Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wal-mart effect comes to Yelm?

QFC closes in Yelm:
Is this the first of other Yelm stalwart businesses that will close because the Wal-Mart Effect did them in?

Can Wal-Mart's employee wage scale and large use of part-timers replace these full time Yelm jobs at Kroger?
Here's an interesting related observation from a Lacey planning review board meeting when Wal-mart was being debated closer to my home:
Took unofficial poll. Majority of residents favor Wal-Mart. It would be of economic help to have Wal-Mart close. If QFC is having trouble, Wal-Mart will bring in more people to shop at other stores.

...

I’m for Wal-Mart. QFC doesn’t have business because their prices are too high. I like to economize. If you put in a big box store that has higher prices, it will not do business either.
Bill Virgin back in 2002 points out that this might be one battle in a long war between Kroger and their QFC brand and Wal-Mart:
The Kroger Co. has a problem. Sales growth has been sluggish at best, earnings have been weak, and the company faces tough long-term competition on prices from Wal-Mart.

...

Furthermore, QFC seems lost in the shuffle of a huge concern like Kroger. Just consider the number of store brands Kroger operates, aside from its namesake and those mentioned above. According to the Kroger Web site the company's brands also include King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Fry's, Kessel, Baker's, Owen's, Cala Foods Bell Markets, Pay Less, Gerbes, Jay C and Hilander -- not to mention warehouse, convenience and warehouse store chains.
Virgin makes a lot of good points, the entire piece is worth the read. But, the essential point I got is that maybe if QFC had been smaller and leaner, not owned by another mega company like Kroger, the QFC in Yelm might have survived.

Criticism of Wal-Mart
The Wal-Mart Effect

Walter Neary, good blog, should allow comments

Walter Neary, a former Olympian reporter and now Lakewood City Councilmember, writes what he calls a blog.

I was going to write a post reflecting on how much I liked Walter when he was down here (I remember him writing some funny stuff about Capital Lake that I couldn't track down), but man... his blog doesn't accept comments.

Walter. Turn on your comments.

Soccer blogging (Solo and the Sounders)

It would be wrong if Hope Solo's big mouth saved Greg Ryan's job.

In what might be the second to last season for their current form, the Sounders win the Cascadia Cup, the Commissioners Cup and the Championship Cup. And, get really close the US Open Cup.

Re: Private libraries: a novel idea ("Let's fix our own problems")

John over at the Washington Policy Center posts up about the Jackson (OR) county library system joining forces with a for-profit firm to get the libraries back open.

Good for Jackson to get their libraries going again, but I'm afraid I can't swallow what John is pushing (an embrace private libraries). It seems that there are some nuances he's overlooking.

LSSI (the private firm) will operate the libraries on about half of what the county had been spending. But, the county hasn't found a permanent source for those funds and most of those savings seem to be coming from lopping off hours of operation and cutting retirement.

I can't also but look at other places LSSI has either come into or been rejected from. In New Jersey, one person carries the heart of the matter for me:
"Let us fix our own problems," said Leticia Acosta, president of the newly formed Friends of the Library group. "Don't send our tax dollars to Maryland."
Jackson county brining in a company to run their libraries is essentially a "we can't do this." The original closure of the libraries came when federal funds dried up and the community couldn't come together to locally fund the system. Now that LSSI is in the picture, if local communities want full service libraries, they're going to have to pass higher taxes anyway.

And, how libraries are run is also outsourced under LSSI. In a Texas example, the details of LSSI's response to a public request for proposal is secret.

I agree with the Daily Tidings here, that its great to get the libraries back open. But, it would be even better if it was the communities themselves who did it. Rescuing libraries may be profitable, but running libraries in the long term isn't something you should be able to make a profit on:

Public libraries, by their very nature, are classic 'market failures' — as are highways, schools, police, firefighters, and national defense and security. They are not profitable activities that a free market place will support. Privatization is not a mere management tool; it is a grave public policy shift. Privatization advocates must be challenged. If the core democratic values of libraries are glossed over in the name of efficiency, economy, and creative management, how will the public interest be served?


