Friday, February 18, 2011

Andrew Sullivan Just Can't be Bothered to Devote any Mental Energy to Wisconsin

If you want to read the epitome of a snotty piece of east coast bias, just head on over to the Daily Dish and check out why Andrew Sullivan just can't be bothered to grace humanity with his opinion on events here in Wisconsin.
Like the NYT, the WaPo and many other news sources, the Dish has focused on the horrors in Bahrain, the looming confrontation in Iran, riots in Libya, and the sudden earthquake in the Middle East, not a newly elected governor trying to curtail government spending, especially on healthcare for public sector unions. Readers are very irate. Well, we make choices here. But we're of no party or clique, which may be why I'm not that galvanized by a partisan mudfight. 
OK, I will concede that the problems of fat drunkards with funny accents and even funnier headgear are not of the world-historical import whatever country Sully has decided to become an expert on this week, but, Jesus, could he do us the courtesy of at least politely masking his contempt?

For a lot of people here, this bill is a human rights issue. It's not a life-or-death human rights issue, but it cuts to the core of people's economic way of life. That's not something to dismiss as unworthy of a great mind who feels it necessary to shine alight on the struggle for freedom no matter how dark the corner of the world where it occurs.

Sullivan's problem isn't a partisan mudfight, it's that Wisconsin isn't sexy enough for him, and when you throw in something as dull as a labor dispute, well, that's just a recipe for apathy. It's cold here, we don't really offer anything Coasties can't get a better version of in Boston or where ever; we're basically the place where people's aunts and uncles live. Even our corruption is painfully uninteresting. A friend from out East once lovingly called Wisconsin the "Random State -- too big to be small, too small to be big, easy to miss if you're not looking for it." Sullivan's post seems feels like he's draining that compliment of it's warmth so that he can wax pretentiously about events in exotic lands (Even though I've never read much Bahrain blogging at the Dish before.)

So on behalf of the Random State, I'd like to apologize for being so boring; so middle American; so familiar to take for granted, yet just distant enough to ignore. We're only your neighbors. We'll try better in the future. Maybe we can turn Wisconsin Dells into a concentration camp or encourage the executive of Calumet County to rule with an iron fist. Would oppressing women help? Just say the word and we'll turn Ashland into a hub of the world sex slavery trade.

Now, please, go on telling us what country we're supposed to give a fuck about this week...

The Smartest Guy in the GOP

Rep. Paul Ryan, ladies and gentlemen:
In an interview with Mike Allen, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) criticized President Obama for failing to adopt the recommendations of the Bipartisan Deficit Commission, of which Ryan was a member:

"I was on the commission. And you know what he did? He didn't accept -- he didn't take one of the big recommendations of the commission, he basically disavowed the commission."

Of course, Ryan himself actually voted against the commission's final report.

Jonathan Chait: "You know what a good follow-up question would be? "So, Paul Ryan you voted against the commission's proposals! How can you attack Obama for failing to endorse policies you voted against?""

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some Editorials on Walker's Bill

Here's just a few that have come out with editorials. I image more papers will wait for their Sunday editions to address the issue. Nearly all of the papers acknowledge that concessions need to be made by the state workforce. None of them, however, are blind to Walker's efforts that have nothing to do with fiscal responsibility and everything to do with opportunistic politics. The Northwestern, in particular, comes out swinging.

Wausau Daily Herald:
[T]here are other parts of the budget repair bill that lawmakers should jettison:

• Changes to compensation packages were discussed during the campaign -- changes to fundamental union organizing rules weren't. Those rule changes aren't needed to pass this budget repair bill. They should be introduced separately and allowed a full public debate.

• There appears to be no intellectually consistent justification for the exclusion of police and firefighters unions from compensation changes. Walker's opponents have called it political payback. At the least, though, it is political cowardice inconsistent with Walker's promise to make the hard choices.
 Appleton Post Crescent:
[Parts of the bill have] to do with Walker trying to weaken the unions.

The bill is rife with policy items — proposals that have no direct fiscal impact on the state. Walker has no business putting them in this bill. If they merit passage, they should stand on their own.

