Saturday, July 30, 2011

Obama worst Presidential negotiator ever?

It's ironic, that the man who became President because of his incredible speaking ability, who overcame a complete lack of experience or ability by the sheer power of his speeches, is quite possibly the worst negotiator in the history of the Presidency.  There was some evidence this could happen even before he was elected, let's remember back to the Primaries of 2008.  Obama won Iowa, Hillary won New Hampshire, and eventually John Edwards withdrew from the race leaving it just down to the two of them to decide the nominee.  It seemed that if Obama could get that Edwards endorsement, it could put the race away.  A grand meeting was scheduled, at the home of John and Elizabeth Edwards, and Obama made the trip to snag that major endorsement.  Only it didn't happen.  While they wanted to support Obama over Hillary, there was a minor problem in that Elizabeth favored the 'individual mandate' form of socialized medicine, while at the time Obama was campaigning against that idea.  Of course as we all know Obama eventually passed just such a law, but at the time he was adamantly opposed to it, so much so that he actually got into an argument with Elizabeth Edwards over the issue!  His inability to handle that disagreement ultimately cost him the Edwards endorsement, and as we all know the Primary eventually became one of the longest, most dragged out primaries of modern times.  In the end it didn't matter, Obama still won and Edwards ended up being a criminal, so it all worked out for the best for him, but the fact remains that he blew a huge, easy to get endorsement, because of his complete lack of negotiation skills.

Fast forward to these 'Debt Ceiling' negotiations.  John Boehner and the House Republicans pass 'Cut Cap and Balance', a bill that was overwhelmingly popular with roughly 2/3 of Americans supporting it according to the polling.  They had a winning hand, but instead of playing it they chose to enter negotiations with the White House.  In those negotiations, John Boehner agreed to 800 billion dollars in increased taxes, major tax increases in a time of economic distress.  However, for some strange reason Obama wasn't satisfied with that, and suddenly demanded 1.2 Trillion in tax hikes instead!  Demanding an extra 400 billion dollars in tax increases resulted in the seemingly spineless John Boehner suddenly (and temporarily) growing a set, and ending all negotations with the White House, and in the process walking out on the 800 billion dollar tax hike he had already agreed to.  Obama had won, he had obtained the huge tax hike he wanted, he could've made John Boehner look like a tax-and-spend Democrat, he had pretty much everything he wanted, and he somehow found a way to blow it bigtime.  Now all signs point to Boehner and Harry Reid eventually doing a deal involving NO tax increase whatsoever!  An incredible turn of events thanks to an even more incredible blunder, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and when it comes to negotiations that is something Obama has proven to be very good at.  So is it a good thing or a bad thing that our President is so horrible at negotiating?  I suppose it depends on your point of view.  Certainly in this most recent case I'd say its a VERY good thing.  But in any event, he defniitely seems to be the worst negotiator in Presidential history.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Best Storyline In Daytime

If you're like me, you enjoy a good storyline, and in the world of Daytime TV there simply aren't enough of them, it's why so many shows are losing their viewers and getting cancelled.  Of course there are multiple reasons why Soaps are getting cancelled, one of which is the natural migration of viewers from network TV to cable and the internet, but no doubt if more Soaps had awesome storylines like this one, the ratings would be higher.  Sadly, this storyline is on a Soap that recently did get cancelled, but thanks to this storyline, and the subsequent ratings increase that resulted from it, the show has been un-cancelled!  It still won't be on Network TV anymore, but it was bought by a company that wants to continue showing it on the Internet, so they will be breaking all new ground, thanks in large part to this outstanding storyline. 

