Monday, December 14, 2009

Loudoun Schools in the VHSL Football ...

Loudoun Schools in the VHSL Football PlayoffsAll time state titles (4 total)
Broad Run 2 (2008, 2009)
Park View 1 (1988)
Stone Bridge 1 (2007)

All time regional titles (14 total)
Stone Bridge 6 (02, 03, 05, 07, 08, 09)
Park View 5 (80, 88, 93, 99, 00)
Broad Run 2 (08, 09)
Loudoun Valley 1 (76)

since 1970 
AAA Northern Region Division 5
Stone Bridge 28, South Lakes 7 (quarterfinals)

Are the Boston Red Sox building a bridge to nowhere?

Gather round, Boston fans. I have some questions about what you think about the state of your team these days.

I wrote something for The Faster Times about Jason Bay's rejection of the Sox's offer, and the pending Mike Lowell trade. It seems to me that the concept of loyalty is very one-sided in Soxland. Lowell took the hometown discount to stay in Boston, and he gets traded (pending that thumb issue, of course). Same thing happened with Bronson Arroyo - he got traded two months after leaving four million on the table. Nice!

Then there's the way that we inevitably hear negative things about the player when they're on their way out the door. Last year, Jason Bay was considered better than Manny Ramirez. Now, he's supposedly an injury risk. Right. The same way that Mike Lowell, considered one of the classiest guys to ever put on a Boston uniform, is supposedly now a clubhouse complainer. (See my article for more details, and go to Baseball Think Factory to read others commenting on my piece.)

The way the Sox front office trashes its players is so unseemly, yet it happens pretty much every single time a Boston player goes elsewhere. Tacky.

Anyhow, Theo Epstein had some talk the other day about how 2010 will be the bridge period. Sounds like it's the cheap period to me, with another year of John Smoltz/Brad Penny type supposed "low risk/high reward" signings. Like this year, with the Sox signing the immortal Boof Bonser, after all!

Of course, ticket prices are still going up during this transition time. Shocker!

Are the Sox already conceding the 2010 AL East division title to the Yankees? I think they are. As does Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. He sharply criticized the Sox in a recent column, saying fans should "not buy the bill of goods the Red Sox are selling." He continued:
I’m not buying. The Sox have the dough to sign Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Just like they had the money to bag Mark Teixeira last winter. But they keep getting beaten by the Yankees and then they cry about it.

Stop. It’s hideous of the Sox and their fans to complain about the Yankees buying championships. Sure, the Yanks can afford Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett, just like the Sox were able to afford Matsuzaka and Drew. The Sox got Curt Schilling and Victor Martinez the same way the Yankees got Curtis Granderson this week. The Sox are not the Pirates. They are not the Brewers or the A’s. The Sox are Haves, not Have-Nots. Like the Yankees, the Sox are happy to raid the rosters of teams that can’t afford high-priced talent.
Absolutely. I thought about that Schilling deal the other day, and how Sox fans I knew then tried to claim that Boston gave up a lot in that trade in Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon. Please.

Shaughnessy also writes:
It’s nice that Theo has a passion for player development, but asking fans to take a year off is outrageous. Henry is a billionaire and the Sox are making bundles of money. If you don’t believe that, call their partners at Ace Ticket and try to score a few tickets.
Agreed. John Henry is worth a lot more money than George Steinbrenner is. Why are they holding the purse strings tight with one hand, and raising ticket prices with the other?

One other thing I also read at the Boston Globe this week was about how Theo opposed the Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez trade, made in his brief absence from the team in 2005.  That makes no sense to me. Yes, the Sox gave up a future superstar in Ramirez. But they also won the 2007 World Series thanks to Beckett and Lowell. That seems like a pretty fair tradeoff.

Let's take a quick look at some of the 2010 Red Sox payroll obligations. Right now, they've committed to pay Texas nine million to take Mike Lowell off their hands, assuming the trade goes through. They're also paying nine million for Julio Lugo not to play for them. They'll be paying $14 million for J.D. Drew - a heck of a bigger injury risk than Jason Bay - to play right field; that is, when he isn't taking his weekly day off.  They're paying $12.5 million to David Ortiz - which looked like a great deal at the time - to be their DH. Dice-K (or is that Dice-BB, as my friend William calls him?) may actually show up to spring training in shape this time around to earn his $8 million this year. And don't forget that captain Jason Varitek will be getting $5 million as a lifetime achievement award for 2010.

Yes, yes, I know the Yankees have ridiculous contracts as well. (Kei Igawa, anyone?) My point is that Theo Epstein, for all his brilliance, has made a bunch of bad deals that have cost his team. And that not many other teams could afford to essentially pay other teams to take on their players, the way Theo did with Manny Ramirez, Julio Lugo, and is trying to do with Mike Lowell. So sorry, I'm not going to feel too bad for the Red Sox's payroll obligations. If they're having to pinch pennies now, it's because of bad decisions by Epstein, not because of the Yankees' dominance.

Of course, now that I've written this article, watch the Sox sign John Lackey, Matt Holliday, Adrian Beltre, and some other high-priced free agents this afternoon, just to prove this all irrelevant!

But what do our Sox fan readers think? Tell us about it!

Generic ballot tightening up

Congressional Democrats are hitting popularity levels almost as low as the Republicans, and that's tightening up the generic ballot in our newest round of national polling.

59% of voters now disapprove of Congressional Democrats compared to just 28% who think they're doing a good job. As recently as October the spread was only 37/49. It's been an across the board drop for the party over that period of time. They've declined from 65% to 55% with Democratic voters, from 29% to 19% with independents and from 8% to 4% with Republicans.

The Republicans are still even more unpopular, with a 24/61 approval spread, but that's actually a slight improvement from a 21/61 mark in October.

Independents are extremely disgusted with both parties, giving the Republicans a 69% disapproval rating and the Democrats a 66% one.

Republicans have now pulled within 44-42 on the generic Congressional ballot, a six point improvement from a 46-38 gap a month ago. A key reason for the tightening is that Republican voters are more unified, saying they plan to vote for their party by an 86-7 margin compared to Democrats who are only committed to theirs by an 81-10 spread. Independents narrowly favor the Democrats 35-33, a reduction in their lead from 37-30 a month ago.

These numbers are another warning sign that Congressional Democrats need to get some things accomplished to keep the base on board. Their numbers aren't declining because of unhappiness from conservatives- that ship sailed a long time ago. It's because Democrats and Democratic leaning independents are getting frustrated at the slow rate of progress on key issues they care about.

Full results here

Health Care Center Receives Stimulus Funds

The Squirrel Hill Health Center (SHHC) has been chosen as one of 85 community health centers in the country to receive stimulus funds from the federal Recovery Act.
The health center will receive $792,700, which will be directed toward the renovations and construction of an oral health care center for uninsured and underserved residents of Western Pennsylvania.
CEO Susan Friedberg Kalson says the center had an oral healthcare center in its plans since it opened three and a half years ago, but did not have the funds to build it. She says the money will cover construction and renovation costs, but will not cover operating expenses. She says the center has begun applying for more funds to cover those costs as well.
Kalson says the center will provide care for people with no dental insurance on a sliding fee scale, which means patients will be evaluated based on household income. There will be a minimum fee per service. She says care will also be provided for people with insurance, mostly for those with MediCaid because it is especially difficult for those people to receive dental care. She says not only will this benefit people in need of care, but it will also create jobs in construction, renovation and permanent positions once the center is completely finished. The center has partnered with area social service agencies and dental advisory groups made up of community dentists. She says they are looking forward to working with their community partners to make this happen. Kalson says there is an incredible need for increased dental services in our area.

Loudoun: Home of the State Champions!

(Dec. 14, 2009) - Broad Run High School's VHSL Division 4 state football title Saturday crowned a banner fall for Loudoun schools as four state titles were brought home including Loudoun County and Loudoun Valley in volleyball and Briar Woods in competitive cheer.

As far as state titles goes, this is the golden age for Loudoun athletics as local schools have hauled home eight tiles in the past

"PA Society" Gathered in NYC

The state’s political power players gathered in New York City over the weekend for an annual event. If you’re a Pennsylvania politician – or if you’re trying to win an election to join that club – then Pennsylvania Society is the place to be. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1899. Pennsylvania’s political scene migrates to the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan for a weekend of parties packed with schmoozing, black ties, cocktails and gossip. Nearly every gubernatorial candidate held a reception, and there was an unspoken attendance competition going on among them. It is believed a well-attended soiree means a strong campaign. Standing in the middle of a packed ballroom he had rented, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said he was in New York to build relationships with supporters. He says, “Pennsylvania Society is a unique situation because you can get all corners of the state, the middle of the state, a lot of people from all over in one area for three days. And as you can see, I packed the room with a lot of supporters tonight. And I think it’s an indication of the viability of my candidacy.” Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett says it was worth the trip, “You know, there’s a lot of potential fundraising ability here, contacts here. Networking. I certainly like the reception that I have received this weekend, and continue to receive. I mean I’ve been coming to this since 1993 or 1994. It’s nice to get to see everybody. It is a lot of seeing the same people over and over again.” Along with campaigning there are a lot of discussions about upcoming legislative efforts. House Majority Leader Todd Eachus says Democrats have the votes they need to pass a table games bill. He says he is taking a different approach than the governor, “I always worry about the work. The governor’s got to worry about his press conferences. My focus is trying to get the job done.” At the same time, US Senator Arlen Specter of PA was talking about health care. Specter says the Senate will pass a health care bill by month’s end, but he shied away from declaring support for a compromise on the public health care option. He says, “We’ve talked a lot about it, but I want to read the fine print before I take a final stand on it. Getting 60 votes—getting 60 out of 60—is a tough job when you don’t have any Republican support.”

