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Archive for November, 2012

Erickson Foregoes Senate Run in Georgia

As I said ear­lier this week, I give him credit for even con­sid­er­ing it.

But some­times you have to put your fam­ily first, and that is clearly what Erick is doing here. 

Red­State co-founder Erick Erick­son said Fri­day he won’t chal­lenge Geor­gia Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss in a GOP primary.

Were I to run for the Sen­ate, it would be a ter­ri­bly nasty cam­paign,” the well-known con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger wrote on Red­State. “It’d actu­ally be really awe­some, but it’d be really nasty. I have a seven year old, a soon to be four year old, and a wife who does not like being any­where near a stage. I’m not putting my fam­ily through that when the best out­come would mean a siz­able pay cut in pay and being away from my kids and wife all the time hud­dled in a pit vipers often sur­rounded by too many who viewed me as a use­ful instru­ment to their own advancement.”

Some con­ser­v­a­tives had hoped the stri­dently right-wing Erick­son would chal­lenge Cham­b­liss, who has bro­ken from party ortho­doxy on taxes. Erick­son has held elected office in the past, serv­ing an abbre­vi­ated term as a Macon, Ga. city coun­cil member.

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Two Baseball Rules Changes I Would Back Completely

Meant to post this ear­lier this week, but I got lazy.

Tom Ver­ducci of Sports Illus­trated posted 9 rules changes he’d like to see in Major League Base­ball.  They deal with every­thing from instant replay on foul balls to the armor guys wear at the play to the num­ber of time­outs Jorge Posada would call to have a con­fer­ence at the mound.

(It was a lot.  It delayed the game.  It got annoy­ing after a while.)

Here are my two favorites, one of which is named for Doug Melvin who has been call­ing for it for years.

2. The Doug Melvin Rule. For years the Brew­ers gen­eral man­ager has been insti­gat­ing con­ver­sa­tion among gen­eral man­agers about a uni­form ros­ter size in Sep­tem­ber. As it stands now, teams can increase their ros­ter from 25 to as many as 40 play­ers with the addi­tion of Sep­tem­ber call-ups. That leads to teams play­ing with dif­fer­ent ros­ter sizes — say, 33 against 29 — and too many avail­able options for man­agers (five left­ies in the bullpen, four catch­ers, mul­ti­ple pinch-running spe­cial­ists, etc.). It means pen­nant races are decided under rules oth­er­wise not in place all sea­son, and some games are decided because one team has more avail­able play­ers than the other. The Brew­ers are still smart­ing about how St. Louis even qual­i­fied for the 2011 post­sea­son: The Car­di­nals won sev­eral close and long games down the stretch because man­ager Tony La Russa squeezed the most out of expanded ros­ters. Hello, Adron Chambers.

It’s time for gen­eral man­agers to stop talk­ing about it and do some­thing about it. It’s a quick and log­i­cal fix. Teams should play all games with the same num­ber of play­ers. I advo­cate using a 25-man ros­ter all year long. The dif­fer­ence is that in Sep­tem­ber you can call up as many play­ers as you want but you must des­ig­nate a game ros­ter each day of 25 play­ers. A man­ager, for instance, might leave off his other four start­ing pitch­ers, for instance, to include four Sep­tem­ber call-ups. Some GMs have advo­cated a stan­dard but expanded ros­ter for Sep­tem­ber games — say, a daily ros­ter of 28. Twenty-five is plenty, and brings uni­for­mity to the season.

3. The Barry Bonds Rule. You want to wear body armor to gain an advan­tage over the pitcher? Fine, go ahead and wear a huge elbow guard that enables you to hang over the plate and dis­re­spect inside fast­balls that oth­er­wise would move your feet. But you can­not take your base when a pitch hits a piece of your embold­en­ing equip­ment, no more than if a pitch hit your bat. Any pitch that strikes a piece of body armor equip­ment sim­ply is ruled a ball and the at-bat con­tin­ues. No hit batter.

The Bonds rule to me is com­i­cal, but also makes a lot of sense.  If you come to the plate wear­ing a frickin’ gaunt­let for an at bat for the sole pur­pose of crowd­ing it, I say you’re fair game too.

The Melvin rule should hap­pen.  I real­ize the point of the expanded ros­ter is to give expe­ri­ence to prospects who are on the fringe of becom­ing big lea­guers, but there’s no rules lim­it­ing active play­ers, so it turns dugouts and bullpens into a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mon­ster than the rest of the sea­son.  25-man ros­ters all-year long, but allow the call-up a time to move guys in and out of that ros­ter in Sep­tem­ber and solid­ify it by not hav­ing them be unable to dress on game day.

