Monday, June 30, 2008

Eating Better Takes a Step Back

Eating better is a constant struggle then my cousin Tippi blogs this. All I can think of is the famous words of Homer Simpson "mmmmmmmm Berger " (spelling is correct , after Supreme Court member at the time) . That may not be the exact burger that's served but may not be far off.



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why Politicians Care About Pacquiao So Much And Why They Want You To Care

Filipino politicians are pretty much idiots. Part of the problem is us. We believe them . Politicians in general are idiots but over here they are uber idiots. Here is a guy I wouldn't want the young folk emulating based on what I have read in the Metro section. Yet look at all the biased coverage he gets. Every politician we have wants to jump on the Manny Bandwagon. People put so much stock in his every fight and for what? Boxing is a mess as a sport and it has been for a while.

Internationally Manny is known but has yet to experience the presence other non Americans have reached in their prime ( Ray Mancini, Mano de Piedre, Julio Chavez) and he may never will based on boxing's shrinking stage. I am a sports junkie and I never heard of any of the Manny opponents that makes this country shut down when the bell goes off unless of course he beat them before.

For me media and the audience is a chicken and egg kind of thing. Does the audience care because media's scope and "depth" of coverage or does the media show us what they do because of the audience. Either way I find the current state moronic.

Let's review, I am not enamored of the guy. I am not a big boxing fan and I dislike local politicians. Also my previous post talks about all the misery this country is going through and all the attention this guy garners despite of that . (

Why should you care? Because of a little concept known as hegemony.

Boiled down to it's simple terms , any ruling class needs more than force and violence to maintain their positions. There has to be some cultural acceptance to prevent a crippling overthrow. As long as us idiots give Many undue attention then that's less brain cells questioning the corruptness so rampant in this country. Manny even tried to be even more hands on. I suggest reading up on this and question what is really going on.


Cultural hegemony is a concept coined by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. It means that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination

Gramsci's theory of hegemony

The analysis of hegemony (or "rule") was formulated by Antonio Gramsci to explain why predicted communist revolutions had not occurred where they were most expected, in industrialized Europe. Marx and his followers had advanced the theory that the rise of industrial capitalism would create a huge working class and cyclical economic recessions. These recessions and other contradictions of capitalism would lead the overwhelming masses of people, the workers, to develop organizations for self-defense, including labor unions and political parties. Further recessions and contradictions would then spark the working class to overthrow capitalism in a revolution, restructure the economic, political, and social institutions on rational socialist models, and begin the transition towards an eventual communist society. In Marxian terms, the dialectically changing economic base of society would determine the cultural and political superstructure. Although Marx and Engels had famously predicted this eschatological scenario in 1848, many decades later the workers of the industrialized core still had not carried out the mission.

Gramsci argued that the failure of the workers to make an anti-capitalist revolution was due to the successful capture of the workers' ideology, self-understanding, and organizations by the hegemonic (ruling) culture. In other words, the perspective of the ruling class had been absorbed by the masses of workers. In advanced capitalist societies hegemonic cultural innovations such as compulsory schooling, mass media, and popular culture had indoctrinated workers to a false consciousness. Instead of working towards a revolution that would truly serve their collective needs, workers in "advanced" societies were listening to the rhetoric of nationalist leaders, seeking consumer opportunities and middle-class status, embracing an individualist ethos of success through competition, and/or accepting the guidance of bourgeois religious leaders.

Gramsci therefore argued for a strategic distinction between a "war of position" and a "war of manoeuvre". The war of position is a culture war in which anti-capitalist elements seek to gain a dominant voice in mass media, mass organizations, and educational institutions to heighten class consciousness, teach revolutionary analysis and theory, and inspire revolutionary organization. Following the success of the war of position, communist leaders would be empowered to begin the war of manoeuvre, the actual insurrection against capitalism, with mass support.

Although the analysis of cultural domination was first advanced in terms of economic classes, it can be applied more broadly. Gramsci's analysis suggested that prevailing cultural norms should not be viewed as "natural" or "inevitable". Rather, cultural norms - including institutions, practices, beliefs - should be investigated for their roots in domination and their implications for liberation.

Gramsci did not contend that hegemony was either monolithic or unified. Instead, hegemony was portrayed as a complex layering of social structures. Each of these structures have their own “mission” and internal logic that allows its members to behave in a way that is different from those in different structures. Yet, as with an army, each of these structures assumes the existence of other structures and by virtue of their differing missions, is able to coalesce and produce a larger structure that has a larger overall mission. This larger mission usually is not exactly the same as the mission for each smaller structure, but it assumes and subsumes them. Hegemony works in the same manner. Each person lives their life in a way that is meaningful in their immediate setting, and, to this person the different parts of society may seem to have little in common with him. Yet taken as a whole, each person’s life also contributes to the larger hegemony of the society. Diversity, variation, and free will seem to exist since most people see what they believe to be a plethora of different circumstances, but they miss the larger pattern of hegemony created by the coalescing of these circumstances. Through the existence of small and different circumstances, a larger and layered hegemony is maintained yet not fully recognized by many of the people who live within it. (See Prison Notebooks, pp. 233-38.)

In such a layered hegemony, individual common sense, which is fragmented, is effective in helping people deal with small, everyday activities. But common sense also inhibits their ability to grasp the larger systemic nature of exploitation and hegemony. People focus on immediate concerns and problems rather than focusing upon more fundamental sources of social oppression.[1]

[edit] Influence of Gramsci

Although leftists may have been the primary users of this conceptual tool, the activities of organized conservative movements also draw upon the concept. This was seen, for instance, in evangelical Christian efforts to capture local school boards in the U.S. during the 1990s, and thus be able to dictate curriculum. Patrick Buchanan, in a widely discussed speech to the 1992 Republican Convention, used the term "culture war" to describe political and social struggle in the United States.

Theory about hegemonic culture has profoundly influenced Eurocommunism, the social sciences, and activist strategies. In social science the application of the concept of hegemony in the examination of major discourses (as by Michel Foucault) has become an important aspect of sociology, political science, anthropology, and other cultural studies. In education the concept has led to the development of critical pedagogy.

Inquirer Headlines / Sports

Bare Eye : Did Pacquiao produce a senator?

By Recah Trinidad

Posted date: May 23, 2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Now that it’s finally over, Manny Pacquiao’s fight at the polls is bound to go down as the most brutal, most expensive in his great career.

The sheer savagery surpassed the worst he had suffered in earlier defeats.

Pacquiao, as could only be expected, had refused to take a step back at the height of battle.

But it did not help any that, given his big fighting heart, the loser also squandered hard-earned pogi points when he refused to concede and acknowledge defeat long after the (people’s) verdict had been rendered.

* * *

The Pacman was said to have wasted over P100 million in his bitter bid to topple the incumbent Darlene Antonino-Custodio from Congress.