We're also troubled by the speed with which this bill is passing through the Legislature. Yes, the state has serious financial problems that need addressing soon. But do legislators, much less the public, understand the impact of each proposal in this bill? Hardly.

Besides the collective bargaining changes, the proposal about medical assistance programs is a big issue. The bill would let the state Department of Health Services make many changes in programs without being passed by the full Legislature. That takes away our rights, through our representatives' votes.
Manitowoc Herald Tribune:
Unions, although not in the position of power they once were, serve a useful purpose by standing up for the rights of workers and providing checks and balances against unbridled power.

Walker should be content with attempting to gain concessions from unions the traditional way, through good-faith bargaining, not by dismantling them.
 Oshkosh Northwestern:

Truth be told, the bill is the beginning of an effort to roll back the right of workers. Its lesser-known provisions set a dangerous precedent for granting the executive branch broad emergency powers where an emergency does not exist. The speed in which the bill is heading from proposal to adoption is also of concern. It is slated for a vote Thursday, just six days after it was released to the public. The fact that a national special interest group, The Club for Growth, began broadcasting ads in support of the proposal at the same time the bill was released shows that this is not a homegrown effort to fix Wisconsin's problems, but an orchestrated, ideologically driven campaign.


You do not need to be sympathetic to public unions to see the danger and unfairness in unilaterally ending collective bargaining rights without a single negotiating session. Not only did the governor refuse to negotiate, he took that approach to the next level by proposing to end the right of some public unions to negotiate on health or pension benefits. Then he plays brazen politics by including some public unions and exempting others. It serves no legitimate purpose other than politics to treat a corrections officer differently than a police officer.

And the governor takes direct aim at the ability of organized labor to remain organized. Currently, state and municipal employees who are represented by a labor organization have union dues deducted from their salaries. Except in the case of public safety employees, Walker's bill prohibits salary deductions for labor organization dues and allows a general employee to refrain from paying dues and remain a member of a collective bargaining unit. These measures are designed solely to destroy unions.

What members of the state legislature have before them is not a budget-balancing bill. It is a sweeping 144-page rewrite of collective bargaining rules and the state civil service system.

Not only does it rewrite state labor relations, but it increases the level of state debt, gives the executive branch the authority to rewrite medical assistance provisions unilaterally and grants other sweeping powers such as allowing the Department of Administration to sell or contract for the operation of state heating, cooling and power plants without oversight from the legislature or the Public Service Commission.

Just One of those Things Every Democrat might Want to Mention to Everyone They Meet

Alas, it's not in catchy sound-bite form:

"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank.
"He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."
"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.
In a Wednesday op-ed, the Capitol Times of Madison picked up on this theme.
In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state's budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million. To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.
You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that "more than half" of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker's initiatives:
  • $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.
  • $48 million for private health savings accounts -- a perennial Republican favorite.
  • $67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.
In essence, public workers are being asked to pick up the tab for this agenda. "The provisions in his bill do two things simultaneously," Norman says. "They remove bargaining rights, and having accomplished that, make changes in the benefit packages." That's how Walker's plan saves money. And when it's all said and done, these workers will have lost their bargaining rights going forward in perpetuity.

Watch Scott Walker Lecture Dems on Being Respectful to State Employees

Out of respect for the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process, I am calling on Senate Democrats to show up to work today, debate legislation and cast their vote.  Their actions by leaving the state and hiding from voting are disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of public employees who showed up to work today and the millions of taxpayers they represent. 
 So is not negotiating a labor contract, but whatevs.

The Anti-Tea Party

I'll probably say more on this later, but I have yet to hear anyone make the connection between the protesters doing their thing in Madison this week and the Tea Party -- and that's a shame.

Aside from being ideologically antithetical, the actual seem quite similar; from hyperbolic placards to the organizing of disparate agendas under the umbrella of "government spending." Unions would be wise to take this opportunity to reach out to potential allies to form a single coalition that can effectively counterbalance the supposed emergent power of the TP.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Absolute Madness

I have no idea what this would accomplish:
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- University of Wisconsin leaders fear that Gov. Scott Walker will spin off the flagship UW-Madison campus from the rest of the UW System.

