Archive for November, 2011


By: Martin Rand, III
Date: November 14, 2011


The NBA owners’ Wednesday deadline for the National Basketball Players Association to accept the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) proposal has come and gone, with no announcement from the NBPA that they will accept it. Even though the two sides met Thursday and Friday, they couldn’t get a deal done and it looks like we won’t see any NBA action for a very long time.

NBPA President Derek Fisher and the rest of the players have the power to stop the lockout, but they continue to choose not to.

I’ve read a lot of reports about what’s going on at these meetings and what both sides want in the new CBA. Thanks to USAToday.com, I’ve read the entire owners proposal to the players. From what I can see, the main points of disagreement revolve around:

  1. The BRI Split
  2. The Salary Cap/Tax System
  3. Maximum Length of Contracts

Of course, both sides have contributed to keeping this lockout extended into the regular season, but which side should hold more stake than the other? To me, the answer is obviously the players.

I’m usually all for the “many” standing up to the “few elite,” and I was initially on that stand in this situation as well. But, as time went on, and I began to think about it and hear more about the situation, I realize want the players want out of this deal makes no sense to me.

My main gripe with them is the Basketball Related Income (BRI) split. The NBPA managed to get 57% of the split in the last CBA. The owners say they lost a lot money because of this and they want to reduce the split to 50-50; or have a conditional agreement, where the NBPA receives between 49-51% of the split depending on the amount of revenue generated for that given year.

This seems more than fair. Either both sides get the same amount, or if the league does well, the players get more of the split. Why must this be so hard to compromise on?

But, giving that it’s taking so long to agree to this, I’m guessing the NBPA doesn’t want either. No, they’d rather put the whole season on hold, or bring it to an end, just to get a guaranteed 51% or 52%.

I saw a report that said each percentage is worth about $13 million dollars, so I understand the difference between the percentages. But, in my mind, I feel like the owners deserve that money more than the players do.

The NBPA wants that extra money to give to their current players and for their future players. But, that’s all. The owners have to run an entire league. They have to not only pay the players. They have to pay the coaching staff, front office staff, security guards, concession stands, the electric, water, gas bill and etc. Of course, some of that 1% or 2% will go in the pockets of the owners; but majority of it will actually go to keeping the league running and that’s what I agree with it.

Basketball is by far my favorite sport and I really want to see the NBA get back to business; and if agreeing to this current proposal will save a 72-game season, then why not agree to it? America’s economy has taken a huge nose-dive since 2005 (when the last CBA was agreed to) and the owners have to keep the league going. Fortunately for the players, they can’t just get fired like other people in this country, so just accept the deal.

I hate when I hear players on TV and Twitter say, “we really want to get a deal done so we can get back on the court for our fans sake.” No they don’t. They want to get a deal that’s going to pay them the most money and this is the main reason why the NBA has yet to start.

I see the owners trying to bend over backwards to accommodate the players with more money, guaranteed contracts and more years on contracts; but I don’t see that same thing from the players in trying to help the Owners keep the league healthy and make it grow.

If the players really care about playing again, they would get some sense of urgency and realize that the league is in danger. They have to decide what’s more important: the growth of the league or the growth of their bank accounts.

The ball is in their court.


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Who do you think is more to blame for the extended NBA lockout?
The Owners
NBPA
  
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: November 8, 2011


Less than two months after Troy Davis, a man convicted of killing an off-duty cop in Savannah, Ga, was executed with little evidence against him, another man in Texas is going through a similar situation.

Henry Skinner is set to be executed. But are the courts about to kill an innocent man?

According to cnn.com, Henry “Hank” Skinner was set to be executed tomorrow for the 1993 killing of his girlfriend and her two adult sons. The only thing he’s hoping will stop the process is DNA at the crime scene, which he says isn’t his.

CNN writers Ashley Hayes and Bill Mears write:

“All the district attorney has got to do is turn over the evidence and test it, and let the chips fall where they may,” Skinner told CNN’s Kate Bolduan in 2009 in an interview from death row at the Polunsky Correctional Institution in Livingston, Texas. “If I’m innocent, I go home. If I’m guilty, I die. What’s so hard about that?”

