Archive for January, 2010

Potters Cling to 4th

January 31, 2010

In the current OVAC standings updated today.  Keep in mind that it is the top 4 that make the conference tournament the week of February 15-21st.  I should mention, as I believe I neglected to last week, that the teams listed at the bottom of the table with an asterisk are ineligible for the conference tournament because they do not play enough qualifying league games.  The cutoff for determining the final standings is Tuesday February 9th; any games played after that date won’t count.  The Potters have 3 scheduled games before that date, all OVAC members.  Tuesday they host Brooke, Friday they visit Steubenville in a key game, and Saturday they visit Martins Ferry.  They have no games scheduled Monday the 8th or Tuesday the 9th if weather forces a reschedule.  Anyhow, here are the standings:

School W L CP AVG
Wheeling Park 12 1 782 60.2
John Marshall 9 5 536 38.3
Steubenville 7 6 444 34.2
East Liverpool 6 8 376 26.9
Indian Creek 6 8 324 23.1
Buckeye Local 4 10 256 18.3
Brooke 0 13 0 0.0
*Zanesville 11 4 726 48.4
*Parkersburg South 9 3 572 47.7
*Cambridge 3 8 172 15.6
*Beaver Local 3 11 180 12.8

An Original Saint

January 31, 2010

Interesting article on New Orleans Saint great and Steubenville native Danny Abramowicz:

Could Super Mario Save a 2nd Pittsburgh Franchise

January 30, 2010

Though no one is willing to confirm it, and Bob Nutting is flat denying it, Mario Lemieux and Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle apparently made an offer to buy into the Pirates:

Maybe Lemieux, if not an owner, could at least be brought into some sort of consulting role with the Pirates.  He could teach them how to win, or at the very least how to make the appearance of trying to win.

Intolerable Situation

January 30, 2010

The US military has stopped using its C-130s to airlift critically injured Haitians to American hospitals due to squabbles over who will pay for their care:

This is completely unacceptable.  Get these people into hospitals!  I don’t care about the exact mechanism but obviously the federal government should be covering the hospital bills here.  Worry about getting compensation from the Haitian government down the line perhaps, maybe jawbone the hospitals and the Florida government into covering some of the up-front cost initially with reassurance that they will be reimbursed, whatever is logistically necessary.  But let’s keep these people alive damnit!  And lets not expect the government of the State of Florida to foot this bill just because they are the state closest to Haiti.

Weekly Media Matters Update

January 30, 2010

This week’s e-mail from Media Matters  is basically James O’Keefe and SOTU:

Media Matters: Not-so-Breitbart and the story of James O’Keefe

Back in September, right-wing activist James O’Keefe told Fox News host Glenn Beck that he was “willing to serve prison time” for his work.

That just may happen.

According to an affidavit from the FBI, O’Keefe and three others were arrested on Monday in connection with an alleged plot to “interfer[e]” with the phone system in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office. O’Keefe is perhaps best known for the heavily edited and misleading undercover videos he and Hannah Giles shot of low-level ACORN employees while the right-wing duo were dressed as a pimp and prostitute, an escapade that itself may have violated state criminal statutes.

The New York Times reports that “the four men, two of whom were dressed as telephone repairmen, were charged with entering a federal property on false pretenses with the purpose of committing a felony. The crime charged is itself a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.”

As Media Matters‘ Eric Hananoki noted, O’Keefe’s three alleged accomplices — Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan, and Stan Dai — are right-wing activists as well. Basel was the founder of a conservative campus publication at the University of Minnesota-Morris, which, like the campus publication started by O’Keefe at Rutgers University, received funding from the conservative Leadership Institute’s “Balance in Media” grant. Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana William Flanagan, reportedly works at the conservative Pelican Institute in New Orleans, just half a block from Landrieu’s office. Dai received $5,000 from the right-wing Phillips Foundation’s Ronald Reagan Future Leaders Scholarship Program. Additionally, during his time as a campus conservative, Dai reportedly co-wrote “a satirical work entitled The Penis Monologues, apparently a takeoff on the Vagina Monologues.”

News of the four’s arrest spread quickly Tuesday.