I don't want to give too much away, but here are some of the basics.  The storyline began in Feburary on the Soap 'All My Children', and slowly built up to the awesomeness that we see today.  It features three main characters, two of which are long-time Superstar characters for the show, and one lesser character.  First, there is the Heroine, Bianca, she's basicly the #1 'good girl' on the show, she can always be counted on to do the good and right thing, but she's always been unlucky in love, and at the beginning of this storyline she's in the process of breaking up with someone.  The second main character in this storyline is JR, he's one of the main villains on the show, he cheated on his wife and she left him, but now he wants her back and he's willing to play the 'good guy' to get her.  She, Marissa, represents the third character in this storyline, JR's ex-wife, who is also the adopted mother of JR's son with her sister (she adopted him when they were married because her sister is currently dead, although at the time of this writing it can be revealed she won't be dead for much longer).  Marissa is wary of JR, but still isn't completely over him.  She's also Bianca's divorce attorney, helping her maintain custody of her two daughters. 

There are older clips that you may very well want to go back and watch, but this clip from the March 22nd episode seems to me to be an excellent starting point for new viewers, I'd like to reccomend you start here.  The helpful individual who posted this clip has well over 50 other clips for this storyline available for your viewing pleasure from that point forward alone, all the way to the most recent action from just days ago, so if you watch all their clips you will be 100% caught up, and you might just want to watch future episodes not just on Youtube, but on ABC as well, the network it airs on (1pm Eastern Monday through Friday)! 

At the moment of this writing the storyline is still ongoing, and the most recent clip is from Friday, July 22nd.  There is plenty of action, drama, love and romance to enjoy in this storyline, which can accurately be described as a Love Triangle, since both Bianca and JR ultimately want the same thing, the heart of the lovely and talented Marissa.  Will Marissa ultimately decide in favor of the Queen of the good girls, or the King of the bad boys?  Check out this clip, and all the other Youtube clips from 'Minxfan', which as a bonus are all of High Quality, and find out!  A big thank you to Minxfan for all their hard work, providing all of us with such High Quality clips and so many of them!  Hours and hours of Soap Opera Drama at its finest, a storyline so exceptional that it may have single handedly saved the entire show!          

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steroid Outrage

As everyone knows, steroids in professional sports is a common and widespread problem, effecting the integrity of the sports they infest.  It is long past time that more be done to crack down, better and more effective testing, harsher penalties, etc. but I'd like to discuss an aspect of the steroid problem that doesn't get as much attention, and that is arguably bigger than any other single aspect.  I heard recently that in prosecuting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the federal government has spent roughly sixty MILLION dollars.  Thats right, sixty million dollars to prosecute a couple of people who most likely did indeed use steroids to improve their baseball performance.  At a time in which our nation is going bankrupt from tremendous amounts of Washington spending, isn't it great to know that we've blown through 60 million dollars to possibly put 2 baseball players in jail for using steroids?  I would answer that in the negative.  For me, that is the single greatest outrage in the entire steroids scandal, that Washington has wasted some 60 million of our dollars on these two prosecutions.  If they are indeed as guilty as they seem, ban them from baseball, kick them out of the hall of fame, levy fines against them, whatever seems most appropriate to the folks in Major League Baseball, but why are Washington politicians wasting our tax dollars on something that is none of their business? 

I'm an International Chess Champion, I don't use steroids and even if I did it wouldn't effect my performance, because Chess is a game of the mind, not the muscles.  But what if it did improve your performance?  Would Congress get involved in chess too?  No doubt it would, if it gave the politicians a chance to get on TV and 'look tough' by going after cheaters.  Cheating is bad, and terrible, and anybody who does it should be punished appropriately, but people cheating in a game is a matter for the folks involved in the game, not Washington.  The politicians love to grandstand for the cameras, and waste our money trying to get themselves votes.  I say let Washington focus on things that they should actually be doing, like keeping us safe from the terrorists, and balancing the federal budget.  Leave steroids scandals to the sports authorities to take care of.  Its their job, not Washington's.   

