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08/04/08 - 17/04/08

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New York Times Strikes (McCain) Again
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:20:00 AM

Filed under: John McCain, Media On April 8th, the New York Times ran an article(to which I linked in a previous post) which falsely stated: In a trip to the Middle East last month, Mr. McCain made an embarrassing mistake when he said several times that he was concerned that Iran was training Al Qaeda in Iraq. (The United States believes that Iran, a Shiite country, has been training Shiite extremists in Iraq, but not Al Qaeda, a Sunni insurgent group.) He repeated the mistake on Tuesday at hearing [sic] of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The final sentence of this paragraph is simply false. McCain made no such statement (Powerline has the full text). Furthermore, McCain's previous "mistakes" were almost certainly mere slips of the tongue, which would undoubtedly have been immediately overlooked by anyone not consciously seeking to construct a derogatory story. Nine days after conservative blogs pointed out the Time's"mistake," the paper of

record has printed a quasi-correction: Correction: April 17, 2008 Because of an editing error, an article last Thursday about foreign policy advisers to Senator John McCain referred incorrectly to an error he made at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 8. He briefly referred to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as a Shiite group, rather than a Sunni group; he did not repeat an

error during the hearing that he had made on a trip to the Middle East last month when he said several times that he was concerned that Iran, a Shiite nation, was training Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a Sunni group. First, an editing error does not explain a substantive attack awkwardly inserted into a larger piece to which it is tangentially related (at best). Nevertheless, I challenge

anyone to find the transcript passage in which McCain confuses Al Qaeda for a Shiite group. This would prove impossible because A) it still did not happen, and B) no one outside the media calls it Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. That label, as some remember, evolved out of a conundrum when Democratic candidate John Kerry announced that there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq ... just about the time a group calling itself "Al Qaeda in Iraq" committed several acts of terror. The media couldn't report the story without painting Kerry as a liar or a fool - so they "re-translated" Iraq as Mesopotamia in order to cover Kerry's mistake. The Times consoles itself for having been caught (yet again) in a lie about a Conservative by fully repeating its precarious assertion that McCain made mistakes when speaking in the Middle East - thereby successfully manipulating its apology for slandering McCain into yet another slander of McCain. This is not the first shameless salvo by the Times in this election (see here and here), and it will not be the last. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

The Pirate Bay Launches Blog System For Those Worried About Censorship
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:16:01 PM

You have to hand it to the folks who run The Pirate Bay. They certainly don't hesitate to stand up for themselves and refuse to be pushed around. They've spent so much time fighting back against attempts to take them down and sue them, that they figured they might as well make use of that "core competence" in other areas. So, apparently, they're setting up a censorship-free blogging platform, which they claim will be available for those who don't want to worry about weak-willed hosting firms pulling down a blog at the first legal threat. There have been a few hosting firms who have advertised similar services, but the Pirate Bay guys have the reputation to live up to their word. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Post Debate: Was That the Worst Debate Ever?
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 6:27:00 PM

Filed under: Featured Stories, Debates, Scandal, Media It took me a bit to realize that what I saw tonight was the total meltdown of media moderation of a debate. For 51 minutes tonight we heard nothing of substance. I know some readers will disagree here - some were very happy

Williams Ayers was brought up and to hear about Reverend Wright just one more time. And somehow wearing a lapel pin or not wearing one is worthy of political discourse for this country in trying times. You know, you and we can go back and forth on these issues daily here and on other blogs and media. This debate was watched by millions - not just in this country, but around the world. The only person who won tonight was Sean Hannity. This may make some happy,

but for most of us it's a disaster. This has nothing to do with who I support for

President. I sorely miss the League of Women Voters. A quick quote from TPM Josh Marshall says all that needs to be said: Looking around other sites, I guess I'm not the only one that thought this debate was unmitigated travesty. I'll have more later today. But on a lighter note, on my way out of the spin room tonight I saw a small group on the corner holding Ron Paul signs. I went over and had a brief chat with this really nice

group of kids. I asked them if they were the future of the Republican Party and the gave me an emphatic "YES". They expect to one day replace the neo-cons and paleocons that they feel are choking the life out of the party and erase the false choices of the two-party system. They raised my spirits and I'm glad I met them. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments



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Clinton Has Bigger Weather Underground Problem
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:42:00 PM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats During tonight's Democratic debate on ABC, George Stephanopoulos did Sean Hannity's bidding by asking Bara ck Obama about his supposed connection to Weatherman William Ayres. Obama was ready, cramming the query right back at the former Clinton aide, sideways, and making excellent points about these types of smears by association. Shortly after the question was asked, the Obama campaign released a memo related to Obama's answer. Via email: WHAT CLINTON DIDN'T MENTION President Clinton Pardoned Members of the Weather Underground SUSAN ROSENBERG Clinton Gave A "Controversial" Pardon To Susan Rosenberg, A Member Of The Weather Underground Who Was Implicated In The Deaths Of Two Police Officers And A Security Guard. This reminds me of that old lawyer's maxim about never asking a queation you don't already know the answer to. Full text of the memo after the jump. Clinton Gave A "Controversial" Pardon To Susan Rosenberg, A Member Of The Weather Underground Who Was Implicated In The Deaths Of Two Police Officers And A Security Guard. The New York Times wrote that "A former terrorist who was caught with 740 pounds of dynamite and weapons in New Jersey, the fugitive ex-husband of a Manhattan socialite who is a close friend of former President Clinton, and four men who stole tens of millions of dollars from the federal government by creating a phony school for Jewish students were among about a dozen people from the New York area who were pardoned or had their prison sentences commuted" on Clinton's last day in office. [...] The most controversial local case involves Susan L. Rosenberg, a former member of the Weather Underground who had been denied parole in a New Jersey explosives and weapons case because of charges brought against her in the 1981 armed robbery of a Brink's armored car. That heist left two police officers and a security guard dead." [New York Times, 1/21/01]

Ø Rosenberg, A Terrorist Pardoned By Clinton, Was Indicted For Her Role In The 1983 Bomb Attack On The U.S. Capitol. Describing the Weather Underground, The National Review wrote, "In 1983 came their attack on the U.S. Capitol. Their bombs killed no one, but caused considerable damage and spooked the nation. A statement sent to a radio station read: 'We purposely aimed our attack at the institutions of imperialist rule rather than at individual members of the ruling class. We did not choose to kill any of them this time. But their lives are not sacred.' Rosenberg, Linda Sue Evans, and five of

their cohorts were indicted for the Capitol bombing. Their numerous other targets included the Naval War College, an Israeli -owned company, and a patrolmen's benevolent association." [National Review, 3/19/01] Ø Pardoned Terrorist Was Member Of Weather Underground; Apprehended With An Uzi, Cop-Killer Bullets, And Hundreds Of Pounds Of Explosives. The CourierPost (Cherry Hill, NJ) wrote, "Police uncovered 730 pounds of explosives. They found an Uzi, .357-caliber Magnum,M-14 rifle, as well as two semi-automatic pistols and Teflon-coated bullets. Police found

bogus Social Security numbers and 50 fake New Jersey State Police and FBI identification cards. They found a library of books on guerrilla warfare. [...] Rosenberg and Blunk were taken to the Cherry Hill police station, which was ringed by officers armed with automatic rifles and shotguns. They were charged with transporting explosives across state lines and possessing 14 firearms. The pair was believed part of a ring planning to bomb government buildings and was arraigned at the federal courthouse in Camden. Rosenberg was a major catch for Cherry Hill police. She was president of

the May 19 communist organization, an offshoot of the radical Weather Underground of the '70s. [...] Rosenberg was a fugitive, wanted in a failed $1.6 million ambush-robbery of a Brinks armored car at a suburban New York mall in 1981." [Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ), 1/24/01] Susan Rosenberg Denied Involvement In The Brink's Robbery, Refused To Apologize For Her Role In The Terrorist Organization, And Said That Her Violent Actions Were Part Of An Era. The New York Daily News said, "In her only interview after her release, with WBAI radio on Jan. 23, she said she was not involved in the Brink's robbery. 'We were really out of time and out of place on every level. ... The use of violence by individuals ... is not a position that I support or would ever want to be in again,' Rosenberg said. 'It was an extreme time. ... I was totally and profoundly influenced by the revolutionary movement in the '60s and '70s.' Both Brown and O'Grady dismissed those revisionist sentiments." [New York Daily News, 2/18/01] Ø Giuliani And Schumer Condemned Clinton's Pardon Of Weather Underground Member. "An unusual combination of New York political and law enforcement leaders have condemned former President Bill Clinton's pardon of Susan L. Rosenberg, a one-time member of the Weather Underground terrorist group who was charged in the notorious 1981 Brink's robbery in Rockland County that left a guard and two police officers dead. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican, and United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, were among those who criticized the pardon, as did Bernard B. Kerik, New York City's police commissioner, and David Trois, a Rockland County police union official. [...] Mr. Giuliani, asked yesterday if he regretted not prosecuting Ms. Rosenberg on the Brink's charges, said he could not recall the details of the case. But even if she was not tried or convicted in the case, Ms. Rosenberg did not deserve to be freed, he said. "She was convicted of having in her possession 740 pounds of explosives, a submachine gun, weapons," the mayor said. "She admitted she had these weapons CLINTON page 3

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CLINTON continued from page 2
to give to someone to use in a bombing, and she had been involved in a significant number of robberies, bank robberies." Senator Schumer said that, even 20 years after the Rockland County robbery, the hardship continues for the families of the men killed, so Ms. Rosenberg should not have been pardoned. [New York Times, 1/22/01] LINDA EVANS Bill Clinton Commuted The Sentence Of Linda Sue Evans, Who Was Sentenced For Conspiracy And Malicious Destruction In Connection With Eight Bombings Between 1983 And 1985, Including One At The Capitol. Bill Clinton also commuted the sentence of Linda Sue Evans. In 1990, Evans was sentenced in United States District Court in Washington to five years in prison for conspiracy and malicious destruction in connection with eight bombings between 1983 and 1985, including one at the Capitol. Rosenberg and Blunk had been brought up on the same charges. At the time, Ms. Evans had already been sentenced to 40 years in prison for using false identification to buy firearms and harboring a fugitive. [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/21/01; NYT, 1/21/01] Ø Linda Evans, One Of The Former Leaders Of the Weathermen, Was Convicted Of Acquiring Weapons, Fake IDs And Safe Houses, And Of Terrorist Actions. Linda Evans "was one of the leaders of a vanguard organization known as Weatherman and had come to the university with fellow militant Ted Gold to recruit others to the cause. ... Linda Evans was arrested for transporting weapons and explosives in Detroit, and for crossing state lines to incite a riot. The charges were eventually thrown out on a technicality because the wiretaps that identified her had been unauthorized. ... On May 11, 1985, she was arrested again, charged and then convicted of acquiring weapons, fake IDs and safe houses, and of terrorist actions. Her targets included the U.S. Capitol Building, the National War College, the Navy Yard Computer Center, the Navy Yard Officers Club, Israeli Aircraft Industries, the FBI and the New York Patrolman's Benevolent Association. In her possession were 740 pounds of dynamite. Evans was sentenced to 40 years in prison. ... As the last hours of the Clinton era expired, Linda Evans was freed. It was 24 years shy of her full sentence." [Salon, 9/4/01] Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Obama Wins by Losing Debate
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:20:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Barack Obama, Featured Stories On policy points, Hillary Clinton bested Barack Obama in the second half of last night's debate. By the time Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos pivoted away from their impersonation of a supermarket tabloid, Obama was grumpy, tired, and off his game. That said, in virtually every poll taken since the debate ( Drudge, ABC, to name but two) Obama comes out the clear winner. Why? Well, as Denise Williams so ably chronicled, because ABC overcompensated for past debates that seemed to favor Obama, they (and Senator Clinton with them) now stand accused of laying into the Illinois with the ferocity of a Republican 527. Viewers, even Clinton

supporters, saw an injustice. If Clinton had been content to lay back and let ABC do her bidding for her, then the story-line today might have been very different. But the New York Senator has decided that negativity is her only

remaining option. Given the opportunity, Clinton repeatedly twisted the knife planted into Obama's back in an attempt to show undecided super delegates that her rival can't win in the general election. Obama, on the other hand, largely abstained from the pile-on mentality (with the exception, as Tommy Christopher mentioned, of the Weather Underground pardons). You can bet that this week's SNL skit will not be about the free ride Obama enjoys from a fawning press corps. Maybe it's the old adage, "Whatever doesn't kill you will only make you stronger," but with the Pennsylvania primary only five days away, this coup-de-debate couldn't have come at a better time for Obama. Go figure. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Goodbye Kristy Lee Cook
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:32:49 AM

McCain's First Economic Salvo: No New Dues!
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 7:01:00 PM

Filed under: John McCain, Featured Stories, Economy, Taxes Tax: the "ugliest word in the English language." So argues today's amusing, though vacuous op-ed in the New York Times, which counsels Democrats to abandon the word "tax" in favor of some less despicable nomenclature, such as "dues." Amusingly, the author believes - in typical liberal fashion - that while the public foolishly oppose taxes, they would

readily accept the idea that they owe dues for all the wonderful work done on their behalf by government. While the op-ed provides commendable commentary on the just and patriotic activity of public cooperation for social benefit, the assumption is that a rejection of high taxes must result in a breakdown of public institutions. As with a broad swath of issues, the debate is not an all-ofnothing proposition, but rather an argument of practical implementation (i.e., private vs. public) and prioritization (Americans cannot, and will not, fund every congressional pet project).

On this theme, Sen. John McCain has just released a statement which provides the "broadest look yet at his economic

policies." Rejecting the premise that America needs more taxes - or, dues McCain revealed a broad, multi-layered plan "calling for tax cuts, a freeze of discretionary spending for a year, higher premiums for better-off Medicare recipients and elimination of federal gas taxes this summer to reinvigorate the sagging economy." The legacy of George Bush - in the form of his tax cuts - is likely to be ground zero for the looming debate on economics. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

It had to happen to someone. Kristy Lee Cook saddled up and road into the sunset tonight, after she was eliminated from American Idol, but fear not, she’ll be back some way, or some how. She has such a beautiful voice. I could see goose bumps on Simon’s neck when Kristy sat right in front of him serenading him. Simon, you’re such a softy. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • David Cook Performs for his Sick Brother • American Idol is Going Postal • Teri Hatcher to Sing on American Idol • Ashley Feri is Back • David Cook Rushed to the Hospital

HP Mini-Note gets unboxed, causes extreme jealousy
By Joshua Topolsky (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops

We can't all be as lucky as reader Robert, who's somehow (we suspect by using money) gotten his hands all over a brand new Mini-Note. At least Robert is a kind

man, evidenced by the fact that he's sent us some terrific shots of him unboxing his new toy. Check the gallery after the link to see it all go down, photo-style.

Gallery: HP Mini-Note gets unboxed, causes extreme jealousy Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Sounds of Philadelphia: Dems Debate
By Faye Anderson (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:41:00 PM

Thugs and Murderers
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:21:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats After a twomonth hiatus, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in the City of Brotherly Love, home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Clinton has likened herself to Rocky Balboa who trained on the museum's steps. In tonight's debate, she took repeated jabs at Obama: I don't believe that my grandfather or my father, or the many people whom I have had the privilege of knowing and meeting across Pennsylvania over many years, cling to religion when Washington is not listening to them. I think that is a fundamental, sort of, misunderstanding of the role of religion and faith in times that are good and times that are bad.