When LSSI Comes to Town
Fargo Public Library Drops LSSI Contract

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ball hitters get revenge on our man Jorge

SI:
Mariners right-hander Jorge Campillo left the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians in the sixth inning after getting hit in the right arm by a line drive from Casey Blake.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Blake lined Campillo's pitch back to the mound. The ball ricocheted off Campillo's lower forearm over to third baseman Mike Morse, who threw out Blake. Victor Martinez scored on the play to give Cleveland a 10-2 lead.

Jorge just can't win. After beaning one of the best ball-hitters, the ball-hitters of North America got revenge by hitting Campillo back.

TVW and flash is right around the corner

What I really love about TVW is the communication I get from them over the weekend. Scott, the IT director at TVW comments on a post down below about flash:
I would like to If I may, elaborate on the flash issue. We have reasons for not jumping into all flash on tvw.org right now; like I mentioned in the email, we will not move to flash for our video content until the release of flash ver 9. Currently flv video files for a 2 hour event are nearly 500mb each, and a flash server to comparably handle the traffic streams we serve is not free (http://www.adobe.com/products/flashmediaserver/productinfo/pricing/#ft2).
We cover over 300 events in video and almost 700 in audio a year and soon that number may triple, so you can very quickly see how a 500mb file can be a problem.

TVW’s library of content exceeds 60,000 hours and as you know it keeps growing. We do not intend to remove media from the site so we have to be smart about making the right choices and balancing between what make sense to both our infrastructure/limited resources and the delivery mechanisms that allows the content to get out there on the web.
That said, Windows media server is free, and the file size for the same video is 150mb and the quality is much better.

There is light at the end of the tunnel since flash will soon support mpeg4. This format is lower in file size and much better quality than flashes flv format and arguably the windows format as well. We have a really great interface we are working on for the flash player when we implement it. Let me know if any of you want to test drive it before we launch (feedback is always welcome)

I really do appreciate your dialog; it helps us keep in touch with users of the site and helps us also be the best in the country for what we do. We should all be proud of what we have in WA State. Because there’s not many states with “TVW’s” that offer the amount of content and breadth of coverage TVW offers Washingtonians. My hope is that more us get involved and use tvw’s resources!
Thanks Scott!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fred Moody, where are you?

Warshal's Sporting Goods closed.

Almost Live is off the air.

Emmett Watson is dead.

I saw Raban today in the PI. Not just like his horrible piece from crosscut awhile back, but it just reminded me just how much we're seeing ourselves through his eyes nowadays and it reminded me how much I miss you Fred.

Fred, please come back. Write stuff for us.

Just because Warshal's closed, doesn't mean we all shop at REI. I walk past the Outdoor Emporium after every Mariners' game.

What I'm saying is that REI can still be there, Raban will always be a gifted writer and he'll write about Washington. But, the guys who are heading out to Forks will stop out the Outdoors Emporium for corkies and yarn on their way out of town and I'll always want to read you.

Paul Allen does not own Qwest Field

More chatter on MLS in Seattle leads to speculation that Paul Allen is part of the new ownership group. That's great, but then this:
In grabbing the franchise, Roth and partners outmaneuvered a group called Atletico Seattle Management, who'd proposed building a new $135 million soccer stadium. For now, the team will continue at the Allen-run Qwest Field.
The Seahawks may be the major tenant of the facility, but Allen in no way "runs" Qwest Field. The Washington State Public Stadium Authority...
was created by voters in 1997 when they passed Referendum 48 authorizing public financing for a stadium and exhibition center. The referendum established the PSA as the owner of the stadium, exhibition center and parking garage, and made the PSA responsible for overseeing the siting, design, construction and operation of the $430-million complex.

With construction complete, the chief role of the PSA is to ensure the public's interests are represented and protected in the facility's operation. The PSA Board is comprised of seven civic members from across the state appointed by the Governor.