The leaders wrote to Walker on Tuesday saying they've learned that next week's budget proposal may include a provision to remove UW-Madison from the UW System. The officials say such a move would create unnecessary duplication and result in higher costs to taxpayers.

The letter was signed by UW Board of Regents President Charles Pruitt, Vice President Mike Spector and UW System President Kevin Reilly. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie told AP on Wednesday he could not confirm anything about the budget. He says details including UW System funding and flexibility will be released in the governor's budget next Tuesday.
Where the hell was that policy proposal during the campaign?

This will only get worse before it gets better.

Madison Madness

We'll be following shit as it hits the fan over at our Tumblr page today.

It did not take us long to figure out yesterday that Tumblr is kind of an ideal platform on which to follow ongoing events such as the budget, er, "discussions." The dialogue over there is interesting in so far as it's not being conducted by the usual suspects in the Cheddarsphere's echo chamber.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From Milwaukee:

Thirteen-thousand and two-hundred dollars is a guaranteed absolute minimum of how much money my father stands to lose March 13th if Governor Walker’s bill gets through the state legislature. His contract includes $3 to every hour of sick leave and vacation he doesn’t use. There are also other ways to accrue hours and I don’t claim to know much about the finite details about that but over the many years he’s worked in the Department of Corrections, he’s banked 4400 hours x $3. That benefit is gone as of March 13th if his union contract is voided by Governor Walker’s bill.
Go read the rest.

Better Late than Never

Abe Sauer at the Awl was in Madison today for the state workers' rally.

The cynic in me doubts any opposition efforts are worthwhile. Eliminating the collective bargaining rights of state workers is probably something that will ultimately be settled in court, and who knows how that will shake out.

The rally was organized in a matter of days and got a pretty good turnout, but it's a little disheartening to realize that this level of organization is about five months too late.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Atlas Shugged Part One ... Yikes

I can be something of a masochist when comes to watching movies. For example, a few months ago I forced myself to sit through "The Last Airbender" out of a morbid sense of curiosity. Within the first 11 minutes of the film I had given up hope and determined the movie was beyond salvage ... and then it just continues to underperform beyond my exceedingly low expectations. There are bad movie people can watch for camp value, but Airbender was just a textbook example of how not to make a movie.

I actually find films like that enjoyable on a didactic level, which is why I can't wait to watch the complete disaster that will assuredly be "Atlas Shrugged, Part 1." Look upon this work, mortals, and despair:

Good sweet Jesus does this look like a epic piece of shit. It's no wonder the film can't find a distributor and will likely have to settle for an unconventional theatrical release strategy (like viewing parties in private homes) or, perhaps more likely, go straight to DVD.

The bottom line is that this isn't a seriously made movie at all. It's what's called an ashcan copy, or a work of adapted art that's made for no other reason than to maintain a copyright claim (which tend to lapse after a set period of time, particularly when it comes to film rights). Here's Variety just before the film started shooting:
Cameras began rolling over the weekend [June 12-13, 2010] on a five-week shoot for "Atlas Shrugged Part One" with Paul Johansson directing from Brian Patrick O'Toole's script. [Producer John] Aglialoro would have lost the feature rights if the film wasn't in production by Saturday.
That's basically a polite way of saying that the producer scrapped together what they could just before the deadline. Basically, the movie was made for the sole purpose of biding time for the producers reboot the franchise a few years down the road with a better cast and a larger budget.

There wasn't so much as a single actor cast as early as two weeks before the movie started filming last spring. So there probably was not a lot of rehearsal time. Not exactly the proper way to kick off a proposed trilogy.

Perhaps an even spookier omen should be the fact that Aglialoro is also credited with writing the script. Why is that odd? It's because Aglialoro has no other experience in film. He's a multimillionaire sporting goods maker and CEO, but CEOs aren't known for writing compelling PowerPoint presentations, let alone dramatic scripts. If the dialogue in the trailer sounds like a quarterly finance report and is the only thing more wooden and lifeless than the acting, well, know you know why.

