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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ramble On ... Emptying out the Misc. Files

NEWS ITEM #1 - Barack Obama's op-ed in today's NYT:

If you haven't read President Obama's op-ed piece in today's New York Times, I recommend you click here and take a second, then - PLEASE - come on back.

Here are a few of the issues that stand out for me in President Obama's opinion piece:

This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don’t believe anyone should be in charge of your health care decisions but you and your doctor — not government bureaucrats, not insurance companies.

The long and vigorous debate about health care that’s been taking place over the past few months is a good thing. It’s what America’s all about.

But let’s make sure that we talk with one another, and not over one another. We are bound to disagree, but let’s disagree over issues that are real, and not wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that anyone has actually proposed. This is a complicated and critical issue, and it deserves a serious debate.

And, the key issue:

In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing. If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day. Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people.

TL View: The last item in italics is where the whole issue stands in my view. Do we stand around, talk and debate and DO NOTHING (as has been the case since the early '90s and before)? Or, do we support the President and begin to take dramatic (and risky) steps, yes very difficult steps with difficult choices and dangerous forks in the road, to begin to institute some change that might not pay dividends until our children's children perfect a nationwide system for healthcare.

Taking it to a distant comparison that I remember from my days at the NBA, I can remember the criticism that followed our implementation of the very first Anti-Drug program in professional sports when the NBA announced its plans with a signing ceremony between then-Commissioner Larry O'Brien and then-President of the NBA Players Association Bob Lanier. That step, taken in 1983, has led to a very comprehensive Anti-Drug Agreement that is widely recognized as the best in sports. It began with small steps - legislating against the use of cocaine and heroine by NBA players and it included steps for education, prevention and a clause that allowed players to come forward without the risk of being penalized.

That program did not include a program against the use of marijuana and it did not address the steroid issue that has dominated the anti-doping issue of late, but it did put a very significant tent-pole in the ground for the NBA and its players and it sent a HUGE message to the youth of the world, that being, "If you want to be an NBA player, you better believe that the use of cocaine and heroine will eventually stop you from playing in this league. Now, it took the death of Len Bias to truly drive home the point, but - at least - in 1983, the first steps were taken to bring some type of system into the professional sports workplace with the goal to protect the players while all the while, other union labor leaders were burying their heads in the sand and doing further harm to the very players they represented.

Shame on Donald Fehr and Gene Orza. They should both realize the damage they've done to their clients and to the American sports psyche. Shame on them both.

In the past week, we've celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the "Wizard of Oz" and the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock. I've enjoyed posting some Monday Morning Maniac Music over the past month to recognize and celebrate the concert that defined a generation of Americans.

I will continue the 'tradition' for a few more weeks, at least. But, would love to get some suggestions for music links and the like. Please send them in as comments to The Blog @


News ITEM: Globe to make online readers pay for content?

According to the cross-town rival:

The Boston Globe will soon begin charging for its Web site, publisher P. Steven Ainsley told the paper’s union bosses yesterday as the Globe’s parent New York Times [NYT] Co. confirmed in a regulatory filing that the money-losing Hub broadsheet is for sale.

News of the Globe’s intention to charge for came a day after News Corp. [NWS] Chairman Rupert Murdoch announced his company would start charging for content at all of its news Web sites, including the New York Post, The Times of London and The Sun, a popular British tabloid. News Corp. already charges for some access to The Wall Street Journal’s Web site.

Globe spokesman Bob Powers said charging for appears inevitable.

“It’s going to happen one way or another,” Powers said. “We are looking at several different options, and the goal would be to generate revenue.”

Ainsley also told Globe union bosses the combination of price increases and labor cost reductions, including $20 million in union concessions, have put the paper on better financial footing.

He said union concessions, plus $8 million in Globe management givebacks and the $18 million the company expects to save by closing its Billerica printing plant, have all helped, sources said.

The Times’ quarterly report filed yesterday shows the company spent $30 million to close its Billerica printing plant. Sources have told the Herald that at least one outside party was interested in the plant, but was rebuffed.

Ainsley refused to answer questions about the potential sale of the Globe at yesterday’s meeting, saying his Times Co. overlords had ordered him to keep mum.

TL View: I'll continue to pick up the paper everyday, but will be more apt to log into the Boston Herald site for free online content. Face it, the newspapers of the world have screwed up monumentally when you look at the way they fumbled over the changes in journalism since the advent of TV and the Internet. And, while they provided today's most interesting, newsworthy and thought-provoking piece of content, the NYT and its companies, trying to the industry leaders, have consistently proven that they have absolutely no clue as to where the future might be in terms of online business success and the revenue it promises to generate. It seems funny to me that the sports sites figured it out quickly (generating revenue and users via interactive fantasy games and online video clips (see Cinesport) and, I won't even go into the world of online gambling/porn/etc/etc, but the great collection of the world's most prestigious news gatherers proceeded to watch the bus go by at 60 mph.


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