And I similarly don't think that people cling to their traditions, like hunting and guns, either when they are frustrated with the government. I just don't believe that's how people live their lives. Now, that doesn't mean that people are not frustrated with the government. We have every reason to be frustrated, particularly with this administration. But I can see why people would be taken aback and offended by the remarks. And I think what's important is that we all listen to one another and we respect one another and we understand the different decisions that people make in life, because we're a stronger country because of that. Clinton hit below when the belt when she raised Obama's "relationships with Reverend Farrakhan." Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

'Dime' New Obama Ad
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:20:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, John McCain, Foreign Policy Yesterday on Fox News with Neil Cavuto, John McCain responded to former president Carter's vacation with Hamas in spectacularly unqualified terms. After expressing his sense of "shame" at Carter's "unacceptable" conduct, McCain bluntly referred to Hamas as a group of "thugs and murderers." McCain continued: "You cannot legitimize terrorist, murderers, thugs," by giving them access to the world stage. McCain joined Clinton in criticizing Obama over his promise to openly negotiate with terror-sponsoring regimes likely an unreflective, knee-jerk reaction on Obama's part, an automatic opposition to all-things-Bush. Recognizing his dearth

of credibility among Jews- and no doubt aware that his starting-from-square-one approach to international affairs merely revealed his lack of sufficient experience to start elsewhere - Obama has now changed his tune with regard to Hamas and criticized Carter's trip. According to the NY Times, McCain is presently the focal point of a heated foreign policy debate among several competing schools of thought on international affairs. While McCain unhesitatingly delivers black and white conclusions on foreign policy, he seems to be involved in a profoundly philosophic and pragmatic deliberation process, One simply cannot imagine the Obama campaign having yet conducted so serious an effort at critical thinking as has flourished in the McCain camp. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Special Interests Buy Ads for Obama
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:52:00 AM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Ads, 2008 President The SEIU (Service Employee International Union) unleashed an ad buy, in Pennsylvania, for Barack Obama who is already outspending Hillary Clinton 5:1 on the airwaves. The :30 second ad is titled "Change." This is a smart spot. No one likes high gas prices. And its always popular to beat-up Big Oil executives. (Note, the same folks who have given tons of cashed directly to Obama and raised him a reported $100,000 plus. But who's counting?) And of course, no one but a few geeky editorial writers will note that 70% of the price of crude oil is set by the global market and a U.S. President has little to do

with the issue. (What's he going to do, subsidize gas stations? Or give them a bailout? Or maybe amnesty from creditors?) Not to mention, that as percentages go, Exxon, for example, made a 9% profit last year or slightly less than what many special interest non-profits showed in net revenue like the SEIU, Planned Parenthood or the National Education Association. Demagoguing is usually about ideological and class warfare, not facts, truth nor unity. The SEIU is also smart to play big in the Keystone state which votes Tuesday, April 22nd. The big-money special interests are certainly getting in lock-step with the Obama effort. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Barack Obama, Ads, 2008 President The big-money campaign of Barack Obama continues its attack ads in Pennsylvania. Obama, who we learned today, made $4.2 million last year, unleashed another misleading attack ad in the Keystone state. The :30 second ad is titled "Dime." Obama continues to make the misleading claim that he's free of big Oil money. And that's he is some form of change or immune from the practices of the average politics. His current campaign has taken hundreds of thousands from lobbyists and he's still never released his taxes from the first three years of his elected career. Nonetheless, its a good populist theme to harp upon. His repetition with this message has proven successful and when you have more campaign cash than any previous major Party candidate for President, you can afford to keep up the same tune, regardless of accuracy. The ad's script reads: ANNCR: Across Pennsylvania families are struggling. What's Hillary Clinton's answer? The same old politics. Misleading negative ads. The truth? It's Barack Obama who's taken on the oil companies, worked to strip away their tax breaks as they run up record profits, and demanded higher gas mileage standards. And Obama's the only candidate who doesn't take a dime from oil company PACs or lobbyists. And that's change we can believe in. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Obama's Road Less Traveled
By Faye Anderson (Political Machine)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 4:54:00 PM

Filed under: Democrats In tonight's Democratic debate, moderator Charlie Gibson asked Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "to make the case to them [superdelegates] why you're the better candidate and more electable in November?" Clinton focused on her "lifetime trying to empower people, trying to fight for them:" And I hope that I have demonstrated not just over the last weeks or even over the last hour and half but over a lifetime that you can count on me. You know where I stand. You know that I will fight for you and that together we're going to take back our country. Obama offered a different roadmap to victory: And the bet I was making was a

bet on the American people; that they were tired of a politics that was about tearing about each other down, but wanted a politics that was about lifting the country up; that they didn't want spin and PR out of their elected officials, they wanted an honest conversation.... And so my point to the super delegates would be that if we're going to deliver on health care for every American, improve our schools, deliver on jobs, then it's going to be absolutely vital we form a new political coalition in this country. That's what we've been doing in this campaign, and that's what I'm going to do when I'm president of the United States of America. Obama's "new political coalition" is a road less traveled for Democrats. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

UBS helps Lakes Entertainment out of ARS mess -- sort of
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:25:00 AM

PC sales in the U.S. slow last quarter while European sales climb
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:55:00 AM

Filed under: Scandals The list of companies slapped by the auction rate securities debacle continues to grow. This morning, Lakes Entertainment(NASDAQ: LACO) issued a press release announcing an agreement with UBS AG(NYSE: UBS) that's worth quoting verbatim: ... effective April 11, 2008, it entered into a client agreement with UBS Financial Services ... for the purpose of borrowing and/or obtaining credit in a principal amount not to exceed $11.0 million ("Margin Account Agreement"). The Margin Account Agreement is secured by Lakes' auction rate securities ("ARS") held at UBS ... As previously announced, the types of ARS investments that the Company owns are backed by student loans, the majority of which are guaranteed by the U.S. government and all of which have credit ratings of AAA or Aaa. Historically, these ARS investments have been highly liquid, using an auction process that resets the applicable interest rate at predetermined intervals, typically every 28 days, to provide liquidity at par.

However, as a result of the recent liquidity issues experienced in the global credit and capital markets, the auctions for all of the Company's ARS investments failed beginning in February 2008 when sell orders exceeded buy orders. No 8-K detailing the terms of the margin account agreement has yet been released, so we don't know what interest rate they're paying for the credit. But it may be higher than the yield on the auction rate securities that UBS sold to them. Here's what makes this situation a mess. UBS was recently subpoenaed by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, seeking information about whether the firm misled investors in auction rate securities into believing that the investments were cash-like and more liquid than they have turned out to be. Now that these companies don't have access to the cash they thought wouldn't be a problem to get at, UBS is helping them out: by letting them use the ARS as collateral to borrow from the bank that got them into this mess: presumably, with interest. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Analyst downgrades: PG, HGSI and MT
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:07:00 AM

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Procter and Gamble (PG), Zoltek Co (ZOLT) MOST NOTEWORTHY: Procter & Gamble, Human Genome and Arcelor Mittal were today's noteworthy downgrades: • Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) to Hold from Buy on valuation and their

expectation for slowing short-term industry growth, especially in beauty. • Citigroup downgraded Human Genome (NASDAQ: HGSI ) to Hold from Buy as they believe giving up Syncria's royalties removes an important value driver for the stock. • HSBC downgraded shares of Arcelor Mittal (NYSE: MT) to Neutral from Overweight on valuation

and believes the company needs to raise prices more than costs have risen for iron ore, coking coal and steel scrap. OTHER DOWNGRADES: • BAE Systems (NASDAQ: BAESY ) was cut to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley. • Merrill downgraded Zoltek (NASDAQ: ZOLT ) to Neutral from Buy.

• Credit Suisse downgraded I llinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW ) and International Pape r (NYSE:I P ) to Neutral from Outperform. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Industry, Dell (DELL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Although the PC industry keeps churning out growth quarter after quarter, the American market is slipping as a larger influence on all that growth, according to the market research firm IDC. In the latest quarter of tracking data, the U.S. saw just a 3.5% growth rate in shipped PCs, about half of IDC's projection. The reason? According to IDC, the "recession scare" kept PC sales at bay for many corporations as belt-tightening meant less information technology spending. Global PC sales, though, were above expectations for the most recent quarter, which saw growth come in at over 14% -a few percentage points above expectations. The European region saw much of this growth, where consumers increasingly opted for inexpensive portable PCs like the Asus Eee PC, similar to the trend the U.S. is seeing. However, these cheaper and smaller portable PCs still make up only a small fraction of overall PC sales. Although the top spot in quarterly shipments still belonged to HewlettPackard Corp.(NYSE: HPQ) -- which grew shipments 17.4% -- Dell, Inc.(NYSE: DELL) saw shipments rise as impressive 21.6% for the quarter as the PC maker continued its comeback after a nasty 2007. Dell's retail presence and emphasis on laptop PCs was heralded as being responsible for its growth as the Texas company remained in the #2 spot in overall sales. In the #3 spot was again Taiwan's Acer, which grew its shipments a staggering 66%. Acer folded in the recent acquisitions of both Europe's Packard Bell and Gateway from the U.S. to hit those numbers, but both acquisitions closed a few quarters ago, so they're not new. In fact, Acer's total shipments were down 20% from the year-ago quarter even though they were highest among the topfive PC makers. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Content providers like Disney Seagate patent claim still have to worry about could spell trouble for PC YouTube, numbers show industry
By Steven Mallas (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:40:00 AM

Analyst upgrades: VQ, NFX and RF
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:01:00 AM

Filed under: Google (GOOG), General Electric (GE), Walt Disney (DIS), Viacom (VIA), News Corp'B' (NWS) According to an AP article citing data from comScore Inc., people are still in love with the internet. In fact, they love to watch videos on the internet. Furthermore, views of videos online experienced an ecstatic rate of growth in February -- they shot up 66% compared to the year-ago period. Incredible, right? And if you're a media company, you love the data, right? Well, if you're Google(NASDAQ: GOOG), you love it. If you're a Disney(NYSE: DIS) or a General Electric(NYSE: GE), you would be of two minds about it. For you see, while people are watching videos, oftentimes they are doing it on a platform like Google's YouTube -- they aren't necessarily watching them at ABC.com. The data show that YouTube increased its video

views by 15% in February 2008 versus February 2007, and that it captured onethird of the 10 billion video views that occurred in February of this year. Amazing. But sites like ABC.com captured much, much less of those views -- that site, in fact, had a measly 1% share of the pie. Major content players want surfing eyeballs to come to their sites so they can monetize their online libraries via methods of their own making. Media companies, simply put, still haven't figured out how to adapt to this new electronic entertainment economy, and they still haven't come to terms with YouTube. In an era of social networking and clip sharing, users love to copy content and upload it to sites like YouTube that are very easy and friendly to engage, thus bypassing the owners of such content. How does one fight this? Continue reading Content providers like Disney still have to worry about YouTube, numbers show Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:40:00 AM

Filed under: Industry When Seagate Technology(NYSE: STX) made the claim recently that it holds a decent amount of patents related to the solid-state drive (SSD), there were probably some global tech firms cautiously fidgeting in their collective chairs. You see, Seagate is the world's largest hard drive company. Hard drives enable, well, everything from that laptop PC to the TiVo box at home to the classic iPod. The deal is this, though: most hard drives use spinning platters that really do become a bottleneck in performance within the products those drives are located in. Samsung and other companies have been championing SSD s as a way to remove slower hard drives from products and replace them with computer chip storage devices that have no moving parts, don't heat up as much, use less power and are much faster in performance. That is, unless Seagate has patent claims to much of this platform, which is what it's claiming after

buying a patent portfolio from HewlettPackard Corp.(NYSE: HPQ) years ago. The first company under the gun is STEC, a manufacturer of SSDs. But the question of the hour is this: can one company actually patent the concept of an SSD, now that the technology itself is poised to start competing more heavily with traditional hard drive in everything from laptop PCs to set-top digital video recorders? Hard drives enable the growth of the PC market every quarter as well as a whole slew of other devices consumer snap up like hotcakes. Could Seagate own this universe shortly? It's being mum on its intentions, but if the company wants to become nasty about protecting its patents, it could become an even more powerful force in the storage industry than it already is. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Welch channels Bush: "Heck of a job Brownie" welshing on Immelt critique
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:10:00 AM

Filed under: General Electric (GE) Bloomberg News reports that this morning General Electric Company's (NYSE: GE) retired CEO, Jack Welch, appeared on its CNBC network to back peddle on his homicidal remarks-- Welch said he'd "get a gun out and shoot" current CEO Jeff Immelt -- if he missed earnings again. This morning Welch said, he "really stepped in it" yesterday when he said Immelt had a "credibility issue" after missing first-quarter profit estimates. Welch echoed George W. Bush's"heck of

a job Brownie" comment on former FEMA Director Michael D. Brown's disastrous handling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Welch referred to Immelt as a"hell of a CEO.'' Welch went on to say, "I was getting all these e-mails from the media with different pictures of what I said. And nothing, nothing is as disgusting to me as some old CEO chirping away about how things aren't as good under the new guy as they were under him. That's the last thing that I would be involved in. If I had something bad to say, I never would've gone on." I think Welch got it right yesterday. And after receiving a firestorm of protest from

GE, he decided to go back on and grovel a bit. I did not see his appearance but unless he took back all of his comments about Immelt's credibility, Welch's critique still stands. The question is whether Immelt will stay on longer than Brown did after Bush's remarks on his behalf. No matter what happens, I think Welch's remarks yesterday were Straight From the Gut-- not today's. Peter Cohan is President of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College and edits The Cohan Letter. He owns GE shares. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Analyst initiations: EQT, ALD and AHG
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:19:00 AM

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst initiations MOST NOTEWORTHY: Equitable Resources, Allied Capital and Apria Healthcare were today's noteworthy initiations: • RBC Capital is positive on Equitable Resources' (NYSE: EQT ) Appalachian Basin exposure and ANALYST page 7

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Regions Financial (RF) MOST NOTEWORTHY: Venoco, Newfield Exploration and Regions Financial were today's noteworthy upgrades: • Jefferies upgraded shares of Venoco (NYSE: VQ ) to Buy from Hold on increased confidence in the company's 5%-10% 2008 production growth target. • Newfield Exploration (NYSE: NFX ) was upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Friedman Billings. The firm said there has been significant progress in the economics of NFX's Woodford play. • Citigroup upgraded Regions Financial (NYSE: RF ) to Hold from Sell on valuation, as they their concerns are now priced into shares. OTHER UPGRADES: • ASML Holdings (NASDAQ: ASML ) was raised at Merrill to Buy from Neutral. • UBS upgraded Forest Oil (NYSE: FST) to Buy from Neutral. • Bear upgraded Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET ) to Outperform from Peer Perform. Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Smart money gets worried, hedge funds move into cash
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:25:00 AM

ANALYST continued from page 6
valuation. Shares were started with an Outperform rating and $78 target. • Morgan Keegan views Allied Capital's (NYSE: ALD ) valuation and outlook as attractive, starting shares with an Outperform rating. Credit Suisse assumed Apria Healthcare (NYSE: AHG) with a Neutral rating and $20 target, citing the challenging Medicare backdrop. OTHER INITIATIONS: • Keefe Bruyette initiated Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ: ZION ) with a Market Perform rating and $47 target. •T homson Reuters (NASDAQ: TRIN ) was started with a Sell rating at ABN Amro. • Canaccord Adams initiated Cyberonics (NASDAQ: CYBX) with a Buy rating and $20.50 target. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Industry, Economic data, Recession Hedge funds are among the most aggressive investors in the world. It is one of the reasons they make out-sized returns and that management at the firms can make hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It is also why some of them blow-up, broken by bad returns and huge redemptions from investors. Being in the hedge fund industry is often an all or nothing proposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, " the risk of sudden cash demands has risen, as banks require extra collateral against loans and more investors pull their money out of hedge funds." The move may be smart, but it may also

be self-defeating. Money put in cash cannot earn any significant return. That, as a matter of averaging, will put down a well -performing fund's overall return. Cash works against the reason that most institutions put money into hedge funds. They want 20% a year. The intelligent investors understand the risk that they may lose much of their money. Caution has its place, but it may not be in the hedge fund business. If putting capital into cash starts to undermine overall yield, hedge funds may lose customers because of weakening performance. The balance of risk and reward as a reason to make potentially dangerous but high-yield investments has not gone away. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Back for More
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:30:00 PM

Compuware Corporation (CPWR): Share price defines bullish 'flag'
By Larry Schutts (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:55:00 AM

Filed under: Good news, International Business Machines (IBM), Compuware Corp (CPWR), CA Inc (CA), Technical Analysis, Stocks to Buy Compuware Corporation(NASDAQ: CPWR) provides software designed to enhance the performance of business computer systems. Products include program suites that test system performance, manage enterprise files and focus application development. Compuware also offers consulting,

systems integration, custom programming, maintenance and support services. Ninety percent of the Fortune 100 companies are clients. CA Inc(NYSE: CA) and IBM(NYSE: IBM) are competitors. The company pleased investors last week, when it guided Q4 EPS to 23 cents and revenues to $337 million. Analysts had been looking for 19 cents and $319.84 million. Continue reading Compuware Corporation (CPWR): Share price defines bullish 'flag' Permalink| Email this| Comments

Now that original programming is resurfacing at the major TV networks, industry executives are asking one another the$64,000 question. Will viewers come back? The industry is rife with speculation that the forced hiatus from favorite shows during the 100-day writers’ strike earlier this season, could have a dampening effect on the crucial next few months leading into the summer season. “I think there’s going to be some audience falloff,” predicts Brad Adgate, senior vice president and director of research at Horizon Media, a media services company. “You have to look at the strike as a summer,” says Adgate—in other words, see it as a downtime in the TV business when networks traditionally rely on reruns or reality shows to fill up hours. “Viewing patterns may change because people have started to watch cable channels and other shows they never watched before.” NBC’s Thursday-night comedies The Office, 30 Rock, and Scrubs all boasted new episodes for the first time on April 10, and the network capped the night off with a brand-new ER. The new episode of The Office helped NBC’s 9 to 9:30 p.m. time slot jump to a 5.4 percent household rating, a significant improvement over the 3.4 percent rating a

week before, when an Office rerun had aired. But the first new episode of 30 Rock, which debuted before The Office in the 8:30 to 9 p.m. time slot, didn't fare as well, receiving a 3.7 percent household rating its first night back. That is substantially down from the 4.9 percent rating recorded a week earlier during the 8 to 9 p.m. broadcast of My Name Is Earl. The two new episodes of Earl that have run so far have brought good news for NBC. On April 3, the show’s first night back, it was No. 1 among the desirable viewing group of adults aged 18 to 34. And a week later the show delivered NBC’s highest 18-to-49 rating in the time slot in over three months, according to the network. Still, that first full Thursday night of original comedy, which was heavily hyped by NBC, didn’t do much to move the needle for the network’s overall ratings that week. NBC claimed 6.6 million viewers from April 7 to April 13, up just 300,000 from the week before (the strike ended about two months ago, on February 12). One bright spot for NBC: the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, which are likely to lift ratings during the slow summer period. Over at ABC, the news is better. Ratings winners Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy will return April 24 (comedies generally take less time to make than dramas

because they're shorter in length and easier to shoot). Both series have five original episodes planned before the summer, which should help them to perform well. Desperate Housewives, one of ABC’s top dramas, has already proven itself to be strike-proof. During its first return episode on April 13 at 9 p.m., the hourlong show garnered a whopping 10.3 percent household rating, compared with the 5.9 percent for Oprah’s Big Give a week before. The real winner in the post-strike ratings war, however, may be Fox, which, according to Horizon Media, is poised to steal the mantle of "most-watched network" from CBS—the first time in six years that CBS will lose the position. This year’s N.F.C. Championship—the most-watched conference title match since 1995—helped Fox weather the writers' strike, as did a record Super Bowl audience. American Idol, a strike-impervious reality program and the most-watched show on TV, has continued to be Fox’s ratings leader. The network will get an added boost on April 28, when House, the network’s hit medical drama, returns with new episodes. Related Links News-division Layoffs at NBC, CBS Upfronts Up With $9.2 Billion Idle Chatter: John McCain is Not a Cannibal, OK?