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sad Day for US Soccer

As you probably already know, the US Women's Soccer Team managed to give away the Championship multiple times in the final game, it was a Phil Hellmuth style performance on a grand scale.  For those who might not know, Phil Hellmuth played extremely well in this year's World Series of Poker, repeatedly dominating tournaments and reaching final tables, and at least twice he had a HUGE chip lead when it was just down to him and one other person, and both times he somehow managed to lose.  Our American team did the same thing, we had a totally dominant position, a goal up with just minutes to go two different times, and each time managed to give it away.  As a fan of the UNC Tarheels, we saw this in the ACC Championship game.  We played Duke, our arch rivals who we had already dominated in two regular season games (although we gave one of those away also after having a big double digit lead at halftime) but in the ACC Championship we simply looked like we didn't belong out there, due entirely to nerves.  This is what our women's team looked like out there each time we took a lead, they started playing so badly it was as if they didn't even belong on a soccer field.  It was clearly nerves, knowing they had almost won the World Championship was simply more than they could take.  The UNC Tarheels were the best team in College Basketball, and it happened to them.  They were men, and it happened to them.  It can happen to anybody, men or women, no matter how good you are, it's just a human thing.  The good news is, if we can keep the team together, it's probably not something that will happen again.  Once you've been on that big stage, tasted the nerves and the bitter fruit of them, you tend to do much better in subsequent opportunities.  Look how horrible Kobe Bryant was in the playoffs in his early days, I still remember that time with the game on the line, he took the last shot at the buzzer, and it was an AIRBALL.  He was the laughing stock of the league, he was never going to be anybody, he couldn't win the big one, etc.  With experience comes the ability to overcome the nerves, and that's what our women are going to show in London next year, when we win that major tournament.

It isn't possible for a great team to play worse than my Tarheels played in last year's ACC Tournament Finals, and it isn't possible for the US Women's team to play worse than they did at the end of regulation, overtime, and in PKs.  My Tarheels recovered strong and almost won the NCAA Tournament, the US Women's Team will recover strong and win in London next year.  We've still got the best goalie on the planet, male or female, and she's already announced she's sticking with the team.  We've got a great striker in Abby Wambach, she may have had her worst tournament ever but she still scored what was almost the game winning goal, once she gets out of this rut of missing the vast majority of her shots for no reason at all she will be an unstoppable force.  Alex Morgan scored what should have been the Championship winning goal in regulation, she was almost the biggest female sports star in American history, and because she's also very attractive she would've also likely been a millionaire several times over from endorsement deals.  She will get another chance to attain that status next year.

This is a bitter, painful loss, but it's one we're going to learn from, we're going to grow from, and we're going to come back stronger than ever.  I would say 'I hope Japan makes the finals again next year' but honestly I don't care, they're so far beneath us that the very idea of looking for 'revenge' is almost absurd.  We owned them, and we would own them again, this time without the late-game choking, that's just a given.  The matchup I'd like to see again is Marta vs Solo, the greatest vs the greatest.  Of course we own Brazil also, but its not about wondering whether we can beat Brazil yet again, its just the idea of seeing those two greats going toe to toe again, that would be a Finals I'd like to see.  But regardless of who we beat along the way, the bottom line is that Championship belongs to us.  All other teams beware, the US Women have something to prove, and next year they're going to prove it, erasing any doubts along the way!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Leader in Iowa

As you may have heard recently, Michelle Bachmann is the new leader in Iowa, having overtaken Mitt Romney, but what you may not have heard are the numbers, that are really quite surprising.  While Michelle does have real momentum, she currently has just 21 percent of the vote, certainly not an overwhelming lead.  The good news truly begins with Mitt Romney's numbers, which are now down to 18 percent.  Not only is he sinking like a stone, but he's close to being passed by Ron Paul, who has zoomed up himself, to 14 percent, scoring a very strong 3rd place, his best showing ever in any Iowa poll.  Sarah Palin, having not even announced a candidacy, is beating everybody else, with 11 percent.  Some other notable names have seemingly had their campaigns fall apart in Iowa, with Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty each now garnering just 2 percent support, behind even Newt Gingrich's 8 percent and Rick Santorum's 5 percent, and Jon Huntsman's 3 percent, and tied with Rick Perry's 2 percent. 

