Friday, January 30, 2009

You cant be forever young, but you can be forever fit.

New Columns

University of Baltimore Law School Sports Law Symposium: "From Rookie to Retirement"

The University of Baltimore School of Law has schedules what looks to be an excellent sports law symposium on February 26, 2009. Congrats to Professor Dionne Koller and others for putting the event together. Below are the details.

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The University of Baltimore School of Law invites you to attend its first annual Sports Law Symposium. This year's event will focus on the effect of economic realities on the NFL player – from his rookie year through retirement. Baltimore Ravens President Richard Cass will be the keynote speaker for the event. Panelists include in-house legal counsel for the NFL and NFL Players' Association, top agents, and active NFL players.

The symposium will take place on Thursday, February 26 from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at the School of Law. There is no charge to attend the event. Online registration is now available here: Sports Law registration. For more information about the symposium, please contact the Office of External Relations.

10:30 a.m. Opening Remarks: Dean Phillip J. Closius, University of Baltimore School of Law

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. PANELS ON NFL ROOKIES

Preparing the Rookie: Pre-Draft Prep: Trace Armstrong, CAA Sports

Negotiating the Contract and Salary Cap, Now and in the Future: Pat Moriarty, Baltimore Ravens & Tom Condon, J.D. '81, CAA Sports

11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Richard Cass President, Baltimore Ravens
Assistant Professor of Law Dionne Koller will introduce Mr. Cass.

1:00 – 1:50 Collective Rights and Benefits – The Future of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement: Harold Henderson, NFL Legal Counsel & Richard Berthleson, NFLPA Legal Counsel


Negotiating the Second and Third Deals Andrew Brandy, & Tony Agnone, J.D. '78, EAS

NFL Player Benefits: What's Next?: Sarah Gaunt, NFLPA Pension Plan & Doug Ell, the Groom Law Group

Player Marketing in the New Economic Reality: Howard Skall, CAA Sports & Kristen Kuliga, Agent for Doug Flutie

Private/Public Partnerships: Ira Rainess, J.D. '92

For more information, click here.

RIP Kismet Farm Storm

It seems that my lovely old Silent Hunter mare, Ears (Alliance II) was not destined to have her children outlive her. Her first foal, bred by John & Gaye Meyer at Mamaku Stud died as a foal. Her second foal, my beautiful Hippy, was put to sleep last year when it became apparent that the autoimmune disease she had developed was incurable. She was 5 years old. And now, her last foal, Kismet Farm Storm, a lovely little grey yearling filly has also been laid to rest well before her time.

My thoughts go out to Kay and Pete at this difficult time. I know how loved Storm was and how important she was to Kay in particular. There is nothing I can say at a time like this that makes it any better. I hope Ears, Tee and Roxy (and your other four legged friends) provide you with some welcome and positive distraction and your memories of Storm can be cherished. RIP sweet little girl.

The Grandest Foal

I'll lend you for a little while,
My grandest foal, God said.
For you to love while he's alive,
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be one or twenty years,
Or days or months, you see.
But will you, til I take him back,
Take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you
And should his stay be brief,
You'll have those treasured memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught on earth
I want this foal to learn.

I've looked the wide world over
In my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
With trust, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come
To take him back again?

I know you'll give him tenderness
And love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known,
You will forever-grateful stay.
But should I come and call for him
Much sooner than you'd planned.
You'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And maybe understand.


Mother Nature should spread her asscheeks, so I can hit that hole, too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

There are rules for Blogging?

According to an extreme left wing New Zealand blog, there are rules for blogging. I never knew this, I just thought there was one rule, no plagiarism.

But alas, there are rules according to them. You cant reveal sources , and since I don't have any, that one should be easy.

No viral marketing. I agree with this, I hate viral marketing, it's the most manipulative type of advertising there is.

Even putting ads on your blog isn't right according to this site. I have to disagree, if you can make a few extra bucks, why not? Although I haven't made any extra bucks myself, I still think its a good concept.

What these bloggers have to realize is, that with the Internet unlike the mainstream media, there are no rules, you can blog about who you like, and if your a blogger your not a Journalist, that is an insult to anyone who has studied journalism.

The only problem I have with some bloggers is they put themselves on such a high pedstal and think there are rules to what they do, with blogging there shouldn't be rules, because blogging is just someone's random thoughts and you cant put a rule to a thought.

Quick Update on Retired NFL Players vs. NFLPA

The Sports Business Daily reports that U.S. District Judge William Alsup upheld the jury’s verdict awarding a class of NFL retired players $28.1 million in its suit against the NFLPA We discussed the case back in November here (as is often the case, the meat of the discussion is contained in the comments).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Clarification of My Last Post on Salary Arbitration

The two anonymous comments to my January 23 posting offered good observations and questions, and they point out my need to be more precise about my last sentence -“One of my arguments has been that salary arbitration usually works because most of the time the parties agree to a figure at the midpoint or slightly below the midpoint.” Thank you for forcing me to apply more rigor to my statement. This reply to the first anonymous response became so long that I decided to move it up to the main page because I wanted more readers to see it. Plus, the response deserves a wider audience on the main page.

I will offer some thoughts about how the Astros, Marlins, and Rays methods are pushing the balance towards management in a follow-up to this reply.

My argument that the salary arbitration system actually works is that it usually produces a settlement instead of forcing a hearing. Furthermore, there are strong incentives for both parties to submit a reasonable figure if numbers are exchanged. So I would have been more accurate concerning my position if I had said - “One of my arguments is that the salary arbitration process usually works because most of the time the parties agree to a figure without the need for a hearing.”