Internet based fan owned teams spread

In addition to myfootballclub and Save the Victory, there are a couple of other options out there if you want to get a piece of a soccer club.

Fan Power
points to myBUFC and BuyaClub.co.uk. MyBUFC is trying to buy a low level club in England. The advantage is they only need 5,000 investors (instead of 50,000 at myfootballclub and at most 20,000 with Save the Victory. The level of entry is also lower at about $50 for their non-league club, compared to about $70 at myfootballcub and $100 Save the Victory.

BuyaClub seems to be an almost exact copy as myfootballclub, but they're having a harder time getting people on board. Probably because they're asking for the money up front.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Flash on TVW dot org

By the way, TVW's tech director emailed me below referring to "flash in a minimal fashion." This is the only file I found:







They should have more.

Re; Paying for College with the Constitution

Mr. England says:
Education is pointless without liberty. And liberty relies on the rule of law.
While he's talking about college education, I easily saw the implication towards libraries. Since you can get a book at a book store, why have libraries or have schools?

So say the trustees of the Boston Public Library in 1852:
It will however be readily conceded that this falls far short of the aid and encouragement which would be afforded to the reading community, (in which we include all persons desirous of obtaining knowledge or an agreeable employment of their time from the perusal of books), by a well supplied public library. If we had no free schools, we should not be a community without education. Large numbers of children would be educated at private schools at the expense of parents able to afford it, and considerable numbers in narrow circumstances would, by the aid of the affluent and liberal, obtain the same advantages. We all feel however that such a state of things would be a poor substitute for our system of public schools, of which it is the best feature that it is a public provision for all; affording equal advantages to poor and rich; furnishing at the public expense an education so good, as to make it an object with all classes to send their children to the public schools.

Sounders blogging

Some have the word that the Seattle is getting the next new MLS team for 2009.

Yipppee!

The strange note that our USL Sounders (currently playing for the league championship on Saturday) will take off 2008 makes me think their current owner will be involved, so you could say this is a promotion of the Sounders.

Over at Crosscut, Peter Miller reminds of why soccer is good:
There are no intermissions, no TV-commercial breaks. There are refs wagging a finger and players mocking an opponent, there are acts of cunning and of cruelty, there are no free throws nor flags, no coach is even allowed on the pitch. The hope is that the flow can be sustained and kept, that both sides try their most brilliant and improvised sense of possible and near impossible. It is as if motion itself shall unfold the better and reveal the very fact of which club can venture furthest into a complexity that has no rival nor peer, and in the end to score.
I'm going up to the Huskies game this Saturday, so I'm going to miss the Sounders, which is totally bumming me out. I'll wear my ECS t-shirt under my Husky stuff though.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TVW is so cool, getting cooler

I can't find anyone that's noted it, but TVW.org has undergone a radical redesign recently. I've had my issues with TVW in the past (here, here, here and here), but I have to say that I'm impressed with where they're going.

Most of my past problems with TVW is that they didn't make it easy to share what they were putting up on the internet. Its still not that easy, but I can see them going in that direction.

I had problems with the new website, so I emailed the help line on a Saturday. And, on that same Saturday their Director of Information Technology emailed me back. On a Saturday. That's cool.
Emmet that new windows media 11 plug-in is tricky with Firefox. There are a few fixes for Firefox that should be applied and the browser should be re-started after the installation of the plug-in. one thing to also note: you have to have the regular version of windows media player 11 installed on your windows machine. Version 10 will cause the version 11 plug-in to fail. this should fix your issues.

We do use flash in a minimal fashion but because of the lengthy nature of our events, we are waiting until the mpeg4 codec is supported in flash player 9 (coming in fall) until we start a migration of our streaming servers to flash via mpeg4. So in short, soon. I hope this helps and there are many help items online about this issue.
Its also worth noting that TVW's executive director Cindy Zehnder is going to be the governor's chief of staff next week. In my whining about TVW, Ms. Zehnder was very responsive to my concerns and I was invited to a meeting up in Seattle that sought to brainstorm about the future direction of TVW. I wasn't able to go, but being invited was very cool.