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This Means Tammy’s a “No” on Rice, Right?

There’s good oppo, and then there’s good oppo which comes back to bite you in the ass politically.

We’re about to see the latter.

The Wash­ing­ton Free Bea­con reports that likely Sec­re­tary of State Des­ig­nate and cur­rent U.S Ambas­sador to the United Nations Susan Rice has sub­stan­tial invest­ments in com­pa­nies that deal with Iran. As we well know from the just com­pleted U.S. Sen­ate race here in Wis­con­sin, our newest junior Sen­a­tor has some (appar­ent) major league issues with those who have invest­ments in com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Iran.

Rice has the high­est net worth of exec­u­tive branch mem­bers, with a for­tune esti­mated between $24 to $44 mil­lion, accord­ing to the Cen­ter for Respon­sive Pol­i­tics. A Free Bea­con analy­sis of Rice’s port­fo­lio shows thou­sands of dol­lars invested in at least three sep­a­rate com­pa­nies cited by law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill for doing busi­ness in Iran’s oil and gas sector.

The rev­e­la­tion of these invest­ments could pose a prob­lem for Rice if she is tapped by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to replace Clin­ton. Among the respon­si­bil­i­ties of the next sec­re­tary of state will be a show­down with Iran over its nuclear enrich­ment program.

That Susan Rice invested in com­pa­nies doing busi­ness in Iran shows either the Obama administration’s lack of seri­ous­ness regard­ing Iran or Rice’s own immoral­ity,” said Michael Rubin, a for­mer Pen­ta­gon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “Either way, her actions under­cut her abil­ity to demand our allies unity on Iran.”

The com­pa­nies in ques­tion appear to have con­ducted busi­ness with Tehran well after West­ern gov­ern­ments began to urge divest­ment from the rogue nation, which has con­tin­ued to enrich ura­nium near lev­els needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Finan­cial dis­clo­sures reveal that Rice has had $50,001-$100,000 in Royal Dutch Shell, a long­time pur­chaser of Iran­ian crude oil.

Royal Dutch Shell cur­rently owes Iran nearly $1 bil­lion in back pay­ments for crude oil that it pur­chased before West­ern eco­nomic sanc­tions crip­pled Tehran’s abil­ity to process oil pay­ments, Reuters reported.

For com­par­i­son, yes, Royal Dutch Shell was one of the seven firms the Tammy Bald­win cam­paign for Sen­ate when apoplec­tic on against Tommy Thomp­son for hold­ing. How­ever, Tommy held on $17,000, which is any­where from three to six times fewer than what Rice appears to be hold.

Hell, the entire for­mer Thomp­son Iran­ian port­fo­lio (just under $50,000) was less than Rice’s Royal Dutch Shell hold­ings alone.

So, of course comes the obvi­ous ques­tion to Bald­win: IF Iran­ian invest­ments were bad when Tommy did it, how is it dif­fer­ent when the poten­tial next Sec­re­tary of State is doing it? And if so, does that mean you will vote against her con­fir­ma­tion if the Pres­i­dent nom­i­nates her?

I’m sure Dan Bice will jump right on that one…

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CNN Business Plan Leaked">New CNN Business Plan Leaked

In light of this news, it is safe to say that this will be the future busi­ness plan of CNN.

  1. Bring on Katie Couric in some capac­ity, per­haps to replace Piers Morgan.
  2. ???
  3. PROFIT!

Vet­eran news pro­ducer and for­mer NBC Uni­ver­sal chief Jeff Zucker will become the pres­i­dent of CNN World­wide in Jan­u­ary, the net­work announced Thurs­day.

Jeff’s expe­ri­ence as a news exec­u­tive is unmatched for its breadth and suc­cess,” said Phil Kent, chair­man and CEO of Turner Broad­cast­ing Sys­tem, CNN’s par­ent com­pany. “In a career that has seen sig­nif­i­cant pro­fes­sional suc­cess in both broad­cast and cable, Jeff has demon­strated his abil­ity to run mul­ti­ple lines of busi­ness and fiercely defend jour­nal­ists and journalism.”

Zucker suc­ceeds Jim Wal­ton, who has headed CNN World­wide since 2003. As pres­i­dent, Zucker will over­see 23 branded news and infor­ma­tion busi­nesses, includ­ing CNN’s U.S. tele­vi­sion net­work, CNN Inter­na­tional, HLN and CNN Dig­i­tal. The lat­ter includes CNN.com, one of the world’s lead­ing news websites.