But, more than finances, it was in the sensitive area of public trust and respect wherein Pacquiao had been severely battered.

Yes, the boxing super hero nearly went bankrupt after he indefinitely refused to acknowledge defeat at the hands of a small, gentle foe.

Every second he had spent on the floor protesting, as Custodio continued to pad her lead in the official tally, would cut a deeper wound in Pacquiao’s proud psyche.

* * *

The angelic winner definitely didn’t look like she packed a devil’s punch that could stop the most popular living Filipino hero.

You can now call that winning shot the sweetest, wildest. Call it whatever you may.

But please don’t buy the cheap tout which says Pacquiao’s resounding defeat in the recent congressional polls has effectively softened Pacquiao, thereby rendering him ripe for a loss inside the boxing ring.

In the first place, do you expect Mike Buffer to also welcome Pacquiao into the arena in his next fight as “the losing congressional candidate from the Philippines?”

* * *

OK, Pacquiao had allowed himself to be sucked blind into the dirty world of Philippine politics.

He had, in fact, lent losing (in the polls) a new, silly face.

He had, repeat, allowed himself to be a mascot of Malacañang madness.

But you definitely don’t know your super hero if you entertained the idea Pacquiao would be bringing his record defeat at the polls inside the boxing ring.

Pacquiao is doubly tough inside there.

This is what separates him from other ordinary fighters.

He’s a supreme stoic when it comes to business inside the cruel boxing ring.

Anyway, if the defeat against Custodio would have any impact, it should be in goading Pacquiao to be a better ring warrior.

* * *

The lessons learned in his sorry loss in the last election may not contribute physically in his next big bout.

But it goes without saying that, unlike against Custodio, Pacquiao would next study all angles and possibilities in that next ring outing.

Pacquiao need not be told that, in his last defeat, Custodio ended up lending him some solid pointers on athleticism.

She, for example, did not waste time to assure Pacquiao that he should not feel bad because the poll defeat was not a message that people no longer loved him.

In fact, Ms. Custodio had humbly assured Pacquiao she had not actually knocked him out, contrary to popular feel.

Well, it’s too early to say, but it appears Pacquiao has also succeeded in introducing a strong candidate for senator in the person of the wispy charmer who took the fight out of a famous knockout artist.

That, needless to say, should go down as the biggest point Pacquiao had scored in the biggest loss of his career.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Why I could care less about Pacquio Happenings Part 1

go to

and you can't miss

or the banner for it .

As in no matter what other news of importance you may be looking for, it's there. Well as one editorial in the paper reminded me, there is a lot happening. Which makes an uneducated , anti role model Filipino beating up some Mexican in Las Vegas quite trivial in comparison. But yet it seems to be what everyone in this country will stop time for. I have nothing against the odd diversion or escapism. But when those things cease to be mere entertainment and become the very tools that allow stupidity to foster then we have to call a spade a spade. In the words of Randy Newman in Faust "let me inject a dose of reality to this festive occasion". We have a lot of problems here. Some of them of our own doing. Take the idiots who support our corrupt politicians. We have all that yet somehow Manny winning this fight and that fight is supposed to make all that better. Like it's not happening. I just hope he loses , though I don't think he will.


Not enough

By Jose Ma. Montelibano
First Posted 00:20:00 06/27/2008

Most Read

Other Most Read Stories


MANILA, Philippines—Typhoon "Frank" signaled the worst of a troubled period. It was not just about the rain, the death and destruction that it caused, it was its symbolism of all the bad that is happening to us. Before Frank, we were already being battered by a food crisis, a rice crisis, an oil crisis. Even the New People's Army rebels appeared to have awakened from a long slumber and reports of new activities are increasing. The kidnapping of television journalist Ces Drilon and her crew capped an avalanche of bad news, or so we thought. Who would have thought that a typhoon could hover so long over the Philippines and dump so much water on so many provinces before finally leaving?

We are struggling today to comfort people who lost loved ones because of Typhoon "Frank," to assuage the shock and fear of people who lost their homes and material possessions, to offer hope to those who have to start from the beginning again. It will take so much from a people beset by economic and political woes, and it will pressure all the more a government besieged with a troubled country and an even troubled reputation. It is not only rainy season; it is dangerous season as well.

The impact of higher rice prices will begin to be felt just as local stocks will start to dwindle. Harvest is September, barring more weather disturbances like Frank. Weather forecasts, though, point to a very wet year. Too much water is just as bad as too little water. Droughts and floods are two faces of the same coin: disaster.

It is the curse of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency not to have any more than transient stability. No amount of public relations, no amount of propaganda, no amount of accomplishment has succeeded in creating credibility for government and its highest representatives. The minimum requirement for stability during troubled times is credibility of leadership. Without that, leadership itself is at risk when storms, political, economic or otherwise, upset an already insecure people.

There have been many attempts to remove Gloria from the presidency. A few almost succeeded, but almost is never enough in political contests. At the same time, the kind of victories that Gloria eked out of difficult moments never allowed her long-term stability and the love of her people. In the end, the curse of the Arroyo presidency is also the curse of the Filipino people. We have a government people have no faith in, a president who has to lean on the military to stay in place, and an opposition who do not look squeaky clean either.

There are at least three leading contenders for president in the May 2010 election who come from the great minority of Filipinos: the rich. We have a potential candidate from the ranks of the majority poor but he is saddled with the unpopularity of his president. In the background, though, is a threat: a woman so afraid of what will happen to her when she is not president anymore. Her fear can push her to become constitutionally adventurous. The sum total is that 2010 offers little for a suffering and fearful people.

Although all popular, the rich wannabe-presidents have no one with a proven heart for the poor, no one with a priority program to eliminate poverty. The only possible candidate from the Juan de la Cruz class now heads the government's shelter program and can stage a campaign from there. He will have to convince his boss, though, to be more radically supportive of a social justice program where government can correct a historical anomaly called landlessness and homelessness. Government cannot hope to sell land and homes to informal settlers and think that it will earn the people's gratitude. Justice is not a business, not even an exchange. Victims of injustice must not be made to amortize solutions to their unmerited plight.

A crunching poverty is all the more intensified by an unstable world of rising oil and food prices, by a government and political leaders seen as corrupt, and by business still unwilling to cross the line of charity to move towards generosity. Only a people's resiliency, a patterned submissiveness, a religion that does not espouse violence, has tempered a mood that, in many other countries, had found massive rebellious expression.

Filipinos are caught in a serious bind. Perhaps, as more than 40 million have little or no chance to go abroad. These are the lowest 40 percent of the economic spectrum, from where most overseas Filipino workers do not come. These are the most vulnerable to revolutions or secessionist movements, where young teenagers can find motive to bear arms and become the most probable victims of violent conflict. Half are food poor when there was no food crisis; by now, most must be experiencing hunger every so often.

