Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Friday, July 16, 2004

Of Course, the Odds of Getting Laid are Lower

A first for this blog. A post that I dedicate to my friend, fellow blogger at Pitt Sports Blather, and loyal Democratic Party member Pat.
Seems the 2004 Democratic Nat'l Convention Website -- -- might be easily confused with the  World Science Fiction Convention  -- and .org.
The folks at the WSFC  have an ever growing list as to why  Noreascon 4 will not be like a major political convention (via Hanah Metchis at Hit and Run).
Some of my personal picks:
1.  We're not $10 million over budget. We don't even have a $10 million budget.
2.  Our promises for the future are supposed to be fiction. 
9.  When we talk about "skull and bones" it's probably in a discussion about paleontology.
21.   Secret Service has no plans to shut down major highways for us.
22.  You can still get hotel rooms for under $2,000 for Noreascon Four, and you don't have to stay in New Hampshire.
40.  In a word-association test, we respond to "Fahrenheit" with "451."
55.  Our attendees often swear in forms unrecognizable to the FCC.

The list appears to be growing.




Five French citizens were kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen late Friday in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said, the third abduction in the territory in less than 10 hours. 
The officials said the two women and three men were abducted by gunmen as they drank coffee in the southern town of Khan Younis.

Witnesses said the five were taken to the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the center of the town and the building was surrounded by about 25 armed men.

Interesting that the kidnappers would choose to use the Palestinian version of the Red Cross as their safe haven. I'm not going to read much into that right now, because with Palestinian terrorists there is no truly neutral/peaceful site to them (storing weapons and hiding in Mosques, Church of the Nativity anyone?). There are only places where they count on the morality and respect for the place by others to keep from being blasted to oblivion.
Have to wonder if this is truly the beginning of the Palestinian civil war. The various factions have been starting to turn on each other as they have had funding cut by tougher banking restrictions and Saddam out of power; and of course not being able to carry out suicide bombings in Israel. Now you have some group targeting non-Palestinians for kidnapping. This would suggest they are an anti-Arafat faction, seeking to get all foreigners out of Gaza and hurt the foreign aid/embarrass Arafat.
Earlier the police chief/Arafat enforcer in the area had been kidnapped and then released by former "police officers" who wanted their old jobs back. Looks like the ugliness is just getting started. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Not Even Close

I thought I might score a little higher, but I don't think the wife would be that surprised by the results.

I need some advice. I need to STOP BUYING MY CLOTHS AT WAL-MART!!!! I will never land a decent woman unless I shave this nasty facial hair, and spend more then $5 on a haircut.

(via BFD)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I Can't Hear You

I think Megan McCardle may have something here. Or at least she may have captured some of my feelings on this.

This is the problem with the strategy of slinging all the mud you can in the hopes that something -- anything! -- will stick. It's a lesson I would have thought the Democrats would have learned from the Clinton years: if you make a federal case out of every half-assed conspiracy theory, it erodes your credibility when you really have something on your enemy. The relentless attacks on the president since 2002 for everything from his military records to his grammar have made it difficult to make the comparitively easy case that he screwed up the execution in Iraq.

I'll just add that I doubt the Republicans ever truly learned their lesson.

To some degree, I guess it's just the nature of partisan politics, but the continual screams of corruption, conspiracies, dishonesty, and so on; like during the Clinton years, just becomes static through a din of screeches. Maybe a coherent sentence or two makes it through, but most of it gets filtered and ignored after a point.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Boozer Babbles

Carlos Boozer, who hadn't made a public statement since the Utah Jazz announced they signed him to an offer sheet last week, that began a firestorm of sportstalk debate, finally speaks via phone with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. My comments in italics.

According to the Boozer version of events, the Cavs-Boozer Camp meeting took place at the behest of Cleveland and they were the ones who initiated the talk of not picking up his option, allowing him to become a restricted free agent. This goes opposite everything that was reported, even before Utah made an offer. It was widely reported that Boozer and his agent initiated the contract talks.

Boozer stressed in the interview that there was no verbal agreement, and that his agent even pulled out a copy of the collective bargaining agreement to stress the point. He continued to say (and does so throughout the interview that he never understood why the Cavs didn't pick up his option). This much I believe to a point. There was likely, no explicit agreement, but a kind of implied quid pro quo deal. His repetitive statements that this was all the Cavs idea not to pick up his option, though, comes across as protesting too much.

The meeting the next day with the Cavs was when Boozer learned what he'd be getting in dollars at the Cavs mid-level exception. The discussions continued over th 4th of July weekend. This seems questionable, because if Rob Pelinka (Boozer's agent) was so well prepared on issues of contract, then he already knew and told Boozer what the money involved would be.

During the talks, Boozer did not like the way the Cavs discussed his role in the team, and let them know he would listen to other options. Yeah, right. Now, he's really stretching.

Boozer argues that he never made even a verbal agreement with the Cavs. He never gave his word. If he did, he would re-sign with Cleveland. Of course, undermining his position, and probably became reported after the phone interview -- the fact that his agent has now resigned. Pelinka and SFX have all but admitted that Boozer reneged, and are abandoning him.