So, does this mean that Dave Ammons will be blogging?

Dave Ammons (the king of Olympia based political reporters) wrote a strange column last week that sort of points to him blogging sometime in the near future. The only concrete thing I got out of the column is that he won't be writing his weekly "Ammons on Politics" column every week, but rather "when events warrant an analytical touch."

What got people thinking that he was blogging is the references he made to changes in the media world:
Today, political discourse is becoming more real-time, with instantaneous access to Web sites, blogs, YouTube, and a relentless 24-hour news cycle.
I just don't get the logic of saying "yeah, technology has changed things, so I'm just going to scale back." Isn't recognizing that you can't just write a weekly column and be relevant (surprising though how relevant his columns were given the medium) the first step to embracing the new media?

There are some political reporters in Ammons' circle that are blogging and doing a very good job of it. Postman on Politics is pretty much the gold standard of Olympia based political reporter blogs, but Eye on Olympia is older and in some ways cooler. Yeah, and there's Strange Bedfellows too, I guess.

If Dave is looking for some examples of AP reporters blogging, there are some bad ones and what seem to be a couple of pretty good examples.

Thurston Democrats don't follow the pre-ordained "sides" on school board races

I missed the endorsement meeting this last Monday at the Thurston County Democrats, and I'm really regretting it. Wow, endorsing Craig Ottavelli over Matthew Green, that's a huge one. Matthew (I did his website, btw) is a long time Thurston County Dem and a former city council member. Craig's a nice guy, and probably deserves and endorsement, but I wonder why the group backed off doing a dual endorsement.

The really surprising part is the endorsements for the school board. The last couple of days I've written about the rift in the current school board showing up in the races this year (here and here). The county Democrats endorsed one candidate from the majority camp and one candidate from the minority camp.

Jeff Nejedly's endorsement (from the minority camp) doesn't surprise me. He's made an effort with the organization. He's been showing up to meetings since the spring, has had a presence at the Burger Booth and has essentially done the things that canidates to do make good with us. Frank Wilson sounds like a good guy, but he just wasn't there.

On the other hand, not endorsing Lucy Gentry Meltzer probably has to do with something else. I've heard her described as a "one issue candidate," meaning she's approaching the race with an axe to grind. I've heard that we try to stay away from those kind of candidates. The one issue is arts funding, if you're interested, but I really have no idea if this was directly related to her not being endorsed. I wasn't a the meeting.

Read all of our endorsements here.

Kenny Pearce does the best preview of the Top Two Primary case in the Supreme Court

People are noting everywhere (here and here) that the Supreme Court is going to hear arguments next week in the case of the Top Two Primary.

But Kenny Pearce, that "The Evangelical libertarian philosopher" formally of the Palouse and currently of Philadelphia, has the best breakdown.

Read the entire thing here (its long), but here's a good part of his analysis:
A man with very ugly teeth publicly endorses Listerine. He does this with no malice; perhaps he is trying to argue that his bad teeth are not his fault. The man goes so far as to buy television ads in support of Listerine (featuring himself, bad teeth and all). This has a devastating effect on Listerine's brand image. What recourse does Listerine have? If the man does not make false representations implicitly or explicitly, and is not intentionally attempting to damage Listerine's brand image, he can't be charged with slander, or false advertising. It also doesn't seem that he is infringing Listerine's trademark, since he isn't using it to refer to a different product in the same field, and that is the primary use trademarks are intended to protect against. It seems that the only recourse Listerine has is to (1) ask him to stop (he is not obligated to comply) and (2) issue statements to the effect that his results are not typical, possibly buying their own television advertisements at great expense. Certainly neither Listerine's free speech rights, nor its associational rights are violated (or even "burdened," whatever that's supposed to mean - libertarians reject this category; rights are either violated or they are not).
I love this paragraph because it echoes essentially what I understand to be one of the major points of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Parties that try to control their label through top down hierarchy and lawsuits are doomed to fail. People know what a Democrat is either because they know they are one or they know someone else who claims to be one. That personal claim of allegiance (I'm a Democrat because I'm for grassroots government) if far more important than a party by-law or platform.

