Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Hall of Fame Voting Keeps Baseball Writers on Top,' Editor & Publisher 1/19/04

(By Joe Strupp): "And although the fraternity of newspaper writers covering the national pastime wields immense power in choosing who can join baseball's elite group of heroes, little is known about this group, which has no Web site, no permanent headquarters and refuses to reveal its list of voting members.
O'Connell, 55, has more than 20 years of baseball writing experience, including 11 years as the New York Yankees beat writer and nine years covering the New York Mets. While it is best known for Hall of Fame choices, the BBWAA actually started as a way to organize and lobbyfor better press box conditions following the 1907 World Series, which had writers banished to beat-up quarters down the right and left field lines at Chicago's West Side Grounds and Detroit's Bennett Park during the Cubs-Tigers series.

  • "The writers petitioned to have press boxes behind home plate in most parks, where many did not even have them and others were uncovered," O'Connell says. The Hall of Fame voting began in 1936, with active players still eligible for induction at the time. Today's rules limit opportunities to players with 10 years of major league experience, who have been retired for five years and who have received at least 5% of the vote in the most recent election. Players also have a 15-year window of eligibility. Winners are those who receive at least 75% of the vote.

  • In only one instance, in 1996, was no one inducted. Don't look for the voting procedures -- which are not much more sophisticated than a high school prom queen election -- to be altered any time soon. Virtually unchanged in 67 years, the vote still includes paperballots sent out each Dec. 1 to all 550 eligible voters, who return them by Dec. 31, O'Connell says. But the ballots don't go to Cooperstown or to Major League Baseball headquarters in New York. Instead, they go to O'Connell's home in Lake Grove on Long Island, N.Y. Once collected, O'Connell takes them to the Times Square offices of Ernst & Young, where he and E&Y partner Michael DiLecce count them by hand.

  • "We are like kids in a candy store," O'Connell says of the counting ritual that often takes up to five hours and includes no outsiders. "For half a day, he and I are the only two people who know who goes into the Hall of Fame."

  • DiLecce, whose firm has been involved in the process since 1998, calls it "thought-provoking." He tells E&P, "Names come up that you never expect. But I never try to predict any ahead of time."

  • Then comes O'Connell's favorite part, phoning each winner to give them the good news. "It is interesting how many people are reduced to tears," the veteran election organizer says, noting that one of this year's inductees, Paul Molitor of the Milwaukee Brewers, broke down. "Don Sutton cried, so did George Brett and a lot of others."

  • When Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies received the call in 1995, according to O'Connell, he wanted to know the identities of the 16 people out of 460 who did not vote for him. "When I called Ozzie Smith, I thought he had hung up on me because he went silent," O'Connell remembers. "All of them have been interesting."

  • Hall of Fame rules also prohibit O'Connell from releasing the names of the eligible voters -- to reduce the chances of players lobbying for votes, he says. "Players want to campaign and our people don't want to be bothered," O'Connell says of the restriction.

  • Little lobbying occurs because of the secrecy, says Dan Shaughnessy, a columnist for The Boston Globe and a former Red Sox and Orioles beat writer. He recalls one instance, though, when former Indians pitcher Bob Lemon was being promoted for the hall prior to his induction when someone in the Globe newsroom received a pro-Lemon package of materials that included a lemon. "I don't take it lightly," Shaughnessy says of his annual vote, which began in 1987.

  • "It is probably the only important thing we do." The list of voters varies year to year as writers switch beats, change newspapers, or leave the industry. "Guys move or lose interest," he says. "But, as long as they meet the rules and pay the annual $50 BBWAA fee, they can vote." On the subject of Rose, O'Connell declines to say if he would vote the all-time hits leader in were he to become eligible. But, he did not hold back on his feelings about what Rose is doing or what it might mean. Annoyed that Rose chose to release his book the week that Molitor and fellow 2004 inductee Dennis Eckersley were chosen, O'Connell says it took some deserved attention away from their accomplishments. "We only have a few days a year to stick the Hall's chest out."

