Saturday, April 4, 2015

Crack of Dawn

I'm a little late with this then.

RelatedBreak of Day

Related Next Day Updates:

"Iran’s leaders promote nuclear deal to country" by Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times  April 04, 2015

TEHRAN — As word made its way around the globe that an understanding had been reached with the United States and other powers to limit Iran’s nuclear program, Iranians greeted the news with optimism and skepticism on Friday.

While the political climate is uncertain, the government was allowed to promote the deal on Friday Prayer day, a sign the plan was broadly supported by Iran’s establishment.

Not here.

In a nationally televised speech Friday, Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, praised the deal as a development that benefits everybody.

Answering some Western critics who question Tehran’s credibility, he pledged that his country will keep its end of the bargain. “Any promise that we made and any promise that we will make, we will stand by it,” he said. “We are not men of deception and hypocrisy.”

Those are the people they had to negotiate with.

Wading into an area that his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, avoided in negotiations this week, Rouhani portrayed the nuclear deal as an Iranian opening to the world.

“It is not true to say that when the nuclear issue is over we will have nothing to do with the world,” he said, calling it a first step toward “constructive interaction with the world.”

In Congress, many Republican lawmakers and some Democrats expressed opposition Friday to the framework.

President Obama and other administration officials embarked on an effort to win congressional support, calling lawmakers to assure them that the Iran sanctions will not be lifted until months after the June deadline for a final agreement.

Obama spoke with the four top leaders of the House and Senate, urging them not to jeopardize the talks with bills giving Congress final approval.

Some analysts predicted that Iran’s hard-liners, who mostly kept quiet during the negotiations, will mobilize for a fight. But that country’s business leaders were elated at the prospect that a deal could soon mean the lifting of long years of economic sanctions.

As opposed to our Congre$$, which was loud about it.

“I jumped up and down of happiness,” Rouzbeh Pirouz said. An Oxford-educated investment fund manager, Pirouz, 43, received the news just after landing on Majorca.

“People in the terminal must have thought I was crazy.” 

If the Iranians are happy....

As details of the framework were sifted here, the outlines of the deal were criticized for what hard-liners called overly deep concessions by Iran. “We should say in a word that we gave a saddled horse and received a torn bridle,” news agency Fars quoted Hossein Shariatmadari, who edits the state newspaper Kayhan, as saying Friday.

After finding out that Iran will be allowed to have only about 5,000 centrifuges, according to a fact sheet released by the State Department, Alireza Mataji, a 26-year-old student who has been allowed to organize events critical of the negotiations, posted on Twitter: “We will have just enough centrifuges left to make carrot juice.”

There was no reaction from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who in recent weeks has emphasized that all Iranians should support the negotiations. But now that a framework has been reached, analysts said that he will allow those criticizing a deal — he might do so himself — to voice their opposition.

“We can expect him to listen to all sides,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist close to the government of Rouhani. “That means that we might even see hard-liners gaining more power in the coming months; on the other hand, it also might be different. We have to wait and see how this will play out.”

“No matter how we try to sugarcoat it,” Laylaz added, “this means we no longer will have an industrial-scale enrichment program. This is the price we have to pay for earlier mistakes.”

Others also expressed disappointment about the terms and noted the deal will do little to change the underlying differences with the United States.

“According to the US interpretation, significant concessions have been made, and sanctions will not be removed in the way many here were expecting,” said Mohammad Marandi, a professor of North American studies at Tehran University.

Marandi, who has been critical of the US government, pointed at the rise of Saudi- and Turkish-backed extremism in the Middle East and emphasized that under current circumstances there could be no normal relationship with Washington.

“What we really want to see from the Americans is an end to their support of countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey that support extremist groups,” he said. “The Middle East may soon explode, and we need a clear signal from the Americans to see where they stand.”

At the important Friday Prayer session in Tehran, a bastion of hard-liners, there were the usual chants of “death to America,” but efforts were also made to push the nuclear negotiations to a wider audience.

Rouhani’s first adviser gave the presermon speech and lauded the agreements made in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“Those who never wanted [to give] us the right to have enrichment now agree we have that right,” Mohammad Nahavandian said. “Those who opposed us having the full fuel cycle now no longer oppose. Instead of sanctions they now speak of cooperation. We have not retreated. Those opposing this deal are enemies, in line with the Zionists.”

Worshipers basking in the spring sun were also optimistic.

“If it is in our national interest to make an understanding with the West, we should do it,” said Mohsen Abdollahi, a cleric on his way to the prayer hall at Tehran University.

Most in Tehran seem to be hoping for a revival of the economy. Being able again to sell oil to the European Union and to have restrictions on sales to Asia lifted could bring in much needed cash for Rouhani’s government, Laylaz said.


Also see:

"Why this framework is a big deal: Iran has agreed to unprecedented verification and supervision of all its facilities by the International Atomic Energy Association. IAEA inspectors will not only have access to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, as well as to its uranium mines, but Iran will be required to grant access to “suspicious sites” or covert facilities anywhere in the country."

