushing many to pay up to avoid a lawsuit. It's also hard to see what the real benefit to DirecTV is of such a plan. Making it easier to get Dish for free shouldn't increase DirecTV's market at all. One would hope that Dish actually has some serious evidence to go along with these claims. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Yesterday's news that Gawker Media will be selling three of its sites caught many by surprise. Particularly shocking was the revelation that Wonkette was among them — it was an early site in the network, and one famous enough to be featured in the newly-reopened Newseum. But more interesting than the news was the reasoning behind it, which was explained by Gawker chief Nick Denton in an email to Fishbowl NY:[S]ince the end of last year, we've been expecting a downturn. Scratch that: since the middle of 2006, when we sold off Screenhead, shuttered Sploid and declared we were "hunkering down", we've been waiting for the Internet bubble to burst. No, really, this time. And, even if not, better safe than sorry; and better too early than too late. Everybody says that the internet is special; that advertising is still moving away from print and TV; and Gawker sites are still growing in traffic by about 90 percent a year, way faster than the web as a whole. But it would be naive to think that we can merely power through an advertising recession. We need to concentrate our energies... on the sites with the greatest potential for audience and advertising... [T]hen, once this recession is done with, and we come up from the bunker to survey the Internet wasteland around us, we can decide on what new territories we want to colonize. Say what you will about Denton — and many people do — but he's proven himself to be a shrewd businessman. As he notes,

it's easy to find wishful thinking when it comes to online advertising's capacity to withstand the recession that most experts say is coming or already occurring. But, as that second link notes, there's no denying that advertising expenditures declined during past economic downturns, or that online ads have fared even worse than other media. So while Denton is just one businessman, it's a safe bet that he's not the only one girding for lean times. This isn't to say that the organizations buying these Gawker properties are making a mistake. Mike has written before about the need to marry content and promotion in a way that's compelling to an audience. Idolator and Gridskipper in particular seem well-positioned to do just that, as they join newly-consolidated ventures from Buzznet and Curbed, respectively (Wonkette, which exists in a media environment filled with publications that largely subsist on donor largesse, may have a harder time of it). But whatever the fate of these particular sites, a recession-sparked advertising downturn would clearly be bad news for the web. With so much of the internet economy built on top of ad models — Google's foremost among them — vulnerable startups may do well to follow Denton's lead and hedge their bets now. Tom Lee is an expert at the Techdirt Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Tom Lee and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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JK Rowling Appeals To Judge's Emotional Side, Rather Than A Real Legal Argument Over Potter Guidebook
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:08:00 AM

Grooveshark Launches Web Media Player
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:56:14 PM

Earlier this year, we wrote about how J.K. Rowling's lawsuit against the publishers of a guidebook about Harry Potter's universe was extremely misguided. That lawsuit got a lot more attention Tuesday, as Rowling herself showed up in court to play an emotional, rather than legal, strategy. The NY Times even reports that she was "stoically holding back tears." Cry me a river. Rowling is basically trying to get copyright law to do a lot more than it is intended to do -- and all of her emotional bunk doesn't change that. Claiming that the "stress and heartache" of such a publication had hurt her creativity for the last month seems excessively questionable. Furthermore, it doesn't change the fact that a derivative work, such as this guidebook, doesn't violate copyright. There are lot of things that cause me stress and heartache and which might make me lose my concentration. It doesn't make them illegal. It appears that the publisher's lawyer had

some fun, pointing out that Rowling didn't seem to have that same sort of stress and heartache when she gave an award to the website that "The Harry Potter Lexicon" came from. And, when presented with evidence of how the book took Harry Potter details and did more with them (making them more useful), Rowling tossed out the following: "This is theft. Wholesale theft." Well, no, it's not. If it were anything, it would be infringement (not theft), but more importantly, it wasn't about republishing the content, but making it more useful. It's the same argument we discussed recently with people overestimating the value of the content, and underestimating the value of the service of making it useful. The most damning point might be that Rowling herself in the past admitted to using the lexicon to check up on facts she didn't remember. However, the real key point that Rowling went back to again and again in her complaint is that she just didn't think the quality of the Lexicon was very good. That

seems like a bizarre complaint, as copyright has nothing to do with quality. In fact, as the publisher's lawyer asked, "You feel it's your responsibility to prevent people from paying their hard-earned cash for things you don't like?" At which point, she switched arguments again, reverting to the claim that it was "theft." Of course, if she really thinks that the book is awful, there's a really easy solution: to come out with her own version of a guidebook. Surely, people would be a lot more interested in buying the "official" version, written with Rowling's approval, than some fan-created one. In fact, Rowling admits that she's been thinking of doing exactly that (and throws in the totally separate from the legal issues, but good for an emotional tug, claim that she would donate all proceeds to charity). Of course, there's nothing actually stopping her from competing, other than what appears to be her own unwillingness to actually have to compete for readers. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Music sharing and sales startup Grooveshark has launched Grooveshark Lite, a flash app that provides access to all the songs in Grooveshark’s library. For those unfamiliar with the company, Grooveshark allows users to upload and share their music collection with friends, but with a twist: every song uploaded can be purchased DRM-free with the uploader getting a cut of each sale (the rest goes to the record companies, and the service is 100% legal). The new Grooveshark Lite player is not dissimilar to what Last.fm offers, but without the silly restrictions like being able only play the single five times. It also helps that Grooveshark has a huge selection of music; I don’t have comparable numbers but Grooveshark returned better results on a couple of more

obscure searches, where as Last.fm failed or only had 30 seconds of the song. Unlike Seeqpod, another service that allows you to search for and play music uninhibited (and until now my music service of choice), the music on Grooveshark is of a more reliable quality as it’s vetted for sale, although unlike Seeqpod you cant illegally download the track, if that’s how you like getting your music. The player offers music by artist, album and song title, and is free to use and doesn’t require registration, although registration is required to use Grooveshark services such as playlists and sharing. CrunchBase Information Grooveshark Last.fm Seeqpod Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Tungle Brings Own Approach to Scheduling Meetings
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:00:12 AM

Meeting coordination service Timebridge now has serious competition from Tungle, a Montreal-based service that opens up into public beta today. When I met with Tungle CEO Marc Gringas this past January, he outlined the type of technology that would address the major pain points of scheduling meetings: it would reduce the number of transactions needed to pick a time, it would be simple to use across time zones, it would be an open system for anyone to use, and people would be able to see each others’ schedules with it. Tungle does a good job fulfilling most of these principles. It comes as an Outlook plugin that automatically loads all of your contacts and calendar events (either from

Outlook itself or other calendar apps like Google Calendar). You can choose to share your schedule with others who also have the plugin installed, and you can invite others to a meeting whether or not they even use Outlook. The invitation system is key. Tungle users can invite non-Tungle users by sending them a link to a special coordination page. This “Tungle Space” page shows your availability and solicits their input for when they are also available. If your schedule changes after sending out the invitation, the Tungle Space page will update itself accordingly. And you can use it to invite multiple people to the same meeting. As people visit the page and indicate when they are available, the options get narrowed down until the last invitee to respond chooses a time. There are many similarities between

Tungle and TimeBridge (see our review of the latter here) but Gringas stresses that TimeBridge has more of a “wish list” approach to it, where organizers suggest a set of times and these get either accepted or rejected by invitees. But while Tungle may be more about finding the overlapping free time in participants’ schedules, it lacks the freedom of TimeBridge, which can be used entirely through the browser. When it comes down to it, this type of product will mostly appeal to a certain

class of professionals that needs to schedule group meetings all the time. Many of us only schedule one-on-one meetings that take at most a few emails to pin down, and we won’t be bothered to change our habits. But I imagine there are many assistants and managers out there who will find this very helpful and worth the effort of picking it up. Tungle raised $1.5M CAD from JLA Ventures and Des Jardins Venture Capital in May 2007. Jiffle is another competitor we covered just last week. CrunchBase Information Tungle TimeBridge jiffle Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Twitterspy Twitter Meets Digg Spy
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:02:13 AM

This is one of those articles where title literally says it all. If you’re familiar with Digg Spy - Digg’s cool tool for displaying new stories as they show up on the site in real time, you’ll know what Twitterspy is about. It displays new tweets in a similar ajaxy fashion; nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, total lack of options (you cannot, for example, choose whose tweets you see, or even see only the tweets from the people you follow) renders Twitterspy as little more than an interesting idea. If the author spices it up with some features, it might become a useful tool. ShareThis



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Mobile WiMAX Products Finally Arrive - So Everyone Claiming They Were Offering Mobile WiMAX Has To Scramble
By Derek Kerton (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 11:36:00 AM

It wasn't all Singapore Slinging ( of mud) at WiMAX Forum Asia Congress 2008. There was some real progress to mention coming out of the show last week. The Forum has announced the certification of the first 8 products that are fully mobile WiMAX compliant, and it's been a long time coming. This is good news for network providers that have been counting on high-scale-economies for standardsbased kit, with which they can deploy their networks. The WiMAX Forum says that 2.5GHz kit will likely be certified later this year. 2.5GHz is of particular interest to Sprint Xohm, which is currently working with non-certified gear. And what were all the prior announcements that WiMAX certification was available? Well, this 2005 announcement was regarding fixed WiMAX, and this 2006 announcement was really about a suite for equipment makers to test their products in development. But that's behind us, there is now real Mobile WiMAX equipment available. Finally. But, if certified mobile WiMAX gear is only available as of this week, what were all those other "mobile WiMAX" network announcements you've been hearing for years? Turns out many of them were what boosters dubbed "pre-WiMAX". But pre-

WiMAX turns out to be defined as "not really WiMAX at all but I'm eager to get on the bandwagon." This massive reality gap between pre-WiMAX and standardsbased WiMAX is illustrated by a recent story in which Clearwire Chief Strategy Officer Scott Richardson says "...Clearwire may use dual-mode devices to support both technologies [pre-WiMAX and WiMAX] and may overlay WiMAX equipment on its existing markets." Dual-mode equipment and overlays? To manage an upgrade from "pre-WiMAX" equipment to "WiMAX" equipment? What he's really saying is that the older Nextnetmade gear is simply NOT compatible with WiMAX(i.e., it's NOT WiMAX and never was), and it eventually needs to be forkliftupgraded out. If this stuff was really just "pre-," then it should have taken no more than a software upgrade and a tweak or two to make it standard WiMAX (much like 54G was pre-G, or pre-n was basically = n WiFi). It's funny that the WiMAX bandwagon was so attractive, that companies that were absolutely not using WiMAX felt the need to call their solution WiMAX. Apparently it brought more press coverage, more public enthusiasm, and easier access to capital. But, it didn't mean they were actually offering WiMAX. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Prediction: The LTE Patent Bundle Won't Prevent LTE Patent Lawsuits
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 7:04:00 AM

Pirate Bay Wants IFPI To Pay Up For Danish ISP Block
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 3:55:02 PM

I've been seeing a few folks take the news that a bunch of big telco firms looking to get into the LTE (Long Term Evolution) market have agreed to form a patent pool. Some are even suggesting that this is exactly how the patent system should work. That's wishful thinking at best. LTE is the next generation of wireless technology that many telcos around the world are adopting as their choice for "4G" technology -- and it will be important. However, don't think that just because some companies have agreed to pool patents that it's a good thing. There have been plenty of patent pools in the past, and you can bet that one of two things is likely to happen. First, some other company (or a few other companies, and almost definitely some individual patent holders) will spring up at some point with yet another patent, claiming that LTE technology infringes on that patent and all these firms owe a ton of money. And, given how so many patent holders don't believe in apportioning damages, they'll even claim to want more than all the money being spread around in the pool itself. But, much more to the point, the fact that

so many patents need to be "pooled" just to offer this technology should be a pretty clear warning sign that the patent system isn't working as intended. Basically, what you have here is a patent thicket. Many of the patents in question are overlapping patents that never should have been issued. However, given all the uncertainty around patent litigation (and how the courts will be treating patent issues), most of these firms realize it's better to agree to split the pie rather than sue. That's still not a good result, because it only encourages more companies to suddenly push for these sorts of marginal and totally unnecessary patents just to get included in future patent pools -even if their "invention" really adds nothing to the technology. Furthermore, this patent pool will automatically increase the price of all LTE technology, making sure that adoption is slowed down. So, yes, it's better to see a patent pool created than to see everyone just jump to lawsuits, but the history of patent pools is littered with additional lawsuits and companies having to pay for patents that they shouldn't be paying for. This is hardly a "good" solution -- it just encourages the bad system to get worse. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