Corbett Will Continue Prosecutions

Attorney General Tom Corbett says he’s disappointed former Democratic Representative Sean Ramaley was acquitted by a Dauphin County jury last week. Over the weekend Corbett told reporters the verdict won’t have “any effect” on his corruption investigation’s other cases. After deliberating for less than three hours, a jury acquitted Sean Ramaley on all six charges he faced. That wasn’t what Corbett expected from the first trial of a long-running probe into the misuse of tax dollars for political purposes. Corbett says he believes his legal team had the evidence to win the case, “We do not bring cases if we don’t think that there’s a conviction there. That wouldn’t be fair.” One of Corbett’s opponents in the Republican gubernatorial primary, State Representative Sam Rohrer, says the Ramaley verdict brings added pressure to next month’s trials. He says, “There can’t be too many more of these without, I think, bringing into question the investigation.” The other Republican in the race, Congressman Jim Gerlach, didn’t criticize Corbett for the verdict, saying the A-G’s office is, “responsible for moving forward with the cases they think are important.”

Photo Gallery by Jeff Scudder - Football - Before and After the D4 State Title Game!

There are 150 photos in the gallery ... click any photo here to get to the gallery!

Bike Parking Vote Expected This Week

Pittsburgh City Council this week is expected to approve an ordinance that would require nearly all new commercial development in the city to include bike racks. The bill changes the city parking code and will include change of use requests. Bike-pedestrian coordinator for the city, Steve Patchen, says the goal is to have the racks on private property, but the developer can get a variance to put it on nearby land, including a sidewalk. Patchen says the city has a preferred rack, but anything that provides enough support for the bike and a place for a lock can be approved. In an effort to make the ordinance more developer-friendly, the city has included an option to replace up to 30% of the parking spots required by the original ordinance with bike parking spaces. Patchen says there is a pent-up demand for the racks. He points to recent efforts to place racks in business districts, “After we put them up, the next day there are bikes on them.” Beyond that he says it is a symbolic move. He says Pittsburgh can add bike lanes and bike routes to the city, but if there is no place to lock your bike once you get to your destination, this will never be a bike-friendly city.

Library Board Votes on Hold

When the Board of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh meets this afternoon they will take up several weighty issues including a vote to delay portions of the “Action Plan” it adopted October 5, 2009. That plan called for small changes such as higher fees and fines and major changes such as closing four branches. Library spokesperson Suzanne Thinnes says while many aspects of the plan will stay in place, the $600,000 approved by Pittsburgh City Council will allow the library to “defer” the closures. Thinnes says the additional funds will buy the library more time to lobby Harrisburg for additional funding. Council President Doug Shields has promised to slip another $600,000 into the 2010 budget, which is yet to be finalized. It is unclear how much time the additional money buys the libraries. At a meeting with state legislators November 23rd the president of the library board said she would like to have a firm commitment for state funding in hand by February. The board will take a vote on the 2010 budget today despite not having final numbers from the state or the city.

The Board also expects to consider the public’s request to hold open meetings. Thinnes says it is on the agenda for discussion, but it will not necessarily be voted on today. She says, “As a Public Trust, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is not required to hold open meetings but understands the community’s interest in board decisions.” Thinnes says it is public support that gives the library hope that lobbying efforts in Harrisburg will be more fruitful in 2010 than they have been in the past. Knowing that the public is very interested in the issues facing the board this month, the board will hold a public forum at 4 o'clock in the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland before heading into the closed-door meeting. A maximum of 25 speakers will be allowed. Speakers had to sign up last week, but Thinnes says anyone is welcome to come to listen.

While You Were Saying 'Aha!'

Time for an annual December treat: It's the NYTimes Magazine's annual 'year in ideas' issue. We weren't as taken with the issue as we have been in years past, but it's always worth a read.

While you were drinking your lithium ...
  • News out of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium: positive data on T-DM1 from ImmunoGen and Roche; on Pfizer's neratinib; on Array's ARRY-380; on Celldex's CDX-011;
  • Cubist is buying the VC-backed anti-infectives play Calixa Therapeutics for $92.5 million in up-front cash plus earn-outs related to the progress of one of Calixa's Phase II drug candidates that could total $310 million. Looks like a solid return for Domain/Canaan/Frazier, which put $30mm into the company since it was founded in 2007.
  • Mammogram screening debate, meet math. Math, meet mammogram screening debate. You two have much to discuss.
  • AstraZeneca's argument to dismiss Crestor's generic rivals via summary judgment was rejected, and the parties head to court in February, reports Reuters. Don't forget Crestor's FDA advisory committee is on tap for later this week ...
  • HCR: Lieberman is a Nay. Didn't see that coming?
  • So far we've nominated seven deals in our 2009 Deals of the Year competition: You can view them here. There are eleven more to come (six each in three categories). Voting will begin on Wednesday December 23 and continue until Tuesday January 5.
  • Oh, Eagles 45, Giants 38.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What is Curtis Granderson's home run call going to be?

Now that the Yanks have a new center fielder in Curtis Granderson, all we have to do is figure out what home run call John Sterling will use for him.

First off, you know some play on words regarding a "Grand" slam is inevitable with Sterling. And some out-there call we haven't expected will also come up. I was listening to Curtis Mayfield's great 70s song "Pusherman" at the gym the other day, and it occurred to me that Sterling will have some line using Mayfield's name with some great defensive play.

So, what other calls will Sterling make? Any thoughts?

Incidentally, check out my Faster Times article from last week on the trade. And the more I read about Granderson, the more I like him. I also hope he continues his blogging for Yahoo Sports Big League Stew site.

In other news, I wrote on the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death at my personal blog, Swan Squawking. Check it out here.

What do you think John Sterling's home run call for Curtis Granderson will be? Tell us about it!

Photo Gallery by Craig Sterbutzel: D5 State Title Football Game - Stone Bridge vs. Phoebus

Click on any photo to see the entire gallery!

Video - Football - Stone Bridge Press Conference after D5 State Title Game

Follow the jump to see more videos from this press conference

Photo Gallery by Jeff Scudder - Football - VHSL D4 State Title Game - Broad Run vs. Amherst County

Click on any photo to go to the complete gallery

Football Box: Broad Run 21, Amherst County 16

VHSL Division 4 State Title game played Dec. 12, 2009 at Virginia Tech

Broad Run 0 7 7 7 - 21
Amherst County 0 7 0 9 - 16
Broad Run 21, Amherst 16

Second Quarter
BR: Flemming 12 pass from Jessop (Martin kick) 6:43 (9 plays, 67 yards, 3:41)
A: Vaughan 4 run (Dawson kick) 2:35 (11 plays, 54 yards, 4:05)

Third Quarter
BR: Thomas 12 pass from Jessop (Martin kick) 6:30

Photo Gallery by Dan Sousa: Football - Stone Bridge D5 Title Game

Click on any photo to go to gallery

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Football: Broad Run Rocks Back-to-Back State Titles with 21-16 Win Over Amherst

Blacksburg (Dec. 12, 2009) - Broad Run High School waited 40 years for its first VHSL state football title. The second title came a whole lot faster as the Spartans defeated Amherst County Saturday, 21-16, at Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium for a second straight Division 4 state title.

And Broad Run (14-0) did it with star running back T.J. Peeler on the sidelines on crutches the entire second half

Football: Phoebus 15, Stone Bridge 10

Charlottesville (Dec. 12, 2009) - The Stone Bridge High School football team out-played Phoebus Saturday in the VHSL Division 5 state title game at UVa's Scott Stadium behind the record-breaking running of junior Marcus Harris and a stingy defense that didn't allow any scoring drives. The Bulldogs out-played the Phantoms in just about every aspect except for the most important aspect of all ...

NFL Betting – Week 14 Parlay

NFL Betting – Week 14 Parlay The sportsbook is turning into a Venus flytrap of late, isn’t it? We have a nice, juicy “lock” – the Steelers fighting for their lives at Cleveland – sitting out there for us…we take the bait…and WHAM! We (and Ben Roethlisberger) get eaten alive. Time to strike back. Consider this your weekend redemption parlay.


This is almost like a “mirror match,” isn’t it? Both teams call Florida home, run the ball very well, struggle to defend the pass and are just OK against the run. A closer look, however, shows that Miami has some key advantages. First of all, Jacksonville has the league’s most embarrassingly bad pass rush. The Jags have a pathetic 12 sacks in 12 games – five fewer than any other team in football. Young Miami quarterback Chad Henne can make plays with his rocket arm if given time to throw. He could light up a Jacksonville secondary missing Rashean Mathis. The Dolphins, who rank third in the league with 35 sacks, should quiet the already-quiet Jacksonville crowd. Go with the Fish’s NFL odds.


