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Now For The Good News ………………..


Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?

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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . BBC.co.uk …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..

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Baseball, Bud Selig & Bob DuPuy, Frank & Jamie McCourt, Jeff Wilpon, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, New York Mets, Sports

Three Strikes And You’re Out


Three Strikes And You’re Out

Well the baseball season is almost upon and already there’s a number of stories that have come to the fore. Februrary 14thh pitchers and catchers report for duty at their Spring Training venues and the 26th for all remaining players . And while I’ll be looking forward to seeing a number of teams in the preseason games scheduled for them. It will be interesting to see whether or not the San Francisco Giants can make a successful defense of their World Series title. I certainly know this, they were thoroughly deserving of their win in the defeat of the Texas Rangers .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while the regular season has yet to begin there is a great deal of turmoil that’s going on within the game and it’s patently obvious that Commissioner Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy are completely out of their depth. The acrimonious divorce of billionaire real estate mogul Frank McCourt has essentially placed the Los Angeles Dodgers at risk as the courts have sided with McCourt’s ex wife Jamie in a ruling that splits the baseball team as a communal asset.

Frank McCourt as the principal owner of the ball-club insists that he has no intention of selling the team and he also insists that his wife cannot contribute in the day to day operation of the organization . Clearly Frank McCourt has no belief in the rule of law and what has made the situation all the more unbelievable has been the lengths and depths McCourt went to in trying to cheat his wife out of a share in the team. In essence he induced his wife into signing a document that had no bearing on the team’s operations but somehow that same document then shows that in part agreed that she wasn’t a stakeholder in the Dodgers. And here was I thinking that this sort of corruption was only conducted within the halls both US Congress and Senate ? Boy was I ever so wrong ! McCourt’s machinations and maneuvers make those of the members of the legislative chambers seem like a romp in the park.

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Dodger divorce: New lawyers for Frank McCourt, and for his old law firm

February 7, 2011 | 12:44 pm

With the possibility that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt could blame Bingham McCutchen should he lose control of the team, the Boston-based law firm has retained a high-powered firm with expertise in defense against legal malpractice suits.

Bingham has hired Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, based in Los Angeles and described in the American Lawyer magazine last year as “a top choice for law firms in need of their own rescue, particularly in malpractice litigation.”

McCourt, meanwhile, has hired a premier New York attorney to replace Bingham as the Dodgers’ outside counsel.

A Bingham spokesperson said the firm had “asked Gibson Dunn to advise us concerning various matters of California law related to the ongoing situation.”

“I think Bingham needed third-party advice from somebody who did not have anything at stake,” said Michael Dempsey, a Century City attorney specializing in legal malpractice but not involved on the McCourt case.

McCourt and Bingham parted ways in December after a judge threw out a marital property agreement that would have granted him sole ownership of the Dodgers. However, Bingham retained Kevin Rosen, chairman of the Gibson Dunn legal malpractice defense group, before the judge’s ruling and for experience beyond malpractice law, according to a source familiar with the McCourt divorce proceedings.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety .

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are a financial mess as the team has amassed a debt in excess of $800 million but what makes the team so value is its history , legacy and the fact that it is in the country’s second largest advertising market . That may well saving grace for the team if it at all to survive and any pursuer of the team with a view to buying had better be ready to up the ante and at the same assure the fans that they’re in it for the long haul should Frank McCourt be pressed into the selling of the team.

It’ll be interesting to see what public statements will be forthcoming from the commissioner’s office before the dust has settled on the Dodgers and this mess. Selig through his spokesperson Bob DuPuy has said that they would closely monitor the situation. Well now the shit has hit the crapper and it’s time for action , if not from the commissioner , then from someone within the game’s hierarchy. At stake is the financial stability and viability of the organization. And what might be even more troubling may well be the image being created by this all and how it is being perceived by the fans. God knows after the horrid season by the team and the fact that Joe Torre essentially bailed on the organization , I’ve got to ask where do the Dodgers now go from here ?