The folks behind the Pirate Bay certainly aren't ones to shy away from a fight. In fact, they seem to enjoy it. The latest is that they're demanding compensation from the IFPI for downtime associated with the IFPI's successful efforts to force Danish ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay says it will ask for a "reasonable" sum, rather than an extraordinary amount as is typical of the entertainment industry. It also says it will use any money it gets from the IFPI to fund Danish artists who want to give away their works online. While the guys at the Pirate Bay reasonably complain that the entire lawsuit between the IFPI and Danish ISPs never involved The Pirate Bay or gave the site a chance to make its own argument (despite being entirely about the site), this request for compensation may be pushing the boundaries a bit -- especially considering that even The Pirate Bay folks have admitted that the ban eventually resulted in more traffic. Perhaps they should send some money to the IFPI to thank them for all that "free" advertising. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Recording Industry Testing Out New Theory: It Deserves More Money Because It Lets You Transfer Music
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:46:00 AM

William Patry has a long, but fascinating, discussion on the latest trick being used by the recording industry to try to squeeze more money out of you: telling governments that because it's now willing to let people transfer the music they legally purchased between devices, it deserves extra money for it. To back this up, it's claiming that there's obviously value in

being able to transfer music around, otherwise why would people want that ability. The audacity of such a statement from the industry shouldn't be understated. After all, this is the same industry that has, for years, ignored pleas from fans all over the world to get rid of DRM because it would make digital files increase in value. And, now, that the industry has finally been forced to recognize this, it seems to be claiming that all of the value belongs to the industry itself, and it's the government's

job to hand over that "value." The reasoning for this seems to go back to the psychological explanation for why the recording industry keeps getting itself into trouble (and it's similar to the story we had recently about bloggers worrying about a new aggregator). They assume that all of the "value" needs to be captured by them, and not anyone else. In economics, this is effectively an industry telling the government that it needs to be compensated for all of the positive

externalities it created -- even if it's better off at an absolute level. Basically, the industry is so overvaluing its own content, that it assumes that any additional value that people get out of music, even if it's through no effort of the recording industry itself, should be entirely converted to more revenue for the industry. As an analogy, it's like your automobile maker demanding an ongoing cut of your salary, since without the automobile, you wouldn't be able to drive to work. Unfortunately,

though, unless you're a copyright wonk, you might not even notice that the recording industry is trying to do this. Instead, it presents its case in a logical fashion, focusing on how much "value" it's suddenly creating by "allowing" people to transfer the music they already legally purchased to the device of their choosing. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Music Tax: The iPod Approach
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 7:50:08 AM

Chinese Internet Users Say “Enough” To International Bullying
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:15:00 AM

Music executives from the UK continue to try to out-dumb their counterparts in the U.S. We’ve barely started to settle down from the Warner Bros. led attack (with both economic and emotional sorties) here in the U.S., and now our UK brothers are getting bombed( more) with the idea of an iPod tax to counter those sneaky users who “format shift” files from a legally purchased CD to a MP3 player. The UK’s Music Business Group, a coalition of music industry entities (composers, songwriters, performers, managers, producers, record labels, music publishers), said in a report “Unquestionably, there is a value produced by the ability to format shift. It is imperative that creators and performers should benefit directly from this value.” The report also states “Composers and performers are entitled to earn a living from their creative endeavours” which parallels Ethan Kaplan’s (VP Technology, Warner Bros. Records) argument that the quality of music shouldn’t matter when it comes to compensation to the artist. It is exactly this line of thinking righteous entitlement - that leads to the idea of using taxes to support businesses that can’t support themselves. Music taxes in any form are a bad idea and always will be.

These people won’t quit until they’re out of business. So let’s hasten the go-out-ofbusiness process as quickly as possible. Think twice before you buy any form of music. Just send money directly to the artist instead. See also: The Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free Replacing DRM With A Music Tax Is Incredibly Stupid Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

A virus is spreading through Chinese Internet users - they are adding a “Love China” icon to their MSN chat names by the thousands to show support for their country. The icon, according to a number of blogs, is said to be in response to Western bullying over recent Olympic protests. Over the last weeks thousands of protesters have come out in force as the Olympic torch, destined for China this summer, has traveled through their borders. On a number of occasions the torch has been extinguished, and additional security measures have been taken in cities around the world. From SushiPanda, linked above: Over half of my Chinese-Chinese friends on MSN have put the badge on their contact names, in defiance of all the antiChina bullying that they’re undoubtedly reading about in the Chinese newspapers, watching on the Chinese news, and scouring over on the hundreds of blogs and BBS’s peppering China’s cyberscape and devoted to propping up this country’s national pride. Outsiders are suggesting that the news in

Twitter Saves Man From Egyptian Justice
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:35:35 AM

China is being censored and that Chinese citizens aren’t getting a balanced view of the reality of the international protests. But whatever the cause, this is a significant showing of Chinese nationalistic behavior, and a sign that they are paying attention to the outside world. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Twitter. Don’t leave home without it. I don’t know if this is as good for Twitter as the Charlie Rose incident was for Apple, but it’s close. UC Berkeley graduate journalism student James Karl Buck was arrested on April 10 without any charges in Egypt for photographing a demonstration. He used his mobile phone to twitter the message “ Arrested” to his 48 followers, who contacted UC Berkeley, the US Embassy and a number of press organizations on his behalf. The next day Buck twittered” Alive and ok. Still in jail,” but was released not too long afterwards. He’s still worried about his friend, Mohammed Salah Ahmed Maree, who was arrested with him and remains in jail. Buck says he is on a hunger strike until his friend is free. CrunchBase Information Twitter Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Seagate Decides It Can't Compete With Solid State; Sues Over Patents
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 1:22:00 PM

Emilio Diaz Dies from Pneumonia
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/15/2008 11:52:30 PM

Just a few weeks ago, we noted that Seagate's CEO appeared to be admitting that his company didn't have a real strategy to compete with the growing threat of solid -state flash drives competing against traditional hard drives. Instead, he said that if the competition got too hot, he'd just sue for patent infringement. Basically, he was

admitting that he was planning to use patents in exactly the opposite of the way they were intended to be used. He'd use them to block an innovative new competitor, but only once that competition became serious enough. Apparently, Seagate believes that moment is now, as we're seeing more and more laptops hit the market with solid state drives, so Seagate has filed its first patent infringement lawsuit against a maker of the technology.

Basically, the company is admitting that it can't actually compete or make a better product, so its strategy is to sue competitors. It's a pretty weak response, but thanks to our patent system, it may be perfectly legal (if exactly the opposite of what the patent system intended). Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Emilio Diaz(58), the father of Cameron Diaz, died this morning from pneumonia. Emilio was said to have been in "terrific health," developed the flu, which progressed to pneumonia, then he died suddenly. Emilio worked as a foreman for an oil company. This is heartbreaking. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Herb Peterson Died • Leonardo DiCaprio is Single • Scarlett Johansson Hides Pumpkins in

Her Shirt • Drew Barrymore is Dating Justin Long • Jessica Simpson’s Large Mouth Betrays Her Jealousy Over Cameron and John


Tech* Gadgets*

Daily -Click and Print- Newspaper

Nike+ SportBand gets reviewed
By Darren Murph (Engadget)

Chinese Photo Site Tuyuan May Do Facial Recognition. Or It May Just Put Boxes Around People’s Heads
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:06:01 AM

Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:09:00 AM

I can’t really say much about Tuyuan yet since it’s in Chinese and there isn’t much information (translated page here), but it certainly looks like they’re trying to tackle the facial recognition problem that has destroyed many a startup. We’ve seen Riya(now focused on ecommerce via Like.com), Ookles(never launched), and Polar Rose(in private beta

for nearly a year), among others. Most recently Tagcow came on the scene, but it turns out it uses humans to tag photos, which tends to produce bad data. Will Tuyuan be any different? We have no idea yet. But we’re contacting them to find out. More soon. Thanks for the tip, Orli. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

ASUS Eee PC 900 review roundup
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:43:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops It's like this: if you found yourself all giddy playing with the Eee PC 701, you'll be absolutely enthralled when handling the 900. At least, that's the verdict being blasted out from reviewers web-wide. More specifically, CNET found the 9-inch subnote to be superior in quite a few ways to the 701, and felt particularly impressed with the ability to run multiple applications more easily due to more screen real estate and the included 1GB of RAM. However, they were none too thrilled with the

keyboard (still), and echoed Trusted Reviews gripes of lackluster battery life. Yeah, that last dig could be fairly substantial if you're looking to stay untethered completely for hours on end, but if you're confident you can locate an AC outlet when necessary (and can't afford to wait for an Atom-based version of the machine), it seems the 9-inch Eee is well worth a look. Read- CNET review (8.7 out of 10) Read- Trusted Reviews review (...the Eee PC 900 still represents staggering value for money.) Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Wearables For those breaking into a sweat trying to decide whether or not the Nike+ SportBand is really worth your hard earned dollars / euros / pounds / Schrutebucks, simmer on down. The runners over at the Stuff offices have snapped one up and tossed out their two pence. Summarized as a " Nike+iPod system without music," the unit was given fairly high marks all around. It was noted that calibration was highly recommended before taking on the London Marathon, but that setup was a real lesson in simplicity. Design wise, most everything was kosher save for the detachable face (Link USB drive) that may not fit perfectly in slim laptops sitting flush on a table and the non-backlit display that proved difficult to see at night. Believe it or not, critics still found the SportBand to be a joy to use despite the aforesaid quirks, but given the drawbacks, we'd certainly recommend trying out a pal's before throwing down for your own. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

GamePark's GP2X F-200 handheld gets reviewed
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:28:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming, Handhelds We know, most of you even remotely interested in the F-200 either already own one (and you're playing it right now, aren't

you? Don't lie.) or are waiting intently for the Pandora. Nevertheless, the cats over at AnandTech managed to wrap their paws around the GP2X F-200 and give it the full review treatment -- needless to say, impressions were (fairly) positive. Immediately recognized as a "hybrid of

Sony's PSP and the Nintendo DS," the gaming handheld possessed a bright, clear

LCD, somewhat "tinny" speakers and the ability to chew through batteries without shame. Still, aside from a few minor niggles, the critics found it to be "well worth the $170 price tag for the emulation capabilities alone." Hit up the read link for the entire review, but don't even bother if

you're looking for excuses to hold off. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Enkin: digitized signage for your Android device
By Chris Ziegler (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:05:00 AM

Parrot readying PARTY Black Edition Bluetooth speaker with NFC
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:05:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds Among the hopefuls for Google's Android Developer Challenge(which ended yesterday, by the way, so put down your pencils and turn in your papers) is this little gem, Enkin. Put simply, the navigation app's ace card is its "live mode," which combines a plethora of sensory data -- camera input, GPS, directional information, motion detection - to show the user an augmented view of

what they're actually looking at in their environment. Augmented with what, exactly? Placemarkers that indicate landmarks, that's what, and the possibilities are pretty endless -- restaurants in the immediate vicinity, a gentle reminder of your car's location in the parking lot, the list goes on. Nokia's been toying with this concept for a good long while now but they've failed to commercialize it, so here's hoping will finally see a usable product on a retail device. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Portable Audio, Wireless Just days after we got wind of the NFCified Nokia 6212 comes word that the PARTY Black Edition Bluetooth speaker - that was introduced around a fortnight ago -- will also include the same technology. Yep, a NFC-enabled Bluetooth version will soon be available for purchase, giving owners of NFC handsets the ability to pair up their device by simply getting up close and personal with the

speaker. Specs wise, expect it to boast six total watts of power, a 5-button user interface, eight hours of battery life and an auxiliary input for times when a vanilla DAP will have to do. Word on the street has this one landing in the summertime for £79 ($156), but we've yet to see any official details on US pricing / availability. Check the full release after the jump. Continue reading Parrot readying PARTY Black Edition Bluetooth speaker with NFC Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Karim Rashid-designed Globalight champagne cooler steals the show
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:29:00 AM

Cin King vehicles are just slightly ahead of their time
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:19:00 AM