The Bengals embody that Venus flytrap discussed earlier. We didn’t trust them against Green Bay, Pittsburgh (twice) and Baltimore (twice) and they scorched our NFL picks with upset wins. It’s true that Cincy is a force in the AFC, already 9-3, allowing a league-low 15.6 points per game and boasting the NFL’s No. 1 run defense. It’s also true that the Vikings weren’t themselves last week, as Brett Favre threw three picks, Adrian Peterson ran for 19 yards and Jared Allen went sackless. But the Bengals’ senses may be dulled from consecutive games against Oakland, Cleveland and Detroit. The Vikings are also undefeated at home. Favre in particular loves the Metrodome in 2009, throwing 16 touchdown passes versus one pick there. Look for Minnesota to show some resolve and bounce back.


I’m I crazy enough to pick Diego Sanchez in UFC 107 betting plus pick the Cowboys even though the Chargers have won 15 straight December games? Yes. Despite their December dominance and seven straight victories this season, I’m not convinced the Chargers are legit yet. Five of their nine wins came against Cleveland, Oakland (twice) and Kansas City (twice). Suddenly, their No. 8 pass defense looks pretty inflated, doesn’t it? It’s especially alarming that Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns on them last week. Tony Romo’s late-season choke jobs have been well documented over the years but he really showed something last week at the Meadowlands, throwing for a career-high 392 yards and three scores. Maybe he’s over the hump. I’d pick the home team here.

NFL Odds – Raiders come up big in battle of awful teams

NFL Odds – Raiders come up big in battle of awful teamsSports betting players could have their hands full when looking at this week’s NFL odds for Washington’s trip to Oakland, as both teams are absolutely atrocious. How can you win some cash on a matchup like this? Read ahead.

Redskins vs Raiders betting – Sunday, December 13, 4:05 PM ET

The Redskins (3-9) are still trying to figure out how they let last week’s 33-30 overtime loss to New Orleans at home slip away. Shaun Suisham had a chance to ice the game with a 23-yard field goal, but he missed it right with 1:52 to play, leaving the door wide open for the Saints, and Suisham was released shortly after the game. This was Washington’s third straight game in which they allowed a fourth-quarter lead to slide away, but this one may have hurt the most. Jason Campbell was 30-of-42 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and a pick, but the Redskins had four turnovers, and like their NFL odds, their spirit may be dead.

The raiders (4-8) showed a lot of heart in a 27-24 upset win at Pittsburgh, led by Bruce Gradkowski’s fourth-quarter heroics. Gradkowski, a Pittsburgh native, was 20-of-33 for 308 yards and three touchdowns, which all came in the last 15 minutes, and he was named the AFC Player of the Week for his exploits. The Raiders were 2-of-2 in the red zone and didn’t turn the ball over once, leading to a big NFL odds upset.

NFL odds in your sportsbook have the Redskins as a 1-point favorite on the road, which seems strange when you consider that the raiders are 2-4 at home, and Washington is 0-6 away from home. Washington is also 0-4 as an ATS favorite, while the Raiders are a decent 6-5 as an underdog, and 3-3 ATS at home. The Redskins will hope to have Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall back, and their secondary (particularly safety Laron Landry) has had problems with the deep ball as of late, which is right up Oakland’s alley. Like Cleveland-Detroit in Week 11, this matchup of lowly teams may actually turn out to be decent.

NFL picks: Raiders +1

Live! VHSL D5 State Finals - Stone Bridge vs. Phoebus

The Live! Blogging Starts here ... refresh your browser as editor Dan Sousa does a running play by play of the game

Final: Phoebus 15, Stone Bridge 10

P 3-3 SB25 - Phoebus gets the first down and that will be the gain as they can take a knee
PH 2-9 SB31 - gain of 6 and Stone Bridge calls final time out with 1:22 left
PH 1-10 SB32 - short gain

SB 3-12 SB 32 - Rody's second

Friday, December 11, 2009

Girls Basketball: Potomac Falls Rallies to Edge Stone Bridge, 44-42

Sterling (Dec. 11, 2009) - Potomac Falls trailed by five points with under three minutes to play but Raven Short hit a pair of 3-pointers and Alyssa Battle scored the go-ahead layp with less than a minute left from a nice Symone Berry feed as the Panthers edged Stone Bridge, 44-42, in a tip off tournament game Friday at Potomac Falls.

PF 10 11 08 15 44
SB 12 08 10 12 42

Reid 2 0-0 4, 6

WBOY-TV: Second Man Arrested for Attack on Broad Run Grad Ryan Diviney

Second Man Arrested for WVU Student Beating - WBOY-TV -

Posted using ShareThis

There will be a fundraiser for Ryan Diviney and his family on Thurs. Dec. 17 at Finnegans Pub in Ashburn Village. Click here for details.

Updates on Ryan's Condition from his father:

Dec. 11: Ryan had a great day resting and healing. He really looks great! His heart rate has been quite relaxed and even.

Girls Basketball: Loudoun County Defeats Briar Woods in Dulles District Opener, 56-44

Ashburn (Dec. 11, 2009) - The Loudoun County High School girls basketball team went on the road and defeated Briar Woods Falcons, 56-44, in a AA Dulles District opener Friday night.

Both teams came into the contest with identical 3-0 records. County led throughout the contest as they posted a 32-22 halftime lead.

County's Brittany Batts had a game high 16 points and was a perfect 6 of 6 from

Boys Basketball: Dominion Opens Dulles Play with Win Over Freedom; McGaughery Leads BR to 4-0 Start; Valley Over PV

(Dec. 12, 2009) - Kevin Conboy scored 17 and the Dominion High School boys basketball team had to erase a fourth quarter deficit to open the AA Dulles District season with a low-scoring 49-38 win over Freedom Friday night.

In other action, Kevin McGaughey scored 37 as Broad Run improved to 4-0 with a 78-67 non-district win over Heritage. Loudoun Valley beat Park View, 81-49, in a tip off

Boys Basketball: Triple Overtime Thriller! Milhailovich Scores 51, Halfcourt Game Winner for PFalls

Sterling (Dec. 11, 2009) - Potomac Falls junior Lukas Mihailovich scored 51 points Friday, including a halfcourt buzzer-beater in triple overtime that handed the Panthers a thrilling, 111-108, victory over Stone Bridge in a tipoff tournament game at Park View High School.

Stone Bridge (0-2) had tied the game with four seconds left in the third overtime on Mike Hamrick's clutch three free throws

Girls Basketball: No. 11 Freedom Dominates Dominion in Dulles Opener, 75-13

Sterling (Dec. 11, 2009) - The Freedom High School girls basketball team showed why it is ranked No. 11 in the Metro area Friday night as the Eagles forced 32 turnovers and held Dominion to six points through three quarters on the way to a 75-13 Dulles District opening victory.

Freedom improves to 4-0 on the season and Dominion drops to 0-4.

Dionna Scott scored 24 points to lead Freedom and

Girls Basketball: Broad Run Edges Heritage; Valley Over Park View

(Dec. 11, 2009) - Broad Run High School edged Heritage, 42-39, and Loudoun Valley defeated Park View, 53-28, Friday night in non-district girls basketball action.

Freshman Ellie Ferguson led the Spartans with 16 points, including 8 of 11 from the foul line and sophomore Lauren Mines scored 11 points with nine rebounds.

Ceara Scott led the Pride with 12 points while Erika Grabbi scored 11.

Boys Basketball: Loudoun County Opens Dulles District Season with Win Over Briar Woods

Leesburg (Dec. 11, 2009) - the Loudoun County High School boys basketball team over the 2009-10 AA Dulles District season with a 55-42 win at home Friday night over Briar Woods.

The Raiders (1-0, 2-2) were led by senior Mahir Mrkonjic's 15 points and junior Kris Pratt scored a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Falcons (0-1, 2-1) were led by Correy Faciane with 12 points. BW's

Football: VHSL Division 4 State Title Game - Broad Run vs. Amherst County

When: Dec. 12, 2009
Where: Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium in Blacksburg
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10 (includes Division 3 contest which precedes Broad Run game)

The Teams: Broad Run (13-0) vs. Amherst County (13-0)
Seems Like Old Times: This is the second straight year these two teams have met in the state title game as the Spartans shut out the Lancers, 14-0, in the snow at Liberty.

Football: VHSL Division 5 State Title Game - Stone Bridge vs. Phoebus

When: Dec. 12, 2009
Where: Virginia's Scott Stadium in Charlottesville
Kickoff: 12:05 p.m.
Tickets: $10 (includes Division 6 contest as well!)