By the way, Aglialoro has had the film rights for the last 18 years. It's likely he just doesn't know what he's doing, which for Rand fans who actually want to see a quality production of the film get made in the near future is bad. Aglialoro will retain the right for a long time to come.

Happy Valentines Day and Shit

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scott Walker wants the National Guard to work as Union-Busters

I'm absolutely flabbergasted:
In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott Walker proposed stripping nearly all government workers of their collective bargaining rights. And as a warning shot across the bow, he told Wisconsin reporters Friday that he's alerted the National Guard ahead of any unrest, or in the event that state services are interrupted.
This is the stupidest statement I think I've ever heard come from a sitting Governor of this state.

The optics are just horrible. Not only does it harken back to the union-busting days of the early 20th century, but to do it with the National Guard sounds downright dictatorial.

This is something that has the potential to turn Walker into a national laughing stock and earn him denunciations from every corner of the state. This isn't a bargaining tactic: it's intimidation and the calling card of someone who has no interest in negotiating with good faith.

Walker has just handed public unions a PR gift. Walker is basically equating locking public employees out of work with integrating southern schools a generation ago. Walker is doing more to undermine public safety by threatening to deploy the National Guard unnecessarily than any kind of action by public employee union could possibly be considering.

The press should demand that Walker produce evidence that civil unrest is imminent for him to so recklessly use his authority to put the NG on alert.

MORE: E.D. Kain puts the situation's potential rather succinctly:
This new class war is bound to end in tears. Indeed, in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is planning to send in the National Guard if public employees resist his efforts to end their collective bargaining rights. Class warfare, meet actual warfare.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Headlines of the Damned

Today's edition of Headlines of the Damned is brought to you by MSNBC:

Or, as Film Drunk so directly puts it:
Kudos to MSNBC for not only reporting this delightful story, but for making the first three words of the headline the deliciously visual “Scratch Harry Baals.” Simply divine.
This has been another edition of Headlines of the Damned.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Lahore Supremacy

I'm not even going to pretend like there's a good way to introduce this story:

On Jan. 27, an American named Raymond Davis allgedly shot and killed two men who were following him on motorcycles in a lower middle class part of Lahore. That's pretty much where agreement ends.

Shortly after the incident Davis was arrested by Pakistani police. He remains in Pakistani custody, with Pakistani officials insisting that he should be tried in the country. The U.S. counters that Davis, as a diplomat, is immune from prosecution, and is thus being "unlawfully detained" by Pakistani authorities. U.S. officials haven't said much about Davis - only that he is a "member of the technical and administrative staff" of the embassy in Islamabad, but ABC News reports that he has a background with U.S. Special Forces and runs Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, "a company that provides 'loss and risk management professionals.'" Two days after the incident, the embassy in Lahore released a statement calling the shooting self defense, accusing Pakistani authorities of violating the Vienna Convention, which governs the countries' diplomatic relations.

That's a plot straight out of a Bourne movie/novel.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Chief would like to Cordially Invite Kevin Fischer to Eat a Bag of Dicks

We're simply not going to let this one slide.

Like a lot of bloggers in Wisconsin, Kevin Fischer has been celebrating the Packers' victory in the Super with posts insinuating that Negroes can't handle such revelry in a civilized manner and such, which, for Fischer, is the kind of bullshit we've come to expect from this idiot man-child, so we'll leave the issue of his latent racism for another time. What we want to know is what gives this fucking bang-wagon jumper the place to celebrate the win in the first place?

No one in the Cheddarsphere has been as vocal in his disdain for Aaron Roger and Ted Thompson as Fischer has been. Here's just a sample of some of Fischer's greatest hits:

Ted Thompson has to be the bonehead of the year.
12 July 2008

Ted Thompson: Villain of the Week
9 August 2008

Thompson is the #1 villain in this entire fiasco.
29 July 2008

Packer Nation is full of fans who have had it up to here with Brett Favre. As shocking as it seemed months ago, many of Favre's adoring supporters have now dropped him like yesterday's newspaper.

They subscribe to the Ted Thompson-Mike McCarthy theory that the future is down the road, we're moving on, and as we move in a new direction, it's simply time for a change.