Those who can go abroad because they are better prepared to do so are not spared their pain or frustrations. They have to leave family and community behind, and their exposure to other environments which are less poor and definitely less corrupt makes them angry at why their country, their government, cannot do what most of the world can do.

Ah, yes, the rest of the world. The most recent studies of the World Bank pinpoint the Philippines as the most corrupt in our region and more corrupt than 80 percent of the world. It makes me wonder why a dominantly Christian nation can be so un-Christian, why its leaders can be so exploitative despite love and care as primordial Christian virtues. Are Filipinos so blinded by greed that they easily succumb to it when in power? Are our religious teachings so weak that our societal shepherds and stewards are the first to ransack the nation's warehouses?

What are we citizens to do? If we do not like violence, is there no other way but cowardly submission? If we do not like rebellion, do we have to tolerate being perennial victims of corruption and injustice? If we do not like to fight our soldiers and policemen, is it too much to expect that they fight for us when we are abused, when we are exploited?

Many civil society groups have been espousing many advocacies meant to better our quality of national life. Many local government executives are stepping up and actually providing a glimmer of hope in their respective areas because of their honesty, their dedication to service, and their sheer efficiency. But the many are not many enough, not against a monster, not against a cancer.

I have answers to my questions, but my answers do not count enough because I do not count enough. Neither do you if you and I stay apart from each other, if you and I remain unconnected to the majority of Filipinos, if the majority of Filipinos do not find the courage to stand and speak up against evil, and extend a helping hand to brothers and sisters in need.

* * *

Responses may be sent to

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes and its relevance to today and to your life

This is an old story. A story possibly that has been read to you but you have never read yourself. It has a timeless message. About how self absorbed some people get that they assume the whole world is sucked into seeing what they believe. Getting sucked in and trapped in being superficial. Thinking people with less time on their hands will feel the same way. Sometimes I believe most stories we learn as kids should be required reading for us when we are so called adults.

I am not even limiting this discussion to physical traits. I am sure every single one of you knows somebody who talks so loud so everyone can hear no matter how limited their conversation is whether its audience, or relevance . People who are attention seeking missiles. They seem to act the way they do otherwise they are ignored totally. No attention is bad attention as far as they are concerned. And being totally irrelevant is what they hate. Just like these Emperor’s New Clothes types overestimate their looks and their topical relevance. They see the world through the lens of vanity. The two words high maintenance do not begin to describe them. Here is a group where that clueless trait is a prerequisite to be part of them .

God makes us in different shapes and sizes. Not everyone is a cover girl or pinup guy but there should be some accountability. I believe in trying to be secure in one's own skin but not to show too much of that skin if there is too much of it. That was the downfall of the Emperor.

I included in the files Sinead O Connor's Emperor's New Clothes. Fascinating lyrics that I can not get a bead on them Not sure if she means she herself may be delusional or her lover. Lyrics provided in the attachments portion

If you remember Mandy Patinkin’s classic portrayal of Indigo Montaya from Princess Bride. He was telling Wallace Shawn about his constant use of the word ‘inconceivable’ : "I don’t think that word means what you think it means.". It’s the common thread with the Emperor and all the people who demand your attention who believe everybody is caught up in their self delusion that they do not see flaws. . People who wrongly crave attention. Their dialogue does not mean what they themselves think it means. Their wardrobe does not flatter the way they think it flatters. Their mannerisms do not project what they think it projects. Then again you can make that argument about me and my blog. Like Sinead maybe I have some of that too.


Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes
that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing
about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a
ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a
coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might,
about any other ruler, "The King's in council," here they always said.
"The Emperor's in his dressing room."
In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many
strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers.
They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave
the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors
and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a
wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his
office, or who was unusually stupid.
"Those would be just the clothes for me," thought the Emperor. "If I
wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit
for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I
certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away." He paid
the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.
They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing
on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they
demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty
looms far into the night.
"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth,"
the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he
remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be
able to see the fabric. It couldn't have been that he doubted himself,
yet he thought he'd rather send someone else to see how things were
going. The whole town knew about the cloth's peculiar power, and all
were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.
"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," the Emperor
decided. "He'll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for
he's a sensible man and no one does his duty better."
So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers
sat working away at their empty looms.
"Heaven help me," he thought as his eyes flew wide open, "I can't see
anything at all". But he did not say so.
Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve
the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty
looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He
couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have
mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed
it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would
never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."
"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting." The old minister peered through
his spectacles. "Such a pattern, what colors!" I'll be sure to tell
the Emperor how delighted I am with it."
"We're pleased to hear that," the swindlers said. They proceeded to
name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old
minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to
the Emperor. And so he did.
The swindlers at once asked for more money, more silk and gold thread,
to get on with the weaving. But it all went into their pockets. Not a
thread went into the looms, though they worked at their weaving as
hard as ever.
The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the
work progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing
happened to him that had happened to the minister. He looked and he
looked, but as there was nothing to see in the looms he couldn't see
"Isn't it a beautiful piece of goods?" the swindlers asked him, as
they displayed and described their imaginary pattern.
"I know I'm not stupid," the man thought, "so it must be that I'm
unworthy of my good office. That's strange. I mustn't let anyone find
it out, though." So he praised the material he did not see. He
declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and the exquisite
pattern. To the Emperor he said, "It held me spellbound."
All the town was talking of this splendid cloth, and the Emperor
wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. Attended
by a band of chosen men, among whom were his two old trusted
officials-the ones who had been to the weavers-he set out to see the
two swindlers. He found them weaving with might and main, but without
a thread in their looms.
"Magnificent," said the two officials already duped. "Just look, Your
Majesty, what colors! What a design!" They pointed to the empty looms,
each supposing that the others could see the stuff.
"What's this?" thought the Emperor. "I can't see anything. This is terrible!
Am I a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to
me of all people! - Oh! It's very pretty," he said. "It has my highest
approval." And he nodded approbation at the empty loom. Nothing could
make him say that he couldn't see anything.
His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but
they all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, "Oh! It's very pretty," and
they advised him to wear clothes made of this wonderful cloth
especially for the great procession he was soon to lead. "Magnificent!
Excellent! Unsurpassed!" were bandied from mouth to mouth, and
everyone did his best to seem well pleased. The Emperor gave each of
the swindlers a cross to wear in his buttonhole, and the title of "Sir
Before the procession the swindlers sat up all night and burned more
than six candles, to show how busy they were finishing the Emperor's
new clothes. They pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made
cuts in the air with huge scissors. And at last they said, "Now the
Emperor's new clothes are ready for him."
Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the
swindlers each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They
said, "These are the trousers, here's the coat, and this is the
mantle," naming each garment. "All of them are as light as a spider
web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that's what makes
them so fine."
"Exactly," all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for
there was nothing to see.
"If Your Imperial Majesty will condescend to take your clothes off,"
said the swindlers, "we will help you on with your new ones here in
front of the long mirror."
The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new
clothes on him, one garment after another. They took him around the
waist and seemed to be fastening something - that was his train-as the
Emperor turned round and round before the looking glass.
"How well Your Majesty's new clothes look. Aren't they becoming!" He
heard on all sides, "That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so
suitable! It is a magnificent outfit."
Then the minister of public processions announced: "Your Majesty's
canopy is waiting outside."
"Well, I'm supposed to be ready," the Emperor said, and turned again
for one last look in the mirror. "It is a remarkable fit, isn't it?"
He seemed to regard his costume with the greatest interest.
The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for
the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended
to lift and hold it high. They didn't dare admit they had nothing to
So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy.
Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the
Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his
long train!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for
that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No
costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.
"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.
"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one
person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't
anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."
"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.
The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he
thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly
than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at

