Friday, April 30, 2010

Read it here...well, more like there.

Over at the improv blog, I have an interview with Brendan Jennings, a cast member of The Second City ETC stage. He actually met Coach Calipari. True story. Read it all here.

Run for the Roses

It's not Derby Weekend until you hear this song at least once this weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Paramount passed on Anchorman 2

Allow me to be the first to say, what the hell was Paramount thinking when they passed on this project?!? Anchorman is now considered a classic. It's certainly one of my favorites of the movies released in 2000.

According to Adam McKay, the budget when have been the same size as Step Brothers, which featured both Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

It's a shame really.

Adam's Twitter statement:
So bummed. Paramount basically passed on Anchorman 2. Even after we cut our budget down. We tried.

Louisville mention on Late Show with David Letterman

During the Small Town News segment of The Late Show with David Letterman, the city of Louisville, Kentucky was mentioned.

It's kinda like Headlines on that other dude's show and the newspaper clipping says:
A man got out of his car in Okawville Sunday and said he would rather walk to Louisville, Kentucky than to ride with his mother-in-law

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disney releases Secretariat trailer

The long-awaited trailer for the upcoming Disney feature, Secretariat, has been released:

136th Kentucky Derby Post-Position Draw

1. Lookin At Lucky (Garrett Gomez)
2. Ice Box (Jose Lezcano)
3. Noble's Promise (Willie Martinez)
4. Super Saver (Calvin Borel)
5. Line of David (Rafael Bejarano)
6. Stately Victor (Alan Garcia)
7. American Lion (David Flores)
8. Dean's Kitten (Robby Albarado)
9. Make Music for Me (Joel Rosario)
10. Paddy O'Prado (Kent Desormeaux)
11. Devil May Care (John Velazquez)
12. Conveyance (Martin Garcia)
13. Jackson Bend (Mike Smith)
14. Mission Impazible (Rajiv Maragh)
15. Discreetly Mine (Javier Castellano)
16. Awesome Act (Julien Leparoux)
17. Dublin (Terry Thompson)
18. Backtalk (Miguel Mena)
19. Homeboykris (Ramon Dominguez)
20. Sidney's Candy (Joe Talamo)

Stately Victor is owned by the Conways.

Steve Carell to probably depart from The Office

The AV Club picks up on a BBC Radio interview with Steve Carell.

Carell's contract for the NBC comedy, The Office, is up after next season. He told BBC Radio that he'll probably leave when the contract is up. I can't blame him. Sure, the series won't be the same.
Question: How long will you stay with The Office for? How many more series? How long does your contract run?

Carell: Contract through next season.

Question: And will you stay after that?

Carell: I don’t think so. I think that will probably be my last year.
It would be the seventh season for The Office. Most series are lucky if they last that long.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Extra, extra, read all about it

Please click here and read my latest blogterview with Second City Mainstage alumnus Joe Canale. Caution, there's language involved, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NCAA adds 3 teams, goes to cable

The NCAA has decided to expand the 65 team tournament to 68 teams, meaning that the #17 seed in each region will play the #16 seed.

Furthermore, the Final Four and National Championship games will rotate between CBS and TBS starting in 2015 according to the details of the new NCAA deal inked with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.
The NCAA on Thursday announced a new 14-year television, Internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 and continuing through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion.

As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks – CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV – beginning in 2011, which is a first for the championship and an element that NCAA Interim President Jim Isch said was a primary goal in the negotiations.

CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting also have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program.

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase the tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 championship. The Board will review the recommendation at its April 29 meeting.

Isch called the landmark agreement “the beginning of a new partnership” and said the deal is not contingent upon the Board’s review of bracket expansion. He also said the increased rights fees put the NCAA on solid financial ground for the foreseeable future and enable the Association to “put our money where our mission is” to benefit student-athletes through programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools.

The agreement also ensures student-athletes across all three NCAA divisions will continue to be supported through a range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and athletically related financial aid in Divisions I and II.

Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies, said the announcement reflects the Association’s commitment to supporting student-athletes.

“This is another important milestone for intercollegiate athletics,” he said, pointing in particular to the leadership the late NCAA President Myles Brand provided in the years leading up to this decision.