Many observers of the process focus on the teams and players that proceed to a hearing first and the group that exchanges numbers second. This ignores all of the cases that are settled either before the exchange of figures or prior to a hearing. Look at some of these recent figures -

Year - Cases Filed - Cases Settled - Number of Hearings

2005 - 89 - 86 - 3 (Teams won 2 out of the 3)
2006 - 100 - 94 - 6 (Teams won 4 out of the 6)
2007 - 106 - 99 - 7 (Teams won 4 out of the 7)
2008 - 110 - 102 - 8 (Teams won 6 out of the 8)

Since the beginning of the process in 1974, my research lists the total number of cases filed at 3,043 (all of the lists that I have seen concerning salary arbitration differ as to some of the numbers in the 1970s and early 1980s). Of that number, 2,554 were settled, 484 proceeded to a hearing, and 5 were released (neither settled nor a hearing). That is a ratio of 83.9% settled cases and 15.9% hearings (the additional 5 cases account for the 0.2%).

So, my evidence for the revised statement is that 84% of the cases are settled, and that is, I think, the point of single-offer or final-offer arbitration. Now, the system is supposed to produce reasonable figures from both camps. If one of the figures is not plausible or defensible, you have created every incentive for the other side to go to a hearing because the chance of winning has increased significantly. Over the years, the teams have won 58% of the cases (279-205). The last time that the players exceeded .500 was 1996 (players won 7 of 10 hearings).

I am including a listing below showing the results of players and teams who exchanged numbers but settled before a hearing during the past five years. Note that during that five year period, 68% of the cases were settled at the midpoint or below the midpoint. This was part of the source for my original last sentence because that is what has happened in a strong majority of the recent cases. However, as I was properly taken to task, that is evidence for a different conclusion. My argument is that these statistics support the conclusion that the majority of cases are framed by the two exchanged numbers at an agreeable point for both parties. The general thought of hearing decision-making is that you determine the midpoint between the two figures. If the player is worth $1 or more above the midpoint, the arbitrator chooses the player’s figure. If the player is worth $1 or more below the midpoint, the arbitrator chooses the team’s figure. The decisions at hearings are supposed to be made within 24 hours by a panel of three. For many years a single arbitrator made the decision. An article last year at the end of the hearing season quoted veteran arbitrator Stephen Goldberg as follows: “Each arbitrator casts a vote but my impression is that 99 percent of the decisions are unanimous.” Ameet Sachdev, “Former NU Professor Says Multimillion Dollar Salary Hearings Have Grown Less Contentious,” Chicago Tribune, February 26, 2008. If Mr. Goldberg is correct as to the voting, he is arguing that the presentations are quite strong for one side or the other.

Notice that the next largest percentage (22%) are the 40 multiyear deals. This year there are already five multiyear deals between teams and players who filed numbers (Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers; Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals; Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins (pending a physical); Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles; Jayson Werth, Phillies). The multiyear deals portion of the data merits its own posting and discussion.

Major League Baseball Salary Arbitration
Players and Teams Who Exchanged Numbers But Settled Before a Hearing
Results - 2004-2008

Year - Multiyear Deals - Above Midpoint - At Midpoint - Below Midpoint - Total
2004 - 5 multiyear - 1 above - 6 at midpoint - 8 below - 20 total
2005 - 8 multiyear - 3 above - 5 at midpoint - 21 below - 37 total
2006 - 7 multiyear - 8 above - 9 at midpoint - 14 below - 38 total
2007 - 10 multiyear - 4 above - 12 at midpoint - 22 below - 48 total
2008 - 10 mulityear - 2 above - 7 at midpoint - 21 below - 40 total

Multiyear Deals - 40 (22%)
Above Midpoint - 18 (10%)
At Midpoint - 39 (21%)
Below Midpoint - 86 (47%)
Total - 183 (100%)

I apologize if this posting is too long or not in your area of interest. I appreciate the comments because, as I stated above, they force me to be more rigorous in my work on this topic. Also, I think one of the purposes of the blog is to get feedback.

Obama Wants Some Stimulation

There is only one good thing I can say about the bailouts and the stimulus packages. We are going to see the empirical failure of Keynesian economics. Once and for all, the economists will have the data they need to finally discredit this stupidity once and for all. Unfortunately, socialism still lives, and I suspect the same will be true for Keynes.

The key to Obama's success on this is ramrodding it through Congress as quickly as possible without reflection or consideration. We don't have time to think. Thinking makes it worse.

The reality is that spending makes it worse. But the American public is filled with economic illiterates, and the government will fuck us all hard and deep. Sad sad sad.

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You can read more of my political commentary at the SC Liberty Blog.

Media ethics and law prof blogging

I am quoted today in an op-ed in the Daily Tar Heel. (H/T: My former colleague Joel Goldstein). The op-ed discusses the motion filed by former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, the main culprit in the Duke lacrosse mess, seeking to dismiss the § 1983 actions against him on absolute prosecutorial immunity grounds (and without seeing the motion, I have argued previously that he has a pretty strong argument). The op-ed, clearly not coming close to understanding what prosecutorial immunity is all about, argues that Nifong should not have immunity because by "withholding DNA evidence, Nifong clearly deprived the defendants of their right to due process." Um, yeah, but the point of immunity is that does not matter, because other policy concerns trump. AndI did not read the piece as arguing that prosecutors should not have immunity (an arguable point), only that Nifong should not.

Anyway, I am identified as a Saint Louis University law professor and described as saying that Nifong only has immunity for those things he did as an advocate for the state. One problem--I never spoke with anyone at the Daily Tar Heel at any point. (Actually, I suppose a second problem is that I no longer teach at SLU, so there is a pretty glaring factual error there that would get them nailed in a newswriting course). The "comment" attributed to me was something I wrote in one of several posts, here and at Sports Law Blog, analyzing the players' lawsuits against Nifong, Duke, and others.

So, my question--Did the authors of the piece act appropriately (as a matter of journalistic practice) in attributing a comment to me without identifying it as something I wrote on a blog and attributing the blog? Is it OK for reporters to make it sound instead as if we had had a conversation? I am not suggesting that journalists should not read blogs as part of their reporting or that they should not report what they see written here. Indeed, one purpose of blogging is to be part of the broader public conversation beyond the academy, so having newspapers report on what we write here goes a long way to making us part of that conversation. My question is strictly how journalists should describe the source of a comment when they get it not from an interview, but from something the source has written.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is wrong with TVNZ?