link to files

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George Carlin

I remember hearing this man's jokes as far back as 1981. Join the book club is presented below. The man was definitely talented. He also had this rant against God. He probably meant every word of it. Does not make it right. It got me thinking. Sometimes your beliefs have to be challenged to truly make them your beliefs. It's easy to believe something when there is nobody or nothing challenging you on our beliefs.Some adversity separates the true believers from the band wagon jumpers.


N" "...There's a bigger responsibility, and that is getting into that refrigerator and deciding which things need to be thrown away. Most people will not take that responsibility. Most people will just go and get what they want, leave everything else alone, and say, 'Well, someone else wants that. Someone else will eat that.' Meanwhile, the thing is getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller...and is, in fact, stuck to the rack. Well, I've gotta' go in there and decide when to throw things away. 'Chocolate pudding, does anyone want this last chocolate pudding? I have just one chocolate pudding left, it's only pulled away from the side of the dish about three inches all the way around...and there's a huge fault running through the center of the pudding. Actually, it's nothing but a ball of skin at this point. Does anyone want a ball of fault-ridden chocolate pudding skin, I'm only going to throw it away.' Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that, if you don't eat it, they're only going to 'throw it away' Well, doesn't that make you feel dandy? 'Here's some something to eat, Dave, hurry up, it's spoiling....something for you, Angela, eat quickly, that green pod is Bob, eat this before I give it to an animal.'" "You ever been looking through the refrigerator, and you come across an empty plate? Boy, that starts me to wondering. DID SOMETHING EAT SOMETHING ELSE?!?! WHOA...MAYBE THE OLIVES ATE THE TUNA...MAYBE THAT CHICKEN ISN'T REALLY DEAD YET. Actually, I picture a little mouse with gloves and a parka on, you know, just waiting for the lights to go out." "Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot all. You literally do not know what it is! Could be meat...could be cake. Usually, at a time like this, I'll bluff: 'Honey, is this good?' 'Well, what is it?' 'I don't know...I've never seen anything like it. It looks like...MEATCAKE!' 'Well, smell it!' '(sniff)-ah, (sniff) has absolutely no smell whatsoever!' 'It's good!'


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And if you join today, we'll send the following instruction books absolutely free:


















So call now, right now, join the book club today."


"I hate to lose anything. I don't wanna' lose anything, because, 'where is it?' See, basically, that's the part that bothers me the most. I'm a practical guy...'Where is it? I just had it.' You know that feeling, 'IT WAS JUST HERE!!!'" (HERE GEORGE BEGINS A CONVERSATION WITH HIS MIND.) "'Where is it?' 'I don't know.' 'It's gone!' 'that's true.' 'It's lost!' 'I know.' 'Where could it be?' 'Could be anywhere.' 'Maybe it'll come back' 'Maybe, but not yet.' 'It's gone!' 'That's true...are we gonna' go through this sh*t again?' Where do these things go when they're lost? There are some things, I don't even care if I ever get 'em back, I just wanna' know where the f**k they went! You know what I mean? And let me say, losing things is one of those those events in life that's even worse when you're a kid. It's even worse, because people get on you for it. It's double jeopardy, not only is the item gone, but you're catching sh*t from up here! 'You what?!?' [Improvised conversation with a mother] 'I lost my yo-yo.' 'Well, where did you have it last?' 'HEY...if I knew that, I would still have my yo-yo!' 'Well, it must be somewhere.' 'Right!' 'Well, it just didn't get up and walk away!' That one always got to just didn't get up and walk away. One time, I lost the just got up, and walked away! And she actually started to say, 'Well, it just didn't get up and...cough, ahem, ahem, um, um.' 'Hey ma, I think you figured this one out.' Where do things go when they're lost? You know what I think? I think there's a big pile of things somewhere. I think there's a big constantly changing pile of things that are lost. You lose something,whoo-pop, it goes to the pile. And then you say, 'Oh look, there it is,' whoowhoowhoowhoowhoowhooph. Right back from the pile. And you didn't even know there was a pile. And where is the pile? In Heaven, of course...has to be in Heaven. That's the first thing that happens when you get to Heaven, They give you back everything you ever lost. That's the whole meaning of Heaven. You get back everything; 'Here ya' are, 79 pairs of sunglasses, 212 cigarette lighters, 4,983 ball point pens. Here's a jock strap we found on the Golden state appears to have mule hoofprints and chocolate sprinkles on it...must've been quite an evening.' Yes, you get back everything...Everything, When you get to Heaven...well, not everything, you know, you don't get the big things back. Good judgement, that never comes back. Your tonsills, your appendix, they keep those for display purposes, don't get that back, because you're in such a big hurry to get rid of it in the first place. But, you get back all your wallets. You get back every wallet you ever lost...No's just like earth. They keep the money as a prayer offering. Have you noticed this, when you lose something, the longer you look for it, the stranger the places are that you are looking. ...You know why? You've already looked in the easy places. Those are the first places we look, the obvious places. That's why people say to each other, 'Well, I've looked everywhere.' Well, apparently NOT...the...damn thing is still gone, isn't it?!? Let's keep looking in obvious places. I'll look in the furnace, you check the cesspool. You look in the strangest places, d' you ever look in the freezer for your car keys? Hey, you might as well, sh*t, they might be in there. Wouldn't wanna pass up a nice obvious place like the freezer, would ya'? 'Cause you can talk yourself into it, you can picture them in there, that's what the mind is for... picturing where you left your car keys. Of course, those are obvious things...easy things like car keys. Sometimes, an unusual item is, the couch. You ever come home and the...damn couch is gone! 'Where's the couch!' [Here George again has a conversation with his mind] 'I don't know.' 'It's gone!' 'That's true.' 'Where could it be?' 'Could be anywhere.' 'Maybe it'll come back.' 'Maybe, but not this, no, it's too big actually, nothing over 4 feet ever comes back on it's own.' 'Well it was here this morning.' 'Well of course it was here this morning. There'd be no sense in mentioning the fact that it isn't here now unless it had been here this morning, there'd be no basis for a comparison...' 'F**K YOU, I'M TIRED OF YOUR ANALYTICAL SH*T!!! Why don't you take your logic and go to bed?!?' 'I can't.' 'Why not?!?' 'I sleep on the couch.'