Zucker is best known for two things.

1) Giv­ing the world Katie Couric and Fear Fac­tor

2) Leav­ing NBC an empty wasteland.

Once an unknown news pro­ducer on Today, it was Zucker (at only the age of 26) who sug­gested the news divi­sion grab the then-unknown Couric and hav­ing her trade­mark perk­i­ness on to replace “the other woman” on the Today Show, Deb­o­rah Norville, who view­ers never liked after replac­ing the retir­ing morn­ing show icon, Jane Pauley.

Couric clicked, rat­ings soared, Zucker was ele­vated to run the enter­tain­ment divi­sion and used his con­nec­tions — and the net­works’ #1 sta­tus at the time — to do noth­ing new, pretty much let­ting “ER” die on the vine, giv­ing us lousy spin-offs from “Friends” and let­ting the shows which started before his tenure run their course while doing noth­ing to develop new shows.

Instead, he’s the one who started real­ity TV shows invad­ing on net­work tele­vi­sion with “Fear Fac­tor” lead­ing the gross-out rev­o­lu­tion.  The only “hit” he had dur­ing his time run­ning the net­work was the first sea­son of “Heroes,” which soon became a mess after the writer’s strike.

He also was the one who per­son­ally ended up screw­ing Conan O’Brien after per­son­ally get­ting Leno to agree to retire.  So there’s that too.

After get­ting sacked at NBC when Com­cast bought the net­work, he found his way…yeah, you guess it…back with Couric as the exec­u­tive pro­ducer of her new talk show host.

If CNN is hop­ing this guy can turn the ship around, they are prob­a­bly in for a few surprises.

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NFL Players Use Viagara as PED">Brandon Marshall: NFL Players Use Viagara as PED

Actu­ally, given the ori­gins of the drug as an anti­co­ag­u­lant (blood thin­ner), this makes sense.  In fact, you’ve ever seen the “Top Gear: South Amer­ica Spe­cial” on BBC Amer­ica, you see that part of “the emer­gency pack­age” the pro­duc­ers give the three co-hosts includes three Via­gara pills.

One for each co-host.  (The pack­age also included tam­pons to stop river water from going into the gas tank and vase­line and con­doms to water­proof their engines.)

The point of the drug is to actu­ally thin the hosts’ blood while they were in the higher alti­tudes of the Andes Moun­tain.  So yes, as strange as it sounds, tak­ing a Via­gara to bat­tle alti­tude sick­ness could save your life depend­ing on what alti­tude you’re at ver­sus what alti­tude you are used to.

I don’t know too much about Adder­all,” Mar­shall told news reporters. “I know guys, it is such a com­pet­i­tive league, guys try any­thing just to get that edge. I’m for­tu­nate enough to be blessed with size and some smarts to give me my edge. But some guys, they’ll do what­ever they can to get an edge. I’ve heard of some crazy sto­ries. I’ve heard (of) guys using like Via­gra, seri­ously. Because the blood is sup­pos­edly thin, some crazy stuff. So, you know, it’s kind of scary with some of these chem­i­cals that are in some of these things, so you have to be careful.”

Ignor­ing the sud­den dou­ble enten­dre of his “blessed with size” descrip­tion and the logis­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties that could result from receivers try­ing to run a fly pat­tern while under the influ­ence, is it pos­si­ble that he’s actu­ally serious?

It appears so.

The New York Times reported in 2008 on a study funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency, where Mary­wood Uni­ver­sity tested the drug on sev­eral mem­bers of the school’s lacrosse team to deter­mine pos­si­ble ath­letic ben­e­fits. WADA never added the drug to its banned sub­stance list because there was insuf­fi­cient evi­dence that the drug would enhance ath­letic per­for­mance, despite the premise that its abil­ity to increase blood flow to cer­tain parts of the body also would apply to mus­cles used on a foot­ball field.

In my book it is a PED. Thin­ner blood means faster blood which means more oxy­gen is going to where it is needed while play­ing on the foot­ball field.  Thus, giv­ing you an unfair edge.  Sim­ple enough.

It will prob­a­bly be banned in a few years, and we’ll all have a joke about it since few will under­stand the med­ical sci­ence behind the drug.

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Cartoon of the Day

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NHL Lockout to End">Today’s Sign We Need the NHL Lockout to End

Prospect for the Detroit Red Wings, play­ing for the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins was arrested for under­age drink­ing, dri­ving while over twice the legal limit and fal­si­fy­ing his identity.

All while wear­ing a pur­ple “Tinky Winky” cos­tume from the children’s show “The Teletubbies.”