These numbers are shocking, and are really quite awesome for America when you think about them.  The front-runner stands at just 21 percent, and only 7 points ahead of Ron Paul.  Sarah Palin leads all the other candidates except for Bachmann, Romney, and Paul, without even running a campaign.  If she ran, and she got the Bachmann vote, which one would assume that she would, she would in fact have a very commanding lead.  If she doesn't, then Ron Paul is VERY well positioned to beat Mitt Romney and possibly even win the whole thing!  I was surprised when I read today that Ron Paul wasn't seeking re-election to the House, but having seen these new numbers I now understand why.  He has a far better chance to win the Iowa Caucuses, and the GOP nomination (and thus the Presidency, since the GOP nominee will obviously be a heavy favorite against the failed Presidency of Obama) than most people realize right now.  These numbers are fascinating, we have a new leader in Iowa, Mitt's numbers are tanking, Ron Paul is zooming up, Sarah Palin is still in a strong position, these numbers are great news for Ron, Sarah, and most of all America!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Epic Win for US Soccer

By now you've probably already heard about the incredible victory by the US Womens Soccer Team, tying 2-2 and winning 5-3 on Penalty Kicks.  It was an incredible game for an incredible team, playing not only down a man but down 3 referees, we came back and tied the game in regulation, and Hope Solo won it for us in the Penalty Kick phase by scoring a bigtime save on kick #3 by Brazil.  This was an incredible win, and ironicly, it was BECAUSE of the horrible anti-American refereeing.  Were it not for the referees awarding a red card for no reason, a penalty kick for no reason, then giving Brazil a SECOND penalty kick after Hope stopped the first one, we'd have had a pretty boring 1-0 win. 

Imagine it for a second, USA beat Brazil 1-0, of course we did, our women are good, its the men who suck, naturally the women won.  What's the score in the baseball game?  That would've been the most common reaction by American fans, were it not for the anti-American referees, and of course the Brazil team's incredibly terrible and unsportsmanlike antics as well.  It was because the referees literally gave Brazil that goal to force Overtime, then gave them ANOTHER goal in overtime, by refusing to call them offsides, that set up Abby Wambach for her incredible header at the end of Overtime, a goal that never would've happened if we had won the game 1-0 in regulation.  Then of course Hope Solo making the big save in PKs, and the strikers making all 5 of their PKs, giving us an INCREDIBLY dramatic victory.  And it's all thanks to the America haters!  This is something that is actually pretty common, as a Christian, we know about God's power to take something meant for evil, and turn it into good.  The anti-American refereeing seemed to be intent to cost us the game, and eliminate us from the tournament.  Instead, it served to make the victory about a MILLION times sweeter than it otherwise would have been!  They could hardly have helped us more if they had actually tried to!  Isn't that some REALLY sweet irony? 

So today we celebrate the greatest team in American Soccer history scoring perhaps the greatest win in American soccer history, even though this wasn't the finals, the dramatic and historic nature of the win is still very huge.  It was the greatest goalkeeper on the planet against one of the best strikers, certainly the best striker in womens soccer.  Hope vs Marta.  Today, Hope won, even though Marta scored two impressive goals, neither of which should've counted but still struck very impressively.  Hope came up with big save after big save, and got the final huge save in PKs, she proved once again why she should not only be starting at goalkeeper for the US Womens Team, but the Men's team as well.  After the game, Abby, Hope, and the Coach Pia all were awesome in their interviews, Pia suggesting that God is indeed writing the story of this great American team, and she's enjoying watching it unfold. 

Of course all the fans are enjoying it tremendously also.  Abby was especially effusive in her praise of Solo's incredible saves, and actually said what I've been saying, that Hope is indeed the best goalkeeper on the planet.  Of course our men's team would no doubt benefit from Wambach's abilities as well, her offensive leadership has been key, and while its true that up until that dramatic goal at the end of OT she had previously been the Queen of the Near-Misses in this tournament, having simply an unbelievable number of shots ALMOST go in, but somehow not quite scoring, today she came through when it counted far more than all those other shots put together!  And how fitting is it that Abby bears a striking resemblence (at least she did in her post-game interview on ESPN tonight) to a young, in-her-prime, Martina Navratilova, the greatest female player of all time in her sport of Tennis.