The Teams: Stone Bridge Bulldogs (13-1) vs. Phoebus Phantoms (14-0)
Seems Like Old Times: This is the third straight year these two powerhouses meet with SB winning in the 2007 state semifinals on the way to the state title and Phoebus winning last year

Ravenstahl Disappointed

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl issued a one page response to the PCHE decision to not agree to payments to the city to avoid a tuition tax. “For these institutions to reject contributing at an extremely reasonable and low level and thereby eliminating the Fair Share Tax is truly a disappointment. Many non-profits, including the university community, have failed to contribute meaningfully for years and have even refused to enter into reasonable discussions. I hope they reconsider and reevaluate their position." The statement from the mayor goes on to say, "If they truly want to protect their students, then they will accept this very reasonable proposal. But as it stands, their actions have left this administration with no choice but to pursue its only legally available option: the Fair Share Tax. I will continue to fight for the residents of our cityy, who will ultimately be the ones suffering if our non-profits do not pay their fair share.” City Council is expected to take a preliminary vote Wednesday and a final vote Tuesday Dec. 22.

J.J. Putz: 2009's first pie thrower

Early in 2009, a 32-year-old pitcher new to New York with initials for his first name introduced pies in the face to an often-tense clubhouse. His new team, which had finished a disappointing 89-73 in 2008, missing the playoffs, would do far differently in 2009.

They would win 70 games.

That's right - A.J. Burnett was not the only pie thrower in New York this year. (And yes, as hard as it is to believe now, the Mets and Yankees did have the same record only a year ago.)

Early in spring training, new Met J.J. Putz hit SNY' s Kevin Burkhardt in the face with a pie.

MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone posted the video here:

At the time, Cerrone wrote of Putz:

his attitude in the clubhouse, the way he keeps people loose and having fun, and it's a big reason why he was acquired, because it is believed he can have a positive impact on the clubhouse for a team that is often tight when playing under pressure

Putz and Cerrone had the right idea. But Burnett was the one who took this concept all the way to November, while Putz did not make it past the first week of June.

The three-way trade for Putz was one of the highlights of last year's offseason for Mets fans. Little did we know at the time that Omar Minaya was trading for damaged goods.

With Putz signing with the White Sox and Jeremy Reed probably not coming back, all Minaya has to show for the trade now is Sean Green.

It is too bad that the Mets never got a chance to see what a healthy Putz could do.

But it is probably just as well that Putz' pie-throwing was curtailed. Because the way things went last season, one of those pies in the face probably would have resulted in some sort of injury and would have been played endlessly on YouTube.

Taking suggestions/vote on which CD we poll in

A couple things for Friday afternoon:

-We're taking your suggestions on where we should do our last state poll of the year, which we'll conduct next weekend and release the week of Christmas. Leave your suggestions in the comments- as usual we're looking to do things there isn't a lot of data out there on, or if there is a lot of data please suggest new angles that would make it worth adding our polls to the pile.

We'll pick a few of our favorite nominations and put it to a vote starting Monday.

-Second, I said we would do a poll in a Republican held Congressional district to see the extent to which all politicians are seeing their popularity drop right now as opposed to just Democrats.

Here are the choices:

MN-6: Michele Bachmann's propensity for generating controversy made this one of the closest House races in the country last year and there's no doubt her opponent next year will again have plenty of money. At the same time this district voted 53-45 for John McCain.

NE-2: Barack Obama won a surprising victory here last year and Lee Terry faces another tough challenge from State Senator Tom White. Plus Omaha is one of my favorite cities in the country, even if my heart gets broken every time I go there (because UNC doesn't win the College World Series.)

OH-12: Pat Tiberi got lucky last year...his district went 54-45 for Obama but Democrats didn't have a strong, well funded challenger to him. That shouldn't be the case again this year and it would also be interesting to look at how the Senate and Governor's races are playing out in his district.

We'll have voting open until 4 PM on Monday, have a great weekend!

College Signing: Potomac Falls Cross Country/Track Standout Christina Lee to Run at William and Mary

Sterling (Dec. 11, 2009) - Potomac Falls High School senior Christina Lee, a 4-year standout on the prep cross country and track scene, announced that she has verbally committed to run next year for NCAA Division I William and Mary.

Universities Say No to Mayor

It's now up to Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council. The leaders of the colleges and universities in the city have rejected the mayor's ultimatum regarding his proposed 1% college tuition tax.
Ravenstahl had said if the colleges and universities agreed to contribute $5 million a year for 5 years to the city, then that would negate the need for what Ravenstahl calls the "Fair Share Tax." He said Thursday if he doesn't hear from them by Monday, the mayor will urge City Council to approve the tuition tax. Council has twice delayed a vote for a week to allow for further discussions.
Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty says they gave the mayor their answer today...."There was no point to wait for a deadline to respond to a do it or else attitude."
Dougherty says the mayor's proposed tax is illegal and if council approves it, the issue will probably end up in court. He says that whether it's a 1% tuition tax or pressured payments by the universities in lieu of taxes it still becomes the students' problem..."We (Duquesne) get 80 to 85% of our revenue from student tuition, so whatever Duquesne would pay (contributions in lieu of taxes), 80 to 85% would go on the tuition bills of students"
Dougherty says the mayor is trying to breach a "conceptual barrier" and if approved, the tax could increase to 2% and then 3%.

Appoint the most viable candidate

Today's Rasmussen poll showing Michael Bennet trailing all three Republicans running against him, including a nine point deficit to Jane Norton, is a reminder that Democratic Governors sure didn't do their party in the Senate any favors with their appointments last year.

The appointments of Michael Bennet in Colorado, Ted Kaufman in Delaware, Roland Burris in Illinois, and Kirsten Gillibrand in New York put all of those seats in play for next year and it really didn't have to be that way.

If David Paterson had appointed Andrew Cuomo and Rod Blagojevich had appointed Lisa Madigan there's no way we'd be talking about those seats right now. End of story.

There were better choices in Colorado and Delaware too. We did some polling right after the announcement of Ken Salazar's cabinet appointment last year that showed Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper with a 14 point lead over former Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Congressman John Salazar (Ken's brother) with a 52-43 lead. A month later, after Bennet's appointment and before the climate started turning against Democrats, we tested an Owens/Bennet contest and found Owens up 44-41. So essentially Bennet was 17 points weaker than Hickenlooper and 12 points weaker than Salazar. That's the difference in Colorado right now between Democrats leading in the polls and trailing in the polls.

It's harder to say what should have happened in Delaware- the situation there was complicated by Beau Biden's military service. But it seems likely that if someone had been appointed to the seat and had hit the ground running in preparation to run to keep it Mike Castle would have been less inclined to try to make the jump to the Senate. And if Castle doesn't get in this seat isn't competitive.

All four Governors who had the opportunity to make these appointments last year were too cute in their selections. And it's interesting to note that two of them- Bill Ritter of Colorado and David Paterson of New York- saw almost immediate downturns in their approval ratings due at least partially to unhappiness with how they handled them. And the other two- Rod Blagojevich and Ruth Ann Minner- aren't in office anymore.

Democratic Governors need to think more about appointing the strongest candidate electorally to these seats in the future.

Gymnastics: Freedom Captures 7-Team Meet at Heritage; LC's Drews Wins All-Around

Leesburg (Dec. 11, 2009) - Heritage High School opened its 2009-10 gymnastics season Thursday night ... and held Senior Night at the same time! Such is the abbreviated gymnastics season as the Pride will compete in its final eight events on the road so Thursday had to suffice as a season opener, home opener and home finale all in one.

The seven-team meet featured a mix of AA Dulles District (

Chatham Students Protest Electronically

Chatham University students took to their cameras today to protest Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s proposed tax on college tuition.

More than 100 of the school’s on-campus population of about 600 wrote personalized messages on white boards and sent photos of themselves to the mayor’s office.

Chatham Class of 2010 President Jenn Hollern says the students were tired of being politely ignored.

“We’ve written letters, written editorials, written to the newspapers. We’ve talked with members of Council, tried to talk with the mayor but haven’t been successful, says Hollern. “We’ve called with emails. We’ve done all of these peaceful, not-so-aggressive tactics and obviously gotten no results, so we wanted to organize a protest.”

Hollern says they were too busy with final exams to organize in the flesh, but she says this electronic version only helps the students’ appeal by showing their ingenuity and value to the city.

“This way of organizing shows that beautifully,” says Hollern.

She says the students have been taken as "financial hostages" to get the city's educational institutions to pay more to Pittsburgh in lieu of taxes.

The students’ protest pictures can be found on Facebook, and a 30-second video clip has been sent to all City Council members and the mayor.

You Pick'Em: Final Exam Time After the Oracle (Jason Treon) Speaks Once Again but Kathy Athey and Sherrie Kipps Claims Wins As Well

Championsville (aka Ashburn) (Dec. 11, 2009) - Not even the mud can stop The Oracle (aka Jason Treon) from picking a winner last week in our world-famous You Pick'Em contest. We also saw Kathy Athey catch win No. 3 all-time and we salute a first time winner, Sherrie Kipps.

And yes I made a lot of mud jokes last week ... in advance of the game at Stone Bridge!The Washington Post on the other hand

Reagan tops, Bush worst among recent Presidents

Republicans who invoke Ronald Reagan's name all the time may be onto something- he is the country's most popular President of the last 30 years.