GEORGE ON CHILDHOOD CLICHES: PARENT: "I'll wash your mouth out with soap!" CHILD: "I'll blow bubbles out my a**!" PARENT: "How many times fo I have to tell you?!?" CHILD: "Six." PARENT: "Don't you understand English?" CHILD: "Not fully, no." PARENT: "Don't talk back!" CHILD: "Huh? You're teaching me a language, aren't you? You sayin' no more practicing?" PARENT: "I have tried to be both a mother and a father to you." CHILD: "Go F*** yourself!"

LOS ANGELES, June 22 (Reuters) - Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT/0100 GMT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material developed over 50 years, the bald, bearded Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top U.S. court ruled that the words cited in Carlin's routine were indecent, and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.

The Grammy-winning Carlin remained an active presence on the comedy circuit. Carlin was scheduled to receive the John F. Kennedy Center's prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November and his publicist said Carlin performed in Las Vegas this month.

His comedic sensibility revolved around a central theme: humanity is a cursed, doomed species.

"I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas," he told Reuters in a 2001 interview. Continued...

View article on single pagePrevious Page 1 | 2 Next Page Carlin told Playboy in 2005 that he looked forward to an afterlife where he could watch the decline of civilization on a "heavenly CNN."

"The world is a big theater-in-the round as far as I'm concerned, and I'd love to watch it spin itself into oblivion," he said. "Tune in and watch the human adventure."


Carlin wrote three best-selling books, won four Grammy Awards, recorded 22 comedy albums, headlined 14 HBO television specials, and hosted hundreds of variety shows. One was the first episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975, when he was high on cocaine.

Drug addiction plagued him for much of his life, beginning with marijuana experimentation as a teen, graduating to cocaine in the 1970s, and then to prescription painkillers and wine. During the cocaine years, Carlin ignored his finances and ended up owing about $3 million in back taxes. In 2004, he entered a Los Angeles rehab clinic for his alcohol and Vicodin abuse.

George Dennis Carlin was born on May 12, 1937, in New York City, where he was raised with an older brother by their single mother. He fondly recalled that the nuns at his school tolerated his early comedic inclinations.

After a brief, troubled stint in the U.S. Air Force, he started honing his comic act, developing such characters as Al Sleet, a "hippie-dippie weatherman."

Carlin told Playboy that his sensibilities developed in the 1950s, "when comedy stopped being safe ... (and) became about saying no to authority." He cited such influences as Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory and Bob Newhart.

He also dabbled in movies and television, recently voicing a hippie Volkswagen bus named Fillmore in the Pixar cartoon "Cars."

Carlin is survived by his second wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; and brother Patrick. His first wife, Brenda, died of cancer in 1997. News of his death was first reported by the television show "Entertainment Tonight." (Additional reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Biased Sports Reporting

Sports can be about many things. First of all it's competition. Second of all it's every body's interpretation of the same thing. I for one believe that people who cover the team should say it like it is. They are journalists not cheerleaders. If an opponent plays well say it . If the home team is lifeless say it. I want to learn something about the game and about the teams and about the players every time I tune in on radio or TV. In other words, I don't want the broadcasters to be me. This topic could have stood on it's own but I guess Wetzel had this notion of the homer school of broadcasting before and Ref Gate was the catalyst to get it written.

For me any kind of reporting is a matter of trust. That's why the Internet is a blessing and a curse. You can get different opinions and somehow make up your own mind or it can be easier to get exposed to the baseless opinions.

Earlier in my youth I seem to remember Fergie Oliver of CTV (shown above) as a Toronto Blue Jay shill. A lot like Susan Walderman who shows very little evidence of integrity when covering the Yankees. I remember Oliver getting into an on air argument with the excellent former ball player Tony Kubek. About a takeout on Tony Fernandez at second base. Tony said it was a baseball play, Oliver's opinion seemed to be tainted because Fernandez was out for the year.


Refs in crosshairs of biased announcers

By Dan Wetzel

, Yahoo! Sports Jun 14, 2:09 am EDT

LOS ANGELES – Johnny Most, the Boston Celtics

’ legendary announcer, was beloved (at least by Celtics fans) for his gravel-truck voice, his propensity to smoke while on the air (he once dropped a cig and lit his pants on fire) and, of course, his unabashed homerism.

To call Most biased would be an insult to the word. Celtics were heroes who could do no wrong. Everyone else was a thug, bum or, "something that crawled out of the sewer." Their only chance at human redemption was to be traded to Boston.

It is quite possible that during Most’s entire 37-year broadcast career that no Celtics player ever committed a single foul or missed a shot where they weren’t hacked, accosted or the victim of a "vicious mugging."

The only reason the wrong call was made, at least by Most’s thinking, was referee incompetence, general corruption or even political conspiracy.

"There is a city ordinance in Philadelphia that decrees Moses Malone can not be called for a foul," an outraged Most once comically cackled during a Celtics-76ers game.

It was an entertaining, one-of-a-kind style that went against many of the professional standards of the day. Unlike his Los Angeles Lakers

counterpart, Chick Hearn, he never criticized the home team. You tuned in to hear the game called through green-colored glasses.

Back then almost no one could’ve predicted Most’s style, not the more balanced Hearn’s, would become an accepted norm. Most passed away in 1993, but these days his legacy is all over the airwaves. Many local announcers are outright shills for the team.

"Sometimes you listen to a game from both (local) feeds and you’d think you were listening to completely different games," NBA commissioner David Stern said Thursday.

Stern sort of smiled at that line, but not for long. While it may not seem like a big deal to most people, and it certainly isn’t the sole reason for the NBA’s current troubles, the sons of Johnny Most currently calling NBA games across the league aren’t helping the commissioner one bit.

The way the NBA is consumed by fans is mostly on the local level, either via television or radio. Night after night these days, fans hear that their team is being jobbed by officials; not just losing out on all 50-50 calls or the unfortunate victims of human error but downright cheated out of victories.

"I would say that there’s a lot of officiating done by local announcers," Stern said.

The broadcasters didn’t cause Tim Donaghy, the FBI investigation or the NBA’s current challenge with conspiracy catcalls from fans. The NBA has issues it needs to address; in some ways the league had made its own trouble.

But in a number of markets, the announcers create a distrusting environment. While there are plenty of exceptions, on many broadcasts objectivity isn’t a concern. Bias may come more from the color commentator, often a former player, and not the straighter play-by-play person, but the result is the same.

"In some markets, that’s what the fans want. They want the guy who is rooting for the team," said Mike Breen, the New York Knicks

’ television play-by-play man for the last 17 years. Breen’s one of the most balanced announcers in the league, partly because of the market he works in.