Boozer also never explained -- and was apparently not asked -- why neither he or his agent came forward to address any of this after the Utah Jazz announcement. Why wait until Monday night to finally start damage control talking publicly?

Boozer would have been better off just admitting he couldn't refuse a more than 50% increase over what Cleveland offered. It's not the crime, it's the cover-up that always makes things worse. Right now, it is all looking like ass-covering.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Strange Games

I've been fascinated by the whole Carlos Boozer free agency. The whole thing has just taken its latest weird twist. First, to recap:

The Cleveland Cavaliers had the rights for one more year on emerging star Carlos Boozer. Boozer, a power forward, averaged over 15 points and 11 rebounds a game last season. Still under his rookie contract (2nd Round draft pick), Boozer would have been a huge bargain at about $695,000. At the end of next season, Boozer would have been an unrestricted free agent, but Cleveland would hold his "Bird" rights allowing them to offer him the biggest contract without problems with the NBA salary cap.

Boozer has been a model citizen and one of the key players the Cavs want to surround LeBron James.

Carlos Boozer and his agent went to the Cavs GM, Jim Paxson, at the end of the season and requested that the Cavs not pick up the option year on the contract. That way Boozer could become a restricted free agent. The Cavs could match any free agent offer, but there was an implied/handshake/unofficial/verbal agreement that Boozer would re-sign with Cleveland at the mid-level exception of roughly 6 years, $41 million dollars (almost $7 million per year, and about all the cap-space Cleveland had available). This would allow Boozer to get a nice payday sooner, and allow the Cavs to save some money in the long term. If Boozer had another season along the lines of the past one, he would be looking at a huge contract of $12-14 million per year. A win-win.

The Cavs agreed to the proposal. They believed that it would work for them, and no one would try and make an offer to Boozer significantly larger than their intended deal. Boozer was saying all the right things about expecting to and wanting to re-sign when the free agency period began.

Shortly after the Cavs renounce the rights, making Boozer a restricted free agent, the free agent market skewed heavily in favor of the players. Several teams had cap space to burn, and plenty of needs. Players who were not as good or as young as Boozer -- Mehmet Okur and Adonal Foyle -- were getting deals better than the one he was to sign with the Cavs. A player like Mark Blount -- who bounced in and out of the NBA the last 6 years (after only a couple seasons at Pitt) -- got a 6 year, $41 million dollar deal from the Celtics for essentially playing well for half a season.

Suddenly Boozer's agent was negotiating with the Utah Jazz and got an offer of 6 years, $68 million dollars. A better than 50% increase over what he was to get from Cleveland. Plus, Utah was expected to frontload a chunk of it to keep Cleveland from matching the offer because Cleveland lacked cap space.

Now here is where it starts to get hazy. The national attention on this was larger than expected, and it all seemed to go against Boozer and his agent Rob Pelinka for double crossing the Cavs. Nevermind that the verbal agreement was unenforceable, and that the Cavs were not doing this out of pure benevolence. They gambled that Boozer could be resigned long term for a better price than if they waited another year. Locally, the reaction was mixed, but even the Cavs weblog conceded that it was hard to argue against that kind of money.

Still the outcries were loud. It didn't help that Boozer and his agent (and the agent's firm, SFX) weren't talking to anyone directly. Instead, there were anonymous reports and rumors as to what happened. It didn't matter, because public opinion was completely against Boozer and especially his agent.

They played the Cavs for fools, and possibly worse -- pissed off a lot of other GMs, agents and players who now have little chance to work out a similar deal down the road. They hurt trust. Belatedly, the agent and his firm realized they may have screwed up long term, and are now ass-covering in the weakest way.

SFX agent Rob Pelinka informed the NBA players' association on Monday that he had resigned as Carlos Boozer's agent, two league sources told ESPN Insider Chad Ford.
According to sources, SFX and Pelinka grew increasingly concerned in the aftermath of the agreement that Boozer's betrayal would sully the reputation of the agency and prevent them from conducting good faith negotiations with league owners in the future.

Neither Pelinka nor his boss, Arn Tellem, returned calls Monday from The Associated Press seeking comment on the decision to part ways with Boozer.

Of course, unanswered is whether Pelinka and SFX are going to waive their fee for the Jazz contract.

The sources were uncertain whether Pelinka and SFX would be entitled to their four percent commission -- worth $2.7 million should Boozer sign the offer sheet with the Jazz on Wednesday. Boozer may dare SFX to sue him for the commission if he feels he is being hung out to dry by SFX's decision to abandon him. While no one from SFX has commented on the decision officially, it appears the agency is trying to disassociate itself from a move that has been blasted from nearly every corner of the NBA.

The Cavs have decided to offer Boozer a 1 year deal for $5 million, which would allow him to become a complete free agent next year.

I don't think it would be worth it from a financial standpoint. Technically, he could get an even higher payday next year, but it doesn't seem likely he could get that much more than the contract Utah is offering him this season.

The Cavs still have two weeks to match the Utah offer, and there are trade rumors regarding unloading Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Just a messy soap opera right here in Cleveland. At least it's a break from all the LA Lakers crap.


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