Monthly Archives: August 2010

Fan Shares For Arsenal

KAREN PATEL:Arsenal FC have announced a great way to get fans involved with how their club is run: The Arsenal Fan Share Scheme. Supporters pay a minimum of £100 to own part of a share of their club. This gives them stakeholder rights including the opportunity to attend the AGM and vote on club policy.

In theory, it is a very nice idea, and Arsenal are sure to avoid the type of animosity that the owners of Manchester United and Liverpool recieve, and with good reason, may I add.

MIKE CUMMINGS: Let’s be honest here: This is a PR move, pure and simple. Sure, Arsenal fans can now buy a small stake in their club, but it’s so tiny that, even if tens thousands of supporters get in the act, it’s not going to make a lick of difference to the club as a whole. Continue reading

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Education Reform: Possible? Advisable?

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, supports making certain kinds of “data” about teachers available to the parents of their students – specifically, data intended to show how well those teachers are doing at raising test scores. This, according to California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss, is “a market-driven approach to results.” All well and good, but – what “results”?

ALLISON REILLY: Never mind what these results are, but what are parents going to do with these results? First, providing such data presumes that the parent’s care and will do something about it, when it’s already an incredible difficulty to get parents to attend parent teacher conferences and invest in the education of their children. Continue reading

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Facebook and Hate Speech (And Breasts)

HOWARD MEGDAL: Facebook has every right to limit speech on their site. But that doesn’t mean they should, even if it is so-called hate speech. And believe me: I’m no fan of Holocaust-deniers.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: The right to kick customers out if they don’t like what you’re saying or doing is wielded liberally by restaurant and nightclub owners everywhere; it is also the right of librarians, even though libraries are public. Thus, I don’t really have a problem with Facebook’s administrators taking measures to censor or disallow certain types of content, as long as they are fairly consistent with regard to removing content that is fairly universally offensive. The problem is, they aren’t.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: A private entity (including even a publicly-traded company) can make its own rules/allowances/proscriptions, as long as those do not violate the legally protected rights of persons. But freedom of speech is not something that has no limits. Recall that one does not have the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded playhouse (or, for that matter, “Play!” in a crowded firehouse). I don’t have to let a visitor to my house deny the Holocaust. Facebook doesn’t have to let subscribers say anything they want.

Continue reading

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In Briefs: Gay Marriage and Breakfast Anytime

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I would like to come out strongly against two of the most corrosive concepts in our culture today: gay marriage, and restaurants that serve ‘breakfast anytime’. Marriage should ONLY be between one man and one woman, and breakfast should be served ONLY between the hours of 6am and 10am. If anyone sees a second side to this issue, I would be glad for them to challenge me.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I couldn’t disagree more with you, Molly. I see these two issues quite differently. Marriages should only be performed between 6am and 10am, and breakfast should only be eaten by one man and one woman. Like The Bible says.

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: I’m concerned that all those breakfast-anytime heretics will simply go to Canada for their late-night breakfasts. Not only would this result in precious tourism dollars going to Canada, but they might bring back questionable food practices, like Canadian bacon and poutine. Jesus turned water into wine, not gravy! Continue reading

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Howard Dean: No Friend to Democrats

HOWARD MEGDAL: I’ve had it with Howard Dean. I’ve had it with the impolitic statements, with the sense of entitlement that seems to come from a single, failed presidential campaign, and I’ve had it with the idea that Dean represents much of anything within the Democratic Party. And his opposition to the Cordoba House is just the final straw.

DAVE TOMAR: Howard Dean was, for a time in 2004, the man of the hour. So many of us gravitated toward Dean for his bold antiwar stance, his no nonsense demeanor and the fact that he seemed less likely to be a re-animated corpse than John Kerry. So what if he seemed to be kind of a dick. Continue reading

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Carmelo Anthony’s Value

HOWARD MEGDAL: Carmelo Anthony’s value to the Knicks is such that they should trade whomever it takes to get him, and give him a max contract, without thinking twice.