"In New York I can’t be that way, I’d get skewered," said Breen, who is currently calling the Finals for ABC. "You have to be straight. Even still, (there are emails asking) ‘Why does Mike Breen hate the Knicks?’ I think, ‘I hate the Knicks? I’ve been a Knick fans since I was a kid.’ "

If Breen was in a different city with a different organization, there might be pressure to do it a different way. While there isn’t a documented case in the NBA, in other sports, most recently Florida State football, announcers have lost their job for not being enough of a cheerleader.

Tendentiousness can even make your career. After all, Johnny Most was popular due to his lack of objectivity, not in spite of it.

This seems like a harmless trend in broadcasting – how important is objectivity if few viewers even want it? Mostly it’s just entertaining. It isn’t for Stern, though. His entire organization is under attack in part because for years fans have been given no reason to believe in it.

If a team never commits a foul (or at least in a critical juncture of the game) and are always getting the worst of it from referees, then why should fans ever trust the officials?

Every team has fans who believe the refs are systematically out to get them. In many cities that extends to league-wide conspiracies based on market size, star players or simply Stern’s whims. Night after night the broadcasters play right into it.

The reality is that Stern isn’t sitting in his Manhattan tower ordering his referees to fix games, playoff series or entire seasons. The NBA is a massive, multibillion dollar corporation built on the partnership of 30 individual owners. No one game could ever mean that much to the bottom line, let alone risk a scandal that could crush the league.

No matter what fans think, there isn’t a conspiracy.

Of course, the fans still think there is.

Thursday, for the second time in three days, this time in the minutes before Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Stern held a news conference. He again vehemently defended the practices and integrity of his league and its officials.

It was a sign of desperation and frustration; one that probably did nothing but keep the referee scandal story alive. It must have seemed necessary, though, for a commissioner who can hardly contain his irritation at the situation – no matter what he says, some people won’t believe him.

It’s not just the in-game announcers that undermine the refs. Coaches routinely rail against the officials, if not in postgame comments (where they are subject to fines) then in sideline histrionics.

Players, meanwhile, challenge nearly every call. The days of humbly raising your hand after committing a foul so the scorer could properly identify you has been replaced with acting, pleading and expressing a level of outrage as if the ref just shot your dog.

Last year the NBA tried to limit the complaining through technical fouls, only to give up when it became apparent they’d have to ring guys up on every possession.

"I think in its collectivity, a certain impression gets left," Stern said.

The NBA has a multi-tiered, partially independent system for evaluating every call (and non-call) by every official. Stern describes his refs "the most measured and metricized group of employees in the world." He claims they get about 90 percent of the calls correct.

Considering the complexity and speed of the game, that might be very good. Maybe they can do better, maybe not.

When a call is replayed on super slow-mo in high definition, though, with a partisan announcer expressing volatile anger to a sympathetic audience, every mistake can seem not just unacceptable but sinister.

Stern knows this. And he knows there isn’t much he can do about it, although he’s trying.

Five years ago the league began inviting all local and national broadcasters to its referees’ camp each summer. Lectures and tests were given, rules were reviewed and a chance to better understand the challenges of calling an NBA game was offered.

"I think it really opened up a lot of eyes," said Breen, who because of his background as a high school and junior college official has always had a "soft spot" for referees. "There is still a lot more that needs to be done, but I don’t think there are as many guys just killing the refs every game."

Perhaps, but Stern certainly doesn’t think it’s good enough. Thursday he looked exhausted at this entire ordeal. While he wasn’t blaming all of the league’s troubles on homer announcers, you could see his disappointment at the atmosphere they help create.

No matter how much he explains the league’s innocence, he knows he’s fighting years of negative public relations for his officials. He thinks everyone should trust him, but at this point, that’s impossible.

It may have started in the NBA with a colorful, comical Johnny Most "high above courtside" in Boston. But all these years later, as that style spread and took root, as refs couldn’t ever catch the benefit of the doubt, David Stern, desperate for credibility, doesn’t appear to be in a laughing mood.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beneath The Surface NBA Game Fixing Scandal

The man above is an NBA ref whose life you'd think was a Sopranos Episode. He helped out his gambling debts to the Mob by fixing the point spreads of NBA games. This story is almost a year old. What's freshly significant is on the day of Game 3 of the NBA Finals the bombshell comes out of specific instances that he cites where the league itself is doing the fixing. Read the Associated Press article quickly like I did and I assumed here is a guy trying to save his own skin and drag whoever is there down with him and using the maximum platform to do it in. Just like Alex Rodriguez and his free agency the night of the last game of the World Series.

Then I heard something that totally reset my paradigm on this whole thing. Rather than wrongly summarize it. Download it for yourself and make up your own mind. If anything this is an exercise that a quick story on a subject may not tell you what you need to know about the topic to get to a reasonable conclusion. I know I came to that conclusion.


True or not, ref’s charges linger over NBA finals

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer 13 hours, 56 minutes ago

Top of Form 1

Bottom of Form 1

LOS ANGELES (AP)—If Tim Donaghy’s latest allegations are true, Kobe Bryant

won his last championship with the help of an NBA conspiracy.

And Scot Pollard

is still ringless because some guys in suits determined it would be that way.

Even with Bryant chasing another title in a marquee NBA finals matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers

and Boston Celtics, the league still can’t escape the Donaghy mess, now nearly a year after learning the former referee bet on games he officiated.

And the people who thought the spotlight would be theirs alone are pretty fed up.

"The whole Donaghy thing just makes me sick, if you want me to be honest," Boston coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday. "Paul Pierce

got injured and we questioned him, but we believe Donaghy? When you think of the logic of that crap, it really … I’m not going to go any further, but our league is a great league, and that stuff bothers me a lot. It really does."


In a letter filed Tuesday in New York, Donaghy’s attorney made a series of allegations about officiating corruption and misconduct within the NBA. The most damning accusation centered on the 2002 Western Conference finals, when the Lakers rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat the Sacramento Kings


Donaghy said two referees known as "company men" worked the controversial Game 6, when the Lakers shot 27 free throws in the final quarter and scored 16 of their last 18 points at the line in a 106-102 victory.

The injured Pollard, who now plays for Boston, was on Sacramento’s team, while Bryant and Derek Fisher

played for the Lakers squad that went on to sweep New Jersey for its third straight championship.

"I don’t know how you determine the game was rigged," Fisher said. "Obviously, I was there in the game. I don’t remember any moment thinking, ‘They’re helping us out a little bit.’ A lot of things change from game to game. Different officiating crews call games differently. I can’t comment on it. You still have to win the next game (Game 7). I’m not going to give my ring back, I know that."

Pollard was angry when he heard the complaint and acknowledged believing it was possible at first, but dismissed the idea of a conspiracy among referees because it’s too big a secret to keep for this long. And much like NBA commissioner David Stern a night earlier, he portrayed Donaghy as a criminal willing to say anything to save himself.