Why would any news network, put on a smart ass ten year old kid who stole his parent's car, drove it at double the speed limit and then have a reporter, ask him, "How fast did you go?"

They interviewed him behind the wheel of his parents car and basically made him out to be some sort of anti hero, the kid was getting off on it.

Hasn't anyone told the journalist that you don't bring attention to misappropriate behavior. This kid will now be bragging to all his mates, how he was on TV and will probably do it again. The next time he does it, someone might get killed, something to think about, huh TVNZ.

The good stuff

Grabbed Nick and the camera and went out to handle the feral foals for some photos earlier. Was particularly proud of Aine who, I must admit, has had little handling in recent weeks. Rory is such an 'in yer face' character I don't have to worry about doing anything much with him as he is so chilled out. Aine is not bad, just a little more thoroughbreddy (for want of a better term) than her little mate.

I hope that for some seeing some of these photos illustrates just how gentle stallions can be and how happy and content living in a herd situation can make them. Reilly is a really laid back boy but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he lives in a natural environment with other horses. I know that for some people with stallions, this is not an option and I respect any stallion owner who can keep a happy, healthy stallion, no matter how they do so but we can graze our boys with their mares and foals so we do so. We choose to do this because it fits in with our personal breeding philosophy and I believe we grow vibrant, healthy, well adjusted young horses and have happy mares and stallions because of the lives they lead here.

I hope you enjoy today's photos.

Rory rushes up to greet me with a kiss
Getting bigger
Rory love his mum's Low GI
and he is big on kisses!
Yet another kiss
What's going on over there?
Aine, captured!
Aine enjoys a scratch
Upsy daisy
Near fore
Me and my boy
Something funny Reilly?
Reilly wants in - Father and daughter

"Flyer" Goes Down: Wisconsin Supreme Court Finds Cheerleading to be a Contact Sport

Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its opinion in Brittany L. Noffke v. Kevin Bakke. Howard Wasserman discussed this matter on this Blog last month. Also, check my post on the Sports Law Blog for cheerleader injuries from 2006, and discussions on sports injuries from myself and Geoffrey Rapp here, here, and here. Also, see Geoffrey's recent law review piece on the reckless standard for injuries on the playing field.

The basic facts: Noffke, a "flyer" (the elevated cheerleader during stunting), fell while practicing a "post to hands" stunt in an area without mats. Bakke, the "post" (the one who elevates the cheerleader onto the shoulders of the "base"), lifted Noffke onto the "base," and let go. Instead of moving to the rear to spot Noffke, Bakke moved to the front. Noffke fell to the rear of the "base" and struck her head. This was the first time this stunting group practiced this particular stunt. At the time, her coach (also a middle school teacher from this district), was supervising another group of cheerleaders approximately ten feet away.

Procedural history: Noffke sued Bakke for negligence (failure to spot Noffke), and sued the school district (Holmen) for negligence (failure to provide a second spotter and failure to provide appropriate surfacing/mats). Both Bakke and the school district were granted summary judgment; Bakke succeeded as the circuit court found cheerleading to be a "contact sport" requiring a finding of recklessness to impose civil liability. The school district succeeded on summary judgment as no known and compelling danger arose that gave rise to a ministerial duty on the coach's part. On appeal, the appellate court found that Bakke was not immune from suit since cheerleading is not a "contact sport" as defined by Wis. Stat. 895.525(4m)(a), but affirmed the school district's immunity. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin today affirmed the circuit court's ruling.

For Bakke to achieve immunity under the statute, cheerleading would have to be found by the Court to be a contact sport in this setting (amateur, high school sport). The Court found cheerleading to fit within the plain language of the statute ("physical contact between persons in a sport involving amateur teams"). The Supreme Court goes on to cite to those "recreational activities" that do not enjoy immunity, such as hunting, bowling, horseback riding, and skiing.

The Supreme Court found cheerleading to be a sport because it involves "physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs," and it is a team sport because "a group is organized to work together" to lead fan participation. Utilizing a dictionary and the spirit rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that cheerleading is a contact sport as it involves physical contact (at times "forceful") between cheerleaders during participation.

Noffke argues that the physical contact between cheerleaders is not of the type contemplated by the Wisconsin legislature (football, hockey, etc.), but rather cheerleader contact in incidental. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, however, responded that the legislature did not intend to just give immunity to participants in "aggressive" sports (side-note: in the Karas decision in Illinois, Justice Burke added an enhanced exception for "full-contact sports"). Noffke then argues that immunity should not apply in this case because cheerleading is not "competitive," but competition is not a requirement in the plain language of the statute, and a "competition" requirement would result in inconsistent results (cheering a team vs. cheerleading competition; practice vs. game).
Interestingly, the Court concludes its opinion relative to Bakke by encouraging the legislature to examine the Supreme Court's opinion and address how the statute would apply to other sports like "golf, swimming, or tennis."

To defeat this immunity, Noffke would have to show that Bakke was reckless, but the facts here did not support such a high standard, so the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed that Bakke was immune under the contact sport recreational immunity statute. Contrast this with the Karas case in Illinois, which made its way to the Illinois Supreme Court for review of a Motion to Dismiss based on the pleadings, and as such, evidence was not in the record for determination of whether the "Illinois contact sports exception" applied to the facts outside of the complaint.

With regard to the school district, Noffke argued that the coach (as an employee of the school district) violated a ministerial duty by not providing a second spotter and mats as required by the spirit rules, and that the coach, himself, should have known there was a compelling danger as appropriate safety precautions were not taken for these cheerleaders performing this stunt for the first time. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that the school district was not bound to the spirit rules because it did not adopt the same, and as such, the coach had discretion on whether to provide a second spotter and mats. Further, looking to the actual spirit rules, there are no additional spotters or mats "required", but rather, the same are "suggested".

