Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: The Rams Shiv St. Louis

Happy Friday, folks.  Let’s get it on!

Voting clipart!
In Gallup's most recent analysis, 42 percent of Americans identify as independent, compared with 29 percent who say they are Democrats and 26 percent who say they are Republicans…
What's interesting is when you break out those independents. As we noted in August, most independents lean toward one party or the other — and in 2012, the majority of those leaning independents voted for their preferred party's presidential candidate. (According to the book "The Gamble," 90 percent of Democratic-leaning independents backed Obama in 2012, and 78 percent of Republican-leaning ones backed Romney.)
This drives me crazy.  What it really means is that the majority of Americans are choosing not to vote in their preferred party’s primary, but they are choosing to complain about the eventual nominee.
Whose fault is this?
It’s your fault for not voting in the primary.
It’s not hard to choose a political party, and your choice is non-binding.  Over the last two decades, I’ve been a registered member of both parties at one time or another, have voted for both parties’ nominees—sometimes in opposition to my actual party registration—and have voted party-line when I didn’t know much about local candidates.  I currently identify as Republican, but that is mostly so that I can vote in Connecticut’s state primary.  In November, I will vote in the General for whichever candidate best-serves my enlightened self-interest.
You should do the same.  Hell, everyone should do the same.  
The only thingt you should not do is refuse to cast a primary vote and then complain about the candidates.  Your chance to choose a candidate is now, during the primary process.
Ryan Coogler — whose Rocky sequel Creed earned rave reviews, some $119 million at the box office, and a Golden Globe for Sylvester Stallone — has been tapped to direct the superhero movie.
Black Panther will star Chadwick Boseman as the eponymous Black Panther, also known as T’Challa, prince of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Boseman will debut as the character in Marvel’s forthcoming tentpole movie Captain America: Civil War, in theaters May 6.
Concept art for Marvel's Black Panter
Good choice.  Creed was terrific, and it’s especially impressive the way Coogler followed the emotional beats of the original story without following the actual story-beats.
Creed was not a remake.  It was done very much in the style of the previous films, but it had its own story, and I’m sure Marvel was happy to find a director who’s likely to be similarly comfortable telling his own unique tale in their established house style.
The officials could not say exactly how much money was there or in what currency, but one described it as "millions."
Two 2,000-pound bombs destroyed the site quickly. But the longstanding impact may be even more significant. The officials said the U.S. plans to strike more financial targets like this one to take away ISIS's ability to function as a state-like entity.
This is interesting mostly because the kind of strike described here would be impossible against a true nation-state with a functional central bank and the ability to print its own currency.  However, ISIS doesn’t have that kind of implicit backing for its economy and is presumably using either gold or, more likely, a mix of gold and paper currency from other nations to fund its operations.  Paper currency can be destroyed, obviously, and to the extent that it cannot be replaced by the issuing bank, its value goes with it.  
Physically destroying gold is a little more problematic, but at a minimum, someone is going to have to dig the slagged metal out of the rubble if they want to convert it to hard cash at some point in the future.
“My goal is to ensure that the journalism traditionally provided by the printed newspapers is given a new life and prolonged, while new media formats for its distribution are being developed,” Mr. Lenfest said. “Of all of the ventures I have been involved with in my life, nothing is more important than preserving the journalism that has been delivered by these storied news organizations...”
The article notes that the entire industry is trending this direction, and that several other large newspaper organizations also operate as nonprofits.  
My $.02 is that this is probably a good trend long-term, that news media ought to serve the public interest first, and that this is a difficult mandate when providing for-profit content.  By contrast, a non-profit is beholden only to its mandate, which in this case is (presumably) public information and transparency.
NFL owners voted 30-2 Tuesday night to approve the relocation of the St. Louis Rams, ending a 21-year absence for the NFL in Los Angeles, the nation's second-biggest television market. The owners also gave the Chargers a one-year option to join them if they reach an agreement with Rams owner Stan Kroenke to share his proposed stadium in Inglewood, near the L.A. airport.
If the Chargers don't exercise that option, the Oakland Raiders, the third team that applied for relocation, would then be given the opportunity.  The league also will offer $100 million to the Raiders and Chargers for a new stadium in their current markets if a binding stadium agreement is approved by the NFL by next January or possibly later.
Et tu, Chargers?
The NFL is hoping it gets three new stadiums built in one fell swoop. It's got Kroenke's massive $1.86 billion complex in Inglewood [outside Los Angeles]. With any luck, Spanos and the Chargers will take the $100 million and get the necessary public funding to get a new stadium approved in San Diego within a year. Then, after the Chargers say "thanks, but no thanks" to moving to Inglewood, the Raiders have an additional year – taking them to the end of 2017 – to use their $100 million to get a new stadium in Oakland. (And if the Raiders don't get it done, they can move into Inglewood with the Rams.) And there you have it. Three new stadium approvals in three NFL markets in the span of little more than two years. And one of the three happens to be a gargantuan in Los Angeles.
I will add two things:
1. It makes far more sense for two teams to share a stadium the way that the Jets and Giants do in New Jersey than for all three teams to build wholly new arenas.  Having one from the NFC and one from the AFC also makes sense—especially compared to having two from the AFC West in the Chargers and Raiders.  The best possible outcome—for the League as a whole—is probably the one postulated by Yahoo!, moving the Rams and Raiders back together while keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
2.  If the Chargers do move to Los Angeles, they’re dead to me.  As it is, I’ve remained a fan from my days watching Dan Fouts back when my dad was stationed at Camp Pendleton.  I’ll not follow the team to LA, though.  They’ll lose me forever.
No Star Wars this week.  Did you miss it?

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