More Items I’m Throwing Up On the Wall…

…Let’s see what sticks.

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I think the most important broadcaster on television during the 2003-06 period was Keith Olbermann. When many were afraid to take on the Bush administration, KO provided some of the most eloquent, but passionate commentaries on politics ever to appear on television. Since the Democratic takeover of Congress, he has lost some of his way, as Olbermann is at his best when he is taking on the majority. This is the way it is for most political broadcasters/entertainers. Why do you think so many Limbaugh/Hannity/Coulter types want McCain to lose? It isn’t just because they think he is not conservative enough, but they realize that being out of power makes for more engaging radio.

While MSNBC’s Countdown is still a quality show, he has lost his way a bit during this primary season. Since he seems to be strongly behind the Obama campaign, he has a hard time not spinning most of what Hillary or McCain do as negative. Some would say that he has always done this, which I wouldn’t totally disagree with, but when slinging the poo at Dubya it was almost always justified. Olbermann has reshaped how a cable news show can be presented, as he has combined hard news and analysis, with a wit that blends the Daily Show and vintage Sportscenter. Here’s hoping that he starts to offer up some of his pointed barbs at Obama, just like he has done with the other candidates. As the only news broadcaster who regularly quotes the great dead comedian, Bill Hicks, I suggest he take a page out of Hicks’ comedy style and swing for the fences on everyone.

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I was sad to learn that Tucker Carlson is losing his show at MSNBC. In a cable news world where pundits are generally partisan or dull, Carlson was much more Libertarian in his views than he was given credit for. He railed against politically correct speech and reveled in taking a contrarian view on many issues. He hadn’t worn a bow tie for quite a long time, but most Liberals still identify him as being the cosmic son of George Will. I’m guessing the bashing he took from John Stewart on Crossfire a few years back has stuck to him, even though he was not a deserving candidate to receive this verbal lashing. Carlson is a real talent, but I think his willingness/desire to not be pigeonhold alienated both sides of the Washington establishment and the partisan viewers that also happen to be most of who watches these shows.

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Prostitution should be legal, but regulated. Kind of like abortion, it definitely has its moral questions, but since it’s going to happen if you like it or not, why not have a safer and more dignified approach to the profession? While I could care less if some guy spends a bunch of money to copulate with some chick, I do love when some ethics crusader like Spitzer gets busted. I have appreciated most of the fatcat targets Spitzer has taken down, but when you are in the biz of coming off like you are holier than thou, you should face a different type of scrutiny than other people. As someone who has enjoyed when the Ted Haggard’s of the world get exposed as hypocrites, it would make me one as well, if I didn’t write that the same rules apply for a guy like Spitzer, even if I do think he has accomplished some important things.

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If you didn’t get a chance to watch the Missouri Valley Tournament Final, I feel badly for you, as Drake played 40 of the most entertaining minutes of b-ball I’ve ever seen. The Bulldogs have taken many of the great elements that are unique to the Tom Davis system, but head coach Keno Davis (Tom’s son) has tweaked it with a more European style of offense. The players all have a real high b-ball IQ, plus they all can shoot it from deep. Led by point guard Adam Emmenecker, who plays with a Steve Nash-flair, Drake will cause match-up problems with anyone they play. It isn’t surprising to me that possibly the 2 most entertaining tourney teams to watch happen to be led by coaches (Keno Davis and Bruce Pearl) who were deeply influenced by Tom Davis. While some in the game see many of the tenets of the Tom Davis system as gimmicky, like football’s run and shoot, I know if I was an AD at a school that has traditionally struggled to compete with its rivals I would hire a coach who would implement this style of play. I grew up going to Drake games and not since the days of Lewis Lloyd competing with Indiana State’s Larry Bird have the Bulldogs provided any real hope for their fans. Now they are back in the Big Dance, something they haven’t done since 1971. Underestimate this team at your own peril.

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This just might be the most promising event to be provided by a pitcher in quite some time. In this story by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Royals ace Brian Bannister is featured.  The piece focuses on some great quotes that Bannister gave Tim Dierkes at mlbtraderumors.com. Bannister is the first real saber-nerd pitcher I’ve ever heard of who has put up all-star like numbers.