Filed under: Transportation Yeah, Cin King has been tickling people's fancy for a small while now, but with a lineup consisting of the Slim Jim, Full Power Flagship, Naked Wonder and Circular 360, how could we not pass this along? Barring some sort of miracle, it's safe to assume that all of these motorcars are patently fake, but that doesn't mean

you can't get a laugh out of such a cleverly designed website meant to showcase the whole family, right? Go on, you know you can't wait to read more about "the first electric car with diesel drive," a compact

with twin turbines, anything codenamed "Naked Wonder," and a round-mobile ripped straight out of 2184 (or an obscure episode of The Jetsons). 'Tis a shame these aren't anywhere near production -- they'd

go over so well in America. [Via AutoblogGreen] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Household Typically, you'd think a pricey bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne would be the star attraction on a night out, but we'd have to suggest otherwise if said container is being toted around in this thing. The Karim Rashid-designed apparatus, which is limited to just 500 pieces worldwide, is said to be a "modern reinterpretation of the traditional French chandelier." As for utility, it promises to keep your alcohol chilled for four solid hours, and considering the built-in LEDs will also flicker out after the same amount of time, we suppose that's a good indicator of when it's time to toss 'er back and get going. Here in the US, a handful of the Globalight's will be available exclusively at select W Hotels, but you're not unboxing one without laying down $4,500 first. [Via Luxurylaunches, thanks Yoge] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


Gadgets* TV* Gossip

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Ten shows that desperately need DVDs - VIDEOS
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:04:00 AM

New Wii homebrew hack unlocks region-free gaming
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:27:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming Homebrew coders over at TehSkeen have manged the near-ultimate hacker achievement of enabling region-free gaming on the Wii via a software hack -no mod chips or Freeloader disc required. Implementation of Gecko Region Free couldn't be simpler: you just load boot.elf from the chain loader, stick in your Wii

game and hit reset. The hack claims to have borrowed zero code from Nintendo or Datel, making this pure homebrew. You'll still need to use that Twilight Princess hack to get thing started, and Nintendo could always rain on this parade, but for the time being the world (of foreignreleased games) is your oyster. [Via Wii Fanboy] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Streaming Networks iRecord Pro offers up full res recordings
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:46:00 AM

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Video Ah, D1, that most professional of video recording resolutions. Streaming Networks' new iRecord Pro bests its previous iRecord offering with some fancy 720 x 480 recording, in addition to new DVR functionality and the ability to convert video formats without a computer.

Given the quantity of content we're consuming on the go these days, there's certainly room for a device that can easily nab and convert video from our TV setup for some viewing on the move, but time will tell if Streaming Networks has hit the sweet spot with this $260 device. It'll be available sometime in the second quarter of this year. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Verizon XV6900 finally available for order
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:57:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones Wouldn't you know it? Just as promised, that strikingly white XV6900 has landed

on Verizon Wireless' website and can be

snapped up now by those in need. The pain? $249.99 on contract after all applicable rebates -- oh, and knowing the Touch Dual is heading Stateside later this quarter. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Emma Watson is 18 Today
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:55:56 PM

Emma Watson made this video to say hello to all her fans on this special day, he

18th birthday. Yes, she’s legal now, but she still starts her day with strawberries and Nutella. Tonight she’ll probably go clubbing, then fall asleep watching Disney movies.

© Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Hell’s Kitchen is Too Cold and Too Hot • Diane Neal is Leaving Law and Order • Who’s Your Daddy

• Jason Beghe Says Scientology is Dangerous • Dwarf Soccer Team

Filed under: OpEd, TV Squad Lists, Reality-Free There's something really great about being able to buy an entire season of a TV show, or the entire run, on DVD. It can be addictive, too. But isn't it interesting that even though there are scads of great -and some not-so-great -- series committed to DVD and readily available online or at the local superstore, there are a ton more that aren't? And what about great TV specials? When I read this list, it got me thinking about which TV programs I would buy in a heartbeat. My list is very subjective -- maybe even eclectic -- but here's my ten TV shows that need to be on DVD. The Bob Newhart Show Recently, when the American Masters did a special about Bob Newhart, they showed footage from The Bob Newhart Show. No, not the one with Suzanne Pleshette as Emily. They had clips from the 1961-62 Bob Newhart Show on NBC. It was a variety hour, showcasing many of his now classic routines. It looked really funny, filled with his inspired sketches and bits. And it was critically acclaimed, too, winning Emmy and Peabody awards. Naturally, NBC canceled it after just one season. I'd love to think that there's enough footage from those shows to create a DVD. Gallery: Need to be DVDs Continue reading Ten shows that desperately need DVDs - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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Web 2.0


BlogPulse: Metrics Based on Conversation
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 9:35:45 PM

Google Earth 4.3 Released
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 8:20:24 AM

Yesterday, I was late to the party with the Shyftr bitchmeme. Today I’m going to continue that train of thought by being about a day late to the party talking about BlogPulse. They recently came to the attention of Louis Gray when he was featured prominently on the Nielsen blog search engine yesterday (and today too) as being a ‘top blog post’ with his post Should Fractured Feed Reader Comments Raise Blog Owners’ Ire?. I think part of the reason that BlogPulse hasn’t gotten much press over the years (and it has been years, since they’ve been around since 2005) is that they’re still not competitive on the comprehensiveness of their blog indexing as compared to Technorati and Google Blog Search. What they do have an angle on is a different way of measuring reach and value for a blog, and it’s very much in the vein of what I was attempting to describe yesterday: The pageview is dying as a monetizable metric. For us big blogs like Mashable, it works, because we have scads of it. Unfortunately, the smaller blogs and communities have issues getting any return on their work, even though they have high levels of engagement, participation, and value contributed. Rather than rolling them all up into some sort of CNet competitor, blogs should shift their focus on monetizing their work in a way that’s more valuable - capitalizing their expertise and community engagement. In that respect, these sites that shard off the community can actually serve to increase that blogs revenue, if they return instead of the conversation, the metrics on that conversation. While the actual address where that conversation takes place may shift around on the Internet, the derivative ideas from that conversation remain more or less branded by the originator.

And from what it looks like to me, BlogPulse, similar to Technorati, seems to be progressing down that same path of measurement more by engagement and conversation as opposed to simple pageview metrics (ala Quantcast, Compete and Alexa). The difference as to why this matters is that this is Nielsen, here, instead of a Web 2.0 startup. They’ve, for the last several years, been very much on the fore of trying to measure online text and downloadable media. They’ve struck partnerships with Wizzard Media to certify all their podcast downloads. They’ve joined the Association for Downloadable Media to find more lasting metrics that truly value an online video and audio piece for what it is. They’re heavily involved with measuring traffic with the Netratings program. Point is, they’re busy about finding the right way to measure our stuff. To be real clear, here, they don’t go as far with BlogPulse as I describe in my piece, nor as far as most of the Rat Pack described in our ideal situation on this weekend’s show. The BlogPulse system functions by measuring amount of links into an article, not quite as simplistic as Technorati’s linking algorithm, but essentially the same thing. It doesn’t account for volume of comments, and it doesn’t go so far as to take into account things we talked about on the show, like measuring Shyftr comments, Readburner comments, Twitter comments and FriendFeed comments.

Nor would I expect it to. This meme is barely a few days old. My point is that Nielsen, in it’s dealings with blogosphere rankings and measurement, has decided to look more into the realm of discussion than pageviews as the important metric to watch. I think this says that my idea (which may or may not be all that original) has some legs and is worth exploring further. I got a number of interesting responses off yesterday’s piece on this topic, but no one has seemed to really come up with the silver bullet yet. I’m wondering if I’m phrasing my question the right way. What I’m trying to find here, first of all, is the cornerstone of what a superior method of valuing a blog would be than simply by the pageview; something that gives a fair shake to the mid-size blogs (in terms of traffic) as well as the giants. Once we get that fleshed out a bit, then we can talk about the best way to measure that and then monetize it. You, dear readers, have had a day or so to noodle what I asked you yesterday. Any brainstorms on that yet? ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Tech Startup USA: 27 Web Companies in the Northeast 6 Key Ways to Measure Your Blog’s Success

Google Earth, the 3D global mapping application that has grown to become one of the most popular and freely-accessible software developments to come out of Mountain View not directly affiliated with its search engine nor its advertising business, has just today received an update. Google Earth 4.3(Beta) is now available for download. There are several things new with the latest software upgrade. First, as many of you well know, Google is regularly looking to expand its audience and cater its services ever more to the international arena. So in its pursuit of linguistic equanimity, the company now touts the addition of 12 new languages in the new version of Google Earth. They include: Danish, English (UK), Spanish (Latin American), Finnish, Hebrew, Indonesian, Norwegian, Portuguese (PT), Romanian, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish. On the technical front, the new release of Google Earth arrives with enhanced navigation tools, which Google hopes users will find to be more intuitively operable. Peter Birch, a product manager at Google Earth, explain the upgrade thusly: “We modified the zoom control. As you get closer to the ground, your view slowly tilts, almost as if you are parachuting onto the ground. We also added a new control, the “look” joystick, which allows you to look around. If you are on the ground, you can change your viewpoint and look up at buildings, down canyons, or over at the rising sun. If you use the “pan” joystick when on the ground, you will follow the ground as if you were walking on it.” Another addition to Google Earth’s navigation controls is the much-requested Street View option, which first arrived under the Google nameplate back in May 2007 within the more elementary Google Maps utility. The company’s software engineers have employed the PhotoOverlay feature to give Google Earth users a view of panorama shots from ground level, which can be seen when the Street View layer is activated. Going from

an overhead angle to one at the city’s street is as simple as double-clicking an icon associated with an overlaid photo. Google also promises more prevalent displays of buildings modeled in SketchUp. The company notes that navigation through the 3D map when buildings are shown is significantly quicker, too. Lastly, for those Google Earth users who consider the static lighting of the globe a nuisance - in the past, you’ll have noticed that everything is shown under a mid-day sun - and a physical disgrace, not to worry. Clicking the new sunlight button in advance of hitting the play button on the time slider will give you the chance to watch the sun circle the globe. (Figuratively speaking, anyhow. Google does recognize the orbital truths of our solar system.) You can also zoom in from afar and watch the sunrise crest the horizon. By the bye, the announcement of the new release of Google Earth also notes that it will be gradually adding particular mapping information in the form of imagery acquisition dates. These details are presumably not the focus of the broad majority of users of the software package, but some do wish for such data, so Google has made sure to note that it will provide as much in the way of photographic time stamps as possible.Google Earth 4.3 Beta is available for download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Terrorists Using Google Earth to Target Israel Google Earth and NASA Complete Project Google Earth Enterprise Version Update Released Google Earth Shows Real-Time Traffic Google Earth Updates Images Twango’s New Google Earth Features Google Earth Takes Classified Military Data in Israel. Oops.


Web 2.0 TV*

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SoccerGirl Due For IRS Audit Very Soon
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:29:14 AM

Soccergirl, a podcaster working for Adam Curry over at PodShow, was recently featured in Wired’s Tech Biz blog for her income tax filing. Given it’s the 15th of April, I’ll lay aside any blame I’d normally lay at the feet of someone writing about a tax return on a Web 2.0/science blog. The story hook, aside from the fact that Soccergirl is obviously an attractive young woman who frequently talks about sex with her audience, is the type of stuff she’s trying to get away with on her income tax returns: Sometime last year, podcaster Anneke Rudegeair bought three different brands of condoms. This month, she sat down with TurboTax and listed the cost of rubbers as a deduction. It was, she believes, a business expense. The story goes on to quote a number of interesting folks that they’ve contact in for their expert opinion: lawyers, accountants, Rob Walch and Julia Allison. While Rob made some decent points on the nebulous nature of business and pleasure for folks in the business of profiteering from their daily life, it was Julia Allison that made the most salient observation: “The IRS doesn’t understand, isn’t interested in understanding that your personal life can sometimes merge with your professional life,” she said. “It has to be 100 percent business. If there’s even a small percentage that is for your personal

life, you can’t expense it.” In this instance, it’s not real difficult to make the judgement call on this one. Let me give you the benefit of my personal experience when it comes to taxes. I’m a libertarian, and a former very active member of several Libertarian Party functions. Like every good LPer, I’ve seen From Freedom to Fascism, and by and large, I agree with most of the points that

the movie makes. Strictly interpreted history and constitutional law says that the Federal Income Tax is unconstitutional. I personally believe that I shouldn’t have to pay it. Folks in the party I belong to get out there and protest this law every year, and some will even go so far as to protest the law by not paying it. As is evidenced by the many ruined lives profiled in Aaron Russo’s film, though, the IRS really doesn’t care one lick if you have the best argued reasons in the world not to pay them money. They will make your life a living hell until you bend to their will. And this is why I never once participated in these tax day protests, never participated in the activity of withholding taxes from the government, and why I advise all those folks that are inspired by From Freedom to Fascism not to suddenly start making a stink with their local taxman over Federal Income Tax constitutionality. The IRS does not have a sense of humor that they’re aware of, they won’t find the expensing of everything in your life to be amusing, or admissable, and they will audit you from here to the other certainty in life until you bend to their will. So basically what I’m saying is this: it’s been a great run, Soccergirl. Been great listening to your podcast all these years. Lemme know when the IRS gets done screwing you so we can all listen to you talk about screwing some more. ShareThis

Jangl Founders Rock Out with Messaging Convergence and Live Music [Podcast]
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:28:47 PM

Why television is great - The Muppets
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:26:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Reality-Free In my line of work (whatever that is), I am often put in the position of defending the medium of television. There is a large section of the population who is convinced that television is inferior to film and all types of print media. These people love to use a host of specious arguments to prove their point. Some choose advertising,

others go with reality TV, I once argued with a guy who said, "Two words...Jerry Springer" and walked away.