A Detroit Red Wings prospect faces charges under Michigan’s tough “super drunk” des­ig­na­tion fol­low­ing a traf­fic stop dur­ing which police dis­cov­ered him clad in a Tele­tubby costume.

Accord­ing to a Grand Rapids police report obtained by MLive.com, Riley Shea­han twice reg­is­tered a blood alco­hol level of .30 per­cent when tested in jail after his arrest on Oct. 29.

Police say the 20-year-old Grand Rapids Griffins cen­ter from St. Catharines, Ontario, was wear­ing the cos­tume of a pur­ple Tele­tubby known as Tinky Winky dur­ing the stop.

The “super drunk” charge car­ries a penalty of 180 days in jail and pos­si­ble depor­ta­tion. Shea­han also faces a charge of pro­vid­ing false infor­ma­tion, as he was car­ry­ing the driver’s license of fel­low Wings prospect Bren­dan Smith when he was arrested.

Accord­ing to the police report, Shea­han told police he was using Smith’s license so he could get into bars. Smith, 23, was the Red Wings’ first-round pick in 2007.

The police report didn’t say how Shea­han got pos­ses­sion of Smith’s identification.

What is the over/under TMZ gets the mugshot for this by the end of the day?

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Erickson Considering Senate Run in Georgia

In the just com­pleted cam­paign cycle, it’s no secret that Red­State Exec­u­tive Editor-in-Chief Erick Erick­son and I didn’t see eye to eye.  Most of it was on what I viewed as unnec­es­sary involve­ment by Erick in the Wis­con­sin GOP Sen­ate Pri­mary.  Erick was a big Mark Neu­mann fan (mostly based on stuff he heard from the Club for Growth and Jim DeMint’s office) and I well…wasn’t.

We’re still friends, we still chat.  And I am more than grate­ful for the plate of nachos he once bought me at a DC eatery when I was down on my luck in 2009.

All that aside, I will give Erick credit for one thing.  If he does run for the U.S. Sen­ate in his native Geor­gia as being spec­u­lated, he will be putting his money where his mouth has been for years now.  That’s more than you can say for any big-name lib­eral blog­ger out there.

You don’t see Markos run­ning for U.S. Sen­ate, let alone his local city coun­cil in what­ever San Fran­cisco sub­urbs he resides in.  (Too busy being a wannabe pup­pet mas­ter and bomb-thrower I sup­pose than actu­ally doing some­thing to bet­ter the world I guess.)

Pop­u­lar con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger and radio per­son­al­ity Erick Erick­son said Tues­day he was con­sid­er­ing a pri­mary chal­lenge to Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss after a host of polit­i­cal bigs had approached him about stag­ing a bid of his own in the days since the incum­bent broke with a vaulted no-taxes pledge.

For a week now, I’ve been get­ting calls to see if I would chal­lenge Saxby Cham­b­liss, once he really got into the whole ‘rais­ing taxes issue,’” Erick­son said in the open­ing seg­ment of his radio show Tues­day. “Well, the pace quick­ened. I got a lot of peo­ple pledg­ing a lot of money in the last cou­ple of days if I did some­thing like this. And I’ve been very adamant, I wasn’t going to do it, but after a few con­ver­sa­tions today with a few heavy hit­ters in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and some here in Geor­gia, I should at least con­sider it.”

Erick­son, a CNN polit­i­cal con­trib­u­tor and editor-in-chief of con­ser­v­a­tive haunt Red­State, added he was “very flat­tered” and was in “prayer­ful con­sid­er­a­tion” about wag­ing a pos­si­ble chal­lenge to the two-term Chambliss.

Erick­son was a one-term city coun­cil­man in Macon, Geor­gia, but resigned when his work–a radio show, tele­vi­sion gig and edi­tor­ship of highly-trafficked blog–became too great to shoul­der in tan­dem with his pub­lic service.

Like other pos­si­ble Cham­b­liss chal­lengers, Erick­son has not run for statewide office. But he main­tains a diverse net­work of monied, influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tives in the Belt­way and through­out the state thanks largely to the celebrity he’s devel­oped over the last six years.

Erick­son hasn’t made a deci­sion yet on when he’s going to make a deci­sion — that’s fine he’s got more than enough time to decide.  Real­ity is that he likely has a very good chance of win­ning, not just the pri­mary, but the gen­eral elec­tion in 2014 as well.

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Cartoon of the Day

Of course the ques­tion remains…where is the “Texas” for all of Amer­ica at the rate DC fis­cal cliff talks are going?

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