An incredible win for an incredible team, a history making win for a team that will hopefully make a lot more before this tournament is complete!  What a sweet win, an awesome win for America, and truly an Epic Win for US Soccer!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Solution to end the NBA Lockout

I've read a lot of opinions lately on the NBA Lockout.  Whether you're pro-union, pro-owner, or anything else, one thing we can all agree on is we want to see the Lockout come to an end.  I believe that I have a solution that not only will benefit the NBA owners, and players, but most of all the fans across America.  Here is my solution.

The current crop of NBA players are extremely well paid, all sides agree that they should make less as a percentage of overall revenue, and they're only arguing over how much less.  I can't make one side or the other agree to compromise and reach a fair and logical deal, but I can help end this lockout.  Until both sides come to a reasonable agreement (probably at the 50/50 split level) why not give the fans what they want?  REAL Basketball, with players who play because they love the game.  There are currently a group of people who are playing at the Professional level, right here in the USA.  They aren't locked out, they aren't on strike, they aren't greedy so-and-sos, they love the game, they love the fans, and the fans love to watch them play.  I'm of course referring to the players in the WNBA.  Most fans don't know much about the WNBA, it doesn't get the bigtime ESPN and network exposure that the regular NBA gets, and understandably so, since the regular NBA teams are the ones that have been around forever, and they're the ones we all want to see.  However, just because people aren't watching them in great numbers doesn't change the fact that they're great players, and this is the NBA's chance to show them off to a national audience. 

Its no secret that the WNBA has always been a 'work in progress' so to speak, in that so few people watch them, compared to the regular NBA, that they end up losing money for the NBA.  Putting WNBA players on every NBA team during the lockout would go a LONG way toward changing that.  People dont watch them because they either don't know about them, or they feel that the WNBA games aren't played at a high enough level to be entertaining, both those things can be solved simply by putting these women in front of a national audience and letting the fans see the truth for themselves. 

Of course I'm not suggesting that the NBA essentially turn the regular NBA into the WNBA until the lockout is over, that would be insane, and there wouldn't even be enough women from the WNBA to actually fill all 30 teams even if somebody was crazy enough to want to do that.  My suggestion would be to put 3 or 4 WNBA players on each team's 12 man roster, and then fill the rest through an old-fashioned tryouts process.  Open up the tryouts to everybody, most likely it will be college players who get the spots, but who knows?  Let each team just hold open tryouts and sign whoever they like, just the way things used to be done in the good old days, back when people played sports for the love of the game.  Of course the people who get these spots wouldn't 'just' be playing for the love of the game, they would probably all be paid more money than they've ever seen in their lives, even if that were a 'mere' quarter or half a million dollars or so. 

So imagine that each team had 8 or 9 of the top players they could find, along with 3 or 4 WNBA players to provide that veteran NBA Leadership for the team.  It would be a very unique, and highly entertaining system indeed.  Fans would gain a great deal of appreciation for WNBA players, which would help make the WNBA itself much more popular, and thus more profitable, and it would be a great way for other super-talented but perhaps little known players to make an NBA team and show the world their true abilities.  It would be a league filled with 'feel good' stories, whether its WNBA players finally getting the opportunity to shine on the big stage, or other folks who have never played professional ball, and maybe would've never had the chance but for this opportunity, trying out, making the team, and showing that they truly do belong on the Professional level.  Who knows, maybe from this crop of players could come the next MJ, Kobe, or Dirk.