It's time for a change.

My goodness gracious.

It certainly seems to me that the Aaron Rodgers camp sure sounds a lot like [President Obama].
26 July 2008

The Green Bay Packers and their bozo GM Ted Thompson
15 August 2008

Packer losing streak: 3 games (the total number of games lost all last season)

A genius, that Ted Thompson. An absolute geniuS.
10 October 2008

Unlike Packer GM Ted Thompson, Favre is a class act.
19 July 2008
And here.

As recently as this season Fischer continued to feel the need to coddle an ego-maniacal prima donna instead sticking with the team. Good all, fucko.

Let's e perfectly clear about this: Kevin Fischer was wring about Ted Thompson's personnel decisions. Fischer was embarrassingly wrong and even in the face of such rampant wrongness he can't admit to just how fucking wrong he was and own up to his idiotic errors.

So until Fischer owns up to his prior aggressively asserted stupidity, why doesn't he just do us all a favor by shutting the fuck up and enjoying the flavor of a big old bag of dicks?

More than just Your Typical Title Game

I think it's safe to say that productivity in the Badger state will be at historically low levels today.

Even though the game was great -- and the outcome even better -- critics are already excoriating Super Bowl XLV as one of the worst ever in terms of execution. Here's the Times:
Without the great game, it was a calamity. The weather stunk, with ice injuring people as it cascaded off the Cowboys Stadium roof. Somehow sections of temporary seats turned up unfinished, leaving 400 ticket-holding fans fuming over being turned away from the game. There was the looming cloud of the lockout, which Goodell blithely tried to explain while all but standing in a pool of money, the ridiculous material excess of his league’s showcase game all around him. Christina Aguilera botched the national anthem. The ads mostly stunk.
Fanhouse is basically pointing an accusatory finger in Jerry Jones direction. Judging by all the rave reviews of celebrity-packed pregame parties I read last week it seems like more attention was paid to luxuriating the high rollers than to the details of the big game itself. I mean, even Slash himself couldn't save the Black Eyed Peas cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine."

The ticket fiasco was unconscionable and seems to only be getting worse. I can all but guarantee you that none of the affected ticket-holders were at the game on a corporate junket, could write off the trip as a business expense or were comped the tickets by a client. These folks were fans who paid between $5,000-$15,000 out of pocket to get the shaft on game day.

Thank God the game itself was awesome, a far cry from the days when the Super Bowl was a ritual blow-out surrounded by lavish (if not weird) spectacles. A lot of that had to do with the historic nature of the meeting between the NFL's two premier teams. A month ago both the Packers and the Steelers could lay claim to being the League's best franchises and left unsaid by many commentators last week was the fact that the Super Bowl was more than just an annual title game: this was a game to settle which team could claim bragging rights as the best football organization of all time. Anyone who suggests that the Steelers are the flagship organization of the NFL now has to contend with the fact that they lost to the Packers on the game's biggest stage.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Few Pre-Game Observations

Donald Driver looks about as focused as a human being can be for this game. For the last two weeks his megawatt smile has been hiding behind a gameface that's been staring at today with laser-like intensity. I haven't seen a guy look so serious in ages. Charles Woodson, likewise, has apparently been eager to remind the youngsters on the team of the unfortunate Barrett Robins story. It's a pretty sharp contrast to the Steelers leaders who have been seen out and about enjoying the Dallas nightlife this week. This could just be a sign a experience vs. youth, but I think it bodes well for the Pack.

Aaron Rogers has apparently been binge-watching film, which I've found to be one of the least discussed aspects of his game. Sure, he's got pin-point accuracy, but he also seems to anticipate how defenses move better than anyone next to Payton Manning.

PFT, however, puts the preparation dichotomy nicely:
Of course, these are the Super Bowl week stories that can be used to fit any narrative we in the media choose: If the Packers win on Sunday, we’ll say it’s because they were studying while the Steelers were partying. But if the Steelers win on Sunday, we’ll all talk about how they were loose and relaxed while the Packers were too tight.
So far as leading up the game is concerned, I'll take the Packer's quieter approach any day.