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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

Now Consumer Groups Want A 'Do Not Track' List
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:09:01 PM

While the "Do Not Call" list in the US has mostly been successful (with some glaring exceptions) in cutting down on intrusive telemarketing calls, it has kicked off a somewhat annoying trend for consumer groups to demand all sorts of other "Do Not X" lists. Popular for a while was the idea of a "Do Not Spam" list, which most folks realized would be almost impossible to administer. Now, some consumer groups are pushing for a similar "Do Not Track" list, following all of the recent stories about behavioral marketing and clickstream tracking. This list would, its proponents claim, let people opt-out of allowing advertisers to track them. Again, though, this idea would be nearly impossible to manage in real life. In most cases, advertisers have no real idea of who they're tracking anyway -- so it's difficult to see how one would "opt-out" of such data collection in the first place. It would seem that a much more efficient (and effective) solution is to just let the technology evolve to the point that users can block such tracking activities on their own. In many cases, that's already possible. On top of that, as companies like Phorm are discovering, the public outcry against even the possibility of doing something bad concerning clickstream tracking will hopefully keep these firms in check. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

How Deep Should Deep Search Go?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 11:02:00 AM

For years, people have talked about the "deep web" or "dark web" of information that's hidden from the public (and search engines), sometimes behind registration or paywalls, but more often behind specific

forms. That is, there's a lot of information that's dynamically generated on the fly, based on how someone fills out a form. For a search engine, that's problematic, as it doesn't get to see any of that information and inform people that it's there (even if it's "public" info). However, it looks like Google is attacking this problem by setting

up its spiders to actually enter information into public forms to try to dig a layer or two deeper. The search engine is trying to be quite careful on this, as obviously it might make people question whether a search engine should be entering "fake" data into a form to dig deeper into it. It appears that Google is only doing this on

specific sites -- and is paying attention to all robots.txt type info that wards off its spider. As for the more interesting question of what Google is entering into forms, apparently it tries to guess reasonable info from the context of the site. Who knows how well this actually works? But it's an interesting experiment. However, how long

will it be until someone freaks out when they realize some info they thought was "private" or hidden from search engines is made public by this process? 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

Google as Oracle
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 10:00:00 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

Millions of people use Google's search engine every day to find the answers to questions. Today, they'll turn to the company itself in search of information about a particularly burning matter: Is online advertising helped or hurt by the economic downturn? The disagreement is as wide as the stakes are high. Some argue that these hard times are bad enough that they will spare no sector. Others, noting that internet companies stood at the epicenter of the upheaval in 2001, say the internet will be spared this time. If anything, a recession would speed up the shift in ad dollars from other media since online ads are generally cheaper. Why not ask the company that has become almost synonymous with online advertising? Unlike most public companies, Google never gives any hints in the form of earnings guidance. So in recent months, as uncertainty and expectations alike piled up, investors have turned to other metrics—and they haven't liked what they've seen. The trouble with those alternative metrics is that they don't always agree. There are multiple research firms measuring market share, and they deliver contradicting statistics. Hitwise, for example, says Google has a 67 percent share of the search market, while comScore reads it at 60 percent. Depending on which ratings service you believe, Google is either leaving Yahoo in the search dust, or Yahoo is finally gaining on Google. Those looking for a fresh angle thought they found it when comScore revealed data on its sponsored clicks. Consumers clicking through to such revenuegenerating links dropped 7 percent in January compared with December and were flat over the past 12 months. They fell even further in February. That data overlooked the simple fact that

the first quarter is seasonally slow and that the decline in paid clicks happened because Google had started factoring out accidental clicks. This move, meant to benefit advertisers, was potentially evidence of how smart Google had gotten about user activity. Yet all that was overshadowed by investors' hunger for a metric to hang their hats on. Aiding those bulls, the paid-click declines ended in March. Some analysts looking for a strong quarter from Google noted that reversal to make their case. "The latest data for March doesn't move the needle much in terms of expectations for the quarter," said Douglas Anmuth of Lehman Brothers. He argued that the decline in ad-click growth earlier this year can be chalked up to fewer clicks in the name of better results. Other analysts aren't so sure. Brian Bolan of Jackson Securities lowered his Google estimates in part because of the early comScore numbers. And Jason Helfstein of Oppenheimer, while maintaining his outperform rating on Google, acknowledged that the decline "could also be due to fewer clicks by consumers slowing their spending or by advertisers requesting fewer paid clicks." Both are persuasive arguments. Google will have to give evidence today that its two months of declining clicks this year came in the name of more efficient ads. Without that, bears could gain the upper hand. But Google also has the chance to set a positive tone for the rest of the tech earnings season (a role that traditionally belonged to Yahoo, which won't report until next Tuesday). If it can show beyond a doubt that online ads are so far resilient to the economic turmoil, it could help rally tech stocks for the next few months. Related Links Google Wins One Google Revs Up Search Growth Dangerous Liaison


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

Gray Lady in the Red
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

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

(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 6:00:00 AM

Things have officially gone from bad to worse at the New York Times Co. A weak advertising market drove the media company to swing into the red during the first quarter. It reported a loss of $335,000 versus earnings of $26.9 million during the same period last year. Excluding special charges, it earned $0.04 cents per share, which is well below Wall Street's $0.14 per share expectation. Revenue fell 5 percent to $748 million. "Advertising revenues decreased in the quarter as weaker economic conditions compounded the effects of secular change in our business," said chief executive Janet Robinson in a statement. Also on Portfolio.com: Troubled Times Full coverage of the battle for the board of America's most influential newspaper. There were a few positive numbers, however. Online advertising rose 16 percent in the quarter, and circulation managed to eke out a 2 percent gain. But total advertising revenues fell more than 9 percent. Operating profits at its newsmedia group plunged 78 percent. Earlier this week, the New York Times

said it expects to lay off some of its newsroom staff as part of a cost-cutting effort. It first offered buyouts to employees, but it failed to get enough volunteers to reach the head count it needs to reduce. During the quarter, the company avoided a proxy fight with an investor group led by activist investor Scott Galloway and the hedge fund Harbinger Capital. The New York Times agreed to add two board seats to accommodate two of the investor nominations. Shareholders will vote on the board at the company's annual meeting next week. The company expects the advertising slump to continue, and it anticipates reporting a decline in the "mid-single digits" for April, according to Robinson. "During the balance of the year, we plan to stay focused on what we do best—producing high-quality journalism, introducing new products in print and online, and stringently managing our costs.” Related Links Sulzberger Strikes Back Funds Put the Screws to Stubborn 'Times' Hoping for a Fed Encore

Merrill's Mire
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:00:00 AM

Merrill Lynch recorded some $25 billion of write-downs last year, and Thain's first task was to scramble to raise more than $12 billion in new capital. "Despite this quarter's loss, Merrill Lynch's underlying businesses produced solid results in a difficult market environment," Thain said in a statement. "The firm's $82 billion excess liquidity pool has increased from year-end levels, and we remain well-capitalized." Still, because of the missteps it took in buying and securitizing mortgages, "Mother Merrill" has become the weak old lady of Wall Street. Can Thain revive her? Gary Weiss in Condé Nast Portfolio notes, "Thain is no stranger to either the intricacies of mortgage bonds or the delicate job of extricating firms from selfcreated trading fiascoes." "The firm is fixable—if. And the ifs pile up on one another. If Thain can salvage Merrill's reputation amid the multiple investigations, including a criminal probe by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. If the credit crunch doesn't worsen, turning the firm's billions of dollars in derivatives exposure into a time bomb. If Thain can nurture Merrill's cash cows—its brokers and investment bankers—in a murderous economy. And last and most delicate, if he can foster a climate of trust and respect in a company with more than its share of sensitive egos." Related Links The Taming of Merrill Lynch When Banks Don't Manage Their Bankers' Risks Broker Defense: If It Ain't Broke, We're Not Liable

Well, that was ugly. The first quarter was always expected to be a bad one for Merrill Lynch, and the firm did not disappoint: This is its third consecutive quarterly loss—$1.96 billion, larger than forecasts—with more than $9 billion in write-downs. The question now is how its new chief executive, John Thain, can revive a firm battered by the subprime crisis. After an ambitious yet ill-timed expansion to be a more aggressive risk taker, Merrill will become a leaner, more cautious firm. Can it return to the moneymaking machine it once was? The firm is taking a big step toward being leaner, announcing that it will cut 4,000 jobs, or about 10 percent of its

workforce. Brokers will be excluded from the round of job cuts. The cuts are expected to generate $800 million in annual savings. Merrill reported a loss from continuing operations of $1.97 billion, or $2.20 per share, compared with earnings of $2.03 billion, or $2.12 per share in the quarter a year earlier. Net revenue, or revenue minus interest expenses, fell 69 percent, to $2.9 billion, lower than forecasts. Net revenue was impacted by writedowns of $1.5 billion tied to collateralizeddebt obligations and $3 billion on hedges provided by bond insurers, as well as write -downs on leveraged loans. On its balance sheet, the firm also took another $3.1 billion in write-downs on securities tied to Alt-A residential mortgage securities, the next step up from subprime.

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

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 LIE-BOR? page 11

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Biz Buzz Tech*


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

LIE-BOR? continued from page 10
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) Just How Rich Are the Richest Hedge Fund Managers?

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 JP Morgan: $6 Billion Capital Raising is "Routine" JP Morgan's Really Weird Capital Raise Peeling Bear Stearns Onion

Yahoo Puts All The Chips On The Table. Time For Somebody To Fold.
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:21:31 AM

The WSJ, Yahoo’s unofficial partner for

Another Failed Harvard Social Network Takes 'Legal Action' Against Facebook
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 9:22:00 AM

Tech Is Blue No More
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 1:30:00 PM

"We feel good about the rest of the year." How many C.E.O.'s of big American companies can say that during a recession? I.B.M. chief Samuel Palmisano can—and has. Big Blue has reported a 26 percent increase in first-quarter earnings, vaulting past analysts' forecasts. The gains were propelled by overseas sales and by I.B.M.'s shift into software and services in recent years under Palmisano. The results considerably brighten the outlook for global spending on technology, especially following Intel's bullish forecast on Tuesday. Today eBay also reported a 22 percent gain in quarterly earnings, again topping estimates. For the quarter, I.B.M. earned $2.3 billion from continuing operations,

compared with $1.8 billion in the quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 11 percent, to $24.5 billion. Adjusting for gains from the weak dollar against other currencies, revenue rose 4 percent. "These results reinforce our confidence in I.B.M.'s ability to perform well in a dynamic global economy," Palmisano said. Sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa rose 16 percent, to $8.8 billion; sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 14 percent, to $5.1 billion. Total global-services revenue climbed 17 percent, while its software business had a 14 percent gain in revenue. Related Links Daily Brew While EU Plays Monopoly, Microsoft Gets More Competition One Billion Laptops

Even before ConnectU came along claiming that Mark Zuckerberg somehow"stole" the idea and the code for Facebook from them, there was another Harvard alum, Aaron Greenspan, who had been claiming something similar about how Zuckerberg took the idea from a project Greenspan set up called houseSYSTEM. When Greenspan's story (after years of him pushing it) finally got some mainstream press last year, we pointed out how ridiculous the whole story was. Facebook was hardly the first social network out there -- and ConnectU and houseSYSTEM were clearly built off the ideas of those that had come before them as well. It seemed like both cases involved folks who had failed to actually execute and build something that people liked, and

were taking it out on Zuckerberg (who did successfully build something that people wanted to use) in hopes of either fame or money or both. Of course, once Facebook settled the case with ConnectU earlier this month, it was only a matter of time until Greenspan realized that he might be missing out as well. So, as you might expect, Greenspan has decided to"take legal action" against Facebook, though at this point it's merely limited to trying to get Facebook's trademark on the name revoked (claiming that houseSYSTEM used the name, and that it's widely used and generic). He may actually be right that the term is generic, but it seems more than likely that this lawsuit is just trying to drum up some attention and potentially money from Facebook. It will come as no surprise, of course, that Greenspan is really using this lawsuit

to promote his "book" which has a huge section accusing Zuckerberg of getting the idea from Greenspan. Greenspan's been promoting the book for ages, with plenty of excerpts available online. The press release Greenspan put out claims that his "publisher" (which is apparently also owned by Greenspan) was denied the ability to promote the book because it had "Facebook" in the title. Of course, he provides no details about who denied him the right to advertise, and it seems odd that anyone would prevent titles with the name "Facebook" from appearing, as such a book, by itself, probably is not a violation of Facebook's trademark. Does anyone else want to claim that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook? Apparently, it's good for business. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story



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SocialText Putting A Little Social Into…Enterprise Wikis
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 5:55:37 AM

YAHOO 11 continued from page
information leaks over the last couple of months, is reporting that “people familiar with the matter” (i.e. Yahoo) say that Yahoo and Google have completed a preliminary test of the trial deal to outsource Google ads to Yahoo search queries announced last week. This “test run of the test run” yielded “positive results” (although here’s an interesting theory that Yahoo can basically make those results say anything they want). What’s the translation? It means that Yahoo is hyping its last (barely) credible alternative to Microsoft - a full outsourcing of search marketing to Google to boost revenues and shareholder value. Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney previously said that a Yahoo-Google search deal could boost cash flows by 25%. Experts we talked to estimated that could boost Yahoo’s market valuation by $7 billion or so, less than half the premium Microsoft offered on February 1. That Mahaney estimate of increased cash flow from a Yahoo-Google deal is now “more than $1 billion a year,” a 50% gain in cash flow from 2007. That puts the offers roughly on par, give or take a few billion. And it gives Yahoo a potentially viable alternative to the Microsoft deal. Except, not really. Everyone, even Yahoo, realizes that a Google search deal is a slow but certain death for the company, even in the unlikely scenario of government approval. Those cash flow boosts are based on current traffic, but its very likely that Yahoo would see a gradual decline in search volume if they were to outsource to Google (as has happened with AOL, which moved to Google search in 2002 and has dropped from 30% to less than 5% market share). Expect Yahoo to take the same hit over time. But Yahoo has played the crazy card perfectly to date, suggesting that any alternative to Microsoft, even a slow suicide at the hands of Google, is a preferable outcome. And Microsoft must acquire Yahoo to ensure their long term viability. Further, while losing the Yahoo deal may be something Microsoft can live with, losing Yahoo to Google is not an option (Mahaney says that a full Yahoo outsourcing deal to Google would be the worst case scenario for Microsoft). Both companies need the deal to happen. Yahoo is screaming “do you dare me!?” and so far Microsoft is saying “sure.” But Yahoo isn’t really crazy, and Microsoft needs this deal more than they let on. Both companies have everything to lose, and someone is going to fold. Yahoo announces Q1 earnings on April 22. I’m sticking with my prediction of a negotiated deal in the near term. Meanwhile, Google is the clear winner from this whole episode. They either get a huge win (Yahoo search) or a slightly smaller win (their biggest competitor acquired and mired in merger logistics for a year or more). Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Palo Alto based Wiki startup SocialText, founded way back in 2002, is announcing version 3.0 of its software this morning. The upgrades are designed to put a little “social” into the enterprise (and to sidestep, as much as possible, the recently relaunched Google Sites, a direct competitor). SocialText sells Wikis to companies, for the most part, although they also offer an open source version of their product. They offer customers a choice between a SaaS version and a higher end appliance, although the only real difference is where the server sits (your location or theirs). Founder Ross Mayfield says that of their 10,000 customers, 80% use the SaaS product, but 80% of their revenue come from the appliance. The new products, Socialtext Dashboard and Socialtext People, are being demo’d now and will become available to all customers within 60 days, Mayfield says. The products are effectively extensions of their normal Wiki product. SocialText Dashboard, pictured above, is a Netvibes-like customizable home page. Users can add SocialText widgets that show information from the company’s

wiki - total edits, a list of workspaces, change summaries, etc. Other widgets are for productivity, like a calendar, or just for fun, like a YouTube widget. All Dashboard widgets are Google Widget compatible, which means that, subject to security settings, they can also be added to sites like iGoogle. But more importantly, all iGoogle widgets can also be added to the Dashboard page. So you can, for example, pull Gmail directly into your SocialText Dashboard. Users also create profiles (see below) and add “friends” within the organization. You can monitor the activity stream of

mutual friends as well, which includes outside services such as Twitter. For a lot of enterprise employees, having a single dashboard with secure company information alongside fun or useful outside services on a single dashboard is exactly what they need. It also makes SocialText the center of a worker’s day, which means they far less likely to ever lose the customer. It’s clear that SocialText is forging ahead and trying to find a path that doesn’t make them sell against Google Sites, at least yet. Hopefully by the time those enterprise customers start to think about integrating some or all of Google’s productivity suite, SocialText will already be a daily part of employees’ lives. Then they can keep charging those attractive user fees. SocialText has raised just under$24 million over six rounds of financing. Last November, Mayfield moved into the Chairman/President role to make room for a new CEO, Eugene Lee. The company has 50 employees. CrunchBase Information Socialtext Ross Mayfield Eugene Lee Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

