Are Academics BS in BCS rankings?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to address America’s annual December controversy, college football’s selection of the top team in the nation (a.k.a., the BCS).

As an older sibling and parent, I know that there is no such thing as perfect fairness. But the BCS could do more to create a more level playing field to reflect the academic imbalances among teams.

You have to be an MIT grad to understand the imperfect formula employed by the BCS to calculate (weekly) the most recent records, margins of victory, and strengths of schedules of each team. Then, polls of sportswriters and coaches are factored in, and the two top-ranked teams play for the national championship.

What is missing from the formula are the academic standards of each school, particularly how academically challenging it is to be accepted. This has a direct impact on recruiting, as Stanford and UCLA, who lead the Pac-10 conference in acceptance requirements, have discovered in recent years. Many of their prospects have instead enrolled at Arizona St., Oregon St., and even Cal.

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Make Your Wildest Dreams Come True at the Waste Management Board

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

As I throw my name in the ring for an appointment to the Integrated Waste Management Board, I am inspired by Homer Simpson’s slogan during his run for Springfield’s Sanitation Commissioner: “Can’t someone else do it?”

Some of you may prefer Pedro Sanchez’s line in Napoleon Dynamite (the Citizen Kane of Generation Y political thrillers), “vote for me, and your wildest dreams will come true.” I like that one, too, but have never figured out what the movie is really about.

I must confess that I was not interested in this job until I read about IWMB board members being compensated $132,178 for only 12 days of meetings per year.

Come to think of it, I already know something about waste management. I have a compost bin at home and use it to dispose of garden and food waste every few days. Each time, I like to take a minute and watch the bugs eat my old banana peels and yard trimmings before I pour another bucket full of food waste in there.

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Hey, academics and sports can mix!

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Florida State isn’t the football powerhouse it used to be, but the story of its star safety Myron Rolle is an inspiration. Yesterday, the 3.75 CGP pre-med major, who graduated in just two and a half years, earned a Rhodes Scholarship.

Rolle arrived at Florida State as one of the nation’s top recruits. I am jealous that UCLA, which has a tradition of producing All-Americans at that position, did not land him. Rolle, who moonlights doing cancer research while aspiring to be a neurosurgeon, is a role model in every sense of the term.

However, I think his defensive coordinator should be fired and banned from coaching for his comment last year criticizing him for letting school interfere with his football. What a jackass!

While Florida State has recently dismissed several key players from the team for poor academic performance and suspended others for participating in a lunchroom brawl, Rolle is tutoring kids from the Seminole tribe reservation and studying to be a doctor, a profession this world need more people to pursue.

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Prop. 8, Mao, Lenin & Newsom

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Folks on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate should consider the words of Gavin Newsome and John Lennon.

For Prop. 8 supporters: "It’s gonna happen…Whether you like it or not."

For Prop. 8 opponents: "If you go around carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow."

More and more Americans, and therefore more and more states, are going to recognize the marriages between adults of the same gender. Whether you like it or not, same-sex marriages are now legal in Connecticut, and surely more states are going to legalize it either through the courts or through ballot initiatives.

Here in Los Angeles, I have been watching the Prop. 8 protests with interest. Passionate rallies have been held in front of the Mormon Church, L.A.’s Cathedral, and even our city’s worst Mexican restaurant (but great margaritas) because its manager contributed $100 to Prop. 8.

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Notes on a political scorecard

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Surely, Election Night belonged to Barack Obama. Nobody else better understood the mood of the country, which served him well along with an unprecedented amount of campaign cash.

Sen. John McCain’s gracious concession speech brought back memories of the old John McCain, the class act and dedicated public servant who was not too long ago widely respected by Americans across the political spectrum. Why didn’t we see more of the old John McCain the past few weeks?

The other winners of this election include Joe the Plumber, who I expect to land a lucrative talk-show host assignment soon, and Gavin Newsom, who coined the most memorable line of California’s election season and earned increased street cred among the state’s liberals who will select the next Democratic nominee for governor in 2010. Oh yeah, I almost forgot Tina Fey, who can now return to 30 Rock.