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Every once in awhile, a recording slips by me and I learn about it too late to make my year-end list. The unfortunately named band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead put out a great release in 2006 titled So Divide that I highly recommend. I hear echoes of Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, The Flaming Lips, and a load of 70’s art rock groups on this ambitious record. Check it out.

17 thoughts on “More Items I’m Throwing Up On the Wall…

  1. 1.  “Prostitution should be legal, but regulated”

    Though not as honorable a profession as used car salesman, insurance salesman or politician…oh wait, it is more honorable. Look, its only the evangelical countries like the U.S. that struggle with this one. Most westernised, well educated countries have legal prostitution. It is well regulated, and though not a highly sought after position(no pun intended), is an area where men and women can earn some cash.

  2. 3.  My sons were very sad for my wife on Sunday when Illinois State lost by 30. My wife got mad at me for telling them that they were mom’s team even though she didn’t even know they were playing.

  3. 4.  I am not sure how Olbermann could be considered an “important broadcaster” in the political realm when a large majority of the viewing audience probably still thinks of him as a sportscaster. His politics aside (which I disagree with), Olbermann is on the fringe at best. Unless you happen to be a fan, I don’t see him as inlfuential figure.

    Using the argument that “if it is going to happen, why not make it safe” is a weak rationale. It kind of rivals the Bill Clinton “I voted with the majority, but sided with the minority” line of thinking upon which his wife is trying to build a campaign.

    Speaking of Hilary, I am sure she can’t be happy to see one of her pledged superdelegates on the verge of resignation. What’s more, I am sure she can’t be enjoying all the references to her husband’s own escapades, which have pretty much become his most lasting legacy.

  4. 6.  4 A philosophy of “if it is going to happen, why not make it safe” is a perfectly reasonable way to look at issues that are complex and unsolvable. Prostitution is considered evil by some—these people will never change their minds. Most people really don’t care one way or another, but we do know that it isn’t going away any time soon, so why not change what we can about it for the better??

    Despite what some people think, we do not live in a black/white, either/or binary world, this shit’s complicated and there are no easy solutions.

  5. 7.  “I think the most important broadcaster on television during the 2003-06 period was Keith Olbermann. When many were afraid to take on the Bush administration, KO provided some of the most eloquent, but passionate commentaries on politics ever to appear on television.”

    Long is a good stand-up comedian, but the unintentional comedic value of the above excerpt is off-the-charts fantastic.

  6. 8.  7 OK, you can dispute Scott’s assertion, but can you name a broadcaster who was more important??

  7. 9.  KO may be interesting, but I am not sure about “important.” His audience is small, and he preaches to the choir. That being said, his show is entertaining, albeit full of partisan hacks and their hackery (himself included). He is pretty much the same thing as Bill O.

    As for prostitution, very few women do it willingly. Even the Dutch have finally come to realize that human trafficking is more at work than willing women seeking cash for sex. The data are pretty clear on this. And here in the US, if someone is making 5K per go, you gotta believe there is some organized crime going on, too. So am I for “legal prostitution”? Show me the data which prove that the women are truly willing, and then we can talk. Until then, it is far from a “victimless crime.”

    Also, you may have read stories over the past couple years about women in Germany being cut off from unemployment/welfare if they refused to be hookers. So if the state is promoting/taxing legal prostitution, then being a hooker is no different than being a maid or farm laborer: refusing to be a whore (or maid or farmer) will get you cut off from benefits. This is not a situation I would like to see here.

  8. 10.  It’s not so much that I dispute it, I’m just suspecting he posted that with a “wink.”

  9. 11.  No wink. Really. During the run-up to the war, flags were waving like crazy on about every TV newsprogram and that wasn’t just Fox. There was only 2 voices at the time who had their own news/commentary shows that spoke to the problems with the quagmire we find ourselves in now. KO and Tucker Carlson. I might be wrong on that one, but I can’t remember seeing anyone with their own show who had these views.