Of course the best part of all this for the NBA itself, as a league, is that they would make far more money next year than they've ever made before.  Sure, attendence would be down, as the bigtime Superstars would still be sitting at home counting their money, or their drugs, or whatever.  But the salaries would be back to real world, sane levels, so that would mean that for those of us who do go to the games, we could get tickets at a greatly discounted price and still get to see a high quality basketball game, while the owners rake in unprecedented profits, because anyone with basic math skills can figure out that if you're paying 1/10th or less what you used to in salaries, you can cut ticket prices in half and still make a FORTUNE.  The owners would win, the players would win (the players who were actually playing that is, not the greedy ones who weren't playing), and most of all the fans would win.  The NBA would be back to the way it should be, where the players earn their spots, and they play for the love of the game.  The fans would get a chance not only to see great players playing high level basketball, they'd get to witness history in the making, women playing in the NBA for the first time ever.  And of course, with all these new and unique details would come one more benefit for the fans, parity.  Just like in the NFL, any team could win in a given year.  How would one team have an inherent advantage?  It wouldn't be about the money, it would be all about choosing the best group of players for your team from the huge number of players who attend the tryouts.

With this backdrop of awesomeness, there would be every incentive for the players to end the lockout, and get back to regular NBA action.  And until they did, we the fans would actually be enjoying a superior product anyway, at much lower prices.  The game of basketball itself would be the biggest winner of all, as whether you're an owner, a player, or a fan, everyone will ultimately win if the NBA acts on this Solution.  I hope to see it happen later this year.              

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

What a great day for America, and Americans all around the world.  The day we celebrate our Independence!  A great day to celebrate the Freedoms that we all share, thanks to the brave men and women of our United States Armed Services.  These heroes have not only brought freedom to America, but to countless nations around the world.  It is a bit ironic that the same Country that claimed its freedom from England would, less than 200 years later, save England from becoming yet another victim to the forces of evil, hitler and company.  So even though England's territories are far less today thanks to our war of Independence, if we hadn't done what we did back then, we couldn't have basicly single handedly saved the world in World War 2.  We've won victory after victory for freedom over the decades and centuries, we are truly the greatest nation on earth, and today is a great day to say thank you to all those who have fought for that freedom.  So to all who serve, and to all who served, the Gladiator Blog, and yours truly SirGladiator, says a big Thank You, and a Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hope Solo Best Goalkeeper Ever

There is a phrase that is becoming common in the sports word, a word that is also an abbreviation, and that word/abbreviation is GOAT.  In the past, calling someone a goat meant they cost their team the game, but now it stands for 'Greatest Of All Time'.  I'm not comfortable using that, especially in this case, but there is no doubt that Hope Solo is indeed the Greatest Goalkeeper of All Time.  Today she scored her eighth, yes thats right her EIGHTH straight shutout!  She broke the all time record of longest game-time without a goal, which was over 700 minutes long, and her streak currently stands at well over 750 minutes.  Incredibly, the person who set the previous record was.....also Hope Solo!  This woman isn't simply the greatest goalkeeper of our generation, she is truly the greatest of all time.  All you have to do is look at her and see that she looks every bit as impressive as she plays.  She's tall, she's fit, she's constantly either smiling and happy or focused and fierce.  She's a winner, she's a Champion, she's someone you'd never want to see on the other side of the ball. 

I'm not familiar with the exact rules of FIFA World Cup Soccer, I don't know if the rules are backward enough to outright ban women from playing on a Country's team.  If they are, we should work as hard as possible to change them, because it would be a shame, and completely insane, to not do everything in our power to have this extraordinary talent on our 2014 World Cup team.  Hope Solo is, appropriate to her name, America's only hope for World Cup success in 2014.  Even with this incredible Champion at goalie, we'd still have a tough task as our defense is one of the worst in the world, and will inevitably put Hope in a very difficult position time and again, but at least we'd actually have a fighting chance, as if Hope Solo can't stop a ball, it truly is unstoppable.  Repeatedly in today's game she was diving for, and getting to, balls that were CLEARLY going to be wide of the goal.  She is so agile she can not only guard the entire area of the goal, but OUTSIDE it as well.  There's simply nobody else who can do what she does, and she's proven that time and again by TWICE setting the all time record for longest time without a goal scored against, a feat that would be truly extraordinary to set ONCE.   