More Lawyers Want To Get The Troll Tracker In Court
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 10:01:00 PM

Last month, we noted that Rick Frenkel, who for months had been the anonymous "Troll Tracker," was being sued for defamation for some of the posts on his blog. Now, it appears that another set of patent attorneys that Frenkel wrote about are trying to get him into court. This concerned the rather infamous case of a patent attorney at a large law firm who got

his own patents, and then used them to sue companies who were clients of his own firm for patent infringement. The lawyer in question, Scott Harris, is represented by Niro Scavone, who was another target of Frenkel and whose named partner not only proudly claims that the term "patent troll" was based on him, but also put out a bounty to anyone who could identify the Troll Tracker. So why is Frenkel being dragged into the Harris case? Apparently Harris and his

lawyers are trying to build a big conspiracy theory around Frenkel. Because Frenkel worked at Cisco, and Harris' former employer (Fish & Richardson) did work for Cisco, Frenkel's blog posts really were just a big plot to help out Fish & Richardson while devaluing Harris' patents. That sounds pretty far-fetched by any stretch of the imagination, and would require an awful lot of proof. But, what's most likely really happening is that the folks that Frenkel helped shed some light

on are now taking advantage of the situation to drag him into court whenever and however possible. This is quite tragic for a variety of reasons. No matter what one thinks of Frenkel's anonymity while working for Cisco, you cannot deny that he brought to light many of the shadier tactics being used by patent hoarding firms, often hiding behind shell corporation names and suing many companies at once. Since Frenkel stopped blogging, many of those stories

are remaining underground. No one has stepped into the void, unfortunately, perhaps afraid that they, too, will become targets in various lawsuits. The information that Frenkel was bringing to light (while potentially biased by his position at Cisco) did help point a light at some questionable activities that had been hidden for far too long. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Alexa Overhauls Ranking The Twitter/FriendFeed System Desktop Client Arms Race Continues
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 6:03:27 PM

Oregon Using Copyright Law To Prevent Other Sites From Publicizing Oregon Law
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 6:57:05 PM

Everyone’s favorite web statistics whipping boy Alexa has announced a major overhaul of how it compiles traffic figures. The biggest change is Alexa’s decision to drop exclusive reliance on the Alexa toolbar for traffic data, with Alexa now aggregating data from “multiple sources” to compile its statistics and web rankings. As part of the move, historical data from Alexa is no longer available, with data now only going back 9 months (we presume calculated using the new methodology). Alexa is spinning the decision as a step forward without admitting to previous flaws: Your ranking wasn’t wrong before, but it was different. Alexa toolbar users’ interests and surfing habits could differ from those of the general population in a number of ways, and we described some of those possible differences on our website. While the vast majority of sites’ rankings were unaffected by such differences, we’ve worked hard on our new ranking system to adjust for situations in which they could

By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
matter. The new rankings should better reflect the interests and surfing habits of the broader population of Web users. A search of tech blogs saw many with significant drops in rank, where as political sites have had big boosts. For example TechCrunch and the Drudge Report were tracking similar figures on Alexa prior to the change, where as now the Drudge Report is a mile out in front. Although regularly derided in the past for its often bizarre results (like YouTube having more traffic that Google), Alexa has continued to maintain popularity due to its broad global reach and completely free service provision. Time will tell if Alexa has done enough to appease its strong and vocal critics. CrunchBase Information Alexa Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
Submitted at 4/17/2008 12:38:43 AM

A lot of people are addicted to Twitter(microblogging), and a lot of people are addicted to FriendFeed(friends’ activity streams). While both are web services, each offers an API that lets third parties build on top of them, including desktop applications. Twhirl, recently acquired by Seesmic, has emerged as the leading desktop client for Twitter, and Alert Thingy launched days ago on the newly released FriendFeed API. Both are built on the Adobe AIR platform. Yesterday, though, the two desktop clients started to compete with each other directly when Alert Thingy added support for Twitter as well. And even though I am an investor in Twhirl, I said I may uninstall it for good once a few more features were added to Alert Thingy. There is no reason to have both installed once they overlap completely. Today, though, Twhirl hit back by adding FriendFeed support, including the ability to search, lookup users, write comments and bookmark items. The new version, 0.7.9, is available now here and will be pushed generally to users in a few days. Loic Le Meur(founder of Twhirl parent company Seesmic) created the video below

demonstrating the new version: Due to the conflict I won’t editorialize further on Twhirl. Users who want a desktop application for both Twitter and FriendFeed should test both applications out for themselves to decide which one is best for them. The good news for all of us: competition, even in this very niche market, is forcing rapid innovation. Download AlertThingy here, and (the new) Twhirl here. CrunchBase Information Alert Thingy Twhirl Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Well here's a story about copyright that's so bizarre it makes you think that there must be a mistake somewhere -- but it seems to be completely true. Apparently, Oregon is complaining to sites like Justia (which publish public domain legal documents) that they are violating copyright by republishing some of Oregon's laws. The state admits that the text of the laws are not covered by copyright, but that everything else about the way the law is presented is covered by copyright (such as the numbering, the notes and annotations). This is an accurate portrayal of copyright law, which does allow such things to be covered by copyright (though, the "numbering" part seems questionable), but it's difficult to see how the state could possibly get upset that someone is trying to better publicize Oregon's laws. The state does make one good point: Justia adds its own copyright notice to the text, which is bad form, but was probably just a template issue. Either way, it's difficult to see what Oregon could possibly gain in trying to force copies of its laws off of public resource legal sites. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Grad Student Uses Twitter To Get Released From Egyptian Prison
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:39:00 PM

Recently, Tim wrote about how aspects of Twitter could represent the future of news, and it appears that may be happening faster than some people expected. In a story that must absolutely thrill any PR person working for Twitter, a UC Berkeley grad student who was filming

protests in Egypt was able to alert his friends to the fact he was arrested by Egyptian police through a message on Twitter. This resulted in a coordinated effort to get him released, which eventually involved the US State Department. You get the feeling that this story will move into PR legend like the story of the guy who self-diagnosed a heart attack using Google.

Still, it is a rather remarkable example of how Twitter can be quite useful. While there are plenty of people (myself included at one point) who wrote off the service as being rather useless, it's been evolving in very interesting ways. For those who embrace it, it can become a rather useful quick and easy public messaging and conversation tool. While, James Karl Buck could have sent a text message to a friend,

the simplicity and public nature of Twitter allowed him to alert a lot of people nearly instantly to the situation he was in -- and they responded. Not only did they reach out to get help, they also quickly responded to James on Twitter, providing advice on how to deal with the fact that he was arrested. Still, what's not entirely clear in this whole story is how he was able to continue to use his mobile phone while

under arrest. While the lesson some may learn from this is that arresting officers will quickly take people's mobile phones away, that doesn't lessen the impact of a service like Twitter and its ability to spread a message to a lot of friends and acquaintances extremely quickly. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story



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Politicians Want To Ban Already Banned Mobile Phone Use While Flying
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:58:00 AM

Lonelygirl15 and KateModern Creators Raise $5 million, Form EQAL
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 10:47:43 PM

Politicians just love to grandstand in the hopes of getting some publicity for their next election campaign -- and that includes passing laws against things that are already illegal. The latest is that some politicians are looking to pass a law banning the use of mobile phones while flying in an airplane. As you probably know, such things are already banned by rules from both the FAA and the FCC. And, while there's some effort underway to lift such bans, the two government agencies have suggested they have no plans to modify theirs. But, that won't stop Congress from stepping up to tell people it's protecting them from chatty flightmates. It even came up with a cute name for the law: the Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace (HANG UP) Act. Honestly, if politicians spent a little less time coming up with

catchy acronyms for unnecessary laws, they might actually do something useful. But, more to the point, even without the FCC/FAA ban, it's not at all clear why this is needed. Yes, there are many, many people who have made it clear that they don't want to sit next to a chatty person on a mobile phone while stuck in a tin can hurtling through the skies. But can't people vote with their wallets on that? If it's something that really upsets people, then that's an opportunity for an airline to declare mobile phones off-limits, or to create "quiet sections" where mobile phones can't be used. There's no reason for the government to get involved at all. Besides, it's still unclear how they're going to ban "voice" calls once they allow internet data to flow on-board. After all, on the internet, voice is just another form of data. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Cheap Calls! Truphone Raises £16.5 million In Series B
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:13:35 AM

In June 2006, former medical student Miles Beckett and disgruntled lawyer Greg Goodfried teamed up with filmmaker Ramesh Flinders to launch Lonelygirl15, a fictional video journal series on YouTube that captured audiences and led them to believe that the female protagonist was actually broadcasting her real life. After the truth came out about the authenticity of the recordings, Lonelgirl15’s creators went on to produce a British sister show called KateModern, which launched on Bebo in July 2007. Now Beckett and Goodfried have formed EQAL(pronounced “equal”), an interactive media company that will continue producing the Lonelygirl15 and KateModern series among others to come. The new company has raised$5 million in Series A from Spark Capital and individuals such as Conrad Riggs, Ron Conway, Marc Andreesen, and Georges Harik. Both series will be hosted at LG15.com. Since the company’s name refers to the equality of this new type of media, and the way in which community members interact with the stories it produces, LG15.com features social media like comments, chat, a forum, and a wiki.

EQAL plans to produce different versions of its shows for different countries, all of which will be distributed through LG15.com. These shows will contain occasional nods and references to each other, and their plots may even cross over at times. CrunchBase Information EQAL Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Chocolate No Longer As Effective In Separating Men From Their Passwords?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 7:52:05 AM

UK-based Truphone, a VoIP service provider for Wifi/data enabled handsets, announced a £16.5 million ($32.7 million) second round of financing today, adding to the£12.5 million($24.5 million) they raised a little over a year ago. What’s that $50+ million being used for? Cheap calls! Like Fring and a slew of others, Truphone allows free calls initiated from between Wifi/data enabled handsets and/or computers, or cheap VoIP-toanywhere calls. Truphone has a technology advantage that allows for better sound quality and longer battery life, but at the cost of easier carrier blocking relative to Fring. But they’re winning against carriers in court, so the blocking issue isn’t hurting them as much. Notably absent from the funding announcement was any mention of cofounder Alexander Straub or previous investor Straub Ventures (the venture fund still lists Truphone as an investment, however). I’m betting there’s an interesting story there. ( Update: see comment below from Straub, although I find it odd neither he nor his fund were mentioned in the press release.) Update2: TechCrunch UK has more on the pricing structure Truphone is using to attack carriers. CrunchBase Information truphone Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

There are a bunch of headlines today about the fact that people will give up their passwords in exchange for some chocolate, but most of the reports seem to be missing the point. Similar studies have been conducted for years. Four years ago, we saw an almost identical study. Other studies have shown that people will give

up their passwords for a ballpoint pen or chance to win theater tickets. None of this really proves very much. The "chocolate" hook is really just for generating headlines. After all, a similar study showed that people would give up private data if you just ask nicely. Chocolate may have nothing to do with it. In reality, though, the interesting part of this chocolate story is the fact that the number of people who give up their

password for chocolate is way down this year compared to the same study last year. Last year 64% gave up their password, whereas this year only 21% did. That's a huge difference, and should make you question the methodology. It certainly sounds like the results could depend very much on how persuasive the questioner is. Hire someone who's a good social engineer, and the numbers go up. For the same reason, I wouldn't give very much

credence to the other headline coming out of this study that women are more likely than men to hand over their passwords. Again, without testing it under identical circumstances, it's tough to determine that for sure. A good social engineer will be able to get passwords out of plenty of people, whether using chocolate, a ballpoint pen or just plain sweet talk. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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Tech* TV*


MyPlayList Combines Flickr TripIt Raises $5.1 Million in Series B Funding And Online Music
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:32:05 PM

By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 9:00:34 AM

AT&T-Funded Politicians Accuse Google Of Gaming The Spectrum Auction System
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 12:16:00 AM

MyPlayList, a bootstrapped startup from Agentbleu, a Englishman living in France, combines streamed music and Flickr for a free music service that delivers visual as well as musical abundance. MyPlayList uses the XSPF xml format to combine the images from the Flickr image sharing service, with music that is hosted across the internet, and similar to Seeqpod does not host or cache any of the music to avoid any copyright issues. To use, users enter the name of any band or singer, and the system automatically compiles a Flickr - music combination, or suggests an existing playlist if one is already in the system. Registered users can create custom playlists and the site offers

various embedable versions as well. We covered GrooveShark’s new player yesterday, and MyPlayList works in the same space (along with Seeqpod). The visuals delivered by MyPlayList is a nice touch, particularly in full screen mode. Mark the site down as another free music provider that may challenge the likes of the play five times then buy Last.fm and the geo-retarded Pandora. CrunchBase Information Myplaylist Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

TripIt, the online travel assistant that debuted at Techcrunch40 and is one of the sites Michael can’t live without, has received $5.1M in Series B funding. The main contributions for this round come from Sabre Holdings, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and European Founders Fund. This addition brings the site’s total funding to $6.1M. TripIt’s main goal is to simplify travel. Users need only forward email confirmations from airlines, hotels, and other travel services, and TripIt generates a simplified comprehensive list of travel plans. TripIt recently launched a mobile version of the site, and also features Closeness Matches, which notify users when they are in the same region as a

friend. O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, which contributed to this round, was also responsible for TripIt’s $1M Series A funding round. CrunchBase Information TripIt Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Skype Reports 61% YOY Growth; All Quiet On Google Front
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 5:37:40 PM

Central Desktop Takes $7 Million
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 6:55:13 PM

eBay reported its first quarter results today with revenues of $2.19B, up $424M from the same quarter last year. Its GAAP net income was $460M, or $0.34 per diluted share. Skype revenues were $126M with 61% year-over-year growth (although revenue is decelerating rapidly). During the first part of this year, Skype added 33M registered users, bringing its total to 309M users. This makes the Skype user base the largest within eBay’s collection of services. The report signifies that Skype is hanging in there despite the setbacks of last fall that involved CEO Niklas Zennstrom stepping down and earning only 1/3 earnout.

We’ve heard nothing new regarding the possible Google partnership or acquisition with/of Skype, although a partnership looks more likely. CrunchBase Information Skype Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Central Desktop has taken a first round of $7 million from OpenView Venture Partners. Central Desktop offers a web-based SaaS collaboration platform that allows business teams of all sizes to work virtually and seamlessly online. Central Desktop is pitched as providing “the richest set-oftools available for business users with ease -of-use at a price-point, leveling the playing field for small and mid-size companies wishing to do business with enterprise partners and customers.” The company has over 125,000 users and business teams currently using its tools.