Because Fox News had showered O’Keefe’s undercover video work targeting ACORN with near wall-to-wall coverage, one would have hoped the conservative network would provide comparable coverage of the arrest — it did not. In fact, a Media Matters study comparing coverage of the day following the release of O’Keefe and Giles’ first ACORN tape and the day news of O’Keefe’s arrest broke found that Fox News provided 13 times more coverage to the video.

Fox News’ first segment on O’Keefe’s arrest was as funny as it was disappointing (view it here). During the report, assignment manager Tim Gaughan called the news a “very weird story that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into.” Sage advice — too bad the network often didn’t offer ACORN the same deference.

It really shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Fox News handled the O’Keefe arrest with such kid gloves. After the release of his ACORN videos, Fox and other media conservatives lavished praise on O’Keefe. Beck called him “courageous.” Andrew Breitbart — more on him in a bit — said that O’Keefe “is already well on his way to being one of the great journalists” and that he deserved a Pulitzer Prize. Sean Hannity applauded him as a “pioneer in journalism.” Bill O’Reilly said he deserved a “congressional medal.” Right-wing author Ann Coulter said O’Keefe was “so magnificent.” National Review editor Rich Lowry said he deserved an “award for impactful guerilla journalism.” On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace featured O’Keefe as “Power Player of the Week.” And when news came that O’Keefe might be sued by ACORN or its staffers over the videos, Hannity and Breitbart led the conservative media fundraising campaign for his defense.

The fact that the right-wing media were so smitten with O’Keefe no doubt accounts for their skittish, measured response to the arrest. The Fox News website Fox Nation even posted a headline that read ” ‘There’s Much More to This Story.’ ”

Perhaps no one in the conservative media has more to lose over this story than the previously mentioned Breitbart, a protégé of Internet gossip Matt Drudge and proprietor of a variety of right-wing websites including After all, he was first to champion the undercover ACORN videos O’Keefe and Giles shot last year.

Breitbart claimed that he was “out of the loop on this” and released a public statement to some in the press saying he had “no knowledge” “or connection to” O’Keefe’s actions. Breitbart also admitted during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he pays O’Keefe a “fair salary” so that “when he puts a story out there, it’s on the Breitbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired.” He reiterated during that interview that he was not connected with O’Keefe’s actions in Landrieu’s office.

It’s been entertaining watching Breitbart lecture others on journalistic ethics when he’s shown such little regard for truth in his own work. In fact, according to a report released this week by Media Matters, Breitbart’s “Big” websites — Big Hollywood, Big Government, and Big Journalism — as well as his website, have in recent months laid claim to many “exclusives,” touting controversial and sensationalist storylines that have been picked up by other conservative media outlets, from Fox News on down. However, a closer examination reveals that many of Breitbart’s “scoops” have been based on speculation, gross distortions, and outright falsehoods.

Later in the week, Breitbart brought his ACORN video lies and full-throated defense of O’Keefe to MSNBC, where he was subjected to a grilling by David Shuster that was followed up by an interview with Media Matters‘ Eric Boehlert, who said Breitbart’s type of journalism produces “the kind of Johnny Knoxville situation we get down in New Orleans.”

Ultimately, Breitbart predicted “there will be tape to vindicate these four pranksters.” Yep, the man who previously said O’Keefe deserved a Pulitzer is now calling him a “prankster.” How’s that for spin?

Breitbart continued to function as O’Keefe’s de facto public relations flack as the week came to an end, posting a statement that “[o]n reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation” on his websites. Of course, Fox News is doing its part, trumpeting news of an exclusive O’Keefe interview with Hannity coming next week.

So, how on earth could James O’Keefe think for even a minute that these types of actions might be a good idea? The answer to that question can be found in his own words from just two weeks ago.

During an interview with Adam Weinberg of The Centurion — the right-wing student publication at Rutgers University that claims O’Keefe as a “founding editor” — Breitbart’s protégé said, “The more bold you are, the more opportunities will be open to you. The less bold you are, the less opportunities in life will be open to you.” He went on: “[T]he more you put yourself out there and you take those calculated risks — the contrary of what people actually think is going to happen — you’re actually going to get opportunities.”

That’s the life lesson O’Keefe learned from his relationship with Andrew Breitbart — the man who made him a right-wing star and Fox News celebrity.

Ultimately, a jury of O’Keefe’s peers may decide his fate, but it should be lost on no one that Breitbart and his allies at Fox News share in the responsibility for what has been alleged to have transpired.