41% of respondents to our national survey said Reagan was their favorite out of the last five Presidents, followed by Bill Clinton with 27% and Barack Obama with 22%. Both of the Bushes poll in single digits.

Reagan is first among Republicans with 76% and independents with 41%. He's also the only one of the Presidents to poll in double digits across party lines, the choice of 11% of Democrats. Clinton edges Obama 46-36 for tops honors among Democrats.

Reagan is the first choice of almost every group within the poll except for liberals and African Americans who choose Obama and moderates, Hispanics, and voters under 30 who choose Clinton.

The age results on the poll are interesting. Nobody who is under 30 now had the opportunity to vote for Clinton, but he was the President while they were growing up and they seem to look back on those days fondly. There seems to be a similar sentiment with the 30-45 demographic. None of them were able to vote for Reagan when he was first elected and few of them were for his reelection but he nevertheless beats Clinton 39-27 with that group. People seem to like the Presidents of their childhood.

When it comes to the least favorite President of that group George W. Bush narrowly edges out Barack Obama for top honors 38-37 with the rest much further back. It seems somewhat remarkable considering the high levels of hatred Republicans had for Bill Clinton but Obama's already winning least popular designation by a 69-17 margin with that group. George W. Bush leads his dad 58-16 for the dubious distinction among Democrats and with independents the younger Bush leads Obama 46-30.

Some of the takeaways from these numbers:

-When you see Reagan as the most popular recent President and W. Bush as the least popular it's no wonder Republicans try to envelop themselves in the Reagan brand- it certainly has a lot more appeal to voters.

-It is a sign of how polarizing Obama's first year has been that 30% of respondents picked him as either best or worst already, more than any of the other Presidents. I don't use the word 'polarizing' as a pejorative- it's just a simple truth that Obama has pursued an ambitious agenda and the result of that has been a lot of people either really liking or really hating him.

-The first George Bush didn't leave a strong impression on the American public- few listed him as the best or the worst.

Full results here

Deals of the Week: Holiday Shopping

Having trouble this holiday season deciding what to get for the Big Biotech CEO in Your Life Who Has Everything? Join the bidding for Facet Biotech! The reserve may be quite high--higher than $17.50 per share, anyway--and it's not technically an auction (because Facet isn't necessarily going to sell, which would be sure to garner it some negative feedback on eBay). But is money really a problem when it comes to that special someone?

And don't worry about losing any of Facet's drug candidates if you're the winning bidder. "The Pink Sheet" DAILY noted this morning that while Facet's top compounds are tied up in partnerships, including Biogen Idec's co-ownership of its most advanced drug, daclizumab for rheumatoid arthritis, none of the agreements will be affected by a change-of-control.

"In each of our three collaborations, the non-acquired entity would not have a right to terminate the collaboration," Facet CEO Faheem Hasnain told "The Pink Sheet" DAILY. "In fact, the acquiring entity would step right into Facet's shoes."

Whatever you do, though, just don't materially undervalue those shoes while overstating their liabilities. That approach has gotten Biogen Idec nowhere. Respect the shoes!

Meanwhile the rest of you biopharma dealmakers have had a busy week (makin' AND breakin' deals), so we oughta get to it. The following companies won't be trawling the malls on Christmas Eve, they're ...

GSK/Intercell: Not even Santa Claus himself could earn this much for delivery. This morning Austrian vaccines company Intercell said it licensed to GSK its patch vaccine delivery technology in a deal worth €33.6 million ($49.4 million) in up front cash. GSK also agreed to purchase up to €84 million worth of Intercell shares in a "staggered shareholding purchase option" that could reach a 5% holding in the biotech (€28 million u/f for 0.9mm shares at an 18% premium, other investments milestone-based). The development and commercialization deal will include Intercell's Phase III travelers' diarrhea vaccine, a Phase II pandemic flu vaccine, and future patch vaccines. Intercell will be eligible for a slew of milestone payments and profit sharing on the projects already in development, as well as milestones and royalties for future products that include its patch technology. GSK is now Intercell's second strategic investor--Novartis owns about 16% of the company through a 2006 deal for a Japanese encephalitis vaccine and a monster 2007 deal for the biotech's vaccines for bacterial infections. Intercell has a variety of other partners, including Merck, Sanofi-Pasteur, and Kyowa Hakko Kirin. For more on Intercell and the market for adult vaccines, check out this recent IN VIVO feature.--CM

Novo Nordisk/ZymoGenetics: This is Novo/Zymo IL-21, the Sequel. In a second deal around the IL-21 cytokine, these two companies' long, entwined history continued this week when Novo Nordisk licensed from ZymoGenetics a preclinical anti-IL21 antibody for auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. The terms look good for Zymo: $24 million up-front, reflecting the value of IP around the target that was included in the deal. As Novo EVP and CSO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen told "The Pink Sheet" DAILY: "we're buying all IP surrounding [the blocking of] IL-21 as a concept, and its utility in different disease areas." That move should provide the Danish firm with "a good degree of exclusivity on this target," he says. "We now have global patent rights to block cytokine IL-21; no one else can do that." (Competitors could block the IL-21 receptor, however, just not the molecule itself.) ZymoGenetics is eligible to receive $157.5 million in potential milestones, up to and including the antibody's regulatory approval in major global markets, and royalties on net sales. ZymoGenetics may opt to co-promote the biologic in the U.S., for a $10 million fee and a 15% contribution to Phase III trial costs. In this scenario, US royalty payments would increase from single to double digits. Novo is familiar with ZymoGenetics efforts in the IL-21 space; until last year when it retrenched into diabetes and opted out of the alliance, it was the biotech's partner on its recombinant IL-21 cancer project. Novo is confident that blocking the cytokine has broad applicability in immune disorders. Hence why it's snapping up that IL-21 IP. --CM/Melanie Senior

Celgene/Gloucester Pharmaceuticals: In a move that adds to its hematological cancer franchise, Celgene purchased privately held Gloucester Pharmaceuticals and its recently approved Istodax (romedepsin) for $340 million in upfront payments, plus potential milestones that could total another $300 million. The deal secures a nice exit for Gloucester’s five venture capital investors – Novo A/S, Apple Tree Partners, ProQuest Investments, Prospect Venture Partners and Rho Ventures – who backed the biotech with a $29 million Series D round in August. Over Gloucester’s six years of operations, the investors kicked in a total of roughly $100 million. Celgene predicts the Gloucester purchase will be accretive to earnings by 2011, in part because it would not need to add to its marketing and sales infrastructure since it already sells hematological cancer drugs Revlimid, Thalomid and Vidaza.--Joseph Haas

BMS/Tranzyme: In its first alliance with a Big Pharma company, Tranzyme Pharma will receive $10 million upfront plus two years of research funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb in a collaboration to discover potential new macrocyclic compounds, which have potential in a wide range of therapeutic areas, including oncology and metabolic disease. Announced Dec. 7, the deal is not Bristol’s first foray into the macrocyclic space – in April, it paid $5 million upfront plus $7.5 million in research and development funding to Ensemble Discovery to develop macrocyclic compounds called Ensemblins against eight undisclosed targets. It’s likely Bristol is trying to get ahead of the curve on what Tranzyme calls an underdiscovered area – no other Big Pharma companies are doing deals in the space and Tranzyme has thus far not partnered any of its clinical or preclinical assets. The new deal centers on Tranzyme’s MATCH (Macrocyclic Template Chemistry) drug-discovery platform. The biotech will perform early lead discovery against a range of undisclosed targets specified by Bristol, which will then be responsible for lead-optimization, preclinical and clinical development, and commercialization. Tranzyme will receive two years of research funding ranging between $3 million and $6 million and could earn regulatory milestones up to $80 million for each target program, as well as sales milestones and royalties.--JH

Mylan/Pfizer: Details are scant on the authorized generic agreement around the Wyeth antidepressant Effexor XR. But Mylan said early this week it had reached an agreement with Pfizer to sell the long-acting capsule formulation as early as June 1, 2011. Doses equivalent to Mylan's planned generic venlafaxine capsules racked up $2.9 billion in sales in the year to September 30, the company said in its release. Legislation that would curtail or even ban brand/generic settlements is winding its way through Congress these days (it may even catch a ride on the behemoth of health care reform) and we know where the FTC stands on these deals.--CM