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Socialists of the GOP unite!

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

This week, the McCain/Palin ticket has been using the term "Socialist" over and over to describe the positions of their Democratic rivals. (Although today, McCain returned to the Bill Ayers theme).

So, when Gov. Palin accuses Sen. Obama of being a Socialist is she saying that Alaska’s system where every resident of her state receives a $1,000 check from the oil companies who drill there is not Socialist? If they don’t work for the oil companies, why do they deserve a generous check for just living there?

Is Sen. McCain also calling for America to dissolve its most Socialist program—Social Security? He used to mention the idea of privatizing Social Security, but I don’t hear anybody talking about that in this volatile market.

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What Happened to Country First?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

This nation is facing its worst economic period in generations as the GOP’s candidate is avoiding real issues and increasingly sounding like the grouchy grandparent you hate to visit.

Although he didn’t have the courage to bring up William Ayers in his debate with Barack Obama, John McCain and his running mate brought it up at every campaign appearance this week.

Despite being born after the 1960s, I have been familiar with the Weathermen’s despicable acts and know which Bob Dylan song inspired their name. Until this year, I had never heard of William Ayers, however, and I’ll bet Sarah Palin hadn’t either.

It appears that Obama’s and Ayers’ paths crossed as neighbors and opinion leaders involved with public policy in Chicago, but it doesn’t sound like they were "palling around" as Gov. Palin likes to say.

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Is McCain too brash and indecisive?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Considering that Sen. McCain had not officially decided on whether to attend the first presidential debate until the night before, I guess he expected Sen. Obama and others to commend him for his courage in leaving a Congressional debate on the Wall Street bailout that he had no role in, and probably not much knowledge about either.

Again and again, Sen. McCain labeled his rival as naïve and inexperienced. Each time he suggested Sen. Obama didn’t understand how the political world works, I could not help but think of his own naive and inexperienced running mate.

Just last week, conservative columnist David Brooks wrote that Gov. Palin "has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.”

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At fault, Metrolink fires its messenger.

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Within 48 hours of the fatal Metrolink crash Friday afternoon in Chatsworth, the transit agency’s board of directors dumped its top spokesperson, Denise Tyrrel, over a dispute on how information was shared with the media.

That’s a shame because I found her candor and visibly emotional distress over the tragedy refreshingly human while she quickly provided information that was painfully obvious—a Metrolink engineer screwed up.

Like many other Angelenos, I spent several hours over the weekend looking for news updates on the Metrolink crash in Chatsworth. Unlike other fatal accidents that occur in Los Angeles regularly, this crash seemed different to me, and with Denise Tyrrel, I felt the pain she was experiencing and a sense of guilt that a colleague at her agency had not done his job. Her honesty and human emotions moved me and I am sure thousands of other Angelinos whose hearts went out to the victims’ families.

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Does Palin help or hurt McCain?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

There are so many qualified and experienced Republicans out there, many of whom would have complimented Sen. John McCain’s perceived lack of domestic policy expertise such as Charlie Crist, Linda Lingle and Tim Pawlenty. Each of these governors is politically battle tested in states that are not all that red, and each of them has shown tendencies to be consensus builders. Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson would have been solid picks to be McCain’s running mate, too, and don’t forget Meg Whitman.

I am sure that Sen. McCain thought he was making a wise move by selecting Gov. Sarah Palin to shore up his conservative base and to show undecided women voters that they could count on him to further “crack the glass ceiling” in a direct appeal to Sen. Clinton’s supporters.

Yet, for probably every dissatisfied Hillary Clinton supporter, I suspect that their decisions on Election Day will come down to one issue—the Supreme Court. I don’t believe for a minute that any of Sen. Clinton’s supporters are willing to support McCain knowing that the next president will most likely determine whether Roe v. Wade is overturned or not.

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