"For a guy that wasn’t at that game, didn’t ref that game, to come out and say that, and in the situation he’s in, I guess you could kind of say you could equate that to Charles Manson saying something about the Boston Strangler," Pollard said. "He’s in the business, but he doesn’t really have a lot of credibility. He wasn’t there."

News that the FBI was investigating Donaghy broke last July, shoving Bryant’s long-awaited first appearance with the U.S. national team out of the basketball headlines. Now the case has overshadowed the NBA finals’ return to Los Angeles.

Bryant dismissed Donaghy talk with a couple of one-word answers, invoking the name of the Patriots coach Bill Belichick—who knows a little about conspiracies from the Super Bowl videotaping scandal.

"I’m sorry to be Belichicky, but we don’t think about it too much, to be honest with you," Bryant said. "It’s not something we focus on as players. I think it’s more talked about outside of our circles more than it is inside. We know whatever legal proceedings they have going on, they’ll get to the bottom of the situation, and for us as players, all we can do is play."

Both coaches said they had no questions about the integrity of the referees, though the Lakers’ Phil Jackson said perhaps it would be best to have someone other than the league office govern the officials. Players’ association director Billy Hunter said no players have asked the union to investigate charges of referee corruption.

"To raise the issue of whether or not the games are set up and the outcome has already been dictated, I haven’t heard anybody raise that alarm or question," he said.

Hunter added that he felt bad for the league, knowing that Donaghy’s accusations, though lacking specifics, will be accepted as the truth by some skeptics.

"Clearly it feeds to that whole psyche, folks believe that there’s a series of conspiracies and the outcome is dictated and that it’s almost a show," Hunter said. "The last thing you want to do is to take on the aura of world wide wrestling.

"I think people want to believe that the winner is based on merit and the best team wins in a given circumstance and that there are no prerequisites. It’s not being staged. So what it does is it impacts the integrity of the game. So to that extent, yeah, I would be concerned, not just for the players, for the entire operation."


Donaghy's claims serious, troubling for NBA


By Lester Munson


Updated: June 11, 2008, 11:49 PM ET

Legal Ramifications Of Donaghy's Allegations

Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy asserted in publicly filed court papers Tuesday that six other officials had manipulated the outcomes of four NBA games, including two playoff games. Although Donaghy and his attorney, John F. Lauro, offered detail to support their claims of misconduct by referees, team executives and NBA executives, they did not offer the identities of the teams or the individuals.

Donaghy's explosive charges came in response to a demand from the NBA that Donaghy pay $1 million to the league, which claims to be a victim of the referee's admitted crimes. The league's demand for $1 million in restitution and Donaghy's response raise a number of legal questions. Here are some of the questions and their answers:

Donaghy pleaded guilty to two felony charges this past summer, admitting he was guilty of gambling violations and money laundering. Everything seemed to have settled down, with Donaghy cooperating with federal investigators and awaiting his sentence. What prompted these developments in the middle of the NBA Finals?

Donaghy's sentencing is scheduled for July 14. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce. In the usual course of presentence investigations and procedures, the federal probation department asks the "victim" about the damage resulting from the crime. As a "victim" of Donaghy's crimes, the NBA claimed in a June 5 letter that it was entitled to $1 million in restitution from Donaghy. Restitution, or the reimbursement of the victim's losses, typically pays back a bank or a charity for money lost in an embezzlement or a theft. Donaghy obviously damaged the NBA and its reputation, but there is no indication he stole any money from the league. The NBA claimed that it was forced to spend the nice round sum of $1 million investigating Donaghy and the damage he caused, and the league wants its money back. Clearly enraged by the unexpected demand from the NBA for $1 million, Donaghy and Lauro retaliated with detailed accusations of manipulation by other referees. It is the worst nightmare for the NBA, which might be considering a withdrawal of its demand for restitution.

Are Donaghy's allegations of referee misconduct new? How serious are his charges?

Donaghy first began telling the FBI about other referees in July 2007. He gave federal investigators additional information in a meeting in September. His claims are serious. They include allegations that the NBA attempted to insulate star players from technical fouls to build up ticket sales and television ratings. Most seriously, he claims there was a successful effort by two referees to extend a playoff series to a seventh game, assisting in the victory for the team that trailed 3-2 in the series. The accusations are the kinds of things that fuel conspiracy theories that abound among NBA fans, but Donaghy is now adding dates, places and games. According to Donaghy and Lauro, two referees in 2002 deliberately ignored fouls that resulted in injuries and called "made-up fouls" to give addition foul shots to one team. Even worse, Donaghy asserts that the referees did all of it because they were "company men" who "always act[ed] in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA's interest to add another game to the series."

Is it legal for Donaghy to go public with these charges?

Most paperwork in a presentence investigation in federal court is impounded. It is filed in secret and is available only to the judge, the lawyers and the probation department. The NBA's letter demanding restitution, for example, was filed in secret. But in a clever use of federal rules and procedures, Lauro filed Donaghy's explosive assertions in a public letter. The purpose of the letter, Lauro said, was to provide "a summary of Tim's cooperation" with the FBI. But its real purpose appears to be to fire back at the NBA after its demand for $1 million in restitution. As a cooperating witness admitting guilt and showing contrition, Donaghy was well on his way to a reduced sentence. Then the NBA makes its demand for $1 million. If Donaghy cannot make restitution, his jail sentence could be extended. Donaghy's plans for a reduced sentence were suddenly in jeopardy as a result of the NBA's demand. If Donaghy were to do additional time in prison, he could get even by pulling the curtain back on multiple episodes of alleged misconduct by NBA executives, owners and referees.

Will Donaghy's charges result in other investigations and other charges against other referees or anyone else?

The charges against Donaghy were the result of his gambling and his use of his position to manipulate games for gamblers. There is no claim of any gambling by anyone in the charges Donaghy made Tuesday. If his claims are true, they clearly show misconduct that could result in NBA discipline, but they might not be federal crimes. Because the games Donaghy describes occurred in various cities around the U.S., there might be more than one set of prosecutors looking into his accusations. The first sign that any of these potential investigations is under way will come July 14. If Donaghy's sentencing is postponed, it will be a clear sign that other investigations are under way on his claims.

What is the next step in the case against Donaghy?

Donaghy's attorneys want to see all the NBA's records of its investigation into Donaghy. The NBA investigation, according to Donaghy's court papers, included interviews of 57 NBA referees. Donaghy and his attorneys have asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to give them a subpoena for all NBA records resulting from the investigative efforts. The NBA claims the investigation cost $1 million, but Donaghy wants proof. Lauro argues that the investigation also was directed at other referees and other situations that did not involve Donaghy and that Donaghy should not be required to make restitution for that portion of the investigation. U.S. District Court Judge Carol Amon will decide whether Donaghy can go through the NBA's records.