Lilly/Isis: Lilly and Isis called it quits this week on their 5-year collaboration on LY2275796, a second-gen antisense compound targeting eukaryotic initiation factor-4E that recently completed Phase I trials in oncology. Isis is paying an undisclosed amount to take back the product, arguing that ‘5796 got lost in the shuffle after the big drugmaker’s 2008 ImClone acquisition. Is this spin control or honest truth? Data related to ‘5796 are sparse, with Isis failing to provide an update at its recent R&D day, leading Joseph Schwartz, an analyst at Leerink, to write in an investor note: “it’s logical to conclude that lack of anticancer activity and/or toxicity may be the reason why LLY [Lilly] is not pursuing it.” As Isis CEO Stanley Crooke points out in “The Pink Sheet” DAILY, Lilly has right of first negotiation to opt back in to the molecule’s development when—or if—it enters Phase III studies. (The two companies are also still partners on a Phase II antisense prostate cancer drug.) So, maybe for Lilly this is about curbing risk: with critical drugs coming off patent near-term (including Zyprexa and Cymbalta), Lilly needs late-stage assets to bolster its flagging pipeline, not early stage, highly risky products that are going to be a drain on resources. Better to let Isis carry the risk—and cost—but keep a just-in-case door open. The central question for many investors becomes will another partner, Genzyme, reach the same conclusion? Recall Genzyme and Isis announced a lucrative tie-up in January ‘08 on the CV medicine mipomersen, with Isis garnering $175 million in upfront cash and another $150 million in equity. Six months later, the two revised the deal terms, with Isis having to pony up more development money after data from a competing trial highlighted the regulatory risks associated with cardiovascular studies. Mipomersen is much further along than the Lilly cancer drug, and recently scored good data at the American Heart Association meeting, giving partner Genzyme some positive news to tout after a string of manufacturing and regulatory gaffes. But the Phase III medicine has also been the subject of questions, especially related to adverse liver side-effects and high clinical trial drop-out rate.--Ellen Foster Licking

GSK/Cytokinetics: Cytokinetics continues to phase out its oncology R&D and on Thursday announced it had scrapped a third and final cancer program with GSK (GSK decided not to opt into two others late last year). GSK will complete an ongoing Phase I trial of the compound, GSK-923295, in advanced, refractory solid-tumor patients. Then rights will revert to Cytokinetics, which says it is de-emphasizing its oncology work in favor of its core muscle-related R&D (which includes the Amgen-partnered cardiac contractility program discussed here). The three GSK-partnered programs were the company's entire clinical oncology portfolio.--CM

Genentech A Wholly Owned Member of the Roche Group/Seattle Genetics: As the Roche Pipeline Purge rolls on, the latest casualty is SeaGen. Genentech paid $60 million up-front for access to SGN-40 (dacetuzumab) in 2007 and at least $8 million more in milestones since then. But this morning the companies said that Roche was giving back rights to the anti-CD40 antibody in development for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma. The end of the SeaGen alliance follows Roche's decision this past week to drop partnerships with Actelion and GenMab. But you can't just blame Roche's re-org. Earlier this year a trial of SGN-40 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was halted when an interim analysis suggested the trial would not reach its goals. In any case, hold onto your hats, Genentech partners! --CM

Canadian racing legend Ron Fellows to appear at the Canadian Motorsports Expo


(TORONTO, ON // DECEMBER 11, 2009) While there have been several constants throughout the three-year history of the Canadian Motorsports Expo, the presence of Canadian racing star Ron Fellows is one of the most notable. In 2010, the accomplished racer will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at the CME, taking part in several significant discussions and ceremonies.

            On Saturday, January 23, Fellows – who has gone to victory lane at Le Mans, Daytona’s Rolex 24 and in several NASCAR events including the 2008 Nationwide Series race at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – will host a ‘bench racing’ panel discussion at the Canadian Motorsports Expo called “Ron & Friends.” Fellows will moderate a wide-open discussion featuring several top Canadian racers, interacting with fans at The Canadian Tire Stage.

            Talking about the ‘Ron & Friends’ forum, Fellows said, “While this year’s Canadian Motorsports Expo is heavy on the nostalgia theme – with the celebration of Mosport’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2010 – we’re planning to have a number of current and former competitors on hand to interact with the fans for a fun ‘bench racing’ segment, hosted by yours truly. It’s always fun and you never know what stories and comments are going to come out.”

            The following day, on Sunday, January 24, Fellows will join Paul Tracy and several others to help kick off events paying tribute to a half century of racing at Mosport International Raceway. “For car racing enthusiasts and competitors, Mosport is one of the most beloved circuits in North America,” continued Fellows. “The 10-turn, 2.45-mile circuit has hosted every possible form of motorsport over the years, and it’s been a huge part of my life for 40 of those 50 years. Congratulations Mosport… here’s to 50 more! The CME is a great venue to start the season-long tribute to Mosport.”

            Commenting on Ron Fellows’ appearance at the CME, show founder and President Glenn Butt said, “From ‘day one’ Ron has been an incredible supporter of the CME. He represents the best of Canadian racing in so many ways, from his incredible achievements, to his commitment to building a ladder for future Canadian talent, to his efforts to preserve the history of Canadian motorsports. And he does it all with a smile. On behalf of the CME and our partners Inside Track, we are honoured to have Ron Fellows at the show for a fourth consecutive year.”

            Discussing the CME, Fellows said, “The Canadian Motorsports Expo is quickly becoming the must-see, off-season motorsports event. The concept is long overdue and I applaud Glenn Butt and Inside Track Motorsport News for their efforts in building and maintaining this mid-winter tradition.”

ABOUT THE CME: The Canadian Motorsports Expo is a three-day celebration of Canadian racing that runs January 22 to 24 at the International Centre (6900 Airport Road in Mississauga). The show is powered by Inside Track Motorsport News and supported by companies like Lucas Oil Canada, NASCAR Canada, Mosport International Raceway and Canadian Tire. In addition to booths and racing vehicles representing the entire spectrum of Canadian motorsports, the show is loaded with seminars and forums to entertain and inform racers and fans alike.

For more information about the Canadian Motorsports Expo, visit, call Glenn Butt at (905) 721-1762 or email him at You can reach co-promoters Inside Track at (416) 962-7223 or email

Girls Basketball: No. 11 Freedom Tops Stubborn Liberty, 61-53

South Riding (Dec. 11, 2009) - Kelsey Buchanan nearly notched a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks Thursday as No. 11 Freedom defeated a stubborn Liberty team, 61-53, to improve to 3-0 on the young season.

Dionna Scott added 18 points and six rebounds for Freedom. Jasmine Merritt and Brittani Poindexter chipped in with nine and six, respectively. Jessica Escorza dished

Hypocrisy from 'values' voters in South Carolina

With Jenny Sanford filing for divorce today it seems like an appropriate time to discuss how self declared 'values' voters in South Carolina feel about their Governor.

13% of respondents on our poll said 'moral and family values' was the issue most important to them, a distant second to the economy and jobs which was the top concern of 54% of respondents.

While 51% of all south carolina voters disapprove of Mark Sanford's job performance, only 38% of professed values voters do.

While 45% of all South Carolina voters want Sanford to resign, only 33% of the 'moral and family values' crowd wants him to.

And while 32% of all South Carolina voters think Sanford should be impeached, only 28% of this crowd does.

Where do you think these folks stood on impeaching Bill Clinton? It's clear there is forgiveness for politicians who cheat on their wives and abuse state resources to do so- as long as they're Republicans.

Canadian Motor Speedway open in 2011?

In an interview with the Hamilton Spectator, Azhar Mohammad, excutive director of Emirates Consulting, the Toronto based consultant attempting to build the Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie, ON, said he hopes to have it up and running as soon as 2011.

In the interview, he said "That's a very tight target, I must admit, but I think if everybody continues to work with the kind of positive feedback that we've had with the town and region and our engineers, I think it's a very do-able target."

The process of building the speedway is currently in the government approval phase, with Minisitry of Environment and Ministry of Natural Resources needing to be satisfied with the plan, as well as of dealing with any possible appeals at the Ontario Municipal Board.

World of Outlaws: 2010 Schedule Released at Performance Racing Industry Trade Show

Orlando, FL—December 11, 2009—After the closest three-way points race in World of Outlaws history in 2009, the 2010 season is shaping up to be another of the most competitive in series history.

Drivers will compete nearly 80 times from coast-to-coast as well as in Canada in the coming year, as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series 2010 schedule was released at the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida on Friday. The nine-plus month tour kicks off at Volusia Speedway Park with the 39th Annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, February 5-7 and wraps up with the 4th Annual World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway, November 4-6.

Among the multi-day marquee events that dot the 2010 calendar include the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway, the 2nd Annual Ironman 55 at I-55 Raceway, along with the tradition rich Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway, the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway, the National Open at Williams Grove Speedway, as well as the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove, the World Finals and Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway, in addition to the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic at Knoxville Raceway.

After a very successful debut in 2009, the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup at Lernerville Speedway will again feature Twin 30-lap races in 2010, with the driver scoring the best average finish of the two races earning the overall Silver Cup Title, one of the crown jewels of the sport.

The 2nd Annual Ironman 55 at I-55 Raceway in Missouri is scheduled for August 6-7 at the always racy high-banked bullring, with $20,000 awaiting the winner after the 55-lap finale.

The World of Outlaws will make their first of two trips to California in early March, for a two-day event at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare on March 5-6, followed by the Mini Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway on March 12-13, before a return to the Golden State in September for the 57th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions.

The inaugural three-day Hall of Fame Classic at the legendary Knoxville Raceway will be contested on June 3-5 in conjunction with the annual National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction ceremonies that same weekend.