ALEX PREWITT: There’s no doubting Carmelo Anthony’s ability as a top-flight NBA player. Through seven seasons after leading Syracuse to the NCAA Championship, ‘Melo has never averaged under 20 points per game and has led the Nuggets to the playoffs in all seven years. But with rumors swirling regarding his imminent departure from the Rocky Mountains and Anthony’s pending free agency next summer, we can expect that some squad will throw a gaudy contract at ‘Melo to make him the cornerstone of the franchise. But does he belong in the elite level of players deserving of a max salary, or in the upper echelon of NBA studs along with fellow ’03 draftees LeBron James and Dwyane Wade? Continue reading

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The Right Age to Start Wearing Makeup

ZOË RICE: Much more often than not, little girls want to be as girly as can be. Even if their parents steer them toward train sets, they want the dollies. I remember my Crayola makeup set–a bright red lipstick crayon and a bright light blue eye shadow crayon. I’m sure I looked like a painted hooker in that stuff. But oh, how I loved my cheap Crayola makeup.

SARA WELSH: Makeup should be explored and experimented with, but with the instruction and care of adults at a middle school age.

KATE KOWSH: Using my own eyeliner-rific high school yearbook photos as a cautionary tale to avoid retroactive self-loathing and uncleansable shame, I’d say the appropriate age to apply make-up for girls (and guys too, if they so choose) is too subjective to quantify numerically. But, perhaps wedging in a ‘defensive applying course’-type curriculum into a personal health class near you couldn’t hurt-what with all the competing information being batted around and all. Continue reading

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Brett Favre’s Return

KRYSTEN OLIPHANT: You know, I drove past Brett Favre’s compound – err, home – last weekend on the way to a wedding in Hattiesburg, Miss., and it explained everything about that man. His estate is a large piece of property (untold acres, actually) surrounded by not only a thick of trees so dense that you can’t even tell what color his actual house is, but also this giant, lit up fence with columns lining Interstate 55.

MIKE CUMMINGS: I’m not sure there’s a counterpoint here. Does anyone like Brett Favre — or LeBron James, for that matter — anymore? Is anyone interested when ESPN breaks into a rerun of First Take to breathlessly bring us the news that Brett Favre is having ketchup with his eggs this morning? Well, apparently so, because they keep showing it, and if ESPN is good at anything, it’s knowing what its audience wants. So what are we to make of this latest round of nonsense from a formerly well-respected, transcendent athlete? Continue reading

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Letter to Harry Reid

HOWARD MEGDAL: Dear Harry Reid, I just wanted to thank you for weighing in by opposing the Ground Zero Mosque that is neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque. As a Jew to a Mormon, I can’t imagine creating a climate of religious intolerance can come back to bite either of us! Bravo.

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: Dear Harry Reid: Despite the massive uptick in patients visiting our local hospital complaining of right-sided whiplash after your mosque-related comments, I absolutely could not agree more with your statement that the “Ground Zero” “mosque” should be built “someplace else.” In fact, as a Wiccan Shaman Druid who is New Age through and through, I believe I speak for all my siblings in Gaia when I say that Park 51 – like all other places of actual or potential worship – should be built “someplace else.” Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week Five in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Well, at least Betty’s back in all of her frustration tucked deep beneath the pins in her perfectly styled hair. Errant ringing telephones begin yet another episode of “Mad Men”‘s Season 4 and the chaos continues strolling expectantly through its fifth episode, spinning a cane and stopping every so often to light up a Lucky Strike. Episode 5 of this season did not leave me floored and emotionally linked with with the characters I care about so deeply. It was almost as if someone had taken the perfectly slick hair of the anonymous man in the opening titles and messed it up, stripped him naked, and shoved him back into his sofa with his cigarette. And the audience has the opportunity to be shocked, over and over again, slapped in the face by Betty Francis and furrowing one’s brow at an off-color insult, and we’re going to take that opportunity whether we like it or not.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Clearly, this episode declared that, whatever Don Draper’s faults and weaknesses are, 1965 was filled with people who had far more pronounced versions of all of them. Once again, Don has been set up as a relative hero. Like Sonia, I thought the seams were showing a bit in this episode- very unlike Mad Men generally. Continue reading

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