“It is ironic as we gather to talk about this agreement that the blueprint we followed was laid out by Myles several years ago,” Shaheen noted. “This has been a project that has been worked on since literally 2004. This conclusion we are announcing today is not only one that we can be confident Myles would be proud of but rightfully reflects what intercollegiate athletics is all about. It coincides with the mission and vision that he charged us all to see forward over the last several years of his leadership.”

Beginning with the 2011 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, opening- , first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semifinal games. CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four (including the national championship game) through 2015. Beginning in 2016, CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional finals with the Final Four and the national championship game alternating every year between CBS and TBS.

CBS Sports has broadcast the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship since 1982.

Under the new rights agreement, NCAA March Madness on Demand − the Emmy Award-winning video player that provides live streaming video of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship − will continue to be launched from and Turner also has secured the rights for any Time Warner digital property. The player will be operated and developed by Turner and have enhanced digital rights, allowing the NCAA to deliver content for multiple Turner and Time Warner platforms.

Isch said the agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to NCAA conferences and member schools to help student-athletes in 23 sports learn and compete.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Men in Black 3D coming Memorial Day 2011!

Men in Black 3D is slated for a Memorial Day 2011 release.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld tells me that “Men in Black 3-D” is ready to roll. Will Smith has signed on, Tommy Lee Jones is in, and a script is awaited.

Yes. I did say 3D. “Men in Black 3″ will be in 3D. Sonnenfeld says it is so. Why not? Everything else is, and this is one movie that might be cool in the process.

Sonnenfeld told me he’d get me a neuralizer–that’s the cigar holder like gizmo that erases memories–but he couldn’t promise it would work! (I love that thing.)

Nevertheless, you can bet Sony is juiced to get this puppy moving since “Spider Man 4″ fell apart. They are in desperate need of a blockbuster for next Memorial Day May 2011. And “Men in Black” is like money in the bank.

Drama dead?

There is a bull market for sitcoms based on the number of pilots being ordered this year prior to the upfront announcements next month.
People like Mr. Lorre are particularly in demand this spring, amid a renaissance of sorts for the network TV sitcom, which not too long ago was pronounced terminally ill. On studio lots, where dozens of new shows are being fretted about and fought over ahead of the networks’ scheduling decisions in May, the number of sitcoms in development has spiked. “I think we’re on the cusp of a bull market for comedy,” said Kevin Reilly, Fox’s entertainment chief, whose No. 1 priority for the fall is adding more live-action comedies to his schedule.

It is evident that comedy success begets more comedy. The sitcom blocks on CBS, ABC and NBC are looking more stable than they have in years, thanks to shows like ABC’s “Modern Family,” the season’s breakthrough new sitcom; “The Big Bang Theory,” with surging ratings in its third season; and NBC’s “30 Rock,” still piling up awards well into its fourth season.

Despite some exaggerated claims to the contrary, the sitcom never died. What happened in the unfunny middle of the last decade, post-“Friends,” post-“Frasier,” post-“Everybody Loves Raymond,” turned out to be merely an anemic period. But it did deprive many comedy writers and producers of jobs as reality TV stole time slots from underwhelming scripted shows.

“We, the networks, drove comedy into the ground by being derivative,” said Stephen McPherson, the president of entertainment for ABC. The “Friends” copycats, like “Coupling” and “Joey,” all flopped, and for a time it was conventional wisdom that viewers had turned from comedy entirely.

“The TV industry is very, very adept at creating self-fulfilling prophecies,” Bill Lawrence, who co-created “Scrubs” and “Cougar Town,” said wryly. He noted that the writers’ strike three years ago further hampered sitcom growth.

Luckily for viewers, the bust has been followed by a comedy boom. ABC in particular took a risk when it introduced two hours of new comedy programming on Wednesdays last fall.

“I lost a few nights of sleep” over the scheduling move, Mr. McPherson admitted. But the extra emphasis on comedy worked, for the most part: along with “Modern Family,” the fellow first-year series “The Middle” and Mr. Lawrence’s “Cougar Town” were renewed for next season. The block’s fourth show, “Hank,” was canceled, a reminder that many new network shows face an early death.