Of note here factually: the cheerleaders had performed more difficult stunts together before, both Noffke and Bakke thought they could perform this stunt, Bakke was a trained spotter, the stunt could be accomplished safely without Bakke's spot (Bakke was not the "base"), and the coach knew the level of difficulty of this stunting group to be "much higher". These same facts were essential to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in finding there to be no known or compelling danger that would remove the coach from immunity.

This decision continues to shed light on the fact that cheerleading is a dangerous sport, and as such, proper coach training (both technique and safety) is imperative. Cheerleading has evolved along with the sports that it supports (i.e. football), but while advances in safety equipment (helmets, pads, etc.), training, and playing/practicing surfaces has advanced in sports like football to go along with the faster, bigger, and stronger athletes, cheerleaders are exponentially advancing the physical difficulties of their sport with no real change in safety since football players were wearing leather helmets. It is a good step for the courts to acknowledge the athleticism and physical contact involved in cheerleading, but continued participation in cheerleading may suffer if safety policies are not adopted as rules rather than mere suggestions to coaches and teams.

Optimal Pay

In these econimically troubled times, people think about what they are paid and a "fair" wage and all that. I have thought about it as well. When are employees underpaid? And when are they overpaid?


These are union workers. Union guys will line up in the hopes of getting work because it pays so well. They even forfeit the chance to work at paying jobs in order to wait for some union guy to call off sick or something. The upside for the employer is that he never worries about filling a spot. The downside is that he is probably getting his ass reamed by both the help and the competition.


These are your fast food workers who treat the job as disposable. People don't show up. When they do show up, they don't give a fuck. And the manager of the place puts up with the shit because they can't attract better employees. Usually, the manager just does all the work. That guy is underpaid. As for the dirtbags, they are overpaid thanks to minimum wage laws.


Optimal pay would be the midpoint between these extremes. A business can attract solid employees and still turn a profit. The employees value the job, but they don't treat it the way a union member would.

A wise person once said that if you pay peanuts, all you get are monkeys. In the job market, there is wage competition, and it this competition that determines what people get paid. So, why aren't people paid what they are worth? I think the answer lies in distortions in this market created by labor laws and laws against illegal immigrants and the presence of unions. I think if you eliminated these elements then wages would adjust to where they should properly be.

What I can say is this. Good employees end up with good pay. When you accept the economics of it all, you find that hard work generates rewards. This is because work and the compensation that goes with it flow to the good. It is what the market wants. The lazy find ways around this market mechanism to be the dirtbags that they are.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interesting Rock Formation

Found this pic at the DU.

New Sports Law Column on Kirk Radomski's New Book

I have a new column on on potential legal implications for Roger Clemens relating to Kirk Radomski's new book, Bases Loaded: The Inside Story of the Steroid Era in Baseball by the Central Figure in the Mitchell Report. Here is an excerpt from the column:

* * *

The inconsistency over specific information shared by McNamee to Radomski may seem to be on the periphery of the central question of whether Clemens used steroids and knowingly lied to Congress, but it offers Clemens' legal team a valuable card in a potential trial in which McNamee would be subject to cross-examination: Why should a jury believe McNamee's recollections over those of Clemens when McNamee's account is, at least in part, contradicted by the published words of his friend Radomski?

Then again, jurors might dismiss potential inconsistencies in dates and other historical facts as relatively immaterial. After all, the inconsistencies seem several steps removed from the legal question of whether Clemens knowingly lied under oath, and jurors recognize that all humans occasionally err while recalling details and minutiae.

Clemens' legal team would likely disagree. Remember, to convict Clemens of perjury, the government would need to leave a jury without any reasonable doubt as to whether Clemens knowingly lied under oath; although jurors might ultimately believe that Clemens more likely than not knowingly lied under oath, any reservations triggered by questions of McNamee's memory and veracity could instill the requisite "reasonable doubt" in those jurors' minds. Such an outcome would lead to Clemens being found not guilty, which in turn would bolster his chances for rehabilitating his reputation in baseball and the public at large.

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Hope you have a chance to check out the rest.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

True Kiwis

Meet two true Kiwis.

Khaled Masroujeh (left) and business partner Yael Shochat.

They both run a cafe together, one is a Israeli the other is a Palestinian. They meet while studying and decided to run a business together.

Unlike a couple of racist Cafe owners who illegally refuse to serve Israeli's, these cafe owners serve everybody, they don't care about the colour of someone's skin, they don't care about your politics, they don't care if you are straight or gay, country or rap, man or woman, single or married, Christian, Jewish or Muslim, From the USA or Iran or Irasel, they care about one thing, giving their partons a great meal and a good time and thats the way it should be.

If only more people have their attuitde, then New Zealand will be a better place to live.

They must be on the shortlist for Kiwis of the year.

Ouch, the bill is here

It's been a financially and emotionally painful couple of days. It started on Saturday when we received the bill for burying Silas. Somehow in all of the mess, we completely forgot to pay the digger operator. I feel awful about it but my head was all over the place so I am not entirely surprised. Then, today, the vet bill for the last couple of months arrived. Not really a shock as we knew it would be big but it's still scary to see so many zeros on a bill. Somehow November's statement never arrived so we have November and December in one hit. That said, November was over 10x the December's bill so December barely rates a mention!

After doing a mental add up of vet, burial, milk and sundries, losing Debi and Silas cost us a just shy of $6000 and that of course does not include what they were both actually worth (both emotionally and in a monetry sense). But, well, they were priceless as they were members of our family and we would give anything to have them both here with us still now, today. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge spending the money for a moment and we couldn't not try, it just hurts so much to have lost them both after trying so very hard and I feel particulalry bl**dy awful for all the wonderful, kind, caring people who helped us financially and emotionally during the entire ordeal. I so desperately wish we had achieved a better outcome. It's all coming back to me too which makes me feel raw and has been making it hard to sleep again. Mental note to self: Focus on the good stuff Lou!