I'm not going to use this blog as a way to refute these arguments, instead I'd like to give specific examples to defend the medium that I have come to love. Television is great because it is directly responsible for the creation of the Muppets. Continue reading Why television is great - The Muppets Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Jangl is one of those companies that provides a utilitarian service that you may easily overlook, despite the fact that they’re absolutely everywhere. You can’t hit up a single major social networking site out there without eventually running into their application - they’re on Bebo, Match.com, Plentyoffish, MySpace, Facebook and Tagged, just to list a few. Despite the fact that Jangl’s been out there forever, and received exactly three metric tons of blog coverage, they’re still one of those companies that not everyone knows exactly what they do. They’re essentially a convergence provider, allowing two way mobile access to social network messaging by utilizing VoIP technology. In English, that means they use the various development platforms on social networks to deliver messages from people’s voices to your inbox. I recently had the chance to sit down with one of Jangl’s founders, Michael Cerda, and we talked about the rise of his company, the very interesting funding and founding process they went through, and exactly what has fueled the growth of his organization. An interesting tidbit I found out from the conversation was the the founders of Jangl are not just bussiness partners, but also bandmates. A true Web 2.0 success story, they found each other by way of Craigslist (see the original want ad below), and during the ‘wait and see’ portion of the funding process, performed gigs together under the band name El Desayuno. The band has actually published a CD (available on iTunes), and is quite good, in

this humble geek’s opinion. Check bits of their work out, both in the form of conversation about their company and clips from their music. [This show sponsored by Audible. Get your free audiobook today at AudiblePodcast.com/Mashable] You can hear all about this in today’s episode, the embed is available below, or you can download the MP3 file directly here. Get the Mashable Conversations podcast here. Add directly to iTunes here(or give us a rating). Add directly to your Zune here. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Jangl Adds Voicemail to Facebook Jangl Adds VoIP to Another Social Network: PerfSpot Send Her Your Drink and Your Number, with Jangl Now on Fubar Jangl Lets You Call Anyone with an Email Address Jangl Sees Big Growth Thanks to Facebook and Bebo Apps Jangl is 1st Application on New Tagged Profiles Jangl on TypePad

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Web 2.0 TV*


MochiAds Lands 3 New Partners for Asian Expansion
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:34:07 AM

Jaxtr Rolls Out Free SMS Services
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:37:22 PM

MochiAds has been expanding its game advertising network for well over a year now, and its latest round of partnerships takes the company further in that direction. Wanmo, AdMax and Innovalue are all working with MochiAds to enable it to further reach ad sales in Asian regions, including China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, respectively. Having received $4 million in funding earlier this year, expansion is certainly on the minds of MochiAds’ executives, especially as web, mobile and gaming advertising become well saturated markets. With these deals, Wanmo, AdMax and Innovalue will extend options to their buyers for selecting ads in MochiAds’ network as well, giving their brands access to consumers. You may recall that MochiAds works by displaying a pre-game advertisement as well as inter-level ads, in addition to targeted ads that also display elsewhere on the site. Targeted ad options include geography, domain and game category. Creating an ad network with a specific focus on gaming media is a feat in itself, and even lends to a more unique look at behavioral and intermittent advertising options as well. Shifting that to a more widespread global market is an ambitious task, and I’ll be curious to see what other

metrics MochiAds will offer in the future for even more targeted advertising options. In teaming with a handful of other advertising firms, MochiAds is leveraging established companies for access to a broader client base, in turn offering global markets wider access to gamers. Being at ad:tech this week, I’ve heard a bit of talk about advertising firms partnering with each other in a greater capacity to ensure a more comprehensive solution for the brands, and MochiAds has displayed that such partnerships are in fact a readily accepted byproduct of the ongoing innovation that’s still needing to deal with the current market for customers utilizing online advertising solutions. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Boy Bands, Board Games, and Mochi Advertising RockYou Launches RockYou Games Slide.com Racks Up Several Partners for Music Features Shoutlet Announces Partnerships to Strengthen Social Marketing Platform Metacafe Brings On Former Yahoo Executive King.com Game Network Grows 138% in One Year Bebo Hires MTV VP

Jaxtr, a company we’ve covered extensively in the past here at Mashable, is announcing the deployment of a new feature that allows members to send free SMS messages to anyone worldwide, regardless of whether or not they’re a member of the jaxtr service - covering mobile phones in 38 countries. Basic membership to jaxtr is already free, and this new service adds new free functionality to 10 million users with the company - a number of folks up from a reported 5 million back in September. Jaxtr operatates very similarly to Jangl’s system, a company we explored earlier today with the founders on an episode of Mashable Conversations. Essentially, Jaxtr and Jangl both provide widgets that allow folks to be messaged on virtual or preexisting mobile phones from just about every social networking platform in existence. The death of mobile is greatly exaggerated, according to both Jaxtr and Jangl. Figures provided to us by Jaxtr from the atest annual report from Research and Markets say that in 2008, there will be over two trillion SMS text messages sent across the planet, a figure that spells profits for both carriers and application providers.

To learn more about the world of social media and its intersection with the mobile messaging world, check out today’s Mashable Conversations conversation with Michael Cerda of Jangl. The embed is available below, or you can download the MP3 file directly here. Get the Mashable Conversations podcast here. Add directly to iTunes here(or give us a rating). Add directly to your Zune here. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Jaxtr Reaches 500k, Expands to 18 More Countries Jaxtr Raises $10M in Series A Round: Reaches 1 Million Users Jaxtr Doubles to Two Million Users in 30 Days Jaxtr Grows 10x; 5 Million Users in 5 Months Jaxtr Reaches 100,000 Users Jaxtr Opens Door to MySpace Calls Jaxtr - Free MySpace Phone Calls

The Riches: Trust Never Sleeps
By Brett Love (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:39:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, The Riches, Episode Reviews, Reality-Free ( S02E05) Right about now, some of the Malloys should probably be having some second thoughts about returning to Eden Falls. The lure of big money is hard to resist, but it's certainly not going to be easy money. The dark turn to their adventure continues in episode five as we find Dahlia continuing to struggle with her new triple life, Pete causing more trouble for Wayne, and young Cael striking out and getting some story all his own. Gallery: The Riches Continue reading The Riches: Trust Never Sleeps Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Pirate Bay To IFPI: Pay Up For Damages
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:18:43 AM

Funny guys, those Bay Pirates. As you may remember, recently the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has tried (succeeded) to convince Danish ISP Tele2 to block the Pirate Bay (they also tried to do the same thing in Sweden but it didn’t work as the ISPs pretty much said

“what?”). Now, the Pirate Bay is demanding a compensation from IFPI for the lost traffic. The money, they say, will be given to musicians which are willing to put their work online for free. Of course, there’s little chance that they will succeed, as they weren’t really hurt by the block. However, I love this approach and it’s really good that someone is ready to take the fight over to the other side. The thing is, a lot of these piracy-related

lawsuits are one-sided affairs. RIAA sues you for piracy; if they win, you give them money; if you win, then…nothing. Little in the way of apologies, and certainly no compensations of any kind. Well, the Pirate Bay is aiming to change that. After all, if they’re a legitimate operation - and they are until proven otherwise - why should some third party be allowed to force an ISP to block their site? In this particular case, no one even asked them

anything, and they were never heard in the case, although the case was obviously about them, and them alone. We need some law and order here, folks, and law and order goes both ways. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Pirate Bay Takes Over Anti-Piracy Domain. A Major Hack?

BOiNK to Replace Recently Shut Down OiNK What Does The Future Hold For The Pirate Bay? Oodle Talks Like A Pirate Pirates Had Photo-Sharing? The Pirate Bay Gets Buried In Legal Papers Impress Your Twitter Friends With Post Like A Pirate


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Video: SixApart Launches BlogIt. Publish Across Blog Networks from Facebook
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:01:05 PM

PluggedIn: Hello And Goodbye
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:19:05 AM

This article might sound unfair to our US & Canada readers, so I’ve decided to give you a quick recap of this new service, called PluggedIn, before jumping to the point. It’s a freshly launched music video repository, focused on licensed, high quality videos. It’s slickly designed and it has a really solid selection with over ten thousand videos, featuring some big labels (UMG, EMI, Sony BMG) as well as some indies. The videos are free too look at… … if you live in the US or Canada. Which makes the site completely useless for anyone not living in these two countries, and it’s the majority of the world’s population we’re talking about here. I’ve written pretty much the same thing when Hulu launched: sorry guys and girls, but if the site doesn’t work for me at all, I’m not going to write a raving review. I don’t want to imply that PluggedIn is to blame for this. The music industry and the copyright laws & regulations are to be blamed. And whatever you think of these

laws, they’ve done a lot of bad things for all us music lovers around the world: remember Pandora, which you cannot access if you’re outside the US anymore? Then it was Hulu, and now it’s PluggedIn. Let me remind you that folks from outside of US and Canada are not given a choice here - you cannot do anything, even pay, to see/hear this content. You’re simply faced with a nice big GO AWAY sign. Well, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Facebook is Fastest Growing Social Network in Europe Google Transit Route Planning Now Works In Europe iPhone. Europe. Still on Track for September Launch. iPhone. Europe. September. Viagogo is Official Secondary Ticketer for NBA Europe Live Europe Chooses YouTube LinkedIn Opens Office in London

Blogging and life streaming are nearly one and the same, and as serious bloggers and other forms of self-publishers realize the need to broadcast their original content across networks (blogging platforms, social networks, and the miniblogging networks in order to tell everyone that we’ve published something on our blog), the need for an automated distribution tool has been around for some time. Most services that deal in social media are now more willing to integrate such options into their own content-creation services. For instance, WorldTV recently added Qik support with automatic Twitter updates. And now that we have open platforms within social media and networking sites like Facebook, the ability to republish and re-distribute is quite commonplace. SixApart’s blogging platform is embracing this concept completely, with its new BlogIt application on Facebook. This app lets you create content directly within your Facebook account, send it to all the major blogging platforms (TypePad, Blogger, Wordpress, etc.), and the miniblogging platforms (Twitter, Pownce, etc.) too. I stopped by the SixApart office

Rob Lowe's nanny files countersuit claiming sexual abuse
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:20:00 AM

to get an early look at the new BlogIt application earlier. See the screencast below as David Recordon walks me through the new product. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Assignment Zero, CosmoTourist, SueTube, Lala-Woxy, PlanHQ, ThisNext

Filed under: Celebrities, Brothers and Sisters, Reality-Free Last week, Rob Lowe filed a lawsuit against three former employees. The star of Brothers and Sisters says that one of these former employees, former nanny Jessica Gibson, wanted $1.5 million to remain silent about allegations of abuse. Gibson, who worked for Rob and Sheryl Lowe on and off for seven years, filed a claim in Santa Barbara yesterday. She claims that the actor sexually abused her on numerous occasions from September 2005 to January 2008. Why did she stay for so long? "I always thought it would be different when I went back, but it was not. I stayed as long as I did because of the children and because I needed a job," Gibson explained. Her lawyer added that if the Lowes think that sueing Gibson as a pre-emptive strike will intimidate her, "I can assure them it will not." Gibson's countersuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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The Daily Show: April 15, 2008 - VIDEOS
By Annie Wu (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:21:00 AM