Central Desktop said it would use the funding to accelerate R&D, marketing and sales efforts into the SMB market. Competitors include 37signals, JotSpot, Microsoft, WebEx, Daikana and Huddle. CrunchBase Information Central Desktop 37signals Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

We've already explained why Google's actions in the recent 700 MHz spectrum auction wasn't"fleecing" taxpayers as some lobbyists had contended. Yet, it appears that the lobbying has been effective. A set of Congressional representatives have started asking whether or not Google gamed the system. This is a pretty bizarre claim against a company that put up $4.6 billion in an auction and was then outbid. Clearly, in putting up the bid, there was a chance that Google could have won and had to pay the $4.6 billion. There's no rule that Google had to keep bidding. The company stopped at the point at which it was comfortable bidding. Of course, it will probably surprise no one that if you look at the top campaign contributor to all 3 representatives attacking Google's actions, you'll notice a pattern (in the letters A, T and T). Check it out for yourself. There's Fred Upton, Cliff Stearns and John Shimkus. You think that had something to do with their opinion on the spectrum auction process? Nah... Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Nine reasons why I love Deadliest Catch
By Anna Johns (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:39:00 AM

Filed under: Other Reality Shows, TV Squad Lists Deadliest Catch returned with new episodes Tuesday night on Discovery.

This is easily one of my favorite shows on television. I could watch a Deadliest Catch marathon every weekend, it's that good. Here are nine reasons why I love this show: 1. Mike Rowe. Yes, the Dirty Jobs guy.

He's also the voice of Deadliest Catch and there is no one better suited for the job. He

may be a goofball on his own show, but he brings out his deep and foreboding voice to follow the fishermen on Catch. Continue reading Nine reasons why I love Deadliest Catch Permalink| Email this| | Comments



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Pittsburgh museum plans "largest national" robotics exhibition
By Darren Murph (Engadget)

Yet another HTC Neon hits the FCC -- this time with US 3G
By Chris Ziegler (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:17:00 AM

Microsoft's Vista promo video just a "spoof"
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:02:00 AM

Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:34:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds Okay, so we know of at least two HTC devices codenamed "Neon" that the friendly bureaucrats up in the FCC have been forced to go through with a fine-tooth comb. Now we have a third -- the descriptively-named NEON300 -- and this might be the money version. As we've pointed out before, the Neon series appears to represent a line of Touches with different guts for different carriers and locales, and the NEON300 possesses something that's music to the ears of the yanks in the audience: HSDPA on the 850

and 1900MHz bands. Along with the recently-announced US Touch Dual, this should be quite a gem in, say, AT&T's lineup -- and with Sprint and Verizon both rocking the same device, can they really afford to turn the other cheek? Update: Pictures of the unit being poked and prodded can be found deep within the test documentation, and sadly, it turns out this is nothing more than the US Touch Dual after all. But come on HTC, seriously, you know you want to make a straight-up Touch with North American HSDPA, too. Thanks, uofmrapper1! Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops Turns out Microsoft's unfathomably horrendous Vista SP1 promo video that turned up yesterday was just one great big spoof -- a spoof Redmond apparently had no qualms spending a good bit of dough on rather than just re-dubbing some old video from yesteryear. Nevertheless, a company representative said to be "familiar with the reason behind the production" noted that "they thought folks internally would get a

kick out of not taking themselves so seriously all the time, but some people thought that's exactly what they were being -- serious." He continues on to say that this "little piece of art" had "caused quite a few laughs in Microsoft's hallways." Um, yeah -- and here in the outside world we aren't laughing any quieter just knowing this masterpiece of comedy was indeed intended as a joke. [Thanks, Rooshma] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Robots Heads-up Pittsburgh residents and robot lovers across the universe: an all new exhibition is coming to the Steel City next year, and it's got high, high hopes. The $3.4 million display, which is slated to be "permanent," will be housed in the Carnegie Science Center and go by the not -at-all-puzzling title of "roboworld." The installation is expected to house an "array of mechanized devices," and given that it's being billed as the "largest and most comprehensive nationwide on robotics," we'd say it's got a lot to live up to. Of course, we'll be utterly shocked if it even compares to the now-closed Robot Museum in Nagoya, Japan, but we suppose we'll have to see for ourselves when the doors fling open in Spring 2009. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Laser scanning robot creates 3D map of silver mine
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:26:00 AM

Filed under: Robots Apparently, Mexico is the place to be if you're a laser-equipped robot with 3D scanning on the brain. Just 11 months after the DepthX robotic submarine mapped the El Zacatón Cenote,

the 3D-R1 has managed to collect over 5GB of map data in 3.5 days which was then used to create a "comprehensive 3D plan of the underground mining operation." The mine in question was the San Jose silver mine in Mexico, and while on duty, the robot scooted across some 2.2kilometers of underground drives and

access ramps in order to conduct over 240

total scans. There's no word on whether the mechanical creature is scheduled to map out any other nooks and crannies around the world, but given the accuracy exhibited in this run-through, we don't foresee it taking any kind of extended vacation. [Via Robots] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Samsung CEO charged with fraud, won't be arrested
By Joshua Topolsky (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets Oh Lee Kunhee -- if you keep this up, you're going to make the Enron CEOs look like choir boys. The latest episode in the unending shame-game that is Samsung's corporate improprieties comes in the form of a an actual indictment against the electronicmaker's top man... for fraud. According to a report out of Australia, prosecutors in Korea have formally charged Kun-hee (who has admitted guilt anyhow), but say they won't arrest him because it would cause "enormous disruption" in the company's operations. Authorities said instead they plan to send him to a week-

long, all-expenses-paid trip to a luxurious spa, and hope that a deep tissue rub will rid him of his lawbreaking ways. [Thanks, Hussain] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Bug Labs' Hiro P edition BUGbase kit gets unboxed
By Donald Melanson (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:48:00 AM

Vista Media Center update for HP's MediaSmart HDTVs now available
By Richard Lawler (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:28:00 AM

eMachines launches two new desktops, puts your pennies into play
By Joshua Topolsky (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:25:00 AM

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment, Media PCs Owners of HP's older MediaSmart HDTVs, your sometime is now as Chris Lanier reports the company's posted the long-awaited Vista Media Center Extender update. The SL4278N and SL4778N model TVs should prompt for the update automatically if they're connected to the internet, and afterwards connect to your fully patched Vista Home Premium or Ultimate edition machine and access your Media Center library (DivX, Xvid, h.264, MPEG-2 and WMV of course), live TV, recorded TV or other features directly through the TV.

Check out HP's support page for a full walkthrough on the process and keep your Windows Media Center remote close by. [Via Chris Lanier, HP press release] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Desktops Look, eMachines is just here to help. The low-cost PC maker has introduced a few new desktop models, destined to sit beside your paper plates, can of beans, and tin of generic instant coffee. Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you. The new budget models come in two flavors,

the T3646 and T5254, both featuring AMD CPUs (2.2GHz Sempron LE-1250 versus the 2.1GHz dual core Athlon BE-2350), an NVIDIA 6100 graphics chipset, 1GB or 2GB of RAM, a 160GB or 320GB hard drive, DVD+R/RW SuperMulti drive, a handful of ports, a mouse, and really nasty looking cases. Available right now, $299.99 and $399.99, respectively. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets You may not be able to get your hands on one at the moment, but those that missed out on the initial shipment of Bug Labs' open source BUGbase Hiro P edition kit can now at least make believe like one arrived on their own doorstep, thanks to the set of unboxing photos kindly provided by Flickr user finsprings. That set also helpfully includes size comparisons to a Blackberry and a first gen iPod nano (the base is bigger than both, but not by as much as you may think), and of course plenty of shots of the packing itself. Check all that out at the read link below. [Thanks, Dave] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Altek reveals GPS-enabled 8MP point-and-shoot
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:33:00 AM

Filed under: Digital Cameras, GPS Picking up a camera with built-in WiFi not good enough for you? How's about a pointand-shoot with integrated GPS? DigiTimes has it that Altek, a Taiwanese ODM / OEM maker of digicams, has just unveiled a camera with an 8-megapixel sensor, 3-

inch touchscreen and GPS. The latter will enable users to "automatically record the longitude and latitude of where a picture is

taken," giving the geotagging crowd one gigantic reason to take notice. Reportedly, the firm is already negotiating orders with potential clients in Europe and the US, and shipments could start heading out as early as this quarter. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Socialtext Makes Wikis Social; Announces People and Dashboard
By Adam Ostrow (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 6:01:15 AM

Do Not Track Once Again Rears Its Ugly Head
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 9:22:35 PM

Socialtext, the corporate wiki provider that dates back to 2003, is announcing a number of updates that founder Ross Mayfield calls one of the most significant updates in the company’s history. Socialtext Dashboard and Socialtext People, the two main products being released, have a familiar feature set for those of us that closely following the consumer social networking scene. But as Mayfield told me, similar to earlier versions of Socialtext, much of the product strategy is grounded in applying innovations taking place on the consumer side of the Web to much slower moving, conservative enterprise customers. Facebook for the Enterprise? The first product, Socialtext People, is essentially building an internal social network ontop of the company’s existing wiki software. Whereas wikis are traditionally fairly anonymous, with Socialtext People, users get profiles, buddy lists, and tags, though, in a more businessy sense. For example, while on Facebook you might list your interests as “snowboarding, tv, and Italian food,” in your enterprise Socialtext People implementation, you might list them as “marketing, product development, and Python.” Thus, the idea is that through Socialtext wikis, you can now not only find the content you’re looking for, but also the people best suited to help you solve a problem. Meanwhile, if Socialtext People is Facebook for the corporation, the company’s other major release, Socialtext Dashboard, is its Netvibes. Dashboard is a widget-based start page, that allows you to keep track of both different content and people in your organization. You can see

recent updates from the people you “follow” through an activity stream (Facebook News Feed for the enterprise), import any RSS feed as a widget, or install any widget that uses the OpenSocial gadgets standard. There’s also a calendar feature, which takes you to a wiki page for a specific day that can be edited by anyone in the company. Getting Employees to Actually Use It Overall, as someone that sits on the consumer side of the social networking space 98% of the time, it does look like Socialtext has done a nice job with applying “best practices” to enterprise social networking. The challenge, of course, is getting employees within a corporation to actually adopt and use these tools. To that end, Socialtext is launching four different “solution areas,” which they describe as follows: Collaborative Intelligence for sales and marketing, as implemented for market leaders including Humana and SAP Participatory Knowledgebase for service and support, as implemented for market leaders including Symantec and Microstrategy Flexible Client Collaboration for professional services, as implemented for market leaders including MWW Group and CoActive Marketing Group Business Social Networks for partners and customers, as implemented for market leaders including United Business Media and Epitaph Records Competition Since I covered the Salesforce-Google Apps deal earlier in this week (two enterprise software stories in one week, what’s going on here?), I asked Mayfield

about how he perceived competition in the rest of the market. While he sees Google and Salesforce as two companies that are definitely helping drive adoption of webbased, software-as-a-service business models, the whole “no software” shtick is more marketing than anything else from Salesforce, he says. He tells me many of Socialtext’s clients actually prefer to have their software implemented “behind the firewall,” which is why his company offers not only a hosted version, but a server appliance and an open source option as well. As for Socialtext People and Dashboard, they are currently in beta with several customers, and will be commercially available in 90 days according to Mayfield. It’s also worth noting that this release is the first major announcement from Socialtext since Mayfield was replaced by Eugene Lee in the CEO slot in November (when the company also announced a fresh $9.5 million financing round). ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: SocialText Raises $3M in Series C Funding Socialtext Raises $9.5 Million, Announces New CEO Socialtext Open Launches - Commercial Open Source Wiki Wikispaces Integrated into SourceForge.net for User Collaboration Manage Human Resources Online With Zoho People ReverbNation Launching More Online Tools for Musicians Sosius for Group Workspace & Social Networking

Slashdot brought my attention today to the fact that the ridiculous notion of cookie elimination is once again being advanced on Capitol Hill as a pro-consumer move. Before we get to the part of this post where I roast the non-profits involved for being ultimately anti-consumer, let’s take a look and see who’s involved this time around. Typically, it’s been the The Center for Democracy and Technology, The Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, and the Consumer Federation of America as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This time around, though, the only organization from the previous lobbiest groups still trying to fight the battle is the Consumer Federation of America. This time around they’re also being joined by the Consumer’s Union as well as a number of child-centric organizations including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and American Academy of Pediatrics. The battle they’re attempting to fight is more or less the same: the elimination of tracking of Internet users’ behavior for advertising purposes. “While companies like Google are trying to put pretty good practices in place, we don’t want to rely on the good graces of the companies because they might change their minds,” Chris Murray, senior counsel for Consumers Union told Reuters in a telephone interview. The point is, though, that the web runs on advertising. The consumers are in direct benefit of that fact. All the tools and utilities that we use on Facebook, on the

other social networks, and in the wilds of the web are funded by the fact that the big ad networks are continually coming up with better ways to track our behavior and target advertisments more reliably. Without that, we’re back to the situation we were in during the 80s and 90s, where software started at around $30 and easily reached levels of $800. Do you want to pay $800 for your online word processing solution? What about $500 for an online program designed to edit graphic glittery badges for your MySpace page. Or here’s a chuckle: how about a monthly fee to just simply access MySpace? It won’t be much - probably only a few bucks a month. Doesn’t sound like so enticing of a solution, though, does it? How it’s possible that all the supposedly digitally savvy organizations listed up there in paragraph two don’t realize that they’re essentially fighting a battle that has the endgame of killing Web 2.0 baffles me. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Widgetbox Launches Feedburner for Widgets Trackfeeder Launches Daily Review Facebook App coComment Adds Blog Plug-in for Publishers eSnips Launches eSnips Radio, A (Really) Lightweight Pandora Track Santa on a Google Map, In Real Time CoComment is The Best Web 2.0 Service Launched This Year Oodle Launches BandTracker

The Daily Show: April 16, 2008 - VIDEOS
By Annie Wu (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:21:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, The Daily Show, Episode Reviews, Reality-Free" Pope in America: Blessed Week Ever": As

promised... Popewatch! The Pope is in America and the media has been going absolutely nuts. Their fawning descriptions of Pope Benedict have been appropriately Pope-ish. The intensity of this coverage confused Jon though, as he was still under

the impression that the Jews ran the media.

I think my favorite part of that JNN clip was the crawl along the bottom. "Weather: Chilly, wear a jacket.... Eat up! You're skin and bones.... Next door neighbor a doctor... A doctor!.... Oil $110 a barrel, but for you $90.... Rachel Weisz: She's a Jew you

know..." Continue reading The Daily Show: April 16, 2008 - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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AlertThingy vs. Twhirl - Head To Head
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:49:56 AM

Google News Introduces Quotes In Search Results
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 8:41:45 AM

If you’re not up to date (and I don’t blame you) with AIR-based desktop Twitter/FriendFeed clients, here’s a short recap. Twhirl is pretty much the best Twitter client around, while AlertThingy is a very similar FriendFeed client. Since FriendFeed also incorporates Twitter updates, these two clients overlap significantly, but now that Twhirl (you cannot get it updated automatically just yet, but you can get the latest version here) has added support for FriendFeed, it’s painfully obvious that, essentially, you only need one of these two applications. The question is, which one? Well, I’ve tried them both out and I cannot definitely decide that one is better than the other, but I can give you a good idea of what they can do. Twhirl’s FriendFeed counterpart cannot currently be merged with the Twitter client, so if you want both, you need to have both open. This gives Twhirl no immediate advantage over AlertThingy. The two applications pretty much look the same; they both support themes so you can make them both black and beautiful like I did in the screenshot below. Functionality wise, if we’re only looking at the FriendFeed support part, AlertThingy is a bit better. It has nicer formatting, the ability to immediately comment on items, and expand (but not

collapse, why?) the comments. It also gives you the opportunity to post to FriendFeed and Twitter directly from the client, whereas in Twhirl you need to use two windows (one for FF, one for Twitter) to do that. Twhirl, however, has a number of minor details that AlertThingy doesn’t: you can squeeze the window into narrower width; you can set the client to hide when minimized, you can precisely set the opacity, the font, the refresh times. If you’re the customizing type, you’ll love the options. Performance wise, it’s a tough call; both applications are quite memory hungry; AlertThingy’s one window was eating around 30 megs of memory hile Twhirl’s two windows were eating 60 megs. It’s a lot for small applications like these, and I hope to see improvements with this regard in both. At this moment, it’s a tough call, but I think it’s best to use Twhirl for Twitter and AlertThingy for FriendFeed, side by side. What I see as imminent, though, is Twhirl

merging FriendFeed and Twitter support into one window, and FriendFeed improving its Twitter support by adding some of Twhirl’s options. At that point, it’s probably going to be a matter of personal preference as both applications will be pretty much the same. Twhirl’s upcoming support for Seesmic might tip the scale into its favor; we’ll see what AlertThingy has got up its sleeve. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Seesmic Acquires Twhirl, for Desktop Video Microblogging 5 Features I’d Like To See In Twhirl TwitPic Upgrades Make Twitter Prettier Userplane Offers Web Publishers Desktop Apps with Adobe AIR Tjoos Compares Store To Door Prices Yahoo Divesting in Shopping Site Kelkoo The Secret to Twitter, Part II

Google has been about search since its start last century. So it’s only natural that its developers continually look to advance their algorithmic brainpower. And because the interest in news on the Web has only increased with time as more and more media outlets work to deliver broader coverage of daily events, whether they be in politics, sports, or entertainment, it seems fitting for the Google News team especially to work to better organize information relevant to users’ requests. Now users of the Google News engine, when searching for a particular name affiliated with a public office, or a sport, or a film, results may present a quote previously spoken by that individual. And through a hyperlink of the name displayed, users can then jump to one or more pages of other phrases documented by the press. Google makes sure note that a simple search of varied statements is, like much else on its engine, indeed possible to narrow down to specific quotes. The company gives an example of a search for Barack Obama, one of two contenders for the Democratic nomination in the US this year. A basic request for words spoken by the senator returns a myriad of phrases. But if the user would prefer to focus on a specific issue of concern in the presidential race, of which the senator has offered one or more comments, as he has done on the subject of the Iraq War, one is able to do so. This advanced function is likely to

make it easier for some who wish to revert back in history to particular statements made by politicians that may not be highlighted on the front page of Google News. In all, the effort of those pulling the strings at Google News to show information that users might consider complementary to the standard links of news is really one that, in addition to furthering its own mission to organize the world’s information, allows the company to put its own bit of technological backing to the idea that “words matter.” ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: QuotationsBook Launches Network for Finding Quotes Elliott Back Launches Stock Quotes App for Facebook Google News Goes Local gPhone: European Exec Confirms Its Existence Google News Signs Licensing Deal for Hosted Wire Content Google News Gets Comments - With a Big Twist Had Enough Google April Fools?