The spread has barely changed since the conference finals. It was Packers -2 1/2 two weeks ago and has barely budged since. I've seen a few sports books that have the Packers -3, but those houses have been running that line since the get go. It's not unusual for there to be some fluctuation in the spread as gamblers start to favor one team over the other, but the stability suggests that bettors, on aggregate, haven't picked a favorite. In other words, there doesn't seem to be much insight from the wisdom of crowds.

Will James Harrison lose his composure during the game? He's had an odd week, using his platform to rail against the league for various perceived inconsistencies, so will that translate into an inopportune personal foul (or two)?

For what it's worth, nearly everyone at ESPN seems to be picking the Packer's (knock on wood).

Profound question of the day: Oshkosh is getting pummeled by snow today, which begs the question: will the weather prevent people from getting shitfaced today?
Methinks not.

OK, if it seems like my heart isn't really into blogging today it's because I'm basically doing it to kill time before the game and the pregame shows on TV make me want to sear my retinas with an arc-welding torch. Don't be surprised if there are just some really random posts between now and, say, 3:30 when the real pre-gaming starts.

Links to Help You Kill Time Until the Game Starts

A Flow Chart to Determine which Team You Should Root for in Super Bowl XLV, Holy Taco
Packer's Receivers' Egos take Backseat to Super Production, USA Today
Pittsburgh Steelworkers Warned not to Skip Work for Super Bowl, Shutdown Corner
Super Bowl: Why it will Move to Cable, Hollywood Reporter
Lil Wayne offers Super Bowl Wager to Snoop Dog & Wiz Kahlifa: "Whoever Loses should Cut Their Hair," Hip Hop Dx
Blood Lust and the Super Bowl, New York Review of Books
Highbrow Super Bowl Bet has Museums Wagering Artworks, AOL
Ridiculous Super Bowl Prop Bets, Awful Announcing
Best Non-football Moments ever from Super Bowl Sundays Past, Washington Post
Super Bowl could come down to a few Good Kicks, Washington Post
Woman in charge of 10,000 Super Bowl Volunteers still Smiling, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Clay Matthews III to Write his Name in NFL History? Bleacher Report
The Super Bowl is Stupid, The Village Voice
The Super Bowl of Sex, Salon
Entrepreneurial Cheeseheads, Christian Science Monitor
Aggreko Powers Up the Super Bowl, The Telegraph
The Freakonomics of Super Bowl 2011, Wall Street Journal

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Ads Link Orgy

100 Greatest Super Bowl Commercials, Bleacher Report
Super Bowl Advertising: By the Numbers, CNBC
The Best Super Bowl Commercial Preview so far, MSNBC
Super Bowl Ad Frenzt Stretches Far beyond the Game, NPR
The Man Behind some of the Super Bowl's most Memorable Commercials, Marketplace
Here's a Look at the Cost of Super Bowl Commercials through the Years, Business Insider
Groupon Buys a Super Bowl Ad, CNNMoney
8 Companies that need Super Bowls Ads, Time
Top Banned Super Bowl Commercials: Jesus hates Obama, Go Daddy, PETA, Bud Lite and more, New York Daily News
GM's $3M Ads a Bargain if Super Bowl meets Record Audience Forecast, Bloomberg
Dallas Ad Agency Plays the Super Bowl Field, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth
Super Bowl Ads Hit Web before the Big Game, PCWorld
Super Bowl 2011 Expected to Break Spending Records, iStockAnalyst
Super Bowl will be a Super Day for Smart Phones, Research Firm Predicts, Internet Retailer
The 50 Worst Commercials in Super Bowl History, Bleacher Report
How an Accidental Reply All Email Spawned a Commercial, Gizmodo
The Geekiest Super Bowl Commercials Ever, Geeks are Sexy
Fallen Stars: the Worst Celeb Super Bowls Ad Moments, MSNBC
How Small As Agencies are like Super Bowl Commercials, Ad Age
Why Super Bowl Ads Should Cost Five Times as Much, Online Video Insider
Super Boring? Super Bowl Ads Fail to Score with Old Excitement, Louisville Courier-Journal
Three Lessons from Pepsi's Super Bowl XLV Ad Campaign, Forbes
15 Sexiest Super Bowl Commercials of All Time (Including 4 Banned Ads), Total Pro Sports
Is $3M Worth it for a Super Bowl Ad? Ask Go Daddy, Washington Post
30 Seconds for Super Sell, Boston Herald
Are Super Bowl Ads Worth the Super-high Price? Yahoo Buzz
Are Super Bowl Commercials Worth it? Not so Much, Lafeyette Journal and Courier
Super Bowl Ads Worth it in the Long Run, Reports Say, Epoch Times
Super Bowl's Premium Ads come at a Price, Newark Star-Ledger
Demand for Super Bowl Ads Spikes in Canada, Toronto Star
VW's Unusual Super Bowl Web Strategy: Move On, Clickz
Top Super Bowl Ads from the Last 10 Years, The Vancouver Province
8 Dot-Coms that Spent Millions on Super Bowl Ads and No Longer Exist, Business Insider