Diane Neal gives her notice to Law & Order: SVU
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:01:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, The Daily Show, Episode Reviews, Reality-Free If you've been having trouble touching yourself recently, it may be because the Pope is in the States. Because he doesn't really have anything better to do, President Bush picked up the Pope from the airport. More coverage has been promised for Wednesday night, so I guess anyone that was expecting some in-depth Popewatch was sorely disappointed. "House of Pain" (the alternate was "IttyBitty Torture Committee", which is so much better): To further creep out the entire country, Bush admitted that six of the top members of his administration have extensively gone through what is considered torture. No wonder CIA Director George Tenet and company have freely and happily repeated that the government does not torture. Their definition probably stops just short of killing the interrogation subject. Asf for Condoleezza Rice's chuckle-inducing

evasive maneuvering from that interview clip, it really shouldn't have been so chuckle-inducing. Ha-HA! Sadist government. Continue reading The Daily Show: April 15, 2008 - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Law and Order, Reality-Free This is a bummer. (By the way, isn't there a better expression than that to describe disappointment? "What a shame" is just too British to me.) Anyway, TV Guide's Michael Ausiello reports that Law & Order: SVU has lost Diane Neal. The actress, who's played assistant district attorney Casey Novak on the Dick Wolf show for five years has turned in her resignation. This season will be her last. "Diane spent five years on SVU and was a tremendous addition to the SVU team. She is looking forward to new opportunities and she will be missed," says the NBC source about her departure. Like I said, I'm not happy about this one. Unlike so many of the faces and forms that come in and out of the L&O universe, Diane Neal stuck out. And I mean that in a good way. She had a presence and a passion, which was not only recognizable

amid the many others who seem interchangeable, it was crucial to match fire with Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay and the other SVU cast. Continue reading Diane Neal gives her notice to Law & Order: SVU Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Bob Barker is enjoying his retirement, thinks Carey is doing a good job
By Joel Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:20:00 AM

An Arrested Development reunion. Sort of.
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Casting, Reality-Free It's an Arrested Development reunion! Well, not quite. But Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler will be lending their voices for a new Fox animated series called Sit Down, Shut Up. The show centers around staff members at a high school where the student needs become secondary. It is based on an liveaction Australian series. Also joining the voice cast are Cheri Oteri, Will Forte,

Regina King, Nick Kroll, Tom Kenny and Maria Bamford. It's a common strategy of television shows to bring together two or more cast

members from previous successful series and call it a "reunion." I've seen Lost In Space reunions on Babylon 5 and Dukes of Hazzard reunions on Smallville. Arrested Development has its own cult following, which I do not count myself among. I enjoyed episodes of the show, but don't go out of my way to see it or own it on DVD. However, given AD's following, it may mean more viewers for Sit Down, Shut Up. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: TV Royalty, Daytime, Game Show, Reality-Free If anyone thought Bob Barker was going to miss being on stage at The Price is Right, then they'd be wrong. At least if you listen to Bob; he not only thinks he left "at just the right time," but is keeping himself extremely busy. Barker spoke to the Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram recently, and he explained that "I enjoyed the show right up to the last minute of the last show. But, I don't miss it so much that I want to go back and do it again. I think I'm going to be very happy in retirement." He's currently working with various animal-rights organizations and is writing an autobiography, which he expects to be out late this year (ah, the publishing world moves quickly when they have to, know what I mean?). Continue reading Bob Barker is enjoying his retirement, thinks Carey is doing a good job Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Nielsen ratings for the week ending April 13
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:07:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Programming, Ratings, Reality-Free Here are the weekly ratings, by number of viewers.

American Idol gets three spots this week. You know what FOX should do? Just spread out Idol over seven nights. Why not? Some episodes wouldn't be as highlyrated as others, but you know fans would tune in. They can have four performance shows and three results shows. Ryan

Seacrest can drag out the results over a few nights. This will make sure that Idol takes

up seven spots in the weekly top 20 and also make sure the shows that follow all get high ratings too. 1. American Idol- Tue (FOX) 2. American Idol- Thurs (FOX) 3. CSI(CBS) Continue reading Nielsen ratings for the

week ending April 13 Permalink| Email this| | Comments


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Super Skank Wednesday: Ambre, the superior skank & A tribute to Thing 2
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:38:00 AM

Horror Remake Machine to Visit 'Sorority Row'? (Seriously?)
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:32:00 AM

Shyamalan's 'Airbender' Gets 2010 Release Date
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:46:00 AM

Filed under: Other Reality Shows, OpEd, Celebrities, Episode Reviews Welcome to Super Skank Wednesday. This is where I celebrate the awesomely skanky people on the following shows: Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, I Love New York, (or whatever show Tiffany Pollard is making next), The Surreal Life, and Charm School. Basically, I'll discuss the skankalicious shows that make VH1 the network it is today. After the jump, I'll be discussing the finale of Rock of Love 2(oh how bittersweet it was) and Bret's past finalists. I'll also be paying tribute to Thing 2 who left the Flavor of Love house in the most tearful elimination I have ever witnessed

on that show. Continue reading Super Skank Wednesday: Ambre, the superior skank & A tribute to Thing 2 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

DreamWorks Grabs 'Atlantis Rising'
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Deals, Newsstand, Dreamworks, Comic/Superhero/Geek I have to concur with the reader on Superhero Hype when he/she said "Yet more comics I've never heard of." Indeed. According to The Hollywood Reporter, DreamWorks has

just optioned Platinum Comics' Atlantis Rising five-part series to develop into a live action movie. The series takes a different approach than the usual "lost city of vast mythological wealth." Instead, seismic disturbances at sea force the military to investigate the deepest realm of the ocean,

Filed under: Horror, Remakes and Sequels OK, this is now moving beyond ridiculous and venturing somewheres towards Planet Absurd. Obviously I can see the creative / financial appeal in remaking something like Halloween, Dawn of the Dead or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. On the creative side you get to play around with one of the grand-daddies of the horror genre ... and hopefully you've got something new to add to the mix. On the financial side, remakes with semifamiliar titles like Prom Night, When a Stranger Calls, The Fog and The Hitcher are a quick way to turn a relatively easy dollar. But a few of these remakes just boggle my mind. It's not a half-bad remake, but someone actually made another version of The Toolbox Murders a few years back. I guess I'm just surprised to learn that someone else besides me actually remembers movies like The Toolbox Murders, The Wizard of Gore, and The House on Sorority Row... and not only remembers 'em, but wants to remake 'em! Yes, the latest wacky word from the horror sites (beginning at Fangoria, I believe) is that the justifiably obscure 1983 slasher flick The House on Sorority Row is the next flick to be tossed into the remake

mill. Written and directed by Mark Rosman(who ultimately went on to direct a lot of Hilary Duff stuff), HOSR is about a bunch of college girls who get slashed up after they cover up an accidental death. Surely a plot like this simply screams for a remake. According to Fango (and a website called TrackingB.com), the screenwriting team of Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger are on the job. They just finished writing the Piranha remake for Dimension, so I assume they'll soon be remaking Spasms, Humongous, and The Final Terror. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Paramount, Family Films, Newsstand, Comic/Superhero/Geek M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender now has a release date, according to Variety. Fans of the popular Nickelodeon series can circle their calenders for July 2nd, 2010 -- and start complaining about the title change. In order to avoid confusion with James Cameron' s Avatar, the film will now simply be titled The Last Airbender. The anime series follows a young hero who has the ability to manipulate the elements, and who must stop a ruthless nation from crushing everything in its path. It is heavily influenced by anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, which Shyamalan says was the big appeal of the project. "In The Last Airbender, I see an opportunity to make a live-action version of a Miyazaki film," Shyamalan said. He is penning the script himself, which may give fans a pause. There's been talk that an adaptation is just what Shyamalan needs to get his storytelling focus back on track -- but if he's doing the writing, there's no telling where this could go. Continue reading Shyamalan's 'Airbender' Gets 2010 Release Date Permalink| Email this| Comments

Indiana Jones and the Epic Running Time
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:32:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Classics, Thrillers, Paramount, RumorMonger, Newsstand, Steven Spielberg, Remakes and Sequels As the release date for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull draws near, the worried rumblings begin. First, there's insider talk that Indiana Jones is only going to screen for the press a day or two

before its premiere. To quote CHUD's Devin Faraci, "I was told a long time ago when the movie was still filming - to not expect to see Crystal Skull until maybe a day or two before domestic release. According to some insiders, this policy was a smart one, as the movie may not have turned out to be what people in the industry call 'good.' I'm hoping for the best, of course." Aren't we all. This is being whispered elsewhere, so don't shoot

this messenger or Faraci. Second, Crystal Skull is going to have a

run time of rather epic proportions. Jeff Wells reports that the final cut runs two hours and twenty odd minutes, longer than any previous Indy installment. There was a great deal of groaning last summer over needlessly long blockbusters -- I rather think Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was the most guilty. There are some movies that scream for 2+ hours, like anything with hobbits or scantily clad Spartans (ok, that one is just me) but there

are others that are just fine clocking in at 90 minutes or so. That's where Indiana Jones belongs -- he's the man who never overstays his welcome and makes a graceful exit, leaving you wanting more. Don't read too much into that. Continue reading Indiana Jones and the Epic Running Time Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Mike White Sees 'The Glory of it All'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 12:32:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Deals, Scripts, Miramax Thanks to the wonderful Whit Stillman, we've gotten lots of elite Manhattanites in the eighties. Younger folks have acted like 40-year-olds in Metropolitan, and young yuppies have pulled the last little bits of dancing wonder from The Last Days of Disco. But now the whole rich eighties scene is switching coasts and coming from the hands of Mike White. The Hollywood Reporter has posted that Scott Rudin and Miramax are bringing Sean Wilsey's high-society memoir called Oh the Glory of it All to the big screen, with Mike White signed on to produce and adapt it. Glory focuses on Wilsey's strange youth in San Francisco during the 1980s, tracking "his journey from dubious role models to a tour of boarding schools and an Italian 'therapeutic community.'" His father was a strict and distant man who drove Wilsey to rebellion, a man who divorced Wilsey's mother to marry her best friend. His mother, meanwhile, was the belle of the social scene, a woman who entertained everyone from movie stars to Black Panthers and inspired a character in

Interview: Jason Kohn, Director of 'Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)'
Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. But she also proved to be devoid of certain motherly traits, like, say, keeping her son safe -- she attempted to convince him to commit suicide with her. Obviously, this is retro dysfunction at its finest, one that could make for a very funny movie in the hands of White, as long as there are actors to pull it off well. So, who would you cast? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Finally! The Farrelly Bros. Get Behind That Redneck Action-Adventure!
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 1:32:00 PM

By Kim Voynar (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 1:02:00 PM

Filed under: Documentary, Interviews, Cinematical Indie Manda Bala(Send a Bullet), directed and produced by Jason Kohn, is a richly painted, riveting documentary weaving together threads of political corruption and disparity of wealth distribution in Brazil, frog farms, kidnappings in Sao Paulo, reconstructive ear surgery, and the growth of the personal security business in Brazil. If all this sounds like a lot to meld together into one coherent tale, it is, but Kohn proves himself more than up to the task. Cinematical spoke to Kohn by phone recently about Manda Bala, which has received numerous awards on the fest circuit over the past year, and recently won three awards at the inaugural Cinema Eye

Awards. Cinematical: I read that at the Cinema Eye Awards, in your acceptance speech you talked about this film being made out of anger; can you talk a bit more about that? Jason Kohn: Really that came out of my sense of frustration at the state of contemporary documentary films, at least at the time when I started making the film. There was a lot of talk going on about the democratization of docs, how it's cheaper to make them with new technologies, and I thought that was mostly bullshit. This idea that people on the marginalized fringes of society now have access to these technologies - it's just not true. Continue reading Interview: Jason Kohn, Director of 'Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)' Permalink| Email this| Comments

Stan Lee Launches Another Superhero Franchise
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:32:00 AM

Filed under: Animation, Deals, Newsstand, Comic/Superhero/Geek Stan Lee is one of the busiest guys in the world. He has to be. He's just involved in everything, and still manages to cameo in any Marvel movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee is now paring up with Brighton Partners and Rainmaker Entertainment to launch Legion of 5, a new

superhero property. Legion of 5 is being planned as a series of CG animated films, but will be expanded to include games, online and mobile releases. Basically, wherever you go, there will be something Legion of 5. It could be ... like air! Details of the storyline and the characters are all being kept under wraps. There isn't expected to be any kind of further announcement at New York Comic Con, where Lee is receiving the New York