From the 95 Theses:
Brand loyalty is the corporate version of going steady, but the breakup is inevitable—and coming fast. Because they are networked, smart markets are able to renegotiate relationships with blinding speed.
You Don't Own Your Brand -- Your Customer Does
You don't own your brand

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why soccer will end up working in the United States

The most read page on ANY American newspaper website is about soccer:
Incredibly, one of you reading this post will be the 1,000,000th page view on this blog so far in 2007. Figuring that we had 70,000 or so when June began, it shows just how big this blog has gotten and I must thank everyone who has visited, read and commented on posts - especially Arsenal and Liverpool fans. You've made this blog about football (soccer), the most popular page at an American newspaper website for the past three months and it continues to grow every day.
While folks like Jay Mohr and other sports writes will take cheap shots at soccer, it grows under the surface.

Re: Nafziger opens up

Ok, this is obviously what Rich Nafziger was talking about.

If you're into that kind of thing, the comments are one-sided against the Nafziger split on this whole thing:
If Nafziger really said what the Olympian reported, he has no business being on the board. Being a board member means you make REAL decisions and take action, not that you are a rubber stamp for the superintendent. Nafizger wants to just go along and watch, not to lead. Why is he interested in holding public office?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nafziger opens up

I thought it was interesting when folks were noting that Oly's Rich Nafziger got a new job in the political hierarchy, that no one noted his blog. That's too bad, because while Rich often takes months of weeks between posts, when he does get something up, its usually worth the read.

No exception this week (or now at this link or this link I guess):
Olympia is one of the strongest school districts in the State of Washington. Ask the parents, teachers, and community members in Olympia....

But if you ask Board directors Russ Lehman, and Bob Shirley, they will tell you that the district is mediocre at best. They argue that voters should elect the candidates they are working to elect (Jeff Nejedly and Lucy Meltzer), give them a majority and then heads will roll and the district will move forward to excellence.

I worry that if they gain a majority on the board, the Olympia School Board will become the Seattle School Board. A board that is infamous for its negativism, political correctness and disdain for the teachers and other employees of their district.
The post is called "burning down the house" and it doesn't seem to pull any punches on what Rich thinks of Lehman and Shirley. It seems to be in reaction to this situation in which Lehman and Shirley are asking to start a much needed budget discussion sooner rather than later. But, maybe not, Nafziger never really talks about the budget.

There are two contested school board races this year in Olympia: incumbent Carolyn Barclift is facing off against newcomer Lucy Gentry-Meltzer and Jeff Nejedly and Frank Wilson are facing off for an open seat.

From what I know, Barclift and Wilson are supported by Nafziger and Gentry Meltzer and Nejedly are supported by Lehman and Shirley.

Just for the record, the teacher's union is supporting Frank Wilson.

On a side note, the local school board is probably one of the more mysterious local government agencies to me. I keep a close eye on the city and the port always seems to be in the news, but its interesting to see so much school board stuff popping up in blogs.

(now with video) Will TJ Johnson run for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd CD?

The video below is what I was talking about here. I took it from the collection I just posted below, editing down so you can see just where TJ spoke.

The funny part of this is that TJ was probably the only speaker that I can remember actually being heckled when they spoke. Seems that the small handful of pro-Baird folks who showed up had the guts to yell at TJ.

Video from Rep. Baird in Olympia last Friday



Additional videos:
"We're so disgusted with the Republicans we have to go for a Democrat."
The lady who missed her son being the ball boy at the CHS game
Round Four
Round Five
Round Six

Save the Victory starting to get some ink

I was surprised that since the launch of Save the Victory (wrote about it over the weekend) that they hadn't gotten much attention. Either they weren't talking about it to anyone outside the online soccer world or no one has thought it was interesting that someone is trying to establish the FIRST fan owned sports franchise in the United States.

