Duck! and Gather

Archive for February 2006

Checking out my postings tagged “admin”, you’ll notice that this site has been slowly growing up. Comments first began to appear at the end of October. In early January, I reported that the Wayback Machine had picked up this site. And then my January stats wrap up indicated that unique visitors to this site now exceed 200 (actually, you all now exceed 300, soon to surpass 400).

Now comes the next milestone of growth: spam comments. A spam site from Russia just tried to post a comment that pushes the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis.

Yay! Duck! and Gather has hit the big time! Spammers have finally discovered our little corner of the web.

What delicious irony to be spammed, and spammed by a Cialis pusher, no less. First, this site more or less trashes America’s Corporate money-obsessed “culture”, a primary symptom of which is spam. Second, this site focuses specifically on the “crimes” of the Pharmaceutical Corporations — including Eli Lilly and Company, the maker of Cialis.

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I finally got on the ESPN message boards yesterday, and exchanged some postings with other users. Some are saying that ESPN didn’t shut down the monster protest thread. Instead it was the work of moderators of the message board.

That seems reasonable enough. It’s just spooky how clear the Corporate attempt at “programming” the People was in this case. First, Superbowl XL* involved obvious ref bias (bias recognized by 80% of ESPN’s users). Second, all the marketing efforts of the NFL and the Corporate media seemed to be conditioning the fan base to expect and accept the result dictated by the refs.

Then, after the game, when the People rose up in their disgust at the apparent scripting of this game, the response of Corporate media was captured by the headline ESPN.com ran for a day or two early in the week: “Get Over It!”

What a fascinating couple of days. These events were like an earthquake that opens up a fissure in the land, and we get a clear look at the infrastructure holding up our world. In this case, that fissure split open in the domain of sports. It could easily have been in the domain of health, politics, food, disaster relief, etc. In fact, such fissures probably do erupt regularly in those domains, but we’ve become inured to the conditioning.

But in “pure”, “unadulterated” sports? This has been a shock to many people. That’s why I think this event belongs in the Kelo, Katrina list. Slowly, bit by bit, the long sleep of the People is coming to an end.

I for one, finally feel liberated from my lifelong sports fan addiction. It’s like when you’ve been on a donut binge for months. Then one day, you eat one that’s gone bad. It makes you puke. Now, every time you look at a donut, instead of salivating, your stomach wretches. This is how I’ve felt about sports since Sunday. (Here’s my podcast expounding on this “tainted donut” metaphor.)

Free! Free at last!

  • In: predictions
  • Comments Off on Whither the Democrats?

Time to break this football fever. I’ll provide an update on that if anything further develops. But for now, lets turn our attention back to politics. Specifically, let’s look at my prediction of a coming Democrat Demise.

Last June, I blogged about how the Democrats seemed to be in a malaise about not receiving a bounce from Mr. Bush’s drop in popularity. Today, with their piece Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities, the NY Times explores this theme further.

Some quotes from the article:

    Christopher Dodd: “”We seem to be losing our voice when it comes to the basic things people worry about.”

    Barack Obama: “I think that two-thirds of the American people think the country is going in the wrong direction. … They’re not sure yet whether Democrats can move it in the right direction.”

    Phil Bredesen: “We’re selling our party short; you’ve got to stand for a lot more than just blasting the other side.”

Sounds like what I was saying back in 2004 when I issued my prediction. But what you won’t read in that article is what message the Democrats will push forward. For the reasons I’ve written about here, I don’t think they can or will come up with any resonant message. But there’s still time.

Honestly, I think I’m cured of my sports addiction. I haven’t checked the scores or stories on any sporting events in the past few days. But the reason I keep returning to this one is that it’s an amazing People vs. Corporations struggle, being waged over the Internet as I write. So here’s the report from the “front lines” this morning:

As I noted in a previous Podcast, two sites that were serving as the epicenter of People protest were a particular thread on ESPN forums, and the NFL is Fixed Petition. The latter page is still up. But ESPN took the former one down. There were over 1500 replies on that thread.

Put this in perspective. Most threads on the ESPN message boards attract only a handful of replies at most. The most active threads might attract a couple of hundred replies. Over 1500 replies is many orders of magnitude beyond this. So what ESPN did was to shut down the only discussion that mattered on its NFL boards.

Late last night, after ESPN had deleted the original tsunami thread, someone started a replacement thread. As of early this morning, that thread is already up to over 150 replies. ESPN and the NFL must be freaking out.