Also highlighting the 2010 schedule will be a number of events run in conjunction with NASCAR weekends, including at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on February 26, which will mark the second consecutive season the series had competed at the half-mile in the desert. The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway will host the World of Outlaws on May 28 as part of their spring NASCAR event. Also back on the schedule is the ultra-high-banked and blazing fast Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee on March 19-20 which is just a stone's throw from Bristol Motor Speedway where NASCAR will be racing that same weekend.

Inaugural events in 2010 for the World of Outlaws will be held at Autodrome Drummond in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada on July 27 as well as at Junction Speedway in McCool Junction, Nebraska on June 25 and Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pennsylvania on May 30.

With the addition of the event at Autodrome Drummond, the World of Outlaws will visit three tracks in three different Canadian Provinces, with Ohsweken Speedway in Ontario hosting a two-night event on July 30-31, as well as Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta, hosting a two-night show on August 27-28.

The World of Outlaws will also return to Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City for the first time since 2003 on June 25, as well as visiting Fulton Speedway in New York for the first time since 2006 on August 3 and will also return to Sedalia State Fair Speedway in Missouri on June 16 as well as North Central Speedway in Minnesota on July 3 after a one year absence from both of those facilities.

The “Month of Money” kicks off with the Brad Doty Classic at Limaland Motorsports Park on July 14, before moving to Eldora Speedway for the Knight Before the Kings Royal and the $50,000 Kings Royal on July 16-17. The series then heads to Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania for the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30's on July 20. The Summer Nationals at the famed Williams Grove Speedway follows on July 23-24. The “Month of Money” will wrap up at I-55 Raceway in Missouri with the 2nd Annual Ironman 55 on August 6-7.

The 2010 Gold Rush Tour will take the World of Outlaws to Castrol Raceway in Edmonton for the 4th Annual Oil City Cup on August 27-28, before heading south for a stop at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon on September 1. The series travels north to Skagit Speedway in Washington on September 3-4 and will celebrate Labor Day at Grays Harbor Raceway on September 6 with the following day serving as the raindate. The 57th Annual Gold Cup Race of Champions follows at Silver Dollar Speedway in California, September 9-11 with $50,000 awaiting the winner again in 2010.

Tracks that hosted the World of Outlaws in 2009 and will continue that tradition in 2010 include: Attica Raceway Park, Cedar Lake Speedway, Charter Raceway Park, Clay County Fair Speedway, Deer Creek Speedway, Dodge City Raceway Park, which will host the two-day Boot Hill Showdown, Huset's Speedway, I-96 Speedway, Lebanon Valley Speedway, Lone Star Speedway, Paducah International Raceway, River Cities Speedway, which will host a two-day event in 2010, Tri-State Speedway in Indiana and Virginia Motor Speedway.

The World of Outlaws will take part in Super DIRT Week again in 2010 visiting Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on Saturday, October 9, after a standing room only crowd was on-hand in 2009 for the series return to the famed fall event.

The 2010 campaign will wrap up with the 4th Annual World Finals at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway which will again feature the World of Outlaws Late Models along with the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds making their first appearance in the season ender.

Several additional races will be announced in the near future.

2010 World of Outlaws Schedule

Day Date Track City, State

Friday- February 5- Volusia Speedway Park- Barberville, FL

Saturday- February 6- Volusia Speedway Park- Barberville, FL

Sunday- February 7- Volusia Speedway Park- Barberville, FL

Friday- February 26- Las Vegas Motor Speedway- Las Vegas, NV

Friday- March 5- Thunderbowl Raceway- Tulare, CA

Saturday- March 6- Thunderbowl Raceway- Tulare, CA

Friday- March 12- Silver Dollar Speedway- Chico, CA

Saturday- March 13- Silver Dollar Speedway- Chico, CA

Friday- March 19- Volunteer Speedway- Bulls Gap, TN

Saturday- March 20- Volunteer Speedway- Bulls Gap, TN

Saturday- April 3- TBA

Saturday- April 10- TBA

Friday- April 16- Paducah Intl. Raceway- Paducah, KY

Saturday- April 17- I-55 Raceway- Pevely, MO

Friday- April 23- TBA

Saturday- April 24- Tri-State Speedway- Haubstadt, IN

Friday- April 30- TBA

Saturday- May 1- Lone Star Speedway- Kilgore, TX

Friday- May 7- Eldora Speedway- Rossburg, OH

Saturday- May 8- Eldora Speedway- Rossburg, OH

Thursday- May 13- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Friday- May 14- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Saturday- May 15- Virginia Motor Speedway- Jamaica, VA

Friday- May 21- Attica Raceway Park- Attica, OH

Saturday- May 22- I-96 Speedway- Lake Odessa, MI

Friday- May 28- Lowe's Motor Speedway- Concord, NC

Sunday- May 30- Tri-City Speedway- Franklin, PA

Thursday- June 3- Knoxville Raceway- Knoxville, IA

Friday- June 4- Knoxville Raceway- Knoxville, IA

Saturday- June 5- Knoxville Raceway- Knoxville, IA

Friday- June 11- Dodge City Raceway Park- Dodge City, KS

Saturday- June 12- Dodge City Raceway Park- Dodge City, KS

Wednesday- June 16- Sedalia State Fair Speedway- Sedalia, MO

Friday- June 18- River Cities Speedway- Grand Forks, ND

Saturday- June 19- River Cities Speedway- Grand Forks, ND

Friday- June 25- Junction Motor Speedway- McCool Junction, NE

Saturday- June 26- Lakeside Speedway- Kansas City, KS

Thursday- July 1- Huset's Speedway- Brandon, SD

Saturday- July 3- North Central Speedway- Brainerd, MN

Thursday- July 8- TBA

Saturday- July 10- Charter Raceway Park - Beaver Dam, WI

Sunday- July 11 - Cedar Lake Speedway - New Richmond, WI

Wednesday- July 14- Limaland Motorsports Park- Lima, OH

Friday- July 16- Eldora Speedway- Rossburg, OH

Saturday- July 17- Eldora Speedway- Rossburg, OH

Tuesday- July 20- Lernerville Speedway- Sarver, PA

Friday- July 23- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Saturday- July 24- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Sunday- July 25 - Lebanon Valley Speedway- West Lebanon, NY

Tuesday- July 27 - Autodrome Drummond- Drummondville, QC

Friday- July 30- Ohsweken Speedway- Ohsweken, ON

Saturday- July 31- Ohsweken Speedway- Ohsweken, ON

Tuesday- August 3- Fulton Speedway- Fulton, NY

Friday- August 6- I-55 Raceway- Pevely, MO

Saturday- August 7- I-55 Raceway- Pevely, MO

Friday- August 20- TBA

Saturday- August 21- TBA

Friday- August 27- Castrol Raceway- Edmonton, AB

Saturday- August 28- Castrol Raceway- Edmonton, AB

Wednesday- September 1- Cottage Grove Speedway- Cottage Grove, OR

Friday- September 3- Skagit Speedway- Alger, WA

Saturday- September 4- Skagit Speedway- Alger, WA

Monday- September 6- Grays Harbor Raceway- Elma, WA

Thursday- September 9- Silver Dollar Speedway- Chico, CA

Friday- September 10- Silver Dollar Speedway- Chico, CA

Saturday- September 11- Silver Dollar Speedway- Chico, CA

Wednesday- September 15- Clay County Fair Speedway- Spencer, IA

Friday- September 17- TBA

Saturday- September 18- Deer Creek Speedway - Spring Valley, MN

Friday- September 24 Eldora Speedway- Rossburg, OH

Saturday- September 25 Lernerville Speedway- Sarver, PA

Friday- October 1- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Saturday- October 2- Williams Grove Speedway- Mechanicsburg, PA

Saturday- October 9- Rolling Wheels Raceway- Elbridge, NY

Friday- October 15- TBA

Saturday- October 16- TBA

Saturday- October 23- TBA

Friday- October 29- TBA

Saturday- October 30- TBA

Thursday- November 4- Lowe's Motor Speedway- Concord, NC

Friday- November 5- Lowe's Motor Speedway- Concord, NC

Saturday- November 6- Lowe's Motor Speedway- Concord, NC

Contact: Tony Veneziano
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series PR Director | 704-467-7803

2009 M&A/Alliances DOTY Nominee: GSK/UCB

It's time for the IN VIVO Blog's Second Annual Deal of the Year! competition. This year we're presenting awards in three categories--that's 300% more fake prizes than last year!--to highlight the most interesting and creative deal making solutions of the year. The categories are: Big Pharma Deal of the Year, M&A/Alliance Deal of the Year, and Exit/Financing Deal of the Year. We'll supply the nominations (roughly half a dozen in each category throughout December) and you, the voting public, will decide the winners (by voting early and often, commencing once we've announced all the nominees). Strap yourselves in, it's The Race for the Roger™.

OK, it involves some far away places we never think of – even beyond the fabled BRIC countries. But the January deal in which GSK paid UCB $670 million for commercial operations in more than 50 non-core countries, as well as rights to sell some primary care drugs in those territories, could be the IT deal of 2009.