But, today there were two items. Salinas Californian:

The Victory came into being in the spring under the auspices of Spanish second-division team Deportivo Alaves. However Chairman Dmitry Piterman recently sold his interest in Alaves, which had racked up $30 million in debt. The sale technically left the Victory ownerless and in limbo.

That's when the 1906 stepped in. USL started looking for investors, but fans didn't like leaving their team's fate in hands of others. The supporters' do-it-yourself attitude is displayed proudly on the Web site. "Everything with this team has been 'do it yourself'" Alonso said. "Our shirts and jerseys, raising money - 'do it yourself.""

My Soccer Blog:
Admit it, at some point in your life you thought about owner a profession soccer team, but with the millions it takes to get involved with the MLS and billions it takes to be a player overseas, you never thought it would happen. But wait, if you have an extra $100, your dream can come true.

Last year there was a great deal of excitement when San Francisco was awarded a USL-First Division team. Even better yet, Dmitry Piterman, chairman of Spanish club Deportivo Alav├ęsk, was announced as owner, making the California Victory the 'first European owned team to compete in any level of the United Soccer Leagues.'

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Various Baird notes from over the weekend (mostly focussing on TeacherRefPoet)

Jim did a really good job live-blogging the town hall in Olympia, and here's his more personal debrief. He struck a thought in me. Solidarity is over-rated. More on that later.

Randy notes the Olympian's story. Randy should link to more blogs.

TeacherRefPoet takes a strident point of view on the entire debacle and says "My party has lost the moral upper hand." Its worth pointing out that TeacherRefPoet and I agree a lot over the past few weeks. Actually, his above post is about the best thing I've read on Baird and our reaction to him since beginning of this entire thing in late August.

From his post:
Because I disagree with Baird, I'd look closely at anyone running against him from either party. But I am deeply saddened at how hypocritical my party has become. They want me to love their dogma more than I love evidence, analysis, and legitimate debate. But my dedication to cool, reasoned disagreement and careful consideration of issues has me defending Baird here.
I disagree with Baird. I think he's wrong. That doesn't mean its o.k. to heckle him.

And, Arthur Ruger up at Washblog has a roundup of Baird's visit to Raymond.

Drinking Liberally in Olympia (well, Tumwater)

Via email:
Hi all,

This is your friendly reminder to join us for lively discussion and political conversation tomorrow night, September 24th, at 7:00 pm at the Tumwater Valley Bar and Grill.

The informal topic tomorrow night will focus on the presidential campaign. If you were running for president, what would your strategy be? What issues would you focus on? How would you distinguish yourself from your competitors? How would you respond to negative campaigning? How would you gain support for your candidacy? How would you market yourself to America?

Please join us tomorrow night at the Tumwater Valley Bar and Grill.

Regards,

Bruce and Barry

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Will TJ Johnson run for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd CD?

Brian Baird got an earful last night in Olympia.

Moveon.org has said they will help out primary challengers against what they see as pro-war Democrats. Krist Novoselic has said no thanks to a possible challenge, but progressives are still looking for someone.

Is TJ their man?

TJ Johnson, former Democratic PCO and soon to be former Olympia council-member said last night (according to my notes): "You no longer deserve to represent this community in the U.S. Congress."

I half expected him to continue by saying, "And, I'm going to make sure of that by challenging you," but he didn't.

Save the Victory and myfootballclub.co.uk

The idea of fan owned team has vexed sports fans (me specifically). When I get into a discussion about sports in a meta sense, what's wrong with them and how they're set in the U.S. leads fans into a set-up of disappointment someone always points to the Packers.

The Packers are the one really fan-owned team in the United States. That they are fan-owned is the one reason they haven't moved to Milwaukee. The Mariners wanted to move to Tampa Bay: "man, wouldn't it be great if we could buy them and they'd never leave?"

That idea is pretty much impossible in the United States, since the four major leagues make any sort of non-profit or corporate ownership impossible through their operating rules.