Flickr Code: Track Tickets, Talk APIs, Hack As You Please
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 7:54:22 AM

Flickr’s been getting some headlines these past few weeks, mostly due to the vocal outcry resulting from the backlash against video on Flickr. The company even opted to placate donut crazies as a sort of pseudo damage-control measure. (Not really. It was mostly humor. Done in jest. But the story nonetheless got its fair share of press.)

And it’s now getting some more attention, this time for the launch of a new developer site. Dubbed ‘ code.flickr,’ the site is being labeled a “one-stop shop for information, gossip, and discussion with the Flickr developer community.” Visitors will find the destination a source for most all of the things going on behind the scenes at the photo host, whether it be changes made to code, much of it open source; activity on the API front, and stuff to do with other nifty contraptions, like Flickr

Uploadr. If nothing else, the new Flickr Code portal is a convenient place to go if you want to snoop in on the Flickr dev team and see what tricky business they’ve been involved in as of late. Whether you’re reading the DevBlog(Flickr’s option to go with

XULRunner to put together the company’s latest version of the Uploadr utility, which is described as the same technology Firefox is built on, is what’s on the mind of a number of in-house developers at the moment), trawling the forums, looking into the particulars of the API, you’ll get virtually everything you might need or want. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The

Social Networking Blog: FlickrSlidr - Embed Flickr Slideshows into Your Blog 123Flickr Quickly Generates Photo Gallery Widget Flickr Gifts and Unlimited Uploads Google Code Adds Source Code Viewer Badgr - Flickr Slideshows For MySpace Flickr Adds Better Upload Tools Flickr Downtime Continues


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Yahoo-Google Deal Alexa Changes Rankings, Goes Beyond Looking Good; Common Dreaded Toolbar Sense Packs Up And Leaves
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 12:07:46 AM

By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:57:04 AM

Wall Street Journal reports that the preliminary testing of the Yahoo-switching -to-AdSense deal has gone well. The question is whether this deal is a real possibility (in a normal situation, without Microsoft bidding for Yahoo, it wouldn’t be: it’s probably an antitrust violation and it’s bad for Yahoo in the long run), or is it Yahoo trying desperately to pull out of the Microsoft deal by making them less attractive (because they gave their ad search business away to Google) and more expensive (because they will be earning more money, at least in the short term, with Google AdSense) at the same time. The Wall Street Journal suggests another option: Yahoo could hook up with Google but later change their mind should Microsoft acquire them. This seems a bit naive to me, though. Deals like this have terms, and I doubt that Google would sign a deal which says that Yahoo can back down whenever they feel like it. And let’s not forget that Microsoft can fight this one; when Yahoo announced they’re considering outsourcing their search ad business to Google, Microsoft has sent a stern letter saying that “Any definitive agreement between Yahoo! and Google would consolidate over 90% of the search advertising market in Google’s hands.” And if there’s something that

Microsoft knows well, it’s antitrust violations. However you look at it, a MicrosoftYahoo deal still seems the best (although not necessarily a good) solution for the two companies. Unfortunately, this entire saga in which Yahoo is trying to make their grapes sour to Microsoft is starting to be like the Clinton-Obama rivalry - everyone just wishes one of them to back down so they can focus on the real issues. Well, at least the totally silly AOLYahoo deal looks even less likely now. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: The Daily Poll: Is Microsoft-Yahoo Inevitable? MASSIVE: Microsoft May Acquire Yahoo for $50 Billion Viacom Goes To Panama with Yahoo Yahoo Starts Layoffs While Deciding What To Do Next Yahoo May Consider Letting Google Handle Paid Search Comcast Chooses Yahoo…Google Kicked in the Nuts? Yahoo Powering DivX Search

The folks at Alexa have announced that their ever so popular (but, many might argue, often inaccurate) ranking system for web sites has been altered. The official word on the changes is slightly vague: Alexa claims “better rankings,” and “improved methodology,” but doesn’t go into detail. One change, however, is definitely a big one: Alexa is now using several sources for its rankings. So far, Alexa has measured rankings of web sites according to the users of their Alexa Toolbar, and this was the main source of users’ and experts’ criticism. For one, the Toolbar is not available for all platforms (you can’t get it for a Mac, and that’s why Macoriented sites have always ranked poorly on Alexa). Secondly, the Toolbar was reportedly mostly used by the tech-savvy demographic which are interested in rankings, and therefore various technology and SEO sites were perhaps unfairly well ranked. Now, the Toolbar is not the only source of data anymore, although Alexa doesn’t elaborate on what exactly these other sources are. While this certainly sounds like an improvement, until we get the details about these mystical new data sources, it’s hard to assume that Alexa is more or less accurate. What do you think?

Has the Alexa ranking for your website changed? Please let us know in the comments. Update: if you’re wondering why the “max” setting shows only the last 9 months, it’s because the old data is no longer available. This is a big drawback, as one of Alexa’s biggest strengths was the fact that they had data for several years back. Luckily, the change is only temporary; nevertheless, they can expect thousands of emails from angry users who’ll want their old data past the 9 months range.

ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Alexa Toolbar for Firefox (Official) Alexa Toolbar for Firefox Alexa Gets a Facelift Digg Gets $8.5 Million Petition Against Alexa’s Statsaholic Lawsuit Multiply’s Toolbar Now Live My FB Toolbar: Facebook Toolbar for Internet Explorer

Stitcher: News Streams For Your Phone [Invites]
By Sean P. Aune (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 9:26:45 PM

Ever wished you could have your favorite blogs read to you while you drive to work? Maybe while you walk around the kitchen in the mornings, making your coffee? Stitcher may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Using available audio streams from your favorite news sources and blogs, you can

build custom channels that deliver only the information you want to hear. Imagine listening to Mashable, followed up by some weather or sports scores. The more you use the site, it learns from you, hoping to tailor the news you receive more and more while it learns your habits. All of this can be yours, for free, by just signing up… well, if you have an iPhone. For the time being, everything is only working with the popular Apple device,

but this does seem to be only their first partnership of hopefully many. For those of you who are ready to go, we’ve been

given 200 invites to share with you if you just head over here, enter your email address, pick a password, and promise you will listen to Mashable every day without fail. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Web 2.0 Invites for January 7th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for January 9th, 2008

Web 2.0 Invites for January 15th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for January 20th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for January 24th, 2008 Web 2.0 Invites for November 14th, 2007 Web 2.0 Invites for November 11th, 2007

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Blinkx and Revision3 Announce Advertising Partnership
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 7:42:35 PM

Wavemaker has Designs for $4.5 Million in Funding
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 7:20:10 PM

Blinkx is a video search engine I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. When they originally came to the scene, the press coverage they’d received didn’t do much to differentiate them from the bulk of the others who were venturing into the video space in general, or the video search space in specific. Frankly, at the time, Google’s video search offerings seemed insurmountable, and I didn’t really see the need for any other entrants on the scene. Then, back in November, I read the summary of an interview Andy Plesser at Beet.TV had with the folks at Blinkx in which Suranga Chandratillake, the CEO of Blinkx, said that some videos are fetching “north of $60 CPM with their overlay ads. For those not familiar with video monetization, this is a CPM rate that’s very difficult to find in most advertising networks, and unless you have a gifted sales team is almost impossible to achieve on one’s own as an independent producer. It is likely this tantalizing statistic that has drawn video podcast network Revision3 into formalized partnership with blinkx. Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks is reporting that the partnership will bring Rev3’s shows, including Diggnation, into a revenue

sharing agreement generated by blinkx’s overlay advertisements. While blinkx hasn’t replaced my primary searching sources for finding videos, there are certain signs I’m seeing that show that they’re continuing to make inroads into the space, and are for certain a much more significant player than they were even when the $60 CPM quote started to circulate. ShareThis --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Ask.com Partners with Blinkx for Video Search Revision3 Expands Partnership with Blip.tv for Content Distribution Blinkx Partners With National Geographic Blinkx Launching Video AdSense Blinkx IPO Goes Ahead Revision3 Branded Miro Player, Now Available for Download Blinkx Gets Another Video Search Deal: Goal.com

Shortly before I started my posh job here at Mashable as Web 2.0 bloviator, I lived in the world of wannabe freelance journalism, which I often had to supplement with freelance web consultations. I remember many a fruitless search for visual AJAX development tools. One such toolset that has been around a while, though not long under its current moniker, is the open source AJAX visual toolkit Wavemaker. Formerly known as ActiveGrid, Wavemaker Software has raised, they’ve announced, $4.5 million in a new round of venture funding, as is being reported by

Venturebeat today. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Worldview Technology Partners, as well as Sippl Investments all contributed to this round of funding. The San Francisco based organization produces a studio suite that functions on non-proprietary technology, and theoretically doesn’t require an extreme amount of programming skill. ShareThis

Lucky Louie moves to CBS... sort of
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 5:01:00 AM

Cindy McCain to guest host on The View
By Joel Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:21:00 AM

Filed under: Daytime, Talk Show, Reality -Free Now we know that we're getting serious when it comes to the 2008 presidential campaign: Cindy McCain, wife of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, will co-host on The View on Monday, according to both the AP and the show's own web site. Mrs. McCain has been on the show before, appearing with her husband in 2004, and Sen. McCain has been on the show a number of times, most recently last week. But this is the first time either of them have sat with the hosts for the entire episode. As the AP article mentions, there's no word on whether Mrs. McCain will share any recipes on the show. Why is that significant? Nothing really, just a little bit of plagiarism committed by an overzealous campaign intern; the intern reprinted

recipes from various Food Network personalities, including Rachael Ray, on the campaign's web site and tried to pass them off as "McCain Family Recipes." I'm surprised people didn't get suspicious sooner, because I don't think I've ever heard either McCain say the word "Yumo." [via Mediabistro] Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Other Comedy Shows, Pickups and Renewals, Reality-Free Great news here for fans of the shortlived HBO sitcom, Lucky Louie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, LL alums Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon have been tasked with writing a new sitcom for CBS, where surprise - they play a husband and wife. Sounds a lot like Lucky Louie to me. CBS being network TV and all, there will obviously be some changes though. For one, the trademark raunchiness of the original Honeymooners-inspired half-hour will be gone, but I'm sure we can still expect plenty of laughs. The yet-to-betitled series will focus on a married couple with too many children. Louis C.K. will executive produce. While I'm thrilled about the return of something even remotely similar to Lucky Louie(they'll reach a much broader audience on CBS), I do have one worry. Between her duties as the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill and her role with this new project, is Adlon still going to have time for Californication? Her character was one of the best parts of season one. Permalink| Email this| | Comments



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Brought To You By ... VIDEOS
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:18:00 AM

Another sign that Sarah Connor won't be terminated
By Keith McDuffee (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Video, Commercials, Reality-Free Let's talk about cereal commercials (again). I thought of all of the cereal commercials we've had over the years after seeing the latest ads for Fiber One. Yes, to answer your question, that is Kate and Allie's Fred Koehler playing the store clerk who calls the manager over after the customer has a question about the lack of twigs in his cereal (that's Koehler with Johnathon Schaech). At first I thought to myself, "why is he doing cereal commercials instead of TV shows and movies?," but then I figured, hey, we all have to pay the bills, and Fiber One cereal is good! I just saw a sequel to the ad that features new Fiber One/Yoplait Yogurt and in it you see Kathryn Joosten, a great actress who

played Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing and Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives and...well, a million other roles. So it's actually very cool to see them doing this stuff along with their many other roles. Continue reading Brought To You By ... - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Pickups and Renewals, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Reality-Free Recently, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly dropped a little nugget regarding Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles that should make fans of the show sigh a little more in relief. In the interview, Reilly mentions that Sarah Connor and Back to You are the "lead candidates" for returning for a new season, adding that they've "already started staffing" the show. We already mentioned the high likelihood that the show would be returning before; several times, even. Is it because of Fox's track record with canceling shows, seemingly so quickly, that's got everyone so nervous about Sarah Connor's return? At this point, after hearing all of the rumors and mumblings that the show's safe, it would be extremely

cruel for them to bring the axe down during the upfronts next month. Die hard fans are probably already planning a backup plan, thinking of what kind of crap they're going to send Fox studios to beg for the show to return. Any suggestions? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Martha Stewart's dog shuffles off mortal coil
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:03:00 AM

Burn Notice season one encore begins tonight
By Keith McDuffee (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:24:00 AM

Idol Polls: The Top 7
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:04:00 AM

Filed under: Other Drama Shows, Programming, Reality-Free Set your DVRs, friends, because USA and USA HD will begin re-airing the first season of what I consider one of last years most overlooked, good new shows, Burn Notice. In fact, the pilot episode starts airing tonight at 11:00 PM ET, but if you miss that you can catch it at 2:30 AM. Or Sunday at 10 AM. Or later, at midnight. Oh, and then there's the DVD set coming out in June. In other words, no excuses! I just finished catching up with this show a couple of weeks ago with Deb, and I'm glad I did. Joel recently had a quick interview with Jeffrey Donovan of Burn Notice, who mentioned how, even if you have no idea what the show is about, every

episode starts with a very brief "what this show is about" montage that should set anyone straight. Still, if you haven't checked the series out yet, give at least the first couple of episodes a shot. [Thanks Gordon!] Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: American Idol, Contestants, Alumni, Predictions and Trends, News and Gossip Welcome back to our weekly American Idol polls round-up. Each week we look at various online polls that were conducted from the end of last week's results up to the performance show Tuesday. And then a few that were conducted after the performance show, but before the results were revealed. This way we can analyze how the week's performances affected a contestant's overall popularity, which turns out to be not very much except in a few select cases. This week during the performance show, Simon indicated that the guys had won the night, and based on these polls it looks like American (at least the online portion of us)

agrees with him. Is it really over for the girls? Can they see the writing on the walls? Will Brooke talk about it constantly droning on and on and on? Continue reading Idol Polls: The Top 7 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Food/Home/DIY, OpEd, Daytime, Celebrities, Reality-Free Television icon Martha Stewart has suffered a family tragedy when her dog Paw Paw passed away from renal failure. He was almost 13 dog years old. The dog's full name was "Kublai Khan Paw Paw Chow Chow". He was a 60 pound chow and had appeared on Martha's television programs a few times. I admit I am neither a fan of dogs nor a fan of Martha but I find any death of a beloved pet to be tragic. All this being said, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if we're being told the entire truth of the situation. I have a few alternate theories on Paw Paw's death: Continue reading Martha Stewart's dog shuffles off mortal coil Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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TV* Movies*


Big Brother 9: Eviction #10 & HOH Competition #11
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 12:40:00 AM

Do They Serve Beer in Hell?
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 5:02:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US), Reviewcaps, Episode Reviews( S09E31) Adam is safe and Natalie is on the block. She's been playing everyone against each other and now she's paying for it. Of course, in typical Natalie style, she's acting like a psycho, calling people out, and quoting Bible verse. Bottom line: This week the boys are in power. If Ryan and Adam wanted to be really devious, they should just split the vote and make Sheila decide. Find out if Natalie is safe and what the

boys decided to do after the jump. Continue reading Big Brother 9: Eviction #10 & HOH Competition #11 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Ford, Spielberg and Lucas Talk 'Indiana Jones'
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Fandom, DIY/Filmmaking, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Movie Marketing, Remakes and Sequels With a little over a month left before Indiana Jones hits theaters for a fourth time, it's time to hear from its creators. First up, USA Today revealed a new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull photo (see above) along with their interview with Harrison Ford. An interesting note from that interview is Ford does not rule out an Indiana Jones 5, except he'd prefer that it take another 20 years to come together. On the character, Ford says, "He's a guy who is pretty clear from the beginning. He has not changed so much between films. But we've learned more about him, through various plot devices, such as the introduction of his father. And we'll learn something more about him in this film. I think it's required. If you're going to bring back a character, you'll have to supply the audience with something more and different. The