Executives and producers cite several reasons for the boom, including the desire, according to some studios’ internal research, for lighter fare in a limp economy. “I do believe that the economy has created a need for escapist entertainment,” Mr. Lawrence said, before he emphasized that the economic climate sometimes gets too much credit. “First and foremost it’s an issue of quality.”

In a crowded television landscape, network executives say, they are able to sustain shows like NBC’s “Community,” which made its debut in the fall, with lower ratings than they may have demanded in the past. And, compared with reality shows at least, sitcoms have better prospects for future profits in syndication.

The 22-minute length of most sitcoms may also have something to do with their perceived bump in popularity. More people than ever are watching television online, and they prefer those choices in smaller pieces. Half-hour comedies like “The Office” and “Modern Family” regularly outrank almost all the hourlong dramas on “Comedy is a much lower barrier to entry,” said Mr. Reilly, who nurtured “The Office” while at NBC.

Analysts say networks are producing about 40 comedy pilots this season, 4 to 10 more than last season, depending on who is counting.[...]

Given the boom-and-bust cycles of television, perhaps it is once again comedy’s turn. The reality genre — which several years ago had “funnier, more surprising, more outrageous characters than some of the canned sitcoms on the air,” Mr. Reilly said — is now starting to seem canned itself.

“The audience,” he said, “is starting to feel that sitcoms are the freshest shows now.”
Hollywood agents are telling folks that dramas are dead.
That was the message for budding screenwriters at today’s London Book Fair seminar on writing for Hollywood. Andy Briggs, a British screenwriter who’s worked for Paramount and is currently rebooting the Tarzan and King Kong franchises, said US agents he’d spoken to during his most recent trip to Los Angeles advised him to avoid drama. These days drama is seen as being the purview of television, which does it so much better than movies, he said.

Rob Kraitt, an agent at venerable London literary agency AP Watt, said that it’s become much harder for British agents to sell books as movies to the studios. AP Watt -- whose clients include Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stared at Goats), Lyn Barber (An Education) and Giles Foden (The Last King of Scotland) -- works with CAA and Rabineau Wachter Sanford Gillett in Los Angeles putting projects together.

The more you can do to help the sale, the better, added Briggs, who pointed out that screenwriters are converting unsold screenplays such as 30 Days of Night into graphic novels. You must do anything you can to help executives see the finished movie, he stressed.

Kraitt added, “What’s changed over the past few years is that studios are looking for sure-fire hits, properties which already have an audience built in.”

Comedy Central extends late night!

Just about one week after TBS announced that they signed Conan O'Brien to a long term deal, Comedy Central announced that their late night stars, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have extended their contracts to late 2012/early 2013.
With Conan O’Brien about to change the calculus of late-night cable programming, the Comedy Central channel has made a move to lock up its two dominant stars, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The network has signed the two hosts – who both attract more young viewers than even the late-night shows on the broadcast networks – to new contracts that will keep them in the 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. weeknight slots through the next presidential election in 2012.

“That’s a big deal for us,” said Doug Herzog, the president of MTV Networks Entertainment Group, which includes Comedy Central. “For us, election years are like Olympic years.” The two politically oriented comedy shows hosted by the two stars – “The Daily Show” with Mr. Stewart and “The Colbert Report” with Mr. Colbert – have both seen big ratings bumps in presidential election years, Mr. Herzog said, “and some of that carries over each time, so we keep going up.”

The timing of the new deal was not directly related to the impending arrival next November of Mr. O’Brien, the former NBC late-night star, on the cable channel TBS; but Mr. Herzog noted that his comedy channel could hardly be unaware of it.

“We’re big admirers of Conan here,” he said. And the network did have some preliminary talks with Mr. O’Brien’s representatives when he settled his NBC contract – but not about a late-night slot, Mr. Herzog said. “We’ve got Jon and Stephen. Our late-night is filled already.”[...]

To that end, Mr. Herzog said he would have liked to sign up his two biggest stars for even longer terms. Under the new deals – financial terms were not disclosed – Mr. Colbert is locked into Comedy Central until December 31, 2012, and Mr. Stewart a half-year longer.