The one sport in the U.S. (and a possible third or fourth major sport if hockey continues to fall) is soccer and as far as I can tell, there are not limitations in the MLS or the USL to either non-profit, fan owned corporations owning teams. And, the idea of a truly fan owned teams in English soccer can be pointed to with Cambridge United, FC United and now myfootballclub.

And now, if it all works out, we might have our own fan-owned soccer team here on the west coast. The owners of the first year California Victory of the USL 1st Division have been pretty flaky. They've been kicked out of the ownership of their Spanish team, and there is a lot of speculation that they're going to give up on their American side as well.

So, this is where Save the Victory comes in. They aren't trying to necessarily find "local" ownership for the club, like some dot-com millionaire angel that will operate the team at a loss just to keep them in town. Rather, they're looking for up to 20,000 owners who will invest $100 to buy the team. You can buy up to 1,000 shares.

I think this is an exciting idea. I'm a bit disappointed that this effort has been going on for a few weeks and there has been no coverage of it yet of this effort. It would be interesting to see if something like this could ever happen over here.

Campillo suspended, a price too heavy

Even though I'm not much for watching Mariners lately (too many MLS, EPL, World Cup and Eufa Champions League games recorded), I did watch the few innings that Jorge pitched a couple of days ago. So, I was watching when he flattened Vlad the Destroyer with an inside pitch which resulted in his four game suspension. Crap.

I'm just noting the suspension and that this guy has very little luck when called up to the big team. Two years ago he suffered a near career ending injury while pitching his first major league start and now this. I also agree with John Hickey of the PI that the punishment was too severe.

Its easier to suspend a long reliever with no track record than one of the top five hitters in the league on a play off team, I guess.

Although, there is something to be said about the LaRussa rule that may have been in effect during the game. Johjima had been hit earlier in the game, so it might have been up to Campillo to hit back.

These aren't your daddy's Cardinals
Tony LaRussa's World Series Ethics

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jason Hearn is a...

Good guy apparently:

Hearn is a good fit for council

Jason Hearn is good for Lacey.

Unlike our neighboring city councils, we in Lacey are blessed with men and women who are making righteous decisions for us every day.

Running for the vacant seat on our city council, Hearn will complement and enhance the family values that our city council already espouses.

Hearn is a good man with a wonderful wife and three young children.

His slogan says it all: "It's all about Lacey." He's got my vote!

Dick Sittler, Lacey



The letter itself doesn't say anything specific. Lacey is great, Olympia and Tumwater not so great. Hearn would fit in with Lacey, but no specific reason why.

What is specific is the language that Sittler used:
blessed... righteous decisions... enhance the family values...

So, Sittler is saying that Hearn is a Christian and that his opponent Russ Olson isn't. Well, if that's how they're choosing city councilmen in Lacey, I don't know what else to say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How not to spread baseball worldwide

Following the (hopefully temporary) closure of the Puerto Rican winter league, MLB is fighting back claims in a shocked shocked way that there will be a shortage of players for the other Latin American winter leagues this year.

While there might not be a shortage of players per-se for the winter leagues, there will likely be a shortage of quality, veteran all-stars for the leagues to use. Most MLB teams will hold back their Ivan Rodriquez types, who had been able to play for their home nation clubs in years past.

If the winter leagues in Latin America essentially become player development leagues, in the same way that their summer leagues and practically every single minor league in the U.S. and Canada, you're going to see more winter leagues go the same way at the Puerto Rican league.

That already seems to be happening. In addition to a change in the draft status of the island, PR baseball is requesting even more involvement by MLB:
Bernier also proposes the establishment of four specialized baseball schools in different regions of the island. Ceiba, Caguas, Salinas and Manati are the proposed sites for academies. According to Bernier, Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who is from Manati, has offered his support to the school in his hometown.
Baseball Griddle framed the failure of the league (founded in 1938) as a financial one. While that may technically be true, sinking attendances probably have a lot to do with the lack of a product on the field. If all of the really good PR players are being held back by their MLB clubs, what's the point of the league and of being a fan?