Lester Munson, a Chicago lawyer and journalist who reports on investigative and legal issues in the sports industry, is a senior writer for


Monday, June 9, 2008

Dedicated to Javier De Jesus from Videogames to South American Politics

Be careful what you say around kids. They remember. In this instance months ago I sang the Bruce Cockburn song If I had A Rocket Launcher while playing Halo with the nephews. Two weeks ago Javier repeated the title back to me complete with melody. I thought I would let him hear the song. But as always there's more to it than that. It's a song of intense frustration on the condition some humans live and die. Witnessed first hand by the song's author. I put some information below. Again, music should be a personal moving experience. This song should only be sung by the person who wrote it. Not someone paid to sing it. I must have it so good that I am complaining about that and not some government hit squad being sent out to get me.


Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay

I don't believe in guarded borders and I don't believe in hate
I don't believe in generals or their stinking torture states
And when I talk with the survivors of things too sickening to relate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would retaliate

On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation -- or some less humane fate
Cry for guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate

I want to raise every voice -- at least I've got to try
Every time I think about it water rises to my eyes.
Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry
If I had a rocket launcher...Some son of a b***h would die
Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

Editorial note: According to an article called "Hell Fire!" by Bridget Freer, FHM magazine, December 1999 issue, "If I Had A Rocket Launcher" was one of the songs played at high volume outside the Vatican Embassy in Panama City in 1989, in order to drive out Manuel Noriega. Along with "I Fought The Law" and "Nowhere To Run" among others, it was not successful because of complaints from the Ambassador. Thanks to David Newton for sending this in.

  • 19 October 1984

    [If one of "Rocket Launcher's" suggestions is not only that anger can signal a beginning of commitment but that such anger can get out of hand, Cockburn is quick to point out that it reflects a very personal experience.] "Aside from airing my own experience, which is where the songs always start, if we're ever going to find a solution for this ongoing passion for wasting each other, we have to start with the rage that knows no impediments, an uncivilized rage that says it's okay to go out and shoot some one."

    [Like "Nicaragua" and "Dust and Diesel," "Rocket Launcher" came directly from Cockburn's visits to Guatemalan refugee camps in Mexico.] "I can't imagine writing it under any other conditions." [He had gone to Mexico and Nicaragua in early 1983 with several other Canadian artists at the invitation of OXFAM, the world hunger organization; OXFAM had sponsored a similar trip the year before with members of the Canadian Parliament.]

    According to Cockburn, "the idea was to reach a different audience than the politicians by having us go and observe, using the relative visibility that we have to educate the Canadian public to what we had seen and to raise money for projects that OXFAM has in the region." [Cockburn was already involved in the issue, having spent time reading the poetry of Ernesto Cardenal and a report by Pax Christi, the Catholic human rights organization, on its investigation of alleged church persecution in Nicaragua. His three weeks in Central America confirmed some opinions, but also aroused the kinds of frustrations evidenced in 'Rocket Launcher.' Ironically, the political stance it inspired is linked to a similar public position Cockburn took several years ago, when he confirmed that he was a born-again Christian.]

    "One is directly responsible for the other," he says, though he insists neither commitment defines his work. "I don't consciously or not consciously write certain kinds of songs," Cockburn says. "In fact, I almost didn't put 'Rocket Launcher' on the album because of the ease with which it could be misinterpreted."
    -- from "The Long March of Bruce Cockburn: From Folkie to Rocker, Singing About Injustice" by Richard Harrington, Washington Post, 19 October 1984. Submitted by Nigel Parry.

  • 15 November 1984

    "If one needed a reason to; needed an example of why there wasn't a Nicaraguan revolution, you can look at the situation in Guatemala, because the situation is, if anything, worse than what was happening in Nicaragua under Somosa, has been for the last 30 years.

    Since the military government presently in power was installed with a little help from your neighborhood agents.... the Washington boys. They ran the country on behalf of themselves and a small land owning elite, using everybody else in the country as their personal servants; and with a cheap labor force. The way they do that is they make sure that the people don't have enough land to support themselves on. Aside from keeping them from any access to medical care or education, they make sure that they don't have enough land to grow enough food for a family. Which means that people have to go work for them if they want to survive.This doesn't necessarily guarantee survival either, of course , because if people object in anyway to that kind of situation.....or maybe if they just sort of go about peacefully trying to rectify things on their own.

    Getting together with their neighbours to pool resources. Getting together with their neighbors to study the Bible, for that matter. Those attempts are met with acts of incredible ferocity in order to prevent it from spreading. You never knew when one was gonna swing in from the north and start shooting. That situation ---thats the first time I'd even seen anything like that. First hand, you know, you watch it on TV, and it doesn't look the same somehow when you're there. Partly because of the incredible spirit of the people. Because of that spirit and the sense of that spirit and the stories that they told of what they had survived and what they witnessed, it was impossible not to feel great sympathy for and with them. And the ease at which that sympathy slid over to a willingness to kill those who were inflicting that agony on them was a little bit shocking. It's not an answer, especially for us, you know, to go down there and start shooting Guatemalans.... maybe for them..."

    Audience member: [unintelligible]

    BC: "What's that?"

    Audience member: "Helicopters"

    BC: " Yeah,well, there are people in them, you know? Which is something that - the thing is, the weird thing about it is they stop looking like people because of what they're doing. I guess that's what makes it so easy to want to shoot them down because they [snickers] make- - -they make you feel like they forfeited their humanity somehow. But they're pawns in it. Anyway, this song is all about that. The one thing I must stress in case anybody's under any delusion that this is so, is that this is not a call to arms. This is, this is a cry..."
    -- from an intro to the song at a gig at the Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, Sonoma County, California. Submitted by Bobbi Wisby.

  • 23 May 1985

    Religion also led Cockburn to spend three and a half weeks in Central America in 1983:

    "It was all part of the same process, which is that you can't love your neighbor if you don't know who he is." In Nicaragua he was impressed by the grass-roots support for the Sandinista government, but he was discouraged and angered by poverty, repression and the fear of U.S. interventionism. Observing the horrors of refugee camps along the Guatemalan-Mexican border, he went back to his hotel room and cried and wrote in his notebook, "I understand now why people want to kill." Then he wrote "If I Had a Rocket Launcher."

    Since he visited the area, Cockburn has been working nonstop, fueled by the urgency of his message and by his first worldwide hit. And while he's not optimistic about the future of the area that inspired his songs, he's maintained his idealism.

    "The universe will continue to unfold regardless of what happens to the Sandinistas, or me and you, or Russia and the States," he says. "I also think that death isn't such a horrifying experience. It's like the ecstatic experiences - I think life is like that underneath it all. It's just too bad the rest of it keeps getting in the way."
    -- from "Bruce Cockburn Launches a Hit: Fired by Christian pacifism, the Canadian singer targets new, worldwide success", by Steve Pond, Rolling Stone magazine, 23 May 1985. Anonymous Submission.