“Of course we’d like to sign them for more years,” Mr. Herzog said. “They are still growing. They are still fresh and relevant and sharp.”[...]

“I think Jon and Stephen have made cable safe for somebody like Conan,” he said. “I think it’s O.K. now for Conan to leave network television for cable because that’s where Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert live. And guess what? They’re doing pretty well.”

Though he would not discuss salaries, Mr. Herzog said, “They are paid handsomely and there isn’t anything they haven’t accomplished, or can’t accomplish, from behind the desks at Comedy Central, from being on every magazine cover imaginable, to – in Jon’s case – hosting the Oscars.”

He added, “I’m not sure what else is left? Well, beating Conan.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trey Grayson does the right thing

Props to Secretary of State Trey Grayson on filing complaints against his opponent on tax evasion. Tax evasion, no matter how you feel politically, is just wrong.
The campaign said it sent letters to seven enforcement agencies, including the U.S. attorney’s office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and the Kentucky Department of Revenue, claiming that Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul has not paid withholding taxes on campaign employees.

The campaign first raised the issue last week.[...]

But William P. Malone, a Louisville CPA whose firm has advised both Democratic and Republican campaigns over the years, said it is virtually impossible for a campaign worker involved in day-to-day operations to meet IRS guidelines for an independent contractor.

Basically, the IRS rules say that if the employer has the ability to direct or supervise the work being done, the person hired must be considered an employee — and withholding taxes must be paid.

During 2009, the Paul campaign paid more than $75,000 in wages to five employees but nothing in withholding taxes.

The Grayson campaign said it has paid more than $30,000 in federal withholding taxes since the campaign began.

Quote of the Day

"I'm really happy that I don't have to wear a shirt and tie."
--New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi on the MLB hoodie policy reversal, April 20, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In political news...

Jim Bunning has endorsed Rand Paul. This furthers the believe that Jim Bunning is going senile. Trey Grayson is from Northern Kentucky. Jim Bunning lives in Northern Kentucky. Jim Bunning did not endorse a Northern Kentuckian.

Hat tip to Joe.

Michael Gilchrist verbals to Kentucky

ESPNU Class of 20111 #1 ranked player Michael Gilchrist (of New Jersey) has made a verbal committment to play for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Vote for Jack Conway

Please go to this DFA-powered website and voice your support for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

Conway currently is leading his primary opponent 59% to 36% with 5% undecided.

Brandon Knight Signs with Kentucky

Brandon Knight around 4:05ish this afternoon announced that he would be signing with the University of Kentucky Wildcats!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is Joss Whedon directing The Avengers?

Reports are surfacing that Joss Whedon might be directing The Avengers.

I'm told Marvel Studios is in final negotiations for Buffy the Vampire Slayer series architect Joss Whedon to direct Marvel Studios' The Avengers. That's the fast-tracked film that would amount to an all-star team of Marvel superheroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as well as SHIELD leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Other signature superheroes will likely be involved, but I've listed the actors in active superhero duty. Whedon has been rumored for this job for awhile, and is high on the fanboy wish-list.
Joss Whedon is a superb choice in my opinion.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stevens' replacement unacceptable

President Barack Obama's nominee to replace retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens is unacceptable.

Conan O'Brien moves to TBS, not FOX

Conan O'Brien is headed to cable! He'll be on TBS come September!

From the LA Times:
The former host of NBC's "Tonight Show," who lost the program to Jay Leno earlier this year, has signed a deal for a new late-night program on TBS, the basic cable network owned by Time Warner. O'Brien's show will start in November at 11 p.m. George Lopez, the comedian who currently occupies that slot, will have his show move to midnight.

"In three months, I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly," O'Brien said in a statement.

The deal with TBS is sure to catch many by surprise. Most industry observers expected O'Brien to land at Fox. While Fox's top entertainment executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly were on board with going after O'Brien, persuading Fox's affiliates to carry the show was going to be more challenging. That's because those stations make a lot of money from the reruns they currently run at 11 p.m. This was also an issue for the stations owned by Fox itself.

