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After Chris Sheridan floated the idea of the NBA expanding into Vegas when a replacement in Seattle for the Sonics enters the league got me thinking. With the inevitable realignment, why does it have to be Eastern and Western Conferences?

I propose Northern and Southern Conferences, made up of four divisions of four teams. In the Northern Conference there would be:

There would be the traditional Atlantic Division, made up of Boston, New York, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

Detroit, Toronto, Milwaukee and Minnesota make up a natural Great Lakes division.

A Northwest division would be comprised of Portland, Seattle, Utah and Denver.

The final Northern Conference division would be the Central; Cleveland, Chicago, Washington and Indiana. For those who recognize the Mason Dixon line as the division of North and South, tough.

Orlando, New Orleans, Miami and Houston could be a feasible Southeast Division. While it would be nice to keep all three Texas teams in the same division, it’s not geographically feasible with where the franchises are. So it goes

I’ve got Oklahoma City (let’s call them the Robber Barons), Memphis, Charlotte and Atlanta in the Dixie Division. If you think Dixie is an improper name for this division, make a suggestion. Or suck on eggs.

The new Las Vegas franchise, the Gamblers, would have the tough luck of being in a Southwest Division alongside Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas. Good luck, fellas.

This leaves a tidy package of the four California teams, Los Angeles (2x), Golden State and Sacramento, as the Pacific Division.
One thing this would immediately do is create new rivalries. Hornets/Magic looks like one of the best, finally answering the burning question: Would you rather build around Chris Paul or Dwight Howard? Another promising rivalry would be Pistons/Raptors, two franchises currently epitomizing the idea of “team.” Suns/Mavs and Spurs/Suns are heavyweight match-ups in the Southwest. Cavs/Wizards, quickly becoming a playoff rivalry, would be another exciting new rivalry.

Another difference would be more parity. Maybe the South, with the Lakers, Spurs, Suns, Mavs, Hornets, Magic, would win a majority of titles in the North/South format. The Celtics, Pistons, Jazz and LeBron would have a bone to pick with that notion. But you’ve also got a guaranteed playoff berth to either the Hawks, Grizzlies, Bobcats or Barons. In a few years Hawks/Barons and Bobcats/Grizzlies could be fun games. But on paper, today, that’s a terrible division. It also gives moribund and new franchises a real chance to win and make the playoffs.

One other advantage of a North/South split is it places a new franchise in each conference. Oklahoma City and Seattle are both in the western part of the United States. It would be unfeasible to put two expansion teams into the already stacked Western Conference; they’d be meat for a decade. I also think it would also encourage cultural bonds. New Orleans, Houston and Florida have all become inextricably entwined by the shared turmoil from Mother Nature. Hell, 10-20% of New Orleans is IN Houston. There’s a little known northern corridor between Portland and Milwaukee. Besides both cities sharing a love of PBR, the Rose City has a suburb named Milwaukie. Long ago, Wisconsinites ventured to Oregon. And they brought Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Encouraging natural rivalries could invigorate the NBA’s sagging ratings. The new conferences will also encourage new business ties between far off cities. When else have Miami and Los Angeles had overlapping schedules in anything? New York and Seattle could both benefit from more games between the franchises. Over the last couple of months, I’ve seen a lot of advertisements for states and cities as vacation destinations. My favorite is Jeff Daniels in a commercial for Michigan. California, Texas and ‘Colonial Williamsburg’ are a few others that come to mind. Think of it as free marketing for travel destinations.

Fresh teams would have a chance to break out. Look at the Northern Conference teams. Based on this season’s records (which is an admittedly faulty methodology, since each team would play teams a different number of times), the first round of the playoffs would be Celtics/Blazers, Pistons/Raptors, Jazz/Wizards and Cavs/Nuggets. Portland would have snuck into the playoffs over Philly, even without Greg Oden. and would make a much more exciting first round vs. Boston than the Hawks.

But we can’t escape the Hawks. The Southern Conference first round would be Lakers/Mavs, Hornets/Magic, Spurs/Suns and Hawks/Rockets. Poor Golden State. Even in this scenario, they miss the playoffs. Too bad this is all speculation. But I truly hope that if down the line, the NBA wants to add teams to Vegas and Seattle, someone in David Stern’s ear suggests the Great Lakes and Dixie Divisions.


I recently returned from New Orleans. Hadn’t been there before Katrina, so I really have no perspective. But based on the photos (in the Mid-City neighborhood), things are fucked, putting it lightly.

Israel M. Augustine Middle School

Yes. That does say August 18, 2005. If you go to New Orleans next month, the sign will still read August 18, 2005. But Augustine isn’t in the French Quarter (it’s on S. Broad and Tulane), so nobody will see this.

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Don’t worry tho, at least you can get your kids into an elementary school.

Fisk Howard Elementary School

Oops. Now I didn’t take photos, but literally RIGHT around the corner of Augustine Middle School, on Tulane Avenue, are ample bail bonds offices. Bright, shiny, newly painted bail bonds offices. Welcome to New Orleans. The schools are still shuttered more than two years after the fact, but the criminal justice industry is booming!