After all, it captures so many of 2009's biggest trends: the land grab in emerging markets, the tug of regionalization versus globalization, the ongoing shake up in primary care, and diversification--the bluster of the big versus the commitment of the focused.

On one level, the deal shows how two companies with very different strategies are reacting to the mania about emerging markets. GSK is looking to be a geographically diversified global provider of medicines at all price points to as many countries as possible—and says its far-flung infrastructure, deep pockets, and global expertise make it the go-to company for late-stage deal-making in emerging markets. In other words, it can be a Big Brother.

UCB, on the other hand, is concentrating on what it does best: it is in effect taking a "master craftsman" approach. At a fraction of the size of GSK or other Big Pharma, it can't be everywhere selling everything. And so, it is joining a small, but important group of biopharma—including the much bigger Bristol-Myers Squibb and Lilly—that has chosen to intensify its focus rather than diversify. It recently repositioned itself as a spec pharma focused on CNS and inflammatory diseases and is extending that idea globally.

GSK's funds enable UCB to pay down its burdensome debt by shedding non-core assets—which were attractive enough for GSK to pay nearly 4X sales. UCB is not giving up on emerging markets, by any means, and still plans to sell specialty drugs in the BRIC countries, along with Mexico, Canada and South Korea. But it won't be stuck with infrastructure or products it can't afford.

GSK is another matter. Even as it cuts expenses in its Western markets, it is bulking up in emerging markets, where antiquated Western terms like "sales force arms race" and "shortage of human capital" –are real business concerns, not just pleasant reminders of the now-gone good old days in the West.

And that strategy is based on fortifying its product portfolio with a series of deals in the mature products and primary care sectors of the pharma industry; the assets UCB sold to GSK include rights to the anti-epileptic Keppra and the allergy drugs Zyrec and Xyzal in certain countries in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region and Latin America.

GSK is being ultra-aggressive: along with Sanofi it's been a high-profile deal maker in emerging markets in 2009. Pre -2009, GSK was a player in four of the 10 fastest-growing therapeutic areas in the Middle East and North Africa. Now, the company is in nine of the top 10 therapeutic areas in those countries—a stat it's been communicating as it circles the globe for partners.

Eventually, it expects doors in emerging countries to open for its novel, proprietary specialty drugs. Meanwhile, it, like others, is making hits of some of primary care drugs that are flailing back home, for in emerging markets, primary care drugs still have good value. Hard to believe, but GSK's second largest product in emerging markets is the antibiotic Augmentin, which is growing 30% a year, even as it faces competition from 15-20 generics--people there are so eager for quality, they're willing to pay more out of pocket for branded, proprietary drugs, despite generic alternatives. Now that's a market worthy of a land-grab, and a deal worthy of IVB's Deal of the Year.

image from flickr user mondayne used under a creative commons license.

Villeneuve carries Olympic torch

The Olympic torch wrapped up its visit to Montreal with local car-racing hero Jacques Villeneuve running one of the final legs of the relay while protesters delayed a concert on Thursday night.

Villeneuve, a former Formula One world champion, carried the Olympic flame along a snow-filled street in Old Montreal before an exchange in front of a brightly-lit Notre-Dame Basilica, a Montreal landmark.

The 38-year-old Villeneuve called the opportunity to carry the flame a "once in a lifetime experience.''

More via the

Kate Hudson goes on Letterman and giggles - again - about A-Rod

So, Kate Hudson went on Late Show With David Letterman this week to promote her nenw movie, "Nine." Shockingly (not really), Letterman kept on badgering her about her boyfriend, Alex Rodriguez. Anyhow, here is the clip.

Mayor Sets Deadline for Universities

There could be a showdown Monday on Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's proposed 1% tax on college tuition. Ravenstahl has given the city's universities and colleges an ultimatum: if they agree to contribute $5 million a year for 5 years to the city, then that will negate the need for what Ravenstahl calls the "Fair Share Tax." But if he doesn't hear from them by Monday, the mayor will urge City Council to approve the tuition tax. Council has twice delayed a vote for a week to allow for further discussions. The mayor has 5 supporters on council for his tax but terms for 2 of them, Jim Motznik and Tonya Payne end December 31.
Councilman Ricky Burgess says when it comes time for council to vote on the tax, he will introduce an amendment to push back the effective date six months to July 1, 2010. He says the delay will give universities more time to come to an agreement on voluntary payments instead of imposing the tax on students.
Councilwoman Theresa Smith has scheduled a meeting for 2 p.m. Monday in council chambers concerning the tuition tax.

1st Bonusgate Defendant Acquitted

The first defendant to go to trial in Attorney General Tom Corbett’s legislative corruption investigation has been acquitted on all counts.
A jury deliberated for less than three hours before delivering “not guilty” verdicts on all six counts former Democratic Representative Sean Ramaley faced.
Ramaley said he felt “vindicated” by the decision, and thanked his friends, family and legal team for sticking with him over the past year.

"This is an important day. I’ve been really humbled by the people who have stuck by me through this, through their phone calls, their emails, their letters. People who have not been afraid to come out and say they stuck by me. Those people will always have a special place in my heard."

Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek says his case was weakened by the fact Ramaley was tried apart from other defendants.

"Perhaps the jury didn’t get the full picture. Certainly there was a tremendous amount of character sources and we had to deal with that. Our theory was that this was not a bad man, but he got involved with a bad group of people. Apparently the jury was more thinking that he was a good man."

Several defendants have claimed Corbett’s investigation is politically motivated, and tied to his campaign for governor, but Krastek dismissed that charge.

"I have no apologies for this prosecution. I was honored to prosecute this case. It was based on the evidence as we believed it. And we didn’t get a verdict, but I’m happy with the job we did."

The trial lasted just under a week. Other Democrats, including former Whip Mike Veon, go on trial next month.

2009 M&A/Alliances DOTY Nominee: Astellas/Medivation

It's time for the IN VIVO Blog's Second Annual Deal of the Year! competition. This year we're presenting awards in three categories--that's 300% more fake prizes than last year!--to highlight the most interesting and creative deal making solutions of the year. The categories are: Big Pharma Deal of the Year, M&A/Alliance Deal of the Year, and Exit/Financing Deal of the Year. We'll supply the nominations (roughly half a dozen in each category throughout December) and you, the voting public, will decide the winners (by voting early and often, commencing once we've announced all the nominees). Strap yourselves in, it's The Race for the Roger™.

Options, Schmoptions. Sure GSK can ink its low-money-down, risk-hedging deals--for now. We'd argue that with pipelines flagging and the general push to look outside, the hottest targets/assets/technologies are still commanding value in competitive auction arrangements, a place where pesky options tend to be problematic. Yep, that's right. Despite the lackluster economy and the biotech financial crisis, it can be a seller's market.

Just ask Medivation. In late October the company announced a tie-up with Astellas to develop its Phase III prostate cancer drug, MDV3100 in a transaction worth $110 million up-front and biobucks of more than $650 million. Moreover, Medivation still keeps significant control of the development program--at least in the US, where the two firms evenly split costs. (Ex-US, Astellas picks up the whole tab for development and commercialization, providing tiered double-digit royalties in exchange for the privilege.)

Why does this deal merit top marks in the M&A/Alliance race? It's not because the upfront topped the chart in terms of dollar amounts. (That distinction goes to the AstraZeneca/ Targacept alliance announced last week.) But it does highlight the kind of deal you can ink when your target is hot-hot-hot. MDV3100 is one of two late-stage compounds seeking approval to treat hormone-refractory prostate cancer. The other? Abiraterone, a Phase III molecule that was J&J's primary interest for taking out its developer, Cougar Biotechnology, in a deal worth roughly $1 billion.

Other reasons to vote for this deal? Cuz Astellas may be "the new little engine that could" of deal-making. When you're Pfizer or GSK or J&J, a product like MDV3100 isn't by itself going to move the needle when it comes to growing the business. But for Astellas this is an important product that builds upon an existing urology franchise--the pharma sells Flomax and Vesicare--and helps create a new presence in oncology. And to get access, the Japanese player was willing to share the wealth with Medivation.

2009 may have been the year of the mega-merger, but smaller companies like Astellas--and the other Japanese pharmas Takeda, Shionogi, Daiichi, Otsuka, and Eisai--are still finding ways to compete. (Other interesting Astellas deals to note: partnerships with Zogenix, NeurogesX, and a joint-venture with Maxygen.) A lot of the draw comes down to one simple fact: a company's willingness to do right by its partner, including an ability to be flexible on the deal structure. (The BMS-Otuska deal is another interesting example of two partners working to find a structure that mutually benefits both.)

But there's also a willingness to play in risky markets like cardiovascular disease and be bold in the process. Recall Astellas tried--and ultimately failed--to acquire CV Therapeutics before it was outbid by Gilead. We think the company's hostile offer was a watershed moment, showing business as usual for the Japanese pharma didn't necessarily have to mean a consensus driven process. And we give Astellas credit for not being drawn into a bidding war, sticking to its price even after Gilead launched its white knight, higher offer.

So vote for Astellas/Medivation: a vote for oncology drug deals, a vote for increasing alliance values, a vote for the continued strength of the Japanese deal makers.