Anyway, I am heading out now in 30+ degree temperatures to feed/water the 'kids' and have a few extra cuddles with them so hopefully will be in a better frame of mind when I come back in...

Ahhhhh, that's better! It's another absolute scorcher here in the Wairarapa. We helped our friends/neighbours get in some of their hay yesterday but half of it is still out in the paddock and, as they will be storing it in our sheds, we need to re-organise our hay so it can fit. Because they got so much, it also means that we have access to a nice buffer should we fall short over winter. It's a great feeling to know that the winter feed is basically in. I also scored 10 bales of lucerne hay off trade me for $80 so I am pretty stoked about that. Just a little extra treat to have handy.

I am thrilled with the quality of this year's hay too. The contractor did a fantastic job and the bales are big and fantastically well packed, even if a few of them have the tensioning a little off. Perhaps the reason we only got 430 odd bales was because the bales are that much bigger than usual? It smells so sweet and the horses absolutely love it. I am feeding out a wee bit at the moment to top up and those who are on hay rations are most grateful it would seem by the way they are lining up at the gate waiting for me when they hear the bike coming, lol!

I think I will head out later with the camera so, watch this space for photos.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meg practising being a grown up girl

So boring, very little worth writing about and too hot to get out much and take photos so all I have is these three little offerings of Meg practising being a grown up 'pony' with her sheet and tail bag on. This week she has had two introductions to the hosepipe, a brief reintroduction to the horse float, a reintroduction to hard feed (her absolute favourite!), a hoof trim, about 2' cut off her tail and she now knows all about wearing a tail bag.

I am deciding what colours to show her in at the moment. Her mum and dad were always shown in black and white and silver but I want something different for Meg and am thinking about purple and orange. Both colours go nicely with black plus, they're bright and funky, just like our Meg. So, this week I will trundle into town and visit the craft shop and see what I can get ribbon and wool wise in these colours. I will also see if I can find our show gear from the last time we competed the clydies or I will have to grab some more florist wire as well. In the past we left Debi's mane au naturale rather than rolling it but I think, as long as Meg obliges, I will put a nice roll in her mane. I want to make a real effort - if I am going to do this, I want to do it well!

I have been researching tail plaiting for undocked tails since it will not be possible to roll her tail like we could with Debi/can with Robbie. I think I will give her sprigs and a roll and then just brush out the bottom section of tail. Will be practising a bit over the next couple of weeks I guess. Might take photos of various experiments and ask for some feedback.

I have managed to score a couple of pairs of black dress pants off a trader on Trade Me so the in-hand outfit is sorted. I will do the turnout and 'Best Footed' class and leave the filly and walking class to Nick. Two classes each - sounds fair to me!
Hmm, it appears that my bucket is empty! Does my bum look big in this?
OK, so where's the food then?

IUKL: Vasilis Ginko coming to Sweden!

Ginko is coming to Sweden in October 2008. It is Spartan Kettlebells that arranges a two day instructor course. I think it will take place in the town of Motala. I am not involved in any way with Spartan kettlebells, so I do not know the details. But, contact them if you want more information. LINK to SPARTAN

For more information also visit the IUKL page, the link of which you find here to the right.

Ginko is a very good lifter and teacher, so you might not want to miss his visit. I am very happy that he is coming here and also hope that it will result in many new IUKL-brothers and -sisters in the vicinities.

UFO spotted at Obama's swearing in

I'm not convinced myself.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Cubs Suing Former Sponsor Underarmour

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports a suit filed on Thursday by the Chicago Cubs for breach of contract and promissory estoppel against Underarmour. Driven to abandon the sponsorship due to the effect of the economic climate on overpriced polyester sports clothing, the company now faces this $10 million suit. As more sponsors abandon pricey sports team deals in the face of economic tumult and public criticism, such lawsuits may multiply.

The Tampa Bay Rays and the "File-and-go Strategy"

Bill Chastain, an reporter covering the Tampa Bay Rays, wrote an informative piece on January 20 about Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro’s salary arbitration negotiations with the Rays. (“Aybar, Navarro will go to arbitration; Pair of players unable to come to terms with Rays before deadline). The article outlines the Rays’ “file-and-go strategy,” and it contains a number of quotations about the team’s philosophy from Gerry Hunsicker, Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations. It is worth reading if you are interested in baseball labor relations. This has been the club’s policy for some time under Andrew Friedman, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.

As Bill Chastain points out in the article, “Josh Paul is the only player to go to arbitration during Friedman's tenure and the backup catcher lost on both occasions.” Those two hearings were in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, Paul requested $940,000, and the team offer was $625,000. The arbitration panel of Robert Bailey, Richard Bloch and Christine Knowlton sided with Tampa Bay. In 2006, Paul wanted an increase from $450,000 to $750,000 and Tampa Bay countered with a modest increase to $475,000. The arbitration panel for that hearing was Dan Brent, Margaret Brogan, and Elliott Shriftman.

In 2002, the team went to a hearing with Esteban Yan. Yan was seeking an increase from $743,000 to $2,400,000, and Tampa Bay felt that $1,500,000 was the appropriate figure. The arbitration panel of Dan Brent, Roger Kaplan, and Carol Whittenberg agreed with the team. After the Phillies lost to Ryan Howard last year for their first setback at a hearing (the Phillies are now 7-1 in their 8 hearings), the Rays became the only team with a perfect winning record in arbitration hearings.

After reviewing the exchanged numbers between the two parties, I thought I spotted an interesting point. The differences between the two figures are amongst the closest of all of the 46 exchanged figures this year.