The talks with TBS heated up in the last two weeks. As recently as a month ago, Turner executives had indicated they had little interest in going after O'Brien. Lopez has given them some solid numbers with younger viewers and is a contrast to Comedy Central's late-night duo of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
The big thing here is Conan O'Brien will be directly opposite both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Here's some extra details on the new show.
But as part of his deal with Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting to host a late-night show on TBS, O'Brien will have ownership of the show. That will give him the potential to make a lot more money then if he were just a hired hand hosting a show owned by a network. O'Brien's deal is for five years.

A deal between O'Brien's camp and TBS was struck in about 72 hours, according to people involved in the talks.

TBS previously had indicated it was not interested in O'Brien, but Turner Entertainment chief Steve Koonin said in an interview that was in part because "we assumed he had a deal with Fox."

Koonin reached out to O'Brien's team and then went back to his own late-night host, George Lopez, who was also enthusiastic about the idea of bringing Conan to TBS. O'Brien will have his show at 11 p.m., and Lopez will move to midnight. Although Lopez will have a later time period, he also will likely have a bigger lead-in audience.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kentucky star Patrick Patterson still undecided

What can be considered only great news for Kentucky basketball fans is that star forward Patrick Patterson is still undecided with regards to his future.
Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson says he hasn't necessarily closed the book on his college career, even though the school announced he was going pro.

"I'm half in and half out right now," Patterson said in an interview with The Associated Press Saturday while he was watching horse races at Keeneland.

Patterson called the decision on whether to leave or stay for a senior season "a tie," adding that he hasn't signed the paperwork to enter the NBA draft so "technically I haven't declared."

He said he was weighing several things, including the talent level of next season's Kentucky team and the possibility of an NBA lockout. Coach John Calipari has encouraged him to return to Kentucky, Patterson said, although he believes he is ready to play at the next level.[...]

Patterson, who is on track to graduate in three years, went through senior day activities with the team in the season finale at Rupp Arena. He said doing that again had crossed his mind and acknowledged it would be strange.

"It would be kind of weird," he said. "I don't think anybody else has done that before. I'd probably be the first one."

Patterson ranked second in the SEC and 12th nationally this season with a 57.5 percent field goal percentage. He has scored the 13th most points in Kentucky history.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Kentucky Football

Is it possible that Coach Joker Phillips will take the Kentucky football program to the next level? Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Tony Barnhart seems to think so.
“There is no doubt that coach Brooks set the bar pretty high but our job is to take what he has done and build on it,” Phillips said on a recent visit to Atlanta. “He told me I was ready and I feel ready.”

Brooks left Kentucky with a record of 39-47 but that doesn’t begin to tell the story of what he accomplished In Lexington. Consider:

**–The University of Kentucky has two coaches (Paul “Bear” Bryant, Jerry Claiborne) in the College Football Hall of Fame. Another Wildcat coach, Blanton Collier, left Kentucky and won an NFL championship with the Cleveland Browns in 1964. None of those coaches ever took Kentucky to four straight bowl games. Brooks did.

**–Brooks inherited a program devastated by NCAA sanctions. He struggled for three seasons and in 2006-2007 Kentucky posted back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time in 30 years.

**–In 2007 Kentucky beat No. 1 LSU and No. 9 Louisville, the first time in school history that the Wildcats had beaten two Top 10 teams in the same season.

**–Last season the Wildcats, after beating both Georgia and Auburn on the road, were in a position to get an invitation to the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. But a 30-24 overtime loss to Tennessee sent Kentucky to the Music City Bowl.

“That one hurt,” Brooks told me when I saw him a couple of weeks later. “That one hurt a lot.”

After Kentucky’s loss to Clemson in Nashville Brooks, who turns 69 this August, decided the time had come to turn the program over to Phillips. Phillips played at Kentucky for Claiborne and has better appreciation than most of what the school has accomplished in the past four seasons and what it could still do.

“We have come a long way but we still have a long way to go to compete for the (SEC East) championship, which is our goal every year,” said Phillips, who started his coaching career at Kentucky and then made stops at Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and South Carolina before returning to Lexington as recruiting coordinator in 2003.