Comics Legend award. It is so hard to make any judgment call

on these projects when there's so little to go on. There's always part of me that wonders if these deals will actually come to anything, or if the $24 million being raised by all partners will just be spent on failed design concepts. Plus, anything with CG that isn't Pixar does little to excite me - for some reason, I'm just seeing a superhero version of Space Chimps. I think I'm drinking too much caffeine these days. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Deals, Newsstand It's been quite some time since the Farrelly Bros. have given us a gem like There's Something About Mary, Kingpin or Dumb and Dumber. Big-screen comedy trends seem to be changing; moving away from the random gross-out gags and more toward the random pop-culture references. But that won't stop Bobby and Peter Farrelly from navigating toward material they're familiar with -- and Variety tells us their latest comes from a script written by Mike Arnold and Chris Poole. It's called Beaujolais. Yup. I don't know what it means; Wiki says it's a wine. Anyway, the Farrelly boys are going to produce with an eye on possibly directing. Variety describes Beaujolais as a "redneck action-adventure with a protagonist along the lines of Austin Powers or Ace Ventura." So basically it's Larry the Cable guy with a few more catchphrases. Danny McBride is currently in talks to star; he's popped up in films like The Heartbreak Kid and Hot Rod, with upcoming roles in Land of the Lost and Tropic Thunder. Do you think Peter and Bobby Farrelly still have a comedy classic left inside them? Or has their type of humor simply taken a long walk off a short pier? (Man, would I love to see another Outside Providence from these boys ...) Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Horror Flick Gets Tossed From Oklahoma Film Festival For Scary Marketing
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Horror, Independent, Celebrities and Controversy Prior to an hour ago, I had no idea what kind of behavior could get your film tossed out of Muskogee's Bare Bones International Independent Film and Music Festival... but now I do. According to news sources out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the independent horror film A Beautiful Day was scheduled to play the festival, but the filmmakers have been asked to take their celluloid and go home. Why? Cuz the "little guys" thought they could borrow some of that viral marketing from the big boys, that's why... Apparently the guys put together a very vague trailer for their film's festival screening -- and it was so damn vague it was mistaken for a possible terrorist threat! The trailer never lets on that it's a ... movie trailer, plus it had some creepy voice-over that went a little like this: "People of Muskogee. Open your eyes. April 25th is a day you'll come to remember." Yikes. Given the current state of affairs in

Ashlee Simpson Might Really be Pregnant
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:08:16 AM

American high schools, it's no surprise that school officials caught wind of the clip and brought it to the awareness of various authorities. Continue reading Horror Flick Gets Tossed From Oklahoma Film Festival For Scary Marketing Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Cinematical Seven: Films with Hilarious Nudity
By Eric D. Snider (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Cinematical Seven One of the scenes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall that people will be talking about over the virtual water cooler next week is the one that involves Jason Segel doing full frontal nudity. Yes, he lets it all hang out, and what's admirable is that he does it purely for the sake of a joke. That takes courage! That takes guts! That takes ... well, you know. This isn't the first film to use nudity for laughs, of course. Comical naughty bits

have a rich history in Hollywood. Here are seven movies with hilarious nudity. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan What's funnier than a naked dude? A naked FAT dude. And what's funnier than a naked fat dude? A naked fat dude wrestling a naked skinny dude in a hotel room, and a hotel hallway, and a hotel elevator, etc., etc. Continue reading Cinematical Seven: Films with Hilarious Nudity Permalink| Email this| Comments

DREAMWORKS continued from page 24
and an underground civilization emerges to wage war with Earth. "The comic brings a fresh, techno-thriller approach to a story that holds all the tenets of a classic us-vs.them alien invasion movie," says DreamWorks Alex Kurtzman, who is producing the project. Platinum Comics' CEO, Mitchell Rosenberg, says the project echoes "the global debate on our impact to the environment." That's becoming the new buzz phrase -- I think I first heard it with the Dune remake, and it just keeps coming back. If you're interested in checking out the series, Drunk Duck has three issues up to read free of charge. I have to confess, I only got about halfway through the first one and it didn't grab my interest. But maybe I am just not in the mood. Let me know if I need to go back for a second look and read up to issue three. I don't think I have ever seen a good story centered around Atlantis, though. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Finally a news source we are inclined to believe, PEOPLE, is reporting that Ashlee Simpson is not only pregnant, but getting married in May. The source even said the wedding will be held at a friend’s house in La Jolla, California, which is up the hill from San Diego. There’s even a Walmart nearby, so they can order a cheap cake. Earlier today Ashlee denied her pregnancy saying, "Some things you want to keep personal." The whole video of Ashlee pregnant was just a smoke screen so we wouldn’t know she really is. Ashlee passed up a $4 million dollar offer to pose for Playboy, so she must be holding out on the pregnancy news to score a big pay check with baby pictures. Very sneaky. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Ashlee Simpson Denies Pregnancy • Pete Wentz Denies Ashlee Simpson Is Pregnant • Ashlee Simpson is Pregnant • Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson Are Getting Married • Ashlee Simpson Bittersweet Album

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Welcome to the Daily Fix’s 2008 Seasonlong Baseball Contest
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/8/2008 5:28:00 PM

(If you’re looking for today’s Daily Fix column, it’s here.) 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 WELCOME page 28


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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 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 WELCOME page 29

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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 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. WELCOME page 30


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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, 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: WELCOME page 31

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WELCOME continued from page 30
$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 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.



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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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Poulter Upstages Woods in Masters Opener Like No Other
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/11/2008 12:33:00 PM

Your guest Fixer is David Roth: Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Say there’s some sort of institution that you have, in the past, not merely admired but actually enjoyed. Thanksgiving, let’s say. Only this year, starting around Halloween, you start seeing commercials for Thanksgiving on television. “Thanksgiving: A Tradition Like No Other,” a voice intones, as a series of artfully composed close-ups are intercut with images of smiling white guys. There’s no real reason to be advertising Thanksgiving — it’s Thanksgiving, after all — but the commercials work. Soon, whenever someone says the word “Thanksgiving,” the phrase “a tradition like no other” is spilling from your lips. It’s a bummer. Ian Poulter finally is known for something other than brash comments about Tiger Woods. (Associated Press Photo) And so, in its way, is the pomp-intensive promotion by CBS and ESPN of the Masters, a legitimately iconic if recently overhyped golf tradition which began Thursday with some pretty good golf. Justin Rose and Trevor Immelman sit atop the field at four under par, but the story of the day was Ian Poulter, who finished the day two strokes off the lead, in large part thanks to a hole-in-one eagle on the parthree 16th. Before that memorable eightiron, Mr. Poulter was best known for his glib good humor, New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden writes. In 2007, Mr. Poulter “told Golf World magazine that he hadn’t yet played to his full potential, ‘and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger.’ Until Thursday, Poulter had not been able to live down the comments, although…his ace at No. 16 got everyone’s attention. Maybe even Tiger’s. Poulter, an Englishman, called the subsequent sensation the greatest

adrenaline rush he had ever experienced. ‘It was a great buzz,’ he said. ‘Massive. Unbelievable buzz.’ ” The majority of the buzz, of course, has accrued to Tiger Woods, who shot even par on Day One, and is the overwhelming favorite to win the Masters and an eventual PGA Grand Slam. The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell has the actual odds on Woods’ win — “London bookmakers have Woods as an 11-to-8 underdog against the field” — as well as some other stuff about how great Woods is. “Woods wins more often, by larger margins and with a more complete game in his era than [Jack] Nicklaus did in his,” Mr. Boswell writes. “But let’s not pretend Woods has won this Masters, much less the Grand Slam, when the first of the four major events has barely begun. Woods is better than anybody, by a lot, but he’s no better than everybody put together. What we’re watching here — Woods vs. the world — is fabulous drama, a fair fight (93 against one), not a foregone conclusion.” To the Fix’s mind — and to that of Tim Carroll, our resident golf guru — Mr. Boswell is right. But considering that Woods is facing a field of competitors that’s colorless even by PGA standards — and that he’s won 10 of the last 20 PGA events he’s entered — it’s probably no surprise how much Masters coverage has been centered on him. That’s not justification for ESPN’s Bob Harig parsing Woods’s every shot and speculating over “butterflies floating beneath those six-pack abs” — click here if that sounds good to you — in what was supposed to be coverage of the first day. But it is understandable. 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.

Less comprehensible is Bill Plaschke’s Los Angeles Times column today. Maybe it’s Mr. Plaschke’s frequent shouting-head appearances on ESPN — or the smirking author photo atop his column — but the Fix doubts that Mr. Plaschke even believes what he writes half the time. Even for one who manufactures outrage so well, though, Mr. Plaschke is particularly goofy today in his argument that the field is “kissing up to Tiger.” “Have you ever heard anything like it?” Mr. Plaschke fumes. “In a sports world whose very pulse is pumped by the heartbeat of competition, would this happen anywhere else? Tiger Woods showed up here this week reiterating his understandable belief that he can win this summer’s golf Grand Slam. “Then his opponents — exasperated gasp — agreed with him. ‘He has already won four majors in a row, so it’s not an impossible feat,’ Phil Mickelson said this week. ‘I think it’s doable.’ Doable? Lefty, are you that dork-able? You’re Woods’ biggest rival, yet you’re going to concede him the entire World Series even before the season’s first pitch?” Somebody award that man some “Around the Horn” points! Mr. Plaschke’s bluster aside, a broader media trend towards celebrity is just one reason so much Masters coverage has fixated on Woods (the other is that he’s really, really good). Still, his dominance presents a challenge not just for sportswriters and his fellow

tour players, but for Woods himself. “Throughout Tiger’s career, golf pundits have opined that, great as he is, the absence of a foil like Arnie or Jack will hinder the reckoning of Tiger’s legend,” Slate’s Dave Larzelere writes. “This is an alluring idea, but it’s got Tiger and golf all wrong. Going by the Arnie-and-Jack index, it’s hard to imagine what this absent adversary could add to Tiger’s narrative, because Tiger himself is the entire equation. As the most charismatic and marketable golfer who’s ever lived, he is the clear heir to Palmer, the sport’s first great salesman-idol. And, of course, he is the only credible heir to Nicklaus, simply because he’s so overwhelmingly and consistently dominant. In the end, the yinand-yang theory falls apart when it comes to golf. The best golfers play the course and not the man.” *** The tight playoff race in the NBA’s Western Conference is starting to shake out as the regular season enters its final days. After some recent struggles, the Mavericks have gotten back on track and clinched the seventh playoff spot in the West last night with a dramatic 97-94 win over the Utah Jazz. The final spot will go to either the Denver Nuggets or Golden State Warriors, a pair of fun-to-watch teams that faced off in Oakland last night, with Denver scoring a dramatic 114-105 win. “Just as the crazy season, this tortuous playoff run and the Nuggets as we know them were on the verge of fading to black,” Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla writes, “A.I. came to their emotional rescue. Using every basketball move that has made him famous, from a twisting reverse layup to his trademark pull -up jumper and a step-back 12-foot shot that ripped the nets, Iverson led a desperately beautiful 21-1 run by the Nuggets that opened the second quarter. It forever changed the tone of a game that put them in the driver’s seat for the eighth and

final playoff spot in the Western Conference.” And then there’s the Eastern Conference, where the Atlanta Hawks (36-42) hold a two-game lead on the Indiana Pacers (3444) with four games remaining, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley isn’t ready to forget his hometown franchise’s broader futility. “Of nine [straight] losing seasons, this is by far the best,” Mr. Bradley writes. “The Hawks have changed ownership and management and coaches and have had seven lottery picks over those nine seasons and have finally swung a trade for their long-sought point guard, and still they’re south of mediocrity. They’ve made progress, yes, but does progress get any more glacial than this?” *** Finally, to the world of NCAA hockey. No, seriously. After scoring a 5-4 upset over Michigan last night, Notre Dame became the first No. 4 seed ever to make it to the NCAA championship game. That’s a nice story in itself, but the story of Notre Dame defenseman Christian Hanson is even better. His last name is familiar to fans of the ultra-profane cult hockey flick “Slap Shot,” in which his father, Dave Hanson, played one of the fighting Hanson brothers. The Fix recommends two entertaining pieces on the younger Mr. Hanson and the role that his father’s only movie role has played in his life: Brian Hamilton’s article in the Chicago Tribune and Allison Hayes’s piece at the Notre Dame football fansite Blue and Gold. – Tip of the Fix cap to readers Gerard Cosloy and 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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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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Sports* Gossip


Is Upshaw Facing Challenge to His Reign?
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/10/2008 12:30:00 PM

