Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Field Notes: A 2008 Obama Team Then And Now

It was early September 2008. Obama, by then widely regarded as the frontrunner in the general election, was campaigning from atop one of the most sophisticated, fully conceived political organizations this country has ever seen. An old college acquaintance of mine who was working for the campaign, Emily Thielmann, sent an email to a few friends saying her regional field director was looking to hire an additional field organizer. A mutual friend forwarded me the email, which I initially ignored, having little interest in quitting my job and moving to the small, mostly rural county in the thumb of Michigan where the office was. A few days later I was [...]


Why the "GameDay" Guys' Deal with Nike Matters for College Football

So it appears that some of ESPN's on-air personalities—namely, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso—have "deals with Nike that Corso described as a joint arrangement that largely involves speaking engagements for the athletic shoe and apparel company." Along with Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, the men are the faces of ESPN’s "College GameDay," a weekly college-football showcase that airs Saturday mornings in the fall before the early slate of games begins.

In the tepid wake of the New York Times article, there's been some criticism of the three men, although no one I’ve read has gone so far as to feign shock. This is ESPN [...]


The Wonder and Terror (Mostly Terror) of College Football

1869 was a banner year for the United States of America. The stench of flickering, saliva-soaked tobacco and here-one-moment-gone-the-next whiskey bottles drifted through the halls of Grant’s White House. Slick city speculators unsuccessfully conspired to exploit the federal government’s precarious finances and corner the gold market. Insufferable party-pooper Wayne Wheeler, who would spend his life stone cold sober and crying like a baby, was born. And the first college football game was played.

Students from Rutgers College and the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton, met on a field in New Brunswick, New Jersey. They played a game few would recognize today, or even a week later, [...]


Why Is The NBA Draft Our "Two Minutes' Hate"?

There was no reason for me to be at the NBA Draft. I cover the San Antonio Spurs, which had the 20th and 49th picks in the draft. Any players drafted that late weren't even likely to be there (the Spurs selected James Anderson and Ryan Richards, neither of which were). Any player drafted that late is not likely to have a significant impact on his team (although, in Anderson, the Spurs may have plucked some starting-caliber wheat from amidst the chaff). And any player that did happen to be there was either too well coached or too nervous to say anything of interest. (Every interview I have [...]


JTF-GTMO: Exclusionary Rules

I was in line at the jerk chicken joint with a few reporters and the gaggle of human rights attorneys that had come down for the hearings. The night was hot but soft. There weren't that many bugs considering the humidity. We were having a casual conversation, about what exactly I don't remember, when one of the attorney's eyes widened.

I turned to see her embrace a slender Asian woman, early 30-something, who was accompanied by a pair of lanky, benign-looking fellows. The interaction seemed harmless enough but, secretly, it was terribly awkward. I should have expected as much. What kind of person do you happen to run [...]