Since Phillips took over as offensive coordinator in 2005, Kentucky has been good—and sometimes great—when it comes to moving the football. His 2007 offense, led by quarterback Andre Woodson, set a school record with 475 points.

The 2010 offense looks like it could be another good one. When quarterback Mike Hartline got hurt last season, Phillips and Brooks took the redshirt off Morgan Newton, who was the Indiana high school player of the year in 2008. Kentucky scored 34 points against Georgia and 24 against Monte Kiffin’s Tennessee defense. Both quarterbacks return along with wide receiver Randall Cobb, who is a big weapon out of the “Wildcat” formation.

Four starting offensive linemen are gone.

“We’ve got some work to do there,” Phillips said.

The bigger concern is over on defense where Trevard Lindley, one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, is gone along with Micah Johnson, an All-SEC caliber linebacker. Seven starters are back from a unit that was No. 53 nationally (359.69 ypg).

“We have had good players at Kentucky who can compete and win at the SEC level,” said Phillips. “But we need more and it’s our job to convince them that Kentucky is the right place for them.”

Phillips is known as a tireless recruiter. Since he arrived, Kentucky has gone into Georgia and done very well. The Wildcats have a virtual pipeline of players out of LaGrange. Lindley was from Hiram. Last year’s Kentucky squad had 19 players from the state of Georgia.[...]

Phillips has a chance to get off to a pretty decent start at Kentucky. Everybody in the SEC East has some issues. The Wildcats don’t play Alabama, LSU or Arkansas, which look like the three best teams in the Western Division. If the Wildcats can win their opener at Louisville on Sept. 4, they have a decent chance to go 4-0 in non-conference games as Western Kentucky, Akron, Charleston Southern are the other three opponents outside the SEC. A fifth straight bowl does not seem out of the question for Kentucky.

Evan Bayh for Governor in 2012?

It's a possibility and it wouldn't surprise me. Evan Bayh has always been an executive at heart.
When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced his retirement from the Senate Feb. 15, the life-long public official gave few hints as to what he'd do next. But a knowledgeable D.C. Democratic source tells me Bayh's intentions are clear to national Democrats: in 2012, he's planning to leverage the independent, outsider cred he's accrued in the wake of his retirement to run for his old job as Indiana's Governor.

Bayh's office told me today that Bayh "has made no decisions about what he might do when he completes his term in the Senate." But national Democrats in Washington say they expect him to return to politics by running for the job that first launched him onto the national stage.[...]

By then, the still-youthful-looking Bayh will be 56, far more seasoned than he was when he first ran for governor in '88. But my source said Democrats expect Bayh will run again as a fresh, independent voice, willing to go his own way when he has to. He set himself up for that message in his retirement address, where he attacked the current partisanship in the Senate as beyond the pale. The speech garnered Bayh public accolades from mainstream commentators and gave Bayh the reputation as a man who tells it like it is.

Bayh can likely leverage that into a run as an anti-establishment independent in reddish-purple Indiana. But obviously, there's a long way to go between now and then, and Bayh faces a crucial test with state Democrats this November before he can ask for their vote in 2012. When he dropped out of this year's Senate race, Bayh was ahead -- a ray of sunshine in a year that's not looking to bright for Democrats. Some state Democrats who were shocked and saddened when he dropped out, and worried that he was going to hand his seat to the GOP.[...]

Bayh may have given his plans away earlier in the retirement speech -- before all the talk of private citizenship and working at a non-profit.

"I am an executive at heart," he said.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions

National League
EAST: Philadelphia Phillies
CENTRAL: St. Louis Cardinals
WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers
WILD CARD: Atlanta Braves

NLDS: St. Louis over Atlanta; Philadelphia over Los Angeles
NLCS: St. Louis over Philadelphia

American League
EAST: Boston Red Sox
CENTRAL: Minnesota Twins
WEST: Seattle Mariners
WILD CARD: New York Yankees

ALDS: Minnesota over Boston, Seattle over New York
ALCS: Minnesota over Seattle

World Series: St. Louis over Minnesota in five games.