It’s been strange to think it has been over three decades since the New York Mets won a World Series title . In that time the team has been essentially inept while from a financial standpoint they’ve essentially spent money on bringing high priced free agents who essentially have been busts in the same way that the Obama administration has spent countless billions of taxpayers’ monies without any real oversight and barely anything tangible in return to show for it all. I guess you could say that GM may well say finally is paying its way but that’s been solely down to the fact that the company is now more profitable outside North America than it is on its domestic soil. That if anything should tell you all you need to know about the company as a whole at this juncture. And that other blood sucking entity that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking & Finance Committee saw fit to bail out AIG the insurance and financial behemoth that essentially gobbled up close to $200 billion ( $200,000,000,000) the way that a vacuum cleaner sucks up dirt off an uncleaned rug.

The company still isn’t out of the woods as of yet even though it has paid back several billion dollars the fact of the matter is the taxpayer is still owed in excess of $120 billion which the government as such has a stake in company as an equity stakeholder. My own personal feeling was that the company should have been split up and sold off in parts as seen fit by the US Bankrupcty Courts . But as we know Congress and its ‘paymasters’ (lobbyists) march to the beat of a different drum . How else can you explain the fact that a small business can’t obtain a loan from a commercial bank much less the government’s own financially backed SBA (Small Business Administration) but yet a totally morally bankrupt financial concern can essentially get billions of dollars single handedly at the drop of a hat ? I’m still waiting for an explanation from Barack Obama , Geithner or any of the idiots who sit on the House Banking Committee and Senate Banking & Finance Committee .
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Courtesy of Reuters

Ex-NY governor Cuomo to mediate $1 billion Mets-Madoff suit

(Reuters) – Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor, was named as mediator in the $1 billion legal battle between the owners of the New York Mets baseball team and the trustee for victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland appointed Cuomo, the father of current New York governor Andrew Cuomo, late Thursday afternoon, saying the dispute presented “special issues” that required “an appropriately experienced mediator.”

Irving Picard, the trustee, is seeking to recover roughly $300 million of “fictitious” profits as well as principal from Sterling Equities Inc, which controls the Mets, and its officials including Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.

The trustee contends that the team owners long ignored red flags about Madoff’s estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Wilpon and Katz have maintained that they too were Madoff victims.

Picard and the Mets principals had been in talks about a settlement, but talks broke down after details of the lawsuit, which had been filed under seal in December, leaked. Wilpon has said he may sell part of the team because of the litigation.

Mario Cuomo, 78, was a mediator before serving as New York’s governor from 1983 to 1994. He is now a lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.

As mediator, Cuomo can try to bring Picard and the Mets principals together, but cannot force them to settle.

The case is Picard v. Katz et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-ap-05287.

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As I alluded to earlier the New York Mets have been a mess but now more than ever team owner Fred Wilpon and his family face a civil suit in the US District Courts that seeks $350 million in damages and a further sum of between $400 to $600 million in punitive damages . The reason behind the suit is that the Wilpons profited from these funds that were gained dubiously through the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme that defrauded countless thousands out of some $59 billion ($59,000,000,000) . Madoff is now serving a 125 year sentence in a Federal Penitentiary for his crimes . It’d appear that Fred Wilpon and many of his family members were one of the major recipients from this scheme but through their legal counsel they now contend that they too were victims of Madoff’s fraudulent activities. Somehow over the two decades that Madoff’s scheme went on the family seemed to have been recipients of the scheme’s largess rather than a victim. Now in the face of this civil suit the front office will have a decision to make . Do they divest themselves complete of the team or do they sell a minority stake as a way of having some ready made liquidity ? Martin Luther King III and a consortium have approached the Wilpon family about buying a 20% -25% stake in the team and though the figure is said to vary between $275million to $300 million.

One can easily see the mess that has been created here and the very fact baseball’s hierarchy is completely out of touch with the reality and financial stability of its game. I’ve always felt that Selig and the team owners simply will drink from the well like a starved animal until it is dry. And there lies the problem within the league. There’s simply not enough water in the well for everyone to drink from. And while most certainly the likes of the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies can simply buy their way out of trouble that’s not the case of the vast majority of the teams within baseball.