On Thursday, the Texas trial court denied Skinner’s latest motion asking to have the crime scene items tested.

“We are deeply disappointed that the trial court has denied Mr. Skinner’s request for DNA testing,” Rob Owen, Skinner’s attorney, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the trial court’s order offers no explanation for its conclusion that DNA testing is not called for in this case.”

The case then went to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is Texas’ highest criminal court. Luckily for Skinner, the court granted him a stay of execution. This will give him and his lawyers more time to prove his innocence with the DNA.

This is an interesting case to me because it makes me think, why are the courts so eager to kill a man who could be innocent?

While there seems to be some evidence against Skinner, if he’s saying he’s innocent, why wouldn’t the courts want to look at every piece of evidence to make sure they’re taking the right life.

I’m pretty sure a lot of people on death row proclaim they’re innocence; but, if there is evidence to help possibly free a man, why does he have to go through hoops and hurdles just to get it tested?

In the coming days, as they begin to test the DNA for evidence, we could find out if it proves Skinner right and innocent.

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Should all evidence be tested to put someone to death?
Yes
No
Maybe
  
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: November 5, 2011


We have reached the halfway point in the NFL season and, so far, it has been a very entertaining season. Some teams have been surprising, for exceeding far past even their own expectations and for being so terribly bad they make the game of football unwatchable; and other teams have been the same bad they’ve always been.

Here are the best and worst players and teams in the first-half of the NFL season.

In this report, I’ll tell you about the most shocking teams and give out mid-season awards, to those players who have shown exceptional skill in the first half of the season. Awards are given based on current stats and teams are judged by their performance on the field.

NFL MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers GB

This was easy. The reigning Superbowl MVP picked up right where he left off last season. Not only is his team the only undefeated team left in the NFL, but he is playing at an exceptionally high level. He’s doing things that other greats have never done and it’s time to start considering him as, if not the best, one of the best in the league.

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Calvin Johnson DET

Calvin Johnson is another record breaker in the first-half. He is the first WR to catch two TDs in each of the first five games to start a season. The result, he now has 11 total TDs and is eyeing Randy Moss‘ record for most TD receptions in a season. Johnson has proved that he is the biggest offensive target when he steps on the field.

Defensive Player of the Year: SS George Wilson BUF

I know no one knows who this is, but he is a big part of the Buffalo Bills resurgence this season. He is the only player in the top three for total tackles, solo tackles and INTs. Add in a forced fumble and you have a player covering both the run and the pass at a high level.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: QB Cam Newton CAR

I was thinking Andy Dalton should get this because his team is winning; but, after seeing what Cam Newton is actually doing this year, it was clear he has been the best offensive rookie so far. Not only is he leading all rookies in passing categories, but he is in the top five of all rushing categories as well. Newton is carving up defenses with his arm as well as his legs. He just has to transfer his stellar play into wins for his team.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: OLB Ryan Kerrigan WAS

Ryan Kerrigan has done things that no other defensive rookie has done. He is the only rookie to be in the top six in tackles, INTs, forced fumbles and pass defended. Plus, he is the only rookie to score a defensive TD. Kerrigan is doing everything and anything he can to help the Washington Redskins win.

Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh SF

With virtually the San Francisco 49ers team Mike Singletary had last season, Jim Harbaugh has managed to equal the same number of wins they won all last season (6-10) in the first-half of this season (6-1). He has somehow managed to make former number one overall pick Alex Smith into a NFL QB and that itself is a coaching accomplishment. In his first year as a head coach, he looks as if he belongs on the sideline and he is proving it each Sunday.

Kicker of the Year: Jason Hanson DET

Many don’t think kickers are important but they play a big role in football games. In the first-half, no one has done a better job than Jason Hanson at using their feet to help their team. He is tied for most field goals made and is perfect on extra points. But, what sets him apart from other kickers is his work on kickoffs. He is in the top three in KO yards and touchbacks.