National League
MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves

American League:
MVP: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Cy Young: C. C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
Rookie of the Year: Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers

Thursday, April 01, 2010

John Wall: Undecided

Kentucky Wildcats guard John Wall has yet to make a decision as to whether or not he stays or goes pro. Here's a few excerpts from Jason King's article:
Wall, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft, indicated after the ceremony that Calipari’s comments were premature. He said he would make an announcement about his future plans “in the next week or two.”

“It may seem like any easy decision,” Wall said, “but college is a great experience. I didn’t think it’d be this fun.”[...]

“Our goal was to win a national championship,” he said. “That’s what we wanted. It was just one of those nights when we didn’t make our shots and the other team played good. They had a great strategy and they stopped us.”

Wall is one of five Kentucky players expected to leave school early for the NBA draft. Freshman Daniel Orton has already announced his plans to turn pro. Classmates Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins are expected to follow suit along with junior Patrick Patterson.

“I’ve always encouraged kids to put their names in the draft and explore,” Calipari said. “This team was so good that it elevated every player. If we were a bad team, they would’ve looked bad as individual players.

“The other thing is that we had a group that wanted to be coached. They wanted to change and play differently. Anybody that saw them from their hometown said, ‘I can’t believe it’s the same guy.’ From John Wall to Eric Bledsoe to DeMarcus to Daniel … everyone said, ‘I can’t believe that’s the same guy.’

“Now there are opportunities there for them. I’ll never hold a player back.”

Wall said it’s likely that he, Cousins and Bledsoe will all make the same decisions.

“When we’re in the [dorm room] together we ask each other, ‘Do you want to go or do you want to stay?’ ” Wall said. “That shows you how we’re all brothers. We’re sticking together because we all wanted to win. We came up short.”

Even if Wall decides to enter the draft – and let’s face it, it’s almost a certainty that he will – he said he’ll attend classes at Kentucky for the rest of the semester.

“I’m finishing out the semester,” he said. “No matter if I leave or stay, I’m going to finish it out. I don’t want to make it harder for me to come back and get my degree. I promised my dad before he died that I was going to go to college and get a degree. So if I leave I’m going to make sure to come back and get it.”

Bill O'Reilly did a mitzvah

FOX News commentator Bill O'Reilly should be commended. No, really. He performed a mitzvah. Just go to Mother Jones and read it yourself.
Bill O'Reilly is a mensch. A politically obtuse, verbally abusive, filthy rich one, but a mensch nonetheless.

That's no April Fool's Day joke. O'Reilly really is, today, a standup guy.

The conservative pundit put a little more daylight between himself and the Glenn Beck-loving, conspiracy-theorizing right wing Thursday with a touching personal gesture: He offered to help the father of a Marine killed in Iraq after he lost a lawsuit to the neoluddite child-hating Westboro Baptist Church of Fred "G-d Hates Fags" Phelps.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. After Albert Snyder lost his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in a vehicle accident in Anbar province, he was shocked to find Matt's military funeral mobbed by Phelps' crew of sign-carrying flat-earthers, whose shtick involves loudly thanking G-d for smiting gay-loving, libertine America and its sworn defenders. Snyder did what most grieving parents would have done: he sued the church. "They wanted their message heard, and they didn't care who they stepped over," Mr. Snyder testified. "My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside." The court awarded him $11 million dollars.

But a US Court of Appeals overturned that award, saying Phelps' homophobic grandstanding was protected speech under the First Amendment. "As utterly distasteful as these signs are, they involve matters of public concern, including the issues of homosexuals in the military, the sex-abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, and the political and moral conduct of the United States and its citizens," the majority opinion stated. Not only did Snyder lose his damages, but he was ordered to pay Westboro's legal fees, to the tune of $16,510.

That's where O'Reilly, who's never been known for his warmth, stepped in. "That is an outrage," he said on his show Tuesday, according to the conservative site Newsmax. "I will pay Mr. Snyder's obligation. I am not going to let this injustice stand...It's obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested, but our system is so screwed up, so screwed up, that loons are allowed to run wild. Snyder is fighting the good fight, and he is taking his case to the Supreme Court as he should. We are behind him 100 percent."