These are some of the inherent problems that the game faces and one which the owners , league hierarchy and MLBPA (union) don’t wish to address in public with a openly frank statement . MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner hasn’t addressed the issue when broached on the subject and we shouldn’t expect anything else from either party at this juncture.

The funny thing is that the more I read the pieces concerning the game no one really wants to deal with the underlying issues that baseball faces. Certainly not from the standpoint as to why there’s such a wide margin between the haves and have nots within the game. The Wilpons and Steinbrenners of the world have it extremely easy when they can have their respective ballparks built for them at the taxpayers’ expense courtesy of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg . At a combined $2.355 billion ($2,355,000,000) both Citi Field , Yankee Stadium stand as cavernous edifices and a tribute to grand opulence and greed !

Many of the patrons would rather give you a deluge of information as to how they view a team and their chances of doing well in the season. Prognosticating while great , it’s essentially the same thing repeatedly being said by a number of people in different terms. Nothing new and nothing ever changes !

Once the MLB season starts there’ll be a great many stories to unfold we’ll see how things unfold for both the Mets and the Dodgers . I do believe however that those two stories could engulf the season and make us all realize how acute the situation is within the game. The very fact that Bud Selig stands around like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand gives you clear indication as to the sort individual he really is. Meanwhile the idiot writers who cover the sport simply drool like Cheshire cats licking their whiskers having drank a bowl of milk . And while the likes of Peter Gammons , Buster Olney , Tim Kurkjian a slew of other journalists and analysts who cover the sport simply cow tow to the league hierarchy like a slave in obeyance of their slave master . I simply wonder what the fans will think of this all ? More often than not they’re only concerned with the fate of their teams rather than the overall big picture .

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How do you now see things quite possibly panning out as to the fate of both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets ? And do you believe that the game of baseball would now be better off if Bud Selig were to immediate resign from his post as commissioner and someone with a real feel for all aspects of the game were to be installed in his place ? If so who would you prefer to succeed Selig in the post of commissioner ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter any other baseball related issue ?

Picture and slide show details
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(1) San Francisco Giants CEO Bill Neukom , center, shakes hands with manager Bruce Bochy , right, as general manager Brian Sabean , left, looks on during a baseball news conference at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. Neukom announced that the Giants have exercised contract options for both Sabean and Bochy for the 2012 season. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …..

(2) Arlington ,Tx,. (2) Edgar Renteria (16) of the San Francisco Giants hits a 3-run home run in the seventh inning against Cliff Lee (33) of the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP ……..

(3) Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers tries to break up a double play in front of Freddy Sanchez (22) of the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 30, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Doug Pensinger ………

(4) In happier times seen from left to right actor James Brolin, singer Barbra Streisand, Jamie McCourt and owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Frank McCourt watch Game Four against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 13, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images/ Harry How ……..

(5) Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt is seen here congratulating incoming coach Don Mattingly having assumed the position from Joe Torre seen left of the owner. Also seen in picture is the team’s general manager (far right) Ned Colletti . LA Times /Wally Skalij ………

(6) New York Mets owner and CEO Fred Wilpon, right, and COO Jeff Wilpon speak to the media during a news conference on Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, at Citi Field in New York. The New York Mets fired manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya on Monday, an expected shake-up of the big-spending ballclub after its second straight losing season. The Mets said a search is under way for a new GM, who will work with the team to hire a new manager. The organization eventually hired Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi to head the front office . In the wake of Manuel and Minaya’s firing Terry Collins was hired by the duo to manage the team . AP Photo / Jeff Wenig ……..

(7) Baseball managers Joe Torre , left, Lou Piniella , second from left, and Cito Gaston , right, join baseball commissioner Bud Selig at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010. AP / Roberto Gonzalez ……..

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😛

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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Amie

Eye candy ……………….. Amazin Amie …..yes sir she’s the cats’ meow !

Boy do I love what she’s doin’ with that hose !

Back that ass up baby back that ass up !

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Bob Marley …………….. “Natural Mystic “

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