  • O'Connell also believes Rose's chances of election are not helped by the fact that his eligibility runs out after next year, offering little time to get reinstated. "I don't think he has helped himself," O'Connell says. "I don't know how that helped his case, admitting he gambled on baseball. There was a confession, but there also has to be contrition and that they haven't seen.""

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NY Times marketing dept. throws gala for Obama--NY Mag

"But there are also economic benefits to an Obama presidency.

His celebrity, and power to inspire the audience, is even a profit center — selling papers ($29.95 for the "Inauguration and Election Newspaper Set") and photographs ($1,129 for a 20-by-24 Damon Winter image) — at a moment when the paper must find new ways to market itself and make money. (For readers who want their Obama first thing in the morning, there's a $24.95 set of Obama "Victory Mugs," part of a extensive collection of Obama memorabilia available at the paper's online store.)

  • Hence the party. But for a paper with the Times' long-held journalistic values, hosting a party for a political candidate is far from seemly. "I don't know how to explain it," one Times staffer said. "I don't know what the thinking was." These days, there's a growing chasm between the Times' print edition and its more creative, evolving website. While Maureen Dowd's party on Sunday evening in D.C. was an A-list event for the paper's print establishment and Official Washington, the Times' New Museum inauguration party was the destination of choice for the Twitter crowd.
As the Times untethers itself from the physical print product, inevitably the values and mores will evolve too. The question is whether the party is a minor hypocrisy propagated by an overeager marketing department, or the outward sign of an inward evolution, a sign of where the power increasingly lies at the paper. On the web, of course, political identity is a traffic magnet. Just look at the Huffington Post and Drudge. One future for a muscular Times presence online might be modeled after the Guardian, or, as Michael Hirschorn suggested recently in the Atlantic, the Huffington Post — whose pre-inauguration ball was infinitely more glamorous than that of the Times." via

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Media Collude in Terrorist Crimes Against Humanity-American Thinker

"The media tell us that the Arabs of Hamastan are voluntary martyrs -- but remember how CNN told us how beloved Saddam Hussein was, just days before the regime crumbled?... CNN and BBC told us that those dictator types were invincible because their people loved them. They all lost miserably. CNN's Baghdad editor confessed his personal complicity with Saddam only after the bloody Butcher of Baghdad was overthrown.
  • In fact, it is the media themselves who are criminally complicit in the internment of Gaza's civilians in the line of fire. They could stop the terrorists simply by headlining Hamas' responsibility for the plight of the Arabs of Gaza, over and over again. That's the real story --- if only they could headline the facts right in front of their eyes. But they don't.
That shows us the real values of CNN and BBC; morally they are no better than the terrorists.
  • The media are essential to the Kabuki play of terror, response, and renewed terror. They are constantly fanning the flames.
So when the media and the Left predictably demand Israeli appeasement of Hamas, let's just ask them:
  • where is your compassion for the Arab victims of a jihadist internment camp called Gaza? How much longer do you want civilians to be turned into the bloody victims of the terrorist publicity machine?
The next time you turn on CNN, remember that you are looking at smiling faces that knowingly collude in the deaths of civilians, both Jews and Arabs.
  • Without the leftist media there is no payoff for terrorists. Shut off the oxygen of publicity and Hamas shrivels to a powerless gang of thugs.
  • Separate the terrorists from the media, and you have heat without oxygen -- no explosion.
The simple fact is that we are seeing repeated crimes against humanity, an
  • resulting in a reign of terror that blights the lives of millions of people and kills unforgiveable numbers, both in Israel and its neighbors.
Media + terrorism = death and destruction.
  • Maybe we can't change the terrorists, but
It's time to choke off their supply of oxygen." via

Mike Vaccaro for the record

"I make no pretense about the fact that I grew up rooting for the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Islanders.... I don't root for them anymore. I root for stories. Championships make for good stories. So do collapses."...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

EU denounces socialite's carbon offset program (MLB should be advised but won't because they are weak--Hollywood involved!)

"A PIONEERING climate change project in Africa run by Robin Birley, the socialite, has been accused by the European commission, its main donor, of making unsubstantiated claims about its environmental impact.

The project has received more than £1m in public grants and money from celebrities in the music and film business. They include Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and Brad Pitt, the actor.

