Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick Hits

In the news today, as The Common Man nurses some tendonitis in his knee:

--CNN.com is wondering whether Barak Obama's lead is actually a lead. Twenty-five years ago, Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley ran for Governor of California and polls taken before the election and exit-polling suggested that he had won. However, when the votes were counted, Bradley lost. Scrambling to account for their failure, scholars and pollsters suggested that social pressures and fear of being labeled as racist may have convinced some voters to lie about who they had voted for. According to CNN, "Some analysts say the Bradley effect can account for 6 percentage points against an African-American candidate." Since their national polling has Obama ahead by 8 points, that would drop the race into a virtual dead heat,, well within the margin of error.

Fortunately, as usual, the boys at fivethirtyeight.com and those at realclearpolitics are on top of things (actually, they were far out in front on this story, and CNN seems to be playing catch-up). According to Lance Tarrance, Bradley's own internal poster, "The hype surrounding the Bradley Effect has evolved to where some political pundits believe in 2008 that Obama must win in the national pre-election polls by 6-9 points before he can be assured a victory. That’s absurd. There won’t be a 6-9 point Bradley Effect –- there can’t be, since few national polls show a large enough amount of undecided voters and it's in the undecided column where racism supposedly hides. The other reason I reject the Bradley Effect in 2008 is because there was not a Bradley Effect in the 1982 California Governor’s race, either. Even though Tom Bradley had been slightly ahead in the polls in 1982, due to sampling error, it was statistically too close to call." So the so-called Bradley Effect may have been less influential than originally thought because of poor polling.

--That's not to say that racism doesn't exist these days, however. Indeed, The Common Man was searching for some images to depict colonialism the other day and came across a vile page (The Common Man will reprint the address here, but will not link to it, under any circumstances. View this as an educational experience. www.cwporter.com/INPRAISEOFSLAVERY.htm) And the behavior by the crowds at McCain rallies has been extremely troubling:

This man, of course, is an extreme example, but The Common Man is incensed that the people behind him didn't yank that monkey from his hands and burn it. It's dispicable behavior, and letting dispicable behavior happen in front of you without doing something to stop it makes you morally culpable as well. McCain supporters, do yourselves and your candidate a favor and stop idiots like this one before they get broadcast on youtube. Every time some idiot like this gets coverage, your candidate's chances of getting elected dip slightly.

--Speaking of people who don't have a chance in hell of getting what they want, Samuel Barteley Steele is suing Jon bon Jovi and Major League Baseball for 400...billion dollars for copyright infringement. Bon Jovi's incredibly mediocre "I Like This Town" is the theme song for this year's MLB playoffs (you know this if you've watched, say, 15 minutes of baseball this October). Anyway, Steele is claiming that Bon Jovi stole his idea for the song from Steele's song "(Man I Really) Love This Team." Steele apparently submitted his song to MLB in 2006, but was rejected. Here is the Bon Jovi song, just in case you like disappointment:

As for Steele and his band Chelsea City Council, here's their MySpace page, and this appears to be the song in question. Beware, they also appear to suck. As for their case, judge that for yourself.

--When Major League Baseball and its subsidiaries are not bilking terrible musiciansout of their hard-earned billions (chuckles), some ballplayers actually go out of their way to be good people. Jonny Gomes, the hacktastic outfielder for the feel-good Rays, is one of those. The Rays all shaved their hair into mohawks in an aesthetically-challenged sign of solidarity for the playoffs.
When one young fan, 12-year old Zachary Sharples, followed suit he was suspended from school for having hair that constituted a distraction. Hearing about his story on the news, Gomes invited him onto the field before Game 2 against the Red Sox to watch batting practice, meet the players, and get an autographed bat. Gomes points out "Hopefully, we've got a Rays fan for life -- a Jonny Gomes fan for life. To make the kid's day -- maybe make the kid's year -- is awesome." Good on you, Jonny Gomes.


BillP said...

The complaint (in that copyright suit) is a work of art. I want to see more complaints using phrases like "snowballing screwup" and "one of TBS' silly ad messages."

I'm not sure I've ever heard two more dissimilar god-awful songs about kind of the same general subject (and the "general subject," of course, is uncopyrightable). Different key, different melody, different genre entirely. Apparently he's claiming a copyright on the partial phrase "I love this" and the rhyme "round/town." I guess. It's incoherent. But at least there's a pointless speech about free thinking at the end.

And the $400 billion comes from a really foolish misreading of the copyright rules, which allow for damages of up to $100,000 (actually $150,000) per "work"--so, in this case, $100,000 total--not "per CD," as in the complaint, which would be $100,000x4 million = $400 billion. I really hope he doesn't have a lawyer, or if he does, that no one else in the world gets stuck with that particular lawyer...

That was a good read, thanks. :)

The Common Man said...

Thanks Bill.

See, readers, this is why The Common Man has smart lawyer friends. They can be so helpful when The Common Man lacks the desire to actually read through the complaint. Because of Bill's diligence and curiosity, you and The Common Man have much more to chuckle over than the fact that some idiot is suing Bon Jovi for $400 billion.