Look at the bright side. At least Brangelina is helping out in the Lower Ninth Ward! Then again, the Eight Ward is in worse shape, but nobody cares……..doesn’t have the cache value of the Ninth.


As some may remember from an earlier post, I’d like to incorporate music (non-stop, drone, repetitive music) into the prison system, as a deterrent to crime.  The notion of listening to Celine Dion for any stretch of time is too much.  Well, thanks to the folks at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, in Cebu, Philippines, I’ve got more ammunition for the fight towards prison reform.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the best known.  But the inmates at CPDRC have tons of videos on YouTube.  Jumbo Hotdog is one of my favorites.

That’s simply because it gives me an opportunity to also link you up to the original version, by Masculados.  I’m almost positive it’s some sort of Philippine gay porn, but I’m not quite sure.

I want people to see these videos, search online for other CPDRC videos, show them to their friends and talk about them.  If inmates can be subjected to wearing pink underwear (thanks, Joe Arpaio!) and dancing to Queen, then why not make inmates dress like clowns, listening to J.Lo all day?  The prospect of listening to “Jenny From the Block,” continuously, looking like this sad sack, would make a lot of people think twice about committing crimes.

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I’d like to bring an air of importance, so let me begin with a quote.

“The important thing for journalism, and for journalism students, is to have a solid ethical foundation and a commitment to fairness and accuracy and the desire to fairly tell the stories of a diverse and challenged community.”

This is a quote from Nassau News,  a flimsy excuse for ‘news’ run by Hofstra University, where I’m fortunate enough to be going to graduate school.  There’s only one problem with that quote.  It’s a lie.

Well, the idea behind it is probably true.  But those words, on that website, are an absolute lie.  And while I’d like to slander the author of this rhetoric, this is a person who probably has an RSS feed linked to his name (nothing would shock me), so let me simply explain why that quote is false.

Let me take you back, to my last class of this past semester.   There were presentations of videos students made, as a report on some topic of interest.  Here I should note one aspect of Hofstra’s journalism program.  Many of the students in the program work for the university.  That was the case with Jamie Lynn Spears (not the student’s real name.)

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Jamie Lynn had originally wanted to do a story about a neighboring community to Hofstra, one that was being engulfed in a recent university expansion.  He went into the neighborhood, spoke to people and gathered information for his report.  But my fellow classmate, this aspiring journalist, he had to conference with my professor.  The same charlatan who came up with the above quote was the professor.  Now I don’t know how the meeting went, but Jamie Lynn was forced to change stories, due to a conflict of interest.

You see, reporting a story about a displaced community might put Hofstra in a negative light.  Not my words.  The “conflict of interest” argument is flimsy.  Imagine if NBC held a code of silence for, Jack Welch, or CBS for Sumner Redstone?  There would be widespread discord over such tactics.  Yet there are students being taught the same exact thing, and nobody thinks it odd.

I e-mailed Jamie Lynn about the circumstances surrounding nixing his article.  He never responded.  Asking other folks in the program, they didn’t respond to my assertions that we’d been taught censorship.  Sometimes silence is golden, but not in this instance.  And as if ‘the powers that be’ were teasing me, the live feed from that fateful class, where Jamie Lynn talked about his conflict of interest, has been taken down from the NassauNews website.

I worry more about the latent lessons from such exercises.  More than anything, seeing someone forgo doing a report that may actually ‘tell the stories of a diverse and challenged community,’ for a fluff piece, teaches me one thing.  Don’t ask those hard questions.  Welcome to America.  Have another daiquiri.

It should come as no surprise, though.  American media likes to portray Britney Spears as news.  Wrong.  Britney Spears is a sideshow.  If there’s one question that should be asked about Britney Spears, it isn’t ‘what’s going to happen to her kids?’ or ‘will she ever be able to bounce back?’  The question should be, where the hell is her father?  Just another vivid example of the news doing society a disservice.  Unfortunately, the media is not interested in making a change for the better.  Media’s interested in using flashy rhetoric to appear to make a difference, while turning a deaf ear to hard questions.

While Americans should use this tale as a springboard to a discussion on the repercussions of divorce on the psyche of young adults, instead we’re fed garbage.  It’s the same journalists who talk about ‘corner markets’ and barbershops’ as small businesses that went under in New Orleans after Katrina.  Those are enterprises.  Small businesses are more than a place to buy liquor and cigarettes, or a place to get a good fade.   Perhaps I’ve got a distorted perspective. To me, though, Plessers is a small business.  Plessers is a locally owned appliance store in my hometown.   My buddy Hendy works there, on the delivery crew.  I see something like Plessers as an example of a small business.

There’s a real story in New Orleans.  One that is much too long for this blog right here.  But rather than wondering why there are no real small businesses, the media trots out neutered viewpoints, gross platitudes and, at worst, real misinformation.  All I’ve learned thus far is, don’t ask tough questions.  Not if you want to get ahead, that is.


Be skeptical, people.  Be very skeptical.