The project attempts to offset an individual’s carbon footprint by paying poor farmers in Mozambique to plant trees, which absorb CO2, and to protect existing forests.

The commission’s criticism comes amid increased concern about the worth of these fashionable but largely

  • Critics say it is almost impossible to guarantee that the trees will survive the length of time needed to offset any significant carbon emissions.

Birley, the stepbrother of Zac Goldsmith, the environmentalist, set up the N’hambita Community Carbon project five years ago in partnership with Edinburgh University.

His company, Envirotrade, manages it and

The project, based on the edge of the Gorongosa national park, had promised to bring “enormous and positive social, economic and environmental change to the developing world”.

However, The Sunday Times has obtained a highly critical report from the European commission that says

  • “the quality of the technical work … [is] far below what could reasonably be expected of a pilot project managed by a university”.

Written last May, just before the five-year funding period came to an end, the report noted that the project “continued to make positive claims about its impact that

The commission also warned that the money flowing into the Gorongosa area had attracted hundreds of poor farmers who were now cutting down trees,

  • contrary to the project’s intention.

An official source said: “We also asked for disclosure about carbon trades in the interest of transparency.

  • None of this information was forthcoming. [Envirotrade] are selling products that are not delivering what was promised and the public needs to know.”

The commission, which has so far donated Euros 1.13m (£1.07m) to the project, does not suggest there has been any dishonesty. However, it felt that the scientific concerns raised with the project since May 2006 remained unaddressed. Consequently, in October 2007 it suspended payment of the last instalment of the grant, worth Euros 453,000. Both the company and Edinburgh University say they will respond to all the criticism in a report they are writing for the commission.

In a statement, Birley said that all the money raised so far from selling carbon credits — £750,000 — has gone back into the project and he has also invested his own money.

  • He added that the project’s “well intentioned shortcomings” were to be expected with such a challenging idea and Envirotrade had been transparent with all its clients.

However, one of the commission’s main concerns was about the

  • way carbon credits are being sold when it is difficult
  • to verify the amount of emissions actually saved.

Despite this, Envirotrade has sold a further £100,000 worth of carbon credits since it received the report.

A Sunday Times reporter approached the company posing as a businessman who wanted to offset his family’s carbon footprint for Christmas by investing £20,000 in the N’hambita project. The reporter was put in touch with Philip Powell, a South African and the company’s project manager.

  • He boasted that the project had already made massive carbon emission savings of 380,000 tons, but did not mention how public funding had been frozen because the commission felt that after five years the project had limited scientific evidence to verify this claim.

Powell also spoke of a relationship with Hollywood’s powerful Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents Brad Pitt.

  • who in turn paid the project £150,000 to become carbon neutral.

However, Powell, 44, who now lives in Wetherby, Yorkshire, was less forthcoming about his past work for the apartheid regime.

In 1998, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which examined apartheid era abuses, found that

  • Powell, a former security branch officer, had been involved in “a conspiracy to

According to the TRC, Powell trained and secretly armed an Inkatha paramilitary unit involved in destabilising South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. Powell confirms he is the same man but denies being part of any death squad or having ever incited any of his trainees to kill.

  • In 2000, he left South Africa for the UK, amid calls from the ANC that he should be prosecuted for treason. Two years later, he formed Envirotrade with Birley, who is the majority shareholder.

During the first three years of the N’hambita project, Birley was also running Annabel’s, the

  • uppercrust London nightspot founded by his father in 1963. The club is named after Birley’s mother, who went on to marry
  • billionaire entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith.

In 2006, Birley, 50, left the club after admitting to his sister that he had paid a private detective to spy on her lover. Since his father’s death in 2007, Birley has been fighting a legal battle with his sister over the estimated £100m estate.

In a statement to The Sunday Times, Professor John Grace of Edinburgh University’s Geosciences department said: “We are working hard on improving the project all the time. The studies have been done. Of course we will provide all the required information in our final report, which we are working on now.”" via the Drudge Report

  • (The carbon scam is filled with billionaires, Hollywood robots, and sick, cruel liars as seen here). sm
UPDATE: Here is link to the 4/12/09 favorable article mentioned in comment to this post by interested party. 9/26/09