Best Shocking Team: Detroit Lions

This was an easy one for me. Nothing about the Lions has been good in over a decade. They’ve set record lows for being bad, like being the only team in the modern era to post a 0-16 record during the regular season. But this year, they got off to a 5-game winning streak, which combined with their winning streak to end last season set the franchise winning streak record. Plus, they’re just fun to watch. Whether their on defense, with Ndamukong Suh, or on offense, with Johnson, you just have a feeling that you’re going to see a highlight play on every possession.

Worst Shocking Team: Philadelphia Eagles

In a hetic off-season, they signed A LOT of the top free agents; so, they were dubbed the dream team. How did they respond? They just lost four of their first five games and looked nothing like the team we saw last season. With all their new additions, they had to learn the offense and defense, and it seems like their now getting the hang of it. By the end of the season, they could turn things around; but no team in the first-half has been as disappointing as the Eagles.

Ugliest Shocking Team: Indianapolis Colts

I knew the Colts weren’t going to be what they usually were. How could they? They lost Peyton Manning for the whole season and had no back-up ready to step in and play. I can understand all of that. But, what I can’t understand is why they are so horrible as a team. Yes, the offense was going to struggle, but how does that affect the defense? The least they could do is attempt to keep the Colts in a game, but they’re letting offenses run and pass all over them. I’ve never seen an offensive player effect the defense so much. This season proves that Manning should’ve won the MVP every year. With him, they’re a title contending, 11 or 12 game winning team. Without him, they’re winless and a disgrace to the professional game of football.


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Do you agree with the awards?
Yes
No
Some
  
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By: Martin Rand, III
Date: November 3, 2011


The “Paranormal Activity” franchise has done well for itself in the past three years. From being a simple little indie horror movie to setting the box office record for a horror movie on opening weekend, with its latest installment “Paranormal Activity 3“. According to ign.com, Paramount is planning on releasing a follow-up next year.

What should we expect from “Paranormal Activity 4”.

“I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t make a number four, and I imagine [Paramount Film Group president] Adam Goodman this morning is thinking about the challenge,” said Head of Domestic Distribution Don Harris. “I’m sure he’s thinking, ‘Now what do I do?'”

That’s a good question. What could they do now? So, I’ve thought about some ideas for “Paranormal Activity 4“.

SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FIRST, SECOND, OR THIRD MOVIE BUT PLAN ON IT, STOP READING NOW!

Follow the Grandmother’s Story

They could explore the grandmother’s involvement with the witches. The whole reason Toby (the spirit) is after the first male in the family is because of an agreement she, or someone older like her mother, made with Toby. What did the family get in exchange for the first-born male? What events lead to them making a deal with Toby?

Follow Hunter’s Story

Since the first three movies are about Toby getting Hunter, the baby in “Paranormal Activity 2“, the fourth film could be about what happens after the possessed body of Katie takes Hunter. At the end PA2, they leave the room, but we never see what happens after they leave. Did the possessed Katie make it out of the house with Hunter? Was Hunter able to grow up, and if so, what connection does he still have with Toby?

Follow Diane’s Story

In the first PA, Micah bought an Ouija board and Toby used it to spell out the name Diane. When Micah looked up who this could be, he found out a woman from the 60s named Diane had some of the same things happen to her. She was later killed during an exorcism. For the fourth movie, they could explore or flesh out the Diane character and how she relates to the family. What connection does Katie have to her? What did Diane do that would make Toby mention the name to them?

These are just a few of the options they could explore. I’m sure there are many more. All I hope is, whatever the makers decide to do, they don’t mess up the PA.

This next movie could either make or break the franchise. We’ve seen this happen in recent memory. Remember the former Halloween King franchise, “Saw“.

“Saw” burst on the scene much like PA. It was simple and low-budget with a good story. Then, “Saw II” was released with a better story and more characters. Then, “Saw III” and another sequel and another and another. By the end of it all, there were seven movies made and only the first three were really good and made any sense.

I really don’t want to see this happen to the PA franchise. If they try the same scary tricks as the first three movies or the fourth contradicts something previously mentioned, the franchise could be hurt forever. So Goodman, choose wisely.

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Which movie idea is best?
Follow the Grandmother’s Story
Follow Hunter’s Story
Follow Diane’s Story
Other
  
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