Indeed, the high court has agreed to hear Snyder's appeal of the appeal this fall. That means more legal fees in the meantime; Snyder's lawyer is soliciting more donations at, and the American Legion is vowing to raise funds, too.
Please give money. Don't even think another second about it and give.

In other news...

A recent study has found that sports announcers are able to believe what they are seeing.
Over the past five years, sports announcers have displayed a marked increase in their ability to accept the evidence of their eyes and find the sporting efforts they witness "entirely credible," a study published Wednesday concluded. "In the past, sportscasters were like newborn infants, assuming each running catch or 28-point performance was outside the realm of possibility," said Cornell University researcher Karen Thaler, who noted that "wow's" and "oh-my's" have recently hit all-time lows. "It appears they are now able to contextualize an event within the long and varied history of team sports that came before it. Today's basketball announcers won't even say that a jump shot is taken from 'downtown' unless the player is 40 feet away from the hoop." When asked to comment on these findings, ESPN's Dick Vitale replied with a calm and even "that sounds about right."
Mid-majors should be taken seriously.
When Ali Farokhmanesh hit his game-winning shot to lift ninth-seed Northern Iowa over top-ranked Kansas last Saturday, it was a true Cinderella moment for the NCAA Tournament, a rare second-round knockout of a high-major opponent by a scrappy, fundamentally sound mid-major semi-upper-lower-middle-mid.

But when the dust of the weekend had cleared, and Xavier, Butler, Cornell, and St. Mary's had all advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, it sent a clear message to the entire NCAA: The era of the mid-major semi-upper-lower-middle-mid had truly begun.

"What people are seeing here, once they get past the excitement of a sub-upper-major team like Georgetown losing to a moderate-mid-minor like Ohio, is increased parity across the board," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "In the second round, everyone saw how minor mid-sub-major Cornell handled neo-mid-half-major Wisconsin. In the first, they saw how major mid-minor Xavier trounced semi-high-major Minnesota. And now they're starting to wonder exactly what to call us."

Eleven different conferences are represented in this year's Sweet Sixteen, which pitted high-scoring para-mid-semi-diminished-sub-mid-major Cornell against the tournament's top seed and its top-ranked remaining team, major-major-major-major Kentucky.

"Kentucky is a major-major-major-major basketball school, no two ways about it," Cornell senior Jon Jaques wrote on his blog Wednesday. "We may be a low-mid-upper-mid-downer-middle-mid-micro-submacro school from upstate New York, but we've never let it hold us back. When the Big Dance is over, I wouldn't be surprised to see people calling Cornell a mid-upper-parallel-medial, or even a para-demi-duo-double major. I think we've proved something to the world."
Cornell drained the fun out of their Cinderella run.

A rich guy is feeling left out of the recession.
It's just not fair," said the 49-year-old real estate developer and grandson of oil baron Duncan Chandler. "Everyone is worrying about an uncertain future and coming together to express their outrage, and I don't get to be a part of it."

Staring out at the ornate garden where workers were installing a large marble fountain, Chandler sighed and added, "It's like I don't even exist."

According to the multimillionaire, the past 18 months have been incredibly difficult to endure, as he is often left feeling excluded from an American populace that includes millions who struggle every day to make ends meet. Chandler, who watched helplessly as his enormous fortune easily withstood the market freefall, has been "completely left out" of one of this nation's most significant cultural moments.

"Everybody's suffering," Chandler said. "And here I am, not scrimping and saving at all, with no demoralizing periods of financial hardship, or frantic weeks living paycheck to paycheck. What about me, you know? Where's my struggle?"

"Everyone's supposed to get a fair shake at this misery," Chandler added. "Even incredibly wealthy people of privilege like me."

Throughout the economic downturn, Chandler has tried to tap into the recession and experience some of the sorrow and widespread desperation he has so cruelly been denied. Sadly, all of his attempts have been thwarted by his seemingly insurmountable stack of riches.
President Obama has proposed cutting the United States Senate to save money in the United States budget.

The nation is prepared to be depressed during this weekend's Final Four.
Shots of the Indianapolis skyline scheduled to air during the 2010 Final Four will be extremely depressing and will momentarily infuse viewers with a sense of overwhelming bleakness, the U.S. populace reported this week.