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Even More Super Bowl Links

Good New for Packers' Cullen Jenkins: His Father has been Found, Pro Football Talk
Super Bowl Ads don't Pack the Same Punch in Social Media Era, Washington University
For Compulsive Gamblers, Super Bowl Outcome could be Life or Death, LA Times
Six Players that could Change the Game on Super Bowl Sunday, Toronto Star
Who'd Pay $990 to Park at the Super Bowl? Fanhouse
There's Magic in Super Bowl Prop Wagers, Chicago Tribune
Another Super Bowl Custom: Busting Flea Markets Full of Fake Gear, CNN
James Jones, formerly Homeless Super Bowl Star, Gives back to Kids in Need, Huffington Post
The 7 Best Super Bowl Commercials Ever, AOL News
The Packers Modest GM has Lots to Brag About, NY Times
Your Sneak Peak at this Yea's Super Bowl Ads, Huston Chronicle
Super Bowl Player Boasts ties to Ghana, Voice of America
"Green and Yellow:" Lil Wayne Releases Green Bay Packers Anthem, CBS
President Obama's Super Bowl Party to feature Green Bay Beer, Dallas Morning News
Big Chill, Dueling 'Dos, Wall Street Journal
NFL Ref has a Pretty Sweet Set-up, With Leather
LA should Follow the Cheeseheads, LA Times
Keeping Score: Which Stats can Predict a Super Bowl Winner? NY Times
The Super Bowl where Everyone Wins, Slate
Guide to Super Bowl XLV Broadcast, Sports Illustrated
Monkey, Elephant make Super Bowl Predicitions, FOX Sports
A Super Bowl Oddity: No Cheerleaders for Packers or Steelers, USA Today
My Life with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green bay Packers, Christian Science Monitor
Green bay PackersChase Old Glory in the Super Bowl, The Guardian

Signing Day

Yesterday was National Signing Day for college football programs around the country. The Badgers are expected to have a recruiting class that ranks somewhere around 40th at the end of the day, so ... meh. On the other hand, Ohio State, which apparently has a killer recruiting class, is getting hammered in the press for recruiting this guy, so it could be much worse.

To put things into perspective, ESPN took a look at how its top 150 recruits of 2007 that's fairly illuminating. Remember, all of these guys were completely justified in assuming that they had a really good shot at playing on Sundays. So how did that all pan out? Here are some quick and dirty numbers (read: someone should really check my math) on the outcome:

50 Redshirt Seasons

1 in 3 recruits redshirted at some point during their careers, either for injury or development purposes. That means, at least 50 members of that class still have a year of athletic eligibility left, so the overall success of the class really can not fairly be determined until next year.

39 Transfers

Some students transferred multiple times and we counted each school attended. Oddly enough, almost half the transfers occurred among recruits ranked 26-75. Very rarely did a transfer students move to schools that had the football pedigrees of the schools they were leaving.

17 Suspensions

8 for academic reasons, 9 for off-field disciplinary issues. These weren't just single game-benchings here; we're talking about entire seasons or large portions thereof. Often times these players transferred after being suspended.