Filed under: Comedy, Deals, Scripts It's always interesting to read something about book bestseller lists. Where a big movie can come and go in the flurry of a few weeks or a month, to be a big, noteworthy text means to stick around for years. The Hollywood Reporter posts that Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 3 flipping years and has had a number of adaptation deals fall through, is going to be whipped up into a big-screen comedy that Max will write, and Bob Gosse( Niagara, Niagara) will direct. As quoted in the introduction: "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead. But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way: I share my adventures with the world." Yes, folks, another jerky dude movie, but let's hope this one won't star Dane Cook. The film will focus on Max's "trip to a friend's bachelor party, where he ensnares the groom in a lie that threatens the

wedding, then abandons him to pursue further carnal knowledge. After being banned from the nuptials, Max attempts to get back into his friend's good graces." Well, at least this bachelor party craziness won't end up with insanity and dead prostitutes. The film, which is being privately financed, will slip into production June 2 in Louisiana. Permalink| Email this| Comments

adventure is very, very important. But it's interesting to discover a facet of the character that perhaps you hadn't explored before." Additionally, Entertainment Weekly sat down for a very informative interview with both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Their talk is extensive and very fun to read (if you're a fan of either man or both); topics covered include, of course, the entire Indiana Jones series. On the Russian

villainess Irina Spalko (as played by Cate Blanchett), Lucas calls her an "ubervillain," while Spielberg says, "Of all the villains I've been able to work with in the Indiana Jones movies, I can say she's my favorite. And I think Cate made her that way." Continue reading Ford, Spielberg and Lucas Talk 'Indiana Jones' Permalink| Email this| Comments


Movies* Gossip

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That 'Teen Witch,' Ashley And We've Reached a New Low: 'My Best Friend's Girl' Tisdale! Trailer Splats Onto the Net
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:32:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, Casting, Deals, Family Films, Remakes and Sequels Do any of you remember Teen Witch? I definitely didn't until I looked up the cover and remembered that it was that, well, teen witch story -- a girl finds out she's a Salem witch descendant and has special powers. It starred Robyn Lively, it came at the end of the '80s, and it pretty much tanked. Heck, remember Lively? She got to star in The Karate Kid, Part III, and be an extremely seductive and enticing old man chaser in Twin Peaks, before taking on a number of short television stints and low/no buzz movies. But now she can say that she's paved the way for Ashley Tisdale. The Hollywood Reporter posts that Teen Witch is getting remade by United Artists, and Ms. High School Musical Sharpay Evans is in negotiations to star. I've got to wonder: who on earth picked that movie out of the rubble to remake?! Did someone at UA have a guilty pleasure, and always dream of remaking it into something a little bit more successful? At the very least, it's a potential remake that shouldn't ruffle too many feathers... unless there is a huge

By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:32:00 AM

Teen Witch contingent out there lurking in the shadows? No writer has been tapped to update this puppy yet, but in the meantime, Tisdale is still busy. Aside from HSM, she's been talking to the Disney Channel about making a new show about Tisdale's early life, pre-stardom, when she worked at a mall. (Sweet! Maybe we'll get Forever 21: The Musical. And it'd be about damn time.) Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Romance, Lionsgate Films, Trailers and Clips The trailer for My Best Friend's Girl( originally known as"Bachelor No. 2"), starring Kate Hudson and Dane Cook, is now online, and the only word that comes to mind is "monstrosity". Why don't you take a look at it up top. Go ahead, I'll wait here. Are you as horrified as I am? Normally I prefer not to inflict my negativity about upcoming releases on you; if all I have to contribute is whining, I try to leave the blogging to someone else. But I couldn't pass this up. What we seem to have here is: a) the ten-millionth iteration of the plot where X starts a relationship with Y on a bet or a job but

ends up falling in love; b) starring Kate Hudson, the reigning queen of the nondescript rom-com (at least Matthew McConaughey is nowhere to be found); c) co-starring Dane Cook, whose very presence is the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, as a professional a**hole, and Jason Biggs as an awkward nice guy; and d) directed by Howard Deutch, who is responsible for some of the worst comedies of the last ten years. Oh, and it's named after a song. Despite not being dead, the Cars are spinning in their graves. On one hand, I'd love to be proven wrong about My Best Friend's Girl; on the other hand, I really, really don't want to subject myself to it. Would it be a dereliction of duty to skip the thing? Permalink| Email this| Comments

New Set Photos From 'Australia' -- and Podcasts!
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:32:00 AM

Ridley Scott to Direct Casey Affleck in 'The Kind One'
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: Casting, Noir, Scripts Having pioneered tech-noir with Blade Runner, Ridley Scott is trying his hand at classical noir with The Kind One. Variety reports that Scott will direct and produce an adaptation of the Tom Epperson book, with Epperson himself writing the screenplay. The novel is about an amnesiac in 1930s Los Angeles who is informed that

before he lost his memory, he was a ruthless gangster named "Two-Gun Danny," and that he works for a fearsome gangland boss. Epperson is a screenwriter by trade, best known for co-writing The Gift with Billy Bob Thornton; The Kind One is his first novel. The other person to sign on to the project is Casey Affleck, who is clearly enjoying his new lease on life following The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Gone Baby

Gone. He's really the perfect noir hero, scrappy, jaded and intelligent; we saw

some of that on display in his brother's film, where he practically disappeared into the tough working-class Boston milieu. He and Scott should be able to hit this one out of the park, if the source material is any good. As always, I'd love to hear from commenters who are familiar with the book. Continue reading Ridley Scott to Direct Casey Affleck in 'The Kind One' Permalink| Email this| Comments

David Beckham has Wandering Eyes
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 9:11:43 PM

What is David Beckham looking at? When Posh sees this picture she will

___________. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • David Beckham Gets a Chinese Tattoo • Barack versus Beckham

Fans • Victoria Beckham Upstaged by Cruz • David Beckham is a Saint • David Beckham Trains with Hong Kong

Filed under: Drama, Romance, 20th Century Fox, Newsstand, Movie Marketing, Images, War, Nicole Kidman, Trailers and Clips You know, I am pretty happy to be me. But every once and awhile, I see something like this, and I am possessed with fury that I wasn't born Nicole Kidman -- or at least an Australian actress who could have stolen the part from her. Damn. That photo is just all kinds of sexy. And there's more gorgeous stills from Australia over on IESB.net as well as a few over on the film's official site. ITunes and 20th Century Fox have also paired up to bring ten Set to Screen with Baz Luhurman podcasts, which document all aspects of the upcoming film. This actually debuted yesterday, but because I couldn't access the podcast, there wasn't any way to properly write about it. If you're as technologically ill-equipped as I, the podcasts have been put up on MovieWeb. There are two up now, and both are worth watching for the gorgeous scenery (no, I'm not talking about Jackman) and the glimpses of the film. The one on still photography is especially stunning -- pure art! Continue reading New Set Photos From 'Australia' -- and Podcasts! Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Get Ready for 'Graduation'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 1:02:00 AM

Check out Iron Man's Crib!
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, Drama, Independent, Deals, Distribution, Cinematical Indie Spring isn't just a time when things finally get sunny, warm, and bright, prying away the last grips of winter. It's also school crunch time and the countdown for graduation. For many, both in real life and on-screen, that means exams and then the final hurrah of drinking and teen shenanigans. For a select few, it means a time of crime in Mike Mayer's upcoming indie flick Graduation, which has been picked up by Truly Indie and Magnolia Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Although it may be a low-buzz indie film, there's one name that grabbed me immediately, and a few others that make this worthy of a little attention. The everawesome Huey Lewis plays one of the dads, along with Adam Arkin, and the young cast includes Shannon Lucio from The O.C., Riley Smith from Freaks and Geeks, Chris Marquette from The

Filed under: Action, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Fandom, Home Entertainment, Movie Marketing, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Trailers and Clips It's almost like an episode of MTV's Cribs... except we're on a movie set with Jon Favreau touring Tony Stark's fictional house. Yes, in case the 1,547 Iron Man trailers, clips, TV spots, images and posters weren't enough to hold you over, Yahoo has released a video featuring Favreau running around Stark's amazing house on the top of a cliff somewhere. In the video, they're at this real house as well Education of Charlie Banks, Chris Lowell from Veronica Mars, and Aimee Garcia from Spanglish. Heck, I'm just happy to see Lowell in a role where he doesn't get called "Piz." Continue reading Get Ready for 'Graduation' Permalink| Email this| Comments

as on a soundstage where other parts of his house are in the process of being built. In between the tour, we're also shown several different "trailer-ish" clips from the film for those who ... need to see more Iron Man? Anyone else feel like they've already watched this film like ten times already? Yes, it looks like it kicks ass, but enough already. Cut it. Fade to black. Seriously, is there anything left to surprise us with? That said, a bit of a warning: There's a lot of Iron Man in this video, so if you're still trying to stay away ... don't watch. The rest of Iron Man arrives in theaters on May 2. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Allison Janney Grabs Roles with Sam Mendes and Brian Robbins
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 2:32:00 PM

Discuss: When Does Fandom Go Too Far?
By Kim Voynar (Cinematical)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 3:03:00 PM

Filed under: Fandom, Harry Potter Between seeing We are Wizards at SXSW last month, Elisabeth's excellent Geek Beat column on cosplay and costuming(that's her at the right, dressed as Queen Gorgo), JK Rowling squaring off in court with Steven Vander Ark over this Harry Potter Lexicon, and following the wonderful Twilight fan sites more closely of late, I feel like I've been double-dipped in fandom recently. All this has got me thinking on the concept of fandom and fantasy and what drives people (like

myself) to obsess about fictional worlds and characters, and where the line is between healthy love and admiration for books and films and unhealthy obsession. Don't get me wrong here ... I totally love

fansites.. Fans who maintain fansites give hours and hours of their personal time to keeping those sites going, and when sites get popular, they have to recruit other obsessed fans to help them out, all while maintaining the quality of the site and keeping away trolls (and, in the case of Twilight Moms, maybe a few irate spouses to boot!) But how much is too much? Continue reading Discuss: When Does Fandom Go Too Far? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Casting Combining the words Allison Janney with indie comedy is usually music to my ears. In the last few years alone, she's rocked roles like Allie Stiffle in Chumscrubber and Bren MacGuff in Juno. Now The Hollywood Reporter posts that she's signing on for two bigger-budget roles -- one that will have her working with Sam Mendes, and the other that will have her directed by Brian Robbins. Well, at least one should be completely excellent. For Mendes, she's taking a role in his upcoming comedy, which is currently and tentatively titled This Must Be the Place. Janney will play "a loud, brassy, decidedly un-PC woman who admittedly has a few screws loose." (Could Mendes have cast that any better?) "She reunites with a former employee in Phoenix, where the expectant mother/employer (Maya

Rudolph) begins a tour of the country with her husband (John Krasinski) to find the best place to raise their child." Continue reading Allison Janney Grabs Roles with Sam Mendes and Brian Robbins Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Tori Spelling Rides the Rainbow
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:56:27 AM

Tori Spelling told Reuters: "I’m a huge fan of gays. They love me. I

love them. They consider me kind of a gay icon, which they’ve labeled me as." She wishes. If drags queens aren’t dressing like you, then honey, you are NOT a gay icon.

© Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 2006-

2008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Tori Spelling Almost Went Broke • Tori Spelling is Pregnant Again • Tori Spelling is a Scary Clown • Dancing With the Stars Contestants

Leaked • Tori Spelling – Gay Marriage Minister



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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 27

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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 28


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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 29

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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 30


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WELCOME continued from page 29
$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.

Minnie Driver Baby Daddy Identified
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 10:36:25 PM

Minnie Driver is due to give birth around August, but so far she hasn’t said who her

baby’s daddy is. Life & Style say the daddy is Craig Zolezzi, a musician from the San Francisco area. The pair have been dating for a year, so why all the secrecy? Was Craig only meant to be a sperm


© Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Ashlee Simpson Might Really be Pregnant • Pete Wentz Denies Ashlee Simpson Is

Pregnant • Ashlee Simpson is Pregnant

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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.

Hayden Christensen on the Set of His Next Movie Bomb
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/17/2008 4:04:12 AM

I really want to believe that former Star Wars actor Hayden Christensen will someday make a blockbuster movie, but

until then he needs to get some acting lessons. The same goes for his co-star Rachel Bilson. The pair are teaming up for a new movie called New York, I Love You, which is already on my list of movies to avoid simply because these two are in it.

Sad, but true.

© Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Hayden Panettiere Appeals to the Dark Side • Jessica Alba in Awake • Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson

Are Dating • Rachel Bilson Gets Kinky with Whips and… • Sienna Miller Real Sex Scene in Factory Girl?



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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


In Rough NHL Playoffs, Avery Inspires Rewrite of Rule Book
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/16/2008 12:47:00 PM

Your guest Fixer is David Roth: It’s getting warmer outside, which means, naturally, that it’s time for…ice hockey? The games are buried on a channel that isn’t even included in your substitute Fixer’s cable package, but from what we’ve heard — both from people with better cable service and those who just care deeply about hockey — the NHL playoffs have been amazing thus far. Sean Avery’s gambit prompted a new NHL rule. (Getty Images) George Vecsey was positively rhapsodic about spring hockey in Monday’s New York Times. “Hockey suffers from being compared to itself in ways that other sports are not,” Mr. Vecsey writes. “Every four years, some of us fawn over Olympic hockey, a great event with bigger rinks, minimal goonishness and national pride in addition to the heightened skills of veritable all-star squads. But Stanley Cup hockey comes around every year, when games start to count in multiples of best-of -seven series, and the players seem to put more attention into every pass, every check, every annoying little trick.” One of those annoying little tricks — the brainchild of widely reviled Rangers winger Sean Avery — became illegal just in time for Wednesday night’s RangersDevils game at Madison Square Garden. “Lots of people hated Bobby Clarke, and Dale Hunter didn’t have many friends outside of his own locker room. Ken Linseman earned the nickname, ‘The Rat.’ And, of course, Claude Lemieux was the ‘most hated man in hockey,’ ” the Newark Star-Ledger’s Colin Stephenson writes. “But none inspired an emergency amendment to the rules in the middle of a playoff series, as Avery did Sunday during the second period of the Devils’ 4-3

overtime victory. His wild-man faceguarding of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur on a power play was so frowned upon by the NHL that the league yesterday sent out a hastily written press release, proclaiming Avery’s bizarre dance, henceforth, officially against the rules.” Why is Mr. Avery so loathed? Surprisingly, it has only a little bit to do with jealousy over his 2007 relationship with actress Elisha Cuthbert, or over his position atop the postseason goal-scoring rankings. No, even before he chose to wave his stick in front of Mr. Brodeur’s face in Sunday’s game, Mr. Avery had earned a reputation as one of the NHL’s foremost trash talkers. Fox Sports’ Al Strachan, like many other hockey pundits, jumps at the opportunity to express his feelings about Mr. Avery. “The trash talking is bad enough. Certainly it exists in hockey, but not to the level that it exists in other sports,” Mr. Strachan writes. “Do it in hockey and you’ll probably get punched. That fact does a lot to discourage the practice. [But] Avery’s trash talking gets highly personal. In this case, it usually relates to Brodeur’s 2003 divorce… Even though the playoffs have been exciting and have featured some magnificent plays, it is Avery’s performance that is going to get the attention on the highlight shows. Hockey needs a positive presentation these days. It has to shed the circus image that people like Avery give it.” The Rangers blog Blueshirt Bulletin, though, points out that Mr. Avery was not alone in misbehaving on Sunday. Blogger Dubi Silverstein points out, “One thing about the Sean Avery incident that has been completely overlooked: Mr. Brodeur clearly and intentionally whacked Avery in the you-know-what with his stick. While everyone around the hockey world debates the legality and sportsmanship of Avery’s antics, Brodeur committed an inexcusable

act that is without question a major penalty and the height of bad sportsmanship. Wasn’t called, though.” The two teams will, no doubt, put all those bad feelings behind them in Game Four at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday evening. Or, well, probably not. Goonery, at least from the perspective of the Washington Post’s Mike Wise, is also having a negative impact on another Eastern Conference series, in which the Philadelphia Flyers took a 2-1 lead over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. “Can’t Gary Bettman pay off someone to ensure his meal ticket for the next decade advances to the second round?” Mr. Wise asks. “Doesn’t Tim Donaghy live close by? Does he still have his whistle? Can he skate? The Washington Capitals and their star Alex Ovechkin, the closest thing the NHL has to Kobe and LeBron, need some kind of help if they are going to genuinely awaken America to their game again… The tenor of this rugged series is terrible news for hockey progressives everywhere, the way the Flyers have punked a nice bunch of free skaters who used to be among the most feared offensive teams in the NHL.” In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ed Barkowitz sees the Flyers’ 6-3 win as a result of just that intimidation. “The Flyers have nudged [Capitals goalie Cristobal] Huet and they have run him over. Any