What you're likely to see with the PR winter league (and eventually every other Latin winter league) will be the same thing that happened to the Venezuelan Summer League recently and the Mexican Summer league back in the 1950s. MLB will, in some way, step in and take over the league as a player development system. Local owners may stay in place, but player contracts and the product on the field will be controlled by MLB clubs.

This will be good for MLB. Player development throughout Latin American will be streamlined. The problem of not having a non-USA/Canadian draft will be settled by simply controlling all other baseball outlets. Heck, they might even implement a hemisphere wide draft eventually.

This will not be good for baseball. The indigenous fanbase throughout Latin American will be destroyed. As we've seen in PR, and throughout the minor leagues (before the advent of silly promotion, family entertainment minor league baseball) people will not turn out for an inferior on field product that is not designed to win on the field, but rather to develop players for the next level.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Why Lou Guzzo doesn't use hyperlinks

Because the facts he's referencing don't exist. Even on the internet.

Thank god for thehim at Effin' Unsound for this being the century where years begin with 20, not 19 and Rosanne Barr "singing" in San Diego, not a Democratic convention.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No net loss of public space

Pete Jackson (man, they make Jacksons in Everett like they make Barclifts in Olympia, I guess) has some good talk about public space. Really good talk:

We know that gathering places aren't fungible: High-end condos are no substitute for bowling alleys, for Elks lodges, or for good taverns. ... So why not employ a soft-power strategy and carrot our way to more gathering places?

Everett already embraces the Growth Management Act as well as the smart-growth rules it learned from Seattle, our rich uncle to the south. In fact, we embrace the rules with a vengeance, extending 10-year property-tax breaks to condos in the downtown core, all aimed at promoting densification.

With the demise of the Elks, we have a chance to magoozle a planning tool that will distinguish Everett and serve as an example to even Seattle: Adopt the goal of "no net loss" of gathering places and figure it as a kind of "communitarian capitalism."

We can meet a communitarian-capitalist mission by cribbing from our approach to — and stay with me here — wetlands. Just like wetlands, gathering places have a tangible impact, and the solution is to identify meaningful ways to address net loss.

To achieve a no-net-loss objective, cities could offer developers density bonuses if they create gathering places in the downtown core. Put in 3,000 square feet for the people and you can build an additional floor. Simple, direct, practical.

I like Jackson's idea, it would be great if developers started seeing the good of building into their development public space that could be used by Elk Clubs, local neighborhood groups. It would be even better for local government to build in incentives.

My worry is that the insentive would go the way of the "community room" at the mall, right next door to the toilet. Rather than putting the public space front and center, or even in the central third of any design, it would be shoved off to the side.

And, when talking about encouraging public use of public space, I'm sure we all have something in mind. Its one thing if we build public space, its another thing to actually have it used the way we intended (diverse, vibrant rather than stagnant, unattractive to most or even dangerous). We should build public space with an idea towards how we want it to be used.

On Jorge Campillo

I know many of you have been wondering when I was going to write something about the promotion of the Mexican junkballer to the big team. So, here it is.

During spring training and into the regular season, I was tracking Jorge. He seemed to have a his ups and down: going from an explosion of an outing (couldn't seem to find an out) to finally settling into a groove. Towards the end of the summer in Tacoma, he even dropped down below a 3.00 ERA.

And, now that the Mariners season is just about gone (not much a chance for a post season) they finally bring up Jorge. He missed most of the fight, and as a long reliever, he won't have much of a chance to contribute. Maybe he can use this opportunity to fight for a starting spot next year.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

No, seriously, the Out of Iraq caucus actually exists

And, they actually call themselves that.

Phan is fanning the flames for a Baird protest tomorrow, and he writes:
Baird is very dismissive of his anti-war constituency, whom he flippantly refers to as the " 'Out of Iraq' caucus."
I can't say for sure how Baird referred to the caucus (whether spit flew from his mouth or not, for example), but they actually do call themselves the Out of Iraq Caucus. And, I'm pretty sure they're serious about it.