Other major stories

Right-wing media and the State of Dis-Union

President Obama’s first State of the Union address provided a wonderful opportunity to assess the state of conservative media. The result? It’s not looking good.

Following up on a host of assertions that Obama had little to show for his first year in office, Hannity kicked things off by offering a pre-buttal on Monday and Tuesday, referring to the upcoming speech as “propaganda” not once, but twice. On Wednesday, Beck promised his audience that he would watch the address, even though he said that the thought made him “want to hang” himself. John Stossel, also now part of the Fox family, helpfully suggested that the president use his time to apologize for his arrogance, while Neil Cavuto (yes, he’s with Fox too — spot a trend?) predicted that Obama might deliver the longest State of the Union in history. Soon, right-wing comedian Dennis Miller had accused Democrats of acting like the Menendez brothers. Newly minted Fox News contributor Sarah Palin was even beamed in live from Wasilla, Alaska, to remind viewers not to be fooled: Despite his words, the president still planned to “fundamentally transform this country.” And then the speech started.

At least everyone was keeping an open mind.

During the remarks, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg took the high road, tweeting that “Pelosi’s got a really weird, glassy-eyed, Bride of Chucky thing going.” NRO’s blog The Corner also objected to Joe Biden’s behavior after the vice president had the audacity to clap while other people were clapping. “It’s not about you,” wrote John Hood. “It will never be about you. Just relax and try not to distract attention from your boss by whispering under your breath or mugging for the camera.” Appropriately, a short time later, the president chided “TV pundits” for “reduc[ing] serious debates to silly arguments.”

As soon as Obama had concluded, the thoughtful reviews came pouring in. “The president looks like a jerk tonight,” opined Hood. Stossel said Obama “certainly didn’t sound humbled,” as he should have. RedState’s Erick Erickson thought that Obama’s jokes during the speech “were cocky and snide,” adding that the remarks constituted a “declaration of war on the free market.” CNN hosted Erickson to discuss Obama’s address. Fortunately, Roland Martin was there to offer a fact-check for Erickson’s words — the kind of balance Fox couldn’t bring itself to entertain when assembling its guest lists.

The next day, conservative media figures were, in a word, grumpy. Beck revisited the theme of Obama’s arrogance (a common refrain) and accused him of lying, as did many on the right. He compared Obama’s relationship with the America people to that of a husband cheating on his wife (he doesn’t respect us, in case you were wondering). He even called the president a “punk” for his criticism of a recent Supreme Court decision lifting limits on corporations’ ability to make certain election-related expenses (Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, and Matt Drudge also attacked Obama’s Supreme Court criticism, even though Obama’s comments were in line with the views of four justices). Beck derided Obama’s “enemies list” and suggested that the chiding of TV pundits was all about him. (Who’s arrogant now, Glenn?) Then, feeling guilty, he toned it back and tried to be the bigger person, inquiring as to “how many children could be fed” with the money “in plastic surgery” between Pelosi and Biden.

Rush Limbaugh compared the remarks to “a speech by Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro” and likened Pelosi, who also clapped during the speech, to “a trained seal at Sea World.” He accused Obama of dividing the country by bringing up equal pay for women and said that passing legislation with a majority of votes in Congress is “what dictators do.” And finally, not to be outdone, America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, voiced his dismay about the fact that Obama never said “war” during his remarks. (The claim was false, and Fox News’ Steve Doocy had to offer a correction.)

It’s worth noting that one significant problem persisted even outside of the conservative media constellation. Despite reports that “don’t ask, don’t tell” would be tackled in Obama’s State of the Union address, the initial lineup of cable and broadcast network hosts and commentators offering analysis immediately following the speech included only one openly LGBT figure, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

The state of the media is, well, not very good.