Related: Fake Left Orgasms Over President Peace Prize’s Iran Deal While He Bombs People of Yemen

That is such a GREAT POINT!

Another fantasy come true:

"DraftKings reportedly getting $250 million investment from Disney" by Callum Borchers and Curt Woodward, Globe Staff  April 03, 2015

The fantasy sports contests run by DraftKings Inc. often last only a day, but it is increasingly clear that the business itself is no flash in the pan.

The Boston startup has secured a $250 million investment from the Walt Disney Co. — parent company of ESPN — that values the four-year-old business at about $900 million, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

As a condition of the funding, DraftKings will spend more than $500 million to advertise on ESPN’s television and digital platforms in coming years, according to the report.

DraftKings declined to comment. Fortune magazine reported last month that the company was seeking to raise a new round of funding that would value it at $1 billion and that Disney was among the prospective investors.

Prior investments in DraftKings have totaled $75 million, according to startup tracker CrunchBase. Notable backers include Atlas Venture, Redpoint Ventures, and GGV Capital.

DraftKings is one of the country’s biggest daily fantasy sports companies, with more than 1 million registered users. Last year it collected $304 million in contest entry fees, up from $45 million in 2013. A huge portion of the fees is recycled into prize payouts, which DraftKings says will total $1 billion this year.

Still, revenues in 2014 were $30 million.

Earlier this week DraftKings announced a deal that made it the official daily fantasy game of Major League Baseball, and the company signed a sponsorship agreement with the Patriots last fall.

Fantasy sports sites allow users to role play as general managers, creating imaginary rosters made up of actual players. A fantasy football lineup might include a quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers, a receiver from the Dallas Cowboys, and a running back from the Buffalo Bills.

Points are awarded for on-field accomplishments in real games, such as yards gained and touchdowns scored. Fantasy sports contests typically last an entire season, but DraftKings and competitors like FanDuel have created a subcategory of short-term contests. Instead of drafting a roster of players and maintaining it from opening day until the season finale, DraftKings users can pick new players every day — LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Tim Duncan on one day and James Harden, Anthony Davis. and Chris Paul the next.

The rivalry between DraftKings and FanDuel is fierce, with the local entry playing catch-up. FanDuel claims on its website that it owns 80 percent of the market in one-day fantasy sports, and reported higher revenues and player fees in the fourth quarter of 2014 than DraftKings collected all year.

FanDuel has its own big-time institutional investors, including NBC, the NBA, and Comcast Ventures.

Many fantasy sports contests are free, but most on DraftKings and FanDuel require buy-ins and offer cash payouts for picking players who perform well in games.

More than 41 million people in the United States and Canada play fantasy sports, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.


Which team do you like?

"Visionary or villain, John Calipari doesn’t care how you view him" by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Columnist  April 04, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — You look at his face, you ponder his image, and what do you see?

It's the "men’s college basketball’s version of a Rorschach test." 

I will tell you what I will be seeing during the games.


Like the New York Yankees, Notre Dame football, and the Dallas Cowboys, Coach Cal is either beloved or loathed, either college basketball’s guardian angel or its angel of darkness.

The debate rages on at the Final Four, where Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats are two wins away from becoming the first Division 1 team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to complete a perfect season. The 38-0 Wildcats take on Wisconsin in the second of two national semifinals Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Duke faces Michigan State in the first semifinal.

The Final Four has become a referendum on Calipari, his methods, and his program, which is in the Final Four for the fourth time in five years and second straight season.

How does Calipari feel about being the most polarizing figure in college basketball?


Calipari, who won his only national title at Kentucky in 2012, is witty, combative, unapologetic, cocksure, and passionate.

In his press conference Friday, he took a subtle dig at rival Louisville. He hyperbolically compared college basketball players who leave school early for the NBA to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and the founders of Twitter. He said they have “a genius,” as if Karl-Anthony Towns is the next Mozart.


Cal is like a televangelist delivering a sermon — mesmerizing, theatrical, and so over the top it begs for derision.

Calipari’s force of personality is what draws players to Lexington, Ky. It’s also what is keeping his latest — and possibly greatest — team from getting the credit it deserves.

Purists are so busy railing against Calipari they’ve missed the fact that his Kentucky team embodies the best qualities of college basketball: self-sacrifice and harmonious play.

Calipari has molded a collection of hyped talent into a team for the ages. Kentucky’s heralded recruits have subjugated their egos, their statistics, and their NBA ambitions for team success....

I've shared enough of this article and will now hand it off to you.


It's a 6 o'clock wrap up tonight, and the sun won't even be down before I quit.


Wisconsin Upsets Kentucky to Face Duke in NCAA Title Game

I fell asleep and missed the entire second half.

Crowds Set Fires in Kentucky After Wildcats' Crushing Defeat

Iran partially lifts ban on women attending sporting events