51 NFL Players

About 1/3rd of the class will have a legitimate shot signing with an NFL team, either through the draft or free agency. Of these kids, 20 left school early to enter the draft. The 30 others are generally projected to be later round picks, at best.

That should really bring home just how enormous the odds are of making it to the pros. There are 1.1 million high school-aged football players in the country, so ... you do the math.

But here's the most interesting number of all:

14 Recruits Fell off the Face of the Earth

What does that mean? Basically 10% of the most recruited football players of 2007 were MIA as of this writing. Now, two of those players sustained career-ending injuries that required them to retire, but the rest simply petered out. Either they couldn't hack it academically, or maybe even athletically, or they got into trouble or ... whatever.

I would not surprise me to learn that years ago this number was substantially larger, but it still seems really high to me. Schools spend a lot of time, energy and money recruiting athletes -- and even more once they register for classes -- so at some point devoting too many resources to an athlete that is producing diminishing returns becomes a losing proposition that's neither helpful to the program nor fair to his teammates ... I'm just surprised it still happens with relative regularity, especially when this number is added to the transfers figure: then the "wash out" rate runs close to 33% -- and that's among the very best of the best (or at least the best of the very prodigious).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Super Bowl Omnibus Reader

The Right Way? The Green Bay Way, Patrick Hruby
There's No Trophy for Being Exciting, Jared Diamond
2011 Super Bowl Odds: Prop Bets to Watch during Packers-Steelers, Andrew Sharp
Packers, Steelers had Similar Super Bowl Blueprint, AP
Troy Palomalu is Defensive Player of the Year, did the Voters get it Right? Shannon Owens
Packers' Dom Capers, Steeler's Dick LaBeau Pioneered the Zone Blitz while on the same Pittsburgh Staff, Mark Maske
Key Super Bowl Match-up: Packer's CBs vs. Steelers WRs, Vinnie Iyer
Keisel's Beard is the 'Scruff of Legand,' John Branch
Super-fans use Different Rituals for the Big Game, Amanda Seef & Bethany Young
Packers, Steelers Fans Beware of Heart Attacks, Brian Floyd
More Pets named for Packers than Steelers, Matt Pepin
Why Green Bay is 'America's Team,' Gene Wojceichowski
Packer's President Labor Perspective, Judy Battista
Steelers, Packers have Quality Leadership, Leonard Shapiro
Steeler's Fans Wave Yellow Towels, Put French Fries in Salad, Eat Ice Balls, David Shribman
A Media Buyer's Primer to the Super Bowl, Toni Fitzgerald
The Super Bowl's most Unlikely Tale comes from the Miami Valley, Tom Archdeacon
Packers, Steelers: Fans that Roar (and Travel), Ken Belson
The Terrible Towel is Terribly Stupid, Clay Travis
Terrible Towel Whips up Cheeseheads, Brian Whitley
Pack Mentality, Rick Reilly
The Myth of America's Team, Emma Carmicheal
Packers at the Podiums; Grilled on Hair, Nicknames, Weather, Mike Tanier
Tim Masthay would be in the Peace Corps if he weren't in the Super Bowl, Michael David Smith
The Packer's Shields found the Answers on the (Flash) Cards, Karen Crouse

The Steelers do Dallas

Everything about this blog post is brilliant:

Late Monday night, hours after they arrived here, Hines Ward, Ike Taylor and several other members of the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked it at Dallas Gentlemen's Club on Northwest Highway in Dallas.


When Ward and his teammates entered the club, super hot dancers converged on them. They spent a few minutes in the VIP at the back of the club. But as the music pumped and the bootylicious women strode across the four stages, the Steelers huddled in the front corner of the club for closer looks.

Ward, wearing a plaid shirt and jeans, danced with a couple of strippers. At one point, he tossed out dollars as various hotties gave him lap dances. Other Steelers joined him in the fun.

At one point, near midnight, the Steelers, including huge linemen, appeared on the main stage., There they posed and danced with an assortment of strippers. After all, it was "make it rain Monday" at the club. And some of the players certainly made it rain with their dollar bills.
[via D]