Willy Aybar
2008 salary = $401,200
Team offer = $900,000
Player request = $1,050,000
Difference = $150,000
Midpoint = $975,000

Dioner Navarro
2008 salary = $412,500 (base salary) - $10,000 for making the All-Star team
Team offer = $2,100,000
Player request = $2,500,000
Difference = $400,000
Midpoint = $2,300,000

I have at least two thoughts about this. If the parties were that close, why couldn’t they get a deal done before the deadline? Second, does the “early deadline” prompted by the “file-and-go strategy” help push the two parties closer to each other? One of my arguments has been that salary arbitration usually works because most of the time the parties agree to a figure at the midpoint or slightly below the midpoint.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bailed-out AIG to drop pricey sports team sponsorships

One of the reasons I've been blogging relatively lightly in the past few weeks is that I've discovered the Fox Soccer Channel is part of my digital cable package. Although I've been enjoying a number of great soccer games, it is always a bit jarring to see a team of millionaire soccer players running around in jerseys that proudly display the name of a corporation that has recently come begging for money to the U.S. taxpayers.

Today, Reuters broke the story that insurance giant and bailout recipient AIG will not be renewing its $100 million sponsorship of Manchester United, a top English soccer team. AIG is also seeking to renegotiate its current sponsorship -- likely in an effort to escape from the contract's remaining years.

At the time of the bailout, AIG and other corporate sports sponsors receiving federal funds, like Citi, insisted they had no plans to discontinue such sponsorships even in the face of public criticism and the common "Taxpayer field" jokes.

Expect AIG's lead to be followed by other recipients of bailout funds.

The New Presidential Fuckhead

The bulk of my political commentary these days can be found over at the SC Liberty Blog, but this is still a political blog, too. I just mishmash it with all the other shit I am interested in.

I was a bit sickened to watch the inaugural spectacle yesterday. It is more like a coronation of a king or something. Makes me want to puke. I also thought Obama's speech was an utter load of horseshit. You could see the steam rise from it as it hit the cold DC air. How does Obama expect to pay for all this shit? Am I the only one who asks about where the money is coming from?

I think the president is a direct reflection of where the USA is as a people. We are definitely beyond the race thing but not entirely. I see many black people wince when I call Obama a fuckhead and question his stupidity just like I did with George W. They would like to pull the racecard, but they can't.

Right now, people aren't asking questions. They want to believe that Obama is more than just a full-of-shit politico who lied his way into office like all of his predecessors. I hate to break it to you, folks. Obama is not the messiah. He is a fucknut that can fake it.

I shudder as I contemplate the days ahead. My only hope is that he sobers up, moves away from some of the ambitious imbecility, and does less damage than I expect. It's like hoping for a jailhouse rapist with a small dick.

The answer for me is still the same. Work. Save. Live my life. Be happy. I will find the humor in all of this absurdity.

Baseball Salary Arbitration - Players and Teams Exchange Figures

Over the past few days there has been a flurry of activity between baseball teams and player agents negotiating contracts for players eligible for salary arbitration. On Thursday, January 15, 111 players filed for arbitration. Between last Thursday and yesterday’s deadline for exchanging numbers, 65 deals were finalized leaving 46 players and teams involved in exchanging numbers yesterday.

The big buzz is about Ryan Howard who went to a hearing with the Phillies last year and beat his team. Of course, most of you are aware of his effort last year for the World Series Champions. Howard is seeking $18 million and the Phils offered $14 million. Howard’s request is the third highest figure sought since the process began in 1974. The next largest request this year is from Prince Fielder. Fielder requested $8 million, and the Brewers countered with $6 million. I am still digesting all of the deals reached before the deadline yesterday and looking over the exchanged numbers figures. I will be posting some of my insights shortly on this blog.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Has a nice ring to it. The world has its fingers crossed that Obama can bring his change to the world, he has such high expectations on him, people aren't expecting a mediocre president, they are expecting something special, can he live up to it?

Well hes come a long way, just forty years ago his father wasn't allowed to eat in a restaurant, can you imagine that? Can you imagine not being served in a restaurant because of the colour of your skin or your nationally? It sends shivers down my spine.

Now Obama is the leader of the free world, I hope he brings a end to anti amercianism, I hope he brings peace and prospeirty to the world, I hope in four years time the world is in better place, if it is, he will deserve a second term

I have hope.

Masterton Show - Feb 13, 14 and 15th

Yesterday I decided, a little at the last minute, that we will take Meg to the Masterton Show this year. I figure it will be a great outing for her and we really should try to support our local show as we have not been able to do so for a couple of years. Meg has a turnout title her mum won to defend although I think we might be pushing the proverbial uphill if we aim for that so we'll just aim to get there in one piece and get home in one piece I think!

Today I brought her in and we spent 20 minutes loading her in and out of the float a few times. Unfortunately food was the only thing that would get her in, she has her mother's stubborn streak it would seem, but we have a couple of weeks to sort that out! She's not bothered by the float, just rather be outside than inside, unless food is involved. Tart!

Then she had her first bath which I have to say, she did not really enjoy! She has a LOT of mane and a hell of a lot of tail! She's now tucked up in the yards with a pile of hay and a nice feed while I decide what paddock to put her in.

The vet has just left. I got him out to look at Hooty's teeth because she has been dropping a lot of feed and I was suspicious that she had an issue in her mouth. However, her teeth had a couple of semi-sharp edges but nothing that John was unduly concerned about and she had a quick float and then it was time to go up and scan Girl.

Girl has been with us since early November but shown absolutely no sign of cycling. At one stage we thought she may have been in season so tried hand serving but she was adamant that she was having nothing to do with Hamish and, when things got dangerous, we gave up. I spoke to her owner last week and she agreed that it was time to get the vet out. Our timing today could not have been better! Girl needed a sedative to go into the crush and rewarded us with a big fat 45-50mm follicle so, she was WELL in but sure as hell not letting anyone know!!

Primed to ovulate, today was optimum for service so, as luck would have it, an already sedated Girl was taken to the yards, teased, and SERVED! Hallelujah! Now we cross everything and pray to the Gods of fertility and wait!

Today's photos are of Meg dragged straight out of the paddock before having any 'work' done on her. Watch this space for progress!