Thanks go out to the good folks at Zaius Nation for the link.

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She brushes her teeth! And like many a girl with self esteem problems, she occasionally affects a child’s voice.

Paris Hilton Bath Video

Apparently she also loves being naked in front of the camera. Seems Ms. Hilton has another love affair with the camera, this one much tamer (and still not for children under 18). WordPress won’t link up to Metacafe, so check out the link.


I didn’t believe Jon Kitna when he said that the Detroit Lions were a 10-win team this pre-season.

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But the way they’re playing, they should easily hit the mark. But after this weekend’s 44-7 drubbing of the Denver Broncos, an NFL axiom has been laid to rest. The Denver Broncos can no longer run roughshod over the competition.

There is a reason for this. Tom Nalen, their all-world center, has been on injured reserve for over a month now. It is not often that an offensive lineman is the keystone of your offense, but Nalen has been one of the premiere centers in the NFL for a generation. Plus, the Broncos are 1-3 since losing him.

That’s why I want the voters in Canton to fast track Nalen’s Hall of Fame application. With Nalen out of the lineup, the Broncos and their vaunted rush offense has averaged less than 75 yards a game. All of a sudden, the mystique of the zone running game is gone, and Mike Shanahan is left grasping at straws.

If it wasn’t obvious that one man out of eleven was so important, ask Shanahan. “Tom, I believe, is the best center to ever play the game,” notes Shanahan. And while Nalen should return for next year, why put off making his bust for Canton. This season has been a remarkable example of how important offensive line play can be in the NFL.

It also vividly demonstrates that no matter what people say about offensive and defensive schemes in the NFL, the players you’ve got in the system are more important. Schemes are important, but having the right personnel is vital.


Omar Minaya is the architect of the New York Mets, the team that had the worst collapse in sports history. He needs to be fired before he can screw things up any worse. Fire Omar Minaya.

Mets ’08: Not with Minaya


Barack Obama got in hot water last week for discarding his American flag lapel pin.

There’s only one problem. This is not news. This is rhetorical fodder, dumbing down the level of discourse on American politics. But the internet has enough little cracks and crevices to foster the seeds of intelligible debate. Take this Bill Neikirk blog from the Baltimore Sun. The article is o.k. in itself, but the comments are gems. Aside from the occasional GFY (go f*ck yourself), some valid points are made by readers. One such point is the Flag Code.

The Flag Code is actually Title 4 of the U.S. Code, making it federal law. It states, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery.” Can’t be much clearer than that. If anything, the Flag Code is more newsworthy than Barack Obama’s personal statement on lapel pins. Jim Brossard clearly knows the code.

Although nativism is not truly news either. It is more a social current than news, but the fact remains that Mexican flags flying above Old Glory is worth talking about more than how unpatriotic Barack Obama is because he will not follow the herd. Mindless fodder for mindless people.

Pandering behind a facade of patriotism is being a fake soldier. Even worse is being a media pundit that tees off on someone for something that is not worth talking about. It obfuscates real debate. But maybe the plan all along has been to anesthetize the American public, to stifle critical thinking. At least some thought is brewing, occasionally bubbling up online.

Real freedom is questioning the motivation and intent of your government, not chattering about some crazy quote from Ann Coulter.

An easily mollified populace is one that does not think about the how or the why. Until people engage in real conversation, rather than gab about Dina and Michael Lohan’s divorce proceedings, America will continue to stagnate. So read a book, have a discussion with a co-worker that has differing political beliefs. Do anything you can to get past the gruel put out by journalists today.

Although, to be honest, I’d love to party with Ms. Lohan………


New York Yankee fans are still shell shocked. How could their beloved bombers miss the World Series yet again? I was not shocked. On August 2, 2007, I saw this coming.

It was a hot summer day in the Bronx. The Yankees were facing the Chicago White Sox in a day game. Roger Clemens was on the mound, and Yankee fans were feeling good about the prospects of a sweep. Hey, they had been so far behind, 14 games to the Red Sox.

Calamity struck. Clemens got shelled, allowing 8 runs in 1.2 innings. After two innings, the Yankees were behind 8-0. Then something amazing happened. New York came back in the bottom of the 2nd inning and mounted the most amazing comeback these eyes have ever seen. After two innings, the game was tied at 8.

If you look back at the box score, the Yankees lose that game, 13-9. I was struck. Sometimes I see things a little bigger than they are. But this was no mistake. August 2, 2007 was a microcosm of the New York Yankees 2007 season. They fell down big (to the Red Sox and White Sox), made a miraculous comeback (hey, they did make the playoffs), only to go on and lose in must unceremonious fashion.

From that day, I knew that was the Yankees season. It could end no other way than a gallant comeback, only for them to fall flat on their face.

Now Yankee fans are catching up to what I’ve been saying for two plus months now. Great comeback, amazing comeback. I’ve never seen a team overcome 8 runs. Then again, I’ve never seen a team overcome 8 runs, to go on and lose. Your 2007 New York Yankees. What a comeback!

Time for reflecting Yankee fans. It’s gonna be a long offseason

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