chance they’ve gotten to get in the way and in the head of the Capitals goaltender, they’ve done it,” Mr. Barkowitz writes. “No one in the sullen Capitals locker room last night would confirm that the Flyers had gotten to their goaltender, but Huet sure doesn’t look like the same guy who came into the series on a nine-game winning streak.” It’s not surprising that intimidation is still the coin of the realm in hockey, but the games’ occasional pauses so guys can punch each other aren’t what makes the sport seem so foreign to today’s substitute Fixer. For me, reading about hockey and listening to my hockey-fan friends is sort of like walking into a hopping neighborhood bar in a strange city: Everyone’s having a blast, but it’s hard to tell what they’re talking about. The passion is evident, though. That — well, that and because I think it’s great — is why I’m linking to this YouTube clip, from a 2006 game in Edmonton between the San Jose Sharks Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Oilers. Things really get hopping around the 25-second mark, when the Karl Rovelookalike stops singing “O Canada” and the crowd takes over. *** It’s probably unfair to say that the nation’s sports pages are running an Olympics fever, but now that sports pundits seem to have moved on from discussions of modified or limited boycotts and China’s human-rights abuses, at least there have been several profiles about interesting Olympians. In the New York Times, Harvey Araton recounts how Michelle Hong, a 15-year-old ChineseAmerican gymnastics hopeful, came to these shores. It’s a dramatic tale, one seemingly bound to be told again in one of those overcoming-adversity minidocumentaries that define Olympics television coverage. Which means that Tom Daley — who

would be an average British 13-year old, were he not also an Olympic diver — would probably not be able to sit through it. Mr. Daley “has a nice line in nonchalant catchphrases like ‘blah-di-blah’ that he uses whether dutifully answering questions about his growing fame or when revealing that William and eight-year-old Ben, the youngest of the three brothers, keep telling him that he’s “rubbish” as he heads for the Olympic Games later this year,” the Guardian’s Donald McCrae writes. “Five weeks before his 14th birthday Daley appears as unaffected in person as he is extraordinary on the diving board.” Equally unaffected — if in a more American, blog-having sort of way — is canoer Benn Fraker, who was dubbed “the Gilbert Arenas of Paddling” by Washington Post blogger Dan Steinberg. (If you don’t know the origin of that nickname, click here— and, yes, I’m shamelessly linking to my own work.) “By the third time I met this 19-year old from outside Atlanta, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out that he has a blog,” Mr. Steinberg writes. “Well, two blogs. ‘You should check it out, BennFraker.com,’ he said. ‘I’ve got that one, which is more personal, and I don’t know when it’s gonna be up but I’ve got one on NBCOlympics.com which is going to be obviously a little more censored. They told me no swear words, and I have to use capital letters and stuff.’ ” *** Finally, there’s this heart-warmer about the Special Olympics from Paul Daugherty, the father of a Special Olympian, in the Cincinnati Enquirer. – Tip of the Fix cap to reader Garey G. Ris.

My Beautiful Mommy
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:47:56 AM

There is a new book coming out called My Beautiful Mommy. The bok helps moms who undergo plastic surgery to explain to their children, that mommy will

be prettier after the bandages come off. One woman said: When she was pregnant with her son Junior, who turns nine this month, Gabriela Acosta ballooned from 115 pounds to 196. Acosta lost the weight but wound up with stretched, saggy skin. Even her son noticed

it. He told her that her stomach looked

"pruney," the result, he thought, of staying in the shower too long. There’s a baby boom in Hollywood right now, but mommies will have to wait until after it goes on sale on Mother’s day. © 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 • Emma Watson is 18 Today • Who’s Your Daddy • Jason Beghe Says Scientology is Dangerous



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Anticipation Builds for NBA West’s Playoff Matchups
(WSJ.com: The Daily Fix)
Submitted at 4/17/2008 12:16:00 PM

Your guest Fixer today is Darren Everson: Typically, NBA playoff seeding doesn’t exactly match the intrigue of college basketball’s Selection Sunday, but this season’s historic Western Conference race is different. Now that the regular season is over and the matchups are set (Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Hornets-Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs-Phoenix Suns, Utah JazzHouston Rockets), pundits everywhere are engaging in bracketology. First stop: San Antonio, where the Spurs clinched the third seed Wednesday night by beating the Jazz, 109-80. The defending champions’ marquee player already has gotten serious, Buck Harvey writes in the San Antonio Express-News: “Tim Duncan sat at his locker Wednesday evening, watching a replay of an earlier game against the Jazz, when he saw himself slip on a clumsy pivot move. Still sitting, he rolled his chair, kicking his feet against the floor like a little kid, until he was close enough to grab the remote. Then he replayed the moment, over and over again, until he had seen it 10 times. … Duncan is paying attention now, isn’t he?” After an inconsistent, injury-plagued season, Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs are ready to defend their title. (Associated Press Photo) He’ll need to, since the Phoenix Suns obviously will be out for vengeance after last season’s controversial playoff defeat to the Spurs. Although the Suns seem less dangerous than last year with Shaquille O’Neal aboard, Mr. Harvey points out that this is a worse matchup for Mr. Duncan and the Spurs than people realize. Another counterintuitive thought: The Dallas Mavericks are in good shape heading into the playoffs. The Mavericks

won 16 fewer games this season than last, and star Dirk Nowitzki has been hobbled by knee and ankle injuries, but the season ended perfectly for them, ESPN’s Marc Stein writes. The Mavericks grabbed the seventh seed, which means a matchup with the untested New Orleans Hornets not the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, whom Mr. Nowitzki openly admitted his club wanted to avoid. “That’s not to say Nowitzki or any other Mav was openly clamoring for a serieslong dose of Chris Paul,” Mr. Stein writes. “They’re not crazy. They know Paul is likely to gradually adjust to the aggressive, two-man trapping in the backcourt that Dallas used to unexpectedly rattle New Orleans’ MVP candidate and spark its third -quarter comeback. Nor did the Mavs miss how Paul shrugged off a hard foul from Erick Dampier early in the third — and the resulting tweak to Paul’s left ankle — and played on as if nothing happened, slowed only by foul trouble. Yet facing New Orleans is clearly preferable to any of the other possibilities that have been looming for Dallas once it become apparent that last season’s No. 1 seed in the West was going to be a much lower seed this time.” Mr. Nowitzki’s condition could be worse, but he has been undergoing treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, which numerous athletes are trying in an effort to speed recovery, Kevin Sherrington writes in the Dallas Morning News. *** The playoffs begin Saturday, but Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated is already pining for a finals featuring the Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The league probably is too, he suggests, although it can’t admit it. “There’s a long way to go, of course, but the idea of a Celtics-Lakers title showdown, which hasn’t happened since the Reagan Administration, is the most tantalizing postseason prospect to come along in years for the league, its network

partners and fans starved for a rivalry that evokes the NBA’s glory days,” Mr. McCallum writes. “… It’s difficult, of course, to get anyone in the league office to admit that a Celtics-Lakers Finals is more attractive than, say, Magic-Jazz. … Network bosses, too, refrain from uttering their true feelings; nobody wants a barrage of favoritism charges from, oh, Detroit and New Orleans. But the league’s jump in ratings (up 14% on TNT, 12% on ESPN and 9% on ABC) has spoken for them. … Indeed, one high-level ABC employee says, ‘Of course we want Lakers-Celtics. There’s nothing else. There’s no secondbest scenario. That’s it. We’d kill for it.’ ” *** Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the NBA landscape, Isiah Thomas’s troubled run as New York Knicks coach appears to be near its end. The Knicks (23-59) lost their season finale against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, 132-123, and Donnie Walsh, the new Knicks president, is not expected to retain Mr. Thomas in that capacity. As expected, there was little sympathy in the media. “I will admit to feeling no joy as the most accomplished little man in N.B.A. history became the target of consuming ridicule and scorn,” New York Times columnist Harvey Araton writes. “But sympathy? Difficult to manufacture after the Anucha Browne Sanders trial last

September, Thomas a central figure in that repulsive workplace unveiling. Years ago, he was a committed leader of the players union, the same thorn in the side of the establishment that he was on the court to Jordan and Bird and Magic. Thomas made great contributions to his sport, but then, so did Lenny Wilkens, another Hall of Fame point guard, a New York legend. And Thomas treated Wilkens shabbily after hiring him as coach, not just capriciously firing him but emasculating him along the way.” Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is even more blunt on his blog: “This season, he completed perhaps the worst coaching job in NBA history to go along with one of the worst years as an executive in league history. Isiah singlehandedly redefined what it means to be a complete failure.” *** As the NBA enters its postseason, the NHL’s is already underway. And its top regular-season team is already in trouble. After taking the first two games of their first-round series against the Nashville Predators, the Detroit Red Wings now find themselves tied after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss — and in the midst of a goalie controversy. “So how bad were Dominik Hasek’s two games here?” Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg writes from Nashville. “The local musicians won’t even write songs about him. Too depressing.” The Wings may switch in Game 5 to Chris Osgood, age 35, who had a better regular season than the more celebrated Mr. Hasek, age 43, but still didn’t earn the starting playoff job. There is no such gnashing of teeth in Pittsburgh, as the once-moribund Penguins won their first playoff series since 2001, sweeping the defending Eastern Conference champion Ottawa Senators with a 3-1 win Wednesday. The sweep was surprisingly easy, ESPN’s Scott Burnside

writes. “Before the series started, Ottawa coach Bryan Murray suggested the Penguins had tanked their last regularseason game against Philadelphia to make sure they drew the injury-depleted Senators. Turns out if that’s what happened it was a prudent call as the Senators bore little resemblance to the team that rolled to the Stanley Cup final with a 12-3 record last spring. The Senators led in this series for a total of 4:28. They were outscored 16-5. They were outshot 161-112. In a game in which they promised to bring desperation and passion to stay alive, they seemed zombielike for most of the first two periods.” *** At least the Senators still have jobs. Barry Bonds, baseball’s all-time home-run leader, remains without one, something that, to John Brattain of Hardball Times, smacks of collusion. “Were he healthy and batting .280/.460/.590 with 25 home runs in late August, what kind of talent could he be parlayed into at the trading deadline?” Mr. Brattain asks. “A one-year contract to Bonds could result in a couple of hot young prospects to a middling team this year — I find it odd that no general manager has discovered this potential market inefficiency. I think the real reason we don’t wish to believe there is collusion here is this: If Barry Bonds is indeed being colluded against and the media support the cause and we applaud their efforts — then Barry Bonds was bang-on in his assessment of us.” 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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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.

Pink and Todd Morse Falling in Love
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 9:51:18 PM

Pink just separated from her husband, and she already seems to be in love again with Todd Morse, a guitarist for the band Juliette and the Licks. The new couple were seen "cuddling" at West Hollywood’s Key Club on March 3, then they played in the waves in Malibu on April 12. A source said: “The two of them were hugging and playing. It was really cute, he was throwing seaweed at her. They most definitely looked like a couple. They were very comfortable together.” “Before getting in the water, Pink did a few cartwheels on the beach. She looked so happy! They played in the water for 15 minutes and then went for a walk.” Pink did cartwheels for him. That’s such a grade school move, which means she’s head-over-heels. On April 14 Pink performed with Todd Morse (video above), and his side project band Petty Cash, at the Key Club. Their mixing business with pleasure. It must be serious. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Pink and Carey Hart Getting a Divorce • Carey Hart Cheats on Pink • Lindsay Lohan Extends Stay in Rehab; Looks “Healthy” Compared to Parents • Any Attention is Good Attention? Britney Spears Flashes Panties, Second Time in Two Days • Britney Spears No Longer Home Town Darling



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rob Lowe Ex Nanny Jessica Gibson a Party Girl
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 11:09:52 PM

ROBfrom page 39 continued
"She was always the babysitter growing up. She’s Auntie Jessie to my daughter Alicia. I always told her she would be the best mother and wife." Well, Jessica isn’t a wife, nor a mother, and apparently she’s not such a good nanny either because she’s already quit twice. Jessica just needs to apologize to the Lowes, find a rich man, and settle down. Of course now that Jessica has been exposed, who would want to marry her, without a prenup? © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Rob Lowe Nanny Wants to Be a Star • Jeremy McIntosh is a Tranny Gone Wild • Brigitte Bardot Speaks Her Mind • Pete Doherty is Doing Drugs in Jail • Wesley Snipes Faces Jail Time

According to sources the ex nanny Jessica Gibson, who is suing Rob Lowe for sexual harassment, is described by friends as loving older men, very flirtatious, a party girl, and only complained about getting more money from the Lowes, but never about anything regarding sexual inappropriateness. If the b!tch is lying, then throw her in jail for fraud and extortion. Sources also say Jessica has been bragging to all her "pals" back home about a photo shoot she did for this week’s issue of People. Hopefully People didn’t pay Jessica. They can use those pictures later when she is exposed as a fraud. Gibson’s father Jim, 63, a technology executive said: "I was shocked when I heard about everything, and I worry about her capability to cope with things. She felt being a nanny was perfect for her. She liked it. The Lowes were working her ridiculous hours." Jim is going to be really shocked when

he finds out what a liar his daughter is. The Lowes’ kids are 12 and 14 years-old. How hard is it to take care of kids that are old enough to take care of themselves? I’m sure Gibson logged a lot of hours snacking in front of the television watching court TV. Jessica’s mother, Eileen Gibson, a teacher who lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, who is divorced from Jim said she: "… finds it absurd to say she tried to extort from the family. She is very compassionate, very caring and honest. She has a gift for working with kids. She loves them. She’s very gentle and kind and values her family very much." However when it came to Jessica’s professional life, "She has been absolutely discreet about her job, and we did not discuss that." What does Eileen know? They never even discussed Jessica’s job. Her parents are probably speaking out to start the damage control now before the truth comes out. Jessica’s older sister Kelly Gibson (28) even chimed in: ROB page 39



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Rob Lowe Nanny Wants to Be a Star
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/17/2008 3:22:29 AM

Jessica Gibson, the former nanny suing Rob Lowe, and his wife Sheryl Lowe, for sexual harassment, appears to have a laundry list to milk her 15 minutes of fame, which she is hoping will translate into some big bucks when the lawsuit ends, and she has to pay her own legal bills. The list goes something like this: TV interview - Check Photo shoot with PEOPLE- Check Court appearances - Pending Write a book - Looking for publishers Move to Las Vegas - Realtor on speed dial Ambulance chaser Gloria Allred is doing her best to shake up Lowe before she deposes him on May 19. Today she said:

"Jessica has nothing to hide, and we wonder if Mr. Lowe will take that position as well." The Lowes’ attorney, Stanton "Larry" Stein has countered, by effectively calling Gibson a liar in a statement he issued to

the Today show. "An investigation of dozens of present and former employees has failed to find one single person to verify her allegations," the statement said. Gibson’s legal bills alone will be punishment enough if the Lowes are found not guilty in court. © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Rob Lowe Ex Nanny Jessica Gibson a Party Girl • Jeremy McIntosh is a Tranny Gone Wild • Brigitte Bardot Speaks Her Mind • Pete Doherty is Doing Drugs in Jail • Wesley Snipes Faces Jail Time

Lindsay Lohan Loves Missionary Style
By Hollywood Grind
Submitted at 4/16/2008 11:02:02 PM

Relapsed and recovering addict Lindsay Lohan might become a missionary next February according to Michael Lohan. Michael said: "She has made it clear she definitely wants to come along. Our trip next February encompasses the issue of child sexual slavery in India. We also deal with helping AIDS victims. Lindsay’s very spiritual. She has a wonderful heart, loves people and is very charitable." Michael still hasn’t learned that Lindsay is all talk and no action. Did she move to Utah like she said? Did she quit drinking? Could she be anymore bloated in this

picture? British actor Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, said he ’can’t be bothered with airhead actresses.’ Rupert said he met Lindsay Lohan last summer

and wasn’t impressed as: "she talked about herself a lot." Grint went on to recall that, "She (Lindsay Lohan) said she was going to win an Oscar before she turns 25. I just kept thinking, ‘But you can’t act’.” Hahahaha! Go Rupert! © Copyright HollywoodGrind.com 20062008. All Rights Reserved. Related posts: • Lindsay Lohan Sued Again • Lindsay Lohan Puts on a Plastic Smile • Dina Lohan Loses Lawsuit • Lindsay Lohan Intimate Video Might be Real • Lindsay Lohan Blowing Calum Best Tape Surfaces