Offside - BEFORE
Nearside - BEFORE

Monday, January 19, 2009

A full brother or sister for Aine

I have just realised, after receiving an email from Maude's owner in the UK, that I have not blogged the most recent stud news. Maude is in foal to Reilly again, yay! She conceived on her first cycle giving us a LDOS of 18 December and an expected arrival date of 23 November. Good girl Maude!

Minty came back for a second try on Saturday (came straight into season and has been served) and Girl is proving to be a bit of an enigma having been here for a couple of months and silent cycling. I have convinced her owner to have the vet out to look at her/scan her to see what exactly is going on. I am hoping that she was covered when we were not looking and was just being a tart by not letting us hand serve with her. A girl can hope. Hopefully we will have some answers this week.

We are still waiting for two mares to arrive as well - now very late in the season and both mares present their own challenges (one is a wet mare, the other has a caslick and requires scanning to evaluate follicle, unzipping, serving and immediate re-zip). I'm kinda looking forward to this season being over. It has been long and not altogether succesful and I'm pretty much over it!

Today I am attaching a short video of Maxi on the lunge. Yesterday was day two of his lunge training and he's picked it up so well. He's very responsive to my voice and tries very hard to please. Amy is the camera operator so things are a bit shaky but she was all I had at the time and she's done pretty well. After his lunge session she begged me for a ride so I popped her up for walk and trot on each rein. Excuse the eclectic dressing (both of us). She dressed herself and has been desperate to wear her brand new school shoes ever since I bought them. I wasn't planning on her riding but figured, as long as she has her toes covered and a helmet, we should be good to go. As for me, it was hot and I just couldn't face wearing boots!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Garth Steals the show at Obama Concert

Was there any doubt?

That the greatest entertainer in USA history would steal the show, the crowd had already been pumped, but when Garth started singing "Shout" the whole atmosphere turned electric, he had everybody including the Obama's dancing and clapping, he was backed by a delightful children's choir, and showed even in retirement, there is no one who can touch him or is more respected over all genres as a showman.

As always he did country music proud, and he did Obama proud, an all round solid performance, he looked as excited as the crowd did, which got the crowd going even more.

There is a reason why Garth use to sell out concerts in minutes, no artist can move a crowd to a frenzy like he can, and to do it in front of a non country audience is something special.

Well Done Garth.






Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weaning time?

Ah well actually, no, it is NOT weaning time just yet although it seems perhaps Rory has other ideas?

And what are you doing in THIS paddock young man? And are your legs ok??? Legs, check, all good
Catching the ratbag
Mum and Uncle B in the correct paddock!
Now do not do that again young man, d'ya hear me?
Reunited at last

SW Sale

Today Amy, Karen and I went to Palmerston North. A girlie road trip! And what trip to Palmerston North is complete without a visit to 'The Saddlery Warehouse', especially when they have a sale on?! The sale was a pretty good one, 20% of everything not already discounted and 10% of veterinary supplies. I needed a few bits and bobs for my medicine kit and Amy needed a new helmet so I was able to cross those items off the list. She has already outgrown two helmets so this time I got her one that is adjustable and will grow with her head and with 20% off, I was happy.

There were no winter rugs in stock and I have to say that the saddle selection was very paultry which was really disappointing as I was interested in looking at a small synthetic for Amy. But when I asked what they had in the way of kiddies saddles, it seems that they don't make the status range in children's sizes and just have the 'starter pack' which is, I am fairly certain, made in India and total cr@p! Ah well.

Amy chose a cute purple padded halter and pink leadrope and a matching hot pink brush as gifts for Maxi and today's photos show some of the new items being 'modelled'. Amy also had her very first walks off the lead. OK, I was RIGHT in front of the pony and only dropped the rope for a dozen or so strides but was very proud of both daughter and pony for doing so well :)

Best mates
Walking with purpose
Listening to mum
Walking all by herself! (and with a death grip!)
Walking by herself - such a good pony!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Endowed college coaching positions

Something I just discovered this week: The head coaching positions for Stanford's football and men's basketball teams are endowed. Football coach Jim Harbaugh is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football; Basketball coach Johnny Dawkins is the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men's Basketball.

It seems like a good idea for everyone involved. The endowment presumably pays or helps pay salaries that probably are in the mid- or high-six figures. It seems like the type of naming opportunity a sports-minded donor would jump at--after all, the donor's name will be announced over the PA system during pre-game intros in front of 10,000 or 60,000 fans. Has anyone heard of other schools doing this? Does anyone know why Stanford alone seems to have gone this route?

DVD-Eagle Eye

This movie sucks. Why? Stupid plot.

Here's the gist. From now on, I am going to spoil every movie I review here. Deal with it. I am going to spoil this one for you. It's a computer. Both of them are set up and will die, but Shia and Billy Bob save the day. But you won't give a fuck.

Eagle Eye is just a slick action flick that tries to be a bit sophisticated but ends up being dumb. I'm not against dumb action flicks. Just rent something with Jason Statham instead.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Hypocrisy of Feminists and Peace Groups in New Zealand

Hypocrisy (or the state of being a hypocrite) is the act of preaching a certain belief, religion or way of life, but not, in fact, holding these same virtues oneself. For example, if a person were to tell one to repent for his sins yet he never repents himself this is hypocrisy.
In other languages, including French, a hypocrite is one who hides his intentions and true personality. This definition is different from that of the English language.
With what has happen in New Zealand over the past week, I will NEVER EVER trust another peace group, the green party, activist, or anyone who says they are for human rights for all again, because people who say this are lying, they are not being honest.
When I first read of the horrible story of two poor Israeli woman who became a victim of one man's racist form of apartheid in Invercargill, I thought maybe these groups will come out and support a couple of people who have become victims of a bigot.