Here’s another data point. I think ESPN has closed off new member sign-ups for their message boards. I tried twice, and everything looked OK until I clicked “Submit” and basically nothing happened. No message saying I was in (I’m not); no message saying it failed. I even received a confirming “Welcome to ESPN” mail. But my login still won’t work. Here’s the link. You try it. Tell me if I’m just a moron.

But in the meantime, allow me to speculate. I suspect ESPN has received a tsunami of new membership requests. They know that the vast majority of these requests have nothing to do with People trying to join ESPN’s Corporate “SportsNation”. Instead, it’s a mad rush to the protest zone. And just like we’ve seen out on the street, “The Man” has erected a “protest zone” fence, trying to keep a lid on this.

Just like Watergate and the the fall of the Nixon administration, it’s not so much the actual crime anymore that’s the interesting issue. Instead, it’s the cover up. The Corporate cover up here is fascinating to watch. Even if it’s only about sports.

But think of this silly sports struggle as a proxy or allegory for struggles yet to come. How this one plays out may foreshadow how future ones proceed.

Here’s something I just posted on the NFL is Fixed Petition site:

    Penalties: 7-3. Eliminating those 5 yard pre-play motion penalties, we’re left with 7 penalties assessed during the play (i.e. post-snap). All of those can be described as penalizing a player for attempting to gain an unfair advantage. For those, the ratio was 6-1 in number of penalties. If one looks at the total yards these penalties cost each team (i.e. penalty yardage plus “illegal” yardage gained that was nullified), the ratio becomes 151-15. For the percentage challenged among you, this means that of total in-play pain dealt out by Mr. Leavy and crew, 91% of that pain was inflicted on Seattle. Ergo, the universal disgust. The article I’m still waiting to read on ESPN or SI or any of the corporate media sites, is the one that patiently explains how and why Seattle needed to persistently cheat to compete, but Pittsburgh didn’t at all. Defies credibility.

91% of the most painful sort of punishment the refs were able to deal out was dealt out to only one of the two teams. I am almost certain that this is the highest percentage in the history of the game.

There were also other interesting firsts:

    (1) That whipped team was the first team in the history of the game to out-gain its opponent, win the turnover battle, win the time of possession battle, and still lose.
    (2) That whipped team was the first team in the history of the game to hold the opposing quarterback to a quarterback rating as low as 22, and still lose.

These facts are anomalies that inform the persistent fury of the NFL fans. Actually, I believe that, at this point, the fury is less about these telling facts than it is about Corporate media protesting ignorance of the obvious.

Sorry if I’m boring the shit out of you with this football stuff. But given the popularity of sports in America, there’s endless data on this current People vs. Corporations skirmish.

Well, it appears the Corporations have heard the rumbling noise coming from the People, and realized it’s not going away, so they’ve decided to jettison their initial “just ignore it” approach. They’ve now moved on to Plan B. Plan B involves telling the enraged People: “Yeah, some of what you say may be true, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, and, anyway, get over it already!”

See, e.g.:

When Plan B fails, what do you think Plan C will be? My guess: they’ll throw the refs under the bus. In other words, the Corporate spokesmen will say: “Yeah, you’re right. The refs gave the game to Pittsburgh. But they’re just incompetent, not corrupt. It’s too late to do anything about that game, but we’ll join you in petitioning the NFL to get better refs for next season. Thanks for your passion!”

When that fails, I can’t wait to see Plan D.

Previously, I blogged about how the Supreme Court case Kelo seemed to serve as a bridge between the Left and Right, joining People against entrenched powers (the unholy union of Corporations and Government in that case). Later, I blogged about how Hurricane Katrina seemed to have a similar effect.

Now we have Superbowl XL. As I mentioned in the previous posting, the emerging compelling story from the Superbowl seems to have nothing to do with the players or the football plays. Instead, the story seems to be the wide chasm separating People (fans) from the Corporate NFL and Corporate media on their respective views of what happened in the game. Presumably, the fans come from every political spectrum in America (i.e. Left and Right). Yet this People vs. Corporations chasm is melting away those political distinctions and joining the People in their fury.

This is how new realities emerge. When 9/11 happened, it was a great surprise to most of us. But looking back at the milestones leading up to 9/11, that event becomes obvious in retrospect.

Today, I may be the only person on the Internet drawing this thread between Kelo, Katrina, and the Superbowl. It may be that I’m simply crazy drawing a thread between these apparently unrelated events. Alternatively, future events may emerge, rendering these threads painfully obvious in retrospect. Time will tell.


for the money has gone too far

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