    Just go back and remember the atmosphere that we were in during post 9/11 until 2006. A time when the Bill Maher’s and Dixie Chicks were labeled traitors for questioning the decisions by this president. (By the way, those of you that tout Maher as a leftist should know that he that he didn’t vote for Clinton in 1996 (Dole) or Gore in 2000 (Nader).

    I’m not talking white slavery when I mention legalization of prostitution. Most women (and men) who get into the biz do it because they need to make money. I’m sure most don’t love the gig, but then, they probably aren’t going to have another gig which they like much more and at least the money and hours are better than waitressing or retail. If you think prostitution is mainly run by underworld figures anymore, you have no understanding of how the internet has completely changed the sex biz. Go to Craigslist or Eros.com and check out all the ads of people selling their bodies. There are even escort review services—kind of like a consumer reports for Whores. I don’t like the idea of having a section of some city having an Amsterdam red-light district, as I think it is too out in the open. Truthfully, I can’t think of a way that to legalize it that works really well. I’m more of the mind of just look the other way, as long as it isn’t done on street corners. We have bigger crime issues to deal with.

    *And yes, the above paragraphs show way too much of an understanding of the profession. And no, I didn’t go on a roadtrip with James Worthy and Denny Neagle. I’ve always had a great fascination in vice subjects like drugs, gambling, and prostitution, so I’ve watched a lot of news programs and read a lot on these particular subjects. I also have had the subject explained to me by a man I will refer to as George Fox. –

  10. 12.  Given that almost all the comments are either about a certain media pundit or legalized prostitution, there must be a media whore joke in there somewhere.

    1 There is no restriction in the U.S. Constitution or federal law that would prohibit prostitution. The state of Nevada allows for legal prostitution business in all counties except those that exceed a certain population threshold designed to exclude legalization in Las Vegas and Reno, the two largest cities. I have no idea if Nevada’s system works, but it has been around for quite a while now so you’d think someone would have done credible research on it by now.

    The Tom Davis system can’t be anywhere as gimmicky as Paul Westhead’s “run down and hoist them as fast you can, preferably 3s” offense at Loyola Marymount U. It was a weird and wonderful thing to watch in the Kimble/Gathers years, plus their deep tournament run in memory of Hank was the stuff most Hollywood scripts can only dream of (except that the black hats of UNLV came out on top).

  11. 13.  EL Dave— You are correct about the offensive style of Westhead being the most gimmicky. Probably a better example to the run and shoot, as it is exciting, but was/is too one-dimensional to work consistently in a major conference.

    The Tom Davis system is not a gimmick, but just focuses on unique elements which make it extremely tough to prepare for. Zone pressing, entry bounce passing, a litany of out of bounds plays, an offense where at least 4 of the positions will shoot the 3. Sure there are other teams that feature one of these elements, but to have to prepare for all of them is really difficult, especially in a tourney setting.

  12. 14.  I know about Craigslist, et al., and even those places have a huge criminal element. It isn’t all “underworld” as in mafia, but there are plenty of cyperpimps and hustlers doing that thang.

    The portion of women who are fully in control of their own bodies in prostitution is a very small minority. The Internet is just another advertising medium. Exploitation is rampant.

    We all like to think that sex workers are simply “working their way through college,” but c’mon, now…that’s a crock.

  13. 16.  Yes, but this is still a tiny minority compared to the more regular means. Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) recently wrote a paper that said there were 4400 streetwalkers in Chicago alone. I doubt the online and truly self-employed hookers come close to even a fourth of that number.

  14. 17.  What Leavitt doesn’t mention is that he has hired 4269 of them, getting his Freakonomics on with each and every one. Much like drugs, legalization of the profession would take much of the underworld elements out of the bottom line. (Yeah, I said bottom.) I’m not saying that these women don’t have self-esteem issues because of mental and physical abuse, but I don’t believe most of them are doing it because they are forced to by some underworld type. They do it because it pays a lot more per hour than waiting tables or working retail, which is basically their other option. Not a particular pretty picture, but in the history of mankind, the supply and demand of prostitution stays as strong as my pimp hand.

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