You see nearly every day, The Green Party, Peace Action New Zealand, Global Justice for Peace and blogs such as The Hand Mirror and The Standard are telling us peace and love is the way.
If there is injustice the Green party will be there, if a woman is deemed to have been wronged by a businessman, the hand mirror will write about it.
Except it seems if the racist bigoted person is a Muslim, and his victims are Israeli woman, they just shut up and say nothing.
What can one take from this? Well its pretty simple, blogs such as The Hand Mirror and The Standard couldn't give a fuck about a woman's rights, Peace action New Zealand couldn't give a fuck about Peace, John Minto and The Green Party are nothing about Justice for all people.
They all have such hate for the west and capitalism and cannot stand that most of the planet don't want to be socialists and communists, so they try to turn people towards their ideas by using peace and human rights as a disguise.
I can't understand how anyone can respect these groups, to be a racist is bad enough, but to be a hypocrite with it, well it doesn't make you much of a human being does it?


The Salary Cap, a Rookie Pay Scale and the NFLPA

The week leading up to the Conference Championships, with all of its corresponding movement of coaches and executives, is a good time to take stock of two important bargaining points for the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA): 1) a rookie salary cap and 2) the traditional salary cap. Both of these issues relate to a more fundamental question—who are the union’s constituents when negotiating the CBA? Does the NFLPA represent each individual member, or “the players” as a group, and how does the group it represents affect the NFLPA’s negotiating strategy?

First, the current CBA provides a limited amount of cap space with which to sign first-year players (the “Entering Player Pool”). The Entering Player Pool is allocated to each team based on the number and position of their draft picks. The size of the pool varies yearly, increasing in proportion with the salary cap, but it will never be greater than 5% of the salary cap. Therefore, on average, a team will spend no more than 5% of player costs on rookies. In fact, Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post reported that the average team spends less than 4% of its cap space on rookies. Therefore, rookie contracts, on average, do not pose a large burden on team cap spaces, except for a few picks at the top of the first round; however, those few picks are driving the current debate over rookie salary reform.

Second, the traditional salary cap performs two main functions, the first well known and the second a bit surprising. It creates a maximum amount of money a team can spend on its roster in a given year. It also guarantees players a large percentage of all revenue earned by the teams for their football operations. The salary cap has long been touted in the public as a way for owners to control costs and prevent “excess” spending by wealthy teams like the New York Yankees in baseball, while having the pleasant effect of increasing parity in the league. The other, often unnoticed, effect is guaranteeing players least 50% and up to 58% of all NFL revenue. The players have received an enormous piece of the proverbial pie. It is thus unsurprising to find out that the players were the group to demand the salary cap in the 1993 negotiations. One reason the public often overlooks this purpose of the cap leads to the final, and I believe unanswered issue—who does the NFLPA represent in CBA negotiations?

We tend to view professional sports unions as representing the individual athlete (the individual model) and not the group of members as a whole (the group model), and in a way this is true. For instance, the NFLPA represents individual athletes in grievances against teams or the league. However, the NFLPA’s constituent group becomes less clear when one looks at CBA negotiations. What is viewed as a “win” by one group of players is a “loss” for another; higher minimum salaries for veterans increases certain players’ wages while simultaneously putting others out of work (if teams do not value them at the minimum salary) and decreases the wages of certain other players (since more cap space is eaten up by older players). I contend that the public misses the idea of the salary cap increasing the pay for players precisely because we only see the NFLPA’s relationship to the players in the individual model, and not the group model. This is why people often cynically viewed Gene Upshaw as an agent for the league and not the players—the players do not individually have guaranteed contracts, so Upshaw must have failed. However, he did obtain a large amount of guaranteed money for the players as a group—up to 60% of all money earned by teams must be paid to players in the form of salary, benefits, and bonuses each year. Similarly, we view rookie contracts as too rich because of the prominence of contracts such as Jake Long’s and Matt Ryan’s deals, yet we do not view the entirety of rookie contracts taken together as a very small percentage of total player wages.

As the NFLPA searches for a new director to lead it through the next round of CBA negotiations, a rookie pay scale or salary cap and revisions to the traditional salary cap will be two of the most hotly debated issues. Whether the union subscribes to the individual or group model will greatly affect its positions. The salary cap currently guarantees a large amount of revenue to the players, but prevents certain superstars from earning A-Rod type contracts—an individually focused union may try to lift the cap and get huge paydays for the top earners. A group-centered union, on the other hand, will continue to demand high revenue guarantees, regardless of the form they take. Similarly, any changes to the rookie pay system will depend on whether the union looks out for each individual rookie (and its right to as high a salary as possible) or the rookies as a group (and its right to higher guaranteed revenue percentages).

Reality Distortion Field

Steve Jobs is dying. Those opaque press releases might satisfy him, but everyone knows the truth now. Jobs is a goner. I predict he will be gone by the end of the year.

When Jobs dies, Apple will die. They won't die immediately, but they are done as a company. It will become bureaucratized and quaint sort of like AOL is these days. Probably be bought out by Microsoft or Google. And so it goes. . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Robbie the Rotund

Rob got a new paddock today - well an old paddock really, an area that we cut a few bales off but there is a lot of standing hay around the outside. I took the camera out with me and took the opportunity to take some photos. He's quite, er, well covered at present but he needed moving and there can't be too much goodness in the standing hay .. can there??

The good news is that he should be under saddle soon and then the hard work will begin! He's such a lovely, kind boy - always so quiet and gentle. We're really very lucky to own such a gorgeous animal.

What's so funny boys?
My two boys
Pair of posers
Sharing a story perhaps?
In other news, Bella left for her new lease home today. She has not gone too far and is carrying a very special baby for her lease owner, Sarah. I am sure she is in great hands. We're going to be down on numbers this winter but it might be nice to have things a little bit easier for a while.

Bados is a little the worse for wear after sustaining a kick injury this week. I put him on antibiotics and bute today after his knee swelled to near football size overnight - bugger it! The good news however is that he is completely sound on it, at walk at least. Rory had a bit of a sulk when we took his new best friend out and spent the first 10 minutes calling for him at the gate. The lure of the milk bar however became too strong and he soon forgot about his worries. Silly foal.