It's time for American Soccer to think outside the box, inside the box.  It's time to put America's best goalkeeper in the box on America's Team, not just America's Womens Team, but the Main team as well.  Although it would be correct to call her the GOAT, I'm going to simply call her the best Goalkeeper ever.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Women in Gaming: Myth vs Reality

I recently read an article, a long article, about Women in Gaming.  It covered all the major areas, from female gamers to female characters in games.  Most of what I read was just more of the usual stuff that you read, we need more female characters that are XYZ, and if only there were more of this or that then more women would play games.  It was pretty much just another case of the writer not seeing the forest for the trees, so common in topics like this one.  One of the major knowledge advantages that Conservatives have always had over liberals, is that we realize that there is a difference between men and women.  While liberals bend over backwards to deny reality, to pretend that men and women are exactly alike, we simply acknowledge and embrace reality.  As such, we realize that most of these comments, so typical in the lamestream media, are just so much hogwash.  The idea that if only female gaming characters dressed a certain way, that would make more women play games, it's so incredibly absurd.  Women like different kinds of games than men, that's just the way it is.  You can dress the female characters in the game up any way you like.  Dress them conservatively, dress them seductively, dress them any way you can think of, and if women don't like the game, they aren't going to play it.

What is the most popular game of all time among women?  The Sims.  It's a fun little game, of course lots of men like it too, but it especially appeals to women.  It allows for superior creativity, it allows for plenty of thinking time, it allows you as much or as little freedom as you want, its heavy on the family-oriented themes, its got a lot to like for anybody, especially for women who especially like such things in a game.  The game doesnt have a 'male lead' or a 'female lead', it has whatever you want it to have.  That's something that naturally appeals to everybody, a fact that shouldn't be lost on people, and yet all too often it clearly is.

Let's look at a type of game enjoyed more by men than women, and that would be your typical Bioware RPG.  I love RPGs, and Bioware tends to make a lot of fun ones.  They've done a lot to attract female gamers, from giving you the option to have a female (or male of course) main character,  to giving you the ability to dress your character up any way you like, to even having the option of having your female main character have one (or more) of your female team-mates as a possible love interest.  These are all things that bring women into the game in droves, Bioware's games tend to have many more female players than the average RPG, but ultimately it is an RPG and for that reason there will always be more male players of any Bioware RPG, because men simply like RPGs more than women. 

One way that Bioware is often criticized, is for their advertising campaigns, which almost always feature the male versions of the main characters, and never the female versions (since you can generally play as either a male or female in a Bioware game, you would naturally assume they would advertise both).  It is stated that this is done because most Bioware players are male, a fact that is of course true.  But their logic is completely backwards.  While yes, advertising the female version of the main character of a given Bioware game would likely lead to more women buying the game, it would also lead more MEN to buy the game also!  It would likely increase the overall number of women playing the game, but probably not the overall percentage of women playing, as what's more pleasant for a man (or woman for that matter) to look at for 40-60 hours, a dude, or an attractive woman?  It's no contest.  So Bioware's 'logic' in only promoting their male main characters is completely backwards, not because they 'should be marketing more to women' but because female leads DO market to men, as well as women.  But they haven't figured that part out yet, once they do they will be a lot more successful than they already are.

So the bottom line for me, is yes we should bring more women into gaming, as many as possible, because gaming is fun, cool, and better with more women :) .  But to do that we need to make more games that women like, and to make the games that they aren't predisposed to like more female-friendly, never by doing something men don't like, instead by doing things that BOTH men and women like.  Men and women like having the ability to create their main character (or characters, in the case of the Sims) from scratch, we like having the ability to dress them up any way we like, we like having attractive female characters as the main Love Interest for our character, and of course we all like defeating the forces of evil, saving the day, and having a happy ending.  Obviously some of those things are liked more by women than men, and some are liked more by men than women, but all of those things are enjoyed by large numbers of both men and women.  Those are the attributes that all games should have, if at all possible.  That is how you bring women, AND men, into gaming in greater numbers.  Give us ALL what we want, don't give us something that just women like, or that just men like.  When you give us what we all want, we all win.