Potters Win Thriller Over Oak Glen

January 29, 2010

60-58 in OT was the final at Potter Fieldhouse.  It was a game of runs.  Oak Glen led 18-11 late in the 1st quarter and had a 10 or so point lead in the 2nd quarter before the Potters finished strong to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room.  Oak Glen dominated the 3rd quarter and led by 9 points with about 5 minutes remaining before the Potters rallied to tie it at 51-51 with about 100 seconds remaining.  An Oak Glen possession ended with a turnover and the Potters elected to hold for last with about 80 seconds left but were unable to get off a good shot at the end and the game went overtime.  The Potters started the OT hot and scored the first 6 points but then Oak Glen clamped down on defense and had to it 57-55 in the final 20 seconds.  They fouled Christian Kyle who went to the line and made the front end of the 1-and-1 but missed the 2nd shot to leave it at 58-55.  Oak Glen pushed across midcourt and Clay Owings drilled a 25 footer to tie it with 9.2 seconds remaining.  The Potters called timeout and afterwards got it inbounded to Marky Thompkins who then dribbled the length of the floor and made a runner in the lane with 0.8 second remaining to secure the win.

Clay Owings nearly beat the Potters by himself.  The rest of his team is quite unremarkable but he could fill the basket.  Sometimes it was off the dribble, sometimes it was spot up jumpers, sometimes it was off of cuts in set plays.  I would have liked to have seen the Potters be more creative in trying to limit him by double teaming, either with run outs or outright doubles w/ a triangle zone supporting, but in the end he was probably going to get his either way.

With the win the Potters improve to 6-8 and have 3 critical OVAC games this coming week, the final week before the final OVAC standings are released and the postseason tournament pairings gridded.  Tuesday they host Brooke, who last I knew was winless and who the Potters handled in Wellsburg a few weeks ago.  Friday they travel to Steubenville for their only regular season scheduled matchup with Big Red, and Saturday they travel to Martins Ferry, whom they beat at home right before Christmas.  Would be nice to see them finally get over the .500 hump!

Mazeroski Statue To Go Up Outside PNC Park

January 29, 2010

As part of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ commemoration of the 50th anniversary of winning the 1960 World Series, the most famous moment of that season, and one of the most indelible moments in baseball history, will be immortalized in bronze:

I am glad that they went with the rounding 3rd base pose, and not a more routine defensive pose.  This is what Maz is known for and why he gets a statute, after all.  Now let’s just hope they are still playing baseball on October 13th this season (for a change) so the moment can be commemorated in style!

2010 World Cup TV Schedule in The United States

January 28, 2010

Thanks to my friend Kevin for e-mailing this link to me.  In the below article is a table showing the complete schedule for all 64 World Cup matches; most are on ESPN with a few weekend matches on ABC and half of the final group stage matches on ESPN2 (both 3rd games in the same group are played at exactly the same time to try and minimize chicanery).  Group stage matches will be at 7am, 9:30am, and 2pm EDT, with the 7am time slot dropped when it goes to 2 match start times per day late in group stage forward.  Also very potentially handy to those of us that work daylight M-F type schedules, all matches will be re-broadcast that evening on ESPNClassic, and for those of you with internet access at work matches will be available on


State of the Union Address

January 27, 2010

Just a few quick thoughts as I should get some sleep with tomorrow’s drive to work likely to be a snowy one.

I thought overall the speech was very solid.  The delivery and presentation gets high marks.  The President seemed relaxed and at ease; he even worked in several jokes during his hour+ at the podium.  Speaking of the length it ideally should be shorter but I don’t really know what could have been cut.

As for the ideas it was overall fairly strong.  Heavy lead on the economy, as he knows politically this needs to be the year jobs returns or November will look like Massachusetts.  A strong defense for healthcare reform and pleas that it not be abandoned.  A bone thrown to the left in calling for the charade of don’t ask-don’t tell to be repealed.  What I found quite striking was the direct challenge to Democrats to not forget they have a majority, and a plea to Republicans in the Senate to not block everything.  We shall see if they heed that request or not.

And of course the cameras caught a few interesting crowd images.  I could live without the “blimp” shot that was used at least once.  Samuel Alito did not seem to take kindly to the President disagreeing with the recent “corporations are people” decision.  John Dingell applauding during a section on clean energy.  The JCOS applauded several times during the night, but not when he was talking about ending combat operations in Iraq or in being more permissive of gays in the military.  Republicans applauded during his plea to pass healthcare reform even though they have not seemed very eager to do so.

At any rate I thought it was a very good performance by President Obama.  We shall see what the punditocracy, and more importantly the American people, think.

Pierre Garcon the Mt. Union Years

January 27, 2010

Interesting feature article on Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon from the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto: