The Media


Unknown-1St. John’s hopeful Orlando Sanchez (above, l.)

So just when we had pronounced the program healthy, Jamal Branch, an important transfer contributor from Texas, who makes shots and rarely turns it over, goes down with a knee injury.  We aren’t saying that is the reason for dropping 4 out of 5, with the 1 win a lackluster job against USF, but St. John’s had played its best ball this year in games where Branch heavily contributed.

We aren’t gonna say that Lavin’s absence from the team had anything to do with it either, though it is true that Coach Lavin missed important road games at Syracuse and Louisville, which the team lost.  Truth be told, we pencilled those games in as losses long ago, and also, we thought Rico Hines did a good job filling in.  Those teams are just too good for us right now.   They know exactly how they want to play, they turn run outs and turnovers into dunks and layups with alacrity, and their home court edges are just too tough.  Both teams, no insult meant, just outclass St. John’s when it comes to coaching, leadership, recruiting, and shooting the basketball at this stage of our development under Lavin’s tenure.

In doing the calculus for the program to reach the dance, we thought yesterday’s game vs. Pitt at MSG was a must win, really, even if they had pulled off a miracle split with Louisville and Syracuse on the road.  St. John’s has to establish and protect home court as a program, especially when so many Big East kids come through as visitors, looking to put up big games at the Mecca.  Yesterday, St. John’s failed miserably, while only managing 20 points total in the 2nd half, and while converting on zero of 8 from downtown in that half of basketball.  Once again, we see the distinct advantage here in recruiting local kids, something that does not appear to be the top priority for this program, with all of its top scorers brought in from out of state.
It was St. John’s 3rd brutal loss at home at MSG, counting losses to Georgetown–which wasn’t close–and Rutgers, which was a horror show.  At this point, it’s hard not to look back at early non conference losses in which the Johnnies led, and at poor performances at MSG in conference, and not say, “what if we had won 3 or 4 more games?”

Villanova at Villanova was another terrible loss, though on the road, especially when one considers that the Wildcats now sit above us within the conference.  Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, an excellent coach, said after the game that to win a conference game by 16 on the road was a telling indicator as to the impressive nature of the win.  But then, what of the loss for St. John’s?  We thought that if St. John’s could score 65 yesterday, they’d win.  And we’re still waiting.  While St. John’s played better than expected against Louisville and Syracuse, it is deadly obvious that the Johnnies can not score.  Recently D’Angelo Harrison displayed a swollen finger, as an explanation for recent poor offensive performances, and it is true that St. John’s has no real shot in games like yesterday’s in which he does not break double digits.  But we can not blame Harrison, who always gives a giant effort.  The fact is this: the Red Storm does not make 3’s, they do not score in the paint, and they get woefully little done in transition despite usually playing excellent defense.  And there’s also the ugly business of their free throw shooting.

It must sound like we’re trashing them, which we don’t mean to do.  Are we disappointed with the loss?  Of course.  But moreso, these are the warts that plague the program, honestly put.  Now that the season has been essentially reduced to a formality, we may as well provide an early postmortem.  We can like Lavin while disagreeing with his recruiting philosophy and we can respect the mitigating factors that surround his time away from the squad while stating that he does miss more games, for whatever reasons, than any other coach in the country.

Also, we’re not about to go crazy either way for the plight of JC transfer Orlando Sanchez, despite the fact that he is a beast like four who would be guaranteed for a few monster blocks and dunks each game, among other things, who has already reached manhood at the age of 24.  For a kid over 21, the NCAA is clear on the rule that having played for his country’s national team in 2010, regardless of the amount of minutes or games played, his eligibility is exhausted.  That he has a good chance of winning his appeal, or any of the other pro St. John’s articles in this regard, are irrelevant.  In light of this fact, he obviously never should have been recruited.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/sports/ncaabasketball/orlando-sanchez-of-st-johns-seeks-review-of-ineligibility.html?_r=0

Should he be granted that year of eligibility, St. John’s, with a full compliment of returning players, and we would count heavily Jakarr Sampson, as well as Felix Balamou, Max Hooper, and Christian Jones (highly touted recruits who are yet to break into the rotation) St. John’s would appear extremely formidable on paper for next season.  If Sanchez is ineligible, we expect the program to successfully re-distribute that scholarship to a guy who can contribute in a real way who plays the four like Sanchez does.  Lavin has shown an uncanny ability to pull recruiting classes together last minute, and learning Sanchez’s fate this week would give him plenty of time.  But Lavin has also showed us last year how a class can fall apart late as well, which should not be the concern for next year, especially if there are no defections, since St. John’s is only looking at 2 new recruits, if Sanchez is in fact ineligible, which we’d hate to speculate on, as we hate to absolve St. John’s right now for recruiting another ineligible player.

But we can’t say we were happy to read earlier that the one 4 year scholarship we do have available is likely to go to another out of state product.  St. John’s will be better suited to Lavin’s full court style next year, when they won’t have to rely as much on smaller players who don’t get to the rim or make jump shots, or when they aren’t stuck over playing guys like Bourgault, who we feel is a very borderline player at a big time D1 school.

If St. John’s does not have to re-recruit the Sanchez spot and if Sampson stays put, we think the program takes a big step forward next year, especially as Obepka, a possibly dominant big, further develops.  We can’t get too crazy about if situations though, as anything is likely with Sampson, and if we had gotten sky high on Sanchez it would have been unwise, since the year has gone by and he hasn’t and may never suit up at all.  We are also unable to go crazy about the possible signing of Rysheed Jordan, who was called the best prospect in Phily today in the Daily News by “Hoops” Weiss.  We remember going crazy for Nurideen Lindsay last year and how that played out–a disappointment that Lavin turned into Jamal Branch.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/ncaa-basketball/forecast-storm-year-article-1.1272494

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/st-john-recruit-sanchez-retains-lawyer-argue-ineligibility-article-1.1271472

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/lavin-mastering-issues-court-article-1.1271959

Still, we are confident that the program will field an able bodied team despite possible defections, and while we are  upset over the dismal showing yesterday, we still have a very positive outlook concerning 2013-2014.  But we must refuse to get caught up in headlines as to what may or may not be.  Whatever fortunes are to come with this program reside squarely with Steve Lavin, and Lavin has proved adaptable, so if there are defections or ineligibilities to come, we’re confident that Lavin will turn them into contributors, much like the way he turned Lindsey into Branch.

Let’s Go Redmen!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Unknown

After the Ravens’ 28-13 win, Suggs absolutely unloaded on New England, telling Yahoo! Sports, “Tell them to have fun at the Pro Bowl. Arrogant f—-ers.”

He then directed his ire toward Bill Belichick, even bringing up the Pats’ championship dry spell since SpyGate.

“These are the most arrogant p—– in the world starting with (coach Bill) Belichick on down. … ever since SpyGate they haven’t been able to win.”’

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/suggs-ravens-lb-curses-patriots-article-1.1243825#ixzz2Id9FZMfZ

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-york-jets-too-bad-total-redux-not-afoot/

http://www.patriots.com/media-center/videos/Belichick-121-Missed-opportunities-story-of-game/4f6a9e7d-2bb0-4ff2-ba71-0cd9c519d25a

Buh buh blam blam!!!!  Word!!  Funny, real, and true.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Jets Stadium TourWoody Johnson (above), who should make that helmet a permanent component of his wardrobe.

There is no dysfunction quite like that Jet dysfunction.  There are no shit rosters quite like Jet shit rosters (anyone besides myself recall a wide receiver tandem of the little engine that could, Wayne Chrebet, and Arena football player Kevin Swayne?).  There are no blown second rounders like Jet blown second rounders (Browning Nagle, Mike Nugent, Vlad Ducasse, etc.).  Don’t even talk about the 1st round, where the Jets passed on Warren Sapp and once drafted Bryan Thomas over sure Hall of Famer Ed Reed.  But understand this: former owner Leon Hess, while not a football man, was an excellent businessman, was kind and benevolent, and oversaw the drafting of the team’s only franchise quarterback, Joe Namath, in its now 50+ year history, and subsequently, the Jets only Superbowl victory, the historic first ever Superbowl win for the American Football League, which helped force the merger that led to the formation of the NFL.

Did he make mistakes?  Too many to count.  Rich Kotite, anyone?  But Hess also hired Big Bill who led the organization to its most successful decade, sans the Superbowl, in its history.  Mr. Hess, which we call him out of respect, an earned title, was a self made man with courage and character, who, to carve out an empire in oil, had to negotiate with a gun barrel to his nose, and who cared so much for his employees that when Dennis Byrd was paralyzed during play, Hess paid out the rest of Byrd’s contract in full, immediately, and took an enormous personal interest in Byrd’s recovery.  Mr. Hess ensured Byrd would receive the very best medical care, essentially bequeathed him his personal aircraft, and sat with Byrd in the hospital every day for a year.

Once when asked of it, a candid Hess told a reporter that if he knew that a player could get injured so seriously in football, he “would have never bought the team.”  Upon Byrd’s recovery, at the press conference when he was released from the hospital, the former player uttered that most famous line, probably the most pride inspiring line associated with the Jets in all history, when he said, “I came to New York from Oklahoma a young Christian man.  Today I return to Oklahoma a young Christian man and a New York Jet.”

The current owner, Woody Johnson, who gets no respectful moniker from us, should not be viewed by anyone, most especially himself, through the illusory prism that wealth and power equate to success.  Johnson & Johnson had made billions long before Woody came to be.  Unlike Mr. Hess, Woody inherited his billions, gained his various titles through nepotism, and whatever honors bestowed upon him through cronyism, the spoils of privilege.  He’s not much of a business man, so far as we can tell.  Let’s be frank.  Billions beget billions.  He’s not much of a family man either, so far as we can tell.  Johnson, when divorcing ex Sale Johnson, soon after purchasing the team, told reporters of the break up that he was looking forward to ‘spending more time with his team.’  It hasn’t worked out for the Johnson family or the team.

As you may or may not know, Woody’s eldest daughter, Casey Johnson, who once famously became embroiled in a public dispute with her own aunt over a paramour, died alone due to questionable circumstances at the age of 30.  She had been described in the press as a “reckless wildchild”, a “wayward heiress”, etc.  Tragedy strikes and is blind to bank accounts.  Do we feel bad about raising a spectre of questionability around Johnson’s personal life?  No.  And for that matter, the spectre was there long before we raised it.  He’s a public figure and is therefore subject to it, as was Joe Philbin, when his low life, rapist son drowned to death and Tony Dungy, whose son committed suicide, and we haven’t blinked once in criticizing those men, whether they were just absentee football lifer fathers, hypocrites (like Dungy, who perhaps was too wrapped up in Jesus and the scourge that is foul language to worry about his own son), or both.

http://www.tmz.com/2010/02/04/casey-johnson-death-diabetic-cause-of-death-coroner/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/philbin-tragedy-ends-horror-show/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/dungy-keeps-bashing-jets-but-will-that-bring-his-son-back-to-life/

Is it overly simplistic to blame an absentee, disinterested parent for his child’s lack of mental well being?  Is it?  You tell us.  In this case, we have discerned with Woody a pattern of failure, from his ownership of the team, to his marriage, to his family, and of course, his politics.  Woody, a staunch Republican, was heavily invested in both recent Bush campaigns, and also served as Mitt Romney’s New York campaign manager.  Do we have to ask how that went?  For all his billions, Johnson is a dimwitted loser.  Anyone with even remedial knowledge of politics knew that Romeny’s chances at claiming NY’s slice of the electoral pie were dead even before arrival.  On that bus, there are still plenty of great seats available.  What about the doomsday quotes from Woody about how he feared for America if Obama was re-elected?

“Well I think you always have to put country first,” Johnson said. “So I think it’s very, very important that for – not only us – but in particular for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and (Paul) Ryan as President and vice president.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/pinch-woody-picks-mitt-jets-article-1.1172131#ixzz2HjECuhop

You know, America seems perfectly fine to me under Obama.  I haven’t really noticed the pervasive spread of socialism and am rather glad that the war mongering ways of Bush’s patrician fantasy world are for now past.  But I am not a billionaire being taxed at a rate I deem too high.  I’m just a Crackbillionair is all.  And if Woody was such a patriot, pardon the pun, why try to cheat his beloved US Gov’t out of a cool $100M in taxes?  That’s what he agreed to pay back the gov’t, plus interest, in 2001, but in actuality, law enforcement believes it to be a great deal more.

So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes.

Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the producer of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” children’s show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000 were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/business/01tax.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

When Woody bought the team, he had supposedly done so to impress his billionaire buddies.  He was gonna win the big game and then flash the big bling at Tavern on the Green.  How’s that working out so far?  You think his buddies are are impressed?  Do you think they were impressed when Mark Sanchez was found to be entertaining an underage girl at his home?  Or when Rex’s wife’s swinger profile hit on http://www.deadspin.com?

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/rex-ryans-wife-in-foot-fetish-videos/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/michelle-ryan-a-k-a-ihaveprettyfeets-swinger-profile/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/did-mark-sanchez-have-inappropriate-relationship-with-17-year-old-new-jersey-girl/

Woody was also gonna build that Jets’ mecca on the Westside, which, we’ll acknowledge would have elevated the Jets’ status from 2nd to 1st class citizens, which would’ve rebranded the team and provided Dallas Cowboy like revenue streams.  See, we think Woody cares way more about money than football and that the Jets’ Westside development project was what was really attractive to him, and not so much the Jets, despite the man’s obvious love of green Oxford ties.  We suspect little Bill knew as much, and is why he hastily tendered his resignation, scrawled on a napkin when Johnson took over (“I resign as HC of the NYJ”).

woodyweb2s-2-web

While no one doubts that Woody put a lot of energy into the Westside project at considerable costs, should we commend a man for spending $1B on a failure?  Instead, we’ll add it to the ever expanding list of Johnson failures–a failure from which the franchise has never recovered that has conscripted the team to permanent second class status by settling for another joint stadium.  Johnson blew that billion and has been penny wise and dollar foolish ever since.  Especially, his practice of forcing unwanted players and coaches on the organization.  Brett Favre, forced on Mangini, for the promotional value.  Disaster.  Mangini holdover Brian Schottenheimer, who when he was considered a hot coaching commodity, was given a big new contract by the Jets, forced on Rex Ryan.  Disaster.  Made Schottenheimer a media scapegoat and ruined his reputation.  Tebow, forced on Ryan.  Disaster.  Not our words either, or rather, ours and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff’s, who went on talk radio in Miami today to call the Tebow situation, among other things, “an absolute mess” and a “distraction” and said he doesn’t understand the rationale behind the acquisition and that he doesn’t think anyone does.

alg-woody-favre-jpgWoody Johnson with old man toy Brett Favre (above).

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/favre-perversions-exposed-in-detail-audio-and-penis-pics/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/favre-also-hit-on-jets-team-masseuse-her-husband-calls-favre-fucking-scumbag/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/favres-wife-ill-bang-the-bible/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/favre-admitted-sterger-voicemails-to-nfl/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/favres-sis-in-mississippi-meth-lab-bust/

http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/53942/mike-westhoff-tebow-situation-a-mess

We though the new personnel guy was gonna be Tom Gamble for a minute, or Dave Caldwell.  Hoped it would be Giants’ executive Marc Ross, all guys the Jets have courted.  and by the Jets, we of course mean the outside consulting firm the Jets have hired to run their GM search, because despite Johnson owning his own near billion dollar football organization, he has not one reasonably knowledgeable football man trustworthy enough to make a solid hire.

Originally, the Jets hoped to have a hire in place by the time Rex and ihaveprettyfeet returned from their Bahamas jaunt, someone to begin to spin the stench off the joke, the perennial catastrophe that is the Jets, and to divert attention away from the fact that the Jets organization was so unprepared to face the media that they ignored their compulsory obligation to make the coach and owner available to the press within 7 days of their season’s end.

So last week it was the Caldwells and Gambles, and then this week they have supposedly interviewed six people in the last 2 days alone.  Including the Dolphins Assistant GM, who we’re certain is underqualified.  But a qualified GM would never accept preconditions on the job, such as the shot gun marriage with Rex which Johnson is forcing whomever the new fool to accept.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/jets/2013/01/jets-expand-gm-search-will-interview-steelers-executive-omar-khan-and-dolphins-assistan

The expanded search, which now includes way more interviewees than what is a normal when replacing a GM for other teams, is representative of the fact that the Jets are grossly incompetent, clueless, and fucked.  I mean, who but the Jets, would have a hiring search that included Tom Heckert, the GM of a club that lost 40+ games in 3 years in Cleveland, or even worse, personnel people from the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL?  Now I don’t like Wes Welker at all, but when he said that shit about the Patriots “putting their best foot forward” against the Jets, ‘toe the line’ or whatever, we can’t blame him.  The Jets are a joke, continually perpetuated by their own organization, so how can anyone be angry when people joke about them?  In fact, we are pretty sure that the only reason that Belichik came down so hard on Welker was because he feared not doing so would provide the Jets extra motivation.  In short, he fined Welker in order to have a better shot at success in a football game.

The original title for this piece was to be, “NYJ: Woody Johnson, Billionaire Moron, Despicable Human Being, and Gross Incompetent, Should Sell the NYJ”.  But since all of that is dreadfully obvious, truths we hold self evident, we instead opted for a Welkerism.

Same old Jets?  We wish we could somehow return to such a comfortable level of incompetence, one we had come to accept.  Instead, we are mired in incompetence that we can only describe as mind boggling, prolific, and sublime.  After Dennis Byrd returned to Oklahoma, the Jets, as a kindness to their fans, should have disbanded, letting us all root for the Giants.

In loving memory of Dr. Jet.  Now if he would only stop haunting my house.

Crackbillionair (http://crackbilionair.wordpress.com)

613494-agnieszka-radwanskaWorld #4 Agniezska Radwanska (above), as she struggles to deal with oppressive conditions at The Apia in Sydney.

One of our ones to watch, the very talented and stylish young one hander Grigor Dimitrov, makes his 1st ever tour final over the weekend.  This week, he rolls out to Sydney where he gets bounced, 1 & 3, by Fognini, a vastly inferior player.  Maybe Dimitrov, still young, doesn’t yet have mastered the art of the quick turn around.  Not exactly likely since to break into the main draw bubble at lesser tournies like these, he’s had to go the hard scrabble qualifier route to make his bones, often playing 3 matches before his 1st round match.  This, after a prolific junior career in which he won both the Wimbledon and US Open junior titles.  Maybe though.  Also unlikely that Benoit Paire, after a strong week in India would fall so flat the next week, another 1st round  casualty, this time in Auckland.  Certainly couldn’t be the problem for John Isner, already lame this new year despite virtually no match play at all.  But only in Australia is freshness and injury such a concern, though the new year has yet to see it’s 10th day.

http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/tennis/american-john-isner-withdraws-from-australian-open-with-knee-injury/story-fnddkxkr-1226551036599

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/grigor-dimitrov-one-handed-tennis-prodigy-out-in-2nd-round-at-queens-club-see-dimitrov-clips/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/the-pervy-picture-show-svetoslava-simeonova-fabio-fogninis-girlfriend/

You must know we’re quite likely to chalk up assorted leg, back, shoulder and elbow injuries Down Under to surface issues most of the time.  I mean, is it not a little curious that Rafael Nadal, who is practicing full bore on red clay, we hear, in Barcelona, and is making bold, confident proclamations on Twitter that he is great to go, and in fact expects to have a banner 2013?  Just not in Australia, which, apparently healthy, he has decided to skip entirely. Nadal is always subject to injury from his horrible defensive style–running, endless points, infinite pounding–but there can be no denying that a 6 hour, 5 set Aussie final on Plexicushion left him staggered.  So staggered in fact that despite today claiming perfect health, he is nowhere to be found around Melbourne not 5 days before a major, the 2nd straight major he is about to miss, making for a 7th straight month without match play.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/australia-plexicushion-bad-for-tennis-the-state-of-one-handers-and-the-game/

Rather quizzical to us that Nadal would then go play singles and doubles at Indian Wells, also on Plexicushion, but you’ll never hear us accuse Nadal of being bright.  Perhaps never more obvious were the negative effects of Plexicushion than in the IW semis, where Federer smoked Nadal easily, despite the sizable advantage the torturously slow, high bouncing surfaces affords a pusher like Nadal, for whom the basic total of his strategy is praying for high bounces.

But supposedly the Plex is so great on the joints, right?  And of course, it absorbs the heat so well, so much better than the previous surface, Rebound Ace (ever hear those myths about Rebound Ace melting in the sun to the point where the courts and the players’ shoe bottoms become one?  LOL.  Propaganda, thy name is Tennis Australia).  There is such a hypocritical dichotomy with Tennis Australia which is both insulting and disgusting at once. Rebound Ace was so great when it was in, despite widespread dissatisfaction with that.  Plexicushion is so great now, despite widespread dissatisfaction with this.  We can not temper our disdain for Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia’s major domo and the AO’s Director, who is greedy, moronic and an unabashed liar all at once.  This week,  Tiley has instructed tournaments to soldier on in the face of unrelenting heat.  Inhumane conditions, to be perfectly honest.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/tennis/australian-open-director-craig-tiley-plays-down-injury-curse-at-melbourne-park/story-fnddjf3n-1226549183121

 Drysdale, Hewitt, Pat Cash, Peter McNamara, Liz Smylie and Jason Stoltenberg were among a host of tennis figures critical of Tiley and TA.  As TA’s director of player development, Tiley yesterday accused his detractors of peddling misinformation.  Drysdale, a former TA employee, was incensed.

 “His comments show a complete lack of respect for the culture of Australian tennis,” Drysdale said. (You can read the full article at the link below.)

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/lleyton-hewitts-manager-slams-craig-tiley/story-e6frf9if-1225836305014

Tiley is a guy who wants us to believe Plexicushion plays like grass, that it absorbs heat in superior fashion, and that it is not slower than Nadal between points.  Fooling the public is one thing.  Fooling the players is another, as we see from a variety of Aussie players above.  Yet Tiley seems to challenge every negative player reaction.  Let us ask who’d be in a position to know better the true tendencies of the court?  Tiley, who is obviously over invested, or Lleyton Hewitt, who every summer has the same exact grade of Plexicushion poured in his own backyard, to spec, as the ones freshly laid at Melbourne Park?

On Monday, Wimbledon runner up Aggie Radwanska, whose game is dependent on conditioning, calls for the tournament director to ask for a suspension in play, as the temperature on court hits 50 degrees Centigrade, or 122 degrees.  After the match, Radwanska describes the conditions as essentially barbaric for all involved, from players to spectators to concessioneers.  How does Tiley spin that, pardon pun?  Below is a Youtube link to Radwanska’s press conference yesterday, in which she said, among other things, that Sydney is less about tennis and more about pure survival:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/suvival-more-important-than-tennis-agnieszka-radwanska/story-e6frg7mf-1226549614639

Radwanska was not alone.  Jelena Jankovic, extremely dependent on slow courts, basically marveled at the awful conditions.  When Na Li, a major champion and very well respected player, 1st ever and only Chinese player to win a singles major, who also displayed tremendous courage and set an awesome precedent by defying the Chinese Tennis Federation’s bid to dictate the terms of her career and her purse (quite a coup by her to bring in Henin mastermind Carlos Rodriguez too, as she always seems to be making solid moves), speaks about poor conditions, she does so for the sport at large.  As does Roger Federer, on record already saying the courts are too slow, who is not playing Kooyong as we expected.  Federer, to conserve energy, is playing no matches this year on Australian Plexicushion outside of Melbourne Park, and knowing Roger, that is another tacit indictment of the conditions.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/08/uk-tennis-australia-warmups-idUKBRE90705120130108 (“Kuznetsova Overcomes Wozniacki in Sydney Heat”)

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/agnieszka-radwanska-downs-kimiko-date-krumm-no-worries-at-sydney-interantional/story-e6frfgao-1226549552738 (“Tennis Stars Make Heavy Weather of Searing Heat at Sydney International”)

It is obvious that the players are not enjoying the Australian experience–even native Australians–with the season coming right at the heart of the unbearable Australian summer.

So you ask perhaps why we harp on Australia’s lamentable geography?  For one, we don’t think it’s realistic that Australia keeps their status as a major tennis nation.  They do little to justify that status on the court, the travel to and from is murder, it is by no means an economic powerhouse as a nation, they have dulled and diluted theirs and the world’s talent pool by their choice of surface, and those aspects of their geography they can control, like picking a surface that mitigates the extreme heat, they have miserably failed at.  Why?  Because they lusted after deals with surface manufacturers and put the tennis second, which is an unconscionable sin in our eyes.

We apologize to the good fans of Australia, but as always, we provide our opinions in keeping with what we believe to be the truth.

Crackbillionair (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

An old set of Limelight flyers (above) that take us back to better days.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/limelight-no-simple-pill-to-swallow/

I like the careful consideration to the subtext of the film– without calling the feds to the mat, the film suggests that there was massive misconduct. As someone who lived through the experience first hand, I know just how horrific the prosecutor side was because the initial indictment had claims that turned out to be false, and yet they did not drop the case but instead added murky charges like RICO. And once the headlines were printed, there was no way to recover from the damage. The feds lied repeatedly (and without any recourse) and said they while doing surveillance that my father took cocaine from his desk drawer and laughed as they put this in a report which was in his first indictment. Try defending yourself in federal court and in the court of public opinion when the NY Post read like a Giuliani newsletter.
My dad wanted someone to get answers from the prosecutors and the DEA agents because they never took the stand– I was hoping they would trust that the director was law enforcement friendly and could give their perspective. Sadly, I still want answers. Even without realizing that I was part of the film, no one on the government side would speak to rakontur– even a DEA agent who participated in a puff piece book (where no one from the defense side was ever asked to counter what he claimed) refused to be interviewed– he must have been too busy playing golf with Lord Michael (I am being literal and not facetious). DEA headquarters only agreed to an interview if “Gatien” was not mentioned– so basically we got nothing to explain how they could in clear consciousness proceed with the case knowing that every witness was lying to get a 5K letter (not one person who cooperated did ANY time despite mandatory minimums for their crimes which were on wiretaps and undeniable, and most significantly HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY FATHER but their own profit making schemes).
Incidentally, my dad’s disappointment in the film is authentic and not some marketing ploy. He felt that the feds got away scot free once again.

It isn’t very often that we write something that doesn’t head directly into oblivion, but lo and behold, we were enormously gratified at the notice that Jen Gatien, who we consider royalty, has given to our Twitter and to this little page of ours.  Above appears Ms. Gatien’s very much appreciated comments on our thoughts on Limelight, as well as some of her personal feelings about the hardships her family suffered at the hands of the federal government.  It was also wild to have some very nice words tweeted about us by the film’s director, who’s films we absolutely love, Billy Corben.

Billy Corben ‏@BillyCorben
Fascinating comprehensive analysis of @rakonturmiami movie LIMELIGHT: Rise & Fall of Peter Gatien https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/limelight-no-simple-pill-to-swallow/ … via @crackbillionair

What a tremendous thrill to be noticed by Jen Gatien and Billy Corben.  We are very grateful to them for taking the time to read what amounted to a voluminous stack of text, some 4,000 plus words.  We had felt any real readers we have, appreciating the nature of this site, would want to know our take on Limelight, and so, when we lost the original critique during Hurricane Sandy, we endeavored to reproduce it.  By the way, we should thank our readers as well, who have pushed us up to 2.1 million views since we clicked on in March of 2010.  Thanks all.

Still, had we known that Ms. Gatien and Mr. Corben would grace us with their time, we probably would have primped the piece up some more.  We definitely meant Mr. Gatien no disrespect whatsoever.  We’d like to be clear on that.  Peter Gatien is a hero of ours who symbolizes all that is great about NYC and what NYC should be about, minus the fascist element.  As always, we only mean to speak candidly here in this space, and hope Mr. Gatien can take some solace from the fact that we did indeed understand the outrageous persecution he was subjected to, and thought the film did a good job portraying it, even without the participation of the persecutors, who frankly, had nothing to gain by going on the record.

In fact, their silence only underscores their maniacal intent, devious perversions of the law and the news, and acts to verify their standing as the true villains, the overwhelming face of evil.

When we look back on better days, the preferred memory is Limelight VIP all the way, lounging in that little glass room in the steeple, or surveying the dance floor from our convenient perch.  It was a very lucky thing that we were a part of.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

“I ended up that day finally at the federal lockup in Brooklyn.  The lights went on at 6 O’ Clock the next morning and within ten minutes I was approached for any drug I wanted.  Heroin, coke.  I’m supposed to be able to prevent it, but meanwhile, in a place where you’re strip searched 6, 9 times before getting to your bed, it’s okay for them to have it.”

                                                                                                     — Peter Gatien

“You go to any rock concert, for example, at either The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden and you are gonna have hundreds if not thousands of people using drugs and you’re not gonna see the management of The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden indicted.”

“There was a young prosecutor, very little experience.  Her name was Michelle Adelman.  I mean, she was obsessed with Peter.  She had a big picture of Peter behind her desk in her office.  I remember going in there one time and saying, ‘This is not healthy.  Get a life.  This is just a case.'”

“…regardless of how prominent the individual is, I had never seen such a scorched earth mentality.”

                                                                                                    –Ben Brafman

“The motto was get Gatien at all costs.”

                                    –John Dabrowski (P.I. & former Nassau County Cop)

We understand Peter Gatien’s criticism of Billy Corben’s 2011 documentary, Limelight.  The legendary club owner was hoping that the film would be less of a monument to him than a cautionary tale of governmental overreach, or so he told the New York Times in September of 2011.  We’re not sure if Corben meant it to be, but the early minutes of the movie nearly present Gatien as both the finder and the founder of the club scene.  We would think, even in a movie about The Limelight, that Corben has some obligation to at least mention the genesis of the club scene.  The creator of the modern dance hall/dance club genre was Bill Graham, a holocaust survivor and transplanted New Yorker to San Francisco.  Graham had observed the radical success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his crew, The Merry Pranksters, with their Acid Test parties, held during the mid 60’s at roving locations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and later, Mexico, when Kesey became a fugitive from the law for violating his probation (he was arrested for possessing approximately 3 grams of marijuana).  Graham rented out San Francisco’s old Fillmore Auditorium in 1968.  The Fillmore was depicted in the Hunter S. Thompson book and subsequent movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in a most memorable scene, when Thompson, played by Johnny Depp, drops part of a hit of LSD, paper form, onto the sleeve of his coat in the Fillmore’s bathroom, where another club patron seizes on that opportunity, and proceeds to suck the acid off of his sleeve.

Bill Graham, who was born Wolodia Grajonca, was unpopular with some of the celebrities of the Haight-Ashbury counter culture movement, like the Pranksters, because he didn’t deem them worthy of free admission.  Graham, who earned a business degree from City College, understood invariably that The Fillmore was a business.  He was an excellent businessman who also gained prominence as the manager of Jefferson Airplane.  When some Haight-Ashbury residents pressured the police to crack down on his establishment because of the notorious hippie element, Graham bought a suit of clothes, slicked his hair, and went door to door to all neighborhood businesses, to explain to local businessmen how much opportunity for revenue that hippie element created for the neighborhood.  When asked how he was able to persuade the local community not to pursue their complaints about The Fillmore, he replied, “Pressure.”

Bill Graham is well chronicled in The Haight-Ashbury: A History, by Rolling Stone reporter Charles Perry.  Perhaps the best work to date on Graham, if less comprehensive, is Tom Wolfe’s amazing nonfiction novel, The Electric Koolaid Acid Test.

We were also left unimpressed with Corben’s depiction of the beginning of Ecstasy culture in NYC.  We’d characterize crediting “Lord Michael” for essentially bringing MDMA to New York as a convenient truth for the purposes of this film.  While MDMA was first created by German scientists trying to develop an appetite suppressant for plump housewives, it was America who put the chemical on the map, thanks to our good friend Dr. Shulgin, in large part.  Ecstasy scenes in California and Texas were thriving throughout the 1980’s and a great deal of their Ecstasy made its way to NY, though Lord Michael seems to be the only chump to get himself on the map for transporting a substance, and in small numbers mind you, that was not yet illegal.  But Lord Michael’s tales of bringing in several thousand hits from England, if we can agree that such piddly “smuggling” is small potatoes, is an argument which would refute Gatien’s criticism about the essence of the film.

We love Corben’s body of work, which includes Cocaine Cowboys and the lesser known Square Groupers, a compelling collection of stories from 70’s era marijuana traffickers.  We’d have to applaud Corben for Limelight as well–especially for Limelight–because this was an establishment very near and dear to our hearts, and because any governmental over-reach is too much.  In fact, we feel no need to be as diplomatic as star club owner Peter Gatien.  This movie is about tyranny to us in a very obvious sense, and the subject of that tyranny is our very demographic–the liberal intelligentsia.

The Limelight’s venue (above), which had to rankle conservative types because it was a former church, though officially deconsecrated.

What’s most germane to this story is that Rudolf Giuliani, whom Gatien supported in his bid to become mayor, whose first wife was also his cousin, made a target of Gatien when Nicholas Marinelli supposedly died the night after supposedly purchasing drugs at The Limelight.  Marinelli, from a privileged background, whose family had the personal ear of then NJ governor Thomas Kean, called Giuliani personally about Gatien, who then unleashed the DEA upon Gatien, an easy target because of his success, notoriety, and villainous eye patch.  We also do not think it helped Gatien’s cause the way the club was portrayed in the 1992 movie, The Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel as a dirty cop who went to the club to score drugs (frankly we are surprised Limelight made no mention of that, though Corben may not have had permission to use that movie for this film.)

If you read that as a joke, it’s not how we meant it, though we get how preposterous that should be to you.  There is no greater danger to our liberty than inbred mayoral scum doing favors for mush mouthed cronies along political back channels that seek to destroy the lives of people according to their looks, lifestyle, and progressive attitudes.  And oh, by the way, Marinelli committed suicide, and the official cause of death is listed as death by asphyxiation.  But the government was not about to let a good scapegoat be obscured by mere, actual FACTS.  In making the case against Peter Gatien, the state was also putting a sinister face on Ecstasy, a “new” and little known drug, giving our great nation a leg up in the Machiavellian propaganda machine that is the war on drugs.

While on the topic of facts, how about USADA Linda Lacewell’s oh so ignorant claim that Ecstasy commonly contained heroin and PCP?  Frankly, that may be our “favorite” bit of drug war propaganda of all time.  Ecstasy databases like DanceSafe, EData, and even the woefully disgraceful PillReports  have thousands of lab results including chemical compositions, Reagent test results, and failing those, user reports.  When one searches those databases by chemical, or should they even go report by report, dating back to the 1st published information on specific Ecstasy, there is approximately 1 pill per 1000 (0.1% of all Ecstasy) suspected to contain PCP.  We’d estimate an even smaller percentage suspected to have heroin.  Granted, the Ecstasy information available is still flagging, but only because the establishment prefers us to believe what they want us to believe as opposed to what’s true.  A person like Linda Lacewell, a Draconian moron of her ilk, would like us to believe that there are serial killers out there whose modus operandi is death by Ecstasy, preying on people by giving them heroin or PCP, which, are not even deadly drugs necessarily.  When pressed however, Lacewell and those from the same school of drug war propaganda, attempted to connect MDMA with cardiac arrest, before the weak declaration that MDMA causes…heat exhaustion.  Ecstasy has been classified as non lethal, and benign by main stream medicine.  Please recall Peter Jennings’ ABC special called Ecstasy in which Jennings declared on national television that a person could use MDMA sporadically throughout their entire life while suffering zero long term effects.

Now, can an Ecstasy pill contain heroin?  Absolutely.  Have they?  More myth than fact, and we’ve never seen a legitimate composition report of a pill sold as Ecstasy that contained heroin, in 2 decades of analysis, but it is possible.  It’s also possible that the Jets can win the Superbowl.  But can we all appreciate the chances of it happening are about the same as a snowball’s chance in hell?  For we are not able to call it a reasonable assertion that heroin and PCP routinely make up Ecstasy with statistical significance based on scientific data.  Then again, how much scientific data is really being consulted by men who marry their blood relatives?  How much scientific data was used in consultation with the Salem Witch Trials?  And how often really, does this government tell, we the people, the truth as opposed to crude distortions?

On Giuliani’s marriage to his second cousin, which lasted 14 years, FYI, before being annulled, in grand Roman Catholic style reminiscent of the warrior popes of the middle ages, which were just about on Giuliani’s same wavelength:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2395516&page=1#.UJsZf442UqY

http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=famous

http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-celebcousinpairs/7/

http://www.realchange.org/giuliani.htm

Or Google it yourself.  There are only 722,000 search results that pop up when one searches “Giuliani married cousin.”  We thought it a very interesting use of device the way that Corben pulled the story of Gatien’s drug case together.  Raconteur indeed.  At the very outset of that portion of the movie that gets into the drug charges levied against Gatien, the first round of charges that is, Brafman, the best criminal attorney in the country, bar none, who has won acquittals for Gatien, Sean Combs, a laundry list of mafioso, as well as sweetheart plea arrangements for Daphne Abdela (“The Baby Faced Killer”) and Chris Paciello (who participated in the home invasion murder of Staten Island housewife Judy Shemtov), in addition to other star clients like Michael Jackson and Plaxico Burress, released a statement saying that Gatien ‘at no time in his 20+ year career owning clubs ever condoned drug use.’

Hold the thought.  Because when informant, murderous scum like Michael Alig and Sean Kirkham brag to the Feds that Gatien personally binged at drug parties that he organized, the law, having caught Gatien in an apparent lie when he wasn’t even under oath, expanded their charges to include ones that claimed that Gatien used such parties as a reward for his employees for allegedly excelling in his alleged criminal Ecstasy drug distribution operation.  Brafman had a responsibility, pre-trial, to counter the massive public relations blows coming at Gatien, rapid fire, from the inbred mayor, the NYPD, the DEA, and the federal government.  If Brafman was indeed correct in his exchange with ADA Adelman (“this is just a case”), then we may conclude that tactics like the pile on effect–creating a litany of tack on charges that give the appearance of guilt–is standard operating practice for “the people” (*cringe*).  Trustworthy prosecutors (oxymoron) may charge people with multiple counts where truly applicable, but the pile on effect does, as Gatien said, run counter to a most basic right of the actual people, which is the presumption of innocence.  For is it not more difficult to maintain the presumption of innocence when a person is facing 5 charges as opposed to 1 or 2?

What about Gatien’s specific remarks about the charges that connected his sporadic drug use to racketeering?  Isn’t he right when he says that a jury of working class, middle class people, tasked to deliberate on his freedom, will be pre-prejudiced by the fact that on occasion he binged on cocaine while frequenting prostitutes, if they were in fact prostitutes?  How is Peter Gatien, multi-millionaire/captain of industry/playboy/hotel drug partier, going to get an unprejudiced jury of his peers, in a drug case, when somebody like that has no peers?  Peter Gatien as the original Peerless Price.  Precisely why it was so imperative that Gatien retain Brafman in the first place.  An attorney like Brafman can create peers from the unlikeliest jury pools, and only one steadfast juror who follows the judge’s instructions closely, is needed to render a not guilty verdict.  As Brafman said in Limelight, after inquiring as to a possible plea arrangement, the best option was to represent Gatien in court and take their chances with the jury system.  Brafman:

“I went down to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said, ‘this is like, crazy.  If we wanted to resolve the case, what would be the sentencing guidelines that you would think was appropriate?’  They looked at me and said ’11 years.’  They assessed Peter Gatien criminal responsibility for every pill sold by anyone that they seized in the course of the investigation.  They multiplied out the math and it came to 11 years.  I looked at them like they were nuts to suggest that Peter Gatien, who was running 4 venues at the same time, could be criminally responsible for what went on at any given moment at any one of the venues was something that I thought I could win in a court room.”

Super heavyweight criminal attorney Ben Brafman (above).

To keep suit with the very logical Brafman, should any crime be committed in a club, the club owner is not automatically criminally responsible for conspiracy to commit such a crime.  The nuisance abatement laws in NYC which permitted the police to shut any business’s doors in which there were 3 incidents in one year, if applied to strictly to clubs, would see every club shuttered.  Let’s be completely honest.  There are thousands of drug deals going down on any given night in any major venue, club, concert, festival, and so on.  The irony is, The Limelight was not nearly the drug supermarket, “a drug buyer’s paradise”, that it would become after Gatien had relinquished ownership.  Drug use should be an indicator more as to what is likely in a free society, not an indictment on that society, and never an indictment against the operator of the venue, unless truly warranted.

Sean Kirkham, in fact, conspired with the authorities (who, by the way, were so unreliable and were guaranteed to be ruined on the stand by Brafman that the prosecution could not allow their testimony) for the purposes of creating the charges against Gatien.  As Gatien explained, “the only way to prevent those drug deals from happening on those nights was to not open the doors.”  How do you, after all, prevent the DEA from running their own drug ops at any given place at any given time?  One has to consider exactly why then, do the nuisance abatement laws exist if not as a tool for tyranny, which is defined as an arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic use of authority.  But then, Sean Kirkham re-flipped, and claimed that prosecutor Eric Friedberg, who was brought in to buoy the government’s case as it headed to trial, because Adelman and her little crony were essentially amateurs not fit to duel Ben Brafman, was someone with whom he had had a homosexual relationship.  Friedberg, who was the chief of the Federal Narcotics Bureau.  LOFL.  Though probably not a guy who hooked up with a gay club kid who dabbled in counterfeiting, a clown nontheless, so that was a nice laugh which came around the one hour mark of the film.  But when the trial began, it was Michelle Adelman, who in the opening statement, admitted to the jury that the government had exactly zero evidence linking Gatien financially to any of the crimes he was charged with.

So why then would a person conspire to distribute Ecstasy and throw parties to reward his Ecstasy salesman, if not for profit?  Because Gatien had an overwhelming interest in seeing club patrons high?  High people do not spend money.  But that’s besides the point, really, because not only couldn’t the government make any sense as to what Gatien’s possible motives could be, but also, by the time of the trial in 1998, there was exactly one major witness left to their case trying to implicate Gatien, the infamous Michael Caruso (“Lord Michael”), whom Ben Brafman not only exposed for the scumbag he was on cross examination, but also, raised the spectre of possibility that Caruso was a murderer, when Caruso broke down in tears on the stand, begging the court to believe that the questionable circumstances surrounding Caruso’s roommate’s suicide were indeed true, and to believe him that he did not participate in that roommate’s death.  The government’s case was essentially blown in the course of that cross, if not by Adelman herself during the opening statement, which is precisely the reason why Brafman is known as the best attorney in the world at cross examining witnesses.  Brafman, who has made an extraordinary career at criminal defense, is practiced at exposing liars, breaking down snitches by the dozen in your average mafia case.  And it all begs the question, as Village Voice reporter Frank Owen (who authored The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture) put it in the film, “then what the hell are we doing here?”

But you had an overzealous prosecution emboldened by a hell bent, inbred mayor, who had essentially struck out with their over-riding strategy, which was, as Gatien said, ‘to break him and make him plead’, and now had to take its chances with a couple of sketchy, unscrupulous criminals, against the Ben Brafman because there was no backup plan (*at that time*).  Brafman should have won a dismissal, but we’re sure he was happy to settle for not guilty on all counts.  But at the end of the day, those not guilty verdicts read by the Gatien jury in 1998 were not by any means the end of the government’s persecution of Peter Gatien.  Also, it was where Corben’s film takes a stunning turn in complexity.

One of Michael Caruso’s allegations, shoddy as they may be, gave us pause for consideration.  Caruso alleged, and though it was not even illegal at the time, to have once given Gatien 20 hits of Ecstasy, as a “display of respect.”  It was not necessary for Brafman to disprove that statement, and, it could very well have been true.  Gatien was an imperfect man, a real human being, and we thought the film did an excellent job of presenting a very complicated figure in Gatien, in a way that did not sanctify him.  Gatien said he had never used drugs in his clubs, ever.  Okay.  So maybe he got some drugs at the “massive drug supermarket” that was The Limelight, or Tunnel, or Palladium, or Club USA.  Again, he’s not under oath when he makes a statement like that, and it’s not unreasonable to think that he may have gotten drugs from Caruso.  I mean, who didn’t get E at a club like that at some point, if you are in the scene?

The implication, whether true or false, does “dirty” Gatien, and frankly, one of the things that drives us here on this page and in our other projects and in life is to legitimize the use of psychedelics, so a Gatien or his patrons, people like me, do not face damage to their reputation for using them.  But we aren’t there yet.  We aren’t even close.  So there is Gatien, the deceptive drug user, but also, Gatien, the irresponsible business man.  In watching this film, who out there feels that Gatien’s explanations about how much it cost to run his empire were valid?  I do believe they were true but at the same time, not valid, if that can make sense.  Hiring teams of artists, architects, and decorators to constantly transform and remake the club, from party to party, is not the way to run a successful club.  We hate to malign Gatien, but we are compelled to be honest.  Every successful non Vegas club we’ve ever seen has put on the show with minimum frills, save for the act.  You must spend on the music and the sound, and not necessarily on the decor.  Gatien’s style was garish which happened to work well in Atlanta where he had a campy dance floor built over a shark tank and whatnot, and for the 80’s and 90’s in NYC we see why a similar approach helped attract patrons.  But at the end of the day, you are there for the music.

Bill Graham understood the importance of keeping costs down, something that Gatien doesn’t get.  Had he gotten it, he would not have had to sell his clubs for what amounted to a song, even in the face of mounting a 5 year defense against the federal government.  To do $25M in revenue a year for ten years or whatever the numbers were, is ridiculous, and very hard to sell to me when it’s done and there’s no money that it wasn’t wasteful.  Also, hard to sell to the owner of Circa in Toronto, which Gatien ran for a while, before the ownership tired of his wasteful spending practices.  And why was NYC’s King of Clubs relegated to Toronto in the first place, having hit a home run against the government in his drug case?

Well, that’s because Gatien, a Canadian citizen, never naturalized as an American citizen, despite having an American wife and children.  One of whom produced this film (Jen Gatien, DeerJen Productions).  So when Gatien was convicted of tax fraud, which Brafman and Gatien admitted he was guilty of, the US government, still with a healthy hard on for Peter Gatien some 5 years after Brafman beat them clean in court, exercised the right to deport Gatien, as President Bush, another Republican who does not know who inspector Javert is (we loved the story relayed in the film by former mayor Ed Koch, who told Giuliani “Rudy, you are pursuing people like inspector Javert with an intensity that is not acceptable”, to which Giuliani replied, “Who’s Javert?”) gave some quid pro quo to America’s mayor, who we again remind you, is inbred trash.  (After 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed, which allows the government to deport non citizens guilty of fraud.)

Gatien somehow did not see this coming?  The government’s war of attrition took a turn in the Al Capone-esque direction, when they couldn’t get Gatien for drugs and racketeering, and frankly, he needed to be beyond reproach having had such a large bullseye drawn on his back, a “scorched earth policy” the likes of which his attorney had never before seen.  Then again, when the government crawls up your ass for ten or twelve years, they are eventually going to find something that stinks.  Who among us has never broken the law?  Then again, are we all out there committing fraud, which in this case, was a willful misrepresentation of his business’s tax records?  Would we be stupid enough to do so after seeing our freedom already so vehemently threatened?

The government aimed to get him and they got him, and what difference did it make to them really if it didn’t happen on the first try?  Well, the difference it made was that it strengthened their resolve and fortified their approach to where there wouldn’t have to be a trial next time around.  They would still find a way to see Gatien go to federal prison and then unceremoniously deport him from the United States.

Though the prosecution admitted that they had no evidence that Gatien had profited from the sale of drugs in his clubs, they hardly needed proof to levy the accusation.  It was like this: ‘while we don’t have proof, um, the guy wears an eye patch, for the love of God and country.’  The refute was like this: ‘why would Peter Gatien, grossing a zillion dollars a year, risk his freedom and the life as he knew it in order to make a few extra dollars selling Ecstasy?’

Indeed.  So why would he run a tax scam for a few extra dollars then?  Is the answer a study in complexity, a testament to human fallibility, or an indicator that the government was right all along that Gatien was indeed a criminal?  We think it was two out of three.  We don’t think Gatien a criminal.  We think, in the end, that this film was such a profile of tyranny, of the arbitrary wielding of might, wreckless and whimsical and incompetent and blatantly sinister and yet successful, all at once.  Gatien is perhaps too close to the matter to assess Corben’s film properly.  Or, rather, Gatien had a hand in the making of the film, and that in his assessment, the best way to see it to success was to be critical of his portrayal.  For why would a man assail the work of his own daughter publicly, if not for a ruse that could lead to financial prosperity?

In the end, the government was not about to get beaten again by the Gatien/Brafman dream team.  They have to live with getting beaten by Brafman when they are foolish enough to take him to court, but not by Gatien, who in the end, does get to go down as a criminal in the version of the story as they choose to tell it.  Because he “allowed” people to do drugs in a place when we live in a society where people are doing drugs anyway, everywhere, and who do not need our permission.

In the end, Gatien is a phenomenal interview and Brafman a legendary one, and Corben a genius at bringing their story together, and the government’s, the grandest of long cons, a coup d’etat by which they broke a man at a trial they lost so that he wouldn’t have the power to fight another fight.  And Gatien, banished, in exile in Toronto, essentially because despite the tremendous opportunities in America, he never loved America enough to join it, always leery of the mechanisms at play which generated those opportunities.  With good reason.

We say to Peter Gatien, “THANK YOU!”  That the money is no great loss. Can’t take it with you.  Gatien not only provided establishments for people like me, but also, for all the people, no matter their color, their sexuality, their age, their dress, what they looked like or spoke like or whether they were from Brooklyn or Jupiter.  We hope he truly takes heart in his freedom as he says, and that he isn’t the lonely Canadian outcast, a media distortion to this day.  Gatien was a wild success in his industry and in life who conquered NY and embarrassed the government.  He may no longer be peerless, but it is only a precious few who has withstood what he has and came out as well, alive to tell.

From a child of The Limelight.

Crackbillionair (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

This nonsense has been hanging over our heads, faithful NHL fans with an eye for labor unrest would agree, for probably close to 2 years, and what should be closer to 8, since the last time the league pulled this powerplay, and proudly broke the will and the leadership of the NHLPA.  There would have to be a rumble in the next CBA, and so here we are.  NHL Lockout 2012, in much the same fashion as they brought us NHL Lockout 2004 and NHL Lockout 1994.  And by many of the same offensive offenders.  Jeremy Jacobs, Ed Snider, Lou Lamoriello, and of course, the worst commissioner in professional sports, by a mile, the front man and lead goon in a record 3rd lockout, Gary Bettman.

We don’t care for the argument that he is only doing what he is told.  That’s not true.  The owners are doing what Bettman tells them to do, and not vice versa.  Bettman has tightened up the NHL bylaws so that the power of the commissioner is nearly indomitable, as the obviously very astute Ken Dryden reminds us in the recent article excerpted below:

In NHL governors’ meetings, Bettman would point this out, at first forcefully, over time as if possessed.  He presented elaborate charts: Here’s what the league and individual teams take in, here’s what we spend. It makes no sense. Here’s what winning teams spend, here’s what losing teams spend. There’s no correlation between spending and performance (there was, in fact, some correlation). It makes no sense.

He would run a roll call of teams, and one by one take team owners, with all their private business splashed up on a big screen for everyone to see, to the principal’s office. Here’s what you’re doing – you idiot – here are the results you’re getting – you moron – and, always prefaced by the anti-trust defeating phrase, “Of course, you have the right, as everyone does, to make any decision you want” – what are you going to do in the future – you total fool.

To get out of the principal’s office, team owners learned to respond as if at an AA meeting.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/league-and-players-are-fighting-in-an-age-of-disagreement/article4543964/

And:

He had to get their support to change the NHL bylaws so that a higher percentage of team owners were required to override any proposed agreement with the NHLPA he brought to them. Then he’d need the support of only a few friendly owners, and the negotiations were his. He got the bylaws changed.

This is part of the reason he gets to so cockily tout his position in the negotiations, like saying “we simply feel we are paying the players too much money.”  Obviously, as is evidenced by the spate of huge contracts being offered by these owners, of their own free will mind you, they do not feel they are paying the players too much.  A small market team, for God sakes, offered the richest contract in history not once but twice in the same day, when Minnesota signed Suter and Parise.  BTW, we hate Parise, obviously, but could not argue at all when asked for comment on the labor situation, and he said “You know Bettman loves his lockouts.”

It’s another part of the reason, for the sport of it.  And what kind of guy gets off on depriving workers of their livelihoods?  Make no mistake about this, there are workers that are going to be deprived of their jobs.  All arena workers, and many ancillary workers, players aside.  This is not a good guy.  If you listen to his press conferences and interviews, do you not get the distinct impression you are hearing from a sheisty lawyer telling multiple lies a minute.  Forget that he invoked the price of jet fuel and hand massages when asked about inflation affecting the owners.  It’s not that.  It’s that he is a mean and vindictive labor leader and therefore, needs to be vigorously protected from by the union.  It’s also that he hasn’t come up as extremely intelligent when dealing with labor issues, franchise issues, potential owners, and just about all the really relevant issues affecting the league.

We haven’t thought much of him from the get go.  But apparently NHL owners are either none too hard to please or even less bright than Bettman himself.  And they don’t have too much more of a heart than Bettman either, sanctioning these lockouts, which almost feel like a rite of passage at this point.  Here is some very pointed criticism of Bettman from another good article on the looming lockout and specifically, on Bettman’s performance and on the league, from author and economist Andrew Zimbalist:

“It means it is poorly managed,” said our frank, 64-year-old professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts, and author of 20 books, including May The Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy.

“Mr. Bettman, although he has some qualities that are admirable, has made a lot of bad decisions,” Zimbalist said this week, before Thursday’s confirmation that we are heading towards Bettman’s third lockout since becoming the commissioner of the National Hockey League in 1993. “He has not promoted effective management at the team level, and he is unwilling to admit his mistakes and walk away from them.”

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl-lockout/2012/09/13/nhl_lockout_cba_betmann_bad_for_business/

Zimbalist calls the game’s popularity in the USA as on a “thin string.”  He criticizes Bettman for threatening the stability and popularity of the game in the US, and for insisting on a bad policy of expansion in the American southeast where he was in essence, forcing the game on little interested markets.  Yet he is the guy asking for a 15% reduction in salaries, a reduction that actually equates to a 17.3% reduction in salary when the league’s new definition of hockey related revenue is applied.

The owners are destined to fight, obviously at Bettman’s behest, because they feel that the players, who agreed to rollbacks and other severe concessions last time, could be broken again, should they apply a little financial pressure in the form of lost earnings.  The players need to fight because they got beat so badly last time.  They need to resurrect the reputation of the union, which once had a fine reputation as smart and tough, is now considered a laughingstock.

Things like that are gonna have a funny way of changing the perception with a guy like Donald Fehr running things for the players.  The players needed a good guy, and perhaps, they got the best guy there ever was in sports labor relations.  Is Fehr an evil lawyer himself?  A bit.  But he’s brilliant.  He’s a guy you know has thought through every angle.  So brilliant, and hammer him for this if you like, but he was able to keep accountable steroid testing out of baseball for years and years after the steroid problem had become a scandal and a black mark on the game.

For Fehr, that’s an opportunity to keep big stats in the game, which keep leading to record contracts.  As it is his job, first and foremost to fight for the union, and the big contracts are phenomenal for the union.  We can’t see how Bettman feels all that comfortable in this confrontation.  Zimbalist also feels that by offering the players a 15% reduction, that Bettman was negotiating from an “unreasonable position”, which smells like, at the very least, bad faith to us.

We think Fehr knows a lot of tricks that Bettman hasn’t seen yet.  We know he’s gone to school, to Harvard, essentially, on the NHL and it’s embarrassing practices.  And Fehr and the players both understand the necessity of re-making the union’s reputation.  That’s not the kind of thing that a guy like Fehr undertakes lightly.  He refused to open negotiations early, knowing full well of the league’s intend to lockout.  Fehr is not exactly shying away from this course of action.  He’s ready to fight, and he’s a guy who really has never lost a fight like this, in a league of his own.

We think the players are doing a good job in the press, as the owners unreasonable position seems ironclad.  The players winning press is going to help the players ultimately get a nice deal.  Once the fans and media become totally entrenched in their position as pro player, Bettman is going to drop the nonsense and talk turkey.  We see Fehr bamboozling Bettman at that time, in ways that Bettman won’t be able to figure out for a few good years of head scratching, just like every CBA, pretty much, that Bettman has gotten for his greedy, malicious owners.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

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