Your guest Fixer is David Roth: Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover is an unlikely labor radical. Mr. Stover, the Ravens player representative to the NFL Players Union, is an 18-year veteran best known for being one of the most devout Christians in the already-pretty-darndevout NFL and for having spent his entire career with the Browns/Ravens. Nevertheless, this mildest of NFL figures found himself cast as an insurgent on Wednesday, when an email he wrote to other reps urging an end to NFLPA head Gene Upshaws 25-year tenure was leaked to ESPNs Chris Mortensen. Is Gene Upshaw facing rebellion? (Associated Press Photo) Content-wise, its not a terribly scandalous email, unless youre the sort who gets outraged by a veteran kicker urging his unions executive committee to use Board Designated Funds to hire an outside consultant, Executive Head Hunter or Search Firm to aid in the collection of candidates from both the outside and within the NFL world. (OK, maybe the syntax at the end of that last sentence is a bit scandalous.) It seemed even less so later that day after Mr. Stover wrote a second email— this time sent to Mr. Mortensen directly — denying it was his intention to oust the ultra-entrenched union president and claiming he was only trying to deal with the inevitability of the end of Genes tenure. Whatever Mr. Stovers intention, this is the closest Mr. Upshaw has come to an internal challenge to his authority. Upshaw confirmed that hints of a movement ultimately to change the union leadership were in play at the March [NFLPA] meetings in Maui, Mr. Mortensen writes. An effort by one coalition of players to get Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins elected as the new NFLPA president fell

short. Mr. Dawkins is seen as representing a faction that seeks to replace Mr. Upshaw with former Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent, whom Mr. Mortensen describes as a political force within the ranks of the players [who] desires to replace Upshaw one day. 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. All that would be so much internal wrangling, were it not for the controversy surrounding Mr. Upshaws last few years as NFLPA head. While the NFL is awash in profits and the average players salary rose to $1.2 million in 2007, increasing awareness of the plight of broken-down NFL retirees — Paul Solatoroffs 2007 article in Mens Journal is a good primer on this issue — has led to tons of bad publicity for the NFLPAs pension and health-benefits programs. In response to increasingly intense criticism from both active and retired players (as well as NFL Network employee Bryant Gumbel), Mr. Upshaw a Hall of Fame offensive lineman has delivered himself of some impressively tone-deaf comments, most memorably when he expressed his wish to break [the] goddamn neck of fellow Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, a particularly vocal critic among retired players. Mr. Upshaw wasnt notably more circumspect in his response to Mr. Stovers email. Critics of the Hall of Famer have said he runs the union in a dictatorial fashion, the Baltimore Suns Don Markus writes. [And] Upshaw doesnt express much regard for Stover. Matt Stover has no clue, Upshaw told ESPN. Whoever is pulling his chain is doing a disservice to the union. But Mr. Upshaw is a significantly more

complex figure than the caricature of bitter, snarling dominance painted by well, his own quotes. Gary Smiths long article about the NFLPA president appeared in Sports Illustrated in late January, but it remains the best thing the Fix has read about Mr. Upshaw, touching on everything from his harrowingly belt-reliant father to his tendency to do plumbing repairs around the NFLPA offices. Of course, it also details Mr. Upshaws failings in dealing with a unique labor force, 78% of whose members would be divorced, bankrupt or unemployed two years after their jobs — often because of injuries — had been terminated. Another executive might have anticipated the trap the [retired players] were setting: the feelings trap, Mr. Smith writes. Another executive, early in the crisis, would have called a news conference and issued press releases assuring everyone how much his heart went out to those suffering and how hard he was working behind the scenes to improve their lot. But Upshaw’s catalog of emotional experience did not contain that page.” “You dont say to Gene, I deserve this or I demand this. That’s the worst thing you can do. He decides when to give it out, Mr. Upshaws friend Neil Grasso told Mr. Smith. If these retired guys just did this behind closed doors, theyd get much more of what they want He loves to give. Hes incredibly generous. But you dont question

him. You dont challenge him. It is a little late for that, but Mr. Upshaw and the NFLPA face another, morepressing challenge: an NFL collective bargaining agreement that expires in 2010, the same year as Mr. Upshaws six-year, $24 million contract. I normally hate writing about labor and things like looming strikes, Sports Illustrateds Peter King writes, before going on to write about what would happen if either the NFLPA or owners backed out of the current CBA and failed to agree on a new contract. What would happen? A 2010 season played without a salary cap — its less friendly both to players and successful, deep-pocketed teams than youd think — among other things. In 2011 and beyond? Mr. King writes. Murky times. The union could disband and try to rewrite the rules of engagement with the NFL, as it did in the 80s to try to break a labor stalemate. The league could try to unilaterally adopt bargaining terms. There could be a strike. Still, King believes that the NFLPA and owners will work things out. That season is three-and-a-half years away, and to think the two sides couldnt figure out some way to divvy up $8 billion or $9 billion a year…There’s a better chance of Brett Favre quarterbacking the Bears this year. *** The Masters: maybe youve heard about it? The golf tournament with the green jacket begins today and will be discussed more extensively in tomorrows Fix, but the annual Par 3 Contest, which takes place at the 1,066-yard par-three course next to Augusta National, had its moment in the sun on Wednesday. It was the 49th year in which the contest has been played, and the first time in which it was shown on live television. Those with some time in the afternoon your substitute Fixer, for instance got the chance to watch a parade of legendary players (one threesome was comprised of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold

Palmer) get their lob-wedge on before an appreciative crowd, often with their kids or grandchildren acting as caddies. It was all kind of cute, in a benignly plutocratic, insanely-good-at-golf way. Many first-time visitors to the course don’t even know the Par 3 exists, ESPNs Bob Harig writes. From the clubhouse looking out onto the main course, the Par 3 is located to the left, behind a series of cabins where the members often stayWhen you walk through the hedges and past the cabins there and you see that green the size of your dinner table and youre hitting a wedge and there are 20,000 people surrounding the hole, it can be pretty disconcerting, former PGA Tour player Jay Haas told Harig. Its a good warm-up for the tournament. Rory Sabbatini won this years Par 3; no player has ever won the Par 3 Contest and the Masters in the same year, which is no doubt a relief to Tiger Woods. While the Fix is talking golf, our guru Tim Carroll has his pick for who’ll wind up wearing the green jacket. *** And then theres the Olympic Torch, which made a brief, clandestine, predictably contentious stop on U.S. soil in San Francisco. Sports Illustrateds Frank Deford, who was sticking it to the IOC before the Fix knew how to do long division, isnt surprised. And to tell you the truth, he writes, I think the Olympics are yesterday’s party. Once upon a time before globalism and jet airplanes and cyberspace bringing athletes together quadrennially in one place might have made sense. Today, its an unnecessary excess. 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.

David Cook Performs for his Sick Brother
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:45:23 AM

The American Idol judges gave David Cook high marks for his performance of Always Be My Baby. Randy gave him a

standing ovation, and even Simon said David is ready for a recording contract. David Cook may just win American Idol. Tonight Cook’s brother, who is dying from brain cancer, was able to be in the audience to see his brother perform.

During a commercial break, David walked down to hug his brother Adam in his seat. All three judges, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, also hugged Adam. n Is David Cook Only Getting the

Sympathy Vote? • No • Yes View Results © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts:

• American Idol is Going Postal • Teri Hatcher to Sing on American Idol • Ashley Feri is Back • David Cook Rushed to the Hospital • Amanda Overmyer Without Clothes



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Fans, Former Owner Fight to Keep Sonics in Seattle
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/15/2008 12:42:00 PM

There are flickers of hoops hope in Seattle. On Sunday, in the Sonics’ last home game this season and perhaps in franchise history, the young club upset the Dallas Mavericks, 99-95. And on Monday, former club owner Howard Schultz, better known as Starbucks’ chairman and chief executive, said he was prepared to sue to get the team back from an ownership group that plans to move Kevin Durant and Co. to Oklahoma City. Sonics fans hoped for a reprieve at the home finale. (Reuters Photo) A week ago, Mr. Schultz begged off questions about the Sonics at a press event for his coffee company, Jayda Evans reports in the Seattle Times. The potential lawsuit, based in part on a Times account of emails by the new owners openly talking about moving the team, despite their agreement to a stipulation when buying the team that they’d try to keep it in place, appears unlikely to succeed, Times columnist Jerry Brewer warns. “Ultimately, this effort only figures to get Schultz a considerable legal-fees tab and a heap of disappointment,” Mr. Brewer writes. “Nevertheless, he has given the city an even stronger case to keep the Sonics in their KeyArena lease through 2010.” ( Contrary to what the Fix wrote earlier, Mr. Schultz hasn’t sued yet, but said he’s prepared to do so.) The team made an emotional case Sunday, but fans responded with more sadness than celebration, Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen writes: “What had been won, really? A victory in their worst season on the court; a meaningless evening amid the bigger scheme.” Gary Payton, who led the Sonics to the playoffs 10 times in his 13 seasons, was in attendance Sunday. “He signed autographs, posed for pictures and for a few minutes made everyone forget about this miserable season, as if it was 1996 again,” Percy Allen writes in the Times.

Memories of bygone franchises can be painful. On the occasion of the debut of arena football’s Iowa Barnstormers, Part III, Des Moines Register columnist Sean Keeler wonders if fans will risk a third disappointment. Of course, for every jilted city there’s a fan base eager to embrace a new franchise. On the 50th anniversary of the baseball Giants’ West Coast debut, Lewis Abraham Leade recalls in the San Francisco Chronicle how “San Franciscans greeted their Giants with an outpouring of gracious and grateful glee.” *** The NBA playoff slate is set, but the postseason doesn’t begin for four days. So for now, the Fix will stick with other teams that will be watching from home. The 48-33 Golden State Warriors have won more games than any team in the franchise’s previous 13 seasons — including last year, when the Warriors won 42 regular-season games and added five playoff wins. They’ve also won more games than any non-playoff team in the NBA’s last 25 years. These are small consolations for a Warriors season that flamed out in dramatic and bizarre fashion Monday night, with Baron Davis sitting on the bench during the entire second half of a 122-116 loss to the Phoenix Suns that eliminated Golden State from the playoffs. “In his absence, the Warriors met their season’s end with tributes of all that had gone right, all that had been accomplished and ultimately, all that was not meant to be,” Janny Hu writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. Like the Warriors, the 40-win Portland Trail Blazers would have made the playoffs had they sported their .500 record in the East. Instead Portland has had several weeks to look ahead to next year, and management started by cutting ties with Darius Miles. The Oregonian’s John Canzano says the disastrous $48 million Miles signing should impart a lesson: “The entire body of an athlete’s work, not just a couple of inspired months at the end of an expiring contract, or promises made in

training camp, should be considered when handing out guaranteed contracts.” In New York, where the Knicks’ coach and former president has made several trades on par with the Miles fiasco, New York Times beat reporter Howard Beck makes good use of what may be one of his last opportunities to kick Isiah Thomas around. “The Knicks thanked their fans — their irrationally loyal, perpetually tormented fans — with free hot dogs, popcorn, pizza and pretzels Monday at Madison Square Garden,” Mr. Beck writes. “They called it fan appreciation night, although the fans surely would have traded the food for a higher-ticket item, namely the termination of Isiah Thomas.” The Miami Heat have nine fewer wins than the Knicks, yet among moribund South Florida pro teams, they may have the best chance to turn things around quickly, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde writes(clearly not putting much stock in the Marlins’ 7-5 start). ***

Detroit sports teams giveth, Detroit sports teams taketh away. Right around the time the preseason favorite Detroit Tigers showed some life at home by coming back to beat the Minnesota Twins, 11-9, and improve to a majors-worst 3-10, the Red Wings were blowing a 3-2 lead in the third game of their NHL first-round playoff series in Nashville. The lead vanished in nine of the game’s final 240 seconds as the Predators scored two goals and went on to win, 3-2, and narrow Detroit’s series lead to 2-1. “The Wings do not sound terribly worried, but they are concerned about at least one thing,” Michael Rosenberg writes in the Detroit Free Press. “Earlier in the game, Nashville scored two goals barely two minutes apart. In Saturday’s game, the Predators scored two goals 11 seconds apart. Astute readers will notice a trend here.” The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t falter in their bid to take a 3-0 series lead over the Ottawa Senators. In the Pittsburgh PostGazette, Ron Cook credits 23-year-old goalie Marc-André Fleury. “Much was made before the series of how much the Penguins have grown and matured since their quick playoff exit against the Senators last spring,” Mr. Cook writes. “It seems obvious now that no one grew and matured more than Fleury.” *** The New York Yankees spent $30,000 to drill for a David Ortiz jersey buried in the cement that will form the foundation for their new stadium. They may spend more money on this story, if they’re serious about suing the Red Sox-loyal construction worker behind the prank. In reacting seriously to this story (which, by the way, graced the cover of the Journal’s corporate cousin, the New York Post, on Friday, Saturday and Monday), the 26-time world champions “have embraced irrational thought as their own, using Derek Jeter’s lighthearted concerns as their alibi, their beacon of reason,” Filip Bondy writes in the New York Daily News. “This

supposedly aristocratic, staid franchise has leaped into a realm normally populated by voodoo dolls, séances, astrologers and rabbits’ feet.” The Yanks might want to take a cue from two columns urging fans of the two-time world champion Chicago Cubs not to get bogged down in irrational thoughts about past failures. Chicago Tribune columnist Fred Mitchell, inspired by Bill Buckner’s Boston homecoming, says Cubs fans should forgive Leon Durham for a costly error in the 1984 NLCS. And Chris De Luca argues in the Chicago Sun-Times that Dusty Baker deserves no blame for the Cubs’ unraveling in the 2003 NLCS. (Mr. Baker does have other baseball transgressions to answer for, however.) *** Tommy Holmes, a beloved All-Star second baseman outfielder for the Boston Braves for 10 years starting in 1942, died Monday at age 91. In addition to a remarkable 1945 season in which he hit safely in 37 straight games, Mr. Holmes left behind a charitable legacy. “He was also instrumental in helping the Braves initiate the Jimmy Fund in 1948,” Marvin Pave writes in the Boston Globe. “He was one of several players, along with manager Billy Southworth, whose visit to a young cancer patient known as ‘Jimmy’ (real name Carl Einar Gustafson) at Children’s Hospital was nationally broadcast on radio. The Braves’ efforts helped raise $200,000 that year.” – Tip of the Fix cap to readers Michelle Alessandri and Don Hartline for link suggestions, and to Michael McConnell and Ed Onanian for error-spotting. 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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Sports* Gossip


Immelman (Not Woods) Gets Green Jacket
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/14/2008 12:26:00 PM

Your guest Fixer is David Roth: The Fix was surprised, too: There were people other than Tiger Woods in the Masters? Why weren’t we told? As it turned out, Tiger Woods — still the greatest golfer of his generation by a country mile, if you were wondering — wound up a fairly distant second at this years Masters, won by South Africa’s Trevor Immelman. And so we see the regrettable downside of Tiger vs. the Field, writes Dan Shanoff in the Sporting News. When Tiger wins, its all good. And when he doesnt? It’s The Meh-sters. Sorry Tiger: The jacket is Trevor’s. (Associated Press Photo) Presumably Mr. Immelman was more enthused: After grabbing a share of the lead on Day One, he never relinquished it, and shot a three-over 75 on the windy final day the highest final-round mark for a Masters winner in 36 years to finish three strokes ahead of Tiger. As he took the champions walk up the 18th fairway, bathed in shafts of soft light shining through the Georgia pines, Immelman smiled, waved and fought to keep his emotions in check, the New York Times Larry Dorman writes. Nearly four months ago, he was in a hospital awaiting the results of a biopsy on a tumor. It was benign. He has a seven-inch scar on his back as a reminder of what could have been. After parring the last hole for a total of 8-under-par 280, he wore a huge smile as a reminder of what is. Another thing Mr. Immelmans win was: surprising. Hed missed the cut in a Tour event in Houston just last week, and had won only one PGA Tour event since turning pro in 1999. Still, by avoiding the putting errors that dogged Woods (and the general meltdown of third-place finisher Brandt Snedeker, who shot 77 on the final day), Mr. Immelman became the second South African ever to win the Masters. And that was thanks in part to support from the first, Gary Player. By way of context, the Chicago Tribunes Ed Sherman explains that Player is revered in South Africa, the highest order of sports royalty. To be a young golfer and have Player advising you in that country is akin

to a basketball prodigy in Chicago being guided by Michael Jordan. Mr. Immelman, for his part, calls Mr. Player another father. Player recognized Immelmans passion when he picked up a then-5-year-old Immelman, his front teeth missing, in his arms and posed for a picture, the San Diego Union-Tribunes Ed Zieralski writes. Player is Immelmans biggest fan and, when needed, his most stern taskmaster. He left Immelman a voice mail Saturday night that touched the heart and soul of his countryman, inspired him. It gave me goose bumps, Immelman said. He told me he believed in me and I needed to believe in myself. And he told me to keep my head a little quieter when I putt. He said I was peeking too soon. One thing that hasnt peaked: golf commentators inimitable ability to lodge their feet in their esophagi. One of the least -surprising, most-unfortunate consequences of the decision to tender special invitations to star players from India, Thailand and China was CBS announcer and former PGA player Bobby Clampett referring to Chinas Liang-Wen Chong as the Chinaman. Mr. Clampett later issued one of those heavily conditional non-apology apologies favored by sports figures, leading Michael David Smith of AOL Fanhouse to note that the style of apology that begins with if I offended anybody always rings a little bit hollow. The word chinaman is a slur, and it’s the slur that should be followed up with an apology, not the reaction of being offended by the slur. While the commenters at AOL were confused at how anyone could think the term was offensive (also not particularly surprising — scroll down to the comments if you dare), the bloggers at Awful Announcing werent having it, writing that there are certain words that those of us who live in the 21st century no longer use; this is certainly one of them. All of which makes William C. Rhodens discussion of the PGAs global diversity ambitions from last weeks New York Times seem that much more prescient. The Masters initiative to expand the sport reflects a complex, razor-thin distinction between bringing fresh players into the game and inviting new members into the club, Mr. Rhoden wrote. Inclusion can be

a supercharged word around the country club; some golfers havent bought into the concept. *** The Fix, or at least this substitute Fixer, is so out of touch with the NHL Playoffs — apparently the Hartford Whalers didnt make the field this year? — that its probably best not to weigh in at this late a date. But we loved the Frozen Four, a.k.a. the NCAA Hockey Championship. In part, this is because of the extraordinarily varied selection of schools in the tournament this is the only collegiate sport in which Colorado College, Clarkson and St. Cloud State qualify as juggernauts but its also because of the frenzied enthusiasm of the games. The underdog Fighting Irish of Notre Dame had their run end in the final on Saturday in a 4-1 loss to Boston College. They backed into the tournament as the final at-large bid, then upset three giants of the sport New Hampshire, Michigan State and Michigan before running into the one they couldnt solve, the South Bend Tribunes Steve Wozniak writes. Well get over this, and well start preparing for [Washington] D.C., ” said [sophomore wing Ryan] Thang, alluding to the site of next years Frozen Four. Because now, its time to start hanging some banners. The Eagles spent much of the game turning away Notre Dame scoring attempts despite the fact that, as the Boston Globes Theresa Smith reports, they had only five healthy defensemen. Ms. Smith also got a great quote from injured B.C. defenseman Carl Sneep, who skated onto the ice for the postgame celebration despite a nasty high ankle sprain. I cant feel a thing right now, Mr. Sneep told Ms. Smith. Its so awesome. While the outcome itself wasnt really in

doubt for most of the game, Saturdays final was still a great showcase for Boston College star Nathan Gerbe, who scored two goals, earned Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player honors and, most prestigiously, cemented the honor of becoming the Fixs favorite college hockey player under five and a half feet tall. In a recap of the Frozen Four win over North Dakota that got B.C. to the final, the Globes Barbara Matson asked(rhetorically). What else can be said about Nathan Gerbe, except perhaps where did he learn to skate like that? Charging after his older brothers on a pond in Michigan started Gerbe on the fast track, she answers, and when he didn’t get bigger than 5 feet 5 inches, he just kept getting fasterEvery time Gerbe had the puck and a slice of open space in the neutral zone, he deked and ducked to get away from checkers, suddenly appearing on the other side of the blue line, staring down the goalie. Even if you know where he is, you dont. For a visual of Mr. Gerbes work, check out this jaw-dropping penalty shot against Providence College. *** Finally, the requisite Longish Awesome Feature Piece of the day comes from Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper, who casts a not-so-fond look back at the recently retired Chris Webber and the ultra -boorish Washington Bullets/Wizards of the 1990s. The Webber Era confabs werent only uncompetitiveone playoff appearance, zero playoff wins, Mr. McKenna writes, but hindsight reveals their rank as the most unlikable team to ever call this town home. Those teams are given a soul-stirring salute in two YouTube knockoffs of the NBAs Where Amazing Happens ads from the inimitable Wizznutzz. The videos are here and here. – 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.

Wesley Snipes Faces Jail Time
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:34:39 PM

Federal prosecutors asked a court Monday to make an example of Wesley Snipes by sentencing him to the maximum of three years in prison for failing to file a tax return. It’s cases like this that really showcase how the IRS has too much power, and no watch dog to check that power. American citizens should not face jail time for debt, or for failing to file and pay taxes. The IRS can get a court judgement, or even a lien against property, to get repaid for the debt owed to them, so jail time seems more like an abuse of power than justice. Free Wesley! n Should Wesley Go to Jail? • No • Yes View Results © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Carmelo Anthony Arrested for DUI • Richie Sambora Faces DUI and Child Endangerment Charges • Foxy Brown Being Released From Jail • Barron Hilton Pleads No Contest to DUI • Naomi Campbell Racial Tirade


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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.

Pete Doherty is Doing Drugs in Jail
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:52:09 PM

According to The Sun, Pete Doherty is supposed to be receiving methadone to help him stay off heroin, but he is still getting and doing drugs in prison. The picture above is a real picture of Pete in jail. Pete is writing IOUs and signing autographs that can be sold on Ebay to get drugs, and has an ex drug dealer protecting him in jail. The reports says Pete is being treated like a celebrity, and guards have promised him a better cell as soon as one becomes available. With Pete doing the same drugs in jail that got him locked up in the first place, what qualifies as good behavior in jail? © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Carmelo Anthony Arrested for DUI • Richie Sambora Faces DUI and Child Endangerment Charges • Foxy Brown Being Released From Jail • Barron Hilton Pleads No Contest to DUI • Naomi Campbell Racial Tirade

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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.

Diane Neal is Leaving Law and Order
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/15/2008 11:24:09 PM

Just 24 hours after HG reported Gary Dourdan would be leaving CSI next month, Diane Neal has also decided to leave Law & Order: SVU next month.

Neal spent five years on the show. Reports say Dick Wolf wants fresher and cheaper talent for Law & Order. We saw this coming in the last contract negotiations. Actors beware. Your pay checks could be getting smaller in the years to come. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 2006-

2008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts:

• Hell’s Kitchen is Too Cold and Too Hot • Emma Watson is 18 Today • Who’s Your Daddy • Jason Beghe Says Scientology is Dangerous • Dwarf Soccer Team


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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.

Heidi Montag Raps on TRL
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/15/2008 11:41:10 PM

Heidi Montag showed she can’t rap as good as she can’t sing on TRL. Nelly, who appreciates a lady with a fine rack, complimented the bimbo’s efforts. We know Heidi can’t act, she can’t sing, she can’t rap, so what can she do? She can always put her chest to good use in skin flicks.

© Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Fergie in Nelly Video • Shauna Sand Endorses John McCain • Heidi Montag No More • Heidi Montag and Britney Spears Sing a Duet • Heidi Montag Music Video Voted Worst by People

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Cynthia Nixon Survived Breast Cancer
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/15/2008 10:50:45 PM

Cynthia Nixon, pictured here with Christine Marinoni at a NYC benefit, battled breast cancer. Her mother battled breast cancer when Cynthia was 12 yearsold, and even her grandmother battled breast cancer. Cynthia said she had gone for her "completely routine mammogram" in 2006 when she got a call from her gynecologist. Her doctor said, "Well I have some, it’s not such great news." Cynthia said she felt "scared … I was very cognizant of it. If it’s going to happen, this is the best way for it to happen, that it’s found so early, and we can

just get right on it." A monthly breast exam, and annual mammogram are the best defense to finding the cancer early. Cynthia said she "made a big point" of telling her two children she had the disease. "I basically told them they found some cancer in my right breast. It’s very small and it’s very early. I’m going to have an operation, they’re going to take it out, and then we’re going to have six-and-ahalf weeks of radiation, every weekday. This is what grandma went through, and I’m going to be fine." That’s a lot for kids to handle. Cynthia said she kept her diagnosis private because "I didn’t want paparazzi at the hospital. As the daughter of a breast

cancer survivor, knowing my personal risk made me more aware and more empowered when I faced my own diagnosis." Next year Cynthia will become the spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. There is a lot of support for breast cancer, but let’s not forget another leading cancer, and that is prostate cancer. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni are Gross • Cynthia Nixon Opens Up About Being